Is Bolton Toast?
John Bolton, President Bush’s confrontational choice to be the U.S. representative to the United Nations, remains in political limbo.
With the months-long battle over Bolton’s nomination no longer headline-grabbing news,… read full story
Supreme Court Nomination War
It’s a day about the Declaration of Independence but also a moment to cherish the independence of the United States Supreme Court. The unexpected resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose 24-year tenure was pivotal in often… read full story
Alcalde Villaraigosa: L.A. Dreamin’
After former Chief Justice Earl Warren, then 83, administered the oath to Councilman Tom Bradley as mayor in 1973, I asked the native Angeleno about the impact on the city of having its first black mayor. He replied, “This… read full story
Protecting Confidential Sources
Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller of the New York Times are pawns in a significant legal battle with the Justice Department involving the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press to protect confidential government sources.… read full story
Explainer-In-Chief: 9/11 Again
President Bush asked for patience in his somber televised speech at Fort Bragg on Tuesday night, insisting that the war in Iraq was difficult but winnable. Only the first part was accurate.
Despite his optimistic descriptions, there is no… read full story
Freedom Of Press Crisis
Today’s Supreme Court ruling puts American journalism in peril.read full story
Time For Straight Talk To Americans
President Bush makes a prime time address tomorrow night from Fort Bragg, N.C. to U.S. troops and the nation. He’ll offer more details about his strategy in Iraq amid major public doubts - even within his own party -… read full story
Meltdown For A Political Muscle-Man?
Laurence Leamer, whose biography about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fantastic, is out, has said in recent interviews that the governor is a very optimistic person who believes he will always win, and has a knack for remaining positive in the face… read full story
Jerry Brown Weds: The LA Connection
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, 67, the famous and unconventional California bachelor, two-time governor and three-time presidential candidate, finally came in from the cold last weekend - before almost 600 guests, including a handful of Angelenos who launched his political… read full story
Tampering With Social Security:Ignoring Eisenhower’s Counsel
American history matters. A moderate Dwight D. Eisenhower understood it. A conservative George W. Bush, nine presidents later, has a different take on history. His long favored, and obsessive top domestic policy initiative is a radical restructuring of the… read full story
AFL-CIO Split Near: L.A. Impact
Los Angeles City Councilman Martin Ludlow has been nominated and will become the new leader of the County Federation of Labor to succeed the late Miguel Contreras. A former political director, he has long and close personal ties to… read full story
Angry Egoist Or True Reformer?
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will announce a special election, Nov. 8, in a live statement to television stations statewide at 5 p.m. (PDT) today for his three initiatives. He says they will reform state government.
The willful former bodybuilder, action… read full story
The Judicial Nominee Game Resumes
Confident after finally getting three conservative activist nominees -Janice Rogers Brown of California; Priscilla Owen of Texas; and William Pryor Jr. of Alabama - confirmed, President Bush is now preparing to send dozens of lower-court judicial nominations to the… read full story
NFL Stadium Politics: Advantage L.A.
This has been a pivotal political week in the race to establish two new National Football League venues on opposite coasts.
First, the requiem in New York. State lawmakers shot down the determined effort of NYC Mayor Michael R.… read full story
No, it’s not the Mamas and the Papas. It’s not such a winter’s day. It’s Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Chairman in San Jose last week - on another sortie to the left coast, dreamin’ about GOP prospects of… read full story
Bush, Democracy and Uzbek Relations
President Bush, obsessed with spreading democracy throughout the Middle East, now faces compelling strategic and geopolitical challenges in the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, 76% Muslim (mostly Sunni).
While the U.S. negotiates a long-term use of a major military… read full story
Deep Throat: Hero Or Traitor?
The more than 30-year secret about the identity of Deep Throat is finally out. W. Mark Felt, 91, once the No. 2 agent at the F.B.I., says he’s the mystery man who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and… read full story
New Messages Or New Ideas?
While there are signs of a developing fissure between the right and moderate wings of the Republican Party, a more interesting phenomenon is occurring within the ranks of the party opposite. The struggle for the hearts and minds of… read full story
Arnold: Losing His Messianic Touch?
First. a revealing quotation from a new Schwarzenneger biography by Laurence Leamer, who also wrote a Kennedy family trilogy, about his fascination with charismatic leaders:
“Arnold believed that what America needed was a great leader with all the messianic… read full story
Filibuster Compromise: Can It Hold?
A group of 14 centrist senators Monday evening, in an unexpected deal that cut across ideological and political lines, signed a compromise that defused the threat of a “nuclear option” that would have rewritten the Senate’s 214-year-old filibuster rule.… read full story
Win Or Lose: Media Matters
Once each month ABC News’ Political Unit gathers a representative sample of what it calls the Gang of 500 into a back room - it is often at Capitol Hill’s Bistro Bis - to discuss “the state of play… read full story
Un Alcalde For L.A.
Antonio Villaraigosa is the first Latino to be elected mayor in 133 years. An historic victory, but not a surprise upon further reflection. My observations:
FIrst, the spirit of Tom Bradley lives. He lost to Sam Yorty in… read full story
Advise And Consent
Senate Democrats and Republicans go to battle stations this week. One issue is the fight over several of President Bush’s judicial nominees; the other is confirmation of John C. Bolton as U.N. ambassador. The showdowns involve a blend of… read full story
Homeland Security: Back to 101
That a single-engine, two-seat Cessna 150 could enter restricted airspace around Washington at 11:28 a.m. on Wednesday and come within three miles of the White House—with a failing grade, maximum security response—raises questions about the effectiveness of the Department… read full story
The Vatican Silences An Editor
Father Thomas J. Reese, S.J., respected editor of America magazine, a leading publication of Catholic thought and opinion, has resigned at the request of his Jesuit order following years of pressure for his ouster from the Vatican Congregation for… read full story
Arianna’s “Moonbeam” Blog
Arianna Huffington, political commentator, author and leftist gadfly, once described by the U.K. Guardian as “the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus,” is planning to launch a new blog on Monday. Called the Huffington Post, it is part headline… read full story
Faith And Filibuster
President Bush was asked by a reporter at his news conference what he thinks “concerning the role that faith is playing, how it’s being used in our political debates right now.” “Yeah, I think people are opposing my nominees… read full story
What About Medicare?
President Bush‘s prime-time news conference in the East Room last night, only the fourth in his tenure, did little to unsettle a consensus that he’s off to a very shaky start in the first 99 days of his second… read full story
Benedict XVI And The Sexual Abuse Scandal
The new pope sat on a gilded throne in Vatican City Saturday and addressed 2,000 reporters for the first time. He read a statement of thanks for less than 20 minutes in Italian, German, French and English—but not Spanish,… read full story
With apologies to Lewis Carroll and the twinlike characters he created in 1869, the May 17 showdown between incumbent Mayor Jim Hahn and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa has become a yawner between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Sad to say, as the… read full story
Benedict XVI: Troubling Challenges Ahead
Joseph Ratzinger is the 265th pope, ultraconservative, hard-line theologian, and the first German to become bishop of Rome in a thousand years. He is the charismatic opposite of the late John Paul II, who never restrained his longtime friend’s… read full story
Culture Wars: Filibuster Rules Showdown
The Senate appears headed for an imminent confrontation over the rules governing judicial confirmations. The high-stakes showdown has been described by The Wall Street Journal’s Jeanne Cummings as “the nuclear option,” a Republican gambit led by Senator Bill Frist,… read full story
The Next Pope: Urgent Challenges
Amid prayers for divine guidance, balloting by 115 cardinals to elect the Roman Catholic Church’s 265th pope begins Monday in Vatican City. The red hats will have much to ponder: the next pope will face urgent challenges not dealt… read full story
Arnold: Political Comet Or Meteor?
California historian Kevin Starr, an unabashed admirer of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has famously said that Gold’s Gym in Venice, where his film “Pumping Iron” was shot in 1976, was “Arnold’s Harvard and Yale.” The GOP governor, elected in 2003’s… read full story
Expanded Search Warrants: Abuse Of Power?
The Justice Department wants every temporary provision of the post-9/11 anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act renewed. Some provisions of the law will expire in December unless renewed by Congress. The request seems reasonable on the surface.
Then a chilling thing… read full story
After John Paul II: Quo Vadis?
John Paul II‘s legacy, judging from the media tsunami in his wake, is unprecedented. Where the 265th head of the Roman Catholic Church takes it occupies the thoughts of its over 1 billion members. They have serious questions about… read full story
L. A. Politic: Dangerous Name Games
Integrity is again the key issue in the runoff campaign between James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa, just as it was in 2001. That year, the underdog mayor came from behind to beat the former Assembly Speaker on the strength… read full story
1. When is President Bush going to level about our bizarre relationship with Pakistan? President Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup and joined the war on terror, has failed to make good in the capture of… read full story
Exploiting The Terri Schiavo Case
It is impossible to overstate the emotionally charged moral, legal, political and privacy issues in this human tragedy as the life of the 15-year brain damaged Florida woman hangs in the balance.
Let’s start with W.‘s comment after signing… read full story
About Life And Death
The extraordinary confluence of explosive issues which accelerated yesterday, the first day of spring - Palm Sunday in the Christian faith - will intensify leading up to, and beyond, Easter. Without precedent in American history, these issues involve emotionally… read full story
W43: Still Clueless In Fantasyland
Well, it’s hard to know where to begin in describing the president’s fantasy state of mind these days - a mixture of stubbornness, ignorance and optimism. Read the transcript of his news conference and shake your head. Paul Wolfowitz… read full story
Steroids, Congress, Baseball - And Arnold
The House Government Reform Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on steroid use in baseball on Thursday. [See BP/1.16.05] The committee has subpoenaed 11 baseball executives and current and former players - including MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Mark… read full story
L.A. Mayor’s Race: Deja Vu All Over Again
The conventional wisdom was that two former Democratic Assembly Speakers, Antonio Villaraigosa and Bob Hertzberg, would be the finalists in a runoff election. But it didn’t work out that way in what turned out to be a photo finish… read full story
L.A. Politic: Photo Finish, Runoff Loom
Voters in heavily Democratic Los Angeles go to the polls tomorrow. Veteran observers see the mayoral race as the most interesting campaign since 1973 when Tom Bradley defeated incumbent Sam Yorty in a divisive runoff. Three of the candidates… read full story
Social Security Initiative: Listing Hard To Starboard
Polls show President Bush’s campaign to overhaul Social Security is almost DOA. Why am I not surprised? The latest New York Times’ survey, reflective of many, indicates respondents put jobs (32%) and health care (29%) far ahead of… read full story
On Values And An Abortion Compromise
Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said (BP/2.14) the party must find a more effective way to address the abortion issue. He agreed with the moderating view of Sen. Hillary Clinton that abortion should be rare but legal. In a… read full story
Sit-Down In Vegas: AFL-CIO Split?
The AFL-CIO’s winter executive meeting begins tomorrow. It’s potentially the most defining moment since the American Federation of Labor and the more liberal Congress of Industrial Organizations merged in 1955. The summit centers on the union’s future: sweeping self-analysis… read full story
Fourth Estate: Protecting Confidential Sources
It has all the plot lines for a “who done it” movie thriller: A CIA operative and her diplomat husband; two White House leakers; a columnist who reports on the leak; two reporters who won’t blink and would go… read full story
Rehnquist’s Last Hurrah? Succession Rumors Quicken
Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist will be gone missing today when the court reconvenes for the second half of its term to discuss volatile legal and political issues. His absence for two weeks of oral arguments while… read full story
What About Negroponte?
Bush’s not entirely uncontroversial choice of John Dimitri Negroponte to be the nation’s first director of intelligence catches the media by surprise. It also revives haunting past human rights questions about the the London-born son of a Greek-American shipping… read full story
Borrowing, Caution And Wall Street
Dick Cheney on “Fox News Sunday” early this month said he would not be a candidate for president in 2008. No news there. But the fiscal conservative made big news by uttering the dreaded “B” word. He acknowledged that… read full story
L.A. Politic: The Mayor’s Race
The March 8 primary is the most volatile since 1973 when runoff finalist Tom Bradley beat Mayor Sam Yorty. Mayor Jim Hahn‘s opponents hammer on the so-called “pay-to-play” City Hall scandal. Some charge, and the media report, that Hahn… read full story
Democratic Sea Change: Values Matter Again
Howard Dean, the new chairman of Democratic National Committee, assumed command as a more moderate politician than in his presidential run though the party’s liberal base is growing. Dean articulated issues that Democrats care about but have soft pedalled… read full story
In his Feb. 10th front-page article The New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau cites dozens of intelligence reports reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration from April to Sept. 10, the day before the Sept. 11 attacks, that warned about… read full story
The Deficit President: Requiem For Small Government
The Deficit President pushes his new economic agenda - including an overhaul of Social Security and new, austere fiscal 2006 budget - to the Detroit Economic Club: “Congress needs to join me to bring real spending discipline to the… read full story
Howard Dean: The Right Moxie To Win?
Dr. Howard Dean, the former governor and presidential candidate, will become chairman of the Democratic National Committee this Saturday because he has the votes. The Vermont physician, who crashed and burned with his “scream” speech after losing the Iowa… read full story
1. Rice tours Europe and the Middle East and signals a hard new line on Iran. A U.S. attack on the Tehran regime is “not on the agenda” for now. It’s the “for now” part that raises speculation about… read full story
Social Security: Guaranteed Benefit or Risky Gamble?
Edgy House Republicans decamped from their annual retreat at the Greenbrier resort in W. Va. last weekend to launch a several months campaign decreed by W. to convince Americans about the wisdom of rewriting the Social Security law. A… read full story
State Of The Union Preview
President Bush delivers his State of the Union Address on Wednesday. He will say the nation is still at war, thank Congress for the financial support to wage it, declare the Iraq election a success, and reprise his freedom… read full story
Democrats ‘08: A Winning Strategy?
The good news for Democrats is that in 2008, for the first time since before Dwight D. Eisehower entered the presidential race in 1952, neither party has an obvious heir to the White House. The bad news is that… read full story
Death Penalty Errors Raise New Questions
Helen Prejean’s new book focuses on death penalty errors. . . Gonzales’s Texas counsel to W raises new questions.
Sister Helen Prejean became the nation’s leading advocate against the death penalty with her 1993 national bestseller, “Dead Man Walking”… read full story
Bush’s Must Read Book For Acolytes
Less than a day after his inaugural address, the word began to leak that president has found a symbiotic author who shares his own idealistic world views on promoting freedom and liberty. Some news sources indicated that a main… read full story
Full Senate To Debate Legal/Moral Use of Torture
The confirmation of Condoleezza Rice and Alberto R. Gonzales as secretary of state and attorney general, respectively, are considered inevitable. That mindful Senate Democrats on the foreign relations and judiciary committees asked enough tough moral and political questions to… read full story
The New New Mantra: Redefining Terror As Tyranny?
Bush officials, following the president’s rousing inaugural address promoting God, freedom and liberty, deny a significant shift in U.S. foreign policy. But skepticism in the U.S. and abroad is rampant. The lack of specifics or mention of either terrorism… read full story
A Republican New Deal?
Week in Review, in today’s New York Times, has a provocative page one piece by John Tierney: “Can Anyone Unseat F.D.R.?”
To some Republicans, the start of this new presidential term is their moment, their chance to… read full story
A Time Comes
Sojourners magazine has an excellent online edition, Sojomail, “a weekly email-zine of spirituality, politics, and culture.” The weekly begins with a powerful and relevant quote. This week it came from Martin Luther King, Jr.
A time comes… read full story
Bush 02: God, Lincoln and Freedom
As oratory, President Bush’s second inaugural address stopped just short of suggesting that God is a Republican. But midway through his sober remarks, a quintessential message emerged. “The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as… read full story
Fantasy is Reality in D.C.
Richard Cohen’s “Fool’s Gold” in the Washington Post, 20/01/05, is a must read. He succinctly and fluently translates the absurdity of both W’s “mandate” and his accomplishments since taking office.
The disjunction between… read full story
Wartime Inaugurals: Stark Contrasts Between W and FDR
President Bush’s inauguration planners struggle to blunt criticism and set the right tone for this week’s $40 million, four day celebration - the most expensive in history.
President Bush’s inauguration planners struggle to blunt criticism and set the right… read full story
Attack on Iran?
CNN article about journalist Seymour Hersh on a possible US attack on Iran:
The Bush administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions to learn about nuclear, chemical and missile sites in Iran in preparation for… read full story
“Family” Values, Baseball’s New Drug Policy and Politics
In baseball, while the stirring “take me out to the ball game” lyric has been a must “family” value since 1876, player use of steroids and stimulants has distorted the game for decades. Commissioner Bud Selig’s announcement about a… read full story
The Iraqi Election: Can’t We All Get Along?
Less than three weeks before the vote, the situation becomes increasingly unstable. Prime Minister Allawi admits “pockets” of the nation will be too dangerous for voters to cast ballots. Gen. Muhammad Shahwani, chief of Iraq’s intelligence services, says that… read full story
The Vetting Process: A “Now” Phrase
- The embarrassing failure of White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales to successfully vet ex-NYC Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, Bush’s buddy, as his nominee for homeland security secretary, festers. Gonzales, who skipped FBI vetting protocols, could have nailed Kerik on… read full story
Map Color 2004: Predictable Metaphor or Tired Cliche?
One 2005 blog wish is that the establishment media overcome a tendency to report almost every post-election story of national significance with some reference to partisan color maps. I mean, the repetitious fallout of the “Red State vs. Blue… read full story
Rehnquist’s Defense of the Federal Judiciary
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 80, celebrated his 33nd anniversary on the court on Friday. Battling thyroid cancer, he has been invited by the President to administer the oath of office on Jan. 20. While it remains uncertain whether… read full story
- New C.I.A. Chief Porter J. Goss floods more top GOP aides into senior agency positions, including Jennifer Millerwise, the agency’s new chief spokeswoman. She did media for Goss (R-Florida) and, more recently, flacked for Vice President Dick Cheney.… read full story
A Passion for Justice Remembered
Rep. Robert Matsui (Sacramento), 63, died last Saturday in Washington. He was a man for all seasons, a man I knew and respected. Sen. Dianne Feinstein described him as “one of the greatest in public service in California.” But… read full story
W and America’s Newest Odd Couple
In the wake of his tardy public response to the tsunami disaster in southern Asia, President Bush showed Rove-like adroitness in forging an odd-couple partnership between former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Foes in Campaign ‘92,… read full story
Alberto Gonzales’s Confirmation Problem: Parsing the Legal Definition of Torture
Republicans juice over W’s upcoming inaugural. But 2005 begins badly with a “moral values” question over the issue of torture.
Stealth-like, the Justice Department late Dec. 30, with no public announcement, published a revised and expanded definition of… read full story
Asian Tsunami: New Test for Bush in a Hostile Muslim World
In his Christmas Day broadcast, President Bush urged Americans to help the neediest among them. “By volunteering our time and talent where they are most needed, we help heal the sick, comfort those who suffer and bring hope to… read full story
LAX Millennium Bomb Plot: Why Pre-9/11 Still Matters
With 2005 federal antiterrorism grants now public, the insular Bush White House needs a reminder that almost two years before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Los Angeles was targeted for the first major assault by the Al Qaida network on… read full story
2004 Network News: What Did We Watch?
The New York Times’s Week in Review (Dec. 26), recalling a year in numbers as it ends, cites the leading topics covered by the three television networks where more Americans get their news. The 10 top subjects, ranked by… read full story
2004 Wedge Issue: Same-Sex Marriage
In winning the New Hampshire primary in January, Sen. John Kerry iced the Democratic nomination. But only 16 days later, the seeds for his Nov. 2 defeat were sown. Freshman San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom moved the issue of… read full story
- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger told Germany’s daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the Republican Party should move a “little to the left” to attract new voters. The little noticed comment, chilling to the GOP right, recalls another unorthodox former California… read full story
Amid Holiday Cheer: Ethical Questions About Torture
‘Tis the season to be jolly. TIME crowns George Bush as Person of the Year 2004. Giddy Republicans gulp egg nog. Dazed Democrats sense deep public concern about W’s domestic social agenda. Evangelical Christians, dismissing the Rev. Jim Wallis’s… read full story
L.A. Politic: A Federal Santa Visits the Pueblo
Tom Ridge, the lame duck homeland security secretary, put on a dog-and-pony show in Hollywood last week. Mayor Jim Hahn, up for reelection in March, showed up for a photo op. Hahn’s problem was the $282 million check was… read full story
It Depends on the Meaning of “If”
Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, in a Washington Post interview about President Bush’s proposal to revamp Social Security, an iffy idea certain to generate 2005’s biggest domestic debate among future retirees: “If we have a real fix for Social… read full story
Trust but Verify: How Bush Departed From F.B.I. Background Check Procedures on Kerik
The timing of Bernard B. Kerik’s nomination by President Bush for homeland security secretary is revealing. It departed from the background security check procedures followed by the administrations of Ronald Reagan, his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.… read full story
Holiday Question Time
Why did the President of the United States award the Medal of Freedom to former CIA director George Tenet who gave him badly flawed information on the decision to invade Iraq?
Why did Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reply to… read full story
STRATEGIES: Bush vs. the Faceless Party Opposite
I find the disparity in focus between the two major parties stunning as a divided U.S. enters the holiday season. The White House, with disciplined senior policy quarterback Karl Rove calling the plays, has moved deftly to consolidate its… read full story
Truman and the Launch of the C.I.A. (Part 2)
Harry Truman, speaking to C.I.A. employees in 1952, (Michael Warner’s article TBP 12.8), reminisced about the state of U.S. intelligence when he first took office: no concentration of information for the President; each department and each organization had its… read full story
How Harry Truman Launched the C.I.A.
President Bush’s signature on a bill to overhaul the U.S. intelligence community will set in motion the most important restructuring of the nation’s gathering and sharing of intelligence since the creation of the C.I.A. But the spy realignment recalls… read full story
Point and Counterpoint
Tommy G. Thompson, the U.S. health chief, announcing his resignation after trying to do so a year ago but agreeing to stay on at the White House’s request: “I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food… read full story
Bush, Putin and Catch-22
The disputed Ukrainian election crisis simmers. It’s a major foreign policy quandry for President Bush. Will he opt to spend some of the “political capital” he boasted about in winning reelection to foster self-determination for a democratic Ukraine independent… read full story
Ave Atque Vale
It does not surprise those of us who knew him and his work in Los Angeles that Tom Brokaw would vault to the NBC News summit and earn the sobriquet as “America’s most trusted news anchor.” “Eyewitness to History,”… read full story
Trust but Verify
It’s fascinating to observe George W. Bush suddenly insisting Iran must verify with the world its compliance with a nuclear arms pact. Bush, in his rush to a first strike war in Iraq, ignored Ronald Reagan’s famous “trust but… read full story
Bushworld and the Christian Jihad
How long will it be before freedom of speech and thought and the reality of war, injustice and evil may no longer be acceptable in the fusion of Bushworld and the Christian jihad?
Frank Rich’s November 20th column on… read full story
The Body Politic: The Mission Statement
Aristotle's Politics (Book 1, Chapter 1) is clear that "man is a political animal in a greater measure than any bee or any gregarious animal. For nature does nothing without purpose, and man alone of the… read full story
No One’s In Charge
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson on the interregnum: “Having two presidents is starting to feel like we have no president, and that’s the situation we’ll face until Inauguration Day.”
Barack Obama said, “We have only one President at… read full story
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