Among the multitude of California ballot measures approved by voters over the years, few have been as influential, controversial and downright confusing as Proposition 13. Passed in 1978, the measure transformed how state and local governments in California raise and distribute tax revenue, an issue that affects everyone who lives here.
Illegal! Unauthorized! Undocumented! A lot of loaded terms are used to refer to the diverse group of more than 11 million immigrants who live in the United States without legal status. Almost a quarter of this population lives in California. But who exactly are they? Where do they come from? And what impact do they have on … Continue reading In the Shadows of the Golden State: Who are California’s Undocumented Immigrants? [Illustrated Explainer] →
A Missouri grand jury’s decision on Monday to not charge a white police officer in the August shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, sparked angry protests in cities around the country. The incident, which happened last August in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, was followed by weeks of protests and rioting, drawing national attention … Continue reading Pulled Over: Your Rights with the Police [An Illustrated Guide] →
Love ’em or hate ’em, propositions are an entrenched part of California’s political system. In nearly every statewide election, voters wade through a slurry of local and statewide ballot measures, part of a system intended to expand direct democracy. Some are really complicated, some are controversial, and some are just kind of weird (like when voters passed … Continue reading Majority Rules: California’s Proposition System Explained [Infographic] →
The upcoming midterms marks the first major nationwide election since the Supreme Court struck down a key piece of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. The 2013 decision had an immediate impact, giving a handful of primarily southern states the green light to change their voting rules without first getting approval from the federal government.
UPDATE: Since we first published this piece two weeks ago, embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agreed (on August 15) — after days of tense standoff that brought the possibility of a military coup — to relinquish power and accept the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as the country’s new leader. Abadi, also a Shiite, belongs to the same party … Continue reading The ISIS Threat and Why Peace in Iraq Is So Hard to Find [An Illustrated Explainer] →
NOTE: This was originally published on Jan. 15, 2014 More Americans are attending college today than ever before. And that’s generally considered a good thing. But college tuition at both public and private universities has skyrocketed, leaving a growing number of graduates mired in debt and struggling to find decent employment in a sluggish economy. All … Continue reading Is College Really Worth the Cost? [Comic] →
UPDATE: On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, under the Clean Air Act, to regulate carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters like power plants and factories. The Obama administration dropped the proverbial climate change bomb earlier this month when it announced a groundbreaking plan — without … Continue reading Carbon Control: What America’s New Climate Change Offensive Looks Like →
Distributing enough water to everyone has never been an easy task in perennially thirsty California. But making sure that residents, farms and the environment are all sufficiently hydrated becomes a particularly difficult balancing act during prolonged periods of drought. Simply put, there’s just not enough to go around. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner — whose last piece … Continue reading Rationing the Rain: How California Distributes Its Water in Dry Times →
These are bone dry times for California. Even with the recent rains, the state is still mired in one of its worst droughts in recorded history. And that spells trouble for the vast agriculture industry here. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner explains. View it as a slideshow or in full-length format below.
Contrary to the mantra commonly touted by politicians on the campaign trail, few Americans born into poverty ever get to experience the iconic rise from “rags to riches.” A new study by a team of UC Berkeley and Harvard economists examined upward income mobility throughout the nation, finding that less than 8 percent of people … Continue reading America, the Land of Opportunity? Not for Most Poor Kids, One Study Finds →