CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 24, 2013 |
The Los Angeles City Council took action Wednesday to ban bullhooks used by elephant trainers in traveling circuses, becoming the first U.S. metropolis to outlaw a tool that critics say inflicts pain. Voting unanimously, the council asked the city attorney's office to prepare an ordinance outlawing the use of the bullhook, a sharp-tipped tool used to train and keep elephants under control. Baseball bats, ax handles, pitchforks and other implements used on the pachyderms would also be banned.
October 23, 2013 |
These days, athletes become emblems of their adoptive cities the way cigar-chomping pols and gangsters once did. Big Papi is Boston; Derek Jeter is still New York. Michael Jordan was Chicago, or Chicago was Jordan. Before that Butkus and Ditka. St. Louis, Bob Gibson and Ozzie Smith. So now L.A. has this blingy Puig character, as in Captain Queeg -- long "e," longer swing. Someone alert the chamber of commerce about this one. It's time to move on, to basketball and the Ice Capades, but let us first complete this postmortem on Yasiel Puig's inaugural season, acknowledging that the Dodgers' right fielder has become the Fresh Prince of L.A., replacing Kobe probably.
October 22, 2013 |
As human understanding of elephants has evolved, so has our treatment of them. Zoos decades ago freed these largest of land mammals from standing for hours in chains on arthritis-inducing concrete. Also gone from many zoos is the bullhook, an instrument that resembles a fireplace poker that is used to poke, prod or strike an elephant. Although the blunt end can be used as a lead for an elephant, the sharp end makes it a tool of coercion. The Los Angeles Zoo stopped using the bullhook in any manner in 2010.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 21, 2013 |
It seems to happen often enough that we're no longer shocked to hear it: A teenager commits suicide after being bullied online by peers. But the recent death in Florida of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick and arrest of two of her former middle school classmates makes it clear that victims are getting younger and bullies more brazen online. Two girls, 12 and 14, have been charged with felony aggravated stalking based on evidence of a year of online taunts and threats. Sheriff's deputies confiscated the cellphones and laptops of more than a dozen girls accused of bullying Rebecca and found messages such as "You should die. " This may be the first time children have been accused of a crime in connection with suicide.
October 16, 2013 |
Checking up on a doctor is becoming a major snag for Obamacare shoppers in California. Three weeks into open enrollment, the state's insurance exchange, Covered California, has pulled its online directory of medical providers after acknowledging there are serious problems with the information. The California Medical Assn. says it found mistakes such as obstetricians labeled as ophthalmologists and the wrong doctors described as fluent in Russian and Farsi. Anthem Blue Cross, the state's largest for-profit health insurer, has shut down a similar physician search tool on its website until it can be updated for new plans for sale now under the federal healthcare law. And consumers say calling other insurers and doctor's offices around the state often yields confusing or conflicting answers, leaving them largely in the dark.
October 3, 2013 |
Several days into enrollment, California's insurance exchange still has no answers for people wanting to know if their doctors are included in health plans being sold on the state-run market. Covered California, the state's new insurance marketplace, said Thursday that its online search tool for doctors and hospitals won't be ready until Monday at the earliest. The exchange touted the feature when enrollment began Tuesday, but it has run into repeated delays amid other computer problems that have bogged down enrollment.