Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Evacuations

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Evacuations

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

When flashing lights
pound on soundly sleeping doors
ordering evacuations five minutes
to gather a few items
from a lifetime of belongings …

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Campaign Lines Up at the Money Fountain for Both Koch and Tea

DeMaio Campaign Lines Up at the Money Fountain for Both Koch and Tea

by Doug Porter 07.17.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Recent campaign finance reports reveal extensive financing from both Koch Brothers and Tea Party affiliates for Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.

Incumbent (CA-52) Congressman Scott Peters campaign organization fired off a press release this morning calling attention to his opponents’ backers. 

“Clearly the Tea Party recognizes a kindred spirit in Carl DeMaio, which is why they’re investing so heavily in his candidacy,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Peters campaign in the press release. “The question is what these groups will expect in return if DeMaio is elected to Congress.”

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Thumbnail image for The MinuteKlans Seek New Recruits

The MinuteKlans Seek New Recruits

by Junco Canché 07.17.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Protesters Urge Brown to Protect California’s Water by Banning Fracking 

Protesters Urge Brown to Protect California’s Water by Banning Fracking 

by Source 07.17.2014 Business

$500 fine doesn’t apply to corporate water hogs

By Dan Bacher 

As the State Water Resources Control Board approved new emergency regulations to fine residential “water hogs” up to $500 a day, Californians Against Fracking urged Governor Jerry Brown to ban the environmentally destructive, water intensive oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

A dozen activists rallied outside of the EPA building in Sacramento where the regulations were approved. They held signs including, “When in Drought Ban Fracking,” “You Can’t Have Your Water and Frack It Too,” and “Save Our Water: Ban Fracking.”

“It’s critical to California’s future that we conserve water in the face of the serious drought,” according to a statement from Californians Against Fracking. “If the Governor and the State Water Board are really serious about protecting California’s water supplies, the Governor needs to ban fracking and similar methods. These techniques permanently poison and remove millions of gallons of water from the water cycle. If the Governor stops fracking, not only will he save Californians’ water from being wasted during this historic drought, but he’ll also protect their health and climate as well.”

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Thumbnail image for The End of Pot Prohibition As We Know It

The End of Pot Prohibition As We Know It

by Source 07.17.2014 Government

Without federal leadership, you can count on marijuana legalization to keep spreading one state at a time.

By Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins / OtherWords

How much longer will it take before the United States declares a truce in the Drug War?

This latter-day prohibition is taking an immense toll. And the stakes ought to be low, given that most Americans don’t want anyone jailed for being caught with small amounts of pot.

But it does require some courage to pipe up. So thank you, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, for joining the swelling chorus that wants to see marijuana legalized.

“The distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction,” Stevens said during an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon in April.

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Thumbnail image for The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

by Frank Gormlie 07.17.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

I have a story, and it’s a story about urban planning in Ocean Beach during the mid-1970′s – and how community planning came to be here in OB. It is a story about how a crisis of over-development encrusted the village of OB – and then it’s a story about how OBceans responded to that crisis -  a crisis that affected much of coastal of San Diego and of the rest of the Southern California.

It is a great and wonderful story about how a small village rebelled against a top-down blueprint for OB, a blueprint that would have benefited the elite who drew it up. It’s a story how the small village blocked a plan that would have literally paved the way for the community to be redeveloped into a San Diego version of Miami Beach.

It’s the story of  how Ocean Beach saved itself, and how the small, seaside community led the way within the great city of San Diego and in the great state of California in actually forming the very first neighborhood planning committee that was democratically-elected.

And finally, it is a story about how the successes of grassroots activists in Ocean Beach revolutionized urban planning for the citizens and residents of not only Ocean Beach, but throughout San Diego and the state.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

by Doug Porter 07.16.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Business interests opposed to raising the minimum wage in San Diego haven’t given up, despite a 6-3 city council vote on Monday approving an ordinance boosting wages for an estimated 172,000 workers.

Yesterday they launched a major public relations campaign seeking to portray the council vote as undemocratic and unfair to their interests. In closed door meetings led by Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, so-called business leaders are considering the logistics of mounting a signature gathering campaign to place an initiative on the ballot seeking to overturn the minimum wage increase.

Although meeting the August 8th deadline for inclusion on the November 2014 ballot is unlikely, a successful campaign completed by year’s end would have the effect of suspending the city council ordinance until such time as a vote could be taken. The next scheduled election is in June 2016.

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Thumbnail image for Lady Parts Justice Launches in 50 States

Lady Parts Justice Launches in 50 States

by Source 07.16.2014 Activism

National movement using humor and outrage to remove bodily autonomy-hating local politicians from office

By ladypartsjustice

Lady Parts Justice is the first not safe for work, rapid response reproductive rights messaging hub that uses comedy, culture and digital media to get people off their asses and reclaim their rights.

5 Reasons to Join Lady Parts Justice

Because neanderthal politicians are spending all their time making laws that put YOUR body squarely into THEIR hands.

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Thumbnail image for Feeling Hawaii

Feeling Hawaii

by Ernie McCray 07.16.2014 Columns

 By Ernie McCray

I’ve been to the islands of Hawaii four times, thoroughly enjoying the unparalleled beauty each time. How can one not?

Maui. The Hana Highway. The howling trade winds, the sudden rains, the rainbow eucalyptus, with its bright green inner bark and blue, purple, orange and maroon tones. The wonders of the Seven Sacred Pools…

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Thumbnail image for Inane “Six Californias” Measure May Be the Perfect Encapsulation of the GOP

Inane “Six Californias” Measure May Be the Perfect Encapsulation of the GOP

by Source 07.16.2014 Business

By David Atkins /thereisnospoon / Hullabaloo

It looks like that measure to divide California into six states may be heading to the ballot after all:

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper will submit signatures Tuesday to put what could be one of the most dramatic startups ever on the ballot – a plan to divide California into six states.

Draper, a multimillionaire known as the Riskmaster, and his team are expected to announce in Sacramento that they’ve gathered more than enough signatures to put the Six Californias measure before state voters.

The measure, a constitutional amendment, needs 807,615 valid signatures to qualify. Because the deadline has already passed for November, the plan could end up on the November 2016 general election ballot.

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Thumbnail image for I am Teaching College in my Pajamas

I am Teaching College in my Pajamas

by Source 07.16.2014 Education

By vickijean /DailyKos

Don’t you love those commercials for online universities? You can go to college at home, in your pajamas!! Well, I teach at a small state-located university and I am now training special education teachers on the Master’s level, at home, everyone in pajamas. Sort of.

Where do I start? First, my comment on teaching at a state-located university. For those of you not in the ed. biz, that may need some clarification. When I first came here, 23 years ago, we considered ourselves a state university. With budget cuts, we began calling ourselves a state-sponsored university. Now with GOP governor and legislature, we think of ourselves as state-located. The state provides less than 30% of our funding.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

by Doug Porter 07.15.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Supporters of a hike in local minimum wages left nothing to chance yesterday as a city council decision on a proposal by Todd Gloria neared. Over 400 hundred people showed up at city hall for a 6pm hearing, filling the council chambers and two overflow rooms. Many wore pink signs indicating their support.

Email and social media reminders abounded during the day, including a mid-day Raise Up San Diego-led “Twitterstorm.” More than 100 people testified before the council. Highlights included former basketball star Bill Walton standing up in favor of the measure and United Foodservice and Commercial Workers’ Mickey Kasparian giving an impassioned speech.

In the end, the City Council did the right thing, voting 6-3 to enact by ordinance a minimum wage hike, with raises in three stages effective January, 2015. This means the measure will not be placed before the voters in November.

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Thumbnail image for Does the Federal Reserve Print Money?

Does the Federal Reserve Print Money?

by John Lawrence 07.15.2014 Economy

The Federal Reserve is America’s Central Bank

By John Lawrence

The Fed doesn’t actually “print” money in the sense of ink on paper hundred dollar bills. But what it can do is create money with a few keystrokes on a computer.

Money so created is called “fiat money” since it’s not backed by gold or anything else. The Fed currently prints the money to purchase $40 billion in mortgage backed securities and $45 billion in government bonds each month. The rationale for doing this is that it keeps interest rates low which is thought to be necessary to keep the economy humming.

Before the financial crisis of 2008-09, the Fed managed to keep interest rates low by adjusting the interest rate at which banks borrow overnight. But after the financial crisis, the Fed needed a more robust policy which is called Quantitative Easing or QE. This policy is mainly a giveaway to the big Wall Street banks to augment their reserves. The lack of sufficient reserves is thought to have been the problem that caused the financial crisis.

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Thumbnail image for Profiteers Cashing In on Nation’s Catastrophic Water Crisis

Profiteers Cashing In on Nation’s Catastrophic Water Crisis

by Source 07.15.2014 Business

In face of historic drought, nation’s largest aquifers and reservoirs drying up.

By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams

America’s food growing regions face a crisis of “catastrophic” proportions as historic drought continues to drive the nation’s largest water reserves to record lows. Amidst the shortages, private landowners are facing harsh criticism for seeking profits from this dwindling public resource.

“We’re headed for a brick wall at 100 miles per hour,” said James Mahan, a scientist at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service lab in Lubbock, Texas. “And, really, the effects of climate change are branches hitting the windshield along the way.”

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Where’s the Public Outrage About Big Money in Politics?

by Source 07.15.2014 Economy

200 people currently contribute 85% of all the money put into Super PACS. We should be furious about that.

By Mike Papantonio / Alternet

corp-money-cycle-1024x759As a country born from revolution, America knows a lot about outrage. Outrage over unfair treatment led our founders to declare independence. Anti-federalist outrage over Constitutional shortcomings led to the enshrinement of our fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

In fact, in a functioning democracy, there are few things that get more done than outrage. A government by the people, of the people, for the people should be responsive to the people, after all, and outrage is the most vocal manifestation of the people’s will. That outrage comes into play politically at the ballot box, either because it inspires voters to get out and vote or motivates politicians to act so they don’t wind up on the wrong side of election day.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa Leads the GOP Charge to Exploit Refugee Children

Darrell Issa Leads the GOP Charge to Exploit Refugee Children

by Doug Porter 07.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego Congressman Darrel Issa has never been accused of being camera shy. Since taking over as chairman of the House Oversight Committee in 2011 he’s done his best to to keep the media fixated through a series of open-ended investigations: Solyndra, Fast & Furious, the IRS, and Benghazi.

Since immigrant children being subpoenaed to testify wouldn’t provide much in the way of good optics-what if they cried?–, Issa’s tackling the current humanitarian crisis at the border with bluster and bloviating.

Along with three resolutions that could trigger civil actions against the Obama administration for its decision to ignore laws passed by Congress on issues related to immigration, Obamacare and welfare, he’s joined with other California Republicans in introducing legislation (HR5079) allowing for  the accelerated deportation of unaccompanied children to countries that do not share a direct border with the United States.

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Thumbnail image for What Kind of City Are We? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

What Kind of City Are We? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

by Jim Miller 07.14.2014 Business

“The bottom line is that the minimum wage in 2013 is far less now than it was in 1968 despite the economy’s productivity more than doubling, and low-wage workers attaining far more education.”Economic Policy Institute

By Jim Miller

The San Diego City Council will consider today whether to pass an ordinance or put forth a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage and provide earned sick days for local workers. Since the last time I wrote on this subject in late April, the original proposal of raising the minimum wage to the local Self-Sufficiency Standard of $13.09 with five earned sick days has been significantly lowered in order to address the concerns of opponents.

The current proposal keeps the initial five earned sick days but now only raises the minimum wage to $9.75 in 2015 and $10.50 in 2016 before stopping at $11.50 in 2017 and indexing it to inflation after January of 2019.

Thus, despite the fact that the original proposal fell short of the landmark $15 an hour passed in Seattle and being fought for elsewhere around the country, the City Council still bent over backwards to appease the fears of those clamoring that any increase in the minimum wage would spell disaster for small businesses and the local economy. And they did this even though the preponderance of evidence shows that minimum wage increases elsewhere have actually helped the economy.

The response to this compromise from the Chamber of Commerce and company was to essentially flip the Council the bird and reaffirm their opposition to any measure that moves beyond the state’s minimum wage.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Free Press and OB Rag Bring Home Four Awards in Society of Professional Journalists Competition

San Diego Free Press and OB Rag Bring Home Four Awards in Society of Professional Journalists Competition

by Staff 07.14.2014 Culture

Recognition of writers Doug Porter, John Lawrence, Anna Daniels and Frank Gormlie

By Staff

On July 10 the the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) held its annual journalism awards banquet at Bali Hai on Shelter Island. The names of all of the winners of the competition had been released in June. The list included San Diego Free Press editors Doug Porter, Anna Daniels and weekly contributor John Lawrence and Frank Gormlie, editor of our sister publication the OB Rag. First, second and third place winners would be announced at the banquet as well as the Journalist of the Year award.

Eight of us, representing the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag, enjoyed a dinner on the bay against the backdrop of the city skyline and a rising, almost full moon.

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Thumbnail image for Teachable Moments: Grappling with Immigration as a Reflection of Ourselves

Teachable Moments: Grappling with Immigration as a Reflection of Ourselves

by Source 07.13.2014 Editor's Picks

These immigrant children and their families are us, and how we respond to them is a reflection of who we are as a society

By Michael Cheno Wickert

One does not need to sleep on dirt floors or live life constantly looking over a shoulder to understand why masses of people would want a better life. There is no requirement that a person must witness murder and mayhem to desire a more stable and safe environment in which to raise a family. Nowhere is it written that a person must personally experience the most extreme difficulties in life to practice compassion.

Yet, the arrival of tens of thousands of children and partial families from Central America has brought this to the forefront of our lives. In the past weeks we have seen the images and heard the stories of the most desperate, and often most vulnerable, people making the trek to the United States with hope for a reprieve from the chaos of their lives. Fortunately, more and more individuals and organizations are stepping up to help.

As an American, I am proud of everyone who has made an effort to bring some comfort and solace to the migrants who risked so much and were met with such resistance upon arrival here. I am also proud of those who practice acts of kindness in large and small ways, and who see these individuals in human terms, not as some abstract idea that can be ignored or turned off.

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Thumbnail image for The World We’ve Constructed Is Far Beyond George Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

The World We’ve Constructed Is Far Beyond George Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

by Source 07.13.2014 Government

Orwell’s chilling vision of the future in ’1984′ is happening today in the form of media manipulation and unnecessary wars.

By John Pilger / AlterNet

The other night, I saw George Orwell’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device.  Peace is “perpetual war.” “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

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Thumbnail image for The Little Thing Our Cities Can Do to Inspire Millions More People to Bike

The Little Thing Our Cities Can Do to Inspire Millions More People to Bike

by Source 07.13.2014 Health

Protected bike lanes help riders feel less exposed to danger, and are also appreciated by drivers and pedestrians, who know where to expect bicycles.

By Jay Walljasper / AlterNet

You can see big changes happening across North America as communities from Fairbanks to St. Petersburg transform their streets into appealing places for people, not just cars and trucks.

“Over the past five years we’re seeing an infrastructure revolution, a rethinking of our streets to accommodate more users—busways, public plazas, space for pedestrians and, of course, bike lanes,” says David Vega-Barachowitz of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “More protected bike lanes is one of the most important parts of this.”

Protected bike lanes separate people on bikes from rushing traffic with concrete curbs, plastic bollards or other means— and sometimes offer additional safety measures such as special bike traffic lights and painted crossings at intersections.  Protected bike lanes help riders feel less exposed to danger, and are also appreciated by drivers and pedestrians, who know where to expect bicycles. Streets work better when everyone has a clearly defined space.

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Thumbnail image for Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

by Junco Canché 07.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

by Maria Garcia 07.12.2014 Culture

The Marston family history is synonymous with the history of San Diego. Volumes have been written about their philanthropy and their contributions to the history of San Diego. For those of us that grew up in San Diego, we remember the Marston Department Store. My biggest memory of the department store is of the escalator and the smell of perfume.

I am sure we never bought one thing there. Despite her fear of escalators, my mother would take us there for the express purpose of riding the escalator. It was our simple version of the “E” ride at Disneyland. We would walk around the store, go up to the second floor and ride the escalator down with that beautiful smell greeting us at about the halfway point. In my mind the “Marston” name and “rich” are one and the same.

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Thumbnail image for Video Pick: More DIY with Hobby Lobby and The Snatchel Project

Video Pick: More DIY with Hobby Lobby and The Snatchel Project

by Anna Daniels 07.12.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

The fallout from the supposedly “narrow” Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby was immediate. Similar cases making their way to the Supreme Court at the same time were returned to the lower courts. One of those cases requests an exemption from providing any form of birth control and it is likely that it will be granted.

A few days after the Hobby Lobby decision, the Court granted a waiver to Wheaton College. The issue was not the provision of birth control–Wheaton, a religiously affiliated institution was exempted. Instead, the men of the Court saw fit to waive their requirement of filling out the federally mandated form to receive the exemption, which Wheaton deemed onerous. Justices Sotomayor, Ginzberg and Hagan and were not amused and wrote a scathing dissent.

It is misleading and a mistake to define the Hobby Lobby decision in terms of religious based restrictions that can be exercised by certain employers over a woman’s access to birth control.

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Thumbnail image for Advertising: Are You Buying It?

Advertising: Are You Buying It?

by Source 07.12.2014 Business

Here’s an inescapable reality: There are only two ways to be rich – make more or want less. This is known as “Rimo’s Rule,” though that’s beside the point.

Rather, the point here is to recognize, in our consumer-based, advertising-saturated society, how very hard it is to want less materially yet why we must do so anyway. While it’s intuitive that most people – both the “99 percent” and the “1 percent” – could achieve greater contentment in life by better appreciating the non-material and material riches they already have, there are far-reaching, global consequences of which path to richness a society as a whole chooses.

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