Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 207

I am continuing to focus more on local rather than national issues. This is simply because I am too busy to cover everything and, what with important NYC races, some Wisconsin elections, and some important events in several other states, I think my efforts are better applied to local stuff. Hopefully once my real job queits down and I get some repairs done in my apartment, I will have more attention for national issues. For now all I can say is my crusade against Bank of America, Citibank and AIG seem more justified than ever. Their behavior just gets worse and worse. I will also add that there right now is a clear difference between FedEx and UPS in the delivery business. FedEx is making some serious anti-union efforts while UPS is choosing to cease advertising on Bill O'Reilly's show. Together these actions mean if I possibly can I will not use FedEx and definitely use UPS.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 205

This week, even as I become more convinced than ever that Bush's Republican Recession may be slipping into a Depression, I also see signs of optimism. I see parts of the stimulus package that are helping fellow scientists buy new equipment, which helps the companies and workers that make that equipment, the people who deliver that equipment, and the medical research that depends on that equipment, thus helping America in three ways. I see that even as irresponsible banks like Bank of America and Citibank are crashing at below $10 a share (as low as $2 a share!!!), responsible banks like TD Bank are still at $30 a Share. That is still half their value of a year or so ago, but still ten times the value of Bank of America. The difference? Bank of America and Citigroup participated in predatory lending and sacrificed customer service for petty fees, while places like TD Bank avoided the worst predatory lending and maintained a solid sense of customer service. The difference is reflected in the market. Simple capitalism. After years of Republican Crony Capitalism, the bad companies beg for money while at rock bottom stock prices, while the good companies maintain their value. Keep this in mind when you choose your banks, your credit cards and your investments.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 204

The Republican Party had a little internal power struggle that actually is really quite pathetic. Seems blowhard Rush Limbaugh thinks RNC chair Michael Steele is a traitor because he is trying to steer a more moderate course. Rush wants Steele to join in his expressions of hope that America's recovery fails because he doesn't want Obama to look good. Steele responded by saying he, not Rush, was the head of the Republican Party and that no one should wish America fails. This simple statement sent Rush and his fanatics into spasms of red-faced rage, some of it becoming outright racism (as discussed in this Daily Kos diary chronicling some of the more virulent Republican racism levelled at Obama and Steele). In the end, Steele, the actual guy with a leadership position in the Republican Party and the guy who is trying to be moderate, surrendered and grovelled at Limbaugh's feet. So the Republican Party remains the party that wishes for America to fail.

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White House planning five regional forums on health care reform

Following up on yesterday's health care summit, the White House has announced plans to hold regional forums on health care in five states. From today's press release:

The Regional White House Forums on Health Care Reform will be hosted by the states' Governors and will include participants ranging from doctors to patients to providers to policy experts.  They will be open conversations with everyday Americans, local, state and federal elected officials - both Democrat and Republican -- and senior Obama administration officials.  The events will begin with a video recorded by the President, a summary of the findings from the Health Care Community Discussions that took place in December, and an overview of the discussion that took place at the White House Forum on Health Reform.

The meetings in California, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Vermont will take place in March and early April.  Further logistical information about the forums is forthcoming.

Presumably Iowa was chosen because both of our senators will play an important role in drafting health care legislation. Chuck Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Tom Harkin will be in charge of drafting the parts of the bill concerning disease prevention and public health.

Barack Obama carried all of the five states chosen for these forums, but two of them have Republican governors (Vermont and California). Does the White House have reason to believe that Jim Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger will generally support the president's health care reform agenda?

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 203

With the massive Salmonella recall, the problems with food and pet food contamination from Chinese products, and the general increase in food prices, I am adding listings of local food co-ops for many states I cover. Generally, these offer lower prices and higher quality than general supermarkets. Some require an investment of time and/or money, but some do not. I shopped at a food co-op as a student in San Diego in the 1980's and it really kept my food bills way down. Currently my wife and I have joined the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn, the largest food co-op in America, and although we find aspects of it inconvenient, we do find the prices are much lower and we eat far more healthy now. And NONE of the products we buy were part of the massive recall I discussed a few weeks ago. So take a look at any listings I give for your state, and let me know if you know of any I missed.

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