February 6, 2014 |
JERUSALEM - Emerging from a black limousine, the tall man in the bushy gray wig lectures a small crowd of Israelis on how their holy city of Jerusalem belongs to followers of all religions - "Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Klingons and Hobbits. " He asks a young passerby, "Do you think I deserve a Nobel Prize?" The two-minute spoof video, released on YouTube this week by ultranationalist Israelis, is the latest sign of how critics of a possible Mideast peace deal have focused their ire on the effort's chief champion, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
January 31, 2014 |
As letter of intent day approaches on Wednesday and committing and decommitting picks up steam, it's a good time to remember the tale of Jordan Payton, who two years ago was in the national spotlight as a receiver at Westlake Village Oaks Christian. During his recruiting year, he made commitments to USC, California and Washington, twice going on national TV to make his announcement. On signing day, he changed again and signed with UCLA. "It's crazy, but the people have to understand this process is crazy," Payton said in 2012.
January 29, 2014 |
If you missed the very fine, fine-art documentary "Tim's Vermeer" during its brief stop last month, it is back in town for its official run. Director Teller (better known as the droller half of the ironic comedy/magic team Penn & Teller) follows inventor Tim Jenison's journey to understand how the 17th-century painter Johannes Vermeer tripped the light so fantastically. A tale of art and obsession unfolds as Jenison experiments with various optical techniques Vermeer might have used to achieve his luminous interplay of light and shadow.
January 26, 2014 |
President Obama has announced several significant changes to U.S. counter-terrorism intelligence-collection programs, including an overhaul of the way the National Security Agency stores and accesses telephone metadata. But what has sometimes been overlooked in the firestorm created by Edward Snowden's leaks about the program is a clear definition of what metadata is, and what it is not. On the eve of the president's announcement, I took part in a daylong session of briefings, discussion and debate at the NSA. The session, arranged by Carnegie Mellon University professor Kiron Skinner and Emily Goldman of the Pentagon's Cyber Command, involved a small group of computer scientists and other researchers and the top leadership of the NSA. The meetings were spectacular for their clarity and candor.
January 25, 2014 |
Lakers fans might not be especially familiar with the NBA draft lottery. With multiple injuries and a 16-28 record, the Lakers have the seventh-worst record in the league. A full 8½ games behind eighth-place Dallas (25-20) -- technically 9½ since the Mavericks have the head-to-head tiebreaker -- the Lakers are a near-lock to miss the playoffs. On May 20, the NBA will hold the lottery, assigning 1,000, four-digit combinations to 14 teams. The franchise with the worst record will receive 250 combinations, giving it a 25% chance of landing the first pick and a 64.3% chance of at least getting a top-three selection.
January 25, 2014 |
It was just over a week before the leads of HBO's gay-centered new series "Looking" would ultimately be seen - and examined closely - and the trio of friends (or "dream team," as they dub themselves) were too occupied to be overwhelmed by the burden, thumbing through humorous cellphone videos of one another taken from the set. "I hope my phone is never stolen because these are so humiliating," said Jonathan Groff, an impish grin tugging at his face as he shared a video of regrettable singing moments by costars Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett.