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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Will Obama’s New “Organizing for America” Succeed?

David Plouffe and Barack Obama

After Barack Obama’s presidential campaign built the organizing skills of thousands of young activists, many hoped that his organization would spawn a new entity to keep many of these folks working full time for change. The Obama campaign was the best incubator for activists since the UFW of the 1960s and 70s, and created a [...]

Retro-Hooverites All

bridge collapse

e’re lucky the Democrats have large majorities in Congress because every Republican member of the House of Representatives voted against the $825 billion stimulus bill today. The vote was 244 to 188, with 11 like-minded Democrats joining in the betrayal. Even a face-to-face meeting with the President on Capitol Hill failed to sway any of [...]

Bush Torture Team Get Out of Jail Free Card

bush_baptizing

Nixon, at least, had Gerald Ford issue his pardon. While the world wondered if Bush would pre-emptively pardon his torture gang on the last day, most forgot… he already did. Well, at least he tried to make sure he would not have to rely on another President’s largesse. This could also explain why Barack Obama [...]

That’s So John Roberts!

Barack and Michelle Obama, John Roberts

Just when a friend of mine got ready to coin the phrase, “that is so Sarah Palin,” along comes a RepubliCANT who cannot memorize the Presidential oath of office (a job that has only been done 43 times before). When preparation and memory fail, “that’s soooooooooooooooooooooo John Roberts!” Barry has only been in office for [...]

Train’s Leaving the Station, Ignore “Big Fat Idiot”

obama-speaking

It was a message not directly spoken but heard by all… President Obama met privately with House and Senate Republicans, all without aides, in the Roosevelt Room. Simply said, there’s room on this train for everyone, I want your opinion and help if you offer solutions vs. attack. Make no mistake, it’s leaving the station [...]

President Obama the Liberal Nationalist

the-same-hand

Inauguration Day, 2009 in Washington, DC was grueling but inspiring. The minus 8 degree cold was bone-chilling. The crowd of two million plus was frequently suffocating. The 20,000-officer security cordon was smothering. Yet people endured the discomfort good-naturedly. Neither cold nor crowds nor mile-long detours from blocks of blocked off streets would deter Obama’s faithful [...]

Inauguration of Obama and My Broken Father

mlk_bho

The inauguration of President Obama signals us to move from voice to leadership. While listening to President Obama’s somber but inspiring inaugural address, I returned to a painful moment in my life. Five years ago, someone had found my father’s unconscious body by the side of a desert highway. Along the short stretch lay his [...]

Who Should Obama Look to for Advice?: Jimmy Carter

carter obama

At the request of President-elect Barack Obama, President George W. Bush convened an awkward meeting of all living former presidents at the White House to meet, and presumably give advice and encouragement to, the new guy. The body language of the participants in the summit photo, taken in the Oval Office, said it all. The [...]

Can Obama Change America’s Understanding of Class and Dissent?

haymarket

Class conflict. Political dissent. What it means to be an American. Many people assume these things are incompatible. Throughout America’s history, most U.S. citizens denied the reality of class divisions in their midst, seeing them as either European or somehow related to Soviet communism. And political dissent has not been understood to be central to [...]

“This Land Is Your Land” Like Woody Wrote It

pete-seeger-bruce-springsteen

At the conclusion of today’s concert for president-elect Barack Obama 89-year-old Pete Seeger joined Bruce Springsteen for a sing-along with perhaps half a million people of Woody Guthrie’s “This Your Land is Your Land,” which I dare say practically everyone in the country knows from childhood. But sly old Pete, who actually hoboed with Woody [...]

Uprising Updated

obama_shoe

When visionary journalist/author David Sirota published his book, The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington in June 2008, he traveled the country—including an appearance at Valley Dems United Democratic Club—making his case. But even before November 4, it was clear that Americans were living their own insurrections; some [...]

w(me) the People: w’s Legacy Project

bush_sunset

President w, by way of a reporter, gave the nation a forewarning, regarding his awful, illegitimate, prevaricating, corrupt, woeful, horrible, horrendous, dreadful, terrible, appalling, deplorable, treasonous, frightful, ghastly, horrifying, revolting, hideous, despicable, monstrous, gruesome, (reader’s choice)–legacy, after his first presidential election coup. Very early into w’s presidency, a press party was held at the White [...]

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