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Don’t argue politics in front of your mother

The Woodhouse boys got taken to the woodshed by their mother on national television.

Brad Woodhouse is president of the progressive advocacy group Americans United for Change and of the Democratic super PAC American Bridge, and a former Democratic National Committee communications director. His brother, Dallas Woodhouse, is a longtime conservative political operative who currently serves as founder and president of Carolina Rising.

The two often go on the air together to engage in some Crossfire-style punditry, but they and host Steve Scully of CSPAN’s Washington Journal got a shock this time:

Watching Dallas drop his head into his hands is priceless; Brad just looks stunned.

Maybe Joy Woodhouse has a future in punditry herself, epitomizing the nation’s need to overcome our differences and come together as one big family. In this deeply divided time, America might need some straight-talking Joy.

Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

‘Six Californias’ backer to co-produce reality show

Coming soon from the producer of “Six Californias:” a reality show about Silicon Valley startups struggling for success.

Tim DraperYes, Atherton venture capitalist Tim Draper’s Draper University of Heroes – the San Mateo school/ecosystem/incubator/ashram he founded in 2013 to nurture tech innovators – has partnered with Ugly Brother Studios to produce a show that will follow students as they build and launch a Silicon Valley startup.

They’ve put out a casting call for “young entrepreneurs with brilliant business ideas who would like to enter the Spring Residential Program and be featured on the series! Selected students will be followed as they enter the hands-on curriculum of the program and apply their new knowledge, network and skills to their startup businesses.”

If you want to be considered, send your name, age, contact information, a brief biography, a statement of why you’re a good candidate, and a current photo to bigideacasting@gmail.com.

Yet this show about innovation might not be so innovative. Syfy has already announced a similar reality show – “The Bazillion Dollar Club” – will start airing in 2015.

Draper, 56, was the proponent of “Six Californias,” a proposed punchline ballot measure to break the Golden State into six parts. But after he spent $5.2 million of his own money to gather signatures to put the measure on 2016’s ballot, the Secretary of State’s office in September found the measure had failed to qualify because too many of the signatures Draper submitted were invalid.

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Stevie Wonder in Oakland: ‘Black Lives Matter’

The incomparable Stevie Wonder played the final regular date of his 11-city “Songs in the Key of Life” tour Friday night at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, and he was a powerhouse.

After performing the landmark 1976 album in its entirety, he performed an encore of several more of his hits, playfully baiting the crowd between songs. But after playing the first few notes of “Living for the City,” from 1973’s Innervisions, he stopped abruptly and told the audience there’s been “some bullshit” going on in this country lately – two glaring failures to indict, clearly references to the “no true bill” decisions rendered by grand juries for the police officers who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and who killed Eric Garner on Staten Island, N.Y.

My colleague, Jane Tyska, captured most of the rest of his words on video:

Note his comment that “right around here, there was a movie about it” – a reference to “Fruitvale Station,” which dramatized the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant at the hands of BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle.

He had made a similar statement Wednesday night in Seattle, though without leading the crowd in a chant before launching into the song.

A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong, movin’ in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the city

His father works some days for fourteen hours
And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
His mother goes to scrub the floors for many
And you’d best believe she hardly gets a penny
Living just enough, just enough for the city

His sister’s black but she is sure enough pretty
Her skirt is short but, Lord, her legs are sturdy
To walk to school she’s got to get up early
Her clothes are old but never are they dirty
Living just enough, just enough for the city

Her brother’s smart, he’s got more sense than many
His patience’s long but soon he won’t have any
To find a job is like a haystack needle
‘Cause where he lives they don’t use colored people
Living just enough, just enough for the city

His hair is long, his feet are hard and gritty
He spends his life walkin’ the streets of New York City
He’s almost dead from breathin’ in air pollution
He tried to vote but to him there’s no solution
Living just enough, just enough for the city

I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow
And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
This place is cruel, nowhere could be much colder
If we don’t change, the world will soon be over
Living just enough, stop giving just enough for the city

Posted on Saturday, December 6th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

9/11

Rather than post any political proclamations or statements about today’s anniversary, I’ll instead offer just this video of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” written in reaction to that awful day.

Lyrics after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Poll #s tanking, Props. 45 and 46 go on offense

As the Field Poll shows Proposition 46 all but done for and Proposition 45 struggling, backers of both those controversial, health-related measures went on the offensive Thursday by filing official complaints against their foes and challenging a big insurance company’s spending.

Prop. 46 author Bob Pack of Danville, whose two children were killed in 2003 by a drugged driver, filed a complaint with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission claiming the No on 46 committee violated state laws that require disclosure of major funders.

Insurance companies have contributed $42.8 million of the $56.5 million given to the No on 46 campaign, Pack says, and state law requires campaign committees to describe in descending order their major donors. Yet the No on 46 campaign committee is officially known as “No on 46 – Patients, Providers and Healthcare Insurers to Contain Health Costs.”

“How dare the insurance industry claim the mantle of ‘patients’ after blocking life-saving patient safety reforms for decades,” Pack said in a news release. “No on 46’s misleading attack ads, funded by mostly insurance industry money, pretend that they are a public campaign for patients. California’s TV and radio stations have a duty to the public to take these ads down until voters are told the insurance industry is really behind No on 46.”

Proposition 46 would raise the $250,000 cap on “pain and suffering” damages in medical malpractice cases; require random drug tests for doctors; and force doctors to use an existing prescription database to weed out drug abusers.

The campaign for it is being run by Consumer Watchdog, a lawyer-funded nonprofit advocacy group that’s also behind Proposition 45, which would give the state insurance commissioner power to reject health-insurance rate hikes.

Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court filed his own FPPC complaint Thursday arguing the No on 45 campaign’s name and radio ads don’t identify “health insurance companies” – the source of the $37.5 million to the campaign – as a major donor. But several insurers are listed by name, including Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Wellpoint Inc. and Blue Shield of California.

My read: This is a small-ball attempt to further publicize insurers’ role in the campaigns, a role that’s already been widely reported. Court said it himself in today’s story, describing why he believes Prop. 46 isn’t a lost cause despite cratering poll numbers among likely voters: “All we have to do is tell them that it’s the insurance companies on the opposing side lying to them.”

Court, California Nurses Association members and other Prop. 45 supporters will be rallying at 1:30 p.m. Thursday outside Blue Shield’s headquarters on San Francisco’s Beale Street to deliver 22,000 petition signatures decrying the insurer’s purchase of a costly luxury skybox at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Blue Shield’s decision to spend money on the skybox underscores the need for Prop. 45, they argue, so the insurance commissioner can reject excessive rate hikes that then pay for such luxuries.

Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Under: 2014 general, ballot measures, Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Next week’s Commonwealth Club politics panel

Please come join me, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci and San Jose State University Professor and political analyst Larry Gerston at the Commonwealth Club of California’s “Week to Week” political roundtable and social next Tuesday evening, Sept. 16 in Palo Alto.

Moderated by club vice president John Zipperer, we’ll be chewing the fat about Tesla’s decision to site its battery “gigafactory” in Nevada instead of California; the campaign against Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s effort to split California into six states; and other hot political topics and campaigns.

We’ll be in the Schultz Cultural Hall at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way in Palo Alto; a wine-and-snacks social starts at 6 p.m., and the program starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for club members or $20 for non-members and are available online; students get in free with valid ID.

Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Rick Perry hires California ‘master of disaster’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recently indicted but still in the hunt for 2016’s presidential race, has hired a California crisis-communications guru to run interference for him.

Mark FabianiMark Fabiani, 57, of La Jolla, joins Perry’s legal team, lead attorney Tony Buzbee announced Monday.

“I’m proud to join Gov. Perry’s outstanding team which has been assembled to fight back against this attack on the rule of law,” Mark Fabiani said. “As we move forward to protect the Texas Constitution and the First Amendment rights of any governor, I am confident this prosecution will be revealed to be contrary to the law and wholly meritless.”

Fabiani cut his teeth as a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, and later was deputy campaign manager for Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign; he also has served as deputy mayor of Los Angeles and chief of staff to LA Mayor Tom Bradley, as well as in senior posts in the departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development.

Fabiani and Chris Lehane, a fellow Clinton White House “master of disaster,” run a prominent crisis communications firm. Their past clients have included Madonna, Goldman Sachs and Lance Armstrong, to name but a few.

Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Paying to work on a political campaign? Sort of.

The Obama campaign veterans now consulting with Democratic House candidate Ro Khanna have created a stir by charging young campaign newbies $5,000 each for a chance to learn at their knee and then get a five-week, unpaid campaign job somewhere, Buzzfeed reports.

Run by (Jeremy) Bird and (Mitch) Stewart’s consulting company, 270 Strategies, the new program’s emphasis on placing paying customers in essentially volunteer roles on Democratic campaigns is atypical in the campaign training industry, and some Democrats say it sets a dangerous precedent. The firm’s first-ever “270/360 Training Intensive” program is scheduled to begin in September.

The program’s website describes a six-week program, consisting of five days of “intensive” campaign training at 270’s Chicago HQ featuring Stewart and Bird and other “architects of the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns,” followed by five weeks of volunteer work on an “an important Democratic campaign in the United States.”

Participants must pay $3,500 for the five days of training, and another $1,500 to be placed in the volunteer campaign job, though 270 Strategies said it will offer scholarships and discounts on a case-by-case basis. Applications are due next Thursday, July 31.

Asked Friday whether any of these trainees might wind up working for Khanna’s campaign to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, 270 Strategies replied it has “not yet made decisions about campaign assignments.”

Khanna campaign spokesman Tyler Law said “I don’t know what their plans are, but we’re definitely excited about having 170 active fellows” working unpaid campaign jobs, drawn mostly from local high schools and colleges. “Every fellow that we have has been recruited by our campaign, or has shown up at one of our campaign offices because they are ready to work for someone who will provide forward-looking leadership for the 17th District.”

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan declined to comment Friday.

Lots more on this, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Jeremy Bird’s Twitter account was hacked

Jeremy Bird, the rock-star Democratic political consultant who was President Obama’s national field director in 2012 before co-founding the 270 Strategies firm, apparently had his Twitter account hacked today.

Or he’s decided that peddling get-rich-quick schemes is more lucrative than political strategy.

Here’s a screen shot from just a few minutes ago:

(Click to enlarge)
Jeremy Bird hacked

Among Bird’s current clients is Ro Khanna, the former Obama Administration official who’s challenging Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District.

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

CA17: Honda and Khanna battle for GOP votes

With two Democrats having survived the 17th Congressional District’s primary to advance to November’s general election, the battle is on for the district’s Republican hearts and minds.

Weeks after Jim Cunneen – the last Republican to represent Silicon Valley in Sacramento – endorsed Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, for an eighth term, Republican former Rep. Ernie Konnyu has now cast his lot with Democratic challenger Ro Khanna.

Ernie Konnyu“I have been in touch with Ro and his staff and look forward to help unite Republican and independent voters who supported me in the western portion of the Congressional district with the thousands of voters already backing Ro Khanna,” Konnyu, 77, of San Jose, said in a statement issued Friday.

“My aim is to deliver to the House of Representatives a new bi-partisan Congressman from Silicon Valley ready to lead for jobs and greater Silicon Valley successes,” he said. “I trust that Ro will be good for America and great for Silicon Valley.”

Konnyu was a South Bay Assemblyman from 1980 to 1986, when he was elected to serve what was then the 12th Congressional District. He served only one House term, primaried out in 1988 by a more socially moderate Republican, Tom Campbell.

Honda finished first in last month’s primary with 48 percent of the vote, and Khanna – a former Obama administration official from Fremont – finished second with 28 percent. Republican Vanila Singh of Fremont got 17 percent and Joel VanLandingham of San Jose got 7 percent, and so they were eliminated.

Only 19 percent of the district’s voters are Republican while 44 percent are Democrats and 32 percent state no party preference, but that GOP fifth of the electorate could be a crucial bloc if either campaign can mobilize it. While many had assumed Republicans might favor Khanna – generally seen as being a smidgen to the right of the ultra-liberal Honda, or at least, more attuned to the tech sector’s needs – a poll in May found 19 percent of GOP voters favored Honda while 18 percent favored Khanna.

Singh sent a Fourth-of-July email to her supporters Friday saying that in recent weeks she has been “reaching out to voters, volunteers, and donors to keep this exciting and impressive movement that we have begun in motion! I am humbled by the endless amounts of phone calls I have been receiving both locally and nationally. This proves that we have laid the organizational foundation that will endure for those who share these ideals.”

“As we celebrate our independence today, I hope you can join me in preserving their vision by continuing to fight for our beloved country,” Singh wrote. “These next couple months are just the beginning of an inspirational movement and it is imperative that we keep a presence at this very pivotal time in our nation. I want you to remember that these campaigns are about the people – make sure your voice is loud this November!”

The message, however, made no mention of an endorsement.

Honda and Khanna appear to be equally matched in campaign money to spend from now to November. You can bet that some of that money will be spent wooing the Singh and VanLandingham voters who are now up for grabs.

Posted on Saturday, July 5th, 2014
Under: Mike Honda, U.S. House, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »