Tags >> immigration
Sep 09
2010

"Remaking California"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in state government , policy , legislation , immigration , Ideas , government , education , community , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

There’s widespread agreement that California’s state government is dysfunctional and “broken.”  Our constitution was adopted when the the Golden State small, homogenous and barely industrialized. What will it take to bring the mechanics of the California'’s governance into the 21st century?

In addition to editing Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good, R. Jeffrey Lustig, a  professor of government at Cal State Sacramento, contributed chapters framing the overall issue and spelling out the metholoogy and some suggested changes to be made in a "people's constitutional convention." Other contitutional changes are proposed in a series of essays from diverse thinkers and analysts including historian Kevin Starr, poet Gary Gnyder, and former north coast legislator Barry Keene.

mmw_ballotNothing has changed the California state constitution as much as the statewide initiative process, which Lustig explains was an early reform measure that, over time, came to be emlpoyed in ways that countermand the reformers' intentions.

·

california-seal.pngProposition 14, passed by California voters last June, was presented as a reform that would reign in partisan extremism through a sort of Open Primary. Lustig, however, is not conviced that either the state issue or the adopted change is an accurate assessment of the state's current crisis of governance.

R. Jeffrey Lustig will talk about Remaking California and some of the ideas in it tonight at the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, 467 Sebastopol Avenue in Santa Rosa, at 7 pm. The event is co-sponsored by the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County. Details can be found here.

 

 

Jul 27
2010

Red Sonoma

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Sonoma County , research , politics , lifestyle , immigration , Ideas , history , farms , events , California

Bruce Robinson

Liberal Sonoma County was once a hotbed of anti-communist fervor, as well as home to a series of utopian communities, all of which is on display at the Sonoma County Museum.

When taking a longer historical view, Eric Stanley, exhibitions and collections curator for the Sonoma County Museum, says the term “communism” should be understood to be used much more generally than in contemporary political discourse.

The exhibit, Red Sonoma: Communism and Radical Politics in Sonoma County, is housed in a single small room at the side of the main exhibit area, and continues through September 26. 

It was developed as a companion show to the museums’ current main show of contemporary art from Cuba. Stanley says public reaction to it has been mostly, but not entirely, positive.

 

 

May 26
2010

The Costs of Israel’s Wars

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , war , teens , speaker , rights , public safety , protest , politics , international , immigration , history , government , families , education , current events , community , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Israeli occupation of The West Bank and Gaza Strip has clearly been a hardship for the Palestinian people there, but activist Dorothy Naor (left)   believes it has also inflicted deep costs on Israel as well.

Dorothy Naor (bio below) will present a talk titled “The Cost of Colonization and Occupation to Israelis and Palestinians,” May 27 at 7:00 pm at the Glaser Center, 547  Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

Dorothy Naor (bio below) observes that each generation in Israel grows up amidst a near-constant series of preparations for warfare, something she sees as shaping the character of the nation in some undesirable ways.

The continuing expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza (such as those enclosed by the protective wall in the photo at right) is not just condoned by the Israeli government, Naor objects, but heavily subsidized, too.

Dr. Dorothy Naor lives in Herzliah, near Tel Aviv. An activist with he Israeli dissident groups New Profile, an Israeli feminist and anti-militarist group, she participates in virtually all activities having to do with occupation policy and civil rights in Israel. Most recently, she has become involved in the Israeli Committee for Residency Rights (ICRR), an ad hoc committee working on residency rights for Palestinians and for allowing entry to the West Bank. Dorothy takes people on informal tours to the West Bank and is one of those who responds to the many calls of distress from people in the West Bank who are stuck at checkpoints, need medical care in Israel, etc.

Dorothy was born in San Francisco but immigrated to Israel in her early 20s, in 1958. She has lived in Israel for most of the past 50 years.  She worked for many years as a teacher of English and has a PhD in Education. One of her main concerns is the effect the occupation is having on Israeli society, i.e., increase in domestic violence and violence in general, brutalization of the young, increase in mental illness, etc.

 

 

Mar 17
2010

"Eclipse of the Sunnis"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , war , religion , poverty , politics , news , media , land rights , journalism , international , immigration , homeless , families , employment , author

Bruce Robinson

One little-reported consequence of the war in Iraq has been the displacement of an estimated 2 million former citizens who have fled to neighboring nations or even further. Their story is the subject of Eclipse of the Sunnis,  a new book by NPR Mideast correspondent Deborah Amos.

Amos began covering the Middle East for NPR more than 20 years ago, and renewed her interest in the region following the 9/11 attacks. Even though she sees the Iraqi Sunnis as complicit in their own downfall, as instigators of the sectarian insurgency, she also believes their situation as an enormous population of displaced professional and middle class families is an important story, one she felt could best be told by presenting the human faces of some of those involved.

The split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims may appear to be the result of religious differences between two factions within Islam, but Deborah Amos cautions that this interpretation is a simplistic misreading of the complex geopolitics of the Middle East.

It’s a convenient shorthand to speak of the displaced Iraqis as “refugees,” but that, too, is an over implication, in Amos’s view. Because these are mostly middle class households, they are able to monitor events and their situation in ways that are completely unknown to most poverty-stricken refugees. But their circumstances leave them vulnerable to an eroding standard of living that may take generations to recover.

Amos writes about the significance of the Iraqi general election here.

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