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October 25, 2013 | By Bob Pool
"Hogwash!" was the cry when Neil, Sierra Madre's beloved pot-bellied pig, was cited for being overweight. Specifically, an animal control officer labeled him a hog, which is illegal to possess in the town northeast of Pasadena. The officer had actually been sent to the Montecito Avenue neighborhood to investigate reports of a noisy rooster, which is also illegal in Sierra Madre. But when she looked over the picket fence into the yard next door, past the mailbox painted with a fanciful pig's head, she noticed Neil rooting around in the dirt.
October 9, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
The federal government's partial shutdown has led to a partial return of furloughed workers, including some workers needed to investigate an outbreak of salmonella in chicken. One of the ironies of the shutdown is how the politics have been presented. In their drive to end it, lawmakers and others highlight the important work that has been put on hold in the political dispute, especially the loss of key services to families of veterans, consumers and workers whose lives are made better by government inspections.
September 26, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- What will Twitter choose as its ticker symbol? The smart money is betting on “TWTR.” At least, that's according to the oddsmakers in Las Vegas. They are leaning toward “TWTR” with odds of 5 to 6 over “TWIT” 3 to 1, according to the New York Post . “BIRD” and “EGG” have long odds (as they should), with odds of 35-1 and 50-1, respectively. Las Vegas is also betting that Twitter will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
September 21, 2013 | By Chris Foster
UCLA opened Saturday's game at the Rose Bowl in its version of the missing-man formation. The Bruins' offense sent 11 players on to the field for their first offensive play against New Mexico State, then called receiver Shaquelle Evans back to the sideline. Nick Pasquale was the symbolic starter at receiver. Pasquale died Sept. 8 when he was struck by a car. He had been an inspiration to the Bruins in the year-plus he had been on the team. "Whatever he had to do for the team, he did it," Evans said.
September 19, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY - Johnny Laboriel, a legendary Mexican rock 'n' roll singer and icon for the Afro-Mexicano community, has died in Mexico City, a representative said. He was 71. He died early Wednesday at his home after an extended stay in the hospital for treatment of prostate cancer, the Rev. Jose de Jesus Aguilar, who administered the last rites, said via his Twitter account. Laboriel's specialty was to reinterpret American hits of the 1960s, classics like "Poison Ivy" and "Yakety Yak," translated into Spanish and sung with buoyant enthusiasm and an infectious smile.
August 6, 2013 | By Michael McGough
A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania has awarded a victory to some middle-school girls who were disciplined for wearing rubber wristbands with the message “I [heart] boobies! (Keep a Breast).” The bracelets were a lighthearted attempt to raise awareness about breast cancer, but school officials weren't amused. “Boobie” wristbands now join black armbands as forms of symbolic speech by schoolchildren that are protected by the 1stAmendment. In the  landmark 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines School District, the Supreme Court upheld the right of  children to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. That decision contains this  famous - and to school administrators notorious - statement: “It  can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The court ruled that schools could suppress student expression on controversial issues  only if it “materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.” If the only case on the books were Tinker, lawyers for the Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania probably would have advised their clients not to fight the schoolgirls in court.
August 6, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Fears of impending terrorist strikes against Western targets in the Muslim world reached fever pitch Tuesday after a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, the evacuation of diplomatic missions in Africa and Europe and the approaching end of Ramadan and symbolic anniversaries of past deadly attacks. Extremists believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda shot down a Yemeni army helicopter, killing all eight on board headed for a central province to protect oil installations. Though thought to have been a target of opportunity rather than a carefully executed plot, the blow undermined the Sana government's assurances to the United States and other Western countries that its forces are able to protect foreign entities in this high-risk season.
July 20, 2013 | By Benjamin Mueller
From spray-painted T-shirts and canvas banners, square black stickers and solemn portraits, Trayvon Martin's face stared out at a Leimert Park rally in Los Angeles last weekend, hours after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in Florida. But on pamphlets distributed at the edge of the crowd, a different image stirred protesters. It was the face, they said, of another black victim of unequal justice: Marissa Alexander. Alexander, 31, a mother of three, was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison for firing one shot into the wall of her Jacksonville, Fla., kitchen during an argument with her husband, against whom she had a protective order.
June 21, 2013 | By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times
Alongside Mr. Spock, Archie Bunker and the Fonz, James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano has been absorbed wholesale into the American psyche to rank as one of TV's most indelible icons. In every sense of the term, Gandolfini's mob boss was larger than life: a man of grand appetites, enormous externalized rage and tremendous heart who cast an equally gigantic shadow across popular culture during six seasons on HBO's "The Sopranos" that qualify as some of the finest television ever produced.
June 20, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
James Gandolfini, the most important actor in the most influential television series of the last decade and a half, died suddenly Wednesday, in Italy. He was only 51, and though he had been a busy working actor -- in film and onstage as well as on TV -- for two decades, and had (with writer David Chase) created a character for the ages, he was also at what, especially in light of an early death, felt like the beginning of his career. Even though he spent the years of "The Sopranos" and afterward taking parts that told the world there was more to him than a New Jersey mob boss -- that is to say, waste management consultant -- its length and depth, its cultural mass, guarantee that Tony Soprano is the role for which he'll be most remembered.
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