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  • Culture & MediaJuly 23, 2012Steven Mikulan

    The Aurora Shooting: Life Imitates Death

    My wife and I saw the new Batman film this weekend. We’re not blockbuster fans but occasionally enjoy a bit of escapism. An escape from reality, of course, is what the moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado were looking forward to last Friday midnight before a gunman suddenly began firing into the audience. The reported initial reaction of some of the filmgoers was chillingly revealing – they thought the shots were part of the show. That hope immediately vanished, but it served as a mad metaphor for a society that increasingly has trouble distinguishing where fantasy ends and real life begins. For people in Aurora last week, escapism meant fleeing a movie, not attending one.

    America, shocked as it was by the carnage, didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic to search for causes or lessons, let alone metaphors. So the ensuing discussions, in the mainstream media, at least, were mild compared to those that followed disasters from Hurricane Katrina onward.

     » Read more about: The Aurora Shooting: Life Imitates Death  »

  • Labor & EconomyJuly 23, 2012Jon Zerolnick

    Government Procurement: Pennywise, Pound Foolish


    You need a new pair of jeans. You’re standing in front of two stores, both offering excellent quality jeans. One store offers them for $35; these jeans are made offshore somewhere, and the retailer is based in a distant state. The other store offers a virtually identical pair for $38; these jeans are made right here in L.A., and the retailer is also based in L.A. What do you do?

    Trick question — it doesn’t matter. You’re an individual consumer, overwhelmingly concerned with your own pocketbook.

    But what if you’re the government, and you’re concerned not only with getting the best price, but also with trying to create jobs and generate more money for the local economy? Then it gets a bit trickier. Which is to say, we’re going to have to do some math here, folks: Just how much is that extra $3 getting us?

     » Read more about: Government Procurement: Pennywise, Pound Foolish  »

  • Labor & EconomyJuly 23, 2012Jim Lair Beard

    Hyatt Worker: Why I Support the Global Hyatt Boycott

    Today a global boycott of Hyatt Hotels was declared. As a server at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, not only do I personally condone it, but I also urge all my friends, family and online contacts to join me in voting Hyatt the worst hotel employer in America.

    This is the first time in history that there has ever been a global boycott of a hotel chain, and I believe it is well deserved.

    My personal journey to this decision started last September during our seven-day strike in front of the Andaz on Sunset Boulevard, where my coworkers and I were in a battle for decent wages and a fair tipping policy. A lot of us frankly were tired of working three or four different jobs while only getting paid for one.

    I hadn’t yet heard of some of the stories from different Hyatt hotels across the country – like the one about Hyatt firing its entire housekeeping staff in Boston and replacing them with minimum-wage temp workers.

     » Read more about: Hyatt Worker: Why I Support the Global Hyatt Boycott  »

  • Politics & GovernmentJuly 20, 2012adminsm

    High-Speed Rail Is No Mirage

    The voices of doom and decline say that high-speed rail cannot be built in California. They’ve tried to stop the forces of progress by calling high-speed rail “a boondoggle” and “a waste.” This is not a new phenomenon. Enemies of progress said the same thing about the Golden Gate Bridge, built in the middle of the Great Depression. They screamed “boondoggle” at every major public works project in the 20th century while California was constructing a world-class infrastructure of freeways, dams, bridges and aqueducts that fostered a golden age of middle-class growth.

    The labor movement rejects the voices of doom, because we have a vision for California. We know it’s time to invest in California’s future, starting with construction of high-speed rail.

    Wednesday, the voices of progress and investment won a significant victory — Governor Brown signed SB 1029 to fund construction of a high-speed rail system.

     » Read more about: High-Speed Rail Is No Mirage  »

  • Politics & GovernmentJuly 20, 2012Capital & Main

    WebHot: Seniors Don't Agree With Right's Medicare Vision

    Within the padded walls of the House of Representatives, few agenda items consume more time than figuring out how to overturn President Obama’s health care reform law – and, looking down the road a little, how to scuttle Medicare as we know it. These two causes, along with countering the daily menace of Sharia law at the county courthouse, are what make certain conservatives get up early in the morning. Yet now a Commonwealth Fund survey shows that when it comes to Medicare, at least, most senior citizens are quite happy with the government-provided service they receive.

    According to the survey, “Only eight percent of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 or older rated their insurance as fair or poor, compared with 20 percent of adults with employer-sponsored insurance and 33 percent of adults purchasing coverage in the individual market.”

    Who would want to fix something so obviously not broken?

     » Read more about: WebHot: Seniors Don't Agree With Right's Medicare Vision  »