May 2, 2013 |
The Better Business Bureau wants you to know that it's cleaned up its act in Los Angeles. The organization reached out to me this week to say that a new operation is up and running after the old BBB of the Southland was expelled in March after years of reports that the branch had been awarding inflated grades to businesses in exchange for cash. Carrie Hurt, head of the national Council of Better Business Bureaus, told me that a "virtual BBB" has been launched in Southern California, enabling bureau officials from across the country to address local consumer issues via the Internet.
April 7, 2013 |
Forget about learning the state capitals, at least, as the sum total of your knowledge of geography. "Geography is about meaning, not knowing place names and memorizing lists - that was school geography," said Daniel Edelson, vice president for education programs at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. Say hello to the new geography. It runs your GPS unit, takes you on mobile-device-guided tours, helps you find and see hotel rooms before you book them. Want to calculate your estimated time of arrival, locate a nearby gluten-free restaurant, or find out whether it's raining in Río?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2013 |
A coalition of environmental groups says it has discovered that large-scale shipments of low-quality heavy crude oil from Canada's tar sands are being delivered by rail for processing by Southern California refineries. The groups on Tuesday called for an investigation by air-quality officials to evaluate the effects on health, air quality, safety and the climate of processing the heavy Canadian crude, which requires intensive processing to remove higher levels of sulfur to meet U.S. standards.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 26, 2013 |
Another open-government group has given California a failing grade for a lack of transparency, this time in how the state spends its money. California received an "F'" grade from the CalPIRG Education Fund in part because the financial data it makes accessible to the public lack some information needed in order for residents to closely monitor state spending. The group said all 50 states provide some checkbook-level information on state spending via the Internet, but information is not easily searchable in California and Vermont.
March 22, 2013 |
A fraught romantic comedy shot through with anxiety about getting your child into an Ivy League school or else, "Admission" stars Tina Fey as a Princeton University admissions officer with a secret. Her genial foil is Paul Rudd, who runs a rural New Hampshire high school that's a progressive Eden of alternative educational grooviness. How these two nice, attractive, funny people find each other is up to the machinery of the source material, a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, adapted with mixed success for the screen by Karen Croner and directed with a calming glow by Paul Weitz, whose attention to relational detail was evident in "About a Boy," "In Good Company" and, more recently, "Being Flynn.
March 18, 2013 |
Six teams headed for the 2013 NCAA tournament this week have Academic Progress Rates below 930, meaning they would not be eligible for the postseason under tougher NCAA requirements that will be enacted in the future. Oregon, Oklahoma State, James Madison, Saint Louis, Southern and New Mexico State fell below the 930 line this year, according to a study released Monday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. Saint Louis, Southern and New Mexico State also missed the present APR standard of 925 -- which equates to about a 50% graduation rate -- but are eligible to play under the current rules.