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Day August 4, 2010

Tech@State


As part of Secretary Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft initiative,Tech@State

http://www.state.gov/statecraf…

connects established leaders, new innovators, government personnel, and others to work together on 21st century technology solutions to improve the education, health, and welfare of the world’s population.

In its first iteration, Tech@State: Haiti,

http://www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/…

participants from the private sector, NGOs, academia, the Haitian Diaspora, and the public sector demonstrated and discussed their innovations in Haiti. The event served as an idea and technology exchange among participants and ignited those attending to collaborate on current and future projects in Haiti and in other nations.

The second iteration, Tech@State: Mobile Money,

http://www.state.gov/statecraf…

will be held August 2, 2010.

Video at

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/…

New Organizing Inst. Online Campaign Training Course Starts Tonight

Campaign managers and staffers should consider enrolling in the New Organizing Institute’s “Campaign Management 101″ online course. The first one-hour class starts tonights at 8.00 PM. The program runs through 2 September at 9.00 PM. It costs $15 per class for 10 classes, and could win a lot more votes than $150 worth of bumper stickers. This course is built from our Campaign Manager training, and will deliver the top modules in our 4 pillars – Money, Message, Mobilization and Management. The course is designed for managers and aspiring managers, but will provide valuable tools for individuals at any level, working in any type of campaign or organization. NOI is a non-profit: “We want to live in a world in which people have decent, healthy lives and meaningful opportunities to pursue happiness.  We want to build an organizing culture and set of practices that not only wins campaigns and improves people’s lives in the short-term, but builds stronger communities, people, and democracy in the longer-term.” Some of their people are listed here. I attended a real-world conference they organized, on behalf of BMG, and found it excellent.  

Massachusetts 655 Million State Aid Clears Republican Filibuster

The last major hurdle in clearing the state aid package for cities and towns, schools and Medicaid funding has passed with the 61 – 38 filibuster vote.  The Globe is reporting that senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins were the two Republicans who voted to stop debate.   The legislation, a $26 billion national aid package, is paid for by spending cuts and a tax hike on multinational corporations. The bill prevailed over a Republican filibuster by a vote of 61-38. Sixty votes were required to overcome the GOP’s procedural roadblock. Two Republicans broke ranks and supported the measure: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine. Unfortunately, Scott Brown voted to filibuster state aid funding. The bill is funded by spending cuts and the closing of a loophole that allowed multinational corporations to get tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.  Scott Brown was apparently unhappy with the funding of the bill and spending cuts.  Instead, Scott Brown wanted to move numbers around and pretend that the bill is funded.  Brown supported using unspent stimulus dollars, while never detailing exactly how those stimulus dollars would be offset.   Spending is spending Scott.  Very poor all around for our Jr. Senator.

Prop 8 Preview: The “Basis” Is The Thing

As you look at today’s Prop 8 ruling, I want you to think back a few weeks to the Massachusetts Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) rulings for a bit of legal logic that will make a huge difference as this case moves through any appeals process.

What I want you to think about are two moderately obscure concepts: “strict scrutiny” and “rational basis”. The difference between the two will tell us how hard Prop 8 will be to defend, and we’ll quickly walk through what you need to know, right here, right now.

DREAM Now Letters: Stop The Deportation of Marlen Moreno

The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and complete either two years of college or military service.  With broader comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Marlen Moreno and I am undocumented. I am also a possible beneficiary of the DREAM Act.  On Sunday, August 8, I will be deported.

Democratic Candidates Must Stop Using Republican Talking Points

Last week a major effort was launched by various Democratic groups to prevent cuts in Social Security, in particular calls to raise the retirement age.  A National Commission is expected to make recommendations after the election and many members have already expressed support for raising the retirement age.   If you listen to conservative critics and those repeating their talking points, the Social Security system is near collapse.  But Social Security opponents are devoid of facts and are using scare tactics.   Take for example the US Chamber of Commerce contention that Social Security will be completely out of money by 2041 and compare that to a recent Congressional Budget report stating that at current levels, the Social Security trust fund can meet all benefit obligations until 2039 and would then be able to meet 80 percent of the obligations thereafter.   There is a big difference between having a 20% short fall in benefits in nearly 30 years as the CBO report states, and being “completely out of money” as the US Chamber’s website claims.  But if you read closely, it is apparent that Social Security critics are trying to privatize Social Security to enrich the financial industry that […]

Today is Day of Decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the Proposition 8 case

The Proposition 8 Perry v. Schwarzenegger federal court decision will be released between 1 and 3 pm Pacific time today (4-6 Eastern).  In brief, it is a challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8 constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage for gay and lesbian couples.  Chris Geidner has written up an excellent FAQ on the details and ramifications of the case.  The decision will be posted online here. A list of Day of Decision events can be found here.  The Boston plans are as follows BOSTON: 6 p.m. | Copley Square @ Copley T stop on Boylston St

Worcester Meet & Greet for Mike Lake

I am hosting a Meet & Greet for Auditor candidate Mike Lake in Worcester this coming Monday, August 9. Hope some of you in the area can join us to meet Mike and ask him any questions you might have about the race and his ideas for the future of Massachusetts! Meet & Greet Mike Lake Democratic Candidate for Massachusetts State Auditor Monday, August 9th 5:30 – 7:30 pm Fiddler’s Green / Hibernian Cultural Centre 19 Temple Street, Worcester, MA 01604 Please RSVP: norma@electmikelake.com or 508-877-5377 For more information on Mike, please visit www.ElectMikeLake.com

What Happened to Great Union Jobs and Benefits? Please Be Informed Before Election Day Sept. 14

“It is not easy, in the middle of one’s life or political career, to say that the old horizons are too limited-that our education must begin again. But neither are the challenges ahead easy. The best responses will not be easily found; nor once found, will they command unanimous agreement. But the possibilities of greatness are equal to the difficulty of the challenge.” Robert Kennedy’s timeless clarion call to union members 1966. Not surprisingly, not all union members champion the casino legislation.  Quieted by the media storm regarding this issue, I met union members in Dorchester last night tired and frustrated by the dark cloud casino issue.  They shared their concerns with me quietly.  We all agree union or not, good jobs with benefits will improve the quality of life.  That’s what we all want! My grandfather, an Irish immigrant, a union activist sadly died shortly after retiring from working most of his adult life in the parks department in Brookline.  Grandpa, Anthony Mcgeoghegan retired before the town of Brookline established retirement benefits.  Grandpa was brutally discriminated against due to his Irish heritage. He never gave up fighting to end this injustice. That’s why he became a union activist.   […]

What Happened to Great Union Jobs and Benefits? Please Be Informed Before Election Day Sept. 14

“It is not easy, in the middle of one’s life or political career, to say that the old horizons are too limited-that our education must begin again. But neither are the challenges ahead easy. The best responses will not be easily found; nor once found, will they command unanimous agreement. But the possibilities of greatness are equal to the difficulty of the challenge.” Robert Kennedy’s timeless clarion call to union members 1966. Not surprisingly, not all union members champion the casino legislation.  Quieted by the media storm regarding this issue, I met union members in Dorchester last night tired and frustrated by the dark cloud casino issue.  They shared their concerns with me quietly.  We all agree union or not, good jobs with benefits will improve the quality of life.  That’s what we all want! My grandfather, an Irish immigrant, a union activist sadly died shortly after retiring from working most of his adult life in the parks department in Brookline.  Grandpa, Anthony Mcgeoghegan retired before the town of Brookline established retirement benefits.  Grandpa was brutally discriminated against due to his Irish heritage. He never gave up fighting to end this injustice. That’s why he became a union activist.   […]