Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Beat the Grief

DIY Resistance: Beat the Grief

by Will Falk 08.19.2014 Culture

By Will Falk

Surviving into adulthood in this destructive culture comes with a deep familiarity of loss.

We lose loved ones to environmentally-induced diseases like most forms of cancer, to the diseases of civilization like diabetes, and to actions previously almost unheard of in our original communities like suicide and patriarchal violence.

We lose the grasslands, forests, beaches, and riverbeds – words once synonymous with the homes our ancestors dwelled in so comfortably – to the murderous march of progress. We lose our memories, our stories, and thus, our identities, to the culturally homogenizing processes of colonization. We lose our sense of safety while men at staggering rates rape women and people of color are gunned down by police in the streets and bombed by soldiers in their homes.

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Thumbnail image for How San Diego’s P100 Program Screwed Diego and Anna

How San Diego’s P100 Program Screwed Diego and Anna

by John Lawrence 08.19.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

San Diego’s P100 program involves intrusive, invasive home searches by law enforcement officials from the DA’s office for everyone that applies for welfare benefits.

These searches are unannounced and the potential welfare beneficiary must be at home whenever the investigator chooses to come or else they will be denied benefits. This makes it difficult for someone who has even a part time job.

When the investigator comes, as we reported last time, he will look for any evidence that the applicant has lied on her application. That could be a pair of work boots in a single mother’s closet or a pair of sexy panties in her underwear drawer, evidence of a boyfriend who could help her pay bills.

Some of these situations approach the Kafkaesque as stifling bureaucracy is combined with clueless non sequiturs on the part of the DA’s office to produce epidemic frustration and humiliation for poor people applying for a modest amount of help. Such was the case for a Latino couple, Diego and Anna Alvarez, who jumped through seemingly impossible hoops while trying to get a little help. The following is freely adapted from Matt Taibbi’s book, The Divide.

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As Abortion Rights Shrink, What’s the Best Language to Use to Protect Women’s Options?

by Source 08.19.2014 Activism

As leaders like Planned Parenthood are dropping “pro-choice” language, is there a smart alternative—and should there be one?

By Alyssa Figueroa / AlterNet

Planned_Parenthood_HCR
Across America, reproductive freedom is shrinking. Even with Alabama’s recent court victory protecting abortion rights in that deep red state, the overwhelming trend is very discouraging.

Red-state Republicans have shut down clinics in states like Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld protesters’ right to harass women going to clinics. State legislatures haveenacted 21 new abortion restrictions so far this year. Worse yet, recent research has found that while many young women support the substance of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to end pregnancies, they are still apt to label themselves pro-life.

What’s going wrong? There’s no one answer. But a striking development is that the reproductive health movement is backing away from its longtime “pro-choice” label. Planned Parenthood has recently decided to drop it in favor of newer messaging that seeks to connect abortion with a wide range of women’s issues.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

by Doug Porter 08.18.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

 After a bad week in the stock market and a bad first half of the year at the turnstile, the company behind SeaWorld announced a series of moves it obviously hopes will enhance the image of its water parks.

The plans include doubling the size of its orca environment, contributing an additional $10 million to research on the species and establishing an independent advisory committee of scientists to oversee its orca program.

The new orca environment, dubbed the Blue World Project, will cover 1.5 acres at 50 feet deep and 350 feet in length. The new habitat will have 10 million gallons of water, up from 5.6 million. Visitors will be able to view the orcas from a 40-foot-tall glass wall below the water line.

The editorial board at UT-San Diego was impressed. Not many other people seemed to share their near-gushing sentiment.

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Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.18.2014 Activism

Exclusive San Diego Free Press video package of the Barrio Logan portion of the 300+ mile pilgrimage to the border

Video by Horacio Jones

On the morning of Saturday, August 16 over 100 people gathered by the temescal (sweat lodge) in Chicano Park for a ceremony to honor the walkers of A Trail for Humanity. On July 22 a group of women and children left Merced, California on a journey south to the US-Mexico border in San Ysidro to pressure the Obama administration to put a halt to its deportation enforcement only policies; call for an end to the use of police as immigration enforcement agents; demand an end to family separations; and stem the tide of racial profiling that has incarcerated so many migrants and African Americans.

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Thumbnail image for Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

by Jim Miller 08.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Jim Miller

While I still deeply love my chosen profession of teaching after twenty-five years of work at various colleges with the last seventeen of those at San Diego City College, it’s hard not to notice the constant drumbeat of critics casting doubt on the value of my life’s work in the humanities.

Whether they be corporate education reformers bent on imposing a business model on colleges or techno-boosters with a zeal to toss all that I hold dear into the dustbin of history, there is a long line of naysayers.

As David Masciotra recently noted in “Pulling the Plug on English Departments” in The Daily Beast, “The armies of soft philistinism are on the march and eager to ditch traditional literature instruction in favor of more utilitarian approaches . . . It is easy to observe the sad and sickly decline of American intellectual life, through the cultural and institutional lowering of standards, when prestigious publications promote the defense, if not the celebration, of lower standards.”

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 10-16

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 10-16

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.17.2014 Culture

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, $20 Koch burgers, Ferguson, anti-minimum wage increase shill Jason Roe, the mayor’s war on the poor, A Trail for Humanity, Kingmaker Papa Doc, double toons by Junco, SD’s genome, a new Cold War, remembering Robin, Sea World losing money and building a bigger bathtub for Orcas and so much more from San Diego’s community journos. Go read them if you haven’t already.

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Thumbnail image for Our Communities Are Not Warzones

Our Communities Are Not Warzones

by At Large 08.17.2014 Culture

Tell the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice: Stop funding the siege on communities of color.

By American Civil Liberties Union

Last week, local police fatally shot an unarmed African-American 18-year-old named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the days that followed, there have been massive protests in Ferguson and heavily armed SWAT teams are roaming the streets in response. Our communities are not warzones.

And yet the police, armed to the teeth, treat us like the enemy, especially if we’re black, young, poor or homeless. Tanks are rolling through our towns. What will it take for police to start protecting communities of color, not waging war on them?

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice are funneling billions of dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies every year to help them purchase military weaponry and equipment. What business do DOD, DHS, and DOJ have funding a war here at home?

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Thumbnail image for War Weary

War Weary

by At Large 08.17.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

Weary.
That’s what they say we are.

The chicken hawk sabre rattlers
Are yellin’ at Obama ‘cause
He won’t put real boots on the ground
But they won’t say exactly that cause they know we are

(war) weary.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

by Maria Garcia 08.16.2014 Activism

The Castro Sisters, Frank Peñuelas, Leonard Fierro and the beginnings of the Toltec Club

By Maria Garcia

One of the goals of the settlement house movement, which was established in urban centers at the beginning of the twentieth century, was to “Americanize” the immigrant populations that had settled in those cities. When Neighborhood House was established in 1914 as the only United States settlement house on the Mexican border, its role was to “uplift” Mexican immigrants in the Logan Heights community and Americanize them in doing so.

The Americanization process included everything from introducing Mexican families to white flour and white bread to the provision of the first English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the city to support for cultural, social and recreational activities in which athletics programs for the boys were particularly prominent.

When I recently spoke to Rose Castro, she provided a particularly illuminating comment about Neighborhood House–”They taught us leadership!” …

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part III

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part III

by At Large 08.16.2014 Culture

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.

So Why is This Obama’s Problem (J. Lawrence)

Without any cooperation from Congress, Obama is relegated to using his executive powers to try and effect some meaningful action on his domestic agenda for which the Congressional Republican response is, “Let’s sue him.” The Republican House not only will not cooperate with Obama on any level, they actively oppose his every move. They are worse than a “Do Nothing” Congress; they are an active “Try to Make Obama Fail No Matter What He Does” Congress. The only legislation the Republicans in Congress would support is if Obama suddenly came to them and proposed a massive tax reduction for the rich and a concomitant tax increase on the poor and middle class. Or if he proposed to do away with Medicare and Social Security. Then they would line up in support of Obama and cheer him on.

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Thumbnail image for Matisse – Drawing with Scissors

Matisse – Drawing with Scissors

by At Large 08.16.2014 Arts

The most comprehensive exhibit ever devoted to his cut-outs at the Tate Modern

By Karen Kenyon

Just visiting the Tate Modern while in London is a sight not to be missed. Its spaciousness, its view of the Thames, the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral, are enough, it would seem.

But then, of course, the whole point is the art. Exhibits have ranged from the French-American Louise Bourgeois to China’s Ai Weiwei. It is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art, and holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day.

On a recent trip to that wonderful city we were fortunate to see “Henri Matisse/The Cut-Outs” in which 14 rooms at the Tate unfold with different aspects of Matisse’s cut-out work. At 130 pieces it is the most comprehensive exhibit ever devoted to his cut-outs, produced between 1937 and 1954. His cut-outs are among the most significant of any artist’s late works.

As we entered the exhibit it felt as if we were entering Matisse’s studio. …

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Ousted Chief Accuses Border Agency of Cover-ups, SBCC Responds

by Source 08.16.2014 Immigration

Border rights groups reiterate their call for border accountability and oversight.

By Kim Rescate and Ricardo Favela / Southern Border Communities Coalition

Mass-border-crossing-642x250There have been 28 reported deaths since 2010 involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Despite pressure from Southern Border communities, no agent or officer have been issued criminal charges or publicly reprimanded to this day. A statement issued by recently removed U.S. Customs and Border Protection Head of Internal Affairs James F. Tomscheck confirmed “at least a quarter of the 28 deaths were highly suspect.” He stated that the deaths raised questions within the agency about its use of lethal force.

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Thumbnail image for Basketball’s Bill Walton and Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Cast as Labor Bullies by Faulconer’s Anti-Minimum Wage Strategist

Basketball’s Bill Walton and Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Cast as Labor Bullies by Faulconer’s Anti-Minimum Wage Strategist

by Doug Porter 08.15.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.

On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.

Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”

On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.

We got a little taste of how ‘reasonable’ these folks are yesterday with GOP consultant Jason Roe, who crashed an early morning press conference held by Raise Up San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego City Council Supermajority Prepares to Save the Day

San Diego City Council Supermajority Prepares to Save the Day

by Junco Canché 08.15.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Escondido Rolls the Dice With Charter City Ballot Measure

Escondido Rolls the Dice With Charter City Ballot Measure

by At Large 08.15.2014 Government

By Murtaza Baxamusa

Despite several warnings about the taxpayer costs and risks, Escondido’s politicians have decided to place a charter city ballot measure before their voters this November. Escondido will thus join Costa Mesa and Arroyo Grande in voting on a charter, despite the fact that voters rejected similar measures in these cities two years ago.

The public may not know what a charter is, and why it is important. Some may recollect that in 2012, Costa Mesa became the “Wisconsin of the West” by proposing a new city charter that would outsource city jobs, outlaw collective bargaining on public projects, exempt itself from prevailing wages for construction workers, and limit union dues from being used for political advocacy. Well, 59 percent of voters in Costa Mesa rejected it, and state legislature stepped in to ensure that the chartering process was not being abused to rush through ideologically motivated laws.

State legislation now requires that a new charter city ballot appear on a statewide general election. This November is the first time that these cities can pass new charters under this law. Therefore, the charters in Costa Mesa, Escondido and Arroyo Grande are back on the ballot.

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part II

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part II

by At Large 08.15.2014 Government

Written by Frank Thomas  (Part 1 can be found here.)

Some Questions Raised

As Germany’s gifted Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently: “Putin lives in a different reality.”

Putin’s brain, Aleksandr Dugin (the author of Eurasianism) has reinvigorated Putin’s policy for expanding Russia’s sphere of influence to Russian-speaking communities in bordering nations. Dugin is an unsparing advocate of the Russian insurgents working near or within the Ukraine.

Mervyn Bendle writes ,“Under Dugin’s influence, fear of Atlanticism now pervades the Russian defense establishment and Putin. Recognizing the limitations of traditional military action, Dugin advocates a program of ideological warfare, subversion, disinformation, demoralization, destabilization, and insurgency, with special forces, sponsored militias, and other covert services in the vanguard.”

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Coming Back to Germany

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Coming Back to Germany

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 08.15.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

I come back to Germany
because of flower boxes on balconies
bread baked fresh mornings
dogs traveling on trains

I come back to Germany
because she still reads newspapers
awakens with church bells
closes up shop on Sundays …

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Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.14.2014 Activism

Marchers take a stand against violence targeting migrant women and children

By Brent E. Beltrán

On July 22 a group of mothers and their children began a journey from Merced, California to the U.S./Mexico border. This Saturday at 7am they will be at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan for the final leg of their pilgrimage.

After a ceremony at Chicano Park participants in A Trail for Humanity will leave around 8am and walk to Kimball Park in National City. From there they will be transported by vehicle to the MAAC Charter School in Chula Vista where they will have lunch.

After lunch and a brief rest they will continue their journey on foot to Larsen Field in San Ysidro. They will arrive at the park sometime between 3pm and 4pm where a rally will take place with speakers on immigration rights, danza Azteca and entertainment.

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Thumbnail image for Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

by Doug Porter 08.14.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

In Ferguson, Missouri an unarmed young man was gunned down in the street last Saturday by a police officer. According to multiple witnesses 18 year old Mike Brown was shot multiple times, even after he faced the officer and raised his hands. His body lay in the street in the August sun for four hours after the shooting.

People who live in that community believe the shooting was just another example of the racism they face everyday. Ferguson’s population is near two-thirds African-American; just three of the 53 officers on the police force are not white. The authorities have done nothing but confirm their worst fears at every turn.

For the past four nights there have been confrontations between police and demonstrators. Last night things escalated. Following a announcement from a bulhorn on top of an armored vehicle saying “your right to demonstrate is not being obstructed”  there were unprovoked police attacks on crowds and in the surrounding neighborhoods using smoke bombs, tear gas, stun granades and rubber bullets.

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Thumbnail image for Robin Williams 1951-2014

Robin Williams 1951-2014

by Junco Canché 08.14.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation?

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation?

by John Lawrence 08.14.2014 Politics

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 1

Some History (J. Lawrence)

Obama and Putin are locked in a dance reminiscent of the Cold War. But their maneuverings don’t represent a Cold War not even a cool one. In fact it’s more about placing themselves in the most noticeable positions on the world stage, something that each of their constituencies find familiar and even sentimental. Every world leader likes to lead the news, and Obama and Putin are no exceptions.

But first some history. Catherine the Great, one of the supposedly “enlightened despots” of Europe who hobnobbed with the French philosophes, nevertheless expanded the Russian Empire in a quest to attain a warm water port in the Crimea. Her armies fought a war with the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) for control of the Black Sea. Peter the Great had opened Russia up to the Baltic Sea, founding St. Petersburg on the Baltic Coast, but Catherine was determined to expand her southeastern frontier and develop a permanent Russian presence on the Black Sea.

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Thumbnail image for Less Than Meets the Camera’s Eye: Part II

Less Than Meets the Camera’s Eye: Part II

by Bob Dorn 08.14.2014 Editor's Picks

Bush cut me off, saying, “Yes, I know your name,” and looked peeved, as if he’d stepped on a popsicle or a roach.

By Bob Dorn

In fall 1976, George H.W. Bush was in San Diego trying to clean up a mess that I and another Evening Tribune reporter had made for the agency he was then directing. I’d been tipped by a friend of mine, Newsweek’s stringer in San Diego, that the magazine was about to do a story on a Nazi criminal who was living somewhere in North County.

She had no more than that, and only a name, Edgars Laipenieks. Martin Gerchen and I worked our way through our thin list of federal sources and all the cross directories then available and got nowhere. So, we picked a Solana Beach neighborhood at random and started going door to door. It wasn’t long before we knocked on a door of a man who had a realtor’s directory of residents of the area.

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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 Remembering Robin Williams: Laughter Unbound

Remembering Robin Williams: Laughter Unbound

by Source 08.13.2014 Arts

By Court Allen

My favorite comic and actor has passed away. The loss of such a talented and unique individual, one who has touched my life in so many ways over so many years, is really beyond words to describe. I was shocked to hear the news; it really threw me for a loop.

First, it should be noted that I have a general dislike for celebrities. I consider most of them vacuous and inane. They get paid ridiculous amounts of money for what they do, but they are the equivalent of court jesters. Despite this fact, we assign them a status better left to those with truly valuable impact, like teachers, scientists and civil rights advocates — folks far more deserving of celebrity.

My point? I never felt this way about Robin Williams. Never.

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