January 27, 2010 |
The financial sector has coolly navigated around government attempts to restrict executive pay and risky investments, but many on Wall Street worry that the Obama administration's latest proposal would hit the industry hard. The plan announced by President Obama last week would curtail high-risk securities trading by commercial banks as well as their investments in hedge funds and private equity funds. Analysts estimate that the proposal could slash earnings as much as 25% at a firm such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Industrywide, the hit to revenue could easily be in the billions.
January 27, 2010 |
AT&T customers saw their monthly rate for basic residential phone service jump 22% this month to $16.45. The increase followed a 23% rate hike last year. And you know what? That's the good news. The bad news is that, beginning in January 2011, AT&T and other phone companies will be permitted to jack up basic rates as much as they want -- no regulatory limits will apply. "If you want to know what will happen then, look at how much their rates went up for directory assistance and call waiting and other services that were deregulated in 2006," said Denise Mann, who oversees telecom matters for the California Public Utilities Commission's consumer-watchdog division.
January 24, 2010 |
Five years ago, when John G. Roberts Jr. became the Supreme Court's chief justice, he described the job as though he would be a minor functionary, more like an umpire behind the plate than the star of the game. He also said he favored minimal and narrow decisions, rather than broad but divisive rulings that would abruptly change the law. But in recent weeks, Roberts has shown that when he has the support of moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, he is willing to move boldly on behalf of conservative causes.
January 19, 2010 |
Seeking to reduce the long waits many people endure to see a doctor, California regulators are implementing new rules that specify how quickly patients in health maintenance organizations must be seen. The regulations by the California Department of Managed Health Care, in the works for much of the last decade, will require that patients be treated by HMO doctors within 10 business days of requesting an appointment, and by specialists within 15. Patients seeking urgent care that does not require prior authorization must be seen within 48 hours.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2010 |
Federal railroad officials Tuesday unveiled regulations for equipping the nation's freight and passenger trains with automated braking systems required by Congress after the deadly 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth. "We believe this final rule, as mandated by Congress, is a giant step toward ensuring the safety and reliability of our freight, commuter and intercity passenger rail routes," said Joseph Szabo, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. The rules will regulate the design and installation of positive train control technology that must be implemented on all freight and passenger railroads by December 2015.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 12, 2010 |
A proposal to legalize and tax marijuana in California was approved by a key committee of the Assembly on Tuesday, but it is not expected to get further consideration by the Legislature until next year. Despite a procedural glitch, backers hailed the committee's action as historic because it represented the first legislative approval of the proposal. "This vote marks the formal beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in the United States," predicted Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a pot legalization group.
January 8, 2010 |
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the nation's strictest-ever smog limits Thursday, a move that could put large parts of California and other states in violation of federal air quality regulations. The EPA proposed allowing a ground-level ozone concentration of between 60 and 70 parts per billion, down from the 75-ppb standard adopted under President George W. Bush in 2008. That means cracking down further on the emissions from cars, trucks, power plants, factories and landfills.
January 5, 2010 |
The Internal Revenue Service for the first time will require the nation's roughly 1 million tax preparers to register with the federal government, with a large percentage of them having to pass competency tests and stay up to date on tax laws by taking 15 hours of classes a year. The rules, announced Monday, come after a six-month study by the IRS that found a need for greater protection for the estimated 87 million people -- about 80% of all filers -- who hire a preparer or use tax preparation software to file their taxes.
December 31, 2009 |
Richard and Carolyn Carlson were driving through rural Colorado in February 2005 when they hit a patch of black ice. Their Chrysler PT Cruiser spun backward into an embankment, causing the back of Carolyn's seat to collapse. She was hurled into the roof and partway through the rear window. In an instant, Carolyn Carlson became a quadriplegic, and one of the thousands of Americans who suffer injuries, or death, each year in crashes in which car seats break. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has looked at forcing automakers to build stronger seats, first considering new rules in the early 1990s.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 2009 |
The view from Betty Kermanian's Westwood-area backyard changes every few seconds. Through the leafy limbs of a tree in front of her house, the stars of "Sherlock Holmes" -- Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law -- peer down from a luminescent Clear Channel digital billboard that towers over nearby Santa Monica Boulevard. Seconds later, Kiefer Sutherland flashes his gun in an ad for "24." Also in the mix are four iterations of midriff-baring vixens selling an H&M line of lacy black bras and silk kimonos.