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NATIONAL
October 6, 2008 | Ralph Vartabedian and Richard A. Serrano, Times Staff Writers
John McCain was training in his AD-6 Skyraider on an overcast Texas morning in 1960 when he slammed into Corpus Christi Bay and sheared the skin off his plane's wings. McCain recounted the accident decades later in his autobiography. "The engine quit while I was practicing landings," he wrote. But an investigation board at the Naval Aviation Safety Center found no evidence of engine failure.
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NEWS
June 24, 1999 | RALPH VARTABEDIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Question: I find it increasingly difficult to shift into reverse on my 1991 Toyota Camry. The manual transmission just seems to get stuck and won't go into the reverse position; it goes into first without any problem. The dealer said the transmission needs to be pulled out and rebuilt. But I'm wondering if there's another option. The car is otherwise in good shape with 110,000 miles on it, but I don't want to sink more than $1,000 into an 8-year-old car. --J.E.
NEWS
August 2, 2000 | RALPH VARTABEDIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Urban fallout is full of nasty particles and chemicals that can attack a vehicle's paint, but some of the worst things that fall onto our cars and trucks have nothing to do with industrial or city pollution. Tree sap is among the toughest contaminants to remove from a vehicle's finish--and among the most damaging. I recently was asked by a reader in Palos Verdes, "How do I get the sap off my car?"
NEWS
November 29, 2000 | RALPH VARTABEDIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Conventional wisdom about broken glass and other kinds of hazards encountered on the road abounds. The sight of smashed glass on the highway prompts most motorists to swerve to avoid damaging their tires. Potholes are generally viewed as obstacles, sort of a test of one's driving skills. Rubbing a tire against the curb is considered unfortunately clumsy, but nothing to worry about. Such thinking is correct in some cases and entirely wrong in others.
NATIONAL
July 11, 2008 | Richard A. Serrano and Ralph Vartabedian, Times Staff Writers
Outside her Bel-Air home, Nancy Reagan stood arm in arm with John McCain and offered a significant -- but less than exuberant -- endorsement. "Ronnie and I always waited until everything was decided, and then we endorsed," the Republican matriarch said in March. "Well, obviously this is the nominee of the party." They were the only words she would speak during the five-minute photo op. In a written statement, she described McCain as "a good friend for over 30 years."
NEWS
February 6, 1998 | RALPH VARTABEDIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Question: I have a squeak in my car's front end that is driving me crazy. It occurs whenever I turn the steering wheel--but it disappears when it rains. I have had the steering and suspension checked out, and the mechanic could not find loose parts. He said the squeak is coming from a rubber bushing. Is there a way to lubricate this thing? --J.M. Answer: You can lubricate a squeaky bushing, but you need to be careful about the lubricant you use.
NATIONAL
August 25, 2012 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Richard A. Serrano and Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
John "Sly" Sylvester, a radio commentator and Democratic operative in Madison, Wis., was dining at a Mexican restaurant in Washington with then-Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold about 20 years ago when a young Paul Ryan walked up. "He was our waiter," Sylvester said. Feingold knew Ryan's late father and, as they chatted, Ryan "said he even used to listen to my show when he was a kid," Sylvester recalled. Examples like that have helped Ryan, soon-to-be the GOP's vice presidential nominee, burnish his credentials as a youthful working-class guy. "I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, when I was flipping burgers at McDonald's, when I was standing in front of that big Hobart machine washing dishes, or waiting tables, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life," Ryan recently told a crowd at a high school in suburban Denver.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 26, 2013 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
The California bullet-train project has collided with farmers, political conservatives and wealthy suburbanites who would like to see the $68-billion system killed. Now it is facing tough criticism from an unlikely quarter: within the ranks of high-speed rail's true believers. Some longtime backers of the project are objecting to political compromises that they say undermine legal safeguards for the massive investment, notably a design that would move passengers between urban destinations faster than air travel, as well as requirements intended to prevent a half-built system.
AUTOS
October 31, 2007 | Ralph Vartabedian, Times Staff Writer
Question: I am looking to the L.A. Times for help in trying to find out what is causing the orange/yellowish spots that are appearing on our cars in increasing numbers. I have lived here for 24 years and have owned white cars for all of that time. In the past four or five years I have noticed dark orange/yellow droppings on my car, about the size of a pencil eraser. Within the last two years they have increased in number. Once dried, it is very difficult to get them off.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2012 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
The state rail authority has grossly underestimated future operating costs of California's proposed bullet train, meaning taxpayers potentially will have to provide billions of dollars annually once the system is running, according to an analysis released Monday by a group of outside financial experts. The California High Speed Rail Authority's claim that its future system would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses is based on unrealistic assumptions about what it will cost to operate the network, according to the study group, which included former World Bank official William Grindley and Stanford University management professor Alain C. Enthoven.
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