The Starting Line— Weekend Wingnut Gathering Slated for Balboa Park

“Come Stand in Defense of Your Church!” is the rallying cry for the San Diego Tea Party’s event at the intersection of Park Boulevard and President’s Way Saturday morning, October 20th.

More than a dozen speakers, representing a variety of groups with theocratic agendas, will take the stage to rail against the Obama administration’s so-called assaults on religious freedom. Speakers include radio host Gina Loudon, whose claims to fame include comparing gay marriage to people marrying animals and suggesting people who wanted to build an Islamic Community Center in New York City were Nazis; local gay basher Charles LiMandri; Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior pastor at Skyline Church; Anti-Abortion activist Timmerie Millington, and President Steven Pynes of the Mormons.

Mostly what these folks are worked up about is the “ObamaCare” rules that require insurance plans to offer a broad array of women’s preventive health services, notably coverage of birth control, at no upfront cost.  The original version of the rules issued by the Obama administration exempted churches and other religious organizations, but still required religious-affiliated universities, hospitals and social-service agencies to abide by the coverage requirement.

After a months’ long backlash led by the Catholic Church, the administration decided to give all religiously affiliated organizations an additional year while it seeks a compromise.  Obviously compromise isn’t enough for these folks, who have turned an attempt to provide birth control coverage (no rule says you have to use it) into an attack on the religious freedom.

I’d be willing to take them a little more seriously if they also opposed insurance companies covering  pills for male erectile disfunction. But they don’t. And this is all about the need of fundies and their fellow travelers to keep women as second class citizens.

Manchester’s Megalomaniacal Machinations Continued…

Bertrand Russell’s musings on the subject fit UT-San Diego’s Publisher Doug Manchester to a tee: “The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.”

Whether he belongs to either the ‘lunatic’ or the ‘great men’ category is the only question at play here. Having made the jump from hotel developer to media mogul, Manchester clearly wants more, more & more.  If his worldview isn’t supported by the facts, he’s willing to simply use his power to deny, defer or dispute reality.

Yesterday it was reported by KPBS that Manchester is officially looking into purchasing the Tribune Company, which will give him control over the Los Angeles Times, along with The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and The Hartford Courant.

There were two press conferences in downtown San Diego yesterday. A gathering with supporters of the death penalty, encouraging citizens to vote against a ballot measure that would end capital punishment was deemed newsworthy in our local daily paper. Another gathering with retired judges, bar association officials and both the City and the County’s top lawyers aimed at increasing awareness about a non-qualified candidate campaign for a seat on the Superior Court didn’t rate a peep.

Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio “no-shows” for an event sponsored by the San Diego Urban League (he was confirmed) and nothing is said. DeMaio’s campaign ‘accidentally’ leaks an email critical of Bob Filner from U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy and it makes page one of the local section. (And the news account leaves out a significant part of the story.)

The UT-San Diego editorializes about candidate Filner’s ex-wife being paid from campaign funds a decade ago, but ignores financial disclosure reports showing that its favored candidates, Carl DeMaio, Brian Bilbray and Duncan Hunter, Jr. have recently or are currently engaged in the same practice.

It’s the time of year when campaigns (or their ‘non-connected’ surrogates) do desperate and stupid things, I get that.  We all have our candidates and causes that we want to win, but if you’re gonna run a big city newspaper or media platform or whatever you want to call it, you ought to at least have the decency of mentioning the other side’s press releases.

Book Author on Drone Killings Set to Appear

The Peace Resource Center of San Diego will host Medea Benjamin, from Code Pink,,on Saturday, October 20, 2012 for a book signing and talk, 3-5 p.m., 3850 Westgate Place, San Diego. This program will be in the Church of the Brethren Sanctuary; first building as you enter the parking lot.

Medea will discuss and sign copies of her book, “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.”  She is currently on a peace delegation to Pakistan and will also speak about her experiences there.  Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Drone Warfare (OR Books, 2012) is a comprehensive look at the growing menace of drone warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who are “piloting” these unmanned planes, who are the victims and what are the legal and moral implications. But this book is also a call to action, with a look at what activists, lawyers and scientists are doing to rein in the drones, and ways to move forward.

North County Contests Feature Far Right Candidates Looking for a Platform

From the Rancho Santa Fe Democratic Club comes word that the San Dieguito Union High School District is at risk of takeover by the far right.  Conservative John Salazar, elected in 2010, has been on the losing end of many 4-1 votes.  Salazar is supporting Graham Ledger, local TV newsman and leader of the 858 Tea Party, and Steven McDowell, who was ineffective during four years on the dysfunctional Del Mar Unified School District  board.  McDowell, who also considered a run for Del Mar City Council, was soundly defeated when he sought re-election to the school board in 2010.

SDUHSD incumbents Joyce Dalessandro and Beth Hergesheimer have done a good job and district schools are among the best in the state.  The incumbents are endorsed by board members Amy Herman and Barbara Groth, by the last two district superintendents, and by Dede Alpert, Dee Rich, and Mary Farrell.

 California Assembly Race:. Sherry Hodges, a shrill and divisive voice of the religious right, is running in an all-Republican runoff against former Oceanside Councilman Rocky Chavez in the 76th Assembly District (Encinitas and north).  Hodges served on the San Dieguito Union High School board, 1990-1994, advocating creationism, censorship, and homophobia.  She has claimed that our schools teach “witchcraft” and “levitation” and that they “advance the homosexual agenda.”  She is endorsed by the afore-mentioned John Salazar.  Democrats, independents, and many Republicans (including termed-out Assemblyman Martin Garrick) will support the more moderate Chavez.

Debate Questioner Gets Smeared by Right Wing Group

Those of you who watched the Presidential debate on Tuesday will no doubt remember audience member Katherine Fenton, a 24-year-old pre-kindergarten teacher, asking both candidatesthe question; “In what new ways do you intend to rectify inequalities in the workplace? Specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn.”

In my opinion, neither candidate actually answered her question, which is a shame.  But candidate Mitt Romney wandered off into a soliloquy about “binders” full of women that he used as Governor of Massachusetts.  Let’s just say it wasn’t his best moment, and he’s gotten some negative reaction from it.  Or, better yet, he blew the answer.

So the women who asked the question has now been the object of a smear campaign launched by the conservative publication Free Beacon. An anonymous article allegedly quoting a now-deleted Twitter account suggests that she’s been engaged in getting drunk at happy hours and may have sent sexually suggestive messages to acquaintances.  I guess it’s part of the “shoot the messenger” philosophy so prevalent these days.

Tweet of the Day:

.@carldemaio spokesman: “I find fact checks nauseating.” Says he doesn’t think reporters should call things out as true or false.

— Lisa Halverstadt (@LisaHalverstadt) October 19, 2012


Quote of the Day: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

On this Day: In 1966 the Yardbirds arrive in New York for their first U.S. tour.  In 1969 Vice President Spiro Agnew referred to anti-Vietnam War protesters “an effete corps of impudent snobs.” In 1983 the U.S. Senate approved a bill establishing a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: 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

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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's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatarbob dorn says

    It boggles the imagination how the Manchesters and Koch Bros seem to have interplanetary sources of money; in the case of Manchester so much of it that he can buy up newspaper chains with operations in America’s largest cities and then fund political campaigns and still have enough left to redevelop downtown landscapes.
    What the Dougchester doesn’t have is a memory. His closest San Diego predecessor, C. Arnholt Smith, fell apart because of his overreaching. Sic semper transit greed.

  2. avatarShelley Plumb says

    My god, it is truly alarming that Papa Doug is looking into buying the Tribune Company.
    I’m at a loss for words. At least we have your column, Doug. If the L.A. Times goes the way of the U-T, this town will be totally in the dark as far as daily print “journalism” goes.