Government

Thumbnail image for Not the News in San Diego: Homeless Human Shot and Killed (Video)

Not the News in San Diego: Homeless Human Shot and Killed (Video)

by Doug Porter 03.02.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

A shocking confrontation caught on video involving a mentally ill homeless man in Los Angeles who was gunned down as police tried to evict him from a street-side tent is getting nationwide news coverage.

The Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times and of course the Los Angeles Times all covered the story. But you’ll have to dig to find it at UT-San Diego. It’s not in the today’s edition. (You can find it online if the paper’s search engine is working.)

This video cuts to the chase on three major issues facing this country; how we treat the mentally ill, our homeless population and the willingness of police to use firepower over brain power.

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Thumbnail image for Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

by Jim Miller 03.02.2015 Columns

By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

What he didn’t consider was whether the residents of Golden Hill would dig it any better if his “efficient” new mindset of “doing it all at once” just meant that the work would keep going with no end in sight for the foreseeable future. Indeed, as bad as it is to live through the interminable disaster that is 25th Street, the political ironies are rich beyond words.

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Thumbnail image for Feds Threaten D.C. Officials With Prison If They Go Through with Pot Legalization

Feds Threaten D.C. Officials With Prison If They Go Through with Pot Legalization

by Source 02.28.2015 Government

By Jay Syrmopoulos / The Free Thought Project

In a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, two Republican congressmen Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the appropriations subcommittee that handles D.C.’s budget, ominously warned not to move forward with legalization in the District, claiming that to do so would be a violation of federal law.

D.C. officials and federal lawmakers have sparred over whether Initiative 71, a ballot measure approved by 70 percent of voters in November, can legally take effect.

The letter arrived the same day that the voter-approved legalization measure is scheduled to become law, at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. It sets the stage for a showdown between the will of the D.C. voters and their city and the federal government, attempting to enforce its will over that of the District’s constituents.

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Thumbnail image for The Right and the Righteous Aspire to Greatness at CPAC

The Right and the Righteous Aspire to Greatness at CPAC

by Doug Porter 02.27.2015 Activism

Infotainment for a Rainy San Diego Weekend

By Doug Porter

It’s time for that annual exercise in wingnuttery known as the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC), wherein activists of the far right persuasion gather in what Salon columnist Jim Newell calls the “fake shopping town of National Harbor, Maryland.”

Given that the biggest news around San Diego this morning appears to be anticipation about the arrival of rain (!) and possibly snow (!!) at the higher elevations, I’ll take the bait and share highlights from the annual gathering of the right and the righteous. 

It’s important to note that CPAC induces sympathetic craziness among the faithful who, for job-related reasons, are unable to attend during high profile sessions where CSPAN cameras may be turned on. This weekend is, after all, their turn to steal the spotlight from the liberal media’s endless praise of the Obama administration. 

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Thumbnail image for Environmental Lawyer Cory Briggs: Saint or Sinner?

Environmental Lawyer Cory Briggs: Saint or Sinner?

by Doug Porter 02.26.2015 Columns

“The case put forward to this point just doesn’t seem right, kind of like a badly fitted toupee on an otherwise well-dressed man.”

By Doug Porter

There’s no doubt about the fact that attorney Cory Briggs has made his fair share of enemies in San Diego. His actions in court have made Briggs the bane of corporate interests, providing what I believe to be a necessary counter-balance in a region where it seems as though the “people’s advocates” express concern about issues only after exposés appear in the press.

So it’s ironic that San Diego’s City attorney is now responding to an investigative series focused on Briggs. And the suggestion is being made that the source for these stories may have been somebody connected with the city’s legal offices, which have made no secret of their disdain for the attorney in the past.

Over the past few days inewsource  has published three stories questioning Briggs’ ethics. Liens filed by the attorney on properties may have been fraudulent efforts to shield assets. Briggs wife’s employment with an environmental planning company used by local governments may represent a conflict of interest, given the nature of many of the legal actions he has pursued against various agencies.

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Thumbnail image for Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

by Source 02.25.2015 Business

By Robert Reich

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make?

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Thumbnail image for Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

by John Lawrence 02.24.2015 Environment

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

While many positive advances in renewables are being made, rising coal, natural gas and energy demand outweigh any reductions from recent strong growth in renewables in a few countries. Renewables and hydro are still a TINY 9% of primary energy consumption today They are forecast to be a TINY 20% of energy consumption in 2030 and no more than 25% in 2040.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts the same weak growth in renewable electrical generation shares reaching a miniscule 22% in 2015 and 25% in 2040.These weak shares explain why EIA and others expect CO2 emissions to soar ahead from 36 billion tons today to over 50 billion tons in 2050.

This week (Part 4) we address how FAR we have to go to reach a hydro-renewables mix of 70% of global energy consumption by 2050. Cataclysmic global warming can only be stemmed by considerably speeding up practical community-based and disruptive technically-based solutions for sustainable fuels, energy efficiency and lifestyle adaptations (that reduce energy demand) like Scandinavia, Germany, and California are remarkably doing in their own way – without disturbing economic growth.

Part 3 can be found here

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Thumbnail image for Chargers Hold Up Three Fingers: Read Between the Lines, San Diego

Chargers Hold Up Three Fingers: Read Between the Lines, San Diego

by Doug Porter 02.20.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

The drama surrounding the San Diego Chargers’ pursuit of a stadium–somewhere, anywhere–is turning out to be much more entertaining than much of the action on the field in recent years.  Today I’ll look around at what’s been said and do my best to provide some insight.

Yesterday the team let it slip–as a story in the Los Angeles Times was going to press–that they were working on a joint stadium deal with the Oakland Raiders for a facility in Carson, California, a city of less than 100,000 people with a history of shady dealings.

The coverage at ESPN included a nugget from an unidentified source saying the teams had been working together on this deal for the past nine months. The Chargers, by the way, denied inquiries from the St. Louis media about a deal in LA just a few weeks back.

Nobody was unhappier about the stadium news than Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who’d like the public to believe he’s been making a serious effort towards keeping the team in San Diego. After all, nobody wants to run for reelection with “lost our beloved Chargers” as a signature accomplishment.

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Thumbnail image for America’s Finest City Can’t Be Bothered with Slum Lords

America’s Finest City Can’t Be Bothered with Slum Lords

by Doug Porter 02.19.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

A recalcitrant landlord at the top of a review of 2013 code compliance complaints in San Diego is the focus of a story written by Megan Burks and published jointly by KPBS/Voice of San Diego.

It’s a horrifying account, replete with tales of mold, asthma, raw sewage and armies of vermin. And a city government seemingly incapable of doing anything about it.

Landlord Bankim Shah owns nearly 90 properties in the San Diego area along with managing apartments owned by others. One-third of the 62 formal complaints filed against him since 2001 are, according to the story, “for conditions so bad state law says no one should be forced to live in them.”

We learn that Shah has been to court exactly once–in “2011 for renting a building to a medical marijuana dispensary.”

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Thumbnail image for Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

by Doug Porter 02.18.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter 

Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani has done San Diego a huge favor by pointing out the obvious. He’s single-handedly challenged the existing political narrative about the politics of the process being used in deciding on the advisability of building a new stadium.

You won’t find me among those pining away for the possibility of a new football stadium in America’s Finest City, even though I sometimes wonder if I’m addicted to watching games. 

First, there’s the silliness of taxpayers being expected to subsidize a rich man’s game in return for the possibility of an endorphin rush at some future time. And then there’s my sense that the long-term prospects for the sport aren’t very good, what with players’ health issues, spousal abuse scandals, and anything having to do with Patriots’ coach Bill Belechick.

(Malarkey was the best synonym I could come up with for “bullshit,” a word that’s too easy to use when describing the goings on at San Diego’s city hall.) 

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Thumbnail image for It Was Syrian Kurd Leftists Who Kicked Islamic State Out of Kobani

It Was Syrian Kurd Leftists Who Kicked Islamic State Out of Kobani

by Frank Gormlie 02.18.2015 Editor's Picks

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

In international news, the recent liberation of the Syrian city of Kobani from the control of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters by Syrian Kurd rebels was a little reported story which popped up briefly for its 15 minutes on the mainstream media roulette wheel of fame. Then it disappeared. But the under-reported little story – a story with a huge irony – deserves retelling.

The story – which can be pieced together from a number of media reports – involves the identity of the major fighting force that kicked ISIS out of Kobani, a city of 200,000 mainly ethnic Kurds in north Syria, a stone’s throw from the Turkish border.

It turns out it was a group of Syrian Kurd leftists who kicked ISIS’ ass, if you forgive the vernacular, after 4 months of intense house-to-house fighting, at times room-to-room, and pushed them out of the city entirely. It was the People’s Protection Units, a local leftist organization, and its affiliate, the Women’s Protection Units, that have collective command structures and believe in the equality of women, and – in fact – have numerous women commanders in the fighting units.

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Thumbnail image for Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

by Doug Porter 02.17.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A Federal District Court Judge in Brownsville, Texas has issued a ruling temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

While the White House says the ruling will be appealed and many legal analysts say the injunction won’t stand up to challenges on appeal, the uncertainty involving the legal process represents a psychological victory for the nativist core of the Republican Party.

GOP leaders have cheered the ruling, saying it proves President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration exceeded his legal authority. Millions of other folks feel otherwise.

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Thumbnail image for Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

by John Lawrence 02.17.2015 Business

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Renewable Solutions Are Here Now and Technically Feasible Today

It is now clear, at least from a technical perspective, that we could eliminate fossil fuels over a period of 20 to 40 years. That’s if we went full steam ahead without being blocked by fossil fuel corporations, the politicians beholden to them and various other vested interests who stand to profit from the status quo.

In 2009 Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, came up with a detailed, groundbreaking road map for just how this could be accomplished. Their study showed how 100% of the world’s energy could be supplied by wind, water and solar (WWS) resources by as early as 2030. Their paper, which appeared in Scientific American, is called “A Plan for a Sustainable Future by 2030.”

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Thumbnail image for ‘Black Girls Matter': Report Exposes System Oppression of Often-Ignored Groups

‘Black Girls Matter': Report Exposes System Oppression of Often-Ignored Groups

by Source 02.17.2015 Education

Girls of color routinely punished by institutions and ignored by school-to-prison pipeline reformers, report finds

By Nadia Prupis /Common Dreams

Girls of color regularly face harsher school punishments than their white counterparts, while simultaneously being ignored by legislative and community efforts to close the school-to-prison pipeline, despite the proven negative impacts of zero-tolerance discipline which exposes minority girls to expulsion, violence, and arrest, a new study released Wednesday has found.

Punitive disciplinary policies “negatively impact Black girls and other girls of color. Yet much of the existing research literature excludes girls from the analysis, leading many stakeholders to infer that girls of color are not also at risk,” according to the report, titled Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.

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Thumbnail image for Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

by Doug Porter 02.16.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

This week the San Diego Free Press is taking a bit of a pause from our usual routine to focus on Race and Racism. Previous thematic efforts include War and Peace back in November and Guns in the week following the second anniversary of the sandy hook shootings.

While this daily column normally concerns itself with reviewing what other media are covering, I’m taking a minute out to encourage readers to join us on this journey of reflection and discussion. (And, yes, there is other news further down in the column.)

We’ve got an array of perspectives to share with readers this week. Today, Susan Grigsby and Jim Miller are looking into race & racism history, both nationally and locally. Looking into the drafts already completed for the week there are essays on the impact of racism on young black girls, inside looks by several writers on their developing racial consciousness, a late night tour of Old Town along with the ghosts of Cortez and the Kumeyaay and a terrific piece by Ricardo Levins Morales on whites fighting racism.

And there’s more… I hope you’ll read, comment on and share what we’re posting this week. Racism Matters is more than a slogan for us; it’s a core value.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Racial Unconscious: History is the Narrative that Hurts

San Diego’s Racial Unconscious: History is the Narrative that Hurts

by Jim Miller 02.16.2015 Battle for Barrio Logan

…the insistence on what one might call “San Diego exceptionalism,” the notion that our city is somehow free of the same troubled history as the rest of the country, is at the heart of our city’s failure to truly serve the needs of all San Diegans. 

By Jim Miller

Last week, leading up to this week’s special focus on race and racism, the San Diego Free Press posted a story about a new report released by the Equal Justice Institute (EJI) that notes how, “Capital punishment and ongoing racial injustice in the United States are ‘direct descendants’ of lynching, charges a new study, which found that the pre-World War II practice of ‘racial terrorism’ has had a much more profound impact on race relations in America than previously acknowledged.”

This hidden history of racial terrorism in America is far more influential than many of us would prefer to acknowledge. As EJI Director Bryan Stevenson observes, “I also think that the lynching era created a narrative of racial difference, a presumption of guilt, a presumption of dangerousness that got assigned to African Americans in particular—and that’s the same presumption of guilt that burdens young kids living in urban areas who are sometimes menaced, threatened, or shot and killed by law enforcement officers.”

And if a lack of awareness or outright denial of the significance of our racist past is a problem in the United States at large, San Diego is certainly not immune though our civic religion—banal self-promotion by the tourism industry—would have us think otherwise. But underneath the official ahistorical pastiche of styles and fantasies designed to aid commerce and nature-packaged-as-spectacle there is another story.

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Thumbnail image for Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina Promises Civic Engagement

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina Promises Civic Engagement

by At Large 02.16.2015 Editor's Picks

By Barbara Zaragoza

Ask an Imperial Beach resident, such as Jessica Hogan—small business owner of the Wave Café on Seacoast Drive—what she thinks about Serge Dedina and she’ll give you the optimism that comes with new promises and visions: “I love our new mayor. I have high hopes for our new mayor.”

Serge Dedina took office on December 10th after he won the elections by 43 votes. He gave his first State of the City Address on Monday, February 9th to a packed audience at the Boys & Girls Club. Members of the Fire Department, the Women’s Club and even Chula Vista Mayor, Mary Salas, attended.

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Thumbnail image for Community Planning Boards Have Democratic Elections Because of One Group From Ocean Beach

Community Planning Boards Have Democratic Elections Because of One Group From Ocean Beach

by Frank Gormlie 02.14.2015 Activism

The Ocean Beach Community Planning Group Was the Forerunner to OB’s Planning Board

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

On March 10, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will hold its annual election of Board members. It will take place at the OB Rec Center. Every resident, property owner and business-owner in Ocean Beach is authorized to vote – with ID proving residency.

One of the main reasons that this election is going forward in March – as it has been for the last 39 years – is because of the vision and diligence of a small group that existed back in the 1970s. It was the persistent push over a several-year period during the mid-70s for an election of this nature – a democratic election – to a neighborhood planning committee by an organization called the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group that was ultimately responsible for this democratic gain for communities.

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Thumbnail image for Immigration Standoff: Congressional GOP Hoping to Learn from the Second Kick of a Mule

Immigration Standoff: Congressional GOP Hoping to Learn from the Second Kick of a Mule

by Doug Porter 02.13.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The logjam on Capital Hill has gotten to the point where even the Daily Fishwrap editorial board has noticed.

“It doesn’t seem to matter much which party controls Congress or whether a single party controls both houses or just one. Either way, there is still unacceptable impasse on key issues.”

The Republican strategy to stop President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration is failing. The clock is ticking on what would be a largely symbolic (but politically damaging)  shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

House and Senate GOP leaders are pointing the finger at one another. Senate leader Mitch McConnell says the ball is back in the House’s court. House Majority leader John Boehner trotted out his bi-annual warning to Democrats to “get off their ass.”

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Thumbnail image for As San Diego Bike Share Rolls Out, State Legislator Touts Helmet Law

As San Diego Bike Share Rolls Out, State Legislator Touts Helmet Law

by Doug Porter 02.12.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s bike share program has finally launched, following multiple delays as private operator DecoBike navigated financial and political challenges along the way towards setting up 180 stations around the city.

This week California State Senator Carol Liu announced a bill (SB 192) expanding mandatory helmet use to include all riders over 18 years of age. Violators will face a $25 fine.

Taken at face value this legislation, which also requires reflective clothing at night, seems to be a common sense move aimed at preventing the often tragic head injuries associated with bicycle accidents.

Not so fast, say cycling advocates, who point out that similar laws in other cities have resulted in unintended consequence and a controlled Canadian study finding helmet laws have a minimal impact on the number and severity of head injuries.

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Thumbnail image for The People’s Brief: Your Chance to Support Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court    

The People’s Brief: Your Chance to Support Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court    

by Doug Porter 02.11.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the coming weeks for a crucial marriage equality case, and is expected to resolve the issue of national marriage equality once and for all in a ruling this summer.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States has crafted a unique opportunity for proponents to sign on to an amici curiae brief in support of the petitioners.

Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights attorney who won a landmark Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, is the author and lead counsel on the brief.

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Thumbnail image for Looking for a Way to Halt Repeated Attacks by Vicious Dogs

Looking for a Way to Halt Repeated Attacks by Vicious Dogs

by Lori Saldaña 02.11.2015 Courts, Justice

By Lori Saldaña

Imagine living next door to a dangerous, aggressive bully. Sometimes you can hear him outside in his yard, over the low fence that separates your property, fighting and scaring members of his own household. Sometimes you can hear them cry out in pain and fear when he attacks.

If you see him walking around the neighborhood you cross the street to avoid getting too close since you know how potentially dangerous he is.

Now imagine this bully attacks a member of your family- not once, but twice. He inflicts painful injuries that require over $1000 in medical bills that are not covered by insurance.

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Thumbnail image for Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Mainstreaming the Anti-Austerity Movement

Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Mainstreaming the Anti-Austerity Movement

by Source 02.11.2015 Activism

What US progressives can learn

By Kate Aronoff / Waging Nonviolence

On January 25, Syriza — a previously marginal, left-leaning coalition party in Greece — made history by winning the country’s general election. Winning 149 of 300 parliamentary seats, the party fell just two votes shy of an outright majority. Syriza’s leader, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras,became prime minister at the head of a coalition anti-austerity government, beating out the conservative New Democracy party and its now former prime minister, Antonis Samaras.

Many have attributed the party’s meteoric rise to power as a product of the brutal austerity conditions imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union in their 2010 bailout of the country. Such measures have destroyed a quarter of the country’s GDP, and driven youth unemployment to an astounding 50 percent. At this point, the country’s non-working population outnumbers the employed as national debt continues to skyrocket.

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Thumbnail image for Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Super Mayor! Kevin Faulconer Descends on New York

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Super Mayor! Kevin Faulconer Descends on New York

by Doug Porter 02.10.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Remember the days when San Diego was broke and broken?

Well, fear not citizens, happy days are here again. At least that’s the good news message our always-smiling mayor is busy delivering on the east coast this week.

The headline on yesterday afternoon’s press release from the Mayor’s office reads: “Mayor Faulconer to Share San Diego’s Comeback Story with National Media Outlets”.

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Thumbnail image for Yes, ISIS Burned a Man Alive: White Americans Did the Same Thing to Black People by the Thousands

Yes, ISIS Burned a Man Alive: White Americans Did the Same Thing to Black People by the Thousands

by Source 02.10.2015 Courts, Justice

By Chauncey Devega / Daily Kos

ISIS burned Muadh al Kasasbeh, a captured Jordian fighter pilot, to death. They doused him with an accelerant. His captors set him on fire. Muadh al Kasasbeh desperately tried to put out the flames. ISIS recorded Muadh al Kasasbeh’s immolation, produced a video designed to intimidate their enemies, and then circulated it online.

ISIS’s burning alive of Muadh al Kasasbeh has been denounced as an act of savagery, barbarism, and wanton cruelty–one from the “dark ages” and not of the modern world.

American Exceptionalism blinds those who share its gaze to uncomfortable facts and truths about their own country.

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