Skip to main content

Rep. Hunter’s Islamophobic Mailer, Military Food Assistance Proposal, And ‘Mini-Brains’ In Space

Cover image for podcast episode

The U.S. Marine Corps ordered embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, to stop using its emblem in his Islamophobic campaign mailers. Congresswoman Susan Davis, D-San Diego, is co-sponsoring a bill that will make it easier for military families to get food assistance. Plus, what led asylum-seekers from Cameroon to Tijuana? And a new experiment by UC San Diego researchers will send human brain organoids, or “mini-brains,” into outer space to find out what effect weightlessness has on a growing brain. Comic-Con celebrates its 50th show this week and has evolved into an event that attracts upwards of 130,000 attendees. But it wasn't always that big.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Mid Day additions. Jade Heineman has today's top story. The U S Marine Corps is demanding San Diego Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter remove a Marine logo from Islamophobic campaign flyers targeting his opponent and two other members of Congress. The two others were also recently targeted by the president with a racist tweet. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh has been following this development and joins us with more. Steve, welcome. Hi Jade. At the center of this story is a campaign mailer that features his likely 2020 democratic opponent and two Democratic Congress women. Can you describe the mailer for us?

Speaker 2: 00:37 Well, I can and uh, looking at what the, uh, the marine sent out, it looks like they are targeting this particular ad that shows the marine logo and the a in the emblem. But uh, it is in a flyer that among the things it says on there, it hasn't like what looks like handwritten, uh, a message saying these three radical Democrats, uh, want you to forget family terrorist ties. But as a marine, I'll never forget the 1983 Beirut bombings and the 1972 Olympic murders. That's a reference to a claim that a hunter keeps making that a, a mark campaign is our, the Democrat who ran against him less last time and it's still running against him this time. His grandfather was somehow tied to the Munich bombings in 1972. It's a been widely disputed and there's very little evidence to support that, but hunter keeps making that charge. And the s and then we had the two congress women on here, a Atlanta, Ilan, Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and received to leave a Democrat of a Michigan. Both of them were also mentioned on this. And I have to point out that, uh, mentions with, to leave that, uh, she's anti-Israel, but the mailer misspells the word Israel.

Speaker 1: 01:50 Right. And, and we should also mention that both congresswoman Omar and to leave are both Muslim. And do we know how they found out about the mailer or what drew them Marines to this mailer?

Speaker 2: 02:01 Well, we, we do not know, and again, they're only saying so much about this, but we do know that this received a tremendous amount of publicity here and the rhetoric is incredibly inflammatory. Um, two of these congress women were also mentioned in, uh, in tweets by president Trump that, uh, let's put, you know, put a fine point on it. Racist tweets put out by president Trump. In fact, uh, Alan, Omar of Minnesota who is Somali born, um, president Trump brought that up at a rally and a bunch of people began chanting to send her back, send her back. So this is received a tremendous amount of uh, um, mostly very negative publicity.

Speaker 1: 02:39 What is the Marine Corps said about why hunters should have removed the logo?

Speaker 2: 02:43 Send a letter out saying that the a marine emblem, which is the a, the eagle, the anchor and a, the globe, this is not only just a registered trademark, but it is protected by federal statute and it is not allowed to be used without permission from Marine Corps. Same goes for the logo, for the logo, which is a no better friend, no worse enemy, which appears in the corner of the mailer.

Speaker 1: 03:08 Does the corps have rules for its use of official emblems and logos?

Speaker 2: 03:12 It does indeed. So what they're saying is that not only is this a registered trademark used in their recruiting campaigns, but also it is a protected by federal statute, so you are not allowed to use it.

Speaker 1: 03:24 Is it unusual for them to send cease and desist letters to members of Congress? Yep.

Speaker 2: 03:28 The marines have not really given me a lot of detail behind, uh, uh, confirming the fact that they have sent this letter to them. Uh, I do have a statement from captain Christopher Harrison with the spokesman from the Marine Corps thing, the Eagle Globe and anchor is a trademark and uh, that the seal and emblem shouldn't be used in conjunction with any political activities. If you delve down into the letter, they're very clear that they don't want to give the impression that they're endorsing a particular candidate or that they're endorsing a particular point of view, which of course would come into play, especially with these flyers which are obviously quite inflammatory.

Speaker 1: 04:05 How has hunter's campaign responding?

Speaker 2: 04:07 So Michael Harrison with the hunter campaign did send me a written response. It says in part that aid a, they will comply with what the Marine Corps is asking, but it goes on to say that it is personally disappointing to congressman hunter that he is now being told that he cannot use the his motto or image that thousands of marines like congressman hunter who went to war under this banner have used for tattoos, coins, tee shirts, hats, books, posters and multiple other items of personal sentiment. Uh, it is as much a part of them, it as it is the Marine Corps.

Speaker 1: 04:42 A hunter is under indictment for allegedly using campaign funds for personal expenses. What can you tell us about whether that's impacting his ability to raise money for his 2020 reelection bid?

Speaker 2: 04:53 Well, um, it looked like he had had, he was way behind in fundraising buddy. It looks like a, in his most recent filing for this quarter with the FEC that he's seen a surge in fundraising. He's got about $588,000 on hand. Now. A lot of that came in this last quarter over $375,000 with it. He is the leading fundraiser now amongst the several Republicans that are running for the nomination. And we have to point out that he's not running directly against campaign as you are right now. We haven't even had a primary, it's not even 2020 at this point, but uh, the only one person he lags at this point is um, uh, mark camp and a jar who has over $732,000 in the bank right now.

Speaker 1: 05:35 And I'm curious to know how has Amar campaign as jars campaign responded to all?

Speaker 2: 05:40 They did issue a statement, um, after I reached out to them, they basically said that this is one scandal after another for uh, for Dunkin Hunter and that the, the closer Dunkin hunter gets to his criminal trial, the more absurd his lies and racist attacks become. At this point it's pretty clear that congressman hunter

Speaker 1: 05:58 has lost all ability to tell the difference between right and wrong fact and fiction. And I should also mention that as for Dunkin Hunter, this is a pattern a given that he was under the same criticism during his last election. I've been speaking with military reporter Steve Walsh. Steve, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Military families on the low end of the official pay scale often find themselves in a bind, especially when they're stationed in high cost areas. Their housing allowance is increased, but that increase disqualifies the military family from most food assistance programs so the families can end up struggling. San Diego, Congresswoman Susan Davis is proposing a basic needs allowance for low income military families in high cost areas to get them out of that bind. But so far it's not been approved as part of this year's National Defense Authorization Act. Earlier today I spoke with San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis. She's a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Davis. Welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:45 Nice to be with you, Maureen.

Speaker 1: 00:46 Thank you. What are the basic needs allowance that you're proposing supplement military pay or actually raise the salaries of low income military families?

Speaker 2: 00:58 Well, it's really similar to snap, um, which allows families to receive a bump. Really, it's, it's a bump basically to their salary. But the reason that they need it is that there are a number of families who, because of high housing costs in San Diego, for example, in another areas, their housing allowance counts as income. And so when you look at, uh, whether or not they're eligible for snap benefits, they're not because they have additional monies coming into their household essentially. And then, so what this does is it says, okay, there are some essential needs, um, that families who live out about 130% of the poverty line and we want them to get some benefits and we're going to take out their housing allowance in order to really take a more honest look at their income.

Speaker 1: 01:56 What would be the base pay here in San Diego that would be eligible for the basic needs allowance?

Speaker 2: 02:03 Well, it would be around, it really looks at the snap formula. And so it would be, um, no, I think in the roughly below 32,000 in the, in that range.

Speaker 1: 02:14 And the snap that you're addressing is the supplemental nutrition assistance program right now. What have you heard from military families here in San Diego?

Speaker 2: 02:24 Well, what we know about the families, if you, um, just take a look at, at, uh, the, the lines of people who are going to the pantries. We have roughly, I think there are four pantries in San Diego and um, that's, they participate in these. And when you talk to people about that, you know, they, um, they feel badly, you know, they don't like the idea that military families, um, would nature to receive, um, help and support from a food pantry. Uh, it's, it's, it's fine. I think in many ways for to receive the, uh, the, the, the benefit which they could be getting, uh, understand, but because their housing allowance was counted, that makes them ineligible.

Speaker 1: 03:11 Now, congresswoman, this sounds like an issue that should cross bipartisan lines. The idea that active duty military members are struggling to put food on the table is, I think disturbing to most Americans has it United Congress.

Speaker 2: 03:26 Well, I think there certainly is bipartisan support for that as along with some money. Other issues that we deal with, it often comes down to money. And what you need to allocate in order to do this. I think what I believe strongly, and I think those who support this, um, is that we're looking at a 730 billion, at least a defense budget. And out of that, uh, if it costs 20 to $30 million overall for all those people that are affected all at the, the men and women who are serving our country, um, then we should do this.

Speaker 1: 04:06 The Trump administration has been publicly in opposition to this idea though. There's a quote here from the administration, the administration strongly objects to this provision because it would be an unnecessary entitlement. Military members receive appropriate compensation already. What's your reaction to that and can you fight against that opposition?

Speaker 2: 04:31 Well, I don't think that the administration is taking everything into account when our men and women and their families. And of course I say all the time that when a service member, uh, is, um, sacrificing on behalf of our country, their entire family is also paying a price. And in many cases, it means that a spouse who has to move more often is not able to, uh, gain in salary if they are even choosing, uh, or able to work often. They're not. Uh, and we're trying to work on better ways that they can be certificated, get licenses as they move around the country all the time. But it's just a reality. And many families do survive today when there are two wage earners in the family. Military families are often not able to do that.

Speaker 1: 05:24 Where is the basic needs allowance proposal in Congress now?

Speaker 2: 05:29 Well, I had put it into the National Defense Authorization Act, um, that recently, um, passed out of the House on the house side. Uh, the Senate, unfortunately, um, senator Tammy Duckworth had tried very hard to get an into the Senate bill and was not successful. But, uh, the two, uh, versions essentially, um, will be conferenced and then sent onto the president. So we will all in this again and I'm hoping that with the senators, a strong support for this bill that we'll be able to, um, have it in the conference bill. And then that will go to the precedent and they'll have to decide, um, whether they're for military families or not. This is not for all the families. This is only for that group of families who live in high cost housing areas who, you know, by, by virtue of adding those dollars to their income, um, should ordinarily be the eligible for some assistance, uh, in, um, in there and, and which amounts to, uh, you know, a little help, uh, every month in their food budget.

Speaker 1: 06:42 Now, finally, congresswoman, I wanted to ask you if you took a stand on the impeachment vote that was proposed in Congress yesterday. Okay.

Speaker 2: 06:50 Uh, yes, I did. Uh, I voted to table, um, the measure and I voted to table it. Uh, as I've said to you, um, my constituents, I'm fully prepared, uh, to move forward, um, at the appropriate time. Um, but I think we need to do that with the bulk of information, um, that can be persuasive and which is basically before our committees and number of investigations and even in, in a number of courts. Um, and that we can, we can have that case in and, you know, fully prepared, uh, for our, for our colleagues. The particular bill that passed out was, you know, based really on a number of the president's remarks. Um, but I think that we know that there are many, many other egregious, uh, acts of the president and, um, that those were not included in this impeachment. And so that was really not the appropriate way to go.

Speaker 1: 07:52 I've been speaking with Congresswoman Susan Davis, and thank you so much for your time.

Speaker 2: 07:57 Thank you. Take care, Marie.

Speaker 3: 08:01 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 Whether it's an earthquake, flood or wildfire. Will you be notified if a disaster is heading your way? Many people who fled last year's campfire did not receive emergency alerts. As we enter this year's fire season. Capitol public radio is Bob Moffett. Looks at what happened on the morning of November 8th in paradise and Butte County and how other communities are responding.

Speaker 2: 00:25 She's a the, it's about the Chelsea road, the speed of the campfire to everyone, including first responders by surprise. The morning of November 8th [inaudible] structures on fire, the fire traveled

Speaker 3: 00:35 miles and 70 minutes from a remote area of Butte county to the town of Paradise. Gloria, right lived there.

Speaker 4: 00:41 The flames are 75 feet in the air coming at us, so you only had about six minutes to get outta there. So there wasn't any morning system yet,

Speaker 3: 00:49 but there was a warning system. The question is, did it work? You county incident commanders ordered eight emergency alerts in the first three and a half hours.

Speaker 2: 00:57 The fire drill, they get that code right

Speaker 3: 01:01 doorways. The county emergency communication center took about 15 minutes to enter each of its early orders into its code red computer system, which then sent Robo calls, texts and emails,

Speaker 2: 01:10 mandatory evacuation. California

Speaker 3: 01:12 division chief John Messina was one of the incident commanders. That is not unreasonable. Each search is always a reflex time in any order you give in any op type of operation. But then the doorways grew to 30 then 40 minutes code red logs show, no notifications were sent to the Western neighborhoods of paradise. There were also communication problem,

Speaker 5: 01:31 paradise police, how can I help you?

Speaker 3: 01:33 Butte county didn't tell paradise police dispatchers for 15 minutes that part of the town was under evacuation.

Speaker 5: 01:39 Says that

Speaker 3: 01:39 residents who called nine one one did

Speaker 5: 01:41 beautiful, um, fire. Okay. Okay. We haven't been advised to that.

Speaker 3: 01:48 Messina issued the first evacuation order for Paradise at seven 44 the paradise town hall didn't issue its until an hour later. Almost all of the numbers that paradise then called had already been notified by Butte county. Emergency alerts from the county failed to reach more than 5,400 of the 15,000 numbers called. Of those that did go through a little more than half were actually answered by a person the rest by voicemail. Butte county sent 5,900 texts and emails there no way to know how many people saw them in time. Often neighbors and first responders were the alert

Speaker 2: 02:22 system.

Speaker 3: 02:25 There were also phone outages. Verizon says all but one of its 14 towers survived the fire, but third party fiber optic cables did not. Other fire prone communities have made changes as they I a new fire season. Plaster Sacramento and Yellow Counties Respond to emergencies as one entity. They used an alert system called every bridge that helps them communicate to the public plaster Dispatcher Rachel Cleveland. It says a previous system was woefully ineffective.

Speaker 4: 02:53 It dialed like one person at a time, so you'd like start with school notifications or a snow day at 6:00 AM and at 10 it would finish.

Speaker 3: 03:00 She says it now takes 90 seconds to enter an order and send it to the public using any available call centers in the three counties farther south of Christie Mitchell with the Mariposa county sheriff's office says improvements to phone reception have been a priority at t and t, brought in some generator powered towers and then put them around the county to increase self service during the debt wildfire. Since then we've worked with Verizon, the working in the river canyon because of the Ferguson fires over in Lake County. Residents and remote areas came up with $100,000 and bought four sirens. That can be sounded by the sheriff using a radio transmitter, but they're just sirens. People still must call or go online to find out what's happening. Another notification method is the federal wireless emergency alert system where we, oh, which can send one message to an entire county, but 16 counties don't have access to it and incident commanders are reluctant to use it for fear of over notification changes. Do we have this year should allow longer and more targeted messages. The state of California has issued nonbinding guidelines for emergency alerts and communications. Cities and counties don't agree on everything, but they do seem to share a single goal, get as many people signed up for alerts as possible. Then hope people receive them. As we've seen in paradise, there are no guarantees.

Speaker 2: 04:21 The town of Paradise is under mandatory evacuation Bar Moffitt in Sacramento.

Speaker 6: 04:30 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The number of Cameroonians requesting asylum in the United States has increased in recent years as atrocities fueled by political violence continues in the country. Last week, a group of Cameroonian asylum seekers protested the immigration process into wanna. Here's one of those asylum seekers who identified himself only by his first name. Brown.

Speaker 2: 00:22 Yeah, American government and the Mexican government. Your understand that we came a long way from Africa, from Kenya to this place. It took us about four to five months. [inaudible] jumbo. I'll rich [inaudible] up to this place and we have spent a lot of money. I mean be here. We don't have money to eat [inaudible] we are stranded. So we pleading on the boat government to see how did I have sir.

Speaker 1: 00:48 We cannot confirm the exact number of people from Cameroon waiting into one or to request asylum in the u s but there are numerous stories like browns. Most are members of the English speaking minority, which has been facing intense persecution since 2016 to learn more about the conditions driving people from Cameroon to the southern border, midday edition cohost Jade Heineman spoke with Andrea Baron advocacy and outreach program manager with torture abolition and survivors support coalition. Here's that interview.

Speaker 3: 01:21 Andrea, welcome. Thank you for having me today. Can you first tell me about the conflict and Cameroon?

Speaker 4: 01:27 We work with survivors of torture from all over the world. And recently we've seen an increasing number of Cameroonians. Um, many of them are anglophone English speaking Cameroonians who are applying for asylum here in the United States because they have been tortured by the government. So, uh, Cameroon has a dictatorship headed by a man named Paul Dia who has been in power for many, many years. And recently in the last few years we've seen increasing repression from the French dominated government against people living in the anglophone regions of the country, in the southwest and northwest, uh, regions. And what's happening is the French dominated government is trying to impose French speaking teachers and magistrates and lawyers in the anglophone zone. And so people that we see have already been tortured in detention. And I'm terrified about returning back to camera. And for those reasons

Speaker 3: 02:30 you've mentioned that people in Cameroon are being tortured. I want you to talk more about, um, what is happening and if that qualifies people therefore asylum in the u s

Speaker 4: 02:40 well, okay. So, uh, you people can get qualified for asylum if they show a well founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Particular social group is usually, for example, a good example would be people, the LGBT community, they're a particular social group and they are being persecuted because of their sexual orientation. Most of the people we see here at task, um, that are coming from African countries like Ethiopia, Eritrea, Cameroon, uh, are being persecuted, were tortured because of their political opinions. That that means that they participated in a political, a peaceful political demonstration. They were journalists, they wrote an article, um, simply supporting an opposition political party in a dictatorship.

Speaker 3: 03:31 And I'm curious to know, you know, how is your organization working to help Cameroonian asylum seekers?

Speaker 4: 03:37 So we have a social service department or will we refer them out to the community health center. We also provide psychological counseling right here at task. A lot of people are suffering. The Cameroonians and other survivors of torture are going to suffer nightmares about how they would treat it because their life was threatened. Um, you know, there are, there are, uh, women, these, I can't say I've met any Cameroonians in this particular situation, but we have, uh, female torture survivors who were raped when they were in detention. Um, that that's more the case of the Ethiopians. And, um, then we also provide, in addition to that, we also provide lawyers, pro bono lawyers. So not all as survivors will get a, a pro bono lawyer, but if they can't afford it and they don't have enough money to pay for their own lawyer, we will provide them a lawyer, uh, where they can provide, uh, their, uh, prepare their asylum application and then their asylum application. They will provide documentation about what happened to them and how they were persecuted. We also do advocacy. So I'm the advocacy program director. So my job is to bring people to Congress and have people co survivors of torture, have the opportunity to meet members of Congress and their staff, Democrats and Republicans. And talk about how the United States represents a hope for them for freedom coming from repressive dictatorships.

Speaker 3: 04:56 Uh, do you have any idea of the unique challenges Cameroonian seeking asylum waiting at the border and t quanta might be experiencing?

Speaker 4: 05:04 Yes. Um, we have one asylum seeker from Cameroon who was detained for four months in Oh, ty Messa and he was a professional in his country and he was shocked when he crossed the border and he was detained. Uh, he was handcuffed. They put chains around his waist. He was just absolutely surprised because he thought that the United States stands up freedom rule of law. And this is a country where he was seeking protection because his life was at risk in Cameroon. He did get freed on a bond, a $5,000. Um, so now he's here and he's preparing his case. The other thing that happens is the survivors of torture from Cameroon that we see and from other countries were professionals in their country. Uh, they did not come here as economic migrants. They did not come here for a better economic and they will end up working in very, very low level jobs like seven 11, um, or you know, a gas station after having been high level professionals in their countries. But that's a real challenge because part of their identity was as you know, professionals and they have to change their identity now in order to save their lives.

Speaker 3: 06:17 And you know, I'm, I'm wondering what is the healing process and how does someone return to normalcy, who's, um, had to flee a country, uh, and then settle in a foreign country. What is that process like and how does your organization help to bridge the gap there?

Speaker 4: 06:32 Well, so we have, um, we have two kinds of counseling. We have individual counseling, one on one counseling with, uh, uh, counselors and social workers. Uh, and that helps some of the survivors get over this stress and the Hora. We also have community programs. You call them communities of healing, where we bring survivors of torture together and all different kinds of activities. It could be something like gardening, it could be a soccer game, it could be art therapy. So they connect to each other as survivors so that they know there are other people like them who have survived torture. And the other thing that I think is very, very important is that we, uh, they get to meet other survivors who have moved forward in their lives. Um, you know, for example, these are not just Cameroonians, but we've had survivors who were medical doctors and he became a forensic psychologist, uh, survivors who worked in a researcher in HIV aids, um, who finally up a long time, got a job in the health field here so that they can meet the new league. The new survivors can meet other survivors who've been here longer, who'd been granted asylum and who were moving forward in their lives, changing their careers, reunited with your families after they're granted asylum. So they see that there's hope in the future for them. So we provide that support from our, our own staff, but also by connecting them to other survivors who've been successful in their lives. And that makes a huge difference. Yeah.

Speaker 3: 07:58 I've been speaking with Andrea Baer and advocacy and outreach program manager with torture abolition and survivors support coalition. Andrea, thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 4: 08:08 Thank you.

Speaker 3: 08:09 And She was speaking to midday edition cohost Jade Hindman.

Speaker 5: 08:16 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Comicon is celebrating its 50th year. It's evolved into an event that sprawls out from the San Diego Convention Center and attracts upwards of 130,000 attendees. But it wasn't always that big. KPBS arts reporter, Beth Hock Amando speaks with some long time comic-con goers, including a pair who have been to every single show.

Speaker 2: 00:23 Oh, this is Jackie Estrada and I'm one of a few people who've been to every single comicon. And, and since I've been to all of them, it's very hard to pick. But in 1977, we had the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. We had the cocreator Batman, Bob Keane. Uh, we had Robert Heinlein who we had the very first, uh, blood dry for comicon. It was Robert Heinlein Memorial, uh, blood drive. And he came specifically to San Diego just for that. And then we had really interesting cartoonists like B Cleveland known for his cat cartoons, which was a big craze fad at that time. The Cross section of people who were at the show and the underground cartoonists from San Francisco also came down. The interactions between everybody when the show was small enough that you had these blendings of people hanging out that you never assumed would ever happen. Uh, I went to see a showing of a, a somewhat Tezuka animated film called Phoenix 24 42 with Beekley band and Victor Moscow. So who's one of the zap underground artists that started around comics and we watched the movie twice cause we liked it so much.

Speaker 3: 01:41 I'm Mark Evanier, I'm a comic book writer and editor. I run a lot of panels here at comic con. This is my 50th comic con in San Diego. I've been to all of them. I can't figure out why. Maybe it's all the fun people. Maybe it's all the exciting stuff around here. I went to the first one in 1970 we were in the basement of the u s grant hotel, which was undergoing construction. So everybody is walking on painters papers and there's plywood walls to navigate and we have 300 people there. And we thought that was astounding. Now there's 300 people ahead of you in line for the men's room. And what is fascinating about this thing to me is every place you look, someone has made something, someone has published a book, someone has done a drawing, someone has written something, someone's made a costume, someone has sculpted of famous president out of Lego blocks, whatever it is. And it's just amazing to be around all this creativity. And that's the way it was at the very first one. And that's the way it still is. Convention gets bigger, it gets more commercial, it has more famous movie stars at it, but it's still about just a lot of creative, brilliant people getting together. My name is Josh Bungalow and I'm one of the founders of the legal geeks blog and podcast. And this is our fifth comicon. Our first one was 2015 and we've

Speaker 4: 03:00 been able to talk about star wars and star trek and the law marvel movies in the law. And one of the most memorable experiences was at our first one where we had tattoo law talking about star wars law and we have a federal judge with us and there was a youth in the audience who probably was seven and he asked a complex question on whether droid manufacturers could have the same level of liability as say a gun manufacturer or a tobacco company. It was profound to hear a seven year old articulate something that legally complicated and the federal judge answered the question. But it was just wicked cool to see how people care so much about the law. So I love being here. It's like the nerd Superbowl and it's a, I'm glad this is our fifth year.

Speaker 5: 03:54 Hi, I'm Eric Nakamura. I'm at the giant robot booth and this is my 26th year here. So my first year was in 1993 and I remember someone brought me here and I remember I only had two hours of time. That was it. And I came inside, ran around and was a amazing everything mind blown and Oh, I was just like suffering because there's only two hours of time. And I had to leave cause I was here down here for a job, but I didn't know anything about comic con. And after that, uh, I decided I can't miss another one and I haven't. And uh, here I am today. So running a booth, I started off with this with a small table just with very little things. And then it just kind of grew little by little. And I like to say that I grew with comic con, which is kind of amazing, right? But from inside is different than being outside of the booth. That's one thing that understand is when you're in a booth, you're protected outside. You're completely like, you know, you're, you're kind of, I don't know, I would say you're, you're sort of stuck in this giant like hoard, you know, it's like a Zombie horde or something. And inside I'm kind of like, I'm, I'm shielded. So it's nice. It's kind of on, it's a wonderful, uh, craziness.

Speaker 6: 04:59 I am Rebecca Hicks, the creator of the Little Pyres, a web comic and our writer and illustrator. And this is my goodness, my 26 total San Diego comicon. But my very first comic con I'll go was that 1994 and I remember walking up to the door and buying a one day pass. And then just over the years it was like, oh, now we can buy our pass for next year at this year's show. And then, and then, oh no, we got even bigger still and now we've got to buy them online. It's just omega, watching it go from, it was a big show the first year we attended. And then to watch it grow has been amazing. But 13 years ago we were like, oh my gosh, we need some place to be able to sit and eat lunch. The show floor is so crowded. So I wrote a book and got a small press table and I have now been an independent writer and illustrator for 13 years because just wanted a spot to be able to eat lunch in San Diego comicon. So that's my story. I'm sticking to it. Comic-Con continues through Sunday. Go to to see all our comic con coverage.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.