Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sign Of The Times

Torrance, CA

Either Joseph Storm, 23, is a strong supporter of Proposition 8, the California proposition to take away the rights of same-sex couples to marry, or has a deep seated hatred of litter. Either way, he appears to have used a "Yes on 8" sign to beat a man wearing a "No on 8" button.

There's a slight difference in each man's account. According to the victim, who was wearing a "No on 8" button at the time of the assault, Storm called him a "derogatory name for homosexuals", beat him with the sign, punched him in the face and choked him.

According to Storm, however, he saw the man give the sign the finger, pull it out of the ground and throw it.
Storm said he didn't know what the sign said, but got angry because the other man was littering, which is why he assaulted him, Wilson added.
Uh... Littering? Really? That's your plan? Okay, look, if you're going to come up with a cover story, how about something that sounds less fucking stupid? I mean, really. Littering.

Storm is in on $50K bail and is being arraigned tomorrow on a felony charge of a hate crime assault and a misdemeanor count for interfering with another's exercise of civil rights. That could net 7 years behind bars. Good one, Joey.

It's nice to see we've brought back a more gentlemanly way to resolve our differences, isn't it? Dueling! Only with cardboard and epithets of faggot.

Just like Andrew Jackson intended.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maybe They're Just Really Tense

Arcadia. CA

The city of Arcadia has a population of 55,000 people. Over the course of the last three years they have granted 700 licenses for massage therapists. That's about 78 people per therapist. The city is finally figuring out that maybe there isn't really as big a market for rolfing as they previously thought.

Three years and you've never heard of happy endings? Massage with release? No?

Well, they're figuring it out now.

City officials found violations at 40 locations, including locked doors on massage rooms, incorrect wiring and no records of services given to customers who fled out the back door when officials arrived.
Ran out the back door? Without tipping? Whatever could that mean?

Now the funny thing is that massage parlors aren't allowed in the city. But spas, acupuncturists and physical therapists are. Go in to see "Doctor" Candy and I'm sure she'll really clear up that tennis elbow. Maybe even improve your golf swing.

I wonder if my insurance will cover that.

 

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Weekend Of Sharp Pointy Bits

All Over The Place, CA

We're not really stab-happy in Los Angeles, preferring to kill our citizenry with guns (455 this year) over knives (only 70). Guns are, literally, point and shoot. But knives are more personal. You really need to get in there and work them if you want to make your point. Hah! I made a funny.

Anyway, we've had three stabbings in the last couple days.

We've got a really messy one at the Victory Motel in El Monte. Maid found him Saturday morning. Tied, gagged, wrapped in a sheet. And full of lots of draining holes. One resident was quoted as saying the incident made him "kind of nervous."

Can't imagine why.

Another one was found Sunday afternoon outside a restroom at Banning Park in Wilmington. Dead, of course. That's how it usually works out.

But not always. A man stabbed his younger brother in the neck with a screwdriver out in Diamond Bar Sunday night and left it there. Probably the only thing that's kept him alive so far.

Who says brotherly love is dead?

 

Friday, October 24, 2008

It Feels Good To Rise With The Morning Sun

Silver Lake, CA

In February, while doing work on his Silver Lake home, Barry Isaacson found a thirty-year-old briefcase of photos between the former occupants, Herbert and Freda Alexander, and their daughter, Phyllis Chaiken. Phyllis, along with her husband Gene and children Gail and David had become part of a church that had taken her increasingly further away from her parents. All the way to Guyana, in fact, to a little place called Jonestown.

November 18th will mark the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre. The collection of letters and photos in Mr. Isaacson's article in the LA Weekly are heart rending.

It's not easy to assimilate the idea of what happened at Jonestown. There were 909 dead. Before 9/11 it was the biggest loss of American lives in one event that had ever occurred. The tragedy is just too big to fit easily into one's head. It's horrific, yes, but distant. A number that big is just a number.

Until you read a letter from Gail Chaiken to her grandparents about her new life in Jonestown.
"We’re doing real well and are very happy at our new home. We have many streams, trees, beautiful plants, & wild flowers growing all around are [sic] area plus the different crops we planted."
The flowered stationery and misspelled words only make it worse.

It's gut wrenching to read this family's hopes and ideals become so twisted. Turned back in on themselves, they succumbed to the cult of personality and the paranoia of mob thinking.

Contrast this from Phyllis in April 1978 to her parents:
There is a song we sing that begins, 'It feels good to rise with the morning sun,' and ends, 'It feels good to see all the work we’ve done and to know the future is now,' it sums up my feelings about my life here.
with a letter written to Jones himself on her thoughts on Revolutionary Suicide:
At the place of dying they are shot in the head and if Larry [Dr. Larry Schact] does not believe they are definitely dead, their throat is slit with a scalpel. I would be willing to help here if it is necessary.
Now take that thinking and multiply it almost a thousand times. That's Jonestown.

*hat tip to Erin Broadly for bringing this to my attenion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ceterum Censeo Carthaginem Esse Delendam

Los Angeles, CA

Yesterday, 61 members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club were rounded up across seven states on an 86-count racketeering indictment including murder, extortion, drug trafficking, money laundering, etc. You know, the usual. Except for one little difference. This time, the Feds want to take their identity.

"In addition to pursuing the criminal charges set forth in the indictment, for the first time ever, we are seeking to forfeit the intellectual property of the gang," U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien said in a statement.
A while back the Mongols trademarked their name. Put it on patches, logos, the whole shebang. I guess this means that they're really The Mongols Motorcycle Club(tm), right?

Anyway, if they lose their intellectual property to the Federal government they lose the legal right to use that name. Not that that's likely to keep a bunch of psychopathic, drug dealing biker freaks from calling themselves the Mongols, of course.

The point of this tactic, I'm sure, is the complete destruction of the organization and everything it had. Burn it to the ground. Sow the earth with salt so that no thing grows. Rape the horses and ride off on the women.

Though I can certainly get behind that thinking (except for the horses bit) it's not like this is any kind of long term solution. It never is. Carthage is still a city, Wally Amos is still selling cookies, and John Fogerty is back to singing CCR songs.

But it shuold hopefully slow them down. Destroying the infrastructure of the larger organization makes it more difficult for these little splinter groups to maintain drug supply lines, protection rackets and laundering operations. Giving La eMe plenty of time to come back in and re-establish those territories that the Mongols have been chipping away from them.

Well, it's better than nothing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This Is Why CSI Is Horseshit

Los Angeles, CA

7,038.

That's the number of backlogged rape kits in the city of Los Angeles that haven't been processed. No one's cracked them open, looked at them under a microscope, and come up with a startlingly accurate recreation using 3-D graphics and advanced holography that not only profiles the suspect, but finds, tries and gets a stunning courtroom confession from him in 22 minutes in between ads for Cialis.

Of these 7,038 rape kits sitting in the freezer like Aunt Hildy's fruitcake, 5,694 have been there for more than two years without notification being sent to the victims that nothing's been done. Which sort of breaks California law.

And, like Aunt Hildy's fruitcake, 217 have been there longer than the 10-year statute of limitations. That's right. Over 200 of these things went in when Clinton was still President. And the rapists walk away scot-free.

Excuses? None. Reasons? Lots. None of them good.

The big one is that not enough people thought this was important enough to fund adequately. There are only 30 criminalists and 13 lab technicians going over this stuff. Considering the priorities of the LAPD I'm actually kind of surprised they have that many. Lab techs don't carry guns and put people into chokeholds, after all.

Which leads us to the matter of money. The LAPD has been hitting up the city for more cash for law enforcement. I'm okay with that, actually. What I have some trouble with is this:

The Department of Justice has dropped $4 million on the city since 2004 specifically to test these things. Now stuff is expensive and $4 million over 4 years really isn't that much. It's not going to cover salaries, building maintenance, lab equipment, consumables, power, etc. for a year, much less 4.

However, the DOJ cut the budget to the city in half, $498,000.00, in 2008 because the city DIDN'T SPEND IT.

The Federal government gave you a check for a million bucks and you couldn't figure out what to do with half of it? Excuse me? How do you not spend half a million dollars? In Los Angeles? That's the Council's fucking Starbucks budget for three months.

That's a travesty. And travesty isn't a word I use often.

Mostly because I keep mixing it up with transvestite.

Monday, October 20, 2008

OH NOES! NINJAS!

Los Angeles, CA

Kazuyoshi Miura, a Japanese citizen, arrived in LA earlier this month to stand trial for the murder of his wife 27 years ago. Twenty-four hours later he committed suicide in his cell.

Or did he?

Well, yeah, probably, but his lawyer, Mark Geragos, who defended Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and a slew of other high profile / celebrity cases says otherwise.

Mr. Garegos hired pathologist Brian Posey to review Miura's body and Dr. Posey didn't disappoint, saying that bruising on Miura's back and the ligature marks on his neck were not consistent with self-inflicted hanging. In fact, a hematoma on Miura's larynx could have been brought about by forced choking.

In other words (cue music) ... MURDER!

That's right, someone got into Miura's jail cell in the ten minutes that he wasn't being directly observed by a guard, choked him to death, tied him up to his bunk to look like hanging and got out. All without being observed.

Garegos seems to believe that the LAPD was involved, but I think it was the Insidious Order of The Golden Hand, a secret society of Elite Ninjas who steal through the night collecting the souls of those who may reveal their existence to the outside world. Think about it, Miura goes to trial and rats out this ancient organization, a group of clendestine assassins responsible for some of the most renowned deaths in history.

Or maybe Garegos, who isn't exactly known for low profile is just trying to create more publicity.

I'm really hoping it's the latter. Because if it is the Golden Hand I'm fucked.

 

This Boy's Got Hisself A Future

Ontario, CA

Friend of mine once said that loving politics is much like having a drunk whore girlfriend. You keep coming back, not just for the professionally trained hummers, but because she tells you that the heroin and two a.m. screaming matches are long behind her. This time it'll be better. Others, though, they just stick around to beat her up and take all her money.

Mark Anthony Jacoby runs a signature-gathering firm called Young Political Majors which was hired by the California Republican Party to register people to vote. He was arrested Saturday on suspicion of voter registration fraud after signing himself up to vote twice.

That's a felony by the way. In Mr. Jacoby's case that's actually four felonies: two counts of voter registration fraud and two counts of perjury.

Turns out that Mr. Jacoby is no stranger to registration improprieties. Earlier this year he was accused of tricking people to register as Republicans by getting them to sign what they thought was a petition for fines against child molesters and using a similar tactic in 2005 in Massachusetts to get people to sign an anti-gay marriage petition.

You've got a bright future ahead of you, Mr. Jacoby. Or, dare I say, "Senator"?

 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Karma With A Gravity Assist

Victorville, CA

Some folks are full of bad ideas.  Take Christopher Apodaca, 30, for example. Went in on a domestic violence charge.  Bad idea #1.   While out on parole for said charge, heads over to his girlfriend's place and allegedly beats her up.  Bad idea #2.  Her 12-year-old daughter calls the cops.  Cops arrive.  Apodaca hides in the attic, which turns out to be bad idea #3.

Because that's when the ceiling he's standing on decides to collapse, dumping him right in front of Deputy James Marhsall (side note: coolest Deputy name EVER).  Who promptly tases him.

Not without cause, of course.  Apodaca came at him with a knife, after all.

Mr. Apodaca is currently sitting in the pokey on suspicion of assaulting a peace officer with a deadly weapon.  I'm sure charges for the assault on his girlfriend and parole violations will be forthcoming.

 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's Just Getting Started

Pasadena, CA

Last night, Wanda Dunn, 53, put her belongings onto her neighbors' porches, lit her foreclosed house on fire and shot herself.

No one can really know why someone takes their own life, but in this case signs point to the disintegrating economy, and the loss of her grandparents' home. Some neighbors say she was going to be evicted.

More tragic still is the fact that this isn't isolated. Two weeks ago Karthik Rajaram, an out of work financial advisor, murdered his family and killed himself in his Porter Ranch home. The reason he put in his suicide note? Money.

Pamela Ross shot herself in Tennessee. Carlene Balderrama took her life in Massachusetts. Both because they had lost their homes.

We're going to be seeing a lot more of this.

When it looks like your world is disintegrating all around you it's easy to caught up in hopelessness. We've all been there. Despair is frighteningly easy to succumb to.

Now, I don't know what sorts of families or friends these people had, but the one thing that drives a person down faster than anything else is when they feel isolated. We're social animals. We need support systems. If you think you've got some help, or just someone who gives a fuck, it can make all the difference.

So I ask that y'all watch out for each other. Check on your friends, your family. Make sure they're okay. You might be the one thing they need to keep them from pulling a trigger.

 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So, L.A.'s On Fire. Again.

All Over The Goddamn Place, CA

Yes, boys and girls it's fire season again. That devil wind's screaming through the canyons at over fifty miles an hour turning everything into a fucking blowtorch. Ain't nothing like that toasty scent of burning suburban sprawl. Air you can chew, lungs full of ash. Mmm-mm.

The Senson fire has spread down into Chatsworth, jumping the 118 yesterday faster than anybody expected leading to mandatory and voluntary evacuations. Santa Ana winds being what they are there's a real danger that it could head down to the coast or west into Ventura County.

Personal note: Aldo, get the fuck out of there.

Then there's the Marek fire up around Angeles forest. Areas around Sylmar have been evacuated and so far it's about 70% contained.

Throw San Bernardino, Orange County and San Diego into the mix and you've got a the makings of a rough week.

Besides that whole "burning to death" problem, the big danger is smoke. Well, smoke and panic. So far not a lot of dead reported, but one guy was killed when a tow truck rear ended a car escaping the Senson fire as smoke obscured visibility and two have been found dead in the Marek fire.

So if you've got asthma or other breathing problems stay the fuck out of the area. Go someplace safe.

Like, I dunno, Minnesota or something.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Naked Is The New Extreme

Los Angeles, CA

Ever notice how people like to up the ante? Skydiving, the X-Games, taking 15 items in that 10-or-less line at the grocery store. We're always looking for something to pump up that adrenaline, make things more exciting. Like high speed car chases. In the nude.

A woman was reported vandalising a car in Pasadena last night. When the cops showed she jumped into her own car and bolted, taking the police on a merry chase across town, finally rolling her Acura several times in the dirt shoulder off the 5 in Sylmar.When police checked on her they realized she wasn't wearing any clothes.

I think this could start a trend in extreme sports. Just think, not just high speed car chases, but every day activities could be so much more hazardous if you did them nude. Naked Arc Welding. Naked Fry Cooking. Naked Bread Baking. The list goes on.

In twenty years we'll wonder why Nascar drivers always wore Nomex suits. Pussies.

 

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Man, Genghis Is Gonna Be Pissed

Glendale, CA

A motorcyclist was shot to death on the 2 / 210 connector this morning. One important clue: the word MONGOLS tattooed on his back.

Some think it might be all that bad blood between the Hells Angels and the Mongols motorcycle club.  Me, I'm thinking it's retaliation for the sack of Kiev in 1240.  Those Ukrainians have long memories.

 

Monday, October 06, 2008

Digging For The Dead

Moorpark, CA

So they started digging this morning at the southbound Tierra Rejada offramp of the 23 freeway in the hopes of finding the remains of Roger Madison who disappeared 40 years ago. The L.A. Weekly has a write up of the scene and a slideshow of the site.

So far not much to report. They've got cadaver dogs, ground penetrating radar and the bulldozers have stripped some topsoil. Police have started sifting through what they've got but it could take some time before they find anything. If there's anything to find.

Ultimately, even if they come up with nothing I can't think this is wasted effort. These crimes are forty years gone, their perpetrator, to most of us, little more than a Wikipedia entry or a bad memory.

But there are questions still to answer and it's good that we have people who are still asking.


*Hat tip to Erin Broadley over at the Weekly for bouncing this over to me.

**Update - Yeah, I just noticed the last post I did referred to Tommy Bowman. My mistake.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

In Case You're Wondering Why Your Commute Sucks

Thousand Oaks, CA

Between 1953 and 1968 Mack Ray Edwards is known to have killed six children. While in prison, before he hung himself, he claimed to have killed eighteen. One of those unaccounted for children is one Tommy Bowman, who disappeared in 1957. The LAPD thinks Tommy is buried under a chunk of the 23 Freeway in Thousand Oaks.

You can see where this is going, can't you? Starting Monday morning a crew will begin excavating an overpass of the freeway.

So if you find yourself stuck an extra twenty minutes in traffic in the morning blame Mack Ray Edwards and hope we never see his like again.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

When Murder Doesn't Cut It Kidnapping And Robbery Will Do Just As Well

Las Vegas, CA

When the Feds couldn't get Al Capone for murder, extortion, bribery, and all those things that make Chicago fun, they got him on tax evasion. Similarly, thirteen years after skating for the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, looks like OJ Simpson might get life for armed robbery and kidnapping.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!11!1!

Ahem.

So anyway. That little stunt he pulled in a Vegas hotel room in December, where he and co-defendant Clarence Stewart confronted a couple of sorts memorabilia dealers, turned into twelve felony charges of kidnapping and armed robbery. Simpson now faces a possible life sentence.

Guess The Real Killer(tm) can breathe easy now and go back to golfing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ringside At Mickey D's

Los Angeles, CA

Civilisation, like morals or religion is an artificial construct, a set of rules we like to pretend exist so that we can all run around the same playground without killing each other. Thing is it occasionally breaks down. Often at the weirdest time. Like when you're ordering a cheeseburger.

A man with two young boys cut in line in front of a group of girls at a McDonald's in South LA last night. When one of the young ladies called him on it, presumably in colorful langauge, he beat the crap out of her. The man and the boys then left in a red pickup.

Man, I knew eating that stuff was bad for you. Had no idea ordering it could get you beaten.