For decades, it was an open secret that patients of USC's only full-time gynecologist were complaining about sexual assaults during exams

For nearly 30 years, there was only one full-time gynecologist on staff at the University of Southern California's student health clinic: Dr. George Tyndall, about whom there was a widespread understanding among staff and students that he sexualized his examinations, making overt sexual remarks to the teenagers under his care, fondling them, and waxing creepy about his predilection for Asian women. Read the rest

White woman calls cops on black family who barbecued in Oakland Park's barbecue area

On April 29, a black family set up their charcoal barbecue in the designated barbecuing area in Oakland, Californias' Lake Merritt, only to have a hostile white woman come and demand that they move on or face arrest, because they were using charcoal in one of the areas designated for gas grilling. Read the rest

The hotel where Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh prototype in 1983 (and why Apple got banned from it)

In Apple's early days, the swanky La Playa Carmel hotel was on the list of preferred venues for the company's offsite retreats. Carmel-By-The-Sea's quaint charm coupled with the property's privacy made it an ideal spot for their gatherings.

In fact, it was where the company's Macintosh retreat was held in late January of 1983. That's where Steve Jobs first revealed the team's Macintosh computer prototype, right there in the hotel's ocean-view banquet room.

I am just back from EG, a fantastic conference for/by/of creatives held in Carmel-By-The-Sea, and ate dinner in that room.

This room...

EG's director Michael Hawley pointed out this commemorative plaque, which resides on the room's back wall.

It reads, "In this room Steve Jobs unveiled the MacIntosh computer prototype during a development team retreat, and ceremoniously christened it with a bottle of La Playa Carmel water."

Hawley also shared the rest of the story. Apparently things got a little wild at this gathering, resulting in getting Apple banned from the hotel for 30 years. The team -- who were drunk -- stripped naked and jumped in the hotel's pool ("oblivious to the polite strangling sounds of the blue-haired ladies all around," according to author Frank Rose) and then headed to the beach to start a bonfire. The next morning the hotel politely asked them to not return.

In 2013, the hotel changed ownership and Apple was invited back with the message, "All is forgiven."

Read: Carmel hotel ends ban on Apple retreats 30 years after skinny-dipping incident (2013 article)

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

Oakland passes groundbreaking municipal law requiring citizen oversight of local surveillance

Oakland, California -- a city across the bay from San Francisco whose large African-American population has struggled with gentrification and police violence for decades -- has a long reputation for police corruption and surveillance. Read the rest

A squirrel named Furry Boi wins UC Berkeley student senate seat

This is nuts: A squirrel named "Furry Boi" has won a student government election at UC Berkeley. On April 13, he was elected for one of the 20 seats in the Associated Students of the University of California Senate.

His campaign platform? According to the LA Times, a "safe spaces for squirrels, better access to acorns and support groups for those experiencing habitat loss."

Sophomore Stephen Boyle of Stockton, California created the candidate as a joke but students soon backed the small mammal. Boyle, who has started wearing a squirrel suit, plans to take the seat.

On April 16, he wrote on the Furry Boi Facebook page:

I want to say thank you to all of the people who have helped me get elected. I could not have become a senator-elect without all of you. Whether a conversation on sproul, a speech I gave at your said organization, or just the fact my name was Furry Boi on the ballot and am a “squirrel,” every vote I received from you all allowed me to be one of eight candidates to hit quota. I know many of you voted for me because I made it so it was sort of click bait. The name is funny. It engenders the question of whether I am actually a furry or not and makes you wonder whether I bought my dope ass squirrel suit from Amazon for personal or political reasons. Now I will let you extrapolate answers to those potential questions yourselves, but the question I will answer is this one: “What will you even do as senator?”...

Read the rest

The scene at 4:20 PM on 4/20 at San Francisco's Hippie Hill

Look at all these stoners... San Francisco, California, ladies and gentleman!

According to SFGate, an estimated 15,000 revelers attended the annual 4/20 gathering at Hippie Hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. This free, unofficial and unsanctioned event has been a tradition in the city since the 1970's but this is the first time it's occurred after recreational use of cannabis became legal in California on January 1.

The event began even before the gates opened about 40 minutes after the scheduled 9 a.m. start. The throngs that had gathered at the police barricades began chanting, “We want to smoke pot in the park,” and a collective whoop rose up as they were allowed inside...

One man holding an orange box full of immaculately rolled spleefs shouted, “Pot, pot, get your pot,” like a hot dog vendor at a ballgame, but most everyone already had the stuff. Still, vendors were everywhere selling tiny $5 gram baggies, cookies and gummies...

At 4:20 p.m., a New Year’s Eve-style countdown began for the “bud drop,” a phantasmagoric depiction of a marijuana bud descending a la Times Square, but it seemed to leave many people dazed and confused. Still, they cheered as if it was the highlight of a day jam-packed with highs.

Read the rest

Waze has turned the nearly undriveable, fifth-steepest hill in America into a disaster-strewn major thoroughfare

Baxter Street in Echo Park, East Los Angeles, is the fifth-steepest hill in America; it's so steep that inexperienced drivers struggle with it, spinning out and crashing, especially in the rain. Read the rest

Trump's touted ICE raids damaging California economy

California is the United States agricultural juggernaut. Produce from California feeds the world and drives one of the largest economies on the planet. A side-effect of Trump's beloved, family destroying ICE raids is a massive labor shortage.

Fruit rots on the vine. Children lose their parents.

Via Bloomberg:

Their absence threatens segments of the largest state economy, including retailers, restaurants and the Central Valley’s $47 billion agricultural industry, which provides more than half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables in the country. That broad, 450-mile swath of California yields an eighth of the country’s agricultural output.

The farm industry is already struggling to find workers like Maria’s husband. More than 55 percent of 762 farmers and ranchers surveyed in a California Farm Bureau Federation report from October 2017 said half of their land continues to go unattended because of an ongoing labor shortage directly related to U.S. immigration policy.

Of the state’s more than 2 million farm laborers, 1.5 million are undocumented, according to Tom Nassif, President of the Western Growers Association, a 92-year-old industry group representing farmers in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Although Nassif and the association have supported Trump since the early days of his campaign, he says the raids and decades-old immigration policy for farm workers are harming the industry and state economy.

Read the rest

Surveillance-happy authoritarian "Democratic" California senator Dianne Feinstein loses California Democratic Party endorsement

Dianne Feinstein has represented California in the US senate for 28 years, garnering the California Democratic Party endorsement every year despite her far-right positions on mass surveillance, military adventurism, and authoritarian rule (she's trumpeted these policies as evidence of her "independence"). Read the rest

California ballot initiative to make state university free again by reinstating inheritance tax for millionaires

From their inception, California's state colleges and universities were free or nearly free for in-state students, but since the 1970s, the state systems have been ratcheting up tuition and originating loans that impose crippling debt on students, leading to delayed fertility, late home-ownership, reduced retirement savings, and dampening entrepreneurial risk-taking. Read the rest

California State Senator wants to remake cities with midrises near public transit, but he is facing a wave of nimbyism

Scott Wiener is California State Senator for San Francisco, whose SB827, co-sponsored by State Senator Nancy Skinner, will move some zoning responsibility from cities to the state, forcing cities to allow the construction of higher-density housing (duplexes, eight-plexes and midrise, six-story apartment buildings) near public transit stops. Read the rest

LA's soaring homelessness is distorting the national statistics

LA's homeless population is up 75% over the past six years; remove LA from the national statistics and the rate of American homelessness is actually in decline. Read the rest

Three national corporations control nearly all of San Francisco's live music

Jamie Zawinski (previously), who owns San Francisco's amazing DNA Lounge venue, does a postmortem on the announcements from Slim's and the Great American Music Hall that they have "partnered" with Golden Voice, a division of Anschutz Entertainment Group, a $8 billion company that is the world's largest owner of sports teams and events; owns Coachella and ten other large festivals, and is in turned owned by a Fundamentalist, homophobic, climate change denier. Read the rest

California joins Montana and New York in creating state Net Neutrality rules

The FCC's order killing Net Neutrality in December 2016 also includes a prohibition on states making their own telcoms rules that restore it (this is a mixed bag -- if states' rights don't permit them to overrule the FCC, then a future FCC that reinstates a Net Neutrality order could stop states whose governments are captured by telcoms lobbyists from subverting it), and states have fought back though a loophole: the governors of Montana and New York have issued executive orders banning non-Neutral ISPs from doing business with the government; but in California, the State Senate just went further. Read the rest

Converted garage now home to museum of 'curious scents'

Almost directly behind the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California is a garage that has been converted into a tiny museum dedicated to fragrance. Its curator, author and perfumer Mandy Aftel, opened the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents just last year.

Bianca Taylor of KQED Arts recently visited the archive and writes:

Aftel tells me that the natural oils in her perfumes are not as pungent and long-lasting as the synthetic oils that you’d find at a makeup counter.

The Aftel Archive of Curious Scents was founded as a way to share her love of natural fragrance with the world...

Aftel says perfume is more than just Chanel. Scented materials have been used in spiritual traditions from Buddhism to Catholicism, and Native American rituals. She has created nearly all of the 300 scents in the museum.

“Perfume has a very tangled history,” she explains. “There is no civilization that didn’t revere and want scented materials.”

The New York Times Style Magazine visited in 2017 and reported:

...[It] is not just the first museum in the U.S. dedicated to perfume, but more beguilingly, the first one dedicated to the experience of fragrance. This tiny museum manages to contain the olfactory history of the world: hundreds of natural essences, raw ingredients and antique tinctures gathered from every corner of the globe, and all available for visitors to smell.

The museum is only open on Saturdays from 10 AM to 6 PM, and tickets are $20. That buys you one hour and "3 letter-press scent strips to dip in essences and take home."

image via Aftelier Perfumes Read the rest

I'm speaking at UCSD on Feb 9!

I'm appearing at UCSD on February 9, with a talk called "Scarcity, Abundance and the Finite Planet: Nothing Exceeds Like Excess," in which I'll discuss the potentials for scarcity and abundance -- and bright-green vs austere-green futurism -- drawing on my novels Walkaway, Makers and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Read the rest

California's lax usury laws means out-of-state loan sharks are charging desperate Californians 183% APRs

California regulates payday loans (good thing, since Trump's about to kill the federal rules preventing payday loansharking), but not "installment loans" of $2,500 to $5,000 and that means that out-of-state lenders are able to target desperate Californians; they're getting seven-year loans of $5,000 that cost $42,000 to repay. Read the rest

More posts