Post image for November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: San Diego Edition

By Doug Porter

A big deal is being made over the large percentage of California voters who’ve opted to use the vote-by-mail ballots. While right-wing efforts in other states are focused on Voter ID laws and other variants of Jim Crow, the don’t vote effort here on the left coast is focused on spreading doubt about the reliability of the mail in system.

A mistake in mailing out ballots in Sacramento becomes evidence of a state-wide “glitch ridden ballot system”, according to Breitbart.com. Their “concern” is sooo touching. They’d like you to be afraid of mail-in voting, mostly because they’re afraid that other-than-Republican voters are discovering how easy it can be to use.

Sadly, a disturbing large percentage of those ballots will be left out of the count because people never got around to filling them out. If you’re one of those people who’ve put off filling out your ballot, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet designed to help you vote in ways that really will scare the hell of the Breitbart types.

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Post image for DIY Resistance: Grasp Things at the Root

By Will Falk

I recently attended another sustainability conference at a local university. The experts sat in a half-circle facing their audience in rank-and-file foldable chairs. I, like most of the audience, hoped to hear a brilliant solution to the ongoing destruction of the living world. The amount of experience and knowledge assembled in the experts’ panel was formidable.

There was an organic farmer, a local politician, a Christian minister, an executive director of an environmental NGO, a scientist, a green engineer, and a young indigenous woman representing the Native Students Union. My expectations were high.

The typical conversation topics were covered. “Is climate change real?” “What does ‘being green’ mean to you?” “What is sustainability?” I was prepared to sit through these questions patiently as the answers from the experts represented an introduction to Environmentalism 101 because I knew the pay-off question was coming.

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Post image for November 2014 Election Ballot Drop-Off Locations in San Diego County

Designated locations will accept ballots through November 3

By Anna Daniels

If you haven’t already mailed your vote by mail ballot, you still have a number of options to make sure your vote is counted in this election.  This year, the County of San Diego has designated 14 drop-off locations.  Here in the city of San Diego there are 3 locations– Pacific Beach Library, North Park Library and the Registrar of Voters. These locations, with the exception of the Registrar of Voters, are not early voting locations. You can only drop off your ballot during the location’s regular business hours.

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Post image for Scariest Halloween Masks of 2014

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Post image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  The Gods Find Me

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

If I had a rupee
for every manifestation of the Divine
that has crossed my path
I’d be wearing
the gold embroidered silk
of a wealthy landowner
rather than the cotton thread
of a Brahmin/poet
an untouchable station of life
in a society
squeezing a “few drops of honey” from a thirsty globe
enslaved by suffering …

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Post image for What Does Día de los Muertos Mean to You?

A list of the many Day of the Dead events happening this weekend in San Diego

By Brent E. Beltrán

Every year Mexicans celebrate their dead by honoring and remembering passed loved ones or people they may have admired on los días de los muertos, the Days of the Dead. November 1 is for honoring the children that have moved on from this mortal plane. November 2 is for remembering the adults.

How one honors those that are no longer here varies. The meaning does as well. Though it always comes down to remembering.

I asked some people I know, what does Día de los Muertos mean to you? Here are their responses and then a listing of Día de los Muertos celebrations throughout San Diego.

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Post image for Lincoln Club Plays the Sexism Card in District 6 City Council Race

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s Lincoln Club does a great job of proving just how racism and sexism are tools used by the wealthy to attack candidates and divide voters in elections.

The right leaning group used photographs doctored to imply mayoral candidate David Alavarez was a Mexican gang member earlier this year.

Now they’re going after District 6 City Council candidate Carol Kim, crudely photo-shopping her face into the image of woman with multiple shopping bags on her arms in New York City. Voters are encouraged to be afraid of her (non-existent) “New York City” tax plan.

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Thumbnail image for Ebola, Not Guns, is Our Biggest Threat

Ebola, Not Guns, is Our Biggest Threat

by Eric J. Garcia 10.30.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for 100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

by Source 10.30.2014 Activism

By Daniel Gutiérrez and Victor Herzfeld

On Saturday, October 25, union members, community leaders, and student organizers gathered at Lincoln High School to attend the San Diego Troublemakers Conference, hosted by Labor Notes and the Coalition for Labor & Community Solidarity (CLCS).

The event attracted a wide array of attendees from multiple unions, neighborhoods, and campuses to address burning questions that face labor today. Speakers included various organizers, like folks from SEIU, United Taxi Workers of San Diego, Unión del Barrio, ARE, AFT, UAW, IWW, the Seattle Education Association, and a slue of others that deserve mention. However, what made the event more remarkable than the list of invited speakers was the shear fact that it was so well attended. More than 120 people gathered on an early Saturday morning to address the future of the labor movement in San Diego, nationally, and internationally.

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Thumbnail image for They Had Nothing to Say to Each Other (Crossing Borders)

They Had Nothing to Say to Each Other (Crossing Borders)

by Ernie McCray 10.30.2014 Culture

By Ernie McCray

I was sitting around, cooling it, when I thought I should write. With no topics in mind I went to creative writing prompts dot com and, without looking, I randomly moved the browsing arrow to a number on the web page and clicked.

I kind of flinched, too, because when I do this I feel compelled to honor the prompt no matter what because one could easily not want to do what’s asked and look for something they like and, as it turned out, I wasn’t particularly interested with my assignment which was “Write a mini-story (100 to 250 words) that begins with ‘They had nothing to say to each other.'”

I was hoping for something more, more, well, I don’t know what I was hoping for but this assignment wasn’t it.

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Thumbnail image for The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.29.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

 Another six month reporting period has passed and the UT-San Diego continues to lose readers, according to an analysis of data from the Alliance for Audited Media by the Reader’s Don Bauder.

How bad was it? On Sundays, the circulation declined by more than 13%,  Weekdays declined by 8.5%.  The numbers released yesterday include “digital” and “branded” editions. Branded editions for the UT include Enlace, the Spanish language weekly distributed free on weekends, Vida Latina, a Spanish-language entertainment magazine, TV and shopping guide and Enlace Extra, distributed in Tijuana and Mexicali.

As newspaper circulations have plummeted in recent years, the auditing-type people have changed the rules to sweeten the pot for publishers. Paid circulation now includes copies “sold” to non-profits for as little as 1 cent; these groups resell the papers at full price to users of their services (churches are a good example) and pocket the difference.

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Thumbnail image for Recreating the San Salvador: A Fighting Top Goes Up and Cannon Gets Fired

Recreating the San Salvador: A Fighting Top Goes Up and Cannon Gets Fired

by Judi Curry 10.29.2014 Culture

Part Two: An Update on the Progress in Building a Historically Accurate Replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s Flagship

By Judi Curry

When I arrived at the San Salvador to see the progress being made in the building of the ship, I was a few minutes late and the fighting top was already being placed on the ship.

As I stood on the ground and looked up to the sky, one of the volunteers – Bob Wilson– began explaining to me what was happening. I asked him if it was the crows nest they were installing, but he said no. In the days of the San Salvador, what was being placed there was called a fighting top.

He went on to explain that  a fighting top was an enlarged top with small guns, designed to fire down at the deck of enemy ships. They could also be manned by snipers armed with muskets or rifles.  The fighting top  of yesterday is now referred to as the crows nest but with a slightly different role.

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Thumbnail image for It’s the OB Rag’s 7th Birthday!

It’s the OB Rag’s 7th Birthday!

by Frank Gormlie 10.29.2014 Culture

By Frank Gormlie

This is the 7th birthday for the online OB Rag. During the October fires of 2007, Patty Jones and I launched the OB Rag out of our small cottage on Long Branch Avenue. Many of our early articles critiqued both the mainstream media’s coverage of the fires plus how the fires were being fought.

Seven years later, much has changed, of course. We’ve gone from a little-known blog to one of the best community-based websites in Southern California, which is constantly referred to by the local mainstream media, police, and local politicians, and occasionally we make the national news. Other notes of interest: quotes from the OB Rag made it up on the ceiling of OB’s newest public “comfort station” on the beach – whose design won an Orchid Award in 2012.

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Thumbnail image for Two Poems: Sex & Death in the Desert; The Hourglass

Two Poems: Sex & Death in the Desert; The Hourglass

by At Large 10.29.2014 Books & Poetry

By George Howell

Sex & Death in the Desert

The big female snout beetle plays dead
When I prod her with a stick,
Apoininae-like
As the field guide says,
Her smaller mate laying dead
In the debris collected in the plastic water bottle,
His legs and snout curled
In the rigid repose of death.

Life is fragile here
In the high desert …

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Thumbnail image for Climate Change Linked to Rising Violence: Report

Climate Change Linked to Rising Violence: Report

by Source 10.29.2014 Courts, Justice

Meta-analysis of 55 separate studies finds global warming and increased conflict go hand-in-hand
By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Along with rising sea levels and global insecurity, climate change is producing yet another unforeseen consequence—rising violence, from road rage to civil war, a new report finds.

A working paper released Thursday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which conducted a meta-analysis of 55 separate reports on global warming and conflict in a variety of settings, found that “deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase the risk of conflict, often substantially, with average effects that are highly statistically significant.”

The paper looked at a vast range of violence perpetrated by both individuals and groups. The studies reviewed instances of road rage, domestic abuse, assault, rape, and murder alongside geopolitical conflicts like “riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups.”

The researchers measured the records of violence against climate variables such as rainfall, drought, and temperature increases.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

by Doug Porter 10.28.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

We’re “back to the issues” in the race for the 52nd Congressional District in California.  Taking a page from the playbook once used by Gov. Pete Wilson, GOP candidate Carl DeMaio announced his five weird tricks for better border security yesterday.

“From illegal immigration to terrorism and Ebola, the reasons for securing our nation’s border have never been more clear,” he told a small group of reporters at a campaign headquarters press conference.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) whipped up the party base on the immigration issue via conference call hosted by TheTeaParty.net on Monday evening. DeMaio beat him to the punch by a few hours,  accusing incumbent Scott Peters of being a “rubber stamp” for the failed policies policy of the Obama administration.

There was nothing new in the GOP challenger’s plan, but at least it didn’t show up as plagiarized on any internet searches.

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Thumbnail image for The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

by John Lawrence 10.28.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

Alaska is a land of rugged individualists – Republicans all the way. However, a little known fact is that Alaska taxes the oil and gas corporations operating there and distributes the proceeds on an annual basis equally among every man, woman and child living in the state.

The biggest farce of all is that Tea Party touter, Governor Sarah Palin, slapped an excess profits tax on the state’s oil companies in 2008, the year she ran for vice-President alongside John McCain, so that every person in Alaska received a dividend of $3269 that year. That was a pretty good haul for a family of four: $13,076. For Palin’s family – husband Todd, sons Track and Trig and daughters Bristol, Willow and Piper – it came to an even better haul – $22,883!

Let me be clear. I am totally in favor of institutions like the Alaska Permanent Fund and think they should be extended to the entire US which would guarantee every American citizen a basic income which would come from things we all own in common like oil and mineral deposits, the electromagnetic spectrum and the air we breathe. But someone like Palin, who presided over a plan that taxed corporations and distributed the proceeds to each citizen of Alaska while at the same time taking humungus speaking fees to egg on the Tea Party with anti-tax, anti-socialist and free market rhetoric, is nothing but a super hypocrite, someone beyond the pale – in.

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Thumbnail image for Why Is Feminism More Offensive Than Rape, Inequality and the F-Word?

Why Is Feminism More Offensive Than Rape, Inequality and the F-Word?

by Annie Lane 10.28.2014 Activism

By Annie Lane

Feminism comes in many shapes and sizes, though if you ask author Karin Agness of the Time Magazine article Seriously? This Is What Passes for Feminism in America it appears that it should only ever manifest itself in the form of an 11-year-old girl who was shot in the head, as was the case for Malala Yousafzai.

Thankfully, Yousafzai survived the senseless and depraved attack on her life by the Taliban in 2012, and has gone on to be the voice for women’s education and rights in Pakistan. And the world is better because of her.

But according to Agness, American girls, such as the ones who appeared in the controversial FCKH8 video that went viral last week, don’t even graze the surface of what it means to be a Feminist, and instead are merely some part of a cheap marketing ploy to sell t-shirts.

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Thumbnail image for Vince Sardina’s Labor of Love on the San Salvador

Vince Sardina’s Labor of Love on the San Salvador

by Judi Curry 10.28.2014 Culture

Part One of Two Updates on the Progress in Building a Historically Accurate Replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s Flagship

By Judi Curry

There are not many times in life that you meet a person you don’t want to say goodbye to. This was not a romantic endeavor, but rather a person that is so genuine, so humble that you obtain energy just from being with him.

I recently met one of those extraordinary men – a Sicilian, who has worked in the boat business for 50-odd years, learning the trade as a teen in Sicily. He is a wonderful craftsmen and you can’t help but marvel at the finished product he creates.

Who is this man, you ask? A little background first.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s App for Ebola

Darrell Issa’s App for Ebola

by Doug Porter 10.27.2014 Culture

By Doug Porter

It’s week five of a major health crisis in the United States and there are signs the epidemic is waning. The number cases of actual Ebola now equals the number of times Rush Limbaugh has been married– four. The number of hysterical media reports and opportunist politicians playing on people’s fear of the unknown has yet to be determined.

The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is now screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says they began actively preparing for an outbreak in March of this year, the correct protocols for treating patients were not in place at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when Thomas Duncan, the initial Ebola patient showed up in the emergency room. It didn’t help matters that Duncan was less than forthcoming in telling medical personnel about his potential exposure to the disease.

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Thumbnail image for MTS Ad Policy: Incoherent, Inconsistent and Anti-Democratic

MTS Ad Policy: Incoherent, Inconsistent and Anti-Democratic

by Anna Daniels 10.27.2014 Activism

San Diego’s publicly funded transit system bites the hand that feeds it

By Anna Daniels

MTS- you are a craven, pathetic mess. When Alliance San Diego launched a non-partisan effort to increase awareness about elections in communities with historically low voter turnout like my community of City Heights, they approached San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) with the intention of buying printed bus ads.

The ads would include the message Vote for San Diego, along with the date of the election. Images of native San Diegans were included with motivational messages such as “Vote for what’s best for your community.”

Did I say that Alliance San Diego’s intention was to buy bus ads? They weren’t asking for a public service freebee. MTS declined the request and herein lies the tale of how our publicly funded, public benefit agency proceeded to simply make sh*t up.

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Thumbnail image for Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

by Jim Miller 10.27.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

Recently, California lost one of its last remaining, genuinely progressive weeklies, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As [people.power.media] tells the story:

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, the prize-winning newspaper and progressive voice, was shut down immediately by the San Francisco Media Company, after 48 years of “printing the news and raising hell.” No warning for staff, just pack your boxes and get out. Boom. This historic independent newspaper, so long a pivotal force in San Francisco progressive politics and culture was suddenly treated as a corporate portfolio item, and lopped off the balance sheet . . .

Guardian editor Steven T. Jones recounted to the Chronicle, “We were told at 10 a.m. (Tuesday) that this issue would be our last. They shut down everything — our sites, our social media, our passkeys, right away. We’ve all been laid off, effective immediately…I need an escort to go to the bathroom and get back to the office to pack up my stuff.”

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Thumbnail image for The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

by Source 10.27.2014 Business

By Peter Hart / Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

With a cover that announces “Rotten Apples: It’s Nearly Impossible to Fire a Bad Teacher” alongside an image of a judge’s gavel about to smash a fruit, you might suspect Time magazine (10/23/14) is doing some good old-fashioned teacher-bashing.

You’d be right.

There are a few problems with the story, but the biggest one is pretty familiar: It buries the lead. The Time piece, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, waits until the very end to tell readers that the teacher evaluation scheme central to argument is advancing is highly dubious.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: October 19-25

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: October 19-25

by Brent E. Beltrán 10.26.2014 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 continuing scandal saga of Carl DeMaio, the Ché Café’s looming eviction, icon co-opting in Hillcrest, Laura Rodriguez, SDFP election endorsements, another Wall Street scam, electing judges, Malin Burnham’s return, cross border cultura, and lots of other San Diego and OB news and views.

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Thumbnail image for Cross Border Culture at The Front Art Gallery

Cross Border Culture at The Front Art Gallery

by Source 10.25.2014 Arts

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

When you live in the South Bay, the city of Tijuana appears on the horizon just about wherever you go. If you don’t cross the border daily, then most of your neighbors and friends do. South Bay residents know that Tijuana offers shopping, art, business opportunities, time with family and, of course, good food and wine.

So when a wonderful on-line newspaper like Voice of San Diego descends upon our border neighborhood of San Ysidro, bringing with them an audience of “northerners” to tell them about how they should visit Tijuana, we South Bay locals look at each other rather perplexed. Don’t they already know that?

On October 22nd Voice of San Diego’s culture report writer, Alex Zaragoza, hosted a “Meeting of the Minds” at The Front Art Gallery: a building along historic San Ysidro Boulevard designed by famed architect Louis Gill in 1929. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the many delights of Tijuana. Karl Strauss offered beer, perhaps to make the experience less frightening to the audience members who presumably trekked all the way from places like North Park to visit the depths of the border region.

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