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Voter registration soars in California

September 21, 2008|Patrick McGreevy; Carolyn Kellogg; Peter Viles; Pete Thomas


California voters are mad and they're going to vent their frustrations on Nov. 4, Election Day. That's the gist of a report released by the Public Policy Institute of California, which found only 23% of Californians say that they trust the federal government to do what is right always or most of the time.

"They are fed up with government that they cannot trust and leaders who do not lead," said Mark Baldassare, president of the institute. "But contrary to the conventional wisdom that disgruntled voters stay home on Election Day, Californians have been registering and voting in record numbers."

At the state level, where the governor and Legislature have argued over a budget for more than two months, the group noted that 1 in 4 Californians in a May survey said they approved of the job the state Legislature was doing.

The institute said one pet peeve of voters is the amount of partisanship in the state. In fact, the number of decline-to-state voters increased from 1.3 million in 1992 to 3 million in early 2008, the report found.

-- Patrick McGreevy

From L.A. Now: Southern California -- this just in

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Feel free to play with your food

Do you like to play with your food? Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns, the authors of "The Hungry Scientist Handbook," do. In the book, they bring their love of technology into the kitchen and share simple DIY instructions for light-up lollipops, pomegranate wine and more.

Many of the projects in the book, which were inspired by group dinners near San Francisco, began with questions. Can you fold up wonton wrappers like origami paper? Yes: the book has complete instructions for making the crane croutons in the photo above. Could you create conductive frosting, so that a birthday cake could be decorated with LED lights instead of candles? After some icky false starts, they hit on a tasty recipe.

There are also construction projects: One, which requires some tools and skill, is building an oversize outdoor barbecue-like contraption called a hotbox. Just about anybody could make the portable camp stove from three cans of cheap beer (one needs to remain unopened, which is probably best for everyone).

This is not a kiddie book, as can be seen in the photos accompanying the first project: edible caramel lace lingerie. It's for grown-ups with a sense of fun, for people who think fizzy lemonade would be more zesty with dry ice -- the same kind of people who'd love to sip a dry ice martini (stirred, not shaken, because once it's added to the shaker the martinis begin "bubbling like crazy").

The thing about DIY manuals is that they begin to make you believe that you really could do any of this yourself. Me, I'm wondering if there's a way to get dry ice into the martinis in people's hands, so they get to see the spectacular bubbling. Maybe dangle some in a tea infuser? Since there's a resource list in the back of "The Hungry Scientist Handbook," I'm halfway there -- I know where to find some edible dry ice.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

From Jacket Copy: Book news and information

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Saving AIG but not Lehman

If you're puzzled by the government's "eenie, meenie, miney, moe" bailout policy, this one's for you.

This is how blogger, economist and "Bailout Nation" author Barry Ritholtz explains who gets bailed out and who doesn't:

Lehman Brothers was like the little kid pulling the tail of a dog. You know the kid is going to get hurt eventually, and so no one is surprised when the dog turns around and bites the kid. But the kid only hurts himself, so no one really cares that much.

Bear Stearns is the little pyro -- the kid who was always playing with matches. He could harm not only himself, but burns his own house down, and indeed, he could have burned down the entire neighborhood. The Fed stepped in not to protect him, but the rest of the block.

AIG is the kid who accidentally stumbled into a bio-tech warfare lab . . . finds all these unlabeled vials, and heads out to the playground with a handful of them jammed into his pockets.

Thanks, Barry.

-- Peter Viles

From L.A. Land: The rapidly changing landscape of the Los Angeles real estate market and beyond

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Longboarding at center stage

Seeking an entertaining way to spend the weekend? Outposts suggests the Roxy Jam Cardiff, a longboard contest and beach festival through Sunday at Cardiff Reef just south of Encinitas.

The main event is the Linda Benson Women's World Longboard Pro. But there's also an amateur contest and a paddleboard race in a family setting that boasts food vendors, an art exhibit, yoga classes, live music and a board-shapers' raffle to benefit the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy.

The quality of surfing is superb and among the stars is Kassia Meador, fresh from a triumph at the recent Malibu Surfing Assn. Classic.

Winner of the pro event will be crowned the U.S. Regional Longboarding Champion and earn a spot in the prestigious Roxy Jam Biarritz Women's World Longboard Championships in France next July.

"We're thrilled to return to Cardiff again to celebrate the advancement of female longboarding," Randy Hild, executive vice president of marketing for Roxy, said in a news release. "The overwhelming community support for last year's event is a sign of how truly special this venue and tour are. We are proud to be a part of the longboarding tour and this fun-filled, family weekend."

A modest swell is running through the weekend, according to Surfline. The event runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

-- Pete Thomas

From Outposts: Hike, surf, fish and get outdoors in Southern California

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