RECENTLY, A LONGTIME FORMER CONTRIBUTOR to The Herald’s Forum page who has railed ad nauseam against Obama and liberals for years suddenly found himself championing the Big Government excesses of the Obama administration. His volte face only extended to unfettered NSA snooping — but conservatives better keep an eye on him. That could well be the thin end of the wedge.
In his screed, the writer stated that Verizon turned over Americans’ phone records to the NSA. But Verizon was not the only company that did so; AT&T coughed up the records, too. In 2006, this pair, along with a third stooge, BellSouth, secretly turned over their records under the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. This week the Washington Post revealed that the NSA is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the location of hundreds of millions of cell phones around the world, enabling the agency to track citizens’ movements and map their relationships in a manner that is almost unimaginable in its intrusion and scope. Presciently, perhaps Hollywood got it right in 1967 with the film “The President’s Analyst,” in which TPC (The Phone Company) knows everything about everyone and is secretly running the whole shootin’ match. Read the rest of this entry »
“(T)he nation is not, in fact, ‘broke.’ … So there’s no need to scramble to slash spending now now now; we can and should be willing to spend now if it will produce savings in the long run.” — Paul Krugman
THE ABOVE ADVICE FROM KRUGMAN, Nobel prize winner and former economic adviser to Enron, as Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto refers to him, reads almost like the punch line to the old joke in the headline above.
Krugman’s observation was made more than two years ago, and the hole we are in just keeps getting deeper — in part because of basic failures of leadership in Washington, D.C. Added to that you have Nancy Pelosi, who during the recent debate on the government shutdown displayed her own economic acumen: “The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. We all want to reduce the deficit. Put everything on the table, review it, but you cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts.” Read the rest of this entry »
Another hospitalized; pet rescued
By Donna Beth Weilenman
One person has died and another remains hospitalized in San Francisco after being pulled from a burning home at 340 Larkin Drive early Thursday morning, authorities said.
A dog described as belonging to the elderly couple also was rescued and was taken by Benicia Animal Control to a veterinary hospital, they said.
The fire was reported about 2:06 a.m. by a newspaper carrier, Benicia fire Chief Jim Lydon and Benicia police Lt. Frank Hartig said. Read the rest of this entry »
By Guy Benjamin
A LOCAL REALTOR CALLED ME LAST WEEK to request that I consult with a couple referred to him by a Realtor from out of the area. The couple had been looking at homes for many months and had been “pre-approved” for a home purchase of up to $550,000.
Recent job changes required that they relocate from their current home. The Realtor had shown them several properties and they were excited about the prospect of purchasing a home that had recently been renovated and seemed perfect for their young family.
But in our initial conversation, I detected a couple of red flags that raised concerns about the validity of their pre-approval letter. I suggested they gather some basic documentation and allow me to do a more in-depth analysis of their ability to purchase this home. Read the rest of this entry »
Crewmember Report: Benicia, California, Spaceship Earth: ‘Corporation 2020: Transforming Business for Tomorrow’s World’
By Constance Beutel
TWO WEEKS AGO I MENTIONED THE WEALTH OF SUSTAINABILITY INFORMATION available on the Internet through sources like iTunes U. I decided to get a tune-up for myself by searching out a session from Yale University via their Sustainability Leaders series.
I’m also doing some work for colleagues at a local university on their vision for 2020, so I couldn’t help but pick the Yale discussion led by Pavan Sukhdev, CEO and founder of Green Indian States Trust (GIST), with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Vincent Stanley, that clothing company’s acting vice president of marketing.
Mr. Sukhdev wanted to explore the intersection of public profit and social good to see how Patagonia has addressed the issues of creating a way forward that reduces the current disparities between rich and poor and doesn’t create further economic, social and environmental problems. Read the rest of this entry »
Benicia police said Thursday morning that one of two residents pulled from a house fire on the 300 block of Larkin Drive has died. Story to follow …
Weekend of holiday cheer ahead
By Donna Beth Weilenman
From the lighting of the evergreen at the foot of First Street to the Christmas Parade next week, Benicia’s holiday celebration is in full swing.
While Benicia Main Street helped the city start its holiday commercial activities the Saturday before Thanksgiving with “Earlier Than The Bird” promotions, many residents have been looking forward to the events that take place this week.
First Street merchants, Main Street and the city have collaborated again for the popular downtown Holiday Open House that begins at 6 p.m. Friday.
The street will be closed to motorized traffic so pedestrians can browse up and down the local stores, where merchants will be offering refreshments. Read the rest of this entry »