December 22, 2011
The way Trent Arsenault touts himself, he's a tall, healthy and educated altruist who helps others by donating his sperm (sans sexual intercourse) on a fairly large scale. The way the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sees it, he operates a sperm bank, albeit an informal and unpaid one, that fails to meet federal regulations. From our perspective, the FDA is overreaching. Arsenault, an electronics company engineer in the Bay Area, promotes his service through the Internet to women who want to get pregnant without paying the $400 to $600 fee that a commercial sperm bank would charge.
December 11, 2011 |
Dear Liz: Several years ago, we were talked into getting what I believe was a predatory loan - a negatively amortizing mortgage for 100% of the purchase price of our home. The loan broker assured us we could refinance the following year to a more traditional mortgage. We paid the minimum monthly payment required, which didn't cover all the interest owed, so that amount was added to our mortgage balance. Like others, we have experienced the nightmare of the current housing market, and with the negative amortization adding on even more debt, we are severely underwater.
December 3, 2011 |
A hush fell upon the embalmers at Thibodaux Funeral Home as the gurney with the black body bag was wheeled into their room. They stopped what they were doing and drew near. Glenn Bergeron had been dreading this moment. Eight years as an undertaker, and he had never attended to anyone who had died so young, so violently. He made the sign of the cross. One of the newer members of the staff, a student at mortuary science school with a kindergartner at home, held back. She had to be encouraged.
November 27, 2011 |
Question: We have been renting a condo and are in the process of buying it from the owner. My husband went to a board meeting to complain about the speeders on the association's road in front of our condo. We made the board aware that vehicles speed down the street in early-morning hours going two or three times the posted 15-mph speed limit. We asked the directors if they could install speed bumps where this is occurring. The board said no. The meeting minutes reported: Renter "expressed his concern about cars speeding in the streets by his home.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 2011 |
Does the endgame loom in the decades-long tussle over Santa Monica Airport? In 2015, all land and building leases at the airport expire, and city officials — and thousands of Westside residents weary of life in the flight path — say the obligation to operate the facility as an airport ends too. Santa Monica has hired consultants to study the 227-acre campus and early next year will begin asking for the public's input on potential future uses....
October 30, 2011 |
A recital without an encore is like a meal without dessert. Orchestral concerts usually skip dessert, unless the orchestra is on tour. (On the road, Valery Gergiev, conductor of the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, always has five or six popular short pieces ready.) Sometimes encores are given after a concerto. Some conductors, however, think it's rude to make an orchestra (and maestro) wait while a soloist basks in extra applause. In fact, the whole art and practice of the encore is rather complicated, and subject to debate among performers.
October 13, 2011 |
When is it OK for you, at a college game, to boo your home team's starting quarterback for the simple act of entering a game? The correct answer is "never," but that didn't stop UCLA's unfaithful Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. Kevin Prince was forced into the thick of the Washington State plot only because starter Richard Brehaut broke his leg. Prince, last ridiculed after three first-quarter interceptions against Texas, was greeted with derision before even being allowed the chance to throw another pick — which he quickly did. The song, remember, says be true to "your" school.
October 5, 2011
California and the Obama administration urged the Supreme Court this week to bar doctors and their patients from suing states over the amount paid to healthcare providers for treating Medicaid patients. Several justices seemed to agree when the case was heard Monday, noting that the federal law that created Medicaid didn't give individuals the right to sue. But that's too restrictive a view of who should have access to the courts. If states aren't meeting their obligations under the law and are effectively denying the poor access to the healthcare Medicaid was designed to provide, the public should be able to hold them accountable.
September 7, 2011 |
The U.S. Postal Service is on the verge of financial collapse and should eliminate Saturday delivery, close thousands of local post offices, restructure its health plan and lay off 120,000 workers to survive, according to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Donahoe asked lawmakers to allow him to make "radical" changes to the centuries-old institution so it could avoid defaulting on its obligations. At a Senate hearing Tuesday, he said the Postal Service was all but certain to miss a $5.5-billion payment to its retiree health fund due at the end of the month.
August 29, 2011 |
The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has been leading the attack against Internet giant Amazon.com Inc. for refusing to collect sales taxes on online purchases. But Wal-Mart doesn't always collect sales tax on items sold on its site, either. The Walmart.com site, based in Brisbane near San Francisco International Airport, offers hundreds of products from a third-party retailer, CSN Stores in Boston, that are sold without collecting taxes when state residents buy them.