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Posts tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Restaurants Across US Now Charging Diners An Obamacare Tax Surcharge.


RELATED STORY: BOMBSHELL! IRS Warns Obamacare Tax Will Be Forcibly Taken From Your Tax Return

Some restaurants have made the decision to charge customers for Obamacare: Gator’s Dockside restaurants in Florida have added a 1% Affordable Care Act surcharge on their diners’ tabs, while at least one popular restaurant in Los Angeles has added a 3% charge to bills. -

obamacare-tax-now-being-added-to-restaurant-checks

In Florida, The Gator Group told CNN Money that the company had to implement “the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015.” So even though their employees won’t get health insurance coverage until December, customers are feeling the pinch now.

The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” the sign [in the restaurant] reads. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.

The Gator Group employs 500 people, half of whom work part-time. Right now, they only offer health benefits to management. Instead of cutting their full-time employees to part-time to avoid the mandate as so many restaurants have chosen, the Gator Group decided to simply charge customers the added costs.

“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” Sandra Clark, the group’s director of operations told CNN Money:

In addition to the costs of providing health care, the company hired one additional staffer and a consulting firm to make sure it is complying with the law and to assist in the additional tracking of workers’ hours and wages required by Obamacare.

In Los Angeles at the upscale restaurant Republique, customers have not always reacted positively to the ACA surcharge appearing on their bills.

One customer wrote: “1 star for the 3% healthcare surcharge. An employer who really cares about their employees’ health pays for this themselves. But because you and I both know that I’m finically [sic] well off your [sic] going to mandate me to pay for what YOU think if a great idea? You might fool other customers into believing that you truly care about your employees health but your [sic] not fooling this customer.”

So, companies are passing the costs of Obamacare on to the consumer. Economists totally did not see this comingsource – CNS News

by NTEB News Desk

9-11 Investigators Never Learned About FBI, CIA al-Qaida Mole.


al-Qaida operatives in Bosnia killed an FBI mole who met with Osama bin Laden and provided intelligence on al-Qaida after suspecting he was with the CIA, but the man’s death came several years before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks and the FBI did not report the informant’s existence to investigators.

The dead informant, was a Los Angeles-based “driver and confidante” of “Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the cleric in prison for masterminding the first attempt on the World Trade Center in 1993, NBC News reported Thursday.

Because the mole died at least six years before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congressional investigators or the 9/11 Commission never learned about the Sudanese man.

NBC reported the news of the mole’s death one day after it reported the man’s existence, saying the informant had been been recruited by the FBI years ago and had even met with bin Laden a full eight years prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The mole revealed a great deal of information to the FBI, including revealing a plan that helped stop a bin Laden plan to destroy a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, according to courtroom testimony by Ed Curran, who was the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s L.A. office then.

Sources told NBC the informant was recruited in 1993 after learning he was a known associate of the Blind Sheikh, who had been an FBI target since 1990 when follower El Sayyid Nosair, shot and killed radical Rabbi Meir Kahane in a Manhattan hotel.

The Sheikh moved to Los Angeles, where the future mole lived and became his driver.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service tipped off the FBI about the driver, and the federal agency learned that he was on a terrorism watch list. INS tried to deport him, and his status as a potential terrorist made it difficult to move him. Jordan took him and put him jail for three months, and eventually, the driver ended up in Yemen, where the FBI recruited him.

The first World Trade Center attack also occurred at about time, when a truck filled with explosives detonated in an underground garage on Feb. 26, 1993.

FBI agent Bassem Youssef, the bureau’s highest-ranking Arabic speaker, approached the informant as a friend, saying he could reunite the man with his family in California.After several meetings with Youssef and other agents, he agreed to provide information and started talking about al Qaeda.

The man also provided about a dozen U.S. and Canadian passports, with the original photos being replaced with those of al-Qaida operatives.

The driver also met with bin Laden, who one Justice Department official said “was not that hard to get to” because he was not yet famous.

After the Blind Sheikh was arrested in 1993, the informant continued working with the FBI, but in 1994, a woman working for the CIA was able to convince him to work with the CIA.

The CIA sent him to Bosnia in 1994 or 1995, but the FBI didn’t know its informant was working for the other agency or why he disappeared.

Youssef started asking al-Qaida sources what had happened to the man, and learned that operatives in Bosnia killed him because they suspected he was working for the CIA.

The mole’s existence was actually first revealed in 2010, when Youssef sued the FBI, claiming discrimination and accusing the agency of passing him over for promotion.

Former FBI agent Ed Curran, in testimony during the discrimination trial, revealed Youssef developed the mole, reported The Washington Times during the trial.

“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al-Qaida, directly involved,” Curran testified, noting the mole was “tight, close” with al-Qaida leadership.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

US West Faces ‘Worst Drought in 500 Years’.


California’s three-year drought could end up being the area’s worst in 500 years, forcing even tougher restrictions on residents who have been cutting back on showers and farming already.

On Friday, the State Water Project, which is the main distribution system of municipal water in California, announced it would not be allocating any water from its reservoirs to local agencies this spring. It is the first time it has taken such action in its 54-year history.

Drinking water for 25 million people and irrigation for 1 million acres of farmland will be affected, Fox News reports. 

“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, told The New York Times.

Gov. Jerry Brown already had called on Californians to cut back on water use by 20 percent.

The State Water Project typically makes an announcement of water allocation on February 1, enabling farmers to plan what and how much they will plant based on how much water they will be able to use for irrigation. With the announcement that no allocation will be made, some farmers have opted to plant nothing, The New York Times reports. 

Others are planning to drill more wells to tap aquifers, which aren’t regulated by the state. But previous years’ use of those aquifers already have lowered their levels, and the ongoing drought has not given them time to return to normal range.

With fears that California could be in a 500-year drought, officials want water supplies to be preserved in case they are needed over the next several years.

“These actions will protect us all in the long run,” State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said in a news conference.

The crisis is pitting farmers, city dwellers and environmentalists against each other, but officials are appealing to residents to put aside long-held divisions.

A snow survey Thursday in the Sierra Nevada showed a snowpack of only 12 percent of normal, Fox reported. Reservoirs are lower than in 1977, one of the state’s previous worst drought years.

With forecasts still calling for no rain, 17 rural communities that provide water to 40,000 people could run out of within 60 to 120 days, The New York Times reports.

“Every day this drought goes on we are going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing,” the governor said.

“I have experienced a really long career in this area, and my worry meter has never been this high,” Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, told The New York Times. “We are talking historical drought conditions, no supplies of water in many parts of the state. My industry’s job is to try to make sure that these kind of things never happen. And they are happening.”

Besides drinking supplies and farm irrigation, the lack of water is threatening the endangered salmon and other fish species. And air pollution in Los Angeles, which had been declining over the past 10 years, is on the rise without rain to clean the air. Bans have been put on fireplace wood burning to combat the problem.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Katy Perry Rejects Christianity, Heaven and Hell, but Believes in ‘a Higher Power’.


Katy Perry
Katy Perry (Facebook)

Katy Perry is the daughter of Christian ministers. But the widely popular singer recently made it clear that she no longer identifies with Christianity.

“I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell or an old man sitting on a throne. I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable,” the 29-year-old pop star told Marie Claire magazine in an interview for the January issue. “Accountability is rare to find, especially with people like myself, because nobody wants to tell you something you don’t want to hear.”

Perry, who stormed the charts with her 2008 hit “I Kissed a Girl,” said she no longer considers herself Christian.

“I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time—for self-control, for humility. There’s a lot of gratitude in it. Just saying ‘thank you’ sometimes is better than asking for things.”

Perry was just a teenager when she scored a gospel contract as Katheryn Hudson. She moved to Los Angeles when she was just 17 to reinvent herself, and had been dropped by three record labels by 23. Her fourth studio album, Prism, released in October.

Though she has strayed far from the days her parents tried to “keep her away from all things secular and sinful,” Perry told Marie Claire she still has a good relationship with her parents.

“People don’t understand that I have a great relationship with my parents—like, how that can exist,” she said. “There isn’t any judgment. They don’t necessarily agree with everything I do, but I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do. They’re at peace with—they pray for me is what they do. They’re fascinated with the idea that they created someone who has this much attention on her.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Dream Center to Petition LA to Lift Ban on Feeding Homeless.


Dream Center feeding homeless
The Dream Center is in the process of creating a petition to lift a recent ban in Los Angeles that will potentially restrict people and organizations from feeding homeless people in public spaces. (Matthew Barnett/Instagram)

The Dream Center, a Los Angeles-based, volunteer-driven organization, is in the process of creating a petition on change.org to lift the recent 13-1238 motion filed by LA city council members Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell that will potentially restrict people and organizations from feeding homeless people in public spaces.

Similar laws and bans against feeding the homeless publicly have been enacted in several cities, including New York City. With the second-largest homeless population in the country (more than 57,000 homeless people accounted for in 2013), many residents in LA want the homeless out of their neighborhoods, while many charity groups want to retain the right to feed homeless people outside.

The Dream Center was founded in 1994 and currently serves more than 50,000 people through their various programs each month, including in LA’s Skid Row. However, this recent motion would drastically and permanently restrict the organization’s right to provide resources and hope among not only the homeless population, but also families in need.

“The last thing our city needs, in the midst of rising homeless, is to restrict the goodwill of people,” says Matthew Barnett, founder of the Dream Center. “We have noticed that feeding people leads to encouragement, nourishment, permanent housing, education, jobs and personal growth. When we encounter people, the opportunity for change is always possible. We pray that the city of Los Angeles reconsiders this as they continue to push this reckless agenda further.”

The Dream Center is rallying citizens and organizations to sign its petition against motion 13-1238 onchange.org and is encouraging people to post the hashtag #DontRestrictPublicFeeding on all social media channels.

“Compassion is not something to be regulated but celebrated without harnessing the free will of citizens,” Barnett says. “We have great hope that our city leaders will change their course and support the freedom for people to ‘love their neighbors as themselves.’”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Obamacare Enrollment by Latinos Hurt by Immigration Law Concerns.


Image: Obamacare Enrollment by Latinos Hurt by Immigration Law Concerns

Concerns among Hispanics that signing up for medical insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law may draw the scrutiny of immigration authorities has hurt enrollment, according to advocates of the policy.Convincing Latinos to enroll could be crucial to the law’s success, and supporters of Obama’s signature domestic policy are aiming their campaign at the 10.2 million Latinos eligible for the new insurance plans or the expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor.

As a group, Latinos are younger than the overall population in the United States and signing them up in large numbers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could help offset the costs of covering older and sicker people.

But the enrollment effort appears to be falling short. In California, home to the largest Latino population in the country, only 13 percent of enrollees on the state’s online marketplace called Covered California identified themselves as Hispanic, despite accounting for about 38 percent of the population, the state said last week.

Ironically, polls have consistently shown Latinos are more supportive of the law, commonly called Obamacare, than the general public. A September survey from the Pew Research Center found 61 percent of Hispanics had a favorable view of the law compared to 29 percent among whites.

The law, passed in 2010, established online insurance exchanges, or marketplaces so that millions of uninsured people could enroll for private healthcare plans.

The Obama administration has not released figures on enrollment by ethnicity, but so far officials are not optimistic about Latino turnout.

“I would not be surprised if those numbers aren’t what we want them to be right now,” said Mayra Alvarez, associate director of minority health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

IMMIGRATION LAW ENFORCEMENT

The sign-up campaign may be stalling in part due to the administration’s vigorous enforcement of immigration laws. The administration deported a record number of people during Obama’s first term, according to Pew Research Center data.

While Obama has backed a bill that offers a pathway to citizenship for many of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, his administration increased deportations to nearly 410,000 people in 2012, almost double the number in 2003.

Obamacare supporters say fear of immigration enforcement is a particular concern in Hispanic families where one spouse is a U.S. citizen or legal resident and married to an undocumented person, or where both parents are undocumented immigrants but their children have citizenship.

“A lot of mixed-status families are afraid that if they enroll, that the government will come and divide up their family through deportation,” said Daniel Zingale, senior vice president at the California Endowment, a health foundation.

One couple who last month came to a Los Angeles event by the group Vision y Compromiso demonstrates the types of problems these families face, said program manager Hugo Ramirez. The organization, dedicated to improving the health of the Hispanic community, received funding through Covered California to promote Obamacare.

The undocumented parents, a father who is a construction worker and a mother who works as a house cleaner, feared information they might submit to enroll their three children in Covered California could be used against them by U.S. immigration officials, Ramirez said.

An advocate advised the couple they would not risk running afoul of immigration authorities, but that in enrolling their children and providing details on the family’s earnings, they would have to begin paying income taxes despite being undocumented, Ramirez said. The couple seemed inclined to buy coverage for their children, ages 17 and younger, he said.

The administration has sought to defuse immigration concerns, which had been flagged by community leaders before the six-month open enrollment period began on Oct. 1. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in October that personal information submitted by insurance shoppers would not be used for immigration enforcement.

Minnesota’s exchange, MNSure, said it has found that even when mixed-status Latino families were prepared to sign up, some hesitated in submitting information needed to verify the identity of the member seeking insurance online.

“This is on our radar and we are communicating with our navigators about this issue,” said MNSure spokeswoman Jenni Bowring-McDonough.

HOME INTERNET ACCESS LESS LIKELY

When it comes to enrollment, technology issues have also proven a barrier.

The Spanish-language version of the federal online exchange, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, was not running until December.

The federal website, HealthCare.gov, which serves 36 states, was hobbled by technology problems in October and much of November and fell short of enrollment expectations.

California, one of 14 states with its own website, has boasted that it works far better than the federal portal, but even with the technology working well, other issues may hinder enrollment.

Latino families, because of lower household income and other factors, are less likely to have home internet connections, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, making them more dependent on outside help from enrollment navigators to shop for the new plans.

Ricardo Hernandez, 20, a Los Angeles-area resident, is uninsured and eager to obtain coverage through Covered California, but he lives with his sister in a house that has no internet connection. He has called the exchange’s hotline seven times but has been unable to reach someone.

“It’s rare when I have access to computer,” said Hernandez, a part-time gas station attendant. “I just feel like a bother constantly to have to ask a friend or a neighbor to use their computer.”

The troubles seen in California run even deeper in Florida and Texas, two states with large Hispanic populations. Both states declined to set up their own websites and shoppers need to use the federal government portal.

U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, said her state was “all on board to say we need to make it work, and our numbers are still low in the Latino community and they should be high.” Sanchez described Texas as “thumbing their nose at the president and saying we’re not going to help you, yes outreach may be lacking.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Obamacare Failures Imperil Hopes for Immigration Reform.


Image: Obamacare Failures Imperil Hopes for Immigration Reform

By Melanie Batley

President Barack Obama’s ambitious and once promising plans to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration system have been sidetracked amid the fallout from the botched implementation of Obamacare, which continues to dog the administration.

According to Politico, the diversion over the troubled healthcare law has enabled House Republicans to avoid divisive debate on the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate in the summer. Doubts, meanwhile, are mounting about the administration’s competence to manage the complexity of a reformed immigration system, given the problems with the healthcare law.

“There’s a loss of confidence in the government’s ability,” former Los Angeles Major Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat and proponent of the immigration reform bill, said at an event this month, according to Politico.

“Clearly, the last few months, our experience with [the] Affordable Care Act does not help when you look at other big things like immigration reform.”

Conservatives may be able to mount a credible case in the public eye against the government’s ability to manage major programs by capitalizing on the widespread skepticism of Obamacare, according to Politico.

The Senate immigration bill would create a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, strengthen border security, and expand the temporary worker program. Those plans are increasingly looking too ambitious to achieve in the current divisive partisan environment.

“It’s going to make it harder to sell big deals” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a lead co-sponsor of the Senate immigration bill, told Politico. “People are now saying, ‘So you’re gonna do immigration. You’re gonna let the same people manage the immigration system that’s managed Obamacare?’”

House Speaker John Boehner‘s spokesman, Brendan Buck, echoed those sentiments, saying that the troubled rollout of Obamacare “validated our warnings against jamming one massive bill that few have read and even fewer fully comprehend.”

“If the Obamacare train wreck has any lesson, it’s that big policy challenges should be addressed deliberatively and one step at a time,” he said.

The Obama administration, however, is trying to sever the link between the two issues, even though it acknowledges that the drop in public confidence over Obamacare may have an effect on its other policy initiatives.

“These are different systems,” White House Press secretary Jay Carney said, according to Politico. “I would point to the extraordinary effort that’s gone into fixing the problems on HealthCare.gov, acknowledging the shortcomings — the serious, significant shortcomings, taking ownership and responsibility for them and acting to fix the problem.

“Because in the end — and this would be true of immigration reform as it is of the HealthCare.gov or the ACA — the issue isn’t in the end how the process is; the process is performed in service of the legislation and the goal. And in this case, in immigration reform, it’s in service of a bill that would provide, when implemented, the benefits that we’ve described and that outside analysts have described.”

Other leading Democrats, meanwhile, say they are hopeful the GOP House leadership will move forward on legislation now that it has shown in the most recent round of budget negotiations that it will not be beholden to the policy agenda of tea party groups.

“I think the chances for immigration reform over the last month or two have only gotten better,” New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer told Politico.

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The Legacy of a Miracle.


Aimee Semple McPherson
Aimee Semple McPhersonFoursquare Church)

Six doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed my grandmother with an enlarged heart and confirmed that she had six months to live. She was 51. In spite of the doctors’ prognostication, God had amiraculous plan for her life that would grant her almost 50 more years.

My grandfather was opposed to everything religious. He had enough money that he and my grandmother could live anywhere they wanted. When she was diagnosed, he tried to buy my grandmother good health. Instead, the doctors told him to move to a locale with a mild climate and make her last days as comfortable as possible.

So they moved to Los Angeles, just a taxi ride away from Angelus Temple.

Although they had never heard of Aimee Semple McPherson or Angelus Temple, that was all about to change when they heard “Sister” preach on KFSG, the radio station she established in 1924.

Sister McPherson had garnered quite a reputation as a miracle worker. Crowds would gather by the thousands, multiple times each week, just to experience the spectacular services and the miracles that took place there.

My grandmother decided to take a cab to Angelus Temple and see firsthand what it was all about. When she arrived, the service had already started, and an usher told her the only seat left in the auditorium was in the center section, main floor, directly in the middle.

Angelus Temple had theater seats, and everyone seated in her row had to stand to allow her to pass by and get to her seat. It was indeed directly in the middle of Angelus Temple.

But she made the effort and climbed over all the other people to find her place.

A Life-Changing Miracle
My grandmother was completely surprised when she realized Sister McPherson had stopped the service and was looking her way. Naturally, all 5,000 people in the place strained to see what had caught Sister’s attention.

From the pulpit, she spoke in a kind and sincere voice. She said, simply, “Honey, the Lord has just healed you.”

My grandmother’s recollection is that the enlarged heart began to immediately change. She said the feeling was as though someone had punctured it with a pin, and the pressure was gone.

She lived to be 99 years and 9 months old—and lived out her days in vigorous health.

She always remembered how God had touched her, and she became a staunch prayer warrior. She prayed for me, that I would accept Christ, go to Bible college and become a minister of the Foursquare Gospel.

Ripples of Transformation
I can’t say her prayers were answered quickly. But like ripples of water that surround a rock thrown into a pond, my grandmother’s miracle eventually brought personal transformation to my life, as well.

Though it took a number of years before I accepted Christ, my grandmother made the most of every opportunity when I was small to take me to Angelus Temple. One day, Sister McPherson noticed me waiting for my grandmother. I’ll never forget it. She looked at me and reached down to pick me up.

She looked me square in the eye and asked, “Are you Mrs. Cox’s grandson?”

I nodded my head.

She said sweetly, “I just love you!”

And with my noticeable 6-year-old lisp, I responded, “I love you too, ‘Thithter’!”

I have been told that she remembered that moment years later. Her kindness certainly made an impression on me. She was gracious to everyone, but it seemed to me she was especially kind to us children. She sure had my heart.

Years would go by; to my grandmother’s disappointment, I strayed from attending services with her at the Temple. I served in the military during World War II and after that had plans to attend USC and go into a career in radio.

Through a series of circumstances that were miraculous in their own right, once again I found my way back to Angelus Temple and gave my heart to Christ. I followed God’s call and attended Life Pacific College (also known as LIFE Bible College, as it was called then) from 1950 to 1954.

I worked in downtown Los Angeles at the Farmers and Merchants Bank for a supervisor named Sepulveda. (Anyone who knows the history of Los Angeles will recognize the name Sepulveda as near royalty in the Greater Los Angeles area.)

One day at work, Mr. Sepulveda pulled me aside and asked, “Son, do you go to the school at Angelus Temple?”

When I told him that I did, he talked to me for over 30 minutes about how much he respected and admired the work of Aimee Semple McPherson and what she had done to help people in Los Angeles during the Great Depression. Mr. Sepulveda acknowledged that the ministries she started through Angelus Temple touched more lives than any other church, agency or government entity.

More Than Just a Tour Stop
To others, Angelus Temple was just another stop along the tourist route between other local attractions, such as Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Most of these tourists only wanted to experience the “show of extremists and fanatics” that had captured media attention. But there were some on those buses whose lives would take a different turn.

Dr. Nathanial Van Cleave, a patriarch of the Foursquare Church, and his wife, Lois, were tourists on one of those buses. They stopped at Angelus Temple, and as they sat in the service that day, the genuine move of the Holy Spirit touched their hearts. Both Dr. and Mrs. Van Cleave received Christ that day and were called to a life of ministry.

I never planned to spend my life as a preacher, but God certainly had it planned. I entered Bible college because a woman preacher named Sister Aimee Semple McPherson answered the call of God to open a training center in Los Angeles.

And I have served God my entire life and influenced my children and grandchildren to serve Him because of a praying grandmother who never stopped believing that the grace of God is powerful and reaches to the greatest and least of humanity.

Used by permission © Foursquare Church. Click here for the original article. 

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

COLEMAN PHILLIPS

Coleman Phillips (1925-2013) was an ordained Foursquare minister who retired in the Southwest District. This article is adapted from a video interview recorded in February 2005.

New Daily Paper to Open in Los Angeles.


The parent company of the Orange County Register plans to expand with a daily paper in Los Angeles, looking to further stretch its regional reach to nearly all of Southern California.

The new, seven-days-a-week paper will be known as the Los Angeles Register, Freedom Communications CEO Aaron Kushner told The Associated Press on Thursday night, a few hours after announcing the move to his staff in the Orange County Register’s newsroom.

Kushner didn’t give many specifics about plans for the paper but said it will be launched “quickly” and be widely distributed in print in Los Angeles County. The Register’s story on the launch said it would come early next year.

Kushner said the paper will share Orange County Register content in sports and other areas with regional relevance, but he emphasized it will be a distinct entity with a Los Angeles office and a staff made up of existing Register employees and new hires.

“It will be the LA Register, not the Orange County Register,” Kushner said in a phone interview. “We’re not a national paper, we are a local community-building paper, so that means having local people in the community they’re covering.”

Shortly after the announcement, Orange County Register staffers received an email asking about their interest in covering Los Angeles.

The move represents the first time in years that a newspaper has sought to challenge the area’s dominant daily, the Los Angeles Times.

The Times’ last citywide daily competitor, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, folded in 1989, and plans for startups have been frequently proposed since, but all have faltered. Los Angeles County’s other newspapers have largely chosen to focus on their on their local area instead of the region.

Kushner said he believes there is a place for a paper with a different emphasis and perspective.

“We think the LA Times is a great national newspaper. We are a very different kind of newspaper,” Kushner said. “Obviously, we have a very different political perspective. We’re not liberal and we’re not reactionary. We believe in free markets.”

Asked to respond, Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said in an email, “Our first and foremost mission is serving Southern California, as we have for 132 years.”

Last month, Freedom Communications Inc. bought the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the region’s biggest inland newspaper, for $27.2 million from Dallas-based A.H. Belo, a month after the deal was announced.

That acquisition combined with a new Long Beach daily and the move into Los Angeles means Freedom’s papers will have vast reach in a heavily populated region.

But it means an increasingly large gamble that the millions of potential readers will turn into lots of actual customers at a time when the newspaper business is generally shrinking.

Ken Doctor, a newspaper industry analyst with Outsell Inc., said the move may be an attempt to find new revenue to cover the Freedom’s fast-growing costs, but it’s bold nonetheless.

“Aaron Kushner and Freedom Communications are making the most contrarian play in American newspapers,” Doctor said. “While newspapers overall are receding and retracting and cutting, he is in expansionist mode.”

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Paul Crouch: One of the Giants of Our Generation.


Paul Crouch
Steve Strang interviewed Paul Crouch Sr. for ‘Charisma‘ in the late 1980s. (Charisma archives)

Paul Crouch Sr. passed away last Saturday, about the time my plane was taking off from Paris. By the time I landed in the U.S., my cell phone was full of text messages from friends asking if I’d heard the news.

I knew Paul was pretty sick. I had tried to visit him a couple of years ago when I was in Los Angeles, but a member of his family said he didn’t feel good and didn’t want me to see him so sick. Then he rallied and was much better for a couple of years. Recently he was put back in the hospital. And when the Los Angeles Times called me a month ago to be interviewed for his obituary, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I heard the news he’d passed away.

Because I’d known Crouch for so many years, I was able to explain to the Times reporter (who didn’t seem to know much about him) how he had a humble upbringing, not a lot of education regarding broadcasting and not much money. Yet he had a vision to grow TBN, and he was one of the most tenacious men I’ve ever met.

I told her stories of traveling with Paul to visit Enlace—TBN’s Spanish network in Costa Rica—and then flying to meet with the Nicaraguan president to negotiate opening a station for TBN in that war-torn country. I told the reporter of the time I once had to negotiate with Paul. It was so intense that I ended up with a headache and remembered thinking I had just negotiated with the very best.

Anyone who knew him well knew he was a shrewd businessman and was able to juggle many things at the same time. Running a huge, multimillion-dollar broadcasting empire required him to handle an awful lot of details. For example, when TBN made an ad buy in one of our magazines, I knew it had to meet with his approval.

The Times didn’t tell any of my anecdotes. Instead they quoted me only on this: “He has created an enormous platform for many ministries to do what he says is very important to him—that is, to spread the gospel not only in this country but around the world.”

I truly believe that.

I said much the same thing to one of the local television news channels that asked to interview me since they couldn’t get anyone from TBN or the Holy Land Experience to give a comment. (The Holy Land Experience is in Orlando, where I live, and TBN owns a station here.) I told them the same thing—that Paul Crouch was a visionary and that he was determined to build TBN and to spread the gospel.

Over the years, I related to Paul in many ways. I interviewed him for an article in Charisma 25 years ago. He interviewed me on the Praise the Lord program several times.

For three years, we had a program on TBN called Charisma Now. While I mostly interacted with his wife, Jan, who headed up all programming, I had a lot of dealings with Paul. (Doing a TV program was an interesting experience, and ours was one of their top 10 programs, measured by response. But since we are not a nonprofit ministry that collects donations, and since TBN doesn’t let you sell anything on the air—they say the program becomes an infomercial, which they don’t allow—in the end we couldn’t find a financial model that worked for us. Plus, I had to realize that journalism was my calling, not broadcasting on TBN.)

Over the years, I’ve become a friend to his two sons, Paul Jr. and Matt. Each is brilliant in his own way. And their mother, Jan, as controversial as she may be, is brilliant in her own way. This is a unique family with a unique calling that has left an imprint on Christianity not only in this nation but around the world.

Like me, the Crouches grew up in the Assemblies of God. Like me, they started with very little and had to believe God to see the vision become a reality. But the comparison stops there. I can’t compare my vision to Paul’s. If I do, mine’s small and his was huge. Even though I have my detractors, I’m not nearly as controversial. Maybe that’s because I’ve spent most of my career reporting mostly to the church on what God is doing rather than sharing those things on camera to the entire world.

I believe you can measure a man by the size of his vision. If that is so, then Paul Crouch is one of the giants of our generation. Sure, he had detractors. He made mistakes. But knowing him all those years, I believe he was sincere—and had he not been such a stubborn German (as he used to like to call himself), then TBN would have died in the early days.

I thank God for Paul Crouch and his life and the legacy he leaves. I believe he was welcomed into heaven by the Lord saying to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

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