Media

Thumbnail image for The New American Order: On the Path to Plutocracy

The New American Order: On the Path to Plutocracy

by At Large 03.24.2015 Editor's Picks

1% Elections, The Privatization of the State, a Fourth Branch of Government, and the Demobilization of “We the People”

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch

Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.

Whatever this may add up to, it seems to be based, at least in part, on the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a new plutocratic class and in that ever-expanding national security state. Certainly, something out of the ordinary is underway, and yet its birth pangs, while widely reported, are generally categorized as aspects of an exceedingly familiar American system somewhat in disarray.

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Thumbnail image for The Public Education Reporting Charade

The Public Education Reporting Charade

by Jim Miller 03.23.2015 Columns

What if it turned out that education reform, with its teacher-blaming assumptions, got it all wrong in the first place?

By Jim Miller

Recently, with “California’s Public Education Charade,” UT-San Diego shocked no one by publishing yet another anti-union, teacher-bashing editorial that attacks California’s “dominant Democratic Party” for believing that “what’s good for the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers is good for California. And what’s good for students, who cares?”

The sins of California’s Democrats, the State Board of Education, and their sinister union bosses include the decision to “suspend the Academic Performance Index [API] for a second year as the state moves to a more complex system of evaluating school and district performance” and failing to robustly follow the lead of the misguided Vergara decision which blamed tenure for the struggles of low-income minority students. California, the editorial board laments, has made it “even more difficult to fire bad teachers.”

Of course, these are precisely the kind of oft-repeated yet totally unfounded assertions one hears about public education and teachers from not just the mouthpiece of Manchester but from far too many in the media. Just because they keep saying it, however, doesn’t make it true.

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Thumbnail image for Here Come the Obama ‘Vote or Die’ Squads

Here Come the Obama ‘Vote or Die’ Squads

by Doug Porter 03.19.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Following a speech before the City Club of Cleveland yesterday, President Obama responded to a question about the influence of money in elections by talking about universal voting as a solution.

Cue the conservative outrage: “Obama calls for mandatory voting in U.S.,” screamed one headline. At UT-San Diego the headline was toned down to “OBAMA FLOATS IDEA OF MANDATORY VOTING IN U.S.”

This story is a really sad commentary on the state of American “journalism.” The President spends and hour and a half speaking about economic policy in front of a business group. This one quip is going to end up being passed around on the internet as something along the lines of ‘The Black Panthers Are Going to Force People to Vote.” There’s probably an email smoldering in my backup account as I’m writing this.

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Thumbnail image for Many Battles Being Fought Over Climate Change

Many Battles Being Fought Over Climate Change

by Doug Porter 03.05.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The State of California Water Resources Control Board says residential water conservation is not working and there are rumblings about adopting permanent, rather than emergency water conservation measures.

Former Todd Gloria staffer Nicole Capretz has started a non-profit group to keep pressure on the City of San Diego as the Climate Action Plan moves from concept to reality. Activist groups, led by the local chapter of 350.org and the Environmental Health Coalition staged a rally in Balboa Park on Monday to urge local leaders to move decisively.

And a two-decade-long study by scientists with the University of Southern California offers up proof that declining air pollution is measurably improving children’s health.

There’s all this and much more in today’s news wrapup…

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Thumbnail image for Three Groups Vying to Buy UT-San Diego

Three Groups Vying to Buy UT-San Diego

by Doug Porter 03.04.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A report by media analyst Ken Doctor in Capital New York’s media column says UT-San Diego owner “Papa” Doug Manchester has been actively looking to sell for six months now.

The story indicates the Tribune Publishing, parent company for the Los Angeles Times, is close to making a deal with an estimated $80-90 million price tag, which will not include the company’s real estate assets. Questions surrounding UT-San Diego’s $60 million in pension obligations prevented the company from completing the sale during a short-term exclusivity agreement.

Two other groups are reported to be putting together financing to buy San Diego’s daily. A group led by philanthropist Malin Burnham and former Cox executive Bill Geppert told Doctor they’d raised about half the money needed to buy the company, which they’re proposing be run as a non-profit entity. Former UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch says he’s submitting an offer for the paper this week including its real estate assets for an investors group including venture capitalist Ron Burkle.

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Thumbnail image for 22nd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival Media Kick-Off Party (Video)

22nd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival Media Kick-Off Party (Video)

by Horacio Jones 03.04.2015 Culture

By Horacio Jones

For 22 years the San Diego Latino Film Festival put on by the Media Arts Center has brought great independent cinema to San Diego. It has become a unique event that many locals look forward to every year.

This year the film festival has moved their venue to AMC Fashion Valley 18 and has a new sponsor – San Diego County Lexus Dealers. During the Media Kick-Off Party I caught up with festival founder Ethan van Thillo, who gave a preview about what to expect during this year’s film festival. Several local filmmakers and actors were also in attendance and I interviewed Adriana Bush about her local documentary “Jessica Fights Back.” I also got to speak with a young local actress, Johanna Trujillo about her starring role in “Lake Los Angeles.”

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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 Newt Gingrich Happy Talk at the Times of San Diego

Newt Gingrich Happy Talk at the Times of San Diego

by Anna Daniels 02.27.2015 Media

One big helping of pre-digested revisionist twaddle

By Anna Daniels

The lead business story in the February 26 Times of San Diego reports that Newt Gingrich has joined the strategic advisory board of San Diego-based Pathway Genomics Corp. The former Speaker of the House’s bona fides for this position are taken directly from Gingrich’s own site gingrichproductions.com or from countless other sites which uncritically regurgitate the same information:

…During his time in Congress, he helped save Medicare from bankruptcy, shepherded Food and Drug Administration reform to help the seriously ill and initiated a new focus on scientific research, prevention and wellness.

This engenders severe cognitive dissonance for those of us who were breathing and sentient during the Gingrich years.

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Thumbnail image for The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

by Doug Porter 02.23.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The prospect of San Diego losing its beloved football team provides an opportunity to examine the worst of what the local media does in terms of misleading people about the relative importance of news.

Many stories in the local news media outlets seem based upon the belief this potential business decision (by an entity dependent on taxpayer largess for its profitability) is of critical importance for San Diegans. While I certainly appreciate the emotional connection between fans and sporting organizations, much of what I’ve read in the last few days is simply not connected to any reality that I’m aware of.

Putting this in perspective, the Chargers “fan base” ranks in the bottom half of National Football League, according to data compiled by Nielsen Scarborough, who looked at the percentage of adults who have watched, attended or listened to the NFL team in that market in the past year. Despite what team boosters say, San Diegans are decidedly lukewarm about most pro sports.

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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 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 Brian Williams’ Career Takes Some Friendly Fire

Brian Williams’ Career Takes Some Friendly Fire

by Junco Canché 02.12.2015 Cartoons
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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 Labor Unrest Spreads to Refineries, West Coast Ports, SoCal Edison and Football Stadiums

Labor Unrest Spreads to Refineries, West Coast Ports, SoCal Edison and Football Stadiums

by Doug Porter 02.09.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Local gasoline prices have increased by roughly 20% over the past few weeks. Retailers dependent on imported goods are voicing concerns about bottlenecks in supplies coming through west coast ports. And that could be bad news for consumers. There’s more to the story than what you’ve likely seen or heard.

While the factors surrounding both these development are complex, a major element in each are labor unions seeking safe working conditions. In what amounts to a sad commentary on the state of the news media in the U.S. the coverage has been largely one dimensional, leading with management’s pronouncements about wages and benefits.

Right now the issues being put before the public are rising fuel costs and the possibility the next new gadget may be in short supply. What’s missing is the realization that the health and safety issues are at the core of these economic disruptions. Today I’ll try to round out the picture of what’s really happening here.

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Thumbnail image for The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories

The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories

by Source 02.09.2015 Government

By Christian Christensen /Common Dreams

The news that NBC’s Brian Williams was not, in fact, on a helicopter in 2003 that came under fire from an Iraqi Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) should come as a surprise to no one.

Williams had repeated the lie on several occasions over the course of a decade until a veteran, who was on the actual helicopter that was attacked, had enough of Williams’ war porn and called the TV host out on Facebook. In a quite pathetic effort to cover his tracks, the anchor — who makes in excess of $10 million per year — claimed that his fairy tale was, in fact, “a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women” who had served in Iraq.

Twelve years, it seems, is enough time for Williams to confuse being on a helicopter that came under fire from an RPG with being on a helicopter that did not.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at UT-San Diego’s Predictions for President Obama’s Second Term

Looking Back at UT-San Diego’s Predictions for President Obama’s Second Term

by Doug Porter 02.04.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The Columbia Journalism Review recently posted an article about philanthropist Malin Burnham’s intentions to purchase San Diego’s daily newspaper. The only news in the piece–it’s still just a possibility– was that several large local non-profits have been approached about overseeing the deal.

The CJR report did talk about Papa Doug’s history of partisanship and boosterism for projects near and dear to his wallet. A September 2012 editorial predicting doom and gloom should President Barack Obama be re-elected was mentioned…

We’re at the halfway point in his final term so I thought it be appropriate to revisit many of those those predictions and comment on the progress made (or not) in what UT-San Diego’s editorial board predicted would be a national nightmare.

This is going to be fun, I promise.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Man Faces Life in Prison for … Rapping

San Diego Man Faces Life in Prison for … Rapping

by Source 02.04.2015 Activism

Charges are a Blatant Violation of the First Amendment, Says ACLU

ACLU News

San Diego prosecutors admit that Brandon Duncan was not at the scene of any one of several shootings in the city, and they have no evidence linking him to those shootings that occurred between May 2013 and February 2014. Still, the District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis charged him for those crimes because…he rapped about them.

Only recently released on bail, Duncan, who performs under the name Tiny Doo, spent eight months in jail on so-called “gang conspiracy charges” arising from those shootings. The San Diego ACLU is filing an amicus brief in court asking the court to dismiss the charges immediately. In a blog post about the case, David Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties said that the case was “not only absurd; it is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”

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Thumbnail image for Bad News for San Diego: It’s Business as Usual

Bad News for San Diego: It’s Business as Usual

by Doug Porter 02.03.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

The downside of business as usual in San Diego continues to make the news and not in a good way.

A local business leader tells a boldfaced lie in radio interview. Housing is too expensive for most people. The latest city hall scheme of dreams about a football stadium is already wrapped up in controversy.

Also, yet another GOP Presidential contender wades into the vaccinations controversy, the House will vote yet again today to repeal Obamacare and over-the-counter supplements sold in retailers nationwide are not even close to the real deal….

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Thumbnail image for Voice of San Diego’s Intern ‘Irony’ is Just the Latest Insult

Voice of San Diego’s Intern ‘Irony’ is Just the Latest Insult

by Doug Porter 01.29.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

Earlier this week Voice of San Diego Editor/CEO Scott Lewis took the Center on Policy Initiatives, a local think tank, to task for a Facebook posting soliciting for unpaid internships to assist in a campaign aimed at increasing minimum wages. 

In the essay and subsequent social media postings, Lewis said he found the idea of volunteer interns working on this particular issue to be ironic. And he seemingly disparaged the notion that the trade-off of job experience and/or college credit as a smokescreen for exploitation.

The old saying about people who live in glass houses comes to mind when viewing the web journal of a high school student who interned with Voice of San Diego. 

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Thumbnail image for City Budget Requests, Unpaid Glitter Unicorns and Congressional Follies

City Budget Requests, Unpaid Glitter Unicorns and Congressional Follies

by Doug Porter 01.28.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

There’s lots to report on today, starting with the annual wish lists for the coming fiscal year’s City of San Diego budget. The consensus item among the city council’s lists is finding more money for paying police.

A local non-profit’s Facebook posting seeking unpaid interns (along with paying positions) to participate in building support for increased minimum wages came under fire yesterday. But things aren’t always as they seem; I think there is another agenda at play here.

And the 114th Congress is off to a great start, unless you want to count passing meaningful legislation as part of it’s goals.

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Thumbnail image for “The Solid Citizenry of Ocean Beach are Aroused.”

“The Solid Citizenry of Ocean Beach are Aroused.”

by John Lawrence 01.20.2015 Activism

Complaints About Homeless Have Echoes

By John Lawrence / OB Rag

The solid citizenry of Ocean Beach are aroused. For some time now, there has been a virtual state of war existing between businessmen and merchants, on the one hand, and homeless on the other. The growing homeless community in OB has been met with growing alarm on the part of the established citizenry.

Those with Establishment interests want to drive the homeless out of OB since they view them as a treat to their businesses and are offended by the mores and folkways of the homeless youth culture. Homeless contribute very little economically to established businesses and tend to scare away more conventional people who would have patronized these businesses. Homeless people have been refused service at several places of business and in turn have taken revenge through acts of vandalism and theft. Because of this, insurance companies have raised the rates charged to OB businessmen.

Recently, there have been several public acts of sexual intercourse including screwing on the front lawn (an all-time first in San Diego according to some sources) which established citizens feel set a bad example for their own families.

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Thumbnail image for Sharia Law Comes To England: Hide Your Infidel Children, Pets and Jam

Sharia Law Comes To England: Hide Your Infidel Children, Pets and Jam

by Source 01.14.2015 Media

By Abby  Zimet/ Common Dreams

Okay, maybe you thought Fox News really couldn’t get any lower or loonier. But life is full of surprises.

Thus did self-appointed terror expert Steve Emerson feverishly declare that Britain has no-go stealth caliphates ruled by sharia enforcers and “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go.”

In parts of London, he went on, “there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.” Umm. Actually, Steve? Actually, Birmingham, a city of about a million, is 14% Muslim. With – need it be said? – no Sharia law in sight.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was among those pretty surprised to hear about all this Sharia stuff; he said he was having breakfast at the time and nearly choked on his porridge. Then he proclaimed Emerson “a complete idiot.”

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Thumbnail image for In Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack, Let’s Not Sacrifice Even More Rights

In Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack, Let’s Not Sacrifice Even More Rights

by Source 01.09.2015 Culture

By Sophia Cope and Jillian York / Electronic Frontier Foundation Deep Links Blog

We are stunned and deeply saddened by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper. As free speech advocates, EFF mourns the use of violence against individuals who used creativity and free expression to engage in cultural and political criticism. Murder is the ultimate form of censorship.

The journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo have long used satire to engage in cultural critique, a form of expression strongly protected by international norms and with deep historical roots in prompting societal change and igniting discussions on controversial issues (see, for example, Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal and Voltaire’s).

In the age of the Internet, satire is finding fecund ground on video sharing sites, social media, and across the blogosphere as a way of engaging in discussion on political issues, social ideas, economic theory, and even poking fun at celebrities.

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Thumbnail image for Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

by Doug Porter 01.07.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter
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Hours after members of its staff were murdered, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo brought its website back online with a “Je Suis Charlie” graphic, which has become the image of social media solidarity. (See story in column inside)
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Are you sick and tired of elected Democrats who don’t act like Democrats? Does the phrase “herding cats” come to mind when assemblypersons in Sacramento can’t even get it together on things like climate change? Are you tired of voting for lesser of two evils? Can I get an “Amen?”

Well, you’re in luck. With a small investment of time this weekend Democrats in San Diego can help select delegates to the state party convention, the body that makes endorsements ( a critical step in our top-two primary system) and writes the state party platform, among other things.

Today’s column will start off by telling you how to participate and where to get information on some of the choices available. Mind you, this election won’t fix everything wrong with the party of FDR, but it’s a start.

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