Archive for Los Angeles

Dumb Starbucks

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dumb starbucks

Video via Bloomberg.

UPDATEJoke's on L.A.: Comedy Central behind Dumb Starbucks faux shop

Apparently there is such a thing as a parody coffee shop, and they're serving up plenty of snark about-- who else?-- Starbucks, right here in the Los Angeles area. The enterprise looks like a Starbucks, has a similar name (Dumb Starbucks), acts like a Starbucks, serves coffee like a Starbucks, but with a twist or two. One of the twists: check out the prices. Keep reading.

There's no affiliation with the original, by the way. This is an independent cup o' jo(k)e. (Bygones.)

Nobody exactly knows who's behind the mockitude, but it's getting a lot of attention. But some of that attention is negative. It took the real Starbucks a little while, but now they're staking a claim on their name and don't want Dumb Starbucks to use it any more, even in fun. Yes, there's trouble brewing (bygones). In fact, real Starbucks is starting to foam (bygones) at the mouth a little.

Spoil sports. Now Dumb Starbucks will have a latte more on their plate (bygones).

Via the Los Angeles Times:

A list of frequently asked questions pegs the legality of the mock store to "parody art" — an art gallery where the coffee is considered the art.

The store looks nearly identical to a typical Starbucks location -- though it lacks the free Wi-Fi -- with tumblers and CDs, including "Dumb Jazz Standards," on display.

Drinks are served in cups that mock the company's logo, while pastries are pulled from display cases straight from their Vons packaging. The menu features such offerings as Dumb Iced Coffee, Dumb Frappuccinos and Wuppy Duppy Latte.

Part of the twist is, they're not charging for the lattes and iced coffees they serve. Yes, you heard that right:

free stuff

 

What better way to poke fun at the most prolific and pricey coffee sellers ever than to hand out free products?

Customers are trying to figure out if this is a spoof by a comedian, a performance artist, a Banksy prank, or a marketing gimmick by some unknown entrepreneur. Whatever it is, it's entertaining, attention-getting, and getting under the legal skin of corporate Starbucks in Seattle while mystifying everyone else trying to figure out who's behind it.

Figuring that out may be a tall order (bygones).

Video here.

dumb starbucks statement by real starbucks

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From California To Maine, The GOP Is Very Scared

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fear 2

Don't let the press scare you if you're a Democrat or an Independent, or if you're a woman, LGBT, believe in evolution or science, are an immigrant, accept climate control, favor social welfare, public parks, clean air, or are young, have college loans or want financial reform. The Republicans who are against all of those things and more are showing signs of cracking. The Republicans might very well lose the House despite gerrymandering and they're certainly not going to regain control of the Senate.

How can I make such broad predictions? Well, here's a taste of what the RNC is thinking and how they're approaching their attack. Here's a piece of a story from BDN MAINE

The Maine GOP’s latest insult to women

Even as Maine Republicans are rolling out a traveling show in an attempt to gain support among young people, they seem to have given up on their attempts at outreach to another problem demographic for the party: the majority of voters that are female.

In a post on the Maine GOP Facebook page today the Party ridicules lawyer Sandra Fluke for considering running for Congress in California with an image macro claiming she “can’t afford birth control” but can afford the filing fee to enter the election.

This is a sign of fear. Why? Well, for starters you can't get farther away from California than Maine on any map of the US. Then look at the target of this attack. It's Sandra Fluke. She's best known for being denied a chance to speak to congress by the GOP as well as the over the top, outrageous misogynist and truly misinformed comments by Rush Limbaugh. He's the cartoon you look at when you want to point out crazy.

Sandra Fluke Ad 2

Finally, look at this campaign against the Fluke filing. She's just filed. So have two others and more are expected to vie for the seat of retiring Rep. Henry Waxman in Los Angeles. It's a Democratic seat and most likely will be filled with a Democratic candidate. But when just the filing of a political neophyte (and that doesn't mean she isn't an excellent candidate), brings on the opposition money and shivering in their timbers by Republicans across the country who will have no say in a Los Angeles area election, it says something. It says a lot. And true colors are coming to the surface. No matter how much lip service Republicans give to being inclusive, having a large tent or any other analogy, they clearly are not. They're white, old, out of touch with reality, anti-women, anti-employment, anti-Black, anti-immigrant and you can take that to the bank (polls).

They say animals can smell fear. Well so can people. And right now, if you take a whiff, that's the GOP's stinking, fear-filled carcass, not the licorice smell emanating from waters of West Virginia.

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Jobless, aidless, homeless v. the wealthy who live in homes with moats, Botox rooms

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makers takers Luckovich cartoon workers joblessVia Mike Lukovich, amuniversal

In the past couple of days, the Los Angeles Times letters to the editor about the jobless and homeless knocked it out of the park. I'm sharing a few samples, because our voices matter:

Re "222,000 in state to lose jobless aid," Dec. 25

So, Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky claim that funding extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless would hurt their chances of getting hired.

By that logic, it would necessarily follow that the homeless should not be given rent subsidies for an apartment because it would hinder them from buying a house someday.

I get it now.

Jerry Lasnik

Thousand Oaks

***

"222,000 in state to lose jobless aid" — that was the headline I saw Christmas morning, and it totally ended the joy that day should have brought.

I hope Santa had 535 lumps of coal for each voting member of Congress.

David Mathews

Downey

That was just in California. Nationwide, the number of those who will no longer receive unemployment benefits skyrockets to 1.3 million. Did I mention that Congress members-- who are paid $174,000 a year-- are taking a holiday break (yes, another one) to rest from all the work they didn't do?

And we all know what unemployment can lead to, right? If you answered "homelessness," you would be correct. And as so many American families struggle to eat and stay alive, the very, very wealthy struggle to come up with ways to keep up with the over-the-top Joneses by outdoing one another with preposterously showy novelty perks.

There is no link to the following letters, because, true to form, The L.A. Times failed to post these online. I transcribed these from my morning paper and added a link that is a MUST-read:

Re "Union Station's homeless," Editorial, Dec. 25

Once again we read on this Christmas Day that the business community-- in this instance, aided by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority-- finds no room for the desperately poor at Union Station.

One way to justify keeping the homeless at bay is to perpetuate blatant stereotypes, exemplified by the oft-repeated phrase "aggressive panhandling."  Both words are extremely negative and imply that people asking for charity are not only "bums" but that their actions, as the word "aggressive" conveys, border on violence.

When our favorite nonprofit organizations beg for our money, we call it intensive fundraising and assume it to be normal and expected, even when we are "aggressively" bombarded with stacks of nuisance letters and phone calls-- something no person without a home has ever done to me.

I suspect The Times was being ironic when it mentioned that only 4,000 shelter beds are available each night for Los Angeles County's more than 57,000 homeless, and then that outreach workers should encourage people at Union Station to seek out Shelters.

Douglas J. Miller

Santa Barbara

***

On Christmas Day, an article in the Business section reported on houses built with moats and other luxuries selling for as much as $50 million.

In the same paper, The Times editorialized on the homeless in Union Station. The editorial noted that there are 57,000 homeless in L.A. and only 4,000 beds to serve them.

Something is seriously wrong.

Jan Goldsmith

Sherman Oaks

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Lax Background Checks On Law Enforcement Contribute To Innocent Shooting

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cop with gun

Is this just a tragic coincidence or a pattern of poor judgement? Either way, it's something that the public should be made aware of and perhaps demand an accounting of practices and procedures by law enforcement.

Yesterday there was this, according to MailOnline.

'Oh you're gonna shoot me?' The sarcastic last words of straight-A student shot dead by college cop after being stopped for speeding

University student Cameron Redus, 23, was shot and killed by a campus police officer
According to police, the officer tried to pull Redus over for driving erratically and speeding
The two pulled into the parking lot of Redus' apartment block
Minutes later, Redus was shot 'four to six times' by Carter
Redus was a straight-A student set to graduate in May
Alamo Heights police and Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting
Carter is on administrative leave during the investigation

Now what is disturbing is how the Campus Officer was qualified to work for the school to start with, let alone carry a gun. Here's a bit of his background. See if you find any red flags here:

University officials describe him as having 'extensive law enforcement background.'

According to records viewed by My San Antonio, Carter has had nine jobs at eight different agencies over his eight-year law enforcement career.

He rarely stayed in any job for more than a year and the two years and seven months as a campus officer for UIW was the longest stint in his career.

The sketchy details in this story also include that this traffic stop happened off campus, on private property and the confrontation was verbal. Saying 'Oh, you gonna shoot me?' is not an invitation to actually shoot the honor student. Maybe the officer failed his class in Sarcasm 101. And to unload your gun into the unarmed student? Six bullets, four which hit their target at point blank range? Let's not even start with how trained he was in handling a firearm.

This might be a stand alone one-off incident. Something that happened in a small town but couple it with this LA TIMES article from last week:

police polygraph

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department hired dozens of officers even though background investigators found they had committed serious misconduct on or off duty, sheriff's files show.

The department made the hires in 2010 after taking over patrols of parks and government buildings from a little-known L.A. County police force. Officers from that agency were given first shot at new jobs with the Sheriff's Department. Investigators gave them lie detector tests and delved into their employment records and personal lives.

Serious misconduct found in these background check in a big city? A city that has thousands of applications every year? It's bound to happen. But here's one example that could be endemic to police thinking:

David McDonald was hired despite admitting to sheriff's investigators he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl whom he  kissed and groped. He was 28 at the time.

McDonald had been fired from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department amid allegations he used excessive force on prisoners. A fellow deputy told a supervisor that he didn't want to work with McDonald because he harassed inmates.

So committing sexual assault on a minor with an age difference of 14 years (there's three major felony crimes there alone) wasn't enough to get him disqualified?

This is where the problems are cultivating. The police must do a better job of policing their own. They must be like Hebrew National Hot Dogs -- "We report to a higher authority."

When they turn their back on major crimes within the ranks and let those people patrol us, aren't they contributing toward the further abuse for which this officer was finally dismissed?

Ultimately, about 280 county officers were given jobs, including applicants who had accidentally fired their weapons,  had sex at work and solicited prostitutes, the records show.

These candidates weren't weeded out? Safety on the streets means safety from those who provide it as well. Or so you'd think.

For nearly 100 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department's own polygraph exams.

Twenty-nine of those given jobs had previously had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies over concerns about misconduct or workplace performance problems. Nearly 200 had been rejected from other agencies because of past misdeeds, failed entrance exams or other issues.

Now Sheriff Baca here in LA has a tough job, and I think he's done a pretty good one under the circumstances. He's lasted a long time, so he's either good or he knows where the bodies are buried -- literally. Yet with my high respect for him and his staff, you really have to wonder about putting people with dubious backgrounds in certain jobs -- especially when personal safety and carrying a gun is involved.

Anyone and everyone has made mistakes. And they shouldn't result lifetime sentences. I believe in second chances. But caution must be paid. Seemingly the ultimate price was paid in Texas for giving an 8th chance. Let's hope we learn from it and it ripples across the law enforcement community nationwide. Our safety is in your hands. Use good judgment. You'll be respected more and we'll be more greatly served.

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Stick it to Rush, Glenn, Sean... and Clear Channel for giving Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes the boot in L.A.

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stephanie miller free speech TV

PLEASE donate here. I did. Here's why:

I was fuming yesterday, and I continue to fume today. However, I am turning that fume-itude into constructive revenge, if you will, by writing this post.

Yesterday I discovered that my local Los Angeles Progressive radio station, KTLK-- the only one that exists to serve the area, including "Liberal Hollywood"-- is dumping all Progressive programming and handing the air waves over to the far right. In other words, what was left (no pun) of the left will be gone: No more Stephanie Miller Show to wake up to and point and laugh with, no more Randi Rhodes to inform us and rant with, no more liberal voices on L.A. AM radio. At all. Anywhere on the dial.

Instead, we get Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and who knows who else spewing lies and slinging mud. And by "we" I don't mean me. Hellz to the NO.

Au contraire, I had a lovely chat with Steph's producer extraordinaire, Chris Lavoie, yesterday who filled my weary, outraged little noggin with options and information that I am now sharing with you, below.

Meanwhile, there was an article about all of this ins-hannity in my morning Los Angeles Times, which has now been inexplicably edited for the online version.

You can read what's left of the article to see what's going on in California's "liberal media" here, but one very important excerpt that was cut is the following:

Tom Taylor, an independent reporter who has covered the radio industry for two decades, noted that the creation of "The Patriot" [the new lineup for KTLK] comes as the United States enters a midterm election year, meaning there will be ample money spent on political advertising. "The calendar's important here," he said.

Got that? Timing is everything. So is money, apparently.

Just FYI, I've listened to KTLK since Day One, back when Air America was barely alive and kicking, and there was absolutely no promotion of that station whatsoever, anywhere. How could they attract listeners without advertising? Uh huh.

The then-station manager and I were in contact often; he relied on me in KTLK's early days "to be his ears" because I would email him when there were audio glitches, and there were many. We'd email back and forth about how the infant station was doing, but still, there were no ads letting Progressive listeners know that there was a radio outlet especially for them.

But as time passed, the general manager lost his job, Air America went away, Thom Hartmann was replaced, and gradually "Your Progressive Talk Station" morphed into something less-than. Steph and Randi are the only remaining nationally known hosts, and now their voices-- and ours-- have been stifled by the usual corporate conservatives. They already monopolize the news media, but that's not enough for these greedy, war-on-everything that's not old, male, and white bottom-feeders.

Should you be searching for a way to stick it to KTLK, to the right wing extremist schlock jocks, and to Clear Channel, Stephanie and Co. have provided different ways to access her show:

The Stephanie Miller Show can be heard on Broadcast radio, SiriusXM, Streaming via Progressive Voices on TuneIn and Premium On-Demand Subscription Podcasts.

You can listen to The Stephanie Miller Show at any of our affiliates that stream live. Here is a partial list of those affiliates with the local times.

  • KPHX-AM Phoenix, AZ :   M – F 6-9AM
  • KTLK-AM Los Angeles,CA:   M – F  6-9a
  • KPTR-AM Palm Springs, CA: M – F 6-9a
  • WCPT-AM Willow Spng/Chicago ,IL: M – F 8-11a
  • KTNF-AM St Louis Pk/Minnpls,MN: M – F 8-11a

A full list of stations  can be found here.

I went to the KPHX website, downloaded their free app, and will be streaming it on my iDevices through my nice, clear Bluetooth mini-speaker.

And to listen to a live feed of the Randi Rhodes Show, just go to RandiRhodes.com and click on Listen Live at the top of the page. Again, PLEASE donate to get Steph and the Mooks back on the Tee Vee machine here.

bias liberal media my ass smaller

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Three Bullets, Three Leaders, Three Deaths -- In One Day

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calendar 1963

November 22, 1963. If you were around back then, you certainly know the significance of that day. Or do you?

We all know that our 35th president was assassinated in Dallas. It's an event that haunts us even today -- nearly fifty years to the moment. It's indelibly imprinted on we survivors -- where we were and how we heard the news.

Yet two other greats died that same day. Within hours of the president. Their loss is hardly mourned, certainly nearly forgotten that it occurred at the same time.

But virtually no one on 22 November 1963 realized—and relatively few realize even now—that that day also saw the departure of the two other major figures, who were also world-shapers in their very different ways.

The two greats that were lost were as far from politics as you can imagine. These two, both men, were visionaries perhaps greater than JFK. Their words were read and their books sold thousands more copies than anything Kennedy wrote, Profiles in Courage included. Their literary works still are great sellers today.

These authors who's passing was glanced over at best, were totally ignored in the big picture despite the fact that they would have made front pages if they had died a day earlier. What is it they say, "Timing is everything?"

The two "ghosts" were C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape LettersThe Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World).

Philosophically and sociologically, they were titans. Their passing deserved a bit of recognition but sadly, a more instantly shocking sense of despair overtook this country. The presidents murder understandably overshadowed the more peaceful and orderly passing of these two pillars of future thought.

The Daily Beast:

Death had moved remorselessly westward to claim his scalps. Lewis died first, in his brother’s arms, a few minutes after tumbling with a crash from his bed at the foot of the stairs at the Kilns, his house outside Oxford, at 5.30pm. He was just a week shy of 65. One hour later—12.30pm in Texas—the 46-year-old President was shot. At the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, Huxley’s second wife Laura, leaving his bedside with his request for an LSD injection, found the doctor and nurses in shock watching the news of the assassination; Huxley died, aged 69, at 5.20pm local time, just under eight hours after Lewis.

So perhaps in a few weeks, after we've tired of all of the Kennedy conspiracy specials and commemorations, we'll take a moment and hearken back to two of life's most interesting writers. As this post began, things in life (and death) seem to happen in three's. So here's three quotes from the other two missing greats.

C.S. Lewis C.S. Lewis:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'

Aldous HuxleyAldous Huxley:

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.

Maybe this world is another planet's hell.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Wise men of wordsmiths. Come November 22nd, I'll remember their 50th anniversary of passing. Join me?

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L.A. County Sheriff Shoots Six And Is Allowed To Shoot A Seventh Victim

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1521839_ME_0910_OIS

Los Angeles County police, as far as we can tell, don't have as a policy that you should just go out and randomly shoot (and sometimes kill) people. They usually require just cause and in a city the size of LA, it's probably not hard to find. We've got lots of nuts roaming the streets. It used to be said that if you could lift up the United States, all of the nuts would roll downhill and land up in California. That may be true. But it may also be true about crazy County Sheriff's all across America landing up in the L.A. Sheriff's Department.

Now to be fair, this story really is about the LA County Sheriff's Department. I make that distinction because out here we have LAPD, CHP, County/Municipal, and Sheriff's patrolling. But in the spotlight at he moment is the LA County Sheriff's Department.

Take the case of their very own, Deputy Anthony Forlano. He's in an agency where even one officer-involved shooting in a career is rare. So what do you call it when he has just been involved in his second..., third..., fourth..., fifth..., sixth... No wait, his SEVENTH officer related shooting. That's right, his seventh.

The question I'm having is how was this man even allowed to carry a gun, let alone patrol the streets? Why not put him behind a desk? It seems they did, but then decided to set him back out on the public.

THE L.A. TIMES:

Following his sixth shooting, Forlano was pulled from patrol duty and assigned to a desk job. He was also disciplined for "tactical deficiencies" in that shooting. But recently, he was allowed to return to the streets.

What could go wrong with putting him back among the public with a gun strapped to his side?

Records show that three of Forlano's previous shootings involved suspects who were unarmed.

District attorney officials have reviewed three of Forlano's past shootings, concluding in each that he legally acted in self-defense and in the defense of others, according to the office's records. That's three.  What about the other three?

Forlano told investigators that he had seen the suspect place a large silver object in his pants pocket and run holding his left hand near his waistband before he stopped and turned. The silver object turned out to be a cellphone.

Regarding a September 12, 2004 shooting,

Forlano opened fire after the other deputy shouted, "He has my gun" during the struggle. Forlano said he was unable to see whether Montoya had his partner's gun because it was dark and he was behind Montoya. Once Montoya was (shot) handcuffed, Forlano was able to see that the gun was in his partner's holster.

And in he third "other" shooting:

Forlano was involved in a high-speed chase that ended in another shooting. Forlano and his partner told investigators they gave chase after Osvaldo Ureta waived a small black handgun at them and struck their patrol car with his vehicle, according to a district attorney memo. No handgun was found in Ureta's vehicle

Now to the defense of Sheriff Lee Baca, the head of the LA County Sheriff's Department, putting Forlano back on the street was not his direct order. It came from then-Undersheriff Paul Tanaka who, coincidentally is currently a candidate for Sheriff Baca's position.

Consider this -- who did Tanaka report to when he was undersheriff? The boss, Lee Baca. And if there was no conversation between Undersheriff Tanaka and Baca over putting (then six-time shooter) Forlano back on the streets, you have to wonder what kind of communications go on in that department. If this decision didn't rise to the level of need to know, what does? Maybe neither man is right for the job.

Once again, I support the police. But an event like this -- or should I say a 7th event like this, is cause for concern -- from the top on down. Maybe LA deserves better.

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