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Highlights from Hillary Clinton’s Facebook Q&A

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took part in a far-ranging Facebook Q&A on Monday while visiting the social media giant’s Menlo Park headquarters, giving answers on everything from holding Russia responsible for the shoot-down of a jetliner to letting dogs on the sofa.

Here are some of the highlights:

Melinda Arons, Los Angeles: Secretary Clinton: What is your response to President Obama sayin earlier today that Putin has “direct responsibility” for the downing of MH17, and what can we do to bring justice to the families? How can we realistically hold Putin accountable with anything other than sanctions?
HRC: I agree with the President’s comment today and we should do more to ensure a thorough investigation that not only respects those who were murdered in the attack on the plane, but also tries to find answers to who is responsible. In addition, we should work to bring our European allies together with us on tougher sanctions that would make it clear to Putin that there is a price to pay for this kind of behavior and we should encourage Europeans to start immediately to make sure they are less dependent on Russian energy so they are not intimidated. Finally, I would like to see more support given to the Ukrainians to guard their borders and to protect themselves.

Amit Choudhary, Jamshedpur (Tata Nagar), India: Please describe your book in one sentence.
HRC: Just as individuals face hard choices in their lives as I reference in my book, so do nations, and we need to face up to them and be willing to make them for the good of our citizens and the rest of the world.

Lauren Hill, Negaunee, Mich.: What is your favorite book?
HRC: The Brothers Karamazov.

Danny Foglia, Jamesburg, N.J.: Would you support a Constitutional Amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United” ruling, limiting the amount of money corporations and outside influences can contribute to political campaigns?
HRC: I would consider supporting an amendment among these lines that would prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money if there is no other way to deal with the Citizen’s United decision.

Sophie Evekink, New York, N.Y.: If you became president of the United States, what would be your first action item on the agenda?
HRC: Answering hypothetically… the next President should work to grow the economy, increase upward mobility, and decrease inequality.

Esteban Wood, Miami: What is your opinion on Guantanamo Bay. Are you in favor of closing it? Why do you think the current administration has not closed it yet?
HRC: I supported closing it and know how hard the President has tried to do that.

More, after the jump…
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Hillary Clinton to do live Facebook Q&A today

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host a live Facebook Q&A at 2:30 p.m. today, Monday, July 21, during her visit to the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.

Those interested in taking part in the conversation can pose questions and follow along via the Facebook page for her memoir, “Hard Choices.”

As previously reported here, Clinton is scheduled to attend a community meeting Wednesday at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Center in North Oakland to mark the Bay Area launch of “Talking is Teaching/ Talk, Read, Sing,” a campaign to help parents understand the importance of talking, reading and singing to children every day from birth.

UPDATE @ 2:07 P.M.: Clinton will visit Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters today as well, and will speak to company employees at about 5:20 p.m. “about the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned during her time as America’s 67th Secretary of State,” according to the company’s blog. “We’ll explore how those experiences have shaped her views on human rights, domestic policy and other topics.”

The event will be streamed live from a Tweet pinned to the top of Clinton’s Twitter page.

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CAGOP14: Meet George Yang for Lt. Governor

Among those eagerly pressing the flesh at this weekend’s California Republican Party convention in Burlingame is George Yang, a candidate for lieutenant governor.

George YangYang, 37, of Menlo Park, is a software engineer and vice president of the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition (SPARC) who lost the 24th Assembly District race in 2012 to Democrat Rich Gordon. He also ran unsuccessfully last year for the San Mateo County Community College District board.

But he’s fired up about taking on incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom, as well as fellow Republican Ron Nehring, a former state GOP chairman.

“I’m here because I believe I bring ideas and solutions to the table that people are not talking about,” Yang said.

Yang said he would leverage the lieutenant governor’s seat on the University California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees to ensure the state schools’ long-term financial security and academic excellence. Doing that, he said, means working with unions to reform public pensions and reduce “bloated administration.”

Yang also has a novel plan to get students “involved in the maintenance of their own campuses” by creating a fund for each campus to spend on cleanup. Any money left in that fund at the end of the year would be redistributed to students as a dividend – an incentive for them to keep their campuses as clean as possible.

He also said he would advocate for California to work directly with provincial governments in China to open markets there for California foods and other products, and to expand tourism in California beyond just the landmarks that are often visited now.

And Yang said he would pitch the idea of a “stock exchange” for television and movie production in California, allowing international investment that would both keep the industry here and create a greater incentive overseas for honoring copyright laws.

Yang and Nehring haven’t reported any fundraising so far; Newsom’s campaign had about $1.7 million banked at the start of this year, and has raised at least about $247,000 since then.

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Menlo Park girl to lunch with Michelle Obama

A Menlo Park girl is among 54 children from across the nation who’ll lunch with Michelle Obama at the White House on Tuesday, having won a recipe contest that’s part of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity initiative for kids.

The contest, in cooperation with Epicurious and the departments of Education and Agriculture, invited parents to work with their children ages 8 to 12 to create lunchtime recipes that are healthy, affordable, original and delicious. One winner from each state plus three territories and the District of Columbia, culled from more than 1,300 entries, will join the First Lady for a healthy lunch featuring a selection of the winning recipes and a performance by singer Rachel Crow, followed by a visit to the White House kitchen garden.

Rose ScottRose Scott, 12, was California’s winner with her recipe for pork-and-tofu lettuce cups. She explained that her recipe was inspired by her family’s need.

“When my little brother Galen was a baby, he was allergic to a lot of foods. He couldn’t eat wheat, dairy, or eggs. That meant no pizza or macaroni and cheese. My mom spent a lot of time trying to find nutritious foods that he could eat,” she said. “She used to serve a pork and tofu dish over rice. I was inspired by that dish when I made this recipe. It can be served with brown rice, but I like to eat it with lots of veggies and sliced oranges on the side. You can also make this with ground beef or turkey.”

Read the recipe, after the jump…
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Musical chairs for three local Assembly members

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, will take over as chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee, Speaker John Perez has just announced.

Perez, D-Los Angeles, named Skinner to replacy Bob Blumenfield, D-San Fernando Valley, who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council.

That sets the dominoes a-fallin’, of course. Perez also announced that Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, will replace Skinner as chairman of the Assembly Rules Committee, and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, will replace Gordon as chairwoman of the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee.

The appointments take effect July 3.

UPDATE @ 6:30 P.M.: Aaaaaaaand, everybody’s happy!

“I thank Speaker Pérez for appointing me chair of the Budget Committee,” Skinner said. “I look forward to taking on this new and challenging role. Filling the shoes of Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, whose leadership and vision has helped California pass a balanced on-time budget for a third year in a row, is an honor. As budget chair, I look forward to putting education first, delivering essential services and strengthening California’s economic prosperity.”

“It is an honor to be appointed to Chair the Assembly Rules Committee, and I thank the Speaker for entrusting me with this responsibility,” Gordon said. “I plan to continue the good work of my predecessor, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that the Assembly continues to be a strong and vibrant institution.”

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White House honors local immigrant innovators

Four Bay Area residents are among 11 Americans being honored by the White House today as Immigrant Innovator “Champions of Change,” described as “the best and brightest from around the world who are helping create American jobs, grow our economy, and make our nation more competitive.”

“Immigrants have long made America more prosperous and innovative, and the Champions we are celebrating today represent the very best in leadership, entrepreneurship, and public service,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said in a news release. “We are proud to recognize these leaders who work every day to grow our economy, advance science and technology, and support their home communities.”

The Champions of Change program is the White House’s effort to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

Here are the four Bay Area honorees, as described in the White House’s news releases today:

Victoria Ransom, Menlo Park
Victoria RansomVictoria Ransom has been an entrepreneur since her early twenties and has developed three companies, the most recent of which, Wildfire, was acquired by Google in 2012. As founder and CEO of Wildfire, Victoria led the company to profitability in just one year and built the company to tens of thousands of customers, over 400 employees, and eight offices worldwide. Victoria is #19 on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list and she was named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2012. She has been featured in several publications including The New York Times’ Corner Office, Bloomberg TV, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. In her spare time she is an avid snowboarder and surfer and a passionate adventure traveler who once spent six weeks living with a remote Amazonian tribe and five months living in a favela in Brazil.

Anna Mongayt, Palo Alto
Anna MongaytAnna Mongayt is a Co-Founder at Upstart — a crowdfunding platform that lets people raise money in exchange for a portion of their future income. Upstart is enabling young people to alleviate financial burdens such as student loans or living expenses by monetizing their future potential. It helps recent graduates pursue their dreams—to start a business, learn to code, or begin a career in a field they’re passionate about—by matching them with backers who believe in their aspirations. Investors can opt-in to become mentors and earn a return based on a regression model that predicts an individual’s income over ten years.

Jonas Korlach, Newark
Jonas KorlachJonas Korlach is Chief Scientific Officer at Pacific Biosciences. He co-invented the company’s SMRT technology with Stephen Turner, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Founder and Chief Technology Officer, when the two were graduate students at Cornell University. SMRT technology dramatically improves the accuracy and speed of DNA sequencing. Dr. Korlach joined Pacific Biosciences as the company’s eighth employee in 2004. Dr. Korlach is the recipient of multiple grants, an inventor on 33 issued U.S. patents, and an author of numerous scientific studies on the principles and applications of SMRT technology, including publications in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He received both his Ph.D. and his M.S. degrees in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell, and received M.S. and B.A. degrees in Biological Sciences from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.

Zack Rinat, Redwood Shores
Zack RinatZack Rinat is Model N’s Founder and has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as Chief Executive Officer since its inception in December 1999. Previously, Mr. Rinat co-founded and ultimately served as President and Chief Executive Officer of NetDynamics, Inc., an application server software company, before its acquisition by Sun Microsystems in 1998, where he served as the Vice President and General Manager of the NetDynamics business unit. From 1998 to 1999, Mr. Rinat served as a founding member of the Board of Directors of TradingDynamics, and from 2005 to 2012 he served on the Board of Directors of Conduit Ltd., serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011. Previously, Mr. Rinat held senior management positions in operations, marketing, and engineering at Silicon Graphics, Inc., and at Advanced Technology Israel. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in computer science from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology).