By Doug Porter
For those of you who are terminally uncool, the next two weekends are the time of year when tens of thousands of (mostly) otherwise sane people take to the desert for a time out to enjoy the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival.
The Indio, California shindig features music from a variety of genres playing from stages located throughout the Empire Polo Club. People have been known to get stoned and occasionally naked, but the real reason to go is to say you’ve been there, done that. It’s cooler than a tramp stamp.
Lots of auxiliary (not officially sanctioned) events occur because the crowd is large and mostly affluent. One of them caught my attention yesterday, and it really rattled my cage. Some fashionistas have decided that it would be appro to throw a Gitmo themed party, I guess because human rights violations and torture are such ‘groovy’ ideas. This is stupider than stupid.
This year’s two weekends sold out by the end of January, and the tickets weren’t cheap. Tickets on StubHub are now going for as much as $4 grand. And that doesn’t include a place to stay or transportation costs. Here is this year’s line up of performers.
So the Twitterverse was up in arms yesterday over a report about a “New Guantanamo” pop up party. From Salon.com:
There have been some very bad decisions in the history of public relations, but this may be the proverbial headliner. At Coachella this year, a see-and-be-seen pseudo-bohemian music festival in California for rich kids, a few of the lucky and tragically hip will have the option to be “sequestered” to attend a Guantanamo Bay, “playful torture”-themed party.
Refinery29 flagged this email invitation from Flaunt Magazine, featuring a topless model clutching a rifle above her head in aviators and short leather shorts. The email reads:
Flaunt Magazine and Le Baron will be sequestering select Coachella attendees for “New Guantanamo”, a unique and painfully pleasurable pop up experience with True Religion. The watering hole, the first building ever built inCoachella, CA, will feature playful torture by Smashbox Studios with beats poured by French music and fashion label Kitsuné. This one will go until dawn.
You’ll be thrilled to hear that, after further consideration, organizers have decided to re-name the event ‘NightShift’.
But the painful pleasure will apparently continue, as Flaunt defended its concept, telling Buzzfeed, it “has not shied away from controversy or provocation” and “never intended to cause offense or harm” with the party theme.
Not to go all Stalinist on you all about this or anything, but when I heard about this yesterday, my first reaction was that the organizers of this event ought to be shot. I’ve reconsidered and am withholding judgment, for now.
Gun Control Moves to the Forefront
On the one side we have the vast majority of the American people, including gun owners, who believe that some reasonable screening procedures and restraints on gun purchases might be a good idea.
On the other side we have a very vocal group of gun freedom ‘advocates’ who alternate between paranoid delusions and not so subtle threats aimed anybody or institution who stand in the way of unfettered armament.
“Freedom’ appears to be ‘winning’ the argument, because the way things stand now there won’t even be a debate or a chance for the US Senate to vote on any measure.
Amie Parnes and Alexander Bolton in The Hill, talked about the mood at the Capitol even as the President spoke in Connecticut, hoping to invoke the memories of a not so long ago slaughter of school children in support of legislation:
Even as Obama spoke, his hopes for a massive overhaul of gun control laws appeared to be falling to the side, with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) promising to block legislation that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to bring to the Senate floor. McConnell and Republicans oppose the centerpiece of Reid’s legislation and Obama’s gun control agenda: an expansion of background checks, which Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ political guru, called the “sweet spot” of any gun control bill.
Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas over the Washington Post’s Wonkblog tried to put the impasse into perspective:
Little of this should be a surprise to anyone tuned into politics in recent years. Gun control is hardly the first issue where public opinion, the bully pulpit, and external forcing mechanisms failed to move Congress. A look at what’s passed and what’s failed since 2009 would show little correlation with what was popular and what wasn’t. For instance: The Affordable Care Act, despite sagging in the polls, made it through Congress. The public option, one of the most popular parts of the bill, didn’t. Income tax increases on the wealthy, despite being overwhelmingly popular, were blocked until 2013. Banks bailouts, despite being political poison, passed. Short-term Medicare and Social Security cuts, despite being wildly unpopular and opposed by both parties during the last election, are now central to the budget discussion, and will be part of any grand bargain that passes.
Congress, today, is driven more by intense minorities than checked-out majorities. It is probably rational for a Senate Republican to believe he has more to fear from the conservative activists who would be furious that he went along with the president’s gun-control agenda than from the broad mass of the public who would be vaguely pleased, but mostly unaware, and in either case, not all that interested. It is time for those of us who cover Washington to stop being surprised that this is how it works. It’s been working like this for years now.
But Wait! There’s more! The War on Government Continues…
When did that become a rule? And can we extend that comparison to, say, executives at the UT-San Diego?
The premise for the story is so bad that I feel sorry for the reporter who had to assemble this smoldering pile of smear disguised as news.
Apparently Carl DeMaio’s latest phone call demanding that the daily paper go after his political opponents rated more than a simple ‘news’ story. Today we got a UT-San Diego editorial:
U-T reporter Craig Gustafson’s weekend story about the subsidized pensions that six of the city’s elected officials can look forward to should make those officials feel uncomfortable indeed. Why? Because for years, city leaders have made rank-and-file workers basically split the tab for the long-term cost of their pensions. Last June, San Diego voters went even further and passed Proposition B, which scrapped defined-benefit pensions for new hires.
Given this backdrop, it is very difficult to accept the pensions provided to Mayor Bob Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and City Council members David Alvarez, Marti Emerald, Todd Gloria and Sherri Lightner.
Cough, cough. Weak sauce.
Today is Equal Pay Day
Today is Equal Pay Day, observed held annually on whatever day represents how far into the year a woman must work to earn the same pay as a man earned, on average, in the previous year. Women in America must work 15 months and nine days to receive a paycheck equal to what men doing the same job received in 2012.
In San Diego a woman who holds a full-time job is paid $41,551 per year on average while a man who holds a full-time job is paid $49,788 per year. This means that women in the San Diego area are paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to men. This amounts to a yearly gap of $8,237 between men and women who work full time.
Nationally the disparity is even worse, with women earning 77 cents for every dollar earned by a male counterpart in a similar position. And much of that gap cannot be attributed to anything but simple discrimination; certain jobs pay less simply because they are held by women and people of color.
The General Accounting Office’s Oct. 2003 report “Women’s Earnings,” which examined 18 years of data, found a 20 percent earnings gap between women and men that could not be explained, even when accounting for demographic and work-related factors such as occupation, industry, race, marital status and job tenure. This gap is attributable to discrimination; certain jobs pay less simply because they are held by women and people of color.
We’ve got a long way to go, baby.
On This Day: 1912 – The first exhibition baseball game was held at Fenway Park in Boston. The game was between Red Sox and Harvard. (Back then fans had signs in the stadium saying ‘Padres Are Gonna Suck’) 1968 – Murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., was buried. 1970 – Paul McCartney quit the Beatles.
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