Tag: los angeles times

Habits of the Heart Still Matter to Voters

DIANE WINSTON, Knight chair media & religion, USC Annenberg.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

What role will religion play in the 2012 elections? According to voters, not a big one. A recent Pew Research Center poll revealed that most Americans are comfortable with what they know about the candidates’ faith and that their votes will have little to do with the nominees’ religion. In fact, a majority of the electorate is significantly more interested in Mitt Romney‘s tax returns and gubernatorial record than in his beliefs.

Some Call It Tax Planning — Or Is It Tax Cheating?

EDWARD D. KLEINBARD, professor of law, USC Gould School of Law.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

For citizens hoping for serious tax policy and budget debates, this has been a dispiriting election cycle. One party urges tax rates too low to support any plausible platform from which government can deliver the services we all expect.

Those are the Democrats.

The other party inhabits a realm of fantasy akin to Erewhon, the fictional land created by the 19th century satirist Samuel Butler. In Erewhon, Butler wrote, “If a man has made a fortune … they exempt him from all taxation, considering him as a work of art, and too precious to be meddled with; they say, ‘How very much he must have done for society before society could have been prevailed upon to give him so much money.'”

Isolated Iran to Welcome 100-plus Countries for Summit

NAJMEDIN MESHKATI, professor of engineering, USC Viterbi, and GUIVE MIRFENDERESK, international lawyer.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran this week will draw dignitaries and representatives from more than 100 countries — 35 heads of state, including Mohamed Morsi, the current chair of the movement and the first democratically elected president of Egypt, as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Career vs. Family in the Halls of Academia

ELIZABETH CURRID-HALKETT, associate professor, USC Price School of Public Policy.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

I recently had coffee with one of my top doctoral students, a woman in her late 20s. After years of slogging through data sets for her dissertation, she told me she would finish her doctorate in public policy but not pursue a career in academia. Stunned, I asked why. She was about to get married and hoped to start a family, she said, and she’d concluded that she couldn’t be the mother she aspired to be and a contestant in the pressure-filled tenure-track race at the same time.

Colleagues at other universities tell me similar stories of star female students either abandoning career ambitions or “underplacing” themselves — turning down prestigious fellowships and accepting jobs at less competitive universities — so they can focus on raising children and enjoying family life.

Romney Courting an Unlikely GOP Constituency

DAN SCHNUR, director of USC’s Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Have you heard the one about the Westside Jewish Republican Club? Its members take turns hosting the gatherings, and they meet each month in the host’s car.

The Democrats‘ advantage among Jewish voters might not be quite that extreme, but there’s no question that the Jewish community in this country has always leaned strongly toward the Democratic Party and its candidates. Read more →

Why We Can’t Let Marilyn Monroe Go

LOIS BANNER, professor of history and gender studies, USC Dornsife.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Why is Marilyn Monroe still an American icon 50 years after her death? She is endlessly analyzed in films and biographies; her image appears on T-shirts and posters; her popularity is reflected in the 52,000 Marilyn-related items for sale on EBay. My USC students, fixated on contemporary pop culture, know little about 1950s Hollywood stars, except for Monroe. Like everyone else, they puzzle over her death, respond to her beauty, recognize her paradoxes: the ur-blond child-woman, the virgin-whore of the Western imagination.

Salvation Through Good Works

DIANE WINSTON, Knight chair media & religion, USC Annenberg.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Do something!”

That was the command William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, gave his son upon seeing homeless men huddled under London Bridge. Booth was a man of action who, in his zeal to save souls, valued deeds over creeds.

What would the 19th century Christian evangelist have done about the growing number of poor today, huddled in American cities, suburbs and on farms? According to a recent Associated Press article, economists expect that when the 2011 census figures are released this fall, they will show that poverty has climbed to 15.7%, its highest level in 50 years. Heavily mortgaged middle-class families, out-of-work laborers and debt-ridden college graduates have found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly joining the ranks of the poorest poor.

California Needs a Politics Rooted in 2012, Not 1978

DOWELL MYERS, demographer and planning professor, Price School of Public Policy.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

At the root of California’s dysfunctional politics lie some old ideas about who we are as a state. Demographics have been more volatile here than in other states, and many Californians older than 55, who make up roughly 46% of state voters, don’t want to pay for changes they never welcomed. The tragedy is that they are battling problems that have largely dissipated. The outlook for California going forward from 2012 is very different from what it was two decades ago.

Take population growth. The 1980s brought an unprecedented growth spurt for the state, with population increasing by some 6.1 million people. This far exceeded the population growth of 3.7 million people in the 1970s and 4.3 million in the 1960s.

Don’t Expect Fireworks With New Mexican President

PAMELA K. STARR, associate professor of international relations, USC Dornsife.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Enrique Peña Nieto, the fresh-faced politician Mexicans elected this week to be their president, represents the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which completely dominated Mexican politics for 71 years until 2000. Many Mexicans are concerned that the PRI’s return will lead to a restoration of autocratic rule, an officially sanctioned detente with organized crime or a marked deterioration in bilateral cooperation. But these things are unlikely.

Another Audacious California Experiment

DAN SCHNUR, director of the USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

While most of the country was focused on the back-alley brawl of Wisconsin’s recall election Tuesday, a quieter but equally important political revolution was unfolding here in California.

Two recent voting reforms — one that changed the way legislative and congressional districts are drawn and another that sends the top two finishers in a primary on to the general election regardless of party affiliation — drew little interest outside the circles of obsessed political insiders. But thanks to these two procedural modifications, California politics have been profoundly altered — for the better.