Monogram Systems The world leader in rail, aviation & transport waste disposal. If want to crap on the move these are the guys to call. They just won the contract for the new Boeing 7E7 and the Airbus A380 so you will be crapping in their johns for a long time to come.
Jelly Belly Remember Ronald Reagan's bean? Those brillant crystals Thacher dipped into as she contemplated free money, a stamp to the face of Irish and a kick in the ass to the unions? That sweet candy, Gorby allowed to tickle his tougue as he contempated the demise of Lenin's dream. Little dimples of necker conjoured in the foothills of Napa, a team of dilligent Californians, new favors daily.
Solectron Solectron is a leading global provider of electronics manufacturing and integrated supply chain services. We serve the world's most innovative companies in industries that rely on high-tech electronics. Our 60,000 employees have a hand in designing, making and servicing products that people around the world rely on every day.
Aidells Sausages Bay Area sausage pioneer Bruce Aidell has been crafting hand-made links from locally grown products for over 20 years. Find them at your local speciality foods store such as Whole Foods. Yummy.
It’s cliché to say that California is a just plastic world where all we do is move on to the next big thing and forget, or reinvent, our history. While sadly this is partially true, we still have a lot of things that we should remember. One thing Free California thinks should get more respect is the Punk Rock scene here in the late 1970’s which rivaled and in many ways has been more influencial than it's counterparts in London and New York. And since Green Day has been getting so much attention lately now is the perfect time dust off those iPod's to pay homage to the true Cali Rock Gods without whom Green Day would be just a bunch of Berkeley burnouts.
Here is a list of some of Free California’s favorite bands from the Golden Era of California Punk:
Jody Fosters Army (We don't care what you think THEY RULE!)
The Circle Jerks
California “True Crime” is one worn out genre. From the quick dry pulp of the Peterson Case to a hardcore social of analysis of the Manson Family, there seems to be no end to our insatiable desire for proof of California’s deep neurosis. Rare is the book that can transcend the clutter and actually say something new about well-trodden footpath of California Drama. Alan Emmins’ Mop Men: California's Crime Scene Cleaners is that rare book.
Mop Men is a look inside a Bay Area crime scene clean-up crew over a 30-day period in 2003. Emmins, a Brit who now lives in Denmark, catalogs the daily trials of himself and the crew as they scrub the guts and gore left over from suicides, murders, meth-labs and all the devilish ephemera of modern urban/suburban life. During the course of the book, we bare witness as Emmins slowly comes to grips with the job and the culture that surrounds him.
What separates Mop Men, an important theme largely ignored by U.K. reviewers, is the contrast between the action (cleaning up gruesome death) and the portrayal of the contradictions inherent in living in the Golden State. Early on, we follow Alan as he drives from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Along the way makes a poignant stop in Santa Cruz, CA. Expecting the typical beach town, our mythical place, he instead finds a boarded-up melancholy boardwalk and lower-class ghetto. That night, after checking into a flea bag beach motel, he heads out for a beer but ends up getting smashed with a bunch of raucous Mexicans. After agreeing to let his new cholo friends drive him back to the motel he is gripped with the fear that these crazy Mexicans are going kill him. The fear of course is unfounded; they are after all just a bunch of jovial drinking buddies, but the paranoia is real and what seems like an innocuous event that could have been left out takes on greater meaning as things move forward.
False drama with the Mexicans sets the scene for real drama to come as Emmins heads north to the supposed tranquil confines of white-bread Walnut Creek, CA. It is here, in one of America’s most exclusive suburbs, that death reveals himself. We meet, the boss, cleaner of Death, the hard charging Alan Smither, who’s personality, and ridiculous driving style, will be familiar to California readers. At last the action (cleaning up after the dead) begins.
Slowly, we begin to understand that this book is not really True Crime after all and that the gruesome scenes of clean-up serve a larger purpose. Emmins has arrived in California at the very moment Arnold Swartzenhegger began teasing the public that he plans to run in the re-call election. The author wisely juxtaposes grizzly tales of crime scene clean-up with bits of news from the re-call, the very things Emmins is consuming. These vignettes, not unlike the "Newsreels" in John Dos Passos’ U.S.A Trilogy, serve to fix the story and accelerate the drama. The tension between real life and death and the outlandish fantasy world of California commerce and politics is disturbing to say the least. Eventually, both events begin to merge and overtake the author (and frankly the reader). Whacked out contrasts drive the plot as lights switch on, we leave the “phony” Walnut Creek and enter the “real” San Francisco next store, tweaked-out states of being flow, Mary Carey jokes from the Daily Show on TV one minute, then - boom - Emmins is chipping bone fragments from the wall of Middle Class strip home, the next.
With Mop Men, Emmins has captured an essential truth about being Californian few writers have managed to carry off, Mike Davis’ Ecology of Fear came to mind as we read the book. We know these Mop Men exists everywhere but somehow finding and exploring them in the hyper-glossy and hyper-gross world of Modern California makes the whole experience more illuminating. To paraphrase the author:
Think Million Dollar homes on faults.
Think death from above.
Over the last year, California has witnessed a new form of direct democracy. This has been a technocracy writ large. Utilizing overwhelming charisma and popularity, Arnold has rammed a wedge though the notoriously tardy California legislature, forcing bureaucrats to take action or suffer ballot initiatives by his unstoppable political machine. Quickly, other California politicians took up, what can be called, Arnold's Way - notably Gavin Newsome in San Francisco.
Based on Boxer’s survey, it seems she is trying to tap into that vibe and go national with his people-first tactics. However, lacking Arnold’s charisma or approval rating, Boxer is forced to combined the old with the new, polling Californians to gauge what they want and then, we assume, will take her poll driven "mandate" to drive the policies home. This can be called the “let-them-eat-cake” approach and just as in 1793 it will not work.
With the advent of the Internet and high speed communications real direct democracy is possible but before California, and inevitably the county, buys off on Boxer's Survey-to-Policy government we need to ask ourselves want we really want or need? Boxer may believe she is acting more like Arnold by asking the people for her policy but she is not. Arnold, through his publicity campaigns, uses technology and the media to build, or sell, a consensus for his own pre-determined policies. Some, like the Indian Gaming deal, have been extremely unpopular before he started the sales job. Boxer is doing it backwards, looking for the consensus, first, and then pursuing “the peoples” policy. This is the Democratic way of thinking on everything and it is a big problem.
Today, Republicans act like salesman (sell, sell, sell) while the Democrats act like marketers, gauge response, then act accordingly. Boxer and politicians like her do not seem to understand why the Republicans are killing them. The Republicans win because they sell their constituents on what they should believe and control the fridges of the party by dolling out carrots (anti-abortion legislation, Christian Judges or Attorney’s General) when they can. Democrats should not ask what their constituents want, we already know they want, it's a big loser called socialism. Instead, progressives need to be told what to do. That is what the Republicans do, they lead their party, and it obviously works.
Democrats need politicians to guide them along the way as we seek a more perfect union. Victories will follow as long as trade-offs can be found between the politically aggressive far left and the apathetic center, but first we need to be sold on giving up some of our wackier ideas (no guns, heavy taxation, etc.). But we will never get to that point by polling and reacting. Boxer's approach is a recipe for cake, an ultimately unfullfilling lowest common denominator government our Founding Fathers specifically sought to avoid.
As we contemplate the latest disasters in Southern California it is important to keep some perspective. Remember, catastrophe is as natural to California as pretty girls, surf boards and Cholo hustlers. This is a way of life - your way of life - to deny it by decrying the trauma some curse from God or some-kind of one-time-only cataclysm is just foolish.
So suck it up So Cal, if you want to live in a desert paradise this is what you are going to get?
For a little historical perspective here are some photos from great catastrophes from years gone by:
Well old Georgie-boy made his appeal to Canadians today and got a mixed response from an audience in Halifax. FC would have loved to see him go to British Columbia, instead. The protests would have been made Seattle look like child's play. Halifax is by far the most Americanized area of Canada.
Nice appeal George. It will not make a bit of difference Canadians flat hate you.
In the last month, two intriguing, some would say seminal, events in the history of Untied States-Latin American immigration came to pass. The first was the historic level of Latin support for the Republican Presidential candidate. In Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada many pundits believe that without a high level of Latin support President Bush would not have won a second term. The second, reiterated again in Chile this past weekend, is the Presidents steadfast commitment to the creation of a guest worker program that would allow Mexicans to work legally in the United States, while not fully emigrating.
At face value, both of these events could be perceive as benevolent. Growing support among Latinos for the Republicans is a rebuke to the Pat Buchanan-style Conservatives who view Mexicans as some kind of invading hoard destined to destroy our historic political culture. By voting Conservatively, Latino’s have proved to be much closer to their Anglo countrymen than most assumed and definitely not the radical negative force on our culture many doomsayers predicted. And, with the guest worker program, the government is finally beginning to acknowledge that the current “do-nothing” policy is broken. Upon deeper inspection; however, the real nature of Bush’s approach to immigration becomes apparent. What President Bush and his Machiavellian cohorts are trying to do is develop a strategy that allows them to have it both ways on immigration and at the same time relieve wealthy Mexican elites of any responsibility to improve the lot of the poor in their country.
To review, the proposed guest worker program allows Mexicans to register with the United States government, pay taxes and move freely between both countries. These guests, who would be drawn almost exclusively from rural Mestizo populations of North Mexico, would fulfill our need for low-cost menial labor particular in the home service and agriculture industry. Importantly, they will not be allowed to vote in the United States and, at least as of now, no program is in place to encourage them to fully assimilate into American society. In fact, the guest worker program may actually make attaining citizenship and setting down roots in the United States more difficult in the long run.
And therein lies the ruse the Republican Party is playing on the American and Mexican people. Remember, the hopeless people flooding the US border today are not the white Y Tu Mama Tambien-making, Salma Hayek's you see on TV, they are overwhelmingly disenfranchised Indo-Mexicans who have been a pawn in the political machinations of European-Mexican and American elites since very day Cortez laid waste to Tenochtitlan. This Republican proposal is yet another move in a sad legacy of actions whose purpose is to keep a seething revolution from boiling over and overthrowing the land holding, European-Mexican elites who control Mexico. In this great game, Bush has played the perfect strategic move; one clearly rooted in a deep understanding of what ails wealthy Mexican society. But he takes it to whole other level. By executing the guest worker program, Bush can pander to American Latinos and, at the same time, slow the growth of United States citizenship (and voting rights) among poorer, under-educated Mexicans immigrants, a group who undoubtedly would vote with the Democrats and ultimately want out of Mexico all together.
So what will happen when this program is passed? In America, overtime, the pattern would become clear, with the disenfranchised poor Mexican-Americans never allowed to voting rights in the U.S., American Latino political power would slowly swing to socially conservative, stable, assimilated Latinos. The poor, a migratory majority of Americano-Mexicans, would be stuck in a non-citizen, trans-national limbo of guest worker pass cards and constant north-south fluxations. All the while, Mexican elites are relieved of any responsibility to improve the lot of their rural poor because now instead of building trade unions and mass political action the poor must constantly be on the move in order to survive. Working furiously while on the American side and freely spending during their brief sojourns “home.” Anyway, you look at it this it is a win-win for rich landholders on both sides of the border.
So, despite the fawning press, this program is not charitable at all; it is a power play by the rich in D.C. and Mexico City to pander to the masses and at the very same time screw them over, shame on us for not protecting and encouraging such a basic American right, the right to have a say in how you are governed.
There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else. – Sam Walton
Yesterday, two American icons, Kmart and Sears, merged to form the #3 retailer in the country. These two American giants have suffered outdated bureaucracy, ruthless competition and inefficiency for a long time, they'e time is past. And so it ends, 100 years of retailing excellence gone with the flick of a modem.
FC knows it is naïve sentiment but, Christ, this is Sears. Founded in 1893, Sears was a crucial force in unifying America as the county migrated westward, setting styles for a generation of Americans. Whether you needed a wedding dresses, a new gun or tires, Sears was the ultimate reflection of a middle class desires, reflecting an ethic and a culture that seems to slowly be fading into the past. The combination of ultra low-cost retailing, cheap Asian manufacturing and an increasing rich/poor divide has made quaint ideas like saving up for “something nice at Sears” an anachronism. Why save for anything, right? Buy now! It’s cheap and you’re doing it all on credit, anyway.
This may be the last nail in the coffin of any soul in retailing. After all, in the past people made the same doomsday predictions about Sears and Malls killing main street they make about Wal-Mart, this deal takes it to the next level, now everyone who survives must be Wal-Mart. Clearly, the pattern that will not change. This deal, directed at the auspices of Sears/Kmarts new CEO, Andrew Lampert, a Connecticut Hedge Fund Manager, will now sell America “labels” exclusively manufactured in the 3rd world by people who neither desire nor can afford the products he sells. Any old ideas like craftsmanship, personal relationships, community respect - old-style retailing – will be removed from the process - the haberdasher, the product expert, you’re advocate, replaced the computer. Lambert will optimized and cut, going beyond the nihilists in Arkansas to win, and all consumers will end up with is an ends justifies the means experience with no local culture or ideas. Then, of course, when they are done with reorganization the new entity will be re-branded back to you by trying to capture both stores lost glories – “we’ve served America for 100 years”, “we’re your neighbors and friends” and, most of all, “we are super-duper nice.” All lies to make you think you still matter in the process, you do not, and you are number and keystroke. Customers can only sit by and watch as they’re lives are optimized and the craftsmen and makers disappear from America life.
So here’s to America’s makers and doers, here’s to real things, Made in America, may we enjoy them while they are still here, it won’t be long now when they’ll all be gone.
You do not have to agree with everything your allies want. Far from it but allies are like wives or best friends, someone who at the end of the day you agree with enough to make the long hours stuck in the fox hole pass by.
These guys, the Guns & Dope Party, FC could survive with...so long as they brought the green stinky-stcki'-icky, Ostridge cheeba.
The Moist Site Blog by perpetual law student with occasional tight diddies on Cali comings and goings.
The Urban Dictionary Want to know the difference between "Hella" and "Bizzy"? Ever had trouble interpreting your 14-year-old nephew at that family reunion. Open and, as KRS-1 says, "your must learn..."
SFist Somehow their URL conjures thoughts of “Friscos” seminal place in history of fisting culture, but no, instead this hipster super-blog chronicles SF news and happenings and is a comer for the in-d-know.
Wulad Interesting, well written SF blog. From what I can gather, this dude is like a wigger-as-blogger with a foxy asian girlfriend, C-baby.
Flashenabled FC is no fan of tech for tech's sake. With good reason, laptop jockeys nearly killed the beloved homeland. However, Phil and the FE crew are hacking their way to a better future. Respect. Thankfully, they are also Ecotopians.
Turning The Tide Love'em, Hate'em, fear'em, it matters not. The man knows truth and by ignoring him we ignore reality. This is Noam Chomsky's blog.
Betty Bowers Great site. This is like The Onion on meth. Truly original. It's sites like this that make the web unique. Bravo Betty, I have no idea what or who you are but do I love you.
IraqTheModel Ever wanted to hear some perspective from real Iraqis who are not tainted with outragous fundementalist mumbo-jumbo or flat-out hate for the USA? Real people watching a real country forming around themselves. This is a good place to start.
Latin Political Massive portal of english language news and analysis from Latin America. If you have any desire to see what's up with our brothers and sisters to the south this is it.
NO LOGO Site directed by the other women in my life: Naomi Klein, who if I was not married would be my wife. My 2nd baby-girl is trying to fight globalization. Man, is she ever sexy.