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, March 31, 2011

Heads Up, Idaho!


A message from MoveOn.org:
Heads up: Congress is debating a budget plan that would be devastating to Idaho. Will you pass this along?
Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch need to hear from all of us about it right now, before they cut a deal in the next few days.
Please spread the word about all of these proposed cuts to Idaho:
  • $12 million would be cut from federal funds for clean and safe water in Idaho.1
  • 511 Idaho children would be immediately cut from Head Start, which provides comprehensive early childhood development services for at-risk children ages zero to five.2
  • $30 million would be cut from Pell Grants, affecting all 48,000 higher education students with those grants in Idaho.3
  • Job training and employment services would be effectively eliminated for 400 dislocated workers, 82,000 low-income adults, and 1,000 youths age 14 to 21.4
  • $810,000 would be cut from law enforcement assistance, taking cops off the beat.5
It's especially galling when the same budget protects tax breaks for corporations like GE and the very rich.
Just last night the news broke that Congress may be close to striking a deal on the budget. Now is the only time we can influence the outcome. 
Can you call Sens. Crapo and Risch and ask them to oppose these cuts in the budget? You can pick one of the cuts in this list to highlight in your call.
Senator Mike Crapo
Phone: 202-224-6142

Senator James Risch
Phone: 202-224-2752
Click to report your call. Then pass this email along locally!
The cuts that the Republicans are proposing would disproportionately hit those who can least afford it in Idaho, and it's up to us to stop them.
Thanks for all you do.
-Daniel, Amy, Milan, Tate, and the rest of the team
Sources:
1. "House Bill Means Fewer Children in Head Start, Less Help for Students to Attend College, Less Job Training, and Less Funding for Clean Water," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March, 1, 2010 http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3405
2. "Projected Reduction in Children Served in Head Start Based on H.R. 1—Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution," Center for Law and Social Policy http://www.moveon.org/r?r=207278&id=26722-18623853-KhZW_5x&t=3
3. "House Bill Means Fewer Children in Head Start, Less Help for Students to Attend College, Less Job Training, and Less Funding for Clean Water," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March, 1, 2010 http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3405
4. Ibid
5. Ibid
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quacks and Quakes: Correcting Misinformation

Here's an article from today's eSkeptic Magazine:
The great Sendai earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, generated not only huge coverage in all the media, but also brought all the crazies out of the woodwork (as any major earthquake or natural disaster does). I’ve discussed the geophysical and geological details in a separate post, but the storm of misinformation and myths flying around the media and internet was overwhelming. My email box was filled questions about these events, because I’ve been doing publicity for my new bookCatastrophes: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and other Earth-Shattering Disasters (Johns Hopkins University Press). There were not only the usual myths about earthquakes, but also an additional layer of apocalyptic speculation and “end of the world” prophecies, plus the crazies who believe the 2012 myth.
If Fox had bothered to do minimal research about him, they would never have wasted the airtime and panicked people unnecessarily. First of all, Berkland is not a seismologist but a geologist with only a B.A. and some graduate training, who served in several different government positions before retiring in 1994. Berkland is touted as having predicted the Loma Prieta earthquake, something that he uses as his main publicity hook and was promoted on the Fox broadcast. However, there are questions about this prediction. That region had already been targeted a year earlier as a “seismic gap” or one of the most likely areas for the next big quake. According to the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismic Network site, “The segment of the San Andreas fault that broke in the 1989 M 7.1 Loma Prieta or “World Series” earthquake had been identified by the USGS as one of the more likely segments of the San Andreas to rupture. Magnitude 5+ earthquakes 2 and 15 months before the damaging earthquake were treated as possible foreshocks, and the USGS issued 5-day Public Advisories through the California Office of Emergency Services.” So it was no great shakes to follow this prediction and pick a date. Berkland just got lucky and happened to mention it to a reporter for a local paper in Gilroy, California, so it was actually recorded in the public record.Among those that got their 15 minutes of fame during the post-quake media blitz was a well-known crank, Jim Berkland, who got a full interview promoting his ideas on Fox News on March 17 (but on no other network). First, the reporter put up a map of the “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and earthquakes around the Pacific Rim, pointed at Chile, then New Zealand, then Japan, and implied that this circle of quakes might end in California. Apparently, he never consulted a geologist, who would have pointed out that each of those regions is an entirely different type of plate boundary and they have notectonic plates in common. Then Fox gave Berkland a full five minutes to spout his ideas, with the same credulous reporter tossing him softball questions, and no rebuttal from any other geologist or seismologist. Berkland rambled on about animal behavior and fish die-offs in California (which have been explained by unusual water conditions), never mentioning that such die-offs are common and not statistically associated with earthquakes (nor is there any plausible mechanism that might link them). He blathered on about how animals sense unusual magnetic fields before the quake, an argument that has been thoroughly debunked. Berkland mentions several other quakes he claims to have “predicted,” with no fact-checking or examination of his overall record of “prediction.” He also demonstrated the classic persecution complex of all cranks and fringe scientists, dismissing real scientists and their “black boxes” when he uses methods with no rigor or peer review. He then used his airtime to boldly predict that a great California quake would happen on March 19, the perigee of the “supermoon,” with a prediction window running to March 26. Well, those dates have come and gone, and we don’t see Fox News interviewing him again to explain what went wrong.
Once his complete record of quake prediction is examined more closely, its “success rate” falls apart. It’s a classic case of cherry-picking the favorable data, and also confirmation bias, used by fortune-tellers and faith healers and swindlers of every kind for centuries: people remember the hits and forget the misses. Berkland got one lucky “hit” and most people never bother to check his overall track record. Seismologist Roger Hunter did a careful statistical study, published in the Skeptical Inquirer, and found that his “predictions” were no better than chance.1 Berkland’s claim is that when the tidal forces of the alignment of the moon and sun are at a maximum (a syzygy, as he calls it), they can exert a pull on the earth’s crust and trigger earthquakes. This idea goes back to at least 1897, and has some plausibility, since the tidal attraction does exert some force on the earth’s crust. However, when geophysicists at the UCLA Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics conducted a rigorous study, they found no statistical relationship between the two.2 Several other studies have also tested the connections between tides and earthquakes, and found no statistically significant correlations.3 The only possible correlation might occur when tidal forces pull on shallow thrust faults but the faults in Berkland’s March 19 prediction for California are all deep vertical strike-slip faults, none with the type of motion that fit the shallow thrust-fault model. The fault that caused the Sendai quake is a deep subduction zone, not a shallow thrust. The only other possible place where tides might affect quakes is in the rift valleys of mid-ocean ridges, miles under the middle of the ocean,4 and far from the areas that Berkland has focused his predictions.
In addition to Berkland’s questionable methods and lack of consistent success in prediction based on tides, he also uses animal behavior as a guide to predicting earthquakes. His “highly rigorous” method is to survey the newspaper for an unusual number of lost dog and cat reports in the classified ads section. The idea that animals can predict earthquakes has been carefully analyzed and has failed the test again and again. Animals may be more sensitive than humans to the P-waves, which are the fastest seismic waves and arrive several seconds before the destructive S-waves in regions far from the epicenter—but this gives warnings of only a few seconds in any place that is likely to experience strong shaking. If animals are sensitive to other disturbances in the earth’s crust that happen more than a few seconds before the quake itself, it has never been reliably corroborated. In addition, this method runs into the same problem that most short-term earthquake prediction methods have encountered: no two earthquakes are alike. Some have precursors, and others don’t. Thus, if animals did act strangely before a particular quake occurred (just as some geophysical precursors have been observed on some quakes), there is no evidence that they reliably predict most quakes (just as many quakes don’t have precursors).
This leads to the bigger issue: the best geophysicists in the world have been working hard on short-term earthquake prediction for decades, but most would concede that we are not much closer than we were fifty years ago. We are very successful at giving long-term warnings of months to years in advance for regions that are overdue for a big quake (“seismic gaps”) and these predictions have worked reliably. But short-term prediction has always floundered on the maddening problem that no two faults behave in the same way. Back in the 1970s, dilatancy theory about ground deformation found a series of precursors, and led to the successful prediction of the Feb. 4, 1975, Haicheng quake in China. But just 17 months later, there were no precursors for the July 28, 1976, Tangshan earthquake, and about half a million people died. Since this failure, seismologists have become much more cautious about short-term earthquake prediction. Most will candidly admit that there will probably never be a reliable method of short-term prediction. This leaves room for quacks like Jim Berkland to step in, brag about his questionable Loma Prieta “prediction,” and get free media attention. Then he can rely on the fact that reporters these days do no research into his background, nor do they confront him after each failed prediction to ask him what went wrong. As Charles Richter himself said, “Only fools, liars, and charlatans predict earthquakes.” You can be the judge of which category best fits Berkland.
References
  1. Hunter, R. 2006. “Can Jim Berkland predict earthquakes?” Skeptical Inquirer 30 (5): 47–50.
  2. Kennedy, M., Vidale, J.E., and Parker, M.G. 2004. “Earthquakes and the moon: syzygy predictions fail the test.” Seismological Research Letters 75 (5): 607–612.
  3. Hartzell, S., and Heaton, T. 1989. “The fortnightly tide and the tidal triggering of earthquakes.” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 79: 1282–1286. Vidale, J.E., Agnew, D.C., Johnston, M.J.S., and Oppenheimer, D.H. 1998. “Absence of earthquake correlation with Earth tides; an indication of high preseismic fault stress rate.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 103: 24567–24572.
  4. Tolstoy, M., Vernon, F.A., Orcutt, J.A., and Wyatt, F.K. 2002. “Breathing of the seafloor; tidal correlations of seismicity at Axial Volcano.” Geology 30:503–506.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Pat Tillman Story


The Tillman Story
2010R 95 minutes
Pat Tillman's family comes forward to tell the real story about what happened on April 22, 2004, in Afghanistan when the pro football player-turned-U.S. soldier was killed by friendly fire and not the Taliban, as first reported. Amir Bar-Lev's documentary pieces together the Tillmans' search for the truth, how they exposed a military cover-up that led to top-ranking officers and called to the carpet the likes of Donald Rumsfeld.
Cast: Pat TillmanDonald Rumsfeld
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
Genres: DocumentaryPolitical DocumentariesMilitary DocumentariesBlu-raySony Pictures Home Entertainment

I highly recommend this film. Even if you weren't a fan of Tillman's and know nothing about his pro football career, you will find this to be an eye-opening, heart-wrenching film. It's available through Netflix.

AT&T's Man in the White House


Clicking here will add your name to this petition, which says:

AT&T's $39 billion dollar proposal to take over T-Mobile is bad news for consumers, and a perfect example of what our anti-trust laws are supposed to prevent.

But if President Obama's chief of staff Bill Daley has anything to do with it, you can bet AT&T will emerge the winner and cell phone users will lose big time.
When President Obama appointed Daley as his chief of staff, the Associated Press described the position as "one of the most important and influential jobs in American government as an adviser and gatekeeper to Obama."1
So it's alarming that Daley, who has been called "AT&T's man in the White House," might be allowed to use that influence in favor of his former employer.2
It's the largest proposed merger in years — and the biggest potential anti-trust case of the Obama administration. Make no mistake. AT&T taking over T-Mobile would be a disaster for all mobile phone users — not just T-Mobile customers. It would lead to higher prices and stifle choice and innovation in the marketplace.
But AT&T couldn't be better positioned for success. In addition to being the top corporate contributor to Congress, the company boasts an intimate and longstanding relationship with Bill Daley.
Daley is a former of president of SBC, the company that bought AT&T and took over its name. The trade publication Telephony wrote when Daley was hired that SBC had "lousy relationships with many state regulators and little Democratic support in Congress" and that Daley was "expected to solve both problems."3 Or as a reporter who covered the industry said at the time, he was hired to "grease the skids with regulators and politicians."4 This is hardly what you'd want on the resume of a government official who will weigh in on the deal.
If that's not enough, Daley is known as a "dear friend" of current AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson who served with him as COO at SBC during Daley's tenure as president.5 And finally, Daley was also previously a top executive at JP Morgan, the bailed out bank that is lending AT&T the $20 billion it needs to complete the merger.6
In fact, owing to his history with JP Morgan, Daley was asked to recuse himself from the selection process for the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has already said he will refrain from working on that issue7 and he should do the same here.
Whom the president supports — consumers or AT&T — will make or break this deal which must first be reviewed by Obama's Department of Justice and then approved by his FCC. And as Obama's chief of staff, Daley can wield extraordinary influence in both processes.
AT&T, which bitterly opposed net neutrality8 and succeeded in convincing the FCC to refrain from banning discrimination on the wireless web, would have even more control over the wireless Internet should the merger go through. The company has a long history of blocking competing services — like Skype, Google Voice and Slingbox. And has in the past simply crippled mobile phones that can do more than what the company wants to allow its customers to do on the wireless Web.9
President Obama has a history of caving to the major telecom companies — supporting retroactive immunity for telecom companies who illegally spied on Americans, invoking state secrets to defend telecom companies against law suits on illegal practices, and failing to support strong net neutrality regulations at the FCC. It's up to us to raise our voices and stop the administration from rubberstamping this terrible deal.
We will fight this at the Department of Justice and at the FCC. But first we need to ensure that we are not defeated by "AT&T's man in the White House" before we have even begun to fight.
Thank you for working for a better world.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action
(2) AT&T's Man in the White House, Huffington Post, January 8, 2011

Wisconsin's Recall TV Ad


A message from Democracy for America: 
We've been busy in Wisconsin and we just finished our brand new RECALL TV ad.
It's powerful.
We need your help again right now to make an impact. Take a look and please contribute $5 to keep it on the air.
Click to watch the ad
Here's what's happening: For the last two weeks, over 2,600 Wisconsin DFA volunteers have been helping gather signatures to put Recall campaigns on the ballot.

They're over halfway done.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow called our first TV ad with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee "the most pointed, stand-with-the-people-who-work-for-a-living ad that we have seen for a very long time." We've saturated the airwaves with it on broadcast and cable, morning, day and night. We've been running radio ads, robocalls, volunteer actions.

All of it targeted at defeating the eight Republican Senators eligible for recall in their districts.

We only need to defeat three Republicans to flip the Senate and stop Scott Walker's attack on middle class families. 

Please contribute now to keep the NEW Recall Ad on the air. 

We're not taking any momentum for granted. We won't stop until we win either. In fact, both Democracy for America and our partners at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have opened local Wisconsin recall committees to make sure we can maximize the flexibility and effectiveness of our campaign,

Recent polling looks very bad for Scott Walker and the Republicans, but we can count on Karl Rove and the Koch brothers to try to change it up and put Democrats on defense. 

It's up to us not let that happen.

Thank you for taking action today.

-Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
Democracy for America

All contributions are subject to the limitations and prohibitions of federal election law. An individual may contribute a maximum of $5000 per calendar year.

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, March 16, 2011

How to Help Japan

A message from MoveOn.org
The devastation in Japan is simply horrific. The death toll is rising by the hour. Tens of thousands remain missing, more than 450,000 people have been displaced, and millions lack access to food, water, electricity, and medicine.1
And as rescue and relief workers struggle to operate around the clock, Japan must also contend with partial meltdowns and the escalating risk of an even worse catastrophe at several nuclear reactors.2
Right now the people of Japan are in crisis, their resources are stretched thin, and they need our help. Many organizations are already on the ground providing relief, including Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross. You can provide immediate assistance by donating to help fund the emergency response: 
  • Doctors Without Borders is sending highly trained teams of doctors into the hardest-hit and most difficult-to-reach regions of Japan.  (Note: Doctors Without Borders is not accepting contributions "earmarked" for Japan, but rather drawing from general support to enable their important response work there.) Donate here:
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Laura, Peter, Robin, and the rest of the MoveOn.org team 
Sources:
1. "Millions face worsening crisis in quake-hit Japan," Reuters, March 14, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206964&id=26514-18623853-UaiuuJx&t=4
2. "Japan Faces Potential Nuclear Disaster as Radiation Levels Rise," The New York Times, March 14, 2011
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206965&id=26514-18623853-UaiuuJx&t=5 

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top 10 Worst Republican Budget Cuts


A message from MoveOn.org:
This week, Congress could cut a deal on the budget. And if Republicans get their way, billions will be cut from vital programs that millions of Americans count on—while tax cuts for the richest are protected. 
But most people don't have any idea what's at stake—and how devastating these cuts would be to their communities—even though the cuts could take effect within weeks. So we're launching an emergency campaign to spread the word. Republicans want to gut programs with enormous public support, and hope no one notices. So it's up to all of us to spark a public outcry before it's too late. 
The devastating impact these cuts will have on our country—and on your community—is unprecedented. Check out the list below. If we can get it out to a million people, we can start to sound the alarm and stop the GOP. Click here to post on Facebook and Twitter, or simply forward this email.

Top 10 Worst Things about the Republicans' Immoral Budget

The Republican budget would: 
1. Destroy 700,000 jobs, according to an independent economic analysis. 
2. Zero out federal funding for National Public Radio and public television.
3. Cut $1.3 billion from community health centers—which will deprive more than 3 million low-income people of health care over the next few months.
4. Cut nearly a billion dollars in food and health care assistance to pregnant women, new moms, and children.
5. Kick more than 200,000 children out of pre-school by cutting funds for Head Start.
6. Force states to fire 65,000 teachers and aides, dramatically increasing class sizes, thanks to education cuts. 
7. Cut some or all financial aid for 9.4 million low- and middle-income college students. 
8. Slash $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, a cut that experts say would "send shockwaves" through cancer research, likely result in cuts to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, and cause job losses.
9. End the only federal family planning program, including cutting all federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood to support cancer screenings and other women's health care.
10. Send 10,000 low-income veterans into homelessness by cutting in half the number of veterans who get housing vouchers this year.
We've got to get the word out about this awful budget—right away. Please, share this with your friends on Facebook andTwitter, or by forwarding this email, today. 
Sources:
1. "GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says," The Washington Post, February 28, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206357&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=6
2. "GOP budget would cut funding for public broadcasting," The Washington Independent, February 14, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206513&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=7 
3. "NACHC Statement in Response to the Budget from the House Appropriations Committee," National Association of Community Health Centers website, accessed March 4, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206514&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=8
4."Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli.," The New Republic, February 12, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206104&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=9
House Republican Spending Cuts Target Programs For Children And Pregnant Women http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206566&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=10
5. "Obama and the GOP's Spending Cuts: Where's the Outrage?" Mother Jones, February 18, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206569&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=11
6. Ibid.
7. "Deficit Reduction on the Backs of the Most Vulnerable," Center for American Progress, March 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206518&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=12 (PDF)
8. "The GOP Budget and Cancer—Why New Research Is at Risk," Politics Daily, February 27, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206515&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=13 
"Republican Budget Cuts at Heart of Medical Research: Albert Hunt," Bloomberg, February 20, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206516&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=14
"Durbin: Cuts to NIH put research jobs at risk," Business Week, February 28, 2011 http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9LLSCB00.htm
9. "GOP Spending Plan: X-ing Out Title X Family Planning Funds," Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206105&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=15
10. "House GOP Spending Cuts Would Prevent 10,000 Low-Income Veterans From Receiving Housing Assistance," Think Progress, March 1, 2011 
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206517&id=26412-18623853-GstN0Ix&t=16
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Cheryl on March 7, 2011. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here. 

Recall Wisconsin Republicans

A message from PFAW:


Last night, Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate did an end-run around the rules to strike a death blow to workers' rights in that state. 

According to the Senate rules, the Democratic Senators who left the state to prevent movement of the Governor's budget plan were able to stop that bill because it was a budget bill that included spending. So, last night in a sneaky, thoroughly anti-democratic move which some are saying could be illegal, the Republican Senators took the provision that guts workers' collective bargaining rights and passed it as a standalone bill. 
Tell Wisconsin GOP: "Not on our watch!" ... and the first critical step to doing that: RECALL. 
Please make an emergency contribution to our campaign to RECALL the eight Republican Wisconsin Senators who are eligible for recall elections this year.
 

We MUST send the message to right-wing bullies in Wisconsin and every state that there is a price for waging war on American workers and the very rights that make this country great and that built the middle class. 

What the Wisconsin GOP did last night was also an attack on the democratic process. 
Now, let's show them what democracy is really all about and hold them accountable at the voting booth.
Help us recall these Senators and replace them with lawmakers who will stand up for working families, who will stand up for their constituents and their fundamental rights. 

Please, if there ever was a time to invest in democracy and give your money to a worthy cause, now is that time. 
Donate to our campaign to recall the Republican 8. 

Thanks for all you do and for all your great support. It's needed now more than ever. 

Sincerely, 

Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager 

P.S. Passing the union-busting part of Gov. Walker's plan as a stand-alone, non-fiscal measure exposes the lie that the attack on workers' rights had anything whatsoever to do with saving money and fixing the budget. This assault was driven by ideology and politics all along -- and we won't let this undemocratic overreach stand. 
Help us recall the Republican 8 with a contribution now. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TONIGHT: How to Not Be Overlooked by the Media

A message from Democracy for America: 


With the 24-hour news cycle, you'd think it would be easier than ever to get media coverage.

But how can an effort for progressive change earn even a minute of airtime when the media is focused on "important" stories like Charlie Sheen?
DFA Night School is here to help you break through.
In this week's interactive online session, we'll be showing you how to earn media exposure for your cause. Whether it's about getting spotlighted on a local blog, having a clip on an area radio station or being quoted in the paper, our online event will teach you tactics, tips and tricks.

Tonight's special guest is communications expert Jacki Schechner. Jacki's been on all sides of the media game as a local news reporter in Miami, on-air personality at CNN, and advocate for progressive change as the Communications Director at Health Care for America Now. She'll be delving into a fascinating case study on the successes and failures of earning media during the battle for health insurance reform.
Click here to join us on tonight's session -- Pressing for Reform: Earning Media for Your Issue Campaign.
The seminar begins tonight -- Wednesday, March 9 -- at 8:30 pm EST. If you're registering for the first time,
the password is nightschool.

See you this evening and thanks for all that you do,

--Matt Segal, National Field Organizer
Democracy for America

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Koch Brothers Meet Their Match = You!

A message from Democracy for America:


The Wall Street Journal reports -- "Conservatives in Wisconsin are getting nervous that three Republican state senators may defect on the collective-bargaining reform vote."
NBC news in Wisconsin reports -- "four moderate Republicans are wavering and could break with the GOP and vote against Walker's budget repair bill."

And 
Talking Points Memo reports on a brand new poll by a Republican leaning pollster -- "Rasmussen Poll: Almost Six In Ten Wisconsin Voters Disapprove Of Gov. Walker."
Our strategy is working. We can win this fight. Please contribute to keep our T.V. ad playing statewide -- and non-stop -- until Republicans cave. 

The 
New York Times reports -- "Billionaire Brothers' Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute." The secretive Republican billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch bankroll the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which had a budget of over 40 million dollars last year. They've spent millions backing Governor Walker and pushing an anti-worker agenda.

But now the Koch Brothers have met their match -- and it's you.

We're united together with the people of Wisconsin and our partners at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in fighting to stop the war on working families. Republicans and the Koch Brothers are on the run playing defense, but we can't stop until we win. 
Keep the pressure up on Wisconsin Senate Republicans to abandon Governor Walker and his anti-worker budget. Contribute right now to keep blanketing the state with our T.V. ad.
This isn't just Wisconsin. We're all in this together. Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, all across America, Republicans are waging a war on working families. It's up to us to stop them.
Thank you for everything you're doing to win.

Charles Chamberlain, Political Director

Democracy for America

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wisconsin TV Ad


A message from Democracy for America:
It's time to take our campaign in Wisconsin to the next level: Offense!
We've launched a powerful new TV ad in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans. With your help, we can put it on TV day after day until Republicans cave. 
Click to watch the AdIt's powerful.
It's emotional.
It's real Wisconsin.
Teachers. Secretaries. Electricians. All standing up and speaking about the impact this budget would have on them and their families.
Please watch the ad and contribute $20 now to keep the ad on the air as long as possible.
Together with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, we're pulling out all the stops to back up the people of Wisconsin and protect middle class families.

Thank you for taking action today to stop the war on working families.
--Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Support for Walmart Gender-Discrimination Plaintiffs



March 2, 2011
Contact: 
Katie Broendelbroendelk@aauw.org
202/785-7761
Lisa Goodnightgoodnightl@aauw.org
202/785-7738
 
AAUW Signs Amicus Brief in Support of the Plaintiffs in
Gender Discrimination Suit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
WASHINGTON — The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has signed an amicus “friend of the court” brief in support of the plaintiffs in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. On March 29, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument to determine whether the case can move forward as a class action. AAUW — one of 34 groups to sign the brief — will also provide financial support through its Legal Advocacy Fund to defray the expenses of six of the lead plaintiffs.
 
The full brief is available on the AAUW website.
Lead plaintiff Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart employee, has alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotion policies and practices in Wal-Mart retail stores. If she and the other plaintiffs prevail at the Supreme Court, their case will become the largest class-action civil rights suit in the nation’s history, comprising approximately 1.6 million female Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club employees.
 
“AAUW believes that all these women deserve their day in court and that the Supreme Court should allow the case to proceed as a class actionIt is the vehicle through which 1.6 million women can pursue justice,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “By herself, Betty Dukes is fighting a Goliath, but by banding together with other women and having AAUW stand behind her, she has a strong, powerful voice in the struggle for equity and fairness.”
 
In 2001, Dukes and other lead plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in order to pursue the case as a class action. Wal-Mart appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, then to a three-judge panel of the same court, and then to the full court en banc, all affirming the district court’s decision. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. A decision in favor of Dukes and the other lead plaintiffs would open the door for these women to pursue their discrimination case.
 
AAUW is a leader in the fight for pay equity. The alleged gender discrimination in pay in this case contributed to AAUW’s decision to support the lead plaintiffs. The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund offersfinancial and organizational support for workplace-based cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. Since 1981, LAF has disbursed nearly $2 million to more than 100 plaintiffs to help offset their legal fees in sex discrimination cases and has been instrumental to the success of many cases.
 
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The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institutional partners. Since AAUW’s founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s commitment to educational equity is reflected in its public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections.