Politics

Thumbnail image for Super Bowl XLIX: Winners and Losers Off the Field

Super Bowl XLIX: Winners and Losers Off the Field

by Doug Porter 01.30.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

 According to reports from around the country not much is going to happen this weekend approaching the importance of a certain Sunday football game. The New England Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks (3:30pm PT) at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. 

An estimated 184 million Americans are expected to watch Super Bowl XLIX, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That’s about 55 million more humans than voted in the 2012 presidential election. Beside the celebratory nature of the day, it’s an event with a huge economic impact. 

So today I’ll indulge in some mostly off-the-field news items; some serious and some silly, starting with a look at the non-helmet wearing people who make it happen.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The Mainstream Meets Occupy

The Mainstream Meets Occupy

by Source 01.30.2015 Business

By Robert Borosage / Campaign for America’s Future

The 1 percent continue to capture virtually all of the income growth in the country, while the average incomes of the 99 percent continue to fall.

And Americans know it. In a January Pew poll, 92 percent report that their incomes are sinking or treading water. This Occupy reality increasingly sets the frame for our political debate, with leaders of both parties adopting populist rhetoric, acknowledging that making this economy work for working people – the sinking “middle class” – is the central question of our day.

Read the full article → 0 comments
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. 

Read the full article → 6 comments
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.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Junipero Serra: Canonizing the Colonizers

Junipero Serra: Canonizing the Colonizers

by Source 01.28.2015 Culture

By Eric Loomis / Lawyers, Guns & Money (LGM)

Pope Francis has decided to make Junipero Serra a saint. Serra was a Franciscan in California who founded many of the California missions in the 18th century, effectively making him an agent of colonization as well as a converter of Native Americans to Catholicism.

Building these missions meant forced labor from Native Americans while the conversion process obviously demonstrated a lack of respect for indigenous cultures as well as the compulsion of these conversions. Physical abuse of Native Americans was common, with many recorded beatings and whippings. A lot of indigenous people in California are very upset about the choice to canonize Serra.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Your Home Is Your Prison

Your Home Is Your Prison

by Source 01.28.2015 Activism

How to Lock Down Your Neighborhood, Your Country, and You

By Maya Schenwar / TomDispatch

On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida’s Duval County jail — but she won’t be free.

Alexander, whose case has gained some notoriety, endured three years of jail time and a year of house arrest while fighting off a prison sentence that would have seen her incarcerated for the rest of her life — all for firing a warning shot that injured no one to fend off her abusive husband. Like many black women before her, Alexander was framed as a perpetrator in a clear case of self-defense. In November, as her trial date drew close, Alexander accepted a plea deal that will likely give her credit for time served, requiring her to spend “just” 65 more days in jail. Media coverage of the development suggested that Alexander would soon have her “freedom,” that she would be “coming home.”

Many accounts of the plea deal, however, missed what Alexander will be coming home to: she’ll return to “home detention” — house arrest — for two years.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Water Main Breaks Cause Major Problems in San Diego and Nationwide

Water Main Breaks Cause Major Problems in San Diego and Nationwide

by John Lawrence 01.27.2015 Environment

By John Lawrence

In the best of all possible worlds water main breaks would not happen. Local government would replace old water mains with new ones on a regular basis. That means that money for this and other infrastructure needs would be allocated systematically and appropriately.

If we had our priorities straight, money for infrastructure would take precedence over money for football stadiums and convention centers. But in San Diego and in fact throughout the US this rational approach is to be seen rarely if at all.

The Romans gave their citizens bread and circuses to keep them in line. Here in fact only circuses seem to be necessary.

Read the full article → 8 comments
Thumbnail image for Ed Harris: Don’t Rush the Belmont Park Lease

Ed Harris: Don’t Rush the Belmont Park Lease

by Source 01.26.2015 Government

by Ed Harris /OB Rag

Last year during my State of the District Address I called upon District Two residents to monitor and weigh in on development projects that came forward but were not resolved while I was in office. One such project is the Belmont Park lease extension. For a primer on the issue you can read an article I wrote about it in September of 2014.

While I was the Councilmember for District Two, it was my duty to protect the taxpayer’s money. When it came to the Belmont Park lease extension, I asked City staff two simple questions: How does the lease extension benefit the taxpayer and how much more will the City make if it extends a lease from 25 years to 55 years? I never received satisfactory answers to either question.

Read the full article → 5 comments
Thumbnail image for University of California Doctors Call One Day Strike

University of California Doctors Call One Day Strike

by Doug Porter 01.26.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Physicians at all 10 University of California student health centers will hold a one-day unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday.

They gave notice to the UC system on Friday, following the failure of 41 bargaining sessions over a year’s time to gain an initial contract for The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD). Over 90% of the student health doctors voted in favor of striking in meetings during December.

The union has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the  California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) saying the universities are failing to negotiate in good faith. In one instance cited, the UC administration increased pension contributions without negotiating over the issue.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

by Jim Miller 01.26.2015 Columns

By Jim Miller

Last week, President Obama gave a pretty good speech in which he outlined a series of solid progressive policy proposals along with a few very bad ideas like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What was most telling about the response to his speech, however, was how glowing the praise was in some quarters for what, in essence, was a fairly pedestrian list of things to do: raise the minimum wage, support collective bargaining, admit that climate change is real and act upon it in some way, tax the rich more than the middle and working classes, recognize basic civil rights, and make community college free for students as a way to expand opportunity, as well as some other modest initiatives.

These proposals, along with Obama’s threat to veto the Keystone Pipeline have encouraged many downtrodden Democrats and progressives as they should, but they hardly represent a significant shift in our politics.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

by Ernie McCray 01.26.2015 Activism

By Ernie McCray

Martin Luther King. A loving man with the loveliest of dreams. After seeing “Selma,” which told the story of that chapter in the Civil Rights Movement powerfully well, I just had to write something about this dear man.

I didn’t know what I wanted to say until I happened upon a caricature that captured the very essence of how I often see him in my mind’s eye, as I think of him every now and then. How can I not in this world we live in?

The pose he struck in the portrait made me wonder what was going on in his head and based on what my friend, *Rabbi Ben Kamin, recently had to say about him in an examiner.com essay, he could have been thinking about a range of things.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for The American Sniper As Hero

The American Sniper As Hero

by Source 01.24.2015 Culture

By FDRDemocrat/ Daily Kos

The controversy over the movie American Sniper has predictably reopened the divide among many Americans over the Iraq War.  What is more interesting is how the choice made by director Clint Eastwood to choose a sniper as a heroic archetype unravels classic notions of what is considered heroism.

The concept of heroism has been with humanity since the beginning.  At it’s heart it contains a common thread where the hero (or heroine) risks themselves for the sake of others.

How then to adapt the heroic archetype to the profession of sniper?  This is no easy task.

Read the full article → 30 comments
Thumbnail image for McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

by Doug Porter 01.23.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

Fast food giant McDonald’s is reportedly spending $3 million daily on U.S. advertising, yet business is declining. As the company has pumped up its menu to counter the explosion of fast-casual restaurants, food quality and service times have suffered. And increasingly negative image of the fast food industry as an exploiter of its workforce certainly hasn’t helped matters.

Last year was the company’s worst in three decades. Domestic sales actually declined by 1.7 percent. Global profits declined by 21 percent in the most recent quarter. Franchise owners are unhappy about menu bloat. Customers are confused by assorted pricing schemes. Employees are appearing on TV holding picket signs. And now the company is facing even more bad news.

A July ruling by the National labor Relations Board deeming the company a “joint employer” with its franchisees could spell big trouble, as 10 former workers at three McDonald’s locations in Virginia have filed a lawsuit alleging they were unceremoniously fired last May after being told by supervisors that there were “too many black people” working at their locations.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for On Roe vs. Wade Anniversary, GOP House Passes Vicious Assault on Women’s Right to Choose

On Roe vs. Wade Anniversary, GOP House Passes Vicious Assault on Women’s Right to Choose

by Source 01.23.2015 Economy

Reproductive rights advocates say legislation would cause entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small businesses

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

On the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which affirms a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion, House Republicans passed a far-reaching anti-choice bill that women’s health advocates say would cause the entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small business who provide comprehensive health care to their employees.

After pulling a more extreme anti-abortion bill at the last minute due to intra-party dissent, the GOP on Thursday voted 242-179 in favor of alternative legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that restricts federal funds for abortion.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

by Doug Porter 01.22.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty. Our roads are falling apart. Public buildings like libraries and fire stations have repair needs that are mounting faster than the city can pay for them.

I’m told discussions about how to sell taxpayers on paying for this among the city’s big time players (led by the Chamber of Commerce) are already underway. While I don’t dispute the need to upgrade the bones of this city, whatever deal emerges to sell us on paying for it needs to include a whole lotta people who’ve been getting the short end of the stick lately.

Read the full article → 10 comments
Thumbnail image for 2015 State of the Union Speech: Framing a Future Democratic Agenda

2015 State of the Union Speech: Framing a Future Democratic Agenda

by Doug Porter 01.21.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Unless we have some sort of national emergency over the next couple of years, last night’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama was his last best chance to give a speech that would be heard by a significant slice of Americans.

From here on out the focus of political coverage will be the 2016 elections. Not because there’s actually any news there, but because it’s much more entertaining than watching the Black guy in the White House bang his head against the wall of NO built by Republicans.

After all, if you actually analyze the actions of the loyal opposition–which includes a gaggle of incidents wherein they became against some idea they used to champion–you’d end up talking about the racism built into Republican political strategy over the past half a century.

I was frankly amazed after reading the reactions to and reportage on the President’s speech before both houses of Congress last night. Perhaps through some miracle of internet algorithms different speeches were broadcast into every household in America. People heard what they wanted to hear.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

by Source 01.21.2015 Activism

From city-issued ID cards to open-source data anyone can access, simple urban innovations are creating more transparent and equitable cities.

by Shannan Stoll / Yes!

1. City ID cards for everyone who needs one.

While immigration policy is contested on the national stage, many local governments are taking steps to improve the lives of the undocumented people living and working in their communities.

From Los Angeles to New Haven, 11 cities across the country have instituted municipal ID programs. Now New York, a city with an estimated half-million undocumented immigrants, is preparing to launch the country’s largest program in January 2015.

With the new city IDs, New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, will be able to apply for a job or library card, access health services, sign a lease, or file a police report.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

by Frank Gormlie 01.20.2015 Activism

By Frank Gormlie

It wasn’t a massive turnout here in San Diego Monday for the 4 Mile March – far from it – but you can’t get away from the fact that one hundred San Diegans did march four miles for social justice in an effort to rekindle Martin Luther King’s militancy on his celebrated birthday.

San Diego joined a list of at least 30 other cities nationwide that also had “4MileMarches”. A small crowd of around 140 gathered at the City Heights park next to its library – about a quarter African-Americans – , and listened to a few speeches from the organizers of the different groups that set up the event. The event had been planned by United Against Police Terror – San Diego, Activist San Diego, the local branch of the International Socialist Organization, and the Coalition Against Police Violence.

The speakers spoke of institutional racism, the killings by police of young Black men – and in San Diego – of young Latino men, of the connections between the days of Martin Luther King with today. They spoke of the need to strengthen an independent civilian police review board, of how leaders such as Mayor Faulconer and District Attorney Dumanis have failed the African-American community.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Trouble With Filing Your Federal Taxes? Try Calling Congressman Darrell Issa

Trouble With Filing Your Federal Taxes? Try Calling Congressman Darrell Issa

by Doug Porter 01.20.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

National Public Radio broadcast a story this morning on the upcoming tax filing season. In years past it would have been the typical annual “how to” feature timed to coincide with W2’s arriving in mailboxes around the country. But this year it wasn’t.

This year the onset of tax season story was more of a warning. If you expect IRS help with tax questions, expect to wait. And wait.  As in “The IRS is predicting it will only be able to answer half of the 100 million calls it expects from taxpayers this year, and those who do get through can expect to wait a half hour to hear a live voice.” In 2010 the IRS answered calls with an average 11 minute wait.

We can thank Republican Congressman Darrel Issa and his cronies for the 17.5% reduction (adjusted for inflation) in the IRS budget since 2010. The US Treasury will be out about $2 billion, thanks to the inability of the government’s tax collectors to conduct audits. That money could have been used to repair bridges, like the one collapsing on an Interstate last night in Cincinnati.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: 2014 Hottest Year on Record

Extreme Weather Watch: 2014 Hottest Year on Record

by John Lawrence 01.20.2015 Economy

By John Lawrence

It’s official: NOAA and NASA have confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year on record. Despite the fact of Arctic cold winters on the US east coast, the average earth surface temperature was the hottest on record. Those cold temperatures were more than made up for elsewhere.

The fact that the three hottest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 points in the direction that climate change is indeed a reality, a reality that is only getting worse as time goes on.

The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity. Climate change deniers have pointed to 1998 as the year they say the earth stopped warming. Despite the fact that 1998 was the hottest year on record up to that point, that record has since been broken … many times!

Read the full article → 2 comments
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.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Taking Back the Streets and Their Stories, Thousands Reclaim MLK Day

Taking Back the Streets and Their Stories, Thousands Reclaim MLK Day

by Source 01.20.2015 Activism

In year that saw renewed calls for racial justice, over 50 nationwide demonstrations held to ‘desanitize’ the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams

Thousands of people took to the streets on Monday rebuking what they say is the “sanitized” version of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and calling to restore the legacy of a man whose protests, like their own, were never “convenient.”

The nationwide actions marked the birthday of the civil rights leader in a year that saw renewed calls for racial justice in the face of persistent inequality, discrimination, and police targeting of communities of color.

Capping off almost a week of demonstrations, organizational meetings, and other pledges of resistance—all done with the intent to “Reclaim MLK”—grassroots coalition Ferguson Action issued a specific call for Monday: “Do as Martin Luther King would have done and resist the war on Black Lives with civil disobedience and direct action. Take the streets, shut it down, walk, march,  and whatever you do, take action.”

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for As Measles Continues to Spread, It’s Time to Hold the Anti-Vaccine People Accountable

As Measles Continues to Spread, It’s Time to Hold the Anti-Vaccine People Accountable

by Doug Porter 01.19.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Nuts. That’s what the people behind the current batch of measles cases spreading through the country are. And not in a good way, like a zany friend. In a bad way, as in gun nuts, a small group of people whose fanaticism poses a danger to those around them and society at large.

Collectively known as anti-vaxxers, these folks use faux science to justify not immunizing children against highly contagious diseases. Measles, chicken pox, mumps and whooping cough are all on the increase nationwide.

There are 51 cases of measles reported in the latest outbreak, traceable to Disneyland visitors in the week prior to Christmas. Orange county, with 21 cases reported in 2014 is ground zero for one other reason: a pediatrician friendly to parents seeking to exempt their children from public health agencies requirements for vaccinations.

Read the full article → 23 comments
Thumbnail image for We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

by Jim Miller 01.19.2015 Activism

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” –MLK, speaking against the Vietnam War in 1967

By Jim Miller

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and we will be greeted, as is the case these days, with lots of empty gestures and vanilla rhetoric that erases the radical nature of King’s legacy and neuters the impact of his ideas. As I have noted in years past, King was not a moderate whose only idea was that we should all just get along and respect each other. He was a provocative thinker and activist who challenged the core values of our society both then and now.

King fought what he characterized as “the triple evils of racism, materialism, and militarism,” sought to restructure “an edifice which produces beggars,” and called for us to move forward with a “divine dissatisfaction . . . until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.”

He believed that the “whole structure must be changed” for America to be reborn as a truly humane, egalitarian, and civilized society. Only then would we have “democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action.”

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Yes, All White People Are Racists — Now Let’s Do Something About It

Yes, All White People Are Racists — Now Let’s Do Something About It

by Source 01.19.2015 Culture

The first step to ending racism is acknowledging that most of us harbor “implicit bias,” whether we realize it or not

By Tim Donovan / AlterNet

As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as a forgiving people. We’ve enshrined the assumption of innocence in our legal code; we take pride in giving second chances to those who misstep. And when it comes to questions of bias, we follow a similar script. In American life, no one is presumed racist without cause.

People generally become racists in our minds by engaging in actions or deeds we’ve deemed as such (paging Steve Scalise). But what if that perception is inherently wrong? What if Americans — of all races, but especially white Americans — don’t deserve the benefit of our doubt?

It’s an admittedly uncomfortable question, as it puts all of us — me as I write this, you reading it, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues — under a type of scrutiny to which we’re unaccustomed. But a growing body of research suggests that this idea holds merit: Implicit racial bias undergirds our culture’s relationship with race, even as explicit displays are increasingly uncommon.

Read the full article → 6 comments