We're all touched by the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, killing up to 25% of the people. One way to help is to support the group of nurses dispatched to Haiti by the California Nurses Association. Get info at Calnurses.org Personally, I don't trust the Red Cross--after our 1989 earthquake in San Francisco, Red Cross had to be shamed into spending most of the money raised here, and Mayor Art Agnos fought to force them to open their books for inspection.
It's not news, not surprising, just disgusting. Fox News (sic) (or should it be "sick") announced today that it has hired Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor who quit so....she could get paid to deliver salvos of slander on a regular basis. (Why give it away free when you can get paid for it?) Fox wasn't content to just broadcast her silly Facebook rants verbatim--they hired the hockey mom who's a MILF to GOP guys to add to their stable of newsfoxes and the lite-porn B-roll they are famous for.
Just last night on 60 Minutes, McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt (whose big ears stick out even more than Obama's) looked right at the camera and politely said that Palin had caused problems for the campaign because she often said things that were "not accurate". The example he gave was about the ethics report from Alaska--she said it vindicated her, and Schmidt correctly stated that it did not. My favorite Palin lie was that Obama was "pallin' around with terrorists".....or was it the "death panel" line about health care legislation? Post your favorite here!
We are in the process of making some changes to this website. We wanted to make it real easy for you to find the latest podcast, and to access our blog posts. My resolution for the New Year is to post here several times a week, in addition to fresh podcasts. Soon, we are launching a new podcast series, Livin' Large which will cover food, wine, travel, the arts, and my new car reviews. We will also be posting video from my new local TV show in the Bay Area, Marin Voices and Views, co-hosted with Larry Strick. As always, your comments and support are appreciated!
I'm not very excited about the health insurance reform that squeaked through the House last Saturday night. There are a few morsels in those 2,000 pages, like striking pre-existing conditions from the list of reasons for denial of coverage. But with coverage mandates, $400 billion in subsidies and a teeny weeny public option (designed to fail?) and the elimination of the Kucinich state-level single payer option, the Pelosi package was teetering on the edge of worse-than-doing-nothing.
Continue reading One Small Step for Better Health Care; One Giant Step Backward for Choice
You sure showed Tom Ammiano how clever a governor can be. Sure, he shouldnâ€™t have called you a liar (even though itâ€™s true) or told you to kiss his gay ass, and you shouldnâ€™t have been at that Democratic fundraiser in San Francisco anywayâ€”but your pal Willie Brown invited you and since youâ€™re not doing anything in Sacramento these days, you dropped in and got a predictable response.
So when you stopped bluffing about vetoing all the bills this year (but it was a really cool bluff, cuz it came from you) and signed some of them, you vetoed a minor bill authored by Ammiano and sent him a custom veto letter that was so clever that the letters on the left margin spelled â€œFuck youâ€. This is the coolest, most clever F-bomb since the pop group April Wine released the song â€œIf You See Kayâ€ back in the â€˜80â€™s, your steroids-and-groping decade. You and the frat boys in your office mustâ€™ve spent hours crafting the letter and admiring it, and Iâ€™ll bet you did it all on a furlough day so taxpayers werenâ€™t pinched by it.
And it was so cool that you resisted the urge to call Ammiano a â€œgirly manâ€, since heâ€™s about the only member of the legislature who would take it as a compliment. The editorial writers at the San Francisco Chronicle werenâ€™t that coolâ€”the left margin of their editorial slamming your F-bomb spelled out â€œgrow up, girlymanâ€ which is just so, well, 2005.
Whatâ€™s even cooler is that you have been sodomizing Californiaâ€™s Democrats on just about a daily basis since the summer of 2008. Since our real Governor, Grover Norquist, wouldnâ€™t allow the GOP members of the legislature to work with you to resolve the budget crisis that you created when you killed the car tax on your first day in office (way cool--$26 billion cool!) you managed to get the Democrats to bend over and take itâ€”leading up to the May special election. The Dems acted like your sex slavesâ€”telling us that unless we approved that 6-pack of poison, that life as we know it would cease. The voters are smarter than you all reckoned, and rejected your â€œsolutionsâ€ because they knew they were phony.
So then you spent the summer in Sacramento (not cool) and alienated most of the legislators by demanding an all-cuts budget with massive disinvestment in education and a clever offshore oil drilling scheme that didnâ€™t generate much money and showed us that your concern about climate change is just an act from a bad actor.
And after the Democrats survived all-nighters and gave in to virtually all of your demands, you screwed them again with line-item vetoes of programs like domestic violence hotlines, even though you didnâ€™t have the power to do so. Now thatâ€™s really clever and very coolâ€”you rock, dude! Who needs a legislature or even a constitution when youâ€™ve got power derived solely from ego?
Over the next 5 to 10 years, as we struggle to repair the considerable damage that youâ€™ve done to California and its most vulnerable people, we will marvel that you were so clever, and so cool as you imposed disaster capitalism on California, dismantled Pat Brownâ€™s dreams and left the rubble to his moonbeam son.
Your stint as governator may be your only foray into politics; I hope so. But I expect that you will let Carly Fiorina run against Boxer as the Republican, and jump in as an independent in the general, and hope that you can write a script that covers your massive failures to date. And we will scour that script carefully for crude and cryptic messages in the left margin.
So I went to my contact database to look up Van Jones' phone number. Turns out we last spoke one year ago today. I left a message on his cell, and, as is common, he returned the call before he heard my message.
I invited him to do an interview, and he politely declined for now. He says he wants to continue to avoid being a distraction to the administration. I told him I was distressed by the way he left the White House and that the administration didn't fight Glenn Beck and the other demagogues (like Americans for Prosperity) who attacked him. He said he appreciated the sentiment, and the support expressed by others, but rejected my characterization, inferring that it was his idea to leave.
I told him that I respect him greatly, and his vision that ties social justice to the evolving green economy. He thanked me, and said that very soon the VP will be announcing initiatives that "have those fingerprints all over them."
We agreed to touch base in a couple of months, and he said that when he re-enters the public sphere that we will be hearing from him, "and you'll get tired of me". I gently rejected his characterization.
Van Jones is an inspiring leader, and his influence will continue to be felt.
The resignation of Van Jones is a defining moment, a very negative one, for the Obama administration.
Jones is the victim of the corporate-funded media mob that's constantly convened at Fox News. My email box was peppered with anti-Jones screeds in the last two weeks, sliming him as a black revolutionary, foul-mouthed, and un-American because he signed a petition demanding a real investigation of 9/11.
Jones is being jettisoned to reduce the distraction as Obama plans the speech I expect will jettison any attempt at thefuzzy "public option", in what has been reduced from health care reform to tinkering with the margins of health insurance.
In my view, Jones was targeted by the right in retaliation for the successful efforts of a nonprofit he founded to get corporate sponsors to pull their ads from Glenn Beck's lunacy-thon (should that be "lunathon"?). The boycott was prompted by Beck's racist attacks on Obama.
So let me re-cap. Beck makes scurrilous, racist comments about Obama. A group that Jones has not been involved with for at least a year and a half fights back on behalf of Obama, and sane people. Beck and allies smear Jones, and the Obama White House quickly surrenders. That's putting out fire with gasoline. That's empowering the mob in a dangerous way.
I've met Van Jones a couple of times, and interviewed him about four times. He was one of the few, true progressives in the White House and his vision of a green economy with social justice is so powerful it threatened the corporate interests which are intent on blocking any real change or progress from timid Washington Democrats. I'm confident Van will emerge from this stronger and wiser.
It's time to launch a progressive offensive on real health care reform, signal our rejection of escalation in Afghanistan and slow rolling out of Iraq, and to restore our constitutional rights. We've held back, hoping that Obama would recognize our role in his victory and deliver some things he promised progressives. We must press the House Progressive Caucus to stand firm, and force the administration and the DINO's of the Senate to realize that a clear majority will not yield to the orchestrated idiocy of the minority right. We must continue to expose the smears and lies and repudiate those who promote them.
And we need a president who will fight back against below-the-belt attacks, and stand up for people like Van Jones--if only because it's in his own best interests.