Full Video: Injured Iraq Vet at Obama Rally

By popular demand I am posting the entire, raw 2min 50sec interview I conducted with Pam Richardson at the Barack Obama 2008 rally yesterday in Los Angeles.

Richardson was one of several people I casually interviewed before the actual rally began — you can see my best of video here. Her story is unique because — despite being a 19-year U.S. Army veteran — she is not receiving full benefits. Why? Because, even though she lost her leg in Iraq, according to her story, the U.S. government has ruled it an accident and not a combat injury. She says she lost her leg when a tanker fell onto her tent.

There’s no question that veterans rights will — and should be — a MAJOR issue in the 2008 presidential campaign. We’ve heard the horror stories and we’ve heard about the chronically injured and their families being literally left to fend for themselves by the government.

Now, a full-fledged scandal at Walter Reed is being probed. AmericaBlog has a close watch on this (see the right sidebar) and there’s more via Technorati.

Watch the 4-minute, edited video from the Barack Obama rally below:
Continue reading “Full Video: Injured Iraq Vet at Obama Rally”

Bobby Conn, King

I’ve been actively posting elsewhere — check my recent posts at LAist here, here, and here to see what was shakin over the weekend. bobby conn

Meanwhile — I just got Bobby Conn’s latest in the mail from Thrill Jockey, and it’s his best. It stays in the same vein, of the miraculous and unique Freddie Mercury-cum-Weather Report overridden with Chicago-crossed falsetto dream-funk. Very hard to pick one track from this record as it is the most serial of all of his records — a listen-through-all-the-way type. By the end, he proclaims “(I’m Through With) My Ego.” As if. For all you “Winners” out there, you’ll surely dig “Love Don’t Let Me Down.”

See the legend — er, I mean, King — for yourself via YouTube.

Villaraigosa Pledges CityWide Wi-Fi in 2 Years

villaraigosa wireless municipal los angeles

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today declared “the start of Los Angeles version 2.0,” announcing a plan to roll out what would be the largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the country.

Bidding for the project may begin as soon as this fall with a target of mid-late 2008 construction and early 2009 completion. It could cost up to $60 million to cover Los Angeles’ 470 square miles, city IT assistant general manager Mark Wolf told the Times, which, by my calculation, amounts to around $15 or so per capita (few, if any, tax dollars will likely be involved).

Municipal WiFi is a no-brainer for Los Angeles, with an economy bolstered by a tech and entertainment industry that will no doubt be gratefully attracted to such a system, while bridging the digital divide. “On a practical level, this means providing integral, high-speed solution for entertainment companies to juggle simultaneous projects in real-time at lower cost with reliable teleconferencing, for example,” said Villaraigosa.

Philadelphia’s mu-fi project appears to be going well after a slow start ($21.95/mo or $9.95 and Houston today became the largest city to sign on a carrier (Earthlink).

SF announced their wifi ambitions in 2004 and its still not certain when it will be fully operational — perhaps the way will have been paved for LA by ’09.

Read the full presser at MuniWireless. More at LAist.

Other LA metro wifi spots live and/or in development include:

* Culver City (the first in the LA metro)
* 17 wireless access points along the promenade, at city hall and by the end of May, Santa Monica Pier and the civic auditorium.
* 1 square mile +/- of wifi in Downtown Burbank (via Qwest DSL and access points aimed at a large hillside satellite)
* West Hollywood Public Wifi — along Santa Monica Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea.
* Anaheim (right now at $21.95/mo. – similar to PHilly except not sure if it has the lower-rate plans)
* Newport and Laguna Beach Harbors (up to a few miles out at sea)

Further reading:

* Ars Technica on the pros and cons of muni wifi.
* Worldchanging on the politics of municipal wireless.
* Muni Wifi notes and legislation.
*
Free Press — Community Internet.

photo by Eric Richardson via flickr.

Time to Reinvent the Local Media?

It can’t be easy to be James Rainey, the L.A. Times meta/media-critic, who writes from the bunker on Spring Street. Today at USC Annenberg he said that despite the fact that the Times covers hardly any of the 88 cities in the county, the news in L.A. just doesn’t happen without the Times, as everyone, bloggers included just rip and read. Surprisingly — nobody stepped up to disagree to this demonstrably wrong sentiment.

A couple people defended mentioning LAObserved, one said a bunch of the hyperlocal blogs such as Gothamist (or LAist, to which I’m a contributor) as offering fresh and uncribbed content.

The nugget was his offbeat comment that the inside word from a Times researcher — not a scare tactic — is that in 3 years the newspaper’s profit would sink to ZERO. This cynicism from an actual staff writer on media? I guess the Internet really is killing newspapers then, or something, eh?

Rainey added that it’s regretful that the Times is pressured to appease Wall Street and therefore can only focus on short-term fixes as opposed to advanced content development and dedicated Web innovation. But this says nothing about how they blew a chance for major traffic this week when they mis-posted the Schwarzenegger audio (their Political Muscle blog was quick with the transcripts, but good luck finding the 20 or so blogs via the latimes.com homepage), or why when I check LAT on my cellphone in the middle of the night it still says USC leads UCLA at half when the game has been over for hours. Where’s the “quick fix” there?

Where’s some non-corporate skepticism from the likes of a Tim Rutten when you need it, as opposed to the extended bullhorn of the man — complacent in supposedly being the only real news source in town.

Elsewhere in broke and struggling Tribune Company news: Q4 Profits up 80% on same quarter last year. Fools. I don’t get it. Let’s take over!