Los Angeles Fearmongering Sheriff Lee Baca Stirs Prop 19 Cauldron

With Halloween just around the corner, eldritch tales of bone chilling terror abound. Oh noes! Razors in apples, Liquid-Plumr-laced chocolate, and the worst of all: DRUGS!

Within these stories lies a warning, an ancient morality fable: Nothing is free, and with greed comes a risk. There have only been two cases nationwide from 1958 to 1988 of children dying from eating tainted trick or treats, including one kid who was murdered by his own father with a strychnine-flavored Pixie Stix. Yet the stories continue because they prey upon our fears: Our spawn will be destroyed by (choose one or more):

  • Greed
  • Freedom
  • Outsiders/The Other ( i.e.: pagans, hippies, Commies, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, amoralists, immoralists, Republicans, Democrats, foreigners, who live down the block)
  • Well, just in time to scare people about Prop 19, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office issued a warning about medibles, medical marijuana in candy form. The Los Angeles Times reports:

    Investigators have confiscated candies and snacks containing pot from marijuana dispensaries, and they are concerned such items could wind up in children’s trick-or-treat bags, they said Friday in a statement.

    Local Los Angeles TV station KTLA–owned by the LA Times parent company Tribune–showed medibles which were clearly decorated with pot leaves and had names like “Kush Candy.”

    WTF!? At $10 to $20 a medible snack, who the heck is gonna be giving out those candies?

    Officials say pot treats, such as candy bars and lollipops are sold in marijuana dispensaries and could be circulating around. “These lollipops, candy bars, they look pretty legitimate. The problem is if it gets in the wrong hands and a kid licks a lollipop, they get ill or intoxicated,” said Cpt. Ralph Ornelas of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Some treats look like regular cookies or candy, but they don’t smell normal. Another clue, many of the products are not clearly labeled (my note: they aren’t very commercial looking compared to say Tootsie Pops or Snickers bars).

    Both stories did add that the Sheriff’s Department

    says it has never received a report of candy or snacks containing pot being distributed to Halloween trick-or-treaters.

    This is fear mongering at its finest. Oh how I wish Lee Baca was up for re-election. I would be leading the move to get him out of office!

    The warning comes days before Californians vote on Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure. Sheriff Lee Baca opposes the proposition and has said he will continue to arrest marijuana growers even if it is approved.

    Props to KTLA’s reporter who asked if opposition to Prop 19 had anything to do with the news alert. The on-camera deputy said the sheriff’s department was just concerned about public safety. Note that in this photo, courtesy of the LASD, along wth pot leaf logos, you can clearly see the word


    on the candy. I’d file this under pot-hating propaganda.

    Self-defeating propaganda photo courtesy of LASD

    Okay, Snow White’s stepmom handed her a poisoned apple, giving second marriages and witches a bad name, and there was one time on record that pot was passed out to trick or treaters. But that was an accident. Snopes.com reports:

    An odd act of randomness occurred in the town of Hercules, California (near San Francisco) in 2000. Some trick-or-treaters came home with little packets of marijuana done up to look like miniature Snickers bars…Police investigated and were satisfied the homeowner had no knowledge of the special contents of certain bars that were handed out that night.

    The marijuana packets dressed up to look like Snickers bars had landed in the Hercules dead letter office because whoever had tried to mail a package containing them either didn’t use enough postage or had listed an incorrect address…A postal employee (the mystified homeowner) brought the “candy” home to give out on Halloween, thinking the Snickers bars were, well, Snickers bars.

    Had pot been legal, this would never had happened. Maybe some news stories about the high rate of childhood diabetes and obesity would be more on the mark, or a feel good story about alternatives to candy, like pencils, disposable tattoos or maybe even used kids books bought in bulk from thrift shops?

    Side note: Since 1983 I have been doing an annual experiment. On the day before Halloween, I go to the market, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. The set up varies, but the goal is the same, to see how awake people are. I always make sure to dress as square as possible and cover my tattoos. Glasses add an air of respectability and further the “normal” vibe. Thus costumed as a typical suburban mom and carrying a couple sacks of candy or a bag of apples, I’ll ask a clerk and/or a fellow shopper if they know what aisle the Drano is on. Then I’ll ask where the sewing needles can be found. If I’m with a friend, while standing near some people, I’ll matter of factly ask:

    I’ve got the candy, could you snag the Raid and some razor blades?

    Or I’ll buy a a couple of the above items along with bags of fun-sized chocolate bars–I mean you can always use single edge blades to cut out decoupage designs, and gods know buttons come loose and hems fall out…

    Granted, I’m not expecting the store manager to give me the third degree or be swarmed in the parking lot by the LAPD, but maybe a raised eyebrow, a gasp…Today I was at the airport purposefully holding my arriving guest’s name card inverted, and four people stopped to tell me it was upside down. You’d think–

    I may be a bit of a prankster, but what Lee Baca and the LAPD sheriff’s office did with that warning–which only served the sheriff’s own antediluvian agenda–was ridiculous and only furthers a myth which has been repeatedly debunked.

    Late Night: RED, Retired Extremely Dangerous

    I love conspiracy action movies, especially with lots of explosions, gun fights, car crashes and a degree of relevance. They Live–so awesome! Conspiracy Theory–effing brilliant, especially the Catcher in the Rye reference. RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous), based on a DC Comics graphic novel, reminds us that just because you are retired doesn’t mean you are are redundant.

    The AARP-ready ultra-top secret crew of assassins who are targeted for elimination include Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovitch and Helen Mirren. It’s part goofy love story and part “Whoa, maybe the CIA does do stuff like this”– things like staging suicides, for example.  Then there’s RED‘s plot point about Guatemala which though cinematically very different from the “ project in Guatemala that deliberately infected prisoners and insane asylum inmates with various venereal diseases, ostensibly in order to study how the diseases were transmitted and if they human contagion could be blocked,” still calls to mind covert actions our country has done in the past.

    So what movies did you see this week? And what conspiracies fascinate you? Do you think that a paranoid is a person in possession of all of the facts, or someone who knows a little about what is going on? (Both of those statements have been attributed to Williams S Burroughs).

    Obama Anti-Bullying Video

    Thank you, Obama. While you haven’t been the president we thought you would be, thank you for your compassion in speaking out on the rash of LGBT teen suicides. I hope other former presidents–George W Bush for instance–do the same, as do other eected officials from both sides of the aisles.

    You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them, don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.

    The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.

    It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

    As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.

    In 8th grade, we read Lord of the Flies. Very cheery book for an all girls school. Since then I have spent a lot of brain and life looking at how people behave towards each other. What we call “bullying” has a long history–it is part of our animal nature, driving out what is perceived as weak or different in order to make the herd feel secure. Witch burnings, the Inquisition, anti-Semitism, persecution of Protestants during the Reformation, genocide are bullying in the extreme and all stem from fear. You can this in any society and culture past and present be it indigenous jungle dwellers or MTV watching kids. There is a drive and belief that the Other must be blamed, must be destroyed.

    Often that fear is fueled from a place of self-righteousness based in twisted socio-religious justifications which gives the bully, the persecutor the sense of moral superiority.  Since most of America identifies as Christian, it becomes necessary to bring up this:

    Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Matthew 7:12; cf. Luke 6:31).

    Yeah, basically

    do unto others as you would have them do unto you

    Parents of bullies, school administrators and other officials should think for a moment how they would feel if their child or family member were treated thusly, potentially to the point of killing themselves, and act accordingly. And kids who are being bullied need to having coping resources that empower them and get them through that vile place.

    Modeling is important, which is why I was a bit shocked by the “turd burglar” comment in HCAN’s otherwise spot on video with Jack Black. Like wtf, a progressive group perpetuating anti-gay epithets?

    I pray daily that the actions of school bullies toward LGBT, the disabled and and all those who are perceived as different will stop; that old women will not be stoned and burned in their villages; that love will replace hatred.

    Los Angeles City Council Targets Municipal Gallery for Privatization

    Barnsdall Art Park is vital part of Los Angeles — and municipal art gallery and park that the LA City Council now wants to privatize, citing budget issues. To do so would limit citizens’ access to enjoy and create art and go against the goals of the land’s donor. Sadly, the privatization seems to be steamrolling ahead with minimal community outrage input as a way to keep Barnsdall open.

    Barnsdall Art Park, atop a hill in the center of East Hollywood,  was the gift of Aline Barnsdall to the people of the city of Los Angeles to be used for arts exhibits and arts education. Aline Barnsdall, who had moved West to develop a theatre company, commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design her home  on land at the intersection of Vermont Ave. and Hollywood Blvd. The resulting building, Hollyhock House, still stands and is part of the facilities at Barnsdall Art Part which also includes the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

    The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Founded in 1952, its mission is to promote, interpret, and present to the art of emerging, mid career, and established artists from culturally diverse Southern California. The Gallery showcases art from other parts of the world that is of relevance to the people of the City of Los Angeles.

    Programs at Barnsdall include the Junior Arts Center which offers affordable arts education programs to young people both on site at Barnsdall Art Park and in extensive outreach, and eight-week classes that include everything from figure drawing, photography and weaving to ukulele playing and drumming. There’s also the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, available a low-priced rental house for live theatre, dance, music, spoken word, lecture, film and special event presentations. Barnsdall is also a go-to site for weddings and there’s a weekly farmers market held in the parking lot. Oh did I mention admission is free? And so is parking!

    Barnsdall was recently the site of the second annual Beyond Eden Art Fair which showcased contemporary Low Brow/Pop Surrealist artists,  a West Coast movement that is gaining worldwide recognition thanks in a great part to Robert Willams whose paintings, mentoring of art geeks and his creation of  Juxtapoz Magazine have inspired artists and collectors alike to delve into the brash figurative style with its emphasis on pop iconography and exquisite technique.

    The city Los Angeles faces serious budgetary problems. Heck, my street has needed repaving for over a decade and we’re always overlooked for pot hole filling.  That minute detail I can live with — it helps cut down on speeding shortcut takers, since nothing like hearing some maroon’s testosterone-mobile bottom out to really brighten my day — but the city council is mulling the idea of privatizing of Barnsdall, which is short sighted and stupid. The main contender: MOCA, Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art.

    The mandate of a municipal gallery is to provide art for the people and by the people. In a letter on behalf of the board of Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery letter asking for community support, Maria Luisa de Herrera, board president wrote of Barnsdall:

    It occupies a unique niche in the city’s cultural landscape, being neither a museum, nor a commercial gallery, allowing it broad curatorial latitude not enjoyed by other institutions…We should be questioning the wisdom of, or the lack there of, any idea ceding total governance of such an important asset to any institution or individual who’s agenda is not in keeping with the public character of the LAMAG. Such a move has the effect of a greater stratification of the visual arts in a city where the disparity between so called “new school” or “high art” and more populist artistic genres is growing ever wider. Other cities are expanding their municipal exhibition spaces and establishing new ones. Many of these cities are facing the same budget challenges as are we, and see public safety as their number one priority. However they have never lost sight of the fact the that part of their responsibility in providing public safety includes promoting the general well being of its citizenry.

    Mat Gleason, the editor of Coagula Art Journal, himself a maverick and strong supporter of the Los Angeles art scene had this to say to me:

    Let’s get angry and maybe put energy into making these spaces a little more vital – the problem is not the administration of these spaces, it is the art public that is spoiled and passive, what are they going to do when all the spaces are privatized and operate as a monolithic statement of fashion?…As far as privatization, it would make for stunningly boring and insignificant art spaces catering to nobody outside of small cliques of whoever might be close to the players connected to taking over the space. It is the difference between the current slow suffocation and a quick one.

    Gleason offers a radical solution:

    make all of these art community centers lottery exhibition spaces for artists. the city budget can basically be for maintenance and insurance. Have lotteries for artists to get month long exhibits. Have an on-site administrator act as a den-mother/bad cop to hold of extremes that threaten the physical property but otherwise, let artists nobody knows have a chance at magically being awarded their fantasy of having the space for a month to show their art.

    The shows would be interesting and would engage a much wider democratic dialogue than all of the insiders could ever deliver what with all the friends and relationships that the art world naturally foists on all of its players. And that is what the city stands for any way, right, we the people?

    This would save boatloads of money and excite the “what the hell might happen next” in all of us.

    I’d add to this by throwing in two curatorial lotteries for group shows. And let Barnsdalls, like any gallery get a percentage of the sales of art exhibited.

    Cannabis Soda Pops Up as MMJ Delivery System

    Smoking pot is the quickest way to get high and really the best way to regulate your dosage of medical marijuana (MMJ). But you’re smoking and that sucks, especially if  you are trying to keep your immune system happy. Vaporizing is an option though you have to haul the device around with you and well, you’re still kind of assaulting your lungs.

    God bless you, Alice B. Toklas for your legendary brownies and to all the other innovators of cannabis cookery. Check in on Sunday when I share a couple recipes for medical marijuana foods. Granted, it can be a little challenging to know exactly a proper dose of mota munchie; and a stomach high is different from the head high. Edibles are a good way to use leaves and “larfy” buds that might not be up to dispensary standards in the 14 states which allow medical marijuana.

    When I was at HempCon I came across Pineapple Express from Kushtown Sodas and now a Colorado company has just launched Dixie Elixirs, a cannabis laced soda pop in eight flavors including rootbeer, pink lemonade and grape. Dixie is only available in Colorado, where it’s made from sativa marijuana. The company claims

    Dixie Elixirs refreshing carbonated beverage provides an organic alternative for patients seeking a refreshing but equally potent alternative to smoke and tinctures, or carb and calorie loaded edibles…

  • Carbonation delivers relief faster
  • Easy to enjoy with discretion
  • Consistently delicious, reliably potent
  • Relieves a wide range of symptoms
  • Use alone or to increase and enhance other MMJ medication
  • Discreet? With that big pot leaf on the recyclable bottle?

    Most likely the cannabinoids are extracted with glycerin, a method I have used to make other herbal extracts for people who avoid alcohol. The reviews of Kushtown haven’t been great: At $12 a bottle, consumers claim doesn’t produce much of a buzz. No one mentioned if the soda alleviated their symptoms, though if their symptom was “not being buzzed”  then the soda was def fail!  We’ll see what Colorado connoisseurs have to say about Dixie Elixirs.

    Soda as medicine is nothing new: Coca-Cola once famously contained coca leaf extract,producing a cocaine-like lift for consumers.  7-Up, with a nice dose of lithium citrate–an old school treatment for bipolar mood disorder back when it was called manic depression–was originally marketed as Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.

    Happy Oct 22! LA Gets POTUS and Protests

    It’s 10/22. Do you know where your POTUS is? Today in Los Angeles the 110, 101, 2, 5, and 134 freeways  will be affected impacted by Obama appearing at USC and then taking a cruise to Glendale to tape an interview with radio personality Piolin on a Spanish-language station. Question of the day–will the President try  Glendale’s local delicacy Zankou Chicken, made famous by its Faulkern-esque family murder-suicides and redolent garlic sauce?  The rain and mist might make it non-viable for Obama to take a helicopter like Cardinal Roger Mahony used back when he had a bishop-prick to attend to, so expect freeway and street closures.

    There’s also a big rally downtown outside at Pershing Square with the October 22 Coalition marching as part of a National Day of Protest

    to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

    which will have observers from the National Lawyers Guild present. In Los Angeles during a September marches expressing outrage at the shooting of Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines (Jamines Xum) by the LAPD, four protesters were arrested–two of whom were turned over ICE–and three officers injured by rocks and bottles thrown by demonstrators.

    Considering marijuana prohibition’s affect on

    the criminalization of a generation,

    and POTUS’ stance on pot, expect some pro-Prop 19 groups  at both events.

    Celebs Bang a Gong for Prop 19

    Thursday Prop 19 got endorsements from Danny Glover, Melissa Etheridge and Hal Sparks joined by LAPD Deputy Chief Steve Downing, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and activist Sarah Lovering at a news conference to show support for Prop 19 which would legalize marijuana possession for those over 21.

    Currently marijuana use for 18 and older is decriminalized, and medical marijuana use is legal statewide.

    If Prop 19 passes, the Feds have said they will crack down on pot in CA, making for an interesting series of legal challenges and states’ rights arguments.

    Melissa Etheridge said that she had used pot to help nausea during her breast cancer chemo and says she favors legalization and while she uses marijuana medicinally she said

    I don’t want to look like a criminal to my children anymore. I want them to know this is a choice that you make as a responsible adult.

    Wearing Purple to Show Love and Support

    Today, through Tumblr and Facebook, over 3.5million people are wearing purple. Please join them in showing your love and support for teens who are bullied and harrassed, and to mourn the suicide of LGBT teens who were the victims of bullies.

    Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools. RIP Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas. You are loved.

    Our youth is a vital resource, and we should be fostering love, support and tolerance. Please avoid the use of the word “gay” as an insult as in “That’s so gay.”

    And while today is to visibly support spirit and peace, every day we need to make the effort and set an example.

    Late Night: Vacation Getaway–Koch Industries Top Secret Party in Palm Desert!

    Oh, we’ll all need an early spring vacation by January and what could be more  fun than a nice desert escape and some infiltration of an invitation-only, confidential meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs, CA. Sponsored by Koch Industries’ founders Charles and David Koch, the until now top-sekrit gathering of conservatives entitled Understanding and Addressing Threats to American Free Enterprise and Prosperity is designed to

    develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity.

    Indirectly acknowledging that times must be tough even for the wealthy, and to encourage new participants, Charles Koch offers to waive the $1,500 registration fee. But in the letter obtained by the New York Times he urges secrecy and caution, lest any liburuls attempt a flippant James O’Keefe type stunt:

    The letter advises participants that it is closed to the public, including the news media, and admonishes them not to post updates or information about the meeting on the Web, blogs, social media or traditional media, and to “be mindful of the security and confidentiality of your meeting notes and materials.”

    Oh hai, Chuck Koch All your bases are belong to us: Web, blogs, social media and traditional media are now aware!

    Invited participants are told they must wear nametags for all meeting functions. And, ensuring that no one tries to gain access by posing as a participant, the invitation says that reservations will be handled through Koch Industries’ office in Washington: “Please do not contact the Rancho Las Palmas directly to place a reservation.”

    And maybe not flirt with attractive, seductive types at the bar? Bouwahaha!

    Rancho Las Palmas has 450 rooms total, 22 of which are suites. They average $170 to $880 per night.

    Koch Industries operates a foundation that finances political advocacy groups. While tax law protects those groups from having to disclose much about what they do and who contributes, NYTimes reveals that past participants

    included some of the nation’s wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot.

    The group also included longtime Republican donors and officials, including Foster Friess, Fred Malek and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

    According to the Times, the  session’s agenda will

    “review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it.”

    Those efforts, the letter makes clear, include countering “climate change alarmism and the move to socialized health care,” as well as “the regulatory assault on energy,” and making donations to higher education and philanthropic organizations to advance the Koch agenda.

    Expect us. We are legion.

    POTUS and Pot Urge Voters to Polls

    We have mid-term elections coming up Tuesday November 2, and they are pretty important, so important that POTUS Obama is appearing on the Daily Show on Wednesday October 27 to remind people to go to the polls and  vote in case they didn’t do their mail-in ballots. Please vote. It’s really sexy to know someone cares about their city, county, state and country enough to make that effort. Use your voice, mark your ballot!

    Obama appeared on the Daily Show during the presidential campaign and he is pretty amusing. Daily Show host John Stewart will be Washington DC prepping for the Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30 which he’s co-hosting with fellow Comedy Central pundit Stephen Colbert at the Washington Mall. Sounds super fun!

    This year’s mid-terms are important–well, golly every election is important, but anyway–because the balance in Congress could tip, with the Democratic party standing to loose seats. Which could suck if you’re a liberal/progressive. And might suck if you’re Fox News, because then what would you have to complain about?

    Along with Congressional races there are four states which have marijuana on the ballot: California for Prop 19 legalization; Oregon with Measure 74 to regulate the sale and distribution of medical marijuana;  and medical marijuana initiatives in Arizona (Prop 203) and South Dakota (initiated measure 13).  Pot is a big draw in the Oregon elections, and could be a defining moment in these four states’–and our nation’s–history.

    Even if you don’t live in those states, please vote. Michele Bachmann is bonkers, and as amusing as it to watch her meltdowns, like would you want her in Congress?  Christine O’Donnell gives witches a bad name, and doesn’t do much for any other group with whom she is affiliated. Heck, even Karl Rove doesn’t like her.

    And governorships! Those are super important! Vote! And maybe set your betamax  to catch the Prez next Wednesday night.

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