July 2013

NSA collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’ with XKeyscore

July 31, 2013 by Source
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By Glenn Greenwald / theguardian.com / July 31, 2013

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

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Sea World Entertainment and Guantanamo Bay

July 31, 2013 by Source
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The documentary Black Fish reminds one that “intelligence” and the human species do not necessarily equate. And it shows just how humanity’s bloodthirsty ignorance knows no bounds even in its dealings with a peaceful, incredibly intelligent and social species like the Orca’s (Killer Whales). They have not once killed a human being on the high seas, but have done so at Sea World Entertainment, Inc., after the abuse and torture that they have suffered over the years. Some of their human counterparts are captives in Guantanamo Bay.

They are both damaged goods with no options but a slow death.

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Retail Building on Newport Avenue Goes for $800,000

July 31, 2013 by Staff
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A building in the 4900 block of Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach has just been sold for $800,000. The retail building at 4932 Newport – which currently holds the young women’s store, Miss Match – includes approximately 2400 square foot of space.

The approximately 2,400-square-foot retail building in Ocean Beach at 4932 Newport Ave., San Diego 92107, has been sold for $800,000.

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Henry Ford’s Car Made From Hemp – and those Responsible for the Prohibition of Hemp and Marijuana

July 31, 2013 by Source

I must admit, when I first read about Henry Ford’s automobile made solely from hemp products the first image that popped into my head was of Cheech & Chong’s van made of marijuana (complete with Thai sticks for bumpers) from the 1978 movie titled “Up in Smoke.”

Strangely, my life was never quite the same after that movie came out. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story. lol (more about Henry Ford’s hemp car later)

A new theory has been posited about the origin of the prohibition of hemp in America. Like many other people, I had always subscribed to the conventional theory that it was the dirty deeds of turn of the [20th] century oligarchs like William Randolf Hearst and the DuPont family who were mainly (or at least financially) responsible for the demise of the hemp industry — due to the threat hemp posed to their respective commodity empires — i.e., lumber and paper, and textiles and chemicals. (link to DuPont company history here)

Turns out, that accepted theory may no longer be acceptable.

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FICTION: My San Diego Nightmare – a Visit by the Ghost of Scandals Past

July 31, 2013 by Source

By Sherly U. Jehest

Not accustomed to nightmares – as I am usually a good sleeper – I had a horrible one last night and just have to share it with you – my San Diego nightmare.

I had gone to sleep at my usual time, falling into slumber some time between Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show with John Oliver and its first commercial – a truly deadly time for me. I was dreaming of rolling sheets of ocean waves, so pretty … when I noticed a pale figure emerge out of the surf and begin to walk towards me.

The figure got closer and I noticed it was a tall woman wearing long, thin robes. She approached me and got closer – when all of a sudden she was sitting at the foot of my bed.

“What the …” I started to say, partially sitting up, when she shushed me with a long bony finger to her pale lips, glancing over at my sleeping mate.

“Who are you?” I managed to squeak out.

“I’m the Ghost of Scandals Past,” she said softly. She looked sad.

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BREAKING: Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy

July 30, 2013 by Source
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By Julie Tate / Washington Post

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with. She also acquitted him of one count of the espionage act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.

Bradley Manning arrived at court to hear the verdict in his military espionage and aiding the enemy trial at Fort Meade Tuesday. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy.

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Adventures in Ocean Beach: Winston’s Bar “Think & Drink” Weekly Trivia Game

July 30, 2013 by Source
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Think & Drink Trivia
1921 Bacon St.,
Ocean Beach, CA 92107 •
PH: (619) 222-6822
Tuesdays 6:00pm

By Byron Morton / Special to the OB Rag

Can you name the famous lion from the MGM movie trailers?

This is an example of a typical question from Winston’s weekly trivia game.

A couple of years back some friends of mine invited me to a good old fashioned fun evening in Ocean Beach. For some time my eclectic friends Vonn and Nedra of Santee had been encouraging me to participate in this organized trivia event at Winston’s Beach Bar on Bacon Street in the heart of beautiful Ocean Beach.

As I was recently single and wasn’t engaged in any social activity on Tuesday evenings I decided to try something new. Well, I was immediately captivated and turned on by the fun.

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Native American Skills: Making Rope Out of Agave or Yucca

July 30, 2013 by Source
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Agave or Yucca Cordage

By Jill Richardson / La Vida Locovore / July 29, 2013

Remember in the old days before rope was made out of plastic? Back then (and sometimes even now), it was made from sisal. Sisal, Agave sisalana, is a type of agave. I saw it growing in Kenya during my visit. It’s still used there to make rope.

Here in San Diego, we don’t have sisal – but we do have plenty of agave. We’ve also got a few species of yucca, which are also in the Agave family (Agavaceae). So it’s no surprise that the Native Americans here use both yucca and agave to make their cordage.

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California Prison Hunger-Strikers Enter Third Week

July 29, 2013 by Source

Editor: The hunger strike by hundreds – at first thousands – of California prison inmates is entering its third week. One inmate has died. The strike is getting some media attention. There was a front page article on the LA Times today – Monday, July 29.

By Paige St. John / LA Times

PELICAN BAY STATE PRISON — Inside the concrete labyrinth of California’s highest-security prison, an inmate covered in neo-Nazi tattoos and locked in solitary confinement has spearheaded the largest prison protest in California history.

Convicted killer Todd Ashker and three other inmates — representing the Mexican Mafia, Nuestra Familia and the Black Guerrilla Family — called for a mass hunger strike July 8, largely to protest indefinite incarceration in solitary confinement.

More than 30,000 prisoners answered.

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Driver Survives Driving Off Sunset Cliffs in Car Monday Morning

July 29, 2013 by Staff
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An unidentified man survived driving his car off the cliffs at Sunset Cliffs early Monday morning, July 29. The vehicle landed 50 feet below in a cove at Osprey Street about 5:20 a.m. local media report.

At first, witnesses said, the guy got out of his car and walked around and also into the ocean. He then sat down on the beach. First responders reached him by water and air. He was the only occupant of the vehicle – which still had its lights on after the fall and appeared to have rear end damage.

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America Has Not Seen One Breadwinner Type Job Created in Over a Decade

July 29, 2013 by Source


Only part time, temp and minimum wage jobs are being created

By John Lawrence

“Four years after the [Great Recession of 2008] median family income has fallen by 10 percent in real terms. …[T]he number of full-time breadwinner jobs in the US economy is still down by 5 million; that is, it is more than 8 percent below its late 2007 level.

In short, the Main Street economy has been failing for years, and now the massive debt deflation [the paying down of debt rather than consuming] under way will aggravate that condition enormously [since GDP is 70% consumption], leaving millions of citizens to depend on intermittent employment in low-paying part-time jobs or to fall back on family, friends, charity, or nothing at all.” – David Stockman, The Great Deformation.

A breadwinner job is a job that is sufficient to support a family, including rent or mortgage, car payment, adequate food and nutrition, health care, education and savings for retirement. That meant a job paying $50,000 a year in 2007 when the US economy peaked. At that time there were 71.8 million “breadwinner” jobs in construction, manufacturing, white-collar professions, government and the like. These jobs accounted for more than half of the nation’s 138 million total payroll.

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Email Former District 2 Candidate Ed Harris Sent to Dem Chief Francine Busby

July 29, 2013 by Source
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Editor: The OB Rag has been following a rift within the local Democratic Party about the District 2 City Council race – District 2 includes Ocean Beach and Point Loma. Here, former District 2 candidate and lifeguard Ed Harris – he has recently dropped out – is publishing the email he sent to Francine Busby, the head of the San Diego County Democratic Party.

By Ed Harris

Email I sent to Busby:


To say I’m disappointed by your attached email is an understatement. As a member of the Democratic party and a Democratic candidate for District 2, I expected support and equal treatment from those elected to head the party. Since announcing my intentions to run, you have strategically used your position to push another candidate forward. Rumors of allegations have been used to poison others in the Democratic party prior to my meeting them. Those rumors are traced back to you and others from Run Women Run. The fact that Run Women Run supports you financially makes this more troublesome.

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Darkness Drops: Filner’s Political Death Spiral Continues and the Likely Endgame

July 29, 2013 by Jim Miller

The fun never stops in America’s Finest City.

death spiralBy Jim Miller

Last week, Irene McCormack delivered Filner the political equivalent of a deathblow. As I noted in the wake of the announcement of her case, “In contrast to the first two press conferences which I think did it the wrong way, in the press conference yesterday McCormack and Allred had fewer dramatics and more professionalism and dignity. I think McCormack deserves to be taken seriously and respected.” And she has been.

Indeed, rather than the “drip, drip, drip” I predicted two weeks ago would “surely force him out or get him recalled”, there has been a deluge.

After McCormack, six other women came out publicly with more accusations of unprofessional and inappropriate if not illegal behavior by the mayor. In the wake of these accusations, the Democratic Party abandoned him, and on Friday he announced that he is going into a treatment program rather than resigning, assuring that this nightmare saga will continue indefinitely.

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Dem Chair Incorrectly Linked Former District 2 Candidate Ed Harris to Another Sexual Harassment Case

July 26, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Francine Busby is the chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. The Central Committee just voted last night – July 25th – to ask Mayor Filner to resign because of the sexual harassment accusations, after a stalemate last week on the issue.

During the debate before the vote last week that resulted in a split of 24 to 24 votes on the committee that oversees the party, the president of the Point Loma Democratic Club, Susan Peinado argued against asking Filner to resign. She also criticized Busby and other leaders of the party.

The next day, in a move that Peinado views as some kind of retribution for speaking out, Peinado received an email from Busby that alleged one of the candidates in the District 2 race, Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris, could face similar kinds of accusations that Filner is suffering and that Peinado better be careful in not supporting Harris.

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U.S. Senator: On NSA Spying: It’s As Bad As Snowden Says

July 26, 2013 by Source
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Editor’s note: This is a transcript from a speech given on Tuesday, July 23, at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

By Sen. Ron Wyden / AlterNet

When the Patriot Act was last reauthorized, I stood on the floor of the United States Senate and said, “I want to deliver a warning this afternoon. When the American people find out how their government has interpreted the Patriot Act, they are going to be stunned and they are going to be angry.”

From my position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, I had seen government activities conducted under the umbrella of the Patriot Act that I knew would astonish most Americans. At the time, Senate rules about classified information barred me from giving any specifics of what I’d seen except to describe it as “secret law”—a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, issued by a secret court, that authorizes secret surveillance programs; programs that I and colleagues think go far beyond the intent of the statute.

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Sex in San Diego: Sex Work in America

July 26, 2013 by Source

By David Rosen / Alternet

Three centuries before Las Vegas was founded, New York was known as sin city. It was home to drinking, gambling, and most especially, illicit sexual pleasures. One of New Amsterdam’s first sex workers was Grietje “Little Pearl” Reynies, a lively bawd or “doxie.” Taunted by seamen on a departing sloop with the cry, “Whore! Whore! Two pound butter’s whore!” she allegedly lifted her petticoat and pointed to her naked backside, replying, “Blaes my daer achterin.”

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I Smell a Rat! Congressman Darrell Issa’s Birthday Present for the US Post Office

July 26, 2013 by Doug Porter

rat1By Doug Porter

It’s probably not on your personal calendar, but today, July 26th, marks the 238th anniversary of the Post Office in the United States. And San Diego’s Darrell Issa has cooked up a very special birthday celebration: he wants to end home mail delivery.

The Community and Postal Workers United group is seeking to raise public awareness of the Congressman’s scheme, and they’ve scheduled their own birthday party at Rep. Darrell Issa’s office starting at noon today – Friday.

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OB Town Council Takes on the “Marshmallow Wars” With Overflow Crowd

July 25, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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To a standing-room-only crowd last night – Wednesday, July 24th – the Ocean Beach Town Council held an open town hall type of discussion on OB’s latest controversy: what to do about the out of control marshmallow wars after the July 4th fireworks display at the beach.

With cameras from five TV stations filming, council president Dave Martin explained that the board was not to decide on anything but would listen and encourage a community debate about the issue. He promised no final solution or decision would be made by the Council – by design – it was an important moment for the community to come together and air its feelings about the divisive issue.

After going through the usual reports and politicos’ reps spiels of their monthly public meeting, Martin opened up the floor for people to give their two-cents and recommendations on what to do about the infamous OB tradition.

And speak they did. One after another, folks got up in front of the overflow audience and made their case. From calls to contain the event and make it safer to calls to shut it down and ban it – the suggestions ran the gambit.

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The Widder Curry: “It’s Hard to Support the Mayor, But…”

July 25, 2013 by Judi Curry

Filner P&P 6-28-13By Judi Curry

I have tried to stay out of the Filner controversy since it started. After all, I was – am – a supporter of his. I have a picture of him with me on my front window, and have cheered him on as he tackles the “good old boys” from yesteryear. To say that I am appalled at the events that have taken place recently is a mild rejoinder. The betrayal that I have felt towards the mayor is pure and simple anger. How could he? He won the election by setting up goals and principles that he is fighting for now.

When Donna Frye gave her first press conference I felt nauseated for hours afterwards. I worked on Donna’s campaign; I respect her more than any other politician I have ever met. And then came her second press conference and I wondered what happened to her. The yelling is so out of character. I was sorry to see her lose her composure.

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A Proposal from the OB Rag: How to keep the “Marshmallow War” Tradition and Enjoy it.

July 24, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for A Proposal from the OB Rag: How to keep the “Marshmallow War” Tradition and Enjoy it.

Here is a proposal on how to keep OB’s tradition of the “Marshmallow Wars” and to enjoy it.

Many around the community have agreed that the event after the fireworks on July 4th – a tradition that harks back to 1985 – has become out of control, is no longer “fun” for OBceans, and is injuring and damaging too many people and bystanders and property and the environment.

The first fight began when good-natured warring parties of neighbors at the beach began throwing marshmallows at each other. Since then, hundreds if not thousands of participants have joined the virtual free-for-all around the bonfires.

In one sense, the event has become so much a part of OB’s unique tradition, that it might be a damn shame if it is banned outright. Other countries have similar annual events and have managed to continue them by containing them.

Here is our proposal:

Keep the OB Marshmallow Wars – By Containing the Event in the Marshmallow Arena

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“Blackfish”: The Film SeaWorld Doesn’t Want You to See

July 24, 2013 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter

By the time the documentary film Blackfish opens on this Friday the 26th of July (Hillcrest/ Landmark Theatres) the SeaWorld public relations campaign should be reaching a crescendo. The way I look at it, any film that provokes this kind of backlash prior to its release is worth checking out.

The questions raised in the movie, which builds a narrative about the captivity of orcas (also known as killer whales) around the death in 2010 of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, cut deeply into the wholesome public image that the mega chain of water /oceanariums /marine mammal parks seeks to promote.

While spokespeople with SeaWorld refused to cooperate in any way with Gabriela Cowperthwaite during filming, the resulting film is, by all accounts (including SeaWorld’s) a disturbing look at the living conditions of the nearly half of the world’s orcas in captivity owned by the company.

The intensity of SeaWorld’s response out to gives a clue as to just how concerned they are:

“Although “Blackfish” is by most accounts a powerful, emotionally-moving piece of advocacy, it is also shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate.”

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Maria on the Wings of Time

July 24, 2013 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Maria at 70Prologue: I’ve had so many of what one might call moments in my life. Come from behind victories on playing courts and fields. Ovations on stage. Rich surprises. This list goes on and on. And now I find myself in a wonderful moment in time, enjoying a relationship with an incredible woman when, at one time, such a reality seemed unlikely for me. This is a poem I wrote for her 70th birthday party. Hey, I have a 70 year old foxy squeeze! How cool is that?

Feeling my way around
in a new place in life.
Had been to some dark places
had lost a wife,
my soul-mate, my queen,
in a haze, wondering and wandering,
how to move on to other things.
Looking at the world with tears in my eyes.
Breathing out.
Breathing in.
And there was fluttering
and in came
Maria on the wings of time.
Maria on the wings of time.

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Ocean Beach Town Council to Hold Public Meeting on the “Marshmallow Wars” Tonight – Wed., July 24

July 24, 2013 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Town Council has invited community members to share their thoughts about the annual Fourth of July “Marshmallow Wars” at it’s public meeting – to be held tonight, Wednesday, July 24th. The meeting begins at 7pm and will be held at the Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

There has been a terrific debate among OB residents ever since the “outta control” traditional event this year after the fireworks on the 4th.

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Pondering the Future of OB’s Marshmallow Wars by Looking at Italy’s Battle of the Oranges and Spain’s Battle of the Tomatoes

July 23, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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As the residents of Ocean Beach ponder the future and fate of its infamous Marshmallow Wars, looking for some parallel cultural events in other countries and cities is a useful task. If the village of OB ends up keeping a tradition that most agree has become out of control, then why not take a brief peak at two other similar – yet different – events around the world.

In Northern Italy there is the Battle of the Oranges and in Spain, there is La Tomatina, the Battle of the Tomatoes.

Below is a summation of what’s available on these two spirited traditions from wikipedia. Both events sound like a lot of fun for locals and visitors alike, and over the years, both have been forced to have controls, rules, and restrictions.

The Battle of the Oranges

In the northern Italian city of Ivrea, the Battle of the Oranges is a festival which includes a tradition of thousands of townspeople throwing oranges at each other. But the throwing of oranges is between organized groups, where people are divided into nine “combat teams”.

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The Widening Gyre: The Filner Follies and the Ugly Real Politik

July 22, 2013 by Jim Miller
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The “political circus” is in town for a long engagement and it is already clear that we have plenty of clowns lining up to perform in it.

By Jim Miller

Last week, in the wake of the first round of accusations of sexual harassment and Filner’s apology for “not fully respecting” and “intimidating” women I noted that: “Thus, the real winners here are the same old downtown insiders who are busy popping champagne corks and laughing at Filner’s implosion and cheering the welcome help they are getting from unlikely sources.”

Nothing has happened to change this assessment.

Some Filner supporters I have spoken to and who commented on my piece chastised me for being too pessimistic but, sadly, I don’t think I am.

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Tired of Hate: A Commentary on the Treatment of Homeless in Ocean Beach

July 20, 2013 by Jack Hamlin

Editor: Jack Hamlin wrote this a year ago. Jack led efforts back in 2009 and 2010 to bring all sides together in a series of community forums about homelessness. Now we repost it as the attitudes he focused on have arisen once again in the seaside village.

By Jack Hamlin

Keith of OB. San Diego CityBeat photo.
It is happening again. Three years ago we were able to come together as a community to try and begin to resolve the issues surrounding homelessness and the poor in Ocean Beach. I am not so naïve as to look back on that time as “Halcyon Days of Kumbaya,” in O.B. Rather it was a time during which we began to look for solutions, instead of blame and division. But we all have become complacent and are returning to the awful time of “Please Don’t Feed Our Bums.”

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What to do about the Ocean Beach marshmallow wars? OBceans Respond

July 19, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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In furtherance of the discussion of ‘what to do about OB’s marshmallow wars?’, we sent out an email asking community leaders, supporters of the OB Rag and other locals what their thoughts were on the future of the marshmallow tradition and how to enforce their suggestions / recommendations.

Rather than attempt to edit the thoughtful responses that we received, we’re simply printing verbatim what people’s ideas or recommendations are. A few wished to be anonymous, so that is indicated.

Here then are the responses:

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“To Ban or Not to Ban the OB Marshmallow Wars”

July 19, 2013 by Source

By Giovanni Ingolia

Beside the turmoil that has been happening at city hall (A subject I would much prefer to discuss as its implications are much greater), Ocean Beach has a controversy of its own- the marshmallow fight after the fireworks.

I want to remind everyone this is not an event sponsored by the OB Town Council, OB Planning Board, OB CDC, OB Historic Society or OB Main Street Association. I personally sit as a board member on two of the groups and follow every one of them. They all do great jobs. (Remember this is my opinion and not that of the boards I sit on.)

The marshmallow fight event has its supporters and its detractors. Both sides make good points that are hard to disagree with. One thing all groups have in common is this event shouldn’t be harmful to others and the mess should be cleaned up immediately due to the problems it creates to the environment. We need to all work together.

Problems with a Ban

When I first started to see calls for the ban of the marshmallow fight there were also calls to end the fireworks.

Banning the 4th of July fireworks, a tradition that honors our country’s birth, should never be stopped in OB.

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The Widder Curry: A Follow-up Visit to Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

July 19, 2013 by Judi Curry
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Editor: Just recently, the VA announced that a new director will be taking over the Ft Rosecrans – and Miramar – cemeteries in mid-August. Douglas Ledbetter, an Air Force vet and former director of the national cemeteries in Illinois and Nebraska (more on Ledbetter at the end of this post). Apparently, the Ft Rosecrans cemetery has been a revolving door for short-time directors over the years. Peter Young – the former director – was on board less than a year. And the director before him served only one year.

We don’t know if this is due to the Widder Curry taking on this issue of the conditions at the Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery or not, but here is here latest report of her most visit.

After celebrating one of the widows of my support group birthday, we thought it would be nice to drive up to Ft. Rosecrans to visit our husbands and see what, if any progress, was being made at the cemetery.

Since August of 2012, I have been writing articles about the deplorable condition of the cemetery. Last month Turko (KUSI) did a report on the cemetery and, although it was pointing out how long it has taken for anything constructive to be accomplished, he felt that a “turn around” was taking place. Maybe. And maybe not.

Since I appeared briefly on the program – I thought that maybe getting Turko involved really would make a difference. The footage that was aired – Memorial Day, for example – was not the current conditions of the cemetery. Today was worse.

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Privacy Coalition Sues NSA to Halt Dragnet Surveillance

July 18, 2013 by Source

A broad and seemingly unlikely coalition of 19 organizations including church leaders alongside environmental and gun advocacy groups represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) in a San Francisco federal court Tuesday in a case that could determine the constitutionality of an admitted dragnet surveillance program on the telephone records of millions of Americans.

The lawsuit, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA seeks an injunction against the NSA, FBI and the Justice Department, alleging that the government violated the plaintiffs’ First and Fourth Amendment rights by collecting information about their phone calls. The lawsuit focuses on an NSA surveillance program called the “Associational Tracking Program,” which collects metadata on telephone calls from the top U.S. telecommunications companies. The program is part of a vast operation of NSA spying programs revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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