Wednesday, Oct 5th at Occupy Wall Street: “The metamorphosis of a revolution”

October 6, 2011 by Lane Tobias

I simply don’t have the energy to produce a flowery perspective on what today’s action means to me or to the diverse group of people who make up the 99%. Today I was witness to something that was commonplace in the 60’s and 70’s but had, for the most part, escaped my own eyes through years of activism. Today I was brought to tears by the magnitude of a collective voice; today I was forced to reconcile my practicality with the sheer power of numbers. Today, I believe I witnessed the metamorphosis of a revolution.

Read the full article → 7 comments

OB Rag on the Ground at Occupy Wall Street: Day 16

October 4, 2011 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for <i>OB Rag</i> on the Ground at Occupy Wall Street: Day 16

For every word I write, there are five on my mind. The sadness associated with the failures of a once promising President has at times crippled my faith in the collective will. My enrollment in a public policy program that focuses – rightly so – on analytical and practical approaches to policy change has forced me to question the usefulness of radical activism and political theater as tools of change. We live at a time when young radicals have been stifled by the apathy brought on by overwhelming wealth inequality, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ridiculous favoritism granted banks and corporate interests, and the efforts of law enforcement and government agencies to quell the movement for change by any means necessary. Consider the murder of Troy Davis the cherry on top of a disenchantment sundae.

Come inside for video of day 16…

Read the full article → 18 comments

Getting to Know Your Community…

July 12, 2010 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Getting to Know Your Community…

Originally posted July 10, 2009

by Lane Tobias

With the economy forcing people to spend more time focusing inward, some are becoming more in touch with the little things that make daily life so interesting. For many people, including myself, daily routines start to become a comfort that blocks out stress.

Even a commute home from work can be a reminder of the joyous simplicity of the community you live in.

Read the full article → 18 comments

An Open Letter to Rand Paul and His Libertarian Racism

May 27, 2010 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for An Open Letter to Rand Paul and His Libertarian Racism

Dear Rand Paul:

It is not possible to change a true bigot’s values. Much of that comes from generational views passed down from parents, grandparents, whatever. But I want to address your recent remarks since you won the Kentucky GOP senate primary.

I would have to agree to disagree with you on pretty much every level. One argument you make is that you prefer to have racist business owners openly advertising their hatred, so that you can make an informed decision. My guess from this statement is that you’ve never been a victim of bigotry, or racism, or true hate.

Read the full article → 30 comments

“Phish 3D”: Better Bring Your Dancin’ Shoes

May 3, 2010 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for “Phish 3D”: Better Bring Your Dancin’ Shoes

I have technically been a Phish fan since my early teens, when a dreadlocked summer camp counselor played the song “Fee” each morning to rouse a cadre of young adolescents from their slumber and get them ready for the day.

My devotion grew over the years, and by now I consider myself a Phish “head”. At this stage in my fan arc, I wholeheartedly believe that what keeps me coming back for more is the community built between the band and it’s fans.

On Friday night (April 30th) at the Hazard Center Ultrastar Theatre, there was a love fest going …

Read the full article → 6 comments

Should OB Have a Town Hall Meeting on the Homeless Youth and the Police ?

February 10, 2010 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Should OB Have a Town Hall Meeting on the Homeless Youth and the Police ?

The last week or so has been an incredibly busy time here on the OB Rag, due in part to Obecians’ emotional attachment to some very deep seated issues – namely, the police and the young transient/homeless population.

We have now seen what seemed like an unnecessary police response to a skinny dipper on a Saturday afternoon culminate with a number of young transients being the target of a crackdown on “loitering” and other “quality of life” issues this past weekend. In between these two events, we have seen a community both divided and mutually concerned on the possible implications of these and future events.

Read the full article → 23 comments

Medicare, Medi-Cal, Medicaid: the Public Health Programs that Already Exist

December 15, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Medicare, Medi-Cal, Medicaid: the Public Health Programs that Already Exist

There’s a lot of confusion, we find, about government or public health care programs. Medicare, Medi-Cal, Medicaid … just what are the differences?

Well, some would argue that Medicare actually helps adult people, whereas Medi-Cal really is better for children and prenatal mothers than the general population it serves. My opinion? They could all be better. But I’ll stop with opinions now…..

Medicare – Federal Health Insurance plan for seniors and the disabled. Contrary to what some may believe, you can be a 20 year old with Medicare.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Local Artists’ Collective Putting OB Art Scene Back on the Map

November 9, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Local Artists’ Collective Putting OB Art Scene Back on the Map

by Lane Tobias

Picture this on a beautiful fall afternoon: Live art and in-motion clothing design on the sidewalk. A mural in progress. Wine, cheese, and make-your-own cupcakes to whet your appetite. A DJ spinning beats as beautiful women clamor over swapped (and now shared) clothing. A curly-haired, bearded reporter amidst the madness.

Nothing about my presence at the OB Centric “Women Only” Clothing Swap made sense; in every respect, I was the outlier. There was rule “# 5 – No Boys Aloud”.

Read the full article → 10 comments

Labor Day 2009: A Social Worker’s Reflection On Why We Do This Work

September 7, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Labor Day 2009: A Social Worker’s Reflection On Why We Do This Work

by Lane Tobias

Anyone who works in human services knows that these are lean times. Budgets have been cut, while the services we provide are in higher demand.

This goes across the board, from government agencies to non-profits, and while the services provided to the community may not be lessened in terms of effectiveness, there is certainly an emotional effect on both those seeking services and the providers themselves.

There are more people seeking help, and just as many people to help them as before…

Read the full article → 18 comments

Late Night Talk Show “Matt Cook Live” has OB Buzzin’

August 17, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Late Night Talk Show “Matt Cook Live” has OB Buzzin’

by Lane Tobias

Its easy to find talented people in OB. For such a small community, we have an unusual amount of creative people, both artists and entrepreneurs, within our midst. I learned this first hand over the last few weeks as I got to know my neighbors Matt Cook and self described “couch-monkey” Joe Clarke.

Matt and Joe have spent the last three months showcasing local residents who make OB San Diego’s most unique and exciting ‘hood on their late night talk show, Matt Cook Live.

Read the full article → 13 comments

Help get California’s“Wacky” USDA food stamps waiver denied and improve access to healthy food for all

July 27, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Help get California’s“Wacky” USDA food stamps waiver denied and improve access to healthy food for all

by Lane Tobias

In previous articles about food stamps, I touched upon some of the barriers to food stamps eligibility that inevitably makes San Diego one of the hardest places in the U.S. to receive food stamps – even if you fall within the income and eligibility guidelines.

While most of those barriers continue to present problems to applicants, there are local initiatives that have helped pass important legislation to start eliminating them.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Vendorland at the Fair – Street Level

June 28, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Vendorland at the Fair – Street Level

by Lane Tobias

Treated to a beautiful San Diego summer day, thousands of people flocked to OB to take part in the 30th incarnation of the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off Festival. …

As for the vendors, the very people who make this fair the bustling event that it is, it was obvious even before the crowds started showing up around 2:00pm who was going to have a good day.

Read the full article → 28 comments

Protests in Iran an Inspiration for Apathetic, Apolitical Generation of Americans

June 23, 2009 by Lane Tobias

by Lane Tobias

As I have been following the election protests in Iran over the last week or so, I can’t help but feel inspired by the movement’s energy. Long a polarizing global political figure, Iran now has everyone fixated on the unrest in its streets.

For those of us who grew up only knowing Iran as an “evil” place with religious dictators who present death doctrines for anyone not supportive of the ruling regime, it has been an eye-opening experience seeing first-hand the cultural importance Iranians place on personal freedom.

Read the full article → 12 comments

As Services Improve, Combat Veterans Need Our Attention Now More than Ever

June 15, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for As Services Improve, Combat Veterans Need Our Attention Now More than Ever

I remember the morning of September 11, 2001 well. I was sitting in a study hall at my high school in Teaneck, New Jersey, listening to a radio host announce that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. Three friends and I hopped in a car and sped down the Jersey Turnpike. We pulled over in the Vince Lombardi rest area just in time to watch the towers fall from across the Hudson River.

Read the full article → 5 comments

A response to today’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum

June 10, 2009 by Lane Tobias

by Lane Tobias

Today’s shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. is a stark reminder to those of us dedicated to equality and social justice that there are people out there willing to disrupt progress with violent acts – even if it puts their own life in jeopardy.

Read the full article → 11 comments

Trader Low’s: Chain supermarkets’ negative effect on local communities and what we can do to change it

May 19, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Trader Low’s: Chain supermarkets’ negative effect on local communities and what we can do to change it

by Lane Tobias

In a recent series of posts and articles, the OB Rag online community has been discussing different aspects of the food industry, particularly over the pricing strategies and employee turnover at our local co-op as compared to chain supermarkets, in particular Trader Joe’s. …

Read the full article → 17 comments

Universal Health Care or Bust! Democrats offer “sweeping reform” of the same ol’ system

May 14, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Universal Health Care or Bust! Democrats offer “sweeping reform” of the same ol’ system

by Lane Tobias

The debate over health care reform has been hotly contested for generations, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that during one of the worst global economic crises in history, President Obama is following through on his campaign promise to reform the system.

Or is he?

Read the full article → 3 comments

Governor Schwarzennegger Balances California Budget on the Backs of the Poor

May 7, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Governor Schwarzennegger Balances California Budget on the Backs of the Poor

by Lane Tobias

The Special Election being held on May 19th is being penned by the Schwarzenegger Administration as a way to fix California’s “broken budget system”.

While it is understood that California’s budget woes are going to effect us for generations to come, before voting yes on any of these propositions we should take a look at …

Read the full article → 5 comments

2009 Padres a breath of fresh air in major league baseball

April 21, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for 2009 Padres a breath of fresh air in major league baseball

by Lane Tobias

As a lifelong sports fan with allegiances to various East Coast sports teams that garner hatred amongst competitor fan bases (I won’t go into all of my favorite teams as to not draw the ire of the many native San Diegans who read the OB Rag) I have been encouraged on an emotional and philosophical level by the early season success of the San Diego Padres.

Read the full article → 1 comment

End of my first year in OB – ‘Thank you Ocean Beach’

April 1, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for End of my first year in OB – ‘Thank you Ocean Beach’

by Lane Tobias

One year in OB, and I couldn’t be happier

Today, April 1st, marks the one year anniversary of my girlfriend and I moving to San Diego. It really has gone fast, and I have to say that it has been a year of learning and self realization – I owe most of it to the beauty of living in a community as tight knit and open-minded as Ocean Beach.

Read the full article → 17 comments

Food Stamps in San Diego County – Part Deux

March 6, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Food Stamps in San Diego County – Part Deux

by Lane Tobias

After writing the first piece on food stamps, a number of questions have come up regarding San Diego’s place in the food stamps controversy. How are the income guidelines that determine eligibility set? Why does San Diego county have such low enrollment in the program? And most of all, what can we do about it?

The income guidelines that the USDA utilizes are based on the “Orshansky Poverty Thresholds”, developed for the Social Security Administration by a woman named Mollie Orshansky in the late 50′s and adopted by all Executive Administrations in 1965. Her guidelines took into account family size, farm or non-farm family, income, and other relative numbers.

Read the full article → 8 comments

Oscar, Progressive Politics… a Sign of the Future of the Film Industry? Bravo!

February 23, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Oscar, Progressive Politics… a Sign of the Future of the Film Industry? Bravo!

As a writer and once upon a time film student, I found this year’s Academy Awards to be an exemplary display of the breadth of possibility that Hollywood’s insular, but nonetheless public, progressive political scene presents.

This year, the Academy rewarded actors not just for being beautiful people in rented jewelry and expensive clothing, but for the emotions they conjured and the political movements that their roles represented.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Urgent Action: Needy Families Will Suffer Significant Consequences

February 19, 2009 by Lane Tobias

Through my work alongside social service and mental health professionals, I am occasionally presented the opportunity to do more than provide direct services. Today I came across a call to action for all San Diego community leaders, and in my opinion that includes anyone who takes part in the OB Rag – either as a contributor, a reader, or both.

As a result of the slumping economy and the California Legislature’s longstanding inability to agree on a viable budget, there will be a number of far-reaching consequences. One of those consequences is in direct relation to the well-being of San Diego’s poor, namely those receiving cash aid or food stamps.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Food Stamps in San Diego County – a Disgrace! – Here’s how to get them:

February 18, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Food Stamps in San Diego County – a Disgrace! – Here’s how to get them:

At a time when jobless rates are hovering around 8%, one in ten homeowners can’t afford their mortgage payments, and the average cost of staple foods have risen astronomically, we should all be proud to know that those of us living in San Diego County reside in a region with the lowest accessibility to food stamps in the ENTIRE COUNTRY.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, only 29% of eligible recipients receive Food Stamp benefits, good for last among the 24 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Read the full article → 34 comments

Act of Civil Disobedience Thwarts Big Oil from Buying Up Utah Wildnerness

January 15, 2009 by Lane Tobias
Thumbnail image for Act of Civil Disobedience Thwarts Big Oil from Buying Up Utah Wildnerness

In the waning moments of the Bush Administration, our Commander in Chief and his cohorts are pushing through hundreds of so-called “Midnight Rules” that could take years to change (if challenged at all by the incoming Congress and Obama Administration) and may inevitably leave a lasting mark on environmental regulation for years to come.

It is common for outgoing Presidents to pardon criminals, or push through a few last minute Executive Orders to leave a legacy. But in the traditional Dubya manner, most of these Midnight Rules are of course in the best interest of Energy Conglomerates (particularly the dirty-ass COAL industry i.e. Tennessee environmental disaster) and not in the best interest of the environment.

Read the full article → 6 comments