June 2012

Thumbnail image for WE DON’T HAVE TO SHOW NO STINKING PAPERS!  Supreme Court Immigration Ruling strips 50 million Chicanos/Latinos of Rights!

WE DON’T HAVE TO SHOW NO STINKING PAPERS! Supreme Court Immigration Ruling strips 50 million Chicanos/Latinos of Rights!

by Source 06.30.2012 Activism

Immigration or a Historical Labor Issue?

By Herman Baca

To this date, it never ceases to amaze me that the biggest problem/issue (the war in Afghanistanand economy) for the great-great-great grandchildren of immigrants who immigrated to the U.S.is…. immigration? This week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s (Nazizona) draconian SB 1070’s main provision, “show me your papers.” The court left standing SB 1070’s most controversial provision requiring Sheriff Joe Apario type, “state and local police to check the immigration status of anyone that they suspect is in the country illegally; if that person was initially detained for other legitimate reasons.”

There can be no mistake that the ruling was aimed solely at persons of Mexican ancestry and their rights, whetherU.S.born, legal or undocumented. The unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court Justices’ (including Sonia Sotomayor) brings the U.S. closer to a police state, legalizes racial profiling, revives the segregationist “Jim Crow” system, and sanctions a South African apartheid state for this nation’s fastest growing (50 million Chicanos/Latinos) population.

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Thumbnail image for What Winning Looks Like in Reproductive Rights

What Winning Looks Like in Reproductive Rights

by Source 06.30.2012 Activism

The fight for Women’s Reproductive Freedom has been going on in every country around the world. Jane Cawthorne has been a long-time advocate for women’s rights in Canada. She is the writer of the play “The Abortion Monologues”. The play, according to Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation,“…gives a voice to the perspectives of real women who are all too often missing from the public debate. These powerful monologues have the potential to change the way people talk about abortion.”

In the following article, Jane asks us to take a moment to appreciate what our work can accomplish.

By Jane Cawthorne

Calgary, Alberta – These days with women’s reproductive rights under constant attack, especially in the United States, it’s sometimes hard to remember our true goals are in the reproductive justice movement. While we are busy trying to explain what’s wrong with legislating mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, or explaining why it’s unacceptable and unethical for doctors to be forced to lie to women about their pregnancies so they won’t consider abortion, or fighting to make sure women facing poverty can access contraception, we might need a reminder of what winning really looks like when it comes to reproductive rights.

In Canada, a recent report describes how teen pregnancy and abortion rates in Canada dropped 36.9% between 1996 and 2006. This is an incredible achievement. The study is from the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada and Alexander McKay, one of the reports’ authors, credits this incredible decline to Canada’s “balanced, sensible approach to adolescent sexual health.”

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Thumbnail image for Corporate Profits at All-Time High; Wages at All-Time Low: Can We Call it Class War Yet?

Corporate Profits at All-Time High; Wages at All-Time Low: Can We Call it Class War Yet?

by Source 06.30.2012 Business

The middle class is being hollowed out; increasingly, there are the super-super-rich, and there are the rest of us.

AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe

June 29, 2012 | This week, David Segal at the New York Times broke the news to America that not only was Apple — the computer and gadget manufacturer formerly seen as a symbol of good old American ingenuity — making its profits on the backs of abused factory workers in China, but also on poorly paid store employees here in the US.

Apple store workers, he wrote, make up a large majority of Apple’s US workforce—30,000 out of 43,000 employees in this country—and they make about $25,000 a year, or about $12 an hour.

Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute notes that that’s just a dollar above the federal poverty level. This for a company that paid nine of its top executives a total of $441 million in 2011.

“The discrepancy between Apple’s profits/executive pay and its compensation to its workers is a particularly glaring example of what is occurring in the wider economy,” Mishel writes.

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Letter from a Doctor: The Supreme Court’s (grudging) Endorsement of the ACA

by Source 06.29.2012 Government

First of all, this is a good step because so much is in action already. Second, it is clear that the US has a fiscal problem. It can be solved in two ways: one is to copy what is done in countries like Germany, which have a host of private insurers, but they are severely regulated by the government. This would reduce their overhead and profiteering at the expense of the sick. If this won’t sit too well with the Congress, which it may well not, the other way may be even more controversial: proceed to a Single Payer alternative by extending Medicare. Clearly, Medicare has not broken the bank yet, nor has it failed to protect the elderly. If it were extended, say, five years at a time, per year, it would be easily accomplished. The private insurance industry, seeing the handwriting on the wall, would begin to cut its overhead and ridiculous executive pay, and switch to “supplemental” policies.

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Thumbnail image for Power Plant Hearing Draws Strong Opposition from Community and Environmental Groups

Power Plant Hearing Draws Strong Opposition from Community and Environmental Groups

by Source 06.29.2012 Activism

Community and environmental protection groups including the Sierra Club and Save Mission Trails lauded the results of an over-five-hour San Diego Planning Commission hearing held Thursday, June 28. Commissioners were being asked to begin a process to convert land designated as open space near theMissionTrailsRegionalParkto an industrial site for a fossil fuel burning electric power plant.

The power plant applicant Cogentrix, LLC, a subsidiary of the banking giant Goldman Sachs, has already initiated a process with the California Energy Commission to license a 100 MW plant that would require eleven 100 foot tall smokestacks on lands that have been designated as open space for decades in what is known as the East Elliot Community Plan area north of the park.

Over 150 opponents of the proposed power plant including energy engineer Bill Powers, Santee Councilmember John Minto, health professionals and parents provided testimony as to why the power plant is not necessary to meet San Diego’s energy needs, how it increases greenhouse gas emissions and is a highly inappropriate use for the proposed site.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line – STOP! Calling the Health Care Law “Obamacare” – Don’t Do the Right’s Job for Them

The Starting Line – STOP! Calling the Health Care Law “Obamacare” – Don’t Do the Right’s Job for Them

by Doug Porter 06.29.2012 Columns

June 29, 2012—The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding most of the Affordable Health Act dominates today’s newspapers and internet chatter around the country. There’s no escaping it. The Attorney General of the United States was held in contempt of Congress yesterday, Europe’s leaders may have finally found a way to salvage the Euro, and scientists have finally figured out why modern tomatoes have no flavor, but today none of that matters so much. The significance and the potential benefits/consequences of the high court’s decision rules the news world.

 So we’ll join the chattering mediaoids right after this unpaid political announcement: By characterizing the health care law as “Obamacare” the news media (and even some politicos who ought to know better) are carrying water for the right wingers who have used every dirty trick in the book to defeat, undermine or repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.  Even just saying the “Health Care Act” is fine. The right has spent twenty years fighting any semblance of a national policy on health care for one good reason: once people see the benefits of a rational care system (and the one under discussion here barely qualifies), they are less inclined to buy into the meme that all government is bad that is at the core of the right wing’s philosophy. So. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Don’t say or write the world. It’s lazy. And it’s wrong. Got it? Thank you!

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Thumbnail image for Looking at a Beautiful Sunset …and …Contemplating a Mayor – Bob Filner – Who Loves the Arts

Looking at a Beautiful Sunset …and …Contemplating a Mayor – Bob Filner – Who Loves the Arts

by Ernie McCray 06.29.2012 Culture

Looking at a beautiful San Diego sunset I thought of how there’s so much about our city that lends itself to art. A clip of a radio show on KPBS that a friend of mine, Seema Sueko, a leader in the San Diego arts scene, shared with me played a major part in my thinking.

On the show she expressed that she felt Carl DeMaio was a “little unfriendly” to arts and culture in our city. That really resonated in my mind because the arts, to me, is what life is all about as the arts let us explore who we are and who we might become. It could do the same for a city.

I realized just how essential the arts are to our well being as a society back when I was a beginning classroom teacher in Room B5 at Perry Elementary in the Bayview Naval Housing area.

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Thumbnail image for Field of View: An Alaskan Adventure

Field of View: An Alaskan Adventure

by Annie Lane 06.29.2012 Field of View

My trip to Alaska was the result of a year of planning and not-so-patiently waiting. I knew it would be wonderful, especially to see old family friends after such a long time, but I never imagined it would become an experience of a lifetime.

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Thumbnail image for Dissecting the Supreme Court’s “Obamacare” Decision

Dissecting the Supreme Court’s “Obamacare” Decision

by Andy Cohen 06.28.2012 Government

In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts is careful to note that upholding the act is not the same as endorsing it.

The Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative accomplishment of the Obama Administration in a 5-4 decision, a majority that included conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. This is a big day for the Obama Administration, and for Democrats nationwide. This was the day that the Affordable Care Act—an imperfect law with definite shortcomings, but a good start toward healthcare reform nonetheless—was ratified as the law of the land once and for all.

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Thumbnail image for July 2 – 7: Week of Protest of Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks Being Held in San Diego

July 2 – 7: Week of Protest of Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks Being Held in San Diego

by Source 06.28.2012 Activism

No to NAFTA on Steroids

Coalition to STOP TPP Announces Week of Protest

and an International Community-Based Conference

From June 30 to July 8, the secret, super-treaty negotiations known as the 13th Round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations are being held here in San Diego at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. The Coalition to STOP TPP hereby announces a week with rallies, a march, various other protests, and a week-long international community-based People’s Conference: A Better World Is Possible!

The 11 nations involved in the talks are the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Canada. Japan has indicated a desire to join. The economic power of this group is more than 40% larger than the 27-nation European Union. The claimed purpose of TPP is to promote development and create jobs. But their reality is different. Though the contents of these negotiations are secret, what is not a secret is that the impacts of the TPP on these Pacific Rim nations, on peasants, on farmers, on workers, on their natural resources, on the environment, will be devastating. Some people describe the TPP as “NAFTA on Steroids.”

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Thumbnail image for “And let there be light!” – a Tale of Recovery from Cataract Surgery

“And let there be light!” – a Tale of Recovery from Cataract Surgery

by Judi Curry 06.28.2012 Health

Seven years ago I was told that I had the beginning of cataracts. When they became “ripe” I could have them removed. I wanted to think of myself as a bottle of wine, aging gracefully, and reaping the benefits later. People I knew that had had the surgery were pleased with the results: no more prescription glasses, unless they were needed for reading; waking up in the morning and seeing everything around them.

I could hardly wait. And that is what I did: I waited, and waited, and waited for the damn things to “ripen.” I no longer thought of myself as a “bottle of wine”; rather I thought of myself as an aging old woman. I found myself not willing to drive at night because of the halo’s of oncoming headlights; I couldn’t see the street signs in the dark and I was afraid that I might not see the bike riders along the streets in Ocean Beach.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line—Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Healthcare Act: Fox News, CNN Blow the Call

The Starting Line—Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Healthcare Act: Fox News, CNN Blow the Call

by Doug Porter 06.28.2012 Columns

June 28, 2012—It’s a great day for millions of American families and children who will have certainty of health care benefits and affordable care under a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that substantially upheld President Obama’s healthcare plan. The majority agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance (the individual mandate)  is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court didn’t decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.  Here’s a (pdf) copy of the court’s ruling.

It wasn’t such a great day for CNN and Fox News. CNN was first out of the box as the decision was being announced and they got it wrong, claiming that the court had ruled to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Over at Fox, the silence was deafening—perhaps it was technical difficulties—as their streaming on-line coverage was replaced by a color test pattern and a scheduled chat room feature failed to start on time. As one wag  put it, “It’s a good thing they have health insurance over at Fox, there’s gotta be a bunch of heart attacks happening now.” None-the-less, the Fox News website persisted in using the term “Obamacare” which has developed into conserv-speak for “our healthcare program is ‘don’t get sick’”.

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Supreme Court Upholds ‘Obamacare’

by Andy Cohen 06.28.2012 Government

In a stunning turn of events, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative accomplishment of the Obama Administration.

In a 5-4 decision (more on that in a minute), the Court upheld the contentious individual mandate, determining that it was indeed constitutional under the commerce clause, and justifying the fines to be levied against those who fail to purchase health insurance as a tax and therefore within the purview of Congress to enact.

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Thumbnail image for Sex In San Diego: Soliciting an Undercover Cop

Sex In San Diego: Soliciting an Undercover Cop

by Steve Burns 06.28.2012 Sex in San Diego

I remembered as a child family picnics in Palm Canyon below Presidio Park and running up and down the trails with my cousins or friends, the foliage forming tunnels within which we would hide and get “lost” in our imaginary adventures. Our parents never worried about us. In fact the canyon was a big natural playground which slowly sapped our energy preparing us for peaceful slumber at home later; all the while the grown-ups enjoyed the late afternoon and early evening, a glass of wine or beer, and a picnic dinner.

But as with all things, that time had passed. Instead of children running along the trails, closeted gay men now roamed looking for secret hook ups in the heavy brush and the bathroom at the canyon’s entrance. Slowly but surely, the absence of families had turned the canyon into an open air marketplace of unrestrained homosexual activity.

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Thumbnail image for How Mitt Romney Followed Me Around the Internet

How Mitt Romney Followed Me Around the Internet

by Source 06.28.2012 Business

by Lois Beckett / ProPublica, June 27, 2012, 4:27 p.m.

Last month, I was searching for a peppy Glee song on the music site Grooveshark, and up popped two ads for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. One invited me to “Learn More.” The other suggested that I “Donate.”

Had Romney’s campaign decided that swing voters might frequent an Internet music site with copyright issues? Are Glee fans now a key demographic?

But it turns out the campaign wasn’t advertising to Grooveshark listeners or a capella fans.

They were targeting me.

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Thumbnail image for The Surprising Tale of the Last Jurors in the Great Penal Industry

The Surprising Tale of the Last Jurors in the Great Penal Industry

by Source 06.27.2012 Culture

by Micaela Shafer Porte

Welcome folks, and come right in,
An inspiring tale of civic duty I’ll spin.
But first, please, pass this way,
Our detector police must have their say.

Detector police scan us to get in,
“Off with their head, this one has a pin!”
“Off with their head, this one has a fork!”
Our X-ray machine is a great piece of work!

“Our large penal family embraces you now,
Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the court show.
We need your good common sense, and naïve civilian duty,
’Cause we’ve seen it before, and we think you’re all guilty.”

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line: Pension Proposition Proponents Required to Pay Legal Fees; Filner Scores on MSNBC

The Starting Line: Pension Proposition Proponents Required to Pay Legal Fees; Filner Scores on MSNBC

by Doug Porter 06.27.2012 Activism

June 27, 2012- You can’t have it both ways… The San Diego City Council yesterday refused to fund legal representation for city employees who may be called to testify in lawsuits challenging the recently approved Proposition B, a measure that seeks to fundamentally restructure the city’s pension system. This decision means that Mayor Jerry Sanders, Councilman Kevin Falconer and Councilman Carl DeMaio, who campaigned for and contended that their support of the Pension Proposition was as private citizens, will have to pay their own legal fees. A handful of other city employees were also affected by the decision.

San Diego is facing lawsuits from its unions and the state Public Employment Relations Board, who claim officials violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act by failing to negotiate terms of the initiative with labor prior to placing it on the ballot. Since the mayor and these councilmen were among the primary boosters of the measure, the unions contend that their actions amounted to city sponsorship.

Filner’s on fire… Congressman (and mayoral candidate) Bob Filner appeared on Rachel Maddow’s NSNBC program last night to talk about veterans’ issues.  He didn’t mince words in his criticisms of the Veterans Administration, saying that their health care system is ‘so bad,’ vets are dying or even committing suicide while waiting for adjudication of claims.

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Thumbnail image for Bob Filner, My Kind of Snarly Guy

Bob Filner, My Kind of Snarly Guy

by Ernie McCray 06.27.2012 From the Soul

Both candidates for Mayor of San Diego are viewed as fighters, but only one has repeatedly and habitually demonstrated a genuine concern for the people he is elected to serve.

Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner have both been described as “snarly.” Maybe they are but Bob has got a lot of snarling to do to match Carl.

I mean Bob pretty much, from what I’ve seen personally, as a friend of his over the years, only snarls at the likes of the promoters of injustices in our society like the fat cats in high positions and places who spend their lives conniving how to deny us “regular” folks a nice slice of the American Pie, not caring whether we live or die.

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Thumbnail image for A Hard Look At San Diego: The Kafkaesque Process of Trying to Save a Home from Foreclosure

A Hard Look At San Diego: The Kafkaesque Process of Trying to Save a Home from Foreclosure

by Source 06.27.2012 Business

by J. G. Robinson
In my last column I began the story of someone I call Jose, and what led to his financial crisis. In this column I look at the Kafkaesque process he went through in his failed attempt to save his home from foreclosure. The experiences I describe here are neither rare nor random. The difficulties Jose and his family encountered in trying to get their bank to re-evaluate their loan were all too representative of the random sample of people I interviewed. The tragic fact is that the delays that Jose’s family encountered were not the result of inefficiency, but rather a deliberate policy to protect banks. Banks do NOT want foreclosures rapidly resolved because that would bring these properties down to market value, reflecting badly on their bottom lines. Thus families like Jose’s are the deliberate casualties of a war of attrition that banks have waged on the public to protect their economic interests.

Jose’s original mortgage was through the Bank of America. The home was a modest condominium in a somewhat marginal area of El Cajon. Marginal, but not horrible—the schools in the area were decent, and that was the main attraction for Jose and his family.

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Thumbnail image for “God Don’t Make Junk.” Conversations with my Evangelical Christian Neighbor

“God Don’t Make Junk.” Conversations with my Evangelical Christian Neighbor

by Anna Daniels 06.27.2012 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

City Heights has got religion. A distinctive characteristic of my community is not only the sheer number of religious establishments located here, but the diverse forms that religious expression takes. There are the storefront Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches that have sprung up along University and El Cajon Boulevard, with names like La Esposa del Cordero, the Shepherd’s Wife, and signs with the exhortation Pare de Sufrir, to stop suffering.

There are Buddhist temples, botánicas, a mosque, a tiny Russian Orthodox church, and more main stream Catholic and Baptist churches as well. Religious services are conducted in Spanish, Creole, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese, to name just a few of the languages routinely spoken besides English. I do not know if other languages besides Arabic are used at the mosque located adjacent to the Somali neighborhood known as Little Mogadishu. There are also shamans and babaloas living quietly among us.

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Thumbnail image for Local Residents to Ask Oceanside City Council: ‘Is Our Community Prepared for an Accident at San Onofre Nuclear Power Station?’

Local Residents to Ask Oceanside City Council: ‘Is Our Community Prepared for an Accident at San Onofre Nuclear Power Station?’

by Staff 06.26.2012 Activism

Oceanside, CA – On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, residents from Oceanside will attend the Oceanside City Council meeting and request that the Council place the issue of the safety of their community should there be an accident at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on a future Council Agenda for in-depth discussion and presentation by experts.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission met in San Clemente on June 18th and pledged that San Onofre will remain shut down until a solution is found to fix the problem (a release of radioactive steam and unexpected, accelerated tube wear) which precipitated the emergency shutdown on January 31, 2012.

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Thumbnail image for Killer Drone Attacks Are Illegal and Counter-Productive

Killer Drone Attacks Are Illegal and Counter-Productive

by Source 06.26.2012 Government

By Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer

The Bush administration detained and tortured suspected militants; the Obama administration assassinates them. Both practices not only visit
more hatred upon the United States; they are also illegal. Our laws and treaties prohibit torture. The Constitution forbids the government
from depriving any person of life without due process of law; that is, arrest and fair trial. Yet President Obama has approved the killing of
people, many of whom were not even identified before the kill order was given.

Jo Becker and Scott Shane reported in the New York Times that Obama maintains a “kill list.” After consulting with his counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, Obama personally makes the decision to have individuals executed. Brennan was closely identified with torture, secret prisons, and extraordinary rendition during the Bush administration. The Times story, based on interviews with three dozen current and former Obama advisers, reports that “Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive. While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into U.S. custody” because he doesn’t want to add new prisoners to Guantanamo.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line – Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiators to Face a Week of Protests

The Starting Line – Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiators to Face a Week of Protests

by Doug Porter 06.26.2012 Activism

June 26, 2012 – A diverse coalition of groups has announced plans for ongoing protests aimed at trade negotiators meeting in San Diego next week for the 13th round of talks aimed at the creation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade zone that would include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, with a “docking agreement” that other countries can join over time. Canada, Japan and Mexico are currently pressing to do so.. Describing the proposals being discussed at the confab as “NAFTA on steroids”, the Citizens Trade Campaign is seeking to draw attention to the fact that approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have access to the TPP negotiating texts, while the public has been barred from reviewing what trade negotiators have been proposing.

A leaked TPP document demonstrates that the group is considering a dispute resolution process that would grant transnational corporations special authority to challenge countries’ laws, regulations and court decisions in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems. Of further concern is the impact of the agreement on jobs, wages, agriculture, migration, the environment, consumer safety, financial regulations, Internet protocols, government procurement and more. Negotiations on the proposed pact will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel from July 2 – 10.

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Thumbnail image for The Great Ramona Zucchini Wars

The Great Ramona Zucchini Wars

by Source 06.26.2012 Culture

By Dave Patterson

Like a shot heard round the world, what was considered beyond the limits of civility was breached while we were away. When we saw what had been left on our doorstep in Ramona, my wife ran away screaming and I was taken aback to witness what depths of decency had been abandoned. I shudder to think what may become of society in Ramona as a result of this dastardly act, because this means war.

Someone left an extremely large zucchini on our doorstep. Zucchinis at this time of year are frightening because we are at wits end with what to do with them.

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Thumbnail image for Jerry Sandusky Guilty on 45 Counts, Brings Shame to Coaches Everywhere

Jerry Sandusky Guilty on 45 Counts, Brings Shame to Coaches Everywhere

by Andy Cohen 06.26.2012 Culture

Former longtime Penn St. football coach will be going to prison presumably for the rest of his life.

Jerry Sandusky, the longtime defensive coordinator and onetime heir to Joe Paterno’s job, was convicted last Friday on 45 of the 48 counts that were brought against him for child sexual abuse and related charges. At 68 years old, Sandusky—who has yet to be formally sentenced—will likely die in prison where he belongs. It’s not enough. The punishment, sadly, does not fit the crime. He won’t live long enough in confinement to adequately pay for the suffering and humiliation he brought on those 10 boys he raped…..the 10 we know of.

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