Monday, February 28, 2011


Good Saturday morning. FIRST LOOK – New York Times columnist DAVID BROOKS will be out March 8 with his third book, “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement” (434 pages; Random House). “The Social Animal” bursts with insights and research on learning, teenagers, memory, information acquisition, parenting and politics:

From the Introduction: “We are living in the middle of a revolution in consciousness. Over the past few years, geneticists, neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, and others have made great strides in understanding the building blocks of human flourishing. And a core finding of their work is that we are not primarily the products of our conscious thinking. We are primarily the products of thinking that happens below the level of consciousness. … [T]he unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind – where most of the decisions and many of the most impressive acts of thinking take place. These submerged processes are the seedbeds of accomplishment. … It is an emotional and enchanted place. … If the outer mind highlights the power of the individual, the inner mind highlights the power of relationships and the invisible bonds between people. If the outer mind hungers for status, money, and applause, the inner mind hungers for harmony and connection – those moments when self-consciousness fades away and a person is lost in a challenge, a cause, the love of another or the love of God. …

“The new research gives us a fuller picture of who we are. But I confess I got pulled into this subject in hopes of answering more limited and practical questions. In my day job I write about policy and politics. And over the past generations we have been big policies yield disappointing results. Since 1983 we’ve reformed the education system again and again, yet more than a quarter of high-school students drop out … We’ve tried to close the gap between white and black achievement, but have failed. We’ve spent a generation enrolling more young people in college without understanding why so many don’t graduate. … We’ve tried to stem the tide of children raised in single-parent homes. We’ve tried to reduce the polarization that marks our politics. … In recent decades, the world has tried to export capitalism to Russia, plan democracy in the Middle East, and boost development in Africa. … The failures have been marked by a single feature: Reliance on an overly simplistic view of human nature. …

From Chapter 19, “The Leader”: “Party affiliation even shapes people’s perceptions of reality. In 1960 Angus Campbell and others published a classic text, ‘The American Voter,’ in which they argued that partisanship serves as a filter. A partisan filters out facts that are inconsistent with the party’s approved worldview and exaggerates facts that confirm it. Over the years, some political scientists have criticized that observation. But many researchers are coming back to Campbell’s conclusion: People’s perceptions are blatantly biased by partisanship. … The overall impression one gets from this work is that the search for a candidate is an aesthetic search – a search for a candidate who clicks. … Alex Todorov and others at Princeton showed their research subjects black-and-white photographs of the faces of rival political candidates. … The candidate who was perceived as the more competent by the people looking at the photographs won 72 percent of the actual Senate races in which they were involved, and 67 percent of the actual House races. … A study by Daniel Benjamin of Cornell University and Jesse Shapiro of the University of Chicago found that research subjects could predict the outcome of gubernatorial races with some accuracy just by looking at ten-second silent video clips of the candidates talking. Their accuracy dropped if the sound was turned up. … Since unconscious processes are faster and more complicated that conscious ones, this intuitional search can be quite sophisticated. While following a political campaign, voters are both rational and intuitive. The two modes of cognition inform and shape each other.”

$14.67 on Amazon; page includes a letter in which David Brooks writes: “I’ve spent several years with their work now [scientists exploring brain formation and the innermost mind], and it’s changed my perspective on everything. In this book, I try to take their various findings and weave them together into one story.”  

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City Colleges shake-up draws fire; was Emanuel in the loop? | Greg Hinz | Blogs | Crain's Chicago Business

City Colleges shake-up draws fire; was Emanuel in the loop? Posted by Greg H. at 2/25/2011 11:57 AM CST In a step that has some political insiders scratching their heads, City Colleges of Chicago is moving to potentially replace presidents at six of its seven colleges by May — just when Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be taking office. The City Colleges Board voted Wednesday — the day after the mayoral election — to spend up to $336,000 on a consulting firm that will conduct a nationwide search for potential college presidents. Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman says the goal is to finish the hiring process "by the end of May" — just two weeks after Mr. Emanuel's scheduled May 16 inauguration. "I don't think our students can afford to wait," she says. But a businessman who heads the advisory board for one of the seven city colleges says the timing of the action "smells." "This is a massive change. Why would you do this the day after the election?" says Marc Schulman, who operates Eli's Cheesecake Co. and chairs the advisory board at Wilbur Wright College on the Northwest Side. Neither Mr. Emanuel nor any of the other mayoral candidates was formally briefed in advance of the pending changes, Ms. Hyman says. "It was discussed with my chairman and the board." Mr. Emanuel's spokesman isn't commenting — even though, during the campaign, Mr. Emanuel suggested that he had some ideas as to how to improve the system. News that something was afoot was first signaled in a press conference Mayor Richard M. Daley held last fall, when he announced a reinvention effort designed to boost a system in which only 5% of students end up with a bachelor's degree. City Colleges subsequently hired a new president at one of its colleges, who is not affected by Wednesday's vote. Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gerald Roper, who's been involved in the reinvention effort, says it has been "in process for a while" and that the shift in presidents is only a part of that effort. But news of Wednesday's vote apparently was unexpected to many. According to Ms. Hyman, the presidential slots are open because the system has changed its job description. "We have encouraged the current presidents to reapply," she says. Under the new job description, presidents will be judged based on how well they boost student transfers to four-year institutions, improve remediation and high school-equivalency programs and increase "the number of students earning college credentials of economic value." Ms. Hyman insists City Colleges is not downplaying vocational education — programs designed to put students directly into jobs rather than prepare them for further education. Mr. Schulman says those explanations don't satisfy him. "This is a massive change" that ought not be rushed when a new mayor is coming into office, he said. Neither Mr. Schulman nor Eli's Cheesecake Co. donated to Mr. Emanuel's campaign, according to the State Board of Elections. Read more: Stay on top of Chicago business with our free daily e-newsletters

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Black leaders simply out of touch - Chicago Sun-Times

Black leaders simply out of touch


' + first_letter + ' Feb 28, 2011 02:54AM

The black consensus candidate debacle was the most controversial chapter in the story of the race to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley.

My post-mortem: The consensus effort to elect a black mayor was doomed from the start. It was founded on the flawed and antiquated argument that only an African American can address what ails black Chicago. The consensus search also revealed that many of the city’s black elders are out of sync with today’s electorate.

The ghost of Harold Washington hovered over the consensus scramble. For months, activists, business honchos and politicians tediously invoked Chicago’s iconic first black mayor as a model of winning City Hall “back.” In the end, there was no resemblance to the historic grassroots movement that jettisoned Washington into the mayoralty.

Today’s black voters knew the score. Here’s what Patricia Mosley, a 53-year-old African American who voted for Rahm Emanuel, told the Associated Press: “It’s pretty naïve, and frankly a little insulting, that they think our intelligence is so low that they say the name ‘Harold Washington’ and people will vote for you.”

Naive, insulting and embarrassing.

Yes, in 1983, Washington was drafted by black movers and shakers. But his campaign’s reform agenda grew up from the grassroots. The 2011 consensus effort was a politically expedient shell game dictated by a handful of African-American elders. On New Year’s Eve, after weeks of squabbling, posturing and microphone grabbing, the reverends and the congressmen engineered the backroom deal that selected Carol Moseley Braun.

Harold Washington’s political base was African American, but he was elected by a combine of white and Latino progressives, union activists and disaffected Democratic Party regulars. From the beginning, the 2011 consensus process was narrowly focused on black interests, alienating many of the voters any consensus candidate needed to win: whites, Asians and the city’s burgeoning Latino population.

Those guys sure could pick ‘em. Braun ran a pathetic campaign. Forget about the lip service. It was Braun’s acid tongue that got her into the most trouble.

I hate to say this (well, not really), but I told you so. After Braun emerged as the consensus candidate, I wrote that, while she has the most alluring smile in politics, voters should “watch out for those razor-sharp ivories.” She proceeded to excoriate her competitors and other political bystanders, culminating in her now-infamous “strung out on crack” attack on another black woman — in the sanctuary of a black church, no less.

Braun, a former ambassador and senator, did not win one single black ward in Chicago.

The black consensus brain trust never understood ongoing generational and demographic shifts in the black community. Chicago has lost more than 200,000 residents in the last decade. Most were African American. Black voters are getting younger and are sophisticated enough to understand that voting in their own self interest means reaching beyond race.

Rather than pandering and race-baiting, Emanuel hit the ‘hoods and argued credibly for jobs, economic development and efficiency, personal responsibility and public safety. We’ll know soon enough if he intends to deliver.

We have come a long way, and that’s a good thing. Hosea Martin, a longtime political observer, sent me his post-election take: “African Americans objected to being delivered by a ‘consensus candidate,’ ” he wrote Wednesday. “It reminded them too much of plantation owners deciding what was best for slaves.”

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Hints on how Emanuel will build team - Chicago Sun-Times

Hints on how Emanuel will build team


' + first_letter + ' Feb 27, 2011 02:12AM

Rahm Emanuel will need to recruit the best and brightest to govern a city on the financial brink. And he needs to have his team up and running the moment he’s sworn in on May 16.

The mayor-elect is well-practiced at this. Two years ago, as Barack Obama’s chief of staff, he was relentless in his outreach to talented people who could help formulate and forge the president’s agenda.

It’s instructive to see how he did it.

And equally instructive to see how the best and the brightest, often busy making millions in the private sector, don’t always jump at the chance.

Nancy-Ann DeParle is a case in point.

At 54, she has been a star all of her life. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Rhodes Scholar, and a graduate of Harvard Law, she has done tours of duty in high-ranking state and federal government positions. That includes a stint in the Clinton White House on behalf of health-care reform before leaving for the business world.

“Rahm is tough and we had our moments in the Clinton administration, and I wasn’t eager to work with him again,” she said Thursday night by phone from North Carolina where she was giving a speech.

But Emanuel, she acknowledged, was “dogged” in his pursuit.

He used an intermediary, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, to make the first call.

“She was charming and gracious and said ‘Rahm wants to meet with you,’ ” DeParle recalled. “I basically said . . . ‘Don’t call me, I’ll call you.’ ”

DeParle told her husband, New York Times correspondent Jason DeParle, “I’m not going to a White House and work for Rahm Emanuel.”

But the calls kept coming.

DeParle finally agreed to a meeting.

“I go in,” she said, “and he’s like a different person. Very charming. Respectful. I’m thinking, ‘Wow . . . Rahm seems more mature, a different guy.’ ”

He asked her advice on health-care legislation and how she would do it. And then he told her the president was just down the way and wanted to see her.

DeParle, a veteran of Washington’s high-powered pitches, told Emanuel not to pull that stunt, not to enlist Obama in wooing her.

“And then,” she said, “he switched off the charm. And we’re pretty much eyeball to eyeball. And he’s poking me in the shoulder saying, ‘You have to do this, you have to do this.’”

“No, I don’t,” she told him.

She said Emanuel insisted, “You care about this president, you care about health care, you know we can get this done.”

It was, she recalled, “the old Rahm . . . pretty much in my face. I got out of there, not meeting the president.”

But he had pushed all the right buttons.

“He knew exactly what to say to me, that I had to do this, had to help the president. . . . I [also] knew Rahm wouldn’t let it fail,” she said.

And so DeParle left a lucrative gig in the corporate world to return to the White House to help make the Obama health-care bill a reality.

Today, she remains an assistant to the president and has become deputy chief of staff for policy under another Chicagoan, Bill Daley, who replaces Emanuel as Emanuel replaces Daley’s brother.

The mayor-elect, DeParle contends, has grown more patient and more compassionate over the years.

But the relentlessness? That likely hasn’t changed at all.

“I already know of people,” she said, “who are getting those calls.”

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Something’s gotta give when city redraws ward map - Chicago Sun-Times

Something’s gotta give when city redraws ward map

Mark brown

' + first_letter + ' Feb 27, 2011 02:11AM

According to new census data, Ald. Brendan Reilly’s downtown 42nd Ward now has 78,742 people living within its borders while Ald. Pat Dowell’s 3rd Ward on the South Side is home to just 40,506 residents.

That stark disparity may be the simplest illustration of why something’s gotta give when Chicago aldermen set about the process later this year of redrawing the city’s ward map.

The principle of one-man, one-vote requires that each of Chicago’s 50 wards have approximately the same number of residents, and every 10 years following a census, aldermen have the task of configuring new boundaries to reflect the current demographic reality.

It’s a contentious process in the best of times, and this is not shaping up as the best of times as the City Council must come to grips with an overall population loss of nearly 200,000 people, most of it coming from the African-American community.

In the worst of years, the map ends up in court and costs taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees as factions fight for personal power and adequate minority representation. That could be the rub again.

Over the past decade, the city dropped 181,453 African-American residents along with 52,499 white residents, losses that were partially offset by an increase of 25,218 in the Hispanic community.

At first blush, those numbers might lead you to believe that the likely outcome of a city remap would be a reduction in the number of African-American wards and an increase in the number of Hispanic wards.

While that definitely is a possibility, a whole bunch of folks hastened to advise me Friday that it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I’m sure it is. I’m also sure that nobody involved is in any hurry to start discussing it in those stark terms before they’re ready to deal with the political fallout.

African-American aldermen are going to be intent on preserving everything their predecessors had to fight to get, while the Hispanic community isn’t going to want to be seen as making its gains at the expense of blacks.

Still, like I say, something’s gotta give.

Most of the aldermen I reached Friday said they haven’t even seen any ward-by-ward census data, having been preoccupied by Tuesday’s election. Indeed, it may seem crazy to focus on matters affecting future elections before this cycle is even finished — with 14 aldermanic runoffs to be held April 5.

True, but you’d better believe senior members of the Council are already devising their strategies on how to survive and strengthen their positions through the new map.

When you divide Chicago’s new population of 2,695,598 by its 50 wards, you find that each of those wards will need about 54,000 residents after the boundaries are redrawn.

Using census data crunched by Rob Paral and Associates, a Chicago-based research company with a specialty in demographic information, I made lists of the city’s most and least populous wards to give you an idea of where you might see changes.

Most populous: 42nd (Reilly), 78,742; 2nd (Fioretti), 69,367; 13th (Olivo), 64,394; 32nd (Waguespack), 63,701; 36th (Rice), 60,473; 14th (Burke), 60,280; 41st (Doherty, retiring), 60,020.

Least populous: 3rd (Dowell), 40,506; 9th (Beale), 43,530; 16th (Thompson), 45,955; 17th (Thomas), 45,993; 5th (Hairston), 46,263; 8th (Harris), 47,655; 15th (Foulkes), 47,675.

Detailed charts and maps using the ward data can be found at

The growth in the 42nd and 2nd wards is part of the same downtown residential boom, while the drop-off in the 3rd Ward was clearly caused by emptying out CHA projects.

The uptick in the 13th and 14th wards reflects the continued growth of the Hispanic population on the Southwest Side. Burke’s 14th now has an 88 percent Hispanic majority, while Mike Madigan’s 13th is now 72 percent Hispanic, which shows you just how tricky it can be to create a Hispanic ward.

Some of you wonder why we even continue to draw political boundaries factoring in race when we’re coming off a mayoral election where voters showed little attention to racial lines. Well, the simplest answer is that’s what the courts have ruled is necessary to ensure minorities are properly represented.

City Council redistricting isn’t expected to come to a head until the fall, after Congress and the General Assembly have had first crack at their own maps.

Mayor-elect Emanuel may want to put his stamp on the map as well, if only to keep it from biting him in the rear.

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Mitchell: How Rahm Emanuel won black voters - Chicago Sun-Times

Mitchell: How Rahm Emanuel won black voters


' + first_letter + ' Feb 27, 2011 02:11AM
Story Image

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, thanks voters at 95th street CTA Red Line L platform, Wedneday, February 23, 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times

Rahm Emanuel’s jaw-dropping numbers in the African-American community gave him an undisputable win and raised the question: “How in the heck did he do it?”

After all, Mayor Daley got only 8 percent of the black vote when he first ran.

But last Tuesday, Emanuel racked up 59 percent of the black vote without the support of the city’s best-known black community organizers, politicians, clergy and civil rights leaders.

In an interview at his campaign headquarters on Friday, I asked the mayor-elect how he won over black Chicagoans.

“Heavy retailing,” he said. “A lot of people scoffed at what I used to call my ‘Target’ town halls. But I would go to Target down on South Cottage Grove and I would walk,” Emanuel said. “There would be eight women with carts around me, and I couldn’t get out if I wanted to.”

Emanuel went to the 95th Street L station four times while on the stump. In fact, the last stop for the Red Line was his first stop the day after his historic win. He went to 85th and the Dan Ryan three or four times. He visited the Target store on Cottage Grove twice.

The issues these voters wanted to talk about were the same as elsewhere: schools, streets, jobs and transportation.

Still, what he saw during those L stops haunts him.

“I saw too many kids on those platforms with not a thing in their eyes. That is the only thing about this job that gives me pause about my abilities,” he said.

“It is not the budget. I’ll work through that. But can you in some way touch these kids in a way that they feel they have got a shot at something? I always knew what I was running for, [but] when I saw those kids, I knew I made the right decision to run for mayor.’’

Most observers credit President Obama’s influence in the campaign for Emanuel’s huge win. After all, there was no way voters missed the political ad featuring Obama’s glowing farewell to his former chief of staff.

Although Emanuel doesn’t deny that Obama’s support was key, he had to “earn this my own way,” the mayor-elect said.

“He opened the door and laid a foundation, but I had to walk through that door. People wanted to lift the hood up, pull the sparkplugs out and kick the tires. They had to take my measure and they took it both from an initial perspective and that I was listening to them,” he said.

None of the well-known civil rights leaders or community organizers backed Emanuel’s pursuit of the mayor’s office. Those who did sign on joined late in the game. But these established black leaders proved to be irrelevant.

Early in the race, Emanuel tapped Annette Holt, the mother of Blair Holt, as a co-chairman of his campaign. Blair was a 16-year-old Percy Julian High School student when he was gunned down in 2007, while trying to protect a classmate from gunshots being fired on a CTA bus.

Holt, a captain with the Chicago Fire Department, proved to be a powerful visual for Emanuel’s plan to fight crime, and her endorsement hit black radio stations while black mayoral hopefuls were still trying to figure out the so-called black consensus candidate.

“We did not go through the normal system, the normal structures,” Emanuel told me. But he also understands why the contest strayed into racial territory.

“I understand the pride, as a Jew, I really do — the notion that we have to have one of our own. But what is missing is where politics are today. My view is that people knew that we were at a different point. They were going to look up and listen and at least give me a chance,” he said.

Emanuel’s stunning victory in the African-American community holds a lot of symbolism that has been overshadowed by the defeat of a black political icon.

It is no secret that the relationship between blacks and Jews in Chicago has been strained for decades, even though the two groups were allies during the civil rights movement. That black voters helped Emanuel make history in this city has the potential to heal old wounds.

“This is a watershed moment,” Emanuel said. “The challenge for all of us is: Are we going to allow the differences to become points of division?

“You have my commitment that I will struggle hard to not let that happen.’’

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Only the beginning

Check out the photos from yesterday's amazing rallies:

Trenton rally

Click Here

Dear MoveOn member,

Wow. Just wow. Yesterday, 50,000 people took to the streets of every single capital in America to stand with Wisconsin and demand an end to the attacks on workers and to the cuts to vital services. We're done watching the middle class get squeezed while the rich refuse to pay their fair share. 

Another 40,000 people followed along online, watching our live broadcasts and liveblog. And all of this was organized, primarily by volunteers, in only 4 days.

The American Dream Movement has arrived, inspired by the bravery of the students, teachers, firefighters and other protesters in Madison, Wisconsin.

They were out again in force yesterday, surrounding the Capitol in the biggest demonstration yet. This minute, those protesters are risking arrest as they peacefully refuse to leave the Capitol, which they've occupied for the last twelve days.
The reports from across the country were amazing—inspiring and energizing. 1,000 people in St. Paul in 5-degree weather. 3,100 in a downpour in Trenton. And in deep red America, 300 people on the steps of the Alabama Capitol, and 400 in Jefferson City, Missouri.

And the world noticed. While cable news gave the protests far less coverage than much smaller tea party events, there was an extraordinary amount of local news coverage—more than we've ever seen. And The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post all covered the protests. On Twitter, #WeAreWI was one of the top trending topics nationwide.

The photos from across the country are beautiful, and make it clear that people are fired up. That we'll continue to stand with the people of Wisconsin as they continue to fight for their rights. And that yesterday was only the beginning.

Thanks for all you do.

Daniel, Lenore, Robin, Wes, and the rest of the team

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Brian Banks on February 27, 2011. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.

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Franklin resident amped up to head Gamaliel Foundation - JSOnline

Feb. 27, 2011 10:05 p.m. |(0) Comments

enlarge photo

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Mi
Ana Garcia-Ashley
more photos

Ana Garcia-Ashley calls herself an "action junkie."

She's so hyper, she says, that until she recently quit drinking coffee, she used it to slow her down, not wake her up. She says she has enough energy for two or three people.

Those are excellent qualifications for her new job - one that requires the Franklin resident to travel 300 days a year, giving training sessions and staying in close touch with a network of 62 church-based community organizations in 19 states.

In January, Garcia-Ashley was promoted to executive director of the Chicago-based Gamaliel Foundation. She's only the second person to hold that job in the 25-year history of the organization that once served as a training ground for a young Chicago community organizer named Barack Obama.

The job has put her organization on the radar screen of conservative critics of Obama, one of whom recently referred to Gamaliel as a "radical left-wing" foundation that "uses the tactics espoused by community organizing guru Saul Alinsky to incite church members to agitate for socialism."

She calls the socialism claim "very misguided, defamatory and untrue."

"We talk about social justice, not socialism," she says.

As for herself, she says she's not even a liberal. "I'm too Catholic to be liberal," she says.

In the face of such criticism, she's tasked with carrying out the new strategic plan for the group - getting networks going in all 19 states where the foundation operates. There's one already in operation, called WISDOM, in Wisconsin - that she helped create.

Garcia-Ashley has come a long way from her days in the 1990s as an organizer for the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope and other faith-based social-justice organizations in the state.

She's much farther from Yasica, the tiny village in the mountains of the Dominican Republic where she was born, and where her grandmother had the only key to the church.

But that doesn't seem to faze her.

"I have a divine purpose to have enough power to live out my values with other people," she said in a recent interview at home in the Franklin subdivision where she lives. "Wisconsin and the entire Midwest is an incredible place to be a person of faith and to organize."

In the hour-and-a-half interview on Feb. 18, Garcia-Ashley was friendly and frank, and you could hear a hint of the Bronx, where she spent much of her childhood and teen years, in her voice.

You could also tell that she would rather have been in Madison, with union demonstrators protesting Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill, than sitting in her kitchen at home.

Grandmother's influence

She attributed much of her activism today to her grandmother Isabel Castaños, a devout Catholic.

Visiting priests would say Mass in the church, but Castaños would feed them breakfast first and go over their sermons, Garcia-Ashley said.

Castaños taught her granddaughter to say the rosary, she said, but also "that it was the job of women to transform the world."

Garcia-Ashley's family immigrated to New York City when she was 7, settling in the violent, drug-infested South Bronx. She was bused to Christopher Columbus High School, where she first became an activist.

"I was totally politically against Columbus," because of his cruelty to the natives of her island, she said.

A bright student, she became president of the Columbus High chapter of Aspira - an organization that encourages Hispanic students to go to college.

"In protest, I graduated in three years," she says.

She went to New Mexico Highlands University and then graduated from the University of Colorado, where she studied psychology and Latin American literature.

After graduating in 1980, she organized a neighborhood group in the southwest side of Denver and ended up as an organizer for the regionwide Metro Organizations for People, paid by the Diocese of Denver.

It was there that Cheryl Spivey-Perry, the first paid organizer of Milwaukee's 3-year old MICAH organization, met Garcia-Ashley at a retreat in 1991 and was impressed.

"I thought she had the same work ethic that I did in this kind of work," Spivey-Perry said. "You have to have a lot of energy and determination, and be committed to justice."

Spivey-Perry had come up as a Gamaliel Foundation protégé at the same time as Obama. In fact, she remembers the future president speaking on church-based organizing to a MICAH audience at the old St. Philip Neri Catholic Church on the northwest side in 1988.

When Spivey-Perry left Milwaukee for Washington in 1992, Garcia-Ashley was chosen to replace her.

She arrived in Milwaukee with her husband and two daughters. She was with MICAH until 1996 and then organized a similar church-based social justice organization in Racine, before launching the statewide WISDOM organization.

In the mid to late 1990s, she joined the Gamaliel staff as a regional director. Over the years she served as director of an immigration reform campaign (a conservative blogger points out that she called the Patriot Act an "attack on immigrants") and since 2009 has been associate director, groomed to take over for founder Greg Galluzzo.

Gamaliel is one of four national organizing networks, including the Chicago-based Industrial Areas Foundation founded by Alinsky. It's funded by foundations, contributions and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Another such organizing network, ACORN, declared bankruptcy after accusations of voter fraud and heavy criticism from conservatives.

That makes it a difficult environment to operate in.

"I feel like we're the next on their list," Garcia-Ashley said.

Gamaliel is the biblical figure known for defending early Christians from persecution by Pharisees and for mentoring St. Paul (whom Alinsky is said to have called the first great congregation-based organizer).

Galluzzo, a former Jesuit priest who founded Gamaliel with his wife, Mary Gonzalez, in 1986, and served as community organizing mentor to Obama in the 1980s, says he's staying on the staff, partly as a mentor to Garcia-Ashley.

As for her, he said, "Ana is a natural organizer."

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Dana Milbank - Scott Walker's unprincipled rigidity

By Dana Milbank Sunday, February 27, 2011; "He's not one of us." That phrase, uttered in the fourth minute of what Scott Walker believed to be a private phone conversation, tells you everything you need to know about the rookie governor of Wisconsin. Walker thought he was talking to a patron, conservative billionaire David Koch, but thanks to the amateurish management that seems to be a hallmark of his governorship, he was instead being punked by an impostor from a liberal Web site. In the recorded call, Walker praised a centrist state senator, Tim Cullen, as "about the only reasonable one" among the 14 Democratic legislators who fled the state to deny Walker the quorum he needs to destroy Wisconsin's public-sector unions. But when the fake Koch offered to call Cullen, Walker discouraged him: "He's pretty reasonable, but he's not one of us. . . . He's not there for political reasons. He's just trying to get something done. . . . He's not a conservative. He's just a pragmatist." "Just a pragmatist" - as if it were an epithet. "Just trying to get something done" - as if this were evidence of a character defect. I reached the unacceptably reasonable and pragmatic Cullen by phone in Illinois, where he is hiding out from Wisconsin state troopers who, dispatched by state Republicans, had been at his home each of the past two nights to try to force him back to the capitol. Cullen had a description of Walker, too. "This is the eighth governor that I've worked with in one way or another - four Republicans, four Democrats - and this is the first governor who takes a clear public position that he will never negotiate," said Cullen, who worked in Republican governor Tommy Thompson's administration between stints in the state Senate. "The other seven were willing to take the 70 or 80 percent of what they wanted. . . . That's what you need to do to make government work." Cullen got a call from Thompson last week and is hoping his old friend will persuade Walker to negotiate. But that won't be easy. Under Walker's tribal political theory, governing is a never-ending cycle of revenge killings. "I don't budge," Walker promised the fake Koch. He explained that he would increase pressure on state workers by threatening thousands of them with layoffs. He considered planting instigators in the crowd, he said, and he might offer to talk to Democrats - but only as a ruse to get them to return. "I'm not negotiating," he said. These are not the words of a statesman. These are the words of a hooligan. Of course, Washington knows all about tribalism, as both sides giddily await a possible shutdown of the government. But Walker's excesses show where this leads. It leads to hypocrisy: He called President Obama's health-care reform an "unprecedented power grab," but once in office he launched his own grab by attempting to end collective bargaining for public workers. It leads to falsification: He claims he campaigned on ending collective bargaining, but a Politifact analysis found that he did no such thing. And now, it's leading to fantasy. Walker told the faux Koch that "before we dropped the bomb," he showed his Cabinet a picture of Ronald Reagan and proclaimed that "one of the most defining moments of his political career [was] when he fired the air traffic controllers." That, Walker said, "was the first crack in the Berlin Wall." And now, "this is our time to change the course of history." It takes some creativity to liken the air traffic controllers to Wisconsin's public workers, who are not on strike and have offered concessions. It takes even more creativity to credit the firing of the controllers (rather than, say, Reagan's military buildup) for the fall of the Berlin Wall. And it takes gall for Walker to claim the mantle of Reagan, who compromised with Democrats and Soviets alike. Maybe Tim Cullen knows about that. "Reagan was able to work deals," Cullen, who was Wisconsin's Senate majority leader during Reagan's presidency, recalled. Walker, by contrast, is repeating the mistakes of Obama, who, Cullen thinks, overreached on health care. Even if Walker prevails, "it would be a short-term win," he said. "If you do it with only one party, you often lose that 40 percent that's in the middle." Contrast that with Cullen's philosophy, which he says he learned from Lyndon Johnson: "Any person not willing to settle for half a loaf has never been hungry." Only a truly unreasonable man would say that Tim Cullen is not one of us. E-mail:; Twitter: @milbank Post a Comment

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Understanding the digital divide with David Sutphen and Aaron Smith - The Washington Post

FEBRUARY 23, 2011 1:09 P.M. Understanding the digital divide with David Sutphen and Aaron Smith Background Information Twitter Facebook Digg Google Buzz Total Responses: 16 ABOUT THE HOSTS David Sutphen David Sutphen has been co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance since October 2009. He has held significant leadership positions in Congress, the entertainment industry and trade associations. Sutphen is currently a partner at Brunswick Group LLC, a strategic communications firm. Prior to joining Brunswick, David was the Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Viacom, the parent company of MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures. While at Viacom, he was a leading advisor to senior corporate and divisional executives on policy, political and CSR matters. He also served as co-chair of the Viacom Corporate Responsibility Council and as its representative on the Board of the Copyright Alliance. David joined Viacom from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), where he was Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations and represented the major record labels before Congress, regulatory agencies and in the media. Aaron Smith Aaron is a senior research panelist with the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Aaron's primary areas of research with the Project include the role of the internet in the political process, technology in civic life and online engagement with government. He has also authored research on mobile internet usage, the role of the internet in family life and demographic trends in technology adoption. Aaron has been with the Project since the spring of 2007. He holds a Masters degree in Public Affairs and an undergraduate degree from the Plan II Honors Program, both from the University of Texas at Austin. AARON SMITH : Hi everyone, thanks for joining us here today! By way of introduction, my name is Aaron Smith and I’m a researcher with the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project ( We’re a non-profit survey research firm that examines the impact of the internet and other digital technologies, and have done a number of studies looking at disparities in internet access and technology use. I’m looking forward to chatting with you all for the next hour. – February 23, 2011 1:08 PM Permalink DAVID SUTPHEN : Look forward to the discussion! – February 23, 2011 1:10 PM Permalink Q. HEALTHCARE IT AND A NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE As healthcare providers move towards greater implementation of health information technology, what do you see as the potential for a new health care digital divide - i.e., either the benefits of HIT are not realized in minority or low-income communities, or HIT ends up exacerbating current disparities in care? – February 23, 2011 9:39 AM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : One of the reasons why digital literacy is such an important component of closing the digital divide is it helps ensure that once people are connected, we don't replicate the gaps that currently exist between the connected and disconnected. A recent Pew study on wireless broadband had some encouraging statistics which show that African Americans and Hispanics actually lead the way in terms of wireless data usage. As such mobile HIT applications like Txt4Baby have the potential to positively impact communities of color. – February 23, 2011 1:09 PM AARON SMITH : Just to add to David's answer, the issue of health is a key one--our recent studies have indicated that people with a chronic health condition or disability are much less likely than other groups to go online, but that once they do get access they are extremely active in engaging wtih patient communities and discussion groups. – February 23, 2011 1:14 PM Permalink Q. LANGUAGE OF THE INTERNET With most of the US-based internet resources (news, search, social networks) setup to use English, I am not surprised to learn that Hispanics are less comfortable on the Internet. I would think that any non-native English speaker would find the Internet less inviting. I know there are websites for the Asian and Asian-American community, but probably far fewer for French-Americans or German-Americans or other languages. I think that as technology reaches further into our daily lives, the more important it will be to speak English in order to successfully live and work in the United States. – February 23, 2011 10:10 AM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Although language barriers are always a challenge, I thought I'd share a few compelling statistics regarding the Hispanic community from VotoLatino: Out of the 50 million US Latinos, 79% are English-speaking. What that tells me is that language-barriers may not be as big of an issue as other adoption hurdles, like digital literacy, cost or doubt about the value that comes from being online. David is absolutely correct that issues relating to cost, digital literacy and the value of online tools are key within all populations. However, we've found pretty consistently that (within the Latino population at least) that language proficiency is a key predictor of whether or not someone uses the internet or has a home broadband connection--even when we control for other factors such as income, education or age. – February 23, 2011 1:14 PM Q. TWO COMMUNITIES MISSING AN OPPORTUNITY How can we get (low income) minorities interested in technology and tech companies interested in minorities? Norman Weekes – February 23, 2011 10:46 AM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : One exciting public/private initiative focused on Science, Technology, Math and Engineering ("STEM") education launched about six months ago and is called "Change the Equation" Check out the website: Over 100 companies have come together to work collaboratively to identify STEM-related programs across the country that are working and find ways to highlight and scale them. One of the core priorities of Change the Equation is to increase the number of girls and kids of color pursuing degrees in STEM fields. One of the elements that comes through clearly in the research is that a multi-faceted approach is required to get people over the internet/broadband hump--economic issues are a key consideration, but so are digital skills and literacy, showing people how technology can be relevant in their lives. To their credit, many of the public and private technology initiatives out there now are addressing this issue on a number of different levels. – February 23, 2011 1:23 PM Q. COMPUTERS Do you think that the cost of computers plays into the lack of access to them? If so, will there ever be a computer that is affordable and not lacking in advanced technology? – February 23, 2011 1:18 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : From the research and studies I've seen cost is one component of the digital divide, but actually not necessarily the most important one. From work that Pew has done as well as other research, it turns out that a lack of comfort with technology (i.e., digital literacy) and a failure to see the value proposition in being connected are often greater impediments to people getting online. – February 23, 2011 1:25 PM A. AARON SMITH : Cost definitely plays a role, but it's far from the only consideration--a number of non-adopters are not comfortable with technology or have trouble using computers without assistance; others haven't had much exposure to the benefits of technology within their peer networks and as a result don't see "what's in it for them" to invest in using these tools. And of course others simply can't get access even if they wanted it--as the federal government's recent broadband map clearly demonstrated. – February 23, 2011 1:25 PM Q. WIRELESS AND THE DIGITAL DIVIDE Could low-cost wireless services like Cricket and MetroPCS play a positive role here? Is it possible to have an adequate Internet experience using a phone as your sole or primary device? – February 23, 2011 1:22 PM Permalink A. AARON SMITH : That's a really important question. We know from our work (and the work of others) that wireless technologies (cell phones in particular) are helping to bridge some gaps in access that continue to persist in traditional measures of internet access. But are those folks really able to engage in key online activities like applying for jobs, getting educational material or signing up for government benefits? We're hoping to do some work on this question in the spring, to really nail down the extent to which people are relying on mobile devices and what they see as the benefits and limitations of that mode of access. – February 23, 2011 1:34 PM A. DAVID SUTPHEN : One of the benefits of the wireless/mobile Internet is that it's a lower cost point of entry to the broadband world. I think it would be interesting for Pew to explore how quickly, if at all, people who first become connected to the broadband Internet through a mobile device, end up signing up for a fixed line connection. – February 23, 2011 1:34 PM Q. EDUCATE What are some of the ways we can better educate people so they become more comfortable with technology? – February 23, 2011 1:24 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet answer to this question, however, organizations like One Economy: are doing great work through their digital connectors program. Schools, community based organizations, churches, the media and other stakeholders all have a roll to play in not only making technology more accessible, but also helping explain WHY it's so critically important for people to be connected. Once people see the true value, it will help them overcome that tech anxiety. – February 23, 2011 1:35 PM A. AARON SMITH : As I've mentioned a couple of times here today, this is an issue where multiple strategies are required. Some groups may be ready to jump online and just need some economic assistance to get them over the hump. For others, illustrating the relevance of technology in their daily lives is the key consideration. We've seen some evidence that social media is playing this role with seniors, for example. Whatever approach is taken, it's clear that getting exposure through one's peer and community networks is a key consideration both in seeing the benefits of technology and overcoming anxiety towards the use of new tools. – February 23, 2011 1:35 PM Q. GENERATIONAL DIVIDE? How much of the digital divide is generational? I would think that older people would be less likely to be current on using computers. – February 23, 2011 1:31 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Age undoubtedly plays a role in adoption and I believe the cut-off where the divide grows most substantially is with seniors over the age of 70. – February 23, 2011 1:41 PM A. AARON SMITH : Age is definitely one of the biggest factors in whether or not someone goes online or has a broadband connection at home. Yet while seniors are less likely than other groups to get online, they are really active and engaged once they overcome that initial hurdle. For example, people over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing group when it comes to blogging, or to using social networking sites. Once seniors are exposed to the benefits of technology and get some training to overcome their apprehensions about using new tools, they're just as active as anyone else in their online habits. – February 23, 2011 1:41 PM Q. DIGITAL DIVIDE I understand the need to close the digital divide from the perspective of social good (education, participation in government, etc.), but does the private sector seem eager to develop this underserved market? Can we afford to wait on the profit motive to close the gaps in access and usage? – February 23, 2011 12:37 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Closing the digital divide completely will require collaboration between private industry and government, which is one of the reasons the President announced an inititive in the State of the Union to help ensure that all Americans -- regardless of geography, socie-economic or background -- are connected. Changes to programs like the Universal Service Fund to make it more relevant to the broadband realities of today will also help. – February 23, 2011 1:43 PM Q. THE WIRELESS GUY AGAIN I would love to see a Pew study on whether those applications - jobs, government, education - are accessible by phone browsers. In my experience, some of those aren't even accessible from Macs, or require particular PC browsers, etc. – February 23, 2011 1:43 PM Permalink A. AARON SMITH : We're hoping to study exactly this question in a survey we're conducting this spring. We know that certain groups (lower-income people of color, for instance) are especially reliant on their mobile devices to connect them to friends, news, entertainment and other online resources. What we're not so sure about is where they run into the limitations of those devices, so that's front and center on our research agenda! – February 23, 2011 1:52 PM A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Whether job applications are accessible on mobile devices is an important question, but the more fundamental question in my view is what % of companies now only allow you to apply for a job online. When you consider the fact that the disconnected are often lower income, live in rural areas and are minorities -- groups with traditionally higher unemployment rates -- it is potentially a major problem if the only way they can apply for a job is online. – February 23, 2011 1:52 PM Q. SENIORS AND SOCIAL MEDIA What is most popular with them? Facebook? Do you think they're taking part more now that it's become so accessible? And not as frightening? – February 23, 2011 1:46 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : I was just at an event last week with one of Aaron's colleagues from Pew who said that social media applications like Facebook are in fact the largest driver of adoption among seniors. Being able to connect with family and friends is such a huge draw and benefit to them, which reinforces my earlier point that closing the divide is really about finding those things that people value so much about being connected that they overcome their fears or decide the cost is worth it. – February 23, 2011 1:55 PM A. AARON SMITH : That's exactly right--those sites offer a place for older users to interact with people (friends, family members) that they might not see regularly, to find others who share a common hobby or interest. In our past work we've found that older adults tend to view the internet as a "scary" place, so finding out that it helps you share everything from recipes to stock tips to baby pictures of grandkids can be a huge a-ha moment. – February 23, 2011 1:55 PM Q. CABLE BUT NOT INTERNET? The woman in the article can afford cable but not internet? I have never had cable in my life, and I am using a public computer to send this e-mail. I only get 70 minutes a day if i am lucky. I wish I could afford a wireless or wired device and internet access but I can't. – February 23, 2011 1:08 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Late last year the Internet Innovation Alliance did a study on the annual cost savings your can enjoy by having a broadband connection. Those savings take the form of discounted prices, sale, etc., available exclusively on the Internet. Check out the study -- it might impact your perspective on whether you can afford to sign up for a home broadband connection: – February 23, 2011 1:55 PM Q. DIGITAL DIVIDE BETWEEN THE HEARING AND NON-HEARING It was a great success when Congress mandated, some years ago, Closed Captions for nearly all TV programming. But now, as HDTVs become more common, we are actually going backwards, as CCs are not required to be carried over HDMI cables. Therefore they are not. Thus streaming videos and other digital sources are not captioned, leaving the hard of hearing and deaf without access to these features. What can we do to alert Congress to this oversight? And/or to encourage manufacturers to include CCs on Internet-enabled devices? – February 23, 2011 1:29 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Congressman Ed Markey from Massachusetts has been a longtime advocate on these issues, so I would encourage you to reach out to his office to find ways to get engaged. He recently championed an update to the People with Disabilities Act that was designed in part to make the law more relevant to the 21st Century realities facing people with disabilities. – February 23, 2011 1:58 PM A. AARON SMITH : I'd just like to share some work that my colleague Susannah did recently on internet use by people with disabilities: There are definitely some challenges with interviewing the hard of hearing in a telephone survey, but we like to think it's a good start at quantifying the issue. – February 23, 2011 1:58 PM Q. DIGITAL DIVIDE I'm in a rural area and there is basically a government enforced monopoly on wired internet (the cable company) and another monopoly on wireless (the phone company). In addressing the urban/rural gap. Would reforming this out-dated monopoly scheme be of any benefit? – February 23, 2011 1:00 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : Helping close the digital divide in rural communities remains a critically important priority, but also presents real challenges because of technological limitations and the significant investment needed to build out infrastructure. A large part of the President's announcement in the State of the Union around broadband was driven by a recognition of the need to ensure that rural communities can benefit fully from broadband and the Internet economy. – February 23, 2011 2:01 PM Q. SCHOOLS Is there a digital divide in schools, are do most schools regardless of socioeconomic status or region of country have similar access to computers? If there are significant differences among schools, what are these differences? – February 23, 2011 1:25 PM Permalink A. AARON SMITH : One of the goals of the federal government's new broadband map is to study the extent to which schools are (or are not) connected to the broadband world, so that's a great resource for that information. Schools and libraries obviously play a key role in providing access to groups that might otherwise not have it. For example, in our teens work black/latino students are about as likely as white students to go online--but white students are much more likely to do so from home, while minority students are much more likely to rely on access at their school or in a library. – February 23, 2011 2:03 PM Q. FCC, NET NEUTRALITY AND MOBILE USAGE / ACCESS Will the Net Neutrality rules adopted by the FCC limit access to certain types of content through mobile devices? – February 23, 2011 1:06 PM Permalink A. DAVID SUTPHEN : The dynamic and competitive nature of the wireless/mobile Internet -- everyday a new device, application or service emerges in the marketplace -- are clear signs that companies are doing what they can to ensure consumers can have access to what they want, when they want it. – February 23, 2011 2:03 PM Q. INTERNET ACCESS IN LOWER INCOME AREAS Part of the stimulus package in 2009 was put towards bringing high speed internet access to rural areas. I know there's now a push to bring wireless access as well. What is the government doing to make sure that people are able to use the internet well and to its full potential, once high speed lines are installed? – February 23, 2011 1:34 PM Permalink A. AARON SMITH : When the FCC released its broadband plan last year, it placed a major emphasis on barriers to adoption that go beyond access--digital literacy and skills training, and focusing on areas such as education, job skills and health that can help people bridge the "relevance gap". Obviously it remains to be seen how those goals will be turned into concrete programs, but the people in charge of implementing this policy are clearly thinking well beyond "build it and they will come" – February 23, 2011 2:03 PM AARON SMITH : Thanks everyone for the great questions--it's been fun! – February 23, 2011 2:04 PM Permalink DAVID SUTPHEN : Really enjoyed the chat and the great questions. Keep an eye out for more great Pew Research and be sure to visit the IIA website: Signing off: #davidasutphen – February 23, 2011 2:04 PM Permalink

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Del Valle Spurns Rahm Job Offer | NBC Chicago

Del Valle Spurns Rahm Job Offer BUZZ UP!0digg Marcus Riley The last couple of days have not been good for Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. First a key member of his transition team, Judy Erwin, resigned because of prior ethics violations, and now his former opponent, Miguel del Valle, has rejected an offer to co-chair that same transition team. Del Valle told NBC Chicago that he "respectfully denied" Rahm's offer because he is focused on the issues he raised during his campaign -- the neighborhoods and his progressive agenda that has been neglected. On election night, Del Valle didn't rule out running for mayor again in the future, but wished there were campaign finance laws in place for candidates that don't have a lot of money. BY MARCUS RILEY // 2 HOURS AGO Source:

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Emanuel: Safety a Big Concern for Students | NBC Chicago

Emanuel: Safety a Big Concern for Students

Mayor-elect gets education during visit to a South Side school.

Feb 25, 2011


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The Nationwide Effort To Restrict Reproductive Rights

As has been noted here and elsewhere, 2011 has seen a nationwide resurgence in the effort to curtail women's reproductive rights. I know! It's almost as if an entire political faction that preaches the importance of a small and unintrusive government doesn't actually mean it, right?

Here in Washington, D.C., we've seen the House of Representatives pass an amendment that would defund Planned Parenthood and attempt to create a whole new crazy definition of rape. And state governments have been doing much the same: South Dakota lawmakers briefly floated the idea of making protecting the unborn a justifiable reason to commit homicide -- with language that didn't make it clear that abortion providers who perform legal medical procedures wouldn't be, in some way, protected from the crazy people who believe they are morally allowed to murder them. That law's been shelved in South Dakota, but it's being emulated elsewhere.

And others are going further, including a Georgia lawmaker who's crafted a law that would make miscarriages a felony. Again, there's vague wording there, that seemingly exempts miscarriages that are not brought about by "human involvement." Unfortunately, medical professionals do not know, with precision, what causes miscarriages, and the law doesn't set sufficient parameters.

But that's all beside the point: why bring miscarriages into the matter at all? No one has ever suggested that miscarriages of any sort by subject to criminal penalty, so why start now? The answer is that this is all some "moving the Overton Window" nonsense -- by pushing boundaries further past the fringe, it makes the original fringe position more palatable. I've said this once before, but it bears repeating:

Just to review, the way this game is played is that a legislator will conceive of an absolutely insane anti-woman law, stoke outrage, then make a big show of relenting on the crazy part of the law in order to get what they want -- making abortion illegal -- enacted. They will then aver that this is the result of "negotiations" in which "all sides" have been "heard out" resulting in a "compromise."

Here, for your benefit, we've collected many examples of the ways in which reproductive rights are being encroached upon. Some are more reasonable sounding than others. There's a wide gulf between a radical redefinition of rape and a law that aims to shut down abortion providers in the name of enhanced patient comfort. But one thing that all of these laws have in common is that they suggest a deep and abiding belief that women are chattel.

Iowa Bill Allows The "Justifiable Use Of Deadly Force" To Protect The Unborn

1 of 11

Bill Premise: Two bills have been combined into one to essentially define an unborn fetus as a person. In protecting that person, the Iowa legislature wants to allow the use of deadly force against abortion doctors or family-planning practitioners. The far-reaching consequence is that if this bill passes, persons that harm or kill abortion providers would be protected under state law from persecution.

From the Iowa Independent:

Also included in the proposal is a new section to the Iowa Code that would provide automatic criminal and civil immunity to a person who uses deadly force, unless a police investigation proves that the person was not acting "reasonably." Also key to the immunity clause is the fact that law enforcement would likely be barred from arresting a person at the scene of an incident "unless the law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force was unlawful under this chapter." If law enforcement does make an arrest, and if that person is later found to have used reasonable force by a court of law, taxpayers could be on the hook for the reimbursement of the person's attorney fees, court costs, compensation from loss of income and other expenses.


"Does this provide someone who is a person with an anti-abortion stance at least an opportunity that is more likely to get to a jury? I think the answer is yes," [associate professor of law at the University of Kansas Melanie D.] Wilson said.

Bill Status: Currently under debate.

Total comments: 4121 |

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Bill Premise: Two bills have been combined into one to essentially define an unborn fetus as a person. In protecting that person, the Iowa legislature wants to allow the use of deadly force against abortion doctors or family-planning practitioners. The far-reaching consequence is that if this bill passes, persons that harm or kill abortion providers would be protected under state law from persecution.
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Transphorm, Google-Backed Startup, Claims Major Breakthrough In Energy Technology

Could a power conversion module really cut energy waste by 90 percent? Google's betting on it.

Transphorm, a southern California startup backed by Google Ventures and other investors, claims to have created an energy-saving technology that, when fully implemented, will save "the equivalent of taking the West Coast off the grid."

The New York Times reports that Transphorm's Umesh Mishra believes their power conversion module, based on gallium nitride (also used in LEDs), will save hundreds of terawatt hours. Currently, conversion modules are based on silicon, which struggles to efficiently convert power at high voltages. An estimated ten percent of energy currently generated in the U.S. is lost as electricity is converted back and forth from alternating to direct current. Mishra claims that gallium nitride can do the same conversion without wasting power.

Google Ventures' managing director, Bill Maris admits that they have been hesitant when it comes to clean tech investing. But, according to Grist, he feels that "the ultimate impact of this technology is inarguable."

This certainly isn't Google's first foray into green technology. Last year they tried out the Bloom Box, a fuel cell promising to produce more power with less environmental damage. In preparation for Cancun's climate change talks, Google Earth created online tours and videos highlighting various climate change issues. Plus, Google has created a three-step program focused on being carbon neutral.

Meanwhile, organizations around the world are looking for innovative ways to cut down on energy waste. Helsinki has revealed their underground master plan, which reportedly includes the world's greenest data center. At present, data centers consume at least 2% of all the world's energy. Fortunately, innovative methods are being tested to cut down on this waste, and Google's newest investment could very well be a step toward a much more energy-efficient future.

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It's a Record: $11.6 Million Spent on Emanuel Campaign | NBC Chicago

BY Mary Ann Ahern // Friday, Feb 25, 2011 at 05:45 CST

In 1975 Richard J. Daley spent $1 million in his mayoral campaign. Fast forward to 2011 and Rahm Emanuel spends a new record -- $11.6 million. He raised $13.7 million, and that number include $1.1 million that was transferred over from previous congressional campaigns. He has about $2.1 million left, but spokesman Ben Labolt says the final total "could be slightly different when all is said and done." Ald. Ed Burke (14th) has $8 million in his warchest and in the next few weeks both he and Emanuel plan to financially help aldermanic candidates who are in runoffs. While both deny they want to see Council Wars 2, they're both focused on the number 26 -- the number of aldermen one needs to get their agenda through the city council. Source:

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