Unions, Climate Change and “Keystone”

Posted on June 1, 2014 by

Critics of the EPA’s proposed rules to curb carbon emissions are quick to cite opposition by some key unions. While pushback by Mine Workers, IBEW, Boilermakers and others will be used by coal industry advocates to fight Obama’s climate change agenda, union influence on the policy won’t amount to much. The administration will have its [...]

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Blaming Obama

Posted on May 25, 2014 by

In a recent critique of Barack Obama, Jeffery St. Claire derides the president for “piously” lecturing African-Americans on the “state of their lives.” According to St. Claire – editor of the Left Wing Counterpunch – Obama is a “master of casual condescension.  His true gift as an orator” he writes, “is in making you feel [...]

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Dear Gov. Perry

Posted on May 18, 2014 by

Dear Gov. Perry: We know how much you enjoy visiting California and using your considerable charm and wit to persuade owners to move their companies to Texas. Behind closed doors I bet you let your hair down with some well-rehearsed and derisive talking points about the California Air Resources Board, CalOSHA, our workers comp system [...]

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Five Years a Blogger

Posted on May 10, 2014 by

I knew – when I began posting in May, 2009 – I was making a long-term commitment.  Along the way, friends would ask about starting their own blog, and I’d usually give the same advice: do it regularly; it doesn’t have to be everyday; but there has to be some consistency. Many bloggers get restless, [...]

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Can the Cops Take Your Cell Phone?

Posted on May 3, 2014 by

Addicted to cells and tablets, Americans are submitting to data-mining corporations revving up for their internet takeover and law enforcement agencies eager for evidence. Just this week, as the FCC looks to retreat on net neutrality, the Supreme Court hears why cops should be able to seize your cell phone when you’re stopped in your [...]

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Power Shifts for L.A. “Supes”

Posted on April 26, 2014 by

I would learn that L.A. was one of more than 80 cities in the County of  Los Angeles, a county covering 4,000 square miles with more people than 43 states.  Two thirds of the land, I would discover, are in what’s called “unincorporated” areas out of which seven new cities – Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, [...]

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You’re Fired!

Posted on April 19, 2014 by

“You’re Fired!” The Boss has spoken and, for most American workers, that’s the end of the story.  Proving race-based discrimination – or other forms of bias depending on what state you’re in – could get your job back but that’s not easy and takes a long time. Without an individual contract, civil service or union [...]

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The Biggest Mistakes of my Life?

Posted on March 29, 2014 by

Solo Accordion I started playing the accordion when I was 11 and was very good at it.  We couldn’t afford a piano and there wasn’t enough room for one in our apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.  It was my mothers’ idea but I always felt that the accordion was a dumb instrument with a clownish sound. [...]

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Writing on the Train

Posted on March 17, 2014 by

More than thirty years ago, Amtrak paid for my train fare and sleeper in return for a travel story. This week, the rail passenger service rolls out a promotion which will select 24 writers for an “Amtrak Residency.”   A December New Yorker story about writing on trains created a social media buzz which Amtrak has [...]

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Begging the Bosses

Posted on March 7, 2014 by

In promoting his plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, President Obama hits the right notes: Working full-time shouldn’t mean living in poverty A higher minimum wage pumps money into the economy, stimulates consumption and lifts the overall standard of living For companies, paying employees more is the right thing to [...]

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Internet Withdrawal

Posted on March 2, 2014 by

Customers waiting in line at the bank or post office pass the time these days tickling their smart-phones.  A good way, I suppose, to cope with impatience, prevent anxiety and feel productive.  There’s probably less “small talk” – chitchat among strangers – than there used to be.  And maybe that’s too bad. When I’m stuck [...]

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Tom Bradley’s Los Angeles

Posted on February 15, 2014 by

With its dominant anti-union business class, racist and brutal police force and bigoted and provincial mayor, Los Angeles was a backwater city through the early 1970s. Its transition to a world-class, cosmopolitan, diverse and liberal metropolitan region began 40 years ago with the election of Tom Bradley, an African-American former LAPD officer who built an [...]

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Tea Party Populists

Posted on February 6, 2014 by

End corporate welfare.  Oppose candidates in the pocket of big business.  Don’t let the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tell you how to vote. Sounds like a message from the American Left. But look again.  It’s the radical populist wing of the tea party. Watch – if you can – this talk by tea party honcho [...]

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Oh Henry!

Posted on February 1, 2014 by

What Henry Waxman figured out Was how to have a lot of clout Raising funds from Westside Jews The question was how best to use A seat in Congress all his own Though many there were better known He understood right off the bat How influence took more than that With friend and colleague Howard [...]

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Expo Dreams

Posted on January 25, 2014 by

A few blocks northeast of the last stop of the Expo Line in Santa Monica is the bustling Broadway corridor: clusters of new apartment houses which conform to the “pedestrian-friendly” template in this progressive, coastal city. Where street-level restaurants, retail shops and professional offices create an atmosphere of neighborhood activity and “human-scale” commerce. Walk there [...]

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Our Side, Their Side

Posted on January 19, 2014 by

Chris Christie may be a scoundrel but he’s a talented and appealing politician who could have won national office.  So naturally I’m relieved that he’s enmeshed in a colossal scandal. For a day or two I could watch the wall-to-wall MSNBC coverage with new details exposed in each segment and interviews with the key players [...]

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