news roundup: California budget and Obama's secret guests

An agreement was made between California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators that would dramatically cut social spending and start offshore oil drilling. Part of the budget cuts include:

$6 billion from K-12 schools and community colleges over two years
$3 billion from the University of California and California State University systems
$1.3 billion from Medi-Cal, the state's healthcare program for the poor
$1.2 billion from the state prison system

Republicans warned the deal could fall through over the proposed release of prisoners of non-violent crimes (other key points of the deal can be seen in that SFGate article).

On the topic of California's budget crisis, here is a talk by Mike Davis and David Bacon at Socialism 2009.

President Obama continues President Bush's policy of keeping certain White House visitors a secret. Obama administration officials of denied requests of top health care industry executives visiting the president. Obama criticized the same types of practices by former President Bush during his presidental campaign.

Today on Democracy Now! there was a good interview with Princeton University professor Cornel West and Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party on race in the age of Obama and the social struggles that need to rise to push Obama. From Cornel West:

Lincoln supported the slave trade when he was in the House. He supported the Fugitive Slave Act. In the first inaugural lecture he gave, he supported the first proposed Thirteenth Amendment, which said there would be slavery forever in America, the unamendable amendment. That was Lincoln. If it were not for the abolitionist movement, the courageous black and white freedom fighters, from John Brown to Douglass, who put pressure on Lincoln, we would have been dealing with a white supremacist Lincoln.
Lincoln became great, because a social movement pushed him against slavery in that regard. And Obama is looking to the wrong Lincoln. And if he doesn’t understand the greatness of Lincoln was responding to the social movements of working people and poor people, he’s going to end up with a failed presidency, with a lot of symbolic gestures, but, on the ground, everyday people, those Sly Stone called “everyday people,” suffering still.