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There’s More to Winning an Oscar Than Meets the Eye

New York Times - California News - January 29, 2015 - 1:45pm
A look at how much money Hollywood studios spend promoting a film for Oscar glory.

Hard Choices on Easy Money Lie Ahead for Fed Chief

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 2 hours 8 min ago
Janet Yellen’s job is about to get harder after a relatively easy first year as Federal Reserve chairwoman, as she looks to move past the preset course of winding down a bond-buying program and begin raising interest rates.

Drone Maker to Prevent Some Device Flights Over D.C.

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 2 hours 9 min ago
In response to the drone crash at the White House this week, the Chinese maker of the device that crashed said it is updating its drones to disable them from flying over much of Washington, D.C.

Obama Meets New Saudi King

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 2 hours 9 min ago
President Barack Obama paid a brief visit to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences to the family of the late king and begin building a diplomatic relationship with his successor.

Obama nixes 529 tax plan after facing criticism

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 2 hours 46 min ago

After facing criticism on multiple fronts, the White House says it has nixed a proposal that would've increased taxes on certain college savings accounts.

"So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works," President Obama said.

The savings accounts in question are known as 529s. President Obama alluded to his plan to levy taxes on them during his State of the Union Address. 

They were created to make it easier for students to handle college expenses by allowing a tax break on money invested into the account. (Video via Ohio University)

The New York Times says the administration changed its mind on the proposal after "facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties."

Including top leaders like Republican John Boehner and Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Critics of Obama's proposal had argued ending those tax breaks would kill incentive for college students to invest in 529s.

"If we raise taxes ... on 529 education accounts, which are savings for college, then we're discouraging people from putting that money aside to save for college," Independent Women's Forum policy analyst Hadley Heath Manning said.

"It's an attack on savers, right? And that's why there was bipartisan resistance to this. He didn't just have Republicans. He had Democrats saying, 'This is a bad idea,' too," Fox News Contributor Monica Crowley said.

"Why would you save when the government is going to pay for it?" a CNBC commentator said.

The Obama Administrations' rationale to eliminate those 529 tax breaks was that they would have, for the most part, affected high-income earners using them.

Citing various surveys, the White House argued 70 percent of the funds in those saving accounts came from households that earned more than $200,000 a year.

But that doesn't mean middle-class Americans aren't using them too. The Times says about 10 percent of all 529 investors earned less than $50,000. Or, as the outlet points out, "the rich may be reaping the clear majority of the tax break, but a lot of other people are benefiting as well."

This video includes images from Getty Images.

Rand Paul Looks to Build Profile as Different Republican

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 3 hours 30 sec ago
Sen. Rand Paul, gearing up for a likely 2016 presidential campaign, is using his perch on Capitol Hill to try to build a profile as a different kind of Republican—one less rigidly ideological than people might expect from the son of a libertarian icon.

Attorney General Nominee to Face Confirmation Panel

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 3 hours 4 min ago
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch plans to promise a “new and improved” relationship between the Justice Department and Congress on Wednesday, according to prepared remarks.

Oxnard reviews fiscal year with new leader

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 3 hours 13 min ago
The Oxnard City Council got a sobering review of its annual financial report Tuesday night.   While the discussion lacked the stomach-dropping drama many cities and counties experienced during the Great Recession, the analysis made clear Oxnard has major monetary hurdles ahead and remains vulnerable to another economic downturn.   The report, presented by Oxnard’s new interim finance chief,  summarized financial performance for the fiscal year that ended June 30.   Pension obligations, postponed maintenance, outdated equipment and other issues discussed Tuesday will come into play as part of drawing up a new budget in coming months. Dave Millican, a consultant serving as interim finance director while a permanent chief is recruited, had only been on the job about three weeks before giving Tuesday’s presentation.   City Manager Greg Nyhoff told the council the city’s monetary  issues are fixable.

This story will be updated.

Yasmina Reza’s ‘Happy Are the Happy’

NY Times Books - 3 hours 19 min ago
Yasmina Reza’s novel tells interlinked stories of yearning.






‘Gateway to Freedom,’ by Eric Foner

NY Times Books - 3 hours 19 min ago
Eric Foner explores the network of blacks and whites who helped slaves escape to freedom.






Police search for person in Simi Valley

Ventura County Star - Local News - 7 hours 16 min ago

Rescue crews were sent early Wednesday to an area of south Simi Valley where police were looking for a suicidal person, authorities said.

Crews initially were called to the 900 block of Crosby Avenue at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

By 1 a.m., the search was centered in the area south of Hillside Middle School, which is in the 2200 block of Fitzgerald Road.

Ambulance and rescue crews were in the area in case they were needed, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Police search for person in Simi Valley

Ventura County Star Top Stories - 7 hours 16 min ago

Rescue crews were sent early Wednesday to an area of south Simi Valley where police were looking for a suicidal person, authorities said.

Crews initially were called to the 900 block of Crosby Avenue at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

By 1 a.m., the search was centered in the area south of Hillside Middle School, which is in the 2200 block of Fitzgerald Road.

Ambulance and rescue crews were in the area in case they were needed, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Police respond to fight at Camarillo restaurant

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 11:09pm

Police responded Tuesday night to a report of a fight at a restaurant in Camarillo, authorities said.

The fight was reported about 10:35 p.m. at the Sportsman Restaurant, 4426 Central Ave.

Authorities said about eight to 10 people were involved in the fight.

Three units with the Ventura County Fire Department as well as deputies with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office responded to the disturbance.

Police respond to fight at Camarillo restaurant

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 11:09pm

Police responded Tuesday night to a report of a fight at a restaurant in Camarillo, authorities said.

The fight was reported about 10:35 p.m. at the Sportsman Restaurant, 4426 Central Ave.

Authorities said about eight to 10 people were involved in the fight.

Three units with the Ventura County Fire Department as well as deputies with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office responded to the disturbance.

2 Thousand Oaks crashes linked to rain

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 10:55pm

Thousand Oaks police said Tuesday that traffic accidents a day earlier were linked to rainfall.

A 21-year-old Thousand Oaks man was driving his vehicle west on Avenida De Los Arboles about 7:30 p.m. Monday when he lost control of the vehicle and it hit a tree, police said. Rescue crews freed the trapped man and he was taken to Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, where he was treated for his injuries, police said.

Another driver lost control of his vehicle around 5:05 p.m. Monday while traveling west on Borchard Road. The vehicle hit a lamppost, although the 16-year-old driver from Thousand Oaks was not injured, authorities said.

Police said the rain-slick condition of the roads was a contributing factors in the crashes.

Oaks Christian beats Westlake, 62-55

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 10:54pm

It’s officially a three-team race.

After losing by just three points against Thousand Oaks last Friday, the Oaks Christian School boys basketball pulled into a tie for first place in the competitive Marmonte League with a rugged 62-55 win at Westlake High on Tuesday night.

Tyler Harris scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Lions pulled away down the stretch to earn the victory and create a three-way logjam atop the league with the Warriors and Thousand Oaks.

“When you’re out there you see what’s working,” Harris said. “And in the fourth quarter you can turn it on sometimes and just take what the defense gives you. Coach drew up some good plays at the end and we finished.”

Harris also had a game-high nine rebounds, along with Westlake’s Michael Hanshaw. The senior forward, said Oaks Christian (11-8, 4-1) was prepared for the showdown.

“We felt pretty comfortable with our game scheme going in,” he said. “We watched some film on them and we knew that if we played zone and kept them out of the middle, we could win.”

Oaks Christian led 11-7 after one quarter, but Westlake (17-5, 4-1) pulled ahead 26-22 at halftime — thanks to a huge second quarter by sophomore forward Adam Hess, who scored nine points and had three rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot in the period.

The Lions held Westlake star point guard Isaiah Brooks scoreless in the first half as part of tenacious defensive effort.

“I think tonight we played phenomenal defense,” said senior forward Austen Moye, who finished with 10 points, four blocked shots, six rebounds and three assists. “We were holding Isaiah (Brooks) down, and on the offensive end that just created more and more for us.”

“We saw film on (Westlake) against Thousand Oaks,” Moye said. “We knew they were good, but we knew we could beat them, too. So we just came out and played our own game.”

Westlake enjoyed its biggest lead, 31-23 after a 3-pointer by Luis Herrera (six points) early in the third quarter. But the Lions went on a 14-5 run and took the lead, 37-36, on a 3-pointer by Dominic Rector (six points).

A free throw by Harris and a basket by Colby Parkinson (five points) increased the Lions lead to 40-36. A putback by Westlake’s Michael Hayon (11 points, six rebounds, two blocs) ended the third quarter at 40-38.

“When you don’t think (enough) of the opponent and you don’t magnify every possession, sometimes it’s going to bite you at the end of the game,” Hayon said. “They just outhustled us.”

First-year coach Richard Hill was pleased with Oaks Christian’s effort.

“The boys played with a great deal of heart tonight,” he said. “They were focused. Westlake is a very good team, very well-coached, but our boys just had it going tonight.

“This is exactly what you want in this Marmonte League. We belong here. We came to stay. ... And like you saw tonight, it came down to a team that just gets that extra rebound and fights for that loose ball.”

Oaks Christian’s Isaac Lee scored 11 points and had two steals. Ryan Hiepler had eight assists, five points and two steals. Alex Chinian had eight points, eight rebounds and three steals.

For Westlake, Brooks finished with seven points, six assists and two blocks. Drew Brackens scored nine points.

Police investigate death of Ventura man

Ventura County Star - Local News - January 27, 2015 - 10:48pm

Ventura police were investigating the discovery of a man's body Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

A passerby reported an unresponsive man was lying in a vacant lot about 3 p.m. in the 4200 block of Transport Street, which is near Donlon Street.

Patrol officers responded to the scene and found the body in a large, open area of overgrown weeds, police said. There was no obvious cause of death or any other information about what may have occurred, authorities said.

The dead person's identity was being withheld pending notification of his family, but police said he was a 45-year-old Ventura man.

Police said they did not know whether the man's death involved any foul play. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

At the scene Tuesday night in the area dominated by business and industrial parks, crime scene tape was visible and there was a mobile police command post. An officer sat in a patrol car nearby. Authorities said no members of the public would be allowed at the scene overnight and that detectives would be back Wednesday to canvass the area as part of the investigation.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call 339-4467.

Police investigate death of Ventura man

Ventura County Star Top Stories - January 27, 2015 - 10:48pm

Ventura police were investigating the discovery of a man's body Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

A passerby reported an unresponsive man was lying in a vacant lot about 3 p.m. in the 4200 block of Transport Street, which is near Donlon Street.

Patrol officers responded to the scene and found the body in a large, open area of overgrown weeds, police said. There was no obvious cause of death or any other information about what may have occurred, authorities said.

The dead person's identity was being withheld pending notification of his family, but police said he was a 45-year-old Ventura man.

Police said they did not know whether the man's death involved any foul play. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

At the scene Tuesday night in the area dominated by business and industrial parks, crime scene tape was visible and there was a mobile police command post. An officer sat in a patrol car nearby. Authorities said no members of the public would be allowed at the scene overnight and that detectives would be back Wednesday to canvass the area as part of the investigation.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call 339-4467.

Georgia Man Executed for Killing Fellow Inmate

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - January 27, 2015 - 9:25pm
Georgia executed a man who killed a fellow inmate despite arguments from his lawyers that his execution was prohibited by the Constitution because he was intellectually disabled.

Obama Drops Plan to Raise Taxes on '529' Accounts

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - January 27, 2015 - 9:23pm
The Obama administration said it would drop a controversial plan to raise taxes on so-called 529 college-savings accounts, after the proposal sparked widespread criticism over its potential impact on the middle class.
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