What We're Reading - Urgency Edition

June 18, 2012
By Linsey Pecikonis | 0 comments

This weeks What Were Reading reflects an especially busy time in the DFA headquarters. Our teams varied choice of articles demonstrates the urgency of the many different issues that we are currently working on: the results of the Wisconsin election, campaign finance reform, the 99% campaign, the GOPs War on Women, health care reform, . . . and why we should all root for the Miami Heat. Arshad Hasan, Executive Director Pick of the Week: Is Scott Walker A Role Model For Future GOP Governors? By Benjy Sarlin Scott Walkers recall victory in Wisconsin has been described on both sides as a turning point in the fight between labor and conservatives. But while the governor soaks up the GOP praise thats been heaped on him since his win, its still unclear how many gubernatorial candidates will openly follow Walkers lead. Ruby Reid, Online Training Organizer Pick of the Week: Last weekend at Netroots, I witnessed Governor Howard Dean's first tweet and was moved by his keynote address. Between tweeting and inspiring Netroots activists, Governor Dean offered his thoughts on the Wisconsin elections ("we picked up a Senate seat, which denies Scott Walker a majority in the Senate, so we put the breaks on him"), the President (in the fourth quarter, everybodys on the same team again), and his predictions for Democrats in November ("there's going to be a big progressive turnout"). To hear more from Governor Howard Dean, follow @GovHowardDean on Twitter. Howard Dean: We look at Wisconsin as a win (VIDEO) Posted by Felicia Sonmez Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and 2004 presidential hopeful Howard Dean stopped by last weekends Netroots Nation conference in Providence to rally progressive activists. Kaili Lambe, Campaign Manager Pick of the Week: One of my favorite Members of Congress, Keith Ellison, wrote this piece about the Wisconsin recall results. I agree with the crux of his argument: "Powerful corporations and wealthy donors spent millions on the Wisconsin race because they benefit most from the system: tax loopholes for corporations, tax handouts for the rich, while America's heroes -- cops, firefighters, and teachers -- pay the tab." Yet while the influence of Citizens' United on our political system is disheartening, the fact is that we put up an incredibly strong fight and moving forward we know what we're up against. The grassroots may not always be able to overcome the sheer influence of millions of dollars, but we were able to win back the state senate while being outspent 8-1, so now that we know what we're up against, we know just how hard we need to work to win in November and to preserve our democracy. After Wisconsin, A Move to Get Money Out of Politics By Keith Ellison Last Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker kept his job, but with a high price tag. In a state of only six million people, $60 million was poured into the race, $50 million of which went to Governor Walker. And almost half of that was spent by outside groups -- most of them not based in the state of Wisconsin. Charlie Guest, Training Intern Pick of the Week: This blog post by Alan Grayson, about a study on consumer finances, is a shocking look at the distribution of wealth in this country. With the combination of a Mitt Romney presidency and all the big money flooding our political system, how much scarier could these numbers get? We have work to do people... And the Poor Get Poorer By Alan Grayson Let me sum it up for you: In the greatest economic crisis that the United States has faced since the Great Depression, the rich barely lost a nickel. But the poor definitely got poorer. And people in the middle were crushed. Amanda McKay, Executive Assistant to Governor Dean Pick of the Week: Iaccidentallyclicked on this article and used up one of my coveted NYTimes clicks, but was really happy to hear that Starbucks is making theconsciouschoice to invest in USmanufacturing without government incentive. Imagine if othermanufacturinggiants made the same decision: Apple? Nike?Kudos Starbucks, I will continue to buy my hot chocolate from you. For Ohio Pottery, a Small Revival By Stephanie Strom American Mugs production has kept four people employed and created eight more jobs here, and money from the sale of the mugs and other Indivisible merchandise will go to support Starbuckss Create Jobs for USA Fund, which helps small businesses. Kyle Mackie, Political Intern Pick of the Week: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that his administration is moving forward with a proposal to open up fracking permits in south-western New York. The fight against fracking in my home state is near and dear to my heart, as my yard has been decorated with 'No Drill No Spill', 'Don't Frack Up NY', and 'No Fracking Way' signs for years. This article describes how the proposal would target the most economically disadvantaged regions of NY. Cuomo Proposal Would Restrict Gas Drilling to a Struggling Area By Danny Hakim Department of Environmental Conservation regulators last year signaled their initial support for the drilling process around the state, with exceptions for environmentally sensitive areas like New York Citys upstate watershed. Since that announcement, the Cuomo administration has been deluged with tens of thousands of e-mails and letters mostly objecting to the process, which is better known as hydrofracking or fracking, and protesters have become a regular presence at the Capitol. Jennifer Giammanco, Communications Intern Pick of the Week: This is incredibly important to me. This article is about how Congress cannot agree on a way to cover the $6 billion it would cost to extend the student interest rates cut. The cut expires on June 30th. The GOP proposes ridiculous ways to cover the cost, including taking the $6 billion from programs for women, ON PURPOSE. If Congress does not agree to extend the tax cut and find a way to pay for the $6 billion, I and many other students with loans will have to pay an extra $1,000 a year due to interest. Student loan rates double in 22 days unless Congress does something By Robert Bowen The issue seems to be finding a way to pay the $6 billion dollar cost for the extension. Obama and Senate Democrats proposed paying for it by closing a loophole that gives certain wealthy taxpayers a tax deduction on their own payroll taxes. Republicans have signed a pledge to never raise taxes, so it failed to get the required 60 votes needed to even be voted on. Linsey Pecikonis, Communications Director Pick of the Week: "Women's under-representation in the media is something that has bothered me for quite some time. As a communications buff, it's discouraging to know that women are left out of the political conversation. We're working to change that and give more women an 'on-air' voice. Check back in a couple of weeks for more information." WTF Files: A Woman Hasn't Moderated a Presidential Debate in 20 Years By Kelsey Wallace Men are much more likely to be quoted [in election coverage] on their subjective insight in newspapers and on television. This pattern holds true across all major news outlets, as well as on issues specifically concerning women. For example, in front page articles about the 2012 election that mention abortion or birth control, men are 4 to 7 times more likely to be cited than women. Megan Heacock, Communications Intern Pick of the Week: House GOP Blocking Abortion Access for Raped Soldiers By Kate Sheppard Republican Senators John McCain, Scott Brown, and Susan Collins all support an effort by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, to expand abortion access for military women who are raped. But despite bipartisan support in the Senate, Shaheen's proposal may not make it into the final version of the 2013 defense authorization billbecause House Republicans oppose it. Connor Stewart, Development Associate Pick of the Week: "This is unfathomable. The fact that Republican lawmakers have the audacity to try to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body and then reprimand a colleague for speaking her mind is disgusting. Hypocrisy and injustice in their truest forms." Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown silenced for saying vagina By William Bergstrom In a Wednesday speech on a controversial bill that would further regulate abortions, Rep. Lisa Brown concluded, Finally Mr. Speaker, Im flattered that youre all so interested in my vagina, but no means no, according to The Detroit News. A day later, House Republicans refused to allow Brown, a Democrat, to weigh in on a school employee retirement bill. Jay Henderson, Campaign Manager Pick of the Week: As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the Affordable Care Act, it's worth noting that the Republican health care plan continues to be: Don't get sick. Romneys health care plan or lack thereof By Ezra Klein On Tuesday, Mitt Romney gave a speech in Orlando outlining his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Normally, the rest of this post would go into mind-numbingly granular detail on Romneys plan. But as of now, there arent enough details to go into. Jessica Mulligan, Communications Intern Pick of the Week: I found this article especially interesting because it critically examines politicians past records on their views of universal healthcare. It highlights the way health insurance has become a partisan issue that has caused much dispute between Democrats and Republicans, seemingly just for the sake of bickering. Conservatives and Liberals Agree: Medicare for All Would Be Constitutional By Miles Mogulescu But there is no debate about whether single-payer Medicare For All would be constitutional. No one -- not even the most hard core, right-wing libertarians -- disputes that the federal government has the constitutional authority to tax all Americans to pay for Medicare-style health insurance for all, as it pays for Medicare for everyone over 65. Franco Caliz, Regional Field Organizer: South Pick of the Week: I'll start off with the disclaimer that the Miami Heat's Mickey Arison isn't great (his Carnival Cruise lines company is based out of Miami but registered in Panama to pay less taxes) but he didn't take our team away from a city and isn't out there willingly funding right wing causes and the American Enterprise Institute. Also we're Miami; where once the University of Miami Hurricanes ripped through the college football world and enjoyed being hated. But since I travel around for DFA, it'd be nice to run into a few Heat fans around the country! Let's go Heat! Why We Should All Root for the Miami Heat By Dave Zirin The 2012 NBA finals presents more than a match-up of two young, exciting, athletic teams. They present a rooting litmus test. . . .Its a litmus test that reveals how the sports radio obsession with villainizing twenty-first-century athletes blinds us to the swelling number of villains who inhabit the owners box. And in Oklahoma City, we have the kinds of sports owners whose villainy should never be forgotten.

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