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Charities and Volunteers Need to Bridge the Government Gap

Mark at Comcast Cares Day.JPG

(Alameda, California)

In these tough economic times, anyone expecting the government to fix all the problems is sadly mistaken. The budget shortfalls at the federal, state and local levels make that impossible, despite all the clamor over stimulus packages and bailout plans.

It's going to take a lot of help from the private sector--from charities and nonprofits and from basic "people-helping-people" efforts.

I was part of one such effort today. "Comcast Cares Day" is a nationwide effort of the country's largest cable company. I work for Comcast a couple of days a month, hosting the "Comcast Newsmakers" show. I was at Encinal High School in Alameda (pictured above) and at Hubbard Elementary School in San Jose. Both schools had hundreds of volunteers fixing up and cleaning up the campuses. They were painting and gardening and taking care of lots of other odds and ends. In Northern California alone, Comcast had a force of 4,000 volunteers fixing up twenty-five schools. As I said, just "people helping people!"

There are other ways to help. Save the date for Friday, May 29, 2009. The Tri-Valley Community Foundation and its Hacienda Helping Hands program will host "A Taste of Summer" BBQ to raise funds for many programs that serve the community with food aid, health care, support for the arts and many other services. I will be the "emcee" of the event. We'll have a great T.G.I.F. BBQ cook-off and many other fun activities. For tickets and more information, go to http://helpinghands.hacienda.org

This blog is about politics, but the truth is that the political system can address only a fraction of our problems. We have to work together to identify needs and rally people around finding solutions!

From time to time, I try to salute worthy charities and non-profit efforts in this column because they make our communities better places. Hats off to all who helped across the nation on "Comcast Cares Day."

All-Night Radio was a Riot in New York on the "Age of Obama" Book Tour!

Mark in Times Square.JPG

(New York, New York)

What a wild night in New York City on my book tour. I wound up staying late on the "Joey Reynolds Show" on WOR Radio 710-AM. If you missed the broadcast, check www.WOR710.com and look for the show archives.

Anyway, I just had to see more of New York, so I ate at "Maison," a great little French bistro near my hotel in the Broadway district. It was great. At the same time, they were paving 7th Avenue and Broadway the last two nights of my stay, and midtown Manhattan was in gridlock. I finally got out of my cab--as it was going nowhere--and walked the final four blocks to my hotel.

After dinner I walked down to Times Square because I wanted to take some pictures. It was around 2:30 in the morning, but I did not care. This book tour really has energized me.

It was a fun night in New York, especially on KOA. I want to thank host Joey Reynolds and his producer Myra Chanin for having me on. They have asked me to come back and be on the show again next time I am in New York. They also introduced me to Rick Barber, the all-night host from KOA radio in Denver. Rick is going to have me on his show from Denver when he gets back from vacation. All in all, it was a great trip; but I am heading back to the Bay Area tonight.

If I might paraphrase a Henny Youngman line: "Buy my book! Please!" Just click on the blue book button at the right of this screen and it will take you to the checkout line at Amazon.com.

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