Category: Politics

A Modest Proposal to Solve Our Oil Problem

This morning the DJ on the local jazz station delivered a comic lament on the trauma of paying $3 for a gallon of gasoline. He recalled that a few months ago the price had fallen to nearly $2 per gallon, but in recent weeks it had eclipsed the psychologically troubling threshold of three, and he...

Street Cleaning

Based on a several weeks of highly unscientific observation, we’ve come to the dismaying conclusion that motorized street cleaning in Los Angeles doesn’t work. This, we know, isn’t exactly shocking news. But if what we’re concluding is indeed true — and the more unscientific observing we do, the more certain we become — our city is wasting millions...

An Open Letter to Councilman Tom LaBonge

Mr. Tom LaBonge, Councilman COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 200 N. Spring Street Room 480 Los Angeles, CA 90012 March 17, 2006 Dear Mr. LaBonge, Although I admit to a healthy skepticism toward elected officials whose stated motivation is “public service,” you’ve made a positive impression on me since you took office. As a recent profile of...

Arab Madness

The recent fuss over Dubai Ports World, a well-known shipping company based in the United Arab Emirates, illustrates once again that the facts never get in the way of a good story. Or, depending on your outlook, a bad one. Sadly, our news media, increasingly rabid for the ratings that drive corporate profits, seems more...

Keeping the World Safe with the Patriot Act?

Your elected representatives voted yesterday to renew the so-called Patriot Act, the noxious piece of legislation originally penned in the weeks following the September, 2001 terrorist attacks. The new version, we are assured by our senators, is a vast improvement over the old version, which granted the federal authorities unprecedented powers to seize and imprison...

The Tyranny of Democracy

The latest and most persistent reason given from Washington for America’s entanglement in Iraq is “democracy building.” Our holy mission, which has gone from disarming a brutal tyrant harboring weapons of mass destruction to something intangible and sublime, is meant to liberate Iraqis from themselves. Provided with the cleansing salve of free elections and representative...

State of the Union

Our union, intended as the felicitous conjoining of disparate states into one cooperative congregation of like-minded souls, is badly disjointed, fractured and splayed worse than perhaps any time in American history since the Civil War. The last presidential election cleaved the country into two: those who endorsed the antics of George W. Bush and those...

Philippines Notes, Part 3: Free Markets

Those of us with a libertarian bent are at times susceptible to the theoretical ideal of “free markets,” the utopian concept of economics unburdened by interfering governments or regulations. Expressed purely (and absurdly) as the perfect crossroads of Supply and Demand, free markets are supposed to produce the best product at the best price, letting...

Religious Wackos

Those crazy Iraqis seem to be having a hard time crafting a national constitution. The biggest obstacle, according to news reports, is that every religious sect there has its own agenda. The Sunnis want this; the Shiites want that; and the Kurds want everything else. What these people don’t understand is the crucial difference between...

Why Golf on Los Angeles Municipal Courses Takes Forever

When I play golf locally, it’s usually at a nearby Los Angeles County municipal park course in Griffith Park. What ought to be a pleasant walk among the tress and birds often feels like a death march through rush hour traffic. Four-hour rounds morph into six-hour trudges, and the joy of chasing a little white...