November 5, 2013 |
Panicked Californians inundated the state's unemployment agency with 20 times the normal volume of phone calls after a botched computer upgrade delayed jobless checks and crippled parts of the department's website. Call attempts surged after the Labor Day launch of a new system to process ongoing benefits claims. At its peak, nearly 6 million calls were made in just one week. The crush of calls was so heavy that people had to dial an average of 40 times just to get through to a recorded message.
November 3, 2013 |
The gig: Los Angeles graphologist Andrea McNichol is no stranger to high-profile court cases. As an examiner of questioned documents, she has worked on the murder trials of O.J. Simpson and Ted Bundy and the legal challenge of Howard Hughes' will. Clients of McNichol, the author of "Handwriting Analysis: Putting It to Work for You," include the FBI, other law enforcement agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Baseline: McNichol has used her knowledge of handwriting to assess death threats, debunk hoaxes and expose fraud.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 21, 2013 |
The carcass of a 14-foot oarfish that washed ashore in Oceanside was cut into sections and taken away by scientists for examination. Oceanside police responding to Friday's discovery contacted SeaWorld, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which carted the carcass off. It was the second rare find in a week. Last week, an 18-foot oarfish was found dead off Catalina Island....
October 18, 2013 |
If one ever needed proof that we live in a warrior culture, look no further than those who have falsely claimed military experience, from two-bit conmen to politicians and corporate leaders adding undeserved gravitas to their resumes. It is an attempt to steal glory, a recognition that much of the American public holds a special regard for those who have served. As Richard A. Serrano explores in his short, entertaining "Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery that Outlived the Civil War," this kind of military fraud is nothing new. In the economic dark days of the Great Depression, "veterans" discovered that a few well-placed lies about serving in the Civil War, backed by a supporting letter from a bamboozled politician, could land a veteran's pension from the government.
October 17, 2013
The documentary "Birth of the Living Dead" is a nifty little tribute to that granddaddy of the modern zombie movie, George A. Romero's "Night of the Living Dead. " Writer-director-editor Rob Kuhns (he also produced with wife, Esther Cassidy) enjoyably recounts how, in 1967, Romero and an assortment of Pittsburgh locals shot a micro-budget chiller that would unexpectedly change the face of horror films. The shocking "Night," which Romero shot, edited, co-wrote and directed, spawned an endless parade of zombie pictures - including numerous made by Romero himself - along with comic books, video games and TV shows such as current hit "The Walking Dead.
October 16, 2013 |
Three days after a newspaper article created an uproar over dropped charges against a man accused of rape in northwest Missouri, an embattled county prosecutor announced Wednesday that he has asked for a special prosecutor to reexamine the case. Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice has come under fire after dropping charges last year against a young man accused of raping Daisy Coleman, then 14, in early 2012. On Tuesday, the state's lieutenant governor and House speaker called for the attorney general to intervene and for a grand jury to examine the case.
October 12, 2013 |
Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke's "Unknown Pleasures," "The World" and "24 City" have been celebrated by critics and on the international festival circuit, but his work has yet to break through with a wider audience in America. That might change with his latest, "A Touch of Sin," an action film of sorts set in contemporary China and opening Friday in Los Angeles. Where Jia's earlier works have often blended fiction with documentary, here he overlays the style of traditional martial arts adventure storytelling known as wuxia onto his contemporary four-part tale of loners, revenge and violence based on recent real-life incidents in China.
October 4, 2013 |
"The Network," Eva Orner's well-intended if rudimentarily told and structured documentary, follows the formation and development of Afghanistan's first independent television network, Tolo TV, by Afghan expatriate Saad Mohseni in the years following the end of ultra-restrictive Taliban rule. Mohseni, along with his expat brothers and sister, began their Afghan media empire in 2002 with the creation of a popular radio station to fill the nation's longtime mass-media gap. Television was the next logical step and, in 2004, Tolo TV was born.
October 4, 2013 |
After 10 years of death-dealing, scorched-earth cartel warfare and twice the total body count of U.S. forces in Vietnam, it's high time an American audience found out just what is happening down south of the Rio Grande. No single recent work on the subject peers more deeply than Anabel Hernández's "Narcoland," an investigative magnum opus by a Mexican journalist driven by purpose verging on despair. Empirically devastating, Hernández's book delves into the rusty filing cabinets of cold cases, shelved for making the people in power uncomfortable.
September 30, 2013 |
Life without Matt Kemp, continued. So now what? Now that the Dodgers are officially without the superstar center fielder, the man many were calling the best player in the game only two years ago. Move on, mostly. Like they learned to do for most of the 2013 season, which is somewhat of a silver lining. Kemp played in only 73 games in 2013, had only 263 at-bats. And the Dodgers took the National League West and finished with 92 wins. “We're going to miss him,” said shortstop Hanley Ramirez.