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Progressive Group’s “Long Game” Paying Off

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Working Families Party shakes up New York city politics (video from this summer), backing Democrat Bill DeBlasio for mayor. DeBlasio leads in the polls. Their “long game” is paying off, says the New York Post:

“On the issues they care about, from minimum wage to tenant issues to development, they are absolutely definitional — they can set the debate at the city and the state level,” de Blasio said of the WFP in 2010.

The party, founded in 1998 to take advantage of New York’s fusion voting system, which allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines, effectively represents organized labor. Despite its small membership, its used its ballot line and operational resources to push Democratic officials farther left, and elect new ones who are already there. That plan has paid off.

Firmly backing a list of progressive issues from bank bailouts to paid sick leave to affordable housing, WFP helped organize the recent fast food strikes in New York and across the country.

Categories : Labor, National, News
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Rabbit Punch

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Wow! That’s terrific bunny …

Applying government shutdown logic to the baseball playoffs

L.A. beat Atlanta in the NLDS Series and the Dodgers from refuse to negotiate. One Atlanta fan asks Congress to “outlaw Major League Baseball until the Dodgers cave”:

Like you, I am sure, I am profoundly disappointed that Atlanta lost the NLDS last night. And to the Dodgers — a bunch of California liberals!

This outrage cannot be allowed to stand. But the system has failed us. We tried to resolve this issue through traditional means: In last night’s game alone, we must have sent batters to the plate at least 40 times. But just because we couldn’t score enough runs, the Dodgers refuse to relinquish the title — and worse, they won’t even discuss it.

Tea Party radicalism is misunderstood: Meet the “Newest Right”

Today the white notables of the South increasingly live in states like Texas, which already have nonwhite majorities. They fear that Obama’s election, like Lincoln’s, foreshadows the emergence of a new national majority coalition that excludes them and will act against their interest. Having been reduced to the status of members of a minority race, they fear they will next lose their status as members of the dominant local class.

Mr. Burns presonified: PR flack & Big Coal exec. caught on tape

[Lauri] Hennesey represents the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports, a front group for coal mining and rail corporations that would profit from the export of Powder River Basin coal. Listen to her hallway conversation with some Arch Coal executives reflecting on the prospects of coal export terminal proposals in the Northwest:

New Corporate Tax Shelter: A Merger Abroad

Profit has no allegiances. Ask anyone who’s ever been laid off.

From New York to Silicon Valley, more and more large American corporations are reducing their tax bill by buying a foreign company and effectively renouncing their United States citizenship.

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Orcinus Returns

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For those of you late to blogging culture who might not know it, Seattle-based Orcinus was one of the best. Investigative journalist Dave Neiwert shuttered Orcinus awhile back to take a shift as executive editor of Crooks and Liars and later to concentrate on writing several books. Now Orcinus is back.

Neiwert is the blogosphere’s go-to guy for developments on the violent, fringe right. His first installment is on the fascist tilt to Russia’s anti-gay laws.  It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. His writing has earned Neiwert a National Press Club award for Distinguished Online Journalism.

Dave’s most recent book, “And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border,” is an account of the trial of Minuteman leader Shawna Forde and her associates for an Arizona home invasion and murder in pursuit of drug money to fund their vigilante activities.

“There is no more dogged or more courageous chronicler of the radical American Right than Dave Neiwert. In this latest work, he has found a human tragedy that is both utterly heartbreaking and utterly infuriating. He is the polestar by which we navigate the great distance between what we claim to be as a people, and what we truly are. A devastating, and extremely important, book.”
– Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Magazine, author of Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue In The Land Of The Free

Welcome back, Dave.

Categories : News, Popular Culture
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“This is a textbook case of how corporations attempt to influence our democracy, election after election. No. Seriously. They have a textbook.”

If we can help Boulder succeed, whose town gets helped next?

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From your friends at Upworthy:


A thousand fast food outlets in 60 cities experienced worker walkouts yesterday. The movement that began weeks ago in New York City has spread to the South and West, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Raleigh, N.C. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and community organizing groups such as New York Communities for Change called it “the largest protest ever to hit the fast-food industry.”

About 30 workers in Raleigh, N.C., picketed outside a Little Caesars. Julio Wilson said he earned $9 an hour at the pizza restaurant, not enough to support himself and his 5-year-old daughter.

“I know I’m risking my job, but it’s my right to fight for what I deserve,” Wilson said. “Nine dollars an hour is not enough to make ends meet nowadays.”

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In a letter to the News & Observer, Karen Lewis slams North Carolina House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam for condescending and sexist remarks about June Atkinson, the superintendent of public instruction for North Carolina.

Atkinson said private schools funded under the new voucher program should be evaluated using the same tests as public schools so parents can compare apples to apples. “The public needs a consistent measure of reading achievement in particular,” Atkinson said. New legislation allows private schools to select which national tests to us and allows some to opt out of reporting results.

Stam suggested that Atkinson “stick to her own knitting.”

Lewis responds:

Setting aside for the moment the appallingly condescending and sexist rhetoric Stam chose, I propose that he do the same thing he calls on Atkinson to do. Voters elected him and his cohorts to create jobs and restore economic prosperity to North Carolina, but they’ve instead rolled back personal freedoms, voting rights, access to medical care and, yes, funding of the very public schools Atkinson has been elected to lead.


“This Is the Day!”

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The American Prospect has a thoughtful analysis of where the Moral Mondays movement came from and where it’s going. A sample:

Barber’s approach inverts the religious-right rhetoric that has dominated, and warped, Southern politics in recent decades. Some liberals might be put off by Moral Mondays’ “good versus evil” approach. But not, for the most part, Southern liberals. Atheists, Jews, and Christians alike have long been accustomed to singing “This Little Light of Mine” while railing against right-wing politics; it comes straight from the civil-rights tradition of weaving together religion and advocacy.

“This is a kind of Jewish-Baptist-Episcopalian-Methodist-Catholic church,” says Tim Tyson, historian, author, and professor at the Duke Divinity School. “It’s not about dogma. It’s about having a core commitment to human rights and human values.”

Mtn #MoralMondays rally w/Rev. Barber Aug 5-Asheville NC. Forward Together. Not One Step Back #MoMoMo details at

As Moral Monday protests continue, the unfavorable national media attention on North Carolina intensified with a prominent editorial in the New York Times slamming the “demolition derby” underway in the state legislature:

In January, after the election of Pat McCrory as governor, Republicans took control of both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since Reconstruction. Since then, state government has become a demolition derby, tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot.

“Grotesque,” the Times calls the damage being wrought on years of state progress. Political analyst Michael Bitzer observed, “If they can’t end this issue, particularly on the abortion issue, fairly soon and fairly quick, it may have a lasting impact on companies and people looking at North Carolina.”

The Times concludes:

North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South, an exception in a region of poor education, intolerance and tightfistedness. In a few short months, Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build.

Gives new meaning to Shakespeare’s “a plague on both your houses.”

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Last Monday, Raleigh, North Carolina saw what Think Progress called The Biggest Liberal Protest Of 2013, Moral Monday 8. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, at least 3,000 people attended the state NAACP’s ongoing protests against the rightward shift of the legislature. The theme for the week’s protest was labor issues, women’s rights and economic justice. Specifically, the loss of federal unemployment benefits for 70,000 people set to take effect on July 1.

About 120 protestors were arrested, with over 100 traveling in buses from Asheville, over four hours away. An artsy, LGBT-friendly mountain city dubbed the “Cesspool of Sin” by a Republican state senator, Asheville faces state seizure of its drinking water system in a bill authored by a board member of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Raleigh weekly, The Indy, reacted to Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led legislature cutting off federal unemployment benefits. The move will cost the unemployed (and the state’s struggling economy) hundreds of millions of dollars:

That’s right, this decision will deny the people of North Carolina $600 million in federal aid, and it’s not because McCrory and the Republicans slashed unemployment benefits more deeply than any other state—although they did that too. It’s because they insisted on cutting benefits in mid-2013 rather than waiting until Jan. 1, 2014, when the federal program expires. Costs $600 million. Saves nothing. That’s idiocracy.

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(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)

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Moral Monday Protest 6/3/13

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RALEIGH – More than 100 people were arrested Monday at the largest demonstration yet of the state NAACP’s weeks-long protest of the conservative policies of the Republican-led General Assembly.

Police estimated that roughly 1,000 people attended the rally late Monday afternoon behind the Legislative Building on Halifax Mall. Hundreds then entered the building. Upwards of 150 people were arrested outside the doors to the state Senate chambers, where demonstrators chanted, sang and delivered speeches decrying what they called a regressive agenda that neglects the poor.

Others estimated about 1600 at the rally.

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