We learned valuable lessons from the recession of 2008. One of them was not to buy an otherwise unaffordable home simply because a mortgage was available.

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The outcome: A private fundraising drive came up with the $4 million to replace the temporary installation with a sturdier set of lights that will be in place for the Super Bowl in February 2016. Quote: “This is a great moment for public art and a great gift of the holiday season for the people of the Bay Area.” — Ben Davis, founder of Illuminate the Arts, the nonprofit group behind the fundraising campaign.

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Diplomatic relations with Cuba should have been established 20 years or more ago, with the end of the Cold War and the demise of Cuba’s patron, the Soviet Union. The Caribbean island had long functioned as the equivalent of a Soviet satellite in the Western Hemisphere, but this pernicious role ended with the unraveling of Moscow’s empire.

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The bill also creates a tax-free savings account that can be used to pay for a disabled family member’s health care, housing, education and other needs. Families can save up to $100,000 in the 529-ABLE account without disqualifying the disabled person for most federal and state aid. called the qualified charitable distribution, it lets individuals 70½ or older donate up to $100,000 a year directly from their individual retirement accounts to qualified charities without having the distribution from the IRA added to their adjusted gross income…

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“The hiring of Ken Petrilla, one of the most experienced international banking executives in California, shows how serious California is about its trade relationship with China,” said Mike Rossi, Brown’s senior jobs adviser, in a statement. Funded privately and with federal matching grants, its purpose is to bring Chinese companies to California, encourage those already here to expand, and to attract Chinese foreign investment — of which much is floating around these days. According to a Deloitte report, of the $6 billion China invested in the United States between January 2013 and March 2014, $1 billion has come to California. …

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The Colbert Report is coming (has come) to an end, and critics are in mourning. Liberal critics, who believe Stephen Colbert’s faux conservative character (“Colbert”), patterned after Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel, was comedic genius. I…

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Q. Are Cuban cigars better than other cigars?A. Yes. They are. Cuba makes by far the best cigars in the world.So, as a person who has been known to smoke a cigar, the news this week that Americans can now import a few stogies from the island legally for the first time in half a century is good news indeed.

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The inevitable results of Fresno’s growth pattern surround us: decaying neighborhoods, a sprawling city and a municipal treasury stretched so thin that it struggles to keep good people safe and… »

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The world’s attention was fixated this week on a small café in Sydney’s central business district, as Man Haron Monis, sex-offender and Islamist extremist, sought to bring the violence and bloodshed associated with the Islamic State to his…

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Our communities are hurting. Men and women are taking to the streets in protest and recent events in Ferguson and New York City have highlighted the harsh reality that trust has been broken between many of our communities of color and law enforcement.But where there is conflict, we can also find opportunity.

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Visionary leaders, it has been said, see possibility where others do not. They make connections between seemingly disparate worlds. And they inspire and empower others to turn their vision into a reality.On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B.

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FAKE DUI REPORT PUTS FOCUS ON UNION FIRM’S POLITICAL PLAYBOOK

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Across America, there’s a not-so-pleasant sense of déjà vu. For those of us born in time to come of age in the ’60s, this year’s street protests – wherein young students prominently figure – are reminiscent of the bitter end of flower…

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Nobody, the Monty Python sketch famously joked, expects the Spanish Inquisition. Today, everybody expects awful regimes to become just one more target for the edgy, envelope-pushing humor that’s the entertainment industry’s stock in trade. Who…

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Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Jay Bybee and all who planned and carried out the torture after 9/11 should be criminally prosecuted. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report describes horrific, sadistic brutality inflicted on prisoners. It also leaves no…

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Fifty years ago Thursday, President Lyndon B. Johnson turned on the lights of the National Christmas Tree and proclaimed, “These are the most hopeful times in all the years since Christ was born in Bethlehem.” He continued, “Today — as never before — man has in his possession the capacities to end war and preserve peace, to eradicate poverty and share abundance, to overcome the diseases that have afflicted the human race and permit all mankind to enjoy their promise in life on this Earth.”Rosy predictions of peace and societal goodwill came on the eve of the political, social, and cultural turbulence — even violence — we now think of as ‘The Sixties.’-  LBJ was by no means alone at that time in predicting such a glorious future. Millions of Americans were anticipating passage of Great Society reforms that he had been promising in his super-successful presidential campaign. The economy, having advanced steadily since 1961, was booming as never before. James Reston, chief political columnist for the New York Times, wrote on Jan…

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When my sister and I were children and flew to summer camp together, our mother always asked us to call her once we arrived to let her know we landed safely. When we got older, my sister and I put our own twist on this practice: If my sister was giving me a lift to the airport, she had to call me when she arrived back home to let me know that her drive ended safely.Why? A passenger is 100 times more likely to die in a car than a plane, per mile traveled. …

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Remember in 1986, when Newsweek supposedly showed that a 40-year-old single woman was “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to ever get married? It turned out to be false, the remark of a Newsweek correspondent, who’d meant it merely as a funny aside. And the studies on which it was presumably based? Flawed.Sexual violence … …

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The Los Angeles Police Department has committed to outfitting all officers on patrol with body cameras starting next year. The effort was launched last year by Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, but it gained momentum after deadly encounters between police and unarmed black men in…

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Oakland had a big drop in homicides earlier this year but a Fall spike has erased many of those gains. Oakland Police officials say police brutality protests have drawn manpower away from Ceasefire violence prevention program

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Citing a half-century of failed policy, President Obama on Wednesday announced that he intends to normalize relations with Cuba, mending a rupture that dates to the chilliest days of the Cold War. While the move to restore diplomatic ties should not be taken as support for the Castro regime’s…

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Oakland had a big drop in homicides earlier this year but a Fall spike has erased many of those gains. Oakland Police officials say police brutality protests have drawn manpower away from Ceasefire violence prevention program

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Restoration of political relations with Cuba was too long in coming.

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If an anonymous group threatened in mid-December to harm bakeries without saying where, when or how, would every doughnut shop and cake vendor feel compelled to shut down through the holiday season? Of course not. Yet a threat by an anonymous group of hackers led the country’s major theater…

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Corporate interests from outside state funding campaign to repeal California bag ban.

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President Obama seeks to normalize Cuba relations and break the hold of the Cuba lobby.

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All the geopolitical ramifications aside, it’s just nice to be able to fill up for less than $50. In fact, drivers of high-mileage commuter cars with small gas tanks are… »

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If not for the real-life fallout, the story that unfolded around Sony Pictures Entertainment’s new film “The Interview” would make a killer pitch for a movie satire about corporate life in our new-media age. A major Hollywood studio (Sony) makes a silly comedy about American journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator — but an anonymous group of hackers who may be linked to the North Korean regime has no sense of humor. The movie’s New York City premiere was canceled, its stars canceled media events, and the U.S…

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The new specialized license for undocumented immigrant drivers is sensible and humane. The trust issues and logistical challenges are immense, though. We need to get this program right. »

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