Cons, Convicts, and Government Contractors

christina_jewett

As President Barack Obama today puts out a strong call for reform in government contracting, it’s worth taking a look back at last week’s congressional hearing, artfully titled “How Convicts and Con Artists Receive New Federal Contracts.” Last week’s hearing was based on the findings of a report issued last week by the Government Accountability [...]

Friday Feedback: Don’t Take Budget Mess to the People

Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Linda Doran, writing in response to “Ending the Annual Budget Impasse Ritual” by Richard M. Mathews. Linda writes: The intent behind this suggestion is laudable, but in my opinion, the threat of taking the [...]

Prop 1E Threatens Mental Health Services for Needy

poverty

As you know, the budget package adopted recently calls for a May 19 special election and puts six ballot measures before voters. One of these initiatives, Proposition 1E, asks voters to approve the diversion of $460 million over two years from Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) revenues to the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and [...]

Ensure Stimulus Funds Reach the CSU System

college student

The faculty in the California State University are deeply concerned about the rapid decline in the ability of our nation’s largest four-year university system to deliver higher education to all eligible students. Our public university system is staggering from deep cuts to state funding already made this year, last year, and earlier this decade. Now [...]

Ending the Annual Budget Impasse Ritual

terminator

The California budget process is broken due to the requirement for a two-thirds vote to pass the budget. I would like to suggest a different procedure that preserves the minority protections of the two-thirds requirement while encouraging negotiation and ensuring that there definitely will be a budget passed. Proposal: If no budget passes by the [...]

Friday Feedback: Land Use and Transit

Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Yoshidad, writing in response to “Economic Recovery Must Include Transit“ by Erin Steva and Kevin J. Powers. Yoshidad writes: Let’s not forget revisions to the land use that accompanies transit. Currently the vast majority [...]

Obama Finds Pony: Sets Forth Plans on Healthcare, Alternative Energy, Education

obama_emanuel

Only President Barack Obama could keep digging in a barn filled to the roof line with manure and find a brand new pony. Yet that is what the country and indeed the world needed in his non-State of the Union budget speech Tuesday night to a joint session of the US Congress. Talk is cheap, [...]

A Dozen Books That Tell Americans Like It Is

read-to-fly

If newspaper readership is plummeting, maybe it’s because readers are turning elsewhere to catch a glimpse of the causes behind the official story. Recognizing this, some book publishers courageously are using their printing presses to bring interpretive reporting to the reading public. Here are a dozen books Americans need to read as they paint a [...]

Citizens, Not Serfs

greed_is_bad

On the “Tonight Show” recently, President Obama discussed the need to change the “culture of entitlement” on Wall Street. It needs more than changing. How about scrapping it completely and then grafting on a little bit of character and common sense? The other day, I asked a Bank of America representative why, after I used [...]

Republicans: The Tough-on-Crime Hypocrisy

justice-and-corruption

2009 has started badly for honest communications. I’ve watched while President Obama reached “across the aisle” attempting to share the glory of trying to save the U.S. from the Bush Depression, with Republicans. I’ve watched as Democratic leaders in the California statehouse tried to convince Republican assemblymen to consider schools, infrastructure, and public health to [...]

Medical Care as a Citizen’s Right, The Republicans Disagree

healthcare

Frequently of late it seems that CNN provides an inordinate amount of time for the Republican Congressional Leadership to vilify The President’s attempts to care for the poor, the helpless and the infirm. As I watch these folks babbling away, I am reminded of a comment that Mark Twain wrote in the New York Tribune, [...]

Octuplet Mom: If She Can Care for Fourteen Children Without Welfare, She Can Fix the Economy

octomom

The one thing American popular culture loves is a good “freak show.” Anything out of the ordinary gets our society’s attention, but the more bizarre it is, the more media attention it receives. The demand for the outlandish is so outrageous that so-called media conglomerates are willing to pay millions of dollars for the rights [...]

It’s Time to Resuscitate the FCC

media-victim

Channel surfing the other night, I caught a glimpse of Lou Dobbs on CNN waxing indignant about something Bill Clinton had said about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) possibly revisiting the Fairness Doctrine. What got Dobbs’s panties in a bunch was Clinton’s suggestion that there might be needed a bit more “balance” on talk radio. [...]

It’s Not About Ugly Betty: The DTV Transition and Why It Matters

the-tv-boss

On May 3, 1963 the North was stunned as it saw broadcast images of Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety, Bull Connor, turning fire hoses, dogs, cattle prods, and billy clubs on peaceful black protesters that had organized a campaign targeting the local business community. The response was immediate and profound. The public outcry forced President [...]

Obvious Solution to Global Banking Crisis

wall-street-bonuses

It’s been done before, an FDIC/Comptroller of the Currency (or similar insurance or governmental institution elsewhere) bank take-over. I witnessed my first in Miami in 1991 when a former employer in the mid 1980s, Southeast Banking Corporation of Miami, then Florida’s oldest bank, had a deep liquidity crisis. It was a swift, brutal, and painless [...]

The Push to Do Away With State Boards

tires-people

Literally from the first moment I walked into the California Legislature, and, probably, for years before that, my colleagues “across the aisle” (that is, Republican colleagues) have unceasingly advocated for the elimination of any and all state oversight boards. Pressed to articulate their reasons, they cite the usual mantra of “waste”, and insist that it [...]

Your Mission Mr. Phelps . . .Don’t Apologize, Explain!

michael-phelps

Is the corporate and media fallout from Michael Phelps bong hit justified? Are we still conditioned to react with shock and appall when we learn that yet another world-class athlete enjoys marijuana socially or recreationally? Or medicinally? The comments of athletes such as former NFL lineman Mark Stepnoski testify to the medicinal benefits for an [...]

Eliminate Filibuster and With It the Need to Debate Republicans

monkeywrench

From the pains Democrats take to out-argue and/or to compromise with the fringe minority party called the Republicans you’d think no other course of action was available, specifically you’d have to assume that the filibuster — the power of senators representing 11% of us to block all work by the House and Senate — is [...]

From Davos to Belem: A Take of Two Spirits

thaw_period

This years’ gathering at Davos appears to have been a complete dud. It’s hard for one who wasn’t there to say how complete but if President Obama is reading the reports from the celebrated Swiss mountaintop he has to be glad he didn’t go and that he didn’t send a high powered delegation. And the [...]

Booker and Barack: What Can Obama Learn From Booker T. Washington?

Booker T. Washington

More than a century ago, the preeminent black leader of his time made a prophecy that has come to pass. When blacks had little hope, Booker T. Washington stood alone in predicting that one day a black man would be president of the United States. Almost all Americans at the time would have considered this [...]

Senate Republicans and the Stimulus: Playing Politics When the Economy Burns

reichtable

Friday’s job report is likely to be awful. January’s job losses could easily top half a million. We’re deep into the most vicious of economic cycles: Consumers are slashing their spending because they’re perilously in debt and worried about keeping their jobs. But as a result, businesses are facing shrinking sales of goods and services, [...]

Something Bad Happens When Ads Are Made by Children

lincoln-continental

I know that it’s typical in the ad agency business for creative types to be about 14 years old but the trend seems to be slipping onto the client side, as well. Take the current commercial for the 2009 Lincoln Continental. Apparently, no one on either the agency side or at the client is old [...]

How Jerry Brown Saved Chrysler and Why the Republicants Are Acting Un-American.

Attorney General Jerry Brown

Have you noticed how since the Big O got elected America has lightened up? I mean all of a sudden its OK to be American. We are starting to see that we can laugh at jokes about ourselves. I mean if the President can laugh it must be okay for all of us to do [...]

After Guantánamo: The Crisis of U.S. Prisons and Lessons from the Medieval Past

sos

The incoming Administration is to be lauded for its intention to dismantle the Guantánamo Bay prison, whose very existence, let alone the activities reportedly carried out within it, undermine the U.S.’s claim of promoting democracy and human rights. But if prisoners’ rights are evidently so important, and if we seem to agree that we are [...]

Tom Daschle and the Populist Revolt

daschle1

Tom Daschle’s surprise withdrawal today shocked most Washington insiders — after all, Daschle had been a key figure in the Senate, was Obama’s pick for a major role in the new administration, would very likely have done a superb job getting a new health-insurance system enacted, and, probably could have mustered enough votes to be [...]

Lessons of President Obama’s First Two Weeks

presidentobama

It’s been less than two weeks, but patterns have emerged that are likely to continue throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. First, Obama understands how to use the media. Examples are detailed below, but the best is the widespread media story last Thursday about how the usually cool Obama “lost it” — in front of cameras and [...]

Black History and the Progression of the Black Community

bethune1

Candidly speaking, the need for a black history month would not exist if the American halls of academe did not use systematic exploitation (past and present) to minimize exposure to African-American history. The city school systems, colleges, universities, and the media are by-products of Eurocentric educational philosophies. These systems were designed to teach African-Americans to [...]

A “Critical” Look At Tom Daschle’s Appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services

Tom Daschle

In his book Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis, former Senator Tom Daschle argues the federal government should shrink away or rather, shirk the power vested in it and delegate the administration of the nation’s healthcare insurance to private interests. He would, if he gets his way, place in charge the very [...]

Single Payer Moment HR 676

Photo courtesy California Nurses Assn

While a Democratic polling firm has just found, as pollsters always do, dramatic public support for public health coverage, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill appear divided, as they have always been, over whether to take a comprehensive approach to health care. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on C-Span on Sunday that incrementalism would [...]

Governor’s Mental Health Proposal Would Cause Irreparable Harm to Clients and Communities

Patricia Ryan

A broad coalition of mental health advocates Tuesday blasted Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal to permanently reverse parts of the state’s landmark Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), saying the plan would harm the more than 600,000 individuals who rely on public mental health services, exacerbate the cash crunch counties face during this economic downturn, and seriously set [...]

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