Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Sunday Column: Facing the State’s Day of Reckoning — When Tyranny of the Super-Majority Has Its Day

 http://ronkayela.com/2013/09/my-sunday-column-facing-the-states-day-of-reckoning-when-tyranny-of-the-super-majority-has-its-day.html

By Ron Kaye, September 21, 2013

 Gov. Pete Wilson suffered a power outage over his Prop. 187 assault on illegal immigrants. Gov. Gray Davis self-destructed over runaway spending policies that hurt just about everybody. And the politically ambivalent Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s big ideas went up in the cigar smoke emitted from the tent where he schmoozed with cronies from both sides of the aisle.

Gov. Jerry Brown is in a different position. Having been there before, and now with super-majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, he can do just about anything he wants. So what happened in the recently concluded legislative session offers some guidance about where California is headed.

Take for instance the multitude of issues affecting the quarter of the California population who are legal or illegal immigrants from other countries — about twice the national average. From what went down in the state Legislature, you might think they mattered more than the 75 percent who are actually U.S. citizens.

The most significant legislation on the subject was a bill that was revived and passed at the last minute with the approval of the seemingly all-powerful governor and even a few Republicans.
It would allow those here illegally to get driver’s licenses that would be marked in some way to identify their status so that, theoretically, they couldn’t be used to get work, public benefits or vote.

Despite the complaints from some that this is a reward for illegal behavior, it is long overdue. It will prompt a lot of the 1.4 million eligible immigrants without proper documentation to provide photos and fingerprints to get licenses, buy real insurance and register their vehicles — and leave those without licenses facing legal consequences including fines and 30-day impounds, laws that have been shelved in Los Angeles and other sanctuary cities.

In a lot of places in California, unlicensed drivers account for up to 25 percent of all drivers and a lot of them are responsible for giving the state the highest rate of hit-and-run accidents in the nation.
Other legislation, like allowing legal immigrants to serve as jurors, poll workers and lawyers, seem more like a slap in the face to those who take citizenship seriously.

Do we really not have enough lawyers, poll workers or jurors? Don’t people involved in these roles have to have a clear sense of what America is about as the land of the free as well as an allegiance to the Constitution?

And what possible benefit to public safety and public interest is there in the state banning local jurisdictions from holding arrestees in this county without permission until Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents can process them? Don’t we want to get them out of the country, rather than back on the streets?

It really doesn’t matter much, since the governor was full in charge of the legislature in a way we haven’t seen in a long time; so he felt the need to offer no more justification for the preoccupation with immigration than that he was sending a message to Washington to pass a long-overdue immigration reform bill.

In fact, he was giving the left what it wanted on largely secondary issues — like making it harder to fire bad teachers and muddling the rules on student testing, like requiring overtime for domestic and home care workers, and making serious youth offenders eligible for early parole unless they got life sentences.

By pandering to the left on these issues, Brown — with a long history of canoeing a little bit left and a little bit right — was able to hold the reins on the legislature’s runaway spending proclivities while giving the business community everything it wanted, with one exception: He agreed to a 25% hike in the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

As usual, the governor and legislature left a lot of important issues in a total mess — issues like prison overcrowding and the expanded funding of schools with income from Proposition 30 and sales tax increases. Voters bought the school funding plan believing it would restore harsh cuts imposed on every school district. But instead of delivering on that promise, the governor chose to redistribute the money from good schools to bad schools and left school officials everywhere in the dark about how much money they will actually get.

Still, the day of reckoning is coming, the day when the total domination of California politics leads to the fulfillment of the long-ago prophecy that the nature of democracy in America would inevitably lead to a tyranny of the majority.

That is already true in Los Angeles, where the political system has total and absolute control without effective countervailing power unless dissidents have the resources to go to court.

The real question at this point is when that will happen in the Legislature.


Brown has been able to able to forestall pressure from labor and business to write loopholes into Proposition 13 and the state’s environmental laws, and he may even have been able to put them off through the 2014 elections, when it appears the 75-year-old governor intends to seek re-election and the Democrats are likely to retain their super-majorities.

So then what?

When business and labor are as happily in bed with each other as they appear to be, you have to wonder how the 88 percent of workers who aren’t in unions and the 99 percent who are not capitalists will fare.

That leaves the fate of California in the hands of Republicans. They could field candidates in swing districts with centrist views that appeal to mainstream voters or they could continue to demand the same ideological purity that we see pushing the nation to the brink of catastrophe in Washington, D.C.

Personally, I believe in a world where everybody is worthy of respect and inclusion, even those I disagree with, if they are sincere in their beliefs.

Why do I feel so alone?

The Fung Brothers explain Asian life in the 626

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/social-affairs/20130921/the-fung-brothers-explain-asian-life-in-the-626

By Zen Vuong, September 21, 2013

 [The 626 refers to the area code through much of the San Gabriel Valley.]

 

 David Fung, left, and Andrew Fung are "The Fung Brothers," a comedic YouTube duo. Their "FungBrosComedy" channel has about 87,800 subscribers. Much of their entertainment revolves around being Asian-American and how Asian-Americans are perceived.







Two weeks after getting an award for spotlighting Asian businesses in the San Gabriel Valley, The Fung Brothers on Thursday released a satirical sequel to their popular music video, “Boba Life.”
Andrew and David Fung are comedians who create YouTube video blogs and music videos. With about 87,900 subscribers and more than 8 million views, the Seattle-born duo are well-known for cracking jokes about the young, Asian-American identity.

“The Fung Brothers took a creative approach to promoting the region’s business, culture and diversity while increasing a sense of pride for the SGV, or should I say, the 626,” Monterey Park Councilman Mitchell Ing said at the 10th Annual San Gabriel Valley Awards Gala on Sept. 6.

As winners of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s Innovative Marketing Award, Andrew Fung, 24, said the brothers hope to reduce the uncomfortable feeling some people get when they “drive down past Las Tunas (Drive)” or new Chinatown: San Gabriel, Alhambra and Monterey Park.
The brothers are following in the footsteps of people like Wong Fu Productions, KevJumba and Ryan Higa (aka Nigahiga), all of whom were early YouTube adopters who blazed the way for a new generation of young, Asian YouTube content producers.

“Why they did it was because there was no other outlet for us to go out there and get our face out,” said Andrew, from Monterey Park. “There was no young, Asian voice anywhere. A lot of it started just as fun, and they realized this is the only way (for them to enter the media world). Asians got to act ‘normal.’”

Mainstream society is tuned in to Asians stepping out of stereotypic roles. Comedian Nigahiga is the No. 9 most subscribed to channel on YouTube with about 10.3 million followers, reported VidStatsX. Makeup guru Michelle Phan ranks 38 and comedian KevJumba is No. 87, not bad when considering they are also competing with major media networks on YouTube.

Yet Asians are making incremental strides toward acceptance in Hollywood. Some 69 percent of the available roles in major studios is reserved for white actors, reported a December 2006 UCLA report. Asians captured about 4 percent of the roles, beating only Native Americans, Middle Easterners and multiracial individuals.

Plus many of the mainstream media acting jobs available to Asians reinforce stereotypes that started in the early 1900s with the advent of “yellowface” or the xenophobic practice of having white actors play Asians, said Vincent Pham, co-author of “Asian Americans and the Media.”

While actors such as Sessue Hayakawa and Anna May Wong found success, Hollywood prevented Asian-American actors from performing more fully-formed, complex characters, Pham said.

So Asian-American stereotypes became rampant in society. Asian women are hyper-sexualized Dragon Ladies. They can also play the role of a lotus blossom or Madama Butterfly — submissive, obedient women who do whatever is required to maintain their honor. Asian men are represented as emasculated, asexual men, really nerdy or undesirable, Pham said.

Matthew Moy’s character in CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” is kind of a throwback to a stereotypical 1960s emasculated man, said Jasmine Trice, a film television and digital movie professor at UCLA. Brenda Song is oversexualized in Fox’s “Dads,” she said. And many Asians have taken offense to the way they are represented in the music video “Asian Girlz” by Day Above Ground.

The list continues partially because of “racebending” or changing the ethnicity of a character. Others call this phenomenon “whitewashing,” but the results are the same. Roles written for Asian people of color such as Aang in “The Last Airbender” and Khan in “Star Trek Into Darkness” are rewritten and assigned to white actors, Trice said.

Certainly Fox’s “The Mindy Project” shows how Hollywood is warming up to Southeast Asians, but many other Asian actors are relegated to simplistic roles that make it impossible for viewers to relate with, said Marissa Minna Lee, co-founder of racebending.com, a grassroots organization for entertainment equality.

“People who are Asian-American grow up to learn and experience the stories of people who are different from them,” she said. “But if you’re a girl or woman or if you’re Asian or black, you don’t have as many experiences of seeing yourself or your story told. You don’t have the benefit of others seeing stories about you so that people could learn to relate to you.”

Although YouTube content producers such as The Fung Brothers highlight the Asian-American lifestyle, some criticize them for misusing their microphone with videos such as “Boba Life II: Pearls Gone Wild,” “Things Asian Parents Do” and “Asians Eat Weird Things.” Not only are they putting Asians back into a box, they objectify women, said Calvin Lam, a UCLA undergraduate.


“Probably the most well-known instance of yellowface is Mickey Rooney’s character in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ ” Pham said. “The character is a Japanese photographer who is particularly enamoured with the lead character. He is there to provide comic relief.”

While some might say Hollywood has moved away from the racism found in movies filmed decades ago, others would disagree.


Matthew Moy’s character in CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” is kind of a throwback to a stereotypical 1960s emasculated man, said Jasmine Trice, a film television and digital movie professor at UCLA. Brenda Song is oversexualized in Fox’s “Dads,” she said. And many Asians have taken offense to the way they are represented in the music video “Asian Girlz” by Day Above Ground.

The list continues partially because of “racebending” or changing the ethnicity of a character. Others call this phenomenon “whitewashing,” but the results are the same. Roles written for Asian people of color such as Aang in “The Last Airbender” and Khan in “Star Trek Into Darkness” are rewritten and assigned to white actors, Trice said.

Certainly Fox’s “The Mindy Project” shows how Hollywood is warming up to Southeast Asians, but many other Asian actors are relegated to simplistic roles that make it impossible for viewers to relate with, said Marissa Minna Lee, co-founder of racebending.com, a grassroots organization for entertainment equality.

“People who are Asian-American grow up to learn and experience the stories of people who are different from them,” she said. “But if you’re a girl or woman or if you’re Asian or black, you don’t have as many experiences of seeing yourself or your story told. You don’t have the benefit of others seeing stories about you so that people could learn to relate to you.”

Although YouTube content producers such as The Fung Brothers highlight the Asian-American lifestyle, some criticize them for misusing their microphone with videos such as “Boba Life II: Pearls Gone Wild,” “Things Asian Parents Do” and “Asians Eat Weird Things.” Not only are they putting Asians back into a box, they objectify women, said Calvin Lam, a UCLA undergraduate.


“Their checklist way of promoting Asians reduces the rich diversity of Asians to the few, numbered characteristics they describe,” said Lam, 19. “Why call the videos ‘Things Asian Guys Like’ if it only applies to the Asian guys they observe in their own life? Their broad usage of ‘Asian’ reinforces the interchangeability of Asian-Americans when in fact Asian can be Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, etc.”

Andrew and David Fung admit they stereotype people, but they said they use generalizations as a tool to target their audience and to help a large group of people figure out their Asian identity. They are sparking a discussion, they said.

“There are traits of Asian culture that are different from Western culture,” said David, 27. “Certain people are still coming to terms to how different we are. I understand people saying Asians aren’t a monolithic group, and Chinese doesn’t represent Asian. For the most part, we’re trying to create a discussion, spark dialogue. We’re immigrant children. Our parents come from Asia, and we’re all trying to find our place in Western society.”

YouTube — especially before Google allowed the mainstream media networks into it — has made videos more democratic, Pham said.

“Instead of having only one type of representation primarily done by say three TV networks, we have a variety of Asian-American representations. Some are going to be great and progressive and challenging the way people think about Asian-Americans. Some can be equally or more damaging that what you might see in network TV, but at least they’re having an opportunity to do this.”

At the very least, San Gabriel Valley YouTube artists such as David Choi, Just Kidding Films and Joseph Vincent show society that Asians can do more than ace tests.

 “It exposes the populace to the way Asian-Americans think and also shows the creative side of us,” Councilman Ing said. “We’re not just the math nerds and the science nerds. It exposes mainstream (society) to the fact that Asian-Americans are creative.”

And Now, Here Is The Sunday News

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/

September 22, 2013


Mod: We have had so much success with our Saturday posted "Weekend News" concept that we decided it would be best to return this feature back to its less popular Sunday slot. I know this might seem counterintuitive to some, but there is a reason for it. However, I'd rather not discuss that with you right now. It's not that the matter is particularly sensitive, or that there are any big secrets involved. It is just that I don't see why I need to tell you everything. One other matter while I have you. Most of the news we've posted here today is not particularly good. Why that is I do not know. I would have hoped things would have been better, but sometimes they just don't seem to turn out that way. This clearly is not my fault. Here is the Sunday News.

Homeless used to buy iPhones in Pasadena left stranded, unpaid (The Los Angeles Times link): Dozens of people picked up on skid row by an enterprising man hoping to secure a load of new iPhones said they were left unpaid and stranded at the Pasadena Apple store.

Dominoe Moody, 43, said he was taken to Pasadena from a downtown Los Angeles homeless mission with several van-loads of people to wait in line overnight for the latest iPhone. He was promised $40, but said he wasn’t paid because after handing the man the iPhone, the man was taken away by police when people became upset with him.

“It didn’t go right. I stood out here all night,” he said, adding that he has no way to get home.

Pasadena Police Lt. Jason Clawson confirmed that a fight broke out about 9 a.m. as a man left the store with multiple iPhones. Other people who were in line and hired by the man began fighting with him because they said they weren’t being paid enough, Clawson said. Police escorted the man from the scene, he said.

Most people weren’t paid by the man, Moody said, estimating that 70 to 80 were recruited and driven to the store to wait in line.

“They need to bring him back ... to pick up the people that he brought here,” said Vivian Fields, 49. “We have no way to get home.”

Fields, who is in a wheelchair, said she was approached by recruiters at a homeless shelter on skid row and arrived in Pasadena on Thursday about 7 p.m. She waited overnight at the store.

Pasadena police are not investigating the incident, Clawson said. "It's not a police issue. It's a business issue," he said.

(Mod: I stood in a long line once at the Pasadena Apple store to get an iPhone, but unlike these people I got to kept it. I hope they at least got to visit the Cheesecake Factory.)

No peaceful, easy feeling after N. Chas. woman accused of stabbing roommate (The Post & Courier link): A North Charleston woman is accused of wielding a knife in an assault on her roommate after he refused to stop listening to rock music by the Eagles Monday night. Vernett Bader, 54, of Brossy Circle, is charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.

North Charleston police responded to Bader's home late Monday concerning a reported stabbing, an incident report states.

The woman's 64-year-old roommate was nursing stab wounds to his arm, hand and elbow, police said. The wounded man told police that Bader grew angry with him while he was listening to the Eagles and watching television with his brother.

Bader told her roommate she didn't want to listen to the band. He responded by telling her to shut up, the report states.

Bader grabbed a serrated knife from a kitchen drawer and swung it at the man, police said. When the two men wrestled the knife away from Bader, she went back into the kitchen and found another, the report states.

(Mod: The Eagles? No jury will convict her.)

A Green Car Named Desire - Electric car subsidies for the rich are now a drain on California's budget (The Wall Street Journal link): California's green regulations often drive national policies, so it's worth pointing out how its programs to cut vehicle emissions have become a gravy train for the 1%. You'll enjoy this if you live in the other 49 states.

To meet the state's goal of cutting its greenhouse emissions to 80% below 1990 levels, effectively all new cars sold in California by 2040 will have to be electric or plug-in hybrids. As a regulatory weigh station, Governor Jerry Brown has ordered that 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles "be on California roads" by 2025. That last bit is the immediate rub.

Car makers are compelled by the California Air Resources Board to increase their electric fleets to meet these mandates. However, the battery-powered cars have been duds with most consumers. So the board has graciously allowed manufacturers to comply with its diktats by buying "credits." Palo Alto-based electric car maker Tesla has made a $119.5 million killing (300% of its net income) this year from hawking its excess credits.

To get more electric cars on the road, the state also offers consumers $2,500 rebates financed by a $20 "smog abatement fee," which all drivers in the state must pay for their first six registration years. The rebate is on top of the $7,500 federal tax credit and $1,000 or more the state pays drivers to retire their gas guzzlers. The combined government incentives can reduce the price of a Nissan electric Leaf to about $18,000.

(Mod: Speaking of counterintuitive, we just bought a Chevy Spark EV. Which, in its country of origin, is called a Daewoo Matiz. And yes, we got a $7,500 tax credit from Uncle Sugar, plus we expect to receive a $2,500 check from Jerry Brown in the next couple of weeks. It really is a great car, and we love it. No gas stations, no oil changes, no smog tests, no tune ups, plus significantly more driving range than that absurd Nissan thing. Plus the government practically paid us to take it, so why not? Powered by coal generated electricity. It is hardly my fault they're crazy.)

Coca-Cola Apologizes for Offensive Bottle Cap (Good Morning America via Yahoo link): Pardon their French? Coca-Cola recently issued an apology to a family after one member purchased a Vitaminwater with a bottle cap bearing an offensive message.

Blake Loates of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada told Metro Calgary she was shocked when she opened her beverage and read the words "YOU RETARD," written inside of the cap. The language was particularly painful to her and her family as one of Loates' younger sisters, Fiona, 11, has cerebral palsy and autism.

The cap inspired Loates' father, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., to issue a lengthy letter of complaint to Vitaminwater's parent company Coca-Cola.

"What would you do if you opened up your bottle of Vitamin Water and on the bottom of the lid it read, "YOU RETARD"?" Doug Loates wrote in his letter swearing off the beverage company for life. "Think about it. I bet you'd be pissed off if you had a Fiona in your life… Can you imagine if SHE had opened this bottle?"

The Loates family did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

Representatives for Coca-Cola have since stated that the language inside of the cap was the product of a competition pairing one random English word with a second random French word. In French, "retard" means "late" or "delayed." The word's English connotation was missed during the review process, said a spokesperson.

(Mod: There you go, blame the French guy.)

US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina – secret document (The Guardian link): A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.

The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961. The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage.

Each bomb carried a payload of 4 megatons – the equivalent of 4 million tons of TNT explosive. Had the device detonated, lethal fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and as far north as New York city – putting millions of lives at risk.

(Mod: That certainly would have taken care of the problem they have in North Carolina with people listening to The Eagles.)

DWP says it can't track millions in ratepayer money (The Los Angeles Times link): The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has directed an estimated $40 million in ratepayer money to two nonprofit groups charged with improving relations with the utility's largest employee union, but the agency claims to have scant information on how the public funds have been spent.

The Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, controlled by DWP managers and union leaders, have received up to $4 million per year since their creation more than a decade ago after a contentious round of job cutbacks at one of the nation's largest municipal utilities.

Nearly all of the nonprofits' money comes from DWP ratepayers, records show. About $1 million per year has been used to pay the salaries of a handful of administrators, according to the limited records the utility has provided to The Times under the California Public Records Act. Separate federal tax records offer only summaries of the organizations' outlays, including more than $360,000 spent on travel from 2009 to 2011.

Officials at the nonprofits, the DWP and the employees' union, Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, declined to be interviewed about the institutes' activities and spending.

(Mod: Maybe it went out with the recycling. Did they check in the blue can?)

Bride accused of pushing Kalispell man off cliff in Glacier Park (Billings Gazette link): Cody Lee Johnson’s family is convinced the 25-year-old Kalispell man was murdered in Glacier National Park this summer.

Now federal authorities are, too – and they say it was Johnson’s new bride who allegedly pushed him over a cliff, and to his death, during an argument on July 7.

Johnson’s widow, 22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham of Kalispell, was taken into custody in Kalispell Monday morning and made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Missoula Monday afternoon on a complaint alleging second-degree murder.

The couple had been married for eight days when Johnson was killed, according to Johnson family friend Tracey Maness.

“Nobody is shocked at all” that Graham is suspected in her husband’s murder, according to Maness. “She’d been telling people she knew she never wanted to be married, she just wanted to have a wedding, and that’s apparently what they were arguing about.”

According to an affidavit in support of the complaint, Graham allegedly confessed to the killing to FBI special agent Steven Liss in mid-July. Graham had initially told law enforcement her husband had gotten into a dark car with Washington plates on July 7 and never returned home.

Johnson’s body was located on July 12 below The Loop, a switchback and parking area on Glacier’s famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.

(Mod: At least it wasn't because he refused to wash the dishes.)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.