Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat

There are some great 80's Halloween costumes out there but who would want to be Johnny from the Cobra Kai Dojo!? He was the asshole that picked on Daniel. Ivan "I Must Break You" Drago, I can see that but not Johnny "Sweep the Leg" Lawrence.

If last year's rumor that Will Smith is remaking The Karate Kid, with his son in the lead is true, there is no justice in the world. The only way the KK, should be remade is with a down and out Daniel (perhaps Ali leaves him for John Kreese) in a role similar to Mr. Kesuke Miyagi.


California Aqueduct, The Central Valley

Dorothy Green's Final Fight: Before She Died, Heal the Bay Founder Said California's Drought Is a Fake
"If we managed water differently — better — there would be plenty of water for the state of California."
Judith Lewis, LA Weekly, 10/16/08
I didn’t go to talk to Dorothy Green because she was dying. I wasn’t looking to do a tribute. I went because I was working up a story about water, about how we use it and abuse it, mismanage it and waste it, and about how the bipartisan water bond being pushed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein — with its provisions for new dams and “water conveyance” projects — is a really bad idea. In August, I had gone to a protest rally against the water bond at which Green had spoken, and in the brief interview we had that day, I realized how much of my thinking about water — about Southern California’s wasted storm water, the Central Valley’s reckless and polluting agricultural irrigation, the rage that simmers up in me when people call storm drains “sewers” and dump crap into them —traced back to Green. I had never sat down and talked to her. She gave me her card and told me to call.

Her pauses were mitigated by the urgency of her message, by the sense she had that this was her last chance to save the declining species of the California Delta, including the smelt and salmon, and to put right more than a century of corruption that had robbed California’s citizens of their right to clean, safe water — to drink, to water their gardens, to swim in.

And she was still trying to persuade California’s lawmakers and citizens that “Big Ag,” as she called it, had spent the past century pulling a fast one on the public. At the time of the Reclamation Act, “a family farm was 160 acres,” Green explained. “The Central Valley clearly does not have family farms. And yet they exist on water subsidized by the state. It’s a huge scandal.” As she explains in her 2007 book, Managing Water: Avoiding Crisis in California,the limit was later raised to 960 acres. “But before that, they played a lot of interesting games, setting up farms to make them look like family farms, when they were actually corporations.

“What we want to find out now is who really owns the farms in the Westlands Water District, which is the largest water district in the nation. Nobody has really taken a look at this business of Big Ag, of all these corporations. Who are the real owners? How many owners are there, really, of this subsidized water?”

Which doesn’t mean backing off from the truth. Reading Managing Water, especially its fifth chapter, on state water policy, is like slowly peeling off the veneer of a great mythology: that California is America’s “bread basket” and must always stay that way. California does produce half the country’s fruits, nuts and vegetables, but “it’s not the economic engine of the state,” Green insisted. “It’s only 3 percent of the economy.” According to the Environmental Working Group, 10 percent of the farms get 67 percent of the state’s water. And 80 percent of the state’s entire water supply is used for crops — mostly low-value, irrigation-intensive crops like cotton. “Let the Chinese grow cotton!” she quotes cotton magnate J.G. Boswell out of Rick Wartzman and Mark Arax’s King of California,predicting there wouldn’t be any cotton grown in California 10 years from now.

That fifth chapter “is really about how Big Ag has really taken over water politics,” Green confirmed. It’s also about how big agricultural corporations in California are losing interest in the increasingly unprofitable business of farming, as Boswell himself predicted. “Big Ag is interested instead in getting control of the water supply in order to market the water and turn it into a commodity,” Green asserted. “And you do that by creating a drought, so that you can pin down water rights. You do that by inventing a disaster, and get the governor to create a water-rights shortage.

Environmentalists won that battle to stop the Peripheral Canal, and so it was with palpable dismay that Green, in her final months, saw the plan resurface, in carefully coded language, in Schwarzenegger and Feinstein’s water bond. Now tentatively slated for an April ballot, the measure was ostensibly drawn up to confront the historic drought plaguing California farmers. Green acknowledged there might be less water than usual: Eight years of decreased snowfall has starved the Colorado River, which supplies 60 percent of Southern California’s water, most of which goes to the Imperial Valley Irrigation District. Reduced precipitation in the mountains and an early-melting Sierra snowpack have all depleted the state’s reservoirs. But Green insists that were it not for irrational pressure on the water supply due to mismanagement, there wouldn’t be a problem.

“For the last five years, they’ve pumped the Delta dry because the Metropolitan Water District built [the Riverside County reservoir] Diamond Valley Lake and that had to be filled, and the Kern Water Bank [in Kern County] was pumping like crazy. So you’ve got these normal rainfall years, or a little bit below normal rainfall, but if you’re going to fill Diamond Valley Lake and the Kern Water Bank, then you have a real shortfall.” Westlands Water District now has a contract for 1 million acre-feet of water a year — more than 300 billion gallons, as much water as 2 million Los Angeles households use in a year. The Kern Water Bank was recently caught buying up subsidized state water at $28 per acre-foot and selling it back to the public for 10 times the cost. Along with water from Westlands, water from Kern gets poured onto arid soil that many argue should never have been irrigated. The water releases toxic selenium into groundwater, polluting rivers and eroding land with runoff.

“Their water rights ought to be taken away, their land taken out of production and their operations shut down,” Green said.

I could hear the cries of protest as she spoke — what about all those jobs? “California’s farming communities are the most poverty-stricken in the state,” Green said. “The profits, the benefits, go to Stewart Resnick. He’s the biggest farmer in the state — he owns Paramount Farms — and he lives in Beverly Hills.”

Before reading Judth Lewis' article, I'd always assumed California, especially southern California, was in a drought. I'm not entirely convinced we aren't but I want to know more. I think I'll check out Dorothy Green's book, Managing Water Avoiding Crisis in California.


Can we please have Halloween back


I love topical Halloween costumes and the the Nixon mask always gets a laugh out of me but how many Palins, Obamas, and McCains am I going to have to weed through on all Hallows Eve?

Redondo resident takes down 'Nobama'

Larry Altman, Daily Breeze, 10/29/08
The lynched effigy of Democratic candidate Barack Obama came down after police officers and a representative from John McCain's local campaign office paid a visit to Lisa Castaneda last night and convinced her to take it down, according to authorities.

Emotions stirred in a Redondo Beach neighborhood Wednesday when a resident hung an effigy of Sen. Barack Obama from her balcony with a meat cleaver slashed through his throat as a Halloween display.

"I disapprove of him, period," she said. "I am appalled by a man who is so close to being our president who won't put his hand on the Bible, who won't wear a flag pin."

Castaneda said there was nothing racist about her display. She said she hopes any neighbors upset about the Halloween exhibit will come to her directly, but she has no plans to take the Obama effigy down.

Well she took it down so there is a goof in the article but the important part is the following quote.

"There was no malice," she said. "I just like Halloween. It's nothing mean-spirited by any means. We all have our opinions."

Nothing mean spirited, really?
Point Break

I'll take advantage of any opportunity to work Swayze in.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stay of Execution

Sarah Palin effigy has been taken down
Raja Abdulrahim and Andrew Blankstein, LA Times, 10/30/08

No word on whether Maddog is still in the chimney.


“You go to work.”

You can't kill Dalton.

Swayze’s Best Act: Being Able to Show Up
Bill Carter, NY Times,10/28/08
But of course something quite out of the ordinary was taking place. A celebrity film star, who was given a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer less than a year ago, was putting in 12-hour days as the lead in a television series.

“How do you nurture a positive attitude when all the statistics say you’re a dead man?” Mr. Swayze asked. “You go to work.”

Crazy Swayze as Jed Eckert

"Let it turn. Let it turn to something else."


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maddog is on Fire

Effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose creates uproar in West Hollywood
Victoria Kim, LA Times, 10/28/09
A West Hollywood Halloween display showing a likeness of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin hanging by a noose has caused a furor among some residents who reported it as a hate crime, authorities said Monday.

The home's decorations also feature a doll of John McCain surrounded by decorative flames in the chimney, and other more typical Halloween items, such as skeletons and spider webs.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Around Town

A giant fiberglass chicken. I'd say Foghorn Leghorn, supports California Proposition 2, the Standards for Confining Farm Animals Initiative.

She put $900 on the fifth horse in the sixth race
I think its name is "Chips Ahoy!"
It came in six lengths ahead, we spent the whole next week getting high . . .

I got a girl and she don't have to work
She can tell which horse is gonna finish in first
Some nights the painkillers make the pain even worse
-The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
I went to the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita this Saturday. We took mass transit from downtown LA. It took about a half hour to get from Union Station to the end of the Gold Line at Sierra Madre Village, where there were shuttles waiting to take people to the track. It was about a ten minute ride from the transit station to the race track. Total cost $1.25

The race was $20 for general admission, which is four times what it normally costs to get into Santa Anita, but it is one of the biggest horse races in the world.

Twelve oz. beers were $6.50 and premium mixed drinks were $8.25.

We saw Bobby Flay, walk by in an uncomfortable looking charcoal pin stripped suit.

Besides the usual track ambiance there were a lot of pregnant woman and families with baby strollers. I've never thought of the track as a kid friendly place. I mean you're liable to run in to somebody like this guy.

Charles Bukowski at Hollywood Park Race Track

Yes, that's a spoiler on the back of a pickup truck.

My favorite sandwich: Egg Salad on whole grain, with a slice of ham and cheese (cheddder or provolone) topped with mixed greens. The juice is a blend of orange and pommegranet. Sometimes I go for a glass of skim milk or a bottle of mineral water. A beer would work as well.

Earn It


This guy is a pansy.

Tattoos of scars or stitches are lame. They're one step ahead of coloring yourself with a magic marker.

The leg, one day removed from it's third anniversary. Where were you on 10/28/05?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Can't Do It"

Two days after I said there was a lack of ranting in the NFL this year, Mike Singletary, the interim head coach of the San Francisco 49ers stepped up and saved the day.

Mike Singletary's week 8 post game press conference. The entire clip is good but it starts to get juicy at the the 1:40 mark.

In case you missed it, the player Singletary was referring to was tight end Vernon Davis. Davis slapped Seahawks safety Brian Russell, in the face mask after making a catch in the third quarter. He was assessed a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty, which prompted Singletary to send him to the showers.

Drop the interim, if I'm 49ers owner Denise DeBartolo York, Singletary is my head coach.

Singletary, interim coaches face long odds to stick around
Bob Velin, USA Today, 10/21/08

Davis: 'I don't think I did anything wrong'

Tom FitzGerald, SF Gate, 10/26/08
Shaking his head in the locker room, the 49ers tight end said, "Not in my head. I don't think I did anything wrong. But when the coach thinks I did something wrong, I gotta listen to him. He's the boss."
That's not the best way to get out of the doghouse Vernon.

NFL Europa

Things couldn't have worked out better for the NFL in London. I'm not sure how successful the NFL will ever be at attracting Britains to American Football and in turn selling more t-shirts and pay per view games, especially since the London Monarchs and Scottish Claymores folded even before NFL Europa closed it's doors in 2007, but the 32-37 shootout that featured plenty of spectacular catches and vicious hits was a better showcase than last year's 13 to 10 snooze fest. Last year the 0-8 Dolphins, who were on their way to trying to complete a winless season were led by Cleo Lemon on a day when Eli Manning threw for only 59 yards. I'm sure that this year's choice of two high powered offenses was not by mistake.

It's an old story line but I love that Drew Bree's was going against the team that let him leave in free agency following the 2005 season in favor of Phillip Rivers. Brees won the battle but the stat lines were pretty close.

D. Brees, 30/41, 339, 3, 0
P. Rivers, 25/40, 341, 3, 1

I'm sure the incessant timeouts and the safety in the fourth quarter confused a few Europeans that are new to the game.

After the safety, I wouldn't have kicked anywhere near San Diego's dynamic return man Darren Sproles.

Maybe it was only funny to me but I cracked up at announcer Jim Nantz' line in the fourth quarter. After Fox flashed the final score of the Liverpool Chelsea soccer match he said, "We welcome those of you joining us from the Liverpool Chelsea game."

Liverpool won 1-0. It was Chelsea's first home loss since 2004.

Liverpool Ends Chelsea's 86-Game Home League Run; Spurs Victory
James Cone, Bloomberg, 10/26/08

History Lesson


I had forgotten the different scoring rules that NFL Europa had. Field goals of more than 50 yards were awarded 4 points, as opposed to the NFL where every field goal regardless of length is awarded 3 points. I kind of like that, I wouldn't want it in the NFL but I like it.

Unlike the sudden death overtimes in the NFL, in Europa overtimes each team was given at least one possession. I don't care for the rule since I think sudden death means a team must have a good defense and offense since possession is determined by a coin toss.

Unfortunately, like their parent league, Europa games could end in a tie. I've never liked that a regular season NFL game can end in a tie if neither team scores during the over time period. The game should be played until there's a winner. I've always thought penalty kicks are a horrible way to loose a soccer game but maybe they should have tried them in NFL Europe.

Around the League


Dick Stockton and Troy Aikman were calling the Cowboys Tampa Bay snooze fest(Tampa 9 Dallas 13).

My friend that I was watching the game with said, "Does anyone nickname their son Dick anymore?" I know very Beavis & Butt-Head, but it made me laugh and I don't know too many Dick's under the age of fifty.

Watching Pittsburg Steelers long snapper Greg Warren's knee buckle as he tried to walk off the field was gruesome. I'm amazed the training staff let him try to walk off the field after they examined him. As violently as his knee buckled there had to be at least some instability that they could detect.

"Shake it off Greg"

"Rub some dirt on it."


Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria

I found the above photo on a Fine Art Prints web page. Why in the hell would someone want to hang a photo of this nasty little bastard?

Kellen Winslow's one game suspension without pay for conduct detrimental to the club is an absolute joke. He spoke up out of concern for he and his teammates' health about an issue the Browns obviously aren't taking seriously enough. His comments were detrimental to the organization and rightly so but not to his teammates.

At the time the of Winslow's hospitalization two weeks ago the Browns organization said the nature of his condition was being withheld at Winslow's request. In light of Winslow's statement to the press I don't buy it.

Shame on the Browns and general manager Phil Savage who said in a statement:
"Kellen has expressed his desire to be a productive member of the Cleveland Browns. His comments and behavior on Sunday evening, however, were unwarranted, inappropriate, and unnecessarily disparaging to our organization.

"His statements brought unjustified negative attention to our organization, and violated the team-first concept of our football squad. Therefore, disciplinary action will be taken in the form of a one-game suspension without pay for conduct detrimental to the club.
Via the Freak

A Slew of Staph Infections Tackles the NFL
By Sean Gregory, Time, 10/25/08
The NFL is learning the hard way that a microscopic foe can be much more imposing than a 300-pound lineman, as a sudden slew of staph infections has sacked several players in the game.

Early this week, Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. revealed that staph (short for Staphylococcus) infection had sent him to the Cleveland Clinic for three days, and he accused the Browns of asking him to cover it up. Pro football teams are notoriously reluctant to reveal any information on player injuries, but since six different Browns have caught the bug since 2005 — Winslow has had it twice — the team's medical management looked suspect to some observers. "There's obviously a problem [with staph] and we have to fix it," Winslow told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Just look at the history around here. It's unfortunate, because it happens time and time again." The Browns, who denied that they had kept the news of his infection from his teammates, suspended Winslow one game for his rant, which included his claim that he felt like he had been treated like "a piece of meat."

But the Winslow medical controversy wasn't even the worst of it for the league. In the past week, it has become clear that two of its most marketable stars, marquee quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, had gotten infections. The New England Patriots' Brady has had at least two additional infection-related procedures since his initial season-ending knee surgery in September. It's now possible that his knee will have to undergo another operation, which could delay his return until 2010. Staph seems to be the likely culprit, but neither Brady nor the Patriots will confirm that. During training camp staph infected a bursa sac, which acts as a cushion between bones, in Manning's left knee. The infection required surgery and forced him to miss most of the preseason. Though the Colts released a statement on Friday insisting Manning didn't contract a more perilous staph, the anti-biotic resistant strain known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the incidents should alarm the NFL. "The NFL, and all the leagues, should be diligent, and not let their guards down," says Dr. Robert Gotlin, director of Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. "They've got to do better. It's got to be one of the top five priorities."

Many athletes shave their ankles, legs, and arms because they don't want athletic tape ripping hair off their bodies, but experts say they should lose the razor. "No matter how careful the shaving is, you can have nicks and microscopic cuts in the skin," says Dr. Daniel Sexton, an infectious disease specialist at the Duke University Medical Center, who consults for an NFL team and several college programs. "Any time you break that barrier, it becomes a portal through which bacteria can gain access." Staph prevention is pretty low-tech. "You know, this is pretty simple," Sexton says. "Hand washing remains the primary defense against the transmissions of most organisms, including staph. Most people don't think of a locker room as a place where hand hygiene is important, but locker rooms are also mini-emergency rooms."

In 2003, a team of researchers tracked the St. Louis Rams and found five players who caught eight MRSA infections. "We observed a lack of regular access to hand hygiene (i.e., soap and water or alcohol-based hand gels) for trainers who provided wound care," they wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine. Other offenses included "skipping of showers by players before the use of communal whirlpools; and sharing or towels — all factors that might facilitate the transmission of infection in this setting."

I'm concerned about Tom Brady's health. I could care less about his playing carreer. Take care of the infection and then we'll talk football.

While I've repeatedly tried to ring the MRSA/staph alarm bell and I don't think it's a laughing matter at all. A friend did have a great one liner regarding Peyton's announcement of his infection last week.

"He was jealous of Tom Brady."

The World Series

During the game 4 of the World Series there was a Lincoln MKS commercial that featured a Cat Power cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity. Really David, a Lincoln? You let them use the song for a Lincoln commercial?

The original Space Oddity video.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

"Crown Their Ass"

The season is still young but there's been a distinct lack of freakouts in the NFL this year. I got nostalgic for Dennis Green, so I went to his website.

You'll be happy to know that Dennis has a new Fishing DVD out and a line of hats. I hope he yells at the fish.
I will take you to some of my favorite fishing spots as I travel across America. On this DVD, I am fishing in all four regions of the country and enjoying every second of it. I invite you to come enjoy the fishing with me.



Complete Dennis Green Flipout


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Borrowed Clothes


Palin Shopping Spree Legal? Yes, but Barely
Loophole Lets Party Purchase Wardrobe the Campaign Could Not
Emma Schwartz, ABC News, 10/22/08

It would be illegal for the McCain-Palin campaign to buy a new wardrobe for Palin and her husband, say campaign finance lawyers contacted by But the law is silent on whether such purchases can be made by the Republican National Committee (RNC).

In the meantime the RNC says that the clothing is its property and after the campaign it will be returned to them and donated to charity, which it expects will eliminate any questions of gift restrictions or taxes.

What's a hundred and fifty thousand when the campaigns are spend hundreds of millions in their quest for the ring but it does seem to be really poor form especially in light of the current economic down turn, to spend that much on skirts & boots. Given the choice I wonder what America's hockey moms would spend 150 thousand on.

As for the auction, I hope ABC stays on top of that. I'm curious as to how much money the clothes will generate.

Pinko Alert!

There might be some Bolsheviks in the RNC, the auction smacks of socialism, taking a wealthy person's clothes and auctioning them for the needy, how dare they.


Active Morning


My roomate woke me up at 7a.m. to move my car so he could go to work (we have tandem parking spots). This was after I picked him up at the airport at 11:30, last night. As I started my car, I heard his Jetta whimper. I knew it wouldn't start. The battery was on life support after sitting for two weeks. I decided to ignore it and continue moving my car. Another whimper from my roommates car.

"Bro, my car won't start."

I didn't feel like discussing solutions.

"Get in. I'll drive you."

"Sweet, a personal chauffer."

Now is not the time for humor.


When I dropped him off at 7:20a.m., there were 5 people waiting outside his store for the new google phone. The store doesn't open until 8a.m.

I was going to just go home but I thought since I was already up and about that I should at least drive home along the beach. It was a beautiful drive, things were just waking up there were only a few dog walkers and fitness freaks out.

I debated getting a coffee and going out to the sand. Normally, I wouldn't have hesitated but it was in the 50's and I was in shorts and a t-shirt. I opted for the coffee and the walk. A homeless man tried to bum a smoke.

"Sorry, I quit."
"Oh yeah, easy as that, no big deal huh?"

I stood in the sun drinking my coffee and stared out at the ocean for a while.

When I walked back to my car the homeless man had taken off his jacket and was doing his version of Tai Chi, complete with Bruce Lee sounds

On my drive home I saw a Prius with spinner rims. I'm not sure if the driver was trying to be ironic or if she really digs the DUB's. She had two small children in the back and her license plate bracket said, My other Car is a Zamboni.

Mom, if you haven't seen them, the Maltese cross part of the rim spins.

Another Prius, this one clad only in an Obama '08 sticker pulled ahead of the DUB mobile. I wonder if anyone has done a study on the correlation between owning a Prius and supporting Barry. I imagine the driver and his passenger were listening to NPR and there was a copy of the NY Times in the back seat. Full disclosure, I am guilty of both though, I save a tree and $1.25 by reading the Times online. That being said, some of the rudest customers I ever had when I was a gas pump jockey in New England, were NPR listening, NY Times reading, Sierra Club joining, Volvo drivers.

When I landed there was a text message from my roommate saying that he wasn't scheduled until 10a.m.


Frank Deford, had a good piece on NPR about Philadelphia and the World Series.

And here comes a politician daring to intrude onto the Flyers' ice. Standing before a phalanx of charging moose is child's play by comparison. Even before the governor stepped into the rink, a special Web site had been created with the main message, "It's time to hip check the right wing."

James, the Cure's Let's Go To Bed was also on the radio. I wanted to post the music video because there are some serious dance moves in it but embedding has been disabled by request. They should make a t-shirt with that written on it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All Aboard


MTA may have to cut commuter service
It may not be able to keep trains and buses running if it has to quickly pay investors in AIG-related lease-back deals.

The agency recently lost $133 million in state funds, and declining sales tax revenues mean it will have less money to help keep its buses and trains rolling.

Between the late 1980s and 2003, the MTA sold its rail equipment, more than 1,000 buses, a parking garage and maintenance facilities to investors that included Wells Fargo, Comerica and Phillip Morris in separate deals.

Lease-back deals are a common way to raise money in the corporate world. A manufacturer, for example, could sell its factory to investors and then lease it back. The manufacturer gets a large chunk of cash and the investors get a steady stream of lease payments as well as a tax break for their depreciating property.

Metrolink, the Southland's commuter rail agency, also sold most of its train cars and locomotives in four lease-back deals -- three of which involved AIG -- and made a $35.5-million profit as a result, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca.

The lower credit ratings triggered a clause in the lease-back agreements that require the MTA to either find a new firm to guarantee the deals or reimburse investors for their down payments and lost tax benefits, a scenario that could cost the transit agency between $100 million and $300 million.

Under a worst-case scenario, Matsumoto said, the bill could rise to $1.8 billion, more than half the MTA's annual budget for this year. "There is no practical way we could ever pay that back," he said.

Both Matsumoto and LaRusch said the Federal Transit Administration encouraged transit agencies to make lease-back deals as a way to make money. The MTA said it made about $65 million on the deals.

But an FTA spokesman disagreed.

"FTA was not a cheerleader for these transit lease-back agreements," agency spokesman Dave Longo wrote in an e-mail. "We reviewed lease-back agreements submitted to us by transit agencies in terms of their compliance with federal transit law requirements. When we determined those agreements met the requirements, we approved them from that perspective."

So, we don't even own our own trains and buses in LA!?

We sold the trains to the Marlboro Man!? At the same time the county is trying to combat smoking it does business with a tobacco giant.


**In addition to the Marlboro brand Phillip Morris, also such owns such delicious brands as Capri Sun, Kool-Aid, Tang, Jell-O, Nutter Butters, Cheeze Whiz, Oscar Meyer and Grey Poupon.

Smoking cessation in Los Angeles County
The vision of the L.A. County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program (TCPP) is a smoke-free Los Angeles county. In over 15 years since the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health's Tobacco Control and Prevention Program was first funded by the California Department of Public Health's /Tobacco Control Program through Proposition 99, the California Tobacco Tax Initiative, many advances in the fight against tobacco have been made in Los Angeles County. The mission of TCPP is to reduce tobacco-related death, disease, and disability in Los Angeles County. To this end TCPP works closely with community-based organizations and coalitions, health advocates and other health providers to provide tobacco prevention, education, policy, cessation, and media services throughout the County of Los Angeles. The goals of TCPP are: 1) to decrease secondhand smoke, 2) to reduce tobacco availability, 3) to counter pro-tobacco influences and 4) to provide tobacco cessation. TCPP does this by using a comprehensive "social norm" change model.

*It reminds me of the, Children and Families Act of 1998, which, ". . . put a fifty-cent tax on cigarettes, generating more than $700 million annually. Local boards have discretion over how to spend the funds for children ages zero to five, but several counties are using the funds for universal access to prekindergarten. For example, Los Angeles County committed $100 million a year for ten years to jump-start the move to universal prekindergarten." -Prekindergarten Policy Framework

So, at the same time that the County is attempting to combat smoking it now depends on cigarette tax revenue to fund it's universal prekindergarten program. There is a clear conflict of interest. I don't deny that prekindergarten programs are necessary but why should the smokers of California bare the financial burden for providing prekindergarten?

But don't smokers cost the County millions in health care? Yes, undoubtedly.

Then shouldn't the county and state be able to tax tobacco to offset those cost? Yes, totally and they tried to with the 2006 California Tobacco Tax Initiative, which failed to pass but the Children and Families Act, provides no money to alleviate the increased health care costs that smokers create.

Whoa, reel it in, get back to the buses and trains.

I'm sure the MTA was strapped for cash but lease-back agreements seem as screwy as credit default swaps.

I'm not exactly Louis Rukeyser, but how does the MTA owe between $100 to $300 million and potentially $1.8 billion from a deal that netted only $65 million?

So, at the same time the city is trying to encourage mass transit use in an effort to reduce congestion and improve environmental quality, service may be cut.

Ridin' that Train

In other transit news according to the Build Expo website , phase 1 of the The Exposition Light Rail Transit Line (Expo Line), which will run from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City, is still on schedule to open in the summer of 2010. Phase 2 of the project, which will run from Culver City to the beach is currently undergoing environmental review. The Exposition Construction Authority, hopes to begin the construction of phase 2 in 2010, with service beginning in 2014 or 2015. Two routes are being considered for phase 2, one would travel down the median of Olympic Blvd while the other would travel down the middle of Colorado Blvd. The Authority also needs to determine where the maintenance facility necessary to service the Expo line will be located. It's a shame that Bergamot Station has been put to other uses.

Bergamot Station is the historical name for the site on which the gallery complex is located, dating back to 1875 when it was a stop for the Red Line trolley running from Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Pier. Bergamot is a flower of the mint family that once flourished in the area.

When the trolley cars stopped running in 1953, the site's warehouse buildings housed a celery packing operation, then an ice-making plant, and finally a factory for the manufacture of water heaters. Thereafter, the City of Santa Monica purchased the property which then sat abandoned, with plans for it to once again serve as an eventual transit stop, this time for a proposed light rail line running from Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

Plans for the light rail were eventually shelved and the City, seeking an interesting use for the site, approached Wayne Blank, developer and co-owner of the Shoshana Wayne Gallery. Blank's development expertise has already been tapped by the City of Santa Monica for an earlier project: the conversion of a vacant city-owned airport hangar into artists' studios. The City, pleased with the project's outcome, asked Blank to conceive of an artistic use for the Bergamot Station site. Bergamot Station, a campus-like complex that has retained its industrial and rustic look, held its official opening on September 17, 1994.

Phase 1 of the Expo Line

The terminus of phase 1 at Venice & Robertson is going to be an aerial station. Unfortunately, the Expo site doesn't have any more information or a picture detailing what the aerial station will look like.

Phase 2 of the Expo Line


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Food Chain


With Goat, a Rancher Breaks Away From the Herd
Kim Seversonk, NY Times, 10/15/08

Mr. Niman said feed standards dropped and animals were transported distances longer than 500 miles, which he said stresses them too much.

Mr. Swain said feed and care standards for the 400 head of cattle they process a week have not dropped. Contractors follow a list of protocols that are similar to those Mr. Niman developed.

And although some animals are being transported longer than 500 miles for slaughter, he said they are allowed to rest for 24 hours before they are dispatched.

Oh that's nice they let the animals relax and calm down before they slaughter them.

"Rest up Bessie, tomorrow you become a t-bone."

More on Joe


Joe in the Spotlight
Larry Rohter & Liz Robbins, The Caucus, 10/16/08
Turns out that “Joe the Plumber,” as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, may run a plumbing business but he is not a licensed plumber. His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes a bit in back taxes.

Unlike some other states, Ohio does not have a formal statewide licensing system for plumbers. But the city of Toledo and other municipalities do, Mr. Joseph said, and Mr. Wurzelbacher has not met those requirements.

“All contractors are licensed, and he does not have a license, either as a contractor or a plumber,” the union official said, citing a search of government records. “I can’t find that he’s ever even applied for any kind of apprenticeship, and he has never belonged to local 189 in Columbus, which is what he claims on his Facebook page.”

According to public records, Mr. Wurzelbacher has been subject to two liens, each over $1,000, one of which — a personal tax lien — is still outstanding.

And his question to Mr. Obama about paying taxes? According to some tax analysts, if Mr. Wurzelbacher’s gross receipts from his business is $250,000 — and not his taxable income — then he would not have to pay higher taxes under Mr. Obama’s plan, and probably would be eligible for a tax cut.
Joe seems to have been as well vetted as the Hockey Mom. They've got a real cracker jack team of researchers over at McCain HQ.


For Amusement

Meghan McCain

Raising McCain
By Greg Veis; Photograph by Jeff Riedel, GQ
Meghan McCain is a 23-year-old, socially liberal John Kerry voter who loves Superbad, Dita von Teese, Bud Light (see right hand), and campaign blogging. Trouble is, this self-described “Daddy’s girl” will do—and say—almost anything to help her 71-year-old father win the White House

Meghan McCain's blog:

Musings and Pop Culture on the Political Trail


I'm talking to you Joe

Barack Obama & Joe Wurzelbacher

If you watched the debate last night, I'm sure you're dying to see a picture of Joe the Plumber. I hope somebody counted the number of times Joe was directly addressed. Joe should forget all his worries about being in a higher tax bracket, with all the free press he's received Joe should soon be THE plumber in Toledo.

Joe the plumber is real hero of the debate
Anne Barrowclough, Times Online, 10/16/08

Joe Wurzelbacher from Toledo, Ohio, has become an unlikely media star after finding himself the focus of the debate between the two White House rivals.

He is a tradesman who has worked 12-hour shifts for years and now plans to buy his own small plumbing business. The trouble for Joe the plumber is that this would take his earnings to more than $250,000 - making him a target of Obama’s plan to tax the wealthy.

First Mr McCain reminded Barack Obama that Joe the plumber did not want to vote for him because his taxes would rise under the Democrat. Then both candidates repeatedly spoke directly to Mr Wurzelbacher, turning him into a real life version of "Joe Six Pack," the ordinary guy chasing the American dream, as they faced off in their third and final debate.

After the debate, Mr Wurzelbacher told that he hadn't been too impressed with either candidate. He repeated his complaints against Senator Obama, saying: "So he does want to punish me, he does want to punish me for working harder to - you know, my big thing is the American Dream," he said.

But he also refused to endorse Mr McCain: "There's a lot of things I wish McCain would say," he said. "As far as this, yes, I would like him to speak. Not so much about small businesses, but just people in general that make this money," he said.

"I guess I would like him to speak about that and a bunch of other things."

Asked which candidate would get his vote on November 4, he refused to say.

"That's for me and a button to know," he said.

Update via the NY Times:

The plumber came up directly or indirectly 24 times during the debate, an Everyman symbol of the divide between the candidates on how best to address the economy.


Anna Mae

I'm going to see Tina Turner tonight at the Staples Center. Full report to follow.

Rolling Stone's Maddog McCain Article

Via Santo & The Freak

If you can possibly take anymore McCain info, especially after last night's debate, this article is pretty good, well pretty crazy even if taken with an entire bag of salt. He's absolutely an evil insane man. Dovetails nicely with the New Yorker's profile of Cindy McCain a few weeks ago.

Make-Believe Maverick

A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 10/16/08

The author on W & McCain:

Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity.

John to Cindy McCain:

"At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt."


The Cindy McCain article:

The Lonesome Trail
Cindy McCain’s nontraditional campaign.
by Ariel Levy, New Yorker


Monday, October 13, 2008


I got to go to games 1 and 2 of the ALDS.

Here are some photos from game 2. The Red Sox won the game 7-5.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Via Chandler

Saturday, October 11, 2008



Hurricane Norbert lashes Mexico's Baja peninsula

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mmmm Bacon



10 Ways to Eat More Bacon

I would add an 11th.

Bacon Belgian Waffles
- Pour half of the waffle batter into a waffle maker, place strips of cooked bacon on top of batter, pour remaining batter over bacon, close waffle maker. Top with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup.

They make a great version of the Bacon Waffle at the Log Cabin Cafe & Ice Cream in Kings Beach, CA.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hey Goat

Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Drop em off at the pound

Via Hays

Parents Give Up Youths Under Law Meant for Babies

Erik Eckholm, NY Times, 10/3/08

The abandonments began on Sept. 1, when a mother left her 14-year-old son in a police station here.

By Sept. 23, two more boys and one girl, ages 11 to 14, had been abandoned in hospitals in Omaha and Lincoln. Then a 15-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl were left.

The biggest shock to public officials came last week, when a single father walked into an Omaha hospital and surrendered nine of his 10 children, ages 1 to 17, saying that his wife had died and he could no longer cope with the burden of raising them.

But Nebraska’s version was far broader than all others, protecting not just infants but also children up to age 19.

State Senator Arnie Stuthman, sponsor of the Nebraska bill, said some legislators had said they wanted to protect all children from harm.

“The law in my opinion is being abused now,” said Mr. Stuthman, who said he would push for a revision. “There are family services out there, but some people may lack the resources to take advantage of them, and we’ve got to take a hard look at what more we can provide.”



"What were they doing screwing around in the United States?" French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly asked his aides after he was forced to negotiate a $9.2 billion emergency bailout Monday for Dexia, the troubled Franco-Belgian bank.
-The Washington Post

Yeah, get out Frenchie and put down the freedom fries on your way out.