Bruce Blog

Scoop: There is no place like Nebraska!

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And so my grandson, Nicholas Perez, a mechanical engineering freshman at the Umiversity of Nebraska at Lincoln, sent me an email pumping the importance of the Nebraska vs. Penn State game today (Saturday) at Lincoln.  Nebraska, he reported, was now being touted as a potential Rose Bowl candidate and needed to beat Penn State.

This was indeed big news, back where the Cornhusker football team rules the state. I emailed him back and pointed out that the last time Nebraska went to the Rose Bowl was in 1941.Read more »

Dick Meister: We all need a higher minimum wage

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By Dick Meister

Bay Guardian columnist 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, www.dickmeister.com.

Election's over, the good guy won, so what now for working people? Labor's wish list for our re-elected president and the new Congress is long, but certainly the most basic item is raising the pay of our poorest workers by raising the minimum wage.

 About four million workers have been living in poverty or near-poverty at the current minimum of $7.25 an hour – $15,000 a year at most before taxes and other deductions. And that's assuming the workers manage to find full time, year-round jobs.

There's been no lack of congressional bills to raise the minimum since it was last raised in 2007, the latest introduced this year by two Democrats, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. George Miller of California.  Their bill would increase the rate to $9.80 an hour by 2014, index the rate to rise automatically with any rise in the cost of living after that, and set the rate for tipped workers at 70 percent of the minimum. Read more »

Miami First Amendment attorney: election suppression is "unbelievably awful"

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Thomas R. Julin, one of the top First Amendment attorneys in the country, emailed me this afternoon about the election suppression situation in Miami. Julin, an attorney with the firm of Hunton & Williams in Miami, reported that "the election situation here has been just unbelievably awful."Read more »

Extra! Extra! Gov. Rick Scott welcomes you to the State of Florida on election suppression day

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And so, thanks to Republican Governor Rick Scott and his Republican allies, the lines of voters were once again impossibly long at Florida voting places and many voters started chanting dramatically on national television, "Let us vote, let us vote, let us vote." It was a chant that rang throughout many battleground states where Republicans had the power to reduce early voting and implement other policies designed to keep the lines long and to make it as difficult as possible for prospective Democrats to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Read more »

Halloween 1951: Fast times in Rock Rapids, Iowa

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The tale of what really happened on Halloween Eve in 1951 in Rock Rapids, Iowa.  (Reprinted by popular demand.)

As I was preparing to update my annual Halloween blog, I checked Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle to see what the action looked like for Halloween on Wednesday.

The Giants had just swept the World Series and Kevin Fagan’s front page story caught the spirit of  Wednesday’s parade and celebration, “We’re No. 1, let’s party, Celebration likely to bring a million to downtown SF.”  There was no mention of Halloween in his story and the only reference to mischief on Halloween was a dire warning from Police Chief Gregg Suhr.  “If you’re coming (to San Francisco) to do mischief, don’t come.” Read more »

Dick Meister: A Halloween invasion from Mars!

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister is a longtime San Francisco-based journalist and writer. Contact him through his website,  www.dickmeister.com

“2X2L calling CQ … 2X2L calling CQ, New York…. Isn’t there anyone on the air?  Isn’t there anyone on the air?  Isn’t there anyone?

Millions of Americans – panic-stricken, many of them – waited anxiously for a response to the message, delivered over the CBS radio network in slow flat, mournful tones on a crisp Halloween eve. It was Oct. 30, 1938.

“Isn’t … there … anyone?”

There wasn’t. Listeners heard only the slapping sounds of the Hudson River. Read more »

Dick Meister: Your first World Series is always the best

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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, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Whoopie! Our valiant Giants are in the World Series again, for the fifth time since they moved to the city from New York in 1958. Pretty exciting, but it can't possibly be more exciting than the first SF Giants series in 1962. Read more »

Dick Meister: Missing a vital election issue!

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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, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

 

Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act!  That's a cry working people and their unions very much need to hear, but have not heard in this year's election campaigning.

It's hardly surprising that Republican candidates are silent, since repeal would be a great boost to labor. But if only for that reason, President Obama and other pro-labor Democrats should demand immediate repeal.

The law was passed in 1947 in response to a wave of strikes that were called just after World War II by workers attempting to make up for pay lost because of wage controls during the war. President Truman vetoed Taft-Hartley, but Congress overrode the veto to enact what unions of the time denounced as "the slave-labor bill." Read more »

Louis Dunn on Ann Romney: "I am not the binder centerfold"

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Louis Dunn helps Ann Romney clear up Mitt's problem with the binder centerfold.

Click on the artwork to view the full-size image.

Dick Meister: Labor's wise election choices

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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, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

No issue on the November election ballot anywhere is of greater importance to working people and their unions than Proposition 32 on the California ballot.

As the State AFL-CIO notes in its call for an all-out campaign against Prop 32, it's "a brazen power play" by billionaire corporate interests and other anti-union forces to all but silence labor's political voice, while at the same time greatly increasing the political strength of labor's wealthy opponents.

Prop 32's corporate sponsors deceptively call their measure an even-handed attempt to limit campaign spending. Yet it would only limit – and severely limit – the political spending of unions. There would be no limit on the political spending of corporations and other wealthy interests. Read more »