California


By Samantha Tata and Michelle Valles, NBCLosAngeles.com, via MSNBC:

A raid on a marijuana dispensary in Long Beach was caught on video showing officers smashing surveillance cameras and stepping on a suspect, moves that prompted accusations against the officers of excessive force.

More than a dozen police raided THC Downtown Collective in the 300 block of Atlantic Boulevard (map) on June 19, officials said. The video was posted to YouTube by user “Long Beach Raids” on July 1. Officials said they learned about the video on July 3.

The two-minute-long video opens to show a man surrendering to police, three of whom surround him while two put him in handcuffs.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

One of the officers is seen stepping on volunteer employee Dorian Brooks’ back with both feet before stepping on his neck, with what Brooks described as 300 pounds of pressure…



Reports Tom Philpott on Mother Jones:

In November, California voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would require labeling of all foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops. The initiative made it to the ballot after almost 1 million Californians signed a petition in favor of it—nearly double the 504,760 signatures needed under the state’s proposition rules. The campaign that organized the push to get the measure on the ballot focused on possible health effects of GMO foods.

This news will not likely be applauded by my friends over at Croplife America, the main trade group of the GM seed/agrichemical industry. The big GMO crops—corn, soy, sugar beets, and cotton—are processed into sweeteners, fats, and additives used widely by the food industry. Everything from high fructose corn syrup-sweetened Coke to soybean oil-containing Hellman’s mayo would have to bear a label reading something like “Contains GMO ingredients.”…





Is this the new War on Drugs method for teaching college kids not to smoke pot? Californian Daniel Chong was swept up by authorities in a raid of a friend’s house where 4/20 was being celebrated. His harrowing adventure began as he was then left in a DEA holding cell for five days, given no food or water, began hallucinating and lost his sanity, and shattered his glasses and slashed himself in a suicide attempt. He survived only by drinking his own urine and consuming some methamphetamine which, amazingly, he found in the cell:



stopsignIs it art? Is it vandalism? The city of San Diego is putting the kibosh on one of the most extensive yarn-bombing campaigns in history, in which 100 stop signs were turned into flowers via knitware. San Diego CityBeat relays a message from the artist:

I started planting flowers in earnest starting March 1st. The 100th one was planted last night. But today I got an email from Bill Harris who works for the city. I had expected it, and was considering an obstinate stance. After a 15 minute phone call, I decided to work with them, and plan an ending.

He started the call with “Congratulations on making it to 100.” He explained how people within the city had gone to great lengths to find a way to keep them. They even contacted other cities to find out what they did. “Even Berkeley takes them down,” he told me. The problem is that the stop sign is a traffic sign.



Reuters offers a hypnotic glimpse inside a desert community which blurs the line between homeless encampment and off-the-grid utopian commune. Populated by hippies, the blue collar elderly, and families with young children,…


ArnoldDennis Romero writes in LA Weekly:

​Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful. Or do.

It turns out the left-most state is also America’s most-hated, according to a recent survey by Public Policy Polling. And California’s left-leaning politics seem to have a lot to do with it. The Golden State is the most-disliked in the union, and Hawaii is the most-liked. In fact, ours was one of only five states that received majority-negative views by our fellow Americans, according to PPP:

Americans generally have a favorable view of most states. Only five are in negative territory, led by California (27% favorable and 44% unfavorable), Illinois (19-29), New Jersey (25-32), Mississippi (22-28), and Utah (24-27).

Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii was the most-loved, with 54 percent of us viewing it positively. (Of course — it’s America’s vacation state) …




Port ShutdownVia CBS News:

More than 1,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters blocked cargo trucks at some of the West Coast’s busiest ports Monday, forcing terminals in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., to halt operations.

While the protests attracted far fewer people than the 10,000 who turned out Nov. 2 to shut down Oakland’s port, organizers declared victory and promised more demonstrations to come.

“The truckers are still here, but there’s nobody here to unload their stuff,” protest organizer Boots Riley said. “We shut down the Port of Oakland for the daytime shift and we’re coming back in the evening. Mission accomplished.”

Organizers called for the “Shutdown Wall Street on the Waterfront” protests, hoping the day of demonstrations would cut into the profits of the corporations that run the docks and send a message that their movement was not over.




Greggory Moore writes in the Long Beach Post: Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy….


Pelican Bay Hunger StrikeDavid Edwards writes on The Raw Story:

Between 50 and 100 inmates in solitary confinement at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison have pledged to refuse to eat until officials agree to better conditions.

Isaac Ontiveros of the anti-prison group Critical Resistance explained the prisoners’ demands to DemocracyNow.

“End the use of group punishment and administrative abuse; abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria; comply with the commission on safety and abuse in America’s prisons 2006 recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement; provide adequate and nutritious food; and expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates.”


Maria_EfremenkovaThey say history is written by the winners, who will be writing the LGBT history curriculum? Via Reuters:

A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.

Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said publicly whether he supports the bill, which he has 12 days to sign or veto once it reaches his desk later this month. If he takes no action, the measure would become law automatically.

The bill gained final passage from the state Assembly on a vote of 49-25, without a single Republican supporting it. The measure cleared the state Senate in April.

California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.




Expanding the effort to the state of California? Well in the words of Brian Wilson: I wish they all could be California/I wish they all could be California/I wish they all could be California … Bruce Wilson writes on Talk To Action:

A radical notion: who needs cops? Just pray down crime. But in Newark, where the murder rate has risen over 70% from 2010 to 2011, the approach doesn’t seem to be working very well.

Privatizing government services has long been a key goal of the American religious right, and as a 2-part new Talk To Action report details (here and here), the push for education vouchers has been orchestrated by right wing funders dedicated to eradicating public schools altogether. But voucher initiatives are presented as secular. Then, there’s prayer-based crime fighting, an even more radical privatization scheme: