Monday, April 30, 2012

A Court Win For Planned Parenthood

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin ruled today that state officials cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from a federally funded state health care and contraception program for low-income women.

Judge Yeakel's grant of a preliminary injunction for Planned Parenthood allows it to continue to provide health care services, which are reimbursed under the federally funded state program. Judge Yeakel must conduct a full hearing before the injunction can be made permanent. and he set a The Judge set a May 18th scheduling conference to work out details, including setting a trial date. State officials have warned that they will cancel the Women’s Health Program outright, if Planned Parenthood prevailed in its lawsuit.

Rallies were held in Texas last March 13th on the eve of the elimination of funding to the Women's Health Program through the state, and subsequently to all Planned Parenthood clinics because... well, because the far right apparently doesn't like women to have health care.

So 130,000 additional women in Texas found themselves without health care in March, in addition to the 180,000 women left without health care access to contraception and reproductive health services like pap smears and breast cancer screenings last year due to dramatic state budget cuts.

The March cuts were made because Governor Perry refuses federal funding that otherwise would go to Planned Parenthood clinics. Perry, and other opponents of women's health care in Texas, claim there are "alternatives" to Planned Parenthood clinics which provided low-income women--mothers, students, employees--with health services, but as Andrea Grimes reported for Reality Check, those alternatives just don't exist.

"The Women's Health Program [cut in March] serves an additional 130,000 women, bringing the total number of women without access to basic reproductive health care to 310,000," writes Grimes. "Some estimates put the number closer to 400,000.

Under state rules that went into effect in March, Planned Parenthood health clinics would have been excluded from participating in the program because they advocate to maintain abortion as a legal medical procedure. The state rule, Yeakel determined in his preliminary injunction ruling, violated Planned Parenthood’s rights of free speech and association.

“By requiring plaintiffs to certify that they do not ‘promote’ elective abortions and that they do not ‘affiliate’ with entities that perform or promote elective abortions … Texas is reaching beyond the scope of the government program and penalizing plaintiffs for their protected conduct,” Yeakel wrote in his order.

The Women’s Health Program, which receives 90 percent of its funding from the federal government, provides about 130,000 women a year with contraceptive care and potentially life-saving screenings for a wide range of conditions, including sexually transmitted infections, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.

Related:

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OFA Video - Forward

The Obama campaign just released a new video titled simple, "Forward." The video outlines challenges America faced as President Obama took office in January 2009 at the height of the worst recession in almost a century. It also details the progress that has been made reclaiming the security of the middle class and building an economy that's meant to last, where hard work pays and responsibility is rewarded.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Democratic Party County Chair Candidate Debate

The TDWCC has organized a Democratic Party of Collin County Chair candidate debate for Monday, April 30, 2012 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. The debate venue is the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd., Frisco, Texas, Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148. Click for detailed maps. RSVP your debate attendance by emailing to gotv@tdwcc.org.

John LingenfelderJohn Lingenfelder

Shawn Stevens
Shawn Stevens

Attend this debate to hear the County Chair candidates, incumbent Shawn Stevens and 2010 Congressional Candidate John Lingenfelder, debate the issues of leadership and vision needed to broaden and diversify the base of Democratic candidates, voters, and activists in the County.

This event is cosponsored by TDWCC along with CCGLA, Drinking Liberally – Plano, Muslim Caucus – Collin County, the Texas Democratic Men’s Club, and the Allen Democrats.

County Chair candidate names will appear on the Democratic Party of Collin Co. Primary Election ballot.

Early voting for the Primary Election will begin on Monday May 14, 2012 and continue through Friday May 25, 2012 at the regular Collin County early voting polling locations. Primary Election Day is on Tuesday May 29, 2012 at election precinct polling locations around county.

This blog will report on the county chair candidate debate and begin a series of articles about the candidates and the Democratic Party of Collin Co. next week.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Voter Registration Card 2012-13

Updated Sept. 1, 2012@ 12:15am

If you have not already received your new yellow 2012-13 voter registration card, you may not be registered to vote in the county where you currently reside. Usually, election officials mail out new cards in December, but this election year, it's all different!

This year, drawn out court battles over the new redistricting maps pushed out Voter Registration Card mailings to late April. Please take your Voter Registration Card with you when you go to vote. Make sure you sign the card on the front by the X at the bottom left of the card.

Sample Registration Card for Collin Co., TXEarly voting for the Nov 6, 2012 General Election will run from Monday, Oct 22, 2012 to Friday, Nov 2, 2012 at your usual county early polling locations.

You should immediately check your registration status and take action to properly register, if you find you are not registered to vote in the county where you reside.

To check your Collin Co. registration status - click here. To check your registration status in another Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered to vote, you can find the Voter's Registration application by clicking here.

For specific information about voting in Texas, click here to find the Secretary of State’s pamphlet on Texas Voting.

Texas' SB14 photo I.D. law is currently on hold pending an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. (see Texas Voter Photo ID FAQ, Texas Voter Photo I.D. Law Fate Rests With D.C. Circuit Court Judges & Texas Restrictive Voter Photo ID Law Blocked) Select government issued photo ID, as specified in SB14 legislation passed by the Texas legislature in 2011, has NOT received federal approval and is therefore NOT required to vote in any Texas county for the November 2012 election.

Valid forms of identification for the November 2012 General Election:

  • Your Voter Registration Card
  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by the Texas Department of Public Safety. You may also bring a similar document issued to you by an agency of another state, even if the license or card has expired;
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes the person’s identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

A statement concerning identification requirements on the back of 2012-13 Voter Registration Cards, as specified by the Texas Secretary of State, can be misinterpreted to mean that voters must present select government issue photo identification in order to vote, as specified in SB14. Here is the statement written on the back of new 2012 voter registration cards:

"Upon federal approval of a photo identification law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, a voter must show one of the following forms of photo identification at the polling location before the voter may be accepted for voting: Driver's license, election identification certificate, personal identification card or concealed handgun license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety; United States Military identification card that contains the person's photograph; United States citizenship certificate that contains the person's photograph; or a United States passport.

The above identification must be current and not expired, or if expired, then it must have expired no more than 60 days before it is presented for voter qualification at the polling place. Please contact the Secretary of State or your local voter registrar for information concerning when the above photo identification requirement for certain voters with disabilities, or voters with religious objections to being photographed, and voters affected by certain natural disasters.

Please visit the Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.tx.us or call toll free at 1-800-252-8683. If any information on this certificate changes or is incorrect, correct the information in the space provided below, sign and return this certificate to the voter registrar."

Description of some of the fields on the voter registration card:

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Young Voters, Obama, Romney, And Paul

Will young American voters be as enthusiastic about Election 2012 as they were about Election 2008? So far, across the country, the 2012 youth vote is down. Registration is low. Voter enthusiasm for candidates has been lackluster.
Obama received a blowout 66% of the national vote among the 18-29 year old age group in 2008 compared to McCain's 33% of that vote. 18 percent of the 2008 electorate was made of the 18-29 year old age group, which is only one or two percent higher than in previous presidential election years - Obama just got an unusually large part of the vote from young voters.


President Obama Speaks on
Student Loan Interest Rates in Iowa - April 25, 2012
Obama even won the youth vote in many Republican states like Texas, where he won 54% of the vote.

The youth also voted 63% for House Democrats in 2008 -- Young voters not only voted for Obama at the top of the ballot, they also voted down ballot or straight ticket by a high margin for other Democratic candidates.

2012 polls vary widely, but a new Harvard Poll says Pres. Obama has a 17-point lead -- still a worrisome number for Democrats.

The poll was released just as Pres. Obama is discussing education and student loan debt at three college campuses in swing states, including the University of North Carolina and the University of Iowa.

The Harvard Institute of Politics poll (PDF) finds that over the last four months, the president picked up six points against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, among young voters. Obama now leads Romney among 18-to-29-year-olds by 17 points.

The poll finds the president struggling a bit with young white voters as compared with four years ago.And here are some more selected top line data points from the poll of more than 3,000 (5 percent of whom live in New England), which was conducted March 23 to April 9 and has a margin of error of 1.7 percent:

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Is Your Candidate For Office "Politically Insane"? Five Telltale Signs

Campaign for America's Future

Genuine mental illness is a human tragedy that afflicts both the sufferer and those around him or her. Our healthcare system provides inadequate resources for its treatment,. It's no joking matter.

Political craziness, on the other hand, is just crazy. It's sheer lunacy of the Marx Brothers variety.

There's no need to pity anyone who suffers from political craziness. The delusional person does just fine, thank you very much. Everybody else suffers, but the politically crazy person usually has a pretty great life. They're often rewarded for being delusional by being elected to high office. There they can count on enjoying fat campaign contributions and glowing media coverage.

Once they leave office they can look forward to the financially rewarding (and not very taxing) life of a political lobbyist. No, they don't need our sympathy - but the country needs our help. Their craziness is ruining things for everyone else.

You're probably asking yourself, "How can I tell my candidate suffers from political insanity?" Here are five warning signs to look out for during this election year:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How To Occupy Wall Street

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TDP Chair Candidate Gilberto Hinojosa: The Texas Trib Interview

by Michael Handley

Gilberto Hinojosa is running for chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. If elected at the Democratic State Convention in Houston on June 8th, he will lead a political organization that hasn't won a statewide election since 1994.

Judge Hinojosa, who is a lifelong Democrat, is passionate about rebuilding the Texas Democratic Party.

"I have decided to take on this campaign for Texas Democratic Party Chair because I believe that the people of the State of Texas deserve, and desperately need, to have a Democratic Party that will ensure that we elect fair minded, socially conscious, critical thinking and visionary Democrats to run this State, instead of the Republicans that are running it into the ditch. Texans cannot afford any less. TOO much is at stake. TOO much has been lost and we must turn things around before it's TOO late," said Judge Hinojosa when he announced his candidacy last year.
Last week Boyd Richie, the retiring Texas Democratic Party Chair endorsed Judge Hinojosa saying,
“Gilberto Hinojosa has the experience, commitment and capacity to be a great Chair for our Party. I endorse his candidacy without reservation, and I firmly believe he’s the right person to help us take back Texas.”
Judge Hinojosa grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, attended what is now the University of Texas-Pan American, and obtained his law degree at Georgetown University. He first worked as a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Migrant Legal Action Program and then served as a Brownsville school trustee, a state district judge, a justice on the state's 13th Court of Appeals, on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and Cameron County Judge. Judge Hinojosa currently practices law in Brownsville. (More history here:)

Judge Hinojosa sat down with the Texas Trib reporter Ross Ramsey on Tuesday to talk about why he wants to lead a party that's had such a long losing streak. The video of the Texas Trib interview follows:

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Obama 'Slow Jams The News' With Jimmy Fallon

On Wednesday night, President Barack Obama slow jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on "Late Night."

Stepping in for regular news jammer Brian Williams, Obama slow jammed his policy position on college loans over the smooth vibes of house band - The Roots.

"I'm President Barack Obama, and I, too, would like to Slow Jam the News," said Obama before taking his place on a stool and laying out his agenda. "What we said is simple: Now is not the time to make school more expensive for our young people," Obama said to wild applause from the college crowd at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Evangelicals Say It's Time To Talk About Sex

Religion News Service

The statistics, some evangelicals say, can no longer be ignored.

Eighty percent of young evangelicals have engaged in premarital sex, according to a new video from the National Association of Evangelicals. and almost a third of evangelicals' unplanned pregnancies end in abortion.

It's time to speak honestly about sex because abstinence campaigns and anti-abortion crusades often aren't resonating in their own pews, evangelical leaders say.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Voter Regisistration Cards For 2012

If you live in Collin Co. and have been wondering when you will receive your 2012-13 Voter Registration Card - the answer is - you should find them arriving in your mailbox no later than the week of April 22nd.

Sample Registration Card for Collin Co., TX

Usually, election officials mail out new cards in December, but this election year, it's all different! This year, the drawn out court battles over the new redistricting maps have pushed out Voter Registration Card mailings to late April.

The court battles have also pushed out primary election day from its usual first Tuesday in March date to Tuesday May 29. Early voting for the May 29th Primary Election will run from Monday, May 14, 2012 to Friday, May 25, 2012 at the usual early polling locations around Collin Co.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why Do Extremists Want To Control Women?

The 2012 election was supposed to be about jobs and the economy and, though that will still be central, the Republican Party has returned to its base "culture war" issues. Proposition 8! Birth control! Susan G. Komen! and Planned Parenthood!


Hillary Clinton on Women's Rights

Republican candidates at both the state and federal government levels, including presumed Republican Presidential Nominee George Romney, say they will "get rid of" Planned Parenthood, an organization provides health care for millions of women, including preventive services like cancer screenings.

On March 14, 2012 Texas Governor Rick Perry cut off access to affordable health care for low-income women in Texas.

Even as more than one-quarter of Texas women are uninsured, and women in Texas have the third highest rate of cervical cancer in the country, Governor Perry was determined to make a bad situation worse for women in the state of Texas by cutting funding for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. With Gov.

With Rick Perry leading Texas Republicans in the 2011 Texas legislature in the war on women, cut funding for family planning clinics by two-thirds. When the Texas Tribune asked Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), a supporter of the family planning cuts, if this was a war on birth control, he said: “Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything.”

Click to go to videos of President of Planned Parenthood of America Cecile Richards discussing health care funding cuts in her home state of Texas.

Mitt Romney, the presumed 2012 GOP presidential nominee, and Republican candidates at both the federal government level and in all 50 states have also committed to a "personhood" constitutional amendment that would outlaw most common contraceptive choices available to women.
Mother Jones reports that Republicans in the U.S. Congress also want to pass a federal Personhood Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Some Texas culture warrior Republicans want to push a "personhood" amendment of the Texas Constitution in the 2013 Texas Legislative Session.
Such amendments to U.S. and State Constitutions would effectively reverse the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court finding that Americans have a fundamental "right of privacy" that includes the private choice to learn about and use birth control.

While the GOP's culture warriors are winning points with the GOP's hard right cultural conservatives, they may be turning off the rest of the American electorate - including other Republican voters. A poll recently released by a conservative publication found that a large number of Republicans and conservatives are likely to vote for President Barack Obama.

The survey, conducted by Wenzel Strategies for World Net Daily, showed that one in five Republicans are leaning towards or would “definitely” re-elect President Obama.

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Romney: A Severely Conservative Nominee!

The Obama campaign is out with a new video today that mashes up several remarks Romney made during the primary that could be potentially damaging to the Republican candidate in a general election.

The two-minute web spot starts with Romney's "corporations are people" comment, and features a number of other classic Romneyisms, including "I like being able to fire people," "let Detroit go bankrupt," and "I was a severely conservative Governor." The video also highlights Romney's positions on abortion, Planned Parenthood, immigration, the housing crisis, and the war in Iraq.

It ends with the tagline: "Romney: A severely conservative nominee. Remember that."

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A Severely Conservative Or A Progressive Budget

Last week, the House passed the Wisconsin Republican's $3.5 trillion budget plan, complete with measures to switch Medicare to a private system, slash more than $700 billion from Medicaid, and cut programs such as food stamps.


In a Budget Committee Hearing on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked Judy Feder of Georgetown University whether the Ryan/Republican Medicare plan to convert Medicare into a voucher program would cover the costs of seniors' health care. The answer was no.
Republican candidates at both the state and federal government levels, including Republican Presidential Nominee George Romney, say they will convert Medicare into a private insurance voucher program.

That voucher program would end Medicare as we know it. The real benefit of a voucher program? It would drive profits for insurance companies by forcing seniors to purchase private insurance, paying whatever costs a voucher wouldn't cover out of their own limited budgets.

Medicare has opened doors to necessary care for generations for seniors and individuals with permanent disabilities. The Ryan budget, adopted by the House of Representatives, would end five decades of Medicare's guaranteed access to modern medicine and give millionaires a staggering $265,000 apiece in a new tax cut.

The GOP intends to cast its budget plan as proof that Republicans are willing to make the tough choices to get the federal deficit under control. Democrats will argue that the GOP only wants to make tough choices for the elderly and poor.


Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Plan

"The Republican members of Congress who lined up to vote for the Ryan-Romney budget are calling themselves 'courageous' –- they're admiring each other for the 'tough,' 'serious,' 'bold,' 'fiscally responsible' decisions they’ve made for the 'good of the country,'" said Tom McMahon, the head of Americans United. "But can anyone tell me what is 'courageous' about forcing seniors in nursing homes on Medicaid to find somewhere else to go or taking away health care from sick kids, but continuing to hand over $40 billion worth of subsidies to the big oil companies?"

Don't like the Ryan Budget? The Congressional Progressive Caucus has a "Budget for All" that:
"puts Americans back to work, charts a path to responsible deficit reduction, enhances our economic competitiveness, rebuilds the middle class and invests in our future." This budget "makes no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits, and asks those who have benefited most from our economy to pay a sensible share."
Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Fiscal Year 2012

The People’s Budget eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work and restores our economic competitiveness. The People’s Budget recognizes that in order to compete, our nation needs every American to be productive, and in order to be productive we need to raise our skills to meet modern needs.

Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit and Raises a $31 Billion Surplus In 10 Years
Our budget protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and responsibly eliminates the deficit by targeting its main drivers: the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession.

Our Budget Puts America Back to Work & Restores America’s Competitiveness

  • Trains teachers and restores schools; rebuilds roads and bridges and ensures that users help pay for them
  • Invests in job creation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D programs

Our Budget Creates a Fairer Tax System

  • Ends the recently passed upper-income tax cuts and lets Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012
  • Extends tax credits for the middle class, families, and students
  • Creates new tax brackets that range from 45% starting at $1 million to 49% for $1 billion or more
  • Implements a progressive estate tax
  • Eliminates corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies; closes loopholes for multinational corporations
  • Enacts a financial crisis responsibility fee and a financial speculation tax on derivatives and foreign exchange

Our Budget Protects Health

  • Enacts a health care public option and negotiates prescription payments with pharmaceutical companies
  • Prevents any cuts to Medicare physician payments for a decade

Our Budget Safeguards Social Security for the Next 75 Years

  • Eliminates the individual Social Security payroll cap to make sure upper income earners pay their fair share
  • Increases benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side
Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home
  • Responsibly ends our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to leave America more secure both home and abroad
  • Cuts defense spending by reducing conventional forces, procurement, and costly R&D programs
Our Budget’s Bottom Line
  • Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
  • Spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
  • Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
  • Public investment $1.7 trillion
Complete Details
Martin Sheen in a new video from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee asking Americans to stand against plans to "end Medicare." Sheen, perhaps best known for his role as President Josiah Bartlet on "The West Wing," talked of his American ideals in the video.
"It's time to speak out, tell Republicans in Congress that Americans work their whole lives and kept their commitments. We expect Republicans to do the same," Sheen said. "Tell them to keep their hands off Medicare and tell them in our America, the cynics and fear mongers, the ones who break a sacred promise simply to reward the wealthy don't get the final word. No, no, you do."

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Pres. Obama Speaks at the Associated Press Luncheon

President Obama discusses the fundamental issues at stake for our Nation, and how we can restore a sense of security for people who are willing to work hard and act responsibly in this country. April 3, 2012.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Progressive Vs Conservative

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Democratic Party Of Collin Co. Chair Candidate Debate 4/30

The TDWCC has organized a debate between the candidates for Democratic Party of Collin Co. Chair for Monday, April 30, 2012 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. This event is cosponsored by TDWCC along with CCGLA, Drinking Liberally – Plano, Muslim Caucus – Collin County, the Texas Democratic Men’s Club, and the Allen Democrats.

John LingenfelderJohn Lingenfelder

Shawn Stevens
Shawn Stevens

Please attend this debate so you can make an informed decision on which county chair candidate, incumbent Shawn Stevens or 2010 Congressional Candidate John Lingenfelder, might best extend the Democratic Party into the community by cooperating with other Democratic organizations to broaden and diversify the base of Democratic voters and activists in the County.

You can submit debate questions for the candidates and RSVP by emailing to gotv@tdwcc.org. Questions are due by April 10.

The Texas Democratic Women of Collin County cosponsored debate will be held at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd., Frisco, Texas, Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148. Click for detailed maps.

The County Chair candidate names will appear on the Democratic Party of Collin Co. Primary Election ballot.

Early voting for the Primary Election will begin on Monday May 14, 2012 and continue through Friday May 25, 2012 at the regular Collin County early voting polling locations. Primary Election Day is on Tuesday May 29, 2012 at election precinct polling locations around county.

This blog will publish polling location information after the Democratic Party of Collin Co. Executive Committee approves the proposed precinct polling locations later this month. This blog will also report on the county chair candidate debate and begin a series of articles about the candidates and the Democratic Party of Collin Co. following the debate.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Progressives Compel Coca-Cola To Pull ALEC Support Over Its Support Of Voter Photo ID Laws

Think Progress

Prompted by a petition campaign by the progressive advocacy group Color of Change, Coca-Cola has pulled its support from ALEC, a right-wing corporate-funded front group which has been pushing voter photo ID laws around the country. The company released this statement moments ago:

The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.

Impressively, Coke’s retreat came just five hours after Color of Change announced its petition, which read: “ALEC has pushed voter [photo] ID laws which disenfranchise large numbers of Black voters. Along with the NRA, ALEC also pushed a bill based on Florida’s ‘shoot first’ law – which has shielded Trayvon Martin’s killer from justice – into two dozen states across the country.”

Just this morning, the Center for American Progress released a report highlighting ALEC’s role in voter suppression:

ALEC charges corporations such as Koch Industries Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and The Coca-Cola Co. a fee and gives them access to members of state legislatures. Under ALEC’s auspices, legislators, corporate representatives, and ALEC officials work together to draft model legislation. As ALEC spokesperson Michael Bowman told NPR, this system is especially effective because “you have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters.”

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a heavily conservative organization funded by billionaires such as the Scaife family (Allegheny Foundation and the Scaife Family Foundation), the Coors family (Castle Rock Foundation), Charles Koch (Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation), the Bradley family (The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation) and the Olin family (John M. Olin Foundation) and corporations such as Altria, AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Koch Industries, Kraft, PhRMA, Wal-Mart, Peabody Energy, and State Farm. Such corporations represent just a fraction of ALEC’s approximately three hundred corporate partners. ALEC writes legislative bills that Republican governors and legislators introduce as their own in state legislatures - sometimes without remember to remove the ALEC identifier from the legislative text.

ALEC’s public safety and elections task force drafted the Voter ID Act in the summer of 2009, which would require “proof of identity” to vote. Those without a valid photo ID must fill out a provisional ballot that is only counted if the voter produces an ID at the county elections office. It also suggests that ID cards be made available free of charge to eligible voters without a valid driver’s license.

A year after the 2008 presidential election, ALEC ramped up its program to push for new voter identification laws in all 50 states. Since 2009, 33 states have introduced some form of photo ID bill, and 14 states have passed laws that now require voters to present a federal- or state-issued photo ID with an expiration date at the polls. The highest percentage of people who do hold one of the limited selection of photo ID's include senior citizens, college students, people with disabilities, people of color, and new Americans - the groups who voted most heavily for Barack Obama in 2008.

More:

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Gender Gap: Wider Than Ever

The gender gap -- the difference in support for a candidate among women and men -- has long favored Democratic presidential candidates.

Even so, Barack Obama's advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking.

Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters and Rick Santorum by 26 points (61% to 35%) in the Pew Research Center's most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11. Obama runs about even with Romney among men and leads Santorum.

Just as women have been more likely to vote Democratic in presidential elections, a higher percentage also identifies with or leans toward the Democratic Party. In surveys this year, 52% of women identify with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, compared with 43% of men.

This figure is in line with the gender gap in party identification dating back to 1990. In 2008, 56% of women and 46% of men identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic. There are several clusters of issues on which men and women divide, including social issues, views of government and its role, energy and the environment, and foreign policy and national security.

Read the full report for a detailed analysis of gender differences in politics.

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Democratic Party's Image Improves; GOP Ratings Stay Negative

Pew Research Center

About half (49%) the public now has a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party; 43% have an unfavorable view. The number of people who regard the party favorably increased six points since January.

This represents a significant recovery from an all-time low favorability rating of 38% in April 2010, just after the passage of the health care bill. However, impressions of the Democratic Party are still far lower than they were in January 2009, when Barack Obama took office. At that time, 62% of people viewed the party favorably.

Views of the Republican Party remain negative – just 36% of people have a positive impression of the GOP and over half of people (56%) have an unfavorable view. This figure is little changed from earlier this year and from April 2010, when the party was viewed favorably by just 37% of people.

A majority of women (54%) now have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party (up eight points over the last two months) while 40% have an unfavorable impression.

Women's views of the Republican Party are far more negative -- 38% have a favorable opinion while 56% have an unfavorable one. These opinions are little changed from January.

Throughout the past four years, with the exception of the spring and summer of 2010, women have viewed the Democratic Party more favorably than the GOP.

For the first time since 2009, men hold a more favorable view of the Democratic Party than the Republican Party (44% vs. 35%). Read more

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Texas Primaries, Caucuses, Conventions, And Politics

Everything You Ever Thought You Wanted To Know!
Join the Texas Democratic Women of Collin County on Thursday, April 5, 7-9 pm at Collin College – Frisco Campus, 9700 Wade Blvd., Building J, Rm. J113 for an evening of exciting discussion regarding the ever-changing Texas Primary and conventions!

Be A Delegate to the 2012 Collin Co. Democratic Convention at the Plano Centre in Plano, Texas! (map)

Any registered voter who signs an oath of affiliation with the Texas Democratic Party at convention check-in or during the convention may participate. To be a Delegate just check into the convention during registration from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday April 21 using your Voter Registration Card, Driver's License or other identification used for voting.
  • Learn how the new maps will affect you!
  • Find out how you can become a delegate at the County Convention on April 21st without going to a precinct caucus!
  • Find out about the Primary Election scheduled for May 29th!
The session is free and open to the public – RSVP to events@tdwcc.org.

In normal primary election years the Texas Democratic and Republican Parties conduct their respective Senatorial District or County Conventions three weeks after primary election day and after Election Precinct Conventions, which are normally held during the evening of primary election day.

It's all different this year! This year, drawn out court battles over the new redistricting maps have pushed primary election day from its usual first Tuesday in March date to Tuesday May 29.

Since the Democratic and Republican Parties were already locked into holding their respective state conventions the weekend of June 9 - just over one week after the rescheduled May 29 primary date - they asked the San Antonio three-judge panel to issue an order allowing them to hold their respective SD/County conventions in April, five weeks before the primary election.

This year, the Texas Democratic Party convention and national presidential delegate selection process will skip the preliminary Election Precinct Conventions and begin with County/Senatorial District Conventions on Saturday April 21, 2012. SD/County delegates will be elected to advance to the June 7-9 Texas Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in in Houston, Tx, where delegates will be elected to advance to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

This year, any registered voter who signs an oath of affiliation with the Texas Democratic Party at convention check or during the convention may participate in their County/Senatorial District Convention as a delegate. People who sign an oath of affiliation with the Texas Democratic Party -- which they would normally do when voting in the party's primary election -- cannot participate in another political party’s process, or vote in another party's primary election until after December 31, 2013, when the party affiliation cycle resets for the 2014 primary year.

Any person eligible to participate in the delegate selection process may qualify as a candidate for National Convention delegate and alternate by filing a National Delegate Statement of Candidacy form with the Texas Democratic Party State Chair, State Democratic Executive Committee, 505 W. 12th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Statements of Candidacy must be submitted no earlier than April 16, 2012 and no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 15, 2012 (Rules 12B & 14F).
Often overlooked because it is so early in the process, this form MUST be filed if you have any intention (even if you ultimately decline) to run for National Delegate. This isn't a change cause by redistricting, but it's worth highlighting.
Statements of Candidacy must be submitted on forms approved by the State Democratic Executive Committee and must contain the individual's name, mailing address, residence address, day and night phone numbers, email address, a pledge of support to the Democratic nominee for president, an oath of affiliation with the Democratic Party and a signed pledge of support to the individual's presidential preference (or uncommitted status) or an oath that the individual is currently uncommitted.

Related:
Democratic Party County/Senatorial District Conventions On For April 21

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