A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose.
Executions in California have already been on hold since 2006, due to problems with the procedures associated with lethal injection. If the ruling is upheld, California will join 18 other states (plus D.C.) that have abolished capital punishment. (Read the court's opinion here
posted by scody
on Jul 16, 2014 -
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture
and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May
(1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler
(1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Jul 4, 2014 -
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu said that the laws governing K-12 teacher job security were unconstitutional.
Treu declared the rules governing K-12 teacher tenure in California were unconstitutional because they affect predominately minority and poor students, allowing incompetent instructors to remain in the classroom. He said in the decision
that the protections "impose a real and appreciable impact on students' fundamental right to equality of education." He went on to say that the evidence for this "shocks the conscience."
The decision ends the process of laying off teachers based solely on when they were hired. It also strips them of extra job safeguards not enjoyed by other school or state employees. And, lastly, it eliminates the current tenure process, under which instructors are either fired or win strong job security about 18 months after they start teaching.
The case was brought by a Silicon Valley group, Students Matter.
The suit has highlighted competing views of teacher tenure.
The decision has lead to significant
and spirited debate
over K-12 teacher job protections.
posted by professor plum with a rope
on Jun 11, 2014 -
The Believer takes a longform look at Humboldt County's marijuana cultivation culture. Since the early ’70s, when growing began to replace a foundering timber industry in Humboldt, reliance on the marijuana economy has only increased. By 2012, it was thought that marijuana accounted for one billion of the county’s four-billion-dollar economy. During my stay, I don’t remember seeing a clothing store, bookstore, supermarket, bar, restaurant, supply shop, gas station, repair shop, pharmacy, or burrito shack that wasn’t patronized by someone with direct ties to a pot farm. You could smell the skunk, see the twenties. In parkivng lots, souped-up grower trucks growled by—mostly Toyotas, a status symbol in Humboldt. Somewhere along the way, that back-to-the-land exodus begun in San Francisco some forty years ago, when poor hippies left the city and went north, into the woods, in search of a simpler, cheaper life, their own piece of Arcadia on which food and intoxicants alike could be grown, to offer a thumbnail history—somewhere along the way, that movement morphed into a thriving industry.
posted by porn in the woods
on Jun 10, 2014 -
As reported recently by the San Jose Mercury News,
Asian-American Democrats in the State Assembly now look to be blocking the reinstatement of race-based affirmative action in California, previously on the fast track for the November ballot, after it passed through the State Senate with all Democrats, including three Asian Americans, supporting the measure, and all Republicans opposing. [more inside]
posted by MattD
on Mar 16, 2014 -
Today, the UC Davis student newspaper, The California Aggie, put out its last print edition.
The Aggie has been in dire straits for some time. Ad revenue started to plummet in 2009 and the paper has been working off of its reserve funds.
Publication was cut from five days a week, to four days a week, to one day a week.
Very few of the staff have been paid at all and those who were earned around $2 an hour. Despite the print change, the paper was due to run out of money by June 2014.
Then came a last gasp, paper-saving measure: Measure 1, proposed for the winter 2014 ASUCD ballot, would add a $9.30 increase to student fees in order to subsidize the formerly independently run paper. But.... [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon
on Mar 13, 2014 -
was a well-known journalist at The New Republic
who was exposed
for multiple instances of fabricating stories and lying to cover up the details (previously here and here
), as well as burning a few bridges
in his attempt to explain his actions. A movie
was made about this, and he wrote a book
. Since Glass’s fall, he has gone to law school and has been practicing as a paralegal at a Los Angeles law firm with the hopes of becoming a lawyer. He has passed the bar exams in New York and California. However, there is a required ethics review in both states before one is allowed to practice. He was already denied (informally) a license in New York, and a final decision in California was appealed
to the California Supreme court, who ruled
last month conclusively
that Glass would not be allowed to practice law in California. Here is the 33-page ruling
. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix
on Mar 5, 2014 -
On May 17, 2013 I was dropped off in Campo, California at the US/Mexico Border. Four and a half months later I was in Manning Park, British Columbia having walked the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) across California, Oregon, and Washington to get there.
posted by cthuljew
on Jan 29, 2014 -
This is what I saw.
What Neil deGrasse Tyson is to astrophysics, Lucy Jones
is to seismology.
"The last time there was a large seismic event on the fault that can do us the most harm, the San Andreas, in 1857
, Los Angeles had about 4,000 residents. “We really weren’t worried about keeping a complex social structure in place,” Jones said. But as we get bigger and more complex, we increase our vulnerability."
Jones presented her talk, “Imagine America Without Los Angeles”
to the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco in 2013.
is the 20th anniversary
of the Northridge quake
, we still haven't quite figured out what to do to mitigate the effects of the BIG ONE to come. [more inside]
posted by Sophie1
on Jan 17, 2014 -
Back to the Future: The Trip.
"We wanted to take this trip because we love the Back to the Future movies and thought it would be a fun, unique, and interesting trip. What you will see for each tour stop is first of all a picture from the movie from that scene, and then a picture of us at that location or a picture of what the landscape looks like currently in 2007." [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange
on Sep 22, 2013 -
If someone mentions the state of Jefferson that existed in an alternate universe, the question should be: which one?
The western neighbor of the Kansas Territory, the eastern portion of Texas, the later effort to split off a western portion of Texas, or the new state composed of parts of Oregon and California? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Sep 6, 2013 -
is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge."
posted by gman
on Jul 5, 2013 -
"'If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.' So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment." Mother Jones is profiling "America's 10 Worst Prisons."
Facilities were chosen for the list based on "...three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 14, 2013 -