Bruce Blog

King: I have a dream. Obama: I have a drone

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A simple twist of fate has set President Obama’s second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago -- but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said “I have a dream.”

After his speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, King went on to take great risks as a passionate advocate for peace. Read more »

Norman Solomon: The progressive caucus: Enabling Obama's rightwing moves?

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By Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He co-chairs the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign organized by Progressive Democrats of America. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

The failure of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to stand up to President Obama on many vital matters of principle is one of the most important – and least mentioned – political dynamics of this era.Read more »

New Year's Day special: How to watch the Nebraska bowl game!

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I emailed my relatively reliable Nebraska source to get an inside line on the big Nebraska vs. Georgia Capital One bowl game on New Year's Day Tuesday morning in Orlando, Florida.

"It will be tough,"  reported my grandson Nicholas Perez, a freshman in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

He's right. Nebraska ought to be in the Rose Bowl, replaying Stanford and the game they lost to Stanford  in the Rose Bowl in 1941--and a game Nebraska fans never forgot.

But Nebraska got slaughtered by Wisconsin, 70-31, in its last game, the Big Ten championship game, and so had to take a consolation bowl game prize. Read more »

Off to Pompei's Grotto for our 26th anniversary New Year's Eve dinner

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In a couple of hours, the former Jean Dibble  and I will be going to the delightful Fisherman's Wharf restaurant we have  frequented for the past quarter century on New Year's Eve.

Twenty-six  or so years ago, we happened to be strolling along on Fisherman's Wharf looking for a place to eat New Year's Eve dinner, We happened upon Pompei's Grotto. in the heart of the Wharf at 340 Jefferson St.

It looked warm and inviting and beckoned to us with colorful holiday decorations and a friendly demeanor and so we went in.  We found it the perfect place for us on New Year's Eve and we've never missed a New Year's Eve dinner at Pompei's. Read more »

Dick Meister: Good news for our neediest workers

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By Dick Meister

Bay Guardian columnist Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Here's some good news for the new year: Ten states are set to raise their minimum wage rates on January first.

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) calculates that the increased rates will boost the pay of more than 850,000  low-income  workers in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The rates, raised in accord with state laws requiring automatic adjustments to keep pace with the rising cost of living, will go up by 10 to 35 cents an hour depending on the state. NELP figures that will mean $190 to $510 more a year for the four million workers who are paid at the minimum in those states. Read more »

A Christmas story for our time

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The annual holiday card arrived from Jess Brownell and Sbirley Conlon, longtime Guardian friends from Milwaukee. As usual, their message was timely, relevant, and laden with insights.  B3

Dear Friends,

      It’s been a memorable year, which is way too much like living in interesting times. 

     But enough sordid details.  The holiday season is here, when fantasy always trumps reality.  We can pretend, pretend that our wins outnumber our losses, pretend that wisdom and decency prevail, pretend that peace and benevolence are ascendant, pretend . . .

     . . . that Ebenezer Scrooge is in his counting house, busily making trades for his billion dollar Merry Christmas to Me hedge fund when he is visited by a delegation of Santa’s elves.  The elves explain that in the digital era Santa has no need for the simple toys they used to make so he has outsourced manufacturing to China and sent them packing.  They are now desperate for work. Read more »

Honoring Edward Kennedy for defying and defeating political censorship in WWII

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The campaign to award a posthumous Pulitzer Prize to Edward Kennedy, the Associated Press reporter who defied political censorship to break the story of the German surrender on May 7, 1945, was given a historic boost at the 135th annual meeting of the California Press Association on Dec. 7, 2012 at the Marines Memorial Building in San Francisco.

See the video of the Cal Press panel on Kennedy after the jump. Read more »

Dick Meister: Michigan is just the beginning

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By Dick Meister
Bay Guardian columnist Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Be alert, American workers: The passage of right-to-work legislation in Michigan means serious trouble for unions and their supporters everywhere. Yet there's legitimate hope that it also could lead to a revitalized labor movement.

You can be sure the action by Michigan, long one of the country's most heavily unionized states, home of the pioneering and pace-setting United Auto Workers and iconic labor leader Walter Reuther, will inspire anti-labor forces in other states to try to enact right-to-work laws. Read more »

Louis Dunn comments on the shootings in Newtown

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"Pupils were all shot multiple times with a semiautomatic, officials say."  New York Times Sunday edition (December 16, 2012).  Guardian artist Louis Dunn comments. Click on the artwork to view the full-size image.

Dick Meister: Home care workers need presidential help

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By Dick Meister

Bay Guardian columnist Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The country's 2½ million home care workers have been waiting a whole year now for President Obama to make good on his promise to grant them the federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections they so badly need.

The need for immediate presidential action was made abundantly clear in a letter to the White House on Dec. 13 that was released by the National Employment Law Project – NELP, as it's called. The signers include people who are receiving home care, those who employ them and those who provide the care.

NELP's figures show that the average national wage of home care workers, including those working at for-profit home care agencies, is $9.40 an hour. Which means that one in five caregivers live at or below the poverty level, even in the 21 states with minimum wage and overtime laws that cover them. Read more »