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SPORTS
April 4, 2014 | Bill Plaschke
Vin Scully, marching to the middle of the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in all his red-roaring glory, was on time. Yasiel Puig was not. Sandy Koufax, sprinting out of the dugout to home plate to catch that pitch amid shrieks of surprise, was on time. Yasiel Puig was not. The best of Dodgers history and majesty showed up as scheduled Friday in what should have been a glorious 53rd home opener at Dodger Stadium. If only their most exciting young player of the present had shown this game the same respect.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 3, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- California's ethics and tax agencies now have more power to conduct campaign finance investigations under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday. The law gives the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Franchise Tax Board the ability to begin audits, before an election occurs, of campaigns suspected of illegal activities, even if campaign statements or finance reports have not yet been filed. It also explicitly allows the commission to seek an injunction in Superior Court to compel disclosure.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
A refresher course in avoiding illegal corruption is being planned for state senators and their staffs. That can't hurt. But it's unlikely to clean up any dirty legislators. Illegal corruption is not a redundancy. There's also legal corruption. Legislators, members of Congress and local politicians everywhere are influenced by campaign contributions from private interests, whether the money comes from unions, insurers, oil companies or casino-operating Indian tribes, to name just a handful of corrupting cash cows.
SCIENCE
April 2, 2014 | By Amina Khan
As NASA plans to send astronauts to an asteroid or even to Mars in the coming decades -- missions that could last well beyond 30 days -- they're grappling with an ethical dilemma. How do they handle decisions on long-distance space exploration when it could expose astronauts to high or unknown health hazards? To help develop an ethical framework for venturing into this unknown territory, the space agency asked the Institute of Medicine to convene a panel of experts to offer some helpful guidelines.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - Stung by criminal cases involving three state senators, Democratic legislative leaders vowed Tuesday to reassess their campaign finance practices, and canceled a lucrative golf fundraiser scheduled for this weekend. The promise of self-scrutiny among Senate Democrats was just one way last week's criminal complaint against Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) detailing public corruption and arms trafficking charges continues to reverberate through the Capitol. Also on Tuesday, federal agents were again present in a legislative office building, searching a room used by Yee as an overflow office, according to Senate workers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--Secretary of State candidate Dan Schnur, denouncing lawmakers' response to the recent series of ethics scandals in the state Senate as "diffident and lackadaisical," cast his bid to be the state's top elections official as a campaign to be "California's reformer-in-chief. "  Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Schnur said "there has been almost no meaningful effort on the part of the state's political leaders to clean up the Capitol's culture of corruption. " "If you add up all the reforms that have been proposed over the last several weeks, they end up comprising almost a complete fig leaf," he added.
SPORTS
March 29, 2014 | By Bill Shaikin
In those heady days when Barry Bonds was hitting a home run just about every day, visitors would flock to the clubhouse of the San Francisco Giants. You would turn to the right for Bonds, for his entourage, for his oversized lounge chair, and for the Giants employee nervously trying to block reporters and other outsiders from approaching the slugger. You would turn to the left for other players, and their standard-issue chairs, and their detached bemusement. Mike Trout is baseball's best player.
SPORTS
March 14, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. - Ask Raul Ibanez why he's still able to play major league baseball effectively at an age when so many peers are retired or into coaching, and the Angels' new designated hitter responds with a question: Why not? "I have a 22-year database of pitchers, 22 years of professional experience swinging the bat," Ibanez, 41, said. "I've trained with world-class strength guys, used some of the world's best sports psychologists and physical therapists, and I still have the will and the determination.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 10, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- The Assembly gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill that aims to crack down on anonymous campaign money by giving California's ethics and tax agencies more authority to conduct investigations. The measure allows the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Franchise Tax Board to initiate audits of campaigns suspected of illegal activities before an election occurs, even if campaign statements or finance reports have not yet been filed. It also explicitly permits the FPPC to seek an injunction in Superior Court to force disclosure and gives the tax board up to two years to conduct more complex investigations.  Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Trying to counter ethics scandals in which lawmakers stand accused of voter fraud, bribery, money laundering and other misdeeds, Democratic leaders Thursday proposed sweeping changes to state political laws aimed at restoring public confidence in the Legislature. The proposals, which Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to embrace, would ban lawmakers and other state officials from accepting such gifts as spa treatments, golf games and tickets to Lakers games. Officials could take other gifts, but only if their worth totaled $200 or less annually from any source - down from the $440 now allowed.
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