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Short Shrift

July 23, 2009 | Susan King
The L.A. Shorts Fest '09 has attracted a lot of star power. The 13th annual festival, which begins tonight at Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatre and continues through next Friday, features shorts directed by Courteney Cox, Demi Moore and Scarlett Johansson. Among the opening-night offerings are Cox's "The Monday Before Thanksgiving" and Johansson's "These Vagabond Shoes" with Kevin Bacon. Moore's "Streak," starring her daughter Rumer Willis, screens Friday.
April 19, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
In this age of try-anything television, it's difficult to understand why Lifetime chose to cram the Terry McMillan novel "A Day Late and a Dollar Short" into a single made-for-TV movie. Rich with plot and pathos that address difficult issues, including addiction and sexual abuse, the story could easily have sustained an abbreviated miniseries or two-part "special event. " As a movie, however, it just wastes the considerable talents of its cast by force-feeding the audience a hard-to-swallow meal that is by turns bitter and treacly.
It's hard not to be disappointed when a blue-chip performer like Emmylou Harris releases her best album in years, then rolls into town and gives it short shrift in concert. Then again, it's hard not to be completely taken with a concert by a blue-chip performer who, as Harris did Tuesday at the Coach House, arrives in high spirits, displays an easy sense of humor and fun, and gives a generous and satisfying accounting of her talent.
July 28, 2013 | By Sarah Chayes
"This is a great time to be a white-collar criminal. " An assistant U.S. attorney I know startled me with this remark in 2002. The bulk of her FBI investigators, she explained, had been pulled off to work on terrorism, which left traditional crime investigations sorely understaffed. Little has changed since then. For more than a decade, the U.S. government has been focused on one type of threat above all others: terrorism. This obsession has not only been used to justify an erosion of Americans' privacy, it has opened them to other dangers and, paradoxically, made it easier for terrorists to achieve success.
April 22, 2010 | Frances Fox Piven and Lorraine C. Minnite
This is a eulogy for ACORN as we knew it. Our premier anti-poverty organization has been forced into a massive reorganization, and its future is unclear. If we care about democracy, we should study the story of what happened to ACORN, or the Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now. It is true that in its rush to recruit people and build its organization, ACORN was sometimes sloppy and should have supervised its people more closely. But those faults could have been corrected and ACORN's singular contributions to our polity sustained.
April 13, 1996
Now I understand! Previously I'd given Howard Rosenberg's column short shrift, reading it only occasionally because it was about "television." But I actually laughed over a dozen times at his brilliant "Now I Know How Hester Prynne Must Have Felt" (March 29), skewering Dana Carvey. As for Rosenberg, give him the Oscar Wilde mantle award. JOHN MARBERRY San Diego
May 31, 2005
Regarding "Searching for Steelhead and the Past in Malibu Creek" [May 24]: The reason the author couldn't find trout is that after a heavy runoff, all the trout have gone to sea. The Southern steelhead tolerates warm and low water in drought years and being flushed to sea in high-water years. Moderate-flow years allow the fish to return for a spring run. This little-known wonder of Southern California has been given very short shrift. Tony Rezzato Culver City
June 30, 2005
Thank you for your article on the California Design Biennial at the Pasadena Museum of California Art ["A Show That's Oh, So California," June 23]. I noticed, however, that none of the pieces you mentioned included the many fine examples of graphic design included in the show. Why do I care? Well, I'm a graphic designer. And I wonder why it is that graphic design gets such short shrift. My going theory is that people can buy and cherish objects like Gideon Dagan's Puzzle wine rack.
Pssst. Are you secretly confused by certain sound-alike words but too embarrassed to ask anyone about them? Perhaps taking this quick quiz will help: Academic grammarians often give common usage dilemmas short 1) (shift, shrift). Instead of 2) (deferring, demurring) to such snobbery, we should 3) (mitigate, militate) against it. Luxury estates are just as 4) (ripe, rife) with usage errors as neighborhoods with 5) (track, tract) houses. ANSWERS 1) Shrift.
May 25, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Every day, about 3,800 American kids try a cigarette for the first time. A thousand of them will grow up to to have a daily smoking habit, and nearly 300 will wind up dead due to a smoking-related disease.  Those statistics would be depressing under any circumstances. But they are all the more so considering that states and the federal government collect billions of dollars every year in cigarette taxes and funds from the 1998 tobacco industry settlements. In 2010, that added up to almost $24 billion, according to a study in Friday's edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  And how much of that $24 billion was used to fund tobacco prevention programs, smoking cessation services and other public health interventions?
February 7, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
The Texas attorney general has reached an agreement with some minority groups on a plan aimed at resolving a stalemate over redistricting and minority representation in the state. At least seven minority groups, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, known as MALDEF, agreed to the plan that they said minimized changes to the original redistricting maps drafted by the state's Republican-run Legislature. Those maps were tossed out last year by a panel of federal judges, who ruled that the congressional and legislative district boundaries did not reflect the growth of the Latino population.
November 3, 2011 | Doyle McManus
Republicans usually enter a presidential campaign with a built-in advantage on at least one issue: national security. Historically, voters trust the GOP to be tougher than Democrats on defense and foreign policy. Not this time. President Obama has robbed the Republican Party of its usual foreign policy edge, thanks to his surprisingly enthusiastic prosecution of the war against terrorism. The death of Osama bin Laden in May didn't give Obama much of a bump in opinion polls overall; unluckily for the president, the economy is still the overriding issue in voters' minds.
September 9, 2011 | David Lazarus
You can almost understand Republican lawmakers standing firm on matters of economic stimulus and debt reduction. Whether or not you agree with their positions, at least it can be argued that they're guided by good-old-fashioned conservative ideology. But when it comes to consumer protection, the Republicans are merely pandering to their deep-pocketed corporate cronies and opposing anything President Obama supports, no matter how reasonable or meritorious it may be. This week's confirmation hearing for Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made clear that the GOP won't help beleaguered consumers until it's ensured that the new watchdog agency is more bark than bite.
January 11, 2011 | By Randee Dawn, Special to the Los Angeles Times
In Mike Leigh's "Another Year," Ruth Sheen plays Gerri, a compassionate therapist/mom/wife whose household flows with cheer, food and wine. But toward the end of the film, lonely colleague Mary steps out of line by flirting with Gerri's (much younger) son, then snipes at his new girlfriend. Gerri gives her a quiet but searing what-for. The reaction to that scene has surprised Sheen. "Lots of people have said to me they thought Gerri was very unkind to Mary ? because Mary was, in a sense, pathetic ?
December 12, 2010 | By Peter Hotez
Some of the world's most glaring health problems affecting impoverished girls and women are also some of the easiest to address. The fact that we consistently fail to do so is puzzling. Take female genital schistosomiasis. This infection, caused by a parasitic worm, affects at least 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, and in as many as 50 million African women, schistosomiasis produces ghastly and acutely painful ulcers of the uterus, cervix and lower genital tract. Women who suffer from the disease are stigmatized, and they are often socially isolated and depressed.
September 9, 1989 | MARTIN ZIMMERMAN
Those few viewers who have the patience to wade through the sheen of Academy Award gloss and canned speeches of "From the Heart," airing Sunday at 8 p.m. on Channels 4, 36 and 39, will be rewarded with some moments of pure, uplifting joy. Unfortunately, the producers of "From the Heart" don't make it easy, giving short shrift to the real stars of the show, the disabled artists whose truely formidable accomplishments are being celebrated.
October 3, 2010 | By Jessica Garrison, Kim Christensen and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times
Cities across California have skirted or ignored laws requiring them to build affordable homes and in the process mismanaged hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars, a Times investigation has found. At least 120 municipalities ? nearly one in three with active redevelopment agencies ? spent a combined $700 million in housing funds from 2000 to 2008 without constructing a single new unit, the newspaper's analysis of state data shows. Nor did most of them add to the housing stock by rehabilitating existing units.
August 15, 2010 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
The economy is flailing, unemployment is sky-high and painful government cutbacks lie ahead. Now is the time, it would seem, for the people of Spain to pull together. To Joan Puigcercos, it's all the more reason to split up. A resident of wealthy Catalonia here in the sunny northeastern corner of the country, Puigcercos blames Spain's economic woes on the government in Madrid and what he sees as its irresponsible and discriminatory ways. For years, he says, officials blithely spent huge sums on welfare checks and subsidies for poorer parts of Spain, using plenty of tax money from Catalonia, while ignoring the region's needs for better infrastructure and quality public services.
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