Sunday, December 17, 2017

FABLE: Two Ducks and the Fox




Once there were two ducks that always walked along the same road each day to go to the pond. As they went along, one of the ducks quacked to the other, " Why don't we go on a different path today. There are lots of other roads that lead to the pond?"

      "No, no, no. I have always gone this way and I am not about to change my ways," said the biggest duck.

      As the ducks walked along they came upon a very sly fox. "Hello ladies, how are you doing?"

      "Oh we are just on our way to the pond." The ducks continued to waddled quickly to the pond.

      The next day the duck that had wanted to go to the pond another way said, "Please, lets go the other way. If we go the same way that fox will surely eat us."

      "Oh don't be such a worry wart," snapped the biggest duck.

      So they both had gone the same way that they always had, and there was the fox waiting for them with a sack in his paw. As soon as the ducks walked by the fox pounced on them. The ducks ran screaming back to their house.


      The next day the ducks took another road to the pond because they were both still in shock over what the fox did to them the day before.

Moral: Sometimes it is best to change your ways

L.A. Is Creating Traffic Jams to Push Commuters to Ride Bikes and Rail



Coming soon to a city near you: the misguided movement to force you out of your car and onto a bike or trolley.
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THE WAR ON SEX IS OUT OF CONTROL


THE WAR ON SEX IS OUT OF CONTROL




BRENDAN O’NEILL
EDITOR


The #MeToo neo-puritans are a menace to human life.




4 DECEMBER 2017

337 COMMENTS
433





So now even kissing under the mistletoe is rape. Unless you ask the target of your boozy Christmas peck to sign a contract in advance, I guess, clearly stating that he or she consents to having some part of their face intruded upon by your lips for 2.4 seconds at the office party.

This is according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which yesterday tweeted: ‘If you bump into that special someone under the mistletoe tonight, remember that without consent it is rape #SeasonsGreetings.’ It’s hard to know what’s worse: that the PSNI doesn’t know what rape is, or its use of that passive-aggressive ‘Seasons Greetings’ hashtag. Translation: ‘Have fun tonight, everyone, but remember we will arrest you if you partake in the age-old flirty tradition of trying it on after one too many plastic cups of cheap plonk.’

The PSNI is getting it in the neck for its miserabilist, joy-destroying, authoritarian warning to the populace. It has ‘prompted fury’, says the Daily Mail. Tweeters have ripped the mick out of the kissphobic cops. ‘Are people having sex under the mistletoe now?’, quipped one, handily reminding the police what rape involves.

This is good. The PSNI deserves this virtual mauling. But let’s not kid ourselves that its wacko tweet was a one-off or even particularly unusual. On the contrary, it is in keeping with the now mainstream moral panic about ‘rape culture’ and the slow but sure criminalisation of sex, or at least of the things that make sex fun: passion, chance, taking a risk, making a move. Sex is in dire crisis. It’s being crushed under the jackboot of a new misanthropy that views any spontaneous, uncontracted interaction between adults with dread. We might have to refight the battle for sexual liberation.

It was fun while it lasted, sex. Kicking off in 1963 – in the view of Philip Larkinanyway – it granted men and women a zone of life that wasn’t subject to the same dead, cold rules of work or public life, but rather where caution could be ignored, passions engaged, and chances taken.


Not anymore. Sex is being turned into a suspicious act requiring a battery of rules and minute policing by an army of sexless officials, relationships experts, and feminists who have somehow gone from celebrating the sexual liberation of women to fuming over men who touch a woman’s knee when I guess they should be writing to said woman’s equerry to inquire into the feasibility of touching her knee on an agreed date for an agreed length of time.


Everywhere you look, a new prudishness is taking hold. Campaigners raged against Page 3 with far more zeal than Mary Whitehouse ever did. Lads’ mags are shoved into black bags lest their bikini-clad babes offend magazine browsers. Trigger warnings are added to classic texts that mention dodgy sex. Student officials have made sexual-consent classes compulsory for freshers, where they lecture them about the importance of getting verbal, non-inebriated consent for every stage of a sexual encounter, as if fucking were the same as making a business deal. (And as if 18-year-olds aren’t going to get blotto before sex. What planet do these people live on?)

Then there’s the #MeToo hysteria, which every day reveals its sexphobic streak, its McCarthyite instinct to purge from public life all those who are not perfectly au fait with PC speech codes, the new view of flirting as an ugly 20th-century thing we enlightened people have grown out of, and the treatment of sex as akin to a bank transaction in which every move and smooch and grope must be accompanied by at least a verbal contract of agreement.

In the #MeToo moral panic, perfectly normal behaviour is being rebranded as ‘predatory’. In Britain, the journalists Jane Merrick and Kate Maltby – actual adults – made the headlines when they revealed politicians had tried to kiss them or ‘fleetingly’ touched a knee. That is, someone made a pass at them. That’s now rapey behaviour. Were these women raised in a nunnery? That newspaper editors said to them ‘Give us all the juicy details’ instead of ‘Oh, get a life’ tells you everything you need to know about the transformation of sex into a crime, or at least a scandal.

Two journalists, Rupert Myers and Sam Kriss, were hounded out of the British media over what were in essence bad dates. Myers stands accused of saying to a woman he had a drink with ‘I want to fuck you’, while Kriss kissed a woman and bought her wine and invited her back to his house for sex. Hold the front page. It is a frankly terrifying climate in which such standard sexual fare can come to be discussed as sinister proof of the spread of a ‘rape culture’. And we wonder why police forces warn against snogging under the mistletoe. It’s because even non-criminal sexual advances are now talked about as offences against decency and female integrity.

It’s just as scary in the US. John Lasseter, head of Pixar, has taken a six-month leave of absence over ‘unwanted hugs’. Seriously. When will we recognise that a moral crusade that sweeps up even men who like a hug is a demented thing? One of the things that led to radio presenter Garrison Keillor losing his job – more than that, his life’s work – involved him accidentally putting his hand on a woman’s bare back. He went to comfort her after she told him she was unhappy, but he didn’t realise she was wearing a loose shirt, meaning his friendly gesture engaged her bare skin. He apologised. She accepted. But no matter: in the mad new war on human interaction, even a friendly male hand on a woman’s back is tantamount to a sex crime (never mind puckering up under the mistletoe).

That particular Keillor incident is really sad. For if we accept his account – which we shouldn’t, I know, because he has a penis, which means he’s a liar – then this instance of ‘predatory’ behaviour was in truth an act of warmth; a touch that had a human impulse, not a foul one. And yet it’s now lumped together with all sorts of behaviour, from the genuinely criminal to the flirty or friendly, under the dread title of ‘unwanted advance’ or ‘unwanted touch’ or ‘unwanted hug’. ‘Unwanted’. That’s the big word in all this stuff. And it captures perfectly how the new officious misanthropy views everyday human engagement as suspicious and twisted.

‘Unwanted’ – what this really means is unplanned, uncontracted, spontaneous, sparky, human. What the new moral panics really have in their sights is those free, casual forms of human connection, whether friendly or sexual, warm or debauched, that take place outside of the purview of the obsessive rule-makers of 21st-century public life. But here’s the thing: how are people supposed to know if their friendly arm around a shoulder or the offer of a drink or even the statement ‘I want to fuck you’ is wanted or unwanted until they have done it?

That’s the thing about human life: you take risks, physical risks and emotional risks, and some work out and others don’t. To freeze these engagements, to criminalise or demonise them, to encourage everyone to say ‘May I comfort you?’ or ‘May I now move to second base?’, instead of simply doing these things and dealing with the consequences, is to drain everyday life of the thing that makes it meaningful, or nice, or fun. It would intensify anomie, make workplaces even more soulless than they often already are, and make sexual experimentation history. The war on sex is a new species of anti-humanism.



So we have to rebel. And perhaps we should start by kissing under the mistletoe. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party views the ‘sex instinct’ with disgust while a Junior Anti-Sex League polices flirting and touching. And in such a sexphobic climate, ‘the sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion’. Today, you don’t even have to go that far; today, we’re so messed up about sex and love and warmth and touch that even to hold mistletoe over a drunk colleague’s head and plant a smacker on his or her cheek is rebellion. So do it. Rebel. Be human.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

CASA Meeting Dec 13, 2017 375 Beale St S F



CASA is the most powerful government committees that you have never heard of.  It is a group of developers, politicians and NGOs that want to set housing policy for the entire Bay Area region of Governments (101 cities and towns).  They do not videotape their meetings. A private citizen, Ken Burkowski of Emeryville has been videotaping meetings for several years and posts them at www.regional-video.com .

The Future of the Bay Area Housing CASA Committee-transparency and lack of middle class housing.

CASA is the most powerful government committees that you have never heard of. It is a group of developers, politicians and NGOs that want to set housing policy for the entire Bay Area region of Governments (101 cities and towns). They do not videotape their meetings. A private citizen, Ken Burkowski of Emeryville has been videotaping meetings for several years and posts them at www.regional-video.com .

Here is a clip of Zelda Bronstein addressing CASA for its lack of transparency.

Former ABAG economist Steven Levy complains about the lack of middle class housing.


I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that a "quiet coup" has seized our local government power in favor of an unelected regional body, developers and NGOs. We must stand up for our local communities
and democracy.

- Not only do they not videotape their meetings; as I noted, they don’t document their proceedings with minutes. There is an audiotape, but it’s not posted. You’ve have to ask MTC staff for a link. I think the meetings of the CASA Steering Committee are taped—check it out. But the Steering Committee doesn’t steer. And, if you watched Ken’s video of last Wedneday’s Technical Committee meeting, you know that the extent to which that entity is going to be allowed to provide advice is unclear. Zelda

Friday, December 15, 2017

Marinwood Park Tree Vandal exposed Before and After





Quietwood Dr. Homeowner illegally removes trees in Marinwood Park. Seen above is the satellite photo showing a lush canopy of trees appearing on Google Maps behind the house.



Trees have been clearcut and illegally removed in December 2017


Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager refuses to hold the vandal responsible because "she had no malicious intent".


A similar situation happened in McNears Park and the resident was charged with felony vandalism and threatened with civil action up to $80,000. See the story in the Marin IJ HERE.

Do you think we should allow residents to clearcut trees in Marinwood Park when it interfers with their view? Write the Marinwood CSD and Staff:

Bill Shea
IRVING SCHWARTZ  

 Izabela Perry
Jeff Naylor
Leah Kleinman-Green
Shane Demarta
Eric Dreikosen

Marinwood Fire Department: How To: $500 DIY Kitchen Remodel while waiting for Martha Stewart



The Marinwood Fire Department INSISTS they have a new "Martha Stewart Kitchen" makeover.  The original estimate cost was $5000 but rose to $100,000 quickly as demands for luxury appliances ($5000 oven,  $4500 Viking Range, Custom stone countertops) and Contractor's with ties to the Marinwood CSD and the Fire Service "competed for bids".   The Marinwood CSD altered the contract to "reduce costs" but still the bid was way out of budget range. One very generous resident offered to DONATE THE ENTIRE COST of the Kitchen up to $25,000.  The Marinwood CSD refused the gift.  Now the CSD is insisting on using special "government contractors" at 4 times the original bid cost when a VERY SERVICABLE kitchen can be done quickly for well under $25,000. 

It is absurd.

So, as a public service, I am posting this video for Marinwood CSD.  This is how REAL PEOPLE innovate when budgets are tight. It may contain a few ideas they can use to freshen up the kitchen while awaiting their "Martha Stewart Kitchen" to arrive.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Marinwood CSD December 2017 - A circus of lawsuits and huge waste of tax resources (again!)



Lawsuit settled with Marinwood Firefighters for $10k PLUS $107,000 in legal fees, Marinwood FD kitchen makeover gets sent out to bid AGAIN. CSD insists on a luxury kitchen makeover for $$$ (featuring $4500 gourmet range and granite countertops) when a simple remodel could be done for less than $25k. Arguments erupt when CSD president attacks public speakers.  Marinwood manager Eric Dreikosen avoids discussion of Miller landslide conflict and ignores illegal tree removal in Marinwood Park by resident.  Huge sums have been spent on legal fees in 2017 instead of providing for the district.  Why won't the CSD board will  hold manager accountable?   Secret CSD board committee to decide future of the Marinwood Fire Department, populated mostly by fire department personnel and people known to be big supporters of the fire department will decide the FATE of the Marinwood CSD.  The feckless CSD directors have Marinwood on a path to bankruptcy . It is already technically insolvent due to pension obligations but refuses to make fundamental changes that will put it on a path to financial sustainability.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Millennials in the Workforce



How My Parents’ Divorce Ruined Our Holidays And Family Life Forever

How My Parents’ Divorce Ruined Our Holidays And Family Life Forever

In the decades since my parents’ divorce and through the years of my marriage, I have learned no-fault divorce is one of the biggest lies of our culture.



By Anonymous
DECEMBER 12, 2017

December always reminds me how much I hate divorce. As the lights on the Christmas tree twinkle while we wrap presents, I am anxious about family gatherings and travel plans. Three decades ago, when my parents divorced, family Christmas gatherings became very complicated.

My parents’ divorce is the one that their generation was told to have. Like many others married in the 1970s, their marriage ended with a no-fault divorce. One of them wasn’t happy and felt the only way to solve that was not to be married anymore. In the name of fulfillment and contentment, our family broke apart.


Fast-forward 30 years, and you’ll find the children all thriving in adulthood and two parents who rebounded and eventually remarried. On the surface, it seems like we all lived happily ever after.

The media loves to feed these sort of lies to their audiences. For example, The New York Times runs terrible pro-divorce articles regularly; here’s a particularly disturbing one.
Pro-Divorce Arguments Are Built On Lies

The writers at The Times of London currently have a campaign trying to reformEngland’s divorce laws. They believe divorce should be easier to get than current legislation that requires “a married couple wishing to split up [to] show evidence of irretrievable breakdown in the form of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with consent or five years’ separation without consent.”

They propose instead: “Divorce, wherever possible, should simply be an acknowledgment that people have moved on. A marriage that lasts only ten years can still be deemed a success. It should be assumed that divorces are no one’s fault and that people need a simple, dignified, relatively fast way to split up, while also acknowledging that a partner who has sacrificed their career to look after children will need help to set up again.”

Pardon me while I roll my eyes. As our culture tries to negate the beautiful union of covenantal marriage, we look the other way from the hurts and hardships divorce creates.

In the decades since my parents’ divorce and through the years of my marriage, I have learned that no-fault divorce is one of the biggest lies our culture tries to get people to believe. In truth, “no-fault divorce is destroying women, children, and men. More precisely, divorce destroys marriage, and the destruction of marriage harms every party involved. The legality of no-fault divorce just makes it infinitely easier to hurt people. There are no two ways about it. No one comes out of a divorce a happier and more whole person.”

Divorce Is Never Just About the Couple


When a marriage ends, it doesn’t just affect the immediate family — the two people who are no longer spouses and their children. Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends all are part of a larger network of relationships divorce hurts and breaks. As the divorced couple begins new relationships separate from each other, the relationships become yet more complicated, especially for the children.

Navigating a divorced family was and is like walking through a field of landmines. I was supposed to call my stepdad Dad but by his first name when I was with my real dad. I also certainly was not to ever refer to my biological dad as my real dad in front of my stepdad — I mean Dad.

My dad (real, not step) also remarried a woman I was not supposed to talk about in front of my mom. My stepdad wanted me to call his parents Grandma and Grandpa, but they told me not to “because they were never really going to be my grandparents.” I have step- and half-siblings who are allowed to call my dad’s (step, not real) parents Grandmaand Grandpa because they are biological family. My step-siblings call my mom by her first name and call me their stepsister, but I was always expected to introduce them as my just my brothers and sisters. My half-siblings don’t want to hear anything about my real dad and my parents’ divorce.

Confused? So was I. I have a hard time keeping it all straight even now. As a child, I felt like I couldn’t explain to my friends who my family was because all of the titles and names were offensive to someone. Before I had even finished half of elementary school, the man called Dad living in my home had become a different person, and a different woman was living with my dad.

The way our extended familial relationships suffered due to the divorce might be some of the hardest consequences for me to understand. At my biological grandma’s funeral, my siblings and I were left out of the family pictures. We watched our cousins treated differently just because their parents had remained married. We stopped getting invited to family reunions. Today I’m a stranger to most of my relatives on my dad’s side because growing up I saw him so little and them even less.

When I was a child, anxiety loomed over visits with my dad. Both of my parents always loved me, but to have excitement to visit my dad was a judgment against my life with my mom, and to be happy to return home after a visit with dad was an indictment against him. Either way, I caused a parent grief. I was torn in two and couldn’t tell anyone how I felt. I coped by pretending whichever parent wasn’t present at the time didn’t exist.

My Story Is the Story of Children of Divorce


My story is just one experience, but Leila Miller interviewed 70 other adults whose parents divorced, and their stories are all similar to mine. She compiled their stories into a book called “Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak” to give what is “rarely offered: The actual words of those most affected by divorce, but who almost never get to speak for themselves.” Miller is an impartial person to offer this book, as her family’s marriages are still together.

Listening to Miller speak about what she gleaned from her interviews, I felt as if I was hearing my story told by other people. Miller found that “even inside the family, the children are not permitted to voice their real feelings. Love inside the family feels fragile: The kids have absorbed the message that people sometimes leave each other or get kicked out. They may view love as unreliable. Even if children could verbalize their feelings (which they can’t), they are afraid to risk losing their parents’ love. They don’t want to upset Mom or Dad.” Today I still have to fight the insecurities that creep into my heart.

I’ve never wished that my parents were back together, and I certainly wouldn’t want my parents’ second marriages to end. The divorce was always final for me; I just always wished I didn’t have divorced parents. I love my stepdad, stepmom, step-siblings, and half-siblings, all relationships I wouldn’t have if not for my parents’ divorce. I have a beautiful life. But there is this sadness that aches because I know we all have broken and scarred relationships because of divorce, and I can’t do anything about it.
My Parents’ Divorce Terrified Me for My Kids and Marriage

Since I married, I’ve prayed that my husband and I will grow old together; that we will be quick to forgive, slow to anger, and not keep a record of wrongs against each other. We are sinners who need to give and accept grace if we are going to pass on a legacy to our children of love and faithfulness in our marriage. I have no disillusionment that I am somehow above divorce. But may God save me — and my husband and children — from ever having to suffer on that road.
Everything good about it was ruined because it ended with that dreaded separation, just like all of the Christmases of my childhood I can remember.

I am terrified by the statistic that adults who come from divorced families are more likely to divorce than those whose parents remained married. Not surprisingly, both of my parents come from divorced homes. My mom once told me the two greatest hurts in her life are her divorce and her parents’ divorce.

The only time my dad ever spoke to me about the divorce was when he said it was the only regret of his life. It makes sense. He didn’t get to teach us how to drive, walk me down the aisle, and spend most holidays with his kids.

One December 26, my dad picked us up and told us how excited he was to celebrate Christmas with us. I remember feeling sad for my mom, who was standing at the door waving to us as we left. Looking back, I see how much effort my dad put into that day—the only day he came to see us that month—but it fell so flat.

We went to the movies, opened presents, and got to eat at least twice the number of desserts my mom would have allowed. When it was all done, we said goodbye to dad for four weeks. Everything good about it was ruined because it ended with that dreaded separation, just like all of the Christmases of my childhood I can remember.

The Divorce Never Really Ends the Suffering


I once thought the holidays would be easier when I had my own family. I didn’t know that grandparents would have expectations about when they got to see their grandkids. I didn’t know that Christmas would still be shuffling back and forth between my parents’ homes hoping not to upset anyone. I didn’t know that I’d have to explain to my children for many years why I have two sets of parents.

When my children were small, I thought all of the grandparents would like a photo calendar of the children for Christmas. I put together the best pictures from the first three years of their lives. When I flipped through the pages, I realized couldn’t give it to my parents. One of the pictures had my mom and stepdad in it. Another one had my real dad. Everyone would be offended. I kept the calendars, and a day later I bought everyone generic gift cards and a box of chocolates.

That Christmas I gave out lame presents that should have been something so much more personal and delightful, and I had to do it twice because that’s how a divorced family does Christmas. You pretend everything is jolly even though at every gathering some of your family are missing. You establish new traditions and memories that exclude some of the most important people in your life. And no one wants to know that even though you’re fine, you really think it stinks.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Will Marin become a two caste system too?

Will Marin become a two caste system too?


Playgrounds for Elites
The increasingly left-wing politics of leading U.S. cities clashes with the aspirations of middle-class residents.
By Joel Kotkin & Wendell Cox — December 12, 2017

Kill the Mortgage Interest Deduction Now!




The case against the mortgage interest deduction.  I don't have problems with it as long is it is a part of wholesale tax reform- such as the flat tax.  Just eliminating the deduction will give a HUGE tax hike for the average homeowner.  Short of massive tax reform, I think it is foolish to consider changing it.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Judge Halts Indiana Town's Cruel Attempt to Fine Residents Out of their Properties

Judge Halts Indiana Town's Cruel Attempt to Fine Residents Out of their Properties

Property owners were ordered to pay thousands for violations unless they agreed to sell to a redeveloper.

Pleasant RidgeInstitute for JusticeA judge in Indiana has stopped a city's nasty plot to make people sell their homes to a redeveloper or else face thousands of dollars of rapidly accumulating fines.
In Charlestown, Indiana, a community north of Louisville with a population of less than 8,000, the mayor and other city leaders have been trying to transfer ownership of private plots of land in the low-income neighborhood of Pleasant Ridge to a developer. This developer would then raze all the properties and build an entirely new neighborhood.
Charlestown did not take advantage of Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court decision that allows the government to transfer property to a private developer via eminent domain. That would have required the city to pay the property's current owners.
Instead, the city targeted Pleasant Ridge with ruthless code enforcement. Property owners were cited and fined hundreds of dollars for every individual violation. Unlike the usual practice in code enforcement, the owners were not given any grace period to correct the problems before the fines were levied: They were levied immediately and compounded daily until the problems were fixed. And even when the violations were fixed, the owners had to pay the fines. The only relief offered to them came if they agreed to sell their properties to the developer.
Once the developer bought and boarded up the homes, by contrast, the city refrained from citing it for code violations. Neighbors complained that the company's properties were overgrown and full of garbage and weeds, creating a public health risk. But the law wasn't being used to target public health risks; it was being used to target people who wouldn't sell.
In February, the libertarian attorneys of the Institute for Justice stepped in, representing several landowners and a neighborhood association. Yesterday, a circuit judge in Scott County sided with the institute and its clients. Judge Jason Mount ruled that Charlestown had violated its own code enforcement regulations in order to target Pleasant Ridge. He has ordered the city to give property owners the opportunity to appeal citations and a grace period to actually fix problems before the city is permitted to start levying fines.
In a release, Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Anthony Sanders took note of the victory and the judge's acknowledgment of the unfair enforcement:
Today's ruling unmasks the City of Charlestown's and developer John Neace's actions for what they are: a naked land grab, taking from the poor to give to the rich. With this injunction in place, the city either must force Mr. Neace's company to pay several million dollars in fines or waive the fines it has illegally and unconstitutionally issued against the residents of Pleasant Ridge.
That's two wins in less than a week for the lawyers at the Institute for Justice. That's good news for private property rights.
Read more about the case here

The Vampire Cure for Aging

The Vampire Cure for Aging

Watch out Millennials! Baby Boomers are out for blood.

Human blood enables vampires to remain physically attractive and mentally sharp according to ancient lore. But the anti-aging properties of blood may be more than a legend. Researchers at the biomedical startup Alkahest in California are actually running a small clinical trial that involves injecting human blood plasma from young people into dementia patients. The hope is that factors in the blood of young people will repair and rejuvenate ailing brains. It worked in mice, so maybe it will work in people.
Researchers associated with University of California, Berkeley, biologist Irina Conboy jumpstarted the hunt for youthful factors in blood with their work with mice involving heterochronic parabiosis. Heterochronic means differently aged and parabiosis means next to life. In their experiments the researchers basically sewed together young mice and old mice to see what would happen as their circulatory systems melded. They discovered that tissues in geezer mice were rejuvenated. Apparently, something in the blood of young mice stimulates the worn-out stem cells in old mice to start proliferating again to repair damaged tissues.
Stem cells are surrounded and supported by cells that regulate their activities and also respond to biochemical signals transported through the circulatory system. The support cells accumulate damage over time and lose their ability to nourish and protect the stem cells, which, in turn, lose their capacity for repair and replenishment of damaged tissues. In addition, factors found in the bloodstream also diminish the regenerative capacity of the stem cells.
Experiments on mice by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, and the Universities of California at Berkeley and San Francisco all find that young blood rejuvenates tissues and organs including muscles, liver, heart, and brain. Neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray heads up the Stanford Brain Rejuvenation Project and is the founder of Alkahest. In May, 2014, Wyss-Coray and his team reported in Nature Medicine that "exposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain aging at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level." Specifically, they found that factors in young blood restored function in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memories are consolidated. On the other hand, exposing young mice to old blood speeds up their decline. The researchers also found that it was not necessary to stitch old and young mice together. Injecting them with blood plasma was sufficient to elicit the effects.
NosferatuNosferatuThe finding that exposure to young blood improves brain function is what is behind Alkahest's clinical trial to see if infusing blood plasma from young people into patients suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease will improve their cognition. The company expects to enroll 18 patients in the coming trial, half of whom will receive infusions of human blood plasma donated by men under age 30 once weekly for four weeks. The other half will receive saline. The trial will chiefly focus on the safety of the treatment and compliance by participants. Additionally, researchers will compare both groups to see if those treated with blood plasma perform better on a number of tests for Alzheimer's disease and if changes suggestive of cognitive improvement can be identified in their brains. The trial ends in October 2015.
What factors in young blood are responsible for its rejuvenating effects? As it happens, Harvard University researchers Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin in May 2014 reported in two studies in Science that the protein growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF 11) alone rejuvenated the vascular systems, muscles, and brains of old mice. They injected GDF 11 into the brains of geezer mice and found the protein improved blood flow and jumpstarted the growth of neurons. It is an open question if GDF 11 fixes damaged stem cells or enables them to overcome biochemical stop signals after which they then proceed to repair aging damage.
In September 2014, Science noted that University of California, San Francisco's Peter Ganz and his colleagues have followed nearly 2,000 elderly heart patients for nine years. Their so far unpublished data indicates that lower levels of GDF11 in the blood predicted higher rates of heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, and overall mortality. The Harvard researchers expect to have GDF 11 in initial human clinical trials in three to five years.
The good news is that if GDF 11 and other anti-aging factors can be isolated from young blood and synthesized, we baby boomers can then avoid having to siphon blood plasma from Millennials in order to maintain our position as the most (self-)important generation in history.

They're leaving California for Las Vegas to find the middle-class life that eluded them

They're leaving California for Las Vegas to find the middle-class life that eluded them

By STEVE LOPEZ
DEC 03, 2017 | 7:00 AM
| LAS VEGAS


Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It’s close, it’s a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)


The rent steals so much of your paycheck, you might have to move back in with your parents, and half your life is spent staring at the rear end of the car in front of you.


You'd like to think it will get better, but when? All around you, young and old alike are saying goodbye to California.


"Best thing I could have done," said retiree Michael J. Van Essen, who was paying $1,160 for a one-bedroom apartment in Silver Lake until a year and a half ago. Then he bought a house with a creek behind it for $165,000 in Mason City, Iowa, and now pays $500 a month less on his mortgage than he did on his rent in Los Angeles.


Van Essen was one of the many readers who responded in October when I reached out to people who got sick and tired of the high cost of living in California. I heard from someone in Idaho and others who moved to Arizona and Nevada.





Solid recent data is hard to come by, but 2016 census figures showed an uptick in the number of people who fled Los Angeles and Orange counties for less expensive California locales, or they left the state altogether.


"If housing costs continue to rise, we should expect to see more people leaving high-cost areas," said Jed Kolko, an economist with UC Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation.


Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for those who leave California. It's close, it's a job center, and the cost of living is much cheaper, with plenty of brand-new houses going for between $200,000 and $300,000.


So I went to Sin City to see whether, when you add up all the pluses and minuses, there is life after California.


Cyndy Hernandez, a 30-year-old USC grad who grew up in Fontana, says the answer is yes, absolutely.


"It's easier to live here and have a comfortable lifestyle," said Hernandez, a community organizer with NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada.




Play VideoCyndy Hernandez, a 30-year-old USC grad who grew up in Fontana, moved to Las Vegas because of the cheaper housing costs.



I visited Hernandez in the two-bedroom, mountain-view "apartment-home" she shares with a roommate. Each pays $650 a month in a gated development with free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and cabana-shaded deck, fitness center, media room and complimentary beverages. It's like living at a resort.


Like other transplants I spoke to in Nevada, Herndandez didn't want to leave California. It's home. It's where she went to school and where her parents still live in the house she grew up in. But unless you choose a career that will pay you a small fortune to manage costs driven higher by a stubborn shortage of new housing, California is not a dream, it's a mirage.


Moving to get a better job or move up the workplace chain is nothing new. But what's going on here seems different — people leaving not for better jobs or pay, but because housing elsewhere is so much cheaper they can live the middle-class life that eludes them in California.


After college, Hernandez worked as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C., and then went to Chicago for a few years. But the West drew her back. Not California, but Nevada, where she worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in Las Vegas and then joined the staff of a state legislator in the state capital.


"I started looking at the bigger picture in Carson City, where I was able to pay the rent, have a car and a comfortable life and put some money into a 401(k)," Hernandez said. "Would I be able to do that in California? Probably not."


She moved to Las Vegas in June, enjoyed exploring the city beyond the Strip and made new friends, and her financial stress melted away in the desert sun. Now she's saving up for a house, which she doesn't think she would ever have been able to do in California.


Hernandez connected me with Arlene Angulo, 23, who grew up in Riverside, worked as a cast member at Disneyland, loved the L.A. culture and got her teaching credential at UC Riverside. She had her pick of two teaching jobs — one in the Los Angeles area and one in Las Vegas.


"L.A. would have been my first choice, and I didn't want to have to leave California," said Angulo, an English teacher who understands basic math. She knew that on a starting teacher's salary, "I couldn't afford to stay there."


In Summerlin, a Las Vegas suburb, Angulo and a roommate each pays $600 for a big three-bedroom apartment. Angulo is in graduate school at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while teaching by day, and said she's going to start saving up to buy a house in the area.


Jonas Peterson enjoyed the California lifestyle and trips to the beach while living in Valencia with his wife, a nurse, and their two young kids. But in 2013, he answered a call to head the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, and the family moved to Henderson, Nev.

Jonas Peterson, in front of a billboard promoting Las Vegas, moved to Henderson, Nev., with his family from Valencia. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )


"We doubled the size of our house and lowered our mortgage payment," said Peterson, whose wife is focusing on the kids now instead of her career.


Part of Peterson's job is to lure companies to Nevada, a state that runs on gaming money rather than tax dollars.


"There's no corporate income tax, no personal income tax...and the regulatory environment is much easier to work with," said Peterson.


Some companies have made the move from California, and others have set up satellites in Nevada. California, a world economic power, will survive the raids, and it will continue to draw people from other states and around the world. Its assets include cutting-edge tech and entertainment industries, major ports, great weather and dozens of first-rate universities.


But the Golden State is tarnished and ever-more divided by a crisis with no end in sight, and this year's legislative efforts to spawn more housing for working people lacked urgency and scale. Slowly, steadily, and somewhat indifferently, we are burdening, breaking and even exporting our middle class.


Breanna Rawding, 26, felt the squeeze. She grew up in Simi Valley and until recently worked in Anaheim as a marketing coordinator, but lived in Burbank because family friends let her stay in a tiny backyard cottage for just $400 a month.

Breanna Rawding, 26, manager of marketing communications of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, spends time with her dog Bodie in her apartment in Las Vegas. She moved from Burbank to escape a long commute. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )


Her commute, by car and train, took between 90 minutes and two hours each way. She wanted to move to the Platinum Triangle area, near her job, but scratched the idea when she saw that studio apartments were going for as much as $1,700.


Rawding endured the commute, as well as a long-distance relationship with a boyfriend who was raised in Torrance and went to UCLA, but lived in Las Vegas. There, he could afford a nice apartment on his teacher's salary, and he recently signed papers to buy a house in a new development.


"I didn't want to leave California. I love the weather, I love the outdoors, I love my family and friends," said Rawding, a Chapman University grad.


But in California she saw a future in which she'd be trapped, indefinitely, by high rents, ridiculous commutes, or some combination of the two.


"I saw articles about millennials leaving California because they were never going to be able to have houses they could afford," she said.


In June, everything changed for Rawding.


She got a marketing communications job with the Global Economic Alliance in Vegas and rented a lovely $900-a-month apartment that's so close to work, she goes home at lunch to let her dog Bodie out. And it's near her boyfriend's place.


Nevada's gain, our loss.


California, the place where anything was possible, has become the place where nothing is affordable.