Adam Minter: Our space junk problem just got a cheap solution
This month, a hunk of space junk hurtled toward the International Space Station, putting the safety of astronauts and their orbiting outpost at risk. Fortunately, the cosmic hazard was detected early and an emergency maneuver rocketed the $150 billion station out of harm’s way. Such episodes, which burn gallons of valuable propellant, cost ...Read more
Jonathan Bernstein: Wisconsin judicial election is bad for democracy
If you want a good summary of all that’s wrong with U.S. politics right now, you could do worse than “The most important U.S. election this year is the runoff for a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.”
The April 4 run-off vote for a swing seat on the court would typically attract little notice. But Wisconsin, a fiercely divided ...Read more
Editorial: Republicans need to get their story straight on Ukraine
Since describing the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” that’s not a vital national interest, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has received criticism from leading Republicans — including some of his rivals for the 2024 presidential nomination — and rightly so. DeSantis’s comments echo a faction of the party eager to end U.S. ...Read more
Lisa Jarvis: An urgently needed TB shot could democratize vaccines
Tuberculosis surrendered the title of the world’s deadliest infectious disease after COVID-19 struck, but it reclaimed that terrible distinction last year. As with COVID, a new vaccine could go a long way to sharply curtailing the disease, which killed about 1.4 million people a year before the pandemic and increased its deadly toll a bit ...Read more
Editorial: Congress is scapegoating TikTok. It's no worse than other social media platforms
TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew did not have a successful appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday.
He did not assuage skeptical members of Congress that his enormously popular social media platform can isolate itself from Chinese government interference. Nor did he convince them that TikTok has done enough to ...Read more
Editorial: The TikTok hawks: House hearing hysterics obscure broader social media problems
The ubiquitous social video app TikTok did not have a great day as CEO Shou Zi Chew was dragged before Congress to ostensibly testify, but really be berated, by lawmakers out for blood. In more than five hours of testimony, they painted the company as some sort of nefarious Chinese government sleeper agent, plotting against an unsuspecting ...Read more
Editorial: Gov. Ron DeSantis' travel is not a state secret
Why should Florida taxpayers fund a secret airline and travel agency for the governor and the state’s political elites? That’s the question raised by a patently ludicrous bill that would shield any public information about how and where Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials go. Florida’s open-government laws may be a drag to ...Read more
Nicholas Goldberg: It's essential to ban LA Sheriff's Department gangs. But is it constitutional?
For at least 50 years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has been plagued by secretive "deputy gangs" — organized subgroups of deputy sheriffs who allegedly engage in violence, corruption and illegal activity. And for almost as many years, reformers have hoped to eradicate those gangs, going back to the Kolts Commission 30 years ago,...Read more
Editorial: Sunlight can help California rein in Big Oil's greed
After months with little apparent progress, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to hold the oil industry accountable for high gas prices and deter price gouging is now on a fast track toward passage in the California Legislature.
A deal between the governor and legislative leaders, announced earlier this week, was passed by the Senate on Thursday ...Read more
TikTok CEO: Pay no attention to the people who sign my paycheck
TikTok’s CEO is asking America to trust him to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Let’s not.
Desperate to avoid an imminent ban of the embattled Chinese video app, TikTok CEO Shou Chew came to Washington to make the case that TikTok can be totally walled off from CCP manipulation. In the lead-up to his testimony Thursday before ...Read more
Scott Maxwell: Can DeSantis go too far? Not for Florida. Maybe for America
With a book tour, looming presidential campaign and near-daily media events, Ron DeSantis normally craves attention the way ticks crave blood. But lately, he’s been getting so much of it, he’s about to pop.
Conservative pundits and media outlets that have previously showered DeSantis with adulation have taken a decidedly different turn ...Read more
George Skelton: California's population is on the decline, and high-income earners have joined the exodus
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It turns out high-income people are also fleeing the state — a new twist in the California exit.
That should worry ruling liberal Democrats who love to tax wealthy people and spend their money, especially on social programs.
Some golden geese are taking flight.
For years, once-burgeoning California has been ...Read more
Commentary: Why California will still have a water shortage no matter how much it rains this year
During a winter of blizzards, floods and drought-ending downpours, it’s easy to forget that California suffers from chronic water scarcity — the long-term decline of the state’s total available fresh water. This rainy season’s inundation isn’t going to change that.
How is this possible, given the unrelenting series of atmospheric ...Read more
Commentary: Toxic pesticide drift hurts all of us
When I started farming corn and soybeans on our 320-acre family farm in Greene County, Iowa, in 1976, herbicides like dicamba were a go-to to control weeds. Dicamba is quite toxic, but it helped control broadleaf weeds in my corn crop — until it didn’t.
Like so many herbicides, dicamba became ineffective over time as weeds built up ...Read more
Commentary: They won't ban Black history, but teachers will be afraid to teach it
There is only one elementary school classmate whose name I remember almost eight decades later.
His name was Arthur.
He was Black. He and the only other Black child, a girl, sat together at the back of our third-grade classroom in Spring Valley, N.Y. He dressed very neatly and almost never spoke up, but he was constantly being picked on by the...Read more
Editorial: Xi has been an apologist for Putin. Will he also be his lethal arms supplier?
For Ukraine, the war against Russia is existential. Defeat means extinction as a sovereign nation, and the destruction of Ukrainian identity.
Russia’s troubles, however, are self-inflicted. By invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin forced the West to impose a series of harsh sanctions aimed at squeezing the Kremlin economically, ...Read more
Commentary: California housing and the environment are often at odds. They don't have to be
California’s housing shortage and climate crisis are often treated as if they are unrelated to each other. In fact, they are deeply interconnected.
We need to address not only how much housing we build but also where we build it. That’s the idea and the promise behind new legislation backed by a novel coalition of housing and ...Read more
Commentary: Denying access to parole in Illinois hurts the health of communities in and outside prison
The Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Committee took a critical step toward achieving long overdue state prison reform this month by voting in favor of the Earned Reentry bill. Illinois is one of 16 states to have abolished or severely restricted discretionary parole. Illinois’ lack of parole is not only inhumane, but it also perpetuates ...Read more
Trudy Rubin: Memories of the Iraq War, my interpreter's tragic end, and the horrors caused by hubris
Twenty years ago, when I first hired him in Baghdad, my Iraqi interpreter and driver Salam was thrilled that the Americans had toppled Saddam Hussein. I worked with Salam over the next several years, on my many reporting trips to Iraq, and I can't stop thinking about his personal tragedy as we reach the 20th anniversary of the invasion.
A ...Read more
Editorial: Bills intended to shame and scare transgender students are despicable
Republican lawmakers across the nation have introduced more than 400 bills to restrict the rights of LGBTQ people in the current legislative cycle, according to Human Rights Watch. One of them is Assembly Bill 1314, an odious proposal by California Assemblymembers Bill Essayli, R-Corona, and James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, to compel teachers, ...Read more