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January 29, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard
For Sheriff Lee Baca, it was a legacy moment. He was on Capitol Hill, testifying before a congressional hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims. Conservative lawmakers were grilling him, pressing him to acknowledge that the Muslim groups he embraced after 9/11 may have had criminal elements. Baca wasn't having it. "We don't play around with criminals in my world," he shot back. With dozens of cameras trained on him, the sheriff made the case that American Muslims were being unfairly persecuted and should be treated as partners, not suspects, in the fight against terror.
January 28, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Google Glass just got a little more stylish, thanks to four new types of prescription frames and two new sunglasses shades. The new frames and shades were announced by Google late Monday and are available for purchase now by users of the wearable device. Google also announced  it plans to release Glass to the general public at some point toward the end of 2014. The frames can be attached to the second version of Google Glass, which was released to early users late last year.
January 28, 2014 | By David Lazarus
I get asked a lot of consumer questions. Why is my cable bill so high? How do I stop telemarketers from bothering me? This one was a first. Laura wrote in to say: "Can you please find out what's taking scientists so long for a cure to herpes? I know there has to be a cure somewhere on this Earth. It's 2014. What's the hold-up?" ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Jeepers. But all questions deserve answers, even if the consumer "product" in this case is a sexually transmitted disease.
January 25, 2014 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - As brutally cold temperatures continue to blast much of the nation, a propane shortage is driving up heating bills, prompting accusations of price gouging and leading to energy emergencies in more than a dozen states, from Alabama to Michigan. The lack of propane has forced the closing of schools in Tennessee, led to calls for people to turn down their thermostats and given poultry farmers the shivers. "They're worried they might not be able to keep those chickens warm," said Jeff Helms of the Alabama Farmers Federation.
January 21, 2014 | By David Lazarus
David wants to know if there's a best time to buy cruise tickets. Do you get the best deals if you dive in early and book months in advance, or is it smartest to wait until the last minute and see what's available? ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. To find out what the experts say, check out today's Ask Laz video. If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz .
January 17, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Friday night at 9, millions of Americans will sit in front of their televisions and watch the tropical police drama "Hawaii Five-0" on their local CBS station. And over the next week, roughly 3 million more will watch the show on their own schedule. That's an unremarkable statistic today, considering that half of American homes have a digital video recorder. But until Jan. 17, 1984, it was an open question whether consumer electronics companies would even be allowed to sell such devices.
January 17, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Like millions of other Target shoppers, Janet has received an offer from the company for free credit monitoring. This is to help protect against identity theft after the hack attack against the retailer that resulted the personal information of up to 110 million people going astray. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Janet wants to know how she can tell if the email she received is legitimate. Couldn't this be another way for hackers to be coming after people?
January 16, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Higher gas costs helped push consumer prices up in last month by the largest margin in six months, but the annual inflation rate remained low, the Labor Department said Thursday. The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% in December, compared with the previous month. The index, a key measure of inflation, had been flat in November. The last time the index rose more was in June, when it jumped 0.5%. PHOTOS: Federal Reserve chairs through the years Last month's increase was in line with projections by economists, who expected prices to rise as the economy strengthened at year's end. The December increase helped push up the inflation rate over the previous 12 months to 1.5%.
January 16, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
Low-income Californians will be soon eligible for what has become to many an essential part of daily life: a cellphone . Participants in the state's LifeLine program for low-income consumers will soon have access to reduced-cost smartphone service with voice, data and text capabilities, state regulators decided Thursday. After two years of deliberations, the five members of the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to include wireless phones among the kinds of handsets available through the LifeLine program.
January 15, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Julia is apparently having trouble with her mortgage lender because she wants to know how long such companies have to maintain phone records. I'm guessing that she's hoping there's a smoking gun in one of her past conversations with a bank rep. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions Federal law requires that big banks keep customers' checking and savings records for a minimum of five years. Mortgage records can vary from state to state, but it looks like most require that such files be kept for at least three years.
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