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FROM THE REAL ESTATE TRENCHES: REAL ESTATE RECOVERY SIGNS AND MORE LOCAL REAL ESTATE NEWS

By Charlotte Reed, REALTOR SRES CRS

October 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—This column includes some hopeful signs of a real estate recover, a warning about a loan scam, a new real estate laws taking effect in January 2013, and an update on a revised Homeowner Bill of Rights.

EARTHTALK®: CANDIDATES ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD AND POSITIONS

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

October 10, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: Given that the presidential election is just around the corner, what can you tell me about each candidate’s environmental track record and positions?          -- Jane Miller, Chicago, IL

Just because the environment is getting short shrift this election season due to our nation’s lingering economic woes doesn’t mean that candidates Obama and Romney can ignore the issue.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: MITT ROMNEY IN BOCA RATON: AMEN CHORUS OF THE 1%

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

 

October 5, 2012 (San Diego)--Just about everybody who follows American politics at all has heard by now of the surreptitious video recording made of Mitt Romney and his peers at a $50,000 per person fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida last May 17. In case you need the reminder, it’s the event at which he said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent on the government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That’s an entitlement. … These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of lower taxes doesn’t connect. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center … ”

ONLY IN AMERICA: A CIVIL DEBATE WITH MY MUSLIM FRIEND

By Jamie Reno

Exclusive for the Reno Dispatch

October 8, 2012 (San Diego) – Last week, Randy Hamud, the attorney, author and civil rights activist who represented several of the friends of the three 9/11 hijackers who lived in San Diego, wrote an op-ed piece for the U-T San Diego newspaper in which he addressed whether the now-infamous 14-minute video ridiculing the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was an exercise of free speech, or an incitement to violence that should not be granted First Amendment protection.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/10/only-in-america-civil-debate...

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: WHAT ARE RED FLAG WARNINGS?

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service (NWS) issues Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches to alert fire departments and land management agencies about the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and fuel moisture conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. This could be due to low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, or any combination thereof.

EDUCATION TOUR: EXTRA! EXTRA! GIANT CABBAGES!

Education News and Notes

By Anat Tour, math teacher and children’s author/illustrator

October 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Often when we imagine the month of October, witches, goblins and pumpkins come to mind. Now imagine cabbages! The Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program offers a unique curriculum for 3rd grade students to get involved in the love of gardening and raise their environmental consciousness. Think these are small cabbages? Think again! The biggest cabbage grown weighed in at 65 pounds. Read more about these oversized, giant cabbages in this month.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: TWO CAGED TIGERS -- THE OBAMA/ROMNEY DEBATE

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

October 6, 2012 (San Diego)—The first general election Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney concluded on October 3, entering into history. It had become one of those events that seemed important because everybody — or at least all the political pundits — were saying it would be important. In an election in which the recent polls had shown Obama gaining slight but significant leads in many of the so-called “swing states,” the nine or so across the country where the balance between Democrats and Republicans is so delicate the election could go either way, the debates have been hailed as Romney’s last chance to turn things around.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: TURKISH WRATH (TAKEN 2)

By Brian Lafferty

 

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

October 5, 2012 (San Diego) -- Another week, another Liam Nelson film.  Taken 2 is his fourth this year alone.  First came The Grey, a gritty action survival film set in Alaska that packed a psychological punch.  The second was the wretched Wrath of the Titans, which right now is my pick for the worst film of the year.  Following that was Battleship, a stupid and turgid alien invasion flick that cribbed the worst elements of Michael Bay’s films.  Taken 2 does nothing to better Neeson's batting average this year, but at least it's somewhat more tolerable than Wrath and Battleship.  But that isn't saying much.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: PRESS PLAY...IF YOU DARE (V/H/S)

By Brian Lafferty

 

Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

October 5, 2012 (San Diego) – V/H/S is a twisted ode to the videotape, a once-venerable technology that is becoming an increasingly forgotten relic in the high definition digital age.  Taking the best elements of the found footage genre and integrating it with the anthology film format, it made me scared, anxious, and queasy.  Each story, helmed by a different director, uses the found footage genre to its fullest potential, with scary, disturbing and unsettling results. 

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HIKING SAFETY TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 4, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--The cooler weather is beginning to slowly settle in as we are now into Fall.  This is a great time for many of us to start those outdoor activities that we avoided during the summer heat. We have plenty of great spots to hike and enjoy the scenery here in East County (and surrounding area).

MARKETING MATTERS: TARGET MARKET VS. REFERRAL SOURCE

Tips and tricks for business marketing success

By Rama Beerfas

October 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – This is the season for me to be developing marketing plans for many of my existing clients. What I have noticed over the many years I've been doing this is that there is often confusion between the terms "target market" and "referral source." In order to market correctly, these two terms must be clearly understood, so here goes...

EARTHTALK®: HOW HEALTHY ARE PERFUMES?

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

September 29, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: I’ve always suspected that perfumes and colognes must not be too healthy simply because of the way the smell of most of them bothers me. Am I correct? Is there information available on this issue?                                                        -- Lucinda Barry, Minneapolis, MN

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: BLACK MAGIC KINGDOM (SOLOMON KANE)

By Brian Lafferty

September 28, 2012 (San Diego) – There are times when the life of a film critic resembles that of a miner.  Uncovering gems like Solomon Kane – which would have gone unnoticed and unreleased here were it not for RADiUS-TWC, The Weinstein Company’s newest distribution label – is one of dozens of reasons why being a film critic is life-fulfilling. 

VETERANS EMBRACE LIFE AT SUMMER SPORTS CLINIC THIS WEEK IN SAN DIEGO

By Jamie Reno

The Reno Dispatch

September 25, 2012 (San Diego) -- I've been openly critical of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for its massive backlog of disability claims, entrenched bureaucracy, and other problems. The VA has a long, long way to go.

But that doesn't mean I don't recognize that there are many people at VA who are dedicated to veterans, and many programs that help veterans survive and thrive.

HOW ARE OUR VETERANS REALLY DOING?

By Jamie Reno

The Reno Dispatch

OK, let's cut to the chase: How are America's veterans really doing overall? While that question has no simple answer, what I can say is that there are a number of positives to share - but at least one very large negative.

In a briefing last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) candidly shared with the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee what it considers its greatest successes as well as its most urgent problems.

EARTHTALK®: IS EXTREME WEATHER LINKED TO CLIMATE CHANGE?

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

September 24, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: What is the scientific consensus on all the extreme weather we’ve been having—from monster tornadoes to massive floods and wildfires? Is there a clear connection to climate change? And if so what are we doing to be prepared?                                -- Jason Devine, Summit, PA

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: START YOUR OWN RELIGION (THE MASTER)

By Brian Lafferty

 

September 24, 2012 (San Diego) – On one of my many college days spent in the South Wing of Cal State, Fullerton's Pollak library, I came across Timothy Leary's book The Politics of Ecstasy.  It was a fascinating read unlike any nonfiction I previously encountered before then.  It was a collection of the disgraced Harvard professor’s essays and lectures on the psychedelic drug LSD.  In the chunk that I read, he defends the drug, and cites research and studies that he claims demonstrate its benefits on its people’s minds, lifestyle, and ways of thinking.  He argues that as long as you know what you’re doing, or better yet, if you have a “guided trip” with someone experienced in LSD use, it’s not only safe, but beneficial.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: NOTES FROM THE GRANDSTANDS (TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE)

By Brian Lafferty

September 24, 2012 (San Diego) – Last year’s Moneyball was a smart baseball movie, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of front office politics.  While slightly laid back and relaxed, everybody meant business.  Not too serious, but plenty of drama.  What happens when you fuse all that with Clint Eastwood-style wit and bit?  You get something like Trouble with the Curve

BIRD TALK: THE CALIFORNIA VALLEY QUAIL

By Greg Dunne

September 24, 2012 (Alpine)--The California State Bird is the California Valley Quail. Over the past two seasons, I have had the pleasure of having a covey of California Quail living in my back yard!

My last count, as of yesterday, is nine quail living in my back yard. I remember seeing the new little chicks around the end of April. The chicks are now as big as the adults are, however, you can still tell the juveniles from the adults by the size of the plumes on the top of their heads as well as the markings and feathers that are not as deep and striking as the adults’ markings.

HISTORIC LAWSUIT FOR VETERANS HEADED TO SUPREME COURT?

By Jamie Reno

The Reno Dispatch

September 24, 2012 (San Diego)--My trusted veteran sources tell me that we may soon know if Veterans for Common Sense v. Eric K. Shinseki, the historic lawsuit filed by veterans advocates against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) way back in 2007, will be heard by the Supreme Court.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HIGH FIRE DANGER!

By Fire Chief Dan DiGiovanna

It’s not just the health concerns and power outages associated with hot days…we are stepping right into our first high pressure system of the season and if you ask any fire service authority, all will agree this will be an extremely dangerous fire season according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

MEDIA WATCHDOG: IS THE U-T’S PURCHASE OF NORTH COUNTY TIMES AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE?

Merger highlights the decline of independent media

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

September 19, 2012 (San Diego)—The U-T San Diego’s purchase of the North County Times for $11.95 million dollars has sent shudders across the journalism community locally and nationally.  The deal also includes acquisition of the Californian in Riverside County(no relation to the East County Californian), which was owned by North County Times. 

Demise of one of San Diego’s largest independent media outlets highlights two growing problems: fewer voices controlling the media due to consolidation and a decline in quality including slashing investigative/watchdog reporting and abandoning journalistic standards—most importantly, impartiality.

RENO DISPATCH: KEEP KILLING THE BAD GUYS, KEEP TALKING TO THE GOOD GUYS

By Jamie Reno

The Reno Dispatch

Sept. 19, 2012 (San Diego)-- I'm not a bleeding-heart liberal. I certainly recognize that the violent anti-American protests this week throughout the Middle East and beyond in response to a stupid video denigrating the Muslim religion are a real threat to the United States and need to be taken very seriously.

EARTHTALK®: U.S. CONSUMPTION

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

September 18, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: I read that a single child born in the U.S. has a greater effect on the environment than a dozen children born in a developing country? Can you explain why?  -- Josh C., via e-mail

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: AFTER THE CONVENTIONS

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

September 17, 2012 (San Diego) – Well, now we know. The 2012 Presidential election won’t just be between incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, but between two starkly different philosophies not only of politics, or how to revive the economy and preserve the capitalist system, but also of life itself and what it means to be human. It won’t be a serious debate over how much government the American people want, or how they propose to pay for it. Nor will it really be about the budget deficit or the national debt, however much Republicans — especially their vice-presidential candidate, Congressmember Paul Ryan —might claim the moral high ground on that issue even though their giveaway tax cuts to the ultra-rich will actually make the national debt bigger, not smaller.

AMERICAN TRIVIA: LADY LIBERTY

By Richard Lederer

September 17, 2012 (San Diego) – The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States commemorating the alliance between the two nations during the Revolutionary War. The statue arrived in the United States aboard the French freighter Isere as 350 individual pieces packed in 214 crates. Lady Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924, and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: TERRORISTS' VETO II - HERE WE GO AGAIN

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

September 21, 2012 (San Diego)--I probably could have gone through my life blissfully unaware of the existence of a scrap of film called Innocence of Muslims — a.k.a. Innocence of Bin Laden, a.k.a. Desert Warriors — if the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. Embassy staff members hadn’t been killed in an attack allegedly inspired by a YouTube trailer for this movie. It’s a film almost no one has seen — and that includes the attackers in Libya and the mobs who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Egypt — but that hasn’t stopped either the protesters against the film or the mystery people who made it, who appear to be  members of the Copts, an Egyptian Christian sect who lost their protector when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was driven from power and now fear both official discrimination and private retribution.

IS THERE ANY OBJECTIVE JOURNALISM ANYMORE?

By Jamie Reno

Several years ago I wrote a story about my two best friends - one a Christian conservative Republican ex-Marine, the other an agnostic liberal Democrat college professor. In the piece I described how much I admired both of them but always seemed to find myself in the middle. 

Well, they're still my best friends... and I'm still in the middle. My liberal friend still thinks I'm too conservative, and my conservative friend still thinks I'm too liberal. 

See more:

BECOMING GREEN: GETTING STARTED WITH COMPOSTING AND CLEANUP

By Jackie Hanson

September 12, 2012 (Lakeside)--Hi, I’m Jackie! I’m retired, but I keep busy tending a sizable property (that I try to coax into various gardens with mixed results) and caring for many animals (chickens, ducks, goats, horses, cats, and a dog).  I’m also an artist and aspiring interior decorator, and I have so many plans and ideas that I can only hope to live long enough to bring them to fruition!

I’ve decided to write a column to share with anyone who’s interested in getting better at living less wastefully.  I’m calling it “Becoming Green” because although I try to be a good steward of the earth, I am far from fully achieving that goal.  In fact, I’m probably a lot like you, trying to do my bit to recycle and waste less water, but fighting an uphill battle, with bad habits that are hard to break and a busy life that distracts me from doing more.

EARTHTALK®: ECO-FRIENDLY AND NON-TOXIC CAT LITTERS

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

September 11, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: Which are the most eco-friendly and non-toxic (to people, cats and sanitation systems) cat litters? ­                                                                       -- Sam Barnes, Macon, GA

It makes sense that environmentally enlightened cat owners would want cat litter made from natural products that will not potentially compromise their health or that of their beloved pets. Many mass market cat litters contain significant amounts of silica dust which has been linked to upper respiratory issues in cats and even humans. Likewise, the chemical fragrances in many cat litters can also be toxic to cats.

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