Articles & Op-Eds

Silicon Valley royalty royally slammed for 'persistent, troubling deficit' of diversity

July 08, 2014

A trio of US Democratic congresswomen have criticized top tech firms' lack of diversity. In an op-ed for The San Jose Mercury News, California Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo and Barbara Lee called out Silicon Valley's technology houses for the low numbers of women and minorities in their ranks. "It is painfully clear the sector faces a persistent and troubling deficit when it comes to women, African-Americans and Latinos," the trio wrote. The congresswomen, who represent the co… Continue Reading

John Nichols: Mark Pocan and Reid Ribble stand together against endless war

July 07, 2014

Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan is a progressive champion who has emerged as a leading national figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party. Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble is a steady conservative who is very much in the mainstream of the Republican Party. By most measures, Pocan and Ribble occupy opposite sides of the partisan divide in Wisconsin and nationally. Yet Pocan and Ribble were early and enthusiastic signers of a letter from House members urging President Obama to avo… Continue Reading

Tech workforce diversity: Recognizing problem is the first step to solving it

July 07, 2014

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant" -- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas Most of us hope all Americans have a fair chance to be successful without regard to ethnicity or gender. But award-winning scientist Scott Page, in his book "The Difference," mathematically proved that diversity makes for greater success in a venture. Diversity is not just an American value, it's good for business. However, the tech world has for too long been dominated by o… Continue Reading

This Independence Day, recommit to the bedrock of our democracy

July 03, 2014

As we gather with friends and family to celebrate the birthday of our great country, we must recommit ourselves to the ideals of that 'more perfect union' and work to 'secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.' The bedrock of that union is the right to vote -- a right won from a king in 1783, won by suffragettes in 1920 and won by Civil Rights activists five decades ago. Today, that right has come under attack. These attacks are no longer the Jim Crow laws or poll tax… Continue Reading

U.S. not preparing Iraq military assault, says top general

July 03, 2014

The U.S. is not close to launching a military assault against an Iraqi insurgent group but “may get to that point” if the militants become a threat to the American homeland, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.Gen. Martin Dempsey told Pentagon reporters that he does not, at this point, believe the U.S. needs to send in an “industrial strength” force with a mountain of supplies to bolster the Iraqi troops as they battle the fast-moving Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or … Continue Reading

House lawmakers want to approve any military action in Iraq

July 03, 2014

A bipartisan group of 80 House lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama this week urging him to seek congressional approval before taking military action in Iraq. The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Scott Rigell (R-Va.), says “the use of military force is something the Congress should fully debate and authorize.” “Members of Congress must consider all the facts and alternatives before we can determine whether military action” would help end the deteriorating secur… Continue Reading

Congresswoman tours campus research facilities

July 02, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee visited three research facilities Wednesday at UC Berkeley, her alma mater, to learn about advanced manufacturing and innovation on campus, which may receive additional federal funding under legislation she co-sponsored. Laboratory managers showed Lee recent projects such as 3-D printing, laser cutting and nanofabrication. Though impressed, she was concerned about the lack of diversity in campus science programs. Since attending UC Berkeley for her master’s degree 39 years ag… Continue Reading

Military Action is Not the Answer in Iraq

June 19, 2014

In 2002, President Bush and his Administration misled the American people by claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to U.S. national security. The White House’s public relations campaign was directed towards one goal: justifying an unnecessary war of choice in Iraq. Congress debated the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force for war in Iraq, and many of us strongly opposed it. On the floor of the House, I offered an amendment that would have preven… Continue Reading

Historic shift in DC over medical pot crackdown

June 06, 2014

Members of Congress whose states allow the medical use of marijuana have been trying since 2003 to stop federal prosecutors from going after state-approved pot suppliers. In one vote after another, they've been beaten back in the House - until now. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, a lead sponsor of the latest hands-off amendment, expected to fall a few votes short of the 218-vote majority needed for passage. But a 219-189 roll call last week approved the measure, which would cut off funding for Justi… Continue Reading

Berkeley town hall speakers focus on collaboration across levels of government

June 05, 2014

More than 200 people congregated at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School on Thursday evening for a town hall meeting that brought together five elected officials at the federal, state, county and local levels to dissect issues deemed relevant to Berkeley citizens. The five officials took advantage of the structure of the event — the first Berkeley town hall in recent memory to integrate multiple levels of government — to illustrate the extent of their behind-the-scenes collaboration and commu… Continue Reading

Alameda: Feds award $3 million grant for new ferry maintenance center

June 03, 2014

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority has received a $3 million federal grant to build a ferry maintenance and operations facility at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. The new facility would consolidate the transit agency's routine maintenance services for its central bay fleet, such as fueling and light repairs, provide offices for day-to-day management, and serve as an emergency operations center in the event of a regional emergency. The U.S. Department of Transportation and F… Continue Reading

Why It Matters That Politicians Have No Experience of Poverty

June 02, 2014

There were a dozen eggs, three mangoes, and six black plums, and that was a problem. The family in the bodega line would have to cut something from the bags waiting on the check out belt—the modest haul overspent the Women, Infants, Children food-assistance voucher good for only a portion of their appetite. The clerk removed three plums and placed them on the far side of the register, declining an offer of safekeeping from a family member she deemed had other intentions. Perhaps you’ve seen a… Continue Reading

Experience has taught Rep. Barbara Lee a lot

June 01, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee has been around Washington, D.C., for a long time. She remembers watching President Richard Nixon's helicopter take off after he resigned when she was an intern. As a staff member for Congressman Ron Dellums and then as a congresswoman herself, she has worked during the Ford, Carter, Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. But she says she's never before seen the obstructionist tactics that have defined Congress under President Barack Obama. "Anything he puts forth,… Continue Reading

House Votes to End Medical Marijuana Prosecutions

May 30, 2014

Medical marijuana advocates are celebrating what is a surprising bipartisan result in the highly polarized House of Representatives: Early Friday morning, 49 Republicans and 170 Democrats joined forces to pass a measure that would stop federal interference with state medical marijuana laws. The 219-189 vote came as the House completed work on an appropriations bill for the Justice and Commerce departments and several other agencies. Among more than two dozen amendments was one introduced by R… Continue Reading

House Blocks DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana

May 30, 2014

Reflecting growing national acceptance of cannabis, a bipartisan coalition of House members voted early Friday to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws. An appropriations amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) prohibiting the DEA from spending funds to arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers passed 219-189. The Senate will likely consider its own appropriation… Continue Reading

House Passes Bill to End Medical Marijuana Raids by the DEA

May 30, 2014

In an unprecedented move Thursday night, the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that prevents the Drug Enforcement Administration from raiding state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Just after midnight, the vote won with 219 ayes, including an unexpected 49 Republicans and 170 Democrats. It’s the first time Congress has approved a major marijuana law reform, which shows the changing tide of marijuana policy in the United States—and suggests a new day is rising in the war on … Continue Reading

Early childhood development programs can greatly impact children’s ability to earn more in adulthood

May 30, 2014

In the Friday (May 30) edition of the journal Science, researchers find that early childhood development programs are particularly important for disadvantaged children in Jamaica and can greatly impact an individual's ability to earn more money as an adult. The 20-year study, "Labor Market Returns to an Early Childhood Stimulation Intervention in Jamaica" by University of California, Berkeley, professor Paul Gertler, an economist at the Haas School of Business and the School of Public Health,… Continue Reading

Immigration Reform 2014: Latina Women Share Immigration Horror Stories on Capitol Hill, Ask Congress to Consider Families

May 29, 2014

Members of Congress united with activist leaders, DREAMers, immigrant mothers and families on Thursday in Washington, D.C. to discuss the challenges facing those with immigration issues and their families. Their goal was to encourage legislators to focus on the impact today's immigration policies have on women and children, a group strongly involved in said policy but seldom heard. During the hearing, some important, yet lesser-known facts regarding immigration were shared.According to And… Continue Reading

Maya Angelou’s San Francisco Legacy Remembered

May 28, 2014

The poet and author Maya Angelou, known for her many books and autobiographies, including her 1969 work, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” passed away today at the age of 86. While she was well known for her literary achievements, Angelou, born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, was also a singer, actress, civil rights activist and, according to the author herself, San Francisco’s first black female streetcar conductor. Angelou moved to the Bay Area when she was a young teenager and, accord… Continue Reading

Liberal Dems slam Obama's Afghanistan timeline

May 28, 2014

Liberal Democrats are lining up in staunch opposition to President Obama's plan to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. The lawmakers — including leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), members of the Armed Services Committee, and at least one prominent voice in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — say the administration's timeline is far too protracted, putting American lives at risk and wasting precious taxpayer dollars much better spent at home. The… Continue Reading

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