Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Energy Blog

Fixing the economy and creating clean energy go together. Here is an example from the economic stimulus plan that has given a loan to a solar company in  Freemont California called Solyndra.

  The loan is expected to supply debt financing for about 73% of the costs of constructing a second solar panel fabrication facility. When completed, the facility will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 500MW.  Solyndra estimates that during construction of the facility about 3,000 will be employed, and when completed 1,000 new jobs will be created.
  Solyndra's panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360 degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity.  For more information about this innovative solar company go to- 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interview with Anna Burger re EFCA

Here's a recent interview with SEIU's Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger about what's going on right now with EFCA, and how various groups are organizing for and against it:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Energy Blog

Energy Blog
I will be contributing to this energy blog on a regular basis. The following sets out my thinking in general on energy policy. Feel free to contribute your ideas and comments. I also want to weekly highlight the research being done on alternative energy by emerging and established companies working to bring new energy technologies to market. Example of companies to be highlighted in this blog soon are Nanosolar ( and Amyris (

New Energy Policy Goals
by Jeff Weiss

The United States needs to implement a new national energy policy
to become energy independent from foreign sources within 10 sears.
We should develop environmentally sound sources of energy that are sustainable and economical.
The mix of renewable clean energy technologies should include-
Solar, Wind, Fuel Cells, Natural Gas, Bio-fuels, Tidal and Wave Energy

The Unitied States needs to create a national intelligent energy grid that will
take advantage of efficient and clean energy production 24/7 and move
energy to where it is needed at the lowest and cleanest cost of production

Three Reasons To Implement These New Clean Energy Policy Goals

1. National Security-
We are dependent on oil from foreign nations in volatile regions of the world with weak or potentially weak governments that allow oil profits to end up in the hands of radical elements interested in the destruction of the United States.
2. Economic Productivity-
In this time of economic troubles, a national renewable energy plan would create productive jobs and increase our competitiveness in the world economy.
3. Environmental Protection-
The current use of oil is contributing to global warming and the pollution of the planet, therefor the burning of oil for energy must end.

The following proposal was writen by George Sterzinger, Executive Director, Renewable Energy Policy Project, and Martin Roscheisen, CEO, Nanosolar January 21, 2009

Policy Changes To Create Renewable Energy Breakthroughs

At a time when many people in Washington are running around with their hair on fire looking for schemes to dramatically increase renewable energy use by mid-February at the latest, let's consider that what renewable energy really needs is a shift to permanent, effective policies to pursue and develop its potential.
The recent inclusion of the Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar energy through 2016 is a good example of this type of policy. But, it is just the start.
In our view, renewable energy's greatest potential and competitive advantage is its ability to evolve rapidly and offer technologies that produce electricity at lower and lower prices with no carbon emissions, subsequently decreasing our dependence on foreign fossil fuels.
Here is one effective, low-cost approach to encourage innovation: Create a set of national Standard Offers or Feed-in Rates for new, significantly better renewable technologies. This policy would offer predictable compensation to any renewable energy generator in the form of long-term power purchase contracts, thus creating a streamlined administrative national framework that makes developing renewable energy projects and manufacturing new technologies highly investable for entrepreneurs and private capital alike.
The great virtue of offering a national price for renewable energy is that it would be immediately transparent and open to any technology company/developer. Currently, developing utility-scale renewable energy projects requires dealing with hundreds of private and public utilities all operating under strikingly different state regulatory requirements, and it often requires substantial upfront investments just to respond to requests for proposal.
The feed-in rate we are proposing would be set below what current renewable technologies deliver in order to focus support on breakthroughs that will drive the price of renewable electricity down in order to replace more and more traditional, fossil fuel based electricity generation. The national feed-in price could be adjusted periodically by the policy's governing board in order to move renewable electricity through the price points that would deliver greater market share to renewable generation while avoiding excess or windfall profits at the expense of the taxpayer. For example, the set of feed-in rate price points could be set by (1) on-peak natural gas fired generation to (2) combined cycle natural gas –fired generation to (3) base load coal generation with an adjustment to reflect the cost of CO2 emissions.
Setting an initial feed-in rate at $0.15 per killowatt hour for 20 years for solar projects, for example, would draw out multiple breakthrough technologies and greatly advance their market penetration.
How close are we to delivering renewable technologies at the threshold of commercialization that can get to the first price point's on-peak natural gas fired generation? Wind and geothermal technologies are there today in certain locations in the U.S. Solar photovoltaic and thermal technologies are getting closer. An on-peak natural gas fired plant will generate a kilowat hour of electricity at a cost of between $0.09 and $0.11 per kilowat hour depending largely on the price of the natural gas used as fuel. The cost of capturing and storing the CO2 emissions from that generation has been estimated at about $0.028 per kilowatt hour (citation: S&P Viewpoint, Which Power Generation Technologies Will Take the Lead in Response to Carbon Controls, May 11, 2007).
The Federal Government's commitment would be to purchase a substantial amount of renewable power, or hundreds of megawatts or gigawatts. To support utility-scale projects, the feed-in system could also come with an offer to provide access to federal land for projects with transmission access. For example, a Department of Energy report demonstrated the feasibility of using the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada, 1,200 square miles, to host utility-scale solar energy projects. (see report at A small portion of that land could be offered at a low or zero cost lease to support huge solar projects. Other federal lands could be identified and made available over time.
A national feed-in rate would be straight-forward to implement, following the guidelines of past BPA hydro and wind generation projects for example. A Renewable Power Marketing Authority (similar to WAPA and BPA) would buy the power (i.e., pay the feed-in rate) and offer the electricity to investor-owned, municipal, and electric cooperative utilities at a price that would attract buyers. Any revenue shortfall would be covered by federal appropriations, but the cost of the program should be low. For a 100-megawatt PV project at the start that lost $.03 for every kilowat hour generated, the annual cost would be roughly $6 million depending on the annual kilowat hour generated.
We believe this simple, easily implemented step could accelerate major technology advances out of labs and turn development companies into mainstream companies while assuring that renewable energy would become a major source of utility-scale power projects in the U.S.
Once scaled up, these breakthrough technologies would assure that renewable energy would become a major source of utility power projects. And, these new and increasingly cost effective technologies would go a long way to assuring that renewable energy contributes to not only stabilizing climate change and increasing our energy security, but to also seriously lowering the cost of meeting these goals.

A message from Lawrence Lessig

As you probably know, insurance giant AIG sparked national outrage by paying $165 million in executive bonuses after receiving a $170 billion taxpayer bailout.

What fewer people know is that AIG gave more than $9 million in campaign contributions to Congress. AIG split its money between those in both parties who could help them the most.

Will just recouping $165 million solve the AIG problem? No. We need to solve the underlying problem of special interests investing millions of dollars in political campaigns to reap billions in rewards from taxpayers.

You joined the Change Congress donor strike--now, can you help bring others into this critical movement for reform?

If you're on Facebook, can you "share" my Huffington Post piece from today about this issue? Here's a link:

If you're on Twitter, can you Tweet something like, "Want to help solve the AIG problem? Check this out: #aig #change #reform #congress"

Or, you can just email your friends and ask them to join the strike at

Now's the time to push hard for this reform. In the midst of national debates over how to regulate Wall Street, members of Congress should not be begging special interests for $2,400 checks.

Together, we can Change Congress.

--Lawrence Lessig

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Come together right now, don't come tomorrow, don't come alone -- John Lennon, 1969

When we won the election in November, I said that our victory alone was not the change we were looking for. It was only the chance to make that change. It was the chance for the millions of Americans who knocked on doors and answered phone calls to keep on working and keep on organizing for the change we need in America. -- Barack Obama, March 2009.

Beginning today, Wednesday, March 18th, Petaluma4Change is offering many opportunities for all of us to work together for the change we need.

1st opportunity! Wed. Mar. 18th:
Attend this evening's leadership meeting.
Click on this link for agenda, time, and location.

2nd opportunity! Sat. Mar. 21st:
Sign up for and help out at our Pledge Project table.
Click on this link for event details.

Create your own Pledge Project Canvass.
Click on this link for instructions.

Volunteer to help out at and to donate needed items for our SPRING into ACTION Volunteer Recruitment Fair.
Click on this link for details.

3rd opportunity! Sun. Mar. 22nd through Sat. Mar. 28th:
Volunteer to host a phone bank in your home.

Linda and Sarah will do all coordinating & facilitating. All you have to do is open your doors for us to come together to talk to people. Here is the list of days and times we are looking to fill:
  • Sun. Mar. 22nd 12noon-4pm
  • Mon. Mar. 23rd 5pm-8pm
  • Tue. Mar. 24th 5pm-8pm
  • Wed. Mar. 25th 5pm-8pm
  • Thu. Mar. 26th 5pm-8pm
  • Sat. Mar. 28th 10am-4pm
E-mail or call Linda!
  • 707.478.2103

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Get back the money AIG stole

Click here to tell Congress to follow Obama's lead and get the bonus money back from AIG and into taxpayers' hands.

Poll shows Americans support EFCA

A new Gallup Poll finds just over half of Americans, 53%, favoring a new law that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers; 39% oppose it. This is a key issue at stake with the Employee Free Choice Act now being considered in Congress.


... The Employee Free Choice Act is a complex piece of legislation with numerous components, making it difficult to assess overall support for the bill among a population that is largely unaware of it. General support for the idea of "making it easier for unions to organize" as measured in the current poll is telling, but not necessarily indicative of public reaction to the bill if and when the political debate spills over into news headlines ...

Read the entire Gallup report here.

The money honey bee

Very entertaining Comedy Central clip from Mar. 16th Jon Stewart Show that, believe it or not, is very informative about one of the financial legalities that has ruined the US economy. While we're all trying to figure out how to hang onto our jobs, how to afford to pay our health insurance premiums, how to keep up our mortgage payments, how to attract new customers to replace the ones that stopped purchasing our goods and services five months ago, and how to feed our families without having to visit the local soup kitchen once a week, it's good to get a little insight into the thinking of those who think our economy is one big crap shoot/slot machine/betting booth.

It's legal!

It oughta be a lot of fun on Saturday at our Pledge Project table at the Spring into Action Fair, talking up President O's economic agenda to rally nationwide support of his 2010 budget, in the wake of his administration's handing over $170 billion of our money to AIG, who summarily handed over $165 million in "bonuses" to guys with the same moral ethics as this clown in the Comedy Central video. Bring along your optimism and sense of humor, and join us!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Watch a US soldier give a motivational pep talk to win the hearts and minds of the new Iraqi police force

Warning: Not appropriate for young ears.

You gotta wonder what President Obama would think about his Iraq policy, were he to watch this video clip of America's finest winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. On our dime.

I think this guy needs a little R&R. Or maybe it's just time for us to come on home. Let the Iraqi people sort through the rubble on their own.

Maybe when he returns from this deployment, he'll apply to be a police officer in our town. Help clean up the tent-city riff-raff that's cropping up due to job losses and the foreclosure crisis. He could bring his AK-47 and hang out down at the soup kitchen, berating people for not going out and getting their own goddamn food.

Sonoma County League of Women Voters opposes current Dutra plan

From P4C member Elaine L.:
... I contacted the local LWV about the Dutra Plant and received this reply today:
... concerning the League response to the location of the Dutra Asphalt Plant in Petaluma. We have mailed to each Supervisor our reasons for extreme opposition to this project. We are basing our opposition on our established Land Use policies.

The CEOs guide to jetting

JetBlue is hitching a ride on populist anti-CEO sentiments in this new advertising campaign.

It is sooo worth the few minutes it takes to watch these three shorts. We can't get enough opportunities for healthy belly-laughing right now!

Obama enlists campaign army in budget fight

From today's WaPo:
President Obama will kick off an all-out grass-roots effort today urging Congress to pass his $3.55 trillion budget, activating the extensive campaign apparatus he built during his successful 2008 candidacy for the first time since taking office.

Read the whole shebang at this link.

And then get involved!

Participate in P4C's Mar. 21st Pledge Project table at our Spring into Action Volunteer Recruitment Fair.

Create your own Pledge Project and let us know so that we can promote it among our group.

This is no time to wait for others to rally support for President Obama's budget. While we dally, the GOP is racking up on-air hours in its organized media blitz to repeat false talking points about the 2010 budget over and over and over again.

Let's stand by one another!

We're losing our jobs. And our health coverage. Our kids' public school teachers are getting laid off, along with many other essential service-providers employed by our schools. If we own a business, we're losing customers. Our savings took huge hits in the October financial meltdown, and for the most part, they've continued to deteriorate since then.

Now, more than ever, is when we all need to pull together and help one another out, do all we can to survive the current and still-coming economic "whatever-you-want-to-call-it."

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music is an award-winning documentary that I ran across last fall during the heat of the campaign. I hope you will watch this short video from the documentary and feel inspired to reconnect with those of us who are continuing our work together for change.

We need help with our "Six Days in One Week" Phone Banking Event.
We are looking for homes as sites for these phone bank parties. Can you open up your door to our group again?
  • Sun. Mar. 22nd 12noon-4pm
  • Mon. Mar. 23rd 5-8:30pm
  • Tue. Mar. 24th 5-8:30pm
  • Wed. Mar. 25th 5-8:30pm
  • Thu. Mar. 26th 5-8:30pm
  • Sat. Mar. 28th 10am-4pm
We have a meeting coming up this week:
Wed., March 18th, 7pm
Home of Connie Madden & Wayne Morgenthaler
(the original Jungle Vibes)
215 Water Street, Petaluma
Along the water near the
E. Washington and Petaluma Blvd. intersection
behind Thai Issan restaurant.

And Organizing for America is asking us to participate in its Pledge Project Canvass.

We hope you'll reconnect with us for change!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Press release for Spring into Action Volunteer Recruitment Fair

Saturday, March 21st, marks the first full day of Spring 2009 and, in spite of blossoming flowers and sunny weather, the economy still leaves many local citizens with a chill of uncertainty. Petaluma 4 Change, a local organizing forum that arose from volunteers who worked together during the Obama campaign, is hoping to ease this chill by hosting ‘SPRING INTO ACTION’ - a local Volunteer Recruitment Fair featuring local community service organizations in need of helping hands. Spring into Action is to be held in the Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd., from 10am-4pm on Mar. 21st.

According to Sarah Gibson, co-organizer for Spring into Action:
“Many of our neighbors are in serious need of help, but equally as many are ready to help and don’t know where to start. Our Spring into Action Fair provides a unique opportunity for locals with a spare hour or two a month or some extra food in the cupboards a ‘one-stop-shop’ to learn about local volunteer opportunities and to donate much-needed items to provide immediate relief to the participating organizations.”

Prospective volunteers can preview organizations represented at the Spring into Action Fair by logging onto Organizing for America and searching for events in Petaluma's zip code area. Look for events with 'Spring into Action' in the event heading. The lineup includes COTS, Petaluma Kitchen's Food Box Program, Rebuilding Together Petaluma, the California Veterans Home at Yountville, the Petaluma Food Pantry, and the local American Red Cross Chapter. The Food Box Program and COTS are also collecting critically needed food donations and other supplies. As demand for local food bank inventories has steadily increased, donations have dropped. Help to replenish these local larders by bringing non-perishable food items with you to the Fair.

Petaluma 4 Change is also hosting a Spring into Action 'hands-on’ project in Wickersham Park for those in search of an outdoor project that will provide immediate satisfaction for a job-well-done. Volunteers can show up anytime between 10am and 4pm on Sat. the 21st to give Wickersham's gardeners' house a new coat of paint and some sprucing-up TLC. Sign-ups for this event can be found on line as well. All tools and training will be provided.

Agenda for P4C Mar.18th leadership meeting

7pm - Human Race Project (HRP)
HRP will tell their story, show a short video, find out if there is interest in P4C about an HRP seminar & group project. You can read about one P4C member's experience w/HRP at this link.

7:30pm - Spring into Action Volunteer Recruitment Fair
Sarah Gibson's community project to bring together many local service organizations into one public venue, so that they can do outreach for volunteer recruitment & to collect donations, is really coming together. Click on this link to read Sarah's press release.

7:45pm - Upcoming six days of phone banks.

8:15pm - Featured members speak.

New P4C leader/coordinator of energy issue-based working group:
If he is able to come to this meeting, Jeff W. will introduce himself & talk about his interest in energy issues, his new role as a P4C leader/coordinator of this group, and his volunteering to discuss President Obama's energy agenda with the public at our Mar. 21st OFA Pledge Project table/booth at the Spring into Action Fair.

P4C's May social event:
Initial organizer, Connie M., to talk about this event. Downtown location. Open to public.

Friends of Shollenberger & Clean Air:
Greg R. will provide an update on the Dutra project & how P4C members can stay/become involved.

Facebook as recruitment tool:
If she is able to come to this meeting, Paula B. will report back on her offer to look into P4C using Facebook to recruit new members.

8:45pm - web site & 501C3 status, & April's meeting (at Janice K.'s home).
Progress report on still-under-construction web site & our efforts to attain 501C3 status.

If she is able to come to this meeting, Janice K. will announce the day/time for April's meeting, to be held in her home.

8:55pm - wrap-up.

Wed., March 18th, 7pm
Home of Connie Madden & Wayne Morgenthaler
(the original Jungle Vibes)
215 Water Street, Petaluma
Along the water near the
E. Washington and Petaluma Blvd. intersection
behind Thai Issan restaurant.

Send a thank-you note to Woolsey!

Lynn Woolsey is one of the co-sponsors of EFCA, introduced on Tuesday, Mar. 10th, into both houses of Congress. Once again, our 6th district congressional representative is standing up for us, this time in opposition to the multi-million dollar campaign by corporate lobbyists to defeat EFCA.

Please tell Rep. Woolsey how proud we are of her!

Click on this link to sign a petition letter to her. Or send your own letter by clicking on her congressional link on the right-hand side of this blog.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

EFCA issue heatin' up

Who woulda thunk that a piece of legislation pronounced "eff-kuh" for EFCA or the Employee Free Choice Act or the "card check" bill would become the first legislative hot-potato on Capitol Hill? It was introduced into both houses of Congress this past week and, boy-oh-boy, the gang war has begun between anti-EFCA and pro-EFCA factions.

Basically, EFCA "would make it much easier for workers to organize." Anti-union forces, euphemistically referred to by the so-called liberal press as pro-business groups, are playing up the outright lie that "it would eliminate secret ballots in union elections." It would not do this, but the truth has never stopped anti-union front groups in the past from making stuff up to protect so-called pro-business interests that we are told would suffer unfairly under a system that would grant US workers greater rights.

These so-called pro-business front groups call themselves names like the Workforce Fairness Institute and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. Kinda reminds us of promoting the corporate testing of America's schoolkids under the banner of No Child Left Behind.

Another misperception being played up by the anti-union gang is that America's small business employers would go under if EFCA is passed. This misperception does have some traction, but that traction is not based in reality. What's really going on here is that America's large corporate employers are using small employers as their Trojan Horse to get inside the hallowed gates of pro-small business interests. EFCA would absolutely result in highly successful US corporations having to broadly share in the fruits of our economic growth, which would cut into CEO compensation and decrease shareholder benefits. We can all decide for ourselves if we think this greater sharing of our economic wealth is good or bad for America.

Here's the truth:
"Under the Employee Free Choice Act, if a majority of employees signed a card requesting a union, the union would be validated without a secret ballot election. A majority of employees could choose to request a secret-ballot election."

So in other words, EFCA would not eliminate secret ballots in union elections. It reinstates that choice for workers, and takes away an employer's legal right to prevent workers from forming unions using only a secret ballot process. EFCA would simply take away an employer's veto power over how its workers choose to sign up for a union.

The question that pro-EFCA groups would be well-served to focus on is:
Why is it that anti-union front groups are so heavily invested in preventing US workers from getting back their right to sign cards as a way to form unions?

An answer to that question would reveal much about the true intent of the anti-EFCA movement.

Meanwhile, well-financed anti-EFCA front groups (union-opposing industry lobbyists) are "trying to influence" national legislative opinion, targeting pro-EFCA representatives like George Miller, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, Zoe Lofgren, Barney Frank, and Dennis Kucinich.

So, where do our representatives stand on EFCA? Barbara Boxer is an original co-sponsor and remains supportive. Dianne Feinstein is waffling. She used to support it but has suddenly developed "concerns about this extraordinarily difficult economy." She is withholding her position until the best possible politically-expedient moment, like always. Lynn Woolsey is a co-sponsor.

Read "'card check' labor bill stirs controversy."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

President Obama, get over the fear of even mentioning single-payer concepts!

From Bloomberg News columnist John F. Wasik:
It’s time to stop kicking sand in the face of single-payer health care. It may be the strongest solution around to insure every American at a lower cost.

After decades of industry campaigns against this model -- dubbed by its critics as “socialized” medicine -- it’s important to stop whining and evaluate the many economic benefits. Health care is a fundamental human right.

If President Barack Obama wants real change in American health care, he will have to get over the fear of even mentioning single-payer concepts. At his health-care summit last week, only the threat of a demonstration garnered late invitations for Oliver Fein and Congressman John Conyers, two leading proponents of the single-payer plan.

Keep reading this commentary at this link.

Rachel Maddow & SEIU President Andy Stern on EFCA

It's worth the nine minutes it takes to watch this video of Rachel Maddow and Andy Stern discuss the Employee Free Choice Act, and why it's not going to destroy America for our workers to have the right, the free choice, to decide for themselves whether they use a card check system or a secret ballot system in the union-forming process.

Should American workers be able to freely form unions, without having to follow silly rules set up by our largest corporate employers to their own benefit, or not? That is the question.

For the political nitty-gritty on who's for/against passage of this bill on Capitol Hill, as well as a short, recent history of the path EFCA has been on to get to its current point, click on this link and read away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No more dough till we know where it goes

They won't reveal to us the names of the banks that have received $1.2 trillion of our money since September 2008.

Despite all that money, last week, AIG posted $61 billion in losses for the 4th quarter of 2008.

Where did the money go?

No one will tell us.

And now we're getting ready to hand over another humongoid chunk of our money to the tune of $750 billion to the same people.

If you're not happy with this scenario, please sign a Firedoglake petition at this link to let them know.

Here's what the petition says:
"Dear Members of Congress: The public needs to know where all our money has gone. Restoring public trust is critical in getting our economy back on its feet. We ask that you move swiftly to re-regulate and bring transparency to a financial system whose rules have been written by bank lobbyists for their own benefit. No additional bank bailout funds should be approved until that happens."

Sign petition letter to support Employee Free Choice Act

Today, March 10, the EFCA was introduced in both houses of Congress.

Right now is a terrific time for all of us to urge our national legislators to hear our opinions before they co-debate this bill. It would be a huge disappointment to us for them to make their decisions on this bill before we weigh in, leaving us in the pathetic position of simply expressing our disappointment in either their votes or their ineffectiveness securing passage of this bill.

Front groups for anti-labor interests are busy, busy, busy, spending millions on misleading ads, spreading lies and propaganda.

Do the simplest, easiest thing you have at your fingertips to secure passage of the EFCA. Click on this link and add your name to the petition letter.


Monday, March 9, 2009

The Human Race Project & P4C

I spent this past weekend sequestered within two rooms of a hotel in Emeryville with eight other local Bay Area progressive activists, two of whom, Craig and Sheila, are co-founders of the Human Race Project (HRP), a pilot project with roots that go back 12 years here in the Bay Area. Our enthusiastic group of nine spent a good, solid 15 hours or so together discussing the big issue of diversity. Among other aspects of diversity, we scrutinized diversity's role in the successful election of Barack Obama, and the challenges diversity now poses to our future success working together for progressive public policies and the passage of progressive legislation.

When we all walked out of that Emeryville hotel on Sunday afternoon, the first HRP group, consisting of Jackie, Jeff, Kathy, Ayumi, Sam, Reid, and myself, was launched. We seven made commitments to collaborate with Craig and Sheila to help them develop reality-based, constructive tools for more and more activists to use to expand our collective ability to shape the future of our country and our world for the better, using the power that diversity gives us both in sheer number and shared vision.

During this weekend seminar, I looked back over the two-month-long fall campaign, when literally hundreds of us in our micro-neighborhood of Petaluma and the surrounding geographic area worked together with extraordinary intensity, phone-banking and traveling together into swing states, with the singular task to build a successful presidential campaign around a leader we hope will open doors for us to bring about transformative social and political change. I recalled how profoundly struck we all were at the time by the differences that exist between our shared political and social perspectives around "hope" and "change," and the perspectives of non-supporters, people who not only do not share our point-of-view, but who see us and our progressive perspectives as threats to "American values."

But now that we have succeeded at electing Obama, a potentially more challenging issue for us to address is the one posed by other Obama-supporters who live in environments different from ours and who come from diverse backgrounds and so naturally bring a plethora of perspectives to the task at hand. During the campaign, we sometimes discussed amongst ourselves ways to successfully achieve our singular task despite these differences, to make connections that were powerful enough to help build support systems in places like Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, support systems that smoothed the way for these swing-state voters to step up under oftentimes very harsh local social scenarios to work within their own communities toward a shared goal.

And, to top it all off, we now confront an additional challenge. We must make and maintain connections with one another throughout our progressive community, to capitalize on our participatory spirit and deep commitment to real, transformative change, to build on the strengths inherent in our diversity, and not just in our alikeness. If we are to succeed at working together to achieve big change, then we must also succeed at ensuring that the diversity so natural to our progressive ranks not be constrictive, and that it instead be a source of empowerment.

It is these kinds of connections between diverse parties with shared visions that I hope an alliance between P4C and HRP will augment. I believe that HRP has great potential to support our P4C community to experience even greater success in the months and years to come while we're working together to confront the panoply of critical issues that confront us all.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be naturally processing and integrating my experiences during this past weekend's HRP seminar with my work with other P4C members. Fresh ideas for meaningful, productive engagement between P4C and HRP are emerging from those experiences. I am very hopeful that engagement between P4C and HRP will have great potential to both expand the number of us who are willing to work together locally as a team, post-2008 election, as well as to expand the success of our collaborations. In other words, I think it will magnify our successes. If you would like more info, or are just curious about HRP, feel free to e-mail or call me. By now, most if not all of you have my personal e-mail address and phone numbers.

You may also contact Craig and Sheila directly, at

Yours in change,
Linda Carpenter Sexauer


The Human Race Project(HRP)will change worldwide consciousness about race and other social categories by creating a diverse global HRP community through face-to-face interactions, educational seminars, HRP group projects, local, national and international conversations ,a HRP documentary film and a social networking site.

Who we are?

A community of diverse friends committed to self-reflection ,making connections with other human beings that lead to social change and social justice in our community, nation and world.

What is HRP?

A social movement. A dynamic process of self-reflection, making connections with diverse people, engaging in meaningful dialog, working toward sustainable social change.

Why HRP?

We understand the concept of race and other social categories are constructed to control and divide human beings into“us and them” .We believe when people see each other as human beings all deserving basic human rights, people will no longer accept inequality, oppression, and injustice.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


10AM - 4 PM
Join the community on the first full day of Spring as we lift our hands
in a day of service for Petaluma.
Socialize, smile, and help those in need at a one stop volunteering experience!
Collect some VERY NEEDED food items that will fill the bare cupboards of
COTS, Food Box Program, and the Petaluma Food Pantry.
Cruise our VOLUNTEER FAIR from 10 am to 4pm,
at which you can sign up to volunteer for:
Petaluma Kitchen's Food Box Program,
Rebuilding Petaluma,
California Veterans Home, the Red Cross....
just to name a few of the many agencies that will be on hand!
Don't forget to bring a pair of work gloves to help
repair our Community Center Atrium Garden!
LEARN FREE CPR at 1:00 pm ( class size limited).
Keep your eyes posted here for an update on times, locations, and sign ups
this MONDAY March 9th!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

P4C member comment re Obama's health-care summit

Last night, we received the following message from P4C member Rachel, who wrote:
i am sure you heard that obama has not invited one advocate for single payer health care to his health care summit convening tomorrow


who do we contact to register our protest, futile as it may be?

so much for transparency and the will of the people, eh?

Here is how we responded to her legitimate frustrations about today's important health-care discussion:
Oh yeah?


Sign every single petition that comes your way. Here. Here. Here. And here.

And keep yellin' and passin' the word. The insurance industry and Big Pharma are countin' on us givin' up!

And here is her back-at-ya:
thanks for the info
i feel a bit relieved
signed whatever i could

Are you feeling the same frustrations? Do you share the concerns of so many others that single-payer is unfairly gettin' the short shrift by the Obama White House? Then take a couple of moments out of your busy day to click on those links and sign some petitions that will make a difference. It may be your signature that elevates single-payer to the stature of entree, instead of it being a last-minute hors d'oeuvre that arrives too late and so goes uneaten, even when it may be the best food item presented at the party!

And then pass along this message to your friends, family members, and co-workers (if you still have a job). We are gettin' this job done, brick-by-brick!

And thank-you for your time and your effort!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rejoice! Two single-payer advocates invited by WH to join 118 health-care industry lobbyists for Thursday's health-care summit!

From After Downing Street:
... Dr. Oliver Fein, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, has been invited to participate in [Thursday's] White House summit on health care. He will therefore be joining Rep. John Conyers in the meeting as a strong advocate for a single-payer national health program ...

... While it remains true that the number of single-payer advocates in the summit will be few in number, we feel we have won an important victory...

Please continue to urge [Woolsey, Feinstein, Boxer] and President Obama to support single-payer national health insurance, the only fundamental solution to our health care crisis.

Scheduled single-payer demonstrations outside the White House Thursday are cancelled!

Read Sam Stein's commentary on this over at HuffPo as well.

Obama vows to pass EFCA

Here's what Obama said Tuesday evening, Mar. 3rd, to an AFL-CIO crowd:
And as we confront this crisis and work to provide health care to every American, rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, move toward a clean energy economy, and pass the Employee Free Choice Act, I want you to know that you will always have a seat at the table.

You can read his full statement here.

Right-wingnut hyperbole targets the EFCA

First, we get to hear Newt Gingrich call the EFCA "a mortal threat to American freedom."

We could all snark endlessly about this were it not for the pathetic reality that there remain many Americans who fall for this c**p thrown at us by various invested front groups.

Here is more of what America's anti-labor interests are calling the EFCA:
  • "the demise of a civilization ... how a civilization disappears"
  • "a firestorm bordering on Armageddon"
  • "nuclear war"
  • "two fundamental threats to society" along with radical Islam
  • "Gestapo tactic"
  • "Pro-Slavery"
  • "businesses are ready to riot in the street about it"
  • its supporters "should be shot ... should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs"

Join the SEIU's campaign to fight back against this potentially effective national campaign to prevent America's workers from receiving some of the benefits of the wealth they are helping to create for others for whom greed is a primary motivator.

The 'Mass. model' of health reform & its implications for national health-care reform

Watch the video of the health-care reform joint forum organized by the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, held in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 25th. This is a 1 1/2-hour video. We are not aware of a shortened version, or of a written summary of this forum. If you are, please let us know so we can pass those along to members.

Speakers include:
  • David Himmelstein, MD, Cambridge Hospital Physician, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  • Sandy Eaton, RN, Massachusetts Nurses Association
  • Jamie Eldridge, Massachusetts State Senator
  • Mary Ford, former Mayor of Northampton and Human Services Manager
  • Peter Knowlton Presentation, Vice President of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America
  • Arthur MacEwan, PhD, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston

National Lessons from State Health Reform: The Massachusetts Case Study from New Words on Vimeo.

"Of all the forms of inequality,
injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Campaign against Obama health plan run by notorious conservative PR firm

From TPM:

A new group called Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR) is about to launch the opening salvo in the fight to sink President Obama's health care plan.

CPR is running TV, radio, and web ads that attempt to stoke irrational fears of "a central national board" in charge of medical decision-making, asking Americans to envision a world where "bureaucrats decide the treatments you receive, the drugs you take, even the doctors you see." Of course, that vision has nothing to do with the president's health care plan, but the truth shouldn't be an impediment to CPR's dream of killing health care reform.

After all, the group has hired Creative Response Concepts, the same PR firm that represented the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential race. The "media relations" contact number listed on CPR's website, (703) 683-5004, is the same phone number as Creative Response Concepts, as one liberal organization discovered when researching the new health care group.

Creative Response's past clients also include the Christian Coalition, the right-leaning National Taxpayers Union, and USANext, the front group that led George W. Bush's failed push to privatize Social Security. Hilariously, Politico could only bring itself to observe that CPR has hired "veteran Republican consultants" for its new anti-Obama effort.

Obama & US labor to date

From Reuters:

Within days of taking office Jan. 20, Obama signed three orders to bolster unions and workers' rights. The first will prevent taxpayer funds from being used to reimburse federal contractors who spend money to impede workers from organizing.

A second requires federal contractors to inform employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, and third was aimed at ensuring that qualified workers kept their jobs even when a federal contract changed hands.

Some EFCA updates

From TPM:
Looks like the Employee Free Choice Act could get introduced as early as next week. It'll easily pass the House when it comes up for a vote, just as it did last year, but passage in the Senate will be hard and it doesn't help that the Minnesota seat remains unresolved.

Tomorrow, Vice President Joe Biden is supposed to give a full-throated defense of the act when he speaks to top AFL officials at their meeting in Miami.

Meanwhile, in the hotly contested House race to replace New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Republican, Jim Tedisco was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today in no small part because his opponent is supporting EFCA.

President Obama: Please rethink Afghanistan!

President Obama has committed 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. This decision raises serious questions about troops, costs, overall mission, and exit strategy. Historically, it has been Congress' duty to ask questions in the form of oversight hearings that challenge policymakers, examine military spending, and educate the public. After witnessing the absence of oversight regarding the Iraq war, we must insist Congress hold hearings on Afghanistan.

Watch the trailer:

Watch the entire video:

Sign the petition here.

Terrific letter to the editor in today's PD from P4C member Elaine Larson

EDITOR: You neglected to disclose that Doris Laul, a “Shollengberger Park user” whose letter you printed favoring putting an asphalt plant at the designated scenic gateway to Wine Country, is a Dutra Group employee (“Dutra’s value,” Letters, Friday).

The idea of having to trade tourist dollars, our health and well-being and the very existence of a world-class bird sanctuary for an oversized, polluting asphalt plant is not even worthy of consideration, but this is what Dutra wants us to think is a great opportunity.

The Dutra plant, just like other asphalt plants, needs to be sited where it can do the least harm to people, wildlife and the environment. Dutra also mailed a masterpiece of propaganda to Petaluma residents last week, but anyone who heard the many experts with no vested interest speak at both the Jan. 26 Petaluma City Council meeting and the Feb. 3 Board of Supervisors meeting knows it is nothing but desperate lies.

We must hold our supervisors accountable to enforce the Sonoma County General Plan 2020 and not allow the travesty of an asphalt plant disrupting a bird sanctuary to proceed.



Monday, March 2, 2009

Dems defecting on EFCA

This is the third in a series of posts re the Employee Free Choice Act. Here is the first, and the second. We'll continue to keep everyone apprised of what's happening with this bill, as it's definitely on Obama's to-do list.

Will enough Dems support this bill? Or will lack of political will beat out pro-labor legislation?

Read Sam Stein's HuffPo piece here.

And here's a short video that demonstrates this Dem defection in Colorado, and how activists there are dealing with it:

The thing is, this really shouldn't be difficult or controversial. This is, as Darcy says, about the basic rights of workers to organize. EFCA is a bill that passed the House in 2005 and 2007 on a bi-partisan basis. While it came up short of a filibuster-proof super majority in the Senate in 2007, cloture garnered the votes of every single Democrat in the Senate (including Landrieu, Lincoln, Pryor and, yes, Salazar) plus both Independents and even Arlen Specter. Add to that the fact that during his run for the US Senate last year, freshman Colorado Sen. Mark Udall had been a co-sponsor of EFCA in the House, promised to support it as a Senator, and won by 11% despite the fact that EFCA foes ran ads targeting Udall as someone who would "take the secret ballot away."

Restore majority rule in California!

A message to California's grassroots (yup, that's us!)

A group of California Obama organizers is fed up with California's arcane and unworkable budget process, and wants to get to work fixing this mess.

How? We want to use our networks to build a grassroots movement to get rid of the CA budget's two-third's rule.

California is one of only three states that requires a two-third's majority to pass a budget, and it has resulted in the legislature failing to pass a budget by the constitutional deadline 28 of the last 32 years!

We can't fix education, or health care, or the environment if we don't fix our budgeting process.

Will you sign up on Yes We Can Change California to indicate your interest in supporting repeal of the two-third's rule?

As President Obama told us more than once, our work is just beginning. California needs our help, and we need your support in order to begin this necessary process.

Please visit Yes We Can Change California, and sign up to join the state-wide effort to restore democracy to our state government and eliminate the two-third's rule.

When you do so, please let me know that you have signed up. I have made a personal commitment to get at least 100 fellow grassroots activists to agree to become part of this movement. I am fed up with the legislative impairment in Sacramento and take responsibility for changing its dysfunction before my teen-aged daughter reaches adulthood and assumes the fiscal mess that holds all of us hostage every single year. After all, this is our government!

Pass along this message to others who you think would be interested in supporting this movement. Consider making your own commitment to enlist 100 other citizens to join us. Let me know if you are doing this, so that we begin to create the powerful local network that will be required to get a ballot initiative that restores majority rule in the California budget process.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, inquiries, or concerns about this effort.

Yours in change,
Linda Carpenter Sexauer

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act & us

A lot of our members are expressing ignorance of or unfamiliarity with the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also informally referred to as the card check legislation. If passed by Congress, the EFCA would take away the right of employers to demand secret-ballot elections by workers before unions could be recognized. Under the EFCA, unions could gain representation if a majority of workers sign cards authorizing it.

Passage of this bill could very well spur a renaissance in the US labor movement. The days of workers being discouraged from organizing due to employer intimidation would be over. Pro-US business groups hate the EFCA. In response to pro-EFCA claims that it would disempower employers, these groups counter-claim that it would deprive workers of secret ballot voting and subject employees to union bullying. This position is interesting in that pro-business interests are opposed to unions bullying their employees, but by golly will spend gobs of lobbying money to protect their right to bully their employees themselves.

Given America's difficult and controversial history around union organizing, and given the very different worker climate that existed during the times that businesses successfully lobbied for legislation to force workers to use secret ballot voting instead of openly signing cards, it really makes sense for all of us to do some homework about the EFCA, where and how it originated, and how today's worker climate in America is vastly different from the one that resulted in the federal targeting of unions decades ago.

Barack Obama is a strong supporter of the EFCA, and campaigned strongly on getting it passed. He is so preoccupied with the economy right now, though, that it's unclear as to when he will pick this issue back up and run with it. It's still not out of the question for passage of the EFCA to become one of his accomplishments during his first 100 days in office, but we can't count on that happening within this tight time frame.

You may recall that Obama had originally planned to delay health-care reform for a year, while he takes care of other issues such as US workers' rights. However, he has since changed this tack, since it's become increasingly evident that health-care reform must precede a lot of the other reform measures on his to-do list, including entitlement reform and passage of the EFCA, in order to turn around our economy, since current health-care costs are such a huge component of our federal deficit.

What we do know is that America's unions are in ongoing negotiations to put aside recent animosities and join forces to get this bill passed. We also know that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been rapidly hiring a significant ground effort to work in labor union battleground states as organizers for this bill's passage.

If you run across anything that you feel would help the rest of us get up-to-speed on this bill, before we're asked by the Obama administration to help him get it passed, please pass it along to us so we can share it with the rest of our member base.

Read what the AFL-CIO writes about the EFCA.

Read what Change to Win, an umbrella organization of seven unions, writes about the EFCA.

Obama's Budget Director Orszag

We're not in Kansas anymore, fellow Munchkins!!! President O's Budget Director, Peter Orszag, blogs! Yup, he actually reads 30-40 blogs every morning to prevent his decisions from being formulated within a White House bubble.

You can visit OMB Director Orszag's blog at:

Be sure to set aside four minutes to watch this video at of Director Orszag providing clarification on Obama's 2010 budget.

This lack of secrecy almost hurts! Kinda like being let out into a yard in full sun after being locked up in a dark dungeon for eight years.

Don'tcha love it?

Obama's weekly address

President O takes on powerful lobbyists in his weekly address. Hallelujah and amen, Brother Barack!

We will never change health care, energy, and education unless and until we change the legislative status quo that provides ringside seats for corporate interests, leaving us with our pathetic e-mail messages to our national representatives that are answered in robo-fashion by aides and computer-generated spam response systems.

2/28/09: Your Weekly Address from White House on Vimeo.

Watch Sarah Gibson represent P4C at a City Council meeting

Sarah did a terrific job during the public comment period at the Feb. 23rd City Council meeting, informing councilmembers of our upcoming Petaluma Spring Cleaning Day event on Mar. 21st.

To watch her presentation, click on this link, and then, under Archived Videos, click on the video link to the right of Regular City Council/PCDC Meeting, Feb. 23, 2009. Fast forward to about 30:54 for her 2:12-minutes-long announcement.

Important conference call for California community organizers

From California's Volunteer Liaison to Organizing for America:
I need your help. As leaders of our amazing activist network, I would like you to join me on a conference call SUNDAY NIGHT MARCH 1 at 8:30 p.m. to discuss how to fix California's broken budget process.

I've been talking with some other CA organizers and we decided we'd like to gauge - and then garner - support for a ballot initiative that would restore majority rule to CA's budget process and hold our government more accountable for its actions. California is one of only three states that has the two-thirds rule. The other two states are Arkansas and Rhode Island, whose budgets are a fraction of CA's. The two-thirds vote requirement has made California's budget negotiations drawn-out affairs almost every year. Lawmakers have missed the June 15 constitutional deadline to approve a budget in 28 of the last 32 years.

Restoring majority rule could be one of the most important political activities in the state over the next year. The organizers who helped change the way Washington works should be on the front lines of the battle to change the politics in our home state.

If you'd like to help, or just hear more about our idea for bringing about change in California, please join me and other CA leaders on a conference call Sunday night:

When: Sunday, March 1 at 8:30 p.m.
Call in info: 712-432-1100 access code 1015319

You may forward this email to anyone you think would be interested in being on the call.

I look forward to talking with all of you. Please feel free to email me with any questions.

Thanks for all you do.

Mary Jane

Our local Petaluma water situation

It's obvious that the writing is on the wall for water rationing in Petaluma. Unless we experience a Noah's ark-like weather pattern between now and the summertime, it's unlikely we won't be hit with either a reduction mandate based on prior usage, or a per capita allotment. There are no other alternatives to a water shortage of the magnitude of our current one.

On Mon. Feb. 23rd, Mike Ban, Petaluma's director of water resources, gave a report to our City Council on Petaluma's upcoming water outlook. Many water-consumers weighed in with our councilmembers before that meeting. You can read about our anticipation of this meeting at this link, where you will find another link to read some of the responses given by Councilmember Glass, Mayor Torliatt, Councilmember Healy, and Vice Mayor Barrett.

P4C member Sarah Gibson attended Monday's meeting to listen to Mr. Ban's report and to our Council's responses to that report, as well as to inform the Council of our upcoming Petaluma Spring Cleaning Day event/project. To watch a video of the Council meeting, click on this link, and then, under Archived Videos, click on the video link to the right of Regular City Council/PCDC Meeting, Feb. 23, 2009. If you're extremely wonkish, by all means watch the entire video. If you aren't, you can forward to about 10:00 to listen to Ban's excellent report. To hear David Glass' remarks following the report, forward to about 28:00. Don't be put off by the fact that the video starts out identified as being from Feb. 18; it is not.

Here are Glass' comments:
I think that every councilmember has received e-mails ... from various people, but the concern that I get overwhelmingly ... is that [those water consumers who have] done everything they can to conserve on their water, they're in the lowest possible tier, and they're concerned that with either voluntary or mandatory water cutbacks coming on a per capita basis, that they're going to be unduly impacted. I don't think that it's designed to work that way. Could you address that?

Mike Ban:
We've been getting similar calls, and what we've been explaining to our customers is that what we'll be doing in a stage 1 is reminding people about what they can do to be efficient, make sure they irrigate and the water doesn't run down the sidewalk, but basically to be efficient with their water use. At this point, we're not talking about water rationing or going to per capita usage. It's really to remind people of what they can do to be efficient with their water use.

This was a clear explanation of what we're being asked to do "at this point." What we still don't know, however, and what we want to make sure is addressed equitably and with the health, safety, and welfare of all water-consumers in mind, pertains to what we will be asked to do at the point where a stage 1 voluntary conservation effort leaves off and the peak summertime flow picks up, where we will potentially be required to reduce our water consumption by a stated 22% below last summer's usage, keeping in mind that, since our water situation is very dynamic, it is not unreasonable to predict that that 22% could become 30-50%.

An across-the-board water use percentage reduction mandate works great for those who over-consumed last summer, who conserved marginally or not at all, for those who maintained grassy lawns and backyard swimming pools, but it most certainly unduly impacts those who conserved last summer to the maximum extent possible.

The next date to keep on our calendars is April 6, when our water resources officials will revisit this issue with our City Council and introduce an emergency water resolution based on their water forecasts at that time.

If you are so inclined to e-mail our city councilmembers about Ban's water report and/or Councilmember Glass' comment at its end, you may easily do so by clicking on the Petaluma City Council link on the right-hand side of this blog.

Woolsey blasts Iraq pullout plan as not enough

From the Feb. 28th Press Democrat:
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, blasted Obama’s centrist approach to the troop drawdown. In a statement released Friday, Woolsey called the plan to leave up to 50,000 troops in Iraq “unacceptable.”

“Call such a troop level what you will, but such a large number can only be viewed by the Iraqi public as an enduring occupation force,” Woolsey said. “The faster that we can promote unification and reconciliation, the sooner we can bring all of our troops home.”

Read the whole PD news article here. Haven't been able to locate her full statement yet. Will post it when we do.

Click on the link for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey on the right-hand side of this blog if her comments inspire you to send her your two-bits.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Gingrich: The Employee Free Choice Act "is a mortal threat to American freedom"

Once again, you simply cannot make this stuff up.

Political reporter/White House correspondent Sam Stein verifies that, yes indeed, ole' Newtie absolutely did make this absurd, ridiculous comment about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the latest terrorist threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by some members of the Republican party.

But don't take my word for it. Read it here.

Kinda makes ya wonder ... If Republicans take back Washington in 2012, or god forbid, 2010, will they reopen Gitmo and send GOP Sen. Arlen Specter there for treason, for meeting the Obama administration halfway?

Endnote: We'll be on the lookout for information to pass along to our members re the EFCA, because we're predicting that the Obama administration will be calling on us in the near future to help secure passage of this bill through Congress.

Cash-strapped communities suffer as corporations target water systems

Ran across a web site today that seems very well-suited as a resource for those of us who are interested in water resources and water allocation.

From Food & Water Watch:
"A new report released today by Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., reveals that many cash-strapped communities across the country are experiencing rate hikes and a decrease in public services after selling their water and wastewater systems to private corporations. Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources highlights cities and towns across the country that have sold their water systems to private companies to offset budget deficits in an increasingly unstable economy, and the negative economic and environmental impact of water privatization on those communities ..."
Read the entire press release here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Free foreclosure workshop in Oakland

When: Mar. 14th 10am-12noon
Location: Merritt College
Address:12500 Campus Drive, Oakland 94619
Contact: 510.759.2491


Stop the Foreclosure Epidemic in our communities
Find out how the Recovery Package benefits you!

Saturday March 14
10am to 2pm

Merritt College, Room P 307
12500 Campus Drive, Oakland 94619

Organized by “United for Change” a grassroots group supporting
President Obama’s mission for change


Fidelity Title Co - The role title companies play in loan modification, short sales and REO’s

Acorn Housing – Foreclosure prevention assistance

Operation Hope – Programs available to assist and educate foreclosure homeowners

Councilwoman Desley Brooks – Work being done on behalf of foreclosure victims in East Oakland

Oakland City Attorney’s Office – Tenants Rights in foreclosed properties

Refreshments served
Wheel Chair Accessible

For additional information

New PAC challenges Congress to side with constituents, and NOT with corporate interests

Many are expressing concern over President Obama's willingness to sacrifice true reform for bipartisanship, especially when his efforts to reach across the aisle result in our giving up reform measures in pieces of legislation, while those to whom Obama is reaching out end up voting against legislation even when it includes their concessions.

Ran across a new grassroots organization that seeks to address this problem. This new PAC may help us respond productively to our giving up critical parts of the progressive position we struggled all those months during the campaign to get, when those whose support we seek are unwilling to settle for anything less than continued tax cuts for America's wealthiest, at the expense of our working middle-class.

Accountability Now PAC is a grassroots organization supported by citizens devoted to compelling real accountability in Washington and closing the gap between citizens and their elected representatives in Washington, DC.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, and others are launching a union-backed group called Accountability Now PAC to pressure Democrats from the left, including primary challenges against members of Congress.

“We’re going to be about targeting incumbents to make space for Obama to be more progressive,” said Glenn Greenwald, a blogger on the online magazine Salon who is part of the effort. “There may be other times when the Democratic Party, as led by Obama, is being unresponsive, so yeah, we have the potential to push back against that as well.”

You Are Invited to Get-to-Know-the-NoCal-Obama-Team!

Date: Mar. 7th
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Lucas Taproom & Lounge, Oakland

Team Obama-

Sorry for the late notice. Oakland is on and all No Cal cities are Welcome.

Your live Hosts for the evening will be Ms. Peggy Moore and Ms. Hope Wood.

The purpose of this gathering is to actually get to know the folks you have worked with these last couple of years.

We all know each others politics, but do we know each other. For example, did you know Mitchell has a real white picket fence, and his wife Lizzie is due on March 1st, or that Laura knits to insanity and she and Chaz are coming up on their 11th Anniversary?

We know many of you are coming a long way and hope you will make the journey to Oakland. We would like to do a few of these and can rotate the location to accommodate our various teams.

So come meet some new friends and see some old ones. The only rule, no organizing! Just for one night.

Join us for some tasty beverages and great company!

And yes... we will have name tags!

We will be with you in spirit and will raise a toast our awesome team up North!

Mitchell Schwartz & Laura Velkei

PS - We have poured over our lists a several times, but if you see we missed someone, please have them send me a note so we can add them for next time and by all means, FORWARD the invite. No one is meant to be left out so please share.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Obama's 2.24 speech: "health-care reform this year"

In Obama's speech last night, he did a terrifically intelligent job of framing some key policy positions in ways that can be embraced by all Americans, and not just by progressives.

Because I have taken up the single-payer cause, I took the liberty of outlining the points he made around health-care reform, adding some of my thoughts about how we progressives might speak to health-care reform skeptics in the wake of his speech.

I hope this outline proves helpful to many of us in the upcoming months, and I also hope that others in P4C will do for energy and education what I have done here for health-care. If you do, send it along to me and I'll post it under your byline.

-- Linda Carpenter Sexauer
community organizer, P4C

The problem with current health-care system:

  • "crushing cost of health care"
  • results in a bankruptcy in America every one-minute or so (Obama's claim of a medical bankruptcy every 30 seconds is incorrect)
  • will potentially "cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes" ... "by the end of" 2009
  • health insurance "premiums have grown four times faster than wages" ... over "the last eight years"
  • "one million ... Americans have lost their health insurance" every year over "the last eight years"
  • a main causality of problem of small businesses going under
  • a main causality of problem of corporations outsourcing US jobs
  • "one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget"

Therefore, current health-care system is bad for household budgets, is bad for federal budget, is bad for US business, is bad for US workers, and is unsustainable.

Immediate reaction to problem:

Delaying health-care reform is not an option, due to the seriousness of the problems (see above points) created by our current health-care system. Talking about this problem for another year while 1.5 million more Americans lose their homes due to medical debts is unacceptable.

Obama administration health-care accomplishments in last 30 days:

Health insurance for 11 million American kids with parents who work full-time.

Three main points included in Obama's economic recovery package that address current health-care problem:

  • investment in electronic health records & other new technology
Why is this a good investment?
  • reduction in medical errors
  • reduction in medical costs
  • assurance of personal privacy around medical histories/diagnoses
  • reduction in loss of human life
  • larger investment in biomedical research and cancer research/treatment
Why is this a good investment?
  • reduction in loss of life
  • largest historic investment in preventive care
Why is this a good investment?
  • reduction in illness
  • reduction in loss of life
  • reduction in medical costs

Framing of Obama administration's solution:

  • historic commitment to comprehensive health-care reform
  • "quality affordable health care for every American"

Note: These ideas have nothing to do with the predictable "It's socialism!" argument that'll be coming out of the right-wing media shills in the days ahead. When they run around like a bunch of Chicken Littles screaming, "It's socialism!", we say, "It's in the best interests of our nation for all of us to make a firm commitment to comprehensive health-care reform, so that all Americans have access to "quality affordable care." Don't be lured into their shark-infested "It's socialism!" waters.

Funding of solution:

  • Funded in part by addressing/eliminating inefficiencies in current health care delivery system. (Not in 2.24 speech, but subsequently revealed in Obama's 10-year budget outline): Proposed cost savings in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, savings that are predicted in part to be a result of investment in electronic health records & other new technology.
  • (Not in 2.24 speech, but subsequently revealed in Obama's 10-year budget outline): Proposed reductions in Bush tax cuts on households with incomes over $250,000/year; would reimpose previous tax liabilities on corporations and America's richest taxpayers. Specifically, would more strictly limit itemized deductions of taxpayers in the 35 percent bracket, who now get a bigger tax break than middle-income people. This proposed Bush-era tax cut reduction for the wealthy would result in high-income people getting the same tax break as middle-income people for claiming the same deductions or making the same charitable contributions.
  • (Not in 2.24 speech, but subsequently revealed in Obama's 10-year budget outline): Proposed requirement for drug companies to give bigger discounts to Medicaid. Currently, drugmakers provide a discount to Medicaid of a minimum 15.1 percent of the average manufacturer price for a brand-name product. Obama's proposal would increase Medicaid's minimum discount by drugmakers to 22.1 percent.
  • (Not in 2.24 speech, but subsequently revealed in Obama's 10-year budget outline): Proposed cut in Medicare payments to health insurance companies that receive private premium payments from Medicare beneficiaries for private coverage outside of Medicare. In other words, Obama wants to disallow health insurance companies from being able to receive full Medicare payments for their private premium-paying Medicare beneficiaries.

Note: The costly inefficiencies in our current health-care system have become increasingly worse despite their being increasingly controlled by free market forces over the past 40 years. The increasing control over our health-care costs by private industry is the result of deregulation of the health-care industry beginning with Nixon in the 1970s. While it would not be fair to blame all health-care cost increases on private industry, it is absolutely fair to hold them accountable for the increasing control over these costs.

Other desirable consequence of comprehensive health care-reform:

  • reduction in federal deficit

What fiscal conservative wouldn't like this consequence of Obama's plan for health-care reform?!

Who will participate in the decision-making process for health-care reform?

  • businesses
  • workers
  • doctors
  • health care providers
  • Democrats
  • Republicans