What Passes for Victory in California

California CrackupMark Paul, one of the authors of California Crackup, addresses the state budget and the low, low bar for success in his recent blog post, “Defining Failure Down.”

Paul writes: “One of the consequences of having the least functional governing system in the world is that the bar for determining what constitutes success gets set very low. Even the most ordinary and trivial things in California get counted as a victory.

A case in point is George Skelton’s column in the Los Angeles Times, triumphantly announcing “that Proposition 25 [the majority-vote budget measure] worked. California’s Capitol has become less dysfunctional.”

Yes, the Legislature and governor have enacted a budget before the July 1 start of the fiscal year, a rare event in Sacramento over the last quarter of a century. It’s good to have a budget in place as the fiscal year begins. It lets the state borrow the operating cash it needs and avoids the messy business of delaying payments to vendors and local governments that happens when a budget isn’t enacted before the fiscal year begins. …”

Read the full post on Mark Paul and Joe Mathews’ website, The California Fix.

Grace Lee Boggs Interviewed on Democracy Now!

Many people look at a vacant lot and see failure, destruction, or nothing at all. Grace Lee Boggs sees possibilities for a cultural revolution. Boggs, a 95-year-old Detroit-based activist and author of The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century spoke to Democracy Now! yesterday about Obama’s new budget plan and the state of the economy in Detroit.

Boggs reframes the issue of economic crisis, both in Detroit and the nation as a whole, urging us to look at the American way of life, and ask deeper questions like How shall we live? and How can we remake the American Dream anew?

In the vacant lots of Detroit, Boggs sees a way forward: “[I]nstead of seeing devastation,” she says, “see hope, see the opportunity to grow your own food, see an opportunity to give young people a sense of process …”

Watch both of Boggs’ segments below: