A New Wave of Community Organizers for the Obama Era

projectvote

I usually have about 20 students in the Community Organizing course I teach each year at Occidental College in Los Angeles. So far, 42 students have registered for next fall’s class. I haven’t all of a sudden become a more popular professor. There’s clearly something happening on American campuses and in the broader culture that’s [...]

My Lesson in Action from the Murder of Kitty Genovese

man-on-bike-closeup

Mid-afternoon on Wednesday, driving along a Los Angeles street in the West San Fernando Valley, I saw this man lying on the parkway of the road. At first, I drove past him because I was driving too quickly to stop. But I turned my car onto the nearest street, made a quick U-turn, and rushed [...]

Los Angeles Single-Payer Advocates Are Seen and Heard

Lt. Governor John Garamendi speaking at LA rally.

On Monday, April 6, the final regional White House meeting on healthcare reform took place in Los Angeles. Like the meetings held in Dearborn, Michigan; Burlington, Vermont; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Des Moines, Iowa, single-payer advocates were shut out of the discussion and gathered outside the event in order to make their voices heard. The [...]

Easter Reflections On A “Christian Nation”

religion

Depending on your point of view, this is either the perfect time to reflect on the United States not being a Christian nation – as the evangelical right and even many ordinary Protestants and Catholics insist it is – or a total sacrilege. My hunch is that most readers here believe the former so there’s [...]

The Heritage Foundation Spreads Lies on YouTube About the Employee Free Choice Act

factory

The Heritage Foundation posted a paid advertisement yesterday on YouTube’s homepage claiming that in the debate over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) workers only hear “the union organizer’s side.” The infomercial tells viewers that worker enthusiasm for union membership drops off from the time of the initial card check to the time of electing [...]

How to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels—Legalize Their Activities

american-kite

While the U.S. superpower has meddled in many far-flung nations around the globe in the name of enhancing its security, as prior to 9/11, it has ignored a threat much closer to home. In recent years, the Bush administration blithely blamed Mexico for the flow of illegal drugs into the United States and virtually ignored [...]

Paths From the Swamp of Substandard Health Care Toward a Single-Payer System

obese-health-care

There is a consensus that, in terms of health care reform, we are at a watershed moment that comes around only ever decade or so. It is imperative that some form of inclusive, affordable, and quality health care be legislated now or we will all suffer the consequences of delay. This article is intended to [...]

Scandal City: Betraying Kids, Ripping off the Public, Going Broke . . . LA’s Bad Karma

childrens_museum

“Padilla, now a state senator, did not return phone calls Thursday” — Daily News. The fiasco of the LA Children’s Museum is now visible for all to see, a tragedy that began with then City Council President Alex Padilla’s demand — that everyone in power went along with — to locate what was supposed to [...]

Rally for Real Health Care Reform in Los Angeles

healthcare

With the final White House Forum on healthcare scheduled Monday, April 6, in downtown Los Angeles, advocates of single payer/guaranteed healthcare have one more opportunity to shake up what has become a dreary conventional wisdom about the presumed acceptable parameters of the debate. Hundreds of nurses, doctors, healthcare and labor activists will rally at 9 [...]

Full Marks Mama Michelle and BarryO

michelle-copy

Obamania checked and locked for the next city’s visit, the USA rock and roll diplomacy makeover tour left today for NATO and Strasbourg with full global marks for President Barack and Mrs. Obama. Of course there was a lukewarm US press response (probably something they ate, they are not used to foreign travel and British [...]

Goodness, An Adult Really Is In Charge!

President Barack Obama greets President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva  of Brazil, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

While much of the mainsteam media was huffing and puffing about “Hug Gate” – the supposed gaffe where Michelle Obama was seen with her arm around Queen Elizabeth, which Buckingham Palace dismissed as a “spontaneous show of mutual affection” – Barack Obama was actually busy doing what a global leader is supposed to do: Leading [...]

U.S. Economic Policy Faces a Defiant Planet

g20

As President Obama begins his first European tour this week, starting with the G20 economic summit, he’s finding that much of the rest of the world has suddenly become quite uppity. If all goes as planned, by the time these word are published, floats will have departed in late morning April 1 on a “Financial [...]

Color of Law: U.S. Drug Policy Has Gone to Pot

marijuana-joint

In a recent online town hall meeting at the White House, President Obama was asked by the online audience whether he thought legalizing marijuana would create jobs and help the economy. It was the most popular question asked at the meeting.

LA Rape Evidence Backlog Booms to 12,000 Cases

Untested sexual assault evidence at the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department central evidence storage facility. (Patricia Williams/Human Rights Watch)

Rape victims seeking justice sometimes find nothing but a dead end in Los Angeles County. A Human Rights Watch report revealed that there is backlog of untested rape kits and that the Los Angeles Police Department, county sheriff’s office and other smaller agencies have failed to test DNA evidence in more than 12,000 sexual assault [...]

A Major Deal Over a Minor Issue

medical-marijuana

Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would no longer “target” medical cannabis providers who operated within state law. It remains unclear how the federal government will decide who provides marijuana within state law and who does not. One thing is clear; the feds do not fully understand state [...]

Reagan the Socialist, Nixon the Commie, Eisenhower the Quisling

commie-republicans

Ronald Reagan was a socialist. I didn’t say it. Bill O’Reilly got permission from Republican Party policy chief Rush Limbaugh to explain, on the air, the economic logic that drives the Republican Party to now condemn Reagan as a socialist. As O’Reilly explained Republican policy, anyone who wants our wealthiest citizens to pay as little [...]

Color of Law: New York, City of the Poor

poverty1

As the song goes, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you, New York, New York.” The problem is that if you are counting on making it in New York City, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. A recent report by The Center for an Urban Future [...]

Red California Death Watch

red-counties

In 2007, right-wing political operatives tried to place a measure on the June 2008 ballot that – if successful – would have awarded California’s electoral votes by Congressional District. Democrats and progressives strongly opposed it, because everyone assumed it would give the G.O.P. presidential nominee an extra 19 votes. California is a deep blue state, [...]

The Magical Mystery Majority Budget

california-begging

On Thursday, December 18, frustrated with their inability to attract any Republican votes through long negotiations, both the State Assembly and the State Senate decided on an entirely different tack. They would pass a series of majority-vote bills to cut and change the current, 2008-09 budget. Though such a move would not get the state [...]

Will Obama Be Influenced by the Latest Big Task Force on Latin America?

cuban-revolution

Barack Obama is no exception. Although overshadowed and largely ignored by the mainstream media due to the ongoing global economic crisis, the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue presented its recommendations for Obama at a press briefing on March 10, in a reported entitled, A Second Chance: US Policy in the Americas.

Cheney, Rove, and Fleischer and the Importance of Net Neutrality

cheney

Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, and other right-wing mouthpieces are trying to frame future debates while they reinvent the George W. Bush years. Their eerie falsehoods, half-truths, revisions, and lies are given added weight because they sit atop a bed of chatter and static, often called the “echo chamber,” of Fox News and right-wing [...]

Pope: “Jesus Didn’t Die on the Cross”

benedict

THE VATICAN (Reuters) —The Catholic world is in upheaval and confusion after an announcement today by Bishop Richard Williamson and Pope Benedict that Jesus, contrary to centuries of church doctrine, did not in fact die on the cross as was previously taught. Said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman: “The length and width of the [...]

Blue Dog Democrats and Republican Triangulation

pet-republicans

Senator John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, has served up a devastating critique of the direction the Republican Party has taken recently. “If figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off,” Ms. McCain writes, “then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well.” She understands that when the GOP’s dominant personalities are [...]

California Budget: What Happened Last Fall — The New Budget Immediately Starting Bleeding Red Ink

arnold2

The 2008-09 budget which was passed in September of last year ( two and a half months late) contained several overly optimistic (I would say wildly unsustainable) assumptions concerning revenue: First, it assumed the sale of over $3 billion in revenue bonds, but no one wanted to buy California bonds. Second, it “borrowed” from over [...]

Media Tries to Undermine Obama Agenda

chris_matthews

Barack Obama has been President for eight weeks, and much of the traditional media remains incapable of making sense of his agenda. In one corner we have hosts like Hardball’s Chris Matthews, who appears to be compensating for pro-Obama campaign comments by giving excessive voice to the president’s critics. Or we have CNN’s John King, [...]

Reason Returns to the White House

elephant-world

Like it or not, knuckle-draggers: Science is back IN. As a life-long Catholic, I couldn’t be more delighted. I’m sure the airwaves and the cable channels will soon be wall-to-wall with conservatives and Republicans and other assorted 13th-century thinkers whining and moaning and ringing their hands – probably gnashing their teeth and rending their garments, [...]

An Argument for Medical Marijuana

marijuana

I’m a medical marijuana patient in Los Angeles who suffers from chronic pain due to a work-related repetitive strain injury. This summer I sat through the trial of Charles C. Lynch. Charles Lynch was the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in California. I learned about Charles Lynch after seeing Drew Carey’s “Raiding California” video [...]

Help Bree Walker Get Back on the Air

bree-walker

Bree Walker Sent This Note: Date: Mar 6, 2009 6:36 PM Subject: I NEED YOUR HELP! To all of my friends, I am writing to all of you because I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP! I rarely ever send out any mass emailings in fact this is the first one I can remember ever writing:) In [...]

Getting Ready for Our “Local Media for Social Change: A Southern California Regional Summit”

Linda Milazzo

About this time last year, Sharon and I were so taken with a media summit we attended at Caltech called “Local Media for Social Change” that we joined its organizing committee to help prepare for the next one, which is going to be held in two weeks, this time at Occidental College. We found that [...]

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