World News

Vaping Can Help Some Smokers Kick Cigarettes, English Study Shows

September 20, 2016 by Source

vaping-e-cigsBy Karen Kaplan / LA Times / Sept. 13, 2016

The more that vaping takes hold in England, the better the odds that smokers there will succeed in their attempts to stop using regular cigarettes.

These parallel trends, reported Wednesday in the BMJ medical journal, don’t prove that electronic cigarettes help smokers kick the habit. But that possibility is looking more and more likely, experts said.

Smoking prevalence in the United Kingdom fell significantly from 2014 to 2015, and that’s a sign that something over there is working, …

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President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

September 19, 2016 by Source
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By Anthony Romero / ACLU

Thanks to Edward Snowden’s act of conscience, we’ve made historic strides in our fight for surveillance reform and improved cybersecurity. That’s why with the release of the Oliver Stone movie “Snowden,” we’re unveiling a major effort calling on President Obama to pardon the NSA whistleblower.

Cases like Edward Snowden’s are precisely the reason the president’s constitutional pardon power exists.

Historically, outgoing presidents have often invoked this power in the last days of their terms — at times on behalf of people who’ve committed reprehensible acts — under the premise that mitigating circumstances outweigh the rationale for punishment. President Obama now has the opportunity to use this power proudly, in recognition of one of the most important acts of whistleblowing in modern history.

Since Snowden first disclosed documents in 2013 detailing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, we’ve seen an unprecedented global debate about the proper limits of government spying.

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Humans Have Pushed Oceans to Their Absolute Limit, Warns Report

September 12, 2016 by Source
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Oceans protected us from worst effects of climate change by absorbing most of humans’ CO2 emissions, report finds, but they can’t take anymore—and will soon release that CO2 back into the air

by Nika Knight / Common Dreams / Sept. 6, 2016

The effect of climate change on the world’s oceans has been understudied, a recent report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) finds, and it is far worse than many scientists and politicians had previously thought.

“We all know the oceans sustain this planet,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN’s director general, to National Geographic, “yet we are making the oceans sick.”

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Standoff at Standing Rock: Even Attack Dogs Can’t Stop the Native American Resistance

September 8, 2016 by Source

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San Diego “No Access” Rally in Support of Standing Rock – Friday, Sept. 9th at Federal Building at 9:30 am – 3 pm.
(Facebook here)

By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan / Democracy Now

The Missouri River, the longest river in North America, has for thousands of years provided the water necessary for life to the region’s original inhabitants.To this day, millions of people rely on the Missouri for clean drinking water.

Now, a petroleum pipeline, called the Dakota Access Pipeline, is being built, threatening the river. A movement has grown to block the pipeline, led by Native American tribes that have lived along the banks of the Missouri from time immemorial.

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Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Protesters With Dogs and Mace

September 5, 2016 by Source

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Security guards confront Indigenous protesters with dogs and pepper spray. (Screenshot/Democracy Now!)

Video and photos of a private security team pushing dogs to bite Native American protesters from Democracy Now!

By Nadi Prupis / Common Dreams

The ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests were hit with violence on Saturday, as private security forces reportedly hired by the pipeline builders descended on the Native American activists with pepper spray and dogs that bit and threatened the protesters.

Democracy Now!, which was on the ground at the time, posted several photographs and video of the attack:

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Nuclear Shutdown News – August 2016

August 31, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future. Here is our August 2016 edition:

US nuclear industry reaches a new low with resale of decrepit nuke plant already scheduled to permanently shut down next year.

On July 12, Syracuse.com in upstate New York announced, “Entergy to sell FitzPatrick to Exelon in mid-August.”

The FitzPatrick nuclear plant is located in Lake Ontario near the Canadian border. It started up in late 1974, not long after Richard Nixon’s reign over the White House permanently shut down. This means the nuke plant’s one reactor has been cranking away for almost 42 years, releasing radiation into the air and water in the Great Lakes region all the while.

US nuclear reactors were designed to operate only 40 years.

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A Long Hot Summer: Where’s the Love in the Anthropocene?

August 29, 2016 by Jim Miller

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By Jim Miller

One of the more thought-provoking books I read this summer was Love in the Anthropocene, a collection of stories by Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam. As the title suggests, the tales in this volume are about what the world is becoming and will be as a result of climate change.

Interestingly the world Jamieson and Nadzam depicts is not a Hollywood-style apocalyptic landscape, but an earth largely bereft of natural environments, where zoos house the last animals, natural food is rare, cities have adjusted to catastrophic weather, and those fortunate enough to live inside the bubble of “civilization” are surrounded by vast discarded populations who are left to tough it out on the outskirts of “normal life.”

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Trump’s Daughter Is Vacationing With Putin’s Girlfriend

August 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Just when you thought the 2016 Presidential race couldn’t get any crazier, here come reports that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is actually vacationing in Croatia with Putin’s girlfriend, Wendi Deng Murdoch.

From an August 14 article on People online:

Ivanka Trump is taking a break from the campaign trail to vacation with friends. The daughter of GOP nominee Donald Trump shared a scenic snap with Wendi Deng Murdoch, the ex-wife of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Remembering a Sad Moment in ‘Gay Paree’

August 15, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo credit: flickr / Sean X. LiuParis. Maria and I and her family spent 16 days there in late June, literally taken by its beauty and its charm.

I have such sweet memories of our time there:

Our cursing the five flight of stairs to our apartment every time we returned from somewhere;

All the sights, the art, the culture, the fashion, the cuisine; the Metro; the soccer madness created by the Euro-Games;

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Extreme Weather Change: Devastating Heat

August 9, 2016 by John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchThere’s been an extreme weather change.

Two Middle Eastern locations hit 129 degrees F, the hottest temperatures ever recorded in earth’s history.

The temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait surged Thursday, July 21 to a blistering 129.2 degrees (54 Celsius). On Friday, the 22nd in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 129.0 degrees (53.9 Celsius). At the same time, a heat dome in the US sent temperatures soaring to over 100º in much of the country.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change last October cautioned that by the end of the century temperatures may become too hot for human survival due to climate change.

Hottest Temps Ever Recorded

Last year was the hottest year ever globally — or it was until 2016 got off to a sweltering start. NASA announced that the first six months of this year have been the hottest since 1880, which is when people started keeping reliable records.

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Cody Miller Wins Bronze in 100-Meter Breaststroke

August 8, 2016 by Source

Cody Miller w bronze

RIO DE JANEIRO — American Cody Miller won bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing behind Britain’s Adam Peaty, who set a world record in 57.13 seconds.

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa took silver in 58.69, .18 seconds ahead of Miller.

Cody Miller is a local OB celebrity – in a real sense – as he is the son of an Ocean Beach homeless man, Craig Miller, who died last year on Christmas Day.

Writers Vera Sanchez and Sunny Rey wrote about it for the OB Rag a couple of weeks ago. They described it then:

The road for Cody did not come easy.

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Nuclear Shutdown News for July 2016 – San Onofre Whistleblower: Utility Ruined its Own Nuke Plant.

August 2, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News for July 2016 – San Onofre Whistleblower: Utility Ruined its Own Nuke Plant.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future. Here is out July 2016 report.

San Onofre whistleblower: Utility put profits above safety, ruined its own nuke plant.

A radiation leak at San Onofre nuclear plant in southern California caused its two reactors to shut down in in 2012, and resulted in its permanent closure the following year.

On July 19 the Times of San Diego reported on a press release by Public Watchdog, a nonprofit policy group, detailing allegations of a former employee at San Onofre. Southern California Edison is the controlling owner of the nuke plat, with San Diego Gas & Electric being a minority owner of the wrecked nuclear plant.

The whistleblower, Vinod Arora, is a former Edison fire protection engineer who worked at San Onofre.

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Washington Post: “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy”

July 27, 2016 by Source

By Editorial Board / Washington Post / July 22, 2016

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement.

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Is This Election Good for the Fish?

July 20, 2016 by Source
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By David Helvarg / Blue Notes – Blue Frontier /July 19, 2016

The party conventions are now underway starting with the Republicans in Cleveland to be followed by the Democrats in Philadelphia.

The stark contrasts between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: on immigration, education, health care, trade, foreign policy, etc. do not end at the water’s edge where you might also find a Trump resort or golf course.

The ocean has yet to be mentioned on the campaign trail although our organization, Blue Frontier, is coordinating a letter to the candidates from ocean leaders in business, science, conservation, education and other fields that will be sent to the candidates after the conventions.

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A Review of the 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival

June 30, 2016 by Source

By Mukul Khurana / San Diego Free Press

San Diego International Fringe FestivalThe 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival arrived a month earlier than last year. There must be good reason, but it wasn’t announced.

Almost everything else remains the same.

Bi-national shows (San Diego and Tijuana being so close to one another) are now a fact since last year. The venues are pretty similar to last year too. However, this year, there are essentially two “centers.” Downtown has always been a base. Diversionary Theatre in University Heights got added to the mix.

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Nuclear Shutdown News June 2016 – Diablo Canyon to Close in Decade

June 22, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry at home and abroad, and highlights the efforts of those who are fighting to create a nuclear free future,

California Announces Last Nuclear Plant in State – Diablo Canyon – to Close by 2025

The really big news is that on June 21, PG&E, the utility that owns Diablo Canyon, announced that it had agreed to a proposal endorsed by environmental groups and labor unions to shutter California’s last operating nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, by 2025.

This is a major victory for environmentalists – California is going nuclear-free, ending atomic energy’s more than half-century history in the state. For years, anti-nuclear activists had called for the plant’s closure because of safety concerns over its precarious location near several major earthquake fault lines. Friends of the Earth, for example, has been fighting for the plant’s closure since the 1960s.

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Carbon Dioxide Levels Set to Pass 400ppm — Permanently

June 15, 2016 by Source

The findings highlight increasingly urgent concerns about global efforts to curb climate change as outlined in the Paris agreement. (Photo: Mikael Miettinen/flickr/cc)

Carbon emissions and extreme weather events poised to push CO2 levels past symbolic threshold for good.

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Record carbon dioxide levels are set to surpass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (PPM) this year and will likely never fall below that line again in our lifetimes, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Scientists at the UK Met Office used emissions data, sea surface temperature figures, and a climate model from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii to track the trajectory of CO2 levels and found that carbon dioxide “will for the first time remain above 400 ppm all year and hence for our lifetimes.”

Emissions have increased over the past 12 months due to the continued burning of fossil fuels, but the impact has also been exacerbated by an unbridled El Niño event.

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Extreme Weather Watch: May 2016 – Canada Burns, India’s Extreme Heat Record, US Tornadoes

June 8, 2016 by John Lawrence

Too Hot to Go Outside

Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

A city in western India set an all-time heat record of 123.8 degrees F in May. Authorities issued a severe heat wave alert which means that people can expect temperatures of 117 degrees F or more. In addition, drought is affecting much of the country. The heat will probably not let up until the monsoon rains come sometime in June.

The prolonged heat wave has already killed hundreds and destroyed crops in more than 13 states. Hundreds of small farmers have reportedly killed themselves, and tens of thousands have been forced to abandon their lands and live in squalor in urban slums in order to eke out a living.

Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up in many parts of the western states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, and groundwater supplies are severely depleted.

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Honoring “The Greatest!”

June 7, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

I’ve been thinking about my man, Muhammad Ali, off and on, feeling sad that he’s gone. But as a contemporary of mine (he was four years younger than me) he’ll never be forgotten by me because he has meant the world to me.

When I first heard about him he had just fought his way to a gold medal as the Light Heavy Weight Boxing Champion in 1960 at the Olympic Games in Rome.

I had just graduated from Arizona with a degree in P.E. and all kinds of basketball scoring records. So he and I were two young black men, athletes, standing tall and all. Who knew, though, that he would take being a sports figure to levels that were, up to then, unseen.

He was Cassius Clay in those days, but not a household name yet, …

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Direct Action Journal: Overcoming Fear

May 17, 2016 by Source

Hand painted sign calling attention to threat of rising sea level to South Tarawa and plea to "Save these islands!"

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Another episode with anxiety knocks me to my bedroom floor. Rational thought forsakes me. My body shakes with the strangled sobs of a man ashamed of his tears. Alicia bends over me. Her dark brown eyes – normally calm with the consistent rationality characterizing her personality – are wide with concern and weariness. We’re only several nights removed from the last episode. She must think, “Oh god, not again.”

Alicia seeks to hold me. I find a deep comfort in her touch – and a deep revulsion. It’s not her. The contradiction is born from the lies fear instills in me.

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Excellent Artificial Waves in the Middle of California Farmland?

May 6, 2016 by Source

waves artificial kelly slater

“This Changes Fundamental Things … About Surfing”

Kelly Slater is an 11-time world champion surfer, but he’s done something else no one else has – and that is to make great artificial waves in the middle of farmland. He posted a video of him riding waves from the machine and within a week, it had 9 million hits. Up to then, he’d been keeping his project a secret.

The LA Times sent a reporter out to find him and filed a report:

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The Massive, Tragic Trashing of Our Oceans: Is There Still Time to Do Something About It?

May 5, 2016 by Source
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There is sobering news about marine health, but it is not too late to change our behaviors

By Reynard Loki / AlterNet

It’s impossible to overestimate how critical the oceans are to the overall health of life on Earth. For one thing, tiny marine plants called phytoplankton provide up to 85 percent of the world’s oxygen, according to EarthSky.org. But the oceans don’t just give us good stuff like oxygen; they take away bad stuff, like carbon dioxide.

A 2011 international study led by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, estimated that the oceans absorb 27 percent of the CO2 produced by the fossil fuel combustion.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – April 2016: Chernobyl + 16 – It’s far from over

May 2, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News  – April 2016: Chernobyl + 16 – It’s far from over

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our April 2016 issue.

Chernobyl + 16: It’s far from over

On April 26, 1986, a nuclear disaster began at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, then ruled by the USSR. Thirty years later, that disaster is far from over.

In their 1990 book, Deadly Deceit: Low Level Fallout, High level Cover-Up, authors Jay Gould and Benjamin Goldman devote an entire chapter to the Chernobyl debacle. The doomed Chernobyl nuke was one of 4 reactors operating at the site at the time. It took until 2000 for the other 3 to be permanently shut down.

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San Diego’s Earth Fair 2016: All in for the Environment

April 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

Hey! That's SDFP Editor Doug Porter with a message

Sunday, April 17th. EarthFair Day.

Having heard all the warnings about trying to drive to Earth Fair–not to mention the irony–, I took the bus.

The Number 7 bus was a half hour late and it dropped me on the corner of Park & University. It wasn’t going anywhere near that mess in Balboa Park. Eventually, the Balboa Park “shuttle” appeared. After quibbling with the driver when he asked for another fare, we sped three blocks south only to get in line. Hurry up and wait.

Traffic was held up at Roosevelt Junior High by the police so the people who drove could turn left across traffic towards parking lots. Even on Earth Day, it’s cars first in San Diego. #CarsRule #Pedestrians&BusRidersDrool.

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Fukushima + 5: the Disaster Continues – Nuclear Shutdown News for March 2016

April 5, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry, in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future. Here is this month’s issue.

Fukushima + 5: The Disaster Continues

On March 9, two days before the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Wall Street Journal ran this story, “Japanese Court Orders Shutdown of Nuclear Reactors.”

The paper reported that the court “issued an injunction to shut down two of the four reactors recently restarted” by Kansai Electric Co. because the utility failed to prove to the court’s satisfaction that it could operate operate those nukes safely.

Driving the process, the Journal reported, were organized and outspoken community members “worried about a repeat of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.”

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America, Got Fascism?

March 21, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump supporters n text js

Okay, America – are we ready for fascism?

Is this a legit question these days? It happens that a lot of political commenters, pundits and journalists are asking the question: ‘is the good ol’ US of A ready for an American brand of fascism, in the form of the Donald Trump for president movement?’

As the presidential campaign season degenerated into racist and xenophobic diatribes by the Republican front runner, with those images of Trump supporters pledging their loyalty to him in Hitleresque salutes, after that scene in Chicago when the Trump rally was cancelled, triggering skirmishes between Trump supporters and demonstrators, it seems everybody is forming an opinion of whether Donald Trump is a fascist, comparing him to Hitler and Mussolini, and other dictators.

Those denouncing Trump as a fascist include who you’d expect – progressive and liberal journalists and commentators, like Bob Dreyfus on TomDispatch, who called Trump a “proto-fascist”, or like Robert Reich who called Trump out as a fascist. Also, moderate columnist Dana Milbank writing in the Washington Post sees Trump as flirting with fascism.

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Ireland: an 800 Year Political Struggle

March 16, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
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The following article originally appeared in 1988 in Justice Speaks, a publication of Black Workers For Justice, in North Carolina.

Almost 30 years later, Ireland is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Easter uprising of 1916, which eventually freed most of the country from British rule.

But the nation is still one of many around the globe that has yet to complete its “Unfinished Revolution,” because that phase of the struggle ended with its northeastern region partitioned in the 1920s into a new entity, “Northern Ireland,” so that places like Strabane still remain under British domination and occupation to this day.

by Michael Steinberg

On November 29th [1988] the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a British law allowing Britain to detain suspects for up to 7 days without charging them is a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. The court’s decision is a blow to Britain’s attempts to crush the 800-year old Irish national movement. While the British government incorrectly portrays this as a religious conflict, in reality it is a political struggle for liberation and independence from British rule.

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Extreme Weather Watch – February 2016 : Tornadoes Devastate South, West Sets Heat Records

March 9, 2016 by John Lawrence
Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

At least seven people died when more than 50 tornadoes swept across parts of the south and eastern United States in late February. The extreme weather destroyed hundreds of homes and forced the closure of schools and government offices.

At least four people died in Virginia, including a two-year-old boy. One witness said that the destruction in the small town of Waverly was “completely devastating.” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. Scientists have linked an increase in the intensity and deadliness of tornadoes to climate change.

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International Women’s Day: A Google Doodle, 79 Cents on the Dollar and a Dollop of Socialist History

March 8, 2016 by Doug Porter

women's day protest By Doug Porter

We should all be thankful that retailing moguls haven’t been able to figure out a way to make International Women’s Day a sales event.

In San Diego, a mid-day downtown (7th & B) demonstration heralded the struggles of Immigrant Women around the world, calling out poverty, abuse and exploitation in the janitorial workforce.

Today we’ll take a look around the media world to see what is happening with regard to women on March 8, 2016.

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March 8th – Celebrate International Women’s Day

March 8, 2016 by Source

Rag cover Int Womens Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day.
OB Rag cover – Early March, 1975 – commemorating International Woman’s Day. The cover shows a crowd of women activists from Ocean Beach on the OB Pier. The cover was later formatted as a poster for a display at the OB Library of OB Rags during the 1990s by Bob Edwards, a former OB Ragster of the seventies.

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