NDN Blog

More supporters for comprehensive immigration reform

If leading labor unions, the Chamber of Commerce, the Catholic Church and countless advocacy groups weren't enough, now evangelical Christians are organizing to support the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that NDN has been fighting for.  From the NYT:

A new coalition of more than 100 largely evangelical Christian leaders and organizations asked Congress on Monday to pass bills to strengthen border controls but also give illegal immigrants ways to gain legal residency.

The announcement spotlights evangelical leaders’ increasingly visible efforts to push for what they say is a more humane policy in keeping with biblical injunctions to show compassion for their neighbors, the weak and the alien.

The new group, Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, includes members like the Mennonite Church U.S.A. and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which represents Latino evangelicals.

It includes individuals like Dr. Joel C. Hunter, pastor of Northland, a megachurch in Longwood, Fla., and Sammy Mah, president of World Relief, an aid group affiliated with the National Association of Evangelicals.

The concerns of the coalition mirror those of many evangelical leaders who have often staked out conservative positions on other social issues or who have avoided politics entirely.

Democracy For America's campaign challenges candidates to stay true

Democracy for America has a neat campaign where they're making sure the Democratic candidates for President "stay true to progressive principles and articulate a clear vision on the most important issues of our time." The intent is for DFA members to challenge the candidates to take a stand on an issue, then the candidate responds with a video of their position. The videos then act as "an honest broker in your decision making process." Below is a video of John Edwards discussing his energy policy.

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

Europe Ready to Make a Deal on Wolfowitz?

European leaders are working to ease Paul Wolfowitz out as President of the World Bank by offering a deal.  If Wolfowitz leaves soon, they say they will allow the United States to pick the next President, as has been tradition since the bank was founded.

Leading governments of Europe, mounting a new campaign to push Paul D. Wolfowitz from his job as World Bank president, signaled Monday that they were willing to let the United States choose the bank’s next chief, but only if Mr. Wolfowitz stepped down soon, European officials said.

European officials had previously indicated that they wanted to end the tradition of the United States picking the World Bank leader. But now the officials are hoping to enlist American help in persuading Mr. Wolfowitz to resign voluntarily, rather than be rebuked or ousted.

The goal, they said, is to avert a public rupture of the bank board over a vote, possibly later this week, to sanction Mr. Wolfowitz. Even if the vote is a reprimand, they said, it could effectively make it impossible for him to stay on.

And the WAPO talks about the how this current scandal could threaten future funding for the World Bank.

Obama presents energy plan in Motor City

In addition to offering a critique of the US auto industry on its home turf, Barack Obama delved into his energy plan yesterday. The Detroit Free Press has a good article which covered his speech to the Detroit Economic Club, including a mention of why Obama chose to make the speech in Detroit (a decision which won him the endorsement of Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke):

"I'm making this proposal ... because I don't believe in making proposals in California and giving a different speech in Michigan," he said.

More from Obama's speech:

"While foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars," Obama told a Detroit Economic Club luncheon at Cobo Center. "And whenever an attempt was made to raise our fuel-efficiency standards, the auto companies would lobby furiously against it, spending millions to prevent the very reform that could have saved their industry."

...

"Our goal is not to destroy the industry, but to help bring it into the 21st Century," Obama said. "So if the auto industry is prepared to step up to its responsibilities, then we as a country should be prepared to help."

As the Washington Post notes, however, Obama faces a tough position regarding his energy policy. As a Senator, Obama supports coal-to-liquids technology, a policy which angers environmentalists. Cathy Duvall, national political director of the Sierra Club, explains his situation further:

"Senator Obama right now is balancing two tensions. First off, he is a senator from Illinois, whose job it is to represent . . . one of the biggest coal-producing states in the country. On the other hand, he's also a presidential candidate and needs to demonstrate the leadership needed to move our entire country in the direction to tackle tough questions like energy independence and global warming."

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

Giuliani plays it safe

In a speech yesterday at the Heritage Foundation, Rudy Giuliani stayed away from any controversy, instead choosing to cover issues that would be well received by the audience. The Washington Post has more:

Fresh from the first debate among 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls, where he acknowledged that he respects "a woman's right to make a different choice" on abortion, Giuliani avoided subjects on which he and his audience were likely to disagree intensely.

Instead, he talked at length about the need for tax cuts, control of federal spending and freedom. His remarks on freedom got a lot of applause, as did his pledge about the 42 percent of civilian federal employees set to retire during the next two presidential terms.

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

Abandoning the GOP

Michael Hirsch at Newsweek takes a look at some of the historic names that are leaving the ever more conservative, outside the mainstream Republican party.

Susan Eisenhower is an accomplished professional, the president of an international consulting firm. She also happens to be Ike's granddaughter—and in that role, she's the humble torchbearer for moderate "Eisenhower Republicans." Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP. Eisenhower says she could vote Democratic in 2008, but she's still intent on saving her party. "I made a pact with a number of people," she tells NEWSWEEK. "I said, 'Please don't leave the party without calling me first.' For a while, there weren't too many calls. And then suddenly, there was a flurry of them. I found myself watching them slip away one by one."

Eisenhower isn't the only GOP scion debating if the party still feels like home. Theodore Roosevelt IV, an investment banker in New York and an environmental activist like his great-grandfather, Teddy, takes issue with what he says is George W. Bush's inattention to global warming (and Republican presidential contender John McCain's flirtations with the religious right). He's unhappy with the cost of the global war on terror and the record deficits incurred to finance it. Ninety years ago, former president Teddy Roosevelt attacked Woodrow Wilson's pro-democracy idealism, calling it "milk-and-water righteousness"; Roosevelt's great-grandson doesn't like how the current president is promoting values abroad, either. "I come from a tradition of pragmatic Republicanism," he says. "This administration has taken the idea of aggressively exporting democracy à la Woodrow Wilson and gone in a direction even Wilson wouldn't have considered."

The party might even be alien to Barry Goldwater, the 1964 GOP nominee who jolted the party rightward when he said that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Goldwater's youngest daughter, Peggy, who is active in GOP politics in Orange County, Calif., says she is a "moderate conservative," just as her firebrand father became later in life, irked by Republicans in Washington who embrace big government. "The government is taking on more than I feel they can handle," she says.

Mobilizing Latino voters in California

Below is a video from the Courage Campaign and its partner, Strengthening Our Lives (SOL), an organization dedicated to empowering and educating immigrant worker communities towards change. It shows how people are "walking" and getting their neighbors involved in creating a better future for themselves and their families.

Check out the work NDN has done on these issues, as well as the poll we conducted of California Latinos leading up to the state's 2006 gubernatorial race.

Blair uses YouTube to congratulate Sarkozy

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, like other heads of state, was sure to congratulate Nicolas Sarkozy on becoming the newly elected President of the French Republic. However, the Prime Minister made his statement in a way that makes us at the New Politics Institute proud. He put his statement - in both English and French - on the official Downing Street YouTube channel. By using video and speaking French, which he does rather well, the Prime Minister really shows the effectiveness of using web video.

Laptops in the classroom

Last NDN's Globalization Intitiative released the first paper in A Series of Modest Proposals to Build 21st Century Skills: A Laptop in Every Backpack.  In that paper Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross of the One Economy Corporation argue that:

Achieving the American Dream in this century increasingly requires fluency in the ways of this network and its tools – how to acquire information and do research, how to construct reports and present ideas using these new tools, how to type and even edit video.  We believe we need a profound and urgent national commitment to give this powerful new 21st knowledge, essential for success in this century, to all American school children. 

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom posted the paper to his site, and you can see it here.

But not everyone seems to agree.  Last week, the NYT published Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops an article that raised serious questions about laptops in schools:

The students at Liverpool High have used their school-issued laptops to exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack into local businesses. When the school tightened its network security, a 10th grader not only found a way around it but also posted step-by-step instructions on the Web for others to follow (which they did).

Scores of the leased laptops break down each month, and every other morning, when the entire school has study hall, the network inevitably freezes because of the sheer number of students roaming the Internet instead of getting help from teachers.

So the Liverpool Central School District, just outside Syracuse, has decided to phase out laptops starting this fall, joining a handful of other schools around the country that adopted one-to-one computing programs and are now abandoning them as educationally empty — and worse.

From the same article:

Many school administrators and teachers say laptops in the classroom have motivated even reluctant students to learn, resulting in higher attendance and lower detention and dropout rates.

I heard a very good analogy recently that helps makes sense of these seemingly divergent cases.  You can provide the same set of tools to two different people; one may build a masterpiece and the other may build a sinking ship. And we have more examples of masterpieces than we do of sinking ships.  For examples of some of those masterpieces, visit: 

The One-to-One Institute -- http://sparty.crt.net/121/     

The Consortium for School Networking -- http://www.cosn.org/      

The International Society for Technology in Education -- http://www.iste.org/  

Giuliani's conflict of interest

Oh the places I could go with a title like that. Anyways, the Wall Street Journal reports a potential conflict of interest between two of Giuliani's companies: Giuliani Capital Advisors and Giuliani Security & Safety. More in the lede:

A pair of companies owned by Rudy Giuliani represented both a debtor and a creditor in a recently concluded bankruptcy proceeding, a potential conflict of interest that wasn't disclosed to the federal judge overseeing the case, records show. The matter could heighten pressures on Mr. Giuliani's presidential campaign to be more forthcoming about the candidate's stable of businesses, their clients and the services they provide.

More bad news for Rudy: he didn't win the YouTube primary.

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

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