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All Things Considered (credit: BradJonas)

Last week, I wrote about the nation’s first successful “parent trigger” privatization of a public school, in a isolated town on the edge of the Mojave Desert. In that piece, I mentioned how parents and teachers had become disillusioned by the biased reporting of parent trigger in the media.

“No matter what article I read, it seemed to me that the common perspective that was shared was pro-Parent Revolution,” said La Nita M. Dominique, the local Adelanto president of the state teachers union, referring to the outside pro-charter front group that descended on their community and used harassment, deception and thinly veiled threats of deportation to push parents into signing a petition that handed over their kids’ school to a private contractor. (more…)

Posted: April 24th, 2013

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It’s just past 5 a.m. and I’m sitting in my suite at The Plaza hotel, high up above the grimy streets of downtown Las Vegas. On the horizon, beyond the gold brick Trump Tower, beyond the needle of the Stratosphere, beyond the shimmering lights of the city, I can make out the hazy outline of the Spring Mountain range that separates the Vegas basin from the open Mojave Desert.

In a few hours, I am going to cross those mountains, drop down into California and head in the direction of my next NSFWCORP assignment: I’m moving to Victorville, California, a gnarly desert bubble suburb that inflated faster and popped harder than almost any other place in the West. (more…)

Posted: January 9th, 2013

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“Let me say publicly what I said privately earlier today: no person in any country should be detained for exercising universal freedoms of expression, assembly and conscience” —Hillary Clinton in Burma on December 1, 2011

SANTA MONICA, CA: After a bit of good-natured wrangling and legal indemnities on both sides, Paul Carr and I finally agreed to terms last week. Barely had the ink time to dry on my employment contract with NSFWCORP, when I learned that the City of Los Angeles had filed criminal charges against me for reporting on a political protest that happened a year ago. My arraignment is set for December 6, only 369 days after I was bailed out of jail on a $2,000 bond. What’s the rush, right? (more…)

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Posted: November 28th, 2012

On election day, I woke up before dawn, took a dip in the ocean, made coffee and worked until about noon, when I decided to get the thing over and go vote. I walked five blocks to my polling station, located in the lobby of the Santa Monica Shores apartment towers sitting right on the beach.

It was a warm clear Southern California day. Outside the polling station, long-stemmed palm trees swayed softly in the light ocean breeze.

I could see through the glass doors that there was a long line stretching diagonally across the lobby. I swung the doors open and didn’t take more than two steps inside when I was hit by a gut-wrenching smell–a musky, nauseating mix of rancid beer, rotten fruit and anchovies. The lobby was filled to the brim with pensioners—and one of them had a yeast infection that had gone rogue. (more…)

Posted: November 9th, 2012

Be libertarian one time? Is that the same thing as "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"?

 


Author’s note: I wrote this brief dispatch about my run-in with libertarian pro-marijuana activist/former judge James P. Gray back in March of 2011. But the piece disappeared into the black void of my computer hard-drive, and I forgot all about it—until now. I’m glad the text turned up, because Judge Gray’s sleazy efforts to bring lefties and progressives into the Libertarian Party fold under the innocuous banner of pot legalization is much more relevant today than it was 2011. After all, Judge Gray is now the running mate of Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is using the weed wedge issue to siphon off votes from Obama.  —YL


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Posted: November 3rd, 2012

The untold story of Jeffrey Goldberg & Meir Kahane, Brooklyn's bin Laden

On August 15, 2012, in West Jerusalem, a small group of Palestinian teenagers was attacked by a mob of Israeli youths. The New York Times described it as an “attempted lynching.” The Israelis, who had apparently planned on lynching someone that night, set their sights on a couple of Palestinian kids hanging out at a busy city square, chased one of them down and then beat him until his heart had stopped. His name was Jamal Julani, a 17-year-old resident of East Jerusalem. He only survived because a medical student happened to be on the scene and was able to resuscitate him in time. The beating took place in full view of hundreds of people, who stood by and watched without intervening. According to an eye witness in account in The Jerusalem Post, “People who tried to resuscitate the Arab were mocked by the crowd of Jewish youths.” (more…)

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Posted: October 28th, 2012

I was passing through the Mojave Desert and by chance stopped by a local thrift store in Joshua Tree. I’m glad I did, because I spotted a book that I just had to own. At $0.50, it was priced to sell. And as you can tell from the title above, the book’s a classic. It’s bound to remain fresh and relevant through the ages—not as a useful guide to homeownership, but as a fossil record of the biggest real estate scam in the history of the United States. (more…)

Posted: October 19th, 2012