rholober's blog


Prop 17: Mercury Insurance Hacks Try to Mislead Democrats

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California


As public opposition to its Proposition17 grows, Mercury Insurance is making panicked  efforts to deceive Democrats and progressive organizations about this rate- hiking measure.

Prop 17 opponents include the California Federation of Teachers, California Nurses Association, SEIU California State Council, the Alameda and San Mateo Central Labor Councils, UFCW Local 5, Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports magazine), Consumer Watchdog, Consumer Federation of California, Consumer Action, Consumers for Automobile Reliability and Safety, United Policyholders, The California Alliance for Retired Americans, The Democratic Central Committees of Los Angeles and San Mateo Counties, Congressman and Former Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and many others.

Break The Banks


By Clint Reilly

American banks love to affect a false pose of solidity and enduring strength. That’s why so much bank architecture mimics the classical columns of ancient Greece.

But the American financial system today is in ruins – much like the Parthenon.

So, how can it be that more than a year after the ignominious collapse of our financial system, banking reform still languishes in Congress?

A just-published book by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson – who wrote the trillion dollar checks – contends that taxpayers stand to make a profit on the bank bailouts.

California’s Women’s Political Mud Wrestling Squad


By Peter Schrag

The California Republican Party is still dominated by white males, both in its leadership and in its rank and file. But when it comes to political eye-gouging and no-holds-barred knees-to-the-groin campaign combat, there’s little glass ceiling left. Whatever shards Sarah Palin had missed, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina took care of them last week.

Both are also showing that they can be manipulated, suckered and exploited by political consultants as shamefully as the guys. Since both are also multi-millionaires as well as arrogant and eminently pluckable, is it any wonder that voters have nothing but contempt for the people who want to be their leaders?

SB 918 (Pavley) - Safe, Environmentally Sound Water Supply


By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Last Friday, Senator Fran Pavley introduced SB 918 which is currently co-sponsored by the Planning and Conservation League and Water Reuse California . This bill would help improve the availability of safe recycled drinking water by requiring the Department of Public Health to develop and adopt uniform health standards. If passed, the bill will help California develop a new drought-proof source of safe, clean water.

DADT

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Years of frustration over the military ban on gay and lesbian service members seemed to melt away Tuesday for civil rights groups, pro-equality legislators, gay and lesbian service members and the nation’s LGBT community, all buoyed by the prepared statements of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at yesterday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. 

Just six months ago Secretary Robert Gates was speaking only about modifying the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, stating he wanted to eventually “look into applying DADT in a more humane way.” 

But in his opening remarks yesterday, Gates was committed to DADT’s repeal.  “The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how best we prepare for it," stated the Secretary.

LGBT Legislators Urge Feinstein, Boxer to Sponsor Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Buoyed by the prepared statements of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, California lawmakers called on Senators Feinstein and Boxer to sponsor legislation repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", as years of frustration over the military ban on gay and lesbian service members seemed to melt away for civil rights groups, pro-equality legislators, gay and lesbian service members and the nation’s LGBT community. 

Just six months ago Secretary Robert Gates was speaking only about modifying the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, stating he wanted to eventually “look into applying DADT in a more humane way.”  

But in his opening remarks, Gates was committed to DADT’s repeal.  “The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how best we prepare for it," stated the Secretary.

Federal Funding For High Speed Train Falls Far Short Of Rail Authority Expectations


By Traci Sheehan

Planning and Conservation League

On Thursday, President Obama announced the states' shares of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money allotted for high speed rail. California had applied for $4.7 billion but received less than half that amount, with the bulk of the funding going to thirty other states.

The California High Speed Rail Authority's new Business Plan, which was widely criticized both in economic circles and within the Legislature earlier this month, relied on receiving the full amount requested, plus getting another $14 billion in federal aide over the next several years to fully fund the state's high speed rail project. The President has only committed to $1 billion annually to fund all 31 projects nationwide, dashing the Authority's hopes for massive federal subsidies and leaving a gapping hole in the funding plan.

Noteworthy Website: Injured Women After Reform (iWAR)


Injured Women After Reform - iWAR is a website dedicated to fighting discrimination in California law that allows insurance companies to pay less to a woman who is injured at work than to a man - for the same injury. Injured Women After Reform was founded by women lawyers and the injured women they represent.

The website - http://iwaronebay.com/index.html - contains  testimony and videos telling the personal stories of women who suffered job injuries and who have not received their fair share from the current workers' compensation system. The site is dedicated to electing lawmakers who will end these discriminatory rules.

National Emergency


By Clint Reilly

James Fallows recently wrote a long piece in The Atlantic titled, “How America Can Rise Again.”


We should listen to him.


While pundits claim that America’s greatest challenge is the bitter economic aftermath of our recent near-Depression, Fallows disagrees. “The American tragedy of the early 21st Century…is a governing system that increasingly looks like a joke,” he writes.

Health Reform: The Year Of The Schlemiels

By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California

If utterances from the White House following the Massachusetts debacle are more than posturing, then the Administration’s tone deafness on health care reform may indeed be a terminal illness.

Normally level heads including Paul Krugman call for a Congressional Charge of the Light Brigade, blogging post-Massachusetts that “House Democrats need to be told to pass the Senate bill.”

Howard Fineman calls this a Democratic March to Folly akin to generals pursuing a military campaign in the face of incontrovertible evidence that it will lead to ruination.