Tag Archives | California

CA Legislature Passes Bill To Teach LGBT History In Schools

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.
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Justices Ordered California To Reduce Amount Of Prisoners By 30,000


A Block in Alcatraz. Photo: Nonie

What do we do when prisons become overcrowded? According the new Supreme Court ruling (for California), we can release a few thousand early, transfer them to another state (make it some other place’s problem) or build bigger prisons. At no point was there any suggestion about how to reduce the amount of people sent to prisons (violent vs nonviolent offenses, helping crime-rich communities, etc.). The rule was a decision for immediate action of reducing prisoners in hope to better their standard of living. The New York Time reports:

Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.”

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A.

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California Man Tasered to Death After Running Stop Sign

Police issue X26 TASER. Photo: Junglecat (CC)

Police issue X26 TASER. Photo: Junglecat (CC)

Phil Willon writes in the LA Times:

A 43-year-old man died after San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies used a Taser gun to subdue him after a traffic stop, authorities said Wednesday.

A deputy attempted to stop Allen Kephart, a disc jockey and teacher’s assistant from Crest Park, after he allegedly ran a stop sign about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday on California 189 in Blue Jay, said Cindy Bachman, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.

Kephart pulled into a Valero gas station parking lot about a quarter of a mile away, got out of the car and “became combative and uncooperative” with the deputy, Bachman said. Additional deputies arrived to assist, she said.

“The deputy attempted to place him under arrest, at which time he was Tased,” Bachman said. “He became unconscious, and medical aid was immediately provided, CPR.” Kephart was taken to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.

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Newark’s Prayer-Based Crime Fighting Effort Isn’t Working (Video)

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:
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Los Angeles Man Who Created Fake U.S. Army Unit Arrested

60873363 This takes elaborate ruses to new level. Californian Yupeng Deng used uniforms, IDs, basic training exercises, and military parades in a scam tricking Chinese immigrants into believing they had joined a “special forces reserve” of the U.S. military. The New York Times reports:

To the Chinese immigrants he recruited, Yupeng Deng was known as Supreme Commander. He offered them United States Army uniforms, conducted training exercises on Sundays, led marches in municipal parades and promised a path toward American citizenship.

The uniforms were real, but Mr. Deng’s U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit was a sham, the authorities said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Deng, 51, was arraigned in Los Angeles County Court on 13 felony charges related to the fake military operation, which concentrated on Chinese immigrants, eager to become American citizens, in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles.

More than 100 immigrants paid upwards of $300 to join the bogus unit, the authorities said, and $120 to renew their memberships each year.

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Inside Oaksterdam University: ‘Where Marijuana Gets You Higher Education’

OaksterdamJason Motlagh writes in TIME:

On the second floor of the downtown campus, a motley group of students listens to a lecture titled “Palliative and Curative Relief Through a Safe and Effective Herbal Medicine.” Not the sexiest of topics on the face of it, but there’s a catch: this is Oaksterdam University, and the medicine being discussed is marijuana. At “America’s first cannabis college,” in Oakland, Calif., the sallow-faced hippy-skater types that one expects to find sit beside middle-aged professionals in business attire, united in their zeal for the pungent green leaf. No one dares speak out of turn, until instructor Paul Armentano, a marijuana-policy expert, cites a news report that U.S. antidrug authorities plan to legalize pot’s active ingredient exclusively for drug companies’ use. “More stinking profits for Big Business,” mumbles a young man wearing a baseball cap. His classmates groan in agreement.

More than 17,000 students have enrolled since Oaksterdam opened in late 2007.

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California Man Pays Off $6,500 Credit Card Bill In Pennies

PennyUPI reports:
MIRA MESA — California man upset with his bank for disallowing his requested refinance said he decided to pay off his $6,500 credit card bill entirely with pennies. Thierry Cahez of San Diego County rolled 650,000 pennies in plastic, loaded them into crates and drove the lot to his Mira Mesa bank, KABC-TV, Los Angeles, reported. Cahez was turned away by the bank several times but eventually was sent to a branch with a vault large enough to handle the coins. Cahez said he opted to pay his credit card bill with pennies because he was turned down for a refinance and for the amount of charges and fees on his credit card, KABC-TV said Tuesday.
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Is U.S. West Coast About To Experience The Next Great Quake?

disinfo reader Aleph Omega sent along this video from Fox News's Cavuto show, saying:
The geologist [Jim Berkland] who predicted 1989 SF earthquake within 4 days is predicting an earthquake on the west coast within the next month, but more likely between 3.19.11 through 3.26.11. His telltale signs are: rare closeness of the moon to earth (full moon is tomorrow), equinoctial tides on the 20th, earth and groundwater tides -- all of which loosen pressure in the earth. Also, massive fish kills in Redondo Beach and whale beaching.
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Model Wins America’s First Laughter Championship At ‘Laugh Riot’

Gabrielle Rivera

Gabrielle Rivera

Gabrielle Rivera, a 23 year old Puerto Rican model, was the decisive winner of the first California Ultimate Laughing Championship in front of over 200 people at the historic Fremont Cinema in San Luis Obispo, California Saturday night.

Rivera was declared “Best Laugher in California 2011.” She triumphed in the “Diabolical laugh,” “Snort laugh,” and “Laugh at Yourself” competitions before defeating 10 contenders in a series of knock down “Laughter Duels.” She said she practices by laughing at herself.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune called the event a “laugh riot” and local TV station KSBY reported that the contest brought smiles to the faces of San Luis Obispo residents.

As the organizer and speaking as a professional laughologist (I’m the director of Laughology, the first feature documentary on laughter), I would never have expected that a model would win the championship. In my (limited) experience, models are usually robots, but this woman really has an authentic, unstoppable laugh.… Read the rest

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Biologists Say Giant-Penised Frog is ‘Good for the Forest’

FrogPeter Fimrite writes in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Sheepish scientists refer to it as a tail, but the appendage dragging behind the male frog recently discovered in Mendocino County is no tail. The little amphibian, known as a coastal tailed frog, is unique among frog and toad species for its comparatively magnificent, let's call it, copulatory organ. The unusual species was found recently for the first time in the 23,780-acre Garcia River Forest, farther south than it has ever been known to exist. Biologists say the 1- to 2-inch-long amphibian has a lot going for it, most notably its genitalia, which can get up to a quarter of the length of its body. But it is less about size than it is motion, as they say. This stream-loving critter apparently wags his tail with admirable dexterity.
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