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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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Voter Registration Day

AAUW Action FundNow is the time to make a final push to register as many voters as possible! We’re down to the last weeks of voter registration in many states.
 
The AAUW Action Fund It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign has joined groups like the Bus Federation Civic Fund and the League of Women Voters to mobilize around National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 25. AAUW is going one step further and dedicating this whole week to voter registration. Here’s what you can do to celebrate AAUW’s National Voter Registration Week:
  • Have a “3x3” conversation with millennial women (ages 18-31) in your life: Our best chance to turn out women voters on November 6 is to do it “woman to woman,” through personal contacts. That’s why we’re all making the commitment to have “3x3”s: three conversations with three millennial women in our lives to ask them three questions:
    • Are you registered to vote?
    • Will you pledge to vote this year?
    • Will you call three millennial women in your life and ask them the same thing?
The millennial women you call could be anyone you know between the ages of 18 and 31: friends, family, friends of the family, neighbors, whomever! We’ve even drafted a sample script if you want something to guide the conversation. We can all make time for three phone calls, and that can make difference!
  • Bedazzle your Facebook with our new cover photos: Update your Facebook photo to sport one of our new It’s My Vote Facebook cover photos. These photos will remind your friends and fans to register – and to vote – every time they visit your page. Make sure you link back to theTumblr page in your Facebook photo description.
  • Tweet up a storm: To start, make sure you are following all three AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations accounts: It’s My VoteAAUW Action Fund, and AAUW Policy. We’ll be posting all sorts of content throughout the week, so retweet your favorites! Also, make sure to include the #itsmyvote hashtag in every tweet and include the #925NVRD hashtag if your tweet is specifically about the September 25th National Voter Registration Day.
  • Find a voter registration event near you: AAUW branches and our coalition partners are hosting voter registration drives all over the place, from college campuses to libraries to local grocery stores It’s not too late to get involved – find an event near you today!
  • Show your AAUW spirit with the latest It’s My Vote fashions: We’ve got It’s My Vote pins, stickers, and temporary tattoos – wear one, two, or all three this week to show your AAUW spirit! Email VoterEd@aauw.org to request more of these materials if you’re running out.
We’re in the home stretch of voter registration, so let’s finish strong – then we’ll ride the wave of our efforts into the next phase of contacting these new voters and getting them to the polls on Election Day. We will vote, and we will be heard!

Lisa Maatz
AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations
 

Ban Conversion Therapy

Ban conversion therapy for gay kidsThe damaging and dangerous practice called "conversion therapy" might soon be at an end in California — the most populous state in the U.S. — if Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill that the state Legislature has already passed.

On Saturday, Brown signed dozens of bills into law1 — but he hasn't yet signed the ban on conversion therapy for minors. We only have until September 30 to ensure this bill becomes law.
So-called conversion therapy is based upon the disproven theory that homosexuality is a form of mental illness and that through therapy, sexual orientation can be changed. Thousands of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth have been subjected to the humiliating measures of this practice over the past 100 years, including electric shocks and nausea-inducing medication paired with homosexual imagery.2 In many other cases, youth have been forced to undergo shame-filled therapy sessions with counselors and groups of their peers.
California has been a leader in legislation protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. Now the state has the opportunity to put an end to a draconian and homophobic practice that has no place in modern medicine, and set a precedent that should be followed nationwide.
All three of the major mental health organizations in the United States — the American Counseling Association,3 American Psychological Association,4 American Psychiatric Association5 — have denounced this practice. Hundreds of other medical organizations in the United States and abroad have done the same. It doesn't work, and more often than not it causes serious psychological distress.
Passing the bill costs California nothing, and will set a national precedent that will open the door to other state government bans of the practice. But more important, it will protect children and teens from the harmful and guilt-filled process that tears apart families and causes long-lasting damage that sometimes ends in suicide.6
Tell California's Gov. Jerry Brown to be a national leader in the fight to protect gay and lesbian youth and sign the ban on conversion therapy for minors. Click below to automatically sign the petition.
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6966705&p=conversion_therapy&id=47531-2593817-iudDfHx&t=9
Thank you for standing up to protect young gays and lesbians from abuse.
Jordan Krueger, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "Archives for September 2012." Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr, accessed 09-23-2012.
2. Dr. Gregory Herek, "Attempts To Change Sexual Orientation." Sexual Orientation: Science, Education, and Policy, accessed 09-20-2012.
3. Joy S. Whitman, Harriet L. Glosoff, Michael M. Kocet and Vilia Tarvydas, "Ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy." American Counseling Association, 05-22-06.
4. "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts." American Psychological Association.
5. "Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies)." American Psychiatric Association, 05-00.
6. Kelvin Lynch, "APA: Gay conversion therapy can cause depression and suicide attempts." Examiner, 08-05-09. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Messages from the 47% to Romney


We asked MoveOn members to respond to Mitt Romney's insulting comments about 47% of Americans—and we got some videos that blew us away. An awesome great-grandma named DeEtte sent us one that would knock Romney's socks off. 
But don't take it from us—watch it and rate it, along with other compelling videos from MoveOn members. And then share them with everyone! Romney's 47% insults are really hurting him with independent voters, so we need to share these powerful responses as widely as possible.1 
Awesome great-grandma gives Romney a piece of her mind
Romney said that the 47% of Americans who will vote for President Obama are "dependent" on government, think of themselves as "victims," and will never "take personal responsibility for their lives."1 He was talking about you, me, and millions of other Americans, including DeEtte. 
But just like you and me, DeEtte and the other MoveOn members who shared their stories with us are not victims—we're voters. Watch their videos, starting with DeEtte's—then rate them and share with everyone! 
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Victoria, Ryan, Emily, and the rest of the team 
P.S. I want to give a special thanks to all of the MoveOn members who had the courage to share their moving stories! 
Sources: 
1. "Poll: Mitt Romney '47 percent' remarks hurt independent support," Politico, September 19, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=281457&id=52736-18623853-5zeBhtx&t=4
2. "SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters," Mother Jones, September 17, 2012 
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=280924&id=52736-18623853-5zeBhtx&t=6

Overturn Citizens United



So far this cycle, my race in Ohio has been the #1 Senate target for far-right special interest groups, which have spent more than $17 million against me with more coming.

It's an unprecedented amount of spending, and we all know why it's happening this year -- the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United has unleashed a torrent of special interest cash, and brought the corruptive influence of corporate money down on our democracy.

That's why I've teamed up with the DSCC and Democrats across the country to overturn the effects of this decision by building momentum to pass a constitutional amendment.

471,685 of you have joined the fight to end Citizens United by signing our petition. But we need to keep that momentum going strong. And since we're only about 7 weeks away from Election Day, I want to add 7,000 more signers to our effort right now.

Click here to sign the petition, and show your support for overturning Citizens United and getting corporate money out of our elections.

The process of passing a constitutional amendment is painstakingly slow, and requires that we continue to apply strong pressure.

With your help, I know we can get this done. Thank you for joining Senate Democrats and me in the fight to overturn Citizens United.


What's Your 47% Story?

A invitation from MoveOn.org: 
Mitt Romney's closed door fundraiser comments show what he really thinks about half of Americans: they're moochers and deadbeats.Romney said that the 47 percent of Americans who will vote for Obama are "dependent" on government, think of themselves as "victims," and will never "take personal responsibility for their lives." He was talking about you, me, and millions of other Americans.1

He's talking about seniors on Medicare, who spent their entire adult lives paying taxes. He's talking about military families, who give everything for our country. And he's talking about college students, working to create future careers.

We need to show Romney what happens when you write off half the country. So, we're asking you to make your own video response to Romney, with your own story—How you're not a "victim," you're a voter.

We'll turn the best video into a TV ad for critical swing states, and we'll share some of the most moving stories on social media with more than 400,000 Facebook fans and almost 75,000 Twitter followers. But we need to jump into this moment right away, so we'll only be accepting submissions until midnight Pacific Standard Time tonight!

Click here to find out how to share your story!

Mitt Romney risks alienating more than 47% of voters with his comments. That's seniors, students, and soldiers he's talking about—responsible Americans who have contributed to society. And guess what? He doesn't think he should even have to "worry about those people."2

Let Mitt Romney know that you're not a victim, you're a voter. Just tell your story, then upload your 26-second video and send us the link. Click here for instructions.

You can also help a friend, family member, or neighbor tell their story, by helping to record and upload their video.

Don't forget: we'll only be accepting submissions until midnight PST tonight. And your story just might end up on national TV or spread virally on social media!

Thanks for all you do.

–Justin, Stephen, Stefanie, Ryan, and the rest of the MoveOn team

Sources:

1. "SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters,"Mother Jones, September 17, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=280924&id=52173-18623853-g6qi8Wx&t=4

2. Ibid.

Free Obama Car Magnet

Don't Let Republicans Steal the Election

Don't let them steal the election.Ohio has emerged as the latest front in the Republican scheme to derail democracy by disenfranchising millions of eligible voters. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, in a blatant partisan move to steal the election for Mitt Romney, is trying to put an end to early weekend voting before Election Day. This change in Ohio election practices specifically impacts minority and low income voters.2

It's not just Ohio. It's also Florida and Pennsylvania. (On a rare positive note, facing pressure from CREDO Action members and others, Republicans have backed off from their voter purging efforts in Colorado.1)
Earlier this summer, CREDO Action members signed over 87,000 petitions and made over 1,600 phone calls urging Senator Patrick Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hold Congressional hearings on brazen Republican efforts to steal the 2012 presidential election in other key battle ground states like Florida and Pennsylvania. With Republicans showing no sign of slowing down their tenacious efforts to steal the election, we're escalating our call for Senator Leahy to hold hearings to investigate the GOP effort to suppress the votes of millions of voters in key battleground states across the country.
A prominent Ohio Republican state official has already openly admitted that Husted's efforts to shut down weekend voting would result in African Americans voters having a more difficult time voting.3 A federal district judge struck down Husted's effort to restrict early voting during the three days before the election, and after initially resisting that court order Husted backed down for the time being, pending appeal in higher court.4
But the crisis is not over. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that will be reviewing the district court decision to strike down Husted's efforts to restrict early voting is "a Republican-leaning court with a history of partisan decisions benefiting the Republican Party."5
The situation in Ohio is crucial given its recent history in Presidential elections. In 2004 hundreds of thousands of predominantly minority and Democratic voters were disenfranchised on Election Day due to massive lines and "widespread electoral dysfunction."6 As Ari Berman reported in the Nation:
According to one survey, 174,000 Ohioans, 3 percent of the electorate, left their polling place without voting because of the interminable wait. (Bush won the state by only 118,000 votes).7
In response to the mess on Election Day in 2004, Ohio reformed its electoral process by adding early voting before Election Day, leading to a "much smoother experience" in 2008.8 The opportunity to vote early led to record turnout for African American and low income voters.
Now the Republicans in Ohio are working to disenfranchise thousands of those voters in racially diverse urban centers such as Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The restriction on weekend voting is specifically aimed at disrupting minority voters — for example, African-American churches historically rally their congregants to the voting booth on the Sunday before the election.9
The Republican elections officials in Ohio, along with their counterparts in Florida and Pennsylvania, should be trying to help more eligible voters participate in the democratic process, not disenfranchise minorities and the poor.
Senator Leahy needs to get the message from as many Americans as possible that it's not okay for Republican elections officials in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio — or any other state — to engage in systematic effort to disenfranchise U.S. citizens for the explicit purpose of swinging the election to Republican Mitt Romney in November.
Let's keep the pressure on Senator Leahy to hold a public hearing on the GOP war on voting today.
Thank you for standing up for the right to vote.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Aviva Shen, "Colorado Secretary of State Gives Up On Voter Purge," ThinkProgress.com, September 11, 2012.
2. Aviva Shen and Adam Peck, "Ohio Limits Early Voting Hours In Democratic Counties, Expands In Republican Counties," ThinkProgess.com, August 10, 2012.
3. Aviva Shen, "Ohio GOP Election Board Member: Our Voting Process Shouldn't Accommodate Black Voters," ThinkProgress.com, August 19, 2012.
4. Ryan J. Reilly, "Ohio Secretary Of State Backs Down On Early Voting,"TalkingPointsMemo.com, September 7, 2012.
5. Ian Millhiser, "BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Law Restricting Early Voting," ThinkProgress.com, August 31, 2012.
6. Ari Berman, Ohio Early Voting Cutbacks Disenfranchise Minority Voters," The Nation, August 8, 2012.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Gene Demby, "Black Pastors Group Criticizes Ohio For New Rules That Limit Early Voting," HuffingtonPost.com, August 14, 2012.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why Lies Stick Better Than Truth

Why Lies Often Stick Better Than Truth
From The Chronicle of Higher Education,
September 20, 2012, 5:08 pm
By Josh Fischman
There is no good reason to believe vaccines cause autism. A 1998 paper in The Lancet that championed the link was immediately pilloried and later withdrawn as fraudulent. Its author, the British physician Andrew J. Wakefield, was found guilty of dishonesty and abuse of developmentally disabled children by the British General Medical Council. He has been stripped of his medical license. No other researcher has been able to replicate his work, and journals have retracted his other papers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Academy of Sciences, and many other groups found no evidence of a link.

Yet surveys in 2002 found that as much as 53 percent of the public believed there was good evidence on both sides, as did a good number of health professionals. Politicians also bought in. In 2008 the presidential candidate Barack Obama said, “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines … The science right now is inconclusive.” His rival, John McCain, said that “there’s strong evidence that indicates it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.” And in 2011 Web sites were still reporting that vaccine injury cases showed evidence of autism.

There are also many people who, even after seeing President Obama’s birth certificate, believe he was not born in the United States. And many doubt there is global warming, despite an overwhelming scientific consensus that things are heating up. Why do we like our slanted information and outright lies so much?

Because rejecting them is hard work, say psychologists in a new article in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. Making a cognitive shift means rethinking already-held beliefs. It’s much easier to slot evidence into ideas we already hold, says Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Australia and an author of the report.

That’s not a new discovery. More interesting, however, are the strategies the psychologists recommend for breaking through the fog of disbelief. You need to find an alternate explanation that fits the same basic facts, says another report author, Colleen M. Seifert, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Misinformation persists when “you don’t have an alternative account that works as well as does the wrong one,” she explains by e-mail.

She examined reaction to a report of food poisoning. “This is a true example,” she writes. ”Suppose you hear of a family of four who died after eating at Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant. The authorities investigate, and release the information that food poisoning was not the cause. Do you go out for Chinese tonight?

“You know it is not true,” she continues, “but it’s such a good explanation for what happened that you fall back on it even while knowing it is in error. So you say, ‘It was not food poisoning, but let’s have Italian tonight.’”

In her studies, the only way to get people to let go of such an idea was to give them a plausible alternative. So in fact, “the family was found to have suffered carbon-monoxide poisoning,” she notes. “Now I have an account that is wholly satisfactory and explains the circumstances, and now I am happy to eat at Golden Gate.”

One of the worst ways to offer alternatives, though, is to repeat the bad information while doing so. “There is a risk that repeating an association can make it stronger in memory,” says Ullrich K.H. Ecker, another author, in an e-mail. “Saying that ‘it’s incorrect that the flu vaccine has major side effects’ repeats and hence potentially strengthens the link between ‘vaccine’ and ‘side effects’ even though it negates it,” notes Ecker, an assistant professor of psychology at Western Australia. His research and that of others has demonstrated this. Much smarter, he says, is to stick to the alternative, talking about the safety of the vaccine.

Seifert adds that the backfire effect is very common. “In later studies, we tried overemphasizing the fact that the information is wrong,” she writes. She tried saying to her skeptical Chinese-restaurant patrons that “‘it was definitely not food poisoning.’ But that made people more suspicious of the truth of the information, and didn’t make them any less likely to use it.”

Lewandowsky and another co-author, a researcher at the University of Queensland named John Cook, have collected those strategies and cautions in a publication for academics and science communicators called The Debunking Handbook.

None of this is easy, cautions Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. If it were, misinformation would diminish and facts would win in the marketplace of ideas. But, he wrote in a commentary in the same issue of the journal, the report from Lewandowsky and his colleagues does a great service by showing why some distortions are so “sticky” in our minds.

[Photo credit: Elmer Martinez, AFP, Getty Images]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Truth Team on Romney

Truth Team
Yesterday, a leaked video from a closed-door fundraiser showed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney telling a room full of big-money donors that Americans who don't support him think they're "victims" who don't "take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

So rarely over the course of this campaign have we gotten to hear Mitt Romney say what he believes in such a revealing, unfiltered manner. This is one of those moments. It's important that we make sure that the people in our lives who are just tuning into this election know what disdain and contempt Romney has for half of the citizens of this nation he wants to lead. Take a look at the items in this tipsheet, and then share them with others.

#1 What Americans think of Romney's comments
The secret video shows that Romney believes nearly half of all Americans won't take responsibility for their own lives and don't pay taxes. Watch this video of Americans listening and reacting to Romney's shocking comments, and make sure others do too:

Share on Facebook    Share on Twitter    Share via Email   
#2 Who Romney is writing off?
It's worth taking a second to look at some of the people who make up the nearly half of the country that Romney has so much disdain for. Who exactly are these people that Romney rips for not paying income taxes? The overwhelming majority are seniors, students, people with disabilities, or working families. They pay payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and more. Those working families include U.S. soldiers in combat, receptionists, firefighters, and clergy, just to name a few. Certainly, those folks aren't short on personal responsibility. Read this blog post highlighting some of the Americans that Romney has written off, and share it with others:
Share on Facebook    Share on Twitter    Share via Email   
#3 Romney's responsibility map
Romney has said that "my job is not to worry about" the people who don't support him. But America needs a president who will stand up for all Americans, not just the half of the country who agrees with him. Take a look at this graphic about Romney's idea of "responsibility" and post it to your Facebook wall.

Thanks,

Stephanie

Stephanie Cutter
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. -- Another way to fight back against Romney and his divisive politics is to chip in and help fund our grassroots campaign. Romney has big-money donors at closed-door fundraisers, President Obama has you. Chip in $338 or more today.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Which Tax Cuts Stimulate the Economy?

Which tax cuts stimulate the economy?
By David Cay Johnston 
SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

A statue of company founder Henry Ford overlooks part of the historic Rouge Plant complex in Dearborn, Michigan. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Tax cuts are the key to job creation, or so MittRomney, running mate Paul Ryan and the 2012 Republican platform all say. But what does the empirical evidence show? Is the rhetoric in line with the known facts?
Studies examining the impact of cutting personal income tax rates on job growth or economic activity generally have been inconclusive, said Will McBride, chief economist for the Tax Foundation.
Owen M. Zidar, a graduate economics student at the University of California at Berkeley, and a former staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama, has taken another crack at it, sifting through the data, using the National Bureau of Economic Research’s tax simulation model. Zidar looked at state level income and economic data.
He reasoned that “if tax cuts for high income earners generate substantial economic activity, then states with a large share of high income taxpayers should grow faster following a tax cut for high income earners.” The data show that tax cuts at the top, though, do not result in faster growth in states with more high-earners.
“Almost all of the stimulative effect of tax cuts,” Zidar found, “results from tax cuts for the bottom 90 percent. A one percent of GDP tax cut for the bottom 90 percent results in 2.7 percentage points of GDP growth over a two-year period. The corresponding estimate for the top 10 percent is 0.13 percentage points and is insignificant statistically.”
Asked about the new research, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul urged against publishing a story about Zidar’s work because it is preliminary and because of Zidar’s connection to the Obama Administration. Zidar has also worked for an arm of Bain Capital, the firm Romney founded.
That fits with the argument made over the last century by a variety of business leaders — carmaker Henry Ford and retailer Edward Filene among them — that the path to economic growth lies in workers making enough (and having enough after taxes) to buy goods and services.
Readers may view Zidar’s paper online at SSRN after signing up for a free account.

http://blogs.reuters.com/taxbreak/2012/09/12/which-tax-cuts-stimulate-the-economy/

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NYT's Live Updates from the Democratic Convention

Stealing Colorado's Election

Don't let the GOP steal the 2012 election for Mitt Romney in ColoradoA message from CREDO Action: From Florida to Pennsylvania, Republican officials have launched an all-out effort to steal the 2012 presidential election for Mitt Romney. They are using every tactic imaginable at their disposal — from purging eligible citizens off voter rolls to implementing discriminatory voter ID laws — to disenfranchise thousands of voters in battleground states.

Colorado has emerged as the latest front in the Republican scheme to disenfranchise voters. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, has taken a page straight out of Katherine Harris' and Rick Scott's Florida playbook of voter suppression by sending ominous and legalistic letters to thousands of voters in Colorado, questioning their eligibility to vote.
Gessler targeted "suspected non-citizens" who applied for a driver's license with a non-citizen document, even though it is "entirely possible to apply for a license before becoming a citizen and before registering to vote."1 Gessler's tactics appear to be nothing more than another Republican attempt to suppress anti-Romney votes in a crucial battleground state.
The facts indicate that Gessler's voter purging attempt in Colorado disproportionately targeted Democrats, the same as Rick Scott's attempt in Florida.2 So far Gessler's politically motivated search hasn't turned up any non-citizens who voted in previous elections.3 In fact, the records show that 88 percent of the so-called "suspected non-citizens" run through a federal database by Gessler's office are U.S. citizens.4
What is happening in Colorado is the same old story of Republicans using the irrational fear of "voter fraud" as cover while they work to disenfranchise eligible voters. The truth is, voter fraud is exceedingly rare. More Americans are struck by lightning than commit voter fraud. As noted by legal scholar Jeffrey Toobin:
As many independent studies have found, "voter fraud" is a cure in search of a disease. There is no significant voter-fraud problem in the United States. Rather, these laws are transparent attempts by Republican majorities to stifle and suppress the number of minorities and poor people (mostly Democrats) who go to the polls.5
The real problem, the one that can affect the outcome of our elections if we're not vigilant, is voter suppression. Which is exactly what Gessler appears to be engaging in as part of a large-scale Republican crusade to suppress participation by thousands of Democratic voters in the 2012 presidential election.
As the top election official in Colorado, Gessler should be trying to help more eligible voters participate in the democratic process, not disenfranchising new citizens who have worked for years to become part of the American civic process. And he certainly should not be disenfranchising U.S. citizens for the explicit purpose of swinging the battleground state of Colorado to Romney's column in November.
The Justice Department has jurisdiction to investigate any partisan voter purging under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) if it is done within 90 days of a federal election.6Gessler's reported partisan voter purging in Colorado falls within that 90-day time frame.
Additionally, while Colorado is not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,7 which requires certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to their voting practices and procedures precleared, Attorney General Holder has indicated that the Justice Department could pursue investigations against non-Section 5 states in order to "stop intentional — deliberate — attempts to limit voting rights."8 The Justice Department has already launched such an investigation targeting voter ID practices in non-Section 5 state Pennsylvania.9
We cannot let Colorado or any other crucial battleground state of 2012 become the Florida of 2000. We can't let that nightmare play out again. Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a tight election race which could very well be decided by Colorado's 9 electoral votes.
Click below to automatically sign our petition and urge Attorney General Holder to investigate the Republican efforts to purge voters in Colorado today.
Thank you for all you do to protect the integrity of our Democracy.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Tara Culp-Ressler, "Colorado's Attempted Voter Purge Finds Nearly 90 Percent Of 'Suspected Non-Citizens' Are Actually U.S. Citizens," ThinkProgress.com, August 30, 2012.
2. Ivan Moreno, "Scott Gessler's Voter Investigation: 16 Cancel Voter Registration In Citizenship Check," AP, August 30, 2012.
3. Ibid.
4. Sara Burnett, "88% of challenged Colorado voters are U.S. citizens, check shows," The Denver Post, August 29, 2012.
5. Jeffrey Toobin, "Holder's Legacy," The New Yorker, December 27, 2011.
6. "The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA)," The United States Department of Justice.
7. "About Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act," The United States Department of Justice.
8. Toobin, "Holder's Legacy."
9. Ryan J. Reilly, "Justice Department Investigates Pennsylvania Voter ID Law," TalkingPointsMemo.com, July 23, 2012.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Democratic Party Platform



Today, the Democratic Party approved the following language in its 2012 platform:

"We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples... 

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act ...

We know that putting America back to work is Job One, and we are committed to ensuring Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity."

Platforms are more than pieces of paper -- they are outlines of where a party will go. President Obama and the Democrats are choosing to move forward.

When the delegates approved this platform today, they put us on the right side of history.

Make sure you and your friends are registered to vote, and show your support at the polls for the only party that's standing up for equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Get-Registered

Thanks,

Jamie Citron
National LGBT Vote Director
Obama for America

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sign Up to View Live Convention Coverage from Charlotte

A message from Democracy for America: Last week, Republicans stormed into Tampa hoping to change the conversation this election season. Did they ever - even Fox News was concerned with the distortion of facts and the lies being told by the Romney/Ryan ticket. This week, Democrats take to Charlotte to counter the lies.
This year, Democracy for America and Netroots Nation are partnering to provide a live studio where progressive leaders, pundits, and your favorite bloggers and reporters will join us for progressive conversations. DFA is the place for progressives. You'll hear from folks like Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Donna Edwards, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Van Jones, Lizz Winstead, The Nation's Ari Berman, Gov. Howard Dean and many more.
Sign up today to gain access to this unique online program run by DFA staff for progressives like you.
Not everyone can make it to Charlotte - that's why we are live-streaming these conversations online. All the hard hitting interviews and progressive talk will be live-streaming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00-4:00PM EST, September 4th-6th. That way you can sit back, relax, and join in the convention fun.
This is a breakthrough program run by us - for our members. You won't want to miss it.
Will you join us and watch the live-streaming conversations happening next week?
We're excited to be breaking down all the news out of the Democratic National Convention. You can count on us to deliver the progressive voice and progressive conversation on issues that matter.
Join us.

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Fight the No Choice Team

Paul Ryan repeated many false claims with vigor in his speech at the RNC. He said Romney-Ryan would preserve and protect Medicare for the present and future generations, that Obama is raiding it. Nothing could be further from the truth - remember Ryan is the guy who authored and passed a House budget which would privatize Medicare for those under 55 and would cut benefits for Medicare recipients.

Help the Feminist Majority organize and fight back.

Ryan also told other fairy tales. Much of the media was not fooled - reviews called his speech out for being "filled with economic inaccuracies." The fact checkers said it contained "several false claims and misleading statements."

Let's face it. The Romney-Ryan ticket spells disaster for millions of women and continues to engage in mass deception. Women voters must know before it is too late.Please help the Feminist Majority organize in the field and online. Help us fight the deception.

Make no mistake about it—the GOP is attempting to cut off all access to abortion, defund all family planning programs, and is attempting to go backwards on women's rights, human rights, you name it. The final Republican platform supports:
The Human Life Amendment to the US Constitution, which would ban all abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the woman and would ban some forms of birth control
Banning same sex marriage
Rejecting affirmative action
Rejecting ratification of the U.N. Convention (treaty) to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Rejecting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Sex segregation for academic classes in public schools
Replacing family planning programs for teens with abstinence only education
Strict voter ID laws.

I shudder to think if this GOP would control the House, the Presidency and the Senate. What would happen to women? Help us make sure this doesn't happen.

As Romney and Ryan try to misrepresent their position on Medicare, birth control, abortion, women's rights, we must fight back.

For women's lives,

Eleanor Smeal
President
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© Copyright 2012, Feminists for Obama, a project of the Feminist Majority
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Call Out Ryan's 5 Lies


Paul Ryan lied to the American people. Some journalists and outlets covered Ryan's lies. But others failed to check the facts and didn't call Ryan out on his brazen lies.
In this crucial election, news reporters have an obligation to educate the public about the facts regarding the major issues and call out the candidates every time they lie.
That's why I created a petition urging the major news corporations—ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, and MSNBC—to live up to their obligation to report the truth. The petition says: 
Mainstream media: Fact-check and call out candidates when they lie. You have an obligation as journalists to educate the public on the facts of the major campaign issues.
Here is a list of five lies that Paul Ryan told when he gave his speech at the Republican National Convention. Every single news outlet should report on these lies.
1. Lie: President Obama is the "greatest threat" to Medicare.
Truth: Obama didn't make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years. According to the Medicare actuary, "[Obama's] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook."1
But Ryan actually does want to cut benefits. He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.2,3
2. Lie: President Obama didn't save a General Motors plant in Wisconsin.
Truth: First, Obama wasn't even in office when the GM plant closed. Second, Obama never made a promise to save it.4
3. Lie: President Obama ignored recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.
Truth: Paul Ryan actually sat on that commission. And he led Republicans in voting down the commission's own recommendation. So the commission never gave a report to Obama, because Ryan himself voted to kill the report before it could.5
4. Lie: President Obama is responsible for the downgrading of the U.S. Credit Rating
Truth: House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy one dime. Standard & Poors said specifically, "We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues." That's why our nation's credit rating was downgraded.6,7
5. Lie: Ryan wants to protect the "weak."
Truth: Ryan's biggest feat in his political career was proposing a budget with dramatic cuts to programs benefiting the poor. He'd cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.8
Thanks!
–Brenda Witt
Sources:
1. "Fact check: Paul Ryan at the RNC," USA Today, August 30, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279602&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=8
2. "Undoing Obama Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney," The Boston Globe, August 18, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279597&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=9
3. "Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan Would Cost 29-Year-Olds $331,200: Report," Huffington Post, August 27, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279596&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=10
4. "Paul Ryan Misleads With GM Plant Closure Tale," Huffington Post, August 29, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279598&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=11
5. "Fact Check: Paul Ryan misleads on debt panel's spending cut plan," CNN, August 30, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279608&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=12
6. "Top 5 Fibs In Paul Ryan's Convention Speech," Talking Points Memo, August 30, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279595&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=13
7. "Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions," Huffington Post, August 30, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279604&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=14
8. "4 Ways Paul Ryan's Budget Would Devastate The Poor," ThinkProgress, August 17, 2012
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=279605&id=50188-18623853-s4gNKgx&t=15
This petition was created on SignOn.org, the progressive, nonprofit petition site. SignOn.org is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. Brenda Witt didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.
Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 7 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.

Media Matters for America Weekly Update


This week is about confronting lies. When faced with lies, be it a campaign or a film, how will media respond? And what's behind lies that a group tells in the media? All that and more.John Whitehouse
Twitter: @existentialfish
How The Media Covered Two Romney Falsehoods
Mitt Romney has campaigned heavily on two claims that fact-checkers have widely ruled false. First, that the President Obama gutted welfare requirements (in reality Obama granted states the flexibility Republican governors asked for). Second, that Obama took $716 billion out of Medicare (in reality, Obama cut spending that was targeted at hospitals and doctors, not beneficiaries). How did leading print and cable news cover the lies? Fox News and the Wall Street Journal were by far the worst, but the rest of the results might surprise you. http://mm4a.org/Pv3SSn
MEDIA MATTERS AT THE MOVIES
Discredited author and highbrow birther Dinesh D'Soouza has a new film that is all the rage on Fox News and Rupert Murdoch's Twitter feed.Simon Maloy saw the movie and afterward chatted with some members of the audience. He explains how the appeal of the film is not in its litany of factual inaccuracies, but in D'Souza taking advantage of a certain caricature of President Obama: http://mm4a.org/QnsvVq
UNDERCOVER AT THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE'S STUDENT CONFERENCE
Over the past few years, the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") has been at the forefront pushing to restrict the rights of LGBT couples, both in the media and in the courts. Our Carlos Maza went undercover at their Ruth Institute student session to document four days of extreme anti-gay indoctrination and flat out lies about gay couples. Find out what they are saying when they are not doing the media rounds: http://mm4a.org/SMz1G9
REALITY UNDERMINES FOX-FUELED RNC CONVENTION THEME
Fox generated the theme of the Republican Convention based on deceptive editing of President Obama. The President was merely pointing out that government is necessary for a free market to function, citing roads as an example of things that businesses need but didn't build themselves. Since then, numerous examples from the convention undermine Fox's theme. The latest is a speaker who received millions in taxpayer-funded contracts. http://mm4a.org/UbMNjM