Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

Category: Ted Rall

Jobs: This is what passes for a recovery? [Ted Rall cartoon]

There are even more crappier jobs than last year for recent college graduates in California and around the United States. This is what passes for a recovery?


Excuse me, my tattoo is ringing

Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons

The battle over tax proposals hits the airwaves

Photo: Ted Rall cartoon. Credit: For The Times

Next train to LAX: 2,325,002 minutes [Ted Rall cartoon]


After years of waiting, Angelenos finally get approval to extend the Metro system to the airport.


Transportation bill gridlock

Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons

Which political force is more powerful: gas prices or optimism?

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

Where will lion hunter Daniel Richards go next? [Rall cartoon]

California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel W. Richards shot and ate a mountain lion in Idaho, where it's legal. Cartoonist Ted Rall wonders: Where will he go next?


Fish and Game's lion hunter

Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons

Mountain lions like their fast food in the forest

Controlling wolves: War on wildlife or basic necessity?

Florida's Burmese pythons: Will they make a meal out of (gulp) us?

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

How L.A. can become the country's most corrupt region [Ted Rall cartoon]

A University of Illinois study finds that Los Angeles is the second-most-corrupt region in the United States.

In his Sunday column, Steve Lopez names names, pointing to specific public officials and departments that earned L.A. this dubious ranking. Lopez writes:

[I] think a better explanation for our current rot is that if you're a scheming public official in Los Angeles, stealing everything that isn't nailed to the wall is a breeze. Too many people aren't paying attention and can't be bothered to vote, which allows sleazy opportunists to easily build fiefdoms. And journalists can't bag every skunk, no matter how much we'd like to.

Above is cartoonist Ted Rall's take. And below are a few pieces by The Times' editorial board highlighting our city's most recent offenses.


Trutanich: I am a liar

Ripping off Los Angeles

L.A. DWP's gold-plated jobs

Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant approach to relationships [Rall cartoon]

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant seem to be heading toward a bizarre combination: marital bliss coupled with legal (financial) divorce. In his weekly cartoon, Ted Rall imagines where else such odd -- yet beneficial -- arrangements are taking place, from the campaign trail to Afghanistan. Are Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum secretly on the same team? Does President Obama have an arrangement with the Taliban we don't know about -- is the "legal war" for show? Rall's take: "It's very weird -- but a relief from the usual arrangement: legal marriage/de facto estrangement."


Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons

The Dow is climbing! The Dow is climbing!

Photos: The vernacular landscape of medical marijuana dispensaries

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

Pension spiking: Turning sick days into retirement pay [Ted Rall]

Cartoonist Ted Rall looks at the issue of pension spiking

"Some California officials are allowed to bank massive numbers of sick days -- including one who retired with 35 years' worth."

Cartoonist Ted Rall is referring to John Sandbrook, a retired University of California administrator, who, as Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II reported, "used the sick leave allotment for most of his university career to boost his annual pension by $655 a month for life, to nearly $183,000."

Some will argue that our tax money shouldn't go toward boosting an already generous pension. Rall puts out an additional issue up for debate: What's the most honest way of fulfilling one's public trust?


Paying the tax piper

Photo gallery: More Ted Rall cartoons

Mitt Romney picks the wrong fight over the auto bailout

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

To ease overcrowding in L.A. jails, send inmates to 'Guantanamoon' [Ted Rall cartoon]

What are we to do about overcrowding in our jails? State Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) has an idea. He recently drafted SB 983, which would allow counties to export prisoners to other states. Strickland's heart may be in the right place, but cartoonist Ted Rall couldn't help but poke fun at the proposal. (Newt Gingrich is totally going to be jealous that he didn't come up with the concept of 'Guantanamoon' first.) 


Photo gallery: More Ted Rall cartoons

Impounding unlicensed drivers' cars: A matter of life and death

Roseanne for pres: A chicken in every bucket, a pie in every face

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

The energy industry's disturbing influence on politics [Ted Rall cartoon]


In a disturbing display of the energy industry's influence on politics, Gov. Jerry Brown fired a top regulator for refusing to loosen environmental regulations on a risky method of oil extraction.


Photos: Ted Rall cartoons

Sarah Palin's attack on the GOP establishment

Food stamps and the right to make unhealthy decisions

--Ted Rall / For The Times

Ways to prevent LAPD from crashing their cruisers [Ted Rall cartoon]


Los Angeles Police Department cruisers are involved in an average of one crash per day, reports Times staff writer Joel Rubin.

Most of the crashes were minor, but some resulted in life-threatening injuries or totaled police cars, or were the result of the officer violating traffic laws, according to LAPD records. In at least two incidents, the driver of another car was killed.

And at a time when the Los Angeles Police Department is trying to stem the steady stream of lawsuits filed against officers that cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year, traffic accidents remain a significant and costly obstacle. They represent nearly one out of every four lawsuits filed against the department. The city has paid nearly $24 million in settlements or verdicts in about 400 LAPD traffic-related lawsuits over the last nine years and must contend with dozens more cases that remain unresolved, city records show. In all but a few of the closed cases, city officials opted to pay a negotiated settlement instead of taking their chances at a trial -- a strong indication that the officers were in the wrong.

As the LAPD and the Los Angeles Police Commission consider the best way to investigate these crashes and prevent others, cartoonist Ted Rall has also been hard at work drawing up ideas. His proposals are above. I'm especially fond of his idea for installing "giant airbags all over town" -- but some might argue that L.A.'s already done that.


For jobs, look to Sacramento

Condom rule: First step in porn master plan?

Foodies mourn California's ban on shark fin soup

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times

L.A.'s condom law hardly curtains for porn

Condoms Porn
The L.A. City Council seems able to easily pass resolutions about matters like corporate personhood and the boycott over Arizona's immigration laws. This one was much closer to home: It voted to require condom use in porn films within the city limits.

The porn industry is the Hollywood shadow, prospering to the tune of billions of dollars, principally in the San Fernando Valley. Of late, cases of HIV have shut down some shoots -- one consideration that led to the council's vote.

The argument against the condom law was the usual -- that the business will pick up and go elsewhere. But run away to where? Temecula? Vallejo? State law already requires condom use by porn performers; L.A., as the place where many of the productions are based, is putting its own teeth in the state law.

And the moralizing posses in other cities may not be as welcoming of this particular new business.

As for other states to take the porn trade to -- Arizona? Oregon? Anything-goes Nevada? As my colleague Ron Lin pointed out in his story, New Hampshire is the only other state where such shoots are legal -- and if porn producers don't like how condoms look in their movies, they really won't like goosebumps.

The porn industry already regularly lobbies Sacramento, to the amusing discomfiture of some politicians,  so if its advocates are unhappy about a state health and safety requirement that's being backstopped by L.A., they can hit the hallways of the state Capitol again.

The porn makers say condoms can ruin the fantasy for porn watchers, and that entertainment is all about fantasy. But even the fantasy factories have been drawing some lines, like the one about smoking onscreen.

Our Ted Rall had his own fantasies -- journalistic ones -- about where this regulation might lead: to the Realistic Plot Act (as if) or even the Morning-After Visualization Act.

I still have to get my mind around the idea that if you have sex for money without cameras rolling, it's prostitution, and with the cameras rolling, it's art -- just as a woman stomping defenseless little animals to death with high-heeled shoes is animal cruelty unless you make a video and call it free expression. Thankfully, President Obama signed a law sponsored by Republicans and Democrats to prohibit making, selling and distributing "crush videos" -- and making it a prison offense to do it.

This may be the only case on record in which Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. has agreed publicly with the president, in his dissent from a court ruling that found that an earlier law about animal cruelty videos -- in that case a Virginia man selling dogfighting videos -- was too broad. Alito dissented, noting the "excruciating pain" of living creatures, something contrary to the values of society.

Adult sex videos are about consenting adults, not unconsenting animals, but no one should have to put himself or herself at risk of AIDS, and the law is there to back that up -- even if the lawmakers themselves sometimes need a kick-start to remember that.


Safe sex in the porn industry

Condoms in porn: Moving industry out of state could be difficult

Condom rule: First step in porn master plan?

--Patt Morrison

Photo: An editor works on a video at porn firm Vivid's headquarters in 2007. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times



In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
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.

In Case You Missed It...