Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pauline Schindler

I found a great quote from Pauline Schindler, husband of architect Rudolph Schlinder, about her lifestyle vision:

The building is the embodiment of Pauline’s ideal life style. In a letter addressed to her mother, she wrote:”One of my dreams, Mother, is to have, some day, a little joy of bungalow, on the edge of mountains and near a crowded city, which shall be open just as some people’s hearts are open, to friends of all classes and types. I should like it to be as democratic a meeting-place as Hull-House, where millionaires and laborers, professors and illiterates, the splendid and the ignoble, meet constantly together.”

The house she built, a two-family communal style home, is in West Hollywood.

The Hull-House also turned out to be a very interesting concept in housing and advocacy in Chicago. The wikipedia page is here, in particular check out the "Accomplishments" section.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Churches create dependency too!

I didn't watch this weeks' Rebublican debate in its entirety, but did get to watch Ron Paul's defense of a private market healthcare system with no role for healthcare.  His libertarian defense - if a 30 year old uninsured male has a catastrophic illness it's his fault for not planning ahead - is of course a very cynical view of the world.  Ron Paul's response is simply that in the old days, when he started as a physician, churches would chip in to help out someone like this.  Is a safety net that is the church any better than the government? Either way, the conclusion is a safety net is needed. People make bad choices, sometimes they aren't in the position to make the right choices, and either way, uninsured people are bad for everyone (e.g. pandemic viruses, orphaned children).  We need a safety net! Should we systematically put churches in that role? Whats the difference!

And relatedly, Jon Huntsmann staffers were disgusted by this line of reasoning too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A disturbing trend of voting disenfranchisement

NYTimes is documenting the multi-state effort to restrict voting rights:
MIAMI — Less than 18 months before the next presidential election, Republican-controlled statehouses around the country are rewriting voting laws to require photo identification at the polls, reduce the number of days of early voting or tighten registration rules.
Republican legislators say the new rules, which have advanced in 13 states in the past two months, offer a practical way to weed out fraudulent votes and preserve the integrity of the ballot box. Democrats say the changes have little to do with fraud prevention and more to do with placing obstacles in the way of possible Democratic voters, including young people and minorities.

 In the rest of the article, there is no evidence cited about an increase in fraudulent votes or any real substantive reason for pursuing these policies.  It's clear what the point of all this is.  The most egregious affront is limiting the number of early voting days prior to an election.  This is truly a convenience factor that would allow for more scrutiny of fraudulent voting, not less.  Shameful.

Here are two good sites opposing these efforts:

League of Women Voters


Election Protection Project

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coachella 2011

2011 was another amazing year at the Indio Valley Polo field, the hosting venue of the Coachella Music festival.  It's difficult to recall all the great music that happens at the event in the heat and the exhaustion - my post is an attempt to give a brief description of virtually every band that I saw, no matter how long I stayed for the set.

To my mind, this year was the smoothest Coachella I have participated in.  Access and parking were extremely easy, and leaving the festival (as long as you don't stay for the last big name) was incredibly easy.  Goldenvoice, the organizers, recognized that 2010's event was plagued with problems that reduced the quality of the event - to their credit, they fixed most of these problems.  Given that the event would sell out whether or not problems with the festival would be fixed (and in fact, this year's Coachella sold out in a record 7 days), Goldenvoice deserves major kudos for improving the event.

We arrived on Friday to catch Cee Lo Green and watched artist drama unfold.  Cee Lo was late by about 20 to 30 minutes, and was unceremoniously cut off when he tried to play past his end time.  The band kept rocking - without amplification - but a sweaty Cee Lo exited stage right.  Lauryn Hill played next with a huge band and did her best to rock the main stage in 100 degree heat.  I walked by Outdoor Theatre on my way to Sleigh Bells and I was impressed by the Cold War Kids sound.  They are definitely borrowing a page from the Black Keys, and that is a good thing.  Sleigh Bells had a loud stage set-up that could've been fun if the songs did not sound exactly like their album. Admittedly I have listened to album front to back greater than 20 times, but the set was just too predictable and was not an improvement over rocking the album on headphones, despite the array of Marshall amps on stage.  The aforementioned Black Keys were the highlight of the evening.  The addition of a keyboard player brought an already amazing sound to greater heights.  This casual fan became a hardcore Black Keys fan after the set.  Exhausted from the week, I entered a Coachella Day 1 coma and awoke the next day.

On Saturday, we arrived in the afternoon to catch Two Door Cinema Club, a poppy punk trio from Ireland.  The tent was too sweaty and dominated by heat-venting shirtless dudes, but the band rocked it and their new songs some good (though similar to current material.)  French artist Yelle threw up a groovy disco set that had the crowd enthralled despite (or because of) the French lyrics.  Her set was energetic and I felt like I was in a European discotec.  I only caught a few songs of Mumford & Sons but they sounded tight live, and I was impressed at the size of their following.  Will they be one hit wonders?  One Day as a Lion is Zach de la Rocha's side band, and an anticipated set for the evening.  This incredibly loud 3 piece band (with Zach on occasional keyboards) created a wall of intensely complicated sound.  It was the finest of math rock metal and it fucking killed.  Much of the initial crowd dissipated as they realized that there was no "Bulls on Parade" coming around the corner, leaving room for the hard core or newly initiated fans like myself behind to spread out.  This was a welcome development.  The Animal Collective were a main stage disappointment as they lacked energy and would've been better suited for a tent to fully appreciate their weirdness.  Finally, Raphael Saadiq brought out a huge band with a brass section and played his hit "Heart Attack." The rest of the set wore on, potentially because of the lateness of the set and the lack of a big crowd.

Our Sunday started with Nas & Damien Marley, who provided a nice interplay of reggae and rap.  Trentemoller was the highlight of the day with his live, electronic jams that got the Mojave tent crowd dancing and cheering.  His compositions of techno music translated very nicely to a live show and he received an ovation long after he left the stage.  Chromeo played their discofunk on the Outdoor Theatre and enthralled many fans - I was bored, but was also far back.  PJ Harvey started up a no-nonsense set at 10 PM at the Outdoor Theatre stage as well - her musicality shined, and her band fit her sound perfectly.  Kanye West had a crappy set in which he talked about himself quite a bit between songs - he was the perfect counterpoint to PJ Harvey.  And that brought the official Coachella 2011 to a close.  A great year and I cant wait til next year!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do you Realize?? - Flaming Lips

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space -
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
Do You Realize - that everyone you know
Someday will die -

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize

Saturday, December 25, 2010

clean up the homeless

This morning's LA Times article about a community run laundromat and shower in skid row is a good reminder of very simple steps that can be taken to improve the homeless situation for the public at large and homeless alike.  One of the more common complaints you hear about the homeless is that they are smelly and dirty - and limited interactions on public transit, park benches, and on the streets exacerbate relations and provide the cover for more authoritative solutions like forceful removal of the homeless by the police.  Obviously, if you do not have a home, it is hard to have good hygiene and clean clothes.  These public services could go a long way to providing the sanitary care the homeless need.  This service is humane and the right thing to do.  Further, the homeless aren't going anywhere - public services that benefit the public at large are a no-brainer.  I'd add to the list: public restrooms.  LA Downtown News has an interesting article from 2006 about the installation of APT - Automatic Public Toilets - in sections of the city.  It appears that the APT in skid row is a resounding success and is not prone to the abuse that formerly placed port-a-potties had experienced.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bernie Sander's brave stand

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has filibustered the looming tax cut for the rich for over 6 hours, with no sign of letting up.  The fillibuster is grueling affair that hasn't been utilized in its traditional sense (actually taking over the debate floor) since 1992.  The LA Times expounds on the details of his labor:

Under Rule XIX of the Senate, senators who have been recognized to speak may do so for as long as they wish, and cannot be forced to cede the floor or even interrupted without their consent, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Sanders has twice deferred to his colleagues — for 45 minutes to Sherrod Brown (D- Ohio), and to Mary Landrieu (D-La.) for over a half hour.

"I don't know how I'm going to vote, but I'm not voting quietly," Landrieu said.

Even when he defers to a colleague, Sanders must remain standing on the floor. He also cannot eat — he hasn't since arriving at the Capitol at 9 a.m. — but is permitted to take sips of water.

In my view, the tax compromise needs to pass to alleviate immediate suffering from the recession.  By dropping unemployment by 1 - 2 % points, millions of Americans will be prevented from descending into poverty, losing their homes, and creating a downward spiral for others on the brink.  The tax break for the rich is unnecessary, fiscally irresponsible, and useless at stimulating the economy.

But this courageous filibuster is helpful to start the discussion that must be had in 2012 - it will be a repeat of the current debate, but Sander's filibuster has taken on a viral quality, much like Ron Paul's anti-war speeches in 2008.  So carry on, good Senator.  Thanks for fighting the good fight, and congratulations on being a star attraction of the Senate floor!  Perhaps some more of this public drama from the good guys will help break through the bias and talking points espoused by the plutocracy.