LA Observed archive
for December 2003

If you don't find what you want here, check another month or search below.

Times writers hurt in Baghdad (updated)

Three L.A. Times reporters -- Tracy Wilkinson, Ann Simmons and Chris Kraul -- have been injured in a car bomb explosion outside a Baghdad nightclub that killed five Iraqis. The...

John Gregory Dunne dies at 71

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From the L.A. Times news obit: John Gregory Dunne, the journalist, screenwriter and novelist who chronicled the Hollywood movie industry in his book "The Studio," then went on to write...

Press Club news

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The December issue of the L.A. Press Club newsletter "8 Ball" is up now at the organization's revamped website. (OK, it's been up for two weeks but I just saw...

Sage of Poly High

SportsLetter, the online newsletter from the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, interviews author and journalist Don Wallace about his book on Long Beach Polytechnic High School, One Great Game....

LAT: Ground space shuttle forever

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The L.A. Times today follows up science writer Robert Lee Hotz's six-day series on the space shuttle accident with a strongly written lead editorial: The space shuttle should never fly...

Freelancers' lament

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L.A. radio freelancer Emmanuelle Richard makes her living feeding the hunger of French stations for breaking news from here. So it's a bummer professionally speaking for her to be home...

Praising Sheehan

Alex Ben Block at Television Week checks in with longtime entertainment reporter David Sheehan, who left Channel 2 two weeks ago to work on syndicated specials, help out at the...

More on LAX commissioners

The L.A. Business Journal, keeping up the pressure on the "pay to play" story about Hahn commisioners asking potential city contractors for campaign cash, reports this week that airport commission...

Spotting Gray Davis

Where, you didn't ask, is Gray Davis these days? Both Howard Fine in the L.A. Business Journal and Rick Orlov in the L.A. Daily News report in their political notes...

Larry King as tool

Tim Rutten on the symbiotic relationship between CNN's Larry King and Michael Jackson lawyer Mark Geragos, in today's L.A. Times "Regarding Media" column: Take what occurred when Geragos went on...

Science writing made readable

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L.A. Times science writer K.C. Cole goes embedded at Fermilab for a first-person Column One about the hunt for elusive sterile neutrinos. It's one of the hardest experiments in physics:...

Five more seconds of fame

The website Sports By Brooks says that during last night's Lakers game, Nicole Richie (the non-Hilton half of "The Simple Life" duo) was interviewed on Fox Sports Net and said...

Mr. Loh goes to KCET

Fans of Sandra Tsing Loh know that she sometimes writes about the eccentricities of her Chinese-American scientist father. He used to hitchhike around L.A. -- maybe still does -- and...

KFI adds a talker

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John Ziegler will come to Los Angeles in January and work the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift "live and local," as they say, reports LA Radio.com. Ziegler was recently...

He didn't love L.A.

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In the midst of a piece praising his deceased former boss, columnist Rob Zaleski of the Madison (Wisconsin) Capital Times slams Los Angeles: In the fall of 1984, [he] rescued...

Breathed answers fifth grader

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Berkeley Breathed replies to a Palos Verdes fifth-grade critic on the Kids Reading Room page at the back of today's L.A. Times Calendar section. Sarah, who was upset that Peanuts...

J. Scott Schmidt, ex-publisher was 66

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After the Chicago Tribune bought the Valley News and Green Sheet in 1975, Schmidt took over as publisher and began the shopper's transformation into the L.A. Daily News. He later...

Ambushing Arnold

Times columnist Steve Lopez tags along as a couple of unemployed Orange County Republicans try to crash Gov. Schwarzenegger's fundraising troll through the exclusive skybox level at Staples Center during...

Lonewacko returns

Four months, 10,000 miles and many blog posts later, the Lonewacko blogging tour of America concludes. And he'd like some coin in his Amazon tip jar to show for it....

More on Smethurst

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Sue Smethurst, the Aussie journalist strip-searched, handcuffed and deported at LAX last month when she showed up to interview Olivia Newton-John, adds some details for Steven Mikulan in the LA...

Hyping Bart's book

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Variety editor Peter Bart is the lead item at Page Six today, due to Hollywood gossiping about who he's slyly dishing through the made-up characters in his new short-story collection,...

Paris carries Florida

Paris Hilton and "The Simple Life" on Fox outdrew Diane Sawyer's primetime sitdown with President Bush Tuesday night. Paris stomped the Prez among 18- to 34-year-olds (22% to 7%), and...

View from The Shack

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It's been a busy, and fruitful, blog week at Joyrides Without Maps. Check out Joseph's short ode to Playa del Rey (as viewed from The Shack): "If you've been in...

Giving opinion a bad name

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In a "Guest Comment" at National Review Online, Michelle Malkin way overreaches when she likens the Charlie LeDuff L.A. River miscue (posted about earlier today) to "another ugly Jayson Blair-like...

Victor Frisbee lives on

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On the Romenesko letters page today, former L.A. journalist Jane Birnbaum refers to the legend of Victor Frisbee, a fictitious character who used to show up in Rose Parade stories...

Strom's love child

Essie Mae Washington Williams, the retired Los Angeles teacher who revealed Strom Thurmond was her father, tells her story on today's LAT op-ed page. I am not bitter toward him....

Chick week

It's been a big week already for Los Angeles city controller Laura Chick. On Monday she made the news and the next day's papers by announcing an audit that found...

LeDuff chided, but...

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That Charlie LeDuff piece in the NYT last week on kayaking the L.A. River was too familiar for Blake Gumprecht, author of the 1999 book The Los Angeles River: Its...

'New York' sold

The magazine was purchased for $55 million this afternoon by Bruce Wasserstein, chairman of investment bank Lazard, says AdAge.com. Emmis (Los Angeles magazine) and the Tribune Co. (L.A. Times) had...

He'll need a translator

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Players on this year's L.A. Kings come from Canada, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia, France, Finland -- and a few are even from the U.S. Most live in Manhattan...

Alt film in L.A.

Steven Rosen writes on Indiewire today about L.A.'s place in the alternative cinema boom. To most people, a list of the top cities for the American alternative-cinema movement would include...

Walls and Waxman

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MSNBC gossip Jeannette Walls had an item in The Scoop yesterday dinging NYT Hollywood writer Sharon Waxman for using a quote from Harvey Weinstein without proper attribution. The Dec. 2...

Our Empire State Building

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Good rant by Michael Schneider at Franklin Avenue on the renaming of L.A.'s tallest skyscraper. He wonders if many people even knew its old name -- and wonders what that...

'L.A.'s Hidden Money'

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The cover package of seven staff stories in this week's L.A. Business Journal explores the cash-based underground economy, with a mainbar by RiShawn Biddle. Capsules look at a day laborer,...

No friends of Dowd

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CityBeat media columnist (and blogger about L.A.) Cathy Seipp is taking on an added blog gig -- she will opine from the right once a month about New York Times...

Blogs and their stats

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Law professor Eugene Volokh uses the web traffic stats compiled by The Truth Laid Bear to argue that there is no solid evidence the blogosphere slants to the right politically....

In 'Written By'

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In this month's Written By, the journal of the Writers Guild, Calle Khouri and Gary Ross talk with each other about the writing process, directing your own script and Ross'...

Chill out, dude

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We are all Paris Hilton, writes Fortune senior editor Geoffrey Colvin. If average Americans of even 30 to 40 years ago could see us today, they'd think we were all...

Bill Farr's 46 days

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The late Bill Farr was an L.A. Times reporter who became nationally known -- and an entry in First Amendment and journalism textbooks -- when he sat for 46 days...

Annenberg school ripped off

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A senior business officer at the USC Annenberg School for Communication misappropriated at least $100,000 before leaving the university last year, the campus Daily Trojan reports. Lisa Colleen Grabow used...

SaveDisney.com has legs

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After our SaveDisney.com item last week, the site pressing the agenda of Roy E. Disney was deemed culturally Irrelevant -- but that didn't stop the New York Times from doing...

Baghdad architecture, the series

The L.A. Times sent staff architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff to Baghdad some time ago and the result is a four-part series beginning Sunday with two big installments: "A Crumbling Cultural...

What matters: affluence or politics?

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Tim Rutten's media column today is another talker (his second this week). He opens with a swipe at what he calls the "nattering class" of self-proclaimed media critics so obsessed...

NBC's woman in Sacramento

News items: Reuters, Dec. 9 -- "Maria Shriver said on Tuesday that she had returned to her job as a NBC News television reporter after taking leave while her husband...

David Sheehan signs off

On the 5 o'clock news tonight, Channel 2 entertainment reporter David Sheehan read a report about Mick Jagger being knighted then told the audience that he was leaving the news...

What next, Time magazine?

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I Want Media's online poll (with The Week magazine) to choose a Media Person of the Year isn't even complete yet and already rates a gossip mention on Page Six...

Family says thanks

The mother and sisters of Dodger Stadium shooting victim Mark Antenorcruz left their thoughts yesterday at this post from September....

Dissenting from Rutten

NYU's Jay Rosen, writing at his PressThink blog, takes issue with Tim Rutten's L.A. Times Wednesday column dinging the idea of the New York Times public editor. Editor John Carroll's...

On writing long

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Among the local journalists in Boston last weekend talking about narrative non-fiction were the LAT's Pulitzer winner (for Enrique's Journey) Sonia Nazario, her editor Rick Meyer, the NYT's Charlie LeDuff,...

There's always the Recycler

In The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" this week, Tad Friend reports on what ensued when the L.A. staff of the National Lampoon website -- Steve Brykman, Joe Oesterle,...

In praise of Langer's Deli

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Not open on Sundays or nights any more, but still the best when it comes to L.A. pastrami. Richard Foss does the honors in CityBeat....

Considering the Playboy Interview

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Richard Horgan writes at FilmStew that the Playboy Interview was once a cultural milestone, but today has become just another pit stop on the Hollywood PR circuit. And so, as...

Get your sleep now, dude

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher was a Los Angeles journalist before going into a life of Republican politics, and the Daily Breeze says that at age 56 he's about to become a...

Saving Disney...dotcom

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Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold have a new website: SaveDisney.com. (And while we're at it, Patterico's Pontifications has a new web address...adjust accordingly.)...

Happy 25th

The LA Weekly 25th anniversary issue out today sounds like a keeper. The website revisits many past stories, and there is an interview with founder Jay Levin by Kristine McKenna....

Bob Hope's airport

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Bob Hope never lived in Burbank, Glendale or Pasadena -- the cities that own Burbank Airport -- but they have renamed the airport for him anyway. The Times story says...

Rutten on Okrent

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Tim Rutten was not impressed by Daniel Okrent's introduction as "public editor" of the New York Times, or his reason for being there. Rutten writes in today's L.A. Times "Regarding...

Business as usual

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Gov. Schwarzenegger, who used to say he wouldn't play the political fundraising game, has accepted $750,000 in contributions in recent weeks. Dan Weintraub at California Insider says "the money comes...

'Tainted tour de force'

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Slate's Jack Shafer read all 11,700 words of David Willman's report last Sunday in the L.A. Times on the influence of drug companies at the National Institutes of Health --...

No more DVDs for her

The studios had the wrong target when they suspected critics and reviewers of pirating Hollywood films. They should have been watching the Hollywood cops. From the L.A. Times:Julie D. Nelson,...

From the wayback machine...

The once-pioneering JenniCam is closing down December 31 after seven years online, and Terry Teachout at ArtsJournal.com writes that Jenni Ringley deserves credit as the Milton Berle of the Web:...

Another NYT obits memo

Yesterday's memo from the New York Times obituary editor calling for more fact-checking rigor was followed up today by a directive from on high. Standards Editor Allan Siegal's missive is...

Master of his domain

Indefatigable L.A. blogger Robert Garcia Tagorda ("Priorities and Frivolities") has changed his address. He's now the proud owner of www.tagorda.com. Check out his clean new design....

More of 'The Reagans'

After Showtime ran the much-debated docudrama on the Reagans, the network followed it with a televised discussion among historians, biographers, and others. Today at 2:30 p.m., KCRW is re-running the...

That was fast

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Gov. Schwarzenegger has dropped his private probe into the groping charges against him, which Dan Weintraub says makes sense -- "nobody understood what the investigators would be looking for...and if...

NYT memo to staff: arggh!

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Following a spate of erroneous or premature obituaries in its pages, the New York Times editor in charge of obits gets tough. His memo sent earlier today: From: Chuck StrumSubject:...

Rackauckas examined

The Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas, who is engaged in a nasty feud down there with the L.A. Times and the OC Weekly, is the subject of a cover piece...

Paging KLXS

From Don Barrett's members-only LARadio.com today:Who Goofed, I've Got to Know? KLSX runs the Howard Stern Show live from WXRK-New York beginning at 3 a.m. and then starts the show...

Boroughs redux

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A segment tonight on "Life and Times" (KCET, 7 p.m.) revisits the issue of splitting Los Angeles into boroughs. Also, L.A Business Journal reporter David Greenberg talks about the grocery...

Variety adds blogs

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Variety.com has added more blogs since I last looked. The new ones are on porn's crossover to the mainstream and trends in the comic book world. The site's first two...

Could get interesting

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The city's political class was abuzz last week about former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg acting more and more like he wants to run against fellow Democrat Jim Hahn. The election...

Follow the swag

A story by Michael Cieply and James Bates in the L.A. Times details some of the payments and expensive gifts -- watches, motorcycles, overseas trips -- that stars demand to...

Not Master and Commander

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Charlie LeDuff of the New York Times tries to kayak the Los Angeles River and gets past downtown, only to be "discovered and expelled before reaching the ocean." The river...

Okrent debuts at NYT

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Author, editor and Rotisserie Baseball co-founder Daniel Okrent wrote his introductory piece as public editor of the New York Times. They will appear every other week in the Sunday Week...

Remember her?

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Sue Smethurst was the Australian journalist detained at LAX last month when she arrived to interview Olivia Newton-John. After being strip-searched and held for 15 hours, she was sent home....

'Cripes, it's the media'

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The headline is from a keeper quote in today's L.A. Daily News destined for a long life in local newsrooms and political circles. The story by Rick Orlov and Beth...

Saturday night at the (home) movies

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Movie City News says that Focus Features was the first distributor to get free screeners into eager Hollywood hands this morning, using FedEx to deliver copies of Lost In Translation,...

Lions 1, Hunters 0

Developer Brian Sweeney called off his hunt for the lion that killed his goat -- the last male puma in the Santa Monica Mountains....

More on Wald

The president of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter in L.A. responds to criticism of KTLA news director Jeff Wald, at Wednesday's post here....

'I do order and declare...'

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Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation goes on public display today at the Central Library. It was the star attraction last night at the preview showing in the Getty Gallery, by all...

Check out pg. 30...

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...of the L.A. Times Calendar section today. The double-page ad for HBO's Angels in America contains eight blurbs running the length of the page. But all are from the New...

Scoops pay off

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Diane Dimond, the Court TV reporter who has had scoops on the Michael Jackson story, is close to signing up as a contributor to ABC's "Good Morning America," says TV...

B-1 Bob returns

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Robert K. Dornan, the conservative who lost his House seat to Loretta Sanchez in Orange County in 1996 (and lost to her again in '98), has filed papers to run...

Quid pro vinum?

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Hugh Hewitt collected his prize this week for being an early and vocal adopter of the Schwarzenegger campaign -- the governor came on his radio show (KRLA AM 870, 3-5...

Paris likes pucks

Page Six rumors that Paris Hilton hooked up recently with a member of the L.A. Kings -- but it doesn't say which one. Get on it, Brooks. (Franklin Avenue's Michael...

Go Lions

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From tomorrow's L.A. Times, by Ken Weiss: Though he insists that he only wants to scare the animal, not kill it, a land speculator received a permit this week to...

Argument for blog comments

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I never knew or even heard of author and Daily News book editor Bruce Cook until posting his obituary early last month, but plenty of people liked him. Another praising...

New at The Planning Report

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Snappy new look to the website for The Planning Report by David Abel and friends, and an interesting list of L.A. stories this month: Steve Soboroff on Playa Vista, Antonio...

Lawbreakers on Temple Street

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It's tough being a reporter trying to cover the L.A. County Board of Supervisors because so much of the people's business takes place out of view. The LA Weekly's Robert...

MCN 100 debuts

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Movie City News has unveiled the MCN 100, a panel of critics, reviewers and film watchers who will vote periodically for Best Picture and other awards. The voters listed include...

LAT shuffles the soft side

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Some movement among editors on the second floor at the L.A. Times, where the Calendar and features staffs sit, was announced this afternoon. In: Style editor: Rich Nordwind Deputy entertainment...

How about 'Dislike Bush'

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The L.A. Times covers the dust-up over last night's Beverly Hilton gathering of Hollywood liberals. It seems Drudge was incorrect when he leapt to the conclusion that the event was...

Books and more books

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California Authors.com posts on a San Francisco Chronicle story by Edward Guthmann about the raging partisanship on best-seller lists, and has a separate entry on Wil Wheaton's public ecstasy over...

He dissents on Wald

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Ron Fineman, who runs the subscription site On the Record, objects to KTLA news director Jeff Wald being given an award by the L.A. chapter of the Society of Professional...

Also in AJR...

In addition to the reconstruct of the Times' Arnold stories, the new issue of American Journalism Review has a piece on newspaper blogs. In it, Dan Weintraub says his California...

Forbes on Hollywood

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Seth Lubove, chief of the Forbes L.A. bureau, visits the set of the forthcoming Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator, and profiles the film's bankroller as a symbol of how movies...

If you see a motorcade...

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in town. He speaks to the World Affairs Council tonight, then tomorrow addresses the City Council and visits an AIDS clinic run by USC and...

Whole Foods and the Glock

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The new Whole Foods Market on Wilshire in Santa Monica -- built on the site of the former Madame Wu's Garden -- gleams with Santa Monica-worthy upscaleness. It's been packed...

From cable to candidate

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Alex Ben Block at Television Week profiles Bill Rosendahl, the longtime host of local public affairs cable shows who is running for the L.A. City Council. He hopes to replace...

Bad news for Weinraub

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Amy Pascal, the wife of New York Times correspondent Bernard Weinraub, was named the most powerful woman in Hollywood by the Hollywood Reporter. She is vice chairman of Sony Pictures...

Dissecting the groping stories

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The American Journalism Review steps back and reconstructs how the L.A. Times says it reported and edited the paper's controversial pre-election story that alleged groping of women by Arnold Schwarzenegger....

Ramirez surprises

Readers of the L.A. Times have come to expect cartoonist Michael Ramirez to toe the straight conservative line. So his drawing on Nov. 29 knocking the EPA for gutting the...

They don't look Muslim

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This morning's L.A. Times story on the Disney flap includes an interview with departing board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold -- but does not have Michael Eisner calling...

That 'Simple Life'

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Carina Chocano, the L.A. Times top TV critic, finds Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie surprisingly watchable. Despite its wickedly contrived and booby-trapped fish-out-of-water premise, "The Simple Life" is also the...

Daily News chided by Fox

Fox News commentator Steve Milloy has some criticism of Daily News' coverage of the Sunshine Canyon landfill controversy out in the Valley. His main target, however, is the county health...

Volokh on blog comments

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UCLA Law's Eugene Volokh explains in a long post why the popular Volokh Conspiracy group blog does not allow visitors to post comments. Excerpts: 1. The first is esthetic, which...

Madonna to Mandela

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Reason's December issue celebrates the L.A.-based magazine's 35th year in existence with a list of, yes, 35 "Heroes of Freedom" who "made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian...

Doing right in South L.A.

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Good Michael Hiltzik column in the L.A. Times about Francisco Pinedo, who is trying to bring a bunch of new private-sector jobs to South Los Angeles but has run up...

New L.A. group blog

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Moxie points to Blogging.la, a site put together by Sean Bonner and Jason DeFillippo. Contributors include Xeni Jardin, Wil Wheaton and Moxie. And speaking of blogs...the L.A. Times Calendar section...

Kaplan to Radio Liberal

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The L.A. Times' loss is Progress Media's gain -- or something like that. USC journalism professor Martin Kaplan, former speechwriter for Walter Mondale, has been tapped to host a nightly...

Marriage by the Book

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Gay Republican West Hollywood blogger Boi from Troy envisions how a constitutional amendment based on Biblical concepts of marriage might read. A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of...

KPFK and another anti-LAT view

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Things sure are complicated around KPFK. I listened for a few minutes in the car Sunday to Ian Masters's program Background Briefing, and he recounted how the show got bumped...

Some stories won't die

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When L.A.O. posted last week on the county's crackdown on the terms "master" and "slave," the issue was already a week old (at least) on the Internet. But the media...

Toon Town turmoil

Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of Disney and the corporation's last link to the family, resigned from the board and called on Michael Eisner to resign or retire. The letter...

New PR firm forms

Jim Yeager, the senior VP for worldwide publicity at Universal Parks & Resorts, is leaving to start a new firm with Linda Dozoretz, president of Linda Dozoretz Communications. Variety says...
Ficus vs sidewalk
sidewalk-eaten-by-tree.jpgThis ficus has definitely won on Ben Lomond Place in Los Feliz. Bigger inside
Teammates
blue-jackets-foligno.jpgMembers of the Columbus Blue Jackets wait for teammate Nick Foligno to be placed on a stretcher at Staples Center. He was OK after the game, won 5-2 by the Kings.
LAO_TyrusWong104 copy.jpgTake My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed. See Gary's archive.
Fauna observed
owl-in-yucca-vdt.jpgGreat horned owl perched in a yucca. Veronique de Turenne
Struckus House
struckus-house-door-kr.jpgSwiveling front door at the Al Struckus House in Woodland Hills. More photos