Articles & Op-Eds

House passes bill to further restrict federal dollars for abortions

February 20, 2014

The Republican-led U.S. House approved a bill that would impose tighter restrictions on federal payments for abortions and sent it to the Democratic-led Senate. The 227-188 vote Tuesday was mainly along party lines, with six Democrats voting yes, one Republican voting no and another voting present, the New York Times reported. "Here we go again," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. "It's another battle in the war on women." Republicans, dogged by accusations that they are hosti… Continue Reading

The Legendary Colonel Charles Young-Another Look at Black Military History

February 17, 2014

New information has come to light linking legendary Buffalo Soldier and United States Colonel Charles Young (click the link to read about his Fort Wayne ties) to an early fraternal organization known as The Black Cats, or Beta Kappa Sigma, a little known but exemplary club for men at Wilberforce University in Ohio in the late 1800s. Charles Young, America's first African American colonel, earned many honored titles in his lifetime. Born to enslaved parents in Kentucky in 1864, Young went on t… Continue Reading

Voter ID and Gun Rights

February 17, 2014

Insofar as it is a case at all, and not merely a political cudgel, the brief against voter ID is simple. Minorities and the poor, advocates charge, disproportionately lack government-issued identification documents, and, as a result of the allegedly arduous process that is required to obtain them, they may struggle in perpetuity to remedy this. In consequence, laws that make presentation of ID the price of exercising a fundamental right are unacceptable - disenfranchising the marginalized, remov… Continue Reading

Oakland Honors Pioneering Aviator

February 15, 2014

The Port of Oakland honored the first African-American female aviator Friday, who briefly worked in the city nearly a century ago, by renaming a portion of Airport Drive as Bessie Coleman Drive. Coleman was a 23-year-old manicurist at a Chicago barber shop in 1915 when accounts of the Flying Aces in World War I inspired her to become a pilot. Unable to gain admission into U.S. flight schools because of her race and gender, Coleman moved to France where she earned her pilot's license. … Continue Reading

Citywise: Fourth Candidate Vies to Be Alameda County School Superintedent

February 14, 2014

A fourth candidate is now running to replace retiring Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan. Helen Foster, who sits on the board of the San Lorenzo Unified School District and works as human resources director for the Hayward Unified School District, said she decided to enter the competitive race after being unimpressed by the pool of three announced contenders. "It doesn't sound like they've got a clear platform of how they would improve on what is the status… Continue Reading

18 In Congress Urge Obama to Ease Limits on Pot

February 13, 2014

Eighteen members of Congress, including sixfrom Northern California, urged President Obama on Wednesday to remove marijuana from the government's list of the most dangerous drugs and allow doctors to prescribe it. "Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic and unfair marijuana laws," the House members said in a letter to Obama. They cited his comment in a New Yorker magazine interview last month that marijuana, which he smoked as a youth, was no more dang… Continue Reading

Take Marijuana off Schedule 1, Bay Area Lawmakers Urge Obama

February 13, 2014

Five Bay Area members of Congress are among 18 lawmakers who sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging the removal of marijuana from the federal Schedule I, which classifies it as equal to heroin and more harmful than methamphetamine or cocaine. In a letter sent to the White House on Wednesday, the signers referred to Obama's comments in a recent New Yorker article that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and called on the first president to admit inhaling to "take action to … Continue Reading

California Lawmakers to President: Back off on Marijuana Penalties

February 13, 2014

President Obama began the pot conversation in a January"New Yorker" interview. The President said he thought marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer." Eighteen members of Congress - including eight Californians - sent a letter this week to the President saying they agree. The February 12th letter to the White House is signed by Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach and Democrats Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, Zoe Lof… Continue Reading

18 Members of Congress Call on Obama to Drop Marijuana From 'Most Dangerous' Category

February 12, 2014

Over a dozen members of Congress are calling on President Barack Obama to reschedule marijuana, with one congressman describing the drug's current classification as "arbitrary and incorrect." On Wednesday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and 17 of his colleagues sent a letter to the president asking him to reconsider the way marijuana is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Currently, the DEA lists cannabis as a Schedule I substance, which the agency defines as the … Continue Reading

Seniors Deserve Our Full Support

February 11, 2014

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before Congress and announced an "unconditional war on poverty." He said rightly, "This will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won." That speech launched the war on poverty, a series of Great Society programs and initiatives that worked to create opportunity and tackle poverty from every angle. Along with Head Start, Jobs Corps, and the Food Stamp Act, came the creation o… Continue Reading

Is Full Employment A Pipe Dream

February 11, 2014

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus joined several of her colleagues in forming the Full Employment Caucus last week. Led by the venerable Congressman John Conyers from Detroit, the Full Employment Caucus will focus its attention on developing ideas that will lead to accelerating employment opportunities for millions of Americans seeking work. "One of the primary vehicles and pathways out of poverty is a job," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "That's what people want. … Continue Reading

Jobs: Boehner-McConnell Hypocricy Blocks Action

February 10, 2014

It's time to call out the hypocrisy of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Republicans saying that President Obama is "ignoring jobs" when they have blocked and continue to oppose the American Jobs Act. This bill, which the President has urged for three years, has a majority in the Senate but Republicans under their Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), used the 60-vote filibuster to block it, and the House leadership under Boehner simply by his dictum likewise will not allo… Continue Reading

Michelle Gillett: A Funny Woman's Serious Campaign

February 04, 2014

I owe Sarah Silverman a huge debt of gratitude. I had been wringing my hands and shaking my head over the news that women's rights and health care are going to be at the center of upcoming political debates and elections. To tell the truth, I was surprised that women's reproductive rights are an "unexpectedly animating issue in the 2014 midterm elections" according to a New York Times article published a couple of weeks ago. As California Democrat, Barbara Lee said, "Here … Continue Reading

Michelle Gillett: A funny woman's serious campaign

February 03, 2014

STOCKBRIDGE I owe Sarah Silverman a huge debt of gratitude. I had been wringing my hands and shaking my head over the news that women's rights and health care are going to be at the center of upcoming political debates and elections. To tell the truth, I was surprised that women's reproductive rights are an "unexpectedly animating issue in the 2014 midterm elections" according to a New York Times article published a couple of weeks ago. As California Democrat, Barbara Lee said… Continue Reading

Barbara Lee Unveils Stamp of Mentor Shirley Chisholm

January 31, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee was a young woman with a large afro and big ambitions when she first met Shirley Chisholm at Mills College in 1972. Chisholm, the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress, told students at Mills she was running for president. Lee, D-Oakland, expressed interest in volunteering for the campaign. Chisholm told her, "Little girl, the first thing you have to do is register to vote. Then you have to get on the inside and help us." So began a 33-year friendshi… Continue Reading

Obamacare Abortion Coverage Faces Threats From House Republicans

January 31, 2014

"Here we go again. It's another battle in the war on women," said Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California after the House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to impose tighter restrictions on federal payments for abortions. Although the bill stands no chance of being passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate and the White House has already threatened to veto the legislation, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act has thrust the issue of a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy to the forefron… Continue Reading

Editorial | New front in GOP war on women

January 30, 2014

Republicans likely thought they could soften their image with women voters Tuesday by selecting U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to offer the rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Smiling sweetly, seated demurely before a fireplace, Rep. Rodgers spoke warmly of family and children, faith in God, a lifetime of hard work and the small events of daily life (kissing the kids goodnight, paying bills) as the GOP's values. Nowhere was the increasingly harsh rhetoric the pub… Continue Reading

White House pool report: Joan Baez, elected officials crowd sold-out SF lunch for Michelle Obama

January 30, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama starred at a sold-out luncheon for 600 at the Fairmont Friday - an event that honored Congressional women including Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Jackie Speier and Barbara Lee. Here's our raw local pool report just filed to the White House: Pool Report #3 First Lady Michelle Obama Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, CA DCCC event First Lady Michelle Obama starred at a Women's Luncheon benefiting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Fairmont Hotel in San Fran… Continue Reading

First Lady Michelle Obama Wraps Up Fundraising Trip in San Francisco

January 30, 2014

Was it the black SUV? Or the second black SUV? The police car? What about that big gray car? These questions swirled through the minds of the Nashville couple straining for a glimpse of First Lady Michelle Obama. A half hour earlier, the couple had abruptly jumped out of a taxi near San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, postponing their trip to the Academy of Sciences for a chance to see the First Lady in person. "We saw this and he knew it was lunchtime for Michelle Obama," said Lee Pratt. "So we p… Continue Reading

First lady Michelle Obama stumps for cash in S.F.

January 29, 2014

Just days after President Obama made income inequality a central theme of his State of the Union address, his wife hit San Francisco for a visit that included no public events - but kicked off with a pair of big-ticket Democratic fundraisers. The first lady wasted no time in urging attendees to translate their beliefs into cash to keep hold of Democratic congressional seats in 2014 midterm races. "We need you to dig deep. We need you to max out right now," Michelle Obama said Thursda… Continue Reading

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