Are the NFL Chargers Causing the NCAA Aztecs to Lose?

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By Bill Adams /UrbDeZine

Are the San Diego National Football League (NFL) Chargers causing the San Diego State University Aztecs football team to lose games and fans?  If so, which is worse for San Diego, losing its NFL franchise to another city, or sub-optimal performance and attendance at Aztecs football games?

While these question at first appear both absurd and provocative, there have been several studies that can answer these questions  – at least to some degree.  Moreover, the studies go further. The studies indicate that the success of a college sports team has an effect on the regional economy.

First, winning by a university’s sports teams increases both the number and the quality of its student applications.  It hardly needs be said that the number and quality of student applications facilitates everything from funding to prestige, and ultimately the growth of a university.  This explains in large part why university administrations continue to fund even money-losing or scandal-ridden high profile sports like football and basketball.   [Read more…]

Campaign Zero: A ‘Blueprint for Ending Police Violence’

'We must end police violence so we can live and feel safe in this country,' Campaign Zero states on its website. (Photo: Basil-Malik/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

On Friday, activists with the country’s growing racial justice movement unveiled a new campaign to end police violence, bridging protester demands with data and policy to create structural solutions to the crisis that has gripped national attention for more than a year.

Launched as an online manifesto with an interactive website, Campaign Zero proposes new federal, state, and local laws that would address police violence and reform the criminal justice system—including demilitarizing law enforcement, increasing community oversight, limiting use-of-force, and requiring independent investigation and prosecution of police violence cases.

“More than one thousand people are killed by police every year in America,” the group states on its website. “Nearly sixty percent of victims did not have a gun or were involved in activities that should not require police intervention such as harmless ‘quality of life’ behaviors or mental health crises.”   [Read more…]

Pardon the Interruption, Bernie: Why Black Lives Matter Is in Politics to Stay

Photo by tiffany98101

The criticism aimed at Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford have ranged from the deeply piercing to the explicitly racist. But what they did was necessary, a welcome harbinger of more direct disruption.

Marcus Harrison Green / Yes! Magazine

“America is a racist nation. Look at this country’s true history. Look at its foundations. It was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and the continued enslavement of black Americans.”

A Black Lives Matter protester laid it out bare, raw, and unapologetic to me and the hundreds of others who stood shoulder to shoulder on the grassy courtyard of Seattle Central Community College. It was the day after Mara Willaford and Marissa Johnson engaged in a now-famous disruption at Bernie Sanders’ rally in Seattle, where the democratic presidential candidate was scheduled to speak in front of a largely (and seemingly) progressive white audience.

The criticism aimed at the two’s actions has ranged from the deeply piercing, to the contextually vapid, to the explicitly racist. The two women have had their lives scrutinized, religion questioned, and progressive values challenged.

All because they would not allow a white man to speak.   [Read more…]

‘Out of Step’: Investigation Uncovers Striking Paid Leave Divide in US

In the United States, only about 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to any form of paid family leave. (Photo: Corrinne Yu/cc/flickr)

By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams

With the idea of paid maternity leave gaining traction as a means of recruiting workplace “talent” or used as a talking point on the campaign trail, an In These Times investigation published on Tuesday reveals the sad reality for millions of U.S. families.

In the United States, only about 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to any form of paid family leave, which includes parental leave and other time off to care for a family member, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   [Read more…]

This New Federal Rule Will Bring Secretive Corporate Tax Breaks to Light

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Every year, governments spend tens of billions of dollars on tax breaks for private companies. Now, state and city governments will have to start reporting it as lost income.

By Puck Lo / Yes! Magazine

In 2013, Chicago’s Board of Education announced that due to a $1 billion deficit, the city was closing some 50 public schools. The same year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave more than $55 million in public tax money to build a new basketball arena and hotel. Many outraged students took to the streets to protest. Asean Johnson, nine years old at the time, was one of them.   [Read more…]

80 Years Later, Republicans Are Still Fighting Social Security

President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EDT on August 14, 1935. Standing with Roosevelt are Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); unknown person in shadow; Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI); Rep. Joshua Twing Brooks (D-Pennsylvania); the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins; Sen. Pat Harrison (D-MS); and Rep. David Lewis (D-MD). (Photo: Archive/Wikimedia Commons)

By Richard Eskow / Campaign for America’s Future Blog

Some things never change. “The lash of the dictator will be felt,” a Republican House member said in 1935 when Social Security was first proposed. “Social Security is the delinquent child of the left,” a Fox News commentator said this week, “that grew up to be an evil dictator.”

“Dictator”? A program created by popularly elected politicians, and which enjoys widespread support among voters?

Polls have consistently shown that Americans are extremely pleased with Social Security, which provides benefits are costs far below those in the private sector. But, as the program celebrates its 80th birthday today, Republicans are still working to erode the public’s trust in it, just as they did when GOP presidential candidate Alf Landon called it “a fraud on the workingman” in 1936 and said “the saving it forces on our workers is a cruel hoax.”   [Read more…]

US Raises Flag in Cuba After 54 Years, but ‘Signs of Mistrust Linger’

Three Marines raise U.S. flag at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has called for the U.S. to repay millions of dollars owed to his country for damage done by its decades-long embargo

By Deidre Fulton / CommonDreams

After more than five decades, the U.S. embassy in Cuba formally re-opened with a flag-raising ceremony on Friday, marking another historic step in the normalization of relations between the two countries.

“For more than half a century, U.S.-Cuba relations have been suspended in the amber of cold war politics,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a speech at the seaside facility. “It’s time to unfurl our flags and let the world know we wish each other well.”   [Read more…]

Death by a Thousand Cuts

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Losing species to climate change

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

It’s common knowledge that polar bears, and their primary prey the ringed seal, might go extinct this century as the Arctic sea ice melts because rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG) are warming the planet.

Hearing this news, many Americans likely felt something akin to, “Gee, that’s a shame,” but the country did little more than shrug its collective shoulders before getting back to business as usual.

But news keeps coming about species threatened by climate change via habitats becoming unlivable or collapsing of food webs. The latest sting came from Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa who concluded that dozens of bumblebee species in North America and Europe could be headed for extinction because the southern reach of their habitat is becoming too hot. The study appeared in the July 10 issue of Science magazine.   [Read more…]

‘The Problem With the Police, In Other Words, Is Not That They Have Unions, But That They Are Police’

Mounted police from the rear

Erik Loomis / Lawyers, Guns and Money

Sarah Jaffe has an excellent discussion of the relationship between police unions and the rest of the labor movement at Truthout. UAW Local 2865, which represents California graduate students, has pushed for the AFL-CIO to kick out the one police union that remains in the federation, the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA). This has received some attention and is worthy of more.

Jaffe makes a number of key points. First, as the quote I used for the title points out, busting police unions isn’t going to change police behavior at all. The problem is police culture. …   [Read more…]

President Obama Wants to Continue Imprisoning Immigrant Families

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By Michael Tan / American Civil Liberties Union

The Obama administration doubled down on one of its worst immigration legacies: the return and expansion of family detention. Responding to a court order holding that its family detention camps violated the 1997 Flores settlement agreement, the Obama administration Friday again defended family detention as necessary to send a message to Central American families that they are not welcome here—even though it concedes that most of them are fleeing persecution.   [Read more…]

Where Did the Antiwar Movement Go?

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War, Sunny Side Up, and the Summer of Slaughter (Vietnam and Today)

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch.com

Let me tell you a story about a moment in my life I’m not likely to forget even if, with the passage of years, so much around it has grown fuzzy. It involves a broken-down TV, movies from my childhood, and a war that only seemed to come closer as time passed.

My best guess: it was the summer of 1969. I had dropped out of graduate school where I had been studying to become a China scholar and was then working as a “movement” printer — that is, in a print shop that produced radical literature, strike posters, and other materials for activists. It was, of course, “the Sixties,” though I didn’t know it then. Still, I had somehow been swept into a new world remarkably unrelated to my expected life trajectory — and a large part of the reason for that was the Vietnam War.   [Read more…]

Lawrence Lessig Considers Presidential Run to Un-Rig Electoral System

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“We’ve lived through ‘change you can believe in’,” says Lawrence Lessig. “What we need now is a reason to believe in change.”

By Deidre Fulton / CommonDreams

Campaign finance reform advocate and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig announced Tuesday that he is forming a committee to explore entering the Democratic primary for president—a job from which he says he would resign as soon as Congress passed a package of pro-democracy reforms.

“I want to run,” Lessig wrote at the Huffington Post on Tuesday. “But I want to run to be a different kind of president. ‘Different’ not in the traditional political puffery sense of that term. ‘Different,’ quite literally. I want to run to build a mandate for the fundamental change that our democracy desperately needs. Once that is passed, I would resign, and the elected Vice President would become President.”   [Read more…]

A Driving Force: Electric Vehicles are on the Verge of Disrupting Energy Markets

Don McCullough/Flickr

By Emily Schwartz Greco /OtherWords

Back in 1898, New York City hosted a global environmental summit. Flummoxed, the assembled experts disbanded early without agreeing on workable solutions.

What daunting crisis brought about this precursor of today’s big UN climate conferences?

Fast-growing cities were propelling travel via horse-drawn buggies and wagons to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. Staggering quantities of equine manure and urine made urban life hazardous and stinky, Clemson University assistant professor Eric Morris explains in his colorful essay From Horse Power to Horsepower.
  [Read more…]

365 Days and 605 Armored Military Vehicles Later: Police Militarization a Year After Ferguson

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By Kanya Bennett / ACLU Speak Freely

Last August Ferguson and Fallujah had a lot in common. Those protesting the death of Michael Brown were met with “armored vehicles, noise-based crowd-control devices, shotguns, M4 rifles like those used by forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, rubber-coated pellets and tear gas.” The scene looked more like a foreign warzone than a Midwestern American town and no one could tell why local police were taking up arms against those they are sworn to protect and serve.

The world was shocked by this highly and dangerously militarized response by local law enforcement. Foreign leaders equated Ferguson to combat zones in Iraq and Gaza. Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars expressed horror at the reality that they had been less heavily-armed while on active duty abroad. President Obama reacted by saying “[t]here is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred.”   [Read more…]

What If Teachers Got Million-Dollar Deals Instead of Athletes? In Key and Peele’s World, They Do

Key and Peele : Teaching Central

The comedy duo’s SportsCenter spoof is the most exciting look yet at how awesome things would be if we made teaching a priority.

By Christopher Zumski Finke / Yes! Magazine

Just for kicks, let’s imagine that teachers were treated like professional athletes. The media celebrates and scrutinizes athletes, while teachers toil away in classrooms in relative anonymity. What would it look like if those roles were reversed?   [Read more…]

Repulsed by Animal Cruelty, Attendance (and Profits) at SeaWorld Plummet

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“People don’t want to watch abused animals being forced to perform pointless circus tricks,” says animal rights group

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Since the 2013 release of Blackfish, a bombshell documentary exposing animal cruelty at SeaWorld, the aquatic theme park has lost increasing levels of both profits and visitors, reporting an 84 percent plunge in net income in just three months.

SeaWorld announced its quarterly earnings on Thursday, acknowledging the steep drop in profits as a result of “brand challenges.”

Blackfish chronicled sustained abuse of orcas at SeaWorld and the consequences of keeping the animals in captivity. It focused on the case of one whale in particular, Tilikum, and how his mistreatment and confinement contributed to the deaths of three people, including his trainer.   [Read more…]

A Driving Force

Photo by Paul Krueger

Electric vehicles are on the verge of disrupting energy markets.

By Emily Schwartz Greco / OtherWords

Back in 1898, New York City hosted a global environmental summit. Flummoxed, the assembled experts disbanded early without agreeing on workable solutions.

What daunting crisis brought about this precursor of today’s big UN climate conferences?

Fast-growing cities were propelling travel via horse-drawn buggies and wagons to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. Staggering quantities of equine manure and urine made urban life hazardous and stinky, Clemson University assistant professor Eric Morris explains in his colorful essay From Horse Power to Horsepower.   [Read more…]

Don’t Dismiss Trump: He’s Surging in the Polls, and More Republicans Say They’d Vote for Him

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Think this whole thing is a joke? Think again.

By Zaid Jilani / AlterNet

The Donald Trump phenomenon has much of the country scratching their heads. Everyone’s asking: Is this for real? Many wonder if his rise is simply the result of high name recognition, or a sort of summer fling with GOP voters.

It will take a few days to see how his performance in the first televised Republican debate will affect his status, but early returns point to more success. An analysis of where Trump stands in polling across the country suggests that his support is both real and deep, unable to be easily dislodged the way many in the media predict.   [Read more…]

OB Rag’s “Kid” Is Now 3 Years Old – and You’re Invited to the Party

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By OB Rag Staff

Hey! Our “kid” is 3 years old! Come out for the party!

Three years ago – in early June of 2012 –  the staff of the OB Rag began publishing a new and additional online newspaper – this one was to be for all of San Diego. It was the birth of the San Diego Free Press as an online website. And it took on the challenge of being a source for “grassroots news and progressive views”.

Now the OB Rag’s “kid” is 3 years old and you’re all invited to the birthday celebration, called the “GALASTRAVAGANZAVERSARY”.   [Read more…]

Ta-Nehisi Coates Speaks to all of Us in ‘Between the World and Me’

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By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

Over 50 years before I had ever heard the term white privilege, I sat out in the backyard of our middle-class suburban home and finished The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I can still see the bright green grass and the blond wicker furniture, and the curling corner of the paperback book.

And I remember thinking that even though we lived in the same nation, we occupied different countries, James Baldwin and I. He lived in a world that I had never known existed even though it occupied the same city streets. His book’s impact on me was profound, as the kaleidoscope of my reality shifted and never again returned to its original angle.

The following year was personally tumultuous for myself and my family, which may be another reason that I remember that afternoon so vividly. In later years I thought that 14 was too young to be grappling alone with issues so complex. And perhaps it was, but the unfiltered result of that reading was that I could no longer accept that the reality I perceived was the only one that existed. And while I suffered from the same absolutism common to any teenager, always in the back of my mind lingered the knowledge that maybe everything I thought I knew was wrong.

Please join me for a look at the writing of the man considered by Toni Morrison to be the one to fill the intellectual void left by James Baldwin’s passing.   [Read more…]

As ‘Do-Or-Die’ Talks End In Failure, Could TPP Be Derailed for Good?

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Global justice campaigners say disintegration of Maui negotiations ‘good news for people and the planet’

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

The closed-door Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Maui, which President Barack Obama hoped would be the last round, ended Friday in failure to reach a final agreement, thereby pushing a U.S. ratification fight into the tumultuous 2016 presidential election cycle at the earliest—and raising hopes that the corporate-friendly accord could be derailed for good.

Global justice campaigners, who will now have more time to organize against the pact, were buoyed by the development, with Sujata Dey of Council of Canadians declaring on Saturday: “This stall in talks could mean the death of the deal, and a win for the public interest all over the world.”

The TPP ministers claimed in a joint statement released Friday that they have “made significant progress and will continue work on resolving a limited number of remaining issues.”   [Read more…]

In ‘Long Overdue’ Ruling, Canada Approves Medical Abortion Pill

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By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

In a decision hailed as “great news” and “long overdue,” the regulator Health Canada announced Thursday that it has approved use of the medical abortion pill known as RU-486, sold under the brand name Mifegymiso.

“The decision to authorize Mifegymiso for the Canadian market was made further to a thorough review of the data package provided by the sponsor that supported the safety, efficacy and quality of the product,” said the agency.   [Read more…]

Buying America: Shopping Can Be an Ethical Act

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The Many Astounding Ways You Can Express Your Values with Your Pocket Book

By David Morris / Alternet

“Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act,” Pope Francis announced early this year. How can we spend our money as if our values matter?

In some sectors and for some values this is fairly easy. Food is an obvious example. Those who want to protect the environment and human and animal health will find abundant labels guiding them to the appropriate product: USDA Organic, free range, hormone free, grass fed. For those who want to strengthen community, shrink the distance between producer and consumer and support family farmers a growing number of grocery stores label locally grown or raised.   [Read more…]

Economic Growth Doesn’t Make a Wealthy Nation, Safety and Happiness Do

Still frame from Growth Is Not Enough

By Araz Hachadourian / Yes! Magazine

Worldwide economic wealth has quadrupled since 1970, and experts say it will continue to grow exponentially. But at the same time, poverty and economic inequality are on the rise.

Most countries use measures such as gross national product (GNP) and gross domestic product (GDP) to assess the health of their economies. But these only take into account economic activity and material wealth, leaving out factors like distribution of resources and quality of life.

In this video, Kate Raworth, economist and senior visiting research associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, explains how economies aimed only at growth are not enough.   [Read more…]