Capital and Main

The 2018 Oscars Recognize #MeToo, But Hollywood Has a Long Way to Go

At first glance, this year’s Academy Awards ceremony and nominations seems as woke a lineup as the Oscars has ever offered. Films and actors honored touch on topics as varied and vital as LGBTQ love (Call Me By Your Name), veterans and overt racism (Mudbound), liberal covert racism (Get Out), police corruption (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and the importance of the press (The Post). Jimmy Kimmel returns as host, after a year where he eased into the working-class champion role his bro schtick always aspired to but never quite nailed until now.

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Report: Cash Bail System Hurts Poor and Communities of Color in L.A.

In advance of a legislative battle over reforming California’s cash bail system, a new report shines light on which Los Angeles communities pay the most bail and by how much. The Price for Freedom, published by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, analyzed arrest data from 2012 through 2016. The authors concluded that the money bail system takes a “multi-billion dollar toll that demands tens of millions of dollars annually in cash and assets from some of L.A.’s most economically vulnerable persons, families and communities.”

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New Farmers Market Is Bringing Healthy Organic Food to L.A.'s Homeless

An organic farmers market opening up in the poorest neighborhood in Los Angeles might be taken as a sign the rent there is about to go up. But on Skid Row it’s a useful a reminder: The poor also need and desire good food—and even those with the least to lose, materially, care about their physical well-being.

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Business Schools Produced the 'Bros' Who Blew up the Economy in 2008 - Has Anything Changed Since Then?

Corporate misanthropes are nothing new, but Martin Shkreli is a special case.

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Tom Morello: Making America Rage Again

Tom Morello knows something about Trump Country. The hard rock guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and, most recently, the rock/hip-hop supergroup Prophets of Rage, grew up in small-town Libertyville, Illinois, nearly an hour outside of Chicago. The mostly white enclave went dependably Democratic in the 2016 presidential election, but it’s still fly-over country, where Morello grew up in the only household among his friends that could be described as politically radical.

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Saving Private Enterprise: Director Jacob Kornbluth on His New Robert Reich Film

Jacob Kornbluth had never had a job — not even an internship — by the time he graduated from college. When he applied to scoop ice cream at Double Rainbow, he was turned down. But he was used to feeling marginalized. Growing up in Manhattan and then in rural Michigan, he didn’t have many friends and got beat up a lot. Both parents, wealthy in intellect but poor in assets, passed away by the time he was 18. All his grandparents too. With a life so rich in adversity, and unable to secure gainful employment, Kornbluth did what any young intellectual would do. He became a writer.

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A New Supreme Court Case Could Drastically Drain Unions' Resources

Should Mark Janus prevail in his Supreme Court case, public-sector employees in California and other states who now pay agency fees instead of union dues will be able to  opt out of any payment at all—even though they can still benefit from collective bargaining contracts and turn to the union with grievances, enjoying a free ride that drains union resources.

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Judging Janus: A Timeline of the Right’s War on Workers

"The fight waged against unionism today is no less bitter than it was 50 years ago,” wrote Clarence Darrow in 1904. “It is simply directed along other lines.” Evidence of how little things have changed since Darrow’s time can be found in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. For America’s public-sector employees and electoral politics, the stakes are enormous.

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L.A. School Board Set to Rumble Over Charter Schools

The stage has been set for an apparent showdown between charter school operators and the Los Angeles Unified School District office charged with charter school oversight, when the LAUSD school board votes on an unprecedented 14 recommendations for charter petition denials at Tuesday’s special board meeting.

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Can Cash Allowances Help Kids' Brains Grow?

Ever since the election of a Republican majority in Congress in 1994, the trend in assistance to the poor has been to reduce it. Work requirements for recipients, time limits on assistance and stricter eligibility conditions to receive food stamps were all part of the 1996 welfare reform overhaul signed by President Bill Clinton. The result was fewer kids receiving aid, and those who did received less money. In 2015, while 15 million American children, or about 21 percent, grow up in homes with incomes below the official poverty line—which many children’s policy experts maintain is set far too low—just 2.3 million of them received welfare benefits, down from a peak of 9.5 million in 1993. (The poverty rate was even higher in California.)

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Free Tuition Was Once the Norm in California. Then Came a Costly Experiment with Privatization.

When Bernie Sanders, and then Hillary Clinton, made debt-free higher education a byword of the 2016 presidential race, University of California graduates like retired Los Angeles anesthesiologist Steve Auer unexpectedly found themselves the poster children for a time when free college tuition was the norm in California, rather than the radical proposition it seems today.

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A Dream and a Microwave: Everytable Serves Healthy Meals to Hungry ‘Hoods

One year after its grand opening, Everytable’s restaurant, at Hoover and 23rd streets in Los Angeles, is buzzing with celebration.

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The Comedian as Activist: Remembering Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory changed my life. No, I never met him, and I saw him on stage just one time. No, I was not a fan in the usual way of following a public figure’s career over decades. It happened like this.

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Pro- and Anti-Immigration Rallies Hit Laguna Beach

Racial and political confrontations continue to rage across the Summer of 2017. Sunday brought over 2,000 counter-demonstrators to the sun-baked boardwalk of Laguna Beach to shout down a modest, Trump-obsessed gathering called “America First! Electric Vigil for the Victims of Illegals and Refugees.” Before it ended with police clearing the streets around 9 p.m., there had been two arrests, some pepper spray, multiple shouting matches and threats, a few songs and continued angst with no end in sight.

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The One Percent Plans to Ride out the End of the World in Style

Maybe they’ve been watching too many dystopian movies about the end of civilization as we know it. Or perhaps they feel the anxiety other people feel about social instability in the country. They may think nuclear war a high probability or that climate change disasters are inevitable. But while you and I fret over these apocalyptic scenarios, the super-rich are planning their survival. Even as the nation suffers a coast-to-coast housing crisis, they are investing in “safe” places to live.

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Obnoxious: Trump's Troops Invade Blue L.A. County Political Gatherings

When I read that some right-wing agitators had gone to Cudahy to disrupt a city council meeting, I thought, “Why?” What’s the point of going to a public meeting in the second smallest city in Los Angeles County to create a nasty scene? But after reading a June Capital & Main piece by Robin Urevich, I realized these people chose Cudahy precisely because the town is small, Latino and a self-proclaimed “sanctuary city.” The hecklers have also attended other council meetings in the area.

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The Virtual Couch: Is Online Therapy Going Viral?

The following is published by Capital and Main in conjunction with Fast Company. 

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Trouble in California Eden: A Divided Marin County Community Gets a New Charter School

On a recent idyllic Marin County afternoon, Manor Elementary School PTA President Heather Bennett sat on her outdoor deck and related the newest incident to inflame the Ross Valley public school community.

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Tax Blues: April Can Truly Be the Cruelest Month

Tax time is nerve-wracking enough for people with good-paying jobs, but for low-income taxpayers April can be loaded with additional traps, making it the cruelest month indeed. Many low-to-moderate income people eligible for Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) file early in January in expectation of the usual 21-day turnaround for a refund check. The money helps fill in gaps, pay a few bills and may be the largest lump sum the recipient gets all year.

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Electric Car Workers Accuse Tesla of Low Pay and Intimidation

Along Silicon Valley’s interlocking freeways, low-slung tech offices with obscure names like Way.com or Oorja are populated by fresh-faced technologists in badges and pleated slacks, striving to create the next great app. But off the I-880 in Fremont, a white colossus rises from the landscape, a 5.3- million-square-foot monster that stretches across two interchanges. The gray lettering is a full story high: TESLA.

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Tom Steyer Takes the Gloves off in Fight Against Trump

Tom Steyer and Donald Trump were both born in Manhattan, and both went on to legendary success in the business world. And that’s about where the similarities end. Indeed, in the respective realms of American billionaires and U.S. politics, Steyer and Trump virtually define the opposite poles.

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How Betsy Devos Burned Michigan Republicans in Pursuit of Her Charter School Crusade

With Senate confirmation of Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos now hanging by the thread of a likely tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, one thing has become apparent: DeVos’ views on public education are well outside the mainstream of either party.

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State of Resistance: California in the Age of Trump

For the past two decades, California has been on the cutting edge of social and economic change in America. Now, with Donald Trump about to enter the Oval Office, the Golden State is poised to take on a new role: leader of the anti-Trump resistance.

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Conversations on Trump’s America: How Much Will Black Lives Matter Now?

Roosevelt Institute Fellow, MSNBC pundit, Columbia University professor, author (the upcoming The Three Faces of Unions) – Dorian Warren is or has been all these things, along with chairing the Center for Community Change, and serving as Research Associate at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies. Often called to television roundtables and policy conferences to speak about race, economic inequality and labor, Warren talked to Capital & Main last week on the coming Trump years.

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Debacle: How a Promising Charter School Failed

In 2014, when teachers at Los Angeles’ Jefferson High School opened their own charter school, the Student Empowerment Academy, they hoped to bring the larger world into their classrooms. They wanted to show kids opportunities outside of their neighborhood, where academics often took a back seat to economic survival. Kids would learn science, math and social studies by solving real-world problems in teams, just as they would in the work-force, while teachers would have autonomy and genuine decision-making authority.

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I Witnessed the Shocking Police Assault on the Protest Camp Fighting the Dakota Pipeline

In a remote, windswept corner of North Dakota, a seven-month standoff continues without an end in sight. Thirty miles south of Bismarck, where eroded buttes rise from grassland and corn fields, the Oceti Sakowin camp appears along the winding girth of the Missouri River. Here, a story of protection, protest and cultural conflict unfolds against the desolate prairie.

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Trumping Pot: Will State Legalization Laws Survive?

Last Wednesday the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based drug-reform nonprofit, held a media conference call meant to celebrate a successful election night. Voters in eight states had legalized cannabis for recreational purposes; in several more states ballot measures cleared the way for marijuana’s medical use. In California, where Proposition 64 passed with 56 percent of the electorate, voters had not only legalized marijuana but, in the words of the organization’s California State Director, Lynne Lyman, “eliminated nearly every marijuana violation on the books.”

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Big Pharma Is Pouring Millions into a Campaign to Prevent a Progressive Initiative from Happening

There is a fiercely fought and extremely expensive political battle raging in California over the passage of Proposition 61, an initiative that’s intended to lower pharmaceutical prices paid by the state. The November ballot measure’s official name is the California Drug Price Relief Act, although its opponents call it the “Deceptive Rx Proposition.”

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