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March 21, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
A new plan by the U.S. Travel Assn. to speed the screening process at the nation's airports has come under fire from airlines and a private security firm. The nation's largest travel promotion group released the plan last week after a yearlong study by security experts, including former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas). The plan includes a few new ideas and some that have been tried without success before. Still, Geoff Freeman, executive vice president of the travel association, called it a "win-win for everyone.
March 10, 2011 | Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Alcohol can be a minefield for anyone trying to lose weight. But for bariatric surgery patients, drinking can become increasingly problematic, a new  study has found. Changes in the way the body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol after gastric bypass mean these patients need less alcohol to register intoxication on a breathalyzer, says a study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons . After drinking a single 5-ounce glass of red wine before their surgery, the study's 19 subjects had an average  breath alcohol content of .024% -- well below the level at which most states consider a driver intoxicated.
February 26, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
With record U.S. obesity rates and newly expanded Food and Drug Administration eligibility criteria for Lap-Band surgery, more and more Americans may be mulling the possibility of going beyond diet and exercise to tackle their weight and the medical problems that come with it. Those deciding on the surgical route face the often-baffling choice of which procedure is for them. Although there are some broad guidelines, experts say, the final choice comes down to what both patient and doctor are comfortable with.
February 22, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Less than a week after the Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of Lap-Band weight-loss surgery to 11 million new patients, a pair of studies has found that a different, older procedure is more effective and no riskier than either the Lap-Band or another less-drastic surgery, sleeve gastrectomy. In the first head-to-head comparison of weight-loss surgeries widely used in the United States, UC San Francisco researchers found that those who had their stomach capacity reduced by a Roux-en-Y bypass, which reduces the stomach's capacity and bypasses a part of the intestine, lost more weight, required less diabetes medication and were less likely to need further surgery than those who received the Lap-Band.
February 21, 2011 | Gregory Rodriguez
Political fanaticism fosters moral relativism. That's the lesson we should all learn from the gruesome case of Shawna Forde, the Arizona anti-immigrant vigilante who was convicted last week of two counts of first-degree murder. FOR THE RECORD: Morality: A Feb. 21 column about the way fanaticism breeds moral relativism referred to the murder of a landlady in Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment. " The murder victim was a pawnbroker. Prosecutors argued that Forde and two accomplices killed 29-year-old Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, in a botched robbery attempt meant to raise money to fund a splinter group of the anti-immigrant Minuteman movement.
February 15, 2011 | By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
The Republican-led House passed a short-term extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Monday, temporarily bypassing opposition from conservative and "tea party"-inspired lawmakers as it sought to keep the terrorist surveillance program from lapsing at month's end. The Obama administration prefers a longer extension through 2013, as a Senate measure would provide. But that legislation is likely to face resistance in the House, where GOP leaders were blindsided last week when conservatives joined Democrats to defeat it. Opponents see the provisions as an overreach of federal authority into private lives.
January 18, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas and Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
In his push to scrap onerous regulations on companies, President Obama is not only trying to patch a strained relationship with business leaders but also displaying a new strategy to bypass a hostile Congress and protect his political interests. Obama signed an executive order Tuesday that aims to weed out rules that administration officials admitted could be burdensome for companies struggling to recover from the deep recession. The executive order preempts House Republicans who had planned to make an extensive review of federal regulations their next major priority after an attempt to repeal Obama's healthcare law. By invoking his executive authority, Obama showed that he no longer sees Congress as the main arena for advancing his agenda, as he did when his own party controlled both the House and the Senate.
December 27, 2010 | By Rich Connell, Los Angeles Times
Crunching through fallen leaves in a sprawling walnut grove, John Tos frets about the high-speed railroad headed his way. He gets why many in this part of the Central Valley are excited about a construction project that could mean tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. But a newly selected route cleaves through prime cropland his family has farmed for 94 years. Fields would be split, complex irrigation systems disrupted and operations complicated, says the grower with a graying Abe Lincoln beard.
December 26, 2010 | By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
Joe Konrath can't wait for his books to go out of print. When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on, Apple Inc.'s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he'll be able to collect 70% of the sale price, compared with the 6% to 18% he receives from Hyperion. As for future novels, Konrath plans to self-publish all of them in digital form without having to leave his house in Schaumburg, Ill. "I doubt I'll ever have another traditional print deal," said the author of "Whiskey Sour," "Bloody Mary" and other titles.
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