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  • Politics & GovernmentDecember 27, 2011Lou Siegel

    Headlines We’d Like to See in 2012

    This 2012 newspaper headline wishlist first appeared on the Labor Lou blog.

    1) Gingrich Sews Up Nomination
                Former House speaker clears the field as Romney pulls out

    2) Scott Walker Recalled
               Wisconsin voters remove unpopular Republican governor

    3) Clinton, Biden Swap Jobs
                Convention taps Hillary for VP; Biden will head State Department

    4) OWS Veterans Get Political            
                Wall Street protesters energize Obama campaign

    5) Clarence Thomas Resigns
                Conflict of interest sinks Supreme Court justice

    6) Unemployment Down, Consumer Confidence Up
                Optimism rising as election nears

    7) Democrats Take Back House
                Pelosi promises progressive agenda

    8) Demands Grow to Curtail Filibuster
                Senate Republicans might lose their best weapon

    9) Obama Makes Labor Reform “Top Priority”
                Declares unions “Key to economic justice

    10) Court’s Conservative Majority Jeopardized by President’s Pick
                Justices could revisit “Citizens United”

     » Read more about: Headlines We’d Like to See in 2012  »

  • Labor & EconomyDecember 21, 2011Frank Alvarez

    L.A.’s Fast Train to Economic Recovery

    As a resident of Lincoln Heights, I’ve always been able to use public transportation to get around. I live in what you could call a “low-income transit village.” Most of the major bus lines that connect our region are within walking distance of my home. Bus lines like the 45 and 81 provide me access to South L.A. to visit friends, while the 84 and 251 connect me to my family in East and Southeast L.A.  This is on top of the Gold line and all the destinations it opens up for me.

    Unfortunately, easy access to public transportation is not available to many Angelenos. This is far more than an inconvenience, because often the communities that lack bus and rail options also suffer from high poverty and unemployment rates.  For those fortunate enough to have a job, driving in many cases is not an affordable means to get around,

     » Read more about: L.A.’s Fast Train to Economic Recovery  »

  • Politics & GovernmentDecember 21, 2011Peter Dreier

    The Two Faces of Newt

    (This column first appeared in slightly  longer form on Huffington Post.)  

    As a House back-bencher and then as Speaker, Newt Gingrich made his name as a fiery opponent of wasteful government spending. But, in fact, he was one of Congress’s biggest spenders.

    Gingrich’s big-spending habit is perhaps the most important, but the least-known, of his many hypocrisies. When will a reporter — or one of Gingrich’s GOP opponents — ask him about this in one of the debates?

    The twice-divorced Gingrich’s hypocrisy on “family values” is now well-known, yet there’s another example of Gingrich’s ethical double standard. Gingrich — who quarterbacked a successful effort to force House Speaker Jim Wright, a Texas Democrat, to resign over ethics violations in 1989 — was himself embroiled in an ethics scandal during much of his own speakership. Gingrich used GOPAC — his conservative fundraising operation —

     » Read more about: The Two Faces of Newt  »

  • Politics & GovernmentDecember 15, 2011Madeline Janis

    Give Us This Day Our Daily Perks

    It’s just not fair. For years, business and civic leaders have been telling public officials like me to “run government like a business.” Recruit top-flight executives who know how to get things done. Spend what’s necessary at the “top” so that the over-arching goals of the enterprise can be achieved. Get rid of all of that unnecessary bureaucratic “process” that just slows things down. Make the “deals” happen and get on with the business of government.

    Unfortunately, when we do just that, we get slammed. In fact, an outside observer might point out that all of this emphasis on running government like a business is just a trap for the poor unsuspecting schlubs (a.k.a., government officials) who are just trying to do what they’re told.

    Case in point is the situation at the Housing Authority of the City of L.A., responsible for all public housing in L.A.

     » Read more about: Give Us This Day Our Daily Perks  »

  • Culture & MediaDecember 6, 2011Madeline Janis

    The GOP’s Doublespeak Lexicon

    Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster and messaging guru, gave a recent talk where he described his 10 biggest Do’s and Dont’s for talking about the economy in the post-Occupy Wall Street environment. It’s worth reviewing these 10 points and reflecting on what Luntz’s insights on behalf of the 1% tell us about how we can successfully talk about the issues we care about, on behalf of the 99%.

    The main thing – the frightening thing – is that Luntz has a history of actually succeeding at changing the debate in America. Why? Because Republicans like Luntz are masters of the reductive fear phrase and it comes out all over his suggestions. These are the guys, after all, who turned inheritance duties into “death taxes” and from that, advisory health committees into “death panels.” But they’re clearly on the defensive here – for the time being.

    Luntz begins his talk to the Republican base by admitting,

     » Read more about: The GOP’s Doublespeak Lexicon  »