NDN Blog

Obama, McCain speeches

Yesterday, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain presented policy speeches as they continue their campaigns for the White House.

Obama, whose speech focused on Foregin Policy, spoke to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Press coverage of the speech can be found here. To read the speech, click here.

McCain focused on Energy security, spoke to the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) on global warming and US reliance on foreign oil. Press coverage of the speech can be found here. To read the speech, click here.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Richardson first to go on air

Governor Bill Richardson is the first Democratic presidential candidate to air television ads in the 2008 race. The ads, which will air in Iowa and New Hampshire, are biographical spots entitled "Life's Work" (30 seconds) and "The Wall" (60 seconds). Check them out below:

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

I miss the O'Briens

Not sure what happened to CNN's East Coast morning show, but I miss Soledad and Miles.  Gonna give these new guys a chance but so far not impressed.

India: launching itself ahead of the US?

India launched it's first commercial rocket today, a major technological and entreprenuerial milestone for the world's second largest nation.  I was reminded of a great post by former NDNer James Crabtree on the phenomenon that is "Chinarunindia."  Read on...


by James Crabtree -- 7/21/06 

It is now almost a political trope that Chinarunindia threatens American jobs. And so it does. But not in the way people often think. Case in point are the statistics people use. You see this often, of the following type...

Such statistics are part of statistics-as-metaphor. Whether or not they are true is not the point. You should treat them in the same way people say "Eskimo's have 27 words for snow" or "half the world has never made a phone call." Are these true? They might be. They probably are not. [Read for instance this superb essay by technology thinker Clay Shirky on exactly this point, examining the truth behind the second quote.] But that isn't the point. The point is that they are meant to tell you something bigger: namely that language responds to circumstance, and the technological revolution is confined to rich countries. My favourite is: "1 in 7 people is a chinese farmer." This one is actually true, with 6 billion people and 900m employed in chinese agriculture. But what it really means is nothing to do with farming. It means: holy hell! there are a lot of people in China!

The same habit crops up with the statistics politicians use to describe Chinarunindia. They are trying to make the point - quite correctly - that the world is changing fast. They want you to understand that this brief period of history when the US is the (as Rob Shaprio, our Globalization Initiative directorl likes to say) only global power with no peer since Rome, will be just that. Brief. But in the course of making this point, some real whoppers emerge. As the FT explains:

Although both countries produce millions of graduates annually, the raw numbers are a misleading metric for employable skills. China produces 600,000 university-trained engineers every year, for example, a figure often cited to illustrate the country's inexorable rise as a technology power. But a McKinsey survey of nine occupations including engineers, accountants and doctors found that fewer than one in 10 were employable by multinationals.

The rest of the piece is similarily on the money, and you should read it. It highlights something almost no one seems to understand, namely that (unbelievably) Chinarunindia are running out of workers. They aren't running out of people exactly. But because they invest so little in education, they are running out of employable workers. These labour shortages will ripple out accross the world economy in the coming years. But because politicans use these misleading stats, they miss the bigger point. It is this. Imagine how much Chinarunindia will change our economy when 9 out of 10 of their professionals are employable by multinationals? Makes you think. Have a great weekend............

NPI Event: 5/2/07 The Exploding World of Political Web Video

From the Macaca moment in the Virgina Senate race to a series of Presidential candidate announcements, web video has caught the attention of the established political world because it is now seriously impacting politics. This new tool is creating a wave of innovation that promises even more impact in the coming cycle. I invite you to join the New Politics Institute for a special event on this exploding world of political web video, including:

Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, and now working for John Edward’s presidential campaign, on how the presidential campaigns can expect to use web video.

Karina Newton, Director of New Media, Office of Speaker Pelosi, on how web video is being used for governing.

Dan Manatt, founder and executive producer for PoliticsTV.com, on how any organization can immediately start using web video.

Phil de Vellis, aka ParkRidge47, an important political web video innovator, on how progressives can use the new tools to make powerful, political content.

NPI recently released an innovative “video report” that laid out a dozen categories of web video already affecting politics – from gotcha videos to video chat to flash animation to longer web features.  The event will build off that overview and bring together some of the political pioneers in this web video space to talk about what they are learning about the most effective strategies and the most promising opportunities.  You should also make sure to read Julie Bergman-Sender's NPI paper Viral Video in Politics: Case Studies on Creating Compelling Video.

As always, the event is free and lunch will be provided. Video of the event will be posted on our site for those who cannot make it or are out of town. Please RSVP if you can come, and in the spirit of the new medium, feel free to spread the word.

The Exploding World of Political Web Video
Wednesday, May 2nd
12:00PM - lunch will be served
Phoenix Park Hotel
520 North Capital Street NW, Washington DC

For more information or to RSVP you can contact: Tracy Leaman, 202-842-7213, or tleaman@ndn.org


Peter Leyden 

Director of the New Politics Institute

This event is part of the Re-imagining Video series presented by the New Politics Institute, a think tank helping progressives master today’s transformation of politics due to the rapid changes in technology, media and the demographic makeup of America. NPI is building a working network of top technology, media, and demographic professionals who want to help move best practices and new innovations into progressive politics. We are developing a body of useful reports that can be found at: http://www.newpoltiics.net.

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.

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