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Sunday, June 05, 2005

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jim hitchcock

Just watched Hotel Rwanda last night myself. A more personal story than `Sometimes in April', which was a more damning indictment of the Clinton administration. Couldn't really pick between the two...you have to see them both. But Cheadle was amazing.

Another damned area code. Crap.

Mark A. York

I share your area code albeit higher up in elevation geographically. Who wil solve our problems then? A third party? The national Democrats have better ideas in my book. I'm open to suggestions.

Randy Paul

Speaking of genocide, here's what the president said last week about going after the genocidaires in Sudan

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/02/politics/02prexy.html?ex=1275364800&en=1304b754ffc41e04&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

"If the word 'genocide' was on Mr. Bush's mind, it may be because he had dinner on Tuesday at Mr. Powell's home in Virginia. But Mr. Mbeki sat in silence when Mr. Bush used the term, refusing to declare that the Sudanese government was responsible for the killings in the region.

"'It might be fine for some in the United States to make all kinds of statements,' he said later. 'If you denounce Sudan as genocidal, what next? Don't you have to arrest the president? The solution doesn't lie in making radical solutions - not for us in Africa.'"

Prosecuting people for genocide is radical?!? Telford taylor and Lord Shawcross must be like whirligigs in their graves.

I will not defend Bill Clinton in any way shape or form on Rwanda (or Ricky Lee Rector and a number of other subjects), but with the historical memory of Rwanda still fresh in our minds, for the president to make a statement like that is abominable.

Dan Ostlund

We need someone with the pluck to stand up to the established party interests--like a Theodore Roosevelt without the impulse for imperial charges up Kettle Hill. A maverick reformer less worried about re-election and more worried about the fate and future of the country would be nice. Any such mercurial figure is always a roll of the dice, but what, really, are we risking? Jesse Ventura was elected in Minnesota not because of his celebrity, such as it was (or was not), but because he did not talk like a politician. It was a refreshing break from the couched, careful, vacillating, empty elocution we get all the time. Now, if his skin had been slightly thicker than an egg shell's he might have been a very good Governor.

And you're right, the parties are not the same--excepting the similarity in suckage. I wonder if it's time for Gore Vidal's suggestion that we have another constitutional convention. Again, what do we have to lose? Hanging on to the one we have has become nearly as quaint as hanging desperately on to an area code.

Steve Smith

"Wrong side of the Santa Monica Mountains"?

I really don't see you as a self-hating Val. Embrace your culture.

Rwanda is the blackest mark on the Clinton legacy, and for anyone to rationalize his inaction is an insult to history. But I wonder if the Clinton Haters were caught up in the same emphasis on triviality as the 310'ers. Spending more than a year on whether Elvis' relationship with an intern violated a law wasn't just a waste of time and money; it was an insult by the Clinton Haters directed at the American people for electing someone they thought unsuitable for high office. If they had spent as much time holding the President accountable for his inaction on Rwanda, millions of lives might have been saved.

tim

Thank you for reminding us that Clinton was a brilliant politician, as proven by the continued fealty to his clan by people who should know better despite his loathesome politics, of which Rwanda was the worst example.

Speaking of the Rwanda film, has anyone noticed that treatments of genocide tend heavily toward the 1 in a million case where people actually escaped? (Schindler's list being the other that comes to mind.) I wonder if on some level these films appeal to our unconscious need to think that, somehow, WE would have managed to avoid the fate of everyone else belonging to our ethnic group. Which is not to say they're bad movies, just that maybe the reality is too awful even to contemplate from the safe distance of a movie screen.

Jim Rockford

Well, for better or worse Bush (according to the LAT today) has decided on Democracy Promotion where he can, including Egypt. THAT is remarkable and something no other Administration has EVER done. His Admin has even made the argument that trading stability for security gets you neither. THAT is also remarkable. I can't imagine anyone in the Republican Party making that argument in my lifetime before.

Naturally, State and CIA are pushing back on this, because they depend on stability for advancement and bureaucratic interests (CIA gets most of its human intel from foreign intel services, State requires friendly despots to go along with them). Europe, China, and most NGOs also oppose the Democracy promotion. As do, naturally, Dems.

One thing Bush has done IMHO is he's changed the tone; and swapped Parties. It would be very hard I'd argue for another Republican Administration to support a guy like Pinochet, just because he's "stable." When he sets High School kids on fire. On the other hand, the Dems seem poised to make just that argument, that guys like Pinochet should be supported cause they bring "stability."

Frankly, we also need to look at countries and regions around the genocidal area and assign blame. Mbeki is too willing to court Arab nations and their oil money to speak out against Genocide. But what do you expect from an idiot who thinks AIDS is caused by "spores" or will do nothing about the South African "cure" for AIDS by raping virgins? Arab leaders, notably Mubarak, have also been silent or even DEFENDING Sudan, even when fellow (African) Muslims are being slaughtered.

The lesson is that only the US matters in stopping genocide, everyone else is useless or unwilling to even name it; and Amnesty International in particular is a joke, more concerned about some pee accidentally landing on a terrorist's Koran than real people being slaughtered.

If Mbeki or Mubarak or other Arab and African leaders were willing to end this genocide they themselves could stop it. But they are as guilty as everyone else in just standing around and making excuses. They won't even go as far as Bush will in calling evil by it's name. Shame on them.

Bush is right, btw, to refuse Brown's effort to take tax money from poor and middle class people from rich countries and give it to rich people in very poor countries. None of the money will help anyone and just entrench the corrupt strongmen like Mbeki, or Mugabe, or Taylor, and people like them.

Clinton? He took huge risks in his private life for which there was no payoff; in public life he was risk-avoiding. Bush is the reverse, at least his huge risks in public policy have potential (you can argue about the odds) payoffs to go with his gambling. Rwanda was part of that.

Randy Paul

"It would be very hard I'd argue for another Republican Administration to support a guy like Pinochet, just because he's 'stable.' When he sets High School kids on fire. On the other hand, the Dems seem poised to make just that argument, that guys like Pinochet should be supported cause they bring "stability.'"

Cluelessness, thy name is Jim Rockford:

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2005/06/05/uzbek_crackdown_puts_us_in_quandary/

"The United States is negotiating long-term use of a major military base in Uzbekistan to expand the global reach of American forces, despite a brutal government crackdown on protests there last month, Bush administration officials said.

"The talks have gone on behind the scenes for several months but have become more awkward for the administration since last month's unrest, which produced the heaviest bloodshed since the Central Asian country left the Soviet Union in 1991. Human rights advocates argue that a new pact would undermine the administration's goal of spreading democracy in the Islamic world."

"The lesson is that only the US matters in stopping genocide, everyone else is useless or unwilling to even name it; and Amnesty International in particular is a joke, more concerned about some pee accidentally landing on a terrorist's Koran than real people being slaughtered."

Not a shred of proof behind that statement whatsoever. Did you even make an effort? Here's AI's page on Darfur:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/sudan/index.do

Do you even bother to do a modicum of research before you make a sweeping accusation? Here's something you might want to consider:

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050507/COLUMNIST24/505070342

"The same sentiment was relayed in March when Sen. Jon S. Corzine (D., N.J.) - cosponsor of the Darfur Accountability Act with Sen. Sam Brownback (R., Kan.) - spoke about Darfur on the Senate floor.

" 'Never again' is the rallying cry for all who believe that mankind must speak out against genocide,' he said. 'Man's horrific treatment of his fellow man cannot be tolerated. We have no right to stand by while human life is being taken.'"

And the president's response:

"Although the Bush Administration planned during the next two years to spend nearly $1.8 billion for reconstruction, development, and humanitarian aid in Sudan, it has had little regard for the bipartisan Darfur Accountability Act."

"The bipartisan measure had passed the Senate but did not survive as an amendment in the final version of the Iraq-Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriations bill Tuesday night. House Republicans and the White House opposed the bill, which would have mandated freezing assets and sanctions against those responsible for the genocide."

"An April 30 edition of the Mail and Guardian, Africa's first online newspaper, helps explain Washington's tepid response to calls for decisive action in Sudan, when it reported 'Sudan's Islamist regime, once shunned by Washington for providing a haven for Osama bin Laden as well as for human rights abuses during decades of civil war, has become an ally in the Bush Administration's 'war on terror.' Only months after the U.S. accused Kartoum of carrying out genocide in Darfur, Sudan has become a crucial intelligence asset to the CIA. In the Middle East and Africa, Sudan's agents have penetrated networks that would not normally be accessible to America, one former U.S. intelligence official told the Guardian.'"

Sounds to me like you're using a drip IV for all the Kool-Aid you're drinking.

Woody

Clinton did not take on many issues that might create tensions and hurt his popularity. He just went with the flow. His popularity was of higher concern than the lives and persecutions of many.

The area codes in Atlanta are 404 for inside the perimeter, 770 for outside, and 678 for everyone who wasn't here when the first split took place. Each code does give a hint about the people with them. I'm 770. Dialing ten digits is a hassle, plus you have to re-program all your speed dials. (The best solution is to assign different numbers for cell phones and fax machines rather than splitting the area geographically.)

If you really want to raise the hair on the back of the necks of these people, propose renaming one of their main streets to ML King, Jr. Blvd.

jim hitchcock

Agree with the cell phone/fax argument...but, it's too late now.

One aggravating thing is that area codes were assigned in 10,000 number blocks to all the various phone and cell phone companies, with many numbers going unused by the smaller companies.

Randy Paul

917 in New York is exclusively for cell phones and beepers.

Josh Legere

Can you image what people think when I say 562? I mean, that is worse than 213. But as the TV show the OC has shown, nothing seems to be worse than 909.

The westside IS the problem. When you got 5000 homeless people on 4th street every night, you figure that would be an outrage. Not to the folks in Santa Monica.

What a bunch of shallow bunch of BoBo's.

Marc Cooper

Josh. consider urself lucky with a 562 area code. Could be worse... a 909. For those outside So Cal, 909 covers mostly San Bernardino and parts of Riverside County, chock full of lower-end housing developments (and some highends one as well). 909 is a laughing stock on local pinheaded AM talk radio. I think we must be only the culture that OPENLY makes fun of poor people. They are, after all, capital L Losers. Not big-time cigar-smokin' fart-emittin' capital W Winners like pill-addicted blowhards of the Limbaugh variety.

jim hitchcock

The 909 is to meth labs what 818 is to porn shoots...

Rich

Hey, fellow Angelenos, this is a fun discussion, but let's be honest here: the real issue is hardly one of prestigious vs. non-prestigious area codes, but rather home-owner vs. non-home-owner. Real estate haves vs. have-nots, and the end-result is either moving to the margins (Riverside--the beautiful 909!) or leaving the state altogether (see Arizona, and the Midwest). Purchasing even a simple townhouse or condo in these parts is, in 2005, well-nigh impossible for all but the upper-middle/upper class. Perhaps a real estate market "correction" will eventually scale this back (though not anytime soon, apparently), but it's looking rather like the Southland will crystallize as an incontrovertibly wealthy haven, regardless of your area code. I'm a 310...that is, 310 grad student apartment-dweller. Once school is done I have no choice but to head back to the Midwest if I wish to actually own real estate. So I think the 310 renters (or homeless Westside cell-phone owners!) would probably not think twice about switching their digs for, say, an 818 Woodland Hills half-mil home? Ahem **cough cough**, right Marc? ;)

Woody

Here's an idea for dealing with crime and poverty. It's a variation of something our local politicians did.

There was an old stretch of road known for its crime, prostitution, strip clubs, and bars. To give it a new image, the mayor and council changed the name of Stewart Avenue to Metropolitan Parkway. (Parkway of all things, for a two lane road expanded to a narrow four with no median and few trees.) Yep, that's all it did. Now, people no longer had the stigma of an address with Stewart Avenue.

So, the politicians in your area should just rearrange the area codes to give some of the 310 area codes to those people living in 909. That will take them out of the area with the bad area code and give them self-esteem.

green dem

I'm tempted to share a few stories about my growing up in LA and thereabouts involving sitting in the living room eating cheetos and doing my algebra homework and watching re-runs of morally upright and totally vapid sitcoms with one of my friends while his or her Hollywood executive father had some ridiculous and embarassing coke-addled melodrama in the next room with his near-naked mistress, but I'll refrain. That zip code episode of Seinfeld was awful funny though.

green dem

"For those outside So Cal, 909 covers mostly San Bernardino and parts of Riverside County, chock full of lower-end housing developments (and some highends one as well)."

Yes, although given another ten or fifteen years those "lower end" houses will be fetching a cool 800k a piece.

Josh Legere

Bingo on that one Marc.

It amazes me that FOX NETWORKS show "THE OC" popularized the 909 thing at a national level. On the show, the fictional Newport Beach rich kids often refer in a derogatory manner to Riverside and Chino.

The 909 is also mocked on teenybopper stations like KROQ as well. Not just AM.

Down in Orange County coastal communities like Huntington Beach (locals call it I.E. (inland empire) By The Sea); the locals want to practically put a moratorium on 909 "invaders." I actually witnessed a 17 year old kid get attacked in the water at Huntington Cliffs by a 35 year old thug (probably a trader by day) because he did not have the correct status in to be surfing (old wetsuit and surfboard). To this day I regret not smacking that SOB across the face for that one...

In Republican stronghold Newport Beach, residents had a big hub bub last summer about "those" people (a reference was also made to 'Mexican' folks) coming to the beaches and leaving trash.

But wait, Democrat David Geffen ALSO fought a war (and just lost) against the public (people that cannot afford gazillion dollar houses on Malibu) using the public beach in front of his absurd house.

So, within' the 2 wealthiest communities in SoCal, Orange County and the Westside, a culture of contempt for working class and poor people in the ghettos of LA and exurbs of the Inland Empire has become established chatter.

The West Side, rich Democrats... Orange County, rich Republicans. BOTH share a passive and aggressive contempt for working people infringing on their 'status.' They have co-opted both parties in order to fight a silly culture war.

Why can't working class and poor people talk about "class war" again? It seems that the wealthy are fighting one... And WINNING.


Marc Cooper

Rich.. very funny. A half million for a Woodland Hills home? You gotta be kidding. A condo maybe!

too many steves

I just love the fact that my cell phone number area code (978) appears to indicate that I am in the north shore area of Boston but, oftentimes, I am not! And if I move, say, to SoCal, people that I call will always think I'm somewhere else.

And how much longer until we all give up on telephone land lines anyway? Just before or after we cease reading paper versions of newspapers?

NeoDude

I'm (310), in the South Bay/Harbor Area (weather is heavenly, by the way, just a beautiful day...I LOVE L.A.!!!!) and it's a trip to see Westsiders get political over area codes...That Sienfeld episode, wasn't off, I guess.

Michael Crosby

I am going to pass on the political party debate but must comment on Don Cheadle.

He has done some just amazing work over the past dozen or so years, and thankfully is finally getting noticed. He was great in Bulworth (loved it) and Devil in the Blue Dress (liked it very much), but played a gangster in both. Not how I see Don Cheadle.

He had one scene in Boogie Nights that was priceless. Another character at one of the house parties asked Cheadle's dim porn star/stereo salesman character Buck to "watch the phone" while he tried to locate the person the call was for. You could see Cheadle in the background of the scene for about a minute just staring at the receiver, "watching the phone." I always thought he ad libbed that take, and it is hysterical once you notice it.

Cheadle is one of our very best actors, and he is just beginning to get roles that meet his ability.

rosedog

"So, the politicians in your area should just rearrange the area codes to give some of the 310 area codes to those people living in 909. That will take them out of the area with the bad area code and give them self-esteem."

I think Woody's suggestion above is, in fact, the perfect solution. If only SBC Communications had a better developed sense of humor…..or irony.

Hey, Green Dem, it sounds like your school-age years have given you more than enough raw material for a pleasantly trashy, best-selling novel or two. (Or you could go the Bret Easton Ellis route, and write trashy yet ultra-literary novels.)

Kevin

That whole business about area codes is absolutely bizarre. When the area code where I live changed from 415 to 650 some years ago, there was some small grumbling about businesses needing to get new stationery, but other than that, it was mostly a shrug.

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