The people who cook lunches, clean classrooms, and provide medical care at the University of California live in poverty. 96% of the people who do these important, necessary jobs are eligible to receive public poverty assistance. Many people working at the UC -- one of the world's most prestigious universities -- have to work two or even three jobs just to pay rent and put food on the table for their families.
I just got back from the picket line here at UC Santa Barbara, where I'm a teacher and graduate student. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 3299 (AFSCME), which represents the 8,500 people who cook, clean, and work in health clinics across the University, today began a five-day strike after more than a full year of demanding a better contract with fair wages . There are about 100 or so workers and supporters at the main entrance to UCSB right now, demonstrating for a fair contract. Spirits are high, because everyone knows that the University simply cannot work without them -- so they're going to win a fair contract. It's just a matter of time.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has opened an investigation into the Dirty Trick to steal the White House -- and now Courage Campaign needs your help to make sure the GOP-backed group behind the move to change California's Electoral College votes is exposed as using illegal tactics to get signatures.
You may remember that Bowen opened the investigation earlier this week after the Daily Kos community took action, catching people on video obscuring petition language and misrepresenting the intent of a petition.
After the great success that this community won in convincing Bowen to open the investigation, we need to come together one more time and help close the noose around the GOP-backed groups trying to get their Dirty Trick on the ballot. If you’re in California, Debra Bowen needs your help right away. Send your photos, video, or any other documentation of dirty tricks to the SoS office now. Full details after the flip.
Just before Thanksgiving, UCSB graduate student Steven Attewell (Vikingkingq) wrote a diary on Daily Kos, raising alarm bells about disturbing signature-gathering tactics being used by "California Counts" -- the right-wing organization behind the so-called "Electoral College Reform Initiative" that would help the Republicans steal the White House in 2008 by changing how California allocates its electoral votes.
As Steven discovered, the sneaky signature gatherers working for "California Counts" and Arno Consulting are luring people in to sign using a "children with cancer" bait-and-switch tactic. After getting in touch with Steven, I headed out on campus armed with a camera. I confirmed and documented what Attewell first noticed: that the dirty tricksters had obscured the petitions that students were signing. And I got it on video.
Today, I received a letter from Secretary Bowen's office.
Bowen's letter and Courage Campaign videos are on the flip.
On December 1, Blackwater, the notorious mercenary corporation which brought scandal upon itself when its highly paid empployees in Baghdad shot and killed more than a dozen innocent civilians, took part in a halftime show. A Blackwater employee, wearing military-esque apparel, parachuted into the stadium and literally dragged the American flag through the mud.
Here's a video from the same event last year; skip ahead to about 2:40 to see Blackwater's shameful presentation:
I took a video camera up to UCSB and found some folks luring students in with "help us cure cancer" when in fact one of their petitions is the so-called "Electoral College Reform Act" -- a blatant attempt to steal the White House in 2008.
I thought I was doing a pretty good job of energy conservation. I always turn off the lights when I leave the room, and I use those compact florescent bulbs to replace the inefficient incandescents when they burn out. But this blogging business can really run up the electric bill! I've got a power-intensive workstation. Recently, I got a second monitor -- trust me, the benefits to having more than one monitor (especially if you're a writer) are amazing, but I'm sucking down twice as much electricity! I've got a speaker system with a 80 watt subwoofer. Add a couple of external hard disks... yeah, I'm a bona fide energy hog.
Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films (full disclosure: Brave New Films co-founder is Courage Campaign chair Rick Jacobs) have launched a new petition drive to impeach attorney general Alberto Gonzales for his abuse of power in the firing of US attorneys.
California's prisons are in a serious crisis. California's prisons are massively overcrowded, and more people are being sent there than ever before. The conditions inside the prisons have deteriorated to the point that the health care system is already under the control of a federal court (three inmates died just this last December due to poor health care). The courts have threatened to take over the rest of the system if urgent reforms are not implemented. As Total Recallhas noted, prison reform was a key part of Governor Schwarzenegger's campaign promises both in the 2003 recall election and his 2006 reelection. But Schwarzenegger took almost no action to fix our prisons in his first two terms. Schwarzenegger's first major prison bill has finally been signed, just this month.
When progressives talk about race, it's usually in the same ways that just about all Americans talk about race. We often operate with the assumption that we shouldn't or even mustn't talk about race. After all, it's by talking about race that we keep racism alive, right? The goal, in short, is colorblindness - and we progressives shouldn't block the path to a post-race future by talking about race. This way of thinking is a huge mistake.