The Starting Line – Getting Past the UT-SD Paywall; Bridgepoint in the Crosshairs

by on June 22, 2012 · 1 comment

in Business, Culture, Government, Politics, The Starting Line

June 22, 2012 - It didn’t take long yesterday for news to spread that San Diego’s daily dead tree news operation had decided to monetize its internet operations by charging customers for access once they’d passed a monthly limit of fifteen page views. And, by the end of the day, savvy local computer users were spreading the word on methods to bypass the company’s paywall.

Noting that UT-SD was using “session” cookies (small files which are stored on a user’s computer, designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website), and not particularly sophisticated cookies at that, three methods for getting past the tollgate emerged. One method is to install multiple internet browsers on your computer; each browser (i.e. Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer) wil give the use an additional fifteen page views. Method number two is to simply delete the “content meter” cookie from your browser once you hit the limit. And the final, and easiest way, is to simply use a web browser (Firefox, Chrome) that has a privacy mode (it’s called incognito page in Chrome); that way the cookies are automatically deleted when you finish your browsing session.  h/t @meanestbossever

Bridgepoint in the crosshairs… San Diego has a long history of really big companies dominating the local landscape that crash and burn, leaving economic devastation in their wake. During the 1960s, for instance, U.S. National Bank and the Westgate Corporation dominated the local landscape, only to collapse as the financial machinations of its owner C. Arnholt Smith were exposed. Today’s really big player is Bridgepoint Education. Its name and influence are at the top of the local economic scene. And while DailyFinance.com considers Bridgepoint stock to be “perfect”, i.e., the stock that provides everything you could possibly want, there are cracks opening around the edges of the giant that portend poorly for the future.

An economic impact report, released earlier this week by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., says that Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit, largely online university based in San Diego, generated more than $1 billion for the local economy last year. Bridgepoint is the city’s ninth-largest private employer, with a net income of $172.8 million in 2011, up $46 million 2010. Through its ownership of  Ashford University, which has a campus in Clinton, Iowa, and University of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colo., Bridgepoint, boasts 94,863 students across the nation, nearly all of whom are online.

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) has introduced a bill that would prohibit for-profit colleges from using taxpayer-funded financial aid for marketing, recruiting or advertising purposes, according to a story on Salon.com. On a conference call with reporters promoting the bill Hagan cited one for-profit school that had 1,700 recruiters and only one job placement counselor. That school would be San Diego based Bridgepoint Education, whose 84 percent drop out rate from its two-year associate degree program explains the need for that imbalance. In order to survive and keep generating new revenue from federal loans, Bridgepoint must keep enrolling new students. The school will not survive in its current form if Sen. Hagan’s bill becomes law.  h/t Don Bauder

The big news out of the nation’s capital today is the report in the Washington Post that Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to companies in low-wage countries like China and India. During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running the a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Presidential candidate has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail decrying the toll that exporting jobs has taken on the U.S. economy, promising that he would protect American employees by getting tough on China. Not so coincidentally, we suspect, the Obama campaign has released this interactive map showing the negative impacts that Romney’s company had on individual states.

A ballot initiative to repeal the Imperial Beach City’s ban on safe access to medical marijuana and replace it with reasonable regulations for qualified patients received approval from the County Registrar of Voters today and is headed for the July 18, Imperial Beach City Council meeting. If passed, the measure would repeal the city’s current ban and replace it with strict zoning regulations and clear operational requirements for medical cannabis dispensing collectives and cooperatives.

Student loans in trouble…With slightly more than a week before loan rates double for 7.4 millions students on July 1, President Obama on Thursday urged students and their parents to press for congressional action. Legislation that would continue the present rate of 3.4% is deadlocked because of partisan differences on how to pay for it.

On This Day: In 1944 U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the “GI Bill of Rights” to provide broad benefits for veterans. In 1964 The U.S. Supreme Court voted that Henry Miller’s book, “Tropic of Cancer”, could not be banned. In 1981 Mark David Chapman pled guilty to killing John Lennon.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Borrego Springs  (Christmas Circle Community Park Christmas Circle & Palm Canyon Dr.) 7 am – noon, Fallbrook (102 S. Main, at Alvarado) 10 am – 2 pm, Imperial Beach  (Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza) 2 – 7:30 pm, Kearny Mesa (No. Island Credit Union pkg lot  5898 Copley) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, La Mesa Village  (Corner of Spring St. and University) 2 – 6 pm, Rancho Bernardo (Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) 9 am – noon, Southeast San Diego (4981 Market St. West of Euclid Ave. Trolley Station) 2 – 6 pm

Get a life! Get out to the Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off , Saturday June 23rd, starting at 10am and running ‘till dark. There will be live music on six stages, street entertainers, vendors, artists, rides, a beer garden, and the thrill of just being there. There is virtually no parking—50,000 people show up– so ride the free trolley or park your bike at the new bike valet. It’s a free! For more information please contact the Ocean Beach MainStreet Office (1868 Bacon St., #A San Diego, CA 92107 - 619-224-4906) or via email toInfo@OceanBeachSanDiego.com.

Get a Life! Part Two: The Centro Presents: Fiesta de la Musica and Vive El Arte Exhibit, Sat., June 23 @ 5:30 pm. Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Talento Hispano & Cultura Global with reggae, cumbia, ska and alternative music at the Centro featuring Revolucion Zebra, Afro Paisa, DJ Jumpoff, Mendez Legacy, Varela y los 4:20s and Fabio Alejandro. The event starts at 5pm. Suggested donation: $5. Click Here for performance schedule. 2004 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101

I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org  

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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avatar Lucas June 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Slight correction: Easiest way is to just not read the UT.

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