CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 15, 2011
Loren Miller Jr. Longtime Superior Court judge Retired Superior Court Judge Loren Miller Jr., 74, the second of three generations of his family to serve on the bench in California, died Dec. 5 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, his family said. Miller was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by Gov. Jerry Brown in 1975 and elevated to the Superior Court in 1977. Until his retirement in 1997, he handled a number of assignments, including supervising judge in Pomona.
August 19, 2011 |
For Michele Bachmann, the hits keep coming. While on the campaign trail earlier this week, she mixed up Elvis Presley's birthday with the day he died. Now, she has apparently brought an Elvis-era menace back from the dead, citing in an interview the growing might of - the Soviet Union. According to the liberal website Think Progress, Bachmann, whose grasp of history on the trail at times has been somewhat shaky, said during a radio interview Thursday that Americans today are mindful of the threat posed by a rising U.S.S.R., which, like Elvis, left the building a long, long time ago. ( Listen below.
August 12, 2011 |
On Saturday, Germany will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the biggest and grimmest construction projects in history — the building of the Berlin Wall. Photographs of the wall, which overnight brutally severed streets, rail lines and families, have been on display in front of Berlin government buildings for several months. On Saturday, the memorial events will last all day and include a wreath-laying ceremony honoring the victims of the former communist East German government. The 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall, in 2009, attracted a lot more attention in the U.S. It was a victory we like to claim, especially triumphalist conservatives.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2011 |
Reporting from Moscow -- Yelena Bonner, human rights activist and widow of Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, has died. She was 88. Bonner died Saturday afternoon in Boston after a long illness, said her daughter, Tatiana Yankelevich. Bonner had lived in the United States since 2003. "Sakharov and Bonner together had done more for our country than a huge number of politicians," Boris Nemtsov, leader of the Solidarity opposition movement and a former deputy prime minister of Russia, said Sunday.
April 16, 2011 |
The cars were clunkers as soon as they rolled off the assembly line. Soviet-made clothes, food and entertainment were equally shabby. Moscow was hemorrhaging its worthless rubles in an arms race with Washington, and Soviet mothers were angry that their sons were dying in a senseless war in Afghanistan. When Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev came to power in 1985 and launched his campaign for perestroika — Russian for "reconstruction" — he gambled that taking an honest look at the country's problems and urging citizens to speak truth to power would steer the Soviet Union off its collision course with economic collapse.
March 27, 2011 |
To be honest, I was less enthusiastic than my husband about tacking a jaunt to Kiev onto our already packed 18-day European vacation last summer. But David is a serious amateur historian of World War II and the Soviet Union, a man who has not met a 500-page tome on Joseph Stalin or the Eastern Front campaign that he hasn't devoured. So the invitation from friends spending a year in the Ukrainian capital on a Fulbright Fellowship was irresistible to him, a chance to see firsthand what remains of the Soviet empire as well as the emergence of one of its former satellites.
December 26, 2010 |
When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry Gal Beckerman Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 598 pp., $30 If you think the Cold War is dead as the backdrop for any decent espionage story, you haven't read "When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry," journalist Gal Beckerman's reheating of the politics of the Cold War and of how the millions of Russian Jews and the Americans...
November 27, 2010 |
As wartime days go, Friday was a fairly quiet one in Afghanistan. Helicopters skittered across the sky; convoys rumbled along desert roads; soldiers in mountain outposts scanned the jagged peaks around them. But one thing set the day apart: With its passing, the length of the U.S. military's campaign in Afghanistan matched that of the Soviet Union's long and demoralizing sojourn in the nation. The last Red Army troops left Feb. 15, 1989, driven out after nine years and 50 days by the U.S.-backed Afghan fighters known as mujahedin, or holy warriors.
November 21, 2010 |
The Dangerous Otto Katz The Many Lives of a Soviet Spy Jonathan Miles Bloomsbury: 366 pp., $26 He had at least 21 aliases. He insisted that he was briefly Marlene Dietrich's husband in 1920s Berlin, which was probably not so, though he was possibly her lover. He was definitely the model for the leading character in Lillian Hellman's successful play (and film) "Watch on the Rhine," but not, I think, the inspiration for " Casablanca's" Victor Laszlo, much as the publisher of this book might wish it so. That said, he seems to have known everyone over the course of a world-traveling public career as a left-wing journalist and author and a more hidden (but not entirely unknown)
July 23, 2010 |
With Russian spies making headlines, it's not a bad time to hop into the way-back machine and revisit a slice of Cold War espionage with the French import "Farewell." The fictionalized account of an extraordinary episode of espionage that helped cripple the Soviet Union, "Farewell" offers intrigue, simmering tension and Fred Ward doing a goofy impersonation of Ronald Reagan. OK, so that last part isn't so hot. But for the majority of its leisurely running time, Christian Caron's twisty thriller sports a smart sophistication along with an amazing story that's all the more remarkable for its relative anonymity in history books.