Category: Politics

Guzzling Taxpayer Money

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the five oligarchs who administer an annual budget of nearly $20 billion that affects more than 10 million residents, have at their collective disposal a fleet of 64 automobiles. Most of these cars are assigned to their staffers and factotums. Each supervisor, though, has a car paid for...

An Inconvenient Truth

Global warming is not a speculative theory. It’s a proven syndrome, despite what so-called “skeptics” (read: those with financial interests in carbon dioxide producing industries) claim. Former vice-president of the United States, and possibly the rightfully elected president in 2000, Al Gore, has toured the world for years giving a power-point slide show that cogently...

Unlawful Internet Gaming Act

Yesterday, after nearly four hours of sanctimonious, self-congratulatory debate among our elected protectors of the national morality, the House passed the “Unlawful Internet Gaming Act” by a vote of 317-93. As with any piece of legislation that deals with personal vices, the proposed law is riddled with hypocrisy, illogic, and ulterior motives. Card Player magazine,...

Let Freedom Ring

On this holiday, our national Independence Day, we who cherish the principles and the accomplishments of the world’s freest republic must face the horrible truth: The United States of America, beacon of hope and example to all who would rid the world of oppression and injustice, has lost its standing as the planet’s shining exemplar...

South American Travel Notes, Part One

Is there a connection, real or imagined, between Costa Rica’s comparative dearth of governmental corruption and the apparent dearth of popular unhappiness? Does an official stance of neutrality and a more equitable division of natural resources produce a generally more cheerful populace that in the region’s kleptocracies? Like every other Central American country, Costa Rica...

Pay to Play in the USA

In a rare show of bipartisan outrage, this week both of our nation’s interchangeable political machines expressed their mutual displeasure at the recent FBI searches of a Democratic lawmaker’s Capitol Hill office. Representative William J. Jefferson, of Louisiana, was videotaped accepting a $100,000 bribe; most of the marked money turned up in his freezer; and...

Dealing With the Energy Crisis by Driving Trucks

A gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline in Los Angeles costs an average of $3.20. In a weird, painful way, the high cost is a blessing, because (theoretically) it reduces demand, and when we drive our automobiles less we pollute our environment less. Our new Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, declared last month in his State of...

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...