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Archive for April, 2007

Taxing our way out of global warming

pete-stark.jpgRep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, today introduced a “Save Our Climate Act” that would impose a tax on carbon-based fossil fuels in order to slow climate change.

The bill calls for an initial tax of $10 per ton of carbon content to be assessed on coal, petroleum and natural gas when these fossil fuels are initially removed from the ground or imported into the United States. The tax will increase by $10 each year, freezing when a mandated report by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Energy determines that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 80 percent from 1990 levels.

Said Stark, in a news release:

“The question is not if human activity is responsible for global climate change, but how the United States will respond. Predictable, transparent and universal, a carbon tax is a simple solution to a difficult problem. It would drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by providing an economic disincentive for the use of carbon-based fossil fuels and an incentive for the development and use of cleaner alternative energies. The Save Our Climate Act would establish the United States as a global leader in environmental protection and encourage other nations — most of whom have already acknowledged the climate change threat — to take similar action to reduce emissions. I strongly encourage Congress to pass a carbon tax.”

Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2007
Under: General, Global warming, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »

Here they come again…

Three Democratic presidential hopefuls will swing through the Bay Area in the next week.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, will speak at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the 6th Annual San Francisco New Living Expo in the Concourse Exhibition Center at 8th and Brannan streets. Admission to the Expo for Saturday is $15, or $10 for students and senior citizens; a Friday, Saturday and Sunday pass is $30. Kucinich will have addressed the California Democratic Party convention earlier Saturday in San Diego.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will speak about 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at a Save Darfur rally in San Francisco’s Civic Center; he will have addressed the California Democratic Party convention Sunday morning in San Diego, and he’ll be headed to an event in Carson City, Nev., on Sunday night.

U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., will speak to the Commonwealth Club of California at noon Wednesday, May 2, in the Parc 55 Hotel at 55 Cyril Magnin St. in San Francisco; standard seating costs $15 for members and $30 for nonmembers, while premium seating costs $45 for members and $65 for nonmembers. Biden will speak again at 6 p.m. Wednesday to the World Affairs Council in the main ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 480 Sutter St. in San Francisco; standard seating costs $10 for members and $25 for nonmembers, while preferred seating costs $20 for members and $35 for nonmembers. The World Affairs Council even requires pre-payment; order tickets here.

UPDATE @ 3:06 P.M. THURSDAY: Looks there’ll be some Republican action here next week, too.

Folks at the the Hoover Institution at Stanford University confirm that U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will deliver a policy speech there at noon Tuesday; details haven’t been released yet. McCain’s campaign calendar shows he has fundraisers scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Westminster and 6 p.m. Wednesday in Beverly Hills.

And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will speak to the Western Association of Venture Capitalists about “A Venture Perspective on Politics” at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in the Quadrus Center, 2400 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. The event is for WAVC members and their guests only.

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
Under: Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Elections, General, Joe Biden, John McCain, Mitt Romney, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Internet stalking bill wins committee vote

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, that would make on-line harassment a misdemeanor passed in the Public Safety Committee today 5-0.

“We, as legislators, must write laws with one eye on the present, and one for the future,” Houston said in a prepared release. “Currently, California state law does not recognize this growing area of concern. California is always at the cutting edge of technological advancement; we need laws to keep up with the technology.”

Here’s the partial text of Houston’s press release:

AB 919 would make it a misdemeanor to use the Internet to intentionally incite a third person to cause fear, harass or harm an individual.

At the committee hearing, victims shared their stories of how these activities have hurt them. Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Dodie Katague also testified in strong support of the bill, noting that it would provide him and all law enforcement officials a powerful tool to go after these crimes.

AB 919 will be heard next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
Under: Legislation | No Comments »

Nationwide “impeach” action comes to Lafayette

Lafayette is one of dozens of communities nationwide where activists on Saturday will rally for the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Ginny at is coordinating the installation of crepe paper streamers spelling out “impeach” in the chain link fence overlooking Highway 24 at the Curtola overpass between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill Road. They meet at 2:30 p.m. (The team abandoned the idea of using tennis balls due to safety concerns.)

The impeachment movement remains small but vocal as people angry with Bush and Cheney over the Iraq War continue to press the matter. Presidential candidate and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, filed articles of impeachment against Cheney on Tuesday.

But many Democratic Party leaders view impeachment as a deeply divisive act that would polarize Congress and the nation.

To help change Congress’ mind, pro-impeachment activists plan events from Alaska to California to Florida, including a stop to see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego this weekend.

Protesters will greet President Bush at Miami Dade College Saturday, where the president is scheduled to deliver the commencement address.

In San Francisco, organizers will meet at 10:30 a.m. at Ocean Beach, where they will form a “Beach Impeach” human mural and party with a Zimbabwean marimba band and a 10-foot Gandhi puppet.

For a complete list of events and other details, click here to access

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Casual Wednesday for a cause

Some state lawmakers will join sexual assault advocates in recognizing Denim Day California today, wearing denim to break the dress code and speak out against sexual violence in an annual event hosted by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).

It’s sponsored in part this year by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, members of which will be speaking at a rally on the Capitol’s west steps in honor of victims and survivors of sexual assault. Also slated to speak is Sacramento local Laurie Dishman, who recently testified before Congress on her rape aboard a cruise ship; she has become an outspoken survivor working with state and federal organizations to help educate policymakers on the importance of victim-centered sexual assault legislation.

Denim Day events are held to raise awareness about sexual violence and to highlight myths around these crime. In 1998, Italy’s courts overturned the verdict of a convicted rapist because the 17-year-old victim “wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them … and by removing the jeans … it was no longer rape but consensual sex.” Within hours, women in the Italian Parliament demonstrated their outrage by breaking the dress code and wearing jeans to work. Also, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Sacramento | No Comments »

On beer and gloating

A banner ad on the Calitics blog says Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton and Charlie Brown, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the district of beleaguered Rep. John Doolittle, will host a joint fund-raiser in San Diego on Friday night at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

For $40 — $20 per candidate — you’ll get admission and a chance to gloat with Democrats over the recent FBI raid on Republican Doolittle’s Granite Bay home in an investigation related to imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Click here for information on the time and place for the fund-raiser.

Brown came remarkably close to unseating Doolittle in the 2006 election in a heavily Republican district, and given the incumbent’s recent legal troubles, many believe the congressman’s political career is over.

McNerney is running for re-election and hopes to hang onto to his seat, also a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats. He’s hoping his emphasis on constituent services will persuade even conservatives that he cares about his district.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
Under: Democratic politics | No Comments »

Internet news-gatherers headed for convention

Of the 122 news outlets registered to cover the California’s Democratic Party convention in San Diego this weekend, 49 identify themselves as Internet-based.


This per Democratic political consultant Roger Salazar in an interview today with San Jose Mercury News and MediaNews political reporter Mary Anne Olstrom.

That means news coming out of the convention will be fast and furious as Internet-based reporters blog and post on the every move of the seven presidential candidates headed for the convention.

The 2,100 Democratic delegates may feel a bit overwhelmed, too. With 400 reporters signed up to cover the three-day event, that’s one reporter for every five delegates.


Welcome to the presidential campaign season.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
Under: Democratic politics | No Comments »

Camejo: Feeling well during cancer treatment

camejo.jpgI spoke this morning with Peter Camejo, the ’60s UC-Berkeley firebrand activist, socially conscious investment pioneer and Green gubernatorial and vice-presidential candidate, now battling lymphoma.

Camejo, 67, of Folsom, sounded strong as he talked about working on his autobiography while finishing up chemotherapy.

“I’m doing very well, the doctors tell me — they have their hopes up,” he said, adding things are looking rosier than they did when he was diagnosed in January; doctors found the cancer after he underwent an MRI for a swollen spleen. “I’m pretty optimistic, we’ll see. I’ve got four more treatments and then we’ll know for sure.”

Camejo was a Green Party gubernatorial candidate in 2002, 2003 and 2006 as well as the party’s vice presidential candidate under Ralph Nader in 2004. He chairs the Board of Directors of Progressive Asset Management Inc., a socially responsible investment brokerage he co-founded. He also recently was elected to board of directors of Earth Share, a nationwide network of America’s leading non-profit environmental and conservation organizations, where he’s working on a special program to promote solar energy. He’s a father of two and grandfather of two.

We wish him the very best, including a full recovery.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
Under: General | No Comments »

House Dems tout ‘Innovation Agenda’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, chairwoman of the New Democrat Coalition; Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and others gathered on Capitol Hill this morning to trumpet the Democrats’ “Innovation Agenda,” first unveiled two years ago but moving forward this week.

On the House floor this week are H.R. 362, to increase the number of highly qualified math and science teachers in K-12;, H.R. 363, to support young researchers to foster the most innovative scientific research; and H.R. 1332, to make capital more accessible for small businesses, which are catalysts for technological innovation.

Miller said the package of bills “represents the first step in a continuing effort to promote innovation and competitiveness. … This is about the future. This is about strengthening America’s middle class with good jobs that we will keep here at home.”

“America is still the No. 1 economy in the world, and we can keep that leadership. But we can only do so with a level of determination and commitment that we have not shown in almost half a century,” he said. “Other countries are making aggressive investments in a competitive workforce. We must exceed those efforts.”

UPDATE @ 2:40 P.M. TUESDAY: The House has passed H.R.362 on a 389-22 vote, and has begun debate on H.R.363.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
Under: Anna Eshoo, Ellen Tauscher, General, George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | No Comments »

Democrats to gather in San Diego this week

California Democrats will get up close and personal with presidential candidates this weekend in San Diego as the party gathers for its annual convention.

Saturday morning, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is on the agenda, followed in the afternoon with U.S. Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former
U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Arkansas, will talk to delegates on Sunday.

California is big fat plum for a Democrat who wins here in February as part of what’s being called a super-duper primary Tuesday. And since political conventions attract diehard Democrats who will vote, it’s just a matter of which candidate wins their affections.

Also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will speak twice on Saturday.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
Under: Democratic politics | No Comments »