A shorter version of this article, of Op-Ed suitable length, can be found here.
Democracy's Gold Standard: Hand-Marked, Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, Publicly Tabulated at Every Polling Place in America
Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.
This article originally appeared at the website of the Jackson Free Press (Jackson, MS)
Today, many of us know someone who has no health insurance and we worry about what would happen if they got seriously sick. Early last year a friend was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately he had an excellent outcome with treatment. But two months later, he lost his job and -- after he and his wife struggled to keep up with the insurance payments for 8 months while he searched for a new job --they finally stopped paying for insurance. The choice came down to keeping a roof over their heads or paying their COBRA bill. They know they are now playing the lottery with his health. And God forbid his wife or son gets sick. This is the dilemma too many of our families, our friends and our neighbors are facing right now.
Duluth, MN City Council Member Tony Cuneo, AZ State
Representative Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Al Franken at the Greysolon
Plaza in Duluth, August 2, 2009
Senator Al Franken gave a keynote speech last Sunday to kick off the 2009 Progressive Roundtable, organized by the Commonweal Institute. He spoke about the importance of passing health care reform and participated in an open discussion with Duluth, Minnesota City Council Member Tony Cuneo and Arizona State Representative Kyrsten Sinema. The speech and discussion was attended by almost 300 local residents and Roundtable participants.
The 2009 Progressive Roundtable is convening leaders from across the progressive movement to address how idea generators can work with
local- and state-based community organizers and grassroots activists to build more integrated and effective processes for achieving progressive policy change.
(This article originally appeared at Commondreams.org)
Recently a New York man named Dwight DeLee was convicted of the murder of Lateisha Green, a young transgendered woman. For only the second time in the Nation since such laws have been enacted, someone was found guilty of a hate crime against a transgendered person. LGBT activists are heralding the conviction as a victory in the fight for justice for the transgendered community, even as it laments the inattention of the mainstream media and the poor quality of reporting when they do. As one example, a Syracuse newspaper incorrectly identified Ms. Green as a man. The conviction of Green's murderer represents an important moment for progressives. Ms. Green deserves more than just justice, and progressives can give her death meaning by using this time to honestly reflect on our attitudes about the transgendered.
In our April Newsletter, the Commonweal Institute put out a call to action asking you to send us your ideas and commentary on some of the issues the country is facing today. In May, Barry Kendall met Dave Finnigan while at the Campaign for America's Future conference in Washington DC. Finnigan, a consultant with a background in anthropology and health education, is the founder of two influential websites: Climate Change is Elementary and Two Years to Change. In June, Finnigan submitted an important article to the Commonweal Institute. The article summarizes the theory and methods behind creating successful and widespread behavioral changes that will lower carbon footprints, as well as push larger numbers within society to towards more sustainable, and less environmentally damaging lifestyles and daily choices.
In the community lottery, I’ve been really lucky. I live in an intimately-scaled neighborhood in San Francisco, recently voted the country’s most walkable city by Walkscore.com, a rankings system that evaluates how easy it is to live in the nations’ cities and neighborhoods without a car. In our neighborhood, we get by with just one car and we live within 10 minutes’ walk of a grocery store, café, bookstore, public library, three playgrounds, two bus lines, a subway station and quick freeway access. For the first time anywhere I’ve ever lived, I know every person on my block. Because I’m always out walking, I am on a first name basis with most of the merchants in our little town square. It’s a truly sustainable community.
Progressives believe in a “we’re all in this together” philosophy while conservatives follow a “you are on your own” philosophy. The differences between these approaches can be clearly seen in the battle over how we share the benefits of our economy.
Conservatives encourage people to take “personal responsibility” rather than to rely on each other for support and guidance. When it comes to things like negotiating for pay and benefits this approach limits each of us to the power and resources that we have alone as individuals.
But big companies are not “on their own.” They are legally allowed to concentrate resources and power that dwarf anything an individual could muster. Companies might have thousands, even tens of thousands of employees who have to do what they are told. They have top legal teams at the table across from you. They can place advertisements and hire PR firms to spin false stories that turn the public against you.
How Proponents Of Perpetual Warfare Are Shaping Our Discourse
If the media coverage of the Iranian elections has taught us anything, it’s that the neoconservatives have held onto their megaphones in the mainstream press. For those of you unfamiliar with the neoconservatives – or neocons, as they are often referred to – they’re a clique of right-wing foreign policy ideologues who think the use of American military power is always justified under any circumstances. The endgame, as neocon Max Boot put it, is to have American troops occupy the “troubled lands” that “cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.” The neocons’ one real attempt at implementing this doctrine so far has been in Iraq, where our country has been fighting for more than six years to take out Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction stockpiles.
On June 25, President Obama met with a bipartisan panel of lawmakers to discuss immigration reform. Before this meeting, the general sense among progressive factions had been a growing sense of unease that the White House might not address the issue promptly, as promised.
Stalling on this issue would not only be devastating to the immigrant populations at risk, but also to Latinos: according to FBI statistics, hate crimes against Latinos - regardless of immigration status - rose by almost 35% between 2003 and 2006. Concurrently, Right wing pundits profit by portraying immigrants as The Unclean, Leeching, Invader Within—and not without consequences. A recent report by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund connects the rise in hate crimes against the Latino community to the tone of the ongoing immigration debate.