Fundraising to save Burbank's horror bookstore Dark Delicacies

Burbank's amazing quarter-century institution Dark Delicacies is a horror book-, memoribilia- and clothing-store that is a community hub for genre creators, hosting a wonderful stream of events, signings, and even an annual chance to get your photo took with Krampus at a Christmas open-house. Read the rest

Privatized energy utilities are burning down their states, but antitrust can make them stop

Pacific Gas and Electric has gone from Wall Street darling to bankruptcy, thanks to the $30 billion in liability from the fires that were started in California by its power-lines. Read the rest

In LA, the teachers of America's largest school district are on strike

LA teachers are on strike today, fighting against privatization, standardized tests, giant classes, and clawbacks of in-class teachers' aides. Read the rest

LA school district prepares for strike with army of expensive scabs

30,000 employees of the LA Unified School District are preparing to go on strike tomorrow, demanding a reversal of the trend to privatizing public education. Read the rest

Silicon Valley real estate asking prices fall 12% from peak

There are more houses for sale in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco County than at any time since 2013; inventory in December was up 113% year-on-year, and asking prices have fallen by 12% since their peak. Read the rest

LA's teachers are ready to strike on Tuesday, rejecting privatization of public education

Last year saw a wave of teachers' strikes across America, but mostly in red states where public education has been starved of funds, putting teachers on starvation wages, subjecting kids to dangerous conditions, and stripping schools of resources and even putting schools on four-day weeks. Read the rest

Califonia's haunted wineries host different kinds of spirits

I don't drink wine, but living in Northern California I still end up visiting wineries in Napa and Sonoma with friends and visitors. Next time we're headed on a wine tasting trip, I'm going to suggest we hit the spooky spots described in this Mysterious Universe guide to haunted California wineries, starting with this one:

Sitting within the wine country of Sonoma, California is a winery called Bartholomew Park Winery, and it is imbued with quite a colorful past that perhaps makes it unsurprising that it should be haunted. In its days before putting out fine wines, Bartholomew Park Winery underwent several metamorphoses, being used at one time or another as a women’s prison, a hospital, and a morgue, before becoming a vineyard and winery in the 1830s, after which it was acquired by European immigrant Agoston Haraszthy, who also happens to have been the owner of the equally haunted Buena Vista Winery, which we’ll get to later. It then became the Hacienda Cellars winery, with the wine cellars being right there in the old hospital, going on to become the Sonoma Valley Wine Museum and then the Bartholomew Park Winery in 1992...

This rather grim past came back to haunt the winery in the 1970s, perhaps literally, when the body of a former prisoner at the old prison was supposedly found buried within one of the walls of the establishment, and the main building and its basement are situated right atop what was once the morgue. Since the beginnings of the winery there have been tales of employees hearing disembodied voices singing or whispering, as well as moving objects, roving cold spots, footsteps when no one else is around, and the eerie sound of a piano playing.

Read the rest

San Bernardino will pay $390k to settle suit against cop who arrested 7th graders "to prove a point"

In 2013, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy Luis Ortiz took the decision to arrest a group of seventh grade girls -- 12 and 13 year olds -- because they wouldn't speak when he demanded to know who among them had been the aggressors and who had been the victims in a series of bullying incidents; Ortiz's rationale for these arrests was that the girls were "unresponsive and disrespectful" and that by arresting them, he could "prove a point," that he wasn't "playing around" and this would "make [them] mature a lot faster," by teaching them that the law was indifferent to "who [was] at fault, who did what" because "it [was] the same, same ticket, same pair of handcuffs." Read the rest

Citing Brett Kavanaugh appointment, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has quit the GOP

In California, the GOP scores below "no party preference" in voter registration, but much of the state's elites -- business leaders, prosecutors, judges -- have remained Republican, even as the party has moved away from overt support of unlimited capitalism supported by quiet racism and misogyny to overt racism and misogyny as a smokescreen for quiet support of unlimited capitalism. Read the rest

Google sister company is trialing a mosquito eradication plan in Fresno

We live at the confluence of two ages: the first rush of climate change, which is bringing new species and new pathogens to territories they've never been known in; and the nascent age of genetic engineering, which holds out the promise of eliminating these pathogens, and not just in the wealthy territories they've moved into, but throughout the world, including the poor countries where they are deadly scourges. Read the rest

After 18 days, California's deadliest fire in history is contained

The most devastating fire in California history has been contained.

From The Washington Post:

The Camp Fire — the deadliest, most destructive blaze in California history, which has killed 85 people, destroyed 14,000 residences and charred an area the size of Chicago — has been fully contained, authorities announced Sunday.

Cal Fire, the state’s forestry and fire protection agency, made the announcement after spending 17 days beating back a blaze that has roared through 153,000 acres of Butte County, which is north of Sacramento. Three straight days of rain helped more than 1,000 firefighters get a foothold.

While the news that first responders and prisoners roped into fighting the Camp Fire's flames have been able to bring this hellish inferno to heel, it's hardly a celebratory moment. Thousands have lost everything they've owned, save the clothes on their back. Where thriving towns once stood, there's nothing but ash. What's more, as multiple hospitals had to be evacuated, medical care in the areas effected by the fire isn't great. The overflowing shelters where thousands of displaced Californians currently call home are a perfect breeding ground for the spread of viruses and disease. Additionally, as the Washington Post points out, “Areas experiencing significant rainfall following a wildfire are at risk for debris flows and flash flooding."

Those who have been affected by the fire have a long way to go before their lives begin to resemble anything that could be called normal.

Image by Devin Cook - Own work, Public Domain. Read the rest

White supremacy, minus gerrymandering: California GOP reduced to "third party status"

The only way for the party of old white dudes, rape, forced pregnancies, Islamophobia, homophobia, selfishness, pollution, climate denial, unchecked police violence and murder, xenophobia and hatred of Latinx people can get and keep power is by cheating: voter suppression, gerrymandering, etc. Read the rest

California Fires: 83% of Santa Monica Mountains federal parkland burned by Woolsey Fire

In addition to destroying hundreds of homes and claiming human lives, the Woolsey Fire that began last Thursday burned 83% of federal park land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, per Cal Fire. Read the rest

Reminder: ousted California Republican Dana Rohrabacher is a filthy tenant from hell

Dana Rohrabacher was an oddity: a Republican lawmaker sent from Democratic stronghold to the California legislature he's now out of a job). Read the rest

Bay Area organization offers free birthday parties to homeless kids, cake and all

Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley, California is making an unusually generous offer to the families of homeless kids. They are providing them with the opportunity to celebrate their child's birthday at their facility for free. Their free birthday party offer includes all the standards: decor, pizza, juice, cake, and even goodie bags for the guests. Plus, they gift the birthday child something special.

Now, I'm not sure the age limit for the eligible children but, according to their site, the museum serves infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Want to learn more? Email the museum's Family Programs Manager at familyprograms@habitot.org. Also, if you have the means, please consider donating to Habitot so they can keep the magic going.

photo by Yoshika Mcalister Read the rest

The dialysis industry just set a campaign spending record to fight California limits on pricing

At $111,000,000, the California dialysis industry's campaign spending against Prop 8 (which caps the price of outpatient dialysis) is now the most expensive in US history. Read the rest

California tenants receive rent-hike threats that will only be rescinded if rent-control initiative fails

Tenants in California have received threatening letters from their landlords promising massive rent hikes if Proposition 10 (previously), which restores rent control, passes. Read the rest

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