This Week on the LA Progressive: February 14 to 20, 2010

Photo from The Lakota Nation

Defying Progressives, Obama Revives Nuclear Power. Many progressives are so excited that Obama is not Sarah Palin that they accept any small step as a great leap forward. The irony is that many of these progressives saw a night and day difference between Obama and Clinton in the primaries, yet now accept policies from Obama that are virtually identical — if not more conservative — than those we feared from a President Hilary Clinton. -Randy Shaw

American Arrogance Overseas Should End. It’s fine for Americans to try to do good deeds overseas—if no ulterior motives are involved (which many times there are)—but arrogance and contempt for other nation’s laws, culture, and customs should be left at home. -Ivan Eland

California Congressmen Have Not Lifted a Finger to Investigate Skyrocketing Insurance Premium Increases. Private insurance companies, immune from anti-trust laws, have held Americans hostage to health care premium increases. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Wellpoint and its subsidiaries paid out over $22,715,439 for lobbying with our health care premiums. -Tracy Emblem

Media Ignoring Labor Union Successes. The absence of labor reporters is a symptom of a larger media trend that now sees union activism and elections as deserved only of local coverage, while corporate news wins national attention. So the New York Times reports on Disney’s public relations event in Orlando, Florida is reported by, while UNITE HERE’s far more newsworthy event at Disneyland gets only local press. -Randy Shaw

Evan Bayh and Harold Ford: Hypocrites Who Cut and Run. Bayh and Ford have a lot in common, and not because they’re both legacies who rode into public office on their family name. Both are anti-progressive Democrats who have built their political careers on making the Left feel small and weak – egged on by a corporate media that likes to call them “centrist.” -Paul Hogarth

Celebrity Ego versus Democracy. The state of public discourse in this country has deteriorated to such a degree that few public discussions ever go much further than the echo chambers in which they originate. A significant number our citizens behave as if they no longer believe in democracy at all. -Charles D. Hayes

What is Rankism and Why Do We “Do” It? If you conclude that rankism is human nature — that we’re like the apes, and they do it, so we have no choice — and dismiss the possibility of overcoming it, consider this list of specific kinds of “put downs” that, not long ago, were deemed cool, but have become a sure way to embarrass yourself. -Robert Fuller

A Sick Society Normalizes Gun Violence. Based on the lack of an adequate public policy response to America’s gun problem, one must conclude that these firearm deaths are viewed as collateral damage, the price society is willing to pay for a so-called “free” society of gun ownership rights. -David A. Love

The Great Bipartisan Deception. In a country ravaged by war and economic crisis, with tens of millions of people suffering, politicians are capable of doing absolutely nothing to help ordinary people. The only two “achievements” of the Democrat’s super majority in the Senate — over the course of five months — were an ineffectual stimulus package and a “surge” of troops in Afghanistan. -Shamus Cooke

The Criminal Alien Program: Big, Old, and Misunderstood. Of course, identifying and removing dangerous criminal threats must be a priority for ICE. However, time and time again data show that their methods for prioritizing these individuals are flawed and have negative consequences for noncriminals who get caught in the system. -Michele Waslin

The Price Is Right (On). This confrontation between the brothers has been simmering since the Great Depression, and is a sort of High Noon without the gunplay (despite that fact that Vic, as one of NYPD’s blues, is indeed packing heat) – call it High Strung Noon. -Ed Rampell

Worker Rights: An International Covenant? The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), a multilateral treaty promoted by the United Nations, commits its parties to work toward stated objectives for all its citizens. As of December 8th, 160 countries had ratified it. Not us. The United States has “signed,” but the Senate has never ratified. -Ron Wolff

California’s Prop 16 is Worst Measure on June Ballot. Every election cycle has an awful state ballot proposition, with plenty of corporate funding to fool voters. For the June primary, it’s Prop 16 – a thinly veiled power grab by PG&E to shut down competition to keeps its monopoly. -Paul Hogarth

Why Afghan War Is About Women – and One in Particular. Whether people support Malalai Joya, or passionately disagree with her, few would challenge her right to speak – and it is this right that is being ignored, with impunity, by an administration whose actions indicate no will to respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a party. -Glyn Strong

Us Greedy Geezers and the “Commission” Plot. There are not two groups involved, the young and the old. It’s a continuum starting from entrance into the workforce until retirement. While he says he speaks in the interest of the young, if there is a severe curtailment of Medicare and Social Security those hurt most will be the youngsters when they reach the age where they need them both. -Carl Bloice

The Innovation of Pilot Schools. Sadly, the promise of economic and social mobility via our public educational system is going unfulfilled for the children of poor and working class parents in the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD) whose student body is over 70% Latino and 11% African American must focus on stopping the drop-out crisis and addressing the lack of student preparation for college and the 21st century workforce. -Maria Elena Durazo and Maria Brenes

Out of Sight, Out of Mind. Despite nearly insurmountable conditions, few resources, and against unbelievable odds, Nation after Nation of Indigenous leaders and their people are working hard to counteract decades of oppression and forced destruction of their cultures, to bring their citizens back to a life of self-respect and self-sufficiency in today’s world. -Thunder Horse

The New Jim Crow. The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame. -Michelle Alexander

Evan Bayh and Partisan America. The real problem isn’t partisanship. Bold views and strong positions are fine. Democratic debate and deliberation can be enhanced by them. The problem is the intransigence and belligerence that has taken over Congress and much of the rest of the public — a profound distrust of people “on the other side,” an unwillingness to compromise, a bitterness and anger disproportionate to issues being discussed. -Robert Reich

Black Leadership Succession: Diane Watson Did It Right. People got mad love for Diane Watson, and she’s not one that we were going to let go the way of Dymally. She was going to go out on her terms. Nobody was going to force her out. But I, for one, am glad she did it right. It shows that black leaders can effectively ensure quality future leaders will continue their work. -Anthony Asadullah Samad

Black and Queer in Nazi Germany. While in pre-Hitler Germany all-female orchestras were de rigeur in many avant-garde entertainment clubs, these homosocial all-women’s bands created tremendous outrage during Hitler’s regime. Snow was sent to a concentration camp not only because she was black and in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also because of her “friendships” with German women musicians, implying lesbianism. -Rev. Irene Monroe

Helmand Refugee Camp (photo by Fardin Waezi)


Listening to Palin. Palin is a complex mix of preacherly earnestness and twangy cowgirl. She really cares about what she is saying and those she is addressing – but not in some heavy-handed do-gooder way – rather, like a cheery, natural gal. So she’s a mommy – but also a babe. -Robin Lakoff

School Secretary Fired for Speaking Spanish to Parents. Ana Mateo, a bilingual school secretary, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, claiming that her civil rights were violated after she was allegedly fired for continuing to speak Spanish to parents. -Andrea Nill

Dollars for Death, Pennies for Life. While commanders in Afghanistan were launching what the New York Times called “the largest offensive military operation since the American-led coalition invaded the country in 2001,” the situation in Haiti was clearly dire. -Norman Solomon

Copenhagen Failed Us; What Do We Do Next? All considered, we have lost twenty years for bringing about meaningful climate change mitigation and we have little time left because every year that the atmospheric CO2 load increases, there is even a lesser chance that the dangerous processes can be reversed. -Nick Arguimbau

Disaster Prep With a Twist. If every emergency prep session started like Mason’s, I’d already be an expert in CPR and have several well-stocked larders located strategically, carrying the appropriate first-aid provisions and food needed immediately after disaster strikes– whether at home or away. -Wendy Block

American Empire: How the Military-Industrial Complex Is Warping America’s Values. Now that corporate control of our elections is out in the open thanks to our Supreme Court, we might as well realize that what we see on our televisions and read in our newspapers is also corporate-controlled. We can still tune into the internet to see world news and different opinions, but I can see that soon even the internet will swallowed up by corporate money. -Tim Gatto

Jon Karl and ABC Give Dick Cheney a Sunday Valentine. Karl’s softballs aside, had he rightfully used this interview to take Cheney to task on specific accusations from experts and scholars, Karl may have achieved a newfound respect as a reporter. But he didn’t. -Linda Milazzo

Action (or lack of) in the North Atlantic. Those who prefer shows like, say, South Pacific, may require a North Atlantic Treaty Organization in order to sit through this raucous, riotous production. James Strahs’ 1982 play is decidedly for those who prefer their theatre on the avante garde, experimental side. -Ed Rampell

Plucked Chickenhawk Still Squawking. Tom Tancredo, who has characterized the Iraq war as “America’s noble sacrifice,” fancies himself as ultra pro-military and a super hawk. The New Hampshire Gazette calls him a “Chickenhawk” because he dodged the draft and Vietnam in his salad days. -Berry Craig

Right Wing Immigrant Endorses Tancredo’s Literacy Test Idea. Last week, the Denver Westward News Blog reported that Tom Tancredo got the idea for requiring voters to pass a civics literacy test from “a black guy” driving a limo in Detroit who was studying for his citizenship test. -Andrea Nill

Gazillionaire Meg Whitman Goes Right for the Jugular. The Republicans, who control the state’s finaGnces through the “two-thirds rule,” tell us every day that in a $1.8 trillion economy we can’t do anything but cut, cut, cut because we simply “don’t have the money.” They tell us that a $19 billion budget deficit — about 1 percent of the state’s GDP — requires us to dismantle the higher education system, lay off teachers and social servants, close parks, and demolish public institutions that took a generation to build. -Joseph Palermo


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