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Unions blast District Attorney George Gascón’s hiring of controversial prosecutor

Unions representing Los Angeles County prosecutors and law enforcement officers are blasting District Attorney George Gascón’s hiring of controversial Deputy Public Defender Tiffiny Blacknell, a political supporter who has described police officers as “barbarians” and advocated abolishing prisons. Blacknell’s appointment to an undisclosed executive position is an attempt by Gascón to fill his administration with those who share his progressive philosophies, claimed Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys. “Rather than playing by the hiring rule, Gascon is installing a political ally that will ensure his administration is an echo chamber,” Siddall said Thursday. Blacknell did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Alex Bastian, a special ad

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Deputy who died in Lakewood crash dreamed of becoming a motorcycle deputy, partner says

Thomas J. Albanese achieved his dream of becoming a motorcycle deputy nearly one year ago, his former partner said, before he died in the line of duty in a crash in Lakewood on Thursday morning, Feb. 25. Albanese, 41, loved his job and was one of the hardest-working people at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lakewood station, his former partner, Deputy Adriana Rojas, said in an interview Thursday evening. He was humble, but always made it a point to introduce himself to people on the job with a firm handshake, she said. His death was a shock to Rojas and the rest of her colleagues. “It seems so surreal, I feel like I haven’t processed it,” Rojas said. “It’s been hard. I’m just in disbelief completely.” A sheriff deputy on a motorcycle was killed in a collision with a vehic

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Kris Bryant pleased with team’s communication after another offseason of trade rumors

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong“[Jed’s] letting me know what’s going on. I can ask him what’s true, what’s not true. And the main thing I got from him is that most of it is not true,” third baseman Kris Bryant said. MESA, Ariz. – There hasn’t been many trade rumors that third baseman Kris Bryant hasn’t been involved in over the last three offseasons. But following some of the Cubs’ moves early in the offseason, including Yu Darvish’s trade to San Diego and the departure of Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr, it was easy to wonder if this would finally be the year that the star third baseman was finally traded. Despite the self-proclaimed “Year of Transition” and some moves going in that direction, much of the team’s core remains this spring. Bryant, who is no stranger to the rumors, ha

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U.S. bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

WASHINGTON — The United States launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting facilities near the Iraqi border used by Iranian-backed militia groups. The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. The airstrike was the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration, which in its first weeks has emphasized its intent to put more focus on the challenges posed by China, even as Mideast threats persist. Biden’s decision to attack in Syria did not appear to signal an intention to widen U.S. military involvement in the region but rather to demonstrate a will to defend U.S. troops in Iraq. “I’m confident in the target that we went afte

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Bernie Sanders says Democrats will try to devise a backdoor to implement a $15 minimum wage after major stimulus setback

Summary List PlacementSen. Bernie Sanders said Democrats would try to devise a backdoor to implement a $15 minimum wage after a pay hike was struck from the $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday evening — a major setback for progressives. Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth McDonough ruled that a $15 minimum wage violated the strict guidelines of the reconciliation process. It's the legislative method Democrats are using to approve the package in a party-line vote without Republican support. In a statement, Sanders criticized McDonough's decision. "It is hard for me to understand how drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was compliant with the Byrd rule, but raising the minimum wage is not," the Vermont Democrat said, referring to a part of the 2017 GOP tax law allo...

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‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’ Review: A Radically Honest Doc About a Teen Becoming an Icon

Thom Yorke took his teenage kid to see a Billie Eilish concert in 2019, and the story goes that the Radiohead frontman was so impressed by the bedroom pop supernova that he went backstage after the show and told her that she was “the only one doing anything fucking interesting nowadays.” (There’s some very special video of Yorke seat-dancing to “You Should See Me in a Crown” with the same twitchy abandon he moves to his own songs.) It’s hard to know exactly what he meant by that earth-shaking endorsement — even Yorke’s compliments are as serrated and Sphinx-like as his lyrics — and harder still to imagine that the legion of young fans who live and breathe Eilish’s music would care. They have their own sacred idea of what makes her special, and the rest of us are just vibing along from the

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Biden launched airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria to “send a message”

President Joe Biden speaks before signing an Executive Order on the economy at the White House on February 24. The next day the US military bombed Syria. | Doug Mills/Pool/Getty ImagesIt’s the first known military action of Joe Biden’s presidency. President Joe Biden on Thursday launched military airstrikes against two Iranian-backed militias in Syria, in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq last week that injured US troops and killed a Filipino contractor. In the strike, Biden’s first known military action since taking office, the US hit a facility used by the groups Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada to smuggle weapons. As of now it’s unclear if anyone was hurt or killed, though US officials expect about “a handful of people” may have died, the Washington Post reported. A

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Sunshine in Madigan’s 13th Ward? Sort of — but it sure wasn’t in the forecast

Former House Speaker Michael Madigan attends a Democratic committeepersons meeting on the Southwest Side to decide who will take over his House seat on Thursday. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-TimesIt was as if Madigan was so humiliated by his own organization screwing it up the first time that he just decided to end the controversy and put the whole matter behind him. If only by accident, that more open process that I had disparaged ended up being fruitful.  When four Democratic committeepersons not named Mike Madigan issued a press release last week demanding an open process to replace him as state legislator, I scoffed cynically and responded with an intemperate email. What was the point, I wondered? In the first place, Madigan — by law — controlled 56% of the weighted vote to pick his repl

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Isaiah Barnes, Jalen Griffith help Simeon hold off Curie’s upset bid

Simeon’s Jalen Griffith (2) beats one defender and then drives the lane against Curie. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-TimesJalen Griffith didn’t start against Curie, but scored nine of his 13 points to help theerase an 11-point Condors lead in the fourth quarter.  Top-ranked Simeon is loaded with talent. The Wolverines have all but one starter back from last season’s city championship squad. Curie is the opposite. The Condors have just one returning starter from a team that spent most of last season at No. 1. And that starter, point guard Nick Owens, missed Thursday’s season opener with a thumb injury. So it seemed possible the Wolverines would run away with a win. That’s exactly how the game began. But for the third consecutive season, a Curie team of virtual unknowns proved it is one

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Rams’ Sean McVay says goodbye to Jared Goff with a ‘smile’

Sean McVay bluntly criticized Jared Goff during the season, let him twist in the wind during the playoffs, then urged the Rams’ front office to trade him away. But when it came time for the coach to explain his breakup with the quarterback, McVay softened his tone and chose to recall “a lot of things you can smile on,” like the Rams’ 2018 Super Bowl run, three playoff appearances in four years, and Goff’s two Pro Bowl seasons. “All I can go back to (is) appreciation for the times we did have, and wishing him nothing but the best moving forward,” McVay said Thursday in a video conference. Speaking publicly for the first time since Rams general manager Les Snead agreed Jan. 30 to swap Goff for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, McVay seemed intent on erasing the impression that he blamed Go

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With Ivica Zubac, Clippers’ Ty Lue pushes right buttons

— K (@_kristinf_34) Tyronn Lue knew just which button to push with Ivica Zubac. Play. During a film session after the Minnesota Timberwolves treated four of Zubac’s five shots like a piñata, swatting them this way and that in the Clippers’ 119-122 victory on Feb. 10, the Clippers’ coach snuck in a clip of his own favorite dunk from when he was a star at Nebraska. “We were watching film and uh, all of a sudden, this video – low-quality video – from someone dunking showed up,” the 7-foot Zubac said of Lue, whose playing height was listed as 6 feet. “It was Ty Lue playing his college game, and he was like, ‘That’s how you finish!’” “I was just giving Zu a hard time,” Lue said. “I think he came from a game where he had like four shots blocks on that game, so I had a slide that said, ‘This is ...

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San Jose nixes plan for dozens of new billboards. So why will you still see some go up?

San Jose leaders have nixed a highly-disputed plan to dot the city’s freeways with LED-illuminated billboards. But that doesn’t mean that residents will be free of the signs entirely. During a special meeting Thursday night, the San Jose City Council voted to shelf work on a years-in-the-making proposal to allow for up to 75 new free-standing digital billboards on private properties along the freeways, as well as an unspecified number of signs on private buildings in the downtown core. However, the city council opted to continue moving forward with plans to erect smaller digital signs in the public right-of-way, such as on light poles and public restroom facilities, in the downtown core. The councilmembers also made sure to clarify that they have no plans to block a plan approved more than

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Entertainment

Paramount Plus Announces Plans for ‘Pet Sematary’ Prequel

It was recently announced that CBS All Access will be rebranded as Paramount Plus. The streaming service will relaunch this coming March, but already announcements have been made that the streaming service will release several original television shows and original movies. Screen Rant announced that a prequel movie based on Pet Sematary will be released on Paramount Plus. Pet Sematary is a horror novel written by prolific author Stephen King. The book came out in 1983, and was later adapted into a movie in 1989. This movie received a sequel called Pet Sematary Two which starred Clancy Brown. In 2019 the book received another movie adaptation that starred John Lithgow as the character Jud. The plot of Pet Sematary follows the Creed family who move to a small town in Maine. The family meet ...

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Oakland Unified board wants students back in school next month

OAKLAND — Oakland Unified School District leaders told families in a letter this week they want students back in school by the end of next month. According to the letter, which was sent to families and posted on the school district’s website on Wednesday, the plan is to bring back the district’s youngest students first, but families and students who want to continue to learn from home would be able to do so. “After being in distance learning since last March, the OUSD Board of Education now believes it is critical for the social emotional and academic well-being of our students that Oakland Unified safely open our school sites for in-person learning by mid to late March, in alignment with the proposed deadlines currently being discussed in Sacramento,” the letter states. The idea would be

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