Bruce Brugmann

Editorial: The big prison duck

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California incarcerates 170,000 people in facilities designed for less than half that number.

EDITORIAL A panel of federal judges has ordered the release of 44,000 California prisoners, sending politicians of both parties scrambling for cover and throwing a crucial issue into the heart of the Democratic campaign for governor.

And so far, both major candidates are ducking, badly.

The state prison system is a mess; any sane person knows that. California incarcerates 170,000 people in facilities designed for less than half that number. Read more »

FAIR: Did GE Stifle Keith Olbermann?

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The gentleman's agreement between Fox and MSNBC illustrates the corrosive effect on media of corporate ownership

(FAIR is a media reform group called Fairness & Accuracy in Media)

In the wake of an August 1 expose in the New York Times, an agreement reportedly reached by executives at the parent companies of Fox News Channel and MSNBC to rein in the networks' two stars' criticism of each other seems to have fallen apart. Read more »

Stiglitz: Stimulate or Die

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Here is our monthly installment of Joseph E. Stiglitz's Unconventional Economic Wisdom column from the Project Syndicate news series. Stiglitz is a professor of economics at Columbia University, and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, is co-author, with Linda Bilmes, of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Costs of the Iraq Conflict.

Stimulate or Die

By Joseph E. Read more »

Ammiano's Sacramento livestock report

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Today's Ammianoliner:

What do Green Acres, the Roseann Barr show, and the governor's mansion have in common?

A pig named Arnold.

(From the weekend answering machine of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, back in action after helping deliver one of the worst budgets in California history.) B3

Editorial: Fixing PG&E's blackout problem

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State law requires PG&E to pay claims for economic damage caused by system failures.

EDITORIAL The electricity that San Franciscans buy from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. isn't just expensive — it's unreliable. That's what figures from the California Public Utilities Commission show (see "The blackout factor, page 8). Read more »

Editorial: What went wrong in Sacramento

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In the end, the Republicans largely carried the day because they had all the power and could block any budget deal, refuse to raise taxes, and don't really care if the state goes bankrupt

EDITORIAL David Dayen, a political blogger at Calitics, had the best line on the California budget crisis.
"Whoever cares the least about the outcome wins," he wrote July 20. "If you don't care whether children get health care, whether the elderly, blind and disabled die in their homes, whether prisoners rot in modified Public Storage units, whether students get educated ... Read more »

Keep pressing for a real health care debate

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B3: President Obama and his Democratic allies had the strategy all wrong on health care. They took single payer health care off the table at the beginning. They replaced it with a public policy option, which is okay in theory, but they have put no real punch or argument behind it. And they have left the insurance companies in the center of the "reform" package. Read more »

Editorial: It's the insurance companies, stupid!

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There's too much at stake here to accept an industry-backed plan masquerading as reform

EDITORIAL It's hard to imagine a better time for real, lasting health care reform. A popular president with a reform mandate has made it a top priority. The Democrats control both houses of Congress, with enough votes in the Senate to block a filibuster. Medical costs are soaring, driving individuals and businesses into bankruptcy. Read more »

Solomon: Beyon the hype: Cronkite and Vietnam

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By Norman Solomon

Media eulogies for Walter Cronkite -- including from progressive commentators -- rarely talk about his coverage of the Vietnam War before 1968. This obit omit is essential to the myth of Cronkite as a courageous truth-teller.

But facts are facts, and history is history -- including what Cronkite actually did as TV’s most influential journalist during the first years of the Vietnam War. Read more »

Editorial: The Ethics Commission fiasco

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This city desperately needs aggressive enforcement of the political reform laws.

EDITORIAL The San Francisco Ethics Commission is a serious mess, and if Director John St. Croix can't turn things around — quickly — he needs to resign and make room for someone who can.

Ethics has badly damaged its reputation in recent years by hounding small-time violators from grassroots campaigns and ignoring the major players who cheat and game the system as a matter of practice. Read more »