By Doug Porter
The Tweets were flying last night after the associate regional editor for Patch (AOL/Huffpo’s hyperlocal web news outfit) reported on twitter that a “source” told her UT-San Diego publisher Doug Manchester told a group of Republican women that he is “in negotiations” to purchase the Tribune Company.
For San Diegans, this prospective purchase would mean that the Los Angeles Times, long considered a viable source of news for non UT-SD readers, would now be joining Manchester’s media empire.
There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about this story. I might choose to “negotiate” for a new Mercedes Benz; that doesn’t mean I’ll be buying one. And IF Manchester does buy the LA Times (and the other newspapers in the company) it’s just one step closer to the end of the road for dead tree journalism.
UPDATE: The day after this was published, UT CEO John Lynch said that his boss ‘misunderstood’ the question. More details here.
A Facebook Fable Exposed
Most recently this fable made the rounds after Congressman Bruce Braley, D-Iowa (See? There are also dumb Democrats!), issued a press release touting a letter he’d sent to Pentagon:
Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today wrote Army Secretary John McHugh to express “growing concern” regarding Army actions that have ended service of breakfast to American troops serving at 17 US military outposts in Afghanistan.
Braley has also been informed by the Army that this policy will be expanded to more locations in Afghanistan beginning on February 1st.
The truth of the matter is: at some bases in remote areas in Afghanistan that are being turned over to local control (and therefore are closing soon), the military has stopped serving HOT breakfasts. Read about it yourself on Snopes.com, including first-hand reports from military members serving in the region. This, of course, won’t stop the stupids from repeating claims that the administration is taking food from the mouths of our fighting forces to a) insure Obama’s lavish meals at the White House or b) weaken them so Muslims can take over and impose Sharia Law.
The UT-San Diego Lead Story That Isn’t
Right there on the front page this morning is the headline:
Every word in that headline IS literally true. The impression that it conveys is completely false.
The “UT-News Services” story is a rehash of a 15,000 word article released by Esquire Magazine yesterday written by Phil Bronstein about a man who calls himself “the shooter”. His claim about lacking health insurance and being unemployed after leaving the SEALs following a 16 year stint is meant to call attention to the difficulties faced by veterans transitioning to civilian life.
While the shooter “says” he’s uninsured, it turns out that he doesn’t have to be. From Stars & Stripes [Emphasis mine]:
Like every combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the former SEAL, who is identified in the story only as “the Shooter”, is automatically eligible for five years of free healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But the story doesn’t mention that.
The writer, Phil Bronstein, who heads up the Center for Investigative Reporting, stands by the story. He said the assertion that the government gave the SEAL “nothing” in terms of health care is both fair and accurate, because the SEAL didn’t know the VA benefits existed.
“No one ever told him that this is available,” Bronstein said.
He said there wasn’t space in the article to explain that the former SEAL’s lack of healthcare was driven by an ignorance of the benefits to which he is entitled.
But to the righties (who won’t actually read beyond the lede in the UT story), this is yet another example of egregious conduct by the Obama administration. The editors of the UT were aware of this “conflict” in the story, and even included a mention of the Stars & Stripes counter-claim. But it was placed on the front page (and continued waaay back in the paper) for its propaganda value.
Happy Darwin Day!
That’s right folks, in addition to being Lincoln’s Birthday and the date of the President’s State of the Union Address, today marks the 204thanniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. The MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins, which is being released today to honor this anniversary, found that only 11% of Americans belong to religions openly rejecting evolution or the Big Bang theory.
We’d like to offer our own proof of Darwin’s theories (yes, I know there are still real arguments) by highlighting some less “evolved” humans today.
Proof of Evolution: A Texas Congressman
Exhibit #1 will be Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), who was elected to replace Ron Paul this fall. From Wikipedia:
A Houston Chronicle article reminds that “Stockman’s two years in Congress were marked by weirdness, such as an article in Guns & Ammo magazine that appeared under his byline in which he suggested the then-new Clinton administration raided the Branch Davidian compound in Waco on April 19, 1993, to justify a ban on assault weapons.
Stockman said, in reports from the Associated Press in May 1995, that he stood by his article, which was published after the bombing on April 19, 1995 of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. A couple of weeks after he defended the article, he told the Associated Press that he regretted writing it, mostly for its timing.
On the day the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, just four months into Stockman’s term, there was confusion over a fax sent to Stockman’s office. The FBI became involved. In a news conference in Beaumont in April 1995, Stockman identified the sender as a former Orange County, Texas, Republican chairwoman who had ties to the Michigan militia. The fax was sent to several members of Congress after reports of the bombing came over television.
Since returning to Congress, Stockman distinguished himself after the shootings at Sandy Hook by introducing “The Safe Schools Act,” a bill that would repeal federal laws mandating “gun free zones” around schools.
Proof of Evolution: A Special Invitation
Now Rep. Stockman’s actions might be rightly considered a by-product of Texas’ education system and thus not worthy, but his latest move leaves no doubt as to his challenged intellect. He’s invited burned out rocker and Tea Party poster child Ted Nugent to sit with him this evening during the State of the Union Address. From the New York Times:
Mr. Nugent, who is also a National Rifle Association board member, will be a guest of Representative Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican who recently made headlines by threatening to file articles of impeachment against Mr. Obama if the president issued executive orders that strengthened gun control laws.
In a telephone interview from his ranch in Texas on Monday, Mr. Nugent said that he planned to sit in the House of Representatives gallery during the president’s speech and that he would hold a news conference afterward, an event that seemed likely to turn the decorous setting of the State of the Union into a tabloid spectacle.
Not to worry, though. Nugent does not plan on bringing guns tonight:
“I will go in at least 20 pounds lighter than I normally walk,” he said. “I will be going in sans the hardware store on my belt. I live a well-armed life, and I’ve got to demilitarize before I go.”
The aging rocker has a history of making threatening remarks about the President. He famously appeared on stage during one concert with an assault rifle and proclaiming the chief executive should “suck on this”. From Talking Points Memo:
In April, the Secret Service sought him out after he told an audience at an NRA convention he’d end up “dead or in jail” if Obama was reelected. The NRA scrubbed the video from its website, and Nugent later said he had a “good, solid, professional meeting” with the Secret Service about his comments.
“Nugent will be available to speak to the media before and after the Address,” Stockman’s office noted in the Monday statement.
Gun control advocates have lobbied members of Congress to invite gun violence survivors and their relatives to the State Of The Union. The USA Today reported Sunday that effort has resulted in about 20 invitations.
What could go wrong?
The History of Wingnuttia (Revised)
Here’s a truly amazing story that surfaced yesterday, one not likely to get much local coverage: The Tea Party grew out of groups set up by the tobacco industry to defend “smokers rights”. From Raw Story:
A study published Friday in the scientific journal Tobacco Control unearthed documents that reveal the tobacco industry’s desire to fund a new “tea party” to advance their anti-regulation objectives years before the tea party, as it is known today, got its start. The same documents show that the two organizations most identified with the modern tea party, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and FreedomWo
Those two groups participated in the first round of tea party protests that captured national media attention in 2009, but they were not originally created under those names. As researchers Amanda Fallin, Rachel Grana and Stanton Glantz noted, they were were originally a single entity called Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), an organization co-founded in the 1980s by billionaire industrialist David Koch to oppose regulation of tobacco and other air pollutants. Tobacco companies gave the organization millions of dollars to help fund efforts to engineer and organize “grassroots” advocates to speak against everything from federal tobacco regulation to smoking bans.
“The main point that we make is that tobacco companies worked with both the smokers’ rights groups that they created, and Citizens for a Sound Economy in the ’80s and ’90s,” Fallin told Raw Story. “Then Citizens for a Sound Economy went on to become FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, which are national tea party organizing entities. Also, leadership and messaging from the smokers’ rights groups have carried on to tea party organizations.”
Why Teachers Get Militant
Yesterday’s story about the petition to get SDUSD’s CFO Stanley Dobbs fired for his incendiary comments about teachers brought a rejoinder from ex-school board member Fran Zimmerman who correctly took me to task for short changing readers with my description of the group behind the drive: “In fact the ‘Breakfast Club’ is a small organization of militant teachers…”
Here’s an account from that ‘militant’ group of how this controversy with Mr Dobbs was handled at a meeting of the ‘mainstream’ San Diego Education Association:
But disappointingly, three of the four SDEA officers spoke against pursuing additional action toward Dobbs. Freeman stated that in his original email he had requested a letter of apology to members, but he did not ask that Dobbs apologize and that he didn’t think it was appropriateto ask. SDEA Vice President Lindsay Burningham acknowledged that Dobbs’ comments were a slap in the face to many SDEA members, especially because he is the CFO. However, Burningham echoed Freeman’s comments. She said that SDEA can’t control who the District hires (since when?), but suggested we bring this up during the next round of accountability sessions. (I’m not aware of there being a “next round” scheduled at this point…)
SDEA Treasurer Manuel Gomez described Dobbs’ comments as anti-teacher and anti-union. He expressed his frustration that Dobbs and his comments are now being celebrated on local radio with Dobbs being portrayed as a hero. He seemed to agree that Dobbs should be fired… but then he referred back to Freeman and Burningham’s comments about how we can’t influence that. Gomez ended by saying that the next time Dobbs attacks, we should attack back.
After the comments from these top-tier union leaders, the SDEA Board ended with no plan to respond to this most recent attack on teachers, our work, and our pay and benefits.
It sounds to me like that “union” has become toothless. This certainly can’t be the same group that CFO Dobbs and others claim runs the school board. Now we know why “militant” groups happen. Perhaps they should watch this circa 1965 video by Nina Simone and see if they think waiting until “next time” is a good idea:
As part of our ‘grassroots news’ mission here at the San Diego Free Press we’re going to start expanding our neighborhood coverage in the coming weeks. And all you hipsters in North Park are first in line as we launch this grand plan, so expect to see us in our SD Free Press tee shirts prowling around. (Other neighborhoods shouldn’t be jealous, we’re headed your way as the year moves along.) So if you live or work in North Park and would like to pen a neighborhood-centric essay, drop us a line. Contact@SanDiegoFreePress.org
On This Day: 1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. 1924 – Bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his unique symphonic jazz at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The concert featured the first public performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue.” 1999 – U.S. President Clinton was acquitted by the U.S. Senate on two impeachment articles. The charges were perjury and obstruction of justice.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm, UCSD/La Jolla (UCSD Campus, Town Square at Gilman/Meyers) 10 am – 2 pm (Sept. 25 through mid-June; closed for winter, spring and summer breaks)
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas toDougPorter@