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California Prop 16 covered on TV

Your humble host is now co-host of a new local cable interview show in Marin County, CA. The powerful utility, Pacific Gas & Electric is fighting the launch of a new public power agency that will allow us to buy electricity generated from renewable resources. We bring you two voices in this important debate, the first skirmish in the statewide battle over Prop. 16 on the June ballot. Click over to www.marinvoicesandviews.com and take a look!

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my apologies for download glitches!

Lately, many of you loyal listeners have had to put up with way too many problems downloading my podcasts, especially iTunes users. Your humble host extends sincere apologies. In response to one profanity-laced email from a tech-savvy guy, I changed the file name protocol to include the podcast number, starting with #106. But then I failed to update all of the code referring to the file name (in 3 different places), and got a well-deserved flurry of emails.

As of Friday 3/5 at 11:40 am pbc time, the problem is fixed.

The iTunes service is extremely finicky about minor code errors--a single errant keystroke in the show information text can block your access to the audio file. To quote Springsteen's Point Blank: "one false move and, baby, the lights go out".

I've just started testing each release with cool software called "Feed Validator", but even that did not detect my mistake on the file name on #106. I work pretty hard to keep up my technical chops, but you pay the price as I learn from my mistakes. My web guru, Ian Sherr, has patiently been teaching this old dog new tricks, and I hope things go smoothly from here forward.

So keep downloading, keep listening, and please tell a friend!

cheers

pbc

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Dems cave on patriot act renewal

Last week, while the media distracted us with Obama's health care summit, the Senate Democrats caved to conservadems and Republicans and renewed the Patriot Act without critical changes that would have restored a few of our privacy rights. While the Dems now seem ready to pass the watered-down health insurance reform without GOP votes, they weren't willing to fight for our constitutional rights. Our Fourth Amendment rights have been severely eroded....and you don't have to just take my word for it. Judge Alex Kozinski, a conservative extremist appointed by Reagan to the 9th Circuit Appeals Court here in San Francisco, wrote a blistering dissent in a case where cops entered a home without a warrant:
The opinion misapplies Supreme Court precedent, conflicts with our own case law and is contrary to the great weight of authority in the other circuits. It is also the only case I know of, in any jurisdiction covered by the Fourth Amendment, where invasion of the home has been approved based on no showing whatsoever. Nada. Gar nichts. Rien du tout. Bupkes. Whatever may have been left of the Fourth Amendment after [United States v. Black] is now gone. The evisceration of this crucial constitutional protector of the sanctity and privacy of what Americans consider their castles is pretty much complete. Welcome to the fish bowl.
Jay Bybee, who signed John Yoo's torture memos and was rewarded with a lifetime appointment to this court, voted in favor of the "evisceration". Read Kozinski's dissent here, and weep. And be sure you listen to podcast #104 about Hoover's Cointelpro and the state murder of Fred Hampton--history is repeating itself.

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Demand a Correction from New York Times!

As Brad Friedman reports at Bradblog.com and in Podcast #102, The New York Times is refusing to correct its false reporting about the smear of ACORN by Breitbart and O'Keefe, using a heavily edited entrapment video. A senior editor of The Times even cited O'Keefe's comments on Fox News as proof that he dressed as a pimp when he and Hannah Giles played their games at ACORN offices. Both Giles and Andy Breitbart, the ringleader, admitted at CPAC that Giles and O'Keefe were dressed much more conservatively. The pimp'n'ho images were used to stampede Congress into stripping ACORN funding and severely damaging the organization. Send your comments to public editor Clark Hoyt: [public@nytimes.com] and demand that they correct these reports!

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Happy to Eat Some of My Own Words….

In my preceding post, I was complaining that we had not heard any news of troops coming home from Iraq. On February 16, the Pentagon announced that troop levels have declined to 98,000 and that about 50,000 more will withdraw by August of this year. The remainder are supposed to be out of Iraq by the end of next year. While I'm pleased at this progress, and more than willing to eat my words, I strongly doubt that all of our troops will leave
Iraq in the next 5 years. We've built a number of major bases there, and I expect there will be a residual force of at least 10,000 for a long time. I still feel that we are too passive in the face of Obama's militarism.

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U.S. Troops leaving Iraq, yet??

Am I the only one who's noticed that we don't see evidence of any troops returning from Iraq? Democrats and the left have been silent on the issue, and Obama has issued a few reaffirmations that "combat troops" will be coming home this year. The only troops I know of who left Iraq in 2009 were the tail end of Bush's mythical "surge". Most people seem indifferent and Democrats in Congress don't raise the issue.
In the past few days, I've seen TV coverage of funerals for soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. And with the death of Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, TV has replayed his courageous speeches from 2005 calling on Bush to bring troops home. Murtha was a Vietnam vet, a hawk and pork-barrel abuser of earmarks.
We should be seeing joyful reunions of troops and families, especially those who served as many as 4 tours in Bush's quagmire. Let's renew the pressure on Obama to keep his promise, as squishy as it is. BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

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Coming soon: Fiore Political Animations

Mark Fiore is a very talented guy, and creates weekly Flash animation political cartoons. Under the influence of a couple of bottles of Corona, I persuaded him to allow us to post his latest cartoons here at peterbcollins.com Until we get the website set up for them, check out his recent episodes at www.MarkFiore.com

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Saturday Jan 30–Live Webcast!!!

Join us tonight 6-8pm PST for a live video fundraiser on the web. We are raising money to send nurses to Haiti, and I'm asking for your help.

Log in at www.nursetalksite.com

call in at 888-573-8372

email peter@peterbcollins.com

donate at www.sendanurse.org

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Air America Crashes, No Surprise

With the announcement of Air America's second, final trip into bankruptcy, an important chapter comes to a close. When Sheldon and Anita Drobny first floated the idea in 2003, liberal radio guys like me said, "finally, we can take back talk radio from the right." When it launched in 2004, I had a daily show on Sirius satellite and a handful of AM's. Then I connected with Hal Ginsberg and we bought KRXA in 2005 and launched a progressive talk lineup without Air America shows. We have carried a few since then--Thom Hartmann and Ring of Fire.

But most of their shows overpromised and under-delivered. The suits knew how to raise money from investors ($65 million in the first 2 years) but were failures as programmers, ad salesmen, and radio operators.

I was on the Air America payroll as a sub host for 3.5 years, mostly for Thom and Jon Elliott. I did a week for Lionel that was one of the weirdest episodes in my wacky "career" in radio. Even though I was on their roster, I could never get the PD of the year to talk about adding my daily program to their offerings. They were stuck on a 24-hour model that died in the 1950's, and star-struck by Al Franken, who wasn't a very good radio host.

After the bankruptcy, Charlie Kireker took over, and eventually hired a pair of Clear Channel guys from DC who knew radio, but weren't progressives. They made Montel their marqee talent (replacing Thom!) and now they wonder why they crashed it. They forgot the stench they made with Jerry Springer.

The real damage is that lefty talk is now stigmatized by the failure of Air America. I continue to believe there is a big audience available to progressives who are radio pros, and that we shouldn't surrender the AM band to the right. But AAR's business failure will be the roadblock in front of any one who tries to launch new progressive shows. Yes, Franken's in the Senate and Rachel's on TV--but in our cars, the right still rules.

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Marriage Equality on Trial in S.F.

There's a high stakes trial underway in federal court in San Francisco regarding the right of same sex couples to marry. Judge Vaughn Walker, a GOP appointee of Bush I, has shown great courage in his handling of the wiretapping/state secrets cases in his court the past few years. He is presiding, without a jury, over the case brought by the odd couple of Ted Olson (a staunch Republican who defended the 2000 stolen election in Florida before the Supreme Court) and David Boies (an equally staunch Democrat who lost the Florida case). Many gay activists at first opposed the Boies-Olson effort, because if they lose it will be very hard to overcome. On the other hand, if they win, it will establish gay marriage rights in all 50 states. Walker wanted to televise the trial on YouTube, but the Supremes have blocked it for now. Here is a link to an excellent backgrounder in the New Yorker by Margaret Talbot. I bet Walker will ultimately overturn Prop. 8 and the Supremes will decide the case--so, given the current membership, Justice Kennedy will be the pivotal decider.