Los Angeles

Pumped Up
November 13, 2006

Last fall, Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't escape the huge crowds of union members and Democrats who protested his ballot initiatives that proposed reshaping the state's education, budget, and political systems. Protesters surrounded hotels where he spoke,gathered outside TV studios and restaurants where he appeared, and even confronted him in hallways and kitchens. The angry hordes reflected a statewide rejection of the once-popular governor--more than 55 percent of Californians disapproved of his job performance, and Democratic challengers led in early polls on the 2006 governor's race.

The politics of "24."
May 15, 2006

It's 11:20 p.m., and agent Jack Bauer has had a very long day. In the morning, he worked to rescue the secretary of defense and his daughter (who also happens to be Bauer's girlfriend) from a terrorist kidnapping and Web- telecast execution. The afternoon was mostly spent unraveling a plot to melt down all of the nation's 104 nuclear reactors simultaneously.

Jurassic President
March 20, 2006

She took a sip of red wine, then set the glass down on the bedside table. Unceremoniously, she pulled her top over her head and dropped her skirt. She was wearing nothing beneath. Still in her high heels, she walked toward him....

McCartney III
December 26, 2005

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard Paul McCartney The last time Paul McCartney made an album in the vein of his latest CD, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, John Lennon was alive to hear it.

Religious Protection
December 12, 2005

In September, the world watched the ringleader of the July 7 London terrorist attack, his voice inflected with a West Yorkshire accent, preach jihad in English. Al Jazeera aired the communiqu? of 30-year-old Mohammad Sidique Khan, which Khan recorded to explain why he helped murder over 50 of his fellow Britons on a bus and in the Underground. "Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment, and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight," Khan declared. "We are at war. I am a soldier.

Trailer Trash
September 26, 2005

Recent headlines have offered hope that President Bush may yet do right by the victims of Hurricane Katrina. After the first days of shameful ineptitude, he secured more than $60 billion in relief, named somebody with actual disaster experience to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema), and, rather uncharacteristically, admitted his administration made serious errors in the storm's immediate aftermath. But there is one reason to think the Bush administration hasn't learned from its past mistakes: its plan for housing the people that Katrina has rendered homeless.

Failed State
September 05, 2005

Can any governor succeed in California?

The Sorrow Reflex
July 25, 2005

Campo Santo By W.G. Sebald Translated by Anthea Bell (Random House, 221 pp., $24.95) Unrecounted Poems by W.G. Sebald Lithographs by Jan Peter Tripp Translated by Michael Hamburger (New Directions, 109 pp., $22.95)   I. Although he arrived at it relatively late in his senselessly truncated life, once W.G. Sebald found his real voice, it became unmistakable: melancholy, allusive, inward, and elegant, its cadences carried from book to book until each one seemed like another sketch from a single, instantly recognizable personal landscape.

Utopian Designs
April 11, 2005

The decorative arts have always been art history's attractive orphans. While many people have a great affection for certain textiles or ceramics, the scholarly world embraces such objects only fitfully, as if they were really somebody else's responsibility. And much of the attention that is given to the decorative arts—in the shelter magazines, in the auction catalogues, and in specialized studies of rococo hardware or medieval ceramic tiles—has an edge about it, a feverishness that can suggest overcompensation and even overkill.

On the Lifespan of Trees
December 03, 2004

For a long time now, whenever I've gone to Los Angeles, I've been alarmed by how impossibly tall the palm trees have grown. Whether I'm driving in Santa Monica or Venice, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, or Pasadena, the familiar sight of row after row of palm trees, their thin, fibrous trunks topped by rough-hewn, yet shimmering fronds stretching hundreds of feet into the broad, shadowless light, has come to fill me with gloom.

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