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In today's pages: Initiatives, insurers and unhappy women

death penalty, lethal injection, feminism, happiness, cyber warfare, cyber czar, Barack Obama, healthcare reform, California constitutional convention Columnist Tim Rutten notes the recent complaints about the California initiative process by the state's chief justice and a top fund manager and asks, what to do? The answer is, umm, unclear:

Serious political historians also agree that, as currently utilized, the California initiative process is a perversion of what the Progressives intended when they inserted these direct-democracy provisions into the state Constitution. The problem for those who want to restore sense to the system is that, although you can tinker with the process around the edges, most substantial reforms would probably be rejected by California courts as violations of the state's guarantee of free speech.

Also on the Op-Ed page, James D. Zirin, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, urges President Obama to hurry up and appoint a cyber security czar because the risks are so great. And hey, you can never have enough czars! And author Barbara Ehrenreich scoffs at a recent study, "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," that "purports to show that women have become steadily unhappier since 1972." Says Ehrenreich:

What this study shows, if anything, is that neither marriage nor children make women happy. (The results are not in yet on nipple piercing.) Nor, for that matter, does there seem to be any problem with "too many choices," "work-life balance" or the "second shift." If you believe Stevenson and Wolfers, women's happiness is supremely indifferent to the actual conditions of their lives, including poverty and racial discrimination. Whatever "happiness" is....

On the editorial pages, the board blasts the health insurance lobby for hiring PricewaterhouseCooper to do a hatchet job on the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare reform bill. But it admits that the insurers have a point: The bill falls critically short of the goal of providing universal health insurance. And it argues that the recent botched execution in Ohio, the latest in a string of similar incidents in that state, adds to the evidence that lethal injections don't pass constitutional muster.

Photo credit: Susan Tibbles / For The Times

-- Jon Healey

 

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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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