• Back to Basics

    In the latest LA Weekly, Marc Cooper has an extraordinary article on California's hordes of immigrant farmworkers. While he was in the Central Valley reporting it, two of the workers died from heat exposure. We are, quite literally, working these people to death. Cooper writes: exactly 40 years after Chavez’s UFW exploded into the national consciousness by leading the great 1965 Delano grape workers’ strike and forced America to recognize the plight of those who put our food on the table, nothing could be further from the truth. The golden years of California farm workers lasted barely a decade and then sharply began to fade. “Since the late 1970s, it’s all been downhill, it’s all been on the defensive,” says Oxnard-based CRLA attorney Jeff Ponting. The landmark 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) that passed during the Jerry Brown administration promised a New Deal for farm workers. Today it is little more than a historical asterisk. Wages among California’s 700,000 farm...
  • You Are!

    Can't you just imagine Jonah stepping up to his bathroom sink, looking into the reflection, and saying "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most honorable party of them all?" What he seems to see in his party (and in ours) is so totally outlandishly false that either wizardry or drugs have to be involved.
  • Miniblog

    Furl, the service I use for the miniblog on the right, has been slowing the site recently. Worse, I'm not sure anybody even uses it when it's working. So I think this is going to be the end of it. From here on out: the site's left is capitalist corner, full of blogads (or it would be full, if folks would buy more of them) and pleas to buy me things from my Amazon Wish List (which never happens but, hey, hope springs eternal).
  • Pay to Play

    Props to Villaraigosa for stuffing the NFL's demand for public stadium financing back in the face of the owners making it. LA is the second largest media market in the country, we've got a population that could pack more stadiums than public financing could possibly build, we're a damn good place for a football team and the only reason we don't have one is that owners elsewhere have been spoiled by sweetheart deals from city councils and local pols and refuse to bless the City of Angels unless we give them the same payoffs. Well, fuck 'em. The economic arguments for public financing of stadiums are, on their own merits, wrong. Reason's demolished them a couple times ( here , and, particularly, here ) but that shouldn't even be necessary. The fact of it is, sports teams make money for sport team owners, not cities. And when they stop doing that, owners move them. Sports teams are not a publicly owned resource committed to the good of the city, and the city should not pretend as if they...
  • Cheney 08

    Please ? Pretty please? I mean, Woodward was wrong about the Saudis-opening-the-spigots thing, but I'd forgive him if he were right about Cheney. Please please please let the GOP run a 69-year old with multiple heart attacks, business ties that make Bush look ascetic, a history of extremist statements, and all the charm of a table leg you just stubbed your toe on. Let Cheney lumber up the stage, mumbling from that impossibly limber half inch on the right side of his mouth and sneering at pesky questioners, reporters, and air particles. I'm sure he'll be quite a hit. The Democratic party has proven one thing, and one thing only, in its last couple of elections: you don't run candidates who scoff at charisma. Cheney makes Kerry look like a laugh party, he makes Gore look like Hitch. They can run him, but for a party whose main task ("compassionate conservatism") is convincing folks that they're not evil, nominating this artist's rendering of a corrupt plutocrat would be a hell of an...
  • A Fatalist View on Roberts

    You know, you'd think these sorts of experiences would make conservatives more anxious to have their Supreme Court nominees answer direct questions, not less: At the time, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) had written a letter demanding to know O'Connor's views on Roe v. Wade . According to a 1981 memo by Carolyn Kuhl, also a special assistant to the attorney general, O'Connor wanted help in formulating "reasons for declining to answer questions concerning Roe v. Wade , and several other topics." "John Roberts and I worked on a response to that letter" from Helms, Kuhl wrote. O'Connor never did answer specific questions about her position on Roe v. Wade . Helms voted to confirm O'Connor anyway, and once on the court O'Connor voted in favor of abortion rights. Here's a question though: why can't the prospective Justice just lie? Why can't s/he cook up the most compromise position imaginable and say what's necessary to calm the interrogation committee, then move to the Court and do whatever the...
  • Comment Rules

    Things have been lively round here lately and I love it, but one thing: no matter who offends you, swiping their name and posting ridiculous comments is off-limits. The only way these boards can function without some sort of registration system is if we respect each other's monikers. Argue, attack, fisk, debunk...but play clean. The conservatives on the boards, infuriating though they may sometimes be, do put out another viewpoint and do keep us on our toes. The goal, then, is to have better arguments, not drive them away by screwing with their identities.
  • And Then Take Him Disco Dancing!

    C'mon, those last two have to be jokes, they just ascend in subtextual homosexuality. And is the problem with gay teens really that they're not aware of the many other penises the world has to offer? Cause I would've thought it was just the opposite.
  • Fight to Win

    The post-Hackett argument for funding challengers in every race is a well-intentioned, but not really convincing, bit of political strategy. Democrats have X dollars, to fund a challenger everywhere in the country will, unless we have some sort of federal finance reform, bankrupt the party and suck much-needed cash from close districts in order to fund longshot challenges in preordained races. Hackett was a hell of a test, but a candidate like him contesting an open seat during a special election simply creates a different dynamic than a local DA attacking a popular incumbent in an on-year. Most seats are not open. Most candidates are not Hackett. And most races don't get a news vacuum to fill. Nevertheless, we should be fighting on more fronts. And that's where Kos and Bob and Jerome and Chris and all the other netroots generals can come into play. The dispersed intelligence of the blogs, which can gather information on hundreds of races, get reports from those districts, interview...
  • The Gildered Age

    PZ Meyers hears a debate between techoguru George Gilder and Richard Dawkins and says: Ashbrook recapped the last half hour by calling Gilder a "prominent American thinker". I am so embarrassed. But Gilder is a thinker in the way kids with ADD are renaissance men, it's the number of topics that impresses, not the quality of thought that goes into them. Before he became an ID advocate, before he began rhapsodizing over high-bandwidth utopias, before he wrote on three or four other subjects he had no business pontificating over, he was a gender theorist attempting to rationalize traditional gender roles as essential to our natures. His book began with a long and incoherent parable about a courageous knight saving a helpless princess from a dragon, then living happily ever after. Pages later, he contrasted this with a self-sufficient princess who does the job herself, shakes off the prince's attempts to help, and becomes a lonely shrew. A couple chapters later, he attempted to attack...