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As more American cities sink into the quicksand of bankruptcy, a veritable Scapegoats’ Olympics has been inaugurated – crowd-pleasing blame games that usually point fingers at workers. Harold Meyerson was having none of it the other day, however, in an L.A. Times op-ed:
“From reading the voluminous accounts of the fiscal woes of Stockton and San Bernardino, you’d think that municipal unions and feckless city officials are primarily what led these cities down the path to fiscal ruin.”
For evidence, Meyerson quotes editorials and columns appearing in the O.C. Register and Sacramento Bee, both of which confidently laid the blame on the pensions of unionized public employees. Of course, the unchallenged narrative among the chattering classes has been all about spineless city governments caving in to unions whose greedy members expect to enjoy a paid retirement when they’re too old to work.
On June 30, I rode a bus from near the South Los Angeles site of Walmart to the Cornfield – the starting point for the largest rally ever held against the retail giant. It was on this bus packed with African American community activists that I came to fully understand why, as an African American pastor, I have for the last 10 years refused to shop at Walmart.
There has long been a debate in the community about whether low-income African Americans should shop at Walmart. Some people say that Walmart helps those who are struggling economically because they keep their prices low.
The truth is that Walmart is the leader at operating in its own best interest. And that interest – as we see with the enormous wealth of the Walton family – is to make as much money as possible.
There are several reasons why people who depend on the low prices and availability of Walmart should stop shopping there.
Richard Kirsch has dedicated his life to fighting for universal affordable healthcare. A senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of numerous studies on healthcare reform, Kirsch wrote New York’s Managed Care Consumer Bill of Rights. Perhaps most notable, however, is the role he played in transforming the recent political discourse with his revolutionary proposal: the public option.
In his new book, Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States, Kirsch describes the uphill struggle to bring health care to everyone. The book doubles as a memoir and ode to the power of progressive grassroots organizations. He chronicles the history of health care reform as well as his own experience designing and pushing forward the public option — a middle road between private insurance and single-payer coverage.
At a book party and fundraiser at the California Endowment,
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a report that shows only 2.5 percent of small business owners would be affected by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest taxpayers (top two marginal tax rates).
“The claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income people to expire would seriously harm small businesses rest on an exceedingly broad, and misleading, definition of ‘small business.’ The definition is so broad, in fact, that under it, both President Obama and Governor Romney would count as small business owners—as would 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.”
Did you catch that? The definition is so broad 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people are considered small business owners.
On Tuesday, July 24, the L.A. City Council voted unanimously to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries within the city. As the Los Angeles Times explains, this is the “latest attempt to regulate what many say is an out-of-control proliferation” of the pot shops.
I am one of those who say that. Dispensaries are out of control. I am also one of those who think that the council got today’s vote totally wrong.
When the city set up its initial, partial regulatory system years ago, many dispensaries followed the city’s and the state’s rules about when and where they could operate. They worked with doctors and fully vetted their patients. They lab-tested their medicine. They submitted taxes to the city. They took over vacant storefronts. They became good employers and good neighbors.
Other dispensaries, however, skirted the rules. These dispensaries opened in a mad dash.