Ta-Nehisi Coates, ‘Unflinching’ Voice on Racism, Declared MacArthur Genius

Ta-Nehisi Coates

‘Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing,’ declared the MacArthur Foundation.

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

Journalist, author, and leading voice on anti-black racism in America, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was revealed Tuesday to be one of 24 recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Genius awards.

“Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing,” declared the foundation. “He subtly embeds the present—in the form of anecdotes about himself or others—into historical analysis in order to illustrate how the implications of the past are still experienced by people today.”   [Read more…]

Nuclear Shutdown News for September 2015 – the Costs of San Onofre


Disaster Capitalism and the Shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant

By Michael Steinberg /Black Rain Press

This story starts with a clandestine dinner in Warsaw, Poland. Present are Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utility Commission, and Stephen Pickett, a high ranking official with Southern California Edison, a major electrical utility.

It is March 2013, the same month SCE announced the unexpected permanent shutdown of its San Onofre Nuclear Power Station.

No nukers were elated. But their joy later turns to disappointment and then outrage when the CPUC subsequently hands down a decision that leaves us on the hook for billions of dollars in costs supposedly related to the shutdown of San Onofre.

How did this happen, and so relatively quickly?   [Read more…]

Congressional Values: “Zippidy do-da, zippidy day.”


By Doug Porter

Speaker of the House John Boehner was singing the classic Disney ditty as he walked in for a Friday morning press conference where he shocked just about everybody by announcing his resignation.

While Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is considered a probable successor to Boehner as Speaker, it’s worthwhile to look at the recently concluded 10th annual Value Voters Summit for some context about the changes taking place.

It was, after all, the crowd at the political conference for American social conservative activists that gave a standing ovation after hearing news of the Ohio congressman’s resignation.   [Read more…]

How Our Stadium Saved Hilton’s Ego & Other Chuckles To Cry Over


As published by the original San Diego Free Press (circa 1968), we reprint the rundown on the Stadium in Mission Valley. Outside of the names and a few little details, you’ll be surprised how little has changed. Part Two & Three of Two…
Transcribed by John Lawrence / Original byline “Jim Knastick”

Hi sports fans. Big Jim, again.

Well, fans, last issue – – when we looked into that great muskmelon in Mission Valley – – we found a bill for $52 million addressed for the little taxpayer in San Diego and nothing but profits for local sports czars (your druggist knows them as merchants, financiers and industrialists).

Current vignette, fans: Taking Care of Barron.
  [Read more…]

Jade Helm 15 Ends and #IStandWithAhmed Begins, Deep in the Heart of Texas


By Doug Porter

Today, two examples from the Lone Star State strike me as indicative of a sort of mass paranoia that has become all too commonplace. I’m mindful of these stories in thinking about the CNN Republican Presidential debate, with unhinged ideas likely to be touted as reality.

Example #1 is a revisiting of an older baloney sandwich. The Jade Helm 15 training exercise, alleged to be cover for a military takeover has ended. This delusion was used for political gain by three of the Republican candidates for president and a plethora of right-wing acolytes. Nothing happened.

Example #2 is a heartbreaking story about a 14 year kid in Irving, Texas who wanted to show off his science skills. He ended up being arrested, fingerprinted, and held incommunicado after he brought a home made clock to school. Oh, and he has brown skin. And his name is Ahmed Mohamed.   [Read more…]

Qualcomm Stadium: a Boondoggle from the Get-Go?

sdfp stadium 1

As published by the original San Diego Free Press (circa 1968), we reprint the rundown on the Stadium in Mission Valley. Outside of the names and a few little details, you’ll be surprised how little has changed. Part One of Two…

Transcribed by John Lawrence / Original byline “Jim Knastic”

Hi, sports fans. Big Jim here.

Well, fans, there is a big spat brewing in major league San Diego and from this experienced observer’s view the losers in this main event are going to be the city’s middle- and lower-income taxpayers.

This whole new controversy is revolving around that great concrete muskmelon in Mission Valley, the San Diego Stadium.

As the Free Press goes to the printers, the news is out that the City of San Diego is suing the San Diego Chargers for one year’s back rent (more than $200,000). The Chargers apparently have decided that they don’t want to pay rent, at least not for the next seven years.

But that is just one of a long series of rubs – one of the first rubs in how that stadium got there in the first place.   [Read more…]

Last Month as John Kerry Called for “Genuine Democracy” in Cuba, Oligarchs Ruled U.S.

Photo by cliff1066™

With Cuba and Cubans back in the news cycle – not only with the release of 3,522 prisoners from Cuban jails before the pope’s visit, but also with the first meeting of something called the Bilateral Commission last Friday, September 11th, I have an opening to comment on something that happened last month.

The Bilateral Commission was created August 14 during a visit to Havana by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he presided over the official reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, and the raising of the American flag for the first time since 1961.

It was something that Kerry said during his speech at the opening of the embassy that has bothered me for a month. After praising the progress made by both nations and their leaders in making large strides in the improvement of relations, Kerry then – stepping outside his role as a statesman – launched into a partisan diatribe – and called for “a genuine democracy” in Cuba.   [Read more…]

Are Journalists Safe in Mexico? Benefit Concert to Support Independent Journalism in Mexico


By Anna Daniels

On Saturday September 12, virtuoso leona player and poet Laura Rebolloso will perform in a special San Diego benefit concert in which all proceeds will go to support the efforts of independent journalists in Mexico. Pianist Alonso Blanco and percussionist Vladimir Coronel will accompany Ms. Rebolloso.

The urgency of support for Mexican journalists not only within that country but in every country that values freedom of the press is summed up in The Guardian‘s horrifying headline “‘Journalists are being slaughtered’- Mexico’s problem with press freedom.” This is an issue that we are not watching closely enough in this country, primarily because it receives so little main stream media coverage.   [Read more…]

As Young Refugee Boy Identified, Photos Representing His ‘Outcry’ Reverberate

Aylan Kurdi and his older brother, Galip. (Photograph: Twitter)

Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned along with his mother, Rehan, and older brother, Galip, while the family attempted to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece on Wednesday.

By John Queally / Common Dreams

As new details emerge about the young Syrian boy, now identified as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi—who drowned along with his mother, Rehan, and older brother, Galip, while the family attempted to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece on Wednesday—the global impact of the pictures has perhaps fulfilled the “sorrowful” hopes of the photographer who took the images in order to “make heard his outcry.”

It has now been reported that the father, Abdullah Kurdi, was the only member of the family of four to survive when the boat they and other refugees were traveling in capsized off the Turkish coast. In all, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, 12 people drowned when two boats attempting to reach the island of Kos capsized. Eight of the 12 were children. The news agency subsequently reported that several individuals had been arrested on smuggling charges related to the incident.   [Read more…]

Police Deaths Matter. Now, Can We Talk About Injustice?


By Doug Porter

The gang at Fox News is doing their damnest to make a connection between #BlackLivesMatter and police officers killed in the line of duty.  Yesterday, Megyn Kelly and Katie Pavlich characterized Black Lives Matter as violent, with Pavlich calling it “a movement that promotes the execution of police officers.”

Elsewhere in the media the implied story is that cops are getting mowed down at a dramatically increasing rate.  The Los Angeles Times ran with a story saying “the recent bloodshed feels different.” 

CNN does it by slight of hand in its coverage of Illinois police officer Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth, telling us that the number of deaths in the line of duty this year has increased from 73 to 85.   [Read more…]

Street Repairs Could Jump Start Municipal Internet


By Jose Caballero

It’s no secret that when it comes to streets San Diego has a rough ride. We were recently ranked 8th worst in the nation for our roads, costing drivers $843 a year in maintenance costs. Mayor Faulconer has said he will fix them over the next 5 years. However, he’s missing a major opportunity if they just put down new pavement.

In February, the Federal Communications Commission preempted state laws banning municipal internet services, allowing cities, meaning San Diego could build networks featuring lightning fast, gigabit, fiber to the premise (FTTP) service, which would be among the fastest anywhere in the world. This has been done successfully in Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC, with other cities from Seattle to Baltimore considering making their own systems.
  [Read more…]

KPBS Bars Affordable Housing Advocate from Midday Edition Panel


By Doug Porter
UPDATED 8/26 With response from KPBS…

The spat between KPBS/inewsource and attorney Cory Briggs reached a new low this week when an invitation to retired civil rights leader and affordable housing advocate Rev. Richard Lawrence to participate on the Midday Edition program was abruptly withdrawn.

Lawrence, whose list of honors includes the San Diego Housing Federation’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and  a San Diego City Council declaration making November 10, 2013 “Richard Lawrence Day,” was supposed to be participating in an August 17th panel on San Diego’s declaration of an affordable housing state of emergency.

The reasoning behind his “dis-invitation” was that Lawrence sits on the board of San Diegans for Open Government and vigorously defended attorney Cory Briggs in the wake of allegations of misconduct made by KPBS/inewsource.   [Read more…]

The Hillary Question: Two Telling Tales


By Doug Porter

Six months ago, most Democrats believed the upcoming presidential primary season would be little more than a warm-up for the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the party’s choice to face off against the GOP’s nominee.

A feisty Vermonter with wiry hair has upset the Democratic applecart. Today’s column will start off with two tales of Hillary, told with the hope of providing insight into the nature of her as a candidate. (Those hoping for a bashing session will have to wait for another day.)

I, for one, thought the early campaign months would be focused on the circular firing squad that has come to represent the Republican contest for the nomination. Fortunately, my stockpile of popcorn won’t go to waste.   [Read more…]

Freeps in the News: Jim Bliesner, Barbara Zaragoza, Jeeni Criscenzo

bliesner plaque

By Anna Daniels

San Diego Free Press contributors are a diverse and talented group of individuals. It will be a busy weekend for three of them with the unveiling of Jim Bliesner‘s sculpture Cultural Fusion, Casa Familiar’s Abrazo Award for Barbara Zaragoza and An Evening of Provocative Poetry with Jeeni Criscenzo. These events follow upon last week’s screening of SDFP video- journalist Horacio Jones‘ short film “Wingin’ It” at the 48 Hour Film Project in San Diego.   [Read more…]

San Diego Free Press Celebrates!

sdfp 3rd cake thumbnail

By Anna Daniels

The San Diego Free Press celebrated its third birthday on August 8 with a Galastravaganzaversary party at Border X Brewing. Wow–three years! It has been an astoundingly active year for this unique all volunteer operated San Diego media presence. Contributors and editors have provided another year of progressive views with a distinctly grassroots perspective on the topics of labor, the environment, immigration, criminal justice, politics and government.

Our approach–multi-media and multi-genre– reflects the talents and interests of our contributors. Video essays, personal narratives, cartoons and poetry are essential to the way that we present the people’s history. We take risks in terms of both the content provided and the format. The creative juices continue to flow; the vision of where we are headed is becoming more clearly delineated. Time for craft beer and a slice of galastravaganza cake!   [Read more…]

Dump the Trump? GOP Freaking Out as Their Frankenstein Runs Amok


By Doug Porter

By now ‘everybody knows’ that billionaire blowhard Donald John Trump is out of control.

“He’s tapped into citizen anger” is Republi-speak for “we never thought all our lies would come back to bite us in the ass,” and “please spare us your wrath.”

Others in the party are seeking to portray The Donald as aberrant, only to draw angry responses from the man and his minions.  When everyday misogynist Erick Erickson dis-invited Trump from a conservative conference, the blowback was so bad he moved his family to another hotel, fearing for their safety.

So here’s the deal: if Donald Trump had made the same comments about MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, the Fox News crew and the other GOP candidates would have said ‘no big deal.’ They’d still be snickering in the green room.   [Read more…]

Fox News Debate: American Idol for Republicans


By Doug Porter

Television entertainment doesn’t get any better than it was Thursday, August 7th; not bad for a day when entertainment stocks cratered over uncertainty about the future of the medium.

Fox news ran with two shows starring Those Republicans Who Would Be President. I watched the later Big Kids showdown. It was well crafted by Fox, packaged as  American Idol for (mostly Republican) voters.

Also, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart left the room, departing to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and a homily about the perils of bovine excrement.   [Read more…]

48 Hour Film Project to Include SDFP Video-Journo Horacio Jones’ ‘Wingin’ It’

wingin it excerpt

By Staff

San Diego Free Press contributor Horacio Jones, who recently garnered an award from the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, has produced a short film with co- director Fabrice Murgia for the 48 Hour Film Project San Diego. Titled Wingin’ It, the work is the story of a rebellious angel who must be coached on how to take souls to the after-life.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a worldwide film competition in which local teams have 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a 4-7 minute short film. A little over 100 teams signed up to compete. To keep the process honest, contestants randomly picked a genre one Friday night at 7pm. They were also provided a prop, line, and character to use in their film.   [Read more…]

As California Expands Eligibility, the Voting Rights Act Becomes a Proxy War


By Doug Porter

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla did the right thing on Tuesday, withdrawing a challenge to the voting rights of the formerly incarcerated championed by his predecessor.

On Thursday, the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, President Obama along with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), will call for upon Congress for restoration of provisions struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Twenty one Republican-controlled states have enacted laws making it more difficult to register or vote since the 2010 election.

These three examples are all aspects of the same phenomena: the act of voting is a proxy war for issues of class and race facing our society.   [Read more…]

Electile Dysfunction: GOP Candidates Prepare for ‘Happy Hour’ Debate


By Doug Porter

Heading into the dog days of August, this should be the dullest of the dull period of the election cycle. But it’s not.

Seventeen candidates have formally declared an interest in seeking the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential contest. Roger Ailes, the high priest of Fox news, has called for an early debate, limited to the ten top job seekers capable of making the most noise.

Getting into this debate has been all about who can say the most outrageous thing. Today, I’ll share some of that outrage with readers.   [Read more…]

USC Report: Inequality Threatens San Diego’s Future


By Doug Porter

A report by the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) says long term prospects for San Diego’s economy are challenged by widespread inequality.

I could dazzle you with charts and figures (and there are plenty in the report), but here’s the bottom line: the way public policy is and has been made in San Diego benefits a few at the expense of the many. Trading short term greed for long term growth would be better for the overall economy and the environment.

The authors of the report point to metropolitan areas around the country where public and private entities have opted to work together on economic and environmental issues and are building platforms for sustainable growth. They also point to emerging data demonstrating that “greater economic and racial equality in regions corresponds with more robust growth in terms of employment, output, productivity, and per-capita income.”   [Read more…]

SDFP Claims Eight Journo Awards for 2015


By Staff

The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) held its annual award banquet on Wednesday July 29 at the Bali Hai Restaurant. The evening began with the acknowledgement of some of the changes that have occurred on the media scene this past year. The observation that the words “Papa Doug” have been uncoupled from references to the Union Tribune was accompanied with applause– and laughter.

SPJ President Matt Hall noted that the Voice of San Diego has turned ten and that the San Diego Free Press celebrated its third anniversary. But the changes noted weren’t solely about staying power. The San Diego Daily Transcript which began publishing in 1885 is closing its doors after a hundred and thirty year run.

Journalism and the media platforms which provide it continue to be at an existential crossroads that tests their relevancy, independence and solvency.   [Read more…]

Lies & More Lies: Planned Parenthood as the New ACORN


By Doug Porter

The Republicans appear to have settled on their wedge issue for 2016. You know, the thing that drives fear and/or disgust in a certain class of voters so they’ll ignore all those pesky economic policies they’re likely to get screwed by.

In 2008 a loosely organized entity named ACORN fit the bill. Manufactured imagery of  brown people doing something wrong was perfect for an election where the leading candidate was a person of color. Most people still don’t realize the charges brought against the community organizing group turned out to have been false.

The Donald has been busy co-opting the GOP’s immigration issues and Gays have kicking ass in the courts (both legal and popular opinion). Black people have been fighting back lately and there just aren’t enough Muslims to go around. And besides, the lone wolf mostly male libertarians constituting the party’s future are scared to death of female empowerment.   [Read more…]

Average Motorist’s Annual Cost for San Diego’s Crappy Roads: $843


By Doug Porter

I can just hear the boosterism now: “We’re better than San Jose, Ole!”

Fifty one per cent of San Diego’s roads are considered to be in poor condition, according to a study released by TRIP, a national transportation research group.  The region has the eighth-highest rate of lousy roads nationally among large urban areas with more than a half million residents.

California cities dominated the study, taking 5 of the bottom 10 rankings. Coming in at number 5 was San Jose, with Concord, Los Angeles and San Francisco/Oakland topping the list.   [Read more…]

ALEC Gets a Raucous Reception in San Diego


This is California. We fight for workers’ rights. We fight for affordable healthcare”  
-Labor Leader Mickey Kasparian

By Doug Porter

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2015 annual meeting in San Diego drew more protesters than it did delegates. And (for few moments, anyway) the issue of what ALEC actually does to took precedence over the appearances of GOP aspirants to the presidency.

A united front of labor and activist organizations staged a rally in the Embarcadero Park North, located behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, where legislators and lobbyists were gathered.

Buses came from Los Angeles. Things were well organized. There was plenty of food and water to be had. There was also plenty of intense sunshine, symbolizing in a way, the purpose of the protest: to make the public aware that ALEC is not the virtuous organization it claims to be.

Today we’ll take a look around at some coverage of the protest. And there are plenty of pictures….   [Read more…]