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]
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]
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]
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."
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]
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]
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.
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]
"It's the ultimate Gordian knot ... There is no other system in the world as complex as the Delta." [more inside]
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.
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]
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.
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.
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]
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]
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.
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?
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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.
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]
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]
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.
"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.
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.
Thousands of students, faculty, and staff have walked out today in protest of the University of California's budget cuts. [more inside]
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.
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]
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.
Inside America's most dangerous national forest.
Time-lapse video of the Southern California wildfires. Another image of the fires, as seen from space. Google Map.
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.
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]
It's important to remember that everybody in our great republic has an equally important voice. [via Reddit]
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.
Hope withers on the vine. A look at daily life among the produce workers in Mecca, 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."
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]
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]
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)
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.