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Archive for April, 2007

Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, something brand new: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared Sunday on a special Earth Day edition of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” to admire the transformation of a rusty 1965 Chevy Impala into a sleek, biodiesel-burning muscle car complete with hemp upholstery.

Wait a minute … hemp? Check it out:

Previous SVOTWs: April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.

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

Every day is a winding Rove

photo-from-huffington-post.jpgSinger/songwriter Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, producer of the Academy Award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” had a run-in with White House political adviser Karl Rove at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., according to their blog entry at the Huffington Post. Apparently he got pretty defensive when they pressed him on the Bush Administration’s global-warming policy:

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, “Don’t touch me.” How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, “You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us.” Karl then quipped, “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.” To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, “We are the American people.”

UPDATE @ 2:37 PM MONDAY: The Corner, a blog at the National Review Online, has another perspective on what went down.

Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2007
Under: General, Global warming, President Bush | No Comments »

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, dead at 68

The Associated Press reports House Administration Committee Chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Carson, died early Sunday of cancer; she was 68.

Millender-McDonald died at her home in Carson, said her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen; no other details of her illness were provided. The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness. She was in her seventh term representing a heavily Democratic Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles; she’d previously served on the Carson City Council and in the Assembly. When Democrats retook the majority this year, she became chairwoman of the House Administration Commiteee, which oversees operations of the House and federal election procedures. She has recently worked on issues including election reform and opposing the genocide in Darfur.

California Democratic Party chairman Art Torres said:

“California and the nation have lost a great friend and public servant. I have known Juanita for many years, having served with her in the California legislature in the early ‘90s. She was a champion for the consumer and fought injustice wherever she saw it. She always valued public service and served her state and nation with grace and honor.

“Juanita’s Congressional record included several distinguishing firsts, including being the first African-American woman to give the national Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address and initiating the annual Memorial Day Tribute to Women in the Military. Her solid commitment and advocacy will be greatly missed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

UPDATE @ 9:25 PM SUNDAY: Comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, General, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | No Comments »

War critic Zinni to speak at Cal

zinni.jpgRetired U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command who is now among the most prominent military critics of the war in Iraq, will deliver the 2007 Sanford S. Elberg Lecture in International Studies at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, in the University of California, Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium.

Zinni, who’ll speak on “The Challenges for U.S. National Security Policy,” is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and a four-star retired Marine general who from 1997 to 2000 served as head of the Central Command, responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia — one of the U.S. military’s most demanding positions. During the 1990s he lead U.S. relief operations in Turkey and Iraq, the former Soviet Union, and Somalia.

Speaking of the Iraq War in April 2004, he said, “I have seen this movie; it was called Vietnam.” His newest book is “The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America’s Power and Purpose.”

Monday’s event is free, but tickets are required and available at the Cal Performances Zellerbach Auditorium box office; there’s a limit of two tickets per person, and all seating is general admission. For more information, call 510-642-2472.

Posted on Saturday, April 21st, 2007
Under: General, Iraq | No Comments »

Obama leads in East Bay donations

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama outraised all his opponents among East Bay donors in the first major campaign reporting period of the race, overtaking New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Among the Republican candidates, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney significantly outpaced his GOP opponents in the East Bay, helped by friend and former colleague, EBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman.

A Contra Costa Times analysis of federal elections data tallied by PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan Web site, found that Obama collected $338,778 in the East Bay between Jan. 1 and March 31. The East Bay includes cities in Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties.

Clinton garnered $252,720 in the same period, followed by Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, $182,249; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, $14,850; Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., $5,500; Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., $5,300; and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, $2,600.

In comparison, Republican Arizona senator John McCain raised $47,755. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani collected $23,210, while Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, and Kansas senator Sam Brownback garnered small amounts.

The Times compiled contributions to all presidential candidates from East Bay residents. Keep in mind that the data is self-reported by the campaigns and the contributors — mistakes and omissions occur.


BARACK OBAMA, DEM — $338,778
JOHN EDWARDS, DEM — $182,249
MITT ROMNEY, REP — $134,775
JOHN MCCAIN, REP — $47,755
JOE BIDEN, DEM — $5,500
Grand Total — $1,011,012


BERKELEY — $230,547
OAKLAND — $161,035
PIEDMONT — $157,450
DANVILLE — $57,310
WALNUT CREEK — $46,935
ORINDA — $45,947
LAFAYETTE — $40,450
ALAMO — $39,250
PLEASANTON — $38,919
MORAGA — $23,950
ALAMEDA — $22,517
LIVERMORE — $14,100
FREMONT — $11,325
SAN RAMON — $10,150
DUBLIN — $8,400
VACAVILLE — $7,770
EL CERRITO — $7,730
SAN LEANDRO — $7,600
DIABLO — $6,925
MARTINEZ — $6,355
CONCORD — $6,200
RICHMOND — $5,950
ALBANY — $5,700
HERCULES — $4,850
FAIRFIELD — $3,750
BENICIA — $3,350
CLAYTON — $2,800
BRENTWOOD — $2,700
BLACKHAWK — $2,300
HAYWARD — $1,750
ROSSMOOR — $1,268
VALLEJO — $1,250
ANTIOCH — $1,000
Grand Total — $1,011,012

NOTE: Updated on April 23, 2007, to include contributions to Dennis Kucinich.

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2007
Under: Election 2008 | No Comments »

Media mea culpa

Next Wednesday, April 25 brings the premiere of veteran journalist Bill Moyers‘ newest documentary, “Buying the War,” which Editor & Publisher magazine calls “(t)he most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq.”

Free Press, a national nonpartisan organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates, is organizing a nationwide system of house parties to watch the public-television broadcast; Moyers will be available to answer attendees’ questions during an exclusive conference call just before the screening. Check here to see if there’s a gathering near you.

Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt:

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2007
Under: Iraq, Media | No Comments »

Today’s Congressional odds and ends

lee3.jpgLee’s latest Darfur bill advances: The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a bill by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, calling on the Arab League‘s member nations to take more aggressive action to end the genocide in Darfur; the hearing, which included testimony from actress Mia Farrow, sets the bill up for a floor vote next week. H.Con.Res. 7, the Darfur Partners for Peace Act, has 79 co-sponsors, including Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, and urges the League of Arab States to declare the systematic torture, rape, and displacement of Darfurians a genocide; pass a resolution to support and accept a robust, hybrid United Nations/African Union peacekeeping force to enforce the ceasefire, protect civilians, and ensure access to humanitarian assistance in Darfur; and work with the United Nations, the African Union and the U.S. Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan, Andrew Natsios, to bring peace and stability to Darfur, the refugee camps, and along the Chadian border. Lee recently returned from her third trip to Darfur, along with a stop in Egypt to discuss efforts to end the genocide with President Hosni Mubarak.

pete-stark.jpgStark to hold town meetings: Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, has scheduled three town-hall meetings in his district this Saturday, April 21. “Given recent news, likely topics include Congressman Stark’s initiatives in the new Congress as well as ‘Cover the Uninsured Week,’ President Bush’s request for additional funds for his War in Iraq, and the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict a woman’s right to choose,” the news release says. The meetings are scheduled for 9 to 10 a.m. in the Ruggieri Senior Center, 33997 Alvarado-Niles Road in Union City; 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the San Lorenzo Adult School Auditorium, 820 Bockman Road in San Lorenzo; and noon to 1 p.m. in Alameda City Hall’s Council Chambers, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.

doolittle.jpgDoolittle resigns committee post: Rep. John Doolittle, R-Granite Bay, whose house was searched by the FBI in an influence-peddling investigation, said Thursday he will step down temporarily from the House Appropriations Committee. The nine-term lawmaker’s announcement came one day after the disclosure that agents had raided his home in Oakton, Va. In the search last Friday, the FBI had a warrant for information connected with a fundraising business run by Doolittle’s wife, Julie, that had done work for convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Doolittle was one of two Northern California Republican incumbents seen as vulnerable in 2006’s election; the other was House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, who was unseated by Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. Despite massive grassroots efforts — including those of many Bay Area activists — Doolittle pulled the football away from Democrat Charlie Brown, taking 49.1 percent of the vote to Brown’s 45.9 percent, to keep his seat… a seat which now seems to be growing very, very hot. Brown’s 2008 campaign already is under way.

Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2007
Under: Barbara Lee, General, Jerry McNerney, John Doolittle, Pete Stark, Tom Lantos, U.S. House | No Comments »

Obama fans to clean up Oakland’s act

Grassroots supporters of the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will fan out in East Oakland this weekend to take part in Earth Day projects, led by City Councilwoman Desley Brooks.

“Barack Obama is the voice of hope for our country,” organizer Sumi Paranjape said in a news release. “We are urging everyone to turn out for Earth Day as an opportunity to improve our communities, help the environment, and be inspired about what each of us can do to get our country on the right track. Our ultimate goal is to mobilize a massive turnout for the California primary next February.”

Although Sunday is actually Earth Day, the Obama volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Foothill Hardware, 6733 Foothill Blvd.. Some will remain there while the rest go to work on three other commercial corridors: Foothill at Seminary; Seminary at MacArthur; and 73rd at MacArthur. They’ll meet up again for a noon BBQ in Arroyo Park.

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Under: Barack Obama, Desley Brooks, Elections, General, Oakland, Oakland City Council, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

SEIU official blasts her own union

Sue Angeli, the shy and retiring president of BART’s SEIU professional chapter, is furious with her union. (That’s a joke, folks. Angeli is renowned as an outspoken advocate of her views.)

As many folks may know, the Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern orchestrated a merger of California’s 10 SEIU local chapters that went into effect March 2. Members approved the reorganization last fall.

What’s not widely known, Angeli said, is that the union’s new management team has taken a page right out of the books of the employers the union battles.

“It’s hypocritical,” said Angeli, who is also a member of the Pleasant Hill City Council. “How can this organization preach fair treatment of employees and promote the representation of workers and then turn around and screw its own people? I’m ashamed to say that I am a member of SEIU.”

Here’s what Angeli says is happening at SEIU offices:

— All SEIU staff had to reapply for their jobs.
— Those they didn’t want to keep were either offered jobs in far-flung places like Susanville or not re-hired.
— Those that stayed were required to re-negotiate their pay and many saw their paychecks cut.
— All staff members are on probation for a year.
— Every staffer must talk to five union members each day for the first 100 days of the merger about its benefits.

Under the reorganization, representation from the membership on the SEIU executive board has also been cut.

Angeli was a delegate to the executive board but lost her status in the shift. She is not an SEIU staffer, however. BART pays her salary while she serves as the transit agency chapter president.

If BART or any other employer attempted to do to its represented staff what SEIU is doing, Angeli said, “We’d be on strike in a heartbeat.”

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

State Attorney General sues over alleged insult to African-Americans

In the wake of MediaNews reports on state park woes, state Attorney General Jerry Brown filed a lawsuit today against the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to block construction of mega-dairies adjacent to a nationally historic African-American state park.

African-Americans say supervisors insulted them by approving a project that would cast a stench over Allensworth park, founded by an escaped slave turned famed Army officer.

On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to have the lawsuit filed.

At the same time, an Assembly committee advanced a bill pushing the proposed mega-dairies back at least another mile.

The state lawsuit accuses local officials of ignoring a report on the proposed projects’ damage to the environment and effect on Allensworth.

Brown, a former governor, was most recently mayor of Oakland, which has a large African-American population.

On the other side, Tulare and other counties were already threatening to file their own lawsuit, based on government confiscation of land without compensation.

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Under: General | No Comments »