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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By Howard Blume
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to limit teacher job protections in California. The case, Vergara vs. California, is about halfway through trial. So far, advocates for nine families have presented their evidence that job protections for teachers are so stringent that they work against the best interests of students. Poor and minority students suffer disproportionate harm, attorneys argued. They are seeking to nullify laws that provide for teachers to earn tenure after 18 months as well as rules that rely on seniority rather than merit to determine which teachers are laid off. Lastly, the suit targets the teacher dismissal process as too lengthy and expensive.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
Mike Garson obviously takes the piano very seriously, but he can chuckle over some of the contradictory paths that a versatile mastery of the keys has led him down. Maybe the unlikeliest of all is the one he's embarking on Saturday at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, where he'll lead 44 instrumentalists, augmented by a 55-voice children's choir, in the premiere of his "Symphonic Suite for Healing. " Even an accomplished musician like Garson, who's best known as a key sideman during David Bowie's 1970s rise to superstardom but who usually plays jazz or a jazz-classical fusion when left to his own devices, can laughingly confess that what he's doing isn't brain surgery or as important as finding a cure for cancer.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 28, 2014 | By August Brown
Back in 2010, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig gave a lecture on copyright law. Speaking at a conference for the organization Creative Commons, he used YouTube clips of fans dancing to Phoenix's song " Lisztomania" as an example of proper "fair use" principles. He later uploaded the full lecture, which included the clips, to YouTube.   Liberation Music, the firm that licenses the Phoenix song in Australia and New Zealand, disagreed with Lessig's take. The firm issued a YouTube takedown order , asking that the lecture video be removed, and later threatened their own lawsuit against Lessig.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
One of the two friends who discovered Philip Seymour Hoffman's body in his apartment has withdrawn a lawsuit against the National Enquirer after reaching a settlement with the tabloid. David Bar Katz has come to an agreement with the Enquirer over a story that falsely claimed he and Hoffman were gay lovers who had  free-based cocaine the night before the actor died. Katz, a playwright,  told the New York Times  he will use the settlement to set up the  American Playwriting Foundation, which will give out an annual prize of $45,000 for an unproduced play. It will be called the Relentless Award, in Hoffman's honor.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 2014 | By Amy Kaufman
I hope ABC has learned its lesson. You can't just cast a hot dude with an accent to be “The Bachelor” and think it's a done deal. Even we of “Bachelor” nation can only stand for a baseline level of vapidness. Otherwise, we shall revolt. And revolt, we have. I mean, is there literally anyone out there still rooting for Juan Pablo to find love at the end of this season? If so, please raise your hand. Seriously. I want to know you. PHOTOS: Celebrity weddings and engagements of 2014 If it isn't obvious already -- duh, the fantasy suites were a total disaster.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
In "Mind Games," a new ABC drama-with-comedy premiering Tuesday, Steve Zahn and Christian Slater play brothers setting themselves up in the manipulation business. "We change people's minds without them knowing we did it," is how brother Clark Edwards (Zahn) describes their work, which takes "little observations" about human behavior "that had just been lying around in academic journals" and turns them into "powerful tools" to achieve desired outcomes. There is reference also to Jedi mind tricks.
SPORTS
February 23, 2014 | By Lisa Dillman
SOCHI, Russia -- The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed appeals from Canada and Slovenia regarding the legality of the suits worn by the three French athletes who swept the medals in men's ski cross. CAS heard the appeals in the early morning hours and issued a one-paragraph ruling on Sunday afternoon. It said that additional details would follow. The respective sports organizations alleged that just before the four-man final that "French support staff changed the shaping of the lower-leg suits of the riders, creating an aerodynamic effect.
SPORTS
February 23, 2014 | By Jared S. Hopkins
SOCHI, Russia -- The failure of U.S. skaters to win a medal in long-track speedskating in Russia came on the heels of one of the country's most successful World Cup seasons in years, with 28 medals. How did it all go so wrong? The U.S. Olympic Committee already has promised a thorough investigation, though it also had made clear its support for its partnership with Under Armour and extended its contract through the 2022 Games. U.S. speedskating officials said they will wait for a full analysis.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2014 | Emily Alpert Reyes
Two men who were repeatedly kicked out of Los Angeles City Council meetings for violating public comment rules won part of a free-speech lawsuit against the city last year. But a jury recently awarded them only a few dollars for their trouble. The meager awards are the latest turn in a long-running case that pitted the Venice Beach performers against council rules banning "personal, impertinent, unduly repetitive, slanderous or profane remarks. " Like many government bodies across the country, the council has often wrestled with how to regulate public comments and keep meetings orderly.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 2014 | By Rebecca Keegan
For some it's the Super Bowl, for others Olympic ice hockey - but for many, Oscar producer Neil Meron believes, the season's big game takes place in black-tie. "The Oscars is a sport," Meron said in an interview Thursday from a small office backstage at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, where a skeleton crew had assembled to start preparing for the Academy Awards on March 2. "There's the excitement of watching something live, as it happens. " Meron and his partner, Craig Zadan, are returning to produce the Oscars for a second year, this time bringing on Ellen DeGeneres as host for a second time and focusing the show on the theme of movie heroes, from Atticus Finch to Batman.
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