It's morning in America again -- but for the thousands of committed gay couples who got married in California [warning: Dan Fogelberg music, sweet visuals], the long nightmare of intolerance and hate is not yet over with the probable victory of Proposition 8. Supported by the anti-equality stances of Sarah Palin and "divinely" inspired others, and paid for by members of the Mormon Church and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, many of the ads for Prop. 8 featured the faces of Obama and Joe Biden, who declared their opposition to the initiative but refused to support equal marriage rights for all, preferring to talk about "civil unions." Even excellent Democratic-leaning politics sites like Talking Points Memo were saturated with the deceptive ads, which overwhelmed those comparing the proposition to other forms of discrimination in California's history.
Just as a California campaign for a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (allowed since June 16, 2008) is heating up the Connecticut Supreme Court has followed suit and overturned bans on same-sex marriage in that state. [more inside]
"I can name that tune in 300 yards ..." Not for much longer, though. Honda prepared for an upcoming commercial by cutting grooves in a road in Lancaster, California. These grooves, if driven over at just the right speed and in just the right car (one guess!) should play something resembling the William Tell Overture. But once filming was done (and I'm sure the commerical will be as impeccably produced and successful as Honda's other ads), locals and tourists were left with the driver's equivalent of that huge floor keyboard in Big, with some drivers lining up to play over and over again. Result? The city will pave over the road today. But hey, we'll always have Anyang. And Japan (previously). And Denmark.
While millions are flowing into California on both sides of the gay marriage battle, California's anti-gay leaders are raking it in through their nonprofit orgs.
E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal organization rooted in the California Gold Rush. Although some of its primary functions are beer drinking and implicitly poking fun at stodgier fraternal orders, it has also developed into a locally important benevolent organization. [more inside]
The owner of a California medical marijuana dispensary has been found guilty of violating federal drug laws. [LA Times] FTA: ...jurors had a clear sense that Lynch was not an ordinary street-corner drug dealer, but the fact that he was dispensing medical marijuana didn't matter under federal law. [...] "It was a tough decision for all of us because the state law and the federal law are at odds." Detailed coverage of the trial by Reason TV. Federal raids on California's medical dispensaries were recently featured on MeFi.
Why do Asian-American students achieve higher grades than Latino-American students? Despite the fact that the students come from the same socioeconomic background (median annual household incomes below $50,000 in working-class Los Angeles neighborhoods), Asian-American students disproportionately get better grades, attend AP courses, and go to college than their Latino-American counterparts. Students at Lincoln High School sit down for a frank discussion of why that is.
EducationFilter: California becomes the first state to mandate all 8th graders take Algebra; in part because U.S. students constantly trail their peers from other nations in mathematics. At least one person thinks it's a bad idea ("If only 25 percent of this nation ever earns a college degree, why insist that all children take algebra in eighth grade?"). Here's the algebra curriculum 8th graders will have to learn. [more inside]
As the gay marriage fight unfolds in California, some gays (and others) are fighting back: one gourp is boycotting a rich hotel owner, others are standing apart and one is suing the Bible (who gets subpoenaed for that one?). Meanwhile, a key opponent to gay marriage keeps its doors open (and its ballot committee going) despite being suspended. They say they're working on it, but no changes yet.
Hans Reiser leads police to the body of his wife. Software engineer Hans Reiser, who was convicted in the murder of his wife, Nina, long denied he killed her. His defense was based on the theory that she was hiding out in her native Russia and her body could not be found. Today, in a possible exchange for a shorter sentence he led police to the shallow grave of Nina Reiser, just a moment's drive from the house he lived in with his mother and two children. Previously, previously.
Sitting With Fire is a blog running from Tassajara, one of the oldest Zen monasteries in the US. It provides information on the status of Tassajara's residents who have stayed behind to combat the Basin Complex fire. [more inside]
Drive-through trees, Olvera Street, Knott's Berry Farm, and lots of other images and postcards of California at Image Archaeology.
Los Angeles-based photographer Andrew Bush mounts a camera on the side of his car to capture freeway drivers in the southwestern United States. [more inside]
The public shaming of Orange County billionaire Henry Nicholas continues apace. While his financial crimes may not have drawn more than a passing reference, his drug use and other, more unsavory acts, have gotten widespread coverage -- as early as last year. Perhaps, it's because Nicholas was famously involved in supporting tough sentencing laws (his sister was murdered by her boyfriend in 1983.) However, some of the "tough on crime" policies he has backed as recently as a few months ago are said to unfairly worsen the punishment for those who commit crimes much less serious than those for which he was just indicted.
"Try Legal Weed" is the slogan printed on bottle caps made by Weed, California brewer Mount Shasta Brewing Company's latest microbrewed lager. The ATF has ordered the brewer not to use the caps, as they may "mislead consumers about the characteristics of the alcoholic beverage." [more inside]
The [US] National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 21st annual list of the nation's Most Endangered Historic Places. Among them: Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, (where Linda Brown tried to register for school, resulting in Brown vs. Board of Education); New York City's Lower East Side; California's State Parks; Philadelphia's Boyd Theatre, and several others. The previous 20 years of Most Endangered Historic Places can be found in the Archive. [more inside]
NewsFilter: The California Supreme Court has just overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Read the decision.
Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early, says the Washington Post. Across the United States, a financial crisis is brewing in our nation's correctional systems. California, which has the largest prison system in the nation, (housing 170,000 inmates with a capacity of only 100,000), plans to increase the budget for new prison construction by 7 to 14 billion dollars, on top of releasing 22,000 nonviolent prisoners on unsupervised parole. Other states, especially Michigan, face an even more dire situation... [more inside]
Kumeyaay.info welcomes visitors and indigenous peoples of all tribal nations and provides a casual village environment to share and network their culturally relevant creative work, information and opinions. (previously)
A few years ago when I was visiting Alaska, one of the more interesting portions of the trip was the 45-minute drive from Anchorage to Girdwood along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. This is one of the world's rare bodies of water that features bore tides, an amazing scene. The highway is one of only 15 roads in the United States that have been designated an "All-American Road." What about some of the world's greatest highways? [more inside]
Prior to 1990, over a hundred illegal immigrants died attempting to cross the I-5 in Southern California. The answer? Put up a sign, of course. The sign has been seen as racist, and sometimes as a joke. The L.A. Times profiles the man who designed the sign, a Vietnam veteran who grew up on a Navajo reservation. The sign in question has become iconic in the debate on immigration policies, and a copy of it now sits in the Smithsonian. Via Strongly Worded Letter.
Ferocious-looking mystery creature in Tahoe National Forest confirmed to be a California wolverine, thought to be extinct since 1922. A motion-detecting camera snapped a compelling photo behind the beast last month, and the California Department of Fish and Game just confirmed the discovery with a clear profile shot. Notably, both photos appear to show the same animal.
VBS.TV presents "Epicly Latered"[~80 min, 16 parts, gnarly skateboarding], the story of John Cardiel.
Esalen: Where "California" Bubbled Up (one photo mildly NSFW) For many others in America and around the world, Esalen stands more vaguely for that metaphorical point where “East meets West” and is transformed into something uniquely and mystically American or New Agey. And for a great many others yet, Esalen is simply that notorious bagno-bordello where people had sex and got high throughout the 1960s and 1970s before coming home talking psychobabble and dangling crystals. In short, Esalen is in every way, even geologically, California at its most extreme. It is its caricature, as well as its noblest expression.
Postcards from Our Awesome Future. [via] An art exhibition stemming from the minds of Packard Jennings (whose illustrations have appeared in Adbusters) and Steve Lambert (of Anti-Advertising Agency fame); using San Francisco's infrastructure as a model for improvement, the duo answered the siren call of Objectivism through an arcology devoid of “...budgets, beauracracy [sic], politics, or physics”. [more inside]
4 Artists Paint 1 Tree, a segment from Disneyland included on the recent DVD release of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, features the artistic process of one of my favorite painters and cartoon modernists, Eyvind Earle. If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, Paul Bunyan or Peter Pan, you're familiar with the fantastical and brilliant landscapes he produces. His paintings show a particular fondness for Big Sur and Central California.
Colma, CA is a necropolis created when San Francisco banned burials within the city limits in the late 1800's because of space and public health concerns. A town of 2.2 square miles, 73% is devoted to cemetaries and the dead outnumber the living thousands to one. Buckethead named an album after it. There's a musical about it (sort of). Other necropolises around the world.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the bed and banks under all rivers, lakes, and streams that are navigable, for title purposes, are owned by the states, held in trust for the public. Mineral extraction interests and other parties often challenge this 'public use' designation by using/abusing the navigabilty designation to keep out fisherman and other recreational users in order to exploit the rivers for private gain. The Upper Sacramento River and McCloud Rivers of Northern California are the latest battleground in recreational river access. In what has become all too common, an ugly fight pitting sportsmen and nature enthusiasts against private interests is unfolding. One blogger has led the good fight to keep the rivers public. He could use your help... but it doesn't look good, and there is not much time!
Pictures of California Wildfires. Some fire resources: Fire maps, Official Information and an up to the moment news blog. In related news, Twitter proves to be useful, while anger rages as evidence of arson mounts. More Photos here and here.
"California has a decision to make. We either brace ourselves for long-term [water] cuts that threaten our economy and our very way of way of life, or we invest in a solution to fix the [San Francisco Bay] Delta and expand our water toolbox so we can meet future challenges head-on.” [more inside]
The US Clean Air Act makes it illegal to sell highly environmentally-friendly cars in 42 states. Apparently.
You’d need years to really study these murals of Califonia’s history - the artist certainly had a lot a free time to create them. You'd probably also need a special invitation to engage in a multi-year study in the gallery - and you probably don't want one.
Is there a link between donations given and bills passed? MAPLight.org aims to help you find out, giving you the ability to compare contributions with how legislators voted. [Via]
The California poet Robinson Jeffers, though once popular enough to make the cover of Time Magazine, is for various reasons now a somewhat obscure figure- however, he has attracted increased interest in recent days both for the quality of his work and his pantheistic personal philosophy, which anticipated much future environmentalist thought. [more inside, with links to poems]
California Restricts Voting Machines: after a source code review of voting machines turned up "significant, deeply-rooted security weaknesses" in voting machines by Diebold, Hart, and Sequoia, the California Secretary of State decertified all three vendors' systems. These weaknesses have been well covered here at MeFi, but some are bad enough to shock even the well-jaded, including the revelation that Diebold "uses at least two hard-coded passwords -- one is 'diebold' and another is the eight-byte sequence 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8." Time to think about open voting?
New Hampshire approves same-sex unions with bipartisan, if contentious support, recognizing both in- and out-of-state unions and marriages. While New York's Eliot Spitzer follows up on a campaign promise, higher courts in California and Connecticut may make decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage later this year, deciding if a civil union is an adequate legal substitution for marriage.
In just a year his bodycount has risen to 32. Jeff kills in Shadow Hills, California. He hunts them, disembowels them, decapitates and dines on them. Each killing is meticulously photographed and posted for your viewing pleasure. The site is not for the squeamish. via
UFO-filter: Odd spine-y and asymmetrical craft spotted over Lake Tahoe, then two days later over Capitola, California.
Does the world's largest natural cavern lie below Mount Konocti in northern California? We might never know. The family who owns the mountain is trying to encourage tourism, but refuses to allow cave exploration. Meanwhile, local businessmen (including a relative of transistor coinventor John Bardeen) are trying to to build a tramway ride to the top of the mountain--with little success to date.
Re-imagining Los Angeles public transit: The ambitious vision of these transit advocates and amateur cartographers for an East-Coast style rail network in Los Angeles may seem too idealistic, but the map is still fun to look at. More on the history of LA public transport from the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library.
Charles Phoenix's Disneyland Tour of Downtown Los Angeles... featuring Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Feel like taking your own walking tour of Downtown? Here you go. But hey, why not stop and gorge yourself on a giant pancake breakfast at The Pantry first, just because? Open 24 hours a day, it hasn't closed since 1924 so the doors don't even have locks. Just like Disneyland!
Virtual Space Mountain! Wheeeee! (Click on the second video where you sit in front. What are you, a wuss?) Real video just can't do Space Mountain justice, but it does a pretty good job of capturing some other rides. Feel like revisiting some original Magic Kingdom rides without leaving home? Well here you go... Pirates, Mr. Toad, Small World, Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room, Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, Indiana Jones, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Cruise, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit, the late Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and a bunch of people covered in lightbulbs dancing to the world's most excruciatingly annoying synthesized music. During your virtual day at the park, please just remember to watch out for Goofy. That dude is nothing but a messed up troublemaker. And don't forget... the parking trams do not go to aisles B as in Bambi & C as in Cinderella.
Jonson takes pictures of The Salton Sea, which is a strange place, like some kind of huge, perpetual, Burning Man, but by a huge, salty, polluted, manmade lake with distant shores, dying fish, has-been resort towns, Salvation Mountain, fundie dinos, fountains of youth, and nice churches. [via mefi projects] [previously] [howdy]
California = France? Norwegian bløgger Carl Størmer (via THE BIG PICTURE) made a U.S. map substituting the state names for other countries of equivalent GDP. Some of the substitutions are funny: Illinois = Mexico? Texas = Canada? New Jersey = Russia? Hawaii = Nigeria? Oregon = Israel? But your economic mileage will vary: apparently California no longer has the "sixth-largest economy in the world", no matter what The Governator says. Wikipedia chimes in, while some Californians don't want to be bothered with facts.