California: Where Elections Don’t Matter

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Joseph Palermo: We elected a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in the State Assembly and the Senate. Yet five members of the Republican minority once again are in the driver’s seat and they’re determined to run the state right over the cliff.

Why Obama Isn’t Fighting the Budget Battle

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Robert Reich: Obama won’t actively fight the budget battle if the current White House view of how he wins in 2012 continues to prevail.

On Wisconsin: End the War, Invest at Home

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Tom Hayden: It is time for our most prominent liberal economists to broaden their analysis of the domestic crisis to include spending for these unfunded wars. Only Joseph Stiglitz has done so.

Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon

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Ivan Eland: To keep with the bipartisan spirit after the Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt and also to avoid partisan fighting over spending priorities, which will bog down and probably eventually kill any significant budget cuts, all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.

The Republican Strategy

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Robert Reich: The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.

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Jerry Brown’s Budget

Ron Wolff: California’s “new” (but experienced) governor is bringing some urgently needed honesty and fresh thinking to the budgeting process in a state weary of smoke, mirrors, a two-thirds requirement in the legislature for tax increases, and the ravages of a recession imposed largely by external forces.

Fetishizing School Chiefs Hurts Kids

Cathleen Black, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Randy Shaw: Unfortunately, the media’s excessive and irrational devotion to school chiefs as saviors for the nation’s schools ignores the reality that no school chief, can overcome inadequate school funding by running schools like corporate turnaround specialists, and fetishizing their importance distracts from schools’ real needs. Education seems to be the only field where rising to the top requires no experience. Careers spent in the profit-driven corporate world are now identified as the best backgrounds for public school leadership.

Beyond the Grim Sleeper: Cut Death Penalty to Fund Criminal Investigations

Aqeela Sherrills

Aqeela Sherrills: Why do we continue to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on the death penalty even though it has never been proven to deter murderers and even though 1,000 killers get away with murder each year?

Prop 25 Most Essential Part of November Ballot

prop 16 results

Paul Hogarth: Proposition 25 was put on by labor unions and the Democratic Party, and political consultant Roger Salazar has been retained. Liberal bloggers and other progressives are skeptical, with some going so far as to claim it doesn’t make sense to get a majority for the budget – if raising taxes we need would still require a two-thirds vote.

Saving LA’s African Marketplace

los angeles african marketplace

Anthony Samad: The City of Los Angeles is trying to charge the festival over $180,000 to hold the African Marketplace for two weeks, in a public park. Now we know the City is having a hard time…but $180,000??? For what?

Dude, Let Students Help Make Those Teacher Cuts

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Nea Friberg-Price & Jed Von Dielingen: Because our school makes these cuts strictly on seniority, it’s always the newer teachers who go, the ones who connect so much better with us students. Athough we like and respect our older, more experienced teachers, these younger ones are more flexible in their teaching plans and are closer to us in age, so they understand us so much better. So we’re terribly sad to see their teaching careers end, at least for now.

The International Attack on Public Workers

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Shamus Cooke: The budget crisis phenomenon is international, and the international corporate elite are sharing ideas on how best to come out of the crisis unscathed. They’re blaming the recession itself on public employees, on “greedy” workers who earn the tiniest fraction of what rich shareholders make by doing nothing.

The Looming Educational Catastrophe is Scary. Indeed.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)

Carl Bloice–September is four months away and one thing is certain: the public is not be adequately alerted to the seriousness of the situation and mobilized to do anything about it. We would know far less about how critical things are in the schools had not students in California – where thing are really rough – set off nationwide protests about the cutbacks. And, as soon as that happened, on cue, voices popped up to declare that the protesters were deficient because they had no real analysis of the cause of the crisis and offered no solutions. The obvious response was: so what? Isn’t it the job of professionals in politics and government to provide those things?

Creative Cuts, New Concepts for LA’s Schools

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Alfee Enciso: Ask any teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District if they would rather take a pay cut in the guise of furlough days or have five more students in their classes next year. Without a doubt, the latter would be the choice for the majority of our classroom instructors in LAUSD.

Democratic “Accomplishments” Not Nearly Enough

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Joseph Palermo: Unless the Congress moves some progressive legislation quickly there’s going to be trouble this fall because any political party that is stupid enough to allow a couple of shmucks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, or the outcome of a special election in New England, to unravel its governing coalition doesn’t deserve to be in power.

New York’s Juvenile Prisons Are a Crime

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If you can judge a society by the way it treats its children, then New York fails in a big way. In fact, the Empire State should be found guilty of child abuse and neglect. The New York Times recently reported on the deplorable state of New York’s juvenile justice system. Gov. David Paterson appointed [...]

Restructuring the CSU or Wrecking It? What Proposed Changes Mean and What We Can Do About Them

Jacqueline Johnston/Photo. College students from around California protested proposed budget cuts to higher education at the capitol in Sacramento.

Throughout this period of unprecedented cuts to the CSU budget, the Chancellor and his administration have failed to confront elected leaders or even to educate the people of California about the costs of political choices made around the California budget.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Iraq

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised U.S. soldiers for helping Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki build and nurture Iraq’s public institutions, which are central to the American war effort. But at the same time Schwarzenegger is systematically (even gleefully) dismantling similar public institutions in California.

LA Progressive: October 18 to 24, 2009 — Articles

Swine-Flu

Drinking Motivational KoolAid: How It All Works Financially. Even the soberest fiscal conservatives cannot avoid the power of this pitch and will jump out of his or her seat with wallet wide open! You may get in for $19, but more than half of you will spend many hundreds if indeed not thousands more. – [...]

In California State University System, Students Pay More for Less

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Students are paying more than ever for a CSU education even though they’ll be spending less time with professors, have fewer course offerings, and be crammed into overcrowded classrooms.

Stealing From California’s Young People

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The professors will endure. But the students and their families are the true victims here. They’re getting ripped off. The quality of their education is suffering even while they go into debt.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Knife Play

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Now we have a Republican governor in California who sees the state’s current budget catastrophe as nothing but a big joke. Why else would Arnold Schwarzenegger post a tasteless Twitter video where he wields a two-foot-long folding knife boasting about his budget-cutting prowess?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Tea Bagging California

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Just as many of the neo-cons seemingly cross their fingers hoping for a mass-casualty terrorist attack on U.S. soil because they see it as political gold for them, they’re also cheerleading for the economy to remain stagnant

Constructing a California Budget That Is Least Injurious to the Most Vulnerable

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Resolving our fiscal crisis will require many very difficult decisions, but our guiding principle must be constructing a budget that is least injurious to the most vulnerable. While we will have to take quick action to avoid the state sliding into insolvency, we must take that action in a thoughtful manner minimizing the potential permanent [...]

California’s Failure to Invest in Higher Education Gives the State Little Hope for Economic Prosperity in the 21st Century Global Economy

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As California’s leaders continue to wrestle with how to tackle the ever growing budget deficit, cuts to education and in particular public higher education, continue to be mentioned as a solution to economic tumult. Such cuts would be a blow to a State that already has fallen from “trend-setter” in terms of education and economic [...]

States’ Budget Crises: Share the Pain, Share the Dough

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by Carl Bloice – It’s probable that by the time this is read, officials in San Jose, California, will have eliminated athletic programs from all 11 of the city’s high schools. It might not seem like much to some, given the declining economic situation in the country and the kinds of budget cuts being made [...]

What’s Next?

This week’s three-question LA Progressive survey asks these questions: Who will John “Three Dollar Bill” McCain pick for his Veep? Who will be the first woman president of the United States? Who will be the next governor of California? You can take the survey now, by clicking here. You can see the results as they [...]

A Bad Time for Budget Cuts to California’s Aged, Disabled, Poor, and Uninsured

The latest numbers are just in from the United States Census Bureau. According to analyses from the California Budget Project (CBP) they show that for low and middle income Californians there has been a decline in the real (inflation adjusted) household income. A separate analysis by Health Access California shows that more Californians are uninsured [...]

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