Thumbnail image for Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

by At Large 08.27.2014 Activism

By Lawrence A. Herzog

On a recent Sunday morning, I was hiking up the back streets of Soledad Mountain in La Jolla. Arriving on top and prepared to enjoy the stunning aerial view of our Pacific coastline, I suddenly heard a disturbing, loud, buzzing sound. As I poked my head around one of the black, granite-covered walls of the Veteran’s Monument, a small robot-sized helicopter jumped out, hovering just above me.

I was staring at, in today’s parlance, a drone.

“What the heck”? My eyes were soon drawn to its source, a man standing near the edge of the main parking area, operating a small remote control, with the drone now buzzing over toward him.

Curious, I walked over and said, “Hi, I was wondering, do folks need some kind of permit to operate near a Veteran Memorial site?” The drone operator did not respond. Within minutes, however, he was gone.

End of story? I think not.

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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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Thumbnail image for Women’s Equality Day: No Cause for Celebration

Women’s Equality Day: No Cause for Celebration

by Doug Porter 08.26.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago Congresswomen Bella Abzug introduced legislation to designate August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The bill says that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote.”

In 1972 the Equal Rights Amendment passed, having been introduced in every session of Congress since 1923. The amendment required ratification by 38 states, but fell three states short. While there have been various legal maneuvers extend the ratification deadline, along with attempts to re-introduce the amendment over the years, it is, for all practical purposes, dead.

Think of it: more than half the human beings in the United States are subject to legally sanctioned discrimination. Buried beneath all the justifications and rationalizations for this fundamental injustice is the belief that women are (or should be) chattel.

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Thumbnail image for Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

by John Lawrence 08.26.2014 Environment

By John Lawrence

As the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere continues to increase, a certain portion of that gets absorbed by the oceans. This year alone some two and a half billion tons of CO2 will be absorbed by the oceans. That represents seven pounds pumped into the seas by every American.

Oceans cover seventy percent of the earth’s surface, and everywhere the oceans and the atmosphere come into contact there is an exchange of gases. When this exchange is in balance, there is no problem. But when the atmosphere’s gaseous composition has been changed, which it has since the industrial revolution, the exchange becomes lopsided. More COgoes into the ocean than comes out.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, humans have burned through enough fossil fuels to add 365 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Deforestation has added another 180 billion tons. Each year we add another nine billion tons or so, and that amount has been increasing 6 percent annually. Today the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is 400 parts per million (PPM). This is higher than it has been at any time in the last 800,000 years.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Develop a Sense of Urgency

DIY Resistance: Develop a Sense of Urgency

by Will Falk 08.26.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

We are losing badly. The dominant culture is destroying what is left of the world and, right now, our resistance is simply ineffective. I cannot pretend to know exactly how we’re going to turn things around and stop the madness. But, I do believe we must develop a profound sense of urgency.

Wherever we look we’re met with the horror that should produce the necessary urgency. Look to the oceans and you’ll find that the coral reefs are dying. Zooplankton, forming the base of the oceanic food chain, have declined 70% over the last 40 years.

Look to the climate and you’ll find we’re boiling the world to death. Even mainstream scientists are predicting a 6 degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures by the end of the century.

Look to the animals and you’ll find 50% of all species disappearing. Look to the forests and you’ll find between 8 and 16 billion trees being cut down a year.

It’s as if the dominant culture sees the future and is holding the most macabre going-out-of-business sale imaginable complete with the advertisement “Everything must go.”

The statistics I include here are tiny snapshots of the immensity of the problem.

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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 Kate Loves a Parade

Kate Loves a Parade

by At Large 08.25.2014 Activism

Editor’s Note:  Women in the United States were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was certified as law.  In 1971 at the urging  of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day,”calling attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. 

By Anne Hoiberg

“Kate Sessions” herself, the Mother of Balboa Park, will be on hand to speak and to greet at the Annual San Diego Suffrage Rally and Parade coming up on August 26 in Balboa Park. Thus, San Diego will kick-off the 8th annual women’s rights event starting at 5pm. The crowd will gather, appropriately enough, at the Kate Sessions Statue on the 6th Avenue side of the Laurel Street Bridge to hear a 30 minute rally prior to marching en masse across the Laurel Street Bridge.

The parade will be lead by enthusiastic women’s rights activist, Judy Forman, owner of the Big Kitchen. Marchers will be dressed in 1900s suffragist outfits along with those fabulous 1900s hats, outrageous enough to make any dame at Del Mar jealous. All San Diegans and visitors are invited. Many local women’s organizations and activists will participate. The event is produced by the Women’s Museum of California.

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Thumbnail image for Conflict Over Minimum Wage Increase Takes to the Streets of San Diego

Conflict Over Minimum Wage Increase Takes to the Streets of San Diego

by Doug Porter 08.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tensions between supporters and opponents of a city council approved increase in the minimum wage /earned sick days have escalated in recent days.

For now, most of the battles are being fought via press releases. GOP Consultant Jason Roe worked the phones on Friday, claiming signature collectors for a referendum effectively suspending the council’s action, were assaulted.

TV News crews and police descended upon a Vons store in Clairemont only to learn that a paid canvasser was claiming his petitions had been stolen. Former Assemblywomen Lori Saldaña is now questioning that claim, based on the fact she was in the area at the time of alleged theft and saw nothing of the kind.

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Thumbnail image for Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

by Doug Porter 08.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Paid signature gatherers, many from out of town, fanned out across the city this week trying to persuade voters to support a Chamber of Commerce led effort to block a  minimum wage increase for San Diegans.

City Council President Todd Gloria, a very high profile local politician and author of the minimum wage/sick days ordinance, had the presence of mind to make an instagram video as he was approached outside an uptown post office.

“Have you signed the petition so the state can’t force the city of San Diego to increase the minimum wage yet?” the signature-gatherer asked. “I support raising the minimum wage,” Gloria answered.

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Thumbnail image for Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

by Doug Porter 08.21.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Talk about your buzzkill.

Everybody, it seems, has been doing the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) challenge lately. Actor Charlie Sheen, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and even Mayor Kevin Faulconer have had buckets of iced liquid dumped on them as part a nationwide fundraising campaign.

While public figures locally have gone out of their way to be conscious about the drought faced by Californians, there’s always a crank somewhere looking to be a spoiler.

In the case of the ALS challenge it’s a certain Catholic Archdiocese and the we’re-not-a-hate-group types at the American Family Association (AFA). You might remember the AFA from their ‘don’t buy Harvey Milk stamps campaign’.

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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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Thumbnail image for Slime – A Common Denominator in San Diego’s Past, Present and Future Elections

Slime – A Common Denominator in San Diego’s Past, Present and Future Elections

by Doug Porter 08.20.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter


noun \ˈslīm\

: a thick, slippery liquid

: a very bad, unpleasant, or dishonest person

(from Merriam


The word “slime” came to mind as I reviewed the day’s news media, so that’s my theme du jour.

Today’s stories include an amazing document submitted in the government’s campaign contribution case against José Susumo Azano Matsura, rock throwing TV ads via a man formerly known as Turd Blossom and the ultimate in concern trolling by a political consultant posing as a small businessman.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 08.19.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

As expected yesterday, the City Council voted to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance. The vote was 6-2, with all Democrats supporting and Republicans Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilwoman Lori Zapf did not attend the meeting.

Not long after the council vote Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders dialed up the media, announcing they’d be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

Raise Up San Diego, the alliance of community, faith and labor groups supporting the ordinance passed by the City Council has announced it will mount an educational campaign urging people to decline to sign the referendum petitions.

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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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Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.18.2014 Activism

Exclusive San Diego Free Press video package of the Barrio Logan portion of the 300+ mile pilgrimage to the border

Video by Horacio Jones

On the morning of Saturday, August 16 over 100 people gathered by the temescal (sweat lodge) in Chicano Park for a ceremony to honor the walkers of A Trail for Humanity. On July 22 a group of women and children left Merced, California on a journey south to the US-Mexico border in San Ysidro to pressure the Obama administration to put a halt to its deportation enforcement only policies; call for an end to the use of police as immigration enforcement agents; demand an end to family separations; and stem the tide of racial profiling that has incarcerated so many migrants and African Americans.

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Thumbnail image for War Weary

War Weary

by At Large 08.17.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

That’s what they say we are.

The chicken hawk sabre rattlers
Are yellin’ at Obama ‘cause
He won’t put real boots on the ground
But they won’t say exactly that cause they know we are

(war) weary.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

by Maria Garcia 08.16.2014 Activism

The Castro Sisters, Frank Peñuelas, Leonard Fierro and the beginnings of the Toltec Club

By Maria Garcia

One of the goals of the settlement house movement, which was established in urban centers at the beginning of the twentieth century, was to “Americanize” the immigrant populations that had settled in those cities. When Neighborhood House was established in 1914 as the only United States settlement house on the Mexican border, its role was to “uplift” Mexican immigrants in the Logan Heights community and Americanize them in doing so.

The Americanization process included everything from introducing Mexican families to white flour and white bread to the provision of the first English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the city to support for cultural, social and recreational activities in which athletics programs for the boys were particularly prominent.

When I recently spoke to Rose Castro, she provided a particularly illuminating comment about Neighborhood House–”They taught us leadership!” …

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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 A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.14.2014 Activism

Marchers take a stand against violence targeting migrant women and children

By Brent E. Beltrán

On July 22 a group of mothers and their children began a journey from Merced, California to the U.S./Mexico border. This Saturday at 7am they will be at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan for the final leg of their pilgrimage.

After a ceremony at Chicano Park participants in A Trail for Humanity will leave around 8am and walk to Kimball Park in National City. From there they will be transported by vehicle to the MAAC Charter School in Chula Vista where they will have lunch.

After lunch and a brief rest they will continue their journey on foot to Larsen Field in San Ysidro. They will arrive at the park sometime between 3pm and 4pm where a rally will take place with speakers on immigration rights, danza Azteca and entertainment.

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Thumbnail image for Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

by Doug Porter 08.14.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

In Ferguson, Missouri an unarmed young man was gunned down in the street last Saturday by a police officer. According to multiple witnesses 18 year old Mike Brown was shot multiple times, even after he faced the officer and raised his hands. His body lay in the street in the August sun for four hours after the shooting.

People who live in that community believe the shooting was just another example of the racism they face everyday. Ferguson’s population is near two-thirds African-American; just three of the 53 officers on the police force are not white. The authorities have done nothing but confirm their worst fears at every turn.

For the past four nights there have been confrontations between police and demonstrators. Last night things escalated. Following a announcement from a bulhorn on top of an armored vehicle saying “your right to demonstrate is not being obstructed”  there were unprovoked police attacks on crowds and in the surrounding neighborhoods using smoke bombs, tear gas, stun granades and rubber bullets.

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Thumbnail image for The Spin on Gas Prices in California: A $20 Koch Burger Topped with Fear

The Spin on Gas Prices in California: A $20 Koch Burger Topped with Fear

by Doug Porter 08.12.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Perhaps you’ve heard the news stories in recent days; the ones saying gasoline prices in California are about to take a big jump at the pump. Here’s a quote from a Capital Public Radio story aired on KPBS recently, “Projected increases range from 10 cents to 69 cents a gallon.”  

What these news stories aren’t saying is that there is a concerted campaign underway by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and its allies to forestall the inclusion of  fuels in California’s cap-and-trade program.

This isn’t about a tax. It’s not unexpected; the industry has known this would happen for five years. The hubbub is really all about the dirty energy business making a last ditch stand in defense of their continuing contribution to climate change.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Recover Empathy

DIY Resistance: Recover Empathy

by Will Falk 08.12.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

The dominant culture kills our ability to empathize. Faucets deliver water over great distances silencing the voices of rivers. Super-markets place meat on chilled display shelves hiding the sacred ceremonial relationship between hunter and prey. Pornography produces orgasms without mutual vulnerability.

One way empathy is killed is through alienation. The comforts of civilization alienate us from our ancient roles as members of natural communities. Electric lights drown out the stars. Asphalt divorces our feet from the soil. Walls block the caresses of the summer breeze. The hole we’ve burned in the sky forces us to wear UV-resistant sunglasses dulling the vibrant colors of the day.

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Thumbnail image for GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari’s Workers’ Paradise: North Dakota

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari’s Workers’ Paradise: North Dakota

by Doug Porter 08.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

I attended Voice of San Diego’s Politifest on Saturday, held at Liberty Station. It was a gorgeous San Diego morning for what was dubbed a ‘civic festival.’ Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins were invited to strut their stuff.

Politifest is in the tradition of the days when grand public rallies were held to support candidates and causes–with a little bit of the 60’s teach-in thrown in for good measure. The main difference is that this annual event doesn’t have a cause beyond civic involvement. 

There weren’t a whole lot of people there–once you accounted for all those participating in some fashion–but those that did attend were the kind of people who take their policy seriously. Alternately it could be called it Wonkfest; or Politicon (with craft beer! and food trucks!). The nerd in me was glad they do this.

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Thumbnail image for Kevin Faulconer’s War on the Poor

Kevin Faulconer’s War on the Poor

by Jim Miller 08.11.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

As Doug Porter did an excellent job reporting last week, the stage is set for a battle royal over San Diego’s minimum wage increase. Despite the fact that 63% of San Diegans support raising the wage, Mayor Faulconer vetoed the ordinance, definitively proving that he is more loyal to local plutocrats than to the people of the city, particularly those who work hard for very little.

Yes, with a stroke of the pen, Kevin Faulconer denied a raise to 172,000 people and took away earned sick days for even more local workers, a move that disproportionately affects women and people of color. Just as one could begin to feel good about the fact that our city did the right thing and stood up for those of our friends and neighbors who are most in need of a hand up, Mayor Faulconer struck them down.

When it was time to love his neighbors, he slammed the door in their faces. Rather than living with a more than reasonable compromise that will help rather than harm the local economy, he chose to declare war on the poor instead.

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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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