July 31, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The House passed a measure Wednesday that resolves a dispute over how to set student loan rates, sending it to President Obama, who has said he would sign the legislation "right away. " The compromise proposal, which passed 392 to 31, bases rates on the market and, at least temporarily, will allow some recipients of new federal student loans to pay lower rates than last year. As the economy improves, however, rates will increase. But the bill also caps the rates and allows borrowers to lock in interest rates over the life of the loan.
July 25, 2013 |
FT. MEADE, Md. - Bradley Manning purposely joined the Army and deployed to Iraq to parlay his extensive computer skills into disclosing a treasure trove of protected U.S. secrets that he knew would assist terrorist organizations in their efforts to attack the United States, the chief prosecutor in Manning's military court-martial said Thursday. "WikiLeaks was merely the platform that Pfc. Manning used to make sure all the information was available to the world, including the enemies of the United States," Army Maj. Ashden Fein said in his closing argument near the end of Manning's trial here.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - You don't need to be a Nobel economist to understand that dollars today aren't anything close to their worth four decades ago. Gasoline, real estate, medical care - they've all skyrocketed in cost. Everything's gone up, that is, except damage awards for pain and suffering caused by medical malpractice. In 1975, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill capping pain and suffering damages at $250,000. And that's what it still is today. If that $250,000 had been indexed to keep up with inflation, it would be worth $1.1 million.
July 18, 2013 |
If you had asked me last week how I felt about people having to pay for dozens of TV channels they never watch, I'd have told you it's an unfair and archaic practice that should be done away with. I'd have said pretty much the same earlier this week after a report was issued by the New York investment bank Needham & Co. warning that a switch to so-called a la carte programming would cost the pay-TV industry about $70 billion and leave viewers with fewer than 20 channels. And after a lively, at times heated, conversation with the author of that report, I still think it's wrong to make consumers pay for products they don't want.
July 17, 2013 |
The Senate averted a partisan meltdown Tuesday when Republicans agreed not to block votes on several White House nominees and Democrats dropped their plan to ban filibusters on key executive branch positions. That's a good thing, at least on first glance. But the peace in the Senate is an uneasy one, given the air of mutual distrust between the two parties' leaders. And it's not clear yet whether the filibuster abuse that has become the norm in the Senate has been stopped or merely suspended until the next logjam.
July 16, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden officially applied for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday, his attorney and the WikiLeaks organization announced. The application is for temporary refuge, not permanent political asylum, and Snowden is expected to continue exploring options in Latin America or elsewhere. "It is a compromise step as Russia doesn't want to utterly spoil its relations with the United States, as tense as they are," said Olga Kostina, head of the rights organization Soprotivleniye.
July 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When House Republicans file into the Capitol on Monday to start thrashing out a response to the Senate's landmark immigration bill, former President George W. Bush will be presiding over a ceremony for new U.S. citizens at his newly minted library in Dallas. In a keynote address to mark the center's first major policy event, Bush will argue that overhauling the nation's immigration laws will be good for the country. A panel discussion titled "What Immigrants Contribute" will follow.
July 3, 2013 |
The complaints of some homeowners about public fire rings in Newport Beach quickly morphed into a draconian proposal by regional air officials to eliminate all of the popular beach bonfire pits in Los Angeles and Orange counties. And though that proposal has since been softened, the new version still calls for removing all the rings in Newport Beach. Although coastal homeowners shouldn't have to be continually bombarded by smoke and soot, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has not come up with a persuasive rationale for its recommendation, which so far is generating more heat than light.
June 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A landmark bill to overhaul the immigration system passed the Senate on Thursday, winning a large majority as its sponsors had hoped, but showing no signs of gaining ground with the Republican majority in the House. Supporters hailed the bipartisan bill as a historic achievement. President Obama called it "common-sense reform" and urged the House to take it up. "We have a unique opportunity to fix our broken system in a way that upholds our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants," he said.
June 22, 2013 |
On a crowded sidewalk outside of Theatre Asylum last weekend, Edna Garrett from "The Facts of Life" was virtually blocking traffic with her huge wig. Nearby, Lurch from "The Addams Family" was darting through the throng to greet a friend, his twinkling eyes and widening smile softening the effect of his cadaverous makeup. Yes, it's that whimsical time of year again: the fourth annual Hollywood Fringe Festival has swung into action. The actors impersonating these famous TV characters had just finished a performance of "The Real Housekeepers of Studio City," and Joe Greene, who not only plays Edna in elaborate drag but wrote the music for this bite-size musical candy bar, was asking a well-wisher whether she had fun. At the informal Hollywood Fringe Festival, the distance between the artists and the audience is negligible.