Friday, May 23, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 05-25-2008: The Reference Shelf


  • POLITICS: ELECTION INTEGRITY: No matter how many ways the insiders in election integrity explain that Gore won over Bush n 2000, and retell it, and include charts, graphs and diagrams, it never seems to stick. Even the cable documentaries manage to avoid admitting the fact. So I have to hand it to Brad Friedman of Bradblog,com (please somebody put this guy on broadcast radio) to still be telling this story and making it funny as well (if that's possible): Recounting the Recount and Counting the Uncounted. AND as populist politics gains ground, why not populist publishing?! Check out this offer from Alternet to participate in publishing a compendium of election laws nationally to help any reader get a head start in ensuring his or her vote WILL be counted this November!
  • MUST READ: A Different Kind of Democracy: There are quite a few more bits of evidence that good developments are coming our way in the news-stream these days. For example, this from David Sirota:
    ...this week ...ExxonMobil's annual meeting in Dallas....may be...about something that can be more critical than even presidential elections -- something called shareholder democracy...citing their desire to "safeguard long-term shareholder value," a group of shareholders with $5 billion in ExxonMobil stock excoriated company management in 2006 for "not sufficiently preparing for tomorrow's energy" and running "the risk of lagging significantly behind" competitors...are expected to back this year's alternative energy resolution, especially considering the boost from none other than the Rockefellers -- the family that originally founded what would become ExxonMobil.
  • PERSONAL SECURITY: THE ANDREW MYERS FILE: New York 8th-Graders Boycott Practice Exam But Teacher May Get Ax: Its been a while since a story I noted seemed to fit the criteria of this file, meaning it cover over-the-top threats to personal liberty and freedom of expression. After you read the article about 8th graders protesting taking (yet another) proficiency test, which for me is much more about the hell the teacher is catching for his role in the boycott advocation. ask yourself this question; what was the last time you heard of a teacher being reprimanded for advocating critical thinking skills and admonished for ' them (students) messages that were inappropriate.' Challenging authority = inappropriate?

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 05-18-2008: The Reference Shelf

This week's article and item links:
  • POLITICS: NATIONAL: CAMPAIGN 2008: What's McCain have against education benefits for veterans? The "Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act" sounds like the kind of rally-round-the-flag plan that John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all could embrace. Instead, it's become one of the starkest dividing lines between McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, and his likely Democratic opponent.
  • ENVIRONMENT: Fighting the False Solution of Nuclear Power: If it's a bill it must be flawed: "Although the word 'nuclear' has been carefully omitted from the bill, it is clear that this is a covert attempt to bolster a failing nuclear power industry in the name of addressing climate change," said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. "It's time to focus on real global warming solutions like solar, wind and energy efficiency, not to further fatten the moribund nuclear calf."
  • NATIONAL SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENT: From one of my favorite resources, The Mainstream Media Project, this bulletin came across my desk:
    While many news stories focus on the potential threat from Iran in developing nuclear weapons... on Monday, The Washington Post reported that 40 or more nations worldwide have informed the UN that they wish to build nuclear power plants. The fear is this may be the first step in enriching plutonium for weapons... In order to back down from the increasing global momentum towards more nuclear weapons, the U.S. must take an active part in pursuing nuclear nonproliferation.
    So what to do? Interview someone exciting of course! With Dr. Arjun Makhijani we'll show how one of those Obama-electing "egghead" types can get the job of carbon cutting with free-market NON-nuclear technologies done! Now, wouldn't that be a nice change?! You can freely download Arjun's real Dr. Egghead book, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for US Energy HERE.
  • POLITICS: ELECTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS-- NEW WEB SITE: Advanced campaign contribution effect database (hat-tip to Joy Marx-Mendoza):
    The site is a database of campaign contributions related to congressional voting and combines three data sets: Bill texts and legislative voting records; Supporting and opposing interests for each bill and Campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Combining this data makes visible key information that could never before be determined easily. For example: Contributions given by interests supporting and opposing each bill; Average donations given to legislators voting Yes and No on each bill and a Timeline of contributions and votes for each bill, graphically identifying when legislators received large donations before or after their vote.
  • MUST READ: Toward A New Washington Consensus: From David Sirota:
    You've probably heard that John McCain once said, "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues." This line is regularly referenced by Democratic television pundits as evidence that McCain is unprepared to lead the country during arecession. The criticism is certainly valid, but it ignores something more troubling. It's not that politicians like McCain "need to be educated" about economics, as he admitted. It's that they do not comprehend how economics impacts international affairs.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 05-11-2008: The Reference Shelf

This week's article and item links:
  • POLITICS: NATIONAL: CAMPAIGN 2008: Did Rush Limbaugh Tilt Result In Indiana? Truly unfunny may be the interference Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos may be wreaking on primary outcomes in the Democratic race. Many people have asked if said interference is legal, and SO FAR it appears to be...but that is just so far.
  • FUN, SNARKY, WEIRD AND COOL: HE'S A NAZI: This has been around a while but in case you missed it the first time and since we'll be on the topic of Rush (jeez, what the hell kind of name is Rush, anyway?) we may as well ensure you have this fabulous and well-made send-up of the Commando of Cheeks himself. And, from the creator of The Daily Show...this well-deserved humor break: Shoot the Messenger.
  • MUST READ: Acknowledging the Race Chasm: From David Sirota: When it comes to race, American politics is as polarized as a red and blue election map. On one side are those who try to distract from the issue; on the other side are those who work to sensationalize it. As this campaign season shows, what unifies both is bigotry.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Action Point with Cynthia Black 05-04-2008: The Reference Shelf

This week's article and item links:
  • POLITICS: NATIONAL: CAMPAIGN 2008: DCCC to challenge Freedom's Watch status as a non-profit: Democrats pushing back on distorting and even illegal dirty tricks from the RNC and its proxies this year is something we can all be a part of--
    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is filing a complaint with the IRS today challenging the conservative group Freedom's Watch status as a non-profit. The DCCC says the group has violated its non-profit status by running attack ads in a Louisiana special election targeting Democratic candidate Don Cazayoux. In a letter to the IRS, Wolff asked the agency to reclassify Freedom's Watch, which includes several former officials from the National Republican Congressional Committee, as a 527 organization and to as penalize the group for improperly claiming non-profit status. 501(c)4s and other non-profits do not have to publicly have to publicly disclose their donors, while 527s must report them to the IRS, which becomes public information.
    AND: ELECTION INTEGRITY: HBO'S 'Recount' and What Really Happened in the Florida 2000 Election (Hint: Gore Won): Brad Friedman comments on HBO's upcoming special and even more importantly he includes “... the mind-blowing section of Dan Rather's remarkable HDNet report which aired last summer, but was picked up by absolutely nobody in the CMSM thereafter. If you can't watch the following, the transcript is posted here. But if you've not seen this one yet, please prepare to be amazed, and appalled..."
  • ENVIRONMENT: Cooler Climate Could Prevail in Europe and North America Next Decade: Is Global Warming Over?: If humankind ever needed a life-saver and got it, this could be it.
    A natural fluctuation allowing temperatures to stay cool enough for us to develop energy-efficiency BEFORE the planet is thrown into irreversible changes: To put it succinctly: not a chance. Just because I know there are those who will gleefully point to this study as proof that global warming is all a big hoax (*cough* Senator James Inhofe *cough*), let me start off this post by quoting one of the study's authors, Noel Keenlyside: "We want to make very clear that we don't want to say that [anthropogenic] global warming is not here."
  • NATIONAL SECURITY: IRAN: Shirin Ebadi: 'Don't Attack Iran': From my favorite IRAN news blog, IRAN NUCLEAR WATCH, this article on just one facet of the news you NEVER see any media cover, rarely even progressive blogs which shame on them, should:
  • In regards to ongoing death threats to her person, Dreyfuss writes, "Ebadi is not intimidated, and she continues to represent dissidents and others caught up in the labyrinthine Iranian court system. But she warns that threats and bellicose rhetoric from American leaders and politicians is not helping matters." According to Ebadi, "The most important thing is not to militarily attack Iran, or to threaten to attack Iran militarily. Even the language of some of the candidates in the United States threatens Iran." Ebadi also addressed the regime change slush fund. "When the United States says that it has allocated $70 million for democracy in Iran, whoever speaks about democracy in Iran will be accused of having accepted part of that money, and of being on the US side," she says. "It gives Iran an excuse for what it does." According to Dreyfuss, she said that all credible Iranian activists have refused to accept American funding, and most of the money has been funneled into radio broadcasts and other US propaganda.
  • MUST READ: The Plague of Potomac Fever: From David Sirota;
    But in the land of Potomac told newspapers "it's irrelevant" how many homeowners — if any — are ever helped. According to The Hill newspaper, he is pushing industry-backed legislation that would federally guarantee banks' outstanding mortgages for modest write-downs. The proposal deliberately avoids forcing banks to freeze interest rates.

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