Election Answers No Questions for Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday November 09, 2012 - 11:14:00 AM

Well, election day has come and gone, and have we learned anything?

One thing which we seem to have learned is that despite all the weeping and gnashing of teeth by certain parties, Americans seem to think that Barack Obama is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. That’s sort of a mandate: You have our permission not to screw up. Nothing wrong with that, but the guy’s still walking a tightrope.

The difference between 2008 and 2012 is that the penalty for trying something bolder is much less, thanks to term limits. Whatever he does, Obama will be out in four years, and that must feel like liberation.

Let’s hope he takes advantage of the opportunity and proposes trying something radical like—oh, I don’t know—taxing the rich. Dealing with immigration. Closing Guantanamo. Improving health care. Replacing No Child Left Behind with something better, not just more of the same. Pursuing a real Keynesian stimulus program instead of the watered-down imitation he tried in the first term. Spending the money on things we really need: not more school buildings, but more teachers. We all have lots of ideas about what he could do, don’t we?

Here in Berkeley, the situation is a bit different. The Mayor-for-Life, free from the nasty constraints imposed by term limits, has been re-elected by Berkeleyans who have a strong emotional investment in believing that—cue up the tune from Bernstein’s Candide—This is the Best of All Possible Worlds. In fact, all the incumbents were re-elected. No surprise—we love eating our organic lotuses, and we boast of having the best restaurants in the world to cook them up and serve them to us on silver platters .

Some fun has been made in other quarters of the headline in a local “news site” over a post-election insider interview with Bates: “Mayor Bates hails election as harbinger of change.” I’m not sure the headline writer didn’t have a certain ironic consciousness in writing that line—since by design not much is going to change under the new term won by the old regime. -more-


Odd Bodkins: Take Five (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday November 09, 2012 - 12:50:00 PM

Bounce: Don't Ask (Cartoon)

By Joseph Young
Friday November 09, 2012 - 01:03:00 PM

Public Comment

New: President Obama's Victory and How It Helps Persons with Mental Illness

By Jack Bragen
Monday November 12, 2012 - 10:40:00 AM

The main reason why right-minded people dislike the Republicans is probably that Republicans are mean. Republicans don't care if other people who are not in the rich mean people's club experience suffering. Republicans don't care about helping their fellow human being unless there is something in it for them. They are willing to amass huge piles of wealth while others nearby are starving. They go to church every Sunday and get forgiven because they need to get some relief from the ever-present guilt of being nasty people. -more-

New: Vote ‘United for Community Radio’for the KPFA Local Station Board

By Akio Tanaka [KPFA LSB Member 2006-2012]
Wednesday November 14, 2012 - 08:04:00 PM

Current situation and background -more-

New: Winning Proposition 30

By Harry Brill
Saturday November 10, 2012 - 09:33:00 AM

What a joy to win the uphill battle on behalf of the California tax measure, Prop 30. The grass roots effort to win Prop 30 was immense. The Berkeley based Tax the Rich group which in alliance with The Wellstone Democratic Party encouraged hundreds of activists to reach thousands of likely voters. We organized a vigorous people's campaign, which was more effective than the tens of millions of dollars that the super-rich spent to defeat it. -more-