Fukushima Meltdown – US Sailors Sue Japanese Electrical Company

April 14, 2014 by Source

050629-N-5060B-006By Kathleen Gilberd

Three years ago, a massive earthquake led to a triple melt-down and explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the wake of the disaster, the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was sent to Honshu Island, where the reactor is located, to render aid as part of Operation Tomadachi (Friendship). With the ship as close as a mile off shore, sailors worked 18-hour days to rescue civilians in the radiation area.

Now sailors from the Ronald Reagan have filed a one billion dollar class action suit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), owner of the nuclear plant, alleging that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, far in excess of what TEPCO told the Navy to expect. There are over 100 plaintiffs in the class action, which was filed in San Diego on February 6

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Why We Need Media Critics Who Are Fiercely Independent

April 14, 2014 by Source
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By Norman Solomon / NormanSolomonwebsite

The most renowned media critics are usually superficial and craven. That’s because — as one of the greatest in the 20th century, George Seldes, put it — “the most sacred cow of the press is the press itself.”

No institutions are more image-conscious than big media outlets. The people running them know the crucial importance of spin, and they’ll be damned if they’re going to promote media criticism that undermines their own pretenses.

To reach the broad public, critics of the media establishment need amplification from . . . the media establishment. And that rarely happens unless the critique is shallow.

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5 Popular Home Products That Can Be Surprisingly Toxic

April 14, 2014 by Source
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If you thought you were safe from pollutants around the house, think again.

By Cliff Weathers / AlterNet

We love the convenience and the comfort they bring us, but some of our most popular consumer products can come at a heavy price to our personal health. We all try being careful, removing the known hazards from our households, yet there are many products that you likely have in your home that you probably didn’t know were toxic. Here are five that might shock you:

1. Candles.Few things are better at adding atmosphere to a room than candles. But as those candles fill the room with warm light, they’re also filling it up with harmful gases and sediments. …

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“Taxifornia” Dreaming: Who Really Pays Taxes in California?

April 14, 2014 by Jim Miller

California-300x300By Jim Miller

Tomorrow is tax day, and we are likely to hear the usual histrionics from the pity the millionaire crowd about how the draconian taxes on the affluent and businesses in “Taxifornia” are killing growth and jobs and driving folks out of the state.

There is only one problem with this—it’s not true. Indeed, far from the socialist hamlet that the anti-tax zealots like to portray us as, California’s tax system is still more regressive than progressive.

This is documented in the California Budget Project’s (CPB) Annual report “Who Pays Taxes in California?” that shows that, “Contrary to the oft-repeated claim that high-income Californians pay an unfair amount of taxes, it is actually California’s low-income households who pay the largest share of their incomes in state and local taxes.”

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Press Conferences and Vanity Shovels Cannot Hide the Truth About San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure

April 11, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Newly elected Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s been on quite a tear lately, putting forth a smiling face at press conferences in various neighborhoods around the city. Yesterday cameras rolled as the mayor and local politicos including Councilman Todd Gloria posed and preened over a gateway renovation project on 25th Street in Golden Hill.

Hizzoner says he’s making good on campaign promises to direct more monies (50% of revenue growth, as I recollect) toward street and infrastructure repair. He proudly announced yesterday that $22 million of the anticipated $35 million growth in next year’s inflow would be dedicated to that cause.

It played real well on TV. Sadly, the truth of the situation is that revenue growth, which will likely come from an improving economy, can’t even begin to address the $1 billion hole San Diego faces when it comes to the basic the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed locally.

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The Shopping Mall’s Socialist Pre-History

April 11, 2014 by Source

via WikipediaThe inventor of the American suburban shopping mall was a socialist. Could his creation have been saved?

By / Jacobin Magazine

The American landscape is littered with hundreds of dead shopping malls. In places like the vast Buckingham Square Mall in Aurora, Colo., which has stood empty since 2007, the indoor fountains have stopped running, but the prosthetic plants inside remain eerily green. More will join them. It’s said that 15% of American malls will close in the next ten years.

The biggest shopping mall in the world, the New South China Mall in Dongguan, is also a dead mall. Opening in 2005, it boasted seven zones, each based on major international cities and featuring including a replica Arc de Triumph and a Venetian canal complete with gondolas. However, the mall has remained 99% vacant since its opening. Aside from a cluster of fast food restaurants near its entrance, the mall is a network of vast, empty atria and mothballed cinemas and roller coasters.

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Carl DeMaio’s À la Carte Campaign

April 11, 2014 by Source
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Editor: OB and Point Loma plus much of the Mission Beach and PB areas are within the 52nd Congressional District that Democrat Scott Peters now holds. His main opponent in the upcoming election is our old friend Republican Carl DeMaio, former mayoral candidate for San Diego. (We call him ‘friend’ because he always gives us so much to write about.)

By Lucas O’Connor

Carl DeMaio is running for Congress. You may have heard. And even though he’s had the misfortune of writing down and voting on major issues for more than a decade, so far his campaign is predicated on hoping that nobody notices in spite of article after article after article after article chronicling his career.

The attempts to fake a newfound moderation on social issues have been well chronicled, but if you don’t believe him, don’t ask him… He refuses to talk about civil rights issues even as the Republican leadership Carl’s running to empower continues going along with Tea Party extremists and holding votes on exactly those issues. It’s not clear if anyone’s really sat down yet and explained to Carl that you can’t actually be an à la carte Congressman, but he seems committed to trying anyhow.

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OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

April 11, 2014 by Source
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From OH&S / Apr 11, 2014

OSHA has won the appellate case involving its enforcement case against SeaWorld of Florida LLC following the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010. A 2-1 decision issued April 11 by a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that SeaWorld “recognized its precautions were inadequate to prevent serious bodily harm or even death to its trainers and that the residual hazard was preventable.”

“The remedy imposed for SeaWorld’s violations does not change the essential nature of its business,” the majority opinion written by Judge Judith W. Rogers states. “There will still be human interactions and performances with killer whales; the remedy will simply require that they continue with increased safety measures.”

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Surf Film Festival Looking for San Diego Venues

April 11, 2014 by Source
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By Promise Yee

The California Surf Festival will be showing three epic surf films at three locations in San Diego County this spring and summer. This is the sixth year for the film festival that screens surf films with amazing cinematography and compelling story lines.

“Half the surf movies out there don’t have storylines,” Sam Zuegner, California Surf Museum operations manager, said. “We focus on the other ones.

“When you see the world’s best, you’re watching an artist.”

The California Surf Museum, located in Oceanside, holds the film festival as a community outreach each year. The films share the beauty and history of the sport.

“We want to make sure we’re a well-rounded museum,” Zuegner said. “It’s a fundraiser in part, but it’s more community outreach.”

“We want to give back to the community. There’s no other surf film festivals.”

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Cal State San Marcos to Study Surfing’s Exercise Value

April 11, 2014 by Source
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From a CSUSM press release

On any given day along San Diego County’s 70 miles of coastline, thousands of surfers may be spotted in the ocean, riding waves or patiently waiting for the next one.

A new study underway at California State University San Marcos seeks hard, scientific data on whether amateur surfing is more than just fun — whether it also provides a dynamic physical workout.

A research participant at California State University San Marcos simulates paddling on a swim bench modified with a surfboard. Photo courtesy of the university A research participant at California State University San Marcos simulates paddling on a swim bench modified with a surfboard. Photo courtesy of the university

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News From Around Ocean Beach, Point Loma and Local Beaches

April 10, 2014 by Staff
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Toddler girl recovering after being bitten in face by dog on Newport Ave

A toddler is recovering at Rady Children’s Hospital after being bitten in the face by a dog in Ocean Beach on Saturday, April 5. The 22-month old girl was walking on the sidewalk with her mom when she walked over to the dog. She knelt down in the dog’s direction and the dog lunged at the girl and bit her, knocking her to the ground. Police, firefighters and animal control responded. The owner was cited, but the dog was not taken away. The child remains hospitalized Sunday in stable condition. She is expected to be OK.

The child is the daughter of Daniel Bille. (Daniel is the same one who posted a rant recently about dealing with bad neighbors in a good neighborhood.) Daniel reports: …

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Report of State Assembly Committee that Stalled the Orca Welfare and Safety Acts in Pens

April 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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From WDC / April 8, 2014

For those of us watching the live feed of the California legislative hearing on Assembly member Bloom’s orca bill (AB 2140) at the State Capitol in Sacramento, it was clear that an overwhelming number of Californians support passage of the bill. Mothers, teachers, business owners, labor interests, organizational representatives, and unaffiliated individuals of the public filed past the microphone and proclaimed their complete support for AB 2140, alongside individuals from other countries that flew in to physically present their support of the bill at the hearing.

Not only was public sentiment overwhelmingly in support of the bill, but the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee chair, Anthony Rendon, made it clear that he supports passage of the bill and recommended a ‘yes’ vote to Assembly members on moral and ethical grounds alone.

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Locals Respond to Sunset Cliffs Park Going to the Dogs

April 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Report from the Latest Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Advisory Committee Meeting

by Lois Lane

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park – the area along and at the end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd, is a Regional Park, but also a City of San Diego Park and a Beach Park. Why does any of this make a difference? For a lot of reasons, but a big one is DOGS.

Not only in the city of San Diego, but all over San Diego County, dogs in public must be on a leash.

“Away from Home: If you walk or otherwise bring a dog to public or other private property (where dogs are permitted), you must restrain the dog by a hand held leash (not longer than 6 feet in length)…”

This is the San Diego County Code.

For freedom-for-dog advocates, city of San Diego beaches present an entirely different philosophy. Leashed dogs are allowed after 6 p.m. from April 1st to October 31st or after 4:00 p.m. from November 1st to March 31st and on the beach, on sidewalks, and on park areas near the beach during the night and early morning hours until 9 a.m.

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Rogue Rooster Joke Is Cruel for All in South Ocean Beach

April 10, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Editor: The Widder Curry asks: “Is OB South going to the birds?” Her original article began well enough but within a few days in her neighborhood, the atmosphere smelled like rotten eggs, with neighbor pitted against neighbor. Help us figure out what is going on in the usual placid southern reaches of Ocean Beach.

by Judi Curry

When I wrote this story a few days ago, I wrote it with “tongue in cheek.” After all, waking up to the calls of a horny rooster is not usual in Pt. Loma. (Hell … it’s been a long time since I have woken up to a “horny” anything!) But what has happened to this story is amazing and very sad. Here is the original story: …

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More Photos From City Council Hearing on District 2 Appointment

April 9, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Here are more photos from the San Diego City Council hearing on appointing the District 2 representative held on Monday, April 7, 2014.

Union leader Ed Harris was ultimately appointed from an initial field of 20 applicants. Many of the applicants were from Ocean Beach and Point Loma.

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Politicians Who Oppose Marijuana Legalization Are On the Wrong Side of History

April 9, 2014 by Source

marijuanademrepsA majority of Americans support marijuana legalization.

By Tony Newman via AlterNet

A majority of Americans support marijuana legalization – yet not one sitting governor or U.S. Senator supports it, according to a New York Times piece.

Marijuana prohibition is a disastrous failure. 43 years after President Nixon launched the “war on drugs,” the U.S. arrests 650,000 people a year for marijuana possession – yet marijuana and other illegal drugs are as available as ever. Thanks to the drug war, the U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet nearly 25 percent of its prisoners.

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Cheap Corn Permeates Every Facet of the American Diet

April 9, 2014 by Source

cows1By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

Corn is the staple of the US agricultural system and food supply. It’s in everything we eat unbeknownst to many Americans.

Corn feeds steers that become steak and fast food hamburgers. Corn feeds chickens and pigs – even catfish, salmon and tilapia. Milk, cheese and yogurt that once came from cows that grazed on grass now come from Holsteins that spend their time tethered to milking machines while munching on corn.

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Lori Saldaña: “The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World.”

April 9, 2014 by Source

Seaworld-Orlando-Shamu-1514By Lori Saldaña

I was born in San Diego, and my family began attending Sea World back in the 60s when it had a Japanese Garden and pearl divers (I still have a pearl ring, a birthday gift one year).

Then, it was a very different place than it is today: quieter, smaller scale, and more about Pacific Rim culture than theme park shows. We went often, and not just as casual visitors. Since my father was a journalist, and Sea World knew the value of cultivating relationships with the media, we would often attend special events throughout the year, including a lavish annual kick-off party that marked the start of their summer season, complete with a preview of the newest Shamu show.

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Democrats’ Revenge: San Diego City Council Appointment of Ed Harris Tilts Council Left

April 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Appointment of Democrat Is Complicated even with “Super-majority”

The Democrats on the San Diego City Council took revenge on their Republican colleagues yesterday by appointing another Democrat to the Council. As of 5pm Monday, April 7, there are now 6 Democrats to the 3 Republicans on the Council after they choose Ed Harris, a lifeguard and union head – and Democrat, to take the seat to represent District 2.

This retaliatory measure was, in no small part, revenge for the defeat of the Democratic candidate in the last mayor’s election, where David Alvarez lost to Republican Kevin Faulconer. Faulconer vacated his seat for the 2nd District when he stepped up to the mayor’s floor of City Hall.

With a 6 to 3 tilt, the City Council now leans left, …

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BREAKING: Ed Harris Selected by City Council to Represent District 2

April 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Ed Harris, lifeguard and union head, was selected by the San Diego City Council to take the vacant seat for District 2 left when Kevin Faulconer was elected mayor.

It took two ballots for the 8 Council members to coalesce around one applicant with at least 5 votes. The replacement selection was the only item on the docket, and the Council Chambers were filled with the applicants, their supporters and community people.

Twenty people had originally filled out the paperwork for consideration, but when Council President Todd Gloria gaveled the meeting to order around 2:05 pm, there were only 17; Richardo Flores, Don Mullen and Wayne Raffesberger had all withdrawn their names. (See the list.)

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The 20 Who Wish to Serve the People of District 2

April 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Today is a big day for 20 people. This is the day that the San Diego City Council will decide who of that twenty will sit in District 2′s seat for the remainder of Kevin Faulconer’s term, until December of this year.

At 2pm today in Council Chambers, the Council will take up the matter – supposedly the only issue on their docket – and listen to the 3 minute spiel each applicant has, then will begin taking votes. The first applicant with 5 votes – a majority – wins and takes their seat immediately.

Who are these people who wish to serve the people of District 2? Here is a brief run-down of these individuals taken from their publicly-available application (in alphabetical order):

  • Stephanie Antin – a professional businesswoman who has lived and been active in Pacific Beach for 15 years; she has a BA in communication from Tulane U in New Orleans;

and many more …..

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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
Thumbnail image for Point Loma High School Takes Honors as Best Surf Team

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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