Public Banks Now

The California Senate has voted to enact AB 857, the Public Banking Act, which sets the standards and opens the door for municipal public banks throughout the state. – A second vote on the amended bill in the Assembly, which advanced it by a narrow margin last month, should follow tomorrow. If Governor Gavin Newsom signs the bill into law, California will be the first state since North Dakota in 1919 to enact a statewide public banking statute, and the first in history to define and regulate the formation of […]

Read More →

Single Payer Can’t Wait

– California is huge, and it is blue. Why don’t we have single payer healthcare? – California assembly speaker Anthony Rendon scuttled SB 562, the law that would bring single payer universal healthcare to the world’s sixth largest economy.  A Democratic legislator, with a supermajority and a popular Democratic governor, decided the bill had too many problems and that the ‘focus should be on the Senate healthcare bill.’  As such, the bill won’t come back up for debate until 2018, a full year after the CA Senate passed it, and […]

Read More →

We Have The Power We Need: A Call For a General Strike

It is a dark day in the United States, and the world.   While a slim majority of American voters chose to back the multicultural, urban, liberal party of incremental progress, enough people, in the states that mattered most, chose to throw the election to a reactionary populist who openly attacked ethnic and religious minorities, and will use the powers of the state to prosecute his enemies, foreign and domestic. There is little comfort in looking to government in the short term – the people with the power of appointment, […]

Read More →

Putting the Arts to Work for Homeless Youth in Los Angeles

    Art is more than entertainment or decoration.   Back in March, this photo caused some tepid online outrage in Los Angeles, and spurred another (too brief) examination of the homelessness crisis in the city.   It served as a snapshot of how relatively wealthy millennials were changing some of Los Angeles’ most iconic neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves into playgrounds of twenty-something decadence, literally stepping over homeless residents to snap a selfie in front of a cheeky mural.  When I saw it, I was immediately upset by not only how indifferent […]

Read More →

The Moment I Discovered I Was Not a Prodigy

Scholars refer to 1905, the year in which Albert Einstein wrote his famous works on the photoelectric effect, Mass-Energy equivalence and special relativity, as his Annus Mirabilis, his ‘miraculous’ year.  For me, that year was 1992.  I was ten years old, in the fifth grade, and I was runner-up in the Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens, an honorable mention bestowed in person by Governor Judd Gregg himself. That was also the year I won my city’s championship in the National Geography Bee. I was chosen to represent […]

Read More →

#OWS: The Morning After

You know the argument about a rising tide, and how it lifts all boats?  This has always seemed a dubious metaphor to me because of all the assumptions it must make in order to apply, and all of the obvious features of the ‘tide’ that it conveniently leaves out of the idiom. Join me while I break it down. (much more below the fold)

Read More →

#OccupyLA: Who Speaks For Us?

We Don’t Need a Leader, But We Need Something When the General Assembly in Woodruff Park in Atlanta declined to allow John Lewis, famed civil rights activist and sitting U.S. Congressman to deliver a few words of encouragement, I believe this movement made a curious and possibly detrimental turn toward the irrelevant.  The reason for this is straightforward:  I do not believe you can assault our broken democracy and our broken economic system simultaneously.  By rejecting elected and aspiring representatives of the people from engaging in this movement and taking its message to city halls, state houses, and the impotent galleries of the U.S.  Congress, there is a chance we could doom this protest to the alternate fates of destructive riots or perpetual but inconsequential unrest. <much more below the fold>

Read More →

#OccupyLA: How 500 = 99%

It seems like fuzzy math, to see a tiny crowd of mostly white youngsters with a spattering of legitimate community organizers claiming to be 99% percent of the population.  Likewise is it hard to believe that a handful of redditors and youtube jockeys with their somewhat short-sighted stories about personal debt and unemployment could somehow embody the experience of almost the entire population of the richest country on Earth.  On a day when everyone was making suggestions to these protesters on what their demands should be (including of course, yours truly) there were just as many people speaking out against the ‘dangerous’ ‘class warfare’ of a handful of idiot hippies who want to make us like the Communists. It’s just as easy for opponents of this protest to dismiss its participants and their desires as it was for liberals to dismiss the Tea Party in its early days.  Back then, the Tea Party seemed like an over-hyped Fox News focus group, suddenly transformed from studio audience to vocal mob, chanting and waving signs about liberty and socialism and Sharia law.  But just as the Tea Party grew into a legitimate social movement with electoral power, this movement has the same potential, and it’s because its concerns do really do line up with the desires of 99% of people in this country.   (Much more below the fold)

Read More →

#OccupyLA: What It Is, What It Could Be

The Counter-Counter Revolution I took a trip to Los Angeles City Hall last night because I heard a rumor that there was the start of something big going on down there.  Since I have a full time job in business development (read: job creation) I couldn’t attend during the day.  I was, thankfully, able to drive my $750 automobile and park it in a garage for $15.00 and make my way to the ad hoc camp that serves as the epicenter of a new wave of the ongoing populist movement in America.  I expected to find a handful of stalwarts, sharing tamales and tugging on one-hitters, waiting for the next day of shallow media coverage to march and yell.  What I found instead was a diverse village of individuals, mostly young, self-organizing as a spontaneous protest spurned on by a feeling of hopelessness and invisibility. But where is it going, and how is it going to get there? (There is an epic rundown below the fold.)

Read More →