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11.07.07

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Silicon Valley News Notes

The Health Care Cliché Crisis

What's the biggest headache for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in trying to get Californians some health care insurance? There's the partisan sniping, sure, and the countless miles of red tape. But, c'mon, you know the worst thing is having to listen to all the "clever" health-care clichés people use to describe his plan. He's been a remarkably good sport about it to us media types, letting it pass even when someone says for the billionth time that his health-care plan is in "critical condition." But at last Friday's annual Silicon Valley Leadership Group luncheon, he finally heard one too many. It came when Mercury News editorial page editor Steve Wright told him: "You declared this would be the year of health care. Now people are wondering whether health care reform is going to die on the operating table." Schwarzenegger laughed. "I love it... such a great journalist," Schwarzenegger said as he mimicked Wright. "Die on the operating table!" It got a big laugh from the crowd, but impressively Schwarzenegger didn't use the opportunity to duck the question. Even more impressively, he sounded as confident as ever on his health-care agenda: "When I look at my calendar there's two months left." Schwarzenegger said he plans to continue negotiating with the legislature to come up with the right plan. "We are still some distance when it comes to the percentages... should it be 7.5 percent or should it be 4 percent?" Schwarzenegger said, referring to the amount employers would pay into the plan. "The trick to all of this is to find that sweet spot." By the way, don't know how many of the 1,300 Silicon Valley CEOs, community leaders and elected officials who attended the event had been planning their fantasy picks for a Schwarzenegger senate race against Barbara Boxer in 2010, but the Guv made short work of that speculation, as well. That may have been the only news that wasn't well-received by the crowd, who had paid an average of $300 a ticket for the event. It no doubt gave Schwarzenegger the chance to take the temperature of Silicon Valley on his agenda. Wait, no, how about measure the pulse? Or maybe test the reflexes...

Who Hearts Porn?

One question about this current library-porn debate: who exactly is going to have the political cajones to stand up and say that yes, they support the right to view porn in public? Well, the American Library Association code of ethics says libraries should resist all efforts to censor library resources. The association doesn't spell out what to do when it comes to cities filtering porn sites, but there's no doubt these guidelines raise some concern about censorship as San Jose debates whether or not to do so at citywide branches. But San Jose's library director Jane Light has not yet taken a position on the issue. Light says she wants to learn a little more about how these filters work before she urges the council one way or the other. What she doesn't want is for porn filters to also block users from accessing legitimate sites if they are trying to get information on topics like sex education or breast cancer. "Filtering has been difficult because it begins to put into the hands of a commercial software product what is available and what is not for people who come to the library," Light said. It's not the first time that the San Jose City Council has debated censorship at the libraries. Two decades ago the council was asked to block a Wicca religion program at the library and 30 years ago the council ruled against pulling a sex education book from the shelves at the libraries.

Peace In Our Time

In 1968, Lisa Kalvelage and four other women dressed in their Sunday best were arrested in an Alviso warehouse when they sat down in front of a forklift that was loading napalm destined for Vienam. At her trial, Kalvelage invoked the Nuremburg principles, suggesting the American war effort there was a crime under international law. Her statement was so eloquent it was sent to folk singer Pete Seeger, who wrote the song, "My Name is Lisa Kalvaledge", which has since covered by Ani Difranco and Bruce Springsteen. Now in her 80s, Kalvelage is not just an icon of the anti-war movement, she's also a former director of the San Jose Peace Center, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next week. Kalvelage and other former directors will be speaking and showing a multimedia presentation about the Peace Center's accomplishments on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7pm at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The library will open up its Special Collections exhibition of Civil Rights and Vietnam-era photographs and memorabilia. On Tuesday, the Center will receive a commendation from the county supes, and on Nov. 20, from the San Jose City Council. After the city council presentation at 7pm, the center (at 48 7th Street) will host an open house. "We're honored to have this event at the King Library, and we're honored by the commendations," says SJPC Board President Charlotte Casey. But the news ain't all good, as you might have noticed. "There are bigger challenges to peace now than at any time in the past 50 years," says Casey. "We need people who will come join us and work for peace."


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