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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hit Republicans Hard

A message from Democracy for America:
We hear a lot of talk from Washington about compromise these days, and if you are anything like me, it makes me furious. Why should I have to compromise my values and the investments that I made for my future, so that millionaires and billionaires can get a free ride?

Maybe in Washington you have to tolerate fools who want to kill the American Dream, but Democracy for America members won't let them get away with it out here in America.

The truth is that Republicans in Congress aren't giving an inch on their plan to destroy all of the investments that made America great. They are killing the American dream by kicking the legs out from under everything that supports the middle class -- education, Social Security and Medicare, and infrastructure we need for jobs.

That's not what America voted for and we can't let them slink away back to their in district fundraisers without answering for those votes. That's why we made this TV ad to hit Republicans hard and send Washington a message. Click here to Watch the ad and contribute $10 to keep it on the air now.
Click to watch and keep it on the airWatch the Ad and keep it on the air now.
We've already locked down prime time spots targeting Sunday shows like NBC's "Meet the Press" and "Inside Washington" as a shot across the bow that members of Congress won't miss.

The next step is to take it directly to the districts of vulnerable Republicans nationwide, like Allen West and David Rivera in Florida. Both Republicans are tied to scandals and each will face challenges next November by progressive Democrats ready to fight for the American Dream.
Contribute now to get the ad on the air in highly targeted districts of vulnerable Republicans.
We're going on the attack, because if Democrats in Washington won't stand up and fight Republicans -- we will.
Thank you for everything you do.
-Levana Layendecker, Communications Director
Democracy for America

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.

Unemployed Need Not Apply? WTF?

Take Action!

A message from CREDO Action:
We have a jobs crisis in this country that has kicked millions of Americans out of work through no fault of their own. But that hasn't stopped job listing websites like and from allowing "help wanted" ads that tell unemployed people they won't be considered for the job.
There's something fundamentally unfair and perverse about telling unemployed people they can't apply for a job simply because they don't have one already.
New Jersey has already outlawed this type of discrimination against the jobless, and a bill has been introduced in Congress to follow suit. But whether or not it's still technically legal, it's still just plain wrong. And the major job listing sites shouldn't be a party to it.
A recent article in the New York Times showed that this type of discrimination is rampant.1 But if the big job sites refuse to run these discriminatory ads, it would go a long way towards ending this unfair practice.
We know that the job sites are susceptible to public pressure, so it's vital that we all speak out.
After our friends at TrueMajority/USAction launched this campaign, sent them a cease and desist letter.2 Our friends responded:
"USAction will not 'cease and desist' telling the world about hiring discrimination against the unemployed, about companies that engage in this practice, and about online job posting firms that enable it. And that includes, who should simply refuse ads from employers who openly discriminate against the unemployed."
We're proud to join them and turn the heat up on and other job listing site, and take a stand for the millions of Americans who don't have a job. We hope you'll join us.
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk," Catherine Rampell, New York Times, 07-25-2011.
2. " Says It Won't Ban Third-Party Ads That Discourage Job Applications From The Unemployed ," Jordan Howard, Huffington Post, 08-12-11

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tar Sands Pipeline

Take Action!
A message from CREDO Action:
Over the weekend, more than 100 people were arrested in front of the White House for protesting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Another group is planning to get arrested at about 11am today, followed by similar groups every day until September 3rd.1
President Obama will be deciding soon whether or not he will approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would speed the consumption of environmentally devastating Canadian tar sands oil.
It is President Obama's decision alone to grant or deny the permit required for construction. This is a make or break issue for his environmental record, and the President needs to know we're paying attention.
The Canadian tar sands are a carbon bomb. The 3rd largest oil field in the world, the difficult extraction and transportation of the tar sands oil ultimately produces up to three times the carbon emissions of traditional oil. (And extreme environmental devastation along the way.)1
The Keystone XL pipeline is the fuse to this bomb — a highway to swift consumption of this dirty, dangerous crude. As if that wasn't enough, it poses a massive spill risk in the six states along the pipeline route, including over the Ogallala Aquifer which provides up to 30% of our nation's agricultural water.
The administration's previous decisions on climate do not inspire confidence that they will deny the permit. Recently, the administration approved offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. They have opened vast new areas to coal mining, and late last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even said that she was "inclined" to approve Keystone XL.
But President Obama still has the final word. He does not have to negotiate with Congress or industry. As his State Department reviews the permit, the decision — which could have a devastating impact on the livability of our nation, and our world — is entirely in his hands.
We've lost too many climate fights already. We need a massive, historic show of pressure to make sure we don't lose this one. Please make a call today.
Thank you for fighting for an oil-free future.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. Can you see yourself in this picture? That's the group of activists who were arrested on Saturday. There's still time to join this wave of civil disobedience which is happening at the White House every day through September 3. Click here for more info and to sign up

Friday, August 19, 2011

Warren Buffet Wants His Taxes Raised

Take Action!
A message from CREDO Action:

We hear a lot about "shared sacrifice" and belt-tightening out of Washington, but as billionaire investor Warren Buffett noted on Sunday:
"Our leaders have asked for 'shared sacrifice.' But when they did the asking, they spared me...and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks."1
As complicated as some want to make it, this issue is very simple. In a time of economic crisis, it's both healthy for our democracy and fundamentally fair to ask the super rich to pay more.
Senator Bernie Sanders has a bill to do this and make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has yet to call a vote on it.
One of the main drivers of our federal deficit are the Bush tax cuts, which have driven down tax rates for the wealthiest Americans to the lowest levels we've seen since the 1950s.
Tax rates for the richest Americans have fallen sharply despite the fact that taxing millionaires and billionaires is wildly popular, and the cost of not taxing them extremely high. The Sanders bill alone would bring in an additional $50 billion a year in revenue.
When someone like billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that he and his friends "have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,"2 people pay close attention. And with Washington focused on what to cut and by how much, Mr. Buffett asking for Congress to raise his taxes represents an important opportunity.
This is a rare moment to inject common sense into the debate over budgets and get senators on the record about being for or against record low tax rates enjoyed by billionaires like Mr. Buffett.
With the creation of a new twelve member Super Committee empowered to fast-track through Congress budget-slashing legislation that cannot be amended, it's more important than ever that we pressure our representatives to deal with the crisis caused by their inability to end the Bush tax cuts and bring back rational taxation rates for the richest Americans.
And before the congressional Super Committee issues a draft of its budget plan, we need all senators to go on the record about whether they support or oppose the simple notion that the super rich need to pay their fair share. This will create much needed momentum to help Democrats on the Super Committee hold the line on our demands for revenue increases.
Republican hostage-taking and other deeply undemocratic tactics by members of both parties have left us with a budget process that is broken, and as a result most senators avoid taking a stand on important issues like whether we should raise taxes on the very richest among us.
But in the face of massive budget shortfalls, and with a billionaire like Warren Buffett literally asking for it, there's no excuse for Congress not to vote on taxing millionaires and billionaires.Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
1"Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," Warren Buffett, New York Times, Aug. 14,2011.

And a message from

Earlier this week, multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffett published a powerful op-ed in The New York Times with a simple message: Tax me!1

Buffett said openly what all of us have been thinking—Washington needs to "stop coddling the super-rich."

The op-ed is already making a huge splash, but we need to make sure Congress can't ignore it. So we're joining with Rebuild the Dream on this petition. We're aiming to get 200,000 people to go on record saying that they stand with Warren Buffett and want the richest Americans to pay their fair share.

If we can get 200,000 signers, we'll deliver the Buffett op-ed, along with your signature, to every member of Congress. 

Here's what the petition says: "I stand with Warren Buffett. It's time for Congress to stop coddling the super-rich and make them pay their fair share."

If you haven't already read it, here's an excerpt from Buffett's op-ed:

Our leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It's nice to have friends in high places.

Pretty powerful stuff, right? Click below to add your name and stand with Warren Buffett:
Thanks for all you do.

  –Daniel, Tate, Peter, Elena, and the rest of the team
  1. "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," The New York Times, August 14, 2011

Pay-Per-View Government?

payperview congress
A message from 
It seems that congressional Republicans either have a severe distaste for, or a severe lack of understanding of, the First Amendment of the Constitution. 

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is not holding any open-to-the-public town hall meetings in his district this August recess -- instead, he's charging constituents $15 for face time with their democratically elected representative. And Ryan isn't the only member of congress whose recess meetings are, as Politico put it, "strictly pay-per-view." 

Speak out by joining our petition to members of Congress now and help us draw attention to this growing problem. 

Congressmen like Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Chip Cravaack (R-MN), instead of hosting town hall meetings, are having events hosted for them by friendly organizations with a fee for attendance. These Republican members of Congress are so desperate to shelter themselves from criticism that they are denying their constituents' basic democratic access to their elected officials. 

The First Amendment states that Americans have the right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" and does NOT include the words "only if they are willing and able to pay for that privilege."What Ryan and his colleagues are doing is an affront to American democracy AND to the First Amendment. 

Exercise YOUR First Amendment right and petition Congress now.

Selective disregard of the Constitution by the Right Wing is nothing new, but this latest wave of hostility to the First Amendment is so cowardly and begs for a light to be shined on it and for accountability for the elected officials engaged in it. 

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) recently had a sign reading, "Private Property: No soliciting, No protesting, No loitering," appear outside his district office. This was in response to protests by progressive activists after Lamborn referred to President Obama as a "tar baby." However, the restriction appeared not to apply to Lamborn's supporters who held a "spontaneous" rally outside the office on Friday. 

The "no protesting" portion was removed after Lamborn received pressure for his selective allowance of free speech at his congressional office and his blatant disregard for the spirit of the First Amendment. Now we need to make sure all members of Congress are receiving similar pressure. 

Help us keep up the pressure by speaking up and joining PFAW's petition now. 

Since voting on many anti-middle class policies, especially the "Ryan Plan" attacks on Medicare and Medicaid, Republican members of Congress have been facing angry constituents at town hall meetings and protests at their offices. That's called democracy -- elected officials being held accountable by their constituents. 

By outsourcing meetings to third parties that raise money on the events, members of Congress are ducking all but their most supportive constituents, and in some cases, creating a misleading media narrative by allowing in local reporters and TV cameras. 

If these Republican members of Congress are so scared of Democracy, then they're in the wrong business. 

Please help us keep the pressure on by joining our petition and then by helping to spread the word.

As always, thank you for all you do. 


Michael Keegan 

AAUW's 2-Minute Activist Link

 AAUW Action Network

It's Time for Congress to Focus on Jobs!
America's workforce is one of our country's greatest assets and could help us stave off a "double-dip" recession. Yet despite the more than 14 million Americans who can't find a job, Congress has not enacted any serious jobs legislation. In fact, they've already cut more than $1 billion in funding for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), career and technical education, and other programs in this fiscal year, and deeper cuts are already on the table for Fiscal Year 2012.
Federal employment and job training programs give Americans the education and training they need to get back to work, to help support their families, and to help stabilize and strengthen our country’s economy. Women in particular benefit from job training programs; because of the numerous barriers preventing their involvement in nontraditional occupations such as construction and information technology, training programs help provide women access to a broader range of potential employment. Now is not the time to be cutting funding for critical job training programs.
Take Action! Join AAUW in telling your members of Congress that it's time to stop equivocating and wasting time: Americans need jobs and job training now!
You can send a message by clicking the "Take Action" link or visiting AAUW's Two Minute Activist.
Remember: You can always help strengthen AAUW's efforts to strengthen women's economic security by making a tax-deductible donation to AAUW’s Public Policy Fund!
Double your impact! Tweet, Facebook, and forward this action alert to friends and family.

Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls!
General AAUW questions? Please contact or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Romney & the Koch Bros

A Message from 
We have a couple of new videos to share with you. 

First, check out our new TV ad we are running in New Hampshire exposing Mitt Romney's views on corporate personhood -- using footage of him in front of an Iowa crowd asserting, "corporations are people, my friend." 
romney NH 
Then, watch the latest installment of our partners at Brave New Foundation's "Koch Brothers Exposed" series. It shows the dangerous results corporation exercising the same rights as people, as the conservative majority on the Roberts Supreme Court allowed them to do with their Citizens United v. FEC decision. In North Carolina, corporate money -- Koch brothers money, via their Tea Party front group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) -- bought the election of a slate of ultra right-wing school board members who are going about racially resegregating a successful school district. 

Koch resegregation 
Please check out both of these videos and then take action. 
Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager

Idaho Town Hall Meetings

AAUW Action Network

Hold Congress Accountable: Attend a Town Hall Meeting!
NOTE: This is an update and reminder! We'll be sending this once a week for the next couple of weeks, or until recess ends!
What would you say to your elected officials if you could meet them in person?Would you express frustration with the divisive and drawn-out battle over the debt limit, or would you thank them for fighting back the several attempts to balance the budget on the backs of America’s neediest? Or would you remind them to stop bickering about the deficit when Congress has yet to enact any meaningful job creating legislation, or hasn’t acted on a host of bills vital to equity for women and girls?
The next few weeks, you may have the chance to send a message or ask a question of your members of Congress in person. With Monday’s debt-ceiling vote out of the way, both the Senate and the House have returned to their districts for a five week recess. Your representatives won’t be vacationing, however; they’ll be doing speaking engagements and town hall meetings with their constituents. You have the opportunity to show up and ask questions that will hold them accountable to the people they represent.
Here's the information about your elected officials' town hall meetings (and a feedback form):
Topic: General
Official: Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID)
When: 08/29/2011
Starts: 05:15 PM
Where: Idaho State University
Meridian Campus Auditorium
1311 East Central Drive
Meridian, ID 83642

Topic: General
Official: Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID)
When: 09/01/2011
Starts: 05:00 PM
Where: North Idaho College
Boswell Hall, Shuler Auditorium
1000 West Garden Avenue
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Here are the three steps to asking important questions at a town hall meeting (or “bird-dogging”):
  1. Call the in-district office to confirm when and where the town hall meeting will be (contact information can be found here).
  2. Write out your question ahead of time! Even if you’re not reading off the card, it helps to be prepared.
  3. Be confident and assertive in taking a place at the microphone for questions. Remember: your question is important and deserves an answer!
So, what are you going to ask about? That’s up to you, but here are three ideas we’ve drafted up for you:
  • Social Security, which is funded off-budget and does not contribute to the deficit, might be called one of America’s most effective anti-poverty programs. It is estimated that without it, more than half of elderly women, who often outlive partners and have lower retirement savings, would live in poverty. Do you, today, commit to protecting Social Security from attempts to raise the retirement age or cut benefits?
  • Although the gender wage gap still stands at 77 cents on the dollar, with Congress’ failure to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2010, our nation’s fair pay laws remain weak and outdated. What is your position on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and what do you intend to do when you return to Washington in September to work to close the wage gap?
  • Access to quality, affordable higher education for Americans is critical for the long term health of our economy. It is estimated that by 2018 we will have added over 16 million jobs that require at least some postsecondary education. Students have already made substantial sacrifices this year, forgoing year-round Pell grants and bearing the burden of changes to the graduate student loan program.What will you do going forward to protect and strengthen Pell Grants and other programs that help provide access to higher education?
So Take Action! Find out when there’s a town hall meeting in your neck of the words, arm yourself with a good, incisive question, and go hold your elected officials accountable!
Remember: You can always help strengthen AAUW’s efforts to break through barriers for women and girls by making a tax-deductible donation to AAUW’s Public Policy Fund!
Double your impact! Tweet, Facebook, and forward this action alert to friends and family.
Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls! 
General AAUW questions? Please contact or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Smarmy Romney


Tell Mitt Romney: Corporations are NOT people!
Here's the latest out-of-touch remark from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney!

He just told an Iowa audience, "Corporations are people."
Click here to watch the video and sign the petition 3-d

Now, tell him that he couldn't be more wrong.

Petition language:
Gov. Romney, 
Your assertion that "corporations are people" is not only wrong, but represents the kind of thinking and Tea Party economics that threaten to keep our economy stagnating, keep the wealth gap in this country widening and keep an already heavily burdened middle class struggling! 

You're wrong, plain and simple, and you should retract your comment.
Romney's remark was hardly a misstep. He persisted in arguing his case that corporations ARE people because corporate profits end up "in the pockets" of people. Yes, Governor, some corporate profits end up in the pockets of an ever-shrinking number of people who control an ever-growing portion of our nation's wealth ... and some end up going to SuperPACs like the ones who are collecting massive corporate donations to support your campaign. And, of course, not enough of those profits are being taxed -- so we know where they are certainly not going, and working families are bearing an unfair proportion of the tax burden because of it.

You can see it all on video when you click to sign our petition

Sign our petition now and tell Mitt Romney that corporations are NOT people. People are people.

Then, please help spread the word!

-- Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager

P.S. We must speak out against this. Romney's is the mentality that causes millions of corporate dollars to flow into buying elections and eliminating workers' rights, safety regulation and environmental controls. Sign the petition now.

Attention Debt Committee Democrats

Take Action!
A message from CREDO Action:

We have a jobs crisis in America. Unfortunately, the debt limit deal that was signed into law last week goes in the wrong direction.
In fact, it will give a dozen members of Congress who have been appointed to a new deficit committee much greater power to shred the social safety net and harm our economy.
The Democrats on this new committee must hold the line and pledge to only support a package that includes:
  1. New revenues that exceed any additional cuts
  2. A job creation package
This special committee will be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and will have the ability to force Congress to vote on a deficit reduction proposal that can be neither amended nor filibustered.
The Republican appointees have all signed Grover Norquist's pledge never to raise taxes. But some of the Democrats seem more willing to cut a deal.
We cannot allow the Democrats to replicate the same toxic dynamic (Republican intransigence met with Democratic accommodation) that led to the debt ceiling debacle in the first place.
With Republicans controlling the House and Democratic senators frequently joining Republicans in demagoguery about the debt, it's very easy to see how this committee could propose what amounts to an attack on the poor and middle class.
A single Democratic defection could prove disastrous.
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. The Democrats on the debt committee are: Sens. Patty Murray, Max Baucus and John Kerry, and Reps. Xavier Becerra, Chris Van Hollen and James Clyburn.
With so much at stake, we need them all to stand strong and reject the Republican attacks on the social safety net. Click here to automatically sign the petition telling them to hold the line on jobs and revenue.

Protect Access to Birth Control

Take Action!

A message from CREDO Action:
During the Obama administration, we've seen many attacks on women's rights — and activists have been busy pushing back against threats to women's health like the Stupak amendment.
But thanks to pressure from activists like you, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is poised to make the biggest advancement for women's health in over a decade.
Secretary Sebelius has announced preliminary plans to designate birth control for women as "preventive care," which under the new health care law will make birth control available at no additional cost to all women in the United States with insurance.
Now the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is holding a public comment period on this decision and we need to show support for these vital new rules.
We know that the anti-woman forces including the influential United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be organizing anti-choice activists to submit as many comments as they can in an attempt to roll back this historic advancement for women's health.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a representative of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, responded with fierce resistance to the HHS announcement, saying, "Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible."1
Over 70,000 CREDO Action members took action on this fight and petitioned HHS to designate contraceptives as preventive care — and HHS listened. But the fight isn't over yet.
Even on issues as benign and medically accepted as the new HHS rules, anti-women theocrats on the right are up in arms because they literally oppose birth control. And they will not stop their crusade against women's right to reproductive health.
This public comment period is a critical time to take another stand against the anti-choice forces and to ensure that the Obama administration will continue to take the side of women's health.
Thank you for standing up for women's health.
Ali Rozell, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "HHS OKs birth control with no co-pay," Sabriya Rice,CNN, 08-01-2011. 

"Religious Refusal" Legislation?

AAUW Action Network
Support Access to Preventive Care and Contraception!
A message from the American Association of University Women's Action Network:

We have some good news and we have some bad news. The good news is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering adopting the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendations that women’s preventive health care be completely covered by any new health insurance plans under the new health care reform law!
The bad news, unfortunately, is that efforts are underway to expand “religious refusal” exemptions. If expanded, certain employers would be exempt from having to provide coverage for contraceptive services to their female employees if the employer is opposed to contraception.
An expanded exemption would allow an employer to deny their employees access to care that doctors, medical associations, and the IOM consider necessary. Besides, with or without an employer exemption, if an employee is opposed to contraception on religious grounds, she’s unlikely to fill a prescription for birth control. But these exemptions are also a little sinister.
Religious refusal provisions allow the decision makers at “religious employers” to determine what sort of contraception, if any, their female employees will have access to. If the existing religious refusal exemption is expanded, it would create a broad definition for “religious employers,” and could impact all employees at some schools, hospitals, charities, and elsewhere – even if the employee does not share the faith of their employer.
Here’s more good news, however: HHS is currently waiting to hear from the public!That’s right – AAUW has a chance for input, both as an organization and as individual members and e-advocates.
Take two minutes to send a brief message to HHS. Below, please find draft language we’ve written that we encourage you to edit and email. Please note: Your email will be published online (here), so don’t include your name, address or anything else you don’t want on the web!
To send a message, copy and paste then edit the provided draft in an email to:
I join with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in asking you to accept the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine as pertain to coverage of preventive care under the new health care law, and to reject any exemptions for “religious employers.” These preventive services are a critical element of the new law and would provide countless women better access to necessary health care.
While AAUW believes that “religious refusal” exemptions unjustly deny women access to contraceptive services, others, driven by an ideological distaste for all contraceptive services, are pushing the government to make exemptions even larger. Indeed, some groups are pushing for the exemption to apply to religiously-run health providers, so hospitals with religious affiliations would be exempt from the coverage requirement, even though they employ people of all faiths and ideologies. If granted, this larger exemption would deny access to thousands of women just because of where they work.
I urge you to ensure women have access to quality preventive care by accepting IOM’s recommendations and rejecting the proposed religious refusal exemption provisions.
Remember: You can always help strengthen AAUW’s efforts to support access to contraception and preventive health care by making a tax-deductible donation to AAUW’s Public Policy Fund!
Double your impact! Tweet, Facebook, and forward this action alert to friends and family.
Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls! 
General AAUW questions? Please contact or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin Recall Results

dont retreat recall
A message from People for the American Way (PFAW):

The political balance of power was decided last night by just a few thousand votes. We were just two thousand votes from a political earthquake, but the fact remains that we gained ground, they lost it. Republicans held on to their majority -- barely -- by cashing in on their massive corporate support and the unlimited dollars which flowed from that support in the post-Citizens United era. But we changed the game and seized momentum heading into the next battles.

This David vs. Goliath fight, in which underdog progressives successfully took down two Goliaths and came incredibly close to defeating a third and taking back the State Senate, has inspired progressives across the country ... helped expose the corporate interests so intent on keeping right-wing officials in power ... and shown that if we can compete this closely in heavily Republican districts, we can definitely win statewide.

Thank you so much for your incredible energy, support and activism, all of which fueled our campaign and will be indispensible in the next part of the effort.

People For the American Way's Recall the Right the campaign, due to the overwhelming support and generosity of members like you:

  • Distributed more than 89,000 direct mail pieces, 4,300 TV spots and 170,000 calls to persuadable voters,
  • Engaged thousands of activists, and
  • Aired final-week ads against right-wing Sen. Alberta Darling which undoubtedly contributed to the unexpected closeness of her race against Democrat Sandy Pasch.
The two progressive wins last night -- the successful recalls of Sens. Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper -- were in two districts where PFAW was very active, with our final-week ad-buys in the Hopper race arguably making the difference that put Democratic Senator Elect Jessica King over the top. PFAW enthusiastically endorsed both Jessica King and Senator Elect Jennifer Schilling -- two strong progressive women who will be strong advocates for working families in the Wisconsin Senate.

I won't sugar coat it. It was extremely painful to come SO close to the "Grand Prize" of three wins, which would have flipped control of the Senate, and to fall slightly short.

But being demoralized and focusing on where we fell short gets us nowhere, while remaining energized and focusing on what we achieved will propel us into the next round of -- even more impressive -- victories.

  • We have cause for optimism that the dynamic in the State Senate will be completely different and while Democrats won't have the majority, they will be able to stop much of the far-right agenda.
  • We know that we are in better position than ever to recall Gov. Walker at the beginning of next year -- if we made this much of an impact in "red," Republican districts, our statewide campaign to recall Walker, in which we'll be able to turn out masses of voters in the most progressive-leaning cities and counties in Wisconsin, should have Republicans very nervous.
  • Most urgent, this coming Tuesday, August 16, we need to defend our victories from last night by defending the two remaining Democratic incumbents who have been targeted by the Right Wing with their own recall efforts.
Two members of the heroic "Wisconsin 14" have been targeted by the Republicans and their corporate backers for recall, this Tuesday. These are the Democratic senators who pulled out all the stops, courageously left their state and made tremendous sacrifices trying to stop Gov. Walker's infamous union-busting plan. They fought hard for Wisconsin's working families and we have to fight hard for them. If right-wing Republicans are able to unseat even one of the two Democratic incumbents on Tuesday, they will have gone a long way in taking last night's victories away from us.

Protecting those Democratic incumbents is so important that PFAW will be sending staff to Wisconsin to help with the field campaign. Please make a donation if you can to help with transportation and housing -- the more resources we have, the more staff we can send.

Right-wing pols, pundits and Fox News hosts are already trying to spin and distort the results as a victory for the Tea Party, Gov. Walker and the GOP on the whole, but that is utter nonsense. Progressives gained two senate seats and Republicans lost two, significantly weakening Walker's majority. Gov. Walker caught a glimpse of how vulnerable he will be to recall next year. And we must stay mindful that the "victory" the Right Wing is gloating about in the first place is one against working people -- teachers, firefighters, cops, nurses, snowplow drivers and the rest of the middle-class Wisconsinites who went head to head with America's greediest corporate interests in these recall elections.

Last night we won two historic victories by removing from office two right-wing Republican state senators who had been considered entrenched, safe in their seats, before they joined Gov. Scott Walker's assault on workers' rights and the middle class. That's what democracy looks like. And that's what accountability looks like.

Help protect our hard-fought victories by helping us defend the two Democratic incumbent senators under recall threat from the Right this Tuesday.

Thanks again for everything you've done and continue to do in the Recall the Right campaign. It's not over until the polls close next Tuesday. We hope you'll help us seal up these important wins!

Michael B. Keegan signature
Michael Keegan, President

P.S. We are tremendously proud of our work in the recall races up to this point. When others thought Democrat Jessica King was a lock to win, PFAW examined the polling and saw it trending the wrong way. We doubled down on our ad buys in King's district in the final week, thanks to your generous support, and thank goodness we did. Senator Elect King beat incumbent Republican Randy Hopper by just over 1,200 votes!

We need to be that effective on August 16 when fight off the Right's attempts to recall two of our Democratic Senate allies. Please help with that effort by donating today. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tea Party Downgrade

Front page: Heckuva Job, Tea Party!

Since the tea party-led Republicans held our economy hostage to protect tax breaks for the rich, and punish everyone else, we've seen:
  • the first downgrade of U.S. credit in history; 
  • a 10% drop in the stock market;1 and 
  • dissatisfaction with Congress at a historic peak.2
So, if you're fed up with Washington, you're not alone. But isolated anger isn't going to solve anything. What we need are solutions and united action. What we need are Jobs, not Cuts—just like Americans have been saying.3 
And while Washington was concocting a debt deal that sold the people out, 130,000 everyday Americans considered 25,000 solutions to create A Contract for the American Dream.
It's a Contract to create jobs, invest in America, and rebuild the American Dream for all. And as a first step, if we can get at least 100,000 citizen signers right away, we'll put the Contract in a full page ad in The New York Times, so America can see the solutions to our broken politics and struggling economy writ large.
Below are the main points of the Contract. Be among the first of many to sign it and get it in The New York Times this week.
Clicking here will add your name.
Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity and give their kids a better life. Every one of us...has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact and our contract with one another...

1. Invest in America's Infrastructure
2. Create 21st-Century Energy Jobs
3. Invest in Public Education
4. Offer Medicare for All
5. Make Work Pay
6. Secure Social Security
7. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
8. End the Wars and Invest at Home
9. Tax Wall Street Speculation
10. Strengthen Democracy 
We'll be putting the principles of the Contract into action almost immediately. But the first thing we need to do is get Washington's attention with a full page ad in The New York Times backed by over 100,000 Americans
Then we'll take it directly to members of Congress during the August recess, start fighting for it in our local communities, and make it part of our national vision. 
Be part of this crucial beginning by signing the Contract for the American Dream today. 
Thanks for all that you do,
–Justin, Tim, Stephen, Elena, and the rest of the team
P.S. See below for the full text of the Contract and then 
click here to sign your name to it.
We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice... for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity and give their kids a better life. Every one of us—rich, poor or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender—has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill—but only by working together.

"I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963 March on Washington
We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice... for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity and give their kids a better life. Every one of us—rich, poor or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender—has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill—but only by working together.
Today, the American Dream is under threat. Our veterans are coming home to few jobs and little hope on the home front. Our young people are graduating off a cliff, burdened by heavy debt, into the worst job market in half a century. The big banks that American taxpayers bailed out won't cut homeowners a break. Our firefighters, nurses, cops and teachers—America's everyday heroes—are being thrown out onto the street. We believe:
  • AMERICA IS NOT BROKE. America is rich—still the wealthiest nation ever. But too many at the top are grabbing the gains. No person or corporation should be allowed to take from America while giving little or nothing back. The super-rich who got tax breaks and bailouts should now pay full taxes—and help create jobs here, not overseas. Those who do well in America should do well by America.
  • AMERICANS NEED JOBS, NOT CUTS. Many of our best workers are sitting idle, while the work of rebuilding America goes undone. Together, we must rebuild our country, reinvest in our people and jump-start the industries of the future. Millions of jobless Americans would love the opportunity to become working, tax-paying members of their communities again. We have a jobs crisis, not a deficit crisis.
To produce this Contract for the American Dream, 131,203 Americans came together online and in their communities. We wrote and rated 25,904 ideas. Together, we identified the 10 most critical steps to get our economy back on track and restore the American Dream:
  1. INVEST IN AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE. Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads and public transit. We must invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. To help finance these projects, we need national and state infrastructure banks.
  2. CREATE 21ST-CENTURY ENERGY JOBS. We should invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And we should put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy.
  3. INVEST IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. We should provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. A high-quality education system, from universal preschool to vocational training and affordable higher education, is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now.
  4. OFFER MEDICARE FOR ALL. We should expand Medicare so it's available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a good start and we must implement it—but it's not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country—paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results.
  5. MAKE WORK PAY. Americans have a right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights bring down wages and benefits for all of us. They must be outlawed.
  6. SECURE SOCIAL SECURITY. Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors' protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us.
  7. RETURN TO FAIRER TAX RATES. End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us—or our kids—must pay eventually. Also, we must outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. Lastly, with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country's wealth, we should add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million each year.
  8. END THE WARS AND INVEST AT HOME. Our troops have done everything that's been asked of them, and it's time to bring them home to good jobs here. We're sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America.
  9. TAX WALL STREET SPECULATION. A tiny fee of 1/20th of 1% on each Wall Street trade would raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, "flash trading," and outrageous bankers' bonuses—and we'd have a lot more money to spend on Main Street job creation. 
  10. STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY. We need clean, fair elections—where no one's right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn't buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists' revolving door in D.C. and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary's respect for the Constitution. Together, we will reclaim our democracy to get our country back on track.
1. "Dow Jones Industrial Average," Google Finance, August 8, 2011
2. "Disapproval Rate for Congress at Record 82% After Debt Talks," The New York Times, August 4, 2011
3. "U.S. Jobs, Economy Largely Considered Country's Most Pressing Issues: Poll," The Huffington Post, July 19, 2011