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.
August 30, 2013 |
“Blue moon, You saw me standing alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own” The Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers romantic standard “Blue Moon” plays a significant role in Woody Allen's new drama “Blue Jasmine.” It is “the song” of the emotionally shattered former socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) and her late husband, the Bernie Madoff-esque Hal (Alec Baldwin). As Jasmine further descends into disillusion and madness, the song becomes her refuge from reality.
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.
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.
April 7, 2009 |
First the stipulation that "Black Money," a "Frontline" look at international bribery, is first-class journalism: high-minded, fact-filled and balanced, with some eye-catching visuals. How could it be anything but stellar given the presence of correspondent Lowell Bergman, one of the top investigative journalists in the nation, if not the world?
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 7, 2012 |
The trustee representing victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme is now seeking $255.3 million from the investment advisor's family. Irving H. Picard is expanding an existing lawsuit to also include three of Madoff's sons' spouses. The suit claims that the women should have been aware of and reported Madoff's fraud, which bilked investors of $20 billion. The suit, which in November sought $226.4 million from relatives working at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, was amended on Friday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan.
April 28, 2012 |
An Orange County man who swindled elderly people out of their homes after promising to help them avoid foreclosure was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under California's tough three-strikes law. Defense lawyers and prosecutors across the state could not recall any other case in which a white-collar offender received such a lengthy sentence under a statute typically applied in violent crime cases. The sentencing of Timothy Barnett was unusual because his entire criminal record involved fraud.
June 29, 2012 |
Supposedly a bid for a summer-months crossover hit, "Tyler Perry'sMadea's Witness Protection" is a spectacularly slapdash and wearingly half-hearted effort from the prolific writer-director-actor, lacking energy, structure or common sense. Perry returns to his signature character of Madea - the sassy, say-anything elderly aunt with a penchant for handguns and stern moralizing - who here is tasked with sheltering the family of accountant George Needleman (Eugene Levy), who is caught up in the federal investigation of a Ponzi scheme.