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Lightning Rod

April 9, 2010
If Bill Plaschke and his ilk think that Tiger Woods is going to slit his wrists, break down and cry, bare his soul, and spill his guts with all the lurid details of his personal life — it's not going to happen. Furthermore, just because a handful of shameless celebrities and some celebrity-starved "common" folk have this obsessive need to air their dirty laundry via talk shows and reality TV does not mean this is to be expected of Tiger. Not enough remorse, apology or amends for you, Bill?
May 17, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
Meghan Daum's Thursday column about the loss of her dog was a real tear-jerker. “If Rex could have talked, we'd have finished each other's sentences,” she wrote of their powerful bond. I choked up at my desk as I read it, thinking about my own dog, just a little over 2 years old, and the unbearable idea of life without him. Every night when I get home from work and see him waiting in the window for me, my heart grows two sizes. Surprisingly, Daum's column was also a lightning rod for debate . Or maybe I shouldn't have been shocked.
July 28, 1988 | RONALD L. SOBLE, Times Staff Writer
Question: You've written about the popularity of weather vanes as a collectible. In recent travels through New England, we came across some ornamental lightning rod balls on the roof of a barn. After a little negotiation with a Vermont farmer, we were able to buy two for about $30 each. How popular are they among collectors?--B.E. Answer: They've remained quite popular among collectors over the years.
February 1, 2013 | By Helene Elliott
It was 20 years ago Friday that a bright-eyed, former NBA executive named Gary Bettman officially became the NHL's first commissioner. His self-proclaimed mission: to spread the little-known gospel of hockey and duplicate the boom the NBA experienced by stabilizing the NHL's economic underpinnings and making stars of its underappreciated players. "The fans don't want to read about labor negotiations," Bettman said during his first week on the job. "They want to read game stories and stories about people.
July 31, 1988 | GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press
Elliott Abrams is Ronald Reagan's point man in the one area where the President's vaunted good luck seems to have deserted him. On no issue have Reagan's policies come under more sustained assault than in Central America--Abrams' turf--but Abrams' campaigns against cocaine smugglers and what he considers Cuban-style communism there haven't gone very far.
August 13, 2005 | Anthony Day, Special to The Times
Philip Dray's new book, "Stealing God's Thunder," is an elegantly written reminder that the United States was born of the Age of Enlightenment, a product of men who lived in the heady years when superstition was put to rout by the light of reason and scientific inquiry. Among the most renowned of Enlightenment thinkers was Benjamin Franklin, whose invention of the lightning rod forms the core of this illuminating study.
He portrays himself as a moderate who only wanted to start a dialogue. But it would only make sense that the man who single-handedly sparked an explosion of anti-communist fervor in Orange County's Little Saigon--unifying a notoriously fragmented community--is complex, contradictory and passionate.
Business and civic leaders had sharply divergent reactions this week to the resignation of Pasadena Chamber of Commerce head Bruce Ackerman, who has been accused by some chamber employees of racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Ackerman announced last week that he will step aside as chief executive officer at the end of the year, despite a finding by the chamber's attorney that the discrimination and harassment charges were "without legal merit."
April 5, 2004 | Ellen Barry, Times Staff Writer
The most interesting new candidate to watch in Georgia's congressional race this summer may in fact be an old candidate. Two years ago, political observers pointed to Rep. Cynthia McKinney's defeat in the Democratic primary for Georgia's 4th Congressional District as the signal of a new moderation in Southern politics. An outspoken liberal, McKinney built a reputation in Washington as a bull with her own portable china shop, particularly when she addressed the Arab-Israeli conflict.
May 20, 2006 | Anne-Marie O'Connor, Times Staff Writer
Anyone who doubts ideas still have power should have seen Iranian human rights attorney Shirin Ebadi struggle to give a speech at UCLA this week. Barely 5 feet tall, the soft-spoken Ebadi was overshadowed by the lectern in the dark, cavernous Ackerman Ballroom when she stepped up to a resounding standing ovation from the 1,100-strong crowd, which seemed mostly Iranian American.
October 19, 2012 | By Mike James
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the poster child for the Yankees' collapse in the American League Championship Series, though in terms of futility, he had tons of company. The team, after all, batted only .157 while being swept by the Tigers. Give A-Rod some credit. His .111 batting average in the playoffs was 55 points higher than that of second baseman Robinson Cano, who batted a nifty .056.  But A-Rod, with $100 million left on his contract, became the focus of the fall and only increased the spotlight on himself when word leaked out that he had sent a couple of baseballs into the stands to try to get the phone numbers from two young women.
March 9, 2012 | By David Wharton
This all happened years ago, long before Dan Guerrero became the athletic director at UCLA, before he had to worry about hiring and firing coaches, before the critics came after him. It was the early 1980s and Guerrero figured he was done with sports, having retired from playing pro baseball in Italy. Back home in Wilmington, he joined with some friends — they had been teenage volunteers at a youth center in the old days — to start a nonprofit agency that renovated homes and built facilities for the community.
January 9, 2012
It was no surprise to learn last week that Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., will seek reelection. The 79-year-old sheriff has shrugged off lawsuits, investigations and allegations that he practices unconstitutional policing that routinely violates the rights of Latinos. Arpaio regards all of that as a political campaign led by those who seek to use him "as the whipping boy for a national and international problem. " So why not run? In one sense, Arpaio is right. Congress' failure to provide a comprehensive fix to the nation's irrational immigration system has fueled widespread frustration among Republicans and Democrats alike.
December 13, 2011 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Home improvement giant Lowe's Cos. continues to come under heavy criticism from activists, some politicians and customers after pulling its ads from a reality TV show featuring Muslim Americans. The North Carolina company decided to stop advertising on the show "All-American Muslim," on Discovery Communications Inc.'s TLC channel, after complaints by the Florida Family Assn., a conservative Christian group that lobbies companies to promote "traditional, biblical values. " The association praised the move, but the decision sparked immediate backlash.
May 29, 2011 | By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
The 22-acre Malibu ranch with rolling meadows, burbling creeks and homes customized by Barbra Streisand may be a lovely location for weddings or afternoon tea. But Gov. Jerry Brown says state taxpayers have no business owning it, and his proposal to sell the government property in Ramirez Canyon is reverberating from the corridors of Sacramento to the storied seaside colony. The governor has injected himself into an 18-year battle involving Streisand, the city of Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, a quasi-autonomous state agency Brown created in 1980 during his first stint as governor.
May 24, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
House Republicans have been adamant since last year that they don't like the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — and they also made it apparent they don't like Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration advisor who is helping launch the agency. After a bitter and contentious House oversight subcommittee hearing Tuesday, Warren showed that the feeling might be mutual. The clash highlighted how Warren has become a lightning rod for opponents of the agency, created by last year's financial reform law. And it also could explain why President Obama hasn't nominated her to be the agency's powerful full-time director despite strong support from congressional Democrats, consumer advocates and liberal interest groups.
Pete Sampras never went to college, but he has studied hard. His favorite subject, and motivator, is the history of tennis, a game at which he excels. And, as Patton had Napoleon and Nicklaus had Hogan, Sampras has his own pedestal figure to learn from. As Sampras, top-seeded and top-ranked, begins his quest for yet another major title at the two-week U.S. Open starting today in New York, there will be extra reasons to introduce the name of Rodney George Laver into the proceedings.
January 13, 2011 | Doyle McManus
Sarah Palin wasn't responsible for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) last weekend ? not directly, not indirectly. She's not even responsible for the ugly rhetoric used by others on the right who try to turn ordinary policy debates into clashes between Americanism and socialism. She hasn't tried very hard to curb the excesses of her allies, and that's a serious failing, but it's far from unique. Still, the Arizona shootings and their aftermath will probably be remembered as the end of Palin's chances of being taken seriously as a Republican presidential candidate.
October 15, 2010 | By Gary Klein
Rey Maualuga could not get past the entrance gate to USC's practice field this week, fallout from NCAA sanctions that prevent former players from attending Trojans practices. Too bad for the Trojans. Maualuga, a standout on one of the stingiest defenses in college football history before launching an NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals, might have been able to offer some encouragement to a linebacker corps that has been maligned as USC opponents mounted game-winning touchdown drives the last two weeks.
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