Welcome to August, San Diego. Let’s start the month off right by cutting through the crap that UT-San Diego publisher Doug Manchester and his motley crews of spinmeisters are trying to pass off as reality. Sometimes they simply ignore news that has importance to wide swaths of the population, sometimes they simply twist the truth, and sometimes they simply lie. We’ve got great examples of all these ‘truth bending’ techniques, and hope you’ll come along for the ride. There are “lie-sickness’ bags available for those of you who feel may feel ill as we proceed along on our journey, please feel free to use them….
If you read today’s daily newspaper for our fair city you wouldn’t know that today is a momentous day for an estimated 47 million women in the United States. If you merely browsed the front page (or heard Carl DeMaio doing his ‘victory lap’ on the local electronic media), you might be under the impression that all systems were “go” for an overhaul of the City’s pension system. And if you were a regular reader, you might be under the impression that our region’s economic security was endangered by looming cuts in the defense budget, cuts that certainly must be the fault of our current Commander in Chief. Let’s start with the biggie…
August 1st marks the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that affect women in this country over the course of the coming year. Every health insurance policy provided by employers must now include a package of preventive and diagnostic care for women without co-pays or deductibles. This change means that women and their doctors, not their insurance companies, will make decisions about a woman’s care. No longer will women have to choose between taking care of their families first and putting off their own health care needs.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, women in private plans and Medicare already have received potentially life-saving services, such as mammograms, cholesterol screenings and flu shots at no extra cost. Today, the law builds on these benefits, requiring new, non-grandfathered private health plans to offer eight additional screenings and tests for adolescent and adult women at no extra charge. These include:
Gestational diabetes screenings that help protect the mother and her child from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
FDA-approved contraceptive products, which have proven health benefits like a reduced risk of cancer and protecting against osteoporosis.
Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
Sexually transmitted infections counseling.
HIV screening and counseling.
The reason for this omission, by the way, is that publisher “Papa Doug” Manchester stands solidly behind the reactionary forces that are attacking the contraception coverage requirement because of the claim that the provision violates religious liberty.
The difference between a battle and a war… The city’s labor unions lost yesterday in an attempt to get a court ordered halt to the implementation of the voter approved changes to the city charter that will replace the current pension plan for future employees with a 401(k) plan. Proposition B, as the amendments were called on the June ballot, is still facing substantial legal challenges. Judge Vargas’ ruling simply means that while the city can proceed with implementation, the door is still wide open for a future ruling that will force the San Diego to undo all those changes. The ultimate decision on the legality of the plan could be years away. (To be fair, the UT writer does mention this fact)
The agency where all these deliberations will start, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) —a quasi-judicial administrative agency charged with administering California’s the collective bargaining statutes– finds itself tarred with the UT-SD’s ‘union-friendly’ / ‘radical’ brush on today’s’ editorial page. Why? (Quoting the editorial) “Because direct democracy – voters forcing change at the ballot box – is the best check on union power that Californians have.” The reality of PERB’s track record in decisions (split, but more pro management than anti) is a fact that escapes notice by the effete editorialists in Mission Valley, as is the concept of having checks and balances in government to protect the rights of all citizens.
The Daily Fishwrap has also been part and parcel of a campaign lately to convince its readers that San Diegans’ livelihoods (and national security!) are imperiled by budget cuts at the Pentagon due to take place at the end of the year. Mayor Sanders’ trip to Washington DC and a bevy of pundits have been on the receiving end of lots of coverage, none of which mentions the inconvenient fact Congress (including Republicans) approved this deal. We’ll excerpt from an editorial entitled “The Truth About Military Cuts” in today’s New York Times to tell you the story, lest you think I’m making this up:
Republican lawmakers started a fire last year when they created a debt-ceiling crisis to force cuts in spending. Now that it is beginning to damage their most treasured military programs, they are blaming President Obama for not putting it out.
“It’s all the president’s fault” seems to be the theme of a tour led by Senator John McCain this week of states with a large military presence. Mr. McCain and two other Republican senators are scaring town-hall meetings with warnings that military bases will be closed and civilian employees will be laid off by the thousands.
Mr. Obama has been very clear about his terms: No deal without revenue increases and without addressing the domestic half of the sequester that Republicans never seem to mention in their denunciations. How many people at the meetings knew that the bill supported by Mr. McCain would also lead to the layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers, closings of national parks, reductions in food inspections, and cutbacks at the F.B.I. and the Border Patrol? The overall budget deal reduces domestic spending significantly more than defense.
Last but not least, we have “coverage” of Presidential candidate Willard Romney’s venture into international affairs. The UT-SD wire service story tucked inside the paper calls the results of the trip “uneven”. Here are three paragraphs excerpted from the same wire service [different story] that tell another side to the story:
BERLIN (AP) — The British were offended, the Palestinians accused him of racism and even in friendlier Poland, Mitt Romney’s union policies drew criticism from the current leaders of the movement that toppled Communism…
…The designated Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wanted to demonstrate foreign policy expertise and diplomatic skills with his trip to Britain, Israel and Poland,” the Swiss newspaper Tages-Zeitung said Tuesday. “Today, on the last day of the tour, he must be made to admit that he clearly missed this target.”…
…”The striking comparison here is with George W. Bush,” the London newspaper The Independent fumed. “Even the bumbling, gaffe-prone Dubya appears diplomatically agile next to the supposedly urbane Mr. Romney.”..
Finally, at least for today’s rant against the misinformed Mission Valley minions, local entrepreneur Benjamin Katz felt motivated enough by a UT story posted online late yesterday pooh-poohing local coverage of polls (that were favorable to Democratic candidates in the fall elections) to take to Twitter to ask the question:
Maybe some good news for North Park… Word comes, via a posting at the SDReader by David Batterson, that the long-vacant old Woolworth building on University Avenue (once the site of civil rights protests aimed at desegregating its lunch counter) may be revitalized as an Irish Bar and restaurant by the owners of OB’s Gallagher’s and the Harp. And then again, it may not happen. Neighborhood residents have taken a keen interest in potential new liquor licensees, spurred on by complaints of rowdy patrons wandering nearby streets at night and parking issues. The Reader article notes the current condition of the property:
The building’s glass front is now covered with graffiti, paint blotches, scratches, and dirt. Pigeon droppings are provided by the “rats with wings” living in the building.
In memorium: Gore Vidal, American author, playwright, died yesterday at age 86. Even though I once worked as a researcher for Norman Mailer (they were arch enemies), I consider Vidal to have been one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. A couple of poignant Tweets from last nights twitterverse, by way of farewell:
Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff)
Gore Vidal dreaded the idea of an afterlife, because it would mean he’d have to see Norman Mailer again. Rest In Peace.
I have the same feeling I got when [Christopher] Hitchens died. Like: Be a writer. Say whatever you want to say because you’re gonna die. RIP#gorevidal
Feed your mind: Tonight’s the night, starting at 7:30pm! Voice of San Diego is hosting the third “Meeting of the Minds” arts and culture event, a cultural mash-up that’s proven to be wildly successful (SRO!) in past incarnations. This time around they’re using the ‘Lemon’ (#7) level atop downtown’s Horton Plaza parking garage, which they’re promising to convert into an ‘unusual outdoor meeting space’. Speakers from various arts disciplines will introduce you to their worlds—it may sound wonkish, but, as past participants will attest, there’ll be plenty going on to stimulate the senses as well as the mind.
SanDiegoFreePress.org editor/writer Anna Daniels, also known as a “retired librarian”, is among the speakers. She’ll be talking about ‘stretching musical sensibilities’. Trust me, she’s very entertaining. Other speakers, no doubt equally interesting, include: UC San Diego’sAlexandra Hubenko, manager of a project that’s trying to uncover a hidden daVinci painting, Martin Poirier, a landscape architect, on the new federal courthouse’s luminous art, San Diego Symphony bassist Jory Herman on learning a giant instrument, Lauren Popp, an assistant curator at the New Children’s Museum, on artist-invented spaces like Space 4 Art in East Village and San Diego Ballet co-director Javier Velasco on debunking stereotypes with drama.
On This Day… In 1834 slavery was outlawed in the British empire. In 1960 Elvis Presley was named Public Enemy #1 by the East German newspaper, “Young World.” In 1973 the movie “American Graffiti” opened.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm
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 to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.
This article originally appeared at San Diego Free Press.