Don't be too proud, though:More »
Los Angeles' city government might have been on the brink of bankruptcy in recent years, but its residents, at least, are good with their money.
Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel / Flickr
Note how we turned down a half-cent tax hike earlier this month. (Good thing, because Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa turned around and, days later, said that things were looking up for the government's budget). Californians in general seem to be better with their money than other Americans (or politicians):More »
California has almost 30 advanced bio-fuel companies and refineries, beating out all other states -- but 27 of states are on California's heels, including Illinois, Colorado, Texas and Iowa, with a total of more than 80 advanced bio-fuel companies across the U.S.
Courtesy of Sam Beebe Plant waste is used to create anhydrous ammonia, the beginning of fuel for the future.
SynGest Inc, in San Francisco, has announced plans to create a commercial facility to convert crop waste, such as corn stalks and cobs, into anhydrous ammonia. That can be used as an advanced bio-fuel and nitrogen fertilizer. Is this real, or just more dreaming from a long-struggling industry?More »
You bought a new car, took your girl to have a nice meal at Chez Douche, and you're pondering a purchase of some of that discounted Facebook stock, you say?
Maybe it's better if you keep holding on tight:More »
By Pete Kotz
Illustration by Peter Ryan
On July 11, 2008, the price of oil rose to $147 per barrel, a record high. Gas stations engaged in hot pursuit as the price of a gallon rocketed past $4. All hell was about to break loose.
The country's largest banks had already begun to implode through arrogance and ineptitude. Now the oil market had moved in with a thundering uppercut.
Airlines and trucking firms watched their costs punch through the roof. So did every other business great and small, because 90 percent of American goods are shipped in some form or another.
"That was the breaking point of the economy," says Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C., government-watchdog group. "That's when businesses said they could no longer fuel their trucks and that fuel costs were overwhelming their payroll."
So began a surge of layoffs that would push well into the next year.
America's political leaders could only muster a simpleton's response. Demand had outstripped supply, they claimed. And it was all the fault of radical environmentalists. If they'd only let us drill for more riches offshore — or on protected lands in Alaska — we could all go back to cranking Toby Keith in our Chevy Tahoes.
It was a fabulous, made-for-TV narrative. Who can forget Sarah Palin shaking her fist at the Republican National Convention, exhorting the legions to "Drill, baby, drill!" What began as a rallying cry soon became an article of faith at cafés and kitchen tables, executive suites and editorial meetings.
There was just one tiny problem: Absolutely none of it was true.More »
Eric Demarcq / Flickr
*Gas Prices Could Reach All-Time High in L.A.
Gas prices set a new record in California over the weekend. Is this a scam?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission to launch an "immediate investigation" into the price spikes because, she stated, "it does not appear the price spike and supply disruption are related to supply and demand."
In a report over the weekend Reuters suggested a "short squeeze" on the part of refineries might have deliberately boosted your pump costs in the name of profits:
This weather making you want to ... shop?
Eric Demarcq / Flickr Buy it now.
Us to. We get all hot and bothered thinking about a good discount.
UC Riverside associate professor of marketing Jorge Silva-Risso says in a recent study that the heat definitely has its effect on the way consumers behave:
This could either be a good sign that this Debbie Downer of an economy is turning a corner, or it could be another example of how, even in tough times, the rich are getting richer while the rest suffer.
We're going to cross our fingers and go with good sign:
What if we told you, while you were in the neighborhood getting your cheap gas you could also dine on meals that have the foodie nation buzzing, get a huge discount on your prescription drugs, and take a picture with a zonkey (that's a zebra crossed with a donkey, but not really)?
You'd say we sound like a cheesy salesman using the "what if we told you" ruse? Yes, but other than that you'd be all about this.More »
LAUSD's Board of Education issued a stay of execution for the district's adult education programs today at a meeting that could almost pass as star-studded.
@SDivall via Twitter Welcome to the Jungle: an aerial view of crowd gathered outside the sold-out Guns N' Roses Board of Education meeting.
The event was so crowded that hundreds were barred from entering; they waited outside chanting "Save our Schools." Those who did make it inside to speak on behalf of adult ed and other programs on the chopping block included assorted Los Angeles-area city council members and mayors, several veterans of Iraq, a world-famous choreographer, and the drummer from Guns N' Roses.
The budget drama, which has built for weeks to today's crescendo, seemed almost too choreographed, leaving some to wonder if it was all political theater orchestrated by district officials to galvanize support for a $270-a-year parcel tax proposed by LAUSD for the November ballot.More »
When it came time to make cuts for the 2012-13 LAUSD budget, Superintendent John Deasy passed on the scalpel, opting for a chainsaw to hack away at a $557 million deficit.
Rich district, poor district: LAUSD spent wildly on the plush Robert. F. Kennedy Community Schools.
LAUSD's youngest and oldest students are targeted in the wide-ranging cuts that aim to protect the most vital organs: K-12 education.
If adopted by the Board of Education today, the budget eliminates the adult education programs and the School Readiness Language Development Program, which prepares the smallest and most needful students for kindergarten, to save $134.5 million and $45.4 million. Grade school arts education would also be wiped out, saving $18.6 million.More »
ABC's super-lame new sitcom "Work It" -- basically the "White Chicks" of family television, in which guys dress up as girls to find jobs -- has been criticized by everyone from LGBT advocates to entertainment critics for its drag costumes and artistic merits, respectively.
Screw science; I'm just in this for the boobs.
But a less likely group of naysayers has also jumped on the hater train: economists.
"ABC's contribution to Bad TV may whip up resentment among men who believe women are taking their jobs," wrote a she-blogger from U.S. News last month. "It would only be divisive and offensive if it were true, but it's factually inaccurate."More »
These hard times have manifest in such hit cable shows as Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn and Storage Wars -- television programs about used crap.
But don't think the folks of Beverly Hills are immune to the Great Recession. The gilded city also has folks who want to sell stuff for quick cash. It's just that their stuff is way better. And the quick cash they get for it is way more.
Beverly Loan Company, a pawn shop by any other name, reports this week that ...More »
Thankfully, we have CitywatchLA explaining how Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spends bundles of cash on pointless gestures. His trip to Asia, which will have zero effect on the Los Angeles economy, is burning $30,000 a day.
KCET Antonio Villaraigosa with other people's money.
Villaraigosa says he's going to create jobs by going to China. Villaraigosa, a long-struggling politician, has no clue how to create jobs.
L.A. relied, insanely, on constructing buildings for its jobs in the 2000s. It was mad group behavior. Books one day will tell how the obsession by speculators, lenders and politicians caused L.A.'s bubble and burst, leaving ugly 13 percent unemployment. The obsession's grinning cheerleader was the badly educated, barely business-savvy Villaraigosa:More »
L.A. leaders like to say how business-friendly our city is and that the big bucks taxpayers invest in billionaire and corporate moves here (Eli Broad's $52 million museum parking lot, architectural firm Gensler's $1 million bonus for doing what it had plannned already -- moving downtown) are worth it.
treehugger.com BYD comes to L.A.
The latest grand pronouncement about bringing jobs to L.A. came from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was psyched about Chinese carmaker BYD opening its North American headquarters in L.A. this week.
The mayor via LA Biz Observed:More »
L.A. city leaders like to make much of how business friendly they are, what with the bending over backwards for a proposed NFL stadium and the $1 million of your money being given to a rich architectural firm that would have relocated downtown anyway.
Jon Sittner L.A. is No. 7
But for all the hot air that comes from the City Hall podiums, our fair burg still ranks middle-of-the-pack when it comes to small-business-friendliness.
That, at least, is according to American Express' latest OPEN Independent Retail Index:More »
We sometimes marvel at the amount of wealth found in Southern California. Using Forbes' figures, we noted in spring that "if California were a nation, it would rank fourth, behind the U.S., China and Russia, in billionaire population (a lucky 88)."
Pete Zarria A motel on Route 66 in San Berdoo.
Many of the Golden State's billionaires are right here in SoCal.More »
Look alive people. The Occupy Wall Street movement that swept New York over the past two weeks finally gained a foothold in L.A. over the weekend.
And now participants of Occupy L.A. are marching on the financial district downtown at traffic hour (5 p.m.) today -- and they have events lined up throughout the week, says co-organizer Ian Thompson.
Over the weekend ...More »
The folks who are fighting back against a conservative onslaught of class warfare (no taxing the rich the same way working class folks are taxed?) are taking over City Hall this weekend.
Well, maybe "taking over" is a bit of an exaggeration. After all, this is L.A., and, 1992 not withstanding, our revolutions are a bit laid-back.
We noted that at the last "Occupy Los Angeles" event ...More »
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