CSD Newsletter – July 29, 2011
Welcome to the fifth edition of the Campaign for Stronger Democracy’s e-newsletter — a clearinghouse for news about the democracy reform community. The Campaign is a new coalition that is working to increase collaboration among democracy advocates.
The headlines below will be archived at the Campaign for Stronger Democracy’s web site.
You can also get news and updates through our Facebook page or on Twitter. Please forward this on to other colleagues and encourage them to sign up to receive future newsletters.
Five Things You Must Read
- Fareed Zakaria: Why political polarization has gone wild in America, and what to do about it (CNN): Fareed Zakaria examines the roots of hyper-polarization in American politics, citing redistricting, party primaries, and changes in Congressional rules as reasons why. The solution, Zakaria says, is to make reforms to some of these structural shifts, but that in order for that to work people need to be able to cooperate and work together.
- ALEC Exposed (Center for Media and Democracy): After the 2010 wave elections that saw control of many state legislatures and governors mansions switch party control, states began introducing similar pieces of legislation: anti-immigration bills, voter ID, charter schools, and prison privatization. The Center for Media and Democracy takes a look at the impact of the American Legislative Exchange Council, which writes many of these bills, and examines Wisconsin as a case study. The Center also put together a site for all ALEC connected legislation across the country.
- Colbert uncovers voter fraud scandals (Common Cause): Stephen Colbert examines possible rationales behind proposed voter ID laws, including the staggering “44-one-millionths of a percent” chance of voter fraud. In typical Colbert fashion the analysis is at the same time both spot on and quite disturbing.
- Yes to moderation, no to centrism (Washington Post): EJ Dionne writes about the importance of “moderation,” especially in the debate over the debt ceiling, saying that moderation is about “balance,” and incorporating ideas from both sides in order to make something work. What he derides is “centrism,” which he describes as not being a philosophy at all, and as being entirely reactive to everyone else’s stances without really taking one of your own.
- Super-PACs and Dark Money: ProPublica’s guide to the new world of campaign finance (ProPublica): ProPublica outlines the current state of campaign finance reform, giving us the differences between PACs, Super-PACs, 527 groups, and what is on the horizon for campaign finance.
- September 15-23: National Conference on Citizenship, AZ
- September 23-25: Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy, VA
- October 6: Asian American Justice Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, DC
- October 13: Appleseed’s Annual Fall Gala, DC
- October 13: IP3 Awards and Roast, DC
- October 27-28: Advancing Justice Conference, CA
- Grassroots vs. Grassrootsy: How to parse technology’s role in politics (TechPresident)
- Introducing OpenCongress v.3 (OpenCongress)
- Americans Elect: Third party politics, with a twist (Los Angeles Times)
Electoral Reform and Voting Rights
- Rhode Island’s voter ID law: Oddity or game changer? (Governing)
- New voter ID laws target women (The American Prospect)
- Analysis of public assistance agency data within the National Voter Registration Act report (Demos)
- When judges act like politicians (Demos)
- Senility v. Impropriety (Slate)
- Brandenburg hits “explosion” of assaults on fair courts (Gavel Grab)
Lobbying, Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform
- 11 reasons why we need the Shareholder Protection Act (Business Ethics)
- The FEC awakes on Super-PACs (New York Times)
- Does Washington care about ethics? (RollCall)
Media Reform and Internet Access
- AT&T to America: Let us take over and we’ll give you all broadband (Free Press presents: Save the Internet)
- State legislative roundup: Broadband (Progressive States Network)
- Smartphone Adoption and Usage report (Pew Internet Research)
National, Community and Public Service
- Investing in National Service (Huffington Post)
- Change Notes: Help us save service (Points of Light)
- Federal leader on nonprofit issues tallies accomplishments (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Participation, Collaboration, and Civic Engagement
- Making the Case for Public Engagement (Involve)
- Assessing public engagement effectiveness (National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation)
- Deliberation reconsidered (Kettering Foundation)
Racial Justice, Civil Rights and Immigrant Civic Inclusion
- How long do immigrant families “wait in line”? Sometimes decades (Colorlines)
- White/minority wealth disparities: The rest of the story (by Demos in Huffington Post)
- Four questions with Ben Jealous of the NAACP (The Root)
Transparency and Openness
- Pre-empting sunlight (Sunlight Foundation)
- First government transparency board meeting happens behind closed doors (TechPresident)
- Freedom of information is a human right, UN body says (OMB Watch)