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In today's pages: New Year's wishes, Israel vs. Hamas and hailing a cab in L.A.

January 1, 2009 |  7:54 pm

The Times Editorial Board wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Looking ahead, it hopes its batting average for wishes that come true in 2009 is just a bit higher than the one for 2008. Its eclectic list of hopes ranges from making it through the year without a catestrophic wildfire to restoring the right of gays and lesbians to marry. It also has some advice for the Los Angeles Unified School District board: put politics second (or maybe even third or fourth) and do what's best for the students.

Former Supt. David L. Brewer's ineffective leadership wasn't the only problem at Beaudry, just one of the easier ones to fix. Deep dysfunction continues to plague the board, the Times says, because it has:

... a greater regard for politics (in this case, union pacification) than for the needs of children; a habit of making long speeches instead of getting work done; a tendency to micromanage rather than to set policy and allow the superintendent to implement it.

Over in Op-Ed, Columist Rosa Brooks writes that provocations notwithstanding, Israel's bloody retaliation against Hamas will lead neither to its greater security nor to a lasting peace.

Israel has no viable political endgame here: There's just no clear route from bombardment to a sustainable peace. But the damage caused by this new conflagration won't be limited to the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel's military offensive already has sparked outrage and protests throughout the Arab world. The current crisis also may destabilize some of the more moderate Arab governments in the region -- in Egypt, for instance -- where leaders now face popular backlash if they don't repudiate Israel.

And if you think that none of this really matters for us here in the U.S., you're kidding yourself. Arab and Islamic anger over Palestine continues to fuel anti-Western and anti-U.S. terrorism around the globe.

Patt Morrison gives props to the city's new Hail a Taxi program, hoping Angelenos will adopt the necessary behavior to make L.A. a proper city -- that means jumping out of their own cars and vying like pro wrestlers for a cab. Rounding out the page, Joel Pett, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Examiner, takes a tour of the best political cartoons of the best political season in recent history.

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