If we gotta go, let’s par-tay!!!
Located on the corner of Figueroa and 101st Street in South Central Los Angeles, Tam’s Burgers has been a part of the neighborhood for almost thirty years. Nick Benetatos took over the restaurant in the late ’80s after his father retired. Tam’s has withstood multiple recessions and even the 1992 LA riots.
“When the markets were burned down, liquor stores were burned down, everything was burned down, people had nowhere to go, they came to us. We were handing out loaves of bread for free.” says Benetatos. “We have much love for the community. And the community obviously has much love for us.”
But Tam’s is now facing its most daunting challenge yet: being deemed a “public nuisance” by the city of LA. The Los Angeles Police Department believes that Tam’s is a magnet for drug dealers, prostitutes and violent criminals.
“It has a nexus and a connection to a disproportionate amount of criminal activity,” says Detective Eric Moore, head of LAPD’s Nuisance Abatement unit.
But Benetatos says that he is simply making the best of a tough situation. He’s even tried to work with LAPD before, honoring their requests that he remove payphones on the property and remove tables for outdoor seating, which he says resulted in a 15 percent decline in revenues. The city’s zoning board has since ordered him to comply with 22 separate conditions, such as hiring a full-time security guard, fencing in the entire property and installing a security camera that links directly to LAPD’s electronic surveillance system. Benetatos says that the cost of compliance would put him out of business.
If Tam’s attracts a bad element it is only because the bad element needs to eat just like everyone else. This in not a business that by its nature brings criminal activity to the neighborhood, it a business located in a neighborhood with lots of criminal activity. It’s a pretty safe bet that no one goes to South Central LA for the food.
This is one of those stories that makes you wonder what is missing from the facts we have been given. I’m guessing that either the LAPD thinks the owner of Tam’s is directly involved in criminal activity or someone in LA city government has plans for that piece of property that don’t involve a drive-in restaurant.
When Tim Scott was named to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, I said:
3. If forced to acknowledge his race, the media will refer to him as a “token black”.
Today’s New York Times:
But this “first black” rhetoric tends to interpret African-American political successes — including that of President Obama — as part of a morality play that dramatizes “how far we have come.” It obscures the fact that modern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress.
The trope of the black conservative has retained a man-bites-dog newsworthiness that is long past its shelf life. Clichés about fallen barriers are increasingly meaningless; symbols don’t make for coherent policies. Republicans will not gain significant black support unless they take policy positions that advance black interests. No number of Tim Scotts — or other cynical tokens — will change that.
At least they didn’t call him an “Uncle Tim”.
“Tomorrow the House will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every American — 99.81% of the American people. Then the President will have a decision to make. He can call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history.”
Your move, Mr. President.
Next time you’re up North visiting America’s chilly hat — that’s Canada — don’t let small children out of your sight. That’s the takeaway lesson from a video that spread quickly Tuesday afternoon.
The 60-second clip shows a golden eagle swooping out of the sky and grabbing a small boy from a Montreal park, and trying to fly away with his prize.
Luckily for the boy — and for his dad, who was so busy filming birds of prey that he forgot to keep an eye on him — the eagle wasn’t prepared to carry away a 20-pound child. The animal dropped him from a height of three or four feet before zooming off to find a smaller snack.
Calls for banning eagles in 3 . . 2 . . 1 . . .
The Mayan Apocalypse is rapidly approaching. Maybe. Assuming the Mayans were correct, here’s my question:
What time will the world end?
Will it end at the beginning of December 21st, or at the end? Will it end on local time (for the Mayans) or on UTC/GMT?
I would really hate to miss the end of the world because I was asleep or busy taking a dump. I would like to work up a pleasant buzz, make a few phone calls to say goodbye to my loved ones and fuck you to my enemies, then go somewhere where I would have a nice view of what happens.
I ain’t expecting to ascend to Heaven but I’m guessing I will be thinking some deep thoughts on religion in those final moments.
The truth is I’ll probably be right here on Doomsday, making fun of the suckers while secretly hoping they’re wrong and I’m right. But one thing is for sure, no matter what happens this weekend I’ve already accomplished my goal of spending all my money and maxing out my credit before I die.
This is an open thread.
Here’s why there won’t be any new gun control laws anytime soon:
Around 60 to 75 protesters appeared in front of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Washington D.C. on Monday afternoon. Chanting “shame on the NRA,” the the small group, led by the organization CREDO, met several blocks away from the NRA’s Capitol Hill office and marched up to the doors of the NRA building.
The protest, a reaction triggered by the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, started at noon and lasted until 1:30 PM.
A gun show in Montgomery County drew a huge crowd on Sunday, despite calls for stricter gun control after a shooting rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
If gun control advocates were hoping the scale of death at Sandy Hook Elementary School would dampen enthusiasm for the purchase of guns, the line of people waiting to get in to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center was evidence to the contrary.
“It’s more crowded than it has been in the past.”
The crowd was diverse, there were even families with children, but none of the shoppers admitted to even a moment’s pause about guns after Friday’s mass murder in Connecticut. Terrible, they agreed, but unrelated to the shooter’s access to guns.
That looks like a lot more than 60-75 people in line. We live in a democracy where the majority rules.
We’ve been through this all before. The supporters of gun rights won.
The Old White Men’s Club in Washington will be getting a colorful new member but not everyone is happy about it:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People isn’t too excited about the appointment of Rep. Tim Scott to South Carolina’s soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced her appointment of the black Republican during a noon press conference in Columbia, South Carolina. Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving to take the top position at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
That appointment will make Scott the only black U.S. senator, at least until 2014, when he runs for re-election. The last black senator was Illinois Democrat Roland Burris, who left office in November of 2010.
Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy at the NAACP, told The Daily Caller Monday afternoon that the group welcomed diversity in the Senate, but expects the new senator to work against the NAACP’s agenda.
“It is important that we have more integration in the U.S. Senate,” said Shelton in a phone interview. “It’s good to see that diversity.”
“Mr. Scott certainly comes from a modest background, experience, and so forth, and should be sensitive to those issues,” he said, referring to Scott’s impoverished single-parent upbringing in Charleston, SC.
“Unfortunately, his voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives raises major concerns,” Shelton said.
Not only is Scott a Republican, he first arrived in Congress in 2010. That’s right – he’s a member of the Tea Party!
Here’s what to expect from Tim Scott’s appointment:
1. The media will ignore him as much as possible.
2. If the media mentions him, they will try to hide the fact that he is African American.
3. If forced to acknowledge his race, the media will refer to him as a “token black”.
4. Nobody will ever be accused of racism for criticizing Scott or questioning his qualifications.
5. The NAACP will support the Democratic nominee in South Carolina in 2014, regardless of race.
BTW – Scott will occupy the seat formerly held by
Strom Thurmond Fritz Hollings.
Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye has died at age 88, his office confirmed Monday night.
His last words, according to a statement released by his staff, were “Aloha”.
Inouye has been hospitalized since early December due to respiratory problems. His cause of death was “respiratory complications”.
Senator Inouye was a Medal of Honor recipient:
Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Inouye was a member of the Fightin’ 442nd:
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army was a regimental size fighting unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese descent who volunteered to fight in World War II even though their families were subject to internment. The 442nd, beginning in 1944, fought primarily in Europe during World War II. The 442nd was a self-sufficient force, and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany. The 442nd is considered to be the most decorated infantry regiment in the history of the United States Army. The 442nd was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations and twenty-one of its members were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team motto was, “Go for Broke”.
Senator Daniel Inouye was a real American hero. He lost an arm in World War II, went to law school on the G.I. Bill, was elected the first congressional representative from Hawaii when it gained statehood, and served nearly 50 years in the U.S. Senate. Since the death of Robert Byrd he was the senior member of the Senate and served as President pro tempore making him third in line of presidential succession.
May he rest in peace.
Everybody’s favorite Kool-aid addict:
Do you feel any differently about the politics of guns than you did 48 hours ago?
He asked it on Saturday so it’s more like 96 hours now, but otherwise it’s a fair question.
Here’s my fair answer: No
There would be something wrong with us if we weren’t heartsick over the deaths of those innocent children. I have the deepest sympathies for their grieving families and I am outraged that such a horrific tragedy took place.
But I was also heartsick and outraged eleven years ago when some terrorists hijacked four planes and destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people. But I didn’t let those emotions cloud my judgment.
I didn’t suddenly agree to torture and indefinite detention. I didn’t want to trade my civil rights for a false feeling of security. I didn’t want to strike out at a nation that was not involved in that horrible crime.
We can act emotionally or we can act rationally.
(Courtesy of Legal Insurrection)
Just a reminder that the holidays aren’t always the best time of year for some people. We have servicemen far from home, college students living in dorms, elderly widows and widowers and lots of other people who will be spending Christmas by themselves.
Reach out and touch someone. Send a serviceman a care package. Invite a neighbor or co-worker over for Christmas dinner. Bring the lonely some holiday cheer.
This is an open thread.
The Anarchist Soccer Mom writes about her 13 year old son:
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.
When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”
I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population. (http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/09/05/us-number-mentally-ill-prisons-quadrupled)
With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail, and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140167676/nations-jails-struggle-with-mentally-ill-prisoners)
No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
My guess is this woman’s problems are gonna get worse until they get better. The system holds parents legally and financially responsible for their children’s behavior. She knows her son needs help, she wants to get him help, but they want to treat him like a discipline problem and punish him. Meanwhile she has a job and two younger kids to care for. (She can forget about a social life.)
If he gets treatment they will expect her to pay for it. If he gets in trouble and ends up in custody or foster care, they will bill her for his food and lodging.
Then when he turns eighteen they will change the rules. They will quit holding her responsible and will start treating him alternately like an adult and, a criminal and an incompetent ward of the state. She won’t have any rights but the government will pressure her to participate in his care.
This is not a case of someone “falling through the cracks”. This is how our fucked-up system works. We aren’t just failing him, we’re failing her too. Sadly, this situation is far too common. Unless we are one of the unlucky family members we usually only get a peek into this Kafkaesque nightmare when some mentally ill person does something horrific.
If you think the government should “do something” to prevent tragedies like the one on Friday, here’s a good place to start. But it won’t be simple, easy or cheap.
BTW – I know more about the system than I want to know. Mentally ill juveniles and adults get represented by public defenders.
Remember Herb Alpert? Remember that sexy, whipped-cream covered babe on the album cover? Her name is Delores Erickson and she is now 76 years old.
Meanwhile the Rolling Stones are playing a concert in Newark tonight. (Mick and Keith are only in their 60′s.)
Tthis is an open thread.
If you have been following the discussions of yesterday’s shooting tragedy on the blogosphere and Twitter then you know that there is a vocal contingent on the left that believes that anyone who does not support gun confiscation is a paranoid NRA firearms fetishist who gets off on seeing children die.
To be fair, it wasn’t very long ago that a vocal contingent on the right was arguing that anyone who didn’t support torture/the Patriot Act/invasion of Iraq was an America-hating, socialist, terrorist supporter. The simplistic arguments may fit nicely in a Tweet or on a bumper sticker but real life is more complicated.
With the exception of a few sick individuals nobody wants to see children die. Nobody except criminals and crazy people wants to see criminals and crazy people with guns. In a perfect world guns would not exist. But that perfect world would not have rapists, robbers, murderers or dictators either.
Guns exist. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The technology to make guns and ammunition is low-tech and has been around a long time. The Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol is over 100 years old. The AK-47 was designed to manufactured in backward, communist countries. Any decent machine shop could produce working firearms.
Even if we could successfully ban the manufacture, importation and sale of new guns there are at least 100 million guns in the country already. Maybe twice that number. Nobody knows for sure how many guns are out there or who has them.
I talked in my previous post about the problem with crazy people. One of the biggest problems with crazy people is trying to spot them. How do we identify, diagnose, and treat crazy people before they do something crazy? Think about all the civil liberty and due process implications involved.
There is an instinctive reaction to tragedies like the one yesterday – a desire to “do something” to prevent it from happening again. That is a natural and understandable response. But some problems don’t have solutions. And pretty much any solution will cause new problems.
What is really ironic is that the left fears a fascist police state and yet they want to increase the police powers of the state. When in doubt, err on the side of freedom.
A visitor posted this comment last night:
Nowadays, the mentally ill live with family or independently, and drugs are supposed to keep them safe and well. Would it be better if the mentally ill are instead kept in mental institutions? There is a lot of potential for abuse in institutionalizing the mentally ill; as was depicted in victorian novels, so that would be a big concern. I am wonder if some mentally ill people would actually benefit from being in a mental institution, rather than staying with their parents or independently. Or would it be a case of punishing all mentally ill people for the crimes of a few? Your thoughts?
I think it deserves a detailed response.
I won’t mince words or try to be politically correct – we all know there are some people out there that ain’t right in the head. We mostly stopped using terms like “lunatic” and “retarded” because of the stigma associated with those words, but the problems they describe still exist.
Regardless of what terms you use, they describe problems with the brain. Those problems may be genetic, organic or caused by some kind of trauma, but whatever the cause some portion(s) of the person’s brain does not function properly. Some of those problems may not manifest themselves until adulthood.
Once upon a time crazy people were thought to be possessed by demons. There was no treatment for people with brain impairments and they were either cared for by their families, allowed to fend for themselves and/or driven off. Somewhere during the 19th Century we started warehousing them in “insane asylums”.
During the 20th Century we started keeping them in “mental hospitals” and drugging them to keep them docile. This was considered a big improvement. Some of them were experimented on with electric shock treatments and/or brain surgery. The quality of care in these places was somewhat less than ideal. Sometimes it was cruel and sadistic, and other times it was merely heartless.
Somewhere around the 60′s and 70′s the bleeding hearts on the left teamed up with the penny-pinchers on the right to close many of the mental hospitals in favor of “community care.” The unintended result of this was a sudden and dramatic rise in the homeless population and the number of mentally ill inmates in our jails and prisons.
We live in a nation that places a high value on freedom. But some people simply aren’t qualified to exercise that franchise. The extreme cases are the easiest – people who are completely incapable of caring for themselves or who are an obvious danger to themselves and/or others. The less obvious cases are more problematic.
Some people are high-functioning/mildly impaired – they are capable of caring for themselves but they are a little “slow” or “off.” We allow these people the full rights and privileges of citizenship and the exercise of freedom as long as they stay out of trouble.
Now here is where it gets tricky. Some people are capable of functioning with a little help – supervision, assistance, treatment and/or medication. Some people need quite a bit of help. Some of them refuse to accept any help.
We can lock people up even if they haven’t committed any crime if they are a danger to themselves or others. We can place people under a guardianship so that they can be allowed to function under supervision. Some people are beyond help. The question is where do we draw the lines and who decides? At what point should the state intervene?
Families are often the first line of assistance. But sometimes families are unwilling or incapable of meeting that person’s needs. This is especially true with impaired adults with elderly parents. In some cases the family is part of the problem.
There are other issues as well, like substance abuse. Whatever problems the person has are gonna get worse if they abuse alcohol or drugs. Take a functioning but impaired person who stops taking their medications and starts using crank and they can turn into a real problem.
Often the only help these people get comes when they get arrested for some crime. While they are locked up they get clean and start taking their meds again. They are model prisoners. Then they are released under supervision by probation or parole officers. They do just fine. Eventually the supervision ends, they stop taking their meds and start using drugs again. Then they end up in jail. It’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over during their lifetimes.
So what is the right answer? Fuck if I know. No matter what we do bad things will happen. Some times there is no right answer.
BTW – I was not addressing sociopaths, pedophiles and other special cases like that. When those types are identified they need to be permanently locked up because they will always be a danger to others.
Brenda Ann Spencer (born April 3, 1962) is a convicted American murderer who, at the age of 16, carried out a shooting spree from her home in San Diego, California, on January 29, 1979. During the shooting spree, she killed two people and injured nine others at Cleveland Elementary School, which was located across the street from her home. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was “I don’t like Mondays; this livens up the day.” The explanation inspired the song “I Don’t Like Mondays” by The Boomtown Rats, which was a UK number one single for four weeks in mid-1979.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life. She is currently at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California. After becoming eligible for parole in 1993, Spencer was denied four times, the last on August 13, 2009. Spencer will not be eligible for a new parole hearing until 2019.
I don’t have one. Understanding stuff like this is like trying to understand cancer. You can spend your life studying it but you can’t stop it from happening.
But it’s been going on a lot longer than you might think.
Every year there are certain “Christmas” movies I like to watch around this time of year:
2. It’s a Wonderful Life
3. A Christmas Carol (with Alistair Sim)
4. Miracle on 34th Street (original)
5. Bad Santa
What holiday movies are on your “must see” list?