CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 2009 |
Los Angeles County's top prosecutor says a budget proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would so weaken court sentencing guidelines that if a swindler such as Bernard Madoff were to be brought to justice in California, he would not face state prison time. Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has asked Schwarzenegger in a letter to withdraw his proposal to change state sentencing guidelines so certain felonies, such as fraud or grand theft, would be prosecuted as misdemeanors. Facing a $24-billion budget shortfall, Schwarzenegger has proposed the change to save $1 billion over three years by shifting 23,000 criminals from state prisons to local jails and reentry programs.
October 30, 2013 |
Noted healthcare economist Suzanne Somers received a full screen's worth of valuable Wall Street Journal online space the other day to deliver her judgment on the Affordable Care Act . Before we get to the substance of her argument, let's acknowledge that her piece has added to her worldwide fame . It may not do great things for the Journal's reputation, though. Somers, last seen hawking exercise equipment and cure-all elixirs in infomercials and her website, declared the act to be a "Socialist Ponzi Scheme.
September 13, 2012 |
They've got a lotta nerve, to say he stole some words. That's essentially Bob Dylan's response to criticism that has sprouted up periodically throughout his half-century (and counting) career that he has quoted or outright plagiarized other writers' words in some of his songs. Talking to Rolling Stone contributor Mikal Gilmore in the Sept. 27 issue of the magazine - which hits newsstands Friday--Dylan blasts such critics with harsh words. The exchange with Gilmore , who cited specific instances over which Dylan has been slammed for lifting thoughts and phrases from Japanese author Junichi Saga and Civil War poet Henry Timrod, begins politely, with Dylan shifting into musicologist mode: “In folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition,” Dylan said.
September 19, 2011 |
Despite a diversionary opening salvo of post-feminist raunch and unfortunate racial stereotyping, "2 Broke Girls" is a solid, old-fashioned sitcom about two mismatched girls taking on the big city and makin' their dreams come true. It's so old-fashioned, in fact, that they're waitresses. In a Brooklyn diner. Where Max (Kat Dennings), the dark-haired, wise-crackin' downtown girl, rules the roost and Caroline (Beth Behrs), the blond trust fund princess, is the new hire so clueless she doesn't know how to "marry" the ketchup bottles.
April 28, 2009 |
Mary Schapiro, the new Securities and Exchange Commission chief, was certain to take a get-tough stance at the agency -- after Bernie Madoff, what other choice did she have? But in addition to all the steps she's taking along those lines -- a new enforcement director, streamlined rules for launching investigations, new procedures for following up on the 2,000 or so hotline tips the agency receives daily -- the SEC also is trying to make itself more transparent.
June 7, 2013 |
The trailer for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" is out, providing a first peek at one of the summer's most counterintuitive bits of casting -- potty-mouthed comic Andrew Dice Clay in a dramatic role opposite Cate Blanchett , Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale. In the film, Blanchett plays Jasmine, a wealthy New York woman who is snookered by her Bernie Madoff-like husband (Baldwin) and heads west to move in with her sympathetic sister (Hawkins) in San Francisco. Clay, as Hawkins' blue collar ex-husband, provides the Brooklyn-accented exposition in the trailer, reminding Hawkins, "When your sister had all that money, she wanted nothing to do with you. Now that she's broke, all of a sudden she's movin' in. " In another scene in the back of a car in New York, he's snoozing on Hawkins' shoulder.
May 22, 2013
Re "Skilling doesn't deserve a break," Column, May 19 Jeff Skilling, the chief executive of Enron when it defrauded investors before its collapse in 2001, still believes he has the power to extort or bribe his way out of jail. It scares me to think that he might just succeed in having his 24-year prison sentence reduced significantly, confirming that justice is negotiable. Let's drop all pretense here: Skilling is trying to pay his way out of jail, and if he succeeds, he will have reduced our justice system to rubble.
September 16, 2009
"Tough stand on Malibu home," Sept 12, and "Bank fires exec who allegedly used home," Sept. 15 If the allegations in The Times are true, then I've got to hand it to this senior VP who, when faced with a choice of foreclosed Wells Fargo homes in Merced, Stockton, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, chose instead a multimillion-dollar beachfront home in Malibu. When looking for our next home, you can rest assured that I will contact this most perceptive Wells Fargo executive. How could I go wrong?