Category: Rights

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The Interview Heard Around the World

Today, Tucker Carlson released perhaps the most important interview of our time—and one not sought by traditional, Western news media outlets, if I correctly understand things. Recorded on Feb. 6, 2024, the journalist sat with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

My wife and I watched the first 55 minutes of the more than 2 hour interview; we will finish it tomorrow. My interest: Context and record-setting straight by Putin and the questions Carlson poses. The liberal American news media cannot be trusted to get the facts—for reason nobody openly discusses, because maybe for fear of being called homophobic. Sharpen your nasty labels, baby, and let’s get to it.

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I Stand with Texas

The Featured Image might seem to you an odd choice for this post’s title but I must disagree. Suddenly, on my walks, I see many more American flags displayed—and in places that are new to my eyes, like this one outside a North Park market. Makes me wonder: Are some San Diegans quietly, but affirmatively, expressing their patriotic support for Texas’ standoff with the Federal government?

Under a program called “Operation Lone Star“, Texas seeks to “hold the line to defend the Southern border”. Bolstering that effort, Governor Greg Abbott has mobilized state national guard units as part of a vanguard laying razor wire and blocking U.S. Border Patrol agents from processing immigrants. A Supreme Court ruling favors Federal efforts to cut (and remove) the razor wire. Abbott and his attorney general are defiant.

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Tangled Web

Belated topic time: Few months ago, I changed copyright on this blogsite and my Flickr from a Creative Commons non-commercial variant to All Rights Reserved. I did this in response to so-called artificial intelligence algorithms scraping content from websites for various purposes—improving learning models being one of them.

Some of that content can and likely will be repurposed for profit and in manner outside my artistic control. Software developers, many of them large tech companies—think Apple, Google, and Microsoft, for starters—can claim plausible deniability. “Hey, we didn’t know that would happen”.

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A Solitary Sign

This is different and, honestly, refreshing. In my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, We Believe signs are almost always some variation of rainbow color text on black background professing sentiments like “love is love”; “black lives matter”; and “science is real”—among others.

Today, along Shirley Ann Place, my wife and I passed a placard seemingly meant as an antidote to the others. Given the community’s liberal leanings, and the plethora of the other signs, I must admit surprise seeing one so blatantly contrary. We live where views dissident to progressive feelings-based beliefs and values simply are not tolerated.

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For Her President

On Sept. 10, 2023, as I pulled up to the pump at my local filling station, a looming, white pickup truck came in behind me. The other driver was quicker getting out of her vehicle (because I lumbered gathering together cash).

I stepped inside to pay and found her jabbering away with the clerk; she had a friendly mile-a-minute mouth. She spoke about how bad is the economy when the last person to fill up could only afford $3.75 of gas. Context: Price at the pump paid in cash or by debit card was $5.50. So that customer got less than one gallon’s worth.

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Voting Integrity, Seriously?

Before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 provided California with the excuse to issue mail-in ballots, voting was straightforward: The County assigned a polling place, where you would go to vote. Volunteers had a list of registered citizens from which your name would be checked off and then you would do your civic duty. Simple. Straightforward.

In 2020, I chose to vote in person—and I brought along my mail-in ballot, which would have been accepted had I not requested to vote onsite. After confirming my identity, the election volunteer provided ballot and place to vote. Simple. Straightforward. But the experience my wife and I had voting today was nothing like this or during elections 2021 and 2022. By every measure, looks to me like the polling place process is engineered to deter in-person voting.

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Should I Go Back?

The last time I ventured into the University Heights branch of San Diego Public Library, the elderly lady greeting folks and completing their purchases evicted me. She insisted that I wear a face mask; I responded that the county had ended SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates. She demanded. I refused and captured the moral ground. She won the war, because my butt got booted.

The third Saturday and Sunday of the month are this weekend, and the book sale will once again be open. Should I go? Here’s the thing: later that same day, Oct. 15, 2022, I returned with Leica Q2 to take the Featured Image. Not until tonight, when taking time to finally process the photo, did I realize that no one shopping for books wears a mask!

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What’s More Inclusive Than Welcome?

On July 14, 2023, as the prideful descended upon San Diego for the annual alphabet-letter parade the next day, I stopped with my wife to gawk at the fence, along Adams Ave. in University Heights, that is subject of the Featured Image.

The “Welcome” sign and homage to the “brave”, along with an American flag out of frame, stood starkly—proudly and patriotically—in contrast to the many rainbow flags we encountered nearby along Panorama Drive. (Say, why do these banners have six colors when the real deal in the sky is seven?)

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He Waits for What?

We end the month, and first half of the year, with a somber Featured Image captured tonight. I typically avoid taking photos of San Diego homeless, out of respect for them and their plight. With the high cost of housing, anyone could end up in their situation—particularly with the rising number of renovictions: landlord removes long-time tenants and makes upgrades to justify drastically raising rents.

According to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, number of the city’s—what I will politely call—street dwellers is up 35 percent from 2022. Broadly, across San Diego County, people aged 55 or older make up 29 percent of the homeless population and about 46 percent are newly in this condition. That circles back to long-time tenants, sometimes for several decades, living in rentals they can manage but being evicted and unable to find affordable housing.

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Come and Get Me, Apple

If you believe Wired story “Apple Is Taking On Apples in a Truly Weird Trademark Battle“—and I do—the company is running about the globe seeking the “rights to the image of apples”.

One court case could cause big problems for 111-year-old the Fruit Union, according to reporter Gabriela Galindo, who writes: “The oldest and largest fruit farmer’s organization in Switzerland worries it might have to change its logo, because Apple, the tech giant, is trying to gain intellectual property rights over depictions of apples, the fruit”.

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Our Daughter’s New Smartphone

From my perspective, the police violated our daughter’s Fourth Amendment protections when seizing the iPhone 13 Pro that she inherited from me as a 2022 Christmas present. The story: Parents of the household where she visited handed over the device when asked. But it wasn’t theirs to give, nor the cops to take. Our only child couldn’t, and so didn’t, authorize the seizure. Justification: A sergeant, and later detective, told me they sought evidence of a crime against our daughter, the victim.

Law enforcement’s fishing expedition deprives the device’s owner as she recuperates from a double stroke caused by oxygen deprivation and prepares to go to an acute rehabilitation facility sometime soon. She wants her iPhone, and the detective doesn’t respond to my calls. We even had tentatively scheduled a meeting whereby we would discuss possible passcodes to unlock the device. That was before our girl made massive strides unthinkable the day of the proposed meetup to which he didn’t show.

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A Solemn Story

Sometimes the best photo isn’t the best shot but the one you need. The Featured Image won’t flatter my photographic skills—or entice you to do the same. But the serene view, overlooking the stairs going down to Swami’s Beach in Encinitas means to soften today’s grim story.

In the hospital where our daughter recuperates, the woman in the room’s other bed isn’t so fortunate. She has moaned in pain, for several days now, and a mass of relatives has come to see her. The lady looks to be quite large, and because she suffers from failing kidneys, I assumed she must be diabetic. I was mistaken. Grossly.