By Doug Porter
What started out as sour grapes over their preferred candidate losing last fall’s mayoral contest has now become an all-out jihad. Frequent insolent editorials and a newsroom motivated by the need to prove their worth to a management team driven by desire to impose their agenda upon San Diego will no longer suffice.
Now it’s open warfare. Any pretense of the fairness hoped for by traditionalists in the public for the daily newspaper are gone. Now it’s yellow journalism– stinking, piss yellow– invective rolling off the presses at UT-San Diego.
Three examples will suffice for today, although there’s plenty more to be had lurking in the recent archives of the paper.
Witness this “lede” to a supposed news story placed in the upper right hand corner of today’s paper with the flag of the paper’s “Watchdog” flying above the headline, hoping to give this latest account some measure of credibility:
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner used his tax-funded body guard to remove the No. 2 official in the City Attorney’s Office from a closed meeting this week, a move which the City Council president witnessed and called “wrong” and another council member described as “inexcusable behavior.”
Shall we start with the use of the words “taxpayer funded”, as if having police assigned to insure the mayor’s safety was some questionable idea? It wasn’t any big deal when former Mayor Jerry Sanders had protection. In any case, we never do learn the backstory on this incident. What was leaked? And it doesn’t matter to the UT. It’s Bad Words About Bob, and that’s what counts.
Given all the invective seed the daily fishwrap has sown amongst the fertile soil of the region’s historically fanatical right wingers, the only question we should be asking is: “Is the Mayor’s protective squad big enough?”
Lest anybody should forget, San Diego has a century-long history of vigilante violence, sometimes fueled by incendiary editorials. From the citizens patrols that terrorized advocates of the “Free Speech Movement”, to the Secret Army Organization coincidentally targeting (with acts of violence) the same anti-war professors being denounced editorially, to the more modern day manifestations of the anti-immigrant “Minutemen”, our city’s newspaper has played a role, none of it on the side of law and order.
Then there’s today’s editorial, appropriately titled “What’s That Smell at City Hall?” It’s all about “Bully Bob” and “Bully Bob Filner’s City Hall”, where “business as usual” generates malodorous fumes that threaten the very foundation of “America’s Finest City”.
Finally there’s this editorial cartoon. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but I’m not the only one who wondered about the exaggerated Jewishness of the Mayor’s portrayal. Were it not for the rest of UT-San Diego’s editorial pogrom aimed at City Hall, I’d be inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.
It’s one thing to oppose the Mayor’s policies. I get that. The real “business as usual” at City Hall is threatened by a Mayor with a progressive attitude. Bob Filner can be prickly. I get that.
I’m not saying the paper can’t or shouldn’t be critical. Lord knows, they might even get lucky and be right once in awhile. And taken out of context, both recent and historical, none of the examples I’ve cited today are inherently malicious. But they’re not one time or even occasional occurrences.
The real stink in this city is coming from Mission Valley, where a megalomaniacal land developer and his minions continue to throw stuff at the wall hoping something will stick long enough to generate a recall campaign.
The Next Slander on Teachers and Local Colleges
While I’m picking on UT-San Diego, I may as well address the front page teaser from today’s print edition:
“Coming Sunday – A New National Study Fails Many Local Colleges Teaching Programs”
What they’ll be touting, no doubt with some their local ‘experts’ thrown in to make the story seems as if it’s not just a rehashed press release, is a study by the prestigious sounding National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), giving poor marks to various universities and colleges’ teacher training programs.
And I suspect there is a large grain of truth in the supposition that many teachers are launched into classroom environments woefully under-prepared. It’s just that NCTQ’s report doesn’t really identify the sources of that problem. Think of it as a Consumer Reports review of an automobile that they never actually drove.
As Rutgers’ Bruce Baker’s review of the NCTQ report’s methodolgy points out:
The vast majority of this information seems to be derived from documents such as syllabi and course catalogs. In fact, the majority of items in this framework are about curriculum as represented in whatever documents they decided to/were able to collect and how they then chose to interpret those documents.
No actual college classrooms were visited in the compilation of this report. Key words in syllabi and catalogs were culled and compiled into an analysis. It’s kind of like Big Data spying with no actual human interaction or actual input from intelligence agents on the ground.
Finally, there’s education expert Diane Ravitch’s take:
There are many reasons not to trust the NCTQ report on teacher education. Most important is that it lacks credibility. Not only is it not a professional association. It lacks independence. It has an agenda.
NCTQ was founded by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundationin 2000 with the explicit purpose of harassing institutions of teacher education and urging alternative arrangements. I was on the board of TBF at the time. Initially, the new organization floundered but was saved by a $5 million grant from U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Just lucky.
So, knowing NCTQ’s history, and reading Mercedes Schneider’s posts about the organization, I conclude that NCTQ cannot be considered a fair, credible, independent judge of the quality of teacher training institutions.
It’s so nice to call out UT-San Diego’s crap before they even print it.
Bike Sharing Program Finally on A Roll
From KPBS we get word that a city committee has given it’s blessing to a corporate partnership with DecoBike, which provides management and expertise to bike sharing programs in other cities in Florida and New York state.
…The company was chosen from three bidders back in November 2012 and has been working with the city to get the plan onto wheels.
There is still a lot of work to be done – including holding public meetings to help decide just where the bikes will be located – is still up for debate. But there is a beginning date in mind; the company and the city are aiming for a three-month roll out starting in early 2014. The program is also predicted to bring 60 to 70 new jobs to the city.
Congress is Partying Like It’s 1949
The good news coming out of Capitol Hill yesterday was the Senate, by virtue of a military-type ‘surge’ aimed at the Mexico border, may have found the formula needed to actually pass an immigration reform bill on that side of the national legislature this summer.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The plan would add so many new agents to the Border Patrol — 20,000 — that if all were deployed at once, they could be stationed roughly every 250 feet along the border, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
Spending that amount — more than four times what senators initially had proposed — would also be a boost to defense contractors and an economic stimulus for border communities, creating thousands of jobs that could raise home prices and spur consumer spending around border security stations.
The bad news was over on the House side, where a bi-partisan scheme to approve a five-year farm bill imploded. Tea Party Republicans (too expensive, not enough cuts to food stamps) and Democrats (too many cuts to food stamps, plus a blessing on drug tests for recipients) combined to defeat legislation that historically has passed with large, bipartisan majorities.
From the Washington Post:
The 234 to 195 vote was the latest rebuke to House GOP leaders, who have struggled to muster enough control of the chamber to pass major legislation. The defeat also bodes ill for legislation on the budget and immigration that is expected to be debated in the House this summer and fall.
President Obama has said that he’ll veto any bill with Tea Party type language on food stamps and it’s a very real possibility that hard feelings coming out of yesterday’s vote will allow the current legislation in place to lapse.
If that happens, and it may occur temporarily, just as a teachable moment for House firebrands, the nation’s farm policy will revert to the standards set back in 1949, a time where the economy was vastly different.
Here’s a few things likely to occur in such a scenario, courtesy of the Post’s Wonkblog:
Food Stamp programs will remain intact.
- Crop insurance programs will remain unchanged.
- Conservation programs that do things like help farmers protect against soil erosion and use ecologically friendly methods like drip irrigation, will end.
- Milk prices will skyrocket. By three or for times the current level.
- Crop subsidies that largely reward corporate farmers will continue.
All this leads me up to the…
Tweet of the Day
Barney Frank: “We’re making progress. It’s now more socially acceptable to be gay than a Congressman.” #nn13
— Zacharia Wahls (@ZachWahls) June 20, 2013
On This Day: 1788 – The U.S. Constitution went into effect when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it. 1952 – Fats Domino’s “Goin’ Home” became his first #1 hit. 1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.
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