Anthony Samad: Damn near every street in the southland is torn up from construction, as is damn near every freeway. I purposely look for BMWs (Black Men Working). I rarely see any and I’m not the only one who notices this. It’s often a point of conversation in the circles I run in.
Tom Hayden: Obama spoke directly to public opinion when he refused to leave “immediately,” on the grounds that Afghanistan will need “an opportunity to stabilize,” an observation which the vast majority of Americans will accept, for now.
Randy Shaw: The 50-year period since Cesar Chavez set out to organize California farmworkers has seen a remarkable growth in Latino political power, electoral clout, and in unionized Latino workers, while the plight of farmworkers has gone backward since the UFW’s high point at the end of the 1970’s.
Joseph Palermo: President Obama’s much anticipated speech outlining his jobs agenda for the 2012 election year will sound a lot like a tiny mouse trying to make a loud roar. Instead of clarity, we’ll get hedging; instead of “bold,” we’ll get wishy-washy.
Robert Reich: The silence is deafening. While the rest of the nation is heading back toward a double dip, Washington continues to obsess about future budget deficits. Why?
Randy Shaw: Progressives are full of great ideas for putting Republicans on the defensive, and for Democrats regaining the populist momentum. But if Obama follows Jimmy Carter’s example and continues to solely follow his own playbook, such efforts are doomed to failure.
Paul Hogarth: Barack Obama and Joe Biden are upset at progressive Democrats. But which Democrats are being divisive?
Tina Dupuy: The U.S. just spent a trillion dollars “liberating” Muslims in two countries and helping them democratically elect leaders. You’d think we’d all be super pro-Muslim judging by our national budget. But no, “Muslim” has a negative connotation because of terrorists on 9/11.
Robert Reich: Including all those who have entered the job market since the bottom fell out, the nation is about 11 million jobs short. The President ought to use his second honeymoon to get a jobs bill that will make a difference.
Randy Shaw: The media always promotes Republicans like Campbell or John McCain who are reactionary and corporate-owned on most issues but have a few stands that are common to Democrats. This makes them “mavericks,” and allegedly shows they can appeal to Democrats.
Andrea Christina Nill: A study by Manuel Pastor of the University of Southern California found that immigration reform would increase California’s “state and local tax base by about $350 million in the short run.” A separate study by Raul Hinojosa of the University of California, Los Angeles similarly found that immigration reform which includes a path legalization could generate at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years.
Robert Reich: Bottom line: Obama will be going into an election year with a higher total level of unemployment than before the Great Recession. He will have to argue that, were it not for his policies, things would be even worse. Counter-factuals like this do not sit well on bumper stickers.
Paul Hogarth: California desperately needs to abolish the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget, and even an amendment that does not include taxes would be incremental progress. But unless labor unions start putting real money in this effort, and the Democratic Party makes it the priority it must be, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle – and we won’t have what it takes to run a winning campaign.