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What We're Reading - The Internet Lives On Edition

The Rise of the New Groupthink By Susan Cain Culturally, were often so dazzled by charisma that we overlook the quiet part of the creative process. Consider Apple. In the wake of Steve Jobss death, weve seen a profusion of myths about the companys success. Most of the focus on Mr. Jobss supernatural magnetism and tend to ignore the other crucial figure in Apples creation: a kindly, introverted engineering wizard, Steve Wozniak, who toiled alone on a beloved invention, the personal computer. Laurie Childers, Accountant Pick of the Week: This week DFA took action on SOPA/PIPA. When I got home from work and sat down to dinner with my family My 15 year old son said he was thrilled DFA was against SOPA/PIPA. The family (19, 17 and 15 year old young people) had a great discussion about it last night and again this morning. This is democracy at it's best! The Story Behind the SOPA Blackout By Siddhartha Mahanta and Nick Baumann "By this weekend, the writing was on the wall. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Majority Leader, announced that SOPA would not come for a vote in the House before the controversy over the bill is resolvedessentially killing it for the time being. The White House issued a statement opposing significant portions of the bills. And Issa canceled the hearing planned for Wednesday, saying he's "confident" the bill is dead in the House." Julielyn Gibbons, Training Director Pick of the Week: As the daughter of a former teacher, I know as well as anyone the value of a college education, but as conservative state governments continue to de-prioritize the investment in higher ed, more and more current and potential college students find themselves asking if it's really worth mortgaging most or all of their financial future for an education that can no longerguaranteea job. Paying for Dream - House and Car Cost Extra By Dana Hollowell Obamas initiative comes as students prepare to enter a tough job market. In a recent study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, 90 percent of 2006-07 graduates found work, with a medium income of $30,000. However, that percentage dropped to 56 percent in 2010, with graduates who found work earning a medium income of just $27,000. Ruby Reid, Online Training Organizer Pick of the Week: I have a personal friend whose family is fighting against the foreclosure monster Bank of America. She shared this post with me yesterday, and I couldnt help but want resolution. Heres more background on Bank of Americas role in demolishing our country and fueling the foreclosure crisis. Crippled by Foreclosures, Nevada hits Bank of America with Sweeping Suit By Paul Kiel According to the suit, borrowers were duped into unaffordable loans and then victimized again through a misleading mortgage modification program that homeowners tried to use to avoid foreclosure. Finally, the suit alleges, the bank filed fraudulent documents to move forward with the foreclosures. Jase Roberts, Technology Director Pick of the Week: My pick for the week is a dense but absolutely outstanding analysis of why we keep getting terrible Internet regulation bills coming out of Congress, session after session. SOPA: the tech industrys self-inflicted wound By Jason Lefkowitz But one question keeps coming up that nobody really seems to have a good answer for: how did the tech industry find itself in this situation in the first place?...The most common answer Ive seen given to this question is a simple one: the content industry paid Congress off. Levana Layendecker, Communications Director Pick of the Week: As a country we celebrated the great legacy of civil rights fighter Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While he worked tirelessly to stop Jim Crow era segregation laws, today the United States continues to see Republican legislatures disenfranchise voters in their communities. Do Something About the War on Voting By Martin Longman As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we rightfully note how much progress we've made in this country, but we cannot forget that the Department of Justice recently had to "nullify" a South Carolina law because it would disproportionately disenfranchise black voters. Since the 2011 legislative year began, 34 Republican state legislatures have introduced bills designed to deny the vote to people who cannot produce specific types of state issued ID. Linsey Pecikonis, Deputy Communications Director Pick of the Week: The GOP field of Presidential candidates may be shrinking, but the heat around which candidate will be the inevitable nominee continues to rise. One article shows why Mitt Romney had a poor showing in last nights debate and the other article takes a larger look at Newt Gingrichs moral dilemma. Romneys Prevent Defense Yielding Big Gains to Opponents Posted Nate Silver "At one point on Thursday, while delivering asomewhat rambling answer about his tax returns, Mr. Romney explicitly invoked the idea that he wanted to be careful about his disclosures so as to minimize the potential general election fall-out. Thats a perfectly rational strategy for a politician, but it just isnt good politics to say it out loud in the context of an intraparty debate. (Mr. Romney hashad these sort of problems before.)" Moralizings High Cost New York Times Editorial In this political cycle, it is Newt Gingrich who has been unable to escape the toxic combination of infidelity and sermonizing. The stories about his three marriages have been known for years, but every time he seems to have escaped the wrath of Republican voters, they rise again. TOP VIDEOS OF THE WEEK: Here are two selections you just cant miss -A brazen video out of the DNC on Mitts tax problem and a video of the POTUS crooning Al Greens Lets stay together.
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Grassroots

A message from Kaili Lambe: In a post-Citizens United world, corporations and the 1% can spend unlimited money to buy elections. But that doesn't mean our democracy is dead. Around the country, candidates who fight for the 99% are mounting people-powered campaigns to take back Congress. Just look at Elizabeth Warren's tremendous money bomb yesterday. She raised over one million dollars in a single day -- not because of large donations, but because of people like you and me pitching in $5 or $10. Grassroots support for progressive candidates is going to win out over the barrage of money and negative ads. That's why we're excited to launch our Grassroots All-Star Campaign to highlight how many strong, progressive candidates are running. Who's your pick for 2012 Grassroots All-Star? Corporations and the 1% may have unlimited funds, but the candidates running these people-powered campaigns have a more valuable resource -- grassroots supporters. DFA's endorsements are always driven by our members and now we're asking you to tell us who you think should win our biggest endorsement of the year. We're looking for the best progressive candidates to defeat Republican incumbents and win open seats across the country -- Nominate your favorite candidate to win Grassroots All--Star now. Thanks for everything you do. - Kaili Kaili Lambe, Political Campaign Manager Democracy for America
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Jan. endorsements and GRAS

DFA To Work In Over 60 Federal Races in 2012; Kicks Off Cycle By Endorsing First 5 Congressional Candidates and Announcing An Online Contest for Congressional Challengers and Open Seats Burlington, VT Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced five endorsements and the launch of its first online endorsement contest of the year. In 2012, DFA will endorse over 60 candidates and the largest campaign the organization has ever run. The first five progressive champions endorsed by Democracy for America are: Ilya Sheyman - IL-10 Joe Miklosi - CO-06 Eric Griego - NM-01 Mary Jo Kilroy - OH-03, and Darcy Burner - WA-01 This is a critical year to win back the House and we are getting started on a great note with some real progressive champions who will be fighters and truth-tellers in Congress, said Jim Dean, Chair of DFA. With the kick-off the Grassroots All Stars competition for House challengers, we will begin the largest campaign season in DFAs history. Grassroots All-Stars (www.grassrootsallstars.com) is an annual competition for House challengers and open seats. Candidates compete for online votes to demonstrate support among DFA members, and the candidate with the most votes wins. The winner of the 2012 Grassroots All-Star Competition will receive: - The title of "2012 DFA Grassroots All-Star" and DFA's endorsement - A commitment to raise $20,000 in small donations from our national membership. - A commitment to tap into our national membership to recruit volunteers over the course of your campaign and other support. (See www.grassrootsallstars.com/faq) Two runners-up also receive prizes. ABOUT DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA Democracy for America is a people-powered Democratic Political Action Committee. With over one million members nationwide, DFA is a grassroots powerhouse working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up. www.DemocracyForAmerica.com Paid for by Democracy for America, www.democracyforamerica.com, and not authorized by any candidate.
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Categories: Press Releases


I Love the Internet

Our national email on the Internet-wide SOPA/PIPA blackout day, 1/18/12: In early 2003, a former governor of Vermont threw his hat in the ring as a long-shot contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. With limited name recognition and without funds to run a national campaign, Howard Dean's chances seemed minuscule at best. But a new force emerged in politics. Grassroots supporters passionate about what Howard Dean stood for self-organized on the still-new "Internet" and propelled his candidacy into the national spotlight. Bloggers, donors, and activists connected through this new medium, and very nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in American presidential politics.The Internet made the impossible possible. The Internet is a place where voices are expressed and grassroots action can begin. The rapid sharing of ideas and the ability to potentially reach a huge audience with nothing but a computer and an Internet connection empowers anyone to let their voice be heard. For now. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) attempt to combat the very real issue of online piracy, but take a scattergun approach that could kill free speech and openness across the Internet.Taken to an extreme, this type of legislation could result in political bloggers, news outlets, and even organizations like DFA being silenced because the powers that be don't like our message. Click here to see what the web would look like if SOPA/PIPA passed. To fight back, Democracy for America moved all of our domain names away from GoDaddy, a domain registrar supporting these dangerous bills. Today, DFA is joining with hundreds of other organizations and drawing a line in the sand. We are blacking out our website on January 18, 2012 to show what the Internet under SOPA and PIPA could become. We are asking you to learn about this issue, and join us in opposing these bills. Take action and voice your opposition to Internet censorship. Consider this: If no member of Congress had ever driven a car, would you want them writing traffic laws? Or worse yet, would you want corporations handing Congress pre-written traffic laws and asking them to pass them into law? Dramatic as that sounds, the current situation with Internet freedom-killing SOPA and PIPA legislation is exactly this. Congress has repeatedly demonstrated that they do not understand how the Internet works -- yet that doesn't stop them from trying to regulate it, session after session. Corporate lobbyists produce legislation to further their narrow business interests without regard for how those laws would impact Internet freedoms. The Internet thrives as a medium for political discourse because it is free and open.It's this same openness that has made the Internet a medium for growth and job creation among 21st century industries, keeping thousands of Americans employed at the same time as many sectors of our economy are shedding jobs. Today we have the opportunity to fight back against corporate control, to protect the free and open nature of the Internet and its potential for innovation. Please join us. Thanks for everything you do. -Jase JaseRoberts, Technology Director Democracy for America
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Cheating Us Our Rights

The 2012 Presidential race has begun and people all over the country are gearing up to cast their vote for president come November. While the 2008 election saw more people turn out to vote in over a decade, as many as 5 million voters will be restricted from voting in this upcoming election. Its no surprise that those disenfranchised voters include African Americans, Latinos, elderly, students and others. Why? Its all part of a larger Republican strategy to restrict voting rights to people who have traditionally voted for democratic candidates. Almost five decades ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing discriminatory voting practices. The bills champion, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, fought tirelessly to expand voting rights to all Americans. As we celebrate his legacy this week we need to keep a keen eye on every attempt to keep Americans from the polls. Voter identification laws have been popping up throughout the United States since 2005 when Indiana passed its voter identification law. Last year alone we saw a dozen more states pass voter identification laws including South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio. In the key battleground state of Ohio, House Bill 194 that is set for referendum in 2012 would disenfranchise as many as 900,000 voters. That alone could turn the tide for any Republican running for President and allow the GOP to gain Ohios 88 delegates along with a clear path of victory to claim the White House. As bills passed last year become law, voters across the country must stay diligent if Republicans are allowed to use voter identification laws to cover up their attempt to steal elections, more and more Americans will continue to lose their basic right to participate in the democratic process. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that the 25 laws passed last year could potentially prevent as many as5 million votersfrom being able to cast a ballot for President let alone for any other issues or candidate. 5 million voters is a significant number of voters, especially if you consider in the 2008 presidential contest 131 million Americans cast a ballot for president. 5 million voters could very easily exceed the margin of victory for the 2012 presidential election. It should come as no surprise that any one of these states that passed these unreasonable voting ID laws could decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential race. Recently Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Department of Justice must ensure equal access at the ballot box. In December, at the LBJ presidential library in Austin, Attorney General Holder said, The right to vote is not only the cornerstone of our system of government it is the lifeblood of our democracy. And no force has proved more powerful or more integral to the success of the great American experiment than efforts to expand the franchise." If Attorney General Holder is correct in his assertion that voting is the lifeblood of our democracy why arent more people demanding that the mainstream media pay attention to the Republican attempt to steal elections? Last year alone, we witnessed the Republican Party attack nearly every value that progressive voters hold dear. Nationally, their most important issue was making President Obama to be a one-term president," croaked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republicans in Congress would rather our economy double-downed into another depression than to vote for any legislation that would paint President Obama in a positive light. Clearly, an economic recovery and advancing the general well being of all Americans is not a Republican priority voter fraud is. The laws passed last year amount to the largest effort to disenfranchise voters since the Jim Crow era. While Republicans may not be winning the voting public's support with their attack on jobs, families and our way of life, across the nation GOP supporters see a very small window of opportunity to pass voter id laws that restrict access for African Americans, Latinos, the Elderly and Students at the voting booth. By restricting these voters, a core demographic of the Democratic base, Republican-held state legislatures believe that they will hold and then gain significantly more power at the local and national level. Simply put the Republicans are cheating their way to victory. Imagine for years to come, Republicans winning every election and not ever having to worry about a concession speech. The 25 such laws passed last year have basically rigged the outcome in 14 states to make this future a possibly reality. Forget for a moment the political implication of such laws, since clearly the political impact is much more significant when you look at how these disenfranchised communities would be affected by such legislation in the long term. Republican candidates rarely support populations other than wealthy white men, so by disenfranchising African Americans, Latinos and others, Republicans essentially take away their voices but will also deny them the opportunity to pass legislation that affects their lives and livelihoods. The great civil rights leader and current congressman John Lewis has said of these archaic ways to disenfranchise minorities, There is a deliberate attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process. Voter ID laws are becoming all too common. It remains perfectly clear that the Republican agenda is to win elections - no matter the cost. Progressive legislators are not sitting by idly and democrats, independents and even Republicans who support voting rights can push their Representatives to support and pass two bills that will combat voter suppression and American Citizens right to vote. Next week,join the conversationwith Congressman Keith Ellison (MN 5) and Democracy for America as Rep. Eillison unveils two bills in the House that would protect voters and curb harmful voting laws across the country. The bills will ensure the protection of Americans most fundamental right - the right to vote. Congressman Ellison has long been an very vocal advocate for expanding voting rights. Not only has he been a staunch believer in the right to vote for all citizens regardless of the party they vote for or the candidate they support, Rep. Ellison strong supporter for the Occupy movement and supports the 99 percent. Passing his voting rights legislation will be no simple task, especially with Rep. John Boehner controlling the house. But progressive voters must not give up hope. Our democracy hangs in the balance. Rep. Ellison said on the floor of the house when introducing these bills last year, This year 13 states are trying to pass laws restricting the right to vote for American citizens. These laws add up to the largest attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era. In all, they could strip more than 5 millions Americans from the right to vote.. Rep Ellison doesnt just believe that the Republican party is on the wrong track restricting voting rights for citizens, he believes that if you truly believe in democracy you should do everything you can to increase the enfranchisement of American citizens not take it away. Clearly the Republican party which became the party of No in 2011 will continue its assault on the very principles that built our great nation unless we stand up together and put a stop to these horrendous voter identification laws and support Rep. Ellison's voting rights legislation. Click here to join us nextMonday, January 23 for a DFA Live Call with Congressman Ellison where youll have an opportunity to speak directly with him and ask questions regarding both bills that protect our democracy. These bills keep our democracy strong and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and all civil rights leaders who fought tirelessly to bring the right to vote to every citizen.
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