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Reposted from Readers and Book Lovers by Brecht Editor's Note: This diary's mostly bookish, but includes a walk on Venice Beach and a meal at my favorite Chinese restaurant there. Also, I miss you guys and gals. -- Brecht
Book Cover: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
This book review is slightly long - but I crammed it full of thought, feeling, experience and imagination. Then I lovingly planished the prose until it flowed smoothly.

This diary has sandpipers vs. monsters on Venice Beach, why food is harder to describe than a book, Communists and opium dealers, how words can be magic, and a takedown of the New York Times. Woven between those lines, it has a few glimpses of the very enjoyable Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

Just read the whole diary. If it doesn't make you smile, I guarantee that I'll give you your money back.

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Reposted from Community Fundraisers by mettle fatigue
Heap of US pennies, nickels, and dimes
This is a followup diary to the one I posted last week, which was itself a followup to the one in January (please see these for more details). Longtime Sacramento-area kossack aitchdee found herself disabled by rheumatoid arthritis, unable to work, and facing immediate tax auction of her modest condo. Serious roof leaks had consumed her savings and now made it impossible to sell the condo for enough to pay the tax liability, so she turned to us fearing that she was about to become homeless.

The good advice she received here helped her file the correct form of bankruptcy just in time. This does NOT discharge her tax debt, but it forces the county to wait one year before the auction. Meanwhile, she's received assistance from another expert kossack in completing her application for SSDI benefits, and is thought to have a good chance of success (because she is so obviously ill in ways that interest SSA). Now, she needs financial help to keep going for the estimated 4-5 weeks until she gets a response. (If the response is negative, she's in trouble and she knows it, but if she is accepted, then she can figure out how to find a living situation that's affordable for her once she loses the condo.)

If you can help at all, now or in a week or two or three, please continue below the fold to learn how. She is so close to being okay, and even small amounts can help her eat, feed pets, keep the lights and water on, get the expired car registration renewed -- all life's expenses that do not wait just because there is no income. And if you have nothing to spare, please consider helping with recs, republishes, mention in open threads, and social media shares and tweets, to help us reach others who might have more resources.

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Reposted from unapologeticliberal777 by susans

Last night, a California Assembly panel approved a proposal to automatically register Californians to vote when they get a driver’s license.  

The bill was introduced in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) who said she modeled her bill on a new law in Oregon and that it was sorely needed  after the 42% record-low turnout in California during last falls statewide races.

“These concerning new lows are unacceptable,” Gonzalez told the Assembly Transportation Committee. “We cannot allow this trends to continue."
Secretary of State Alex Padilla, elected last fall to his first term, testified Monday night that there were about 6.7 million state residents who are eligible to vote but who are not registered.  

Padilla said that 40,000 people went to his agency’s website for information on registering to vote after the deadline for signing up in the last election. Under the new law, people who get a driver’s license will be notified they have 21 days to object or they will be registered to vote if eligible.

“We ought to do anything and everything possible to ensure that people participate” in elections, Padilla said.
Needles to say, Republicans were opposed to the bill, which goes to another Assembly committee next.  Leading the Republican opposition was none other than Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Idiotville), who said there are already other proposals to address the problem of people who are registered but don’t vote.

This is a direct quote from Ms. Baker:

“I haven’t heard any evidence that the lack of registration is the reason people don’t vote,” Baker said.
What a nitwit.
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Reposted from Elisa by mettle fatigue
A big group of 10 happy multiracial children sitting and standing together on the steps of playground equipment.  There are six girls and four boys of mixed ages from 2 to 8 years old, and of diverse ethnicities, smiling and looking at the camera.
Hi all! I know, long time, no hear. I'm still organizing on behalf of families and about to testify in Sacramento tomorrow for more preschool slots for children. If you live in California, I'd appreciate you adding your name to the petition below -- like I said, I'll be delivering the signatures tomorrow!

With much respect, Elisa

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Reposted from Community Fundraisers by mettle fatigue
I last wrote in January about the troubles of long-time kossack aitchdee -- you can see that diary here.

Since that time, with the help of many people here, she's made significant progress, but she still needs some help. I won't repeat her whole backstory, since it's in the linked diary; there's plenty new to tell below the fold, mostly from aitchdee herself with a little editing from me.

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I went out on my front porch just about fifteen minutes ago to sit in the shade and do some grading but the air was so smoky I had to retreat back inside. I live in Claremont, about 25 miles north of the Norco/Corona area where a wildfire is raging out of control. Earlier I went for a run and the air had been clear. Yesterday evening I was at Mount San Antonio College watching my daughter run in a track meet and could see the distinctive brownish-greyish smoke rising in the distance.

The fire, which broke out around 6:12 p.m. Saturday, remains at 15 percent containment.

Firefighters received reports of trees on fire in Chino. Nearly 335 firefighters were called to the scene and two water-dropped helicopters and air tankers were deployed.

The fire quickly spread over to Norco, and mandatory evacuations were in place for residents living on Bluff, Homestead and Stagecoach roads. There were no reports of damaged structures.

Cal Fire, the Riverside County Fire Department and the Corona Fire Department, among other agencies, battled the blaze, which has been dubbed the "Highway Fire." The thick vegetation in the area hasn't burned for decades. ABC 7 Los Angeles

I was born and raised in California and we are used to wildfires, but what used to be a fire season that began in late September and October, and would last for a few months when enough rain had fallen to mitigate the danger, is now a never ending, year round phenomenon.

In a September 2014 interview, Ken Pimlott, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director, spoke with the Washington Post.

. . . Pimlott said his agency has fought almost 5,000 fires this year, a thousand more than the five-year average. Over the last five years, CalFire has battled an average of 3,951 fires between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20. This year, the agency has fought 4,974 fires throughout the state.

In truth, the dry conditions mean fire season never stops. State fire fighters started the year fighting a 330-acre fire in Humboldt County, one of the wettest counties in the continental United States.

“We’ve been in year-round fire season conditions since April or so of 2013. We haven’t been out of fire season for a year and a half and quite honestly don’t anticipate going out of fire season this year unless we see a significant change in the weather,” Pimlott said.

Fortunately an evacuation order for 300 homes has been lifted this morning, although the fire is only 15% contained and with shifting winds hampering fire fighters in the tinder dry Prado Basin, this story is far from over.

Meteorologists are predicting a chance of light rain midweek so this is good news. The bad news is that we are only half-way through April and any rain we do get will only provide temporary relief. With prolonged drought and record high temperatures, we should be in for a long, dry summer.

Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Received this e-mail today from Rep. Tammy Duckworth's (D. IL) U.S. Senate campaign on behalf of herself and California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D. CA) and Rep. Donna Edwards' (D. MD) U.S. Senate campaigns:
During my Army service, I always earned equal pay for equal work. The military's policy of fairness has not only created opportunities for women, but also contributes to making our military the best in the world.

Every woman in America deserves the same treatment. But we're not there yet. Today is Equal Pay Day, the date that marks how far into the year women must work, on average, to earn what their male counterparts earned the previous year.

So today, I'm joining Kamala Harris and Donna Edwards - fellow Democratic women running for Senate - to demand that Congress take action on equal pay. Add your name too:

Illinois women can earn an average of nearly $12,000 less than men annually. This isn't just a matter of equality - it's an economic problem that's making it hard for women in our state to support themselves and their families.

Today is an important opportunity to remind Congress that women everywhere are calling for an end to the wage gap, once and for all.

Thank you for adding your voice,


Click here to add your name:

And click here to donate and/or get involved with Duckworth, Harris and Edwards' campaigns:
7/8/14 2:18:05 PM -- Washington, DC, U.S.A  -- Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., is interviewed by USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page for a Capital Download segment. --    Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY staff ORG XMIT:  JG 131093 CAPDOWN EDWARDS 7/8/2014 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Reposted from Doctor Jazz by Doctor Jazz
In preparation for a Presidential bid, failed CEO and failed Senatorial Candidate, Carly Fiorina, has been busy establishing her conservative credentials accusing liberals and environmentalists of causing the California drought. Yes, you heard that right folks, libs and tree huggers are to blame. Without any hint that she recognizes the irony in her statement, science denier Fiorina calls the drought "man made". She made her case to Glenn Beck.

'It is a man-made disaster,' she told Glenn Beck during a Monday radio interview. 'With different policies over the last 20 years, all of this could be avoided.'

“That’s the tragedy of California, because of liberal environmentalists’ insistence — despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled,” Fiorina said. Politico

Now Fiorina is not a scientist, and neither am I, but her logic here is stunningly myopic. She is correct that environmentalists have opposed building new dams, for good reason. But of course Fiorina and other conservatives do not think that saving habitat for birds, frogs and fish are good reasons for allowing rainfall to run into the ocean.

"In California, fish and frogs and flies are really important — far more important apparently than the 40 percent unemployment rate in certain parts of central valley," Fiorina said. Newsmax

There are currently 36 reservoirs that contain over 200,000 acre feet (0.25 km3) of water at maximum capacity, and there are many more as well.

The state has more than one thousand major reservoirs, of which the largest two hundred have a combined capacity of over 41,000,000 acre feet (51 km3).[1] Most large reservoirs in California are located in the central and northern portions of the state, especially along the large and flood-prone rivers of the Central Valley. Eleven reservoirs have a storage capacity greater than or equal to 1,000,000 acre feet (1.2 km3); all of these except one are in or on drainages that feed into the Central Valley. The largest single reservoir in California is Shasta Lake, with a full volume of more than 4,552,000 acre feet (5.615 km3).
Republicans, including former Governor Schwarzenegger, have tried unsuccessfully to get more water storage capacity for the state in recent years, having not only been frustrated by environmentalists but also by costs. In 2009 Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought emergency and called for a 20% reduction in water usage and his 2006 water bond issue would have cost $35 billion.
The governor and Republicans in the Legislature have for several years pushed unsuccessfully for bonds to build new reservoirs. Some are calling for construction of a canal to divert water around the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin delta. LA Times

Fiorina of course fails to mention that current Governor Brown did manage to negotiate a bi-partisan water bill, which included, to the dismay of many environmentalists, $2.7 billion for "water storage".  Considering the thousand or so "major reservoirs" already in place, it is hard to believe two more storage sites would provide anything more than minimal relief for Fiorina's constituents, corporate farmers in the Central Valley who are growing water-intensive crops like almonds to ship to China. And many experts have argued that there really isn't enough water in California to justify building further water storage facilities. Newsmax

The Sierra Club, one of the liberal environmental groups Fiorina blames for the drought crisis, responded to Fiorina's claim that more storage would have mitigated the California drought, with facts.

"For more than 100 years, environmentalists have failed to stop the damming of nearly every significant river in California. And yet all of the hundreds of dams out there have done nothing to produce rain or snow pack over the last four years. That's because you can't store what's not there," said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club's California chapter. "We simply don't have rain or snow pack and are suffering the worst California drought since water agencies and weather trackers started keeping records."

"What we are seeing is exactly what climate scientists have predicted would happen in California with the onset of human-caused climate disruption: Weather and precipitation would become less predictable and droughts would become more frequent and more severe," Phillips added. Huffington Post

How bad is the drought? After a somewhat hopeful December, January 2015 was one of California’s driest on record. San Francisco and Sacramento, for instance, each got zero precipitation for the month.
California experienced record temperatures during March 2015.

Scientists agree that record-high temperatures have exacerbated the current drought, sapping moisture from the soil and preventing snow from building up the “frozen reservoir” in the Sierra. The latest measurement had the Sierra snowpack at 6% of normal for this time of year. Drought Watch 2015

In spite of the fact that more water storage would have absolutely no impact on preventing the persistent California drought, this is the kind of talk that instantly catapults one into consideration as a serious candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, and Fiorina left no doubt -- well actually a little less than 10% doubt -- that she was going to enter the race.  In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Fiorina said there is a "higher than 90 percent" chance that she will run for president. She added she would make an announcement in late April or early May.

Reposted from delphine by poopdogcomedy

Let me start by saying that California has been living beyond our means in terms of water pretty much forever.  Especially in Southern California, where about 85% of our water is imported.  I mean, forget it, it's Chinatown, right?

But . . . you're in denial and delusional if you think that California's drought is simply California's problem, even beyond the availability of CA-grown fruit in your neighborhood grocery store.

As Governor Brown pointed out, California's deepening drought is indeed the "new normal".  It's not simply caused by overuse of water but by higher temperatures and lack of precipitation.  The climate is changing.  That's not a California issue; that's a global issue.

So if you drive a car powered by fossil fuel, or burn fuel oil, or your energy comes from coal, or you choose to run your heater all when you can put on a sweater, or your house has inefficient windows or insulation, or you eat meat (especially beef), or use styrofoam cups or plastic utensils, or get plastic bags at the grocers, or burn wood in your fireplace, or don't recycle or compost, or don't purchase food and products locally, or throw paper into a landfill after someone cut down trees and polluted a waterway to make it, if you buy anything packaged in one of those death-slice clamshells or other unnecessary packaging, and if you aren't running your house on alternative energy, you are contributing to California's drought.  

And you are contributing to endless snow in Boston, and the size of hurricanes and typhoons in the rest of the world.  

You are contributing to toxic fracking pollution and oil spills every time you put a time in an oil company's pocket.  If no one bought oil, no one would suck it out of the earth to sell it to us.

So yes, California is nipping around the edges of a massive and devastating crisis when we should be banning lawns, utilizing recycled water (way cheaper than desalination) and grey water, have water usage limits (or make it WAY more expensive).  We need to close down Nestle's water sleight of hand (by the way, if you buy bottled water you're doubly responsible . . .), and completely rethink how we can sustain our agricultural industry - or whether we should.

Yes, all that and more.

But California is just another canary in the coal mine - almost literally - and if the rest of the world thinks they are not contributing to the problem, they are in denial and delusional about California's drought as well.

We all need to rethink the way we live our lives and stop relying on politicians and corporations to do the right thing.

The climate is changing, and not just in California.  

Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

99 Rise was founded about 3 years ago in Los Angeles by my friend Kai Newkirk.

99 Rise is the tip of the spear in the movement to overturn Citizens United and get money out of politics.

Today these five 99 Risers were arrested in the US Supreme Court;

 photo 6b72901a-65c7-40e9-b9f0-7e497181694f_zpspn0oba2i.jpg

Protesters again disrupt U.S. Supreme Court proceedings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Protesters disrupted U.S. Supreme Court proceedings for the third time in just over a year on Wednesday, with several people shouting out before the nine justices heard oral arguments in a bankruptcy case.

The protesters criticized two court rulings that pared back campaign finance restrictions.

5 arrested at Supreme Court after courtroom protest of campaign finance decisions
The first protester rose from his seat among spectators in the courtroom just after the justices took the bench at 10 a.m. "I rise to claim our democracy, one person, one vote," he said.

Chief Justice John Roberts initially joked that he didn't think the court's scheduled arguments in bankruptcy cases "would attract such attention." But Roberts turned serious as the protests continued and warned that anyone disrupting proceedings could be charged with criminal contempt.

This is the third time 99 Rise activists get arrested in the Supreme Court.

This is the video of the first arrest back in February 2014;

It is the only video ever taken inside the Supreme Court.

This was an impressive act of civil disobedience by my friend Kai. So I decided to support his organization and I help them with the March for Democracy.

The March for Democracy arrives in Sacramento on Sunday

The march was joined along the way by many famous people including Lawrence Lessig and Dolores Huerta.  And many Kossacks joined us in the Capitol, including Meteor Blades and navajo.

Many organizations and activists are doing what they can, 99 Rise specializes in non-violent civil disobedience.  And 99 Rise is now a nationwide organization.

Any support is welcome.

Below the fold is the 99 Rise press release

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Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 04:23 PM PDT

Los Angeles Kossacks - Let's Talk

by susans

I've been sick with one thing or another for weeks, so have been almost entirely inactive here. I'm better now and am thinking we should have an open thread to discuss what's what.


I can participate in an open thread on

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Reposted from mettle fatigue by mettle fatigue
Revision is continual: send corrections, additions, mergers, "ceased activity", etc. HERE.
If you use this directory, RECing and republishing will help more kosaks find and use it too.

      GROUPS capability was launched in 2011 to rev up local and specialized DK publishing and collective political activism, nationally and beyond. But the GROUPS link (at the top of each page below Daily and Kos) only searches by 4 laborious methods (Most Recent means "most recently created"); so, Where the Kogs Are links all DK local-focus/geographic groups, publish-only and meet-up groups alike (see event notices across the US at Connect! Unite! Act! under navajo's aegis Community-Building Director of Daily Kos).


     US states, non-voting-delegate territories/possessions/districts, and regions are in one alphabetical order, their groups listed under each by name (e.g., "Motor City Kossacks" is listed as such under Michigan, not as Detroit). If there's no group near you, get to know neighboring groups and make friends. In fact, do that regardless.

     REGION-named groups ▬Appalachia ■ Asian/Pacific ■ Caribbean ■ Four Corners ■ Koscadia ■ New England ■ Pacific Northwest ■ Southern ■  Southwestern▬ are only cross-listed with states/locales they cover if their profiles give those details or if the details are kosmailed to mettle fatigue. CANADA, INDIA, MEXICO, and other non-U.S. places with kog groups actually there, are listed last. General/national groups are listed first. As yet, Kossacks on Mars is not an actual geo-group. Words "kossack", "Dailykos", etc., are generally omitted as redundant.

      The diary list (posting history) and members access links are information-rich for how recently/often/actively the group publishes, on what concerns, and who the administrators, editors and contributors are. (Where profile or contact is the link, group formation was in-process at last contact with mettle fatigue.) Groups that have no admins can't add or promote members, and if also no editors they can't publish; in effect, those groups have ceased activity but remaining members may still be contactable for forming a new group.

     A local-looking name doesn't obligate a group to add members, publish, arrange meet-ups, or answer messages (real life may intervene). A kosmail-to-group —asking to join it, requesting diary republication, etc.— goes only to admins and eds without putting a New Message alert at the MESSAGES line in anyone's WELCOME BACK box; so, they may not see it timely. Try kosmailing to specific admins or eds (check how recently their profiles show comments or diaries). If that gets no response, and if the group hasn't published in some time (to see pub'g dates, click on "list" at Diaries (list) below the group name at any of its pages), consider contacting active members about starting a new group in the area, and coordinating with&via navajo i.e., get organized together rather than fragment or collide yourselves apart.

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