Tag Archive: California

Jun 05 2018

2018 Primary Elections: Eight States Voting Today

Voters in eight states go to the polls today with the main event focused on California where voters choose the top two candidates, regardless of party, who will face off in November. Californians call it the “jungle primary” which was instituted back when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was governor. Arnold thought that it would bring …

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Sep 18 2017

States Rights California Style

In his “New Rules” segment of his HBO show Real Time, Bill Maher took a stand against “outside agitators” who are trying to interfere with California’s liberal agenda. Adopting a good ol’ boy accents while lamenting federal overreach, Bill Maher wrapped up tonight’s Real Time episode with a New Rule: The “States’ Rights” issue now …

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Jun 09 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 6.9.15

Hello! I have 3 articles for your perusal this Tuesday morning!

First up, California’s got some trouble:

California is sinking, and it’s getting worse

Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink.

But the extent of the problem and how much it will cost taxpayers to fix are part of the mystery of the state’s unfolding drought. No agency is tracking the sinking statewide, little public money has been put toward studying it and California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.

The cause is known: People are pulling unsustainable amounts of water out of underground aquifers, primarily for food production. With the water sucked out to irrigate crops, a practice that has accelerated during the drought, tens of thousands of square miles are deflating like a leaky air mattress, inch by inch.

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Apr 06 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 4.6.15

I have some picture heavy pieces for you this Monday morning!

First, the difference the drought in California’s made in just a few short years:

Past, Present Images Reveal Impact of California’s Drought

The images below illustrate the severity of California’s drought with past and recent images from around the state, now in its fourth consecutive dry year.

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Dec 01 2013

Anti-capitalist Meetup: “Separate but Equal” Shuts Down Women’s Health Care by TPau

This week has a certain nostalgia for me. I am working the last four shifts in my home, Humboldt County. Nestled between pristine redwoods and dramatic cliffs overlooking the west coast of California, I want to stay here, but cannot. I am feeling the full force of the United States health care crisis. In the four years I have worked here eight of ten obstetricians in the southern half of the county have left, and now I find I am one of them.

Two obstetricians, far apart geographically and serving two different hospitals, are all that is left to serve an area once supporting 10 obstetricians. Both doctors are men over 60, who have a tough future ahead of them. Without outside help there is no way they can see all the patients that will need them. They have to remain within 30 minutes of the hospital and can be told to come to work any time of the day or night. They can never have a moment off, a full night’s sleep, a drink of alcohol to ring in the New Year. Watching a full length movie, or having a nice dinner with the spouse without interruption is a thing of the past. Neither of the remaining doctors can get sick or injured. This is really asking them to be super human and there is no cavalry on their horizon. In fact, if Catholic Health Systems is successful at closing one of the two hospitals, only one physician will remain.

As a young person, I wanted to take my medical skills to a disadvantaged third world nation. Looks like I got my wish – right here in the US. How did we get here?

Sep 29 2013

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher’s New Rules

California is leading by example

New Rule: Conservatives Who Love to Brag About American Exceptionalism Must Come Here to California

Bill Maher, Huffington Post

New Rule: Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California, and see it in person. And then they should be afraid — very afraid. Because while the rest of the country is beset by stories of right-wing takeovers in places like North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, California is going in the opposite direction and creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about. And not only can’t the rest of the country stop us — we’re going to drag you along with us.

It wasn’t that long ago that pundits were calling California a failed state and saying it was ungovernable. But in 2010, when other states were busy electing whatever Tea Partier claimed to hate government the most, we elected a guy who actually liked it, Jerry Brown.[..]

Since then, everything Republicans say can’t or won’t work — gun control, immigration reform, high-speed rail — California is making work. And everything conservatives claim will unravel the fabric of our society — universal healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, gay marriage, medical marijuana — has only made California stronger. And all we had to do to accomplish that was vote out every single Republican. Without a Republican governor and without a legislature being cock-blocked by Republicans, a $27 billion deficit was turned into a surplus, continuing the proud American tradition of Republicans blowing a huge hole in the budget and then Democrats coming in and cleaning it up.

Mar 20 2013

Don’t Pretend You Care About These Issues When Defending the President

This is an older piece of mine that appeared on Daily Kos on Thursday December 29, 2011.

 

It's an important one because it destroys the argument you hear from some Obama supporters hoping to deflect the inhumane treatment of whistle blower Bradley Manning. They say that since African Americans in our prison system suffer torture and injustice in our prison industrial complex, then that means what is happening to Bradley Manning is not really an issue. Of course what they don't mention is that yes, African Americans have been and are indeed suffering atrocities in our prison industrial complex, yet they don't want to talk about President Obama continuing this trend and even making it worse even hiring a for profit private prison lobbyists in his Justice Department where some of the worst offenses happen making him involved in the state issue and federal issue.

 

You can see the failed deflections in the comments of that diary and how the truth about this really hit a nerve with some people, whether they claim to be a fake Marxist in a past life making their support of the PIC and neoliberalism OK now under Obama or not. The facts show that they don't really care about these issues when hoping to shield Obama from them in the case of Bradley Manning.

Part of the reason the Occupy movement exists and are out in the streets is because of the massive failures of this Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress. This can’t be denied. However, because it can’t be denied there are certain implications going around in their defense by those who are in denial about this. They imply that what’s going on with Bradley Manning’s confinement and his sham of a trial doesn’t truly matter.

They imply Occupy protesters getting beaten, sprayed, and handcuffed until they get nerve damage doesn’t matter because of the fact that African Americans and Latinos have been feeling the brunt of police brutality and a corrupt racist justice system for years. It is very true that African Americans and Latinos have felt the brunt of a corrupt racist justice system for years.

However, these injustices still matter regardless, because as MLK said, “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and that still holds true today. The issues the Occupy movement are fighting for affect all races, especially on income inequality and economic justice. That is an acknowledged fact that can’t be denied.

The people of Occupy Wall Street are protesting our country’s growing inequality–and nowhere is this inequality more acutely felt than the makeup of our prison population.

Recently at a city council meeting in my home of Jersey City, a 46-year-old formerly incarcerated man told the council, as reported in the Jersey City Independent: “I’ve served 16 years in prison. I came home three years ago and tried everything possible you can do. I got my high school diploma and a driver’s license…The job system failed me.”

When I went to Occupy Wall Street, my friend carried a sign that read: “Troy Davis would still be alive if he had been rich and white.” We had attended a protest earlier that month, when Davis was still alive, where signs and demonstrators proclaimed, “We are Troy Davis.”

We are Troy Davis. We are the 99 percent.

Oct 15 2012

Sunday Train: Is Big Oil Striking Back against the California Bullet Train vote?

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

cross-posted from Voices on the Square

One of the biggest difficulties in the fight for sustainable energy independence is that Big Oil and Big Coal, the entrenched vested interests against our nation’s long term economic survival, have ample resources and ample practice in playing the long game. They have, over decades, built up a network of propaganda mills (Heritage, Cato, Reason), pro-corporate legislative cookie cutter factories (ALEC) and have invested heavily in buying large number of legislatures at both the state and federal level.

So we should not expect victories to come without an effort to strike back coming from Big Oil or Big Coal. It appear that this effort may be underway in California, following Big Oil’s big loss when the California State Legislature approved the California State funding to match the Federal Funding of the HSR Initial Construction Segment.

Jul 09 2012

Sunday Train: California Senate Approves High Speed Rail Construction

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Crossposted from its home station at Voices on the Square

Passed!

Firedog Lake: California Legislature Passes High Speed Rail Bond Issue, Moving Project Forward ~ David Dayen



In a closely watched vote of the California state Senate, a bill to issue the first $5.8 billion in bonds for the construction of high speed rail lines passed 21-16. It needed all 21 votes to pass. Four Democrats voted no – including Allen Lowenthal, the Democratic candidate for Congress in CA-47, and Fran Pavley, the author of the state’s historic global warming law – but ultimately, just enough Democrats voted in favor of the bonds for them to pass. Joe Simitian and Mark DeSaulnier were the other Democrats who opposed the bill.



This does not end the battle for high speed rail. Between the bond issue and the federal money, that covers only about 1/5 of the total funding needed for the full project, which would connect Sacramento and San Diego and all points in between by high speed rail. But if this died today, you can be certain that nothing would ever get built. The federal government was prepared to take away the $3.2 billion in stimulus dollars earmarked for this stage of the project. And faith in the future of high speed rail in California – and indeed the nation – would have been sapped.

So … what now?

Jul 06 2012

High Speed Rail Vote In California

Up Date: 7:00 PM EDT The California High Speed Rail Bill has passed 21 – 16.

Today is the crucial vote for High Speed Rail project in the California State Senate. As, BruceMcF pointed out in this week’s Sunday Train, it all hinges on the Democrats.

In response to complaints, including from Senators (Joe) Simitian and (Alan) Lowenthal, that too much was being spent in the less heavily populated central valley, and not enough money was being spent in the more populous LA Basin and Bay Area, the revised Business Plan includes “early investment” in the bookends, to help prepare them for blended operation of HSR alongside more local rail services.

That early investment includes an agreement that will allow for the funding of the electrification of the Caltrain Corridor, serving Simitian’s own district, and key to the long term survival of the Caltrain service so that it is available for use when the next petroleum crisis hits.

But, going by the description of a Simitian staffer of his position, these changes may not have been enough to convince Simitian to switch to a position of support for actually building HSR.

The bill passed the Assembly and Gov. Jerry Brown has said that he will sign it but there are at least 6 Democratic hold outs. Since there all the Republicans are opposed and to pass the bill needs 21 of the 25 Democratic Senators, the funding totally hinges on these Senators.

The California state Assembly on Thursday approved an $8 billion high-speed rail financing plan that likely will face a tougher vote in the Senate over the system’s projected $68 billion cost and concerns about its management.

The project, expected to take decades to complete, has the backing of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who says a bullet train network will boost job creation and provide an alternative to car and plane travel in the country’s most populous state. [..]

If it is approved, California could begin selling bonds for the project and lock in federal funds for a line in the state’s Central Valley.

Senator Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, said the plan’s supporters have their work cut out winning him over, a sentiment other Democratic senators have shared with Reuters in recent days.

As David Dayen at FDL News notes, if the bill is not passed, California will lose the billions in promised funding for the project from the Federal government:

This is crucial, because the federal Department of Transportation has made clear that they will revoke their $4.3 billion in federal funds for California’s HSR project, most of which came out of the stimulus package, if the state doesn’t approve funding today. This would undoubtedly stall the project, perhaps permanently. And California is probably the furthest along of any state on a high speed rail system.

Building this leg of the system is crucial to transportation in the region, energy and fuel economy and it will create jobs in hard hit California. All of that should offset any negatives of bond funding, by increasing revenue brought in from more people workong and spending in California. Let’s hope a couple of these Democrats wake up and see the advantage to being at the forefront of a new transportation age.

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