NDN Blog

Karl Rove wants to "Soak Up the Sun"

And doesn't want to hear from Sheryl Crow and Laurie David about global warming.  Read their simultaneously depressing and funny entry on Huffington Post for more.

Last night Thelma and Louise drove the bus off the cliff or at least into the White House Correspondents Dinner. The "highlight" of the evening had to be when we were introduced to Karl Rove. How excited were we to have our first opportunity ever to talk directly to the Bush Administration about global warming.

We asked Mr. Rove if he would consider taking a fresh look at the science of global warming. Much to our dismay, he immediately got combative. And it went downhill from there.

We reminded the senior White House advisor that the US leads the world in global warming pollution and we are doing the least about it. Anger flaring, Mr. Rove immediately regurgitated the official Administration position on global warming which is that the US spends more on researching the causes than any other country.

We felt compelled to remind him that the research is done and the results are in (www.IPCC.ch). Mr. Rove exploded with even more venom. Like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, Mr. Rove launched into a series of illogical arguments regarding China not doing enough thus neither should we. (Since when do we follow China's lead?)...

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, "Don't touch me." How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, "You can't speak to us like that, you work for us." Karl then quipped, "I don't work for you, I work for the American people." To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, "We are the American people."

NDN is Hiring

Here are the open positions at NDN.  To apply please email your materials to jobs@ndn.org.

Deputy Development Director

Location: Washington, DC

A new position, the Deputy Development Director will assist the Development Director in raising NDN’s $4 million annual budget.  Specific responsibilities may include oversight of small donor individual membership program and scheduled institutional member renewals.  Applicants should have experience in direct solicitation of prospective contributors, competency in data management systems and internet research, and strong organizational skills.  1-2 years of experience required.  The position reports to the Development Director.  Salary and benefits package commensurate with experience.  Please address resume and references, as well as any questions, to jobs@ndn.org.

Hispanic Strategy Center Associate

Location: Washington, DC

The Hispanic Strategy Center Associate is responsible for implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's programs.  Specific job duties include monitoring relevant legislation, following Hispanic media trends, implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's policy and communications objectives, and overall support of the Hispanic Strategy Center Director.  Candidates must be fluent in English and Spanish, and have 2-3 years experience working in advocacy, politics, or government.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Please address all materials and questions to jobs@ndn.org.

Communications Director

Location: Washington, DC

A new position, the Communications Director will oversee the strategic communications operation for NDN.  Primary responsibilities include traditional media relations and the development, production and editing of the public content of the organization.  This position will work closely with the NDN President, executive director and heads of NDN’s major affiliates, the New Politics Institute and Hispanic Strategy Center.  Candidates must have 5 or more years of experience in political communications, press or media, and possess exceptional writing skills.  Video production experience and competency in Spanish a plus, but not required.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Please address all materials and questions to jobs@ndn.org.

Family values, conservative style: infant mortality climbs in the South

The Times documents another startling Bush legacy:

HOLLANDALE, Miss. — For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states.

The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors, and, many doctors say, the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among potential mothers, some of whom tip the scales here at 300 to 400 pounds.

“I don’t think the rise is a fluke, and it’s a disturbing trend, not only in Mississippi but throughout the Southeast,” said Dr. Christina Glick, a neonatologist in Jackson, Miss., and past president of the National Perinatal Association.

To the shock of Mississippi officials, who in 2004 had seen the infant mortality rate — defined as deaths by the age of 1 year per thousand live births — fall to 9.7, the rate jumped sharply in 2005, to 11.4. The national average in 2003, the last year for which data have been compiled, was 6.9. Smaller rises also occurred in 2005 in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. Louisiana and South Carolina saw rises in 2004 and have not yet reported on 2005.

Whether the rises continue or not, federal officials say, rates have stagnated in the Deep South at levels well above the national average.

Most striking, here and throughout the country, is the large racial disparity. In Mississippi, infant deaths among blacks rose to 17 per thousand births in 2005 from 14.2 per thousand in 2004, while those among whites rose to 6.6 per thousand from 6.1. (The national average in 2003 was 5.7 for whites and 14.0 for blacks.)

The overall jump in Mississippi meant that 65 more babies died in 2005 than in the previous year, for a total of 481..

A more conservative Supreme Court

The Times has a very good look at what might come next for the new post-O'Connor Supreme Court.

The battle over immigration continues

The Times offers yet another editorial in favor of immigration, this one reviewing some of the recent progress uin pdating last year's strong bill to accomodate new political realities. 

The Washington Post looks at the lobbying effort on the other side of this issue, led by those who really put this issue on the map back in 2005, conservative talk radio show hosts.  The Times also documents how Rudy Giuliani's views on immigration are being changed by his Presidential campaign. 

Taken together these stories tell the story of the immigration debate in America.  It was brought to the fore by conservative talk radio show hosts in 2005.   Republicans responded with a wild and punitive bill with no chance of passing, and one that angered Hispanics across the country.  Inspired by the millions who took to the streets, reasonable people in both parties came together to pass a good Senate in 2006.  House Republicans, fearful of the power of this issue in their own base, refused to work with the good Senate bill and instead spent the rest of the election unsuccessfully attacking Democrats on the issue. 

It backfired in the 2006 elections, neither gaining them points with an electorate anxious for answers not anger; disapointing their base who rightly felt not enough has been done to fix the problem; and alienating the nation's Latino community, the fastest growing part of the American electorate. 

Fixing our broken immigration system is one of the defining issues of the early 21st century.  I am convinced that it a powerful test of the Parties, and our leaders, to see if they have what it takes to help America meet the new challenges of our time.  Again and again, the Republicans are showing that they don't have what it takes.  The question now is - do the Democrats?  So far it appears as if they do.  But critical days lie ahead of us, and this is not the time for those wanting progress to buckle to the angry agenda of a well-organized and vocal minority.


So, right as Gonzales makes his public plea to save his job, federal prosecutors search the home of two Republican Congressman and subpoena a third.  Is this a coincidence? Perhaps.  Somehow I feel this that is an ominous sign, from the Attorney General's own department, that they are going to keep moving against the corrupt Repulbican machine that governed this town in recent years.  And of course that corrupt Republican machine had at its head the White House, led by Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales.   

I wrote an essay recently about this terrible era and some things we can do to clean it up here.

Interesting Fundraising #'s from the Presidential Candidates

The numbers that have been slowly leaking out became official this week, and the overall message: Democrats are in better shape than Republicans, with Democrats raising $78 million to Republicans' $53 million.  Some other notable numbers:

  • Senator John McCain is the big loser here.  He only raised $13 million (less than Romney, Guliani, Clinton, Obama and Edwards) and he spent so much that he trails lesser known candidates like Chris Dodd in the ever-important cash on hand.  No wonder Phil Graham is being brought on board to restore fiscal discipline within the campaign.
  • While small donors, largely giving online, are an increasingly important source of campaign donations, over 80% of the money raised came in amounts larger than $1,000.
  • Democrats have a much broader early donor base, with the top three Democratic candidates totaling almost twice as many donors as the top three Republicans.

More Immigration Polling Data

Adding to a post Aaron had a few days ago, a new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows even more support for comprehensive immigration reform:

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken last weekend found that 78% of respondents feel people now in the country illegally should be given a chance at citizenship.

Assessing the poll results, Senator Edward Kennedy had a blunt, but honest reaction:

"As with so many issues, the American people are ahead of Washington on immigration reform. They know that only a plan that offers a path to earned citizenship will fix our broken system."

Check out video of Senator Kennedy and others on the need for comprehensive immigration reform at an NDN event in March.

Bush's Supreme Court Sets Back Women's Health

On April 18, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the federal “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.” The court told women that, with their health at risk during a pregnancy, deciding what to do is no longer up to them and their doctors. The Bush Supreme Court has invited politicians into our bedrooms and allowed them to make our most personal decisions for us.

 The Supreme Court struck down an almost identical state law as unconstitutional in 2000, and every court to hear a challenge to this first-ever federal ban on abortion declared it unconstitutional. Since the Court’s decision in 2000, President Bush appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court and abortion foes see these appointments as an opportunity to undermine the Roe v. Wade decision.  

The majority opinion was written by Justice Kennedy and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. Justices Thomas and Scalia filed a concurring opinion, reiterating their view that Roe v. Wade should be entirely overruled. Justice Ginsburg authored thedissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer.  In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, "The Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety." We have to prevent this decision from having a devastating impact on women's lives.

Friedman’s Big Swing on Green Geopolitics

You gotta hand it to Tom Friedman. He’s not the first guy to spot a trend or big idea, but he has a great way of popularizing them. He’s great at squeezing down big ideas into slogans. Or forcing simple parallels that make you think. “If this, then that.”

Anyhow, he did it again this week with a terrific cover story in the New York Times Magazine. He lays out a big idea about how the United States can completely rework geopolitics and regain global leadership by truly taking on climate change, or, in his words, going “geo-green.” By taking the lead in alternative energy and a comprehensive environmentalism, the United States could help solve three of the biggest challenges of the early 21st century.

1/ Solve global warming, which does have the potential to remake the world – and not for the better.

2/ Solve the quandary of globalization and the new global economy. The United States could spawn the next generation high end technologies that could serve the needs of the world – and would not be easily replicated by low end labor. We could have a thriving next generation economy that could include all Americans.

3/ Solve our era’s security challenge of global terrorism, sustained by a militant radical Islam that is fueled by the oil regimes of the middle east. We cut our dependence, and ultimately the world’s dependence, on that resource and that region, and we undercut our biggest threat.

I could not agree more with his framework. This is a massive opportunity for the progressive movement and Democratic politics in general. The conservatives have completely failed on all these fronts – starting with their obstinate denial of climate change long after all evidence showed denial to be a sham.

Progressives have always taken the lead on environmental matters, and now they can extend that core competency into the reworking of the global economy, and a convincing strategy to truly make the world more safe.

Bravo to Friedman, who has done much to move this meme into the mainstream. Inevitably this piece will be his next book, and judging by the success of his other books, it will be a bestseller for a long while.

Peter Leyden

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