December 2008

Football and Baseball Yes, Libraries No

December 30, 2008 by Staff
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Don Bauder, blogger for the San Diego Reader, wrote a recent post “Football Yes, Libraries No” – reposted below. We wanted to share images of the $26 million pedestrian bridge that Bauder mentions. Groundbreaking ceremonies on the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge just occurred back on October 23rd. It will allow Petco Park visitors – baseball fans – easier access to the ballpark from across Harbor Drive. San Diego says Yes to baseball. CCDC is driving this project. Now what with the Chargers’ revival, all of this is even more relevant. This bridge is way more important for our civic life than branch libraries or even a new downtown one. Easy access to baseball but not to books.

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The 10 Most Awesomely Bad Moments of the Bush Presidency

December 30, 2008 by Source

In a lot of ways, choosing the Bush administration’s 10 greatest moments — disastrous failures, all — is about as pointless as picking out your 10 least favorite hemorrhoids: There are entirely too many of them, and taken together they all add up to a throbbing mass of pain. But unfortunately, history demands that we at least make the effort so that future generations will understand why we perform voodoo rituals cursing Bush’s memory before we go to bed every night.

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Book Review: Behind Enemy Lines

December 30, 2008 by Doug Porter
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Author/Activist Michael Steinberg has patched together over sixty posts from over the last half dozen years, written mostly for Independent Media Centers around the country, along with a few published right here at the OB Rag. His narratives, mostly written with a feeling of being in the heat of the moment, are grouped together into five parts: the Anti-Iraq War Movement, Post Katrina New Orleans, the Battle for Public Housing in New Orleans, Entergy Corporation and Their Nuclear Ambitions, and various Bay area protests, including the “No on Prop 98” Campaign waged last year in defense of rent control in California.

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First Hand Account of Coal Ash Disaster in Tennessee

December 30, 2008 by Source
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This is a monumental and unprecedented environmental catastrophe. The TVA disaster is now estimated at 5.3 million cubic yards of coal ash, or almost twice as large as the 2.8 million cubic yards generated by the World Trade Center collapse. This spill is affecting two tributaries of the Tennessee River. The Tennessee is a major river system and a drinking water source for millions of people downstream in Chattanooga, plus Alabama, west Tennessee and Kentucky. Coal ash is the waste material captured after the coal is burned for electricity – burning coal generates about half of America’s electricity….

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National Lawyers Guild Condemns Israeli Bombardment of Gaza – San Diego Actions In Protest

December 29, 2008 by Source
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The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns Israel ‘s massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which has left over 300 dead and 1,400 wounded, with the tolls mounting. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 100 bombs in dozens of locations throughout the Gaza Strip as children left school on Saturday. The dead include men, women and children in school uniforms.

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A.G. Jerry Brown’s reversal on Prop 8: Politically courageous act of the year?

December 29, 2008 by Source
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As the year winds down, I’d like to note what I consider to be the most politically courageous act of 2008: Attorney General Jerry Brown’s decision to reverse his position and urge the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop. 8.

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Why is there so little mainstream coverage of death of Mike Connell – longtime Bush / Rove IT guru?

December 26, 2008 by Source
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Mike Connell was allegedly a linchpin in the biggest maze of White House scandal this country’s ever seen, yet the national news media is a no-show. What caused Connell’s crash is only one piece of this story.

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Christmas Morning 2008 in the Laguna Mountains

December 26, 2008 by Patty Jones

At about the time lots of folks were sitting down to a Christmas breakfast or cleaning up the remnants of a gift exchange, Frank and I were headed east, hoping to get a break in the weather and take a drive in our local mountains. Here’s a few shots of what we found, a winter wonderland, right here in the southland.

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Thinking About Going to DC for the Inauguration?

December 26, 2008 by Doug Porter
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In just a few short weeks the Bush-Cheney era will be drawing to a close. It’s a pretty exciting time; lots of Americans are making plans to visit Washington DC to participate in some fashion in the inauguration of the forty-fourth President of the United States.

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Not one penny for a premature license renewal feasibility study for San Onofre

December 24, 2008 by Staff
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Statewide and national media reported that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it would be increasing oversight at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) upon discovering that an emergency backup battery system had been inoperable for the past four years due to inadequate maintenance.

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Coal Slurry Spill Poisons Tennessee River

December 24, 2008 by Staff
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Early Monday morning a coal slurry impoundment at the TVA Kingston Power Plant near Harriman, TN burst, allowing approximately 500 million gallons of toxic coal ash to rush into the surrounding community. There were no serious injuries – perhaps the only victory in this ordeal. Monday’s spill is forty times larger than even the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the most memorable of these unnatural disasters.

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Does Obama have the Blues? Does Santa live underwater? Slow Whales, Good Props and more …

December 23, 2008 by Staff
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President-Elect Obama’s initial choices for his environmental team look promising in terms of their commitment to climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fund green jobs and develop renewable energy systems. They are certainly a breath of fresh air compared to the Lame Duck’s last minute pollution exemptions.

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Dick Cheney: The Right To Dissolve The Constitution

December 22, 2008 by Staff
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What Cheney has advanced is that the president has the right to dissolve the constitution permanently. That he has the right to commit war crimes with impunity. That there is no legal authority to which he is ever required to pay deference in a war that is his and his alone to declare and end. Now when you consider that, in Cheney’s view, these war-powers are limitless, and that war is declared not by the Congress but by the president, and can be defined against a broad, amorphous enemy such as “terrorism”, and never end, you begin to see what a dangerous man he is, and how much danger we have all been in since he seized control of the government seven years ago.

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Republican Tech ‘Guru’ and Key Witness In Ohio Election Fraud Case Killed In Suspicious Crash

December 22, 2008 by Frank Gormlie
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Late last Friday, December 19th, Republican tech “guru” Mike Connell was killed in a private plane crash in Lake Township, Ohio. He was reportedly the only one on board, and no one on the ground was injured when it went down in a residential neighborhood. Best known as the well-connected GOP computer operative who had been at the center of every Republican scandal over the past 8 years, Mike Connell was a key witness in the King-Lincoln v. Blackwell lawsuit regarding fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.

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Will scandal over a shady land deal between a college district and developers be buried under the rug after the DA exonerates everyone?

December 20, 2008 by Frank Gormlie
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On Saturday, December 13th, the Union-Tribune ran an innocuous article entitled, “DA ends probe of land sale to college,” over on page B-3. Staff writer Jennifer Vigil described very matter-of-fact-ly how the District Attorney “had cleared everyone involved in a land sale to the San Diego Community College District that benefited two politically connected developers.” Does this bury the scandal? It’s such a small scandal and involved our former ‘ballpark czar’ Mike Madigan.

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State commission approves Sunrise Powerlink project – opponents set to appeal

December 19, 2008 by Staff
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The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday cleared the way for construction of the Sunrise Powerlink, a contentious transmission line that promises to bring more reliable and renewable power from the Imperial Valley to San Diego. The 4-1 vote allows San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to move forward with the 123-mile, $1.9 billion power-line project, which could deliver enough electricity to serve 650,000 households. At the same time, it was a disappointment to for many environmentalists, who worry about the effects of 150-foot-tall towers on unspoiled deserts and mountains. “Corporate profit won out today,” said the Sierra Club’s Micah Mitrosky.

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The Rise of Locavores – The Movement for Local Cuisine (revised)

December 19, 2008 by Doug Porter
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President-elect Obama’s choice of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be Agriculture Secretary has drawn a collective thumbs down amongst progressive bloggers, perhaps best characterized by the headline at Eating Liberally: “Maybe Vilsack Won’t Suck?”. Gov. Vilsack is considered by many to be too close to the agribusiness industry to be able to enable the changes needed to reshape our national nutritional and food safety priorities. Author Michael Pollan was quoted on NPR as saying: “I was very disappointed in that news conference … not to hear Vilsack use the word ‘food’ — or ‘eaters.’ “

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The Other Side of ‘Deep Throat’: He Spied On My Friends

December 19, 2008 by Frank Gormlie
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I’ll never know for sure, but it’s possible that I was once on, ahem, extremely intimate terms with W. Mark Felt, the leak artist formerly known as Deep Throat who has now passed away. Journalists and many others lionizing the former FBI official — rightly — for his contribution in helping to bring down Richard Nixon, should not overlook the fact that Felt was one of the architects of the bureau’s notorious COINTELPRO domestic spying-and-burglary campaign.

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Mark Felt – ‘Deep Throat’ of Watergate Fame – Dies: American Hero or …?

December 19, 2008 by Staff
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W. Mark Felt, who was the No. 2 official at the F.B.I. when he helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon by resisting the Watergate cover-up and becoming Deep Throat, the most famous anonymous source in American history, died Thursday. He was 95 and lived in Santa Rosa, Calif.His death was confirmed by Rob Jones, his grandson. In 2005, Mr. Felt revealed that he was the one who had secretly supplied Bob Woodward of The Washington Post with crucial leads in the Watergate affair in the early 1970s.

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Federal agency rules against San Onofre toll road – sides with Coastal Commission

December 18, 2008 by Staff
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The Department of Commerce on Thursday upheld the California Coastal Commission’s rejection of a proposed 16-mile toll road extension that would cut through San Onofre State Beach, one of the state’s most popular parks. Federal officials determined that lengthening state Route 241 is not essential to national security and mentioned at least one viable alternative path.

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Iraq Ambassador Addresses Growing Demand to Free Iraqi Journalist-Shoe-Thrower

December 18, 2008 by Frank Gormlie
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In D.C. yesterday morning, the Iraq Ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaida’ie, paused during a presentation to address a handful of women from CODEPINK who were holding signs in the audience reading “Free al-Zaidi” and “al-Zaidi speaks for me.” The signs were to show support for the Iraqi journalist who was taken into police custody after throwing his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference on Sunday.

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Iraqi Parliament In Uproar Over Reporter Who Threw Shoes at Bush

December 17, 2008 by Staff
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A session of the Iraqi Parliament erupted in uproar on Wednesday as lawmakers clashed over how to respond to the continuing detention of an Iraqi television reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad news conference earlier this week. As Parliament began to discuss legislation on the withdrawal from Iraq of armed forces, a group of lawmakers demanded that the legislature instead take up the issue of the detained journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, 29.

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OB Rag T-shirts have arrived ! Get ’em while they’re hot !

December 17, 2008 by Frank Gormlie
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OB Rag blog T-shirts have arrived. Get them while they’re hot. Sizes are medium, large, and X-large, and for a $20 donation with $2 handling, we’ll mail them to you.

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San Diego’s Fire Pits Saved by Anonymous Gift

December 16, 2008 by Staff
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The anonymous donation of $259,500 to save San Diego’s beach fire pits has provided a little holiday warmth for a city that is cold, broke and desperate for help. The unexpected gesture, announced yesterday, led many San Diegans to heap praise on the unknown benefactor and renewed fond memories of a beach tradition that has spanned generations.

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A-men Brother Jon!

December 16, 2008 by Patty Jones
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Watch the video!

“Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality and the protections that we have for religion… we protect religion… and talk about a lifestyle choice, that is absolutely a choice.”

Mike Huckabee gets an earful from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show

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Federal Reserve Refuses to Disclose Who Got $2 Trillion In Loans From Taxpayers

December 15, 2008 by Staff
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The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Bloomberg filed suit Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs, most created during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

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‘A Craigslist for Service’

December 15, 2008 by Staff
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BY CRAIG NEWMAN: A lot of Americans go into service professions, but most have other means of employment, and need to find ways to help that complement their lives. To be really fair, this requires time and/or money that might be lacking; for example, a single parent putting kids through college is already more than busy. Here, I’m focusing on people who might have a little extra. Here are four possible aspects of “a craigslist for service,” and my suggestions for the Obama Administration.

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A rainy day story …

December 15, 2008 by Doug Porter
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BY DOUG PORTER: It’s a dark and stormy day here in San Diego. TV news crews are running footage of waves breaking around the OB pier (caused by unusually high tides), traffic will undoubtedly be snarled and a cold rain is falling everywhere. It’s hard to believe in the middle of all this wetness that the region is facing water rationing in the very near future. California’s reservoirs are at their lowest levels in 14 years. Two years of drought combined with restrictions on supply from the state water project may bring mandatory rationing in the early months of 2009.

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San Onofre Nuclear Plant: Highest Childhood Leukemia Death Rates

December 13, 2008 by Michael Steinberg
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A recent study found that childhood (ages 0-19) leukemia mortality rates around US nuclear power plants have been significantly higher than the national average.
“The plant with the largest local population is the San Onofre installation in Southern California, located on the border of San Diego and Orange Counties. Results are also presented for this site…and a [statistically] significant increase in leukemia for children aged 0-9 [41% higher than the national rate] and 10-19 [29.5% higher] was observed.”

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Okay, San Diego, we live in a desert and it’s about to rain buckets – so, get out your buckets

December 13, 2008 by Frank Gormlie
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It has already rained half an inch at the coast Monday. There are predictions of from 1 to 3 inches of rain at the coast over the next few days. So what does that mean for us in San Diego? Not much for most of us, living here as we do in paradise. No one has prepared us for what to do. But that is going to change.
It’s about to rain buckets, so, I say, get out the buckets, the barrels, get out anything you can to capture rain water in. Why?
Remember, we still live in a desert.

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