Tagged: greed

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Evictions for Profit: The Ellis Act

The wiki description of California Government Code 12.75, known as the Ellis Act, named after the San Diego state senator who introduced it in 1985, sounds innocuous enough:  “The Ellis Act is a California state law that allows landlords to evict residential tenants in order to ‘go out of the rental business,’ in spite of desires by...

To Fail Too Big

Remember back in 2008, when it was decided by those who decide such things that Lehman Brothers wasn’t too big to fail, and the planet’s financial infrastructure melted down? Remember when the mortgage bubble built from “collateralized debt” burst like cheap balloons? It’s been five years. Memories fade. You may have already forgotten that the...

Corruption

Our dwindling reserve of human kindness and compassion, diluted and poisoned by nearly constant assault from the corroding force of cruelty, still becomes inflamed by the fuel of outrage when we receive reports of foul play, endemic unfairness, and rank injustice motivated by the eternal and constant tug of noxious human greed. We blanch at...

A Letter to Craig V

Dear Mr. Venter, I read today that you and your team at the Human Genome Project had successfully implanted synthetically-created DNA into a living organism (a bacterium) and got it to replicate your man-made code. That’s marvelous! The possibilities for your discovery feel fantastical, like something culled from overly optimistic science fiction. Soon we really...

The Charity Enigma

I saw a beggar (and his dog) on Sunset Boulevard the other day. They — well, the human — were soliciting cash donations for “food” from pedestrians. A well-meaning but foolish fellow threw a few bucks at the doleful couple, thereby cleansing himself of whatever sins he had committed in the name of acquiring his...

Guzzling Taxpayer Money

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the five oligarchs who administer an annual budget of nearly $20 billion that affects more than 10 million residents, have at their collective disposal a fleet of 64 automobiles. Most of these cars are assigned to their staffers and factotums. Each supervisor, though, has a car paid for...

Eats Like a Bird

Of all the inapt similes in common usage, “eats like a bird” is perhaps the most backwards. (“Could care less” is just mistaken English, and “smokes like a chimney” is sometimes right on and sometimes not, depending on what one is actually trying to say.) Trying to be pointedly descriptive, many of us employ “eats...

Basic Instincts

The half-dozen or so bird feeders in our back garden attract hundreds of birds. The hundreds of birds attract several neighborhood cats, including our tabby, Sam, who has 24-hour access to delicious cat kibble. (Well, delicious to him and his sister the dog.) Still, he leaps — literally — at any chance he gets to kill one...

The Pernicious Funnel

The United States of America is presently running a larger deficit than any other time in its history. Measured in constant dollars, which adjusts for inflation, our country is deeper in debt than ever. Dozens of states, including California, the republic of the west coast, are running near-catastrophic deficits that inspire economic commentators to use...