Urban lawmakers across the country say their counterparts in rural areas have gotten an unfair advantage from an unlikely group: prisoners.
Now, lawmakers in Maryland are changing that by having inmates counted as residents of where they last lived — typically urban centers — not the rural areas where they're often imprisoned. Nine other states are considering similar legislation. Advocates say the way inmates are tallied when redrawing election maps has skewed how people in all areas are represented in Congress, legislatures and other elected offices.
Want to travel back in time? Drive 80 miles east to Milwaukee, park on Downer and Kenwood and walk a block west. Complementing the anachronistic architecture crowding around, the tenor of student body activism pulsating across the UW-Milwaukee campus could easily fool the most well-informed Madisonian into thinking he or she had traveled to another era, one where college students fought hard to protect and nourish their education.
MINNEAPOLIS — Amy Goodman, host of the syndicated "Democracy Now!" news program, and two of her producers filed suit against the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and other defendants Wednesday over their arrests while covering the 2008 Republican National Convention.
The three were among an estimated 40 to 50 journalists who were arrested covering street protests at the convention in downtown St. Paul, along with about 800 demonstrators and bystanders.
According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 28 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities and/or large increases in college tuition to make up for insufficient state funding, and four more states have proposed cuts but have not yet carried them out. Full report here...
Since 2003, the organization Reclaim Democracy has pushed the ACLU to rethink its claim that money = speech regarding investments in political campaigns and its position equating corporate communications with free speech, beginning when the ACLU took Nike Corporation's side in the infamous "corporate right to lie" dispute (Nike v Kasky).
ON FEBRUARY 16, ABOUT 200 people gathered on the steps of the Wisconsin state capitol. “It’s fitting that we stand out in the cold,” said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
On Chicago's far north side, citizens are taking democracy into their own hands. Through the first "participatory budgeting" experiment in the United States, residents of Chicago's 49th Ward have spent the past year deciding how to spend $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars. Over 1,600 community members stepped up to decide on improvements for their neighborhoods, showing how participatory budgeting can pave the way for a new kind of grassroots democracy, in Chicago and beyond.
We understand the University of Wyoming's reluctance to discuss litigation against it. Bill Ayers' threat of a lawsuit for not being allowed to speak on campus will likely become a reality this morning when it's filed in federal court in Cheyenne.
But UW has a broader responsibility to explain to the public why it has banned Ayers. This action is much different than what happened earlier this month, when the UW Social Justice Research Center rescinded its invitation to Ayers to speak at a conference on education.
The newspaper industry is struggling. According to a March 2010 report from the Pew Research Center’s annual Project for Excellence in Journalism, the American newspaper industry has lost $1.6 billion in annual reporting and editing capacity since 2000. In the last three years, the newspaper industry has cut thousands of full-time reporting and editing jobs.
In Citizens United v. FEC, five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have decided that corporations are free to invest in the outcomes of elections, and that the federal government must shelter them against the will of the people.
As far as those five justices are concerned, their decision is final. It is not. There is a higher authority on whose bench every U.S. citizen serves: We the People. The Constitution is our national charter and belongs in our stewardship; the courts, corporations, and all the instruments of government must give way to the American people.
Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled; 2nd Amendment rights must be applied fully to corporations. Corporations , you may recall, are not faceless, conscienceless business entities, but are "living" entities, entitled under law to many of the rights accorded to humans. so it has been the many long years since the idea to manufacture, whole cloth from the language of the law the power to, if not creat life itrself, then the ability to incorporate within a business or common concern the privileges known to the living.
You just lost the heart of your citizenship, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, five justices asserted: “By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing and respect for the speaker’s voice.”
If anything can unite Americans across party and ideological lines, it should be the arrogant and unprecedented Supreme Court ruling that corporations are “persons” with all the protections and rights of the Constitution.
In a case trumped up by the court itself, five activist judges reversed 100 years of precedent to allow unlimited, special-interest money to be spent in our local, state and federal elections.
News conferences were scheduled and telephone briefings were penciled in, but Washington advocacy groups were disappointed yet again Wednesday: The Supreme Court did not issue its long-awaited decision on campaign finance laws.
This is a vigil of the kind to be found only in Washington. Legal groups, political parties and court-watchers have been waiting for months to learn whether the high court will uphold a ban on corporate spending on elections, or if instead it will open the gates to unlimited donations from well-financed companies and unions.
More than one hundred years ago, after a 1904 president race that saw big life insurance companies pour money into the project of electing Republican Teddy Roosevelt, the defeated Democratic candidate, Judge Alton Parker, raised the question of whether presidents and congresses would simply be bought by corporations seeking policies that favored their interests.
"The greatest moral question which now confronts us is: Shall the trusts and corporations be prevented from contributing money to control or aid in controlling elections?" declared Parker.
A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests.
The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come under fire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new voting machines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices.
Having reported extensively on the security concerns that surround the use of electronic voting machines, I anxiously awaited the results of a new study of a Diebold touch-screen voting system, conducted by Princeton University. The Princeton computer scientists obtained the Diebold system with cooperation from VelvetRevolution, an umbrella organization of more than 100 election integrity groups, which I co-founded a few months after the 2004 election.
The November election may feel like ancient history, but it is still going on in North Carolina. The state has been unable to swear in an agriculture commissioner because a single malfunctioning electronic voting machine lost more ballots than the number of votes that separate the two candidates. The State Board of Elections, the candidates and the public are sharply divided on how to proceed. The mess North Carolina finds itself in is a cautionary tale about the perils of relying on electronic voting that does not produce a paper record.
That serious problems plague our new, computerized voting machines--on which 29 percent of U.S. voters are poised to cast their votes in November--has been apparent ever since $3.9 billion in federal funding for the machines was made available in 2002, in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore. In the years since, report after report has cautioned that the machines lack the security and robustness necessary to withstand the assaults of hackers or unscrupulous technicians. But no one seems likely to stop the rollout of the machines, more than 50,000 of which have been purchased by states.