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February 1, 2014 | By Brian Thevenot
The list of features that don't come standard on the new BMW 320i is a long one. This is the bargain Bimmer, meant to lure you onto a lot where a salesman can slather on options that send the price soaring. It's still not exactly cheap, starting at $32,750. That's with no leather, no wood, no navigation, no backup camera, no moon roof, no heated seats - no power seats, even. You get your choice of either black or white at that price; all other colors cost extra. The even longer list of cars with more than this one's 180 horsepower includes the cheapest Honda Accord or Nissan Altima.
January 31, 2014 | By Eric Friedman
It seems to happen at a disturbingly frequent rate. A massive typhoon, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami or other horrible catastrophe occurs. The media show heart-wrenching images of disaster beyond anything most people have seen or could even begin to imagine. People want to help; it is human nature to want to help. And many aid agencies offer just that opportunity as they fundraise for relief efforts. But if we give to them, does it actually make a difference? This isn't about deceitful and fraudulent charities.
January 31, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The commission that accredits California's community colleges is under fire from above and below. The federal government has given it a year to improve its performance, noting, among other criticisms, that it has too few educators on its panels. That might help explain the groundswell of discontent among the colleges, which need the commission's approval to keep their classroom doors open; many of them contend that it is harshly punitive and insufficiently focused on the quality of education.
January 30, 2014 | By Glenn Whipp
"Searching for Sugar Man," the absorbing investigation into the whereabouts of an elusive '70s singer-songwriter, won the Academy Award for feature documentary last year. It was the first time that the entire body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could vote on the category. In previous years, academy members had to attend special screenings of all five nominated documentaries, signing in at the theater in order to prove they were present. Did the feel-good "Sugar Man" win because it was the best documentary - or because it was the most publicized and thus the movie that the majority of academy members saw?
January 30, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
California doesn't require that much of its candidates for state and local office. One of the few rules is that they must live in the district they seek to represent. How hard is that? Apparently too hard for some politicians. State Sen. Roderick D. Wright, a Democrat, was convicted this week on perjury and voter fraud charges. Prosecutors said he lied on his voter registration and candidacy filings by saying he made his home in an apartment in working-class Inglewood. In fact, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, Wright was really living with his Maserati, artwork and three guns in a swanky 11-room home in Baldwin Hills, outside the district.
January 29, 2014
Re "Who should pay union dues?," Editorial, Jan. 23 Yes, non-union employees should absolutely pay dues to unions they haven't joined but that got better wages and conditions for them. And bicyclists should be forced to pay gas taxes for something they didn't buy, since they use roads that were made for cars and paid for by these taxes. They should pay their fair share, since they didn't build that. And people who don't personally choose to own a gun but live where it's legal to have a firearm for home defense should be forced to donate to the National Rifle Assn.
January 28, 2014 | By Helene Elliott
Sometimes, giving away a bobblehead or a banner just isn't enough for a minor-league team to draw crowds or attention. The Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL are going to try something different this weekend by staging a promotion Friday that will give one lucky fan a cemetery plot for two. The next day's prize is a mini-basketball with either a Lakers logo or a Clippers logo. Write your own punchline there. As for the cemetery plot giveaway, the Condors' news release had a little fun. “Everyone in attendance will have the opportunity of a lifetime, or should we say "post-lifetime," to win two cemetery plots at Historic Union Cemetery valued at over $5,000,” the release said.
January 20, 2014 | By Anh Do
Down at Lily's Bakery, the talk among those hunched over their beignets and iced coffee is focused on the upcoming Lunar New Year parade. The much-anticipated Feb. 1 procession, filled with lion dancers and dignitaries waving from passing cars, winds through Little Saigon as firecrackers pop and the old flag of South Vietnam flutters. The pressing question now is if a rainbow flag will be added to the colorful mix. After firm resistance, organizers of the Tet parade, along with other groups called to a community assembly, relented, agreeing to let a troop of Vietnamese American LGBT activists march.
January 14, 2014 | By Yvonne Villarreal
Are the Russians keen on FX's Cold War-set drama "The Americans"? Matthew Rhys, who stars as KGB agent Philip Jennings in the period show, has his theory on its international reception: "It's a huge comedy in Russia," he joked while promoting the second season Tuesday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. "The Americans" doesn't air in Russia, but the show's executive producers -- Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg -- say they hear people are watching it bootleg there.
January 13, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Federal authorities rushed Monday to head off a mini-civil war in the "hot land" of Mexico's Michoacan state, urging rural vigilantes to lay down their arms and go home rather than attempt to seize a city of 90,000 that has become a stronghold of a drug cartel calling itself the Knights Templar. The armed peasant groups emerged last year to fight off the cartel, which had metastasized throughout the southwestern state, coordinating the lucrative methamphetamine trade and extortion rackets and wielding significant control over the major container port of Lazaro Cardenas.
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