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November 4, 2010 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Monica Johnson, a film and television writer best known for her screenwriting partnership with writer-director Albert Brooks on "Modern Romance," "Lost in America" and other comedies starring Brooks, has died. She was 64. Johnson, a Palm Springs resident, died of esophageal cancer Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said her daughter, Heidi Johnson. The sister of the late comedy writer Jerry Belson, Johnson began her nearly 40-year writing career in the 1970s when she wrote episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Laverne & Shirley" and other TV series.
October 8, 2010
Over the course of five hours on July 19, top Agriculture Department officials scrambled to oust Shirley Sherrod after the online circulation of a misleading excerpt of her 2009 speech to NAACP members. In doing so, the officials, including Secretary Tom Vilsack, overlooked indications that they did not have all the facts and acted without having seen her full speech. 1:56 p.m., from Wayne Maloney, a USDA press aide, to Chris Mather, USDA public affairs director, and others, about the misleading fragment of video of Sherrod's 2009 speech: "I was just informed of a video of the Georgia State Director that was posted on the Internet earlier this afternoon.
October 7, 2010 | By Peter Nicholas and Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau
Obama administration officials knew they did not have all the facts last summer when they rushed to dismiss Shirley Sherrod from the Agriculture Department after learning of a video that painted her as a racist, newly released e-mails show. The day after Sherrod's ouster, even as USDA officials acknowledged in internal memos that they had not seen the full video, a White House senior aide e-mailed them to commend the department for moving quickly so the story would not gain "traction.
September 2, 2010 | By Robin Abcarian
The command center of Andrew Breitbart's growing media empire is a suite of offices on Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles with the temporary feel of a campaign office. Only the computers seem firmly anchored. On a recent summer day, just weeks after he posted video clips that touched off a national furor over race, Breitbart was swigging a bottled Frappuccino at his desk. In a Lacoste shirt, cargo shorts and laceless Converse All-Stars, he looked every bit the 41-year-old industry player he might have been, but for a political awakening that transformed this liberal, West Side child of privilege into a Hollywood-hating, mainstream-media-loathing conservative.
August 25, 2010 | By Julia Love, Tribune Washington Bureau
Former federal official Shirley Sherrod, ousted from her job after a racial remark she made during a speech was taken out of context, turned down an offer to return full time to the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, but said she would continue to speak out about racism and discrimination. Sherrod said in a news conference with Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack that she would work with the agency as a consultant at some point, but was not ready to come back full time.
August 24, 2010 | By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
Shirley Sherrod, forced from her government post after becoming a target for unfounded complaints that she was a racist, rejected an offer Tuesday to return full-time to the Department of Agriculture. At a joint news conference after meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Sherrod, however, said she would work as a consultant with the agency on civil rights issues. "I enjoyed my work at USDA," said Sherrod in turning down the offer. "I just don't think at this point I can stay full time with USDA.
August 4, 2010 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau
For Fredrick Hall, the soil of southwest Georgia has yielded bounties of peanuts, a hard-earned livelihood and a lifetime of adjusting to the whims of a higher power. "I'm dependent on the Lord," Hall said recently, as the sun pounded down on his peanut crop, which he cannot afford to irrigate. "Right now, Lord, we could use some rain." Hall grew up in the Jim Crow South — where he says a "plantation mentality" governed life in the surrounding farming community. So much has changed — but not enough, he said.
July 30, 2010 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
Shirley Sherrod, the African American federal Agriculture Department official who was forced out of her job after a conservative blogger posted a heavily edited video of a speech she had made, said Thursday that she believed her experience provides a fresh opportunity for a discussion of race issues in the nation. "If the suffering I've endured and the joy I've felt gets that discussion back out there, we've got to deal with it," Sherrod said at a panel discussion, Context and Consequences, at an annual convention of the National Assn.
July 28, 2010
Whitman's stand on immigration Re "Softer tone ignites heat," July 25 Voters don't like being played for fools, and that's exactly what Meg Whitman has done. In ads during the GOP primary, former Gov. Pete Wilson pronounced her to be "tough as nails" on illegal immigration. Whether she fooled him too or not, his credibility is now as damaged as hers. Fortunately, about three out of four American voters support Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070. By opposing the Arizona law, Whitman can only be described as "soft as butter" on illegal immigration.
July 24, 2010 | James Rainey
Short of announcing the discovery of a zero-calorie potato or juggling piglets at the state fair, a mid-level bureaucrat for the USDA wouldn't stand much chance of breaking into the national news conversation. That would have been true if not for the work of a furiously partisan Internet operator and a group of all-too-credulous media accomplices, namely some Fox outlets, that made sure this week that we all knew the name of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development director for the state of Georgia.
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