BIRMINGHAM — Some black residents in Shelby County, backed by the NAACP and ACLU, are seeking to challenge the county's attempt to have parts of the Voting Rights Act ruled unconstitutional.
The county's lawsuit contends that conditions that kept minorities from voting years ago are a thing of the past.
The U.S. Department of Justice this week responded for the first time to the lawsuit, in which the county asked for a summary judgment. The government said in a motion that the U.S. attorney general opposes a summary judgment and has had no opportunity to gather information in the case.
At the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit, activists involved in the "Bring the Guard Home - It's the law!" campaign discuss the idea of democratizing defense, giving citizens greater control over decisions about the use of the U.S, military and especially each state's National Guard.
Speakers: Leah Bolger, David Swanson, Kevin Zeese, George Martin Moderator: Ben Manski
In a seventh-floor conference room festooned with framed articles and journalism awards, Managing Editor Gordon Witkin leads the morning discussion of stories his staff is pursuing.
Their latest scoop -- on members of Congress dumping their BP stock -- "was a big success," he says. "It was in an AP story that sent it everywhere, including Yahoo and Google News."
On the front burner, a dozen staffers around the table explain, is a joint series just approved by the New York Times. A piece underway with The Washington Post is being edited. There was a "tough conference call," says international director David Kaplan, with eight London producers on a 10-segment project with the BBC.
Nearly 10 years after George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore and became president anyway, the New York State Legislature has a chance to withdraw from the archaic and unfair way this country picks its chief executives.
The State Senate has adopted, by a vote of 52 to 7, a measure requiring the state to assign all of its Electoral College delegates to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. In the Assembly, 79 of 150 members have signed on to the bill, but it remains stuck in committee. The Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, should bring it to the floor this week and press all members to vote for it.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a draft discussion called "Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism." The draft proposals include possible government subsidies for journalists, taxes on news aggregators, mobile phones and Internet users, more copyright protection, increased postal subsidies and public notices, and changes in tax laws to encourage nonprofit news organizations.
"Newspapers have not yet found a new, sustainable business model, and there is reason for concern that such a business model may not emerge," the report says. "Therefore it is not too soon to start considering policies that might encourage innovations to help support journalism into the future."
Original article here...
Federal Trade Commission Report: Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism, here... (.pdf)
It has been a long time since Massachusetts decided a presidential election. Presidential candidates spend the vast majority of their time and campaign funds on swing states like Ohio and Florida, and the votes of certain Americans are more sought after than others.
Sandy Springs, the first Georgia city to try and bail out of of the Voting Rights Act, on Wednesday drew its first public rebuke, a Fulton County Commission resolution scolding its efforts.
The resolution opposing Sandy Springs' request carried no legal weight, but it sharply defined the differences between the county and a city that incorporated four years ago, with the latter claiming its residents are not receiving proper attention and service from the former and then seeking to be relieved from federal oversight of elections.
The Massachusetts House has approved a bill intended to ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote and not by the Electoral College system.
The House voted 114-35 this afternoon for the National Popular Vote bill, sending it to the Senate.
Under the proposed bill, all of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationally. Supporters are trying to get such bills enacted in states across the nation. Once states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted such laws, the winner of the popular vote would be assured a majority of the electoral votes, no matter how the votes fall in other states.
As Oakland follows in the footsteps San Francisco took six years ago and switches to ranked-choice voting for this November's election, a diverse pool of organizations are heading voter education campaigns to boost county outreach efforts.
The city of Oakland is paying the Alameda County Registrar of Voters $146,000 to administer a heavily media-based campaign that includes mailers, brochures and videos, according to city clerk LaTonda Simmons. However, foreseeing that the county’s campaign will not reach all demographics, some community groups are – or plan to begin – spreading the word about the new system that allows voters to rank up to three candidates in order of preference and eliminates separate run-off elections.
More than 30 years ago, before Stevie Moore was an activist, he did time for selling drugs.
It took several convictions before the founder and president of the anti-violence campaign Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives realized he "wasn't smarter than the system."
Getting out meant living a better life and setting a good example for his then young sons.
So Moore had his right to vote restored.
"When I got out of jail, I got custody of my boys and I raised them for eight years before I got remarried," Moore said. "It's so important that you correct it, to try to set an example for your children."
A consortium of West Marin writers, thinkers and scientists has purchased the Point Reyes Light, hoping to turn the Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly paper into one of a handful of newspapers run by a nonprofit corporation.
"We have created a new model, a hybrid for-profit/nonprofit entity that I think can save a lot of small-town newspapers around the country," said Mark Dowie, a former publisher of Mother Jones magazine and journalism professor at the University of California at Berkeley who serves on the governing board of the new corporation.
The Marin Media Institute, a newly created nonprofit, will operate the paper through the auspices of the Point Reyes Light Publishing Co., a low-profit limited liability company chartered under Vermont law.
Seven members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) observed pre-electoral and election-day conditions during the Philippines’ historic election last week and found widespread irregularities, a high potential for fraud, voter machine breakdowns, military intimidation and a deadly gun battle inside the poll. NLG observers joined over 80 other observers from 12 different countries as members of the People International Observer Mission.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced today that he is reducing the time that must pass, from three years to two, before a nonviolent felon who has completed his sentence can apply to have his voting rights restored. McDonnell also pledged that his office will act on those requests within 60 days after receiving information from the felon, courts and other agencies.
McDonnell said the new process is designed to speed reintegration into civil society for felons who have completed their sentences. He said the goal was to create the "fastest and fairest" process in modern Virginia history.
A Senate committee scuttled a bill Wednesday aimed at shuttering the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic that critics say would have hampered operations at all the state's law clinics.
The measure would have prohibited university law clinics that get state funding from suing individuals for damages, taking government agencies to court or making constitutional challenges.
Republican Sen. Robert Adley told the Senate Commerce Committee that Tulane accepts around $45 million in state money each year and yet runs a environmental law clinic that runs jobs out of the state by suing industry and government agencies.
A few weeks ago I met Riki Ott at the Move to Amend/Campaign to Legalize Democracy national gathering in Denver. We were among two dozen people who came together to begin to develop plans to end corporate rule and abolish corporate personhood.
Ott is a marine biologist and toxicologist from Alaska who became socially and politically active following the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster which spilled millions of gallons of oil in Prince William Sound. Ott documented the environmental disaster of the spill and its impact on people and communities. She began speaking out. She wrote books. She was widely interviewed. She was involved in litigation.
Greg Coleridge is the Director of the Economic Justice & Empowerment Program of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker social action organization (AFSC.net); Steering Committee member of Move to Amend (MovetoAmend.org) a member of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD), a collective which instigates democratic conversations and actions that contest the authority of corporations to govern (POCLAD.org)
Efforts to control undocumented immigrants challenge some of American democracy’s most basic precepts. At bottom, such efforts deal with the almost unresolvable struggle in democratic society: to locate people (most of whom are of color) who are unidentifiable for lack of records or documents without creating an apartheid police state.
The new Arizona law SB 1070 makes it a criminal offense to be an “illegal alien”— and mandates local police to identify and arrest unauthorized immigrants. In a border state like Arizona the loose legal standard of “reasonable suspicion” which some insist will restrain police power, actually translates into racial apartheid against all Latinos.
Robert Koulish is a visiting senior fellow at the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland
In Puerto Rico, an ongoing strike by students at the University of Puerto Rico is coming to a head. Riot police have surrounded the main gates of the university’s main campus and are trying to break the strike by denying food and water to students who have occupied the campus inside. The strike began nearly four weeks ago in response to budget cuts at the university of more than $100 million. On Thursday, a mass assembly of more than 3,000 students voted overwhelmingly to continue the strike. The next day, riot police seized control of the main campus gates. We go now to Puerto Rico, inside the occupied campus at the university.
At a story meeting for California Watch, the nonprofit investigative news startup, employees sit around a conference table as Robert Salladay, the organization’s senior editor, begins to describe the findings of a six-month investigation by one of his state capital reporters. “It gives me chills,” Salladay tells the group. “Each paragraph could be its own story.” Robert Rosenthal, the founder of California Watch, peers over his glasses at an open laptop, then nods in agreement. “The reporting is so amazing,” he says.
Jill Drew is a 2009-2010 Encore Fellow at Columbia Journalism Review. She was an associate editor at The Washington Post until August 2009. For nine of her fourteen years at the newspaper, she was assistant managing editor for financial news.
Original article here... http://www.cjr.org/feature/the_new_investigators.php?page=all
Hundreds of community groups and local residents from across the country urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week to strengthen local democracy, media diversity and public safety by supporting the nation's largest network of community-based media organizations -- Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Access cable TV centers.
"As local newspapers close, media companies consolidate, and national broadcasters dominate radio & television, PEG Access centers are increasingly the only source of community news, civic programming, diverse views and local emergency information," said Alliance for Communications Democracy (ACD) President Rob Brading of MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, Oregon.
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.