Bruce Blog

Calvin Trillin: Ron Paul, still standing


Ron Paul, Stll Standing

 Mitt's opposite number is still in the race.

Paul has his supporters; he has his own base.

He has his own style, which is folksy, not canned.

Religion? He's got one. His prophet's Ayn Rand.

By Rand's wacko theories he's fervently gripped,

So he  won't do the flip-flops. He long ago flipped.

Calvin Trillin, The Naton (5/14/2012

IAPA: A message for World Press Freedom Day (May 3)


Editor's note: Remarks by Milton Coleman, president of the Inter American Press Association, in  commemoration of  World Press Freedom Day on May 3 Thursday. Coleman is the senior editor of the Washington Post. IAPA is the organization defending and promoting freedom of  the press and expression in the Americas. The Bay Guardian and I have been members of IAPA for years and I currently serve as co-chair of the North American membership committee. B3

Miami (May 2, 2012)—As we near the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Inter American Press Association this month, I’d also like to take this especial date, May 3, World Press Freedom Day, as an opportunity to pay homage to the 24 journalists from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Peru that were killed over the last 12 months. Our thoughts are with their families and colleagues, especially because in the majority of these cases, justice has not yet been done.

We also extend our sympathy to all those traditional journalists, citizen journalists, bloggers and owners of media houses that have been attacked, threatened, or have had to seek refuge and exile in other countries after being harassed and hounded because of their work.

We are concerned at the direct and subtle – and in the case of Ecuador not so subtle – economic, legal, and judicial means used against the news media in a number of countries in the region that result in prior restraint and self-censorship, harming not only the news media itself, but most importantly, weakening the public’s right to receive information. Read more »

World championship robotics competition: A bittersweet day for the D'Penguineers



And so the celebrated D'Penguineers from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta won the creativity award but lost its last two matches in the World Championship Robotics Competition last weekend in St. Louis, Missouri.The two heart-breaking  losses wrecked the team's chances for a championship. Here's the excellent summing up by the NoozHawk online newspaper produced by students from the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy public relations and events team. Nicholas Perez, an ace driver for the D'Penguineers, is shown partially with his coach Amir Abo-Shaeer in the second photo in the link below.

Perez commented,  "Even though we lost in the semi-finals due to field issues that were uncontrollable and unforeseen, we are still considered one of the most elite teams with one of the strongest robots in the world.  Our robot was the highest scoring robot out of 402 competing robots.  Basketball legend and the NBA's highest scoring player, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, came and watched our team compete and dominate on the field.  He said he was really impressed with our shooting."

Suggestion: go to the bottom of the link to get more information on the D'Penguineers and the  Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy.  It's widely known as one of the best high school engineering programs in the country. 

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Dick Meister: Only we can save the children


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

I remember checking into a small hotel in Coimbra, Portugal, with my wife Gerry in 1962, three very heavy suitcases in tow. Rushing out at the urgent clang of the desk clerk's bell came a uniformed bellhop. A midget, I supposed. But, no, it was a child, nine, maybe ten years old.

He smiled shyly and tugged at the suitcases, eager to lug them up the long, narrow staircases that led to our room. I wouldn't let go, but the clerk insisted. "It's his job," senhor."

It was indeed his job, one that paid poorly and kept him from school – but a job necessary for his family's survival. Read more »

Streaming live: The world championship robotics competition


I have become a robotics junkie.  Full disclosure: I am a robotics junkie because my grandson, Nicholas Perez, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, is a world class driver on his world class high school robotics team.  His team has won all of its matches today by large margins in the two day  World Championship Robotics Competition in St. Louis, Missouri. Read more »

Jeffrey Sachs: A world adrift


By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals

NEW YORK – The annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have provided a window onto two fundamental trends driving global politics and the world economy. Geopolitics is moving decisively away from a world dominated by Europe and the United States to one with many regional powers but no global leader. And a new era of economic instability is at hand, owing as much to physical limits to growth as to financial turmoil.

Europe’s economic crisis dominated this year’s IMF/World Bank meetings. The Fund is seeking to create an emergency rescue mechanism in case the weak European economies need another financial bailout, and has turned to major emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, the Gulf oil exporters, and others – to help provide the necessary resources. Their answer is clear: yes, but only in exchange for more power and votes at the IMF. As Europe wants an international financial backstop, it will have to agree.  

Of course, the emerging economies’ demand for more power is a well-known story. In 2010, when the IMF last increased its financial resources, the emerging economies agreed to the deal only if their voting share within the IMF was increased by around 6%, with Europe losing around 4%. Now emerging markets are demanding an even greater share of power. Read more »

Dick Meister: Fair Trade: Not With Columbia


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

By all accounts, Colombia is one of the world's worst abusers of workers and their unions. Yet President Obama has just signed a Free Trade Agreement with Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos.

The agreement, set to go into effect May 15, will align the United States with a nation in which working people have very few of the basic labor rights long granted U.S. workers. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: End of the line for Newt?


End of the line for Newt?

Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas billionaire who has been the biggest backer to a group supporting Newt Gingrich, said this week that Mr. Gingrich had reached 'the end of the line' in his bid for the presidency." New York Times

So Newt's coming closer to facing defeat?

His main sugar daddy's no longer so sweet.

And Newt never was: why when he had the power

Of all that sugar, he still sounded sour.

Calvin Trillin.The Nation. 4/21/2012.



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Editorial: Free Muni tickets for kids makes sense


San Francisco is a transit-first city that has spent millions of dollars over the years trying to convince people to ride Muni. And yet, one of the best and most effective ways to get people out of their cars is facing surprising opposition.

Sup. David Campos has been pushing for months to get Muni to allow young people to ride free. It makes immediate sense: The school district, perpetually short on funds, is cutting back bus service (which is preferable to cutting back classroom instruction). For low-income families, the disappearance of a yellow school bus, which offered transportation free of charge, is a financial obstacle — and the last thing anyone needs is another obstacle to keep kids out from coming to school.

Reduced-fare youth passes are already available — but they aren't easy to get. Parents need to show up in person, during the day, with a birth certificate, passport or other government ID; that's hard for a lot of working parents. The school district ought to be able to sell the passes, but right now nobody has the resources to make that happen. Read more »

Meister: The obvious solution to our social security problem


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Guaranteeing America's working people a decent retirement has become increasingly difficult with the decline of traditional pension plans and the glaring inadequacy of the 401 (k) savings accounts that have replaced them.

So what to do? The answer is obvious to the AFL-CIO, and should be to everyone else: Increase Social Security benefits. Read more »