Category Archive 'Los Angeles'
13 Oct 2019

Third World Nation Needs American Assistance

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Don Surber alerts us to the human tragedy:

Last month, American missionaries went to clean up a village in a Third World nation. The volunteers picked up 50 tons of garbage in this backward land. Nowhere is the gap between the rich and the poor greater. The poor live in tents, while the rich reside in the most expensive houses in the world.

The poor face typhoid and other debilitating diseases that were eliminated in civilized nations. People poop in the street for lack of indoor plumbing.

Instead of meeting the basic sanitation needs of its cities, the corrupt, one-party government squanders billions on an unneeded high-speed train. It will never be built but contracts are awarded to political insiders for work that will never be done. Because of this corruption, President Donald John Trump wants to curtail U.S. aid to the land.

Elsewhere in this nation state, electricity is a luxury as the power has been cut off to hundreds of thousands of citizens in preparation for a natural disaster.

What is maddening is this land has the world’s fifth largest economy. It could easily take care of its needs without outsiders coming in to save them out of pity.

And sadly, the 50 tons of trash are small compared to the 22 million pounds of trash in one pile alone.

Something must be done to save this land from itself. Taking over this backward Third World nation would be easy. We already have troops stationed there. Its army consists of a national guard and police.

But that would mean spending trillions on another foray into nation building.

California sadly has very little hope.

RTWT

08 Mar 2019

Big City Compassion in Action

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Jacob Siegel, in American Affairs Journal, notes that the official policies of America’s large liberal cities have a rather merciless impact on the most unfortunate. The Left’s supposed dedication to welfare, compassion, and a government-provided safety net is largely wishful thinking, when it actually comes down to policy choices Big City Democrat Machines socially engineer high-priced living for those with very high incomes. They won’t actually let the cops prod the vagrant with his nightstick and tell him to move along, but they will reduce the total of number of public toilets in Los Angeles available to the homeless to under ten.

In Los Angeles, the cumulative consequences of decades of policy failures going back at least to the deinstitutionalization of the 1970s have settled like sediment at the bottom of an increasingly gilded city above. Homelessness hasn’t gotten worse in spite of LA’s wealth but because of it. A city where working families can’t afford to live has fewer of them—and the web of social connections they form—to catch people as they fall into desperate circumstances and patterns of self-destruction. Without family and community, all that’s left for some are the jails and shelters of the state, or the tent cities granted all the freedom of leper colonies. …

In a major city like Los Angeles, the housing market functions as an invisible messaging apparatus. It conveys the priorities of the government and powerful private interests, and signals to people where they do and do not belong. In this sense, the realtor may be more honest than the mayor or your neighbor about where you are welcome and what purpose, if any, you serve. The message in LA is clear: the working and middle classes are not necessary for the functioning of the city. Those who get the message leave or, if they stay, must adapt to conditions of precarity. The problem is that the homeless live outside the norms and reach of the messaging infrastructure. The city’s poorest and most disturbed people are the least tuned in to the frequency of the market’s signals and otherwise unequipped to respond.

RTWT

05 Jul 2017

Fireworks Are Not Legal in LA

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22 Apr 2017

Topping Out

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Topping out photo of the crew who erected the spire of the Wiltshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, September 7, 2016, 1000′ above the city streets.

16 Dec 2015

Iowahawk Comments on LA School Shutdown

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Tweet110

11 Dec 2014

Enhanced Interrogations Saved LA

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USBankTowerLA
The US Bank Tower, formerly the Library Tower (left), and the Financial District of Los Angeles: still there.

Marc Thiessen factually refuted the claim that enhanced interrogations were ineffective back in April of 2009 using government memos revealing that Downtown LA is still there only because KSM talked after being waterboarded.

The Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005… notes that “the CIA believes ‘the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.’ . . . In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques.” The memo continues: “Before the CIA used enhanced techniques . . . KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will find out.’ ” Once the techniques were applied, “interrogations have led to specific, actionable intelligence, as well as a general increase in the amount of intelligence regarding al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast. …

[And] there is more information confirming the program’s effectiveness. The Office of Legal Counsel memo states “we discuss only a small fraction of the important intelligence CIA interrogators have obtained from KSM” and notes that “intelligence derived from CIA detainees has resulted in more than 6,000 intelligence reports and, in 2004, accounted for approximately half of the [Counterterrorism Center’s] reporting on al Qaeda.” The memos refer to other classified documents — including an “Effectiveness Memo” and an “IG Report,” which explain how “the use of enhanced techniques in the interrogations of KSM, Zubaydah and others . . . has yielded critical information.” Why didn’t Obama officials release this information as well? Because they know that if the public could see the details of the techniques side by side with evidence that the program saved American lives, the vast majority would support continuing it.

Critics claim that enhanced techniques do not produce good intelligence because people will say anything to get the techniques to stop. But the memos note that, “as Abu Zubaydah himself explained with respect to enhanced techniques, ‘brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardship.” In other words, the terrorists are called by their faith to resist as far as they can — and once they have done so, they are free to tell everything they know. This is because of their belief that “Islam will ultimately dominate the world and that this victory is inevitable.” The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely.

17 Nov 2014

Rosetta Comet Compared to Los Angeles

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11 Apr 2013

10 Things To Hate About LA

There are lovable parts of America, Montana, Vermont, the Virginia Horse Country, and there are the other kind of places where we wind up if we’ve been bad.

Gavin McInnes explains in a detailed rant exactly why he hates LA.

If my kids turned out to be gay, I’d say, “Oh great, there go my grandchildren” and move on. But if my son turned out to be the guy at The New York Times who covered modern dance, I would lie in the bath and dig a razor blade into my wrists so deep, you’d think there were vaginas living there. And if my daughter ever moved to LA, I’d send her my head in a box. Los Angeles is to life what New York City is to a woman’s ovaries. It’s an elephant’s graveyard where stupid losers go to die. Here are 10 reasons why.

Read the whole thing.

Personally, I found the undeserved complacent affluence, the outrageous self-entitlement, and the effeminate left-wing politics characteristic of the Northern California Bay area even more annoying.

21 Dec 2011

Businessman Killed Five in Self Defense

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Santa Monica watch dealer defending his store against armed robbers killed five criminals in the course of four gunfights. Targeted for revenge by an LA gang, he finally gave up his storefront, but he still sells watches and does repairs by appointment and on-line.

Hat tip to Lynn Chu.

05 Jul 2011

LA Building Codes Invade Antelope Valley

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California features a tremendous variety of natural features, climate zones, and human conditions. It is possible to go directly from the most intensely artificial urban environment to extremely hazardous wilderness in a surprisingly short time, as Californians frequently discover the hard way.

In addition to the tragic spectacles of the vegetarian who met the hungry mountain lion while joggng in the state park, or the suburbanite who neglected to prepare properly for high altitude temperatures and snow when traveling in the high mountains, or the optimist who thought he could drive fast and inattentively around Devil’s Slide, California offers as well distressing scenes in which ordinary Americans encounter to their great misfortune hypertrophied large urban regulatory machines sprawling into their lives.

One day, while I was still living on the SF peninsula in San Carlos, I went outside to get something from my car, and the pretty Oriental young lady who lived in the house across the street (whose name I did not even know, we had only been on waving-hello terms) ran crying into my arms.

She and her husband, a silver-haired, distinguée executive-type who drove an S-class Mercedes, had purchased the typical run-down 1960s-era California spec house across the street from our rental for something north of a cool million. They then proceeded to gut and completely rebuild the place. Construction activity had been going for about two years, and seemed finally to be nearing completion. I thought these neighbors seemed likely to be about to take up residence just about the same time I was scheduled to depart.

My neighbor began sobbing out her story. A building inspector from the city of San Carlos had just left. He had disapproved of the nails used to attach the wire-mesh to the outside of the house which had already been covered with stucco cement and painted. Because the city didn’t like the contractor’s choice of nail, my neighbors were going to have to give up plans to move in. They would be obliged to tear off the entire new exterior surface of their house, and re-attach new wire mesh and stucco, and paint the whole thing all over again. It would take months to do the demolition and exterior covering again, and it would cost a lot of money.

Beyond the many tens of thousands of dollars all that extra construction was going to cost, they’d have to do an additional move (their lease was up) and pay thousands of unnecessary dollars a month for another rental house. My neighbors had been hit with six figures in extra expenses by the local building code enforcement system over a nail.

No wonder the poor girl was sobbing. She probably felt a lot like Richard III.

I don’t doubt that there is some possibility that the use of a less-than-optimal nail to attach that wire mesh could result in problems. The mesh might gradually loosen, and come away from the wall of the house in places over time. Movement might occur, and the homeowner might find that portions of his stucco surface developed cracks. The poor homeowner might have to do some repairs one day. But, if every one of those nails fell right out, and the entire stucco coating on all four sides of the house fell right down onto the oleander bushes, it would be no skin off the nose of the city of San Carlos. San Carlos would not be paying for the repairs.

Building codes are represented to be necessary to protect the public. In urban California, at least, there is a reasonable argument for earthquake protection to be a factor taken into account in building standards. But codes obviously go characteristically far beyond addressing potential hazards to the general community. Building codes function to prevent competition from outside licensed guild-member businesses. Building codes protect the interests of unions. Building codes also operate as a secondary system of zoning, to protect the interests and impose the preferences of existing property owners. Building codes, finally, are also one more revenue source and a means of creating power.

In a lot of places, New York City would be a classic example, building codes describe an absolutely unattainable dream of perfection which never does and never can exist in the real world. Consequently, all buildings and all building owners are always guilty and in violation of lots of things. Officialdom can crack down and enforce the entire code any time it chooses. Make some kind of waves for officialdom, and watch the inspectors arrive, whip out their notepads and start writing.

All this is in reference to a horrifying LA Times story, describing how the long arm of big city city building regulation has, in recent years, begun reaching out to crush and destroy little people living far away in remote high desert locations which, unfortunately for them, nonetheless fall under the jurisdiction of the County of Los Angeles. Be sure to take your high blood pressure medication before reading the article or watching the video.

Hat tips to Glenn Reynolds and Iowahawk.

09 Nov 2010

Mysterious Missile Launch Off California Coast

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05 Sep 2010

Pyramid-building in Los Angeles

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Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Complex

Los Angeles may be broke and its public school system may only graduate from high school (as of 2008) 45.3% of its students, but those minor considerations are not stopping the opening of the most expensive school ever constructed in the country’s history.


Allysia Finley
, in the Wall Street Journal, comments on the Neronian insolence of it all.

At $578 million—or about $140,000 per student—the 24-acre Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex in mid-Wiltshire is the most expensive school ever constructed in U.S. history. To put the price in context, this city’s Staples sports and entertainment center cost $375 million. To put it in a more important context, the school district is currently running a $640 million deficit and has had to lay off 3,000 teachers in the last two years. It also has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country and some of the worst test scores.

The K-12 complex isn’t merely an overwrought paean to the nation’s most celebrated liberal political family. It’s a jarring reminder that money doesn’t guarantee success—though it certainly beautifies failure.

The cluster of schools is situated on the premises of the old Ambassador Hotel where the New York senator and presidential candidate was shot in 1968. The school district insists that it chose the site not merely for sentimental reasons, but because it was the only space available in the area and the property was dirt cheap.

That was the only cheap thing about the project. In order to build on the site, the school district had to resolve protracted legal battles with Donald Trump—who wanted to build the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi there—and with historical conservationists who demanded that certain features be restored or recreated.

Set to open Sept. 13, the school boasts an auditorium whose starry ceiling and garish entrance are modeled after the old Cocoanut Grove nightclub and a library whose round, vaulted ceilings and cavernous center resemble the ballroom where Kennedy made his last speech. It also includes the original Cocoanut Grove canopy around which the rest of the school was built. “It wasn’t cheap, but it was saved,” says Thomas Rubin, a consultant for the district’s bond oversight committee, which oversees the $20 billion of bonds that taxpayers approved for school construction in recent years.
View a slide-show of the school.

I asked Mr. Rubin whether some of the school’s grandiose features—like florid murals of Robert F. Kennedy—were worth the cost. “Did we have to do that? Hell no. But there’s no accounting for taste,” he responded.

Talking benches—$54,000—play a three-hour audio of the site’s history. Murals and other public art cost $1.3 million. A minipark facing a bustling Wilshire Boulevard? $4.9 million.

The Kennedy complex is Exhibit A in the district’s profligate 131-school building binge. Exhibit B is the district’s Visual and Performing Arts High School, which was originally budgeted at $70 million but was later upgraded into a sci-fi architectural masterpiece that cost $232 million.

Even more striking is Exhibit C, the Edward Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake area, which was budgeted at $110 million until costs skyrocketed midway through construction when contractors discovered underground methane gas and a fault line. Eventual cost: $377 million.

Mr. Rubin admits that the Roybal Center project was “a tremendous screw-up” that “should have been studied closer beforehand.” The project was abandoned for several years, only to be recommenced when community activists demanded that the school be built at whatever cost necessary in order to show respect for the neighborhood’s Latino children, many of whom were attending an overcrowded Belmont High School.

The Roybal center now ranks in the bottom third of schools with similar demographics on state tests, while Belmont High ranks in the top third. But even though many Roybal kids can’t read or do math, at least they have a dance studio with cushioned maple floors and a kitchen with a restaurant-quality pizza oven.

Expect more such over-the-top and inefficient building projects in the future. Los Angeles voters have approved over $20 billion of bonds since 1997 and state voters have chipped in another $4.4 billion of matching funds. Roughly a third of the cost of the Kennedy complex will be shouldered by state taxpayers.

1:55 ABC “>video

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