Creative Commons types take note

If you’re interested in the revision of intellectual property laws, you might want to head out to The MÛr in Santa Monica at 7pm tonight. That’s where the inaugural L.A. gathering of CopyNight is taking place.

According to their website, “CopyNight is a monthly gathering of people interested in ensuring freedom for artists and tinkerers, fostering innovation, and restoring the balance between the public interests and intellectual property rights holders for the benefit of all.”

Details after the jump. Via the ever-wonderful boingboing.
Continue reading Creative Commons types take note

Rent a what?

vroom vroom

GeTto is blinking your eyes when the vertical hold on your televison goes out (shit, if you time it perfectly, you can’t even tell)…or renting a vehicle from Rent-a-wreck.

Having taking my car into the bodyshop, I thought I’d be a tough cheap guy and use public transportation for the next two weeks. However, my weekly itineary included locations and times that were MTA challenged, so instead of avis or enterprise, my friend recommended Rent-a-Wreck which is pretty much self-implied. For $19.95 a day, I get a toyota with 4 large dents, a shaky engine but more importantly, a vehicle that’ll take me from point a to point b provided its “local”. I’m not sure what that really means but the sales clerk said if I was going any further, like orange county, they’d have to find me a better car. Errr. ok but chinatown to cheap food and free shows is doable. Score!

Of course this could be problematic when I have to impress a date this friday. But hell, she should be into me and not what I drive…or at least into blinking.

33 1/3 Books Fundraiser Tonight

Not much time to elaborate on this, but 33 1/3 is a very cool book and gallery collective in Echo Park that’s trying very hard to figure out a way to stay in business after a huge raise in their rent. While I don’t know if I share their opinion about “gentrification” (more on that later), they are a wonderful place and it would be a shame to see them go. They’re holding a legal aid fundraiser tonight at Little Temple. Click on the thumb for full info.

All Crime is Now Illegal

Mayor Jim Hahn decided, apparently sometime last night, that Gangs are bad. Real Bad. And should go away right now. LAVoice says this:

“Now that he’s found himself flat-footed after four years with a paper-thin record of social activism upon which to base a campaign, Mayor Jim Hahn’s feverishly engaging in empty, populist shovel-work:

He’s now declared we need a citywide injunction against gangs. All gangs. All gang activity.

Put aside for a second that 22 such localized injunctions are already being used to quell the worst of the gang activity in South Los Angeles, the Harbor area and east L.A.. – by forbidding them to congregate, carry cellphones, possess spray paint, etc.

It’s really just another pandering, implausible ‘cure-all’ proposal being flung into the mediasphere by a losing incumbent who’s desperate to look busy…”

Ouch. But not unjustified. I’m honestly curious if politicians think that things like this (which is the local equivalent to banning nail clippers on air planes) really makes anyone the least bit safer, or do they just bank on that a few people will be fooled and tell their friends what a great job is being done. It’s all fluff with no tangible result. LA Voice seems to agree, they end with this:

Listen – not to be flip, but aside from the fact that this injunction boondoggle is just a transparent election-season trampoline flip with no real importance – isn’t this about as futile as trying to reverse decades of toxic-waste dumping by declaring a nationwide law against littering?

That’s right, I’m Famous (and news about the gas leak)

The LAFD News & Information blog has the 411 on the natural gas Leak in North Hollywood yesterday which is all very exciting as you might imagine, but I almost spit cocoa pebbles all over my laptop when read the exact location. Check out that street name!:

“On Monday 28, 2005 at 1104 Hours (11:04 AM PST), nine Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances under EMS Captain Gould, three Chief Officer Command Teams under the direction of Assistant Chief Anthony Varela, responded to Leaking Natural Gas at 11150 West Burbank Blvd. at Bonner Avenue in North Hollywood.

The first in company arrived on scene to find an approximately 3’ high-pressure gas main, rapidly spewing natural gas into the atmosphere after a back hoe struck it during construction operations being conducted by DWP. “

The rest of the details are on their site but some people were evacuated and then everything was fixed and all is cool. But back to the street name, of course I knew about it – the city renamed it to “Bonner” when I moved to town because they were so psyched. There was a big ceremony and all kinds of speeches and hoopala but I’m just not the kind of guy to make a big fuss out of something like that.

So much for privacy

I’m not going to name names here but one LA Mayoral Candidate who didn’t make it to the run off just sent out a wrap up e-mail to his entire supporters list and didn’t BCC it. 1100+ names and e-mails sent in the clear. Good Times.

Could this be called pulling a Paris?

The New Poster Child for Atheism

When my friend, Rob Kendt, who sees pretty much every show in town, said the one show I should see right now is Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God, I knew it would be good…I just didn’t know it would be that good.

For almost two hours (it’s okayóthe theater is comfy and there’s an intermission for necessities), Sweeney outlines her odyssey from rote Catholism to full-blown atheism (although she, and now I, prefer “naturalism”ówhy should she be defined in religious terms when she’s not religious?) Never strident, always engaging, Julia Sweeney is a perfect candidate for the adorable new face of atheismóer, naturalism: she’s warm and gentle and hilarious in a way that can’t possibly be threatening to the a-naturalists (her term, not mine). And aside from her being brave and talented and truthful and smart, the show is funny, peopleófunny.

Letting Go of God has extended a few times but on her website, Sweeney says she’s absolutely, positively closing in May, so don’t dilly dally. And Saturday night was packed, so advance tickets are probably a good idea, too. They’re available through plays411, via her website. (With bonus-extra really greatóalbeit too seldom updatedóblog, too!) Details via plays411 after the jump.
Continue reading The New Poster Child for Atheism

I Can’t Stop Loving You

charles_ray_obit_cp_040610.jpg 2107 W. Washington Boulevard in L.A. will mark a new Ray Charles Museum beginning in 2007, according to this ABC7 story. His Los Angeles Studios were declared a historical landmark last year, and the ceremony was reportedly Ray’s last public appearance prior to his death. The museum and education center will “archive materials from recordings, to awards, to ephemera, to wardrobe.” Considering the music that was recorded there, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more than just a little soul around the place, too.

No Dodging The Blues

bloop.jpgThe NFL’s gone into hibernation. I couldn’t care less about L.A.’s arena football team. I’ve never been afflicted with March Madness. There’s no NHL. The Lakers keep managing to find bigger shovels to dig even deeper toward the cellar, and the Clippers relative scrapiness fails to inspire me. In short, there are few reasons for me to pass more than a glance at the sports pages in my morning paper.

And when I do I find a shame-on-them story (registration might be req’d) by Bill Plaschke on Page One of today’s sports section about the Dodgers that’s enough to make me want to tear up the pair of cheapseats tix I already bought for an Independence Day weekend game against the Diamondbacks with fireworks afterwards. No, they didn’t make another bonehead trade. No they aren’t trying to echo the Angels silliness and change their name to the “Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles.” This time they’re not fucking all the fans over, just one: Bill Zeiger who’s been a season ticket holder with the same four seats directly behind the Dodger dugout every year for 43 years.

But see owner Frank McCourt had the stadium reconfigured this off-season. The dugouts have been moved closer to the field to allow room for four new revenue-generating rows of seats that have added behind them. So instead of the thrill of watching yet another so-so season with the dugout roof as his snack table, now Zeiger has been pitched up and away. Of course, the Dodgers said they’d be happy to move him back down front ó for only $120,000. That’s a 500% premium above the $20K he’d been expecting to pay for the seats owner Walter O’Malley had personally awarded Zeiger after the stadium had been completed in 1962. It’s no surprise he declined such a bullshit offer and will keep his now fifth-row seats. And it’s no surprise to me that the Dodgers don’t give a shit.

7%! w00t!

In case you weren’t aware, Los Angeles kicks mega-blogosphere-ass! L.A. Observed just pointed out that 7 of the Technorati Top 100 blogs are LA Based. Damn, we all rule. Way to go LA Bloggers! I don’t know how that stacks up to other cities but it fully rocks as far as I’m concerned. Those making the list are:

#1 Boing Boing 20,045 links
#12 Little Green Footballs 7,615 links
#14 Wil Wheaton 5,700 links
#28 The Volokh Conspiracy 5,607 links
#39 Hugh Hewitt 4,259 links
#52 The Truth Laid Bare 3,861 links
#93 2,929 links

While it’s certainly flattering that we scrapped in there at #93, it’s stupidly cool that two of our co-bloggers Xeni & Wil came in at the top of that list. 20,045 links to Boing Boing is unstoppable. Wow. Congratulations are due all around.

Kevin gives an honorary mention to #11 Dooce since she used to live in LA, so we think #17 The Doc Searls Weblog deserves one too. Doc lives in Santa Barbara now but still dishes out the love for LA on a regular basis.

Long Beach Dog Shooting

Another dog has been shot by a police officer, this time in Long Beach. However this time there’s a first hand blog entry about what happened. Here’s the LBPD press release which says:

On Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at approximately 5:53 a.m., a detective conducting an investigation in the 900 block of Maine Avenue was involved in a shooting.

While the detective was entering his vehicle, a large unleashed dog charged towards him. The detective fearing for his safety fired his service weapon at the dog and struck it. The dog was taken to an animal hospital where it was treated and is expected to survive.

And here’s a snip the blog entry, written by one of the dog’s owners, which tells a very different story:

JDD.JPGJennie and Bazoo were playing fetch at 6 AM in Drake Park. Bazoo had just chased down her favorite ball. An unknown LBPD Officer stepped out from behind a car and crossed her path. Bazoo stopped to look at him, curious, ball in her mouth. Then the Officer pulled his gun and shot her in the head. Bazoo went down. Officer never issued a word of warning. He didn’t say stop. He didn’t tell Bazoo no. He didn’t even look at her owner standing 20 feet away. He just pulled his gun and opened fire.

Of course, the Unknown Officer claims Bazoo “attacked” or “charged” him. I’d really like to know just how, exactly, a dog attacks with a tennis ball in its mouth? It can’t bite. And just how does a dog show aggression with a ball in its mouth? It can’t growl or even bare its teeth. If the officer had noticed any of these things, he would have seen Bazoo was not charging anything but her ball. She was playing fetch and she was stopped when he pulled the trigger.

Despite these obvious facts, The Unknown Officer shot Bazoo anyway. To make matters worse, the first shot wasn’t enough for him. Jennie screamed and pleaded for him to stop. She told him the dog wouldn’t hurt him. He told her to stand back and then he shot Bazoo again on the ground. Apparently he felt that a dog shot in the head and bleeding on the ground with a ball in its mouth was still in “attack mode” or “charging”.

The entry goes on and on and is really quite heart wrenching. Again there’s reports that the police oficers wouldn’t let the owners call for help and let the wounded dog lay there bleeding for quite some time. There’s also a detailed report of what happened at the police station immediately afterwards. The post ends with this:

Since the time of the incident, myself and one of my lawyers have made numerous requests for police reports, badge numbers, and names of the officer/officers involved in the incident. As of this writing, not one document, name, or badge number has been provided. My phone calls have not been answered and messages have not been returned.

Despite the fact that no information has been given to us, Long Beach PD saw fit to provide a patently false, self-serving account of the story to The Press Telegram that ran in yesterday’s paper. The refusal of Long Beach PD to provide any information about the incident has prevented us from filing this complaint and speaking to the paper ourselves. LBPD is trying to control the information to manipulate public opinion and escape liability.

There’s also more info in the comments and the owner has added the names and numbers of all the officers they have contacted for information and this bit:

You should also know that we have found two impartial, third party witnesses to the shooting. Both of them will testify that Bazoo was playing fetch when LBPD shot her and that she never posed a threat. Furthermore, both of these witnesses already gave their statements to LBPD. Now we we know without a doubt that LBPD knew the truth on Wednesday morning and are trying desperately to cover it up.

This is all very depressing. I’m wondering, is there an official policy at the LBPD (or LAPD for that matter) about when and how to shoot dogs? I’m also curious if the owners claimes are backed up by whitnesses and found to be accurate, will any charges be brought against the LBPD?