Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Obama health care: President Obama turns to grassroots help

Related searches: President Obama, health care reform, washington politics, grassroots politics, the daily beast, the huffington post, gop health care, republicans, democrats

Just after President Obama gave a speech that The Huffington Post called "Obama's Last Stand" this blogger got an email from the Obama campaign that was a reach back to the days when then-Senator Barack Obama was running for President. In The Daily Beast video below, President Obama calls for an "up or down" vote on Health Care, in effect, laying down the gauntlet and saying "I do not know how this plays politically, but I know it's right...Let's get it done."

Then, this email appeared from the Obama campaign called "A final vote on health reform". It was edited to remove links and words that only report on link direction so that the post can be cross-placed; only the text appears:

Zenophon --

Last Thursday's first-of-its-kind summit capped off a debate that has lasted nearly a year. Every idea has now been put on the table. Every argument has been made. Both parties agree that the status quo is unacceptable and gets more dire each day. Today, I want to state as clearly and forcefully as I know how: Now is the time to make a decision about the future of health care in America.

The final proposal I've put forward draws on the best ideas from all sides, including several put forward by Republicans at last week's summit. It will put Americans in charge of their own health care, ensuring that neither government nor insurance company bureaucrats can ration, deny, or put out of financial reach the care our families need and deserve.

I strongly believe that Congress now owes the American people a final vote on health care reform. Reform has already passed the House with bipartisan support and the Senate with a super-majority of sixty votes. Now it deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that has been routinely used and has passed such landmark measures as welfare reform and both Bush tax cuts.

Earlier today, I asked leaders in both houses of Congress to finish their work and schedule a vote in the next few weeks. From now until then, I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform. And now, I'm asking you, the members of the Organizing for America community, to raise your voice and do the same.

The final march for reform has begun, and your participation is crucial. Please commit to join with me to take reform across the finish line.

Essentially, my proposal would change three things about the current health care system:

First, it would protect all Americans from the worst practices of insurance companies. Never again will the mother with breast cancer have her coverage revoked, see her premiums arbitrarily raised, or be forced to live in fear that a pre-existing condition will bar her from future coverage.

Second, my proposal would give individuals and small businesses the same choice of private health insurance that members of Congress get for themselves. And my proposal says that if you still can't afford the insurance in this new marketplace, we will offer you tax credits based on your income -- tax credits that add up to the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.

Finally, my proposal would bring down the cost of health care for everyone -- families, businesses, and the federal government -- and bring down our deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades. These savings mean businesses small and large will finally be freed up to create jobs and increase wages. With costs currently skyrocketing, reform is vital to remaining economically strong in the years and decades to come.

In the few crucial weeks ahead, you can help make sure this proposal becomes law.

When I talked about change on the campaign, this is what I was talking about: coming together to solve a huge problem that has been troubling America for 100 years and standing up to the special interests to deliver a brighter, smarter future for generations to come.

I look forward to signing this historic reform into law. And when I do, it will be because your organizing played an essential role in making change possible.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

It's clear President Obama's pulling out all the stops to win the Health Reform battle. And why not? There are more people without health care than ever before and the situation's only getting worse, not better. The time to make changes in the health care system started decades go and only now is American catching up to the problem in the form of any policy action.  It just happens to be at a time when it's needed the most.

President Obama should do it with 51 votes and get this over with. Even if "Reconciliation" (as it's called when a bill that mandates tax and spending actions is passed with 51 votes) upsets Republicans, so what? Republicans have shown no remorse in upsetting President Obama. Obama's not going to "nice-them" to fall in line; it's not working. Sometimes, when all else fails, a good, legal Presidential punch in the mouth is a good thing.

That time has come.

Daily Cal asks where will you be on Student Action Day March 4th?

Related searches: u.c. berkeley, california berkeley, uc action day, california education, student protests berkeley, berkeley, california, uc system protests

Tomorrow is March 4th, Student Action Day in Berkeley and around the University of California's statewide campus system.

Student Action Day is held to protest the dramatic tuition increases and budget cuts that have plagued U.C. system students. In the video below, The Daily Cal asks "Where will you be on March 4?" Many of the students presented said they would be in class or studying for a midterm.

But as one looks around the Internet, Student Action Day is a Worldwide happening, just on different days. For example, The University of Toronto had a student action day November 5th, 2008 and there was one November 5th at the University of Ottawa.

In fact, the Student Action Day was nationwide in Canada and all over the same issues that the U.C. Student Action Day is about: tuition and budget cuts. One day, some brilliant genius will start one Worldwide Student Action Day.

Where will you be on March 4th? Stay tuned.

Nissan recall, Toyota recall, Ford beating GM in sales

If you're older than 35, you can remember a time when Ford cars and General Motors cars always seemed to be the subject of auto recall news. You can remember when Nissan and Toyota were symbols of quality and the term "recall" was never associated with them. You can remember GM selling a lot of cars, too.

Well, that's in the past. Today, the news leads with a massive Nissan recall, a Toyota recall that's crippled the brand, and Ford beating GM in sales. Why the 180 degree turn in auto industry brand expectations and performance? Before this blogger focuses on that question, a recap of recent events.

On wednesday, Nissan announced a recall of 539,864 vehicles for brake pin and fuel gauge problems. The recall effects six Nissan brands (Titan, Armada, Frontier, Pathfinder, Quest, and Xterra), the luxury Infinity model the OX56. While Nissan, like other car companies, has had recalls of individual model brands from time to time, this is the largest recall in their history. The Nissan press release with the full information is here: NISSAN RECALL INFO.

Just a month before it was Toyota with a massive recall effort that's now damaged the brand's reputation for quality and safety. The culprit? A gas pedal accelerator problem that results in sudden car acceleration. The Toyota problem impacts millions of their cars around the World, and is now exacerbated by the perception that Toyota's management is moving too slowly to fix the problem.

Toyota and Nissan are starting to look very much like the Ford and GM of the past. And in the 21st Century, it's Ford that's emerged as the quality, top selling car brand. Ford is the one U.S. auto organization that did not accept a large American government bailout (even though Ford Worldwide has pressured the German government to extend that nation's version of the "Cash-for-Clunkers" program), making key concessions with its unions to lower costs and avoid additional layoffs in 2010. Now, Ford is hiring: an additional 1,200 workers at its new Explorer plant in Chicago.

Ford has also beat GM is sales and leads for the first time since 1998, to some small extent because of "bailout backlash" but the real reason is Ford has really worked the rental car and business market and Toyota has the problems mentioned above. Part of the reason is Ford finally has some interesting cars at lower prices and hot cars like the Mustang never seem to wane (but there's Lincoln brand, which this blogger maintains is not what it used to be and has been badly mismanaged).

What's happened is the end of the fall of the American car company. After decades of market share reduction, cross-tech sharing with foreign car makers and Worldwide auto market focus, the Ford, GM, and Chrysler brands have become the Japan of the 21st Century. Ford, in particular, has made cost cutting concessions and taken on innovative marketing approaches in the case of the Ford Fiesta that seem far different than what the firm was historically known for.

It's a new day. While it's too early to call it "the new normal" in this industry that seems to be in a constant state of flux, the result is the slow resurgence of the American car and at just the right time.

San Francisco has Oakland-style robbery on The Embarcadero

Related searches: city of oakland, city and county of san francisco, california crime news, takeover robbery in san francisco, oakland eatery, restaurant news

If anyone needs a sign that the economy is not what it used to be, they got one today. According to, a San Francisco restaurant experienced an Oakland-style robbery.

Chaya Brasserie on 132 The Embarcadero was robbed by seven people, all men (no description), and all with knifes. They tied up the two people who were there at 12:15 in the morning today, Wednesday, and took money out of the cash register.

This is a robbery that, in the past, as little as three years ago, would have happened in Oakland. In fact it did. In April of 2006 Grand Avenue between Lake Park (where the Grand Lake Theater is) and Mandana Avenue was haunted by a robber who first hit Smity's bar, then Bangkok Palace Restaurant.

In the case of Bangkok Palace, one of the employees, 29-year-old Sonethavy Phomsouvandara, was shot inside by the robber, late, while he was working. Merchants wondered and feared which establishment would be hit next. The "takeover" robbers terrorized Oakland for the next two year, and there's no record of anyone being apprehended.

Correction: three people were arrested in 2008, who police believed were the takeover robbers.

Did they go over to San Francisco? Does this mean it's a new day in Oakland with all of the new eateries and no reported crime so far? Or does this mean the robbers know that Oaklanders have been so used to such activities that Oaklanders aren't afraid to knock the crap out of them? Or pack a gun to protect their business? Just wondering?

Stay tuned.

Naomi Campbell: New York Police want supermodel after assault claim

Related searches: NYPD naomi campbell, new york fashion model, New York City News, Cadillac Escalade, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, New York Daily News, RadarOnline

Super-hot Naomi Campbell is sought by the New York Police for questioning, but not arrest and want the supermodel to appear after an assault claim. According to the New York Daily News, 27 year old Miodrag Mejdina claims the apparently super-strong Naomi Campbell beat him up while he drove her in her Cadillac Escalade.

After the Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren golf club window smashing episode of last Thanskgiving night 2009, it seems the Cadillac Escalade is now the car of choice for celebrity conflicts.

Miodrag Mejdina did not press charges against Naomi Campbell. NYPD issued something called a "harassment report" which does not carry a penalty. What we don't know is why she flipped out, but Campbell allegedly whacked him pretty good. Miodrag Mejdina got treatment for "bruising and a swollen eye after Campbell's attack" according to

Naomi Campbell reportedly slammed his head into the steering wheel.

Buy something is fishy here. This blogger thinks Miodrag Mejdina may not be telling the truth. This is a case of "he said" because there's no evidence Naomi Campbell hit Miodrag Mejdina.

Miodrag Mejdina could have abruptly stopped the car and hit his head, and knowing Campbell's history, told this story to get insurance help. Gotta let this play out.

Stay tuned.

The Hurt Locker team distances itself from Chartier, faces lawsuit

Related searches: ebert oscar pics, oprah winfrey, roger ebert talks, ebert voice synthesizer, anti-Avatar emails, ampas, oscar best picture

The Hurt Locker under fire
This update in the amazing PR implosion of the Roger Ebert-favorite The Hurt Locker, has The Daily Beast's Nicole LaPorte reporting that the war movie's top producers are distancing themselves from the actions (and it seems the very person) of fellow producer Nicolas Chartier, the President of Voltage Pictures in Los Angeles. And The Hurt Locker's producers are facing a large lawsuit on the part of the real soldier around which the movie's story was built.

To recap, the Los Angeles Times' blogger Peter Hammond reported on February 23rd that Nicolas Chartier was "making pleas to friends and friends of friends to get out the vote for "Hurt Locker" like it was some sort of political grass-roots campaign". Hammond also posted a copy of the email:

From: "Nicolas Chartier" Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010

I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to write you and say I hope you liked Hurt Locker and if you did and want us to win, please tell (name deleted) and your friends who vote for the Oscars, tell actors, directors, crew members, art directors, special effects people, if everyone tells one or two of their friends, we will win and not a $500M film, we need independent movies to win like the movies you and I do, so if you believe The Hurt Locker is the best movie of 2010, help us!

I'm sure you know plenty of people you've worked with who are academy members whethere a publicist, a writer, a sound engineer, please take 5 minutes and contact them. Please call one or two persons, everything will help!

best regards,

Nicolas Chartier
Voltage Pictures

The initial reaction to the anti-Avatar email news was mixed. While Hammond wrote in a tone of shock as Chartier's action is a violation of Academy rules prohibiting one nominee from criticizing the film of another nominee (an Olympics bid rule, by the way) , legendary entertainment business blogger Nikke Finke wrote on Deadline this after Chertier reported that he did send the email:

Oy, now there's even more about Oscar badmouthing, and this is even more unimportant. I've learned that Hurt Locker financier and producer Nicolas Chartier today admitted to Summit Entertainment he sent more emails about Avatar. But these weren't mass mailings to Oscar voters; rather, they were simply individual messages sent to personal acquaintances, including one that specifically said Avatar should be placed No. 10 on the Best Pictures list.

And that was after Finke's initial take, which was both revealing of what's going on in Oscar competition, and classically, well, Nikke, outing the actions of AMPAS' Ryan Dekorte:

So what if on Feb 19th Chartier sent out that e-mail message asking for Hurt Locker votes and not that "$500M film". When it appeared in my email, I laughed. Not only because the Voltage Pictures partner didn’t have the guts to even mention Avatar by name. But for months now I have been sent so many emails from so many studios and filmmakers and flacks and insiders badmouthing every rival nominee this Oscar season and talking up their own. How the hell am I to tell them apart? Or tattle on them all? This is the down and dirty system which AMPAS hath wrought and doth condone. And no one is surprised by it, least of all the Academy. In fact, this morning AMPAS' Ryan Dekorte, the executive offices awards assistant, forwarded today's New York Times' "Carpetbagger" blog account of the Chartier email to every Hollywood flack and Oscar campaigner. So now the Academy was badmouthing The Hurt Locker for badmouthing Avatar! A minute later, Dekorte sent out this apology, "Sorry y’all…hit the wrong button. Feel free to toss." But, as those prosecutors on Law & Order always tell the judge, "You can't unring the bell."

And that leads to the unawered question of how much of this is the LA Times and the media fanning an email that may not have been "widely distributed" as has been reported. Moreover, what I find interesting is that both Nikke Finke and more angrily Scott Feinberg of And The Winner Is blog have inferred that others connected with Oscar nominated movies have launched email smear campaigns of their own. This is what Scott Feinberg tweeted:

ScottFeinberg The banning of THE HURT LOCKER producer from the Oscars is bullshit. If you're gonna ban him, you should ban 20 others too. RT if you agree.
about 7 hours ago via TweetDeck

The magnanimous thing to do -- which would go a long way to helping his own rep -- would be for Cameron to ask AMPAS to pardon Chartier.
about 6 hours ago via TweetDeck

If AMPAS says yes *or* no, he'd look generous/above it all... and really, does keeping Chartier away help anyone? Everyone does what he did.
about 6 hours ago via TweetDeck

And over at Awards Daily's Twitter account, Sasha Stone agrees with Feinstein:

@ScottFeinberg I am glad to see you too are outraged. Most everyone else it's like Prozac nation.
about 6 hours ago via TweetDeck in reply to ScottFeinberg

Well, not here.

While the media has been busy feeding on this story, this space included, The Hurt Locker team was busy throwing their rogue colleague under the bus. The Daily Beast's Nicole LaPorte's article is a blistering character assassination of Chartier that's boarderline criminal:

Described as a "reactive" personality prone to fits of anger, and who, at one point or another, tried to fire (The Hurt Locker Screenwriter Mark) Boal, the film's accountant, line producer, and even the travel agent, Chartier was banned from The Hurt Locker set.

LaPorte also reports that Chartier raised (she used the term "put-up") $15 million to get the film made. There's no word on who leaked the email to Peter Hammond.

And with all this, we have the new and unfolding charge by Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver that the whole story that is The Hurt Locker is actually based on this 2005 Playboy article with him by the same Mark Boal who was embedded as a journalist in Iraq with Sarver. There's a press conference to announce a lawsuit that claims the story is Sarver's and is not original.

And all of this with just five days to Oscar. Stay tuned.