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March 15, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch and David Undercoffler
General Motors Co. is mired in one of the biggest auto safety scandals in years. But if history is any guide, car shoppers will be more forgiving than regulators and safety advocates. Ford Motor Co. suffered through problems with Pintos burning up and Explorer sport utilities rolling over when their tires failed decades ago. More recently, Toyota Motor Corp. recalled millions of cars after incidents of sudden acceleration. In each case, the automakers spent billions of dollars to recall vehicles, fix problems and settle legal issues.
March 14, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
A man who robbed and shot to death nine people, including Buddhist monks and family members, in an Arizona temple was sentenced to 239 years in prison Friday, Maricopa County court officials said. Johnathan Doody, 39, had been convicted of carrying out what remains the deadliest mass murder in Arizona history. A temple abbot, five monks, an apprentice monk, a nun and her nephew were gunned down in the Phoenix-area Wat Promkunaram temple in 1991. Doody and a friend, Alex Garcia, walked into the temple in October 1991 armed with a shotgun and rifle and robbed the templegoers.
March 14, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
Tennessee has to recognize the same-sex marriages of three couples despite a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and woman, a federal judge ruled in a lawsuit Friday. While emphasizing that her preliminary injunction against the state was limited only to the three couples named in the suit, federal Judge Aleta A. Trauger noted that before long, the ban would probably be upended for all same-sex couples in Tennessee. At some point in the future, probably with the aid of further rulings, "in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs' marriages will be placed on equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and ... proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history," Trauger wrote.
March 13, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ayelet Waldman's "Love and Treasure" (Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, April 1) is a triptych novel that follows the lives of American and Hungarian Jews across the 20th century. A story of relationships, art and loss, it moves among a granddaughter trying to solve a puzzle, feminists in Budapest between the wars and European Holocaust survivors headed to Palestine. "When my book was being auctioned in Britain, one of the people who didn't bid on it said, 'This book is too Zionist for us.' And then my Israeli publisher, who did end up buying it, was like, 'Man, this is a really anti-Zionist book.' I got those responses the same day," Waldman says via Skype.
March 13, 2014 | By Jessica Garrison and Kim Christensen
A Northern California metal-plating business and its owner were charged Thursday with felony violations of state hazardous waste laws, including storing cyanide near acid in a way that could have triggered a deadly accident. Electro-Forming Co. and Marion Ingrid Patigler face 11 felony counts and 12 misdemeanor charges related to the alleged illegal disposal, storage, treatment and transportation of hazardous waste. The alleged crimes - which include storing cyanide and other toxic substances in an unpermitted, 6,900-gallon tank at the Richmond site - occurred over a two-year period beginning in March 2011, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Contra Costa County district attorney's office.
March 12, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
BERKELEY - The Vienna Philharmonic is an orchestra that has always been gripped by as well as in the grip of history - the history of Western music, of which it has played a significant part, and the history of Vienna, of which it has also played a significant part. Now "Confronting the Past," has become an official project of the orchestra. In mannerly Viennese fashion, what the orchestra really means is confronting its past. That is what it did in a special residency as part of the UC Berkeley Cal Performances' series that included three concerts in Zellerbach Hall along with a two-day symposium examining the orchestra's history from the outbreak of World War I to the present.
March 10, 2014 | By Hillel Italie
Joe McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in "The Selling of the President 1968" and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster "Fatal Vision," died Monday at a hospital in Worcester, Mass. He was 71. McGinniss died from complications of prostate cancer, according to his attorney and longtime friend Dennis Holahan. Few journalists of his time so intrepidly pursued a story, burned so many bridges or more memorably placed themselves in the narrative, whether insisting on the guilt of MacDonald after seemingly befriending him or moving next door to Sarah Palin's house for a most unauthorized biography of the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate.
March 7, 2014
Re "Waiting for 'Years,'" March 4 When a significant segment of the American experience can be artfully portrayed as slavery was in "12 Years a Slave," perhaps we have matured enough to embrace other significant parts of our history. Some brave filmmaker should step forward and bring his or her art to the American experience of 1862, when President Lincoln was dealing with the Emancipation Proclamation on one hand while on the other agonizing over the execution order for the 300 American Indians involved in Minnesota's Sioux Uprising.
March 7, 2014 | By Patt Morrison
After last week's storms, the biggest deluge around is the onscreen one that puts Noah and a worldful of other creatures aboard an ark. Darren Aronofsky's Biblical blockbuster “Noah” launches at the end of this month, and the inundation of ads and trailers will now include this disclaime r, described by Paramount as an “explanatory message”: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.
March 6, 2014 | By Rebecca Keegan
Tuna, a Chiweenie with an overbite and more than 700,000 followers on Instagram, was there. So were Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Beethoven, Marley, Toto and several other dogs of renown. The canine A-list had gathered in Hollywood in February to celebrate one of their own. Yes, they had also come because their trainers were tossing bits of hot dog onto the red carpet, but really, the main attraction was Mr. Peabody, the hyper-intelligent, time-traveling beagle from the 1960s cartoon shorts "Peabody's Improbable History," who was getting his paw prints enshrined at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
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