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...And it was called Proposition 19

This November, California citizens will decide whether or not to legalize the possession, buying and selling of, and recreational use of marijuana. Early polls concerning proposition 19, also known as the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010", reveal a slight majority for legalization, as well as an interesting case of status quo bias. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by Taft on Jul 29, 2010 - 101 comments

LAUSD's Dance of the Lemons

Want to fire a teacher in the LA Unified School District? Be prepared to spend several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 15, 2010 - 139 comments

Closing Arguments in Prop 8 Trial

A federal judge in California will hear closing arguments today in the landmark legal case that will determine the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban , first approved by voters as Proposition 8 in November 2008. Previously. also Previously. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jun 16, 2010 - 173 comments

Of course you realize this means war!

Libraries and commercial publishers have struggled with each other over the skyrocketing costs of academic journals for years. As costs have increased more rapidly than library budgets, the libraries have had to cut journal subscriptions and other acquisitions. The recent recession has necessitated further cuts. Against this backdrop, Nature Publishing Group told the University of California that next year subscription prices would increase 400 percent, with the average annual cost of a journal increasing to $17,479. UC Libraries fought back with a combative letter to UC faculty suggesting that faculty should consider boycotting the journals, and cease submitting or reviewing articles for these journals. NPG responds, saying that UC currently pays unfairly low rates, and that "individual scientists, both within and outside of California are already suffering as a result of [UC]'s unwarranted actions."
posted by grouse on Jun 10, 2010 - 62 comments

1) “But there are other lives to be saved, of people who haven’t done horrible things, who haven’t actually hurt anyone.” 2) "Fix it or lose it."

Arguing Three Strikes. A defense lawyer (and co-founder of Stanford's unique Criminal Defense Clinic), and a tough-on-crime Republican D.A. make for unusual allies in the move to reform California's Three Strikes law. [more inside]
posted by availablelight on May 22, 2010 - 53 comments

Reading (and Typing) in Public

Last August (2009), the "ephemeral artists" of Nothing Happened Here staged a mobile public reading event, meandering around the town of San Luis Obispo, CA with The Reading Chair, and a group of folks reading a variety of stories, poems and tales. The group has planned Typing in Public to take place tomorrow (May 15, 2010), in the same little town. The event is primarily focused on people writing on typewriters around town, but people can also share comments via Twitter, Flickr, or texting the event coordinators. To spark some inspiration, the group has received submissions from a variety of people, including Gerald Casale for Devo, Paul Frommer writing in Na'vi (with translation to English), Dr. James J. Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, writing on the library as the poster child of the it revolution, and plenty more. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 14, 2010 - 8 comments

Incendiary and offensive clothing

Five Californian high school students were sent home on cinco de Mayo for the clothes they were wearing. A vice-principal demanded they turn their shirts inside out so as to not offend other students, calling their clothing incendiary. They refused and, threatened with suspension, left campus. Their offense? Wearing American flag designs on American soil. At least one student believes the five owe everyone an apology for their disrespect.
posted by codswallop on May 6, 2010 - 262 comments

Deciding the fate of the Mojave Cross

Yesterday, in a highly split decision with six separate opinions, the United States Supreme Court overturned a Ninth Circuit ruling in Salazar v. Buono. The issue at hand? Whether the location of the Mojave Memorial Cross represented an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The Ninth Circuit decided that it did, but its ruling has been called into question by the high court on several levels. [more inside]
posted by Riki tiki on Apr 29, 2010 - 114 comments

There's one more thing: you can all have one.

How Steve Jobs Got Sick, Got Better, And Decided To Save Some Lives (previously)
posted by Baldons on Apr 26, 2010 - 49 comments

Can California fix the Delta before disaster strikes?

"It's the ultimate Gordian knot ... There is no other system in the world as complex as the Delta." [more inside]
posted by Groovytimes on Apr 23, 2010 - 34 comments

I think it's time for debate.

Going To Pot: Could Legalizing Marijuana Solve California’s Deficit? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 21, 2010 - 136 comments

California Schemin'

Your dreams of rapping superstardom are stymied by your Scottish sound, so what do you do? Simple: reinvent yourself as a West Coast wild boy, with American accent and history to match. Keeping it real might be murder, but even when it all falls apart, at least you got to tour with Eminem and D12 – and you can salvage something by writing a book about it all.
posted by Len on Apr 18, 2010 - 67 comments

Daryl Gates' real legacy

You may have heard about Romeo Agents, the male employees of the East German Ministry for State Security (also known as MfS or Stasi). They were unleashed on female federal employees in West Germany, with whom they began long-term relations and then began using as sources. That tactic has apparently been used in the United States as well; David Cay Johnston writes about the real legacy of Daryl Gates, the former chief of the LAPD. Gates died Friday. [more inside]
posted by krautland on Apr 17, 2010 - 38 comments

Exploring an Abandoned Hotel in Southern California

Exploring an Abandoned Hotel in Southern California [via mefi projects]
posted by dunkadunc on Mar 31, 2010 - 66 comments

Chinese and doughnuts: A California tradition

Combination Chinese restaurants-doughnut shops are common sights in California strip malls... But how did they get to be that way? The Atlantic investigates. Strangely enough, most are owned by Cambodians.
posted by huskerdont on Mar 15, 2010 - 112 comments

Honesty really is the best policy

After being caught drunk driving on his way back from a gay night club, consistently anti-gay California State Senator Roy Ashburn has publicly come out as being gay.
posted by molecicco on Mar 9, 2010 - 162 comments

The Return of Governor Moonbeam

Jerry Brown announces his candidacy for governor of California. Jerry Brown was derided as "Governor Moonbeam" during his two-term tenure as California's governor in the mid-70s and early 80s. He even had a famous fling with Linda Ronstadt. Later he became a radio-show host and mayor of Oakland, and he's currently California's Democratic attorney general. Brown contrasts his experience with current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican candidiate Meg Whitman, saying: [more inside]
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Mar 2, 2010 - 59 comments

The Seedier Side of Avocado Prices: Protectionism in California's Avocado Industry

Yummy avocados. So delicious...so contentious...and at times...so expensive. Why have prices in the U.S., particularly California, been so high? And why have they dropped? Weather and a bad crop? Or are the causes often more insidious? A one act play sums up one perspective on the situation. [more inside]
posted by thisperon on Feb 23, 2010 - 70 comments

Bringing Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the public in spite of the US Supreme Court

In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 3, 2010 - 37 comments

This may be the "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" of political ads

Carly Fiorina, perhaps best known as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is attempting to become the Republican candidate for Barbara Boxer's long-time Senate seat. But her nomination isn't sewed up yet; her potential GOP challenger is former Congressman and Stanford Law professor Tom Campbell. So earlier today, Fiorina's campaign released this political attack ad against Campbell. It features her newly-minted acronym "FCINO", it's about six times longer than most political ads, it makes copious use of stock photography, and it stars demon sheep with red glowing eyes. Wait, what?
posted by Asparagirl on Feb 3, 2010 - 155 comments

Are Pagans in California Prisons Entitled to Religious Freedom?

From The Wild Hunt:
A case coming before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could end up having major legal ramifications for all religious minorities in the United States. Wiccan chaplain Patrick McCollum has been fighting for years to overturn the State of California’s “five faiths policy”, which limits the hiring of paid chaplains to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American adherents. While McCollum has suffered setbacks in his quest, with a California federal district court ruling in early 2009 that he had no standing to bring his suit, he recently gained support on appeal from several civil and religious rights groups who argue that his case should be heard.
[more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Feb 1, 2010 - 43 comments

Frederic, Prinz von Anhalt, for Governor (warning autoplay national anthem)

Frederic, Prinz von Anhalt is running for Governor of California Zsa Zsa Gabor's 9th husband, Frederic, Prinz von Anhalt wants your vote as governor of California. Originally Hans Robert Lichtenberg, the son of a German police officer, he was adopted by the octegenarian Princess Marie von Anhalt. Now he's running for governor, promising to return the good life to California by promoting its world-class "avocados, wine, weather beaches and marijuana." [more inside]
posted by Ironmouth on Jan 28, 2010 - 38 comments

A $100m Tempest in a 5.2mi² Teapot

Vernon, California, a tiny city in Los Angeles county, was the personal fiefdom of one family for over 100 years. That all came to an end with the conviction of the town's long-serving mayor, and his wife, for voter fraud. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Dec 10, 2009 - 18 comments

Marin County Oral History

Marin County Oral History "From 1974 to 1984, Carla Ehat, with partner Anne Kent, and later Genevieve Martinelli, traveled from one end of Marin County [California] to the other, interviewing a broad spectrum of Marin's long-time residents, ranging from ranchers to politicians and including descendents of early pioneer families." Each link on the list includes a photo, bio, full text of the interview, and, the best part, short audio excerpts from the interviews. Many of the folks interviewed were born in the 1880s or 1890s.
posted by ocherdraco on Dec 6, 2009 - 7 comments

"Donald Sterling Continues To Get Away With Being The Most Evil Man In Sports"

The Donald Sterling Rule "Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lives by his own rules. And the only one that matters, apparently, is this: all bad deeds go unpunished. Over the last six years, nearly two dozen L.A. residents have sued Sterling for engaging in racist housing practices and Jim Crow-style bigotry. In a 2003 deposition, the 76-year-old real estate mogul admitted to paying a former employee to have sex with him in an elevator. Three years ago, the U.S. government charged him with "willful" mistreatment of African-American and Latino tenants, and earlier this month, he agreed to pay the Dept. of Justice nearly $3 million to settle a federal racial-discrimination housing lawsuit, the largest award ever for a case of its kind." So why, asks California's Tenants Together, has the NBA said nothing about Sterling's less than sterling behavior? [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Nov 27, 2009 - 27 comments

California "City"

California City is the 3rd largest city in California (geographically), home to California's largest open-pit boron mine, a privately-run Federal Prison, and only 8,835 residents. Originally planned as a "large master-planned leisure community" of up to 1 million people, such growth never materialized, and the remains of the undeveloped streets and cul-de-sacs presage images of the current housing crisis, and are a modern, uniquely American version of the Nazca Lines.
posted by joshwa on Nov 25, 2009 - 46 comments

The City of Angels

Photographer Matt Logue's empty L. A. shows the effect of the city being completely people-less.
posted by gman on Nov 20, 2009 - 42 comments

LiveR Than You'll Ever Be

40 years ago today, The Rolling Stones played two concerts at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. In the darkness of the audience was a man known to history only as "Dub"... [audio auto-plays] [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 9, 2009 - 13 comments

Angelyne: as essential a part of the Hollywood landscape as the garish minimall

She's a public mystery, craving attention but shying away from private interviews. She is a human being Andy Warhol would have created, a painter (of) herself. She ran for Hollywood City Council in 2002, joined the much-parodied 2003 California gubernatorial recall election (previously), and most recently tried to become Mayor of Hollywood (archive of her Mayoral site). She is still loved by snark-mongers. She is Angelyne. She is ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 5, 2009 - 44 comments

Hasta la vista, Gertrude Chataway.

Veto is a four-letter word (google quickview, here's the PDF):.Governor Schwarzenegger of California, at odds with the state legislature but ever the poet, vetoes Assembly Bill 1176 with a nice little acrostic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 28, 2009 - 72 comments

Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams

Is California finished?
posted by shakespeherian on Oct 28, 2009 - 110 comments

There are known unknowns

"My answer is, I don't know. I don't know." US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker asked Prop 8 supporters to define the nature and extent of damage done by same-sex couples to the institution of marriage, and being unable to get any definitive answer, denied the request from supporters of Prop 8 to throw out Perry v. Schwarzenegger and ordered the case to trial in January 2010.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 15, 2009 - 94 comments

G-g-g-ghost shark?

A newly identified species of Chimaera is patrolling the waters off of California and Baja California.
California has a new star, the Eastern Pacific black ghostshark. But the newly identified species prefers to stay out of the sun—and the spotlight. And with a club-like sex organ on its forehead, the male ghostshark isn't likely to get any leading man roles.
The Florida Museum of Natural History has better photos of its Australian relative.
posted by darkstar on Sep 24, 2009 - 15 comments

University of California Budget Walkout

Thousands of students, faculty, and staff have walked out today in protest of the University of California's budget cuts. [more inside]
posted by spitefulcrow on Sep 24, 2009 - 56 comments

House Beautiful

Maynard L. Parker was an architectural photographer whose work appeared for much of the 20th century in House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, Sunset Magazine and many covers for the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine, which was then called Home. He photographed many well-known architectural homes, including the work of Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright. Over 58,000 of those photographs are now available through the Huntington Library. Here are some examples.
posted by vronsky on Sep 13, 2009 - 3 comments

Politics 101: Don't Brag About Your Sexploits in Public

Conservative Republican California State Assemblyman Michael Duvall (Orange County) didn't realize his mic was live, moments before the start of a legislative hearing this past July. So when the 54-year-old married father of two began describing his ongoing affairs with two different women in very graphic detail for the benefit of a colleague seated next to him, he had no idea that he was being recorded. The story was picked up by KCAL, who cited unnamed sources that said Duvall was describing affairs with two married lobbyists. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 9, 2009 - 216 comments

Shoutout To All My Eichler Homies

Eichler homes! Most Eichlers are located in northern California, but you can find a few developments in the southland. People restore and renovate their Eichlers, write magazine articles about them, and take lots of photos of them. Even Mr. Incredible owned an Eichler. But owning an Eichler is not for everyone. Want to buy an Eichler? Join the Eichler Network or tour an open house.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 6, 2009 - 36 comments

Dark Behind It Rose The Forest

Inside America's most dangerous national forest.
posted by WPW on Sep 5, 2009 - 44 comments

A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

Time-lapse video of the Southern California wildfires. Another image of the fires, as seen from space. Google Map.
posted by mattdidthat on Sep 3, 2009 - 20 comments

It's not a tumor

What do you do when your state's facing an $11 billion shortfall? Hold a garage sale. [more inside]
posted by HumuloneRanger on Aug 27, 2009 - 44 comments

Schwarzenegger cut ALL state funding for domestic violence programs

On Tuesday, July 28, Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated 100% of California domestic violence shelters' state funding. Ninety-four shelters will be affected, and the cut may lead to domestic violence victims being turned away because of a decrease in the number of staff available, a cut in programs, or shelter closure. StopFamilyViolence.org asks California residents to contact Schwarzenegger and their state legislators and request that the funding be reinstated.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl on Aug 1, 2009 - 175 comments

How green was my valley

How green was my valley: California's economic meltdown The fields of wheat, cotton and cantaloupe that sustained his family for three generations are gone. The land is a mess of fallow fields, cracked earth and swirling dust. (PDF - By some estimates, 12.8% of the United States' agricultural production (as measured by dollar value) comes from California, and the majority of that is in the Central Valley). However, his particular scene of devastation, Mr. Allen argues, has nothing to do with the credit crisis, the housing crash or the downturn that has California in a vice grip. It has to do with a seven-centimetre-long, semi-translucent, steel blue fish known as the Delta smelt. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jul 24, 2009 - 76 comments

Their vote counts too

It's important to remember that everybody in our great republic has an equally important voice. [via Reddit]
posted by Netzapper on Jul 22, 2009 - 21 comments

Balancing the Budget is just sliders and buttons

The current federal and state budget woes have lead many to create their ideal budgets to keep it all in balance, and now you can try your hand at the push and pull of budgets large and larger. You can be a nation-wide budget hero (toggle-able music) at Marketplace for American Media. The LA Times makes the California budget into buttons, where you can add and subtract whole segments of the budget in a quick-and-dirty attempt at making things even out. Next 10 have created a more detailed budgeting system in their California budget simulator and localized Oakland variation. Too much information to handle? Stockton's budget balancing options cover police, fire community service and public works, with sliding scales of money to spend on each.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 6, 2009 - 48 comments

Feliz Dia Del Trabajador

Hope withers on the vine. A look at daily life among the produce workers in Mecca, California.
posted by univac on Jun 23, 2009 - 18 comments

High Speed Trains in California

Getting up to speed : "If it can get started, the California high-speed train would almost certainly be the most expensive single infrastructure project in United States history. Judging by the experiences of Japan and France, both of which have mature high-speed rail systems, it would end the expansion of regional airline traffic as in-state travelers increasingly ride the fast trains. And it would surely slow the growth of highway traffic."
posted by dhruva on Jun 14, 2009 - 77 comments

Prop 8 Upheld

Proposition 8 Upheld by CA Supreme Court. In crushing blow to marriage equality, the California Supreme Court has affirmed the validity of Proposition 8 today's ruling (PDF). [more inside]
posted by CaptApollo on May 26, 2009 - 419 comments

Never look a gift park in the mouth.

A 28-acre plot of unspoiled Sierra foothill forest is bequeathed to the Auburn (CA) Recreation District. The bequeath came with one condition: That the park be named "Nobel Laureate William B. Shockley And His Wife Emmy L. Shockley Memorial Park." [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on May 18, 2009 - 89 comments

On the Run from Everything but Each Other

We've covered hobo culture before, both historic and modern, but as the story of Smashley and Stogie reveals, the lifestyle of the railway traveler still exists not only for weekend adventurers but as a means of escape for troubled souls. (via)
posted by infinitywaltz on May 13, 2009 - 23 comments

If it's got to be clean [energy] , it's got to be Tide

The Wave Motors of California. "Still embedded somewhere in the shores of California, buried by more than a century of sand, are lost hydroelectric machines." Further reading.
posted by dersins on May 7, 2009 - 26 comments

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