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February 20, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - California's political ethics agency signed off Thursday on a $133,500 fine for a lobbyist who made improper campaign contributions to elected officials, but the attorney whose lawsuit triggered the investigation is not satisfied. The lawsuit, filed in December by a former employee of the lobbyist, described the contributions in detail and alleged that she was wrongly fired for complaining to her boss about them. California's Fair Political Practices Commission investigated the contributions and fined the lobbyist, Kevin Sloat, for some of what the employee described: providing expensive wine, liquor and cigars at lavish fundraisers held at his home for lawmakers' campaigns.
February 20, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
You're invited to a party. It's going to be fun, because it's being thrown by writer Chad Harbach, an editor of the literary magazine n+1, where he has been lightheartedly provocative. You're excited, because "MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction" - in the form of 18 essays divided into five sections - is debating one of the more contentious issues in literary America: whether getting an a master of fine arts degree in creative writing is a good idea, for the individual writer and book culture at large.
February 17, 2014 | By Scott Collins
If Bode Miller is OK with his crying interview, you should be too. Or at least that's the view of the guy running NBC's Sochi Olympics coverage. The network is taking fierce heat for reporter Christin Cooper's i nterview of Miller on Sunday after he tied for a bronze medal in the men's super-G at the Winter Olympics. Miller began crying after Cooper mentioned "so much emotion" behind the race -- a reference to Miller's brother, snowboarding pro Chelone "Chilly" Miller, who died in April.
February 13, 2014 | By John Horn
Winning an Oscar - or just being nominated - can transform a Hollywood future. Yet just because some actors and filmmakers weren't shortlisted for an Academy Award doesn't mean their great work is going unrewarded. Critics have rightly pointed to 2013 as one of the best movie years in recent history. Consequently, the fields for top Oscars were impossibly crowded, with highly praised performances by Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey left on the sidelines.
February 13, 2014 | By Jeffrey Fleishman
Egypt's revolution of three years ago - an incandescent burst of defiance that brought down a dictator and astonished the world - died in the early hours of its birth. The nation, like a man ambling through the dark, tumbled through a fa├žade of democracy. The military and the Muslim Brotherhood, the state's ultimate and diametrically opposed powers, sabotaged the spirit for change that embodied the flags and faces of their countrymen. The revolution, if it can even be called that now, has become a dangerous hope for idealists.
February 13, 2014 | By David Zahniser
The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on Thursday imposed a $22,500 fine on a Los Angeles car dealer who failed to disclose that he had paid for two large signs backing former City Atty. Carmen Trutanich during last year's election campaign. Businessman Onnik Mehrabian admitted he did not follow city laws requiring that he inform city officials of his pro-Trutanich "independent expenditures" -- contributions made without the involvement of the candidate, according to a report on the case.
February 10, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Here's how Toyota Motor Corp. plans to finally put the sudden-acceleration issue to rest: Pull out the checkbook. The automaker is reportedly close to paying a $1-billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into whether it properly reported safety complaints to regulators. Meanwhile, Toyota's lawyers are in settlement talks over hundreds of civil lawsuits alleging wrongful deaths or injuries, potentially adding hundreds of millions to the tab. Previously, Toyota agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a class-action case brought by thousands of Toyota owners who contended that sudden-acceleration problems damaged the value of their vehicles.
February 6, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - A prominent lobbying firm in Sacramento faces fines for failing to report fund-raising expenses that benefited about 40 state legislators and other officials, according to Capitol sources. The firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates, reached a tentative agreement with staff of the state Fair Political Practices Commission to pay the fines involving violations of California's political disclosure rules, according to sources familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly.
February 4, 2014 | By Angel Jennings
State regulators have fined two subcontractors who planned the implosion of an old power plant in Bakersfield last summer that sent shards of debris into a crowd of spectators, severing one man's leg and injuring others. California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two citations against Alpha Explosives Inc. totaling $14,400 for failing to blast a warning signal and for not obtaining a permit before the demolition. Demtech Inc. received fines totaling $14,000 for the same violations, in addition to citations for failing to follow proper procedures.
February 1, 2014 | By Alicia Banks
He played the yacht captain warning Leonardo DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort of "chop" in a surreal storm scene in "The Wolf of Wall Street. " He was the crinkled, shaggy haired assistant to Mayor Carmine Polito in the Oscar front-runner "American Hustle. " He played the life-on-track brother of Bradley Cooper's life-derailed character in "Silver Linings Playbook. " Shea Whigham is one of those actors whom you can easily miss until you realize you haven't missed him at all. Whigham has dozens of acting credits to his name, indie and big-budget films alike.
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