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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Culture Wars

Killing The Interview Opens Studios to Terrorist Manipulation

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Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 6:11 PM
James Franco (left), Lizzy Caplan and Seth Rogen in The Interview
  • James Franco (left), Lizzy Caplan and Seth Rogen in The Interview
It's a cliche, but when it comes to today's cancellation of the Sony comedy The Interview, maybe the terrorists did win. The studio caved after hackers, reportedly linked to North Korea, threatened theater violence if the Seth Rogen movie saw the light of day. (Some don't buy the North Korean connection, though).

Filmmaker Judd Apatow called it a "sad day for creative expression" and said, "When we cave to threats, it trains people to threaten us." He could be right.

Experts in film, culture and security say the Culver City studio's decision to abort the Christmas day theatrical release of the film and nix even a video-on-demand release is unprecedented in Hollywood and will forevermore subject movies to the kinds of threats of public violence that put The Interview on the shelf.

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SONY
  • Sony
UPDATE at 2:18 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17: After many movie theaters took the film off their schedule, Sony canceled the release of The Interview. Details are at the bottom. Also: Federal authorities don't believe there's an active plot here. Details are below. First posted at 2:09 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Hackers incensed over the Seth Rogen film The Interview today issued what could be considered terrorist threats by warning that a "bitter fate" would befall moviegoers who go see the comedy that's scheduled to be released Christmas Day.

It's not immediately clear how seriously the threat is being taken by authorities. The source of the Sony hack, which has generated days of headlines about the Culver City–based studio behind the movie, isn't even known: A group called Guardians of Peace has claimed responsibility and has issued statements and ultimatums in broken English, pointing to the possibility of North Korean anger over this film about a plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong-un.

However, there has been speculation that the sophisticated theft of emails, scripts, salary data and other information was the work of disgruntled Sony employees following a bloodbath of layoffs.

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Crime

1 Dead, 2 Critical in Westside Shooting

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Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM
EMILYD10/L.A. WEEKLY FLICKR POOL
One male was killed and two others were critically wounded in a morning shooting in Reynier Village, a South Robertson-area neighborhood on L.A.'s Westside, authorities said.

The attack took place in a neighborhood known for a Latino gang called Barrio West Side Locos Halm Avenue, or just Halm, police confirmed to the Weekly. Two suspects and three victims were all described as Latino, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Jack Richter.

The violence prompted officials to temporarily lock-down nearby Hamilton High School until 10:40 a.m., said Officer Wendy Reyes.

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MR.TINDC/FLICKR
If you're desperate for cash this holiday season, there's one easy way to go: payday lenders.

The problem here, says the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending says, is that getting dough from these outfits could set you back many times the cost of the original loan. In California, the organization says, interest on such loans can reach as high as a whopping 459 percent.

Whoa. And the holidays are prime time for these loans.

The center recently surveyed 605 likely California voters and concluded that they "would approve a ballot measure to reduce the annual interest rate on payday loans to 36 percent if the election were held today," according to a statement.

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The entertainment industry is L.A.'s bastion of wealthy, white privilege, but our lawmakers recently gave it nearly $1.6 billion of your hard-earned tax money with the hope that Hollywood jobs would stay in Hollywood.

At least in one respect, the business has pocketed some of your cash but used a loophole to ship jobs overseas anyway. The local pro-labor group Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) this week issued a report that says music work in film and television has plummeted roughly since the millennium as a result of foreign outsourcing.

What should really burn you is that in some cases the very corporations doing the outsourcing are taking your tax dollars that were intended to keep jobs at home, LAANE says.

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Los Angeles is officially one of four cities representing the United States' bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced last night.

If the International Olympic Committee ultimately chooses our fair city, it will have been the third time, after 1932 and 1984, the games headed to L.A. Only London has held three summer games.

However, the U.S. committee hasn't even committed to one city yet, which is what it says it will do in January before submitting its proposal to host the games stateside. Then the decision goes to the international committee.

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Tawni Angel owns a menagerie of ponies, goats, alpacas, ducks, donkeys and rabbits on a spread in rural Fillmore. - PHOTO BY NANETTE GONZALES CASTRO
  • Photo by Nanette Gonzales Castro
  • Tawni Angel owns a menagerie of ponies, goats, alpacas, ducks, donkeys and rabbits on a spread in rural Fillmore.

To some critics, Santa Monica's beloved Main Street Farmers Market includes among its vendors an abusive, lawless operation every Sunday.

It's not drug deals, drive-bys or prostitution. The problem is the ponies.

Long-haired, mane-braided, furry, short-legged, big-eyed ponies.

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DEA
  • DEA
The days of jackbooted feds raiding legit medical marijuana operations are mostly a thing of the past under the omnibus federal spending bill signed by President Obama last night.

An amendment slipped into the bill denies funding for federal anti-pot raids of legit marijuana businesses in states where cannabis has been legalized for medical or recreational purposes. That would include nearly 32 states and the District of Columbia.

The addition to the $1.1 trillion spending bill, hammered out by the House and approved by the Senate last week, was written in part by a Southern California congressman.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Crime

Will LAPD Cops Get to Watch Body Camera Video Before Writing Their Reports?

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Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM
TASER
  • Taser
Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled plans today to outfit the LAPD with 7,000 body cameras, making L.A. the first major city to take that step.

But before the cameras hit the streets, the department has to come up with a policy on when and how they will be used. And that could be tricky. The L.A. Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, is broadly supportive of body cameras. But they want to make sure that officers can review the videos before writing up their reports.

Not so fast, says the ACLU.

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DOVCHARNEY.COM
  • dovcharney.com
In July American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was booted by his board of directors. In a federal filing, he described it as "termination ... without merit."

And this week he was booted again. Turns out the first time around the controversial L.A. T-shirt mogul was only suspended as the firm investigated "alleged misconduct and violations of company policy," according to a statement.

Apparently it found enough alleged evidence to terminate Charney and to sever his ongoing work as a consultant to the company he founded.

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