To defend academic freedom, keep politics out of it

April 17 was a dark day for academic freedom in the United States. Columbia University President Nemat Shafik told a congressional hearing that some statements heard during recent protests — such as “from the river to the sea” — might be punished by the school. She also named several professors who were under investigation for allegedly antisemitic comments.

Out of chances: Letting Donald Trump skate is contempt for justice

Acting Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan held Donald Trump in contempt for his violations of a gag order in his criminal hush money case. The penalty? A paltry $9,000. Nonetheless, the judge cautioned the former president that continued violations might result in “incarceratory punishment,” just as they might for any other defendant. We hope he’s not bluffing.

The bird flu outbreak has more questions than answers

As the magnitude of the bird flu outbreak in cattle becomes clearer, so does the need to quickly get a firmer grip on some basic facts. Namely, how far this H5N1 virus has spread, how it is spreading, and where this situation is likely to go next. The COVID-weary public also wants to know whether humans are at risk.

As I See It: Strong leaders

Alot of Americans say they want a strong leader. I presume George Washington and Abraham Lincoln would be good examples. A strong leader could give you everything you want, if that is what she wants you to have. A really strong leader can also take everything you’ve got, and several have.

The attack on the UCLA protest encampment was unacceptable

It is never OK to use physical violence against people with whom you disagree. This should be obvious, but the events that unfolded on the UCLA campus early Wednesday show the consequences when that message is lost. Late Tuesday night, a large group of people attacked the anti-war encampment on the Westwood campus. They weren’t campus authorities acting on the university’s order that the camp was “unlawful,” but rather people who disagreed with the pro-Palestinian protesters and decided to clear the camp themselves. It turned ugly quickly.

Less than rosy economic numbers dog Biden

The Jimmy Carter years were marked by high interest rates, rampant unemployment, soaring inflation and weak economic growth. President Joe Biden is now hitting .750 in his effort to replicate the economic performance of the one-term president from Georgia.

Forced treatment and criminalization won’t end homelessness

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in an important case regarding homelessness. Grants Pass v. Johnson will decide whether the city of Grants Pass, Oregon, violated the constitutional rights of people experiencing homelessness by fining or arresting them for sleeping outdoors — even when there were no shelters to take them in.

Biden tax plan would pummel average Americans

President Joe Biden’s 2025 budget blueprint won’t become law, but it provides a glimpse of what the nation can expect if he wins re-election and Democrats gain control of Congress. Middle-class Americans frustrated by the rising prices triggered by Bidenomics should be prepared for more of the same.

America’s ‘big glass’ dominance hangs on the fate of two powerful new telescopes

More than 100 years ago, astronomer George Ellery Hale brought our two Pasadena institutions together to build what was then the largest optical telescope in the world. The Mount Wilson Observatory changed the conception of humankind’s place in the universe and revealed the mysteries of the heavens to generations of citizens and scientists alike. Ever since then, the United States has been at the forefront of “big glass.”

Why ‘knowing your numbers’ is important

Malea, age 42, got more than medical treatment for her seafood allergy in 2023 when she visited the Kona Community Hospital emergency department after having an allergic reaction. Not only did she discover she was allergic to shrimp, but she was told that she suffered from hypertension (high blood pressure). Her blood pressure was a shocking 210/120 and didn’t normalize after the crisis was past.