Sessions is wrong about weed, yet Becerra isn’t right

jeffsessionsweedThe familial squabble between state and federal regulators over the only plant so (in)famous to inspire a loopy bit of 1950s film paranoia goes back decades. It turns out that when Californians voted for Proposition 215 and joined the movement for legalized medical use of cannabis it unwittingly became a part of the legal fight this Justice Department has since taken up. When Jeff Sessions announced his decision to overturn the Cole memorandum the attorney general put fresh fuel on a simmering fire. At its heart this battle represents a failure in Washington DC. A standing dispute over the status of some 11 million undocumented immigrants paved the way for states like New Mexico and Maryland to issue driver’s licenses; there are several examples of states coping by offering in-state tuition or Medicaid access. The problems each one is facing, when combined with a population that remains present and “in the shadows” could lead to no other conclusion. Continue reading

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January 18, 2018 · 4:32 am

Thirty-something months at work in a Field of words

snoopy-good-writing-is-hard-workAfter skimming through and scrolling past an unknown number of year-in-review articles and top-ten posts that included one illustrating 12 ways liberals reveal their anger and another listing President Trump’s accomplishments I was tempted to contribute. The prospect of a personal trip through the past 12 months sounded like fun at first, a way to put my own stamp on 2017 that would presumably differ from the others. But it didn’t seem as interesting once I considered adding to what was already a voluminous list, so I decided to take a different look back. In September WordPress delivered a notification that it had been three years since PurpleChi opened for business. It was a happy reminder — and a surprising one for how fast the last two years flew by — but a combination of more pressing news and my stubborn tendency to be late for almost everything interfered. The draft file remained occupied by other aspiring posts. Continue reading

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January 10, 2018 · 5:08 am

When Clouds cross the sky, don’t ask El Sol why: chapter 3

1325377668434-cachedAn unexpected journey: Kevin Takagi had been an early riser from his first days on the high school basketball team. Something about making that commitment drove Takagi to outwork everyone around him, not out of spite, but because of how driven he was. As much as the Arcadia High School grad loved basketball, he didn’t have the talent to attract attention from a Division 1 school or the commitment to keep working and hope to draw interest from NBA scouts building Summer League teams. It turns out the kid known as “KT” by his friends had other plans. Continue reading

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December 31, 2017 · 5:16 am

Concealed-carry bill is solution in search of a problem

concealedcarryGun rights are in the news again, fortunately not as the result of another gruesome mass shooting or the ensuing round of grief and fault-finding. Whew. Surprisingly, this one is attributable to Republicans, who slipped an NRA-backed measure through the House of Representatives by a 231-198 vote. The “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act” would effectively create a national standard for the permits by compelling every state to honor those granted in each of the other forty-nine. After news reached the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, executive director Chris Cox described the vote to Washington Times scribe Andrea Noble as a “watershed moment for Second Amendment rights.” If senators concur and send “Reciprocity” to the White House, concealed-carry permits would not be treated any differently than a driver’s license. The comparison is at best a dubious one for reasons both legal and practical. Continue reading

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December 18, 2017 · 8:42 pm

GOP factions dueling over fate of Roy Moore

paul-ryan-and-mitch-mcconnell-sizedThis one was supposed to be simple, no more dramatic than any other off-year election called to replace a senator promoted to the cabinet. There were signs of what was to come — likely too subtle to register — in August when Stephen Bannon left the White House and returned to Breitbart to fight for “the agenda President Trump ran on.” The onetime investment banker left nothing to the imagination when he forecast a “season of war” aimed at the GOP, one that would challenge virtually every Republican incumbent. Alabama became the first front in a wider war when former state chief justice Roy Moore upended a stand-in who had support from the Senate’s majority leader and the president Bannon helped elect. What had been a relatively cold war went hot when the so-called “Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post” reported on charges that Moore molested or pursued four teens when he was a thirty-something assistant district attorney. The campaign’s response is telling. Continue reading

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November 29, 2017 · 1:16 am

Facebook hearings presenting noisy misdirection

171031153500-facebook-twitter-google-testify-2-1280x720Lawmakers painted a frightful picture of last year’s campaign during Senate hearings in October; witnesses told tales of Facebook users being confronted by 80,000 posts linked to a Russian troll farm that could have reached 126 million Americans. The same Kremlin-linked group sent more than 131,000 messages on Twitter and posted roughly 1,000 videos on YouTube. Democrats were indignant. Delaware senator Chris Coons described one post by a user named “Heart of Texas” condemning Hillary Clinton as “nothing short” of direct Russian interference in “our elections.” As general counsel for the social media giant, Colin Stretch told Coons “that advertisement has no place on Facebook,” and assured the senator he would not allow “that sort of behavior” again. What sort of behavior? A cursory review of the content presented on Capitol Hill reveals pages named “Donald Trump America” and “Army of Jesus” promoting the former developer as well as others for “Black Matters” and “United Muslims,” which urged visitors to support Clinton and thus “save American Muslims.” Continue reading

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November 8, 2017 · 9:36 pm

Staples Center’s newest pretty Hype machine

ar-170319878People around me who know I’m a Lakers fan have been razzing me for years about the team’s malaise. Once in a while they’ll suggest I become a Clippers or Warriors fan since they win more games, but I stubbornly refused. The reward was a team whose seasons ended with anxiety over the draft that led to a lottery pick and another Summer of high hope. Fear not, I heard, the purple-and-gold has a new coach or a new commitment to defense; this time they’ll finally turn it around. Whether mindful or cautious, the front office team avoided making big promises that would raise expectations. This began to change when Jeanie Buss deposed her brother then handed the team over to Ervin Johnson and Rob Pelinka. The new management started slow and shrewd, described what they found in February as unacceptable, then started making bold promises. The former agent gushed about coach Luke Walton’s “genuine honesty and coolness” and  found a way to attach the word “championship” to every aspect of the team’s culture. Continue reading

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October 25, 2017 · 11:08 pm