9/11 economy: Remember all those predictions that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks the nation's economy would become more focused on security guards in office buildings than increased productivity? Well, it never happened. With the exception of certain industries - most notably the airlines - the economy kept rolling along. The WSJ (subscription required) has all the facts and figures.
Again with the bathtubs: Once more, the LAT trails the pack on a trend story. This time, it's a P1 revelation about the ongoing removal of tubs from hotel bathrooms, a development that has been going on for several years. Don't believe me - read the Miami Herald's nut graf on the same subject:
Hotels are ripping out tubs in order to give guests roomier showers and tidier, modern bathrooms. The trend toward shower-only rooms comes as hotels increasingly see a bath as a dated ritual and tubs as an unused and inconvenient amenity.
The date of the Herald piece: April 10, 2006.
Man behind scandals: The San Jose Mercury News delves into the role that attorney Larry Sonsini might have played in both the snooping at Hewlett-Packard and the backdating of options at dozens of Silicon Valley companies. Sonsini has been a top legal advisor to some of the tech industry's biggest players. Speaking of backdating, the LAT finds "a sense of disbelief among many in the tech sector that companies' option practices of the last decade have literally become a federal case." A sample of the reaction:
"I'm reluctant to read a gigantic morality tale into this," said Paul Kedrosky, a former tech stock analyst who now runs the von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement at UC San Diego. "It's more like speeding on the highway. Everyone saw other people doing it and thought it was OK."
Hanging on: Aerospace is nothing like it once was in Southern California, but those massive hangars remain in Playa Vista, Downey and Palmdale. What to do? Shoot movies in them. LAT reports that the facilities have become a selling point in trying to keep full-length features shot in Southern California instead of Kazakhstan or wherever.
Ventura slowdown: A new Reason Foundation study concludes that while rush-hour congestion in L.A. will worsen, it's the suburbs that will see some of the worst traffic. (The Ventura County Star misuses the word "gridlock," as do many publications. Faithful LAO readers surely know that the term describes an inability to move on a roadway, which generally occurs when cars block intersections.) Reason recommends that the private sector play a role in widening freeways and building toll roads.
Ovitz University: Question: Does Mike Ovitz have a "kick me" sign pasted on his behind? The guy really hasn't been a Hollywood player for more than five years and yet his name keeps popping up for stuff no more outrageous than what's done by lots of other wealthy guys around town. Case in point is the WSJ P1 story of how universities lower the admission bar for children of the filthy rich. "A debate over Michael Ovitz's son " is the bold-faced subhed, but the very lengthy story waits until the end to detail how Chris Ovitz got into Brown University, despite academic credentials that weren't up to snuff. Ovitz lasted at Brown for less than a year, but his father has established ties with the university.
Not-so-winning hand: The NYT Style section profiles James Gold, the former talent agent turned reality show producer who as a sidelight just won $12 million in the World Series of Poker. But things are not going well for Gold, who has been sued by another TV producer who claims that Gold reneged on a deal to split the winnings. A judge in Vegas has temporarily frozen half of Gold's purse.