Culture

Thumbnail image for Convert or Die!

Convert or Die!

by Junco Canché 09.17.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for “Not Far From Normal”: Book Release and Party, Friday September 19th

“Not Far From Normal”: Book Release and Party, Friday September 19th

by Jim Miller 09.17.2014 Books & Poetry

A compelling history of everyday life on the wild side of San Diego

By Jim Miller

This year’s San Diego City Works Press release is Tamara Johnson’s Not Far From Normal, a book that takes a unique look at our city. Just steps away from sponsored fun runs, endurance challenges, and ultra-marathons, in Johnson’s book San Diego’s hidden residents play games of survival side-by-side with official city events. However one feels about the rise of dark tourism, it has never been necessary to travel far to experience either the dangerous or the exotic.

Part poetry, part photo essay by Rachael Wenban, part field guide, Not Far From Normal relates the secret history of San Diego’s parks and missions as told by their current inhabitants. From the crash of PSA Flight#182 to the “I don’t like Mondays” school shooting and other dark episodes that don’t make it into San Diego’s official story, this book is a compelling history of everyday life on the wild side of Southern California.

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Thumbnail image for A Little Plea for Ending Violence Against Women

A Little Plea for Ending Violence Against Women

by Ernie McCray 09.17.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

I can’t seem to free my mind of images of Janay Palmer Rice being so utterly beaten down and humiliated in a hotel casino elevator. My heart reaches way out to her.

There are those who hold the view that “She should leave” like that’s as easy as it seems. “She’s just with him for the money,” others say, as though there isn’t a poor woman out there somewhere, in this very moment probably, getting stomped unmercifully by some ruthless man who doesn’t, as they used to say, have a pot to pee in. And the woman will stay in the relationship.

Look, I don’t know Janay’s story but the pain I see ingrained on her beautiful brown face seems to be of an intense emotional variety, that kind of pain that takes over a person’s life when they live under the dominance of another human being, feeling there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Because the vicious brutes among us will track you down. It’s downright dangerous to run.

Now, there are women who are victims of violence who wake up and say “Enough of this” and find a way to end the abuse, but way too many don’t. I’ve read that it takes an average of seven attacks before a woman leaves her abuser.

The only thing approaching a positive, in this horrible incident involving Janay, is that we, as a society, got to see a video of it. With the imagery still fresh in our minds maybe we will be compelled to find ways to make women safer in our world.

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Thumbnail image for The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

by Source 09.16.2014 Food & Drink

By Max Goldberg / Living Maxwell

Last week, Naked Juice agreed to settle a very important class action lawsuit which accused the company of deceptive labeling.

The primary basis of the lawsuit stemmed from the company’s use of the words “All Natural” on products that contained Archer Daniels Midland’s Fibersol-2 (“a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent”), fructooligosaccharides (an alternative sweetener), other artificial ingredients, such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde), and genetically-modified soy.

Since these ingredients are either genetically-engineered or synthetically produced and do not exist in nature, it is completely misleading to consumers for these juices to claim to be “All Natural.”

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Why Team Sports Are Bad for Society

by At Large 09.15.2014 Readers Write

By Michael-Leonard

I really came out of the closet as a total sports NON-fan when I posted this rant as a comment to a column on SDFP last year:

[A]s a non-sports person, Chargers — and every other sports team — CAN continue to “play” in whatever place they now have. Unless the owners build a new one. Simple. Just like any other actual business that doesn’t receive public subsidies. You, and everyone else on this forum, know that those terrible money numbers are direct result of the disastrous contracts the city has allowed with Chargers — AND Padres! — for their “playgrounds”. How much is the continuing debt service on PETCO Park?

Many other much more valuable businesses have departed our fair city. You think we are gonna shell out any more to keep this bunch of thugs (owners AND players) around? I certainly hope not.

Furthermore, any and all non-monetary incentives that sports teams get that businesses and companies in other industries do NOT get, should be eliminated. These, too, are drains on the general public. It’s even less fair to me than it is to Judi; she wants to go to the games if she could afford it. I could care less about any of the sports. But, as a city dweller, worker and home owner, I hafta pay for them. NO public subsidy for Chargers!

 I don’t just mean ‘not a sports fan’ I mean a TOTAL opposite-of-what-a-fan is.

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Vets 360

by At Large 09.13.2014 Film & Theater

SDFP videographer interviews members of the organization Veterans 360

Video by Horacio Jones

Upon moving into my new office I ran into an organization across the hall called Veterans 360 which is dedicated to helping veterans. Since I always felt that veterans have gotten a raw deal from the government in exchange for their honorable services to the country, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to find out more about what could be done to help veterans and also find out for myself why they are having such a hard time getting back into civilian life.

Rick Collins, the founder of Veterans 360 was very accommodating and even helped to recruit some veterans who told us about their personal challenges since separating from the military and what they think needs to be done to alleviate the problem.

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Geo-Poetic Spaces: Dresden

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 09.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

If you believe in the god of war
go to Dresden
where charred faces
still look anxiously up at clouds

If you can wash your hands in fountains
where women and children
sought refuge from the firestorm of incendiary bombs
only to boil in water …

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Thumbnail image for The Fight to Save the Minimum Wage Hike Intensifies in San Diego

The Fight to Save the Minimum Wage Hike Intensifies in San Diego

by Doug Porter 09.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The struggle for a better life for nearly two hundred thousand San Diegans continues, as the forces of reaction desperately fight back following passage of an ordinance increasing the local minimum wage by the City Council.

The San Diego Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from corporate hotel and restaurant corporations, has funded a campaign to force the issue to a referendum, which would have the effect of delaying any increase until July, 2016. While their sales pitch started out with the premise that citizens needed to vote on such a measure, it has gotten increasingly desperate in recent days.

The paid canvassers used by GOP consultant Jason Roe and the big business funded “Small Business Coalition” have quit in droves, mostly because they are unable to collect enough signatures to make a living. The bounty for names on their petitions has risen from roughly $2 per signature to $7 each at retail locations and $10 each if done door-to-door.

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Thumbnail image for Faulconer & Sanders Dine Like Gluttons

Faulconer & Sanders Dine Like Gluttons

by Junco Canché 09.11.2014 Business
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American Football Fantasy

by Jay Powell 09.11.2014 Culture

By Jay Powell

I enjoy American-style football because I enjoy the variety of plays, the effort, the amazing feats that occasionally occur during a game. The incredible runs. Completed forward passes. (I think the forward pass is one of the finest inventions of mankind) Intercepted passes and run backs from kickoffs. I only played dis- or intentionally un- organized football in various intramural and amateur leagues or just plain back lot, mud ball where we refereed ourselves. We sanctioned players who wanted to hurt people. We loved playing the game.

What can we do to incentivize that part of the game and dis-incentivize all the behavior that is really just sanctioned violence and no-holds-barred war that essentially rewards bad behavior (really on and off the field…)? Please, a fifteen yard penalty is nothing compared to breaking someone’s bones, back, brain doing something we ALL know is meant to harm.

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Thumbnail image for No Regrets, Mr. Cheney?

No Regrets, Mr. Cheney?

by Eric J. Garcia 09.10.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for I’m No Longer Ready for Some Football

I’m No Longer Ready for Some Football

by Doug Porter 09.09.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There was a time, back when I ran a sports bar in Washington DC, when celebrating our national gladiator sport was a near obsession for me. Televised games (no matter who was playing), betting pools, fantasy teams and the ultimate thrill of a couple of actual seats in an stadium were a big deal. 

Not any more. The onset of the NFL marketing mix this year leaves me feeling empty. And sad. And mad.

It’s no longer about the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. (It never was, but that’s another story.) Now its about brain damage. Now it’s about closing the ranks to hide egregious behavior. Now it’s about money, power and a platform for flaunting greed.

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Thumbnail image for Bay Area Poets and Musicians to Share Talents on Behalf of Refugee Children

Bay Area Poets and Musicians to Share Talents on Behalf of Refugee Children

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.04.2014 Books & Poetry

Logan Heights Restaurateur to Host Flor y Canto and Future Community Events

By Brent E. Beltrán

Flor y canto. Flower and song. Poetry. Music. Love.

This Saturday afternoon Mark Lane of Poppas’s Fresh Fish in Logan Heights is going to help share some musical and literary love. The parking lot of his small restaurant will be the site of the 3rd annual Flor y Canto where poets and musicians will share their words on behalf of the border refugee children.

Mark Lane was thrust into the immigrant rights spotlight after calling for a boycott of Murrieta, California and taking in a refugee family from Guatemala. I interviewed him recently about the hate and threats he faced from those wanting to send refugee families back to their country of origin to face possible death.

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Fall Gardening in San Diego

by Susan Taylor 09.04.2014 Culture

Gardening is the new front porch in urban America- share yours!

By Susan Taylor

Fall gardening! Yes, I know that it is still over 90 degrees in all parts of the county except along the coast and these high temperatures could last many more weeks. I have been reduced to gardening before 9 a.m. when it really heats up in my La Mesa neighborhood. I’ve been harvesting massive amounts of figs every day, which I’ve eaten right off the Mission fig tree that grew to over 12 feet tall this year and nearly as wide. I’m eating dried figs, cooked up with some sugar and port and frozen. I may have to try Fig Taylors before long.

When I saw the massive number of baby green figs emerge this summer, I asked my sons to drape some bird netting over and around as many branches as they could. When the figs changed from green to soft, luscious and dark purple the netting saved the harvest from the birds and June bugs waiting patiently for the fruit to be perfectly ripe. So far I’ve ‘lost’ two earrings and a pair of sunglasses that I might be able to reclaim from the net when fig season is over.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Rep Opens the Season with “The Pianist of Willesden Lane”

San Diego Rep Opens the Season with “The Pianist of Willesden Lane”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 09.03.2014 Culture

A young girl’s gripping tale of art preserving life

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Over the course of the past weeks, responses to the ALS ice bucket challenge have become viral sensations. At its heart, the ALS challenge is a testimony to the hope and courage of people living with the disease and the generosity of people who want to help cure it. The San Diego Repertory Theatre is opening its 39th season with the play “The Pianist of Willesden Lane.” Although it is set in a different time and under different circumstances, it too is a story of hope, courage, generosity–and virtuosity.

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Thumbnail image for Actions Set for September 4th as Fast Food Workers Vow to Do ‘Whatever it Takes’

Actions Set for September 4th as Fast Food Workers Vow to Do ‘Whatever it Takes’

by Doug Porter 09.02.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego is one of 100-plus cities targeted this Thursday as part of a nationwide protest of fast food restaurant workers aimed at low wages and working conditions.

Two new elements will be introduced into this latest round of protests, at least on a national level: acts of civil disobedience and a supportive presence by thousands of home-care workers joining the protests.

Workers are expected to strike at a dozen San Diego fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Jack in the Box. Clergy, elected officials and community supporters will join fast-food workers on the strike lines, according to local organizers.

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Thumbnail image for Failure of Hospital, San Diego County in Infant Molestation Case Serves as Argument Against Personal Privacy

Failure of Hospital, San Diego County in Infant Molestation Case Serves as Argument Against Personal Privacy

by Annie Lane 09.02.2014 Business

By Annie Lane

Last week was a rather depressing one in the world of news. In Arizona, a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her gun instructor in the face with an Uzi. And right here in San Diego, a pediatric nurse was arrested for the sexual exploitation of a child after allegedly molesting the 2-month-old foster infant in his care.

Michael William Lutts, a Kaiser Permanente employee, came to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after they executed a search warrant on an email address that was being operated by a person with the intent of distributing child pornography. According to officials, Lutts, 50, was identified as an account that had sent pornographic images of children to this unnamed individual.

A search of Lutts’ College Area home found several hundreds of images of child pornography on the computers, hard drives, CDs and other items seized. FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth stated that a cell phone taken during the search had numerous images and videos of Lutts sexually molesting the prematurely born male infant.

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One Hundred Ways to Change the Subject: Plutocratic Fallacies in the Service of Fast-Food Exploitation

by Source 09.02.2014 Activism

By Jeffrey Nall / Truthout

Image: Jared Rodriguez / TruthoutAs fast-food workers demand a fair share of the profits they create, the industry, its supporters and assorted critics of the movement have responded by lobbing red herrings, from the contention that workers should find new work if they don’t like their current working conditions to the threat that “robots will replace you.” Others charge that workers don’t deserve a living wage because their job doesn’t require a college education. A Facebook meme posted by Sarah Palin in response to last fall’s Fight for 15 protests pictures US soldiers in combat, accompanied by the text: “We get paid less than minimum wage and you’re demanding 15 bucks an hour to slap a burger on a bun.” These common appeals are part of a tapestry of “plutocratic fallacies” used to justify exploitive wages and foster irrational division among low-wage workers.

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Thumbnail image for Video Pick: Which Side Are You On?

Video Pick: Which Side Are You On?

by Anna Daniels 09.01.2014 Activism

Wanted:  A Living Wage

By Anna Daniels

It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

In 1944, when Franklin Roosevelt was running for his third term, he emphasized the need for an economic bill of rights as a vehicle for addressing the limitations of the political Bill of Rights. This economic bill of rights would have constitutionally guaranteed that workers have a living wage, would not have to work more than a certain number of hours and that the people would be entitled to vacations and healthcare. An economic bill of rights never materialized. Today, here in San Diego, we are experiencing the results of this omission.

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Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

by At Large 08.31.2014 Editor's Picks

SDFP videographer interviews American ex-patriots living in Baja California

Video by Horacio Jones

Last week I had to travel to Rosarito for a video gig, so I took the opportunity to pay a visit to a couple of friends who had moved to Baja a few of years ago.  I decided it would also be a good idea to do some kind of story about ex-pats living in Baja while I was there.  So I paid Shari and Fernando a visit to see what it was like for them now that they live along the Baja coast.

During the trip we also met another Shari and an artist named Gretchen who has opened up a place called Art House Rosarito, where she lives, creates art and plans for sustainable communities.  She also opens up her home to other artists to stay and work at.

In this report they discuss what it’s like to live in baja, as well as the differences between the U.S. and Mexico.  This is an expansive subject and you could certainly make a feature documentary about it, and I hope in the future to be able to make a more comprehensive report on the subject. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make the move…

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

by Maria Garcia 08.30.2014 Culture

By Maria Garcia

Paul “Paulie” Torres is a retired longshoreman who attended Neighborhood House from 1947 to 1954. His family moved to Logan Heights from the Little Italy area of San Diego. Paulie says there was a little barrio located in the Little Italy area with several Mexican families living there. Little Italy was in the proximity of the canneries and as far as Mexicans could live in the downtown vicinity–Point Loma to the north was the dividing line where whites and ethnic Europeans lived.

Like many others, Paulie had heard stories about the Logan Heights guys and felt intimidated when he first moved there. Within a short period of time, Paulie fit right in with the other boys who called Neighborhood House their other home. He states in a straightforward manner that the reason everyone called it Neighborhood House was because everyone in the neighborhood went there. He recalls the boys sitting there on the steps, talking, laughing, hanging out for as long as they could.

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Thumbnail image for Really, Really, Bad News About Climate Change (And a Chance to Do Something About It)

Really, Really, Bad News About Climate Change (And a Chance to Do Something About It)

by Doug Porter 08.29.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A United Nations report being shared with governments around the world prior to publication uses the strongest language to date, warning of dire consequences of continuing climate change.

Human influence on the planet’s climate is clear and having “widespread and consequential impacts on human and natural systems,” some of which may be irreversible, says the leaked draft of its final “Synthesis Report” which seeks to tie together previous reports the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released over the last year.

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia,” the report concludes. “The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.”

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