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Briefs

Crass Bush Bash

The nonpartisan Center for American Progress has put President George W. Bush's $40 million inaugural bash into perspective. Should a wartime president really party that hearty? FDR didn't think so, and spent only $2,000 ($20,000 in today's dollars) on his 1945 inauguration. With that $40 million, the Center suggests Bush would have been wiser to purchase 200 Humvees outfitted with top-of-the-line armor, 26,000 Kevlar vests or pay each American soldier serving in Iraq a $290 bonus. And the crassest Bush bash fact? The administration forced the city of Washington, D.C.--where the president pulled in a dismal 9 percent of the vote last November--to provide $17 million in security for the event.

Radical Centrist

Although there's no doubt that some of her constituents suspect she's a radical, who would have guessed that U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, is part of the growing radical middle? Probably not even Woolsey herself, but that's the view from--where else?--the Radical Middle, a political newsletter edited by Mark Satin, whose previous works include the noted Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada. Satin says that a legislator can be considered to be in the radical middle if he or she supports legislation that draws on good policy ideas wherever they're found and is bold enough to address fundamental issues in creative ways. He's even designed a radical middle congressional scorecard, and wouldn't you know it, Woolsey made the grade. One notable absence from the list: California Senator Barbara Boxer, one of the few Democrats in the Senate who's stood up to the bullying Bush administration. For more information, go to www.radicalmiddle.com.

Grocery Strike Off

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 101 can put their picket signs away--at least for now. On Jan. 23, the union reached tentative agreement with Albertsons, Safeway, Ralph's and Kroger on a new contract, the details of which were not available at press time. The UFCW had threatened to picket and/or boycott these stores in the Bay Area--including stores in Napa and St. Helena--if the supermarkets failed to reach an agreement by Jan. 24. Last year, 70,000 UFCW workers walked off the job in southern California in a bitter five-month strike over proposed cuts in healthcare benefits. The supermarkets say the cutbacks are necessary in order to compete with more than 40 WalMart Superstores scheduled to be built in California.

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From the January 26-February 1, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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