Monday, March 31, 2008
It is a great opportunity for Sen. McCain to return to his long celebrated reform issues and support these public financing bills. Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have co-sponsored them already.
Sign onto Public Campaign's online letter now, then spread the word! The more signatures of Americans fed up with special interest big money in federal campaigns, the more influential the letter to McCain will be! Thanks!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
In addition to announcing the nation’s Tax Freedom Day®, the new study compares tax payments to other major consumer expenditures, traces the course of America’s tax burden since 1900, examines the composition of today’s tax burden by type of tax, and calculates a Tax Freedom Day® for each state.
Every four years, the Center’s The Buying of the President investigates how money shapes presidential campaigns. The 2008 edition explores the roles that money and special interests play in presidential politics — a behind-the-scenes examination of everything from how the major candidates and their parties raise money to the ins and outs of opposition research and the spoils that go with a term in the Oval Office.
The web site, http://buyingofthepresident.org/, is just one of many reports published and online at CPI. Check them out, for in-depth research on critical government reform issues.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
As stated on the Democracy Day conference web site, its mission is:
Scheduled the day before the National Conference on Media Reform, Democracy Day is a major conference designed to build support among voting rights advocates, electoral reformers and movement organizations for a broader vision of democracy – one based on elections with universal and secure access to the polls, expanded ballot choices and public financing, on government with proportional representation and transparency and on local, state, and national institutions that engage and empower Americans between elections. Working closely with Liberty Tree, Public Campaign, Free Press and Common Cause, FairVote is organizing the conference.
Hundreds of pro-democracy activists and experts are anticipating information, action and involvement in this one-day event; you are invited to join! All of the details, including hotel accomodations, can be found via its dedicated web site.
Having 10 years experience in third party politics, I have first-hand knowledge of the difficulties candidates such as Ralph Nader have in getting a foot-hold in our democratic system. I believe that third parties would be a much more serious and effective force in government if various fundamental electoral reforms, such as redistricting, ballot access requirements, public financing of elections and Instant Runoff Voting are instituted in the states and in Washington, DC.
Here is my letter; it may be edited at the newspaper's discretion when and if they publish it.
I am appalled that, after Ross Perot's popular run for president in 1992, the Texas legislature still has not eased ballot access requirements for third parties or independents. The ruling Republican and Democratic parties in this state think it is not in their interest to allow more competitors for their offices. But what about the people? Don't they deserve a more open political system that encourages a broad debate on the many issues that we face each election? This year, progressive Ralph Nader is offering solutions to positions not ever considered by today's three major candidates. Let's help Ralph gain ballot access in the coming days by signing his petition and allow him and his running mate advocation of better ballot access laws.
Tell your US Representative and two US Senators to stop Pres. Bush's dangerous Mexican trucking campaign
Please take a stand with Public Citizen and their supporters right now with Pres. Bush, and stop his relentless breaching of the law with his runaway Mexican trucking campaign. Take action with your US Representative and two US Senators here, or, reach their offices by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Thank you!
Monday, March 24, 2008
It will of course be continuously updated and improved with political dates of use to the US citizen.
When your stimulus check arrives depends on whether your 2007 tax return set up a direct deposit payment, and on the last two digits of your Social Security number. The Tax Foundation has a table showing when you can expect a rebate if you file by April 15th this year.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
There has been a great display of enthusiasm already for this new grassroots campaign; Mr. Lessig is world reknown for his path-breaking work as founder and head of Creative Commons, a new method to keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work.
I have added a badge proclaiming my support and aid to Change Congress; you, too, can sign up and, if you have a web site or blog, display one as well! Join us today! Thanks.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Reform your schools' nutrition program; genetically-modified foods (GMO) are largely untested for safety
Included in the above video, is a case study of a school in Appleton, Wisconsin, that removed GM foods from their campus and instituted mostly healthy foods. In just three years a dramatic improvement in student behavior occurred. There is a web site supporting the reform of food safety and nutrition for schools across the USA-- it's called GM Free Schools. Please check it out and see if you would like to help institute their solutions in your schools.
The theme for World Water Day 2008 is "Sanitation Matters." This year's theme highlights the fact that "adequate sanitation to protect health is considered a fundamental human right." Unfortunately, for roughly half the developing world, safe and reliable water is not accessible. The result is the daily tragedy of waterborne disease, which claims thousands of lives each day.
"Safe water and sanitation are vital to human health and are critical for the stability of nations around the globe," said AWWA Executive Director Gary Zimmerman. "In North America, clean water is often taken for granted, but World Water Day creates an opportunity to think about the extraordinary value of our precious water supplies and advance water treatment and delivery systems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are around 2.2 million per year worldwide who die from diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water. Now that's a REAL water problem.According to a British government minister, the world faces a future of "water wars", unless action is taken to prevent international water shortages and sanitation issues escalating into conflicts.
The warning came as a coalition of 27 international charities marked World Water Day by writing to British prime minister Gordon Brown demanding action to give fresh water to 1.1 billion people with poor supplies.
A lack of political will remains the greatest obstacle to efforts to drastically reduce the number of people without access to basic sanitation and clean, running water, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on the international community to take firmer and faster steps to tackle the problem.
“If we take up the challenge, the positive impact will reverberate far beyond better access to clean water,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark World Water Day, which is celebrated today. This year's Day also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation.
“Every dollar invested in water and sanitation yields an estimate seven dollars worth of productive activity. And that comes on top of the immeasurable gains in cutting poverty, improving health and raising living standards.”
And of course, here in America, there are communities that struggle with water infrastructure issues (for instance, the colonias in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas). The issue of water in the western US is growing every year as population grows and the climate warms. Make this day one of reflection on the life-giving gift of water, and how much it is needed by our neighbors in this country and around the world.
A color-coded map of the United States shows where each state stands on the issue. Originally proposed by National Popular Vote two years ago at a national press conference in Washington DC, NPV has by now garnished bill passage in 15 state legislative houses.
If your state has not passed the NPV bill yet, you can contact your state representative and state senator-- Yahoo! Capwiz has their contact addresses. Thank you.
More results of the poll are here. Clearly, twice as many Americans (79.9%) believe that America should be governed by the will of the people than believe it is actually occurring (40%). This is reflected by the fact that 81% say when making "an important decision" government leaders "should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public's views."
All Things Reform supports these assertions, and encourages citizens to stay informed of today's news stories from reputable sources and follow up with own opinions on major bills and other issues currently being debated in the legislatures.
Friday, March 21, 2008
You can reach your senators through Yahoo! CapWiz, or, you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Thank you!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
From Americans for Prosperity's blog:
" We just received this forwarded e-mail from a source on Capitol Hill - it looks like a "massive influx" of pork requests has essentially crashed the Appropriations Committee's site. As a result, they're extending the deadline for pork requests from today until Monday - good news for the porkers, but bad news for the taxpayers:
----- Original Message -----
From: Nabors, Rob
Sent: Wed Mar 19 15:06:17 2008
Subject: URGENT -- EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE REQUESTS. PLEASE DISTRIBUTE TO APPROPRIATE STAFF.
Dear Member Offices:
As a result of the massive influx of requests being submitted today, the Appropriations Committee website is experiencing unavoidable access and processing delays.
In order to accommodate Member offices attempting to input data, any request submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 24th will be considered as having been submitted “on time” for purposes of consideration by the Committee.
Staff Director and Clerk
House Appropriations Committee "
Monday, March 17, 2008
Spending allocations have not yet been made; refer back to the page for regular updates, or, receive updates with their email newsletter.
In recognition of the importance of government openness and transparency, Public Citizen is asking us to contact our congressmembers to support a few related bills. Go to their campaign web page and send your letter, or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Tell your US Representative and two US Senators to improve transparency to our government by:
1. Supporting the immediate passage of the Presidential Records Act Amendments (H.R. 1225/S. 886) in the Senate to override a Bush Executive Order that is undermining the original purpose of the post-Watergate law.
2. Fully funding the Office of Government Information Services under the National Archives and Records Administration as the OPEN Government Act requires, instead of under the Department of Justice, which the Bush FY09 budget proposal suggests.
3. Protecting the rights of governmental whistleblowers by ensuring that the final conference bill tracks closely to the stronger House bill, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 985).
4. Limiting presidential signing statements, so that a President can’t alter legislation with a stroke of a pen, as President Bush did when he nullified Congress’s whistleblower protections for government contractors in Iraq.
5. Bring the Senate into the 21st Century and pass S. 223, which provides for electronic disclosure and prompt Internet searchability of Senate campaign contributions. Senator Ensign should stop blocking enactment of the bill with his poison pill amendment!
Thank you for helping to ensure that our government is more transparent and accountable to the public.
Please visit the conference web page for all of the details.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Lasting in Line
is a crazy thing...
There is so much to do
before you can be voting
there is the heartfelt
chatter of hazing,
by those that have voted...
there is the cute
crashing of the computer,
by those that assist voters...
there is the quaint
by those that tell the total vote...
Yes, Lasting in Line
is a crazy thing...
There is so much to do
by those that help voters!
Oh, Lasting in Line
is a crazy thing...
There is so much to do
by those that help voting!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
To: Editor, Abilene Reporter-News
In these times of peril, when our nation is under assault by a closed organization, we come to Sunshine Week 2008 March 16- 22. One of the great strengths of our own society has been openness; a national journalist association has founded this week of celebration. Many activities will take place around the country and in Washington, DC-- check them out at http://www.sunshineweek.org/!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Sunshine Week, which will be celebrated March 16-22, 2008, engages people in conversations about open government and why it must be nurtured and protected. A non-partisan, good-government initiative led by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, it is joined by students, the online community, libraries, civic groups, government officials and agencies of all political stripe, non-profits and others.
Sunshine Week articles posted on Helium leverage the site's fair and trusted peer-review rating. Every article at Helium is sorted for quality in a simple, yet effective A versus B comparison. After many ratings by many people, quality content rises to the top.
Writers also have the opportunity to donate their article earnings to Sunshine Week.
Visit Sunshine week at Helium to write, learn and donate http://www.helium.com/partners/sunshineweek.
Positions on open government and Freedom of Information issues by the three major presidential candidates
Florida Senator Bill Nelson: http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact/appropriationsfy09.cfm
Montana Representative Denny Rehberg: http://www.house.gov/rehberg/approps.form.shtml [Page not found]
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown: http://brown.senate.gov/ohio/constituent_services/spending_request/
Check your own two US Senators' and US Representative's websites to see if they presently offer this same online constituent appropriations "service".
AFP in its post suggests we taxpayers hijack these online forms "to make a statement about just how big a problem earmarks have become (wink wink, nudge, nudge) and to demand transparency for earmark requests before earmarks make it into appropriations reports." I don't know how this may (legally) be done, but we are the owners of this country, and our representatives work for us... it is up to us, ultimately...
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The event will also be Web cast: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/thepressclub-lessig-032008 for the general public. Full details for the event are here.
Wednesday, March 19: OpenTheGovernment.org and several other associations are sponsoring the third annual Sunshine Week National Dialogue on Open Government and Secrecy. This year's panel discussions will focus on "Government Secrecy: Censoring Your Right to Know." The event will be webcast for free from the National Press Club to sites around the country. Satellite feeds will be available with prior registration and for a fee. Those interested can also attend at the Press Club. To see the additional sponsors and a list of speakers, as well as for registration information, visit the OpenTheGovernment.org Web site.
Here is that video...
Right now, Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are offering an amendment to the 2009 budget resolution that will impose a year-long moratorium on congressional earmarks.
Earmarking invites fraudulent behavior, hollows out or national defenses, and diverts lawmakers' attention from important national business like saving Medicare and Social Security for our children and grandchildren. Many congressional offices even have one or more staffers dedicated solely to procuring earmarks.
A year-long moratorium is a critical step forward to stopping Congress’s addiction to earmarking. It will give members time to reform the process, devote more effort to critical issues, and help keep money in taxpayers’ wallets instead of being diverted to Washington where it can be converted into pork.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The YouTube video is here; it is several minutes long.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
The first lesson was already completed last week- a review of last year's budget. You can still participate, so get in your chair and sit up! It is being held on Facebook; some homework is included.
AmericaSpeaks connects citizens with decision makers to discuss the most critical policy issues of today.
Using innovative deliberative tools such as the 21st Century Town Meeting, AmericaSpeaks has engaged more than 130,000 people in governance, in all 50 states and around the world.
Among other projects, AmericaSpeaks has brought large-scale citizen participation to the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and New Orleans; to the creation of municipal budgets in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco; and to regional planning and economic development efforts in the greater Chicago area and Northeast Ohio.
AmericaSpeaks has partnered with Helium, giving you the chance to write for a cause.
Browse AmericaSpeaks' featured titles, pick an issue and write!
You can also donate your article earnings.
Share what you know, learn new perspectives and donate now.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
President Bush accepting undisclosed big money contributions for his presidential library while in office
This is a chance for you to make a difference in your local community.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Taxpayers pay tribute to him with protests! Enjoy! Only one minute long..
Video from the PORK Crash!
I just found out that the president is asking Congress to give him a slush fund -- he wants the ability to move funds around in the Executive Office of the President, which could mean giving the White House's regulatory office more power to put us at risk.
This is the office that is responsible for children dying and getting brain damage in the 1980s from Reye's Syndrome, because it kept the FDA from putting a simple warning label on aspirin. And it's been playing this dangerous game time and time again ever since then, putting us all at risk in ways we don't always know about, because it's so powerful but very secretive.
I just took action to tell Congress to say NO to the slush fund for Bush's White House -- and you can, too, at
It think it's just outrageous he thinks he can get away with this!
Presently, this video clip is not picked up by users of the Firefox browser.
UPDATE: A commenter notified us that video works on Firefox. Thanks for letting us know!