Rep. Speier Holds Youth Town Hall

March 31, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, politics · Comments Off 

Rep. Jackie Speier announced she will be holding a youth town hall on Monday, April 12 for young adults ages 18-25. In an announcement about the town hall, the congresswoman said, “Young people are passionate and full of ideas about how to improve our community, but too often they are not heard. I look forward to spending an evening with them, talking openly about their concerns and see how we can do better.” Those comments are not entirely surprising given that Speier debated the merits of young people during her appearance on The Colbert Report:

Congresswoman Speier represents California’s 12th district, which includes parts of San Francisco and stretches down to Redwood City. The youth town hall will be held from 7:00 to 8:30pm in San Mateo at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Conference Center.

For more information on the town hall visit Jackie Speier’s website.

Gang Injunctions in Oakland

March 18, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, Oakland, politics · Comments Off 

Both Youth Radio and Forum recently covered The City of Oakland’s call for an injunction against North Side Oakland, a gang the police identify as one of the most violent in the city. Youth Radio producer Denise Tejada interviewed a resident who opposes the injunction and wants to see resources allocated to other programs. Read the interview at YouthRadio.org.

Several weeks ago Forum discussed the injunction with representatives from the Oakland city attorney’s office, the Oakland Police Department, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Youth UpRising, a youth development organization. Listen to an archive of the show below.

Youth Radio Video: Cal Students Rally on Day of Action

March 4, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, news, politics, school budget cuts, UC walkouts · Comments Off 

In Case You Missed It: The State of the Union

February 1, 2010 · Filed Under news, politics · Comments Off 

Last week, President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address. The original speech lasted more than an hour. Lucky for you, we put the highlights in a handy dandy two-minute video.

If that got your political juices flowing and you want to know more about the speech, here are some resources worth checking out:

The New York Times.com put together an interactive timeline of the address

Factcheck.org offers non-partisan analysis

KQED’s Forum talked to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) about the speech

California’s Budget: Not A River in Egypt

January 8, 2010 · Filed Under California, economy, education, environment, news, politics · Comments Off 
Justin Short, Office of the Governor

Photo: Justin Short, Office of the Governor

By Molly Samuel

In a nutshell, here’s how California’s budget gets passed: Every year, the governor presents his budget to both houses of the state legislature by January 10. The State Assembly and the State Senate each pass a version of the budget by a two-thirds majority, then a committee works out the differences between the two versions. A final version goes back to the Assembly and Senate, which passes it by two-thirds again and sends it back to the governor, who signs it and voila, a new budget is born.

What I left out of that summary is political grandstanding, difficult if not downright impossible goals, disagreements that will never be resolved, and the current financial crisis. When you factor all of that in, you end up with budgets that pass weeks later than they were supposed to (the 2008-2009 budget, for instance), budgets that are impossible to balance (see 2009-2010), budgets with some really tough options (see this year’s budget), and political humor (State Senate President Darrell Steinberg’s  response to this morning’s proposed budget: “You’ve got to be kidding.” And Assembly Speaker Karen Bass : it’s “a big pile of denial.” Republicans were less sarcastic.)

All hilarity aside, Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2010-2011 budget is likely to draw controversy and may lead to lawsuits. Nothing here is final; this is the initial version of the budget that heads to the legislature. But there are a few proposals that are worth watching:

Eliminate the state sales tax on gas: The idea here is to eliminate the sales tax and replace it with an excise tax. This would lower prices at the pump, which sounds pretty good. But right now the money from that sales tax goes to public transportation, and is also linked to K-12 and community college funding. Without that sales tax, public rail and bus systems could lose a billion dollars, and Democrats are projecting that schools could lose up to two billion dollars.

Fund state parks with revenue from offshore drilling: Last year the Governor proposed allowing oil drilling in a state-owned area called Tranquillion Ridge off the coast of Santa Barbara. That idea was defeated in the legislature. Last year Schwarzenegger also suggested not funding state parks. That idea also didn’t make it very far. This year he’s linked them. Cynical or genius? Could be both.

End state worker furloughs: Last year, to save money, Schwarzenegger began requiring that state employees take three unpaid days a month off of work. Starting in July, the furloughs will end, but everyone will get a pay cut. So, basically, they’ll work more, but not get increased wages. Lawsuits from the unions will probably follow.

Right now the state is short about 20 billion dollars, which is why there are so many cuts in this year’s budget. The Governor is asking the Federal government to give California more than $6 billion that he says is owed to the state. If that doesn’t happen, there could be even more cuts down the line.

Stay tuned for more hilarity.

To learn more:

The California Department of Finance’s explanation of the budget process

The California Department of Finance’s official  summary of the proposed budget

KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers’ Capitol Notes blog

Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers explaining the budget on The California Report

Should Abstinence Education Be Part of Health Care Reform?

December 28, 2009 · Filed Under education, health care, politics · Comments Off 

condoms photoThe national dialogue on health care incorporates many issues that have long divided our country: abortion, immigration, end-of-life care, and now it seems that sex education has joined the list.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sponsored and successfully included legislation that designates $50 million for abstinence education programs in the Senate version of the health care overhaul bill.

The reform bill passed by the House of Representatives in Nov. doesn’t specifcy any funding for abstinance education but does include $50 million for comprehensive sex education programs, which often include discussions of so-called “safer sex” techniques such as using condoms. The Senate bill also includes $75 million for comprehensive sex education programs.

Sex education funding will probably be only a minor part of the discussions to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the health care bill.

To learn more about the funding of abstinence programs, read the full article at The Washington Post.

And if you need to refresh your memory of how a bill becomes a law, nothing beats School House Rock’s classic “I’m Just a Bill.” Check out the video on YouTube.

To learn more about health care reform visit:

COP 15: What Just Happened?

December 22, 2009 · Filed Under environment, international news, news, politics, Uncategorized · Comments Off 

87638111By Molly Samuel

Christmas is looming, New Years’ plans are starting to take shape, and the best song, movie, and book of the decade lists are too numerous to count. Not to mention the fact that the Senate seems to be on its way to passing its version of the health care bill. It all makes the climate talks in Copenhagen seem like they happened so long ago. But the talks went on into weekend. World leaders stayed up all night Friday night trying to reach an agreement, and everyone else is still trying to sort out what it all means.

The hope was that the climate conference in Copenhagen would result in a legally binding agreement on the global response to climate change. That didn’t happen. There’s no legally binding agreement. President Obama worked with other world leaders to create a document, now being called the Copenhagen Accord, and other countries, officially, will “take note” of it. There are some good things in the document: developed nations will give $100 billion dollars to poor nations to help them weather the effects of climate change. Countries will work together to try to keep the world from warming more than two degrees Celsius. Money will go to countries that have historically profited from deforestation to help them preserve their forests. Countries will monitor their emissions.
Read more

Word of the Week: Copenhagen

December 16, 2009 · Filed Under environment, international news, news, politics, science, word of the week · Comments Off 

KQED’s staff and interns return this week to break down another buzz word. This week’s choice was a natural: Copenhagen. Watch the video below to find out what the fuss is all about.

And we aren’t the only ones trying to explain what the heck is happening over there. It looks like Copenhagen, or more specifically COP 15, have been the topics of many explainers the past few weeks. Explainers are what we call features that break down a complex topic in an easy-to-understand and hopefully, entertaining, way. Here are a few we thought worthy of sharing: first, check out the New York Time’s Copenhagen 101 video and Time Magazine’s nice little animated number below:

We also liked the humor that online environmental magazine Grist brought to its coverage and its 15 People to Watch in Copenhagen slide show.

And a final nod to NPR’s Planet Money for the most appropriate use of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.”

Tell us, where do you get information on topics you want to learn more about? Do you prefer text, video, or podcasts? And should we keep trying to be funny or just stick to what we do best?

Does Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Have American Roots?

December 11, 2009 · Filed Under LGBTQ, news, politics · Comments Off 

By Emmanuel Hapsis

Editor’s note: Updated on 12/15/09

Something important is happening in Uganda, but unless you watch The Rachel Maddow Show, you probably haven’t heard much about it. There is a proposed bill (officially called “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill”) in the Uganda parliament that proposes to execute people for having homosexual sex and for being gay and HIV positive. Recently, news outlets reported that Ugandan officials had bowed to international pressure and had removed execution and life-imprisonment from the bill, but David Bahati, a major proponent of the bill, recently denied those reports. The bill is severe with or without the death penalty: it calls for a three year jail penalty for anyone who fails to turn in someone they know to be gay, a seven year sentence for “attempting to commit the offense of homosexuality,” forced “conversion therapy,” and the extradition of any Ugandan who is living abroad and suspected of being gay.

So where did the Ugandan legislators get the idea for this bill? According to Maddow and Time magazine, the work of prominent American evangelicals such as Rick Warren and books such as The Pink Swastika and Coming Out Straight have been used to justify the Ugandan legislation. Below is Maddow’s interview with Richard Cohen, author of Coming Out Straight.

It is important to note that Rick Warren, Pink Swastika author Scott Lively, and several members of the group “The Family,” to which Maddow refers, all recently released statements to the American media denouncing the Ugandan bill.

Further Coverage of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill:

Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill: Inspired by the U.S. at Time Magazine

White House Condemns Uganda Bill at the Advocate.com

A commentary by Log Cabin Republicans spokesman Charles T. Moran at NPR.org

Word of the Week: Afghanistan

December 7, 2009 · Filed Under Digital Natives process, international news, news, politics, Uncategorized, word of the week · Comments Off 

Each week, KQED interns tackle a different word that is dominating headlines. The word for the first week in December was Afghanistan, with just about every show in our newsroom covering President Obama’s decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to the country. Watch what the interns have to say. If your interest is piqued, listen to an episode of Forum that discusses Obama’s decision or The California Report’s story on reactions to news of a possible surge. There are also links to more resources below.

Forum discusses the troop surge:

The California Report talks to liberals about the likely troop surge:

Other articles, shows and resources to help you learn more about Afghanistan:

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