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Archive for November, 2007

Today’s top political news

Trent Lott is calling it quits.

Oprah Winfrey will stump in Iowa and New Hampshire for Barack Obama.

Maria Shriver’s mom — Gov. Schwarzenegger’s mother-in-law — is ailing.

Chuck Norris. ‘Nuff said.

Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

What I DON’T want for the holidays…

Hey kids, can’t figure out what to get mom and dad for the holidays this year? How about their very own political think tank!

No, it’s not a joke — the Berkeley-based, nonpartisan Bay Area Center of Voting Research (BACVR) has broken new think-tank ground by putting itself up for sale on eBay. The auction of BACVR, which made headlines back in ’05 by ranking America’s most liberal and conservative cities, began last week and will continue through 9 a.m. Dec. 3.

Co-founder Phil Reiff said BACVR “democratized the staid world of political research by creating the first Internet-based think tank. Using the eBay auction process to select the next leadership for BACVR is a perfect extension of our innovative approach.”

Reiff and co-founder Jason Alderman said they set the opening bid for BACVR intentionally low at $5,000 — chump change for instant punditry! — “in order to attract a wide array of potential new owners and to send a clear message to bidders that running a think tank can be done by anyone, not just Ivy-League professors and Washington, D.C. insiders.”

The BACVR founders say their work has been cited by academic researchers as well as by media outlets worldwide including the New York Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the Detroit News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Indianapolis Star, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Arizona Republic — and the Oakland Tribune, by gosh! — among others. And foreign diplomats from Israel and China have sought out BACVR researchers to better understand the evolving American political process, they claim. Now this pedigree can be yours!

The winning bidder gets all of BACVR’s intellectual assets including the Web site, past research, and well-known name; as an Internet-based organization, it has no physical property or employees to pay.

But wait… order now and get a FREE set of Ginsu knives! (No, not really.)

Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2007
Under: Berkeley | No Comments »

My holiday hopes are dashed

Berkeley reporter Kristin Bender just brought this to my attention… We’d reported here, back in August, how the Berkeley College Republicans were hoping to host a GOP presidential candidates’ debate on campus in December. Oh, well…

No Republican debate at UC Berkeley
By Office of Public Affairs | 14 November 2007

BERKELEY – Fox News Network officials have informed UC Berkeley that changes to the U.S. Presidential primary and caucus schedule have forced the network to abandon plans for a possible Republican candidates’ debate on campus this semester.

The television network, working with the Berkeley College Republicans, a campus student group, had hoped to hold the debate here and to broadcast it live to a national audience. However, recent changes to the campaign schedule – with more contests occurring earlier than originally planned – conflicted with plans to hold a mid-December debate in Berkeley.

Campus officials began discussions early this semester with Fox and the student group on how the logistics of broadcasting such an event would be handled. John Cummins, UC Berkeley associate chancellor, said the discussion process with Fox went very smoothly and was so encouraging that both sides hope to work together on an event in the future.

This post’s headline aside — for it would’ve been fun to see the Republican contenders gather in Berkeley, of all places, wouldn’t it? — my holiday today has been superb, and I hope yours has been as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
Under: Berkeley, Elections, Republican Party | No Comments »


Heh, heh. Made you look.


CNN reports that in a Rose Garden ceremony today, President Bush pardoned two turkeys named “May” and “Scooter Libby” — uh, I mean, “May” and “Flower.”

Betcha the turkey has a job-approval rating higher than 33 percent. Moments like this make you wonder… will some future president hold a Rose Garden ceremony someday to pardon this president?

Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
Under: President Bush | 1 Comment »

Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week: from the movie “Twins,” Arnold covers The Coasters:

“Yokkity-yok, don tok bok!”

Previous SVOTWs: November 13, November 6, October 30, October 23, October 16, October 9, October 2, September 25, September 18, September 11, September 4, August 28, August 21, August 7, July 31, July 24, July 17, July 10, July 3, June 26, June 19, June 12, June 5, May 29, May 22, May 15, May 8, May 1, April 24, 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, November 20th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

California firms profit from war contracts

The Center for Public Integrity has released its “Windfalls of War II” report on companies making bank on government contracts from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and several California firms are among the top 100:

5.) Environmental Chemical Corp. — Burlingame — $899,701,070
10.) Parsons Corp. — Pasadena — $579,265,450
13.) Tetra Tech Inc. — Pasadena — $362,107,010
16.) AECOM Technology Corp. — Los Angeles — $293,731,050
25.) Innovative Technical Solutions — Walnut Creek — $170,377,130
44.) URS Corp. — San Francisco — $68,229,300
66.) Northrop Grumman Corp. — Los Angeles — $26,234,720
92.) Computer Sciences Corp. — El Segundo — $11,096,860
95.) Global Innovation Partners LLC — Menlo Park — $10,000,000

From the news release:

“While the billions of dollars involved and the complexity of these war-related contracts has only grown, the lack of oversight has been staggering,” said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. This reaction was shared by David Walker, Comptroller General and head of the United States Government Accountability Office. Walker said that while government outsourcing has escalated over the past five years, oversight has substantially declined. The Center’s analysis also found a system marred by missing contracts, unidentified companies, a lack of competitive bidding and the absence of minority-owned companies as primary contractors.

Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2007
Under: General, Iraq | No Comments »

Barbara Lee is busy as a bee

It’s a busy schedule of community appearances for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.

On Saturday, Lee met in Berkeley with volunteers receiving training to help clean up of Bay Area shorelines after the disastrous Cosco Busan oil spill. Yesterday morning, Lee spoke at a rally and “die-in” in downtown Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza aimed at urging China — host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and Sudan’s chief diplomatic sponsor — to force an end to ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Darfur; Lee in May had co-sponsored a resolution urging just such action.

Tomorrow — Tuesday, Nov. 20 — Lee will host an American Diabetes Month roundtable discussion on newly released information on the potential for false diabetes test results among people of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian heritage using the common “A1C” diabetes test. At a March subcommittee meeting, Lee had asked a National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) doctor about the test’s veracity; further research after that hearing found the A1C test was potentially ineffective for ethnic groups with variant strains of hemoglobin.

“The fact that a commonly used diabetes test is unreliable among people of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian heritage, speaks volumes about the need to re-evaluate our health systems and our approach to diagnosis, care and treatment to meet the unique needs of minority communities,” said Lee.

She’ll be joined at tomorrow’s event by Dr. Tolbert Small of East Oakland’s Harriet Tubman Medical Office; Jeffrey Oxendine, an associate dean in the University of California Berkeley’s School of Public Health; NIDDK representative Anita Wilkerson and Dr. Bertram Lubin, president and medical research director at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, as well as by representatives from local health clinics and faith communities. It’s 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in conference room 3B at the West Oakland Health Center, 700 Adeline St.

And after that, Lee will be headed to West Oakland’s St. Vincent’s Day Home to hold a news conference with CalPIRG about a new report on toy safety.

Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2007
Under: Barbara Lee, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Pinole recall flap hits Contra Costa Dems

Contra Costa Times reporter Tom Lochner has posted a story this afternoon detailing a fracas related to the Pinole recall and a meeting of the county Democratic Party.

Click her to read the the story, but here is a portion of yet another story in the political saga that has hit Pinole in recent months as residents seek to recall two councilmembers:

Two Pinole City Council members fighting recall have received the endorsement of the county Democratic Party, but a member of the party’s executive committee says a resolution supporting the recall targets was “railroaded through.”

“I feel that there was insufficient notice of this resolution,” said Rich Verrilli, who also is editor of the Contra Costa County Democratic Party central committee’s newsletter, Democratic Dispatch.

The agenda for Thursday night’s party meeting only noted that Pinole Mayor Maria Alegria would attend, not that there would be a vote on a resolution.

“We never got into a detailed discussion of why the recall came about,” Verrilli said Friday.

Alegria, who faces a recall election Feb. 5 along with Councilman Stephen Tilton, said in an e-mail Friday that she is grateful for the party’s support.

Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2007
Under: Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

McNerney, Cardoza to offer foreclosure clinic

With Stockton still the foreclosure capital of the United States, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, today announced they’ll hold a workshop to offer free, confidential advice to families facing foreclosure or worried about making their mortgage payments.

Counselors will be available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the California Housing Finance Agency, and the Stockton Housing Department as well as from nonprofits such as NeighborWorks and Consumer Credit Counseling. To make the most of the time with counselors, participants are asked to bring all relevant mortgage and financial paperwork.

Assemblymembers Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton, and Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, will attend too, as will Stockton Mayor Ed Chavez. This’ll be from 10 to noon Saturday, Dec. 1 — that’s two weeks from tomorrow — in the Stockton Arena Conference Room, 248 West Fremont St.

Experts estimate that in Stockton, there is one foreclosure for every 31 homes.

Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2007
Under: Dennis Cardoza, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | No Comments »

Stay away from my kid, all of you.

A recent telephone poll conducted by Parents magazine asked, among other things, which presidential candidates people would most likely trust and not trust to baby-sit their kids. And in yet another example of Hillary Clinton‘s ability to polarize the electorate, she topped both lists.

“Which one of the 2008 presidential candidates would you trust most to babysit your children?”
• Hillary Rodham Clinton: 26%
• None: 19%
Barack Obama: 13%
• Don’t know: 12%
Rudy Giuliani: 9%
Fred Thompson: 6%
John Edwards: 5%
Mitt Romney: 5%
John McCain: 4%
• Refused: 2%

“Which one of the 2008 presidential candidates would you trust least to babysit your children?”
• Hillary Rodham Clinton: 25%
• Don’t know: 19%
• None: 13%
• Rudy Giuliani: 13%
• John McCain: 7%
• Barack Obama: 6%
• Fred Thompson: 6%
• John Edwards: 5%
• Mitt Romney: 4%
• Refused: 2%

What, no Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel or Ron Paul? C’mon, they’re not THAT scary. (Tom Tancredo, however: too scary.)

The poll also found that more than 75% of parents say that the government is not doing enough to address the key problems that modern families face. This telephone survey was of about 1,000 parents of children under 12 found that “What Keeps Parents Up at Night” is a variety of issues, including affordable health care, lack of positive role models in the government and the media’s influence on children.

Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2007
Under: Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, Fred Thompson, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Tancredo | No Comments »