December 2015

Why Do We Sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ On New Year’s Eve, Anyways?

December 31, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Why Do We Sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ On New Year’s Eve, Anyways?

Because we’re drunk?

Dan Fallon / diggs

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t actually know the words to Auld Lang Syne. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from drunkenly slurring along to the instantly-recognizable tune at our annual New Year’s Eve parties.

It’s a song that elicits feelings of goodwill towards man, a song that moves. While Auld Lang Syne is an integral part of the New Year’s Eve ritual, most of us probably still have a few questions about the song. Namely:

What are the lyrics?

Where did this song come from?

And why the heck do we spend the first few minutes of each year singing it?

Read the full article → 1 comment

Why the 2016 Race for City Attorney Matters

December 31, 2015 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

jan goldsmithThere is no more important local electoral contest than the race for City Attorney. This relatively obscure office has been the part of government where dreams come to die, the priorities of the modern-day landed gentry are enforced, and the political will of the city’s business interests is turned into policy.

Incumbent City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, elected in 2008, deserves credit for molding his agency into a politically powerful entity. While his record is far from spotless, the more general thrust of developing a well-coordinated keeper of the flame for business interests has proven to be a valuable asset for the local moneyed classes.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Happy New Year from the OB Rag

December 31, 2015 by Frank Gormlie


Is Bono right? Is it true that “nothing ever changes on New Year’s Day!”?

Without tangling up on that concept, we now post below articles we have published over the months of 2015 that have some interest for us today as we review the past year and anticipate the new one.

Check these out – perhaps you, dear reader, missed some in the Hurley-burley of modern SoCal life.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Justice for Tamir Rice – Sign the Petition

December 30, 2015 by Source

tamir rice -wrongful-deathPetition to be delivered to Loretta Lynch, US Attorney General

It is simple. Tamir Rice deserves a new grand jury. A Department of Justice investigation of the prosecutor’s conduct with the grand jury. And the immediate removal and firing of the police officer

On December 28th, a grand jury decided not to charge the police officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy who was playing with a toy gun at a Cleveland park.1 Will you join me in demanding justice for Tamir? Come inside to sign the petition to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Read the full article → 17 comments

A Sneak Preview of 2016 Elections in San Diego

December 30, 2015 by Doug Porter

ballot box san diegoBy Doug Porter

Over the last few days of 2015 I’ll engage in speculation about what to expect for the coming year.

Here we’ll take a quick look at what San Diegans will be asked to vote on, a logical move since we’re headed into a presidential election year with a gaggle of ballot measures vying for voter approval in California. Later on in the year I’ll do in-depth profiles of candidates and ballot measures.

Read the full article → 4 comments

For Peace and Love: Haskell Wexler’s Well-Lived Life

December 30, 2015 by Source

wexlercool2Common Dreams

After decades of insisting on using “our art to reflect human values,” incomparable cinematographer and tireless activist Haskell Wexler died this weekend at 93. Wexler helped create some of the best films of our time –while unceasingly “giving his gifts to the revolution” by highlighting issues of war, racism, poverty and torture – and accumulating a 500-page FBI file for his trouble.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Most Hated Man in America – Uber Capitalist Martin Shkreli – Is Arrested

December 30, 2015 by John Lawrence

The Poster Boy for Corporate Greed

ShkreliBy John Lawrence

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who bought the drug, Daraprim and then raised the price from $13.50 to $750. a pill was arrested on December 17 by the FBI on fraud charges having nothing to do with his price gouging with Daraprim.

Shkreli seemed to back off on his 5000% increase for a life-saving drug after he received a lot of negative publicity but later said that he wished that he had raised the price of the drug even more. A silent chorus went up all over America, “He’s getting what he so richly deserves!” It does seem like Karma, doesn’t it?

Read the full article → 0 comments

From Good to Bad and Back to Good Again

December 29, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

I sat around last night trying to think of something to write and decided to click onto a page of prompts which gave me a choice of numbers between one and three-hundred-forty-six.

Sometimes just closing my eyes and moving the little arrow around on my Mac Os X and clicking randomly does the trick but I went, this time, with selecting number fifty-six.

Fifty-six is kind of a big number in my life. I had just turned 56 when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. A Highway 56 is named after Ted Williams, one of my favorite baseball players. I was in the Tucson High Class of ’56 and my life changed massively that year, in the time it takes to flip a light switch.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Sunset Cliffs: 2015 Turning Out to Be Most Dangerous and Deadly Year

December 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

sunset cliffs bench newBack in mid-October we published a chronicle of deaths and serious injuries that have occurred at or around Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach and Point Loma over the last 10 to 11 years, from 2005 through 2015.

Now with this most recent death of a man visiting from the Mid-West who fell off the cliffs while viewing his mobile device, this year – 2015 – looks to be the worst in terms of deaths and injuries.

This tragic death made national and even international news. What didn’t make the news was how dangerous and deadly our beautiful cliffs can be.

Back in mid-October, we summarized the incidents and came up with an average of 3 deaths and serious injuries per year, from 2005 to the present. We found that 2015 was already one of the worst years of these incidents.

Read the full article → 11 comments

San Diego DA Bonnie Dumanis Spins the News in Quest to Justify Fatal Police Shooting in Midway District

December 29, 2015 by Doug Porter

Midway cop shot vid blast3By Doug Porter

County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ absolution of a San Diego Police officer in the shooting death of 42-year-old Fridoon Rawshan Nehad turns out to have been nothing more than poorly orchestrated spin.

Facing an impending court-ordered release of damning evidence, the DA released a made-for-the-media video and pleaded with the press to use her version of events.

A subsequent release of information by an attorney representing Nehad’s family casts strong doubt on that ‘version’ of the story.

Read the full article → 2 comments

City Attorney On Vacation Rentals: Lodging Mainly for Visitors and Tourists Prohibited in Residential Zones

December 28, 2015 by Source

The following is from a Press Release from Save San Diego Neighborhoods:

City Attorney clarifies position on vacation rentals: Uses providing lodging primarily to visitors/tourists are prohibited in San Diego’s residential zones

SAN DIEGO, December 26, 2015 – Spurred by concerns from citizens over the proliferation of commercial mini-hotels in San Diego residential zones, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has released a new memorandum on short-term vacation rentals that says providing lodging primarily to visitors and tourists in San Diego’s residential zones is unlawful and violates the city’s Municipal Code.

Goldsmith’s memo, released on December 22 in response to requests by citizens’ group Save San Diego Neighborhoods (SSDN), comes as the San Diego City Council prepares to consider a draft ordinance on the contentious issue, perhaps as early as January. Directed to the mayor and city council, Goldsmith’s release updates a 2007 memo on the same subject by then City Attorney Mike Aguirre.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Censored 2015: The Most Underreported Story of the Year

December 28, 2015 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As I wrote back in mid-October, Project Censored recently released their list of the most underreported stories of 2015. The number one story on their list features the news that 2016 will be the year when half of the world’s wealth will be controlled by the top 1%. More specifically, they document how:

According to the Oxfam report, the proportion of global wealth owned by the 1 percent has increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and is projected to reach 50 percent in 2016.

In October 2014, a prior Oxfam report, “Even It Up: Time to End Extreme Poverty,” revealed that the number of billionaires worldwide had more than doubled since the 2009 financial crisis, showing that, although those at the top have recovered quickly, the vast majority of the world’s population are far from reaping the benefits of any recent economic recovery.

Even more staggering, the world’s richest eighty-five people now hold the same amount of wealth as half the world’s poorest population. “Failure to tackle inequality will leave hundreds of millions trapped in poverty unnecessarily,” the report’s authors warned.

Read the full article → 0 comments

What’s Up With the OB Rag? – Editordude in Sedona Waiting for Daughter’s Baby

December 28, 2015 by Staff

Yeah, we know. The OB Rag has been down a number of days just recently.

And it’s all because Editordude took off for Sedona, Arizona last week – where his daughter, Michelle, is about to give birth.

December 28th is her “due date” but as anybody whose ever been a mother knows, the due date is a statistical figure and not every baby is big on statistics.

So, editordude is hanging out in Sedona – along with some other relatives – waiting for the birth.

Read the full article → 8 comments

Video Released Showing Police Shooting Fridoon Rawshan Nehad in Midway District

December 22, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Video Released Showing Police Shooting Fridoon Rawshan Nehad in Midway District


See the last few moments of Nehad’s life. Video inside (warning: very angering).

Surveillance video capturing a fatal shooting in which a veteran San Diego police officer shot and killed an unarmed, mentally ill man was made public Tuesday, six days after a federal judge ruled it would no longer be under a protective order.

Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, 42, was shot and killed April 30 in a confrontation with San Diego Police Department Officer Neal Browder in San Diego’s Midway District. The officer-involved shooting was captured on surveillance video from a nearby business but investigators would not release it to the public while an investigation was underway.

Browder will not face criminal charges in the incident. Nehad’s family filed a multimillion-dollar claim against the city of San Diego. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have launched an investigation into the shooting.

Read the full article → 6 comments

A Typical, Cold, Freezing, Windy Morning Surfing in Ocean Beach

December 22, 2015 by Staff

ACE OB Surf 12-21-15 02

All these photos were taken by well-known local, Albert C Elliott, photographer and surfboard maker. They were taken on Monday, December 21, 2015 at OB.

ACE told me it was “just a typical, cold, freezing, windy morning in OB.”

Read the full article → 2 comments

SeaWorld Supporters Take on OB Rag and Frank Gormlie

December 22, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Supporters Take on OB Rag and Frank Gormlie

There is a small group of SeaWorld supporters (apologists?) who have directly taken on the OB Rag and editor Frank Gormlie. They have a blog and posted a recent article calling out Gormlie by name in a headline refuting his claims about SeaWorld.

About a month ago, Gormlie wrote an article entitled “Why SeaWorld Can’t Build a Hotel at its Location on Mission Bay“, citing the proximity of the old Mission Bay landfill which is known to contain toxic materials.

Read the full article → 13 comments

Wild and Crazy Guys

December 22, 2015 by Source

trump cardBy Bob Dorn

I’ve got two explanations for the Trump phenomenon. They’re both a little hollow.

The first is, he’s the leading example of white privilege, and he’s proud of it. He’s got so much money he wouldn’t know how to fry an egg for himself if he were starving.

People like Trump have so much money and have been rewarded by media for so long they’ve lost track of what real people experience. They’ve become isolated. After decades of going out only to places where they can think and play with people whom they agree with these guys don’t have to watch what they say any longer.

Read the full article → 0 comments

“Refugees, Late Summer Night” by Steve Kowit – An Excerpt From Sunshine/Noir II

December 22, 2015 by Source

By Steve Kowit

Woke with a start, the dogs barking out by the fence,
yard flooded with light. Groped my way to the window.
Out on the road a dozen quick figures
hugging the shadows: bundles slung at their shoulders
& water jugs at their hips. You could hear,
under the rattle of wind, as they passed,
the crunch of sneakers on gravel. Pollos. Illegals
who’d managed to slip past the Border Patrol, …

Read the full article → 0 comments

Did Anyone Notice? Southern California Just Went Through Two of the Hottest Summers on Record – Without … Nukes!

December 21, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Did Anyone Notice? Southern California Just Went Through Two of the Hottest Summers on Record – Without … Nukes!

Now that we’re in a wet, cold Southern California winter, it’s instructive to look back to that long, hot summer and the very warm fall that this region experienced in order to understand that the summer of 2015 – it turns out – was the hottest summer on record. On earth.

This fact made headlines – summer of 2015 was Earth’s hottest on record (Washington Post / September 17, 2015):

Temperatures soared about 1.5 degrees warmer than the long-term average, passing 1998 and 2014, which were the previous hottest summers on record depending on the dataset. These records date back to the late 1800s.

And as noted above – until this year – the summer of 2014 was the hottest summer on record (USA Today) .

Read the full article → 4 comments

Three Progressive Literary Stocking Stuffers for 2015

December 21, 2015 by Jim Miller

Santa Claus w dogBy Jim Miller

It’s Christmas week and as we do every year, the grown-ups in my family are keeping up the tradition of buying nothing for each other.

But for those of you who must endure the fear and loathing of the consumer frenzy, here is my annual list of books that might serve as good stocking stuffers for the alienated progressives or other likely suspects on your list (with a special focus on some of the best work that received less attention than it deserved):

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Force Is Strong In Our Family

December 21, 2015 by Annie Lane


By Annie Lane

“I want to play with those,” my 4-year-old nephew said, pointing at the Star Wars Lego magnets on the fridge.

“No, no,” my mom replied.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Psychiatrists Analyzed ‘Star Wars’ Characters And Discovered They All Have Mental Conditions

December 21, 2015 by Source

star wars photo Photo by tookapic (Pixabay)

Darth Vader has PTSD and C-3PO has OCD.

By Kali Holloway / AlterNet

Read the full article → 6 comments

OB Rag Editorial: There Is No Consensus – Delay the Police Cameras

December 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Rag Editorial: There Is No Consensus – Delay the Police Cameras

The OB Rag is urging the City of San Diego to delay the installation of the police surveillance cameras – currently scheduled for “sometime at the first of the year”. We urge the City to delay the project until at least there has been adequate discussion within the community of Ocean Beach about the cameras. If anything these last few weeks have shown – it’s the complete lack of consensus within the community about the cameras and whether they should go in at all. There also has been insufficient community debate and discussion about the needs for the cameras. Yet, the cameras are still coming in.

Read the full article → 16 comments

“No More Protest Marches Through Balboa Park – Please!”

December 18, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for “No More Protest Marches Through Balboa Park – Please!”

The Old OB Hippie Speaks Out

Been around long enough to know the “in’s and out’s” of organizing protests and marches here in good, ol’ conservative San Diego. I have been to many, many of them – all over the place. – And yes, I know our city’s demographics and politics have evolved over the years.

Just recently, I was at the Climate Action rally held in Balboa Park with its rally next to the water fountain. Before that – and at the same spot – I attended a support rally for Bernie Sanders. And one year ago exactly, I attended a “die-in” at the fountain when on December 13th, 2014, 200 people participated in a “die-in” – right at the fountain, as San Diego joined protests held nation-wide against police violence.

Going back a ways – I also attended many rallies and marches that were held in and through Balboa Park during both the Iraq Wars I and II.

Read the full article → 0 comments

HUD Bureaucrats to San Diego’s Homeless Service Providers: ‘My Way or the Highway’

December 18, 2015 by Source

homeless womanBy Jeeni Criscenzo

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently came out with a 55-page document titled:

Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing: Defining “Chronically Homeless.

I can only imagine the thousands of dollars spent to clarify that: agencies receiving HUD funds to serve chronically homeless people cannot use those funds for persons or households if any of the periods separating the requisite “4 separate occasions in the past 3 years” where they were homeless (according to the HUD definition of homeless) were less than 7 nights.

If that sounds convoluted to you, imagine being an underpaid, intake staff person at an underfunded homeless service agency, interviewing a homeless client to determine if they can accept him or her into the program without jeopardizing their HUD funding.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Major Developments in Midway District Fatal Shooting by Police of Fridoon Nehad

December 17, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Major Developments in Midway District Fatal Shooting by Police of Fridoon Nehad

Feds to Review Shooting and Victim’s Family Can Release Video of Shooting to the Public

There’s major, major developments in the fatal police shooting of Fridoon Rawshan Nehad last April in the Midway District.

On April 30th, San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder arrived in an alley next to an adult bookstore in the Midway District. There had been a 911 call that reported a man with a knife was outside. Within seconds of his arrival, Officer Browder opened fire, killing Nehan, who – it turns out, was holding a metallic pen, and was having a PTSD episode. A private security camera recorded the entire scene, which up to now has not been made public – but that’s all about to change.

Part of the big news is that the FBI announced that it is reviewing the shooting of Nehan by Browder. This has been confirmed by the police department.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Annual SantaCon San Diego Is Back in OB

December 16, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Annual SantaCon San Diego Is Back in OB

Some folks – OBceans and the like – like to celebrate the holidays by dressing up like Santa and carousing from restaurant to bar to bar – and this year SantaCon returns to Ocean Beach on Friday, December 18th.

Here is

SantaCon San Diego returns to Ocean Beach

The annual Santa-clad celebration will bring Ocean Beach good cheer on Friday, Dec. 18

By Liz Bowen

Read the full article → 0 comments

“Relax into Now” Workshop

December 16, 2015 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for “Relax into Now” Workshop

“Relax into Now” Workshop – December 17

Two Brighton Avenue neighbors named “Mary” are teaming up to bring a new kind of event to OB.

They came up with – “Relax Into Now” – an interactive evening of “playful paths to the present” through movement, rhythm and sound. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it.

The concept was born on the massage table as therapist Mary Owen and client Mary Tolena played with workshop ideas. Mary O teaches yoga, and Mary T’s passion is creating group experiences with rhythm and drumming. They have envisioned a fun, uplifting program that will create easy access to the benefits from both.

Read the full article → 2 comments

New Laws from the Republicans’ Alternate Dimension: Obama Forbidden to Mention Climate Change

December 16, 2015 by John Lawrence

More Greenhouse Gas, Subsidies for Gun Shops, and a Presidential Dress Code

smoke stacksBy John Lawrence

In addition to repealing Obamacare for the 457th time, Congress has been busy with a new agenda. HR 4031 will officially make it illegal for President Obama to attend any more climate change conferences. In fact, he won’t even be allowed to mention climate change in his upcoming State of the Union (SOTU) speech.

As part of the Fossil Fuel Enhancement Act of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown of California will be forced to abandon his plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, he has been ordered to increase greenhouse gas emissions and to give subsidies to automobile manufacturers as long as they don’t convert to electric engines.

As part of the Act, subsidies have been increased to ExxonMobil by $5 billion to further encourage them in the fine work they’re doing promoting and selling fossil fuels.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Urban Planning Without Social Equity is Like Playing Chess Without the Queen

December 16, 2015 by Source


By Murtaza H. Baxamusa / San Diego UrbDeZine

With rising inequality, a looming climate change crisis, and persistent state of housing unaffordability being the defining issues in the growth of American cities in the twenty-first century, it is time for urban planners to take social policy seriously.

Too often, social policy is relegated to a specialized role for advocacy planners, at other times ignored completely for being too political, and often times dismissed as “creeping socialism” that is inappropriate in land-use planning.

Read the full article → 2 comments