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.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lies About Student Loans

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:
September 29, 2010, 10:00 PM ET

Christine O'Donnell's Student-Loan Lies

In response to revelations that her LinkedIn profile features false claims about attending Claremont Graduate University and the University of Oxford, Republican candidate for the United State Senate Christine O'Donnell issued a statement through a P.R. firm alleging that other, unknown persons created her false LinkedIn profile back when she was a little-known cable news commentator/ex-anti-masturbation activist, and, moreover:
Perhaps a more important educational issue for Americans is the government takeover of the student loan industry, passed as part of the Obamacare law. This ill-conceived, unconstitutional government monopoly has thrown into jeopardy thousands of jobs in the private student loan industry. Even worse, now college students have nowhere to go for their student loans except the same people who brought them TARP and the embarrassing federal BP oil spill response. Will my opponent condemn his party bosses for threatening private sector jobs and eliminating student loan choice and competition for Delaware college students?
This is, of course, a pack of lies. The government "took over" the government student-loan program created by the government 45 years ago, when there was no private student loan industry. It didn't take over the current private student-loan industry, which is still going strong. (Click here if you want a private student loan from Chase, here for Sallie Mae, or here for Citi.) The student-loan reforms are "ill-conceived" if you think transferring tens of billions of dollars from corporate welfare to low-income students is a bad idea. The student-loan reforms are "unconstitutional" if you live on the planet Mars. The TARP bank bailouts helped stave off Great Depression II and netted the taxpayers $7 billion in profit. I'm pretty sure the Department of the Interior doesn't administer student loans.
I go back and forth on whether it's even worth saying any of this. While I know many readers of this blog don't agree with me on every issue, I assume that none of them suffer from any kind of debilitating mental incapacitation and as such recognize Christine O'Donnell's opinions on student-loan policy for what they are. Then again, bloggers don't always have the luxury of responding to subtle, finely wraught arguments, fun though that would be. Even the most transparently egregious falsehoods can take root in the collective consciousness, particularly when they're endorsed by representatives of major political parties.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Healthcare Campaign: Pepsi &

Would you be willing to click a link once a day for the next five days to help an anti-war and pro-healthcare progressive group raise a quarter of million dollars?
CREDO's friends at True Majority asked us to help their parent organization US Action and 15 other progressive nonprofits compete in an online fundraiser called "Pepsi Refresh Everything" — and they need your help.
We don't usually promote contests like this, but Pepsi is giving away some serious money and this joint progressive slate — made up of non-profit groups that are challenged to raise needed funds in this difficult economy — has a real shot at winning.
I received the email from True Majority and signed up to vote for the progressive slate. We can vote everyday for the next five days to help True Majority/US Action win $250,000, and the entire slate of 16 progressive groups win over $1,000,000.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action


We've teamed up with fifteen other progressive non-profits to compete jointly in an online fundraiser called "Pepsi Refresh Everything." With only days left in the contest, a quarter million dollars is on the lineand we need your help!
We'd use the money to educate millions of people about their new right to health care coverage. The other groups we're working with will use their grants to mobilize young voters, improve access to college, fight homelessness and more. But all that ONLY happens if we get enough votes from people like you to win the contest.
You can vote for all ten groups, every day. If you sign up below you'll get a short reminder mail for the next crucial few days to go vote for all these good causes:
TrueMajority / USAction is only one spot away from winning our own grant of $250,000. We're rising in the polls but only have 5 days to get to the top.

Working with the other organizations on the slate, the "Pepsi Refresh Everything" contest is a huge opportunity to win BIG money for progressive causes. It's only a few seconds each day to vote, but it's worth $1,000,000.
What a simple way for you to have a huge impact on our organization and our community.
Please sign up today.
Thank you! 
David Elliot

TrueMajority / USAction is a grassroots group of citizens who believe in America's true values of openness, fairness and compassion. We believe participating in an effective government is the best way to be mutually responsible for our community. TrueMajority is a project of USAction, a 501(c)(4) organization under the IRS tax code. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Protect Social Security

AAUW Action Network

Protect Social Security

In February, President Obama created the National Commission
 on Fiscal and Financial Reform to put America “on the path 
towards fiscal reform and financial responsibility.”  However, 
AAUW’s worried that members of the Commission view cuts to 
Social Security as a potential way to cut the deficit.  Send a 
message to members of the Commission today and let 
them know that cutting Social Security benefits is 
Social Security, which turned 75 in August, is one of our 
country’s most successful anti-poverty programs, providing 
benefits to children, disabled workers, surviving spouses, and 
retirees. Without Social Security benefits, more than half of 
older women would fall into poverty.  In addition, more than 
two-thirds of unmarried women would be living below the 
poverty line without the help of Social Security, which also 
supports more children than Temporary Assistance for Needy 
Families (TANF), also known as welfare. 
Social Security legally can’t borrow money to pay benefits 
and therefore does not contribute to the federal deficit, and 
cutting benefits will not reduce the deficit.  While fiscal 
discipline is needed, we must tell the Commission that it 
should not come at the cost of hurting Social Security 
beneficiaries.  The Social Security program currently has a 
surplus of over $2.5 trillion and is expected to be able to pay 
full benefits for another quarter of a century, giving Congress 
ample time to make adjustments to future benefits through 
the normal legislative process. 
The members of the Commission, both Republican and 
Democrat, will make recommendations to Congress for 
balancing the budget and for related fiscal issues by 
December 1.  These recommendations could fast-track cuts 
to Social Security, including reducing monthly benefits, 
privatizing accounts, and raising the retirement age – a 
benefit cut that places the greatest hardship on older 
In these tough economic times, cutting social programs 
like Social Security could be devastating to women and 
families across our nation. Now more than ever, these 
linchpin safety-net programs need to be protected and 
expanded, not cut.
Take Action!
Tell the members of the National Commission on Fiscal 
and Financial Reform that cutting Social Security benefits 
is not the right path to fiscal responsibility.  Simply click on 
the “Take Action” link in the upper right corner or copy and 
paste the following URL into your Internet browser.  Then 
follow the instructions to compose and send your message.
AAUW is committed to a Social Security system that provides 
lifelong protections for women and families.  For more information, 
read our position paper on women and retirement security.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


What is GOTV? It's what wins elections in every state and every district in the country -- from California to Maine and everywhere in between.

GOTV -- Get Out The Vote -- will make or break close races this Election Day. Republicans are working around the clock to take control of Congress and a good GOTV program will determine whether progressive champion Nancy Pelosi or corporate sellout John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker of the House next year.

That's why tonight's final 2010 DFA Night School is all about Getting Out The Progressive Vote. Over 1,000 DFA members have already signed up to participate -- join them tonight and help elect a progressive majority in November.

Sign up now to tonight's online training -- then join us tonight at 8:30pm Eastern to learn how to Get Out The Vote.

Tonight's guest trainers have years of experience in running GOTV campaigns and with today's technology we have more research than ever to tell us what works and what doesn't. Our friends at the Analyst Institute have been studying GOTV tactics and will share their cutting edge research on how to best motivate progressive voters this November.

So join us tonight:

What: DFA Night School - "Getting Out the Progressive Vote"
When: Tonight -- Wednesday, September 22nd, 8:30pm - 9:30pm Eastern

Register now for our online training and learn how to Get Out The Vote in November.

As with every Night School, it's free of charge for all DFA members. Space is limited though so register today and we'll send you all the info to participate in tonight's training.

Reserve your spot for the final Night School of 2010!

Working together we'll win in November,
Matt Blizek, Field Director
Democracy for America

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Defend California's Global Warming Legislation

donate now!
"The difference between life and death for our industry."1
That's how the National Petroleum Refiners Association, in a memo to oil companies across the country, just framed Proposition 23 — the Texas oil company funded, California ballot initiative that would gut AB 32, California's landmark anti-global warming law, passed in 2006.
The memo asks for contributions to Prop 23 "for your company's own self-interest." So far, Texas oil companies like Valero and Tesoro, along with the tea party funding, billionaire Koch brothers, among others, have funded the assault on California's law to the tune of almost $8.5 million.
These national anti-climate forces are lining up right now in California because our global warming law will serve as a model for other states to pass legislation limiting global warming pollution. Or as the NPRA put it: 
"A defeat for Proposition 23 in California could energize environmental fanatics around the country and in Washington to match California's destructive policies with their own versions of AB32."
California is the front line of the national climate fight. If you care about enacting climate policies in this country, and standing up to big polluters like Valero and the Koch brothers, this is a fight we must win.
National anti-climate forces are desperately trying to gut California's landmark global warming law.
This fight affects all of us. Help reject Texas oil's dirty Prop 23.
donate now!
The Credo Victory Fund Against Prop 23 and Texas Oil Companies is launching an aggressive grassroots campaign to defend our global warming law. Will you chip in $25 to help?
These Texas oil companies, aided by the Koch brothers and others, think they can come into California and buy another climate policy-obstructing victory for big polluters — just like they did in Copenhagen and then with the Senate climate bill.
It's going to take grassroots support from all over the country to make sure they don't succeed.
The California campaign to Stop Texas Oil and Prop 23 is already as energized as these oil companies are scared. Five field offices, each with two paid organizers, are open across the state and are busy organizing substantial visibility and voter contact operations. Soon we'll also have opportunities for you to help call voters in California.
This campaign has generated statewide attention, but it needs to grow as fast as the out-of-state oil money is pouring into California. And now that these oil companies are feeling threatened, we know the gusher is about to begin. Will you help stand up to these oil companies?
It's high time that oil companies stopped spending millions to buy the laws they want, instead of working to clean up the mess that they've helped create.
California needs to send that message loud and clear. As a fellow "environmental fanatic" and non Texas-oil baron, Californians are counting on your help. Every contribution will make a difference.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. — Do you have friends in California who might want to volunteer to help stop Prop 23? Tell them to visit to volunteer.
* Paid for by Credo Victory Fund Against Prop 23 and Texas Oil Companies. Major funding by Working Assets Funding Service, Inc. 101 Market Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94105.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paycheck Fairness Act Call-in Day!

AAUW Action Network
Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 15, 2010, AAUW and other leading organizations in the Paycheck Fairness Act coalition are coming together to host a nationwide call-in day to push the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Plan to call your senators tomorrow. We’ve taken the guess work out of making the call – just dial 1-877-667-6650 and simple instructions will direct you to your Senators’ offices.
The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182) sits poised on the cusp of action in the Senate.  Having cleared the House in January of 2009, final passage is long overdue.  When recently polled, 84 percent of American voters expressed support for a new law to create more avenues for women to receive fair wages. This critical bill will provide greater safeguards against pay discrimination, which would be a fitting way to recognize the value ofevery American worker every day.
Take Action!
The Senate is back in session and the clock is ticking for fair pay. With 3 weeks remaining to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, we need our Senators to act – which means they need to hear from you.  Even if you’re a senator is a cosponsor, he or she needs to hear from you.
Call your Senator toll-free at 1-877-667-6650 and ask them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act before the end of September!
The Senate must pass this bill before the end of September: the Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers.

AAUW’s Action Network makes it easy for advocates to influence Congress to act on issues critical for equity for women and girls. Help Action Network grow and be even more of a force in our nation’s capital. Urge your friends and family to join AAUW’s Action Network today. 
The grassroots liaisons in AAUW's Leadership Corps program will be reaching out to AAUW branch leaders to provide mentoring and assistance. Whether you are a member of an AAUW branch (an officer or not) or a national member interested in becoming involved with other AAUW members, please fill out the online form here to indicate areas of branch programming or administration for which you would like assistance.
Washington Updatea weekly e-mail bulletin for AAUW members, offers an insider's view on the public policy process, the latest policy news, resources for advocates, programming ideas, and updates from the Public Policy and Government Relations Department. Subscribe today!
Read the 2009-2011 AAUW Public Policy Program.
Become part of the AAUW national community and break through barriers for women and girls.  Join now.
Strengthen AAUW's voice with policy-makers! Donate now.
Connect with AAUW online via our website and blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
AAUW Breaking through Barriers

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End the Bush-Cheney Tax Cuts

Nine years ago, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney gave the wealthiest Americans an unneeded tax cut. 

To this day, America's top income-earners -- households making more than $250,000 a year -- aren't paying their fair share in taxes. Letting these tax cuts for the wealthy continue for another decade would saddle middle class Americans, our kids, and our grandkids with an additional $680 billion of debt, largely payable to the Chinese government.

The Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy are wrong. Thankfully they're set to expire this December, unless Republicans in Congress get their way and renew them indefinitely.

With debate set to begin on the Senate floor as early as next week, we don't have a lot of time to get this right.

Sign my joint petition with Democracy for America urging Congress to let the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy expire this year. 
Republicans in Congress think we ought to make the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. And they're using right-wing media to spread deception and bully Democrats facing tough re-election bids into joining their cause.

These elected officials need to know that you -- and 69% of Americans recently polled -- want the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy to expire this year. 

There's a broad and growing consensus that it's time for the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share in taxes. Most economists agree, too: It just doesn't make sense to give each of the 120,000 wealthiest Americans what amounts to, on average, a $3 million tax break over the next decade.2

Sign the joint petition with Democracy for America to end the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy. 

Some Republicans hope to take back Congress this November by telling Americans that Democrats want to "raise taxes on the middle class" and "hurt small businesses." Of course these smears don't contain a shred of truth, but that doesn't matter.

If the right wing wants to score political points by taking money from our kids and grandkids, and handing it out to the wealthiest Americans, it's up to us to stop them.

Please, sign our petition todayCopies of the petition signatures will be delivered to each member of Congress ahead of the first key vote. 

Thank you.

Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Take On Big Oil Now

Our dependence on dirty fuels isn't doing America any favors. Last week, another oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded sending a dozen workers to the hospital and clean-up crews scrambling to protect us from the possibility of another massive oil spill disaster.

While it looks today like a new environmental catastrophe may have been averted, what will happen tomorrow? It's not like we haven't had enough warnings. In fact, Mariner Energy, the owners of the oil rig, have been involved in at least 13 different offshore accidents since 2006 -- in the Gulf of Mexico alone.

It's time for America to stop spending $35 billion of taxpayer dollars on dirty fuels and invest that money in green jobs and renewable energy. Members of Congress and candidates for office up and down the ballot need to know where we stand today.


You won't be alone when you add your name. Not only have thousands of Americans already joined our campaign with our friends at TrueMajority and CREDO Action, but now Senator Robert Menendez is standing up to take the lead in making it happen. Senator Menendez committed to ending Big Oil bailouts and has promised to introduce legislation after Congress returns from August recess.

Senator Menendez is a powerful ally. He's a member of the committees on Banking, Finance and the Environment and the Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. There's no doubt he's an important member of Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate, but he can't do this without us.

The more support he can show from Americans across the country demanding an end to Big Oil Bailouts, the more of his Senate colleagues he'll be able to bring on board. Right now, we have 50,000 signers on our petition to stop Big Oil bailouts. Can we get it to 75,000 Americans before Congress returns after Labor Day? 


There's never been a better time to pressure Congress and all candidates for office to take on Big Oil than now. Let's not miss this vital opportunity to move America and our environment forward.

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Drilled to Death?

Take Action for Polar Bears

Right now, the Obama administration is setting the stage for 
America's next offshore oil disaster. Even as millions of gallons of 
oil from BP's botched Deepwater Horizon drilling operation pollute 
the Gulf of Mexico and threaten local communities and wildlife, the 
administration has so far failed to act to protect Alaska's fragile 
and remote Chukchi Sea from a similar catastrophe. 
Because drilling in the Chukchi could devastate polar bears, Alaska 
Native communities, and the entire Arctic ecosystem, CREDO 
Action has joined with our friends at Defenders of Wildlife to stop 
offshore drilling in this sensitive area. 
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action
This summer, a federal court in Alaska found that the Bush 
administration violated the law when it approved oil and gas leasing
 in Alaska's Chukchi sea without sufficient information and analysis 
about risks to the Arctic environment.  A different court found similar 
flaws with Arctic drilling plans in 2009. 

Yet, President Obama's administration has so far failed to  revisit 
protections for the Chukchi — Arctic waters off Alaska's coast that 
are home to some of America's remaining polar bears and key to the 
preventing the next offshore drilling disaster. 
The Obama administration has asked the court in Alaska to allow 
activities that would pave the way for drilling to proceed, potentially
 jeopardizing an area key to the survival of not only polar bears, 
but also bowhead whales, Pacific walrus and other wildlife.

The Gulf oil disaster clearly demonstrates the terrible risks of 
offshore drilling:
  • Sea birds coated in oil and unable to fly;
  • Seas turtles poisoned by toxic waters; and
  • Wildlife habitat fouled by oil.
President Obama and Polar BearsAnd it could be much worse 
in the Chukchi.

Thirty years after the Exxon 
Valdez disaster, there is still 
no effective, proven technology 
to clean up oil spills in broken 
sea ice conditions in Arctic 
waters, such as those found 
in the Chukchi Sea...  a problem that could doom rare Arctic whales, 
threatened polar bears and other wildlife to extinction and destroy 
halt seismic testing in the Arctic this summer.

The courts and scientists have all said that more information is 
needed about the Arctic environment before we even consider 
drilling in its ice covered seas that are cloaked in darkness most 
of the year.

The recent court decision provides the perfect opportunity for the 
Obama administration to take that time and really make sure we 
can protect the environment — before we jeopardize this fragile 
place, its wildlife and the people who count on it for the survival 
of their communities.

To avoid another catastrophic offshore drilling disaster like 
the one now threatening the communities and wildlife of 
the Gulf of Mexico — and another Exxon Valdez-like oil spill 
— we need a responsible approach to protecting the Chukchi.   

The Valdez spill decimated fisheries and continues to impact local 
wildlife and Alaskan communities to this day. And the Gulf oil 
disaster has killed thousands of animals and will impact the 
region's fragile ecosystems for years to come.

Alaska native communities, polar bears and the rest of America 
right now. 
With Gratitude,
Rodger SchlickeisenRodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife 

© 2010 CREDO. All rights reserved.
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