Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is coming soon to a television, and a speaking engagement, near you.
CBS News announced yesterday that Rice, 58, who is now a Stanford professor and Hoover Institution senior fellow, is now a CBS News contributor, effective immediately. “In this role, the former Secretary of State will use her insight and vast experience to explore issues facing America at home and abroad,” the news release said.
Rice, who was President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009 and his National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005, is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates LLC, an international business consulting firm.
She will be featured at a March 21 forum on “Advancing Women’s Leadership,” to be held at the University of the Pacific’s Alex G. Spanos Center; tickets cost $25 and will go on sale tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 22) at the university’s box office. Proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stockton and the University’s Women’s Resource Center.
The forum aims to inspire participants, especially young women, to make a lasting, positive and powerful impact in the communities where they live and work.
“We are thrilled and proud to bring Dr. Condoleezza Rice to Stockton,” Kathleen Lagorio Janssen, chair of University of the Pacific’s Board of Regents and a member of the Advancing Women’s Leadership planning committee, said in a news release. “Her vast accomplishments on the national and global stages are an inspiration to all aspiring leaders, men and women, who are working to improve the lives of those around them.”
I attended a surprise retirement party this morning at KQED in San Francisco for Belva Davis, whose last episode of “This Week In Northern California” will air at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
I’ll not recount her long, storied career here; we’ve already carried a great story this week about her amazing contributions to journalism. But I’ll tell you what I told her today: Whatever I’ve done so far in my career, and whatever I do in the future, having worked with Belva Davis will always be among the honors and privileges of which I’m proudest.
Calling her a trailblazer – while certainly true – doesn’t adequately describe the honesty, integrity, professionalism and kindness she has brought to her work every day over these many decades. As some speakers at today’s party said, she embodies the “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” credo of journalism, but never in a mean-spirited way – she has had a keen sense of the right questions to ask, and the unerring bravery to ask them.
Her retirement, while so very well-deserved, will be a loss felt by so very many journalists and viewers all over Northern California. She can be succeeded, but never replaced.
Cal Berkeley researchers have launched a new website to explore how political knowledge can be spread rapidly across big populations using social media – and their test subject is one of this election season’s hottest issues.
The project, from UC’s CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative, aims to develop a general-purpose system that can be used for a wide variety of issues, but for now it’s being tested on just one: Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike ballot measure.
Ken Goldberg, an engineering professor, said that “although the outcome of this vote has an enormous potential impact on students, alumni, teachers, parents and employers, many are not aware of Proposition 30. The California Proposition 30 Awareness Project aims to change that.”
Visitors to the website can learn about the ballot measure – a four-year, quarter-cent sales tax hike and a seven-year income tax hike for those making more than $250,000 per year – and receive a custom web link to share with whomever they please using email, Facebook or Twitter. They can return to the site later to see a unique graphic representation of their influence, and track their “influence score;” after the election, the website will list the 50 most influential people.
Influence is computed using a variant of the Kleinberg and Raghavan algorithm, where each visitor’s influence increases by one point for each person he or she recruits, by half a point for every person those people recruit, and so on. This model has been applied in many contexts with financial incentives, but researchers believe this is the first time it’s being tested with intangible rewards.
The researchers say the project and website emphasize awareness and are unbiased; the site includes links to the California Voters Guide and to campaigns on both sides of the issue. Visitors can also indicate their position for or against the proposition, and join an online discussion afterward.
Guests will include political satirist Will Durst; Chronicle reporters Carla Marinucci and Joe Garofoli; Cal law professor and former Bush Administration lawyer John Yoo; and bestselling author Dean Koontz.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom starting next month will host a new weekly series on Current TV, the liberal news-and-policy channel cofounded and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore.
“The Gavin Newsom Show,” with hour-long episodes, “will have a decidedly California touch as Newsom interviews notables from Silicon Valley, Hollywood and beyond,” according to Current’s news release, and will be executive produced by Mia Haugen, a former executive at The Street, Forbes and CNN.
“Gavin Newsom is a courageous leader who has boldly seized every opportunity to create positive social change,” Gore said in the news release. “First as a successful entrepreneur, then in his role as mayor of San Francisco, and now as lieutenant governor, Newsom touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism. We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.”
Asked whether doing the show will in any way detract from the time and energy Newsom gives his official duties as lieutenant governor, spokesman Francisco Castillo replied, “Absolutely not.”
“The show will be taped once a week,” Castillo said. “The time and energy he gives to this show is no different than what he did for his weekly radio show as mayor — except now with a broader audience. It’s about showcasing California, which would only benefit the state.”
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., want Dow Jones’ top editorial watchdogs to cough up proof that the British phone-hacking scandal now rocking parent company News Corp. didn’t extend to our shores.
The senators specifically asked for information about the hiring of Leslie Hinton, who stepped down last week as Dow Jones’ CEO and publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Earlier, Hinton had been chairman of News International and admitted in testimony before Parliament that he knew of and OK’ed payments in 2007 to a private investigator and a reporter after they were convicted of illegal phone hacking.
The special committee to which Boxer and Rockefeller wrote was created during News Corp.’s 2007 purchase of Dow Jones to ensure the “continued journalistic and editorial integrity and independence of Dow Jones’ publications and services,” and has special access to all of the company’s records.
“As you know, allegations of illegal phone hacking and bribery in the United Kingdom at properties owned by News Corporation, a United States-based company, have outraged people around the world,” the senators wrote. “The American people need to be reassured that this kind of misconduct has not occurred in the United States and that senior executives at News Corporation properties in our country were not aware of or complicit in any wrongdoing.”
All of the yes votes were Republicans; seven Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats against HR 1076. The bill faces dim prospects in the Democrat-dominated U.S. Senate, but has Democrats’ and public radio supporters’ blood boiling nonetheless.
Republicans rushed the bill to the floor after last week’s resignation of NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, following a political activist’s video “sting” in which a high-ranking NPR fundraising official was caught expressing his personal, derogatory opinions about tea-party conservatives to people posing as donors from a Muslim philanthropy. Since the resignation, questions have arisen – even from right-wing icon Glenn Beck’s The Blaze – about whether the video was intentionally edited to mislead.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, co-chair of the Public Broadcasting Caucus and the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, led opposition to the bill.
“Republicans have declared an emergency to rush this bill to the Floor without any hearings to examine the proposal. We have many emergencies to deal with in our county, but attacking and crippling NPR is hardly an emergency,” Eshoo said in a news release.
“This proposal is not about reducing the deficit or cutting federal spending. In fact, the bill doesn’t produce a cent in savings, and will threaten 9,000 jobs at stations across the country. This bill was rooted in an ideological view about what NPR broadcasts and capitalizes on recent headlines.”
Eshoo’s office said more than 34 million Americans listen to NPR programming through more than 900 local stations across the U.S., Guam and the Virgin Islands. HR 1076 would cut off all federal funding to NPR, preventing any support to NPR by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and would prohibit public radio stations from using federal funds to acquire popular NPR programs such as “This American Life,” “Prairie Home Companion,” “Morning Edition,” “Car Talk,” “All Things Considered,” “Classical 24,” “World Café,” and “On Point” among others.
“This bill will affect 740,000 KQED listeners in my district who rely on public broadcasting for news and entertainment,” Eshoo said. “The legislation also impacts rural communities where public radio is often the only radio and where a quarter of a station’s budget is funded with federal support. These stations provide an important public service to the local community and people trust and enjoy the programming.”
“Simply put, this bill threatens jobs and undermines the important news and information that public radio provides to Americans each and every day. NPR and its member stations don’t deserve this treatment.”
The attack on NPR, just like the attack on Planned Parenthood, or on Head Start, and on workers’ rights and safety, has nothing to do with reducing the deficit and the debt. It is nothing more than a partisan political agenda that is out of step with, and very dangerous to, the American people.
The attack on NPR is outrageous and it should be rejected. The American people benefit greatly having this source of news that is free from the influence and demands of corporations and that consistently delivers top quality, in-depth, and breaking news on foreign affairs, science and technology, politics, the arts, and business.
If this leadership is so concerned with the deficit, why hasn’t it called up legislation to reduce tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to major oil companies, companies with record profits quarter after quarter and no need for subsidies to carry out their work?
Why hasn’t this leadership called up legislation to reduce some of the billions of dollars in Pentagon waste documented year after year?
And why was this leadership’s first major action in the House a bill that would increase the deficit over the next ten years by more than $210 billion by repealing our historic health care law?
Why? Because their rhetoric about deficit reduction is just a cover for a divisive political agenda that they hope will help them in the next election.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, raised a complaint that today’s vote – coming only about 48 hours after the bill was posted to the Internet – violates a rule set earlier this year by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, promising that bills would be publicly available for at least three days before any vote:
(Full disclosure: Regular readers here will recall I’m often a guest on KQED TV’s “This Week in Northern California.” So far as I know, today’s bill has nothing to do with public television.)
The show, which airs at 1 p.m. PST, will examine the port’s success and how it can be adapted on a larger scale, the producers say, adding Ratigan “will also discuss emerging new evidence and economic trends that suggest that the United States is losing the global trade war and our businesses and government are facing unfair trade policies and practices.”
It’s part of the show’s “Steel on Wheels” tour, hitting the road for three days a month in December, January, February and March to check in with ordinary Americans and chart a course out of our economic doldrums. Past stops have included Seneca Falls, NY; Philadelphia; St. Louis; Rochester, Minn.; Omaha, Neb.; and Boulder, Colo. The producers say Ratigan also will host an open town hall for the public to continue the conversation of how can we rebuild America; details have not yet been announced.
“We’re looking at ways to fix our broken system, our broken democracy, and celebrate the things that do work in our country,” Ratigan said in a news release.
KTVU Channel 2 Political Editor Randy Shandobil is retiring today, and Northern California is poorer for it.
Carla Marinucci, my esteemed colleague at the Chronicle, has already assembled a fitting tribute, so I’ll not reinvent the wheel. I’d simply add that Randy brought a depth of knowledge, a pitbull-like determination and a rapier wit to his job, each of which are valuable enough in television journalism but are so very rarely found in combination. He’s damned good at his job, and will be sorely missed by his fellow journalists and perhaps even moreso by his legions of viewers.
An article in the New Yorker’s Oct. 25 edition takes aim at Orinda’s leaf-blower wars, and in keeping with the magazine’s often biting perspectives on the eccentricities of modern American life, there are more than a few zingers sprinkled throughout. A sampling:
So a lot of people here will give up their leaf blowers only when you pry them from their cold, dead hands (or, more precisely, from their Hispanic gardeners’ cold, dead hands).
“My husband gets so annoyed he runs out to the fence and blasts our electric leaf blower at the neighbors, and then I have to go unplug Dan.”
“Because we’re not living in Oakland ducking the next hail of bullets, there’s this idea that we’re just some fat-ass fussy busses, rich white people in the suburbs, worrying about a little noise,” he said. “But noise is very powerful. We’ve used Britney Spears songs on Guantánamo Bay prisoners.
“Children exposed to these noise bombs, it’s a disaster: impaired concentration, impaired sleep, inability to learn to read and speak. Children in loud, loud places like East Oakland are the ones who grow up saying, ‘Can I ax you a question?’ ”
The blower battle is particularly in-tense here because Orindans are proud of their city’s vaunted “semirural” character, and like to see themselves as homesteaders. If pressed, they may acknowledge that terrain bisected by a ten-lane highway — State Route 24 — and featuring two Starbucks and a Peets may not demand the grit of a Laura Ingalls Wilder.
In all seriousness, though, it’s a good piece on what happens when neighbors stop being neighborly in one of this region’s more affluent suburbs – definitely worth the read.