Barbara Lee to present platform at convention

Rep. Barbara Lee, along with Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, have been tapped to present the party’s platform to the 2012 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)This is the first time that Lee, D-Oakland, has been asked to speak at a Democratic National Convention, and it won’t be lost on anyone that one of the House’s most outspoken liberals is helping to present the party’s statement of core values.

“As a member of the Democratic platform drafting committee, I’m excited about presenting the 2012 platform,” Lee said Friday. “It is a strong document that clearly illustrates the contrasts between our party and the party of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and sets out the vision of how under the leadership of President Obama we can and must move America Forward.”

Lee won’t be the only California presence at the convention’s podium: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is the convention’s chair, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris also is scheduled to speak.


Your political singalong: ‘Akin Breakin’ Heart’

(To the tune of “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray “Father of Miley” Cyrus:)

Go and tell Missouri, and tell Governor Romney
I’m not droppin’ out of this campaign
And tell Claire McCaskill, that Democratic rascal
She’d better not be popping that champagne

I was asked about abortion, so I served up a portion
Of knowledge ‘bout “legitimate rape”
I took a lot of heat from the liberal elite
I wish the Dems would stop airing that tape.

But don’t tell my heart, my Akin breakin’ heart
That I look like a political clown
‘cause I know in my heart, my Akin breakin’ heart
Them woman parts can “shut that whole thing down.”

You can tell John Cornyn he really shouldn’t horn in,
On Show-Me State concerns he shouldn’t scold
And you can tell Scott Brown, way up in Boston-town
At least I never was a centerfold

Oh, tell all your doctors, your uptight Barbara Boxers
I learned the birds’n’bees from my gran’pa
But now they’re using me to judge the GOP
I guess I won’t be welcome in Tampa.

From St. Lou to Kansas City, I’m not getting much pity
Rasmussen shows I’m now 10 points behind
But about a woman’s body, my knowledge ain’t so shoddy
So you can tell ‘em all I’ve not resigned.

And don’t tell my heart, my Akin breakin’ heart
That I look like a political clown
‘cause I know in my heart, my Akin breakin’ heart
Them woman parts can “shut that whole thing down.”


Newest TV ads from Obama and Romney

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign today rolled out an ad featuring former President Bill Clinton:

“Clear Choice” will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s campaign launched its latest ad yesterday:

FactCheck.org hasn’t done an analysis of either ad yet, though it did post an extensive rundown on the competing claims about Medicare, including this observation:

A Romney campaign ad wrongly claims that “money you paid” for Medicare is being used to pay for Obama’s health care law. But the law doesn’t take money out of the existing hospital insurance trust fund. It cuts the future growth of spending. And in the future, seniors will still receive more in benefits than they paid in.

PolitiFact has its own rundown on Medicare as well.


Solyndra, ‘sh*t out of luck,’ reborn as art

Solyndra, the Fremont solar manufacturer on whom the Obama Administration – and taxpayers – lost a $535 million gamble as part of the economic stimulus package, has left at least one positive legacy: a work of architectural art.

SOL Grotto (photo by Matthew Millman)Oakland-based Rael San Fratello Architects, established in 2002 by partners Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, used glass tubes from the bankrupt and defunct Solyndra to create the “SOL Grotto,” described as “a space of solitude and close to nature where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light” in the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley.

“The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company Sh*t Out of Luck,” the website says. “1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation.”

The project is part of the exhibit “Natural Discourse,” a collaborative project between the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley and a multi-disciplinary group of artists, writers, architects and researchers who have been invited to spend time in the Garden’s extraordinary collection of plants, engage with the horticulturists and develop new work.

“The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden,” the site says. “The glass tubes are illuminated electric-blue naturally from the direct and ambient light that is conducted through the glass causing each tube to change in intensity throughout the day.”

“Collectively, the tubes take on the form of a cave wall or a waterfall, evoking Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds call reality into question. The view through the rods is simultaneously kaleidoscopic and mesmeric and has become home to several insects found in the garden. The sound of a waterfall is present inside The SOL Grotto and the combination of sound, light, views and coolness filtering through the cracks in the flooring creates a highly sensorial space.”

Naturally, Republican lawmakers, conservative bloggers and Fox News are all over it.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting today that Seagate Technology, maker of hard drives and storage devices, has reached an agreement to buy Solyndra’s former manufacturing plant and headquarters building on Kato Road along I-880 in Fremont.


Ricky Gill to speak at Republican National Convention

Ricky Gill, the Republican candidate challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, will deliver a speech at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa.

Ricky Gill“It will be an honor to speak on behalf of our Valley and Delta communities on a national stage,” Gill, 25, of Lodi, said in a statement issued this morning. “While we face some of the greatest challenges, our communities are among the most underrepresented in America. My remarks at the convention will focus not only on giving our communities a voice, but also on ensuring the survival of our American Dream for this generation and those to come.”

“I hope this opportunity will prompt Washington to take note not just of our communities’ current struggles, but also of their enduring potential,” he added.

It’s not yet clear on what day or at what time Gill will address the convention, which is expected to attract about 4,400 delegates and alternate delegates as well as about 15,000 journalists. A Gill campaign spokesman had said in June that he wasn’t sure whether Gill would attend the convention.

Convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris said candidates speaking at the convention, “like the many others running for office across the country, represent the future of our party and a better future for our country. Their participation will help inspire enthusiasm for Republicans up and down the ticket.”


Mike Honda aide leaves to head ‘BULLY Project’

Jack d’Annibale has left his post as Rep. Mike Honda’s communications director to take over as executive director of The BULLY Project, an initiative that grew out of last year’s critically acclaimed documentary, “BULLY.”

D’Annibale has a background and contacts in Hollywood – he’d worked as a writers’ executive for producer Jerry Bruckheimer on films such as “Déjà Vu,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” He moved over to politics by working for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, then founded his own company linking policy advocates with entertainment industry tastemakers; he also did a stint with Global Zero, an campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons, before going to work for Honda, D-Campbell, last October.

In an e-mail Thursday, d’Annibale said Honda’s leadership “will inform my work going forward. It has been an honor to help tell his story in the United States Congress.”

“In partnership with Lee Hirsch, Cynthia Lowen and Harvey Weinstein’s landmark documentary BULLY, The BULLY Project has engaged millions of students, parents and teachers from coast to coast,” he wrote. “As a result, our nation stands at a tipping point in the conversation about bullying prevention and education reform.”

Michael Shank, who had preceded d’Annibale as Honda’s top spokesman, will succeed him as well, returning to Congress after a stint as vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Economics and Peace.