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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Layne’

How Zócalo Public Square Got Its Start at ‘Snooty’ LA Gathering

Last week, we highlighted Ken Layne’s great remembrance piece for The Awl about humbly launching LAExaminer.com in 2001 and almost carrying over his pioneering news-blog efforts into print. Now, on the occasion of website Zócalo Public Square’s 10th anniversary, founder Gregory Rodriguez has shared an equally delightful trip down memory lane.

He explains that around the time Layne and Matt Welch were building out LAExaminer, he was happily working on his own stuff and only occasionally venturing out of the house to network. It was during one such rare 2002 sojourn that everything turned:

I wasn’t thinking about that [subconscious need for creative brethren] in 2002 when I accepted an invitation to attend a snooty LA gathering of writer types. I was honored to be a part of the mix, looking forward to some interesting conversations. Instead, a small, untoward comment would wind up shaking me out of my solitary life.

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Ken Layne Recalls the Enterprise Known as LAExaminer.com

Despite the Church of Scientology across the street, the pit bulls next door and a car that didn’t really work, Ken Layne insists his original home office set-up for LA’s defunct LAExaminer.com was “very pleasant.” That description also applies to his overall reminiscences for The Awl.

Layne says he was prompted to start the site and quickly rope in neighborhood pal Matt Welch by his daily dose of Romenesko. Later on, Richard Riordan would almost turn the blog into a weekly print publication, which would have been super cool:

The style was just the way we talked around endless pitchers at Ye Rustic Inn up the street on Hillhurst, full of moral certainty and outrage and cheap jokes — it’s what is widely practiced and critically dismissed as “snark” today, although we never had any interest in celebrities. The dreary mayor James Hahn and the pompous columnists at the terrible Los Angeles Times were regular topics, as was boosterism about the Lakers, public transportation and the eastside neighborhoods in general. We were reflexively opposed to the bland wealthy valet parking lot of the Westside.

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Wonkette Pulls Post Mocking Trig Palin after Advertisers Boycott Site

On Monday, Jack Stuef at Wonkette wrote a post where he poked fun at a poem that had been posted by “Team Sarah” for Sarah Palin‘s son Trig Palin’s birthday, with the refrain: “Oh little boy, what are you dreaming about?”

Stuef wrote: “What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.” Trig Palin has Down syndrome.

We don’t quite know where to begin with that one. Wonkette is known to be a colorful, biting blog, but we can’t imagine what the author, editor, or anyone part of the Wonkette crew who saw it go up on the site was thinking. Picking on a child with special needs, no matter what your intentions, is one sure-fire way to become universally reviled.

And retribution was swift. The post went wide among conservative blogs, and in about 36 hours, a campaign led by Big Journalism editor-in-chief Dana Loesch and Big Government writer Derek Hunter resulted in nine advertisers dropping Wonkette, including Papa Johns, Huggies, the Vanguard Group, Holland America Cruises, Nordstrom, Bob Evans Farms, Reliant Energy, DealSwarm, and Coldwell Banker. Whoa!

Wonkette editor Ken Layne told David Weigel at Slate that he had placed Stuef on probation, and Stuef himself put up the following apology:

UPDATE: I regret this post and using the word “retarded” in a reference to Sarah Palin’s child. It’s not nice, and is not necessary, but I take responsibility for writing it. For those who came and are offended by this post: I’m sorry, of course. But I stand by my criticism of Sarah Palin using her child as a political prop.

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Happy Tax Day or Don’t Flame Me Bro

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Protesting about government spending during war time used to be just for hippies. Change we can believe in.

Twitter just got nasty. Really nasty. It just became like the rest of the Internet.

Twitter has erupted because of the teabagging protests organized by Dick Armey. Oh dear. So many many dick jokes – so little time. Tax day has never been this much fun. And twitter has never been this fiery.

Here’s the twitter feed. Here’s Karl Frisch‘s column. Mike Huckabee says Dick Armey owes him an apology. Ken Layne blames Ron Paul here. And of course, Marc Cooper‘s opinion piece in LAT is pretty damn funny.

Burning Down The Houses…

43367367.jpgOver 100 homes in Montecito have been lost and thousands of acres burned in what is being called ‘The Tea House fire’ or the Tea Fire (depending on your source) because of the structure at the point of origin. Reporting for the LA Times is staffer Molly Hennessy-Fiske…who has yet to miss covering a fire in the Southland. Suspicious? Wasn’t Clark Kent always covering Super Man sightings?

Speaking of being on the scene, Wonkette editor Ken Layne writes about his experience on a vaca in Santa Barbara on LAist:

Mansions and compounds literally exploded as we creeped south on the 101. The Santa Barbara radio stations faded out. I switched to the L.A. news stations, 1070 and 980, both of which were inexplicably reporting that the estates owned by Oprah Winfrey and Rob Lowe were safe. Idiots.

Hello, that’s how we roll in LA, have to report the important stuff first.

And as always, Craig Smith has plenty about it. His beat is literally burning.

(Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Ken Layne on Ashley Todd-Gate

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We caught up with Wonkette‘s Ken Layne and asked him if he feels vindicated that Ashley Todd has now admitted to lying.

“Oh hell yes.” He told FBLA. “This isn’t the sad tale of some tragic loser who makes up a story to get attention or whatever. This evil little troll made a cold, calculated effort to give Pennsylvania to her candidate and her party leader, John McCain, with a foul racist fantasy deliberately constructed to horrify white people who had slowly been won over by Barack Obama. I hope she lives a hundred years and that nobody ever forgets her hideous stunt.”

Joe the Plumber, Sarah the Dink, John the Desperate and Ashley the Fabricator. Grand Old Party indeed.

New Angeles Magazine: How Far East?

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A new magazine devoted to the art and culture of LA’s Eastside, New Angeles Monthly, edited by Nikki Bazar, hits the newsstands and the web. In her editor’s note, she writes:

Almost as soon as we began, I discovered people have some pretty strong opinions about what constitutes the city’s “Eastside.” Where does the western boundary begin? Is it the L.A. River? Western Avenue? The 405 Freeway?

The debate continues here, and here, and here. Just for the record, the LA River is the dividing line, and no, it’s not a fluid border.

Ken Layne interviews Mike Davis, but alas, no tornado questions.

In the same issue, Maxwell Harwitt writes about on CRA’s plan for a walkable South LA and Michael Saltzman on Grand Performances new season of music.

LAT in 90

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Santa Monica already has the nuts.
Santa Monica tries again to control the squirrels–birth control shots. Of course, the shots can cost up to 10 bucks each, and don’t start working for three months. Maybe the city should try abstinence-only sex ed for squirrels.

Beckham bends it the wrong way.
David Beckham injured his right knee in Madrid. Does he have to use the National Health Service in the UK? The Brits think his career is over anyway.

Beowulf on ice.

Tow-away zone.
Ken Layne, Wonkette’s West Coast editor, has an op-ed about parking in Los Angeles or rather not parking in Los Angeles.

Get back Loretta!
Rep. Loretta Sanchez gave an interview while stripping down to bra and panties. Allegedly, if she was a guy, she’d be taken more seriously.

Kids say the darndest things.
In New York, people use the “N-word”, according to Erika Hayasaki. Soon to be a 7-part series.