Post image for ‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s County District Attorney has been distributing internet monitoring software that exposes users to the very predators, identity thieves, and bullies they claim the program protects children against, according to a story by Dave Maass posted at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog.

The free Computer Cop program featuring a photo of DA Bonnie Dumanis on the CD cover, “is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies,”according to Maass. His investigation found the program, usually branded with a department’s name,  is handed out by hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country with the promise that using it constitutes a “first step” in protecting children online.

In addition to advocating for parents protect their children by using the software via the county website, DA Bonnie Dumanis also appears in promotional videos for the company. The EFF story also includes allegations that false endorsements from the ACLU and the Treasury Department were used in marketing materials for Computer Cop.

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Post image for Trouble in Kingdom City: “If You Try to Repress Something, It’s Going to Come Out Somewhere Else…”

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Playwright Sheri Wilner was intrigued by a 2006 article she read in The New York Times about a controversial high school theatre department in a small Missouri town. She explained her impressions of the article during an interview with San Diego Free Press, how it triggered her play “Kingdom City” which opened with a world premier at The La Jolla Playhouse on September 4th.

“The article talked about how ‘Grease’ created some controversy in the school. And the next play that was being done was ‘The Crucible'; the principal was worried that that might cause controversy too, so he preemptively cancelled the play. I consider ‘The Crucible’ a masterpiece, I think it is one of the most important plays ever written. But if it where my 14 year old niece in the play, it becomes a different story. That was the fear I could understand.”

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Post image for Backlash Grows Over Private Clubs’ Use of Public Beaches

The backlash is growing – the backlash against the use of our public beaches and coast areas by private clubs who host work-outs, volleyball games and yoga classes. About a week ago, the U-T published an article entitled, “Residents Cry Foul at Beach Courts’ Access” – how Carlsbad residents and beach-goers are complaining about a private volleyball club agreement with the state that gives their members priority on volleyball courts.

This echoes a “reader rant” just this summer here on the OB Rag about how a surf school takes too much space on the beach as well as in the ocean. The writer’s complaints about lack of access and safety issues found a lot of resonance among the commenters.

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Post image for The Wilderness Act Turns 50

Celebrating the Great Laws of 1964

By William deBuys / TomDispatch

Let us now praise famous laws and the year that begat them: 1964.

The first thing to know about 1964 was that, although it occurred in the 1960s, it wasn’t part of “the Sixties.” The bellbottoms, flower power, LSD, and craziness came later, beginning about 1967 and extending into the early 1970s. Trust me: I was there, and I don’t remember much; so by the dictum variously attributed to Grace Slick, Dennis Hopper, and others (that if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t part of them), I must really have been there.

1964 was a revolutionary year. It was a time when Congress actually addressed the people’s business, and it gave us at least three great laws.

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Post image for Will Hot, Hot, Hot Mean Burn, Baby, Burn? Heat Wave, High Winds Forecast for Weekend

By Doug Porter

It’s fall in San Diego, and while outsiders may not realize it, we can see some of the highest temperatures of the year while trees are turning colors in more temperate parts of the country.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the development of a Santa Ana pattern starting on Thursday. Temperatures will peak on Saturday, the humidity is expected to drop into the single digits and winds up 50 miles per hour are expected in the eastern part of the county.

Given that temperatures have already been above normal for the year and most of California is starved for water, conditions are favorable for wildfires throughout Southern California.  So it seems like today is as good as any to write about the changing of our climate in San Diego and the responses (or lack thereof) to these changes.

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Post image for ‘Harlem, Harlem’ Revival Show Is a Groovin’ Tribute

By Ernie McCray

I knew when I stepped into the theater for Harlem, Harlem that I would be shaking my booty in my seat.  I could feel it in the energy of those in the building with me.

The Ira Aldridge Repertory Players’ evening of music and dance was hosted at the Educational Cultural Complex in National City, but it was like a scene in Harlem — people smiling and flashing “What’s happening, y’all?” kind of greetings throughout the room.

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Post image for Student Loan Debt: The Only Debt You Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy

John Lawrence

Today’s students are being crushed with John Bunyan’s proverbial burden on their backs – student loan debt. Until relatively recently this debt could have been discharged in bankruptcy.

Then all that changed when Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Association, was privatized in 2004. Albert Lord, the new CEO, and his lobbyists went to work to change the laws so that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. Today the cumulative student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

While a generation ago a high school diploma was considered sufficient for a decent middle class entry level job, today it’s a college diploma even if the job itself could be easily accomplished by a person with just a high school education.

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Obama’s Pitiful Pledge Epitomizes Failure of UN Summit: Climate Campaigners

by Source 09.30.2014 Activism

Community leaders from Our Power Campaign attempt to deliver a statement to the UN but are denied entry. They brought "representing our community-led solutions, as plants that clean the soil of toxics," according a group statement. (Photo: Climate Justice Alliance)

Following historic protests, grassroots organizations turned away from UN’s ‘halls of power’ when they attempt to deliver statement.

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

Historic crowds gathered in New York City on September 21 to demand drastic action in the face of the ever worsening climate crisis. But at Tuesday’s Climate Summit at the United Nations headquarters, heads of state—most notably President Obama—did not come close to heeding the urgent calls for concrete action, say climate justice campaigners.

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Thumbnail image for Gov. Brown’s Bill Signing Binge Brings Changes to California

Gov. Brown’s Bill Signing Binge Brings Changes to California

by Doug Porter 09.29.2014 Business

By Doug Porter 

Governor Jerry Brown’s been busy over the last few days, signing off on a variety of measures passed by the Legislature during its last session.

Legislation concerning sexual consent, subcontractor standards, the initiative process, degrees at community colleges and legal assistance for immigrant minors were all approved.

Today we’ll take a look at some of those new laws. The Governor vetoed additional funding for California colleges, along with a group of bills aiming to promote transparency in governance and provide greater disclosure in political campaigns.

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Thumbnail image for Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

by Source 09.29.2014 Activism

As student activists return to campus to celebrate the 1964 Free Speech movement that galvanized for social justice, big questions remain about the direction of higher education since those radical days of upheaval and hope

By Barbara Garson / Common Dreams

I’m going back to the Berkeley campus this week for the fiftieth reunion of the Free Speech Movement.  You may have heard in some history class about Mario Savio and the first student sit-in of the sixties.  That was us FSMers at Berkeley.

It will feel a bit surreal.  The university that had 801 of us arrested is welcoming us back by hanging Free Speech banners on the building we occupied.  Home like a victorious football team!  But it’s not a real victory because the people that tried to shut us up in the 1960s have a more chilling control over U.S. college students today than they ever had over us.  Today it’s not police control, its economic control.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Resistance is Sexy

DIY Resistance: Resistance is Sexy

by Will Falk 09.29.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

I suffer from a profound sense of loneliness. I always have. I do not know why. And, I suspect I always will. Sometimes, I wonder if I cling to some strange addiction to loneliness. There are too many decisions I’ve made in my life knowing full well the alienation that would follow.

I chose to study English in college knowing the strange looks I’d get from my coaches and teammates. These strange looks were only matched by the incredulity some of my professors viewed me with as I walked into a Shakespeare class, a classical tragedy class, or a women’s literature class in a Dayton football sweat suit hustling my way back from practice. I chose to go to law school knowing the student loan debt that would pile upon me stressing out my family and any potential romantic partners that might choose to build a life with me. I chose to pursue a career as a public defender representing people most of society despises for a salary forcing me to live paycheck to paycheck. I chose to foster the voice in my heart that demands I act in the face of the suffering in the world baring my breast to the vulnerabilities that accompany embracing the empathy we were all born with.

Finally – and most importantly – I chose the ultimate alienation, twice, when I drank down full bottles of pills in an effort to leave forever. Having survived suicide, I also feel the weight of worried gazes from loved ones who think I’m not aware. I’ve made myself a person that friends and family cannot fully trust to answer truthfully when they ask, “How are you, Will?” I’m marked in only the ways someone who has traveled to the nether regions of spiritual darkness can be.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego City Works Press, Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

San Diego City Works Press, Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

by Jim Miller 09.29.2014 Books & Poetry

November 1st Deadline Approaching

By Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is still accepting submissions for Sunshine/Noir II until November 1st. In particular we are looking for creative non-fiction pieces about underrepresented communities in San Diego and generally uncovered topics with regard to life in our region. We are also looking for good fiction, poetry, and artwork that runs against the grain of San Diego’s official story.

SDCWP is run by a 100% non-profit collective and is the only small literary press in San Diego that focuses primarily on the publication of local writers with an emphasis on our region that moves beyond the postcard version of our reality. In an era where commercial forces and hegemonic instrumentality are drowning out what remains of literary culture, we have persisted against the odds. We invite all interested parties to be a part of our beautifully useless endeavor.

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are putting together a second edition of our first anthology, Sunshine/Noir II. All local writers are encouraged to submit work for consideration.

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Thumbnail image for Midwestern Steam Thresher’s Reunion Reminisces Past With Charm

Midwestern Steam Thresher’s Reunion Reminisces Past With Charm

by Judi Curry 09.28.2014 Culture

By Judi Curry

I have become fascinated with the lifestyle of my friend Cowboy in North Dakota. I find that I am flying there once a month for a few days at a time to do things like go to horse, goat and pony auctions. Just recently we went to the Building Steam Western Minnesota Steam Thresher’s Reunion (WMSTR) in the town of Rollag. Cowboy had never been to this exhibit and since he has so many of the machines on his farm he thought it would be fun to go. We drove the 110 miles to attend one day of the two and a half day show.

I keep taking notes of these activities, with the thought of writing articles about life in the Midwest, but for some reason have never put pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard as the case may be. At the risk of being too verbose – I want to say a few words about the Steam Thresher’s unnamedReunion, but in order to make my point I need to explain a few things about it. The reunion first began in 1940 when a Garr-Scott engine was fired up to thresh grain with steam again for the sake of reminiscing. It has continued to this day.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: September 21-27

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: September 21-27

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.28.2014 Looking Back at the Week

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on the UT-SD going nonprofit, the continuing war on women, pot legalization coming to Cali, the USA’s first banned book, Belmont Park’s non-deal, a convo with D8’s Alvarez, Esco Mayor’s park, photos of the climate march, FB “Likes” you, Mexican book smugglers, and lots of OB happenings. If you haven’t read our stuff this week then now is the time to catch up and see what’s going on in our county. Do it!

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Thumbnail image for Just Do It, Roger!

Just Do It, Roger!

by Junco Canché 09.28.2014 Junco's Jabs
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Thumbnail image for I’m Not the Least Bit Grateful for Being Smacked on My Behind

I’m Not the Least Bit Grateful for Being Smacked on My Behind

by Ernie McCray 09.27.2014 Culture

By Ernie McCray

It seems the NFL, of all institutions, is drawing our attention to social situations in our society that we’ve generally overlooked for far too long: domestic violence and corporal punishment when it comes to disciplining our children.

Regarding the latter of these matters, I’ve been in several conversations lately where someone expressed how “grateful” they were for their parents taking the belt to their behind. It did them no harm, they say, and it made them the person they are today – and I’m thinking the human being they have become is someone who sees nothing wrong with hitting a five year old because of who knows what, talking back, lying, stealing from the piggy bank, hitting their little sister, getting in trouble at school…?

Well, I was hit about three times when I was a kid and what I remember most about it is how utterly fearful I was and how pissed I was at my mother. If I could have, I would have strangled her and I’m not the least bit “grateful” for entertaining such violent thoughts or the ass whuppings.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Not-So-Great Depression and WW II Come to Logan Heights – Part I

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Not-So-Great Depression and WW II Come to Logan Heights – Part I

by Maria E. Garcia 09.27.2014 Culture

The Mexican Repatriation and hard times

By Maria E. Garcia

The 1930s and the Depression brought many changes to the families living in Logan Heights. The Great Depression started in 1929 and ended around 1941 when World War II brought jobs to the country as a whole and to places like San Diego in particular. In the late 1930s the economy improved. The war had created a lot of jobs and had a great influence in ending the Depression. In San Diego, the aircraft industry which included Consolidated-Vultee (which eventually became Convair), flourished and provided employment.

The similarities between the political climate of the Great Depression era and today are frightening. Like today, there was a call to deport Mexicans and Mexican-Americans and return them to Mexico. Like today, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were perceived as taking jobs that belonged to “real” Americans, and like today, it was also believed that deportation would reduce the number of people on the relief rolls.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to the New Gilded Age: Ironworkers Seek Back Pay, Safe Working Conditions

Welcome to the New Gilded Age: Ironworkers Seek Back Pay, Safe Working Conditions

by Doug Porter 09.26.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Accompanied by Congressman Scott Peters, local labor leaders and clergy, a group of ironworkers held a press conference outside the offices of a Japanese-based developer yesterday at an office park north of University City, asking the company to lend an ear to their grievances.

It was an odd setting. The ironworkers weren’t union members, North American Sekisui House (NASH) wasn’t (directly) the employer they were complaining about, and the carefully manicured surroundings certainly were not a construction site.

This location was for now the end of a long road these mostly Latino workers have been following for over two years now, seeking back wages, safe working conditions and respect from California concrete reinforcing contractor Millennium Reinforcing. They followed the money up the contracting chain, ending up here appealing to the people putting up the money for development projects to consider the ethics of the companies they hire to build them.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? Deals Like the One Proposed for Belmont Park Amount to a War on Taxpayers

Who Runs San Diego? Deals Like the One Proposed for Belmont Park Amount to a War on Taxpayers

by At Large 09.26.2014 Business

Guest column by Councilmember Ed Harris

Recently, the City Council was asked to grant an extension to the lease at Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Pacifica, a local developer and current leaseholder of the park’s commercial buildings, wanted the Council to approve a deal that would extend its current lease to 55 years.  Pacifica has held the lease for two years.

After reviewing the proposed lease, I asked the Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) to determine whether it was consistent with best practices of other cities, and whether a longer-term lease would be in the City’s long-term economic interests.

The IBA concluded that the 50 year term of the proposed extension is longer than the average municipal ground lease, and that its rental rates seemed lower than the percentage-rent average of comparable municipal leases in other California cities.

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Thumbnail image for Why Do Lawmakers Like Darrell Issa Want to Enable Illegal Ponzi Schemes?

Why Do Lawmakers Like Darrell Issa Want to Enable Illegal Ponzi Schemes?

by At Large 09.26.2014 Business

By Liana Molina

Recently a group of lawmakers, including Representative Darrell Isa, launched an attack against a Justice Department program known as Operation Choke Point. They portray it as a crazed government effort to make banks withhold services from a variety of law-abiding businesses. Its true purpose, some of these critics assert, is to shut down the payday lending industry.

The reality is a little more nuanced. Operation Choke Point grew out of an inter-agency consumer protection group and their concerns about a new generation of fraudsters who profit by using their access to people’s bank accounts to make illegal withdrawals – again and again and again. The real targets of this program are a subset of banks and payment companies who enable this fraud when, in the Department’s words, they “knowingly facilitate consumer scams, or that willfully look the other way in processing fraudulent transactions.”

Mass-market fraud, directed at businesses as well as individuals, causes tens of billions of dollars in losses every year. A large share of that ill-gotten money comes out of the pockets of senior citizens and financially desperate people.

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Thumbnail image for Living on the Edge in San Diego, the Nation’s Most Biologically Diverse County

Living on the Edge in San Diego, the Nation’s Most Biologically Diverse County

by At Large 09.26.2014 Culture

By Elliott Kennerson

Let’s play a game. Name an endangered species from San Diego.

Anyone say vernal pool fairy shrimp? Doubtful, because when you think of San Diego, you don’t usually think of a one-inch long crustacean that you can’t even eat.

You said panda, right?

Though San Diego is the most biologically diverse county in the nation, according to the Nature Conservancy, with 200 or so threatened or endangered species, (the fairy shrimp among them), this town is much more famous for its beloved Zoo and our lately less beloved Sea World, animal parks that host tons of diversity, of course, most of it exotic.

The county’s numerous native species of toads, fish, insects, small birds, and plants on the endangered or threatened list are pretty missable compared to Bai Yun getting her tooth fixed.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Arts District Shines with Multiple Cultural Events in Barrio Logan

Barrio Arts District Shines with Multiple Cultural Events in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.25.2014 Arts

Barrio Art Jam, Barrio Art Crawl and Concerts in the Barrio Take Place this Weekend

By Brent E. Beltrán

Barrio Logan is becoming well known for its thriving, grassroots arts scene. This weekend’s activities are proof of that. From Friday through Sunday numerous cultural events will take place within San Diego’s most historic Chicano community.

The events include the 2nd annual Barrio Art Jam at La Bodega on Friday night, Barrio Art Crawl throughout the Barrio Arts District on Saturday afternoon/evening and the Barrio Logan Association’s Concerts in the Barrio at the Mercado del Barrio plaza on Sunday afternoon.

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Thumbnail image for Legalization Here We Come: California Campaign Underway for 2016 Pot Proposition

Legalization Here We Come: California Campaign Underway for 2016 Pot Proposition

by Doug Porter 09.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago (1972) California’s Proposition 19, which would have decriminalized marijuana possession, was resoundingly defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.

In the years since then, hodgepodge of voter approved propositions, legislative initiatives and executive orders have sought to lessen or eliminate criminal penalties for use and possession of pot. They haven’t worked as intended. Overzealous prosecutors and law enforcers have continued to put the hammer down, even as juries have increasingly refused to play along.

The beginning of end for pot prohibition in California came yesterday, as the Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork registering a a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot.

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Thumbnail image for A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez Continued

A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez Continued

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.25.2014 Desde la Logan

By Brent E. Beltrán

In Part I the Councilman discussed the minimum wage, upgrades to Chicano Park, Barrio Art Crawl and creating a place to be on Sunday afternoons in Barrio Logan. In Part II he talks about the Emergency Winter Homeless Shelter, bringing an outpatient mental health facility to Logan, big rigs rumbling though Barrio Logan streets, the final leg of the Bayshore Bikeway, and the Barrio Logan gateway sign.

Brent E. Beltrán: The Winter Homeless Shelter is probably going to be sited here again. How does this community fight that? Other districts don’t want it. It’s been here for so many years now. I’m under the impression that it’s always going to be here. My issue is how do we mitigate the impact of having hundreds of people not just living in the shelter but also living on the streets and in the park. How do we get more resources to come in without having to use Barrio Logan Association funds to clean up?

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Thumbnail image for Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors

by Eric J. Garcia 09.25.2014 Cartoons
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