Saturday, November 16, 2013
L.A. County meeting on Hahamongna dredging project draws fire from Pasadena residents (Pasadena Star News link): About 75 residents of Pasadena, Altadena and La Canada Flintridge — uneasy about the effects of a massive dredging project behind Devil’s Gate Dam in Hahamongna Watershed Park — added a new concern to their list during Thursday’s community meeting.
Many booed and groaned when representatives from Katherine Padilla & Associates or KPA, a public relations firm hired by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to run the meeting, told those at Jackson Elementary School in Altadena that they should write down their comments instead of speaking them aloud.
Some felt the system of flip charts, mini-group sessions and questions re-interpreted by county and public relations representatives masked their feelings about the project. Worse, others felt the system was designed to tamp down opposition.
“They don’t want us to co-educate each other,” said Lori Paul, a biologist and Altadena resident opposed to the project. “They are trying to create the illusion of consensus.”
(Mod: "They are trying to create the illusion of consensus." Pretty much sums up the aim of most government agencies around here, right? Are you sick of being treated like children yet?)
Marijuana dispensary across street from LAPD station burglarized (Los Angeles Daily News link): Burglars broke into a Mid-City marijuana dispensary early Tuesday morning and got away before officers arrived, even though the building is across from an LAPD station, police said.
The alarm came in about 3:30 a.m. from the dispensary at La Brea Avenue and Venice Boulevard, said Sgt. Chris Chase of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Station.
``The suspects were not there when we got there,’’ Chase said. Detectives were investigating to determine how much, if any marijuana or property at the dispensary was taken.
(Mod: Here in Sierra Madre marijuana dispensaries are run out of private homes. Of course, outside of their immediately concerned customer base, nobody seems to know much about them, especially law enforcement. Think of the business license fees being lost. Also, if you were running such an establishment out of your house, and it was robbed, would you call the police? Around here you'd likely end up being the only party arrested.)
Richard Conlin Concedes: Seattle Elects Sawant As First Socialist Councilmember (KUOW.Org link): Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin conceded his seat to challenger Kshama Sawant late Friday after Sawant's lead widened to 1,640 votes, or 50.3 percent.
Speaking at City Hall on Friday, Conlin said he can’t speculate yet on why his reelection bid failed. But he noted that he’s taken on a wide array of controversial issues.
“A few days ago I got three e-mails in the space of about an hour,” he said. “One of them said, ‘I’m voting against you because you voted against the arena.’ The second one said, ‘I’m voting against you because you supported apodments.’ And the third one said, ‘I’m voting against you because you voted to ban plastic bags.’ You know, it’s hard to know how you could come up with the right kind of message that would work for all of those voters.”
Sawant becomes the first Socialist elected to the city council. Her grassroots campaign focused on a $15 minimum wage, rent control in a city with rising rents, and a millionaires' tax to fund transportation. Sawant has a Ph.D. in economics, and has taught economics at Seattle Central Community College. She's been active in the Occupy Seattle movement.
Conlin has served 16 years on the council, where he most recently chaired the city's land use committee. During his press conference Friday, he said he was proud of his record on sustainability and transit.
(Mod: When a 16 year veteran Seattle councilmember who claims sustainability and transit as his greatest achievements loses to a socialist, then you know that things are starting to get wild. Couple this with the Whig victory in Philadelphia last week and we could soon be heading into uncharted territory.)
Syrian rebel 'beheaded in case of mistaken identity' (BBC News link): An al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group in Syria is reported to have asked for forgiveness after beheading a fellow rebel in a case of mistaken identity.
A video recently posted online showed members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) brandishing the severed, bearded head of a man. They said was an Iraqi Shia caught fighting on the government side.
But other rebel fighters watching the video recognized the man and said he was one of their commanders.
The video of the beheading shows two ISIS fighters in Aleppo province - one holding a knife - brandish a severed, bearded head, denouncing their victim as an Iraqi volunteer for President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
They decry his immorality, saying he is a heathen - one of those who have threatened rape of men as much as women.
BBC Arab affairs analyst Sebastian Usher says horrifying videos like this stream out of Syria every day from the rebel and government side - each with the aim of sowing terror.
What makes this one stand out, he adds, is that other rebels watching the video recognised the beheaded man. Members of the hardline Islamist rebel group, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham, said he was not a government fighter at all, but one of their own. They said he was a commander called Mohammed Fares Maroush.
(Mod: Somehow I don't think a sympathy popcorn bouquet from 1-800 Flowers is going to do it.)
SAN BERNARDINO: Candidate’s music video hits sour note (Press Enterprise link): A San Bernardino city council candidate’s rap music became a campaign issue last week when some of his videos surfaced online and ended up costing him some support. Anthony Jones, 23, forced Councilman Fred Shorett into a February runoff after getting 32 percent of the vote to Shorett’s 48 percent in the Nov. 5 election.
Jones, who uses the name Yah Boy Money in the videos, is shown using vulgar language in one video which features a simulated gunshot sound and lyrics such as “(Expletive) my enemies, I put the 4-5 straight to their memory.” The backdrop is recognizably the San Bernardino Valley, shot from a hillside perhaps near Little Mountain.
The San Bernardino Police Officers Association, withdrew its endorsement of Jones on Tuesday, Nov. 12 after the video surfaced. The lyrics, said SBPOA President Steven Turner, glorify crime and violence, and denigrate women.
Jones said he made the video two years or more ago, when he was 20 or 21 years old but did not write the lyrics. He added that he couldn’t remember the name of the other man in the video, who hired him to produce it.
Jones defended the videos on his Facebook page. “You sing songs for fun about topics covered from Gilgamesh and Sampson to Sinatra, Johnny Cash and Dr. Dre, and the video gets passed around political circles as if it was tape of a policy speech advocating violence or misogyny,” he said.
(Mod: Does anybody know if Gene Goss raps?)
Prosecutor Asks That She Not Be Called 'the Government' Because the Term Is 'Derogatory' (Reason.com link): Last month a Tennessee judge overseeing a burglary case rejected a pretrial motion in which the prosecution requested that it not be referred to as "the Government" because that term is "derogatory."
In the May 22 motion, Assistant District Attorney General Tammy J. Rettig noted with alarm that "it has become commonplace during trials for attorneys for defendants, and especially Mr. [Drew] Justice [the defendant's lawyer], to refer to State's attorneys as 'the Government' repeatedly during trial."
Rettig worried that "such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State's attorneys seem oppressive and to inflame the jury." She added that "attempts to make the jury dislike the State's attorney have no place in the courtroom."
She therefore urged Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley to bar Justice from using the g-word during the trial and instead refer to her as "General Rettig, the Assistant District Attorney General, Mrs. Rettig, or simply the State of Tennessee."
(Mod: No word here yet on whether the Mayor's request that City Hall now be referred to as "The Jumping Castle" is going forward.)
Mariah Carey: My time on "American Idol" was hell (KMOV TV.com link): In case you were wondering, Mariah Carey didn't like being a judge on "American Idol." And that's putting it mildly. The pop songstress has likened her time on the show to working with Satan.
In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, Carey said, "Honestly, I hated it." Carey sat on the judges' panel earlier this year, alongside Randy Jackson, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. Even before the season launched, there were reports that Carey and Minaj were not getting along -- and their animosity towards each other played out as the season wore on.
"I was led to believe -- I was the first person signed on," Carey told the radio station. "Heaven forbid I look like I'm saying something negative, but honestly I thought it was going to be a three-person panel. They gave me a nice dangling monetary moment. I was just like, 'OK, Randy Jackson will be there, I've known him forever. He used to play bass for me. This isn't a big deal. This will be nothing.
But it wasn't that. It was like hell. It was like going to work every day in hell with Satan."
(Mod: I wonder if Mariah ever considered what it was like to watch that show.)
Man agrees to remove wife's grave from front yard (New York Daily News link): An Alabama man has agreed to remove his wife's remains from his front yard after a four-year fight to keep her grave next to the house where they lived together.
James Davis testified at a court hearing Wednesday that he will hire a contractor to remove the body of his late wife, Patsy, and have it cremated. A judge still must approve the plan.
The court ordered the 74-year-old Davis to remove the body after the city of Stevenson won a lawsuit arguing the grave amounted to an illegal cemetery and had to be removed.
The City Council rejected Davis' request for a cemetery permit for his yard after his wife died in April 2009, but he buried her a few feet from the front porch anyway.
(Mod: Having family members buried in the front yard would really help with your Halloween presentation next year.)
Did LBJ Kill Kennedy? (And Why It Matters) (Reason.com link): I think he's an amoral psychopath," says Roger Stone of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. "I think he's crude, evil, vicious, vindictive, drunk."
And there's this: "I think Lyndon Johnson had unique motive, means, and opportunity to kill John Kennedy and I think he participated in a plot to do so."
Stone, a well-known political operative and Richard Nixon loyalist, lays out his case in The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, written with Mike Colapietro.
As Gillespie notes in the interview (and in this essay about the nation's JFK fixation), Stone's book is "fully enjoyable" even if you don't buy his central argument that LBJ was a cold-blooded killer. Among the dozens of books published in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Stone's book is memorable for its meticulous cataloguing of the personal and political foibles of JFK, LBJ, and Tricky Dick.
"My book achieves nothing," says Stone, if it doesn't persuade people "that what the government tells you cannot be believed. Anything the government tells you needs to be regarded with a heavy dose of skepticism."
(Mod: At this point in my life I am pretty much willing to consider anything. Though with a certain degree of skepticism, of course.)
We'll end this here.
Posted by The Moderator at 6:00 AM