Originally posted December 2nd, 2014
By Michael Konik
The nice folks at Chevron are attempting to buy another election in Northern California, spending millions to defeat a Proposition that would limit the amount of damage Big Oil can do to the environment. Illuminating coverage of the underhanded shenanigans can be found not in any of the area’s large newspapers but in a maverick online portal called “Richmond Confidential.” Call it citizen journalism, call it muckraking, call it concerned constituents digging deep for the truth — what’s happening in Richmond is a snapshot of the zeitgeist: corporate criminals buying what they want while a small group of courageous “little people” fight the power.
Originally posted November 23rd, 2014
By Michael Konik
Terrific news! We’ve discovered a handgun company, Gang Green Firearms, whose entire product line is certifiably carbon neutral. They have certificates that say so.
Their pistols and automatics do what all other guns do – shoot bullets that kill living creatures – but, even so, you’ve got to admit that a carbon neutral gun has less negative impact on the environment and society than one that contributes greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. You could say that by being carbon neutral, the “bad” product has become “good,” and if not good then at least “acceptable.”
It’s miraculous and wonderful is what it is.
Those who would dismiss this marvelous achievement in handgun carbon neutrality as mere marketing propaganda are missing the more important point: Sure, it’s marketing, but at least it’s true!
Originally posted August 12th, 2014
By Michael Konik
Committed environmentalists know that nuclear power is bad. Evil. The worst. We’ve been trained by incidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima to fear the inevitable disasters that radioactivity will surely wreak upon our energy-hungry world. Not to mention the apocalyptic weaponry that nuclear power begets. It’s a settled issue. According to the provocative and enlightening documentary “Pandora’s Promise,” a beautifully made and persuasively argued challenge to progressive-minded Groupthink, the issue is far from settled. Indeed, director Robert Stone suggests that thanks to third- and fourth-generation reactors, some of which are being designed to use their own radioactive waste as fuel, nuclear power may prove to be a better answer to our energy questions than wind and solar. Crazy? Blasphemous? A cynical propaganda ploy by rich folks with atomic investments? Watch, learn and decide for yourself.
Look, we’re not qualified to discuss the scientific data on the sun. We don’t have that kind of education. That’s for specialists to debate among themselves. All we know is that there’s a strong case for the sun being the “center” of our galaxy and an equally strong case for us, Earth, being the “center” of the galaxy. Obviously, it’s all very complicated. Rushing to final judgment on this issue would be a mistake.
And why does it even have to be an issue? Can’t we all just agree to disagree? Respect everyone’s point of view, even if it’s not outlined in the Bible?
It’s not like we’re claiming the sun isn’t the center of our galaxy. We’re just saying there’s some very strong data out there that makes you wonder…and isn’t skepticism one of the lynchpins of scientific inquiry?
Because Monday is the one day a year we set aside to remember our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, strangers and friends who have perished while serving our great country by killing other people’s brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, we figured we’d get the rest of our memorializing out of the way, big-box style. More convenient that way.
So, yes, we remember all the fallen soldiers who, along with their families, were bamboozled into thinking their death helped keep the rest of us “free.” They did indeed die on behalf of defending American values, like low gas prices and 24-hour streaming of our favorite TV shows. Thank you, and we’re sorry for all the lies you were told – like, you were a “hero.” But your bravery will certainly be remembered and appreciated while most of us take a day off from work and barbecue . . . → Read More: In Memoriam
Reggae. World. Rock. Social consciousness. Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two is music for yoga, meditation and revolution — and for obsessive replaying. Created by celebrated yoga teacher and former death metal guitarist Daniel Overberger, the DGs are a collective of some of Hollywood’s coolest musicians, including one of our favorite jazz vocalists, Charmaine Clamor, who leads the chorus on the “No GMO” anthem “Wicked Garden.” Each Gypsy adds her pungent spice to the musical stew. The result is one of the most compulsively groovy records ever to serenade a downward dog.
Originally posted April 6th, 2014
By Michael Konik
In the spirit of light-hearted playfulness of April Fools Day, the Los Angeles Times tried to pull one over on their (dwindling) readership. But the cleverest among us realized their ruse, and instead of feeling perplexed and outraged we enjoyed a hearty chuckle. All in good fun!
The April 1, 2014 edition’s lead editorial, on page A10, was headlined “Climate change here and now.” The sub-head said: “Crop yields are down, deaths from heat are up. A U.N. panel’s report should be a call to action.” The editorial encapsulated the report’s most alarming warnings – impending disruption of the world’s food supply; dying oceans; droughts – and concluded that, in a rational world, the report would be more than enough to propel world leaders into action.
The final sentence: “We [should] discuss how quickly we can reduce [climate change’s] severity by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and which . . . → Read More: We’re No (April) Fools
Originally posted January 12th, 2014
By Michael Konik
Everything’s working perfectly. The Los Angeles City Council has allowed several major real estate developments, including residential towers, to begin construction in Hollywood on or near major earthquake fault lines. Geologic surveys were never ordered, but the developers, major political donors all, assured everyone that there was no problem, so it was therefore decided that building on the most dangerous land in Los Angeles was no problem.
The chief of the Department of Public Works has resigned for “personal reasons,” just as Sherriff Lee Baca resigned for his personal reasons, an impending FBI probe of his rotten department among them. Ron Nichols, the DWP king, stepped down as questions swirled around him regarding the mysterious use of $40 million in ratepayer money that was funneled into non-profits aimed at improving labor relations.
All the regulars at Marty Erndel’s Thursday night poker game had nicknames calculated to offend anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to be invited to Erndel’s exclusive weekly affair. To the players, this was a big joke: Aside from the seven regulars, the Lucky Seven they called themselves, no one knew the game existed. Not the wives, the girlfriends, the media, the congregations, the board members, the secretaries, the IRS. No one.
If, like us, you don’t watch much television and, therefore, effectively shield yourself from the indignities of all the marketing/messaging/propaganda used to sell products and “lifestyles,” when you come face-to-face with the fire-breathing beast, your ignorance of Basic Ideas might take your breath away.
Now’s the perfect time to assess our nuclear option. (We would have said “re-assess,” but for most of us a critical assessment hasn’t ever happened.) Now’s the time to make a big change. A series of scandals involving our nuclear weapons force has spurred leading war-makers, like Barack Obama and…
“Revolutionary Words.” Sounds intriguing, and possibly…violent?
Not that kind of revolution. We’re talking about the bloodless kind, the mind revolution, each individual looking deep and changing the one and only person he/she/we are able: ourselves, one at a time. “Revolutionary Words” are those that dare to speak the truth out…
If a candidate pledged to legalize drugs and prostitution, end imprisonment of all but the violent, rig the financial system to operate in reverse (making the rich get poorer and the poor get richer), slash military spending by at least 50% and then repatriate all the brave men and women…
The Los Angeles-based Filipino-American singer-songwriter Kira Hooks has a beautiful life ahead of her. Based on her debut recording, “Elephant Heart,” twelve well-produced original songs that defy strict genre categorization — think “jazz and soul-inflected pop” — almost anything’s possible for this extravagantly talented musician. Hooks is a good writer, and a good instrumentalist. But […]