All posts by mackreed

Mack Reed lives in Silver Lake. He and his wife have 1.8 kids and some cacti and puddles. He grew up in Connecticut, but has lived in L.A. since the 3rd month of the 9th decade of the last century. He rides his bike too often and burns too seldom. He founded in 2002 after escaping a bright future in print journalism and the first dot-com bust. Now he architects enormous web sites for speakTECH. He believes in extraterrestrial life, fuel injection, Apple computers, brutal honesty, animated gifs, the Muses, great blue herons and the hot mustard you put on your lamb sandwich at Phillippe's. He is probably lying right now. When not wasting your time or obsessing over his other blog, he gives a lot of advice. He is 98 years old and eight feet high on the internet. Or is it the other way around?

LAUSD budget cuts leave us NO choice

axeJust when I thought the LAUSD and the California Legislature couldn’t possibly make me any angrier, our school parents’ group publishes an online poll today that goes something like this:

In order to face the upcoming deep LAUSD budget cuts, we need to make some hard choices.

Which of the following services do you believe we can afford to lose the least? Please mark these in order of priority – 1=most important, 7=least important:

  • Academic coaches
  • Technology/computer program
  • School library
  • Physical education
  • Kindergarten aides
  • Teacher training to match instruction to student skill levels.

Here’s the pathetic part – these are all services funded BY US BECAUSE LAUSD DOESN’T PAY FOR THEM. Continue reading LAUSD budget cuts leave us NO choice

Is now the time for a SAG strike?

Okay, look: We all know money’s tight, the economy’s halfway down the drain and layoffs are hitting every sector of society (including 3,000 LAUSD teachers – the subject of a future rant I don’t have space for here).

But we have to wonder – just a little bit – who’s really behind the please-SAG-don’t-strike site

Veteran actor James Cromwell pleads in the video above for both parties in the ongoing contract haggling between the Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP to remember the gaffers, grips, craft-service drones and honey-wagon drivers – and don’t bring on a strike.

So – is this a non-partisan plea for parity, reason and good-faith bargaining?

Or is it a well-muscled push from the non-acting screen trades to dissuade actors from picketing if they’re faced with fuck-you terms from the AMPTP?


Bratton’s pre-election terrorism prediction = FAIL


So – it’s a new day in America. The majority of us decided it was time for a change from the ugly, grasping, lying, bloodthirsty stance our federal government has spent eight years building. And we put a better man in office.

The campaign horrors – all the lies, character assassination and bald-faced bullshit – it’s all been washed away in a red-white-and-blue tsunami of hope and progressive momentum.

McCain actually could be a decent guy instead of a libelous demagogue? So what.

Palin really was nothing but an undereducated prop? Meh.

But the fact that LAPD Chief William Bratton poured gas on that hellacious political wildfire by predicting a terrorist attack and now he’s been proven wrong?

Nope. I’m not willing to forgive that.

Hope the hollow shield-thumping and irresponsible (and rankly political) scaremongering was worth whatever little bureaucratic post the Obama administration gives you, Chief.

Election Day L.A. – how’s your polling place?

The crowd at the Atwater Masonic Lodge, Silver Lake, 7 a.m.
It’s nice to see democracy in action.

This was the scene at 7 a.m. in Silver Lake – fully 100 people lined up, and I’ll predict it’s gonna get heavier as more people hit the polls and wade through the huge number of ballot issues (and judgeships!) – in addition to deciding who gets to lead the United States out of the war, divisive politics and economic disaster we’ve been suffering.

If for some reason you’re registered and still on the fence about voting, please, for the love of our future as a nation as well as our general health, well-being and sanity in the Republic of California and county and city of Los Angeles, GET YOUR ASS OUT THERE AND VOTE.

What’s the scene like at your polling place today? Post a comment below.

L.A. River Path lights coming back?

Gutted and sawn
When I first spotted this today on the L.A. River Bike Path near Griffith Park, I thought:

“Great, the junkies are at it again, digging for those tasty sellable morsels of copper wire. Only now they have a frickin’ concrete saw.”

Then I skated a little farther and saw a different vault situation (after the jump) … Continue reading L.A. River Path lights coming back?

Axes now falling at the Times – layoffs underway*

UPDATED BELOW: Looks like the L.A. Times has begun laying off more journalists, as we mentioned it would a few weeks ago.

Blogger Veronique deTurenne Twittered, posted at her HereinMalibu blog at LAObserved, and then just now posted something at the Times blog. In the event the editorial higher-ups yank the post later today in a fit of revisionism, the text follows the jump here. Continue reading Axes now falling at the Times – layoffs underway*

The other shoe – Bratton records robo-calls for Obama

(Image via Wikipedia)
What was it – oh, yesterday, when I wondered why the hell LAPD Chief William Bratton would yell “terrorism!” into a theater already mobbed with stressed-out, trigger-happy voters?

Well, here’s another clue to the payoff: Times blogger Joel Rubin’s scoop that Bratton has recorded a robo-call announcement shilling for presidential candidate Barack Obama – or, more to the point – attacking GOP rival John McCain’s record on crime and punishment:

The message reportedly criticizes the record of Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain on law enforcement issues.

A spokesperson for Bratton confirms that he has recorded the political campaign message but would not provide details of its content or where the Obama campaign plans to use it.

My beef’s not with anyone backing Obama – quite the contrary, the man is currently the best man in the race for the job, and I’m curious to hear what he has to say about McCain’s law-n-order chops.

My quarrel is with Bratton abusing his taxpayer-funded position to engage in politics waaay out of his jurisdiction. Sure, law enforcement is a local issue everywhere. But if Rubin’s sources are correct, this feels suspiciously like chair-fluffing for a cabinet seat in an Obama administration.

So, what’s your bet – Homeland Security or Department of Justice?

Bratton: Beware the October terror attack

Barely two weeks left to go before this nation decides who should replace the worst president in U.S. history, and L.A.’s top police officer throws an ideological bomb into the room:

Al Quaeda may be planning a terrorist attack to somehow influence the U.S. elections, LAPD Chief William Bratton and co-author R.P. Eddy warned today in an op-ed in the New York Daily News … Continue reading Bratton: Beware the October terror attack

Blood, meet stone – L.A. Times laying off 75

If what LAObserved says is correct, everyone’s (least-)favorite media vandal Sam Zell is currently kicking 75 more people off the already-decimated staff of the Los Angeles Times.

Among those, apparently, is Leo Wolinsky, the former managing editor, who I believe started there as a copy boy more than a couple decades ago. If I find out any more names from sources inside, I’ll pass them on.

At this point, you gotta wonder what the hell Zell’s up to: He’s been methodically stripping away the only product of unique value the paper has to offer against the internet – its journalism, without addressing the real root of the problem: They’re an information company in a digital age blowing thousands of dollars a day on putting yesterday’s news on dead trees.

Content’s been getting thinner every year due to the shrinking news-hole caused by the die-off of the print-ad market, and now that syndicated content seems to be flowing through Times pages in greater quantity, it’s ceasing to look so much like the flagship of west-coast journalism it was in the 80s and 90s … Continue reading Blood, meet stone – L.A. Times laying off 75

Snapshots from the L.A. Burning Man Decompression

The annual post-burn reunion party for L.A. Burners went off tonight in a blur of glitz. I’m no official judge, but the event seems to be much happier in its new location, the L.A. State Historical Park (yes, the Cornfield) where there’s plenty of rolling, grassy space for sound, light, art and wardrobe fantasy.

Grass isn’t playa, and bored/curious police helicopters don’t buzz Black Rock City every five minutes during the real Burning Man festival, but the L.A. edition of the whole counterculture art carnival drew some 4,000 people (we heard from the Rangers) – most of whom were dressed to the teeth (like these fine bat creatures), and the remaining 20% of whom were dropjawed, plainclothes lookyloos who shelled out $20 a head to gawk.

Photos of a few of the rest of us follow the jump. Continue reading Snapshots from the L.A. Burning Man Decompression

“Explosion” at LAX = Oops.

Something blew up at LAX just now, the ever-indispensable LAFD Blog is reporting via Twitter.

CBS says it was an errant fire extinguisher on board a Flyaway bus.

The Press-Telegram fingers a “clumsy bus traveler” who bumped the extinguisher with his bag.

And KTLA reports the incident has backed up traffic for “miles.”

Return to your homes, folks. Nothing to see here. You may resume ruminating over whether McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden would have handled such an incident with the appropriate gravitas.

After – L.A. River graffiti wall wiped out

A lovely/ugly expanse of beige paint is all that remains
A lovely/ugly expanse of beige paint is all that remains
This is a pretty non-descript section of the L.A. River channel that runs past the Glendale Water & Power plant.

After years of seeing it bombed, blasted and splashed with 40-foot-long full-color-burner graffiti pieces, the forces of conformity decided enough was enough.

For the “BEFORE” view, see the jump. Continue reading After – L.A. River graffiti wall wiped out

The fastest spider in Los Angeles

0 mph - spider at rest
0 mph - spider at rest
When I bike-park near the Glendale power station this morning to do my old-man stretches, this little daddy long-legs is hanging out on the railing that lines the L.A. river.

By the time I finish lengthening my triceps and punishing my hamstrings, the spider has crawled onto my top tube.

When I hop back on to ride home, the spider stays put.

Okay, says I. Let’s go for a ride. Continue reading The fastest spider in Los Angeles