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December 29, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Warning to all nostalgic "Sesame Street" fans: The puppets in "Stuffed and Unstrung" are not the Muppets. They do hail from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and they do exude childlike charm. An orange-haired girl with spongy purple skin accessorizes her tweed suit with pearls. Another, whose bright yellow nose sticks out 5 inches, wears blue hair tied in pigtails. And a rock-star gorilla sports sunglasses, studded bracelets and hoop earrings. But this cast of 80 puppets doesn't work from a script.
December 25, 2010 | By Nomi Morris, Los Angeles Times
When Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth began preaching to the destitute on the streets of London in 1852, people didn't yet use light bulbs or telephones. Now, the faith-based social service charity, a potent symbol of Christmas tradition, is fully digital, recently streaming online a Christmas pop concert held in Glendale, collecting text donations via mobile phones, and developing an iPhone app with a ringing bell. The cornerstone of the electronic effort is the Online Red Kettle ?
December 5, 2010 | Kathy M. Kristof, Personal Finance
Every holiday season consumers get pitched by numerous charities that hope the spirit of giving will pry open hearts and pocketbooks. The appeals often have a sense of urgency as many charities struggle this year with increasing needs and declining donations because of the economic malaise. It's hard to turn down charities at times. But for giving to be truly effective, it should be well thought out overall and not done on impulse. "Most people give because they're asked," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.
September 21, 2010 | T.J. Simers
I consider Joe Torre a good friend. I'd have fired the guy Tuesday. New York newspaper quotes and radio snippets made it sound as if Torre was there a day earlier soliciting the job as Mets' manager. Isn't he still the Dodgers manager? The Dodgers aren't good enough for him? What does that say to Dodgers fans? "If Frank McCourt was more engaged as owner these days… " I told Torre, but he interrupted.
September 11, 2010 | By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
Former Temple City Mayor Judy Wong was sentenced Friday to 16 months in state prison after pleading no contest to charges that she solicited and received $13,100 in bribes for her support of a $75-million mall project. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg ordered Wong to pay $16,700 in restitution to the developer and more than $16,000 in fines. Wong, 53, entered a plea in May to 10 counts of bribery, perjury and solicitation to commit bribery, said Deputy Dist.
August 2, 2010 | By Diane Pucin
One of Lance Armstrong's attorneys Monday said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has contacted cyclists and offered them reduced suspensions if they can provide evidence implicating the legendary rider in doping. Tim Herman, a lawyer from Austin, Texas, who represents the seven-time winner of the Tour de France, declined to name the riders who have been approached, saying only that he has become aware of USADA offering what he termed "sweetheart deals" to them if they testify or otherwise tie Armstrong to cheating.
June 10, 2010 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Redondo Beach city officials can prohibit day laborers from soliciting work from motorists, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in a case that has been eyed by other cities that have sought similar restrictions. A lower court four years ago had ruled that the city's ordinance banning solicitation from the street infringed on laborers' free speech rights. Wednesday's 2-to-1 decision from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling. The city has been engaged in a legal tug-of-war with day laborers for more than 40 years, said Michael Webb of the Redondo Beach city attorney's office.
May 19, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
It was a Facebook campaign meant to make a stand for free speech. But in Pakistan, a contest encouraging users of the social-networking site to submit caricatures of the prophet Muhammad has been viewed as blasphemous, prompting a court-ordered nationwide ban on the website Wednesday. A court in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, ordered the government to ensure that the country's Internet service providers were blocking access to Facebook, the world's most popular social-networking website.
April 1, 2010
Greener grass Re "Parents find it harder to ditch L.A. Unified," March 29 It is unfathomable that L.A. Unified has reached such depths that it needs to construct a Berlin Wall to prevent families within city limits from seeking educational opportunities elsewhere. Whose interests is it really taking to heart? This new policy will only increase disparities between the haves and have-nots, as those with resources are already in private schools or will flee there.
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