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February 9, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
Call it a case of PR trumping HR: After days of public shaming and ridicule for his decision to cut the value of his firm's employee retirement benefit -- and his rationalization for doing so -- AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has backed down. In a Saturday email to his fellow "AOLers,"  Armstrong said the company was changing its 401(k) match of up to 3% of wages back to its old system. The old way was to pay out the match every pay period. The new way was to pay it annually, at the end of the year, only to employees still with the company at that time.
February 9, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
HOMS, Syria - The international community is lauding a United Nations-brokered deal to provide relief to Homs' long-blockaded Old City, but the aid plan is far from universally welcome in this battle-scarred and profoundly divided city. The relief effort has stirred deep animosities among many government supporters, who view it as a sellout to opposition forces - "terrorists," in official terms - hunkered down in the ruins of the Old City. "This is basically giving the terrorists food and medicine and letting them go free," said Rihab Ismael, a dairy worker who lives in the Zahra district, a sniper-plagued zone less than a mile from what remains of the rebel-controlled Old City.
February 9, 2014 | By Jonathan Gruber
The recent Congressional Budget Office report on healthcare reform has lots of good news. Insurance premiums are lower than anticipated, the Affordable Care Act will cost $9 billion less than previously estimated and the provision designed to buffer insurance companies from risk will actually raise revenue, not function as any sort of federal government bailout. But the good news has not gotten much attention because the CBO also projected that, within the next several years, healthcare reform may reduce employment and worker hours by the equivalent of about 2 million full-time positions.
February 8, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna and James Barragan
The Lakers were down to five healthy and eligible players Wednesday night when center Robert Sacre picked up his sixth personal foul, fueling hope for a struggling Cleveland team that it would play the final 31/2 minutes with a man advantage. It was merely a Sacre-tease. An obscure NBA rule requiring each team to have five players on the floor nullified a Cavaliers power play. Sacre, though penalized with a technical foul, was allowed to remain in the game, and the Lakers won, 119-108.
February 8, 2014 | By Frank Shyong
This post has been corrected. See item below. On a Tuesday night in October 1978, a struggling restaurant in Chinatown decided to try some new music. Madame Wong's was having trouble finding customers with a regular Polynesian dance floor show. So proprietor Esther Wong, with some convincing, gave the stage to two punk rock bands. Guitars wailed. Drums crashed. Eggrolls were served. A new venue for Los Angeles punk rock was born. The late 1970s were a golden time for punk rock in Southern California, but traditional music venues looked down on the budding genre.
February 7, 2014 | Alana Semuels
The phone begins to ring at 8 a.m. with incessant calls from creditors. Kevin Meyer has stopped picking up because he's sick of explaining the truth: that there's no money coming in, so he can't pay his bills. Two years ago, Meyer, 51, had a six-figure salary, a sizable 401(k) and the knowledge that he could support his wife and daughter. But he lost his job as a spokesman for a car rental company, and though he soon found another position, he was downsized again four months later.
February 6, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- The world's most recognizable beagle may soon be spotted on California cars. Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), along with officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies, publicized a new option for California motorists Thursday: a license plate adorned with a picture of Snoopy, the beloved canine from the "Peanuts" comic strip. Atkins wrote the law last year that allows the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to create a grant program funded by revenue from the license plates that would pay for small capital projects at museums.
February 5, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - News flash for Democratic state lawmakers: Not all Republican ideas are kooky. Some make sense. A few GOP bills might even help struggling workers - the very people Democrats are supposed to be fighting for in the state Capitol. One such idea is to expand the opportunity for flextime, the ability of wage earners to schedule their work hours to fit personal and family needs. I'm thinking especially of low-income, single parents - moms or dads. Some may prefer to work, say, four 10-hour days rather than five eight-hour shifts.
January 31, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Two days after a jury found him guilty on eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury, state Sen. Roderick Wright introduced a bill that would allow some nonviolent felony convictions to be converted to misdemeanors. The Democrat, who represents an Inglewood-area district, was convicted Tuesday of lying about where he lived when he ran for his Senate seat and voted in several elections. On Thursday, he introduced the bill. On Friday, a spokesman for Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento)
January 31, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - Chief executives from 21 companies gathered at the White House on Friday, bringing with them a pledge not to unfairly weed out the long-term unemployed in their hiring process. About 300 businesses - including Apple Inc., EBay Inc., Gap Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., 21st Century Fox Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Magic Johnson Enterprises - signed the document, which promises not to discriminate against job applicants solely because they have been out of work for extended stretches.
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