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Occupy the Hood Boston

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I’m a big supporter of people taking action.  The recent Occupy Wall Street protests taking place all over the country puts a little smile on my face.  FINALLY people not just talking and finally doing something.  Will I be at … Continue reading

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No Hollywood Ending To Schwarzenegger’s Term

by Ina Jaffe – NPR News

As Arnold Schwarzenegger exits California’s governor’s office on Monday, he leaves behind a $28 billion budget shortfall.

“The Governator” came into office with sky-high approval ratings, but he ends his term with a near-record low approval of just 23 percent — and a mixed political legacy.

A Look Back

Many politicians say they thought long and hard about their decision to run for office, but no one said it quite like bodybuilder-turned-movie star Schwarzenegger did when he announced his candidacy for California governor on The Tonight Show.

“It was the most difficult decision that I’ve made in my entire life — except the one in 1978, when I decided to get a bikini wax,” he said.

That should have been signal enough that Schwarzenegger wasn’t going to reinvent himself to become a politician.

He took advantage of a unique opportunity — an unprecedented election to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger won easily and brought his macho swagger and Hollywood flash to the state Capitol.

“I’d never been around that kind of star power before,” says Democrat and former Senate leader Don Perata. “I was really stunned by the way people reacted to him and the enormity of his popularity.”

Politically, this new governor was hard to define. He was a Republican and fiscal conservative who also supported gay rights and gun control. People didn’t just expect Schwarzenegger to govern California; they expected him to save it. It was an expectation the new governor did nothing to discourage in his inauguration speech.

“I have never been afraid of the fight, and I have never been afraid of the hard work,” he said then. “I will not rest until our fiscal house is in order. I will not rest until California is a competitive job-creating machine. I will not rest until the people of California come to see their government as a partner in their lives, and not a roadblock to their dreams.”

But Schwarzenegger himself created a roadblock that very day, say his critics. He rolled back the unpopular car tax, leaving a $4 billion hole in the budget.

A Devastating Defeat

Two years later, Schwarzenegger made a devastating decision. He called a special election on a raft of ballot measures that targeted many things that Democrats and unions hold dear.

“I just never thought that a fight where you’re taking on every special interest makes a lot of sense,” says Schwarzenegger’s fellow Republican and former Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte. “In Hollywood, the one guy with the pistol beats the 15 guys with machine guns, but in the real world, I don’t know that that’s the way it works.”

The superstar governor who had promised to fix California’s financial mess presented voters with a hodgepodge of measures. Only one of them had anything to do with the budget. The others dealt with political reform and teacher tenure. Schwarzenegger also wanted to make it harder for unions to spend dues money on politics — which made unions spend money like water to go after him.

In a TV spot, uniformed police officers expressed their disappointment. “You’re not the governor we though you’d be,” one said.

All of Schwarzenegger’s initiatives were defeated, leading him to do something rare for politicians: He apologized, sort of, during his State of the State speech.

“I have absorbed my defeat and I have learned my lesson,” he said.

But he lost his aura of invincibility forever. Perata says Schwarzenegger became a man without a country. His fellow Republicans reviled him for working with the majority Democrats. And those Democrats in the legislature felt like they could now confront him.

The ‘Green’ Governor?

As California’s budget deficit has grown and the economy has tanked, there’s a nagging feeling that it didn’t have to be this way, says journalist Lou Cannon, who has written biographies of California’s other celebrity governor, Ronald Reagan.

Cannon says Schwarzenegger could have “come out for more revenue sources early on, when he was popular. And he chose, for whatever reason, not to do that. And I think that he didn’t take advantage of his political honeymoon.”

But Cannon says that history may judge Schwarzenegger much differently than the voters do now. “If you’re making a judgment now, I have a sense of disappointment that Schwarzenegger didn’t fulfill his promise. But I don’t think the final judgment is in.”

For historians, it may not be all about the budget. Schwarzenegger did have some successes, and their effects won’t be known for years. Chief among these are his environmental measures, like signing a bill to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and requiring a third of California’s energy to come from renewable sources by the year 2020.

Bill Magavern, head of the Sierra Club of California, says Schwarzenegger has been a great ambassador for the issue of climate change.

“Schwarzenegger reaches people who might otherwise not be listening when global warming is discussed,” he says.

But Magavern complains that Schwarzenegger has been too easy on major polluters, that he’s been inconsistent on offshore drilling and that he tried to shut down the state parks to save money.

“There’ve been those who have painted him as the ‘green’ governor. That’s an oversimplification,” he says. “There have been others who have said, ‘Oh, it’s all phony — it’s all press releases and photo ops.’ And that’s also an oversimplification.”

‘Truly Historic’

There’s more agreement on another one of Schwarzenegger’s initiatives: a nearly $40 billion program to rebuild the state’s decaying roads, bridges and levees. Not very sexy. But Brulte, the former Senate minority leader, predicts it will make both voters and politicians happy for years to come.

“For the next decade or two, politicians of both parties will be going to ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings, taking political credit for initiatives that began under Arnold Schwarzenegger,” he says.

Finally, there are two Schwarzenegger initiatives that — love ’em or hate ’em — are going to shake up California elections. First, legislative districts will now be drawn by an independent commission, instead of the legislature. And from now on, all candidates in primary elections will run on a single ballot. The top two will make it to the runoff, even if they’re both from the same party.

“Those two political reforms, in and of themselves, are truly historic,” Brulte says.

But so is California’s financial crisis, and it’s hard to know now whether Schwarzenegger will be judged on his historic successes — or failures. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Image Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Bombshell of the Month: Aung San Suu Kyi

This bombshell, Aung San Suu Kyi, is the face and the symbol of the struggle to free the people of Burma, India.  She’s also a Nobel Peace laureate.  The daughter of an assassinated Burma independence hero, Aung San, Mrs. Suu Kyi was born to fight for freedom.  Burma’s repressive laws, restricted freedoms and a dictatorship that allows people to be detained without trial, thrusted Suu Kyi in the country’s nationwide democracy uprising.   After a military coup in 1988, she became the General Secretary of a new pro-democracy party called the National League for Democracy (NLD).  Naturally the regime fought back brutally murdering 5,000 people of Burma.  After intense international pressure, the dictatorship was forced to call a general election which really didn’t matter because they never recognized NLD’s staggering win.  Suu Kyi has spent the last 20 years on and off detention and house arrest.  She was released on November 13, 2010 – her third period of detention.  The struggle is still not over.  She is calling for the release of 2,000 more political prisoners. 

Power to the people.

*yawn* Bristol the “Pistol” is still shooting blanks

My mother is a self-proclaimed Dancing With The Stars junky.  She doesn’t allow talking during the show.  No phone calls.  Don’t ask her for a damn thing.  You better not walk in the house with a gunshot wound.  If you die in the middle of the den, your body better not fall in front of the tv.  Since I’ve been on a very long extended stay back home I’ve been forced to watch this horrid show.  Yeah, I said it.  HORRID.  But what’s even more horrid than the show is that damn Bristol Palin.  I think I’ve always been mature enough to give credit when it’s due but no one can tell me this girl is not still on JUST because of her ding-bat mother.   This girl CAN NOT dance.  Period.  She’s horrible.  Just look at the picture above.  She can’t even pose good.  But as I look further into the shows demographics, my mother is not the demographic.  It’s made up of majority tea-baggers.. I mean tea partyers.  *shrugs*