Supreme Insanity: How the High Court is Killing Our Democracy

April 7, 2014 by Source

RooseveltBy Jim Miller

Last week was a very bad week for American democracy. With the McCutcheon v. FEC decision, the Supreme Court of the United States dealt a sweeping blow to existing campaign finance laws that seek to limit the influx of money in American politics.

In the wake of the Citizens United case that opened the door for big spending by Super PACS and dark money, this ruling takes another step towards plutocracy by striking down overall limits on campaign contributions. By doing so McCutcheon rudely thrusts us further into a new Gilded Age where our economy and our politics are thoroughly dominated by a small minority of the opulent.

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Ernie McCray: Speaking Straight from the Heart

April 7, 2014 by Staff

Ernie McCray Unsung Hero

Recipient of the Phi Delta Kappa Unsung Hero Award

By Staff

On April 3, Ernie McCray was honored by the San Diego Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an international association for professional educators. The Kappan awards bestowed earlier in the evening were for individuals and organizations that have made a substantive difference for those wishing to become educators and for children within the school system.

Ernie’s award came later in the evening, after the recognition of Partner in Education, Educator of the Year, and Leadership. Those of us who know Ernie would be hard pressed to sum up his presence and contributions in just one category– he is known by thousands of students, parents and colleagues as an extraordinary educator; he has been a tireless advocate for peace and justice in the streets and in our schools; you can find him from time to time on a stage, acting and reading his poetry; and he has a following on the San Diego Free Press and OB Rag where he contributes essays and poetry. Unsung Hero is a pretty good fit and that was his award designation.

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OB Elementary Crosswalk Coming In Over Spring Break

April 4, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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UPDATE: A sign on Santa Monica Boulevard says the street will be closed through April 14 between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street. So much for the project getting done by the end of spring break. Good luck to all the parents taking their kids to school this week. It should be interesting.

By Matthew Wood

It’s not all fun and games at Ocean Beach Elementary School during spring break.

Santa Monica Avenue has been closed between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street all week as workers have been frantically trying to finish putting in a much-anticipated crosswalk outside the school.

The project was supposed to be finished before students came back on Monday, but as of Friday morning, there was still a big hole in the street and a construction crew working frantically to get the job done. Rain earlier in the week helped to delay the construction.

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SeaWorld Attendance Drops Amid Blackfish Controversy

April 4, 2014 by Source
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By Hugo Martin / LA Times / April 2, 2014

Amid ongoing controversy over its killer whale shows, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. reported a 13% drop in attendance for the first three months of the year.

The attendance numbers were included in a notice to the Securities and Exchange Commission that SeaWorld was buying 1.75 million of its own shares from Blackstone Group.

The notice said attendance for the three-month period that ended March 31 dropped to about 3.05 million visitors from 3.5 million in the same period in 2013.

In previous reports, SeaWorld officials noted that attendance numbers may change with the shift of holidays in the calendar. Easter, for example, took place in the first quarter of 2013, but in 2014 the holiday falls in the second quarter.

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UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

April 4, 2014 by Source

Strikers disrupt classes and block public thoroughfares in protest against unfair labor practices while upper level administrators continue to receive exorbitant salaries and enjoy a culture of lavish living

By Daniel Gutiérrez

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

Graduate students at the University of California, San Diego represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2865 initiated a two-day strike Wednesday, April 2nd, that will end today Friday, April 4th. The strike at UCSD is part of a statewide action occurring at all the campuses of the University of California for these reasons.

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Prune Nourry: French Artist’s Terracotta Daughters Are on the Move

April 4, 2014 by Source
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Editor: The following article and photos were sent to us from Paris, France, by Mic Porte, a community activist who lives in Pacific Beach who is visiting Europe with her daughter.

By Mic Porte

I love Paris, the city where people will stand attentively in line for hours to view an art exposition. Galleries, book stores and theaters are always packed. In France, food is art, clothing is art, life is art, and art is in their hearts from the beginning of recorded time– think of the beautiful Lascaux prehistoric cave paintings.

French children are taught art appreciation from day one and it reflects in the architecture and design and lifestyle all around the country. Visual art. The French invented photography and cinema to further the reach of art for the modern world. They are not afraid to expand the boundaries of acceptability, always challenging our perspective of the world, from Impressionism to Dadaism.

The 2014 Spring Equinox heralds the arrival of one of their own, Prune Nourry, young woman sculptress and multimedia artist, and her astonishing and powerful army of Terracotta Daughters, come to Paris to change the world. There is one word to describe this art show: Awesome.

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The Blue Dot Refill in OB: First Eco-soap Self-serve Refill Store in San Diego

April 4, 2014 by Source

By Joe Moreno

What happens when a lawyer leaves Corporate America to get in touch with her inner hippie?

She opens San Diego’s first eco-soap self-serve refill store in Ocean Beach to do her part to keep our world plastic-free. Less than a month ago, Deidre Prozinski opened Blue Dot Refill next to Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Co-op on Voltaire Street. Within days of hanging out her shingle – and without any marketing or advertising – she hit her first milestone: $100 in sales in a single day, thanks, in part, to being right next to a co-op with like-minded customers.

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Point Loma High School Takes Honors as Best Surf Team

April 4, 2014 by Source
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from Surfer Today

Point Loma High School has conquered the San Diego stage of the 2014 Oakley High School Surf Team Challenge, held at Seaside Reef in Cardiff, California.

Ten teams of four surfers each from area high schools competed in the fun rippable swell on offer.

But at the close of the final, only one team could claim the honor of best San Diego area High School Surf Team and this year’s honor went to Point Loma High School.

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If We Don’t Connect It to Race and Class, Then Green Politics Is Just High-End Consumerism

April 4, 2014 by Source

greenpovertyInstead of advocating “green” lifestyles that are financially and culturally inaccessible to millions of Americans, artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph proposes we ask a single, crucial question that connects race, class and ecology: What sustains life in a community?

By Marc Bamuthi Joseph / Creative Time Reports

As environmentalism goes mainstream, corporations are marketing the word “green” as a panacea for the world’s climate crisis. Today the word describes a set of prescribed, mostly consumerist actions: buy local, organic and fresh; go vegan; eat in season; skip the elevator; take the stairs. “Green” has come to mean shopping at Whole Foods and possessing a Prius. Meanwhile, leading corporate polluters like BP and Exxon Mobil place commercials on CNN advertising their “green” practices.

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Ocean Beach Planners Elect New Officers, Make Appointments and Approve Project on Muir

April 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Ruscitti Elected New Chair

At their monthly meeting last night (Wed., April 2), the Ocean Beach Planning Board appointed two new members and elected their officers for the upcoming year.

Two veterans of the Board, Jane Gawronski and Seth Connolly, were appointed to vacancies on the normal-14-member Board. Jane was appointed to District 5 and Seth to District 4. With the departure of Barbara Schmidtknecht from the Board, and with the additions of Connolly and Gawronski, the Board now stands at 11 members.

Tom Gawronksi announced that Board member Bill Bushe is having major medical problems and he doubted that Bushe would be able to return to his seat.

For those who are seeking future appointments to the Board next month, there are 2 confirmed vacancies in District 1 and 7, and maybe a vacancy in District 4.

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News Round-Up for OB, Beaches and Peninsula

April 3, 2014 by Staff
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District 2 Appointment Decision Moved Up to April 7

Chet Barfield – rep for the currently vacant District 2 Council seat – announced at recent community meetings that the appointment decision on who replaces Kevin Faulconer for the remainder of his term has been moved up. The new date is now April 7 – …

Steer clear of the ocean directly following rainfall

The County’s Department of Environmental Health Wednesday issued a general advisory to beachgoers to stay out of the water for the next 72 hours due to the recent rainfall. …

April Calendar for OB

    San Diego Soliciting Bids for Improvement Mission Beach Lifeguard Station While OB’s Older Lifeguard Station Is Ignored ….

    And much more ….

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A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

April 3, 2014 by Source
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By Byron Morton

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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Extreme Weather Watch: March 2014

April 3, 2014 by Source

Winter Weather Made a $55 Billion Hit to US Economy

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

weather5The winter of 2014 broke records and budgets. NBC News reported that the economy took a $55 billion hit because of the extreme winter weather. There was $5.5 billion in damage to homes, businesses, agriculture and infrastructure.

Cities had additional costs for salt for roads and asphalt for potholes. There were more than 30,000 potholes in Toledo, OH alone. The companies that supply salt and asphalt are making a fortune. This winter also saw 79.3 inches of snow falling in Chicago where there were 23 days below zero.

In California drought covers 99.8% of the state. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically holds at least half of all the water that will flow to the state’s farms and cities each year, is at just one-fourth of its normal level.

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CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

April 3, 2014 by Source

By Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima / The Washington Post / March 31, 2014

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.

The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.

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UCSD Grad Students Protest Controversial Employment Policy

April 3, 2014 by Source

UCSD grad students protesting.Doctoral students rally against the 18 Quarter Limit

By Daniel Gutiérrez

La Jolla, California — Students at the University of California, San Diego stormed the Office of Graduate Studies Tuesday, April 1, to protest a controversial employment policy implemented across the University of California.

The “18 Quarter Limit” restricts doctoral students by only allotting them 18 quarters to be teaching assistants, readers, or graduate student researchers. Such positions, if secured, reduce a graduate student’s tuition from roughly $5,200 a quarter to a mere $196. The action came on the eve of the two-day strike that will be held April 2nd and 3rd at UCSD.

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“If I could sit down with SeaWorld executives, I would share my vision …”

April 2, 2014 by Source
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By Cara Wilson-Granat

If I could sit down with the Sea World executives, I would share my vision for their new park.

Since I’m an incurable optimist I believe that wishes do in time come true. I’ve dedicated my life to talking and writing about the power of hope — even when all seems so hopeless. Indeed, one of the most famous Holocaust survivors was the one who told me that “Even if the end of the world would be imminent, you still plant a tree today.” Those words were expressed to me years ago by the father of Anne Frank, Otto Frank. He gave me hope as he did a worldwide global family.

So surrounded by others who are strong believers in seeing a harmonious world for orcas, dolphins, indeed, all captive beings I appeal to Sea World to “sea” your next 50 years as the one we all wish to celebrate.

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Reader Rant: OB Needs More Tenants On Planning Board

April 2, 2014 by Source

By OB Joe

Just noticing that there are 5 potential open seats on the OB Planning Board, I have a special plea to the Board:

Please Appoint Some Tenants !

Six out of every 7 OBceans are people who rent – tenants. And from I can remember of the goals of the OB Planning Board in the beginning – yea, I was there – the planning committee is supposed to represent and reflect the makeup of the citizens, property owners and businesses of OB.

But 6 out of 7 are renters, who don’t own property and who don’t own businesses. In my interpretation, that means that the Board ought to have a large majority of renters on it.

So how many tenants or renters are on the present OB Planning Board?

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Wanderings in OB – Our Concrete Canvases

April 2, 2014 by Source
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By Chuck Cofer

On my recent OB wanderings I tried to document some of the “concrete canvases” that decorate our sidewalks and buildings.

I’m not sure where the line is between illegal graffiti and art but in general I feel these colorful, inspirational, informative, historical, and sometimes humorous works represent the freedom of expression and lifestyle many OBceans revel in.

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So They Are All … All Honorable Men

April 2, 2014 by Source

honorable menBy Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner

San Diegans are no dummies. We know what happens to politically independent, outspoken, public-minded individuals who are brash enough to shake things up. They get maligned, noogied, humiliated, sent packing. Open your mouth too wide in this city and… you’re dead meat.

So we’re polite and genteel. Why look for trouble? Yes, the public gets screwed over and over again but we’ve learned to turn the other cheek. Forgive and forget — that’s our MO.

We swoon over the nice guys, especially the ones with agreeable manners. Like our avuncular ex-mayor Jerry Sanders, our puckish council president Todd Gloria, our sunkissed mayor Kevin Faulconer — honorable men beyond public reproach. Even when they’re plotting to pull the rug out from under us.

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OB Planners: Election of Officers, Board Appointments and Demolition of Near-Century Old House on Muir

April 2, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach Planning Board holds its monthly meeting tonight – Wed., April 2nd – at the OB Rec Center, located at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue, at 6 pm sharp.

First on their potentially busy agenda after the normal quorem-agenda-minutes housekeeping is the certification of the Board’s most recent election – held on March 11th. This is usually a pro forma procedure.

Board Appointments

Next is the decision on whether there will be any appointments to the Board itself. At the most recent OB Town Council meeting, the liaison with the planners, Gio Ignolia, announced that there are 5 appointments available – two in the all-important District 4, and one each in Districts 5, 6 and 7. And there are indications that several people have applied for an appointment. If applicant candidates qualify, then the full Board votes them up or down.

(For an intro to OB’s 7 planning districts, go here.)

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“You know you’re from OB if …”

April 1, 2014 by Source
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Editor: Some folks in and around OB have started a facebook page entitled “You know you’re from OB if …” and people post comments about their memories of OB past. This latest one by local Melissa Brown was particularly endearing and so we repost it in its entirety.

By Melissa Brown

You know you’re from OB if you …

  • Remember Steve Rogow and The Ram Band, Slant or The Balzi Band set up on the grass both in between Hodads and the sand, or the grass on the pier side of the lifeguard tower.
  • Remember the same bands plus the Hurricanes playing at LeChalet.
  • Went to parties at Red House and saw either The Ram Band or Jambalaya play
  • Spent countless hours sitting on the wall outside the arcade next door people watching with Adam and John
  • Drove out at dog beach and got your car stuck in the channel when the tide rose.
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March Madness Bringing out “The Thinker” in Me

April 1, 2014 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

My highlight of the 2014 March Madness Tournament was the Arizona Wildcat win over the San Diego State Aztecs in the Sweet 16. What a great game.

It was, however, a bittersweet win for me because, although I used to play for the U of A and the school is in Tucson, the town in which I made my debut as a homosapien, the Aztecs are my team too as San Diego is the town I came to when I decided that my “running around looking for shade trees” days were through. So my rejoicing after the game was somewhat tame. But I did do a little jig. For about an hour.

But no matter who ended up as the victor it would have been a win-win situation for me in that I absolutely love both teams and SDSU had an opportunity to reach the field of eight teams for the first time. That would have been wonderful for them. But It’s going to happen someday at some time. I like that their coach feels the same way and tells his guys so. Such stated beliefs would be music to an athlete’s ear. It’s how hopes are inspired, especially when the notion is realistic as it is with the boys from Montezuma Mesa.

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Cookie Store Review: “The CraVory” in the Midway

April 1, 2014 by Judi Curry
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“The CraVory”
3960 W. Point Loma Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110

When cupcake stores began to open up in San Diego, I visited a few of them to see what the offerings were for the day. Some of them were very pretty; some of them were very tasty; some of them unique. But they all had the same thing in common – they were, in my estimation – very expensive.

My handyman – Warren – asked me the other day if I had been to “The CraVory” yet, and when I look puzzled he told me it was a store that sells only cookies. Granted, a variety of cookies, but just cookies. He told me he had tried some, and thought they were good, but, …

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Workshop on Saratoga Park Slated for April 8

April 1, 2014 by Source
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OBCDC Holding Public Meeting to Discuss Proposed Improvements for Park at Foot of Saratoga Ave.

The Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation is sponsoring the first of several public meetings and workshops on their proposed improvements for Saratoga Park, this one to be held on Tuesday, April 8th. It will be at the OB Rec Center.

According to the OBCDC press release, the workshop purpose is a discussion on conceptual improvements, which include:

  • a small children’s playground,
  • fitness stations and
  • individual seating
  • and related improvements

Saratoga Park is located located at the foot of Saratoga Avenue, west of Abbott Street immediately north of the parking lot at the Lifeguard Station.

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OB Planning Board Agenda for April 2, 2014

March 31, 2014 by Staff

Here is the agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board April meeting. The Board meets in the meeting room of the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica, at 6pm sharp.

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City’s Decision to Install “No Turn on Red” Signs at Voltaire and Catalina Is Flawed – Signs Should Come Down

March 31, 2014 by Source
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Editor: In January our Judi Curry warned readers that the City was no longer allowing right turns on red at the intersection of Voltaire Street and Catalina Boulevard. Geoff Page – a former member of the Peninsula Community Planning Board – vowed to get to the bottom of it. So, here is his the result of his research and analysis.

‘No Right Turn On Red’ Signs at Busy Intersection Should Be Removed

By Geoff Page / Special to the OB Rag

It has taken longer than I hoped but I do have the story about the No Right Turn On Red sign installed at Catalina/Famosa and Voltaire last September.

The road to this information was much longer than it should have been, considering the subject matter, and it required patience and aggressive persistence. The shame of it is that this isn’t a scandalous expose; this is information about placement of traffic signs. The signs are on southbound Famosa at Voltaire. Famosa becomes Catalina once you cross Voltaire. The turn restriction is from southbound Famosa to westbound Voltaire.

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Slightly Stoopid’s Miles Doughty on Ocean Beach Life, Tour Life, and Taking Control of Their Destiny

March 31, 2014 by Source
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By K.C. Libman / Phoenix New Times

Few bands remain as succinctly Californian and categorically challenging as San Diego’s Slightly Stoopid. Signed to the late Bradley Nowell’s Skunk Records in 1995, they’re an act that’s been a signed Golden State institution for almost 20 years, carving out their niche by pulling together a variety of genres into a melding that’s all their own. Having been road dogs for the entirety of their career, even after two decades, they still wouldn’t have it any other way, tribulations and personalities aside.

“You can’t be lazy as a touring artist,” says frontman and founding member Miles Doughty.

“So many bands just want that quick success when you need to have longevity. We’ve never been a band that’s exploded on the radio, that had any Top 10 singles, but we’re a band that draws people to shows, and that’s the difference — we can always tour. We strive to have the longevity in being on the road.”

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Review: the Brown Bag Deli

March 31, 2014 by Source
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By Kathy Blavatt

Brown Bag Deli
1912 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92106

For a couple years in the 1980s, my husband and I lived in Roseville, and Brown Bag Deli was our favorite deli (besides Pomas). Located on Rosecrans across from NTC, Brown Bag Deli is much like its name, very basic when it come to atmosphere.

What made my early experiences of this deli special was the heavenly smell of fresh baked bread coming out of their large ovens in the early lunch hours.

The sandwiches are delicious, reasonably priced and there is a long menu list to choose from. The large size can easily be split between two people. Also, they have 3-foot and 6-foot sandwiches that can feed large groups and parties.

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A Green Balboa Park Centennial Celebration for 2015

March 31, 2014 by Source

By Lori Saldaña / San Diego Free Press

green globeAs George Santayana famously observed: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But in the case of the Pan-American centennial planning, organizers need to learn from the history of the event to help them re-create its grandeur and appeal, and make the 2015 Balboa Park centennial a celebration of innovation, rooted in the first Exhibition’s origins.

Here’s a brief statement of the original events’ main theme: “The purpose of the Panama-California Exposition is to illustrate the progress and possibility of the human race, not for the exposition only, but for a permanent contribution to the world’s progress.”

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Zen and the Art of Baseball

March 31, 2014 by Jim Miller

IMG_4475By Jim Miller

It’s spring and opening week is here and that makes me very happy. Baseball helps me live. It’s perhaps the best American manifestation of the kind of daily ritual that enables us to achieve a small portion of the balance and harmony we need to provide ballast against the chaos of the world.

Whether it’s playing the game or simply contemplating it, baseball provides one with precisely the kind of focused yet purposeless activity that can take you out to the ballgame and into the heart of the moment.

It’s the stillness at the heart of the game that I love, the empty space out of which motion and grace emerge–the pregnant nothing that gives birth to the artful something. And baseball, like art, is gorgeously useless and inefficiently slow.

Perhaps that slowness is why baseball has given ground to the more brutal, time-driven, managerially efficient game of football. We go from the Taylorized, competitive realm of the corporate world to a gladiatorial weekend on the gridiron that celebrates many of the same values.

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