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Month: August, 2012

Mother who abandoned children dies in custody, police investigate

The LAPD announced today that it was continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the in-custody death of Alesia Thomas on July 22nd.  Twenty-five year old Thomas was arrested after abandoning her two children at the Southeast Patrol Division.  According to police, she resisted arrest and had to be tackled and then shackled with a hobble restraint device before being placed in the back of a cruiser – where she stopped breathing.  She died on the way to a local hospital.

The story is especially sad because the abandoned children lead the police back to their home on Broadway in South Los Angeles, where their mother allegedly became belligerent with the police while being taken into custody.

The police department has opened two investigations into Thomas’ death – both an administrative and criminal investigation.  Although still tight-lipped about the investigation, it was apparently prompted by an in-car video which revealed “some questionable tactics and improper comments.”

According to Police Chief Charlie Beck:

 “I take all in-custody death investigations very seriously and directed that the officers involved be removed from field duties until further details are known, including what part intoxicants and physical conditions contributed.  I’m confident we will get to the truth, no matter where that leads us.”

Police have not indicated when the investigation will be completed and the final results released.


Paul Ryan, Worse than Palin

Here is a link to an opinion column that  I wrote on Paul Ryan after his nomination:

I tweeted it to @paulryanvp:

@paulryanvp, worse than Palin.

Got some funny comments, including:

David O.N. Johnson ·  Top Commenter · Partner at Meyer, Puklich, Merriam & Johnson, PLC

Russell Allyn – You would think with your educational background that repeating falsehoods as fact (Palin can see Russia from her doorstep) along with the rest of your faux facts would embarrass you, especially when you place them in the public domain. Apparently not, so I can only state that Sarah Palin at least has class, clarity of thought, the ability to connect with an audience and yes, the fear and envy of the LLS alliance (liberals, leftists, and socialists).
  • Russell Allyn · University of California, Hastings College of the Law

    You’re right, David, the original Palin quote is even better than Tina Fey’s characterization:”[A]s Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there.”Never heard of the “LLS.”

    Got nicer reviews from my facebook friends:

    LikeUnlike · · Share

      • Raquel Vallejo great piece Russell.  Here’s my paranoid conspiracy theory:  Ryan is such an undeniably crappy and extremist pick that it shows the hubris of the GOP and their election-stealing tactics.  They know they are going to win this thing with their billions from secret PAC donors and their stupidly unnecessary voter ID laws.   GAWD, I hope I’m wrong.
        August 17 at 7:52am · “}’>LikeUnlike
      • Russell Allyn Or they are just crazy! — but I share your fear.
        August 17 at 8:23am · “}’>LikeUnlike · 1

The fountain at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion has an interesting history

First installed in 1969, the fountain at the Music Center between the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and the Mark Taper Forum has been updated through the years.  The original fountain, which contained a dark surface reflecting pool, was dismantled in 1987.  It was replaced two years later by the new fountain, which features a computer-driven system of 280 vertical jets that systematically shoot water up into the air on a 14-minute cycle.

The one commonality between the old and new fountains is the  sculpture of “Peace on Earth” that has been present since the 1969 dedication.  It took 3 years for the artist, Jacques Lipchitz, to design and manufacture the cubist sculpture in Italy.  Lipchitz was a Lithuanian-born Jewish sculptor who fled Nazi-occupied France and settled in the United States.  The sculpture became the artist’s “prayer for peace” in response to the Vietnam War.

“Peace on Earth” is a hallow cast-bronze sculpture mounted on a granite clad base.   It depicts a dove descending to earth bearing the spirit of peace.  Stylized figures stand within a tear-shaped canopy of sails below and supporting the dove.

It is said that Dorothy Chandler herself named the sculpture, which has kept it safe from those members of the Music Center’s board that have from time to time demand its removal as being outdated.

As the water jets subside next to the 29-foot statue, a clear view emerges of City Hall and the newly renovated fountain across the street at Grand Park.

Hearse Driver Dies near Beverly Hills Hotel with Casket in Transit to Funeral Viewing

On Monday, Beverly Hills Police found a hearse driver dead, slumped behind the steering wheel and parked near the Beverly Hills Hotel.  She was later identified as 58 year-old Garlandine Garvin of Los Angeles.

Lieutenant Lincoln Hoshino of the Beverly Hills Police Department said that the driver’s death appeared to be from natural causes and was not considered to be suspicious.  He told me that a definitive cause of death would be forthcoming from the coroner’s office.

Ms. Garvin’s custom white Lincoln Continental hearse was carrying full fare of a casket and body inside.  Police say they were headed to a funeral viewing but never arrived.

Around 3:00 p.m. on Monday, a passerby called emergency, and police and paramedics responded to the 900 block of North Crescent Drive, which is a stone’s throw from the famous hotel in Beverly Hills.

Ms. Garvin was identified by a high school reunion site as a 1971 graduate of the Wichita Height High School in Kansas.  No word on the disposition of the body she was carrying.

The New Grand Park is a wonder in downtown L.A. – Top 5 list (PHOTOS AND VIDEO)

Grand Park opened in downtown Los Angeles last week.  Located across Grand Avenue from the Music Center and between the buildings housing the Los Angeles Superior Court and Hall of Administration, “Grand” is a good description for the park.  It is truly spectacular.

And here are the Top 5 things about it:

5.         It’s finally complete.  The park renovation took over 2 years and had a budget of over $50 million.  The site had been a dusty and noisy construction zone that made entry into the adjoining civic buildings more difficult.  But no longer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chick-fil-A: Very Southern Fried Chicken

Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Chick-fil-A, a fast-food restaurant chain based in Atlanta and relatively new to Los Angeles.  I’ve never tried one of their little chicken sandwiches, and now I never will.

It turns out that the company’s president, Dan Cathy, plows his profits into reactionary political causes, including an estimated $5 million to anti-gay organizations and hate groups between 2003 and 2010.  And he drew the connection between his family chain of restaurants and the spread of his brand of Christian faith — namely that support of same-sex marriage is the equivalent of inviting “God’s Judgment,” which I’m guessing isn’t pretty.

In response to a nascent boycott threat, former Republican presidential candidate and current Fox News host Mike Huckabee called for those who support traditional, one-man, one-woman style marriage to show up their local “Chick-fil-A” today to show their “Appreciation.”   Huckabee’s site on Facebook titled “Chick -Fil-A Appreciation” shows over 3.2 million Facebook users were invited to the auspicious event, with over 650,000 committing to attend.

Today’s Twitter showed just how many intolerant folks will show up to eat greasy chicken for a bad cause.

In Prattville, Alabama, the local Chick-fil-A ran out of chicken.

They showed up in the malls of Houston:

And they even showed up in Chicago:

One tweeter, named Jesus died for you, explained the experience:

My friend said he went to #chickfila today and could feel the presence of God!

I’m guessing that her friend, Pat Boone, agreed:

Some, like Christopher Rice, tweeted their displeasure with the Appreciation of Chick-fil-A:

Working to ensure that I am denied equal rights does not constitute an “opinion”.  It constitutes an assault.  Working to deny me equal rights is not an exercise of free speech. It is an exercise in discrimination. #ChickFilA

Christopher got it half-right.

In giving major amounts of money to regressive causes, it is true that the president of Chick-fil-A is supporting discrimination against gays.  But he has a constitutional right to spend his money to support those dubious causes, and Governor Huckabee has a right to support him.

Coterminous with the right to speak in this country is the right NOT to speak — or not to spend money, which in Romney World is the equivalent of speech.  So the mayor of Boston crosses the line when he threatens government action to ban the opening of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant because of Mr. Cathy’s expressed views.  But like-minded citizens are perfectly in their right to boycott Chick-fil-A, and urge others to do so, as an act of free speech.  Once the evangelical and Tea Party crowds that showed up at Chick-fil-A die down in the coming days, one has to wonder how many future potential customers Chick-fil-A lost today.

I know at least one.