September 25, 2013 |
When five giant mortgage firms signed a landmark $25-billion mortgage settlement last year, officials hailed debt forgiveness as the primary strategy to preserve homeownership. The banks hoped to avoid further enforcement action over widespread foreclosure abuses; federal regulators and state attorneys general aimed to prevent even more foreclosures. "This isn't just about punishing banks for their irresponsible behavior," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said.
September 21, 2013 |
With the curtain drawn on the most controversial edition of CBS' reality show "Big Brother," cast member Aaryn Gries, whose ethnic and homophobic slurs made national headlines, is bracing herself to face a new reality - that many people feel she's a racist. But the 23-year-old college student from San Marcos, Texas, who was unaware of the tempest her remarks created until emerging from the show's imposed isolation earlier this week, is determined to reverse that perception. "I'm trying to show that I'm remorseful, and I hope that comes across because I really do feel very bad," she said in an interview with The Times.
August 22, 2013 |
Over the last couple of weeks, a tiny monochromatic skyline has been growing in my kitchen. Since opening Lego's new “ Architecture Studio ,” my two daughters (who are 9 and 4) and I have been putting together, dismantling and redesigning a group of about 10 buildings. We've kept the results on display on a shelf above the sink. Because the Architecture Studio includes bricks in just two shades - white and transparent - the buildings we've created all seem to be related, at least distantly, to modern architecture.
August 15, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Eliot Spitzer came to a gospel concert in Brooklyn in search of what he's wanted for five long years. As New Yorkers waited in line and lounged in camping chairs at a park before the show one recent evening, the disgraced former governor and attorney general, his white dress shirt sleeves rolled up, gripped hands and grinned. "Welcome back!" one woman shouted. "You were a great AG!" cooed another. Spitzer's political revival has also taken him on a repentant sinner's path to houses of worship on New York City's fringes.
August 1, 2013 |
Matters of God and forgiveness gripped a Michigan courtroom this week, transforming a sinister murder-for-hire case into an unlikely display of mercy and restraint. Jacob Merfeld, 27, whose 21-year-old wife, Julia, was caught scheduling and financing his murder in April, stood before a judge during her sentencing hearing Tuesday and called her “a godly woman” and “wonderful wife.” Appearing stern and a bit stricken, he said his wife's faith had only grown since her crime, and that she should be allowed to spend “every second that she can” with their two children, ages 4 and 2. Judge William Marietti balanced Merfeld's request for leniency with the state's minimum sentencing guidelines, ordering Julia to serve at least five years and eight months in prison, a year below the most severe minimum sentence that Michigan allows.
July 18, 2013 |
God only knows what Nicolas Winding Refn had in mind when he made "Only God Forgives. " The Danish filmmaker's latest theater of the macabre is brutal, bloody, saturated with revenge, sex and death, yet stunningly devoid of meaning, purpose, emotion or decent lighting. Seriously. Artful shadows can certainly set a mood; too many and it merely looks like someone is trying too hard. That sense of overreach haunts "Only God Forgives. " Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas and Vithaya Pansringarm, the film comes as a disappointment after the provocative intrigue of the brutal bad guys Refn diced so deliciously, if not delicately, in his brilliant 2011 neo-noir "Drive.