Thumbnail image for Ebola, Not Guns, is Our Biggest Threat

Ebola, Not Guns, is Our Biggest Threat

by Eric J. Garcia 10.30.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.29.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

 Another six month reporting period has passed and the UT-San Diego continues to lose readers, according to an analysis of data from the Alliance for Audited Media by the Reader’s Don Bauder.

How bad was it? On Sundays, the circulation declined by more than 13%,  Weekdays declined by 8.5%.  The numbers released yesterday include “digital” and “branded” editions. Branded editions for the UT include Enlace, the Spanish language weekly distributed free on weekends, Vida Latina, a Spanish-language entertainment magazine, TV and shopping guide and Enlace Extra, distributed in Tijuana and Mexicali.

As newspaper circulations have plummeted in recent years, the auditing-type people have changed the rules to sweeten the pot for publishers. Paid circulation now includes copies “sold” to non-profits for as little as 1 cent; these groups resell the papers at full price to users of their services (churches are a good example) and pocket the difference.

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Thumbnail image for It’s the OB Rag’s 7th Birthday!

It’s the OB Rag’s 7th Birthday!

by Frank Gormlie 10.29.2014 Culture

By Frank Gormlie

This is the 7th birthday for the online OB Rag. During the October fires of 2007, Patty Jones and I launched the OB Rag out of our small cottage on Long Branch Avenue. Many of our early articles critiqued both the mainstream media’s coverage of the fires plus how the fires were being fought.

Seven years later, much has changed, of course. We’ve gone from a little-known blog to one of the best community-based websites in Southern California, which is constantly referred to by the local mainstream media, police, and local politicians, and occasionally we make the national news. Other notes of interest: quotes from the OB Rag made it up on the ceiling of OB’s newest public “comfort station” on the beach – whose design won an Orchid Award in 2012.

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Thumbnail image for Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

by Jim Miller 10.27.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

Recently, California lost one of its last remaining, genuinely progressive weeklies, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As [] tells the story:

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, the prize-winning newspaper and progressive voice, was shut down immediately by the San Francisco Media Company, after 48 years of “printing the news and raising hell.” No warning for staff, just pack your boxes and get out. Boom. This historic independent newspaper, so long a pivotal force in San Francisco progressive politics and culture was suddenly treated as a corporate portfolio item, and lopped off the balance sheet . . .

Guardian editor Steven T. Jones recounted to the Chronicle, “We were told at 10 a.m. (Tuesday) that this issue would be our last. They shut down everything — our sites, our social media, our passkeys, right away. We’ve all been laid off, effective immediately…I need an escort to go to the bathroom and get back to the office to pack up my stuff.”

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Thumbnail image for Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

by Doug Porter 10.24.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The more we learn about the inner workings of the Carl DeMaio campaign, the more bizarre it gets. If you believe defenders of the Republican Candidate for the 52nd Congressional District, former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich has perhaps gone back in time to fabricate emails (much of which are mundane) and/or hacked Carl DeMaio’s Sony VIAO laptop.

Yesterday we learned about a fake twitter account allegedly used by DeMaio to transmit trashy blurbs about various local politicos. Then there’s the hilarious (in a sad way) and ongoing attempt by a UT-San Diego editor to justify their coverage (or lack thereof) of the steadily leaking emails purportedly from the DeMaio campaign.

City Beat columnist Dave Maass spotted an item in a emailed worklist regarding an assignment to “finish Wikipedia”, apparently directing a staffer to make favorable edits on entries related to the campaign. This sort of thing would be a big no-no, and it’s something DeMaio and/or his staff were busted (by Maass) for in 2011.

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Malin Burnham and the U-T San Diego Idea Factory

by Frank Gormlie 10.24.2014 Business

union-tribunefrontbldgPart Two of two parts

By Frank Gormlie

As we delve more now in Part Two into Malin Burnham, “the last Corte Maderan” as Mike Davis calls him, and his possible take-over of San Diego’s only daily newspaper, longtime City Heights community activist, Anna Daniels, one of the editors at San Diego Free Press, cautioned:

When the news broke that Malin Burnham was interested in purchasing the U-T San Diego with the intent of turning it into a non-profit, the main and often only description of him was as a San Diego “philanthropist”. And it is true–Burnham is known for his extensive philanthropy.

He is also known for his role as a local real estate developer, as chairman of First National Bank at San Diego and as a former Director of San Diego Gas and Electric. It might prove useful in the future to keep these other interests in mind.

Malin Burnham fullWhich pretty much sums up Part One for me. As City Hall veteran, Norma Damashek, reminded us:

As you know, Burnham has been a VIP mover and shaker in San Diego for decades. He’s not stingy with his money. Some is philanthropy, some is strictly political.

It’s also useful to know that Burnham represents a wing of the local Establishment that has challenged the other, more conservative wing on numerous occasions – with the back and forth between the different factions going for decades.

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What Does Malin Burnham’s Possible Take-Over of the U-T San Diego Mean?

by Frank Gormlie 10.23.2014 Business

Malin Burnham fullhueAs ‘Old-Money’ Point Loman Burnham emerges to operate San Diego’s daily, questions are raised whether this is the “Moderate Wing” of the Establishment reasserting itself?

Part One of two parts.

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

The news has been out for nearly a month now that well known wheeler-dealer and financier Malin Burnham of Point Loma has initiated efforts to purchase the U-T San Diego from Doug Manchester, the current owner and publisher.

Burnham, who calls himself a moderate Republican and who has lived in Point Loma all his life, told the press that he is the spokesman for a 5-man group of economic power-brokers who want to form a non-profit that will take over the newspaper and run it as a profit-making enterprise. Any profits, Burnham has pledged, would go back into community charities. Now as crazy as that plan might seem in this day and age of folding newspapers and expanding internet news sites, there are at least two other major dailies in the country that are run by non-profits. …

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Thumbnail image for Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

by Source 10.18.2014 Activism

Lies distort every critical issue the U.S. faces.

By Harriett Levin Balkind /

A record $3.7+ billion is pouring into the 2014 midterms. The monetary floodgates are wide open, thanks to recent Supreme Court election decisions. Most of that money is spent on advertising, much of which misleads, distorts and downright lies. The donors for more than half of TV ads are not fully disclosed. Someone is profiting, but it sure isn’t you. And it’s definitely not the country.

It is legal to lie in national political advertising. Federal candidates can say just about anything they want, protected by the Court’s interpretation of free speech. The stand-by-your-ad statement: “I approve this message,” doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does get candidates the cheapest TV and radio ad rates, in compliance with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. If a federal candidate’s ad is deceptive, broadcasters have to run it, as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

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Thumbnail image for Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

by Doug Porter 10.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

While there is no rule saying a ballot must be filled out completely to be valid, there are four contests you should know and care about as we approach the 2014 general election.

Exhibit A is why we should care about down-ballot races is Judge Gary Kreep, who’s now lurking around Department 7 in the central courthouse, handling a full calendar of landlord-tenant disputes.

People voted for Kreep because the only thing they’d heard (if they’d heard anything at all) were rumors, spread via a suspicious robocall campaign saying his opponent was soft on crime.

So Kreep ascended to the court after defeating 30 year veteran prosecutor Garland Peed a couple years back. His margin of victory was two-fifths of 1 percent.

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Thumbnail image for Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Last week sexual harassment accusations against congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went national by way of stories in and CNN. Today we’ll follow up on developments in this story over the weekend.

A Saturday morning fundraiser featuring house speaker John Boehner in Pacific Beach for the 52nd district GOP candidate was notable for the absence of local politicos and a handful of protesters waving “Dirty DeMaio” signs.

The irony of the counter demonstration, reminiscent of reaction in some quarters to our former mayor’s boorish behavior, was the presence of Jess Durfee.  Back in the days when Durfee headed up county Democrats it was he chose to disregard warnings about Filner from a delegation of party women.

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Thumbnail image for The War on Women: More Than Just a Political Slogan

The War on Women: More Than Just a Political Slogan

by Doug Porter 09.23.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

While the words and actions of various (mostly Republican) politicians give plenty of credence to the underlying misogyny on the right, a couple of items in this week’s news feeds illustrate the big picture when it comes to the baked in sexism of our society and culture.

Actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson addressed the General assembly on September 21st on the subject of gender discrimination and how it harms both society and individuals. Now she’s facing threats, simply for daring to speak up.

HBO’s John Oliver took on the Miss America beauty pageant on the same day, blowing away their claims of philanthropic benevolence towards women; specially their claims about colleges scholarships. It was an excellent example of how corporate spinmeisters can take even the most base and degrading institution and present it as something wholesome and appealing.

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Thumbnail image for UT-San Diego: To Be? Or Not to Be?

UT-San Diego: To Be? Or Not to Be?

by Doug Porter 09.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The Reader broke the news this weekend, confirming speculation that “Papa Doug” Manchester is looking to unload San Diego’s daily newspaper.

Columnist Don Bauder, citing rumors among local business executives and insiders at the newspaper, ran with a story on Thursday saying that downtown real estate developer and philanthropist Malin Burnham was raising money for takeover. The paper would become a nonprofit, according to this account, and acquiring the company’s real estate was not part of the negotiations.

On Saturday Matt Potter reached Burham by phone, who confirmed a deal was in the works, telling the Reader reporter, “announcement of a fundraising campaign to provide operating cash for the new operation awaits IRS approval of the venture.”

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Motivations and Considerations

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Motivations and Considerations

by Lori Saldaña 09.15.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña /Part One of Four

As I listen to news reports on Hilary Clinton’s activities in Iowa, and the “Ready for Hillary” campaign theme that has spread for the past year, I think of my own motivations and considerations when I first discussed the possibility of becoming a candidate for State Assembly 12 years ago.

Ms. Clinton has discussed the impending birth of her  grandchild as something that gives her pause.   She is a veteran of decades of campaigns and elections, and understands what I did not in 2002: time with family often disappears, subsumed by the demands of a competitive election.

Her reflections on becoming a grandmother for the first time remind me of my own grandmother- Dorothy Brecht. In her 97 years of life she saw women earn the right to vote, men take to skies in planes for the first time, and then land on the moon. She wanted very much to see her granddaughter become the first in our family to hold elected office.

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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 There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 09.10.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Voters in the 52nd Congressional District come November will get to make their choice between the former City Councilman and incumbent Democrat Scott Peters. Today I’ll argue that this choice is more than ideological; it’s a question of character. 

What differentiates DeMaio in my mind from others who I disagree with (including Congressman Peters from time to time) is the way he does business. A couple of recent examples serve to illustrate my point. (And I’ll remind you of some past incidents that bolster my contention.) 

Having lost out on an endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce last week, candidate DeMaio sought to change the subject by rolling out what he insisted was a series of women-friendly proposals. 

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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 What Happens When Reality Isn’t Good Enough

What Happens When Reality Isn’t Good Enough

by Bob Dorn 09.09.2014 Media

By Bob Dorn 

No question, the news will make you cranky.

GOOGLE News’ll make you cranky, too. Worse, it also makes you think you’re smarter than everybody else, an unfortunate combination of attitudes if you value reaching out to your fellow human being.

It’s good for us to remember Google News and other engineering marvels are designed and managed by mere mortals.

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Thumbnail image for Staving Off Traffic Jams Along the Information Super-Highway

Staving Off Traffic Jams Along the Information Super-Highway

by Source 09.09.2014 Activism

Every major consumer group, a nationwide coalition of mayors, and thousands of startups and small businesses have joined millions of people in urging the FCC to save Net Neutrality.

By Timothy Karr / OtherWords

There was no vacation for the Internet this summer.

While many Americans slipped away to the beach, Internet users were busy defending the openness of a network that has become this era’s engine for free expression, ingenuity and just about everything else.

The threat comes from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who has proposed new rules that would fundamentally change the workings of the Web — leaving its fate in the hands of a few powerful phone and cable companies.

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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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Thumbnail image for Waiter! There’s Some Snot in My Soup!

Waiter! There’s Some Snot in My Soup!

by Doug Porter 08.28.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Opponents of the City Council ordinance allowing earned sick days for workers in San Diego continue to stand in front of shopping centers and grocery stores to collect signatures for a referendum suspending the law until June 2016.

Meanwhile, Jason Cabel Roe, the GOP strategist who the San Diego Daily Transcript calls a “business consultant,” says “We’re hearing from a lot of small businesses about how they’re panicked about the potential costs…”

That’s right, they’d rather have their employees work sick. Think about that next time you eat in a restaurant. Your server (or cook or busboy) may well have opted to work while ill rather than lose a day’s pay. After all, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 81% of food service workers don’t have a choice.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? The Role of Community Weeklies

Who Runs San Diego? The Role of Community Weeklies

by Doug Porter 08.27.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter / A Project of the Democratic Woman’s Club

There are more than two dozen community weekly media outlets in San Diego.  Most appear on printed tabloid-sized newsprint editions. Some have a rather tenuous relationship with internet editions.

Nationally speaking, paid circulation weeklies outnumber daily papers by a 6 to 1 margin. And nobody even keeps track of the smaller free papers. Depending on who you’re talking to, weeklies are the lights at the end of the media tunnel or just a few years away from being doomed to digital extinction.

What they have in common is their focus on a limited audience. Geography, ethnic background, social and/or sexual orientation are the target markets for these publishers, who range from corporate overlords to retirees. This week’s column will focus on those serving limited geographic areas. (A future installment will cover the non-geographic weeklies)

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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 The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

by At Large 08.21.2014 Columns

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

When Voice of San Diego (VOSD) began online publication nearly a decade ago  the excitement in progressive San Diego was palpable. Here, finally, was an answer to the biased reporting that had been a hallmark of the UT for years (even before it was purchased by Doug Manchester).

The world of journalism was being revolutionized as the print media model became too expensive and cumbersome to compete in an instant access world. Slate and Salon opened their digital doors, and it seemed a new dawn of accountable news reporting was upon us.

San Diego journalist/entrepreneur Neil Morgan and Buzz Woolley founded VOSD. Those were the days of Enron by the Sea, pension underfunding, indicted council members, resigning Mayors and special elections (sound familiar?).

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego?  Papa Doug the Kingmaker

Who Runs San Diego? Papa Doug the Kingmaker

by Eva Posner 08.13.2014 Business

By Eva Posner / Democratic Woman’s Club

Last week we provided an overview of Doug Manchester, the U-T, and the influence this combination has on the electorate of San Diego County.

This week, the goal is to delve a bit deeper, using a recent issue to illustrate the intensity of collusion with the publisher of the region’s largest paper and other powers that be.

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Thumbnail image for Faux News, Environmental Views At Issue in 52nd District Congressional Race

Faux News, Environmental Views At Issue in 52nd District Congressional Race

by Doug Porter 08.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Representative Scott Peters’ fight to keep his seat in the 52nd Congressional District continues to make the news. The National Journal and other media outlets ran stories yesterday about fake news sites being funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee; a quick search confirmed Peters was among their targets.

Climate Progress ran an article touting both Peters and opponent Carl DeMaio as unusual because both candidates agree that climate change is real- except that they couldn’t find a environmental activist willing to endorse DeMaio’s record.

Finally, former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher came out of his self-imposed political exile this morning to endorse Peters, Jack Harkin (former chair of the local United Veterans Council) and other veterans at a press conference in Balboa Park.

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