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!


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.


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.


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.


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.