The Obsession of Right-Wing Media With an Imaginary Woman’s Success Story

Alternet / By Joshua Holland (Originally published Sept. 21, 2012)

Conservatives talk a lot about “dependency,” but it’s not clear that they know what the word means. Consider, for example, the right’s bizarre reaction to a rather benign online campaign the White House pushed briefly earlier this year called “The Life of Julia,” a slide-show featuring a fictional Everywoman that was meant to highlight how Obama’s policies might improve the lives of average Americans.

  [Read more…]

Red States Outpace Blue States in Income Growth — Thanks to Food Stamps

Alternet / By Sarah Jaff (Originially published Sept. 27, 2012)

Government programs are helping ease poverty in red states, despite the GOP’s best efforts.

Americans love nothing more than a good Red-State-Vs.-Blue-State argument, especially during election time.

So a new story in USA Today, looking at the changes in income, state by state, since the beginning of the Great Recession, of course breaks down the results into “red,” “blue” and “swing” states. It declares that red states have seen incomes grow 4.6 percent since 2007, adjusted for inflation, while blue states have only seen incomes grow 0.5 percent. In swing states?
  [Read more…]

We Read Banned Books: City College Hosts 7th Annual Week-Long International Book Fair

Despite the financial difficulties that came with trying to fund a big cultural event featuring books during hard economic times, the San Diego City College International Book Fair continues to deliver excellent literary talent for San Diego. Director Virginia Escalante has put together a lineup that features a little bit of everything with emerging writers, like Reyna Grande, alongside established talents such as Susan Straight and Gustavo Arellano.

  [Read more…]

Field of View: Politifest 2012

This year’s Politifest saw a smaller crowd than 2011 as people came to partake in some local political activity. The event, which ran Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2:30 a.m., showcased dozens of booths at the Ingram Plaza in Liberty Station, as well as debates among mayoral candidates Bob Filner and Carl Demaio, and also candidates for the San Diego Unified School District board.

While I missed the mayoral debate, Frank Gormlie reports that Demaio presented himself “as crazed as he ever was.” Gormlie says the quote of the day came from Filner: “Reform that Carl wants is real estate for Manchester.”

  [Read more…]

5 Biggest Lies About America’s Public Schools — Debunked

Alternet / By Kristin Rawls

Just weeks into the 2012-2013 school year education issues are already playing a starring role in the national conversation about America’s future. Because it’s an election year, the presidential candidates have been busy pretending there are many substantial distinctions between them on education policy (actually, the differences are arguably minimal).   [Read more…]

A Reading Guide to True the Vote, the Controversial Voter Fraud Watchdog

ProPublica / By Suevon Lee (Originally published Sept. 27, 2012)

As Nov. 6 approaches, the efforts of True the Vote, a Texas anti-voter fraud group recently profiled by the New York Times, are gaining national attention.

Despite scant evidence of voter fraud, the group is laser-focused on weeding it out. It has pushed for voter-ID laws, voter roll purges and other controversial voting-related measures in a host of states. (Here is our guide to the voter ID controversy, where we note that evidence on both sides of the issue is lacking.)

  [Read more…]

A Thanks to the Veterans of Peace for a Nice Day

This past Thursday was a mellow day for me, mainly due to a visit I made to a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Veterans Service Center at San Diego City College.

But I was already feeling pretty good before I got there, starting with being picked up by my girlfriend, if that’s what a 74 year old has. Anyway the ride, with that beautiful woman, on such a nice warm sparkling soothing easy San Diego day, had me ready for a good time.

  [Read more…]

The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 3

Colin took the Tenth Avenue exit, heading into Downtown, south past Broadway. He came to a stop at Tenth and G Street. Looking west, he saw at least twenty police cars barricading G Street — four about mid-block, six at the intersection with Seventh Avenue, the remainder at the intersection with Eighth Avenue. All but two or three of the units had the red, blue and amber overhead lights activated, bouncing colors off the windows and walls of the surrounding buildings; something akin to an outdoor disco.

  [Read more…]

The Starting Line—‘Someone Could Go to Jail for This’; Newspaper CEO Denies Threatening Email to San Diego Port Commissioner

The scandal surrounding heavy handed tactics by San Diego businessmen backing a football stadium proposal continued to spread yesterday as Port Commissioner Scott Peters released what appears to be a threatening email from UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch.

The August 9th email from Lynch, asks Peters about his stance on a proposed long term lease at the 10Th Avenue Marine Terminal, and warns of a campaign led by San Diego’s daily newspaper to disband the Port Authority should backers of the proposed stadium not approve of his vote. The UT-San Diego, owned by downtown developer Doug Manchester and operated by John Lynch, has made construction of a football stadium at the port site one of its top editorial priorities.   [Read more…]

GREGG ROBINSON: Candidate for County Board of Education

By Mel Freilicher

Gregg Robinson is running as a candidate for the County Board of Education. He has dedicated his life to addressing, and working toward redressing, the growing inaccessibility of educational opportunities due to poverty. This is reflected in his scholarly research and publications, his career as a teacher as well as his ongoing involvement in community organizations.

Gregg’s Ph.D. is from UCSD: he has spent the last 22 years as a sociology professor at Grossmont College. Before that, he worked at UT San Antonio; Austin State; University of Maryland at Eastern Shore, and as a substitute teacher for the SD Unified school district. So while he speaks from experience, eloquently and directly, about issues concerning income gap and educational access and success, he also easily cites major studies from schools like Stanford or UCLA to substantiate his positions.   [Read more…]

San Diego Ashford University Ex-Employee Writes About Getting Shafted

(Editor’s Note: We received this letter in response to a story that we ran this week about Bridgepoint Education/Ashford University laying off hundred of employees here in the San Diego area. Our premise for the original story was that Bridgepont/Ashford was just another in a long series of morally bankrupt corporations that have been touted as the darlings of the San Diego establishment. Our correspondent, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous, certainly does a good job of making the case for us.)

As a former employee of Ashford University, I am very upset with the way we were treated, lied to and disposed of by a company that found legal loop holes in the system that allowed them to take advantage of 450 people.

I was hired early in the summer and was told that we should not worry about the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) denial of the company’s application for accreditation, and that Ashford had already started making corrections to get the approval the next time around.
  [Read more…]

Get Out the Vote with Sarah Silverman and Samuel L Jackson: Nana, Guns and a Wake Up Call

WARNING: The following videos are not safe for the work place.

The past few weeks have provided a gold mine of incisive, laugh out loud political analysis of the election season. SNL has taken on the war against women, undecided voters, and Ann Romney, and we are left looking forward to so much more.

Sarah Silverman’s Let My People Vote and Samuel L Jackson’s Wake the F**k Up are political satire with an unequivocal message …   [Read more…]

San Diego for Free: Coronado Central Beach – America’s Best Beach

San Diego has many beautiful beaches where you can enjoy the sound of waves while sunbathing, the thrill of catching waves while surfing, or take children for fun in the sun. Only one beach in San Diego can lay claim to the title of America’s Best Beach for 2012, however, and that is the Coronado Central Beach.

Compiled annually since 1991, the Dr. Beach Top 10 list is curated by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Professor of Coastal Research at Florida International University. Dr. Leatherman uses a set of 50 criteria to evaluate beaches all over the nation and 2012 is the first year that a California beach has taken the top spot on his list.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line —Hey San Diego! Don’t Miss Out on an Opportunity Called Politifest

Those of us who are active in politics rarely acknowledge the reality that, regardless of our views, we are a distinct minority. It is all too easy to make the jump from, say, knowing that the quality of life is an important consideration for San Diegans, to the assumption that everybody actually has an opinion or gives enough of a damn to think about the issue.

So when an event occurs whose purpose is to raise consciousness about getting out and actually doing something, I think it’s a Big Deal. Voice of San Diego’s Politifest, at Liberty Station (Point Loma) this Saturday starting at about 10 am, is a one stop no risk opportunity for anybody that grasps the importance of citizenship to get involved. There will be eighty plus organizations with people willing to expound about their cause, give you a brochure or two and, if you’re willing, sign you up for future activities.   [Read more…]

Making Peace by Learning the Skills to Practice Nonviolence

As a teacher, vice-principal and school principal I more often than not had to sit with students of all ages, kindergarten to senior high, to help them get along with each other, to make peace.

I loved that aspect of my work, the nitty gritty of it, the getting to the bottom of why they felt they had to hit back or resort to name calling and ridiculing. I’d often ask them to think of what they could have done differently if the same troublesome situation that got them in each other’s face happened again.

It’s essential training since we live in a very violent society, one wherein: children kill children; children are abused in their homes; husbands batter wives and vice versa; metal detectors are used in our schools.   [Read more…]

SEMPRA Energy Wants Ratepayers to Pay for Their Negligence

It’s standard operating procedure for San Diego based SEMPRA Energy, parent corporation of San Diego Gas and Electric, to delay costly maintenance and then, when there is a breakdown in the system such as the 2007 Witch Creek Fire which burned 198,000 acres, killed two people, injured 40 firefighters and destroyed more than 1,100 homes, to go to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and get a ruling that would allow them to charge the ratepayers for costs associated with that disaster.

So SEMPRA’s strategy is very simple. Don’t spend the money on maintenance and then, when a disaster happens, go to the CPUC whose members it has wined and dined, and ask for a rate increase so that the ratepayers, not SEMPRA, pays for the costs associated with the disaster such as paying off homeowners whose homes have been burned down in the fire. Hey, it’s cheaper than doing routine maintenance.   [Read more…]

Sex In San Diego: The Failure of Dating Websites

As I contemplate the composition of this article, I am struck by a couple of things: One, as of Sept. 21 I have been a widow for three years. Time goes by fast, even if you are not having fun. Secondly, I joined my first dating service in January. During that time I have met a total of 12 men, even though I contacted over 200. (That’s the truth. I have all of their names on a grid so that I didn’t contact them more than once.) For the most part, those I met were nice enough, but the spark I was looking for never materialized and, even though I renewed my subscriptions to three sites, I will not do so when they expire at the end of the month.

  [Read more…]

General Strike in Athens! “The Plutocrats Should Pay for the Crisis, Not the People”

By Jim Bliesner, SDFP contributor, reporting from Athens, Greece

The tear gas was now filtering into the restaurants, casual diners coughing, rubbing their eyes, rushing inside or running down the street from the police. Pitched battles continued on the side streets. The outer edges were covered with motorcycle police pincering the crowds toward Omonoia Square. When they isolated a lone demonstrator dressed in black they would beat him. Time after time chasing one or two stragglers down the street, diners watching like it was theater. The battle spread throughout the city center on all the streets.   [Read more…]

San Diego Theater: “Juanita Hits the Jackpot!”

Twenty three years ago Teresa Gunn was performing on stage in DC with her rock and roll band when a song came into her head “just like that.” The band had no idea what Teresa was doing when she launched into a spontaneous a capella rendition of “Trailer Park Money.” Teresa didn’t know much more about that moment than the band did. The song/message entered her head, she delivered it and the show went on.

Teresa never forgot that particular message. In the intervening years, that song became more fully realized as “Trailer Park Queen” and then continued to evolve as a series of one woman performances about Juanita, a mysterious unseen presence who cannot be abandoned, only temporarily ignored.   [Read more…]

Carl DeMaio in City Heights

Many of us living in the inner city communities and south of Route 8 will remember Mayor Sanders as the leader who performed triage with a hatchet upon a flat-lined city budget. He destroyed the villages writ small while saving the only village that really counts–powerful business interests and an entrenched downtown establishment.

Mayor Sanders’ recent endorsement of Carl DeMaio raises the obvious question–Will Carl DeMaio, if elected, embrace the same governance policies and attitudes? The corollary of course is–Does City Heights want more of the same?   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Poll Shows Filner Gaining in Mayoral Race as The City Goes to Hell

Mayoral candidate DeMaio continues to consolidate his support among the downtown business types that he campaigned against during the primary. The ‘reformer’ who was going to take on the ‘entrenched interests’ in San Diego is now actively courting the Chamber of Commerce types. So it came as no big surprise yesterday when current Mayor Jerry Sanders swallowed his pride and appeared before the press to bless DeMaio’s candidacy.

Meanwhile, in the only good news I have to report today, a Survey USA poll released yesterday by TV 10News indicates Congressman Bob Filner is widening his lead over City Councilman Carl DeMaio in the race for San Diego’s top spot.  Voters reached by telephone for the survey favored Filner over DeMaio by a 12 point margin, 50 to 38%, with the Congressman showing significant gains among women, Hispanic and white voters over the past month.  The poll says that 12 percent of voters remain undecided and that those who formerly supported candidate Nathan Fletcher now support Filner by a 2 to 1 margin..   [Read more…]

The Fed’s Quantitative Easing Policy: What’s In It For You?

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, has been in the business of printing money. His program is euphemistically called “Quantitative Easing (QE).” In September 2012 Bernanke announced QE3 in which the Fed would purchase $40 billion of mortgage backed securities per month indefinitely.

There had been QE1 and QE2 previously, which were one time injections of capital into the nations’ money supply. All theses QEs have resulted in one thing: interest rates have been brought down to practically zero. This may be great for people wanting to buy a car or a house, but for savers, like senior citizens, they have been robbed from gaining any interest on their savings accounts.

They might as well have put their money in their mattresses.   [Read more…]

Athens in Turmoil Over European Union Sanctions: An Eyewitness Report on the Eve of the General Strike

by Jim Bliesner, SDFP Correspondent from Greece

On Sept. 26, 2012, the people of Greece will go on general strike against austerity measures being imposed by the European Union Central Bank. As one person told me, “The measures call for all government workers to receive wage and benefits reductions.” I asked her how they could do that to her since she worked for a private company. “Well I don’t know exactly how but they will. You know how business is- they cut wages whenever they think they can get away with it.”

Athens, the capital of Greece and its largest city, seems to be in turmoil. On Sunday Omonia Square, the central commercial intersection of five large boulevards, was surrounded by at least three different police forces. Each of the five main streets was yellow taped or blocked by large black buses with metal grated windows. Behind the buses were phalanges of police with clear plastic shields.   [Read more…]

San Diego City Council Unanimously Denies Quail Brush Power Plant

by Nadin Abbott/East County Magazine

September 24, 2012 (San Diego)–The mood was tense as people from multiple walks of life and political views filed into San Diego City Chambers. Among them was Republican Santee Councilman Jack Dale and Democrat David Secor, candidate for U.S. Congress for the 50th district. Both Dale and Secor came to oppose the Quail Brush gas-fired power plant.

So did Massada Disenhouse, activist for the Sierra Club and Martha Sullivan, a former California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) employee, and many others.

There were supporters of the plant as well, including Gary Salas, a member of the electrical trades. Also supporting the project was John Gibson, of Hamman Construction in El Cajon.

  [Read more…]

City Agencies Thrive Under Managed Competition

Carl DeMaio’s quest to privatize San Diego’s city services take an unexpected turn.

For decades now we have heard Republicans tell us that under every circumstance government is incapable and incompetent. There’s this completely irrational hatred of all things linked to the government–except the military, of course–which somehow doesn’t qualify as a government agency by Republican definition. Government, and by extension, government agencies—all government agencies—are unable to efficiently and effectively perform the tasks they’ve been chartered for, and thus cannot be trusted with taxpayer money.

  [Read more…]