Oakland’s Van Jones testifies before Congress

Van Jones of Oakland, founder and president of Green for All, testified today before the House Education and Labor Committee during a hearing on how to renew America through national service and volunteerism:

“If we’re going to have a green economy in this country, and we have to — our scientists tell us that it’s imperative — we need to have a green economy that has no throw-away species, no throw-away resources, but also no throw-away young people, no throw-away neighborhoods. We need to make sure those communities that were left out of the last century’s pollution-based economy are locked in to the new clean and green economy. We need to make sure that the people who most need new work, new wealth, new health opportunities get that, and the best way to do that is to connect green service to green job training to green jobs. In conclusion, I want to say that this is the most fiscally conservative, fiscally responsible thing that you can do with the public dollars … because green dollars work overtime, they work double-time, they work triple-time.”

Timely, particularly given the thrust of President Obama’s speech last night.

Also testifying was recording artist Usher:


Schwarzenegger’s return to the silver screen

Well, he always said he would be back. From the Associated Press:

Art will imitate life when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spends a few hours playing himself later this year in a movie by Sylvester Stallone.

Stallone’s publicist, Sheryl Main, revealed more details Tuesday of Schwarzenegger’s rare big-screen appearance. The governor said he has done just three cameos for friends since becoming governor in 2003.

Shooting on the film, “The Expendables,” will begin March 28 in Brazil and move to New Orleans for two months. Main says the governor will shoot his scene in Los Angeles.

His role will be a familiar one: California governor.

Stallone writes, directs and stars in the movie, a film about a group of mercenaries trying to overthrow a South American dictator. It also stars Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke and Forest Whitaker.

Man, that is a LOT of testosterone for one movie. No girly men there. (Heh.)


What they’re saying about Obama’s speech

Just a sampling, a snack, a taste, an amuse-bouche… Can you tell I haven’t had any dinner yet?

From Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton:

“I was glad to hear President Obama address the need to get the economy back on track, tackle the housing crisis and affirm America’s commitment to renewable energy‬‪.

“We’ve all been hit by these tough economic times‬‪. I hear all the time from people who are worried about being laid off or losing their home to foreclosure.

“We need to take bold action to address the housing crisis‬‪. Too many families are losing their homes to foreclosure. The President spoke tonight about helping to lower mortgage payments and mortgage rates. He told us that the average family that refinances today can save nearly $2000 per year on their mortgage. That could mean the world to a family struggling to make ends meet.

“Tonight the President also called for a major investment to develop technologies like wind, power and bio fuels. I applaud this renewed commitment to new energy sources. Our economy will be stronger and our nation more prosperous when we are creating these technologies right here at home.

“Creating jobs and addressing the foreclosure crisis are key to getting the economy back on track‬‪. I’ll continue to work on behalf of California’s families to strengthen the economy.”

More, from all sorts of folks, after the jump…
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Constitutional Convention measure in the works

After sitting through a daylong presentation put on by coalition of business leaders and government reform groups in Sacramento, it seems increasingly likely that voters will see on the ballot in 2010 two measures that would lead to the California Constitutional Convention since 1879.

What is a Constitutional Convention? It’s a group of people charged with developing recommendations for amendments to the state’s Constitution, all of which must be ratified by the voters. How those members are chosen and the scope of their work is still up in the air.

Californians may not realize it but they frequently amend their Constitution through the initiative process.

As the Bay Area Council and its partners — the Center for Governmental Studies, Common Cause, Courage Campaign and League of Women Voters and others — envision it, this convention would focus primarily on governance reforms designed to help resolve some of the state’s intractable problems.

This is scary stuff to people who fear that well-intentioned reforms could carry unintended consequences and leave the state in shambles.

But most of the crowd gathered in Sacramento today seemed to feel that the state is already in shambles thanks, in large part, to voter-approved initiatives that carved out dollars for everything from education to public safety to roads but left state leaders with decision-making authority only over 7 percent of the budget.

Potential reform topics include … Continue Reading


California pushing back against Obama? Um, no.

I came across this column, “Eleven States Declare Sovereignty Over Obama’s Action,” authored by A.W.R. Hawkins and posted Monday to the Web site of Human Events (“Headquarters of the Conservative Underground”):

State governors — looking down the gun barrel of long-term spending forced on them by the Obama “stimulus” plan — are saying they will refuse to take the money. This is a Constitutional confrontation between the federal government and the states unlike any in our time.

In the first five weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has acted so rashly that at least 11 states have decided that his brand of “hope” equates to an intolerable expansion of the federal government’s authority over the states. These states — “Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California…Georgia,” South Carolina, and Texas — “have all introduced bills and resolutions” reminding Obama that the 10th Amendment protects the rights of the states, which are the rights of the people, by limting the power of the federal government. These resolutions call on Obama to “cease and desist” from his reckless government expansion and also indicate that federal laws and regulations implemented in violation of the 10th Amendment can be nullified by the states.

“What?!?” I thought, “Has California suddenly become a state of conservative, strict constitutional constructionists ready to turn away federal stimulus money?”

But the truth was even harder to accept: A battle against Obama’s expansion of federal authority via time travel, from almost 15 years in the past!

Follow me after the jump for the full explanation…
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Lawmakers to honor African-American leaders

The California Legislative Black Caucus will be honoring several pioneers in an Assembly floor ceremony Thursday morning as part of Black History Month.

“It is only appropriate that the Assembly show its appreciation for their distinguished careers and contributions toward improving the quality of life for the people of California,” caucus chairman Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, D-Alameda, said today.

“At the end of the day, Black history is America’s history, and it is a fundamental part of our heritage as Americans. This month is an opportunity to share our history, our heritage, and our legends. It reminds us of what people can accomplish, and inspires the next generation of young Americans to even greater accomplishments.”

Follow me after the jump for a list of the honorees…
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