January 2014

A Personal Story: Anthem Blue Cross Profits by Denying Prescriptions

January 16, 2014 by Brenda McFarlane
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It’s happened again. I have been denied coverage for Modafinil yet again, this time by the exact same company who has already approved it.

I’ve been on a prescription medication that treats my Ideopathic Hypersomnia for several years now. It’s an extremely expensive drug, even the generic form can be more than a $1000 a month. I have been diagnosed by a esteemed sleep doctor in San Diego and he confirms that the drug is both medically necessary and that no effective (and non-narcotic) substitute exists.

Without the drug I suffer from sometimes overwhelming sleepiness. Without it I get a band of sleep deprived headaches, driving may be either impossible or require pulling over to take naps, even after 5 minutes on the road. I grew up with this condition – undiagnosed – and lost years of my life to sleepiness. Smoking cigarettes or eating sugar were the two things I could rely on to help stay awake especially to drive.

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Sunset Cliffs Tragedy Reminds Us to Respect Our Surroundings

January 16, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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The news of graduate student Anna Bachman falling to her death from Sunset Cliffs while apparently taking a picture on Sunday is truly tragic for all OBceans.

Who among us has not been to the cliffs and probably gone a little too far in order to get the perfect view of the sunset or perfect picture to share with our friends?

The fact that it was a woman who was living in Chicago that died hits even closer to home for me. I’m a somewhat recent transplant from the Windy City, having transplanted to our beautiful beachfront utopia in the past year.

Since moving here, we have had a number of visitors from Chicago and the Midwest. We had guests visit over the holidays and took them to see what has to be considered one of the best sunset views in the world. We couldn’t have been more than a few yards from where Bachman fell.

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The United Nations in My Closet.

January 15, 2014 by Marc Snelling
Thumbnail image for The United Nations in My Closet.

People don’t often look at where their clothes come from. We don’t often think about who made them. Our closets are full of garments made by people making less than a dollar an hour. Don’t let the price of those Nike sneakers throw you. They weren’t expensive to make. They are expensive because you will pay. The profits do not go to better working conditions. Just ask the workers who survived the Savar garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh. The factory that manufactured clothes for Walmart, among others, killed 1,129 people and injured 2,515 when it collapsed on April 24, 2013.

I’m one of those hippy-clone-activist-types. I actually care where my clothes come from and read labels. I’m also a cheapskate and like to wear clothes that look like rags to some. Blame Johnny Rotten and Kurt Cobain. I didn’t invent the fashion. I must look homeless at times because people are always trying to gift me clothes. My better half is always trying to get me to throw clothes out. She is astounded that I can remember where I got each piece of clothing and how old some of them are.

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Point Loma Taco Shop Part of Mayor’s Bet – But Just How Will the Burritos Get to Denver?

January 15, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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When news broke last week that Point Loma’s Ortiz’s Taco Shop would be part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s bet between San Diego and Denver over Sunday’s NFL playoff game, it was news to the Ortiz family.

“We didn’t even know about the bet,” said Juan Ortiz, who has run the restaurant with his brother and parents since 2004.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for Interim Mayor Gloria’s office, said he did some research on social media to find a worthy restaurant for the bet and even checked out the place himself.

“We just wanted to have food that represented the best Mexican food in San Diego,” he said. “We wanted to make sure it was a product worthy of making a bet. And it was.”

Ortiz said Gloria also came to eat at the place last Tuesday, which sealed the deal.

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Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns in 2013

January 15, 2014 by Michael Steinberg

Announcements of US nuclear power plant permanent shutdowns in 2013 came seemingly in a flurry.

Crystal River in Florida on February 13. Kewaunee in Wisconsin on May 4. San Onofre in Southern California on June 13. And Vermont Yankee in the Green Mountain State on August 27.

Together this comprises five nuclear reactors with an electrical generating capacity of nearly 4300 Megawatts.

Yet the lights haven’t gone out, or even dimmed, in any of the communities these plants served.

The causes of these nuclear plant closures are multiple. Ultimately, however, they all add up to an industry in decline, desperate to squeeze as much profit as it can out of aging, increasingly

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James Gang Gets in on Chargers’ Bolo Mania

January 14, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers started Bolo Mania in San Diego. The folks at James Gang hopped on board – and did some nice business in the process.

Rivers has gained national attention for his choice of postgame attire – a bolo tie – during the Chargers five-game winning streak that included an improbable playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Last week, James Gang owner Paul Bearce helped fuel the fire when the OB printing company started making T-shirts with a bolo tie design that said “Fear the Bolo.”

It started on Tuesday morning, he recalls. “We had a customer come in looking for anything Charger.” But all they had was one shirt that said “Ocean Beach” in Chargers lettering. Not good enough.

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Special Meeting of OB Planning Board to Approve March Election – Wed., Jan. 15th

January 14, 2014 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Planning Board is holding a special meeting Wednesday tonight – January 15th – in order to approve election materials for their upcoming annual balloting.

Lacking any controversy or last-minute procedural glitch, the Board is expected to give their stamp of approval to the materials, assembled by an election sub-committee. And that’s all that’s there on the agenda, outside “non agenda public comment” and other perfunctory items.

Wednesday night’s meeting will be held at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue, and will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

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Reefer Sanity Takes Hold in Colorado

January 14, 2014 by Source

marijuana_leaf_pic‘For all the sky-will-fall rhetoric about marijuana legalization, there haven’t been piles of dead bodies and overdoses.’

By David Sirota / AlterNet

Seven years before legal marijuana went on sale this month in my home state of Colorado, the drug warriors in President George W. Bush’s administration released an advertisement that is now worth revisiting.

“I smoked weed and nobody died,” intoned the teenage narrator. “I didn’t get into a car accident. I didn’t O.D. on heroin the next day. Nothing happened.”

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My Hopes for the Next 35 Years

January 14, 2014 by Ernie McCray

schoolboard_meeting_erniemccrayBy Ernie McCray

I recently was reminded that the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) has been around for 35 years; 35 wonderful years I might add. I mean they’ve worked tirelessly in society’s behalf to challenge the military establishment’s overbearing intrusions in our lives.

They, with a host of other peace groups, have kept military issues in our collective consciousness via community forums, in the streets, and through youth outreach, keeping us aware of how much the military strains our economy, how much it magnifies a negative image of our country around the world, how much racism and sexism and homophobia it nurtures throughout its hierarchy.

COMD is a big part of why I continue working with the Education Not Arms Coalition (ENAC) to counter the recruitment of our children.

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All the World’s a Stage – the State of San Diego

January 14, 2014 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner

Act I: the State of the City Address

emotion-masksSan Diegans are about to witness a full-dress reenactment of our town’s annual civic ritual known as the State of the City Address. Article XV of the City Charter lays it out: On or before the 15th day of January of each year, the Mayor shall communicate by message to the City Council a statement of the conditions and affairs of the City, and make recommendations on such matters as he or she may deem expedient and proper.

You can catch a live performance at 6pm this Wednesday, January 15th at downtown’s historic Balboa Theatre. Alternatively, you can kick back in the comfort of your own living room and watch it on City-TV.

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Chicago Woman Falls to Her Death from Sunset Cliffs

January 13, 2014 by Source

By Rosemary Regina Sobol / Chicago Tribune /.January 13, 2014

A 25-year-old Chicago woman lost her balance and fell from a cliff while taking pictures in San Diego Sunday and died instantly, authorities reported.

The victim was with her sister, taking pictures on a cliffside bluff at sunset, when she lost her footing and plunged 100-150 feet onto massive sandstone rocks below, San Diego Police Officer Edward Zwibel said.

“She was tragically posing for a picture when she backed up too far and lost her balance and fell down the cliff,” said Zwibel.

He said the woman, who has not yet been officially identified, is 25 years old and is from Chicago. Her sister is from the San Diego area.

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Kevin Faulconer, Man of the People?

January 13, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Meet Kevin Faulconer, man of the people. He’s running glossy commercials about how he’ll be “a mayor for all of us” and talking as if he’ll be the guy who will focus on neighborhoods that “have been under-served by this city for too long.”

His website and ballot statement have been scrubbed of any unpleasant reminders that he is a Republican backed by San Diego’s traditional power brokers, and he just can’t stop reminding us that there is “no such thing as a Democratic or Republican pothole.”

Like the Republicans at the national level who have decided that they can claim poverty as an issue while refusing to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits, or stop cutting services to the poor, Faulconer seems to think ….

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Restaurant Review: Ortiz’s Taco Shop in Point Loma

January 13, 2014 by Judi Curry

Ortiz’s Taco Shop
3704 Voltaire
San Diego, CA 92107

Outside signBy Judi Curry

As the Chargers lost on Sunday, interim Mayor Todd Gloria had promised to send authentic Mexican food to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. As an aficionado of such cuisine, I was amazed to see the three restaurants Gloria selected: Ortiz’s Taco Shop in Point Loma, Lolita’s Taco Shop in Kearny Mesa and Mama Testa Taqueria in Hillcrest.

So I called two of my friends – Ro and Irene – and asked them if they would like to join me in reviewing these three restaurants – one at a time, of course.

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Mayor Gloria and Denver Mayor Should Bet on the Best Marijuana Available in Their Cities

January 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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We have a better idea of a bet between San Diego and Denver mayors on the eve of the Chargers vs Broncos game. Everyone by now has heard of the mayors’ bet with food from the two cities, but we think there is a urban product more appropriate.

What with the legalization of marijuana now in Colorado and the fact that medicinal herb is legal in California as the state’s voters have directed, why doesn’t San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria bet the Denver mayor on the best marijuana available in the respective cities?

Mayor Gloria has a whole wealth of pot dispensaries from which to choose from around town. How about some “Train Wreck” or “Kush” or just a sampling of the intoxicating herbs our proud city has to offer? Get some of that top shelf stuff, Todd.

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Global Warming: How to Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – Part 2

January 10, 2014 by Source

Offshore Wind TurbineBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

This series of articles is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit– 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” In Part 1 we dealt with all the possibilities for solar power generation. In this article we will consider wind. For centuries wind powered ships and windmills drew water out of the ground. We are now in a position to reconnect with this form of energy and convert it into electricity. How it works is very simple: As the wind blows, enough force is created to spin a turbine which in turn generates electrical energy. These days a single wind turbine can power a decent sized town.

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Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Master Educator (and Basketball Coach)

January 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Steve FisherBy Ernie McCray

When San Diego State’s men’s gifted basketball players showed up at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas and rose from the 21st rated team to number 13 after destroying the Jayhawks’ dream of stretching a 68 game winning streak against non-Big XII teams to 69 – I couldn’t help but think, at the time, of how lucky those young athletes are in having Steve Fisher as their guide on this wonderful ride.

The man is clearly a wonderful coach, a master teacher if there ever was one. He knows how to connect with folks who are counting on him for guidance.

I know. I’m an educator by nature, in a way.

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King of the Outcast Teens: Kurt Cobain and the Politics of Nirvana

January 10, 2014 by Source


By Dawson Barrett / Portside

In recognition of the anniversary of the death of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain, a host of retrospectives will recognize both the raw potency of Cobain’s songwriting and the tragedy of his heroin use and suicide. They will hide that Nirvana was a band of rebels.

This April marks twenty years since the death of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain, one of the most iconic cultural figures of the late 20th century. In recognition of that anniversary, a host of retrospectives will recognize both the raw potency of Cobain’s songwriting and the tragedy of his heroin use and suicide. Echoing the tired, sexist tropes of “John and Yoko” and “Sid and Nancy,” many will also associate Cobain’s downfall with his wife, Courtney Love. These tabloid narratives will overshadow Nirvana’s political and cultural significance. They will hide that Nirvana was a band of rebels.

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Restaurant Review : Sundara Indian Cuisine in Ocean Beach

January 10, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Sundara Indian Cuisine
1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107

There is an old saying that states ‘you cannot go back and expect to find the same things you found originally.’ Such is true of the Sundara Indian Restaurant in Ocean Beach.

I originally reviewed this restaurant August 3, 2012, when it was located in a tiny restaurant almost on the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Pt. Loma Ave. At that time it was sharing its restaurant with the “Pt. Loma Beach Café” – cooking its meals in a community kitchen during the late afternoon and bringing that food to its patrons for dinner. It was very good and I gave it a favorable review in the OBRag.

Asked again to review it now that it is in a permanent place with the ability to cook all of the meals on the premises, I asked my friend Eric to accompany me, as he has done several times in the past.

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Latest Ocean Beach “Monopoly” Board Game Not the First for OB

January 9, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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40 Years Ago OB Rag Cover Had First Ocean Beach “Munopoly” Board

On New Year’s Eve, we gathered at a good friend’s house and played the latest OB board game, “Ocean Beach-opoly” an OB version of the famed grandparent of all board games.

We had fun – I was fortunate to own the Gilmore Family store – not even noticing our late it had become. (I was one of the winners, by the way – sorry Doug.)

Later, I realized, hey, the OB Rag once ran a cover graphic way back in the Seventies with the first actual “OB Monopoly game board”. Nearly exactly 40 years ago, our version was on display.

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50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs — and Denied New Opportunities

January 9, 2014 by Source

Age discrimination could be headed for you, sooner than you think

ByLynn Stuart Parramore / AlterNet

Age-DiscriminationIn every corner of America, millions of people are terrified of losing their jobs and falling into financial ruin. Men and women with impressive professional achievements and credentials are being let go, nudged out and pushed aside. They are pounding the pavement and scouring the job sites, but find themselves turned away even for the most basic retail jobs. Not because they aren’t competent. Not because they lack skills. But simply because they have a gray hair or two.

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Global Warming: How to Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – Part 1

January 9, 2014 by Source

Source: BrightSource

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

This article is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” It contains great information at a reading level that even an elementary school child can comprehend. And there are many superb pictures too. It is a wonderful resource in the numerous technologies that are in the process of ridding the world of fossil fuels – some of them hardly known to the literate public. At least I wasn’t aware of them, and I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about global warming and what we can do about it. He identifies ten different technologies. We will devote an article to each of them. Part 1 will deal with solar.

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California Legislators Call for Fracking Moratorium

January 9, 2014 by Source

172174_inglewood-fracking_ALS_By Dan Bacher

Nine California Legislators on January 7 sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking that he issue an executive order to prohibit the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) within the Department of Conservation from allowing fracking in the state until health and environmental concerns are addressed.

Legislators signing the letter include Marc Levine, Assemblymember, 10th Assembly District; Das Williams, Assemblymember, 37th Assembly District; Adrin Nazarian, Assemblymember, 46th Assembly District; Richard Bloom, Assemblymember, 50th Assembly District; Loni Hancock, State Senator, 9th Senate District; Bonnie Lowenthall, Assemblymember, 70th Assembly District; Noreen Evans, State Senator, 2nd Senate District; Phil Ting, Assemblymember, 19th Assembly District; and Lois Wolk, State Senator, 3rd Senate District.

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Native Plant Garden to be Added to Sunset Cliffs Park

January 8, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Native Plant Garden to be Added to Sunset Cliffs Park

By a local activist

Where else can you walk from OB to a nationally-known natural wonder without crossing the street?

Not everybody knows that Sunset Cliffs Natural Park starts at the point between Ocean Beach and Point Loma at Adair Street, where the cliffs and ocean view run alongside Sunset Cliffs Blvd. There is a kiosk, a sign, and a bench there, but the barren trail doesn’t provide the cut-grass ambiance we ordinarily associated with city-owned parks.

That’s about to change. This entry point will soon become an experimental garden for native plants. Designed by Clayton Tschudy, a botanist with Cal Native and presented by David Fleitner from the San Diego Native Plant Society, work will begin as soon as permits are in place. This is the Entryway to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

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Micro-Farm in Point Loma Looking for Community Gardeners

January 8, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Micro-Farm in Point Loma Looking for Community Gardeners

A micro-farm that has been producing organic crops on upper Voltaire Street for nearly two years is now opening itself up for community gardeners.

Herb En Routes- run by Paige and Danielle- has been growing sustainable and local produce on .25 acres on a previously vacant lot at 4113 Voltaire. They were selling organically grown produce to local restaurants, such as Tender Greens, To The Point Cafe, Farmhouse Cafe, and the Pearl Hotel and Restaurant.

Paige and Danielle have now decided this endeavor is a bit too time consuming for them. So, they have decided to turn the farm into a community garden to allow them to work towards other careers but still continue to serve the community.

Starting this month, there are garden plots for rent, starting at $16 a month.

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Scientists May Have Solved Sea Lion Sickness Mystery Along Southern California Coast

January 8, 2014 by Source

Scientists believe a dramatic drop off of a nutritious fish may be the root of an epidemic of sick sea lion pups along the SoCal coast.

Scientists believe they may finally know why up to 1100 lion pups have turned up sick on Southern California beaches over the last year, including in OB and San Diego’s coast.

The phenomenon seemed to begin in January 2013 when a large number of pups began washing ashore injured, dehydrated and malnourished. Scientists looked at environmental factors, such as algae growth and wind pattern changes. But they now believe a dramatic drop in the sardine population was the culprit.

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Ocean Beach – Point Loma Mexican Restaurant Part of Bet Between San Diego and Denver Mayors

January 8, 2014 by Staff

One of the best Mexican restaurants in the Point Loma – OB area is now part of a friendly wager between the mayors of San Diego and Denver over the Broncos-Chargers game this Sunday.

Interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has included burritos from Ortiz’s Taco Shop on Voltaire as part of this bet.

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Protest at SeaWorld on January 19th

January 7, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Protest at SeaWorld on January 19th

A protest against SeaWorld has been organized for January 19th. It will be held from 10 am to 1pm at 500 SeaWorld Drive. Participants are being asked to wear black or black and white by the organizers.

Organizers claim that the protest will go on “until the tanks are empty”. According to the press release by the organizers:

$ea World confines whales and dolphins—that often swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild in tanks the size of a bathtub.

$ea World presents itself as a family establishment full of fun activities. However, these “fun activities” harm animals physically and emotionally.

We will meet at the corner of $ea World Drive and $ea World Way.

Parking: For parking, turn onto S. Shores Park off Friars Rd and park in the boat ramp lot then walk up about half a mile to demo location on $ea World Drive and $ea World Way.

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Twenty Years of NAFTA: Capital freely crosses borders while people can’t

January 7, 2014 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the United States.Public Citizen NAFTA’s Broken Promises 1994-2013

NAFTA-20-Years-Later-1-Million-Jobs_issuebannerOn January 1, 1994, a trilateral free trade zone was established in North America. This treaty with the United States, Mexico and Canada resulted in the mass relocation of factories and capital south of the Mexican border. Then President Bill Clinton asserted that NAFTA was going to “promote more growth, more equality and better preservation of the environment and a greater possibility of world peace.”

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20th Anniversary of Zapatista Uprising Is Commemorated

January 7, 2014 by Source

Enero Zapatista Committee Organizes Month Long Series of Events

By Brent E. Beltrán

“Behind our black mask, behind our armed voice, behind our unnameable name, behind what you see of us, behind this, we are you.” – Major Ana Maria of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Twenty years ago on January 1 an unknown, rag tag rebel group walked out of the fog and rain forest of Chiapas, Mexico and into the imaginations of millions of Mexicans, indigenous people and lefties throughout the world.

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U-T San Diego Shafts its Employees, Blames Obamacare

January 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for U-T San Diego Shafts its Employees, Blames Obamacare

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Employees of the UT-San Diego are the latest casualties in the sordid saga of the right wing’s assault on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

UT Publisher Doug Manchester has made opposition and denigration of the President’s health insurance reform agenda a top priority since the day he bought the paper. His editorial pages have been (figuratively) screaming about the impending end of Western Civilization for months on end. The ACA’s primary pillar—the individual mandate—was actually a conservative counter-proposal to President Clinton’s attempt to implement universal health care nearly two decades ago.

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