My first California quake was terrifying. But the Big One will be much worse

(CNN)“They say you never forget your first time,” a friend of mine texted to me, shortly after Saturday’s Ridgecrest earthquake, which hit 7.1 on the Richter scale — putting it firmly into “major quake” category. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for the past half-decade; this was the first significant temblor that I’ve experienced, and, to my friend’s point, the sensation was both terrifying and uncanny. We were camping up in the mountains by Lake Piru in Ventura County, about 150 miles away from the epicenter. My 11-year-old son and I were brushing our teeth when the quake hit. The bathroom stall doors began flipping back and forth. Water in the sinks sloshed. The floor felt rubbery and unsteady, like a …

Watching Notre Dame burn, the entire world was in pain

(CNN)The spire tumbling down in a blaze, the flames shooting out behind the familiar faade of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris, made our throats close in anguish. French President Emmanuel Macron said his thoughts were with “all Catholics and all French people,” but in fact, it felt like the entire world was in pain watching the 800-year-old building turn into a blazing inferno, on its way to becoming ashes and stones. In a time of inflamed political, religious and sectarian divisions, somehow, a fire in a Catholic church, a cathedral in France, managed to melt away the animosity — if only for a moment — and bring people together in shared sorrow. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or …

For Democrats, age is just a number

(CNN)Is it possible for a senior citizen to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 2020? At the same time, their ascendancy is hardly a given. Remarkably, experience is often not an asset in campaigns. And presidential candidates who have less time in public life and elected office can create their own platform that is aligned with the electorate at the time without worrying it will conflict with their own record. Sign up for our new newsletter. Join us on Twitter and Facebook The question is not about how old a candidate is, but how they will go about bringing about real change — through radical overhaul of policies or through working through a more incremental …

Hannity’s laughable Trump-Reagan comparison on summit

(CNN)Hours after the Hanoi Summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un melted down, the President’s defenders were pushing a face-saving historic parallel by drawing comparisons to Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1986 impasse at Reykjavik, Iceland, which was later seen as a turning point in the Cold War. The Republican rule still seems to be: When in doubt, cite Reagan. Sign up for our new newsletter. Join us on Twitter and Facebook Again, no deal is better than a bad deal. With the explosive Michael Cohen hearings occurring in the US, there must have been a temptation to draw media attention away from the serious accusations leveled by the president’s former enforcer. Trump ultimately resisted that …

Planned Parenthood president: What gives me hope

(CNN)On Thursday, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a Louisiana law that would require a doctor to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where she performs an abortion. That appears to be President Donald Trump’s goal. I sat in the balcony of the House chamber during last week’s State of the Union address, angry and disgusted as he called for Congress to pass laws restricting safe, legal abortion and criticized state legislation that seeks to protect access to health care. He doubled down at a campaign rally Monday night where he continued lying to the American people, scaring viewers, and shaming women and their families. I won’t repeat what he said because it’s deliberately misleading …

Fighting climate change may be easier than we think

(CNN)With the plethora of dispiriting reports on climate change — we recently learned, for instance, that our oceans are warming at least 40% faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change originally thought — many elected officials have taken up the mantle of fighting global warming. Take the United States as an example. Wind and solar power are now on average the least expensive ways of generating electricity. In some locations, wind and solar energy prices are as little as one-third the cost of coal. Even without including the contribution of coal to global warming, it is simply no longer a cost-effective energy source. Wind and solar are now economically sounder investments. But what about the unreliability of renewable energy …

The problem isn’t Meghan Markle. It’s the British monarchy

(CNN)Did you read the story about Meghan Markle demanding synthetic air freshener in a 14th century royal chapel? Or the one about her making Kate Middleton cry? Maybe you saw the tabloid report that she gave out weed at her first wedding or even enjoyed the unsourced conspiracy theories on social media that claim she’s the latest celebrity to fake a pregnancy? The problem isn’t Meghan Markle. It’s that royalty is an unsustainable institution in the 21st century. American fans, some of them devotees since her “Suits” days, have a very different relationship with Meghan than even her most supportive British fans. By definition: It’s a different legal relationship. Our taxes pay for her life. When we meet her, we’re …