In homeless LA, the families, retirees and working people who live in their cars are desperate for overnight parking

LA's homelessness epidemic continues to rage unabated as housing prices soar and wages stagnate; the result is a "wheel estate" boom of people living in cars and vans, with the greatest proportion of vehicles-dwellers being seniors, families with children, and working people. Read the rest

Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library tonight talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination

From 6PM-730PM tonight (Thursday, May 23), I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what we can do about it. It's part of the LA Public Library's "Book to Action" program and it's free to attend -- I hope to see you there! Read the rest

LA! Come see me this Saturday at the Nebula Awards Conference, and next Thursday at Exposition Park Library!

This Saturday, May 18, I'll be appearing at the Nebula Awards Conference, at the Marriott Warner Center in Woodland Hills: I'll be participating in the 1:30PM mass signing in the Grand Ballroom and then I'll be on the "Megatrends for the Near Future" panel at 4PM in A/B Salon. Read the rest

Uber drivers across America are going on strike -- UPDATED

Update: Shona from Gig Workers Rising clarifies: "Gig Workers Rising isn't organizing the national day of action. Drivers in each of the 6 cities taking action are coordinating the day of action together. Drivers in LA with Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles called a strike and asked other cities to take action on the same day. Gig Workers Rising supports and educates drivers who are organizing across the state. We are not organizing drivers."

On May 8, Uber drivers are organizing a nationwide shutdown of Uber, with drivers turning off their apps in protest over low pay: so far, seven cities' drivers are signed up: Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis, LA and DC. Uber and Lyft have both slashed pay for drivers and raised prices as they try to assuage the capital markets. Read the rest

Come see John Scalzi and me today at the LA Times Festival of Books!

I'll be at the LA Times Festival of Books today, with a signing at 1PM at the Mysterious Galaxy booth (#368) and then a 3-4PM "in conversation" with John Scalzi, moderated by Maryelizabeth Yturralde from Mysterious Galaxy. I sure hope you can make it! Read the rest

Come see me at UCLA tonight and then with John Scalzi on Sunday at the LA Times Festival of Books!

Tonight, I'll be one of the participants at LA Cryptoparty and README's After Disruption event at UCLA from 7-930PM; it's a panel and workshop on "Big Tech, the future of labor, and how systems have successfully been co-opted in the past." Read the rest

Los Angeles! I'm launching my new book Radicalized with Lexi Alexander tonight (next: San Diego, NYC, Toronto...)

Tonight is the launch for my latest book of science fiction for adults, Radicalized: I'll be at the Barnes and Novel at The Grove in Los Angeles, in conversation with director/activist/stuntwoman/champion kickboxer Lexi Alexander, starting at 7PM. Read the rest

Calls of 'active shooter' lead to evacuation of Century City Mall, Los Angeles police respond to reports of 'Man with a Gun'

“Nothing has been confirmed,” an LAPD officer told LA Times. “We’re trying to resolve the situation.”

I'm going out on tour with my new science fiction book RADICALIZED and I hope to see you!

Radicalized is my next science fiction book, out on March 18 from Tor Books: it contains four novellas about the hope and misery of our moment, from refugees resisting life in an automated IoT hell to health care executives being targeted by suicide bombers who have been traumatized by watching their loved ones die after being denied care. Tor Books is sending me on tour with the book in the US and Canada and I hope you can make it to one of my stops! Read the rest

Shirtless "hot Lincoln" statue from 1939 inspires jokes and fanfic

Presidents' Day was Monday and what better time for an 8-foot-tall statue of a shirtless Abraham Lincoln to be making the rounds. On Twitter, @MuseZack rediscovered this gem of a sculpture.

Witty names like "Honest Abs" and "The Gettsyburg Undress" are being used to describe it. And @PKtje has dug up "shirtless Lincoln" fanfic.

And, yes, it's real. "Young Lincoln" was sculpted in the late thirties by James Lee Hansen (who may or may not be this James Lee Hansen). A year out of art school and frustrated by his lack of success in the real world, a friend prompted him to enter a sculpture competition at the Federal Building.

From a Los Angeles Times article dated March 13, 1941:

“I don’t know,” Hansen replied, “I’ve only done one piece of sculpture in my life.”

He was interested, however, and checked up—only to find that the contest, under way for several months, closed for the model entries in a week. Hansen got a supply of plaster and made a small figure of Lincoln. Like the other contestants, he submitted it anonymously to the Fine Arts Section of the Federal Works Agency.

No one was more surprised than Hansen when he was notified his entry has won $7,200 and a commission to do the Lincoln statue.

Read the rest

Owner of civil war reenactment business sues school district that canceled field trips after his far-right social media came to light

Riley's Farm is a staple of Los Angeles overnight school trips (my daughter visited last year with her elementary school); it's an apple farm with a pick-your-own apples sideline that branched out into civil war re-enactments, with some students staying overnight in tents. Read the rest

LA Times demands that reporters sign away rights to books, movies and other works they create while working at the paper

The LA Times Guild has been negotiating a new contract with the newspaper, but has hit a wall thanks to an unprecedented demand from the paper's owners: they want writers to sign away the rights to nonfiction books, novels, movies and other works they create separate from their reporting for the paper. The newspaper is also demanding the right to use reporters "byline, biography and likeness" to market these works. Read the rest

Oakland's tech startups are reportedly being gentrified out of their spaces by deep-pocketed marijuana growers

Former Wired editor-in-chief and drone entrepreneur Chris Anderson tweets: "Hearing from tech startups getting priced out of Oakland warehouse space because of soaring demand for indoor hydroponic pot farms. Yes, because it's 2019 and everything is nuts *techies are being gentrified out of neighborhoods by drug dealers.*" Read the rest

Emboldened by the LA teachers' "blue state" victory, Denver's teachers declare strike

Just days after LA teachers declared victory in their strike for better classroom conditions and limits on charter schools, their colleagues in Denver -- another "blue state" -- have voted to walk off the job, with a very similar set of demands. Read the rest

After six days, LA teachers settle their strike, wringing huge concessions out of the school district

After six school days on the picket line, more then 30,000 LA public school teachers voted to accept an offer from the nation's second-largest school district that amounted to a near-total capitulation by management in favor of the teachers' broad demands: smaller classes; more aides, librarians and counselors; better school maintenance; support for a statewide moratorium on new charter schools; and releasing the cost-of-living-allowances that the state had paid to the LA Unified School District, but which the district had not passed on to the workers for several years, giving every teacher a real-terms pay-cut every year. Read the rest

Lorna Doom, bassist for the Germs, RIP

Lorna Doom, badass bassist of influential Los Angeles punk band the Germs, died yesterday. Formed in 1976, the Germs -- Doom, Darby Crash, Pat Smear, and Don Bolles in the classic line-up -- were at the center of the early Hollywood punk scene that spawned Black Flag, X, Fear, the Go-Go's, and so many seminal acts. From the Los Angeles Times:

Born Teresa Ryan, Doom became an icon of the U.S. punk explosion despite having to learn her instrument after already joining the band. Along with her high school friend Belinda Carlisle, who would become lead singer of the Go-Go’s, the bassist was part of the posse of Hollywood punks who sparked a West Coast music movement.

Doom’s death at age 61 was confirmed by her longtime friend and former Germs bandmate Don Bolles. A cause of death was not immediately available...

Germs' primal first album, “G.I.,” set the tone for the U.S. hardcore punk movement. The debut release by the fledgling indie label Slash, which was founded by the punk fanzine of the same name, the 1978 album felt zapped onto turntables from a way messier, more uncontrolled galaxy...

Slash Records also released the soundtrack to the Penelope Spheeris documentary “The Decline of Western Civilization,” which documented the Germs and other bands in performance. When the film became an unlikely indie hit, Doom’s work served as inspiration to countless female punks itching to break through the genre’s male-dominated glass ceiling.

Read the rest

#TacosForTeachers: crowdfunding to feed LA's teachers as they strike against privatization and austerity

Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (America's largest district) are walking the picket line this week in the pouring rain, demanding an end to the billionaire dark-money backed privatization movement that funnels public education funds to the shareholders of racially segregated, underperforming charter schools. Read the rest

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