Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Give the Seat to NPR

Take action!
 will decide Sunday.
Should the front row center seat in the White HOuse press briefing room to to FOX News or to NPR?

Amazing. In just 36 hours, 185,000 CREDO Action members joined 
our campaign to block FOX News from taking over the White House 
press briefing room seat recently vacated by Helen Thomas.
Time is running out. Last night we sent the first round of signatures 
via overnight delivery to the officers of the White House 
Correspondents Association board, including journalists from the 
New York Times, Reuters, C-Span, and USA Today, and later today 
we will hand deliver boxes of signatures to the president of the board.
Amazing. In just 36 hours, 185,000 CREDO Action members joined 
our campaign to block FOX News from taking over the White 
House press briefing room seat recently vacated by Helen Thomas.
The WHCA board will decide Sunday who will get the seat. We will 
continue to update them as signatures pour in with another round of 
signatures to be delivered on Saturday, but we need your help to 
build on our momentum and take the pressure up a notch.
Tell the White House Correspondents Association: Give the 
best seat in the briefing room to NPR, not FOX!
The organizations most actively vying for the seat are FOX, NPR 
and Bloomberg News.
But FOX News is a right-wing propaganda outlet, not a legitimate 
news agency.
In recent weeks the network has turned the volume up on its 
race-baiting political agenda. The media assault on Shirley 
Sherrod is just the latest in a series of racist and politically 
motivated attacks on targets like Van Jones, ACORN, and 
Eric Holder's Department of Justice.
It's bad enough that we have to fight the constant smear 
campaigns and appeals to racial paranoia from FOX and 
the right-wing media. We can't let them have the best seat 
in the White House press briefing room and the legitimacy 
that it confers.
NPR has had a full time White House correspondent since the 
1970s. The public radio network regularly reaches 27 million 
listeners with its news programming.
The Board of the White House Correspondents Association 
will make its final decision during its upcoming board 
meeting which has now been rescheduled one day earlier 
to Sunday, August 1. So it's urgent that we take action on 
behalf of NPR now.
Thank you for working for a better world.
Becky Bond, Political Director CREDO Action from Working Assets
For more information:
Association, July 14, 2010.
July 19, 2010.
smear merchants?, CREDO Action, July 29, 2010.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Demand BP Clean-Up

Everyday, you're painfully reminded--by the images on television, in the newspaper and on the internet--of the disaster BP has caused in the Gulf.
But what you might not know about is BP's reckless endangerment of the health of its clean-up workers. The oil in the Gulf of Mexico is toxic and BP is not providing the 30,000 clean-up workers with respirators or other safety gear essential to cleaning it up.

BP clean-up workers are already being hospitalized due to nausea, headaches and chest pains caused by the toxic fumes that they breathe in everyday on the job. Yet BP cares more about the negative impact on its public image if clean-up crews wear masks than BP cares about safety. And BP continues to cut every corner possible to protect its bottom line. It's irresponsible and unacceptable.
9/11 clean-up crews worked without protective gear and they are still suffering for it. We can't let that happen again. That's why we've joined with our friends at the PCCC in calling on President Obama to demand BP provide protective gear to each and every clean-up worker -- and we're not the only ones standing up.

Already, over 60,000 Americans have added their names. RFK Jr. and more than 50 elected leaders and candidates for office have joined the campaign. And the media, including the 
New York Times, have been covering every step of the campaign so far. That's why we need you to sign on today to keep the momentum building and the pressure on until BP does the right thing -- or President Obama makes BP do it.
Now there are reports that BP is threatening to fire any worker who actually uses protective gear. Why? Because BP thinks it's an admission of liability and it'd be responsible for even more clean-up costs. BP is already responsible for the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, but instead of learning from its mistakes it's making all new ones. It's wrong and it has to stop.

Tens of thousands of DFA members joined us in Boycotting BP, so join us again us today in calling on President Obama to demand BP provides protective gear to all clean-up workers. We'll make sure that the White House, Congress and every candidate for office knows where you stand.
It's time for BP to stop cutting corners. Join us today to make sure they get the message.

Thank you for everything you do,
Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Help Make Schools Safer

AAUW Action Network
Below is a message from the American Association of University 
Women (AAUW):

It's a simple truth - students can't learn if they don't feel safe. And
yet, sadly, bullying and harassment affects nearly one in three 
American school children in grades six through 10. Bullying and 
harassment can result in long-term social, academic, psychological, 
and physical consequences, including decreased grades and 
interest in school, increased absences and dropout rates, and 
decreased likelihood of obtaining a post-secondary education.  
The Safe Schools Improvement Act would ensure that schools 
have effective policies in place to prevent and respond to bullying 
and harassment, including policies that strictly prohibit such conduct. 
In addition, states, districts, and schools could implement programs 
to teach students about the issues around, and consequences of, 
bullying and harassment, as well as educating teachers and 
administrators on how to best prevent these incidences and 
intervene when they occur. 

The issues of bullying and harassment in our schools have 
garnered increased media attention lately, and the House 
Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities held a 
hearing on student cyber safety last week.  As members of 
Congress work to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act this year, AAUW is joining with coalition partners 
this week in asking our elected officials not only to cosponsor the 
Safe Schools Improvement Act but also to support inclusion of 
the bill language in the reauthorization process.  

More than half of all teachers reported that bullying and 
harassment are serious problems in their schools.  The Safe 
Schools Improvement Act would fill a troubling gap in our current 
federal education policy and ensure that all students, regardless 
of their background or personal characteristics, are provided a 
safe environment in which to learn and succeed.

Take Action!
To urge your representative to cosponsor and support the Safe 
Schools Improvement Act, simply copy and paste the following 
URL into your Internet browser.  Then follow the instructions to 
compose and send your message.  If your representative has 
already signed on as a cosponsor, you will be able to send him 
or her a message of thanks. 

For more information, read AAUW's research report, 
contributes to our understanding of how college students 
perceive, experience, and respond to sexual harassment, and 
includes information about how to create a harassment-free campus.