Obituaries in the news
PARIS (AP) -- French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, a social theorist known for his acerbic commentaries on consumerism and excess, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.
Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a lengthy illness, said Michel Delorme of the Galilee publishing house.
The two men had worked together since 1977, when "Oublier Foucault" (Forget Foucault), one of some 20 books written by Baudrillard, was published, Delorme said by telephone. The last book published by Baudrillard was "Cool Memories V," in 2005.
Baudrillard, a sociologist by training, is perhaps best known for his concepts of "hyperreality" and "simulation."
Baudrillard advocated the idea that spectacle is crucial in creating our view of events -- what he termed "hyperreality." Things do not happen if they are not seen to happen.
Although many Americans were puzzled by his views, Baudrillard was a tireless enthusiast for the United States -- though he once called it "the only remaining primitive society."
Josef "Joe" Diamond
SEATTLE (AP) -- Josef "Joe" Diamond, a parking lot magnate and lawyer who argued a major discrimination case at the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. He was 99.
Relatives said Diamond died at home in his sleep Saturday.
He graduated from the University of Washington in 1928, and earned his law degree from the UW in 1931.
Diamond served in the Army Judge Advocate General's office for four years during World War II, winning the Legion of Merit for his service and retiring as a colonel.
After the war, Diamond and his brother Leon took over a service station and parking business with their brother Louis.
Faced with a dwindling number of parking lots and few attendants, the Diamonds devised a self-pay box for collecting parking fees that eventually became familiar around the country.
Diamond Parking Inc. remains a family business today, operating more than 1,000 parking lots and other facilities in eight states and Canada, along with more than 200 office buildings, apartment buildings, marinas, storage complexes and industrial parks.
As a lawyer, Diamond's most famous case involved a discrimination claim by a UW student, Marco DeFunis, who challenged the law school's policy of accepting minority applicants over white applicants with better grades.
Diamond argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974. DeFunis ended up earning his law degree because of the lawsuit, but Diamond was unable to convert the case to a class action.
The DeFunis case, however, laid a foundation for court's precedent-setting ruling in 1978 that embraced for the first time the concept of affirmative action.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Ernest Gallo, who parlayed $5,900 and a wine recipe from a public library into the world's largest winemaking empire, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 97.
Gallo, who would have been 98 on March 18, was born near Modesto, a then-sleepy San Joaquin Valley town about 80 miles east of San Francisco. He and his late brother and business partner, Julio, grew up working in the vineyard owned by their immigrant father who came to America from Italy's famed winemaking region of Piedmont.
They founded the E&J Gallo Winery in 1933, at the end of Prohibition, when they were still mourning the murder-suicide deaths of their parents. Ernest and Julio rented a ramshackle building, and everybody in the family pitched in to make ordinary wine for 50 cents a gallon -- half the going price. The Gallos made $30,000 the first year.
It grew to become the world's largest wine company by volume, a title since taken by
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Bob Hattoy, an advocate for gay and lesbian issues who accused former President H.W. Bush of doing nothing about AIDS during a nationally televised speech at the Democratic National Convention, has died. He was 56.
Hattoy, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, died Sunday of complications from the disease, said Adrianna Shea, a special assistant to the commission.
Hattoy became politically active protesting the Vietnam War and dropped in and out of college. He was regional director for the Sierra Club in California and Nevada.
In 1992, just after learning he had AIDS, Hattoy delivered the DNC speech.
"I don't want to die," he said. "But I don't want to live in an America where the president sees me as an enemy. I can face dying because of a disease, but not because of politics."
In 1993, he went to work for President Clinton as a deputy in the Office of White House Personnel, and was the White House liaison to the Department of Interior from 1994 to 1999. Clinton also appointed him to the Presidential Commission on HIV/AIDS, where he served as chairman of the commission's research committee.
J. Robert "Bob" Leeright
LYON, Neb. (AP) -- J. Robert "Bob" Leeright, a former correspondent for The Associated Press, died March 2 at a nursing home after a bout with pneumonia. He was 86.
Leeright joined the AP in 1947 in Boise, Idaho, then transferred to the Denver and Cheyenne, Wyo., bureaus. He returned to Boise in 1968 as correspondent and political reporter until his retirement in 1982.
While in college at the University of Idaho, Leeright was briefly kicked out of school for writing an editorial opposing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. He was later allowed to return, daughter Sherry Leeright said.
He earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Idaho in 1942, and immediately went to work at the Twin Falls Times-News. Leeright left journalism briefly to serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46. He returned to Twin Falls for about a year, but joined the AP in 1947.
The Idaho Press Club named him Idaho newsman of the year while he was in Boise.
SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- Bishop Ivo Lorscheiter, a prominent critic of Brazil's former military regime who also squared off with the Vatican over his progressive beliefs, has died. He was 79.
Lorscheiter died Monday of multiple organ failure at a hospital in Santa Maria, 620 miles southwest of Sao Paulo, the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops said.
Lorscheiter was one of the leading advocates of liberation theology, which promotes social, political and economic awareness among the poor. He was often at odds with the Vatican, which for years has said there is no place in the church for the mixing of politics and religion.
Lorscheiter was also a harsh critic of the armed forces who ruled Brazil between 1964-1985, denouncing human rights violations against political opponents. "It was my duty as a Christian to defend human rights," he once told reporters.
The descendant of German immigrants, Lorscheiter was named the bishop of Santa Maria in 1974. He held the position until he retired in 2004 and became the city's bishop emeritus.