Archive for March 25th, 2010
As if Democrats didn’t have enough to celebrate this week, tomorrow is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s birthday.
The highest-ranking woman in government will be 70.
Madame Speaker shares her “big day” with, among other notables, actress Keira Knightley (like Pelosi, a leading lady in swashbuckling epics), author Erica Jong (“Fear of Flying” not being a problem for Madame Speaker, who famously got into a flap with the Pentagon over her use of military aircraft) and playwright Tennessee Williams (like Blanche DuBois, what pol doesn’t rely on “the kindness of strangers”?).
And, it turns out, she was also born on the very same day as actor James Caan.
Yes, Sunny Corleone — who made the mistake of thinking not with his head but his heart, and took a wrong turn off the causeway.
The University of California’s Board of Regents is meeting in San Francisco this week. Today’s topic: whether the UC system will take control of health care in California state prisons.
If agreed, the UC would take over right way at 11 Northern California prisons before being expanded to all 33 facilities up and down the state. And it wouldn’t be just health care: the UC would also handle prison dental and psychiatric care.
It’s not an unprecedented move. Texas did the same starting back in the 1990s (that being the inspiration for the Schwarzenegger Administration now trying to do the same). Georgia and New Jersey are doing it now.
And California state official could talk up potential savings — up to $12 billion over the course of a decade, the Schwarzenegger Administration contends. Not to mention some appealing short-term benefits, such as shrinking the 11% part of the state general fund now occupied by prisons costs.
Well, there’s the sentimental argument: the idea being that the University of California is all about teaching, research and public service. And that latter concept — public service — would certainly apply in this instance.
A more cynical view would be that the UC, by doing the state a big favor by taking over prison health care, will ask for something big in return. Such as: a healthy cut of that projected $12 billion in savings to the state.
Stay tuned to see if UC buys into the concept. Or, if it chooses not to play ball with the Schwarzenegger Administration, whether that factors into this year’s round of budget-balancing — and how bad of a hit the UC takes.