California Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Temp Workers

by Source 08.30.2014 Business

220px-Californiastatecapitol By Michael Grabell / ProPublica

The California legislature has passed a bill that would hold companies legally responsible if the temp agencies and subcontractors they hire cheat workers out of their wages or put them in harm’s way.

Labor officials across the country have increasingly expressed concern about the rapid growth of the temporary staffing industry since the recession. They have also noted the push by hotels and warehouses to subcontract work that is part of their core business, such as cleaning guest rooms and unloading trucks.

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March for the Kittens: People’s Climate March

by Source 08.29.2014 Activism

 By boatsie for UN Climate Summit@Daily Kos 

So what were you doing back in 1975, when the concept of “global warming” was first introduced in a study published in the journal Science?

Editor’s Note: There is a People’s Climate March in San Diego …Here’s some info from their Facebook Page…come inside for details:

A growing coalition of San Diego organizations and individuals are working together to ensure that our local leaders know that San Diegans are also watching, and we too demand climate action now. We are working to bring hundreds of San Diegans together for the People’s Climate March San Diego to support the marchers in New York and to call for immediate action on climate change here at home.

The People’s Climate March San Diego will be on Sunday, September 21, 2014. We’ll gather at City Hall at 12:30 to call for a strong Climate Action Plan, stop at the American Plaza / Santa Fe Station to highlight transportation alternatives, and end at the County Administration Building Park, where we will hear from local leaders.  View the route, speakers, and other event details. We’ll also have bike rides and a special coaster coming in to the march.

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Thumbnail image for ACLU Achieves Class Action Lawsuit Settlement That Ends Deceitful Immigration Practices

ACLU Achieves Class Action Lawsuit Settlement That Ends Deceitful Immigration Practices

by Source 08.28.2014 Activism

Immigration agencies must make significant reforms to inform non-citizens of their rights

By American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union and Cooley LLP announced an historic settlement in a class action lawsuit, Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson, that alleged deceptive and coercive practices by immigration enforcement officers. Significant reforms to the process known as “voluntary departure” are in effect immediately, including major revisions to the information immigration officers must disclose to people choosing between voluntary departure and a hearing before an immigration judge. The settlement also includes class provisions that, if approved by the court, would allow certain Mexican nationals who have been expelled from Southern California pursuant to flawed voluntary departure procedures over the last several years to seek to reunite with their families here.

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Thumbnail image for More Evidence Pointing to Charter City ‘Savings’ Fallacy

More Evidence Pointing to Charter City ‘Savings’ Fallacy

by Source 08.28.2014 Activism

by Don Greene / Escondido Democratic Club

Part of the pro-city charter mantra we hear from Mayor Abed and the other members of the city council majority is about savings. Especially savings when it comes to eliminating prevailing wages from city construction projects. In a recently released survey, the ‘savings’ that Sam & Co continue to promote are becoming harder and harder to find.

The City of Carlsbad – a charter city in North San Diego county and the favorite, “let’s-be-more-like-them” example promoted by the Mayor – answered a survey on Prevailing Wages and associated savings. The results were somewhat lackluster. When asked the question, “What savings have been realized on average for those contracts where non prevailing wages have been applied?” the answer was telling:

“We have found savings to be hard to ascertain. Bid prices might be lower on the front end but there is some suspicion that total project costs may impact initial savings (change orders, costly project delays, more labor by city employees, etc.)”

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Thumbnail image for Precious Water Bottled and Shipped Out of Drought-Ridden California

Precious Water Bottled and Shipped Out of Drought-Ridden California

by Source 08.27.2014 Activism

By Anastasia Pantsios / EcoWatch

California is suffering through a record drought. Water is being rationed and its usually fertile agriculture industry is suffering. Meanwhile, someone in Minnesota or Kentucky or Maryland may be drinking a bit of California’s precious commodity. Mother Jones reported that at least four major bottled water companies—Aquafina, Dasani, Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead—use water from California, either ground (spring) water or tap water. Aquafina and Dasani both bottle and sell treated tap water, while Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead use spring water.

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10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2014 America

by Source 08.26.2014 Activism

george-orwellBy Justin King / The Anti-Media 

George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Though many in the modern age have the will to bury their head in the sand when it comes to political matters, nobody can only concern themselves with the proverbial pebble in their shoe. If one is successful in avoiding politics, at some point the effects of the political decisions they abstained from participating in will reach their front door. More often than not, by that time the person has already lost whatever whisper of a voice the government has allowed them.

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Thumbnail image for Stop Freaking Out About ISIS

Stop Freaking Out About ISIS

by Source 08.25.2014 Government

By Mark Sumner/ Daily Kos

Now that Ferguson, Missouri, is not producing enough tear gas to keep CNN’s attention, I couldn’t help but notice Chuck Hagel bouncing in his chair, talking about how ISIS is a greater peril than anything mankind has faced since the saber-toothed tiger. Somewhere, just off screen, John McCain is preparing two lists: people we should have bombed, and people we should bomb now.

There’s a big CNN fear graphic on the screen right this moment asking “Does ISIS have cells in the US?” There’s a queue extending out into the parking lot of politicos waiting their turn to shake a finger at President Obama for not rushing back to the White House to deal with this Urgent Threat of Unprecedented Proportion. While wearing a tie. As God intended.

You know how much threat ISIS represents to the United States? None. That’s how much. Exactly none. If there was a value less than none, then it would be that, but there’s not, so none is the answer.

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Thumbnail image for Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

by Source 08.22.2014 Government

Escondido Democratic Club

There were few surprises as candidates for Escondido Mayor in the November election met for a forum August 20, sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Sam Abed and Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz repeatedly demonstrated the starkly different choice before voters.

Perhaps the ‘news’ was the presence of Stephen Siaw, an unexpected newcomer to the race and to city politics. It was Siaw’s first appearance at a public candidate forum. The approximately 100 people in attendance welcomed him warmly.

Chamber Governmental Affairs chair Kevin Svetich asked a wide-ranging mix of questions that covered the key issues.

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Thumbnail image for Big Oil Has Spent $63 million on Lobbying in Sacramento Since 2009! 

Big Oil Has Spent $63 million on Lobbying in Sacramento Since 2009! 

by Source 08.21.2014 Business

The oil industry is spending over $1 million per month

By Dan Bacher 

 / DailyKos

While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state’s environmental policies than Big Oil.

An ongoing analysis of reports filed with the California Secretary of State shows that the oil industry, the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento, collectively spent $63,947,616 lobbying California policymakers between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014.

The Western States Petroleum Association, led by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California, topped the oil industry lobby spending with $26,969,861.

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As Abortion Rights Shrink, What’s the Best Language to Use to Protect Women’s Options?

by Source 08.19.2014 Activism

As leaders like Planned Parenthood are dropping “pro-choice” language, is there a smart alternative—and should there be one?

By Alyssa Figueroa / AlterNet

Across America, reproductive freedom is shrinking. Even with Alabama’s recent court victory protecting abortion rights in that deep red state, the overwhelming trend is very discouraging.

Red-state Republicans have shut down clinics in states like Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld protesters’ right to harass women going to clinics. State legislatures haveenacted 21 new abortion restrictions so far this year. Worse yet, recent research has found that while many young women support the substance of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to end pregnancies, they are still apt to label themselves pro-life.

What’s going wrong? There’s no one answer. But a striking development is that the reproductive health movement is backing away from its longtime “pro-choice” label. Planned Parenthood has recently decided to drop it in favor of newer messaging that seeks to connect abortion with a wide range of women’s issues.

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Ousted Chief Accuses Border Agency of Cover-ups, SBCC Responds

by Source 08.16.2014 Immigration

Border rights groups reiterate their call for border accountability and oversight.

By Kim Rescate and Ricardo Favela / Southern Border Communities Coalition

Mass-border-crossing-642x250There have been 28 reported deaths since 2010 involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Despite pressure from Southern Border communities, no agent or officer have been issued criminal charges or publicly reprimanded to this day. A statement issued by recently removed U.S. Customs and Border Protection Head of Internal Affairs James F. Tomscheck confirmed “at least a quarter of the 28 deaths were highly suspect.” He stated that the deaths raised questions within the agency about its use of lethal force.

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Thumbnail image for Remembering Robin Williams: Laughter Unbound

Remembering Robin Williams: Laughter Unbound

by Source 08.13.2014 Arts

By Court Allen

My favorite comic and actor has passed away. The loss of such a talented and unique individual, one who has touched my life in so many ways over so many years, is really beyond words to describe. I was shocked to hear the news; it really threw me for a loop.

First, it should be noted that I have a general dislike for celebrities. I consider most of them vacuous and inane. They get paid ridiculous amounts of money for what they do, but they are the equivalent of court jesters. Despite this fact, we assign them a status better left to those with truly valuable impact, like teachers, scientists and civil rights advocates — folks far more deserving of celebrity.

My point? I never felt this way about Robin Williams. Never.

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Thumbnail image for Black People Are Shot First, Given Due Process Later (Maybe)

Black People Are Shot First, Given Due Process Later (Maybe)

by Source 08.12.2014 Culture

The shooting of Mike Brown reveals an ugly truth about the relationship between black America and police.

By Terrell Jermaine Starr / AlterNet

From what we can tell at this point, Mike Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old teenager shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri, did nothing to justify his fatal shooting. In fact, we aren’t sure exactly why police confronted Brown to begin with. According to recent reports, he wasn’t given due process.

What else is new?

Black people in America know the rules of police engagement: guilty until proven innocent. AlterNet previously reported that police kill a black man in the U.S. every 28 hours. If we were to factor in black women, the disparity would likely be even more glaring.

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Thumbnail image for Sorry, Pantene, You’re Holding Women Back Too

Sorry, Pantene, You’re Holding Women Back Too

by Source 08.12.2014 Business

The shampoo company could do a lot more to further feminine empowerment.

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

A Pantene commercial that tells women to stop apologizing and “#ShineStrong” has gone viral. It contrasts scenes of women saying things like “Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?” with snippets of them behaving in an assertive way.

Pantene’s commercial makes a good point, but there are bigger problems holding women back — including the role that beauty products play in our culture.

For me, author Laura Kipnis explains it best. “Femininity, at least in its current incarnation, hinges on sustaining an underlying sense of female inadequacy,” she says in her book The Female Thing: Dirt, Envy, Sex, and Vulnerability.

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Thumbnail image for Naomi Klein: ‘Our Economic Model Is at War with Life on Earth’

Naomi Klein: ‘Our Economic Model Is at War with Life on Earth’

by Source 08.11.2014 Books & Poetry

New video trailer previews thesis of anticipated new book by Canadian writer and activist

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

The book’s title is not elusive: ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

Due for release in September, the anticipated new work by Canadian journalist, activist and public intellectual Naomi Klein has now been previewed in a video trailer that appears to lay out its main themes and central argument.

“In December of 2012, a complex systems scientists walked up to the podium at the American Geophysics Union to present a paper,” the narrator of the video—Klein herself—says as footage begins of urban high rise developments and burnt out croplands.

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Thumbnail image for Isn’t the U.S. Pot Thing Frustrating? Great Success, Popular Support and Ugly Backlash

Isn’t the U.S. Pot Thing Frustrating? Great Success, Popular Support and Ugly Backlash

by Source 08.10.2014 Government

The nation has a split personality when it comes to pot.

By Don Hazen, April M. Short, Jan Frel, Steve Rosenfeld, and Tana Ganeva / AlterNet

In the robust efforts to legalize and decriminalize cannabis in the U.S., a slightly modified line from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities applies: “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times.”

Despite huge success on many fronts, including legalization in two states with boffo success in Colorado (and two more states likely on the way), pot arrests remain astronomically high across the country. More than 750,000 were recorded in 2012, with pot arrests actually increasing in some states and the District of Columbia. The blue state of New York led the way with 125,000 arrests out of more than a million estimated users, or roughly 6% (the second highest percentage of pot smoker arrests next to Louisiana.)

It is ironic that in New York, progressive mayor Bill de Blasio was elected on a “Tale of Two Cities” theme, but police chief Bill Bratton’s NYPD continues to arrest pot users in high numbers. Those users are mostly black and Puerto Rican youth, which contributes to the massive inequality in the Big Apple that de Blasio says he wants to change. To illustrate the schizoid nature of our country’s relationship to pot, Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth Thompson has said he would not waste time and resources to prosecute everyday pot smokers, but Bratton says we are going to keep arresting them anyway.

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What Could Have Been

by Source 08.09.2014 Culture

By Lucas O’Connor

FaulconerOn Friday, Kevin Faulconer made his position official and vetoed the City Council’s increase of the city’s minimum wage. We know Faulconer has long been fundamentally opposed to wage protections that strive to keep people out of poverty, likewise the big-money orgs who paid the way for his campaign. So while the move is hardly a surprise, it’s nevertheless bizarre.

The good folks who worked on Faulconer’s mayoral campaign have been remarkably open about their core strategy of manufacturing an image of Faulconer as a moderate in order to win. Since taking office, that approach has generally continued. This stripped-down compromise on minimum wage could have been the last step in that process, and everyone could have gone to happy hour 20 months early. But here we are. Why?

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Thumbnail image for Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

by Source 08.09.2014 Activism

Robert Dodge, Ira Helfand / Common Dreams

As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues.

That said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war. We have long known that the consequences of large scale nuclear war could effectively end human existence on the planet. Yet there are more than 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world today with over 95% controlled by the U.S. and Russia. The international community is intent on preventing Iran from developing even a single nuclear weapon. And while appropriate to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, there is precious little effort being spent on the much larger and more critical problem of these arsenals.

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Thumbnail image for The Class War Goes Retail

The Class War Goes Retail

by Source 08.08.2014 Business

By Emily Schwartz Greco and William A Collins / OtherWords

For the first time since 1997, the U.S. economy just added at least 200,000 jobs per monthfor six months running. GDP grew at a 4 percent annual clip between April and June. The percentage of Americans who describe the economy as “good” has climbed to the highest level of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

Who wouldn’t rejoice over these happy milestones on the bumpy road to a real recovery?

Wall Street. On July 31, within hours of the release of a bunch of sunny indicators, stocks sank more than they had on any day since early February. The decline wiped out all gains the S&P 500 stock index had racked up over the month.

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Thumbnail image for Do We Really Need to Keep Building Convention Centers?

Do We Really Need to Keep Building Convention Centers?

by Source 08.07.2014 Activism

By Charles Chieppo / Governing

Politically, it’s almost irresistible. Revenue from hotel and other taxes, paid largely by people from other places, will be used to subsidize convention centers that lure those visitors to town to spend in hotels, stores and restaurants.

But a new book demonstrates a far less appealing reality. In “Convention Center Follies,” Heywood Sanders, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, tells the tale of projects that continue to be built and expanded at a record pace even though they almost always fail to deliver the promised benefits.

There was a little over 36 million square feet of exhibition space in the United States in 1989. By 2011, that number had nearly doubled to 70.5 million. The problem is that in the midst of a decades-long convention-space explosion, demand has remained flat at best.

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Thumbnail image for August 6 and 9: Launch of the Nuclear Age

August 6 and 9: Launch of the Nuclear Age

by Source 08.06.2014 Editor's Picks

By H. Patricia Hynes / Portside

On the anniversary of the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nine countries – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – possess the demonic capability to annihilate the human race and render the Earth uninhabitable.

Combined, these countries have 16,300 nuclear warheads, 93 percent of which are maintained and deployed by the United States and Russia, now locked in hostilities over the Ukraine. In fact, serious conflicts fester in every region of the other nuclear nations: South and East Asia, the Korean peninsula and the Middle East.

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Thumbnail image for Why You Can’t Reconcile God and Evolution

Why You Can’t Reconcile God and Evolution

by Source 08.05.2014 Religion

Four reasons that “God made evolution happen” makes no sense.

By Greta Christina / AlterNet

“Of course I believe in evolution. And I believe in God, too. I believe that evolution is how God created life.”

You hear this a lot from progressive and moderate religious believers. They believe in some sort of creator god, but they heartily reject the extreme, fundamentalist, science-rejecting versions of their religions (as well they should). They want their beliefs to reflect reality – including the reality of the confirmed fact of evolution. So they try to reconcile the two by saying that that evolution is real, exactly as the scientists describe it — and that God made it happen. They insist that you don’t have to deny evolution to believe in God.

In the narrowest, most literal sense, of course this is true. It’s true that there are people who believe in God, and who also accept science in general and evolution in particular. This is an observably true fact: it would be absurd to deny it, and I don’t. I’m not saying these people don’t exist.

I’m saying that this position is untenable.

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Thumbnail image for Beware of Wall Street Schemes on Redevelopment

Beware of Wall Street Schemes on Redevelopment

by Source 08.04.2014 Business

By Murtaza H. Baxamusa, Ph.D., AICP /San Diego UrbDeZine

With the demise of redevelopment in California, some cities are looking for creative ways to stay solvent. One idea is to leverage New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to buy properties and become landlords. This acquisition fund concept was recently adopted by Civic San Diego (CivicSD), a nonprofit corporation that is a consultant to the city of San Diego on the wind-down of redevelopment.

I am supportive of finding new ways to fund redevelopment that are proper and legal. However, absent clear community benefits standards, I am not sure if the public interest will be served by a property acquisition-income fund. There are several reasons to be wary of funding schemes guised as redevelopment.

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Thumbnail image for ACLU Appeals Escondido Planning Commission’s Shelter Denial

ACLU Appeals Escondido Planning Commission’s Shelter Denial

by Source 08.03.2014 Culture

Commission’s Decision Not Based on Facts, Land Use Principles, or Community Benefit

ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties

In a detailed analysis refuting the Escondido Planning Commission’s purported reasons for denying permission to operate a youth care facility, on Friday the San Diego ACLU formally appealed the commission’s decision to the Escondido City Council.

The ACLU submitted a point-by-point dissection of the commission’s rationale for its 7-0 rejection of Southwest Key’s proposal to operate a 96-bed former skilled nursing facility as a housing center for unaccompanied immigrant children who are waiting to have their legal cases heard before an immigration judge.

“The Escondido Planning Commission got it wrong on every count; none of its findings are substantiated by the facts,” said David Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “We are appealing its ill-informed decision because when you do consider the specifics, the impact of the proposed facility would be virtually indistinguishable from that of the nursing home which operated on the same site for more than thirty years.”

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Disappearance of Ocean Plastics Is Nothing to Celebrate

by Source 08.02.2014 Environment

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko

fish plasticYou’d think that finding far less plastic pollution on the ocean’s surface than scientists expected would be something to cheer about. The reality, however, is that this is likely bad news, for both the ocean food web and humans eating at the top. Ingestion of tiny plastic debris by sea creatures likely explains the plastics’ disappearance and exposes a worrisome entry point for risky chemicals into the food web.

Except for a transient slowdown during the recent economic recession, global plastics consumption has risen steadily since plastic materials were introduced in the 1950s and subsequently incorporated into nearly every facet of modern life. Annual global consumption is already about 300 million tons with no foreseeable leveling off as markets expand in the Asia-Pacific region and new applications are conceived every day.

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