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What We're Reading for the Week of January 23rd

Jay Henderson, National Field Organizer Pick of the Week: This article is great.Forthose of us who stare into crystal balls are destined to eat glass.Nevertheless, these Friday morning predictions for the 2012 presidential race are a must read. The Republicans Electoral College Newt-Mare By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelly Republicans dont just disagree with President Barack Obama; they viscerally dislike him. And, as Mr. Wade indicates, they dont just want a candidate who can beat Obama. They are seeking someone who will unequivocally bash and bloody him. It's interesting and appalling to see how Citizens United is already affecting the 2012 election. Would Gingrich even be a serious candidate without Citizens United? HowCitizens UnitedCreated Newt By Jonathan Chait ...His campaign is also blowback to the party Establishment in another, more mechanical way. His campaign is surviving entirely as a result of the Citizens United ruling, decried by liberals and celebrated by conservatives, which allows unlimited campaign expenditures, as long as theyre not coordinated with campaigns. Andrew Ellis, Political Intern Pick of the Week: This article is a really good look from some brilliant minds on the actions that Obama has taken in South-East Asia and in other regions. I'm particularly fond of Russian-American relations, and this year has been a big step backwards for them, with anti-American tendencies growing in Russia's media circles. It will be an exciting election year around the world, and it'll be curious to see how well Obama's vision of democracy will spread to other countries. Grading Obamas Foreign Policy Published in Foreign Policy "The administration has also worked to establish and strengthen regional and global institutions that allow the United States to leverage its own efforts and to cooperate much more efficiently with others. Arshad Hasan, Executive Director Pick of the Week: Last week DFA joined with a broad coalition of internet junkies, online activists, and corporations to oppose SOPA/PIPA.The nimbleness of our allies created the largest online protest in history.Im impressed with our ability to accomplish big wins when we all work together.While the protest flexed our political muscle, we must remain vigilant because the assault on internet freedom continues. SOPA/PIPA Blackout By the Numbers By Carl Franzen Now that the so-called Blackout Day, has come and gone, it is abundantly clear that the political winds in Washington haveshifted in favor of the opposition. Numerous Republican former co-sponsors of PIPA have shifted sides, and far more lawmakers on both sides who hadnt yet taken a stance have finally come out against the bills. Eve OConner, Training Department Intern Pick of the Week: I really liked this article!Its series of short articles highlights the evolution of the State of the Union as a historical tradition in terms of political meaning, technological progress, and emotional impact. These "moments" also emphasize the diversity of the State of the Union's significance for each president and time in our history. TIMEs Top 10 State of The Union Moments By Josh Sanburn President Obama will deliver his second State of the Union address tonight it will likely focus on the economy, jobs and U.S. competitiveness around the world. TIME takes a look at some of the most notable State of the Union moments. Michael Langenmayr, Deputy Political Director Pick of the Week: Agree or disagree with Rep. Giffords on politics, hers is an amazing story of courage and perseverance. Gabrielle Giffords Resignation: Congresswoman Officially Leaves House Of Representatives By Luke Johnson "I have given all of myself to being able to walk back onto the House floor this year to represent Arizona's 8th Congressional District. However, today I know that now is not the time. I have more work to do on my recovery before I can again serve in elected office." Levana Layendecker, Communications Director Pick of the Week: This is an interesting analysis as to why Newt Gingrich is still able to be a key player in the Republican primary. GOP Hates Citizens United, Too By Martin Longman Gingrich's campaign is surviving almost entirely because of one donor. You can learn about Sheldon Adelsonhere. He's one of the richest people in the country, and he has a special fondness for Mr. Gingrich. He and his wife have already donated $10 million to a SUPER PAC called Winning Our Future" that is dedicated to supporting Gingrich's presidential bid. There is nothing preventing the Adelsons from giving Gingrich $10 billion if they want to. And they don't have to tell us about it either. We only know they gave this money because they wanted us to know. This would not have been legal prior to theCitizens Unitedruling.
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Fracking is Whack - Join Us in New York.

In last nights State of the Union, President Barack Obama stood in front of Congress and promised to take every possible action to safely develop this energy" and said the government would insist on drilling companies disclosing the chemicals used in 'fracking' on public lands. The State of the Union is a defining speech for any president, but is especially important going into an election year. Last nights speech set the stage to what will be seen as Presidents Obamas opening of his re-election campaign. While his main focus was on jobs and the economy, by mentioning shale gas in the speech he turned the tables on the environmental movement. He said, "Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away," he said. "Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy." While this was the first mention of fracking and shale gas in the State of the Union, fracking has been impacting our local communities for sometime now. In Maryland, Governor Martin OMalley placed a moratorium on fracking and established a task force to look at the risks of fracking in the state. But others in the state believe that fracking can and will be done in a safe manner. State Senator Ben Cardin believes that the shale gas industry would be better off with national standards than fight state by state. In Pennsylvania, this week the EPA delivered water to families whose water source was contaminated by fracking. The EPA is currently testing water around the site owned by Cabot Oil & Cas Corp, assessing whether any residents are being exposed to harmful substances. In Ohio, voters have become wary of fracking as speculation on the cause of an earthquake earlier this month has been attributed to fracking in the state. Mark Kovac points out that 72 percent of Ohio voters polled want fracking activities to cease until further studies are completed on the potential impacts. In New Mexico, local communities are speaking up against the big business of the Oil and Gas industries because they are concerned about the chemicals being pumped into the ground and what impact it will have on local drinking water. John Olivas, the Mora County Commissioner said, Im pushing for a ban on oil and gas drillingevidence Ive gathered shows there are threats to the water. In New York, local communities are turning up the heat on the issue of fracking before its too late. Theyre even calling their work an environmental Occupy Wall Street. Whats different about whats going on in New York as opposed to other states around the country is that local communities are banding together and preempting the effects on fracking. Tomorrow, the group Frack Action will be protesting outside of the Democratic Governors Association meeting hosted by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Chair of Democracy for America, Jim Dean said It is critical that Governors around the country rein in this dangerous practice and DFA members in all 50 states will be making sure that they do just that To participate in the action RSVP on the groups facebook page or email Renee at [email protected]
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Democracy is not an eBay item

A message from Nick: As Congress gathers for tonight's State of the Union address, we need to ensure they hear one message loud and clear: Our Democracy is not an eBay item going to the highest bidder. We have gathered over 95,000 signatures in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders' constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United. As long as this decision stays in place, the progressive agenda for 2012 will be in jeapordy. This week we will deliver the petitions signatures to your Senators. Help us get to 100,000 signatures in support of reversing Citizens United -- Now is your last chance before we deliver the petitions. Plans from tonight's State of the Union address to return the middle-class to work and make the wealthy pay their far share will only go so far as long as unlimited money rules politics. Let's fight back for the system we deserve. -Nick Nick Passanante, Deputy Political Director Democracy for America
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REMINDER: Join Rep. Ellison tonight at 8PM ET

A message from Levana: Thank you for signing up to attend tonight's LIVE call with Rep. Keith Ellison beginning at 8:00 Eastern Time to help protect voting rights in this country. At 8:00 PM you will receive a call that will connect you to the Telephone Town Hall with Rep. Ellison. If at any point during the call you would like to ask a question of Rep. Ellison, you will be able to speak with a member of DFA's staff who will add you to the speaking queue. If for some reason you are unable to join us via phone tonight you can access the call on the internet by using this link: democracyforamerica.com/ellisoncall Thank you again for signing up to attend this call with Rep. Keith Ellison and the DFA community. We look forward to speaking with you tonight. Thank you for everything you do. -Levana Levana Layendecker, Communications Director Democracy for America
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What's Really Going on in South Carolina

A message from Jim Dean: Today in South Carolina while Republicans are picking their candidate, they are working behind the scenes to stop thousands of Democrats from voting in November. On Martin Luther King Day the Republicans held a debate where they touted South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's efforts to block African-Americans from voting by requiring a state issued ID at the polls on Election Day. This bill was so egregiously targeted toward disenfranchising the African-American vote that the Department of Justice stepped into block it. This is an outrage. For the first time in history state legislatures around the country are working to shrink the numbers of Americans who can vote. And to add insult to injury, this effort to disenfranchise 21 million voters is being funded by the Koch brothers. That's why we are fighting back on two fronts. DFA is hosting a live Telephone Town Hall with Rep. Keith Ellison, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, to talk about what we can to do stop corporate millionaires from ruining our Democracy and to defend everyones fundamental right to vote. Join the live Telephone Town Hall on Monday, Jan. 23rd at 8:00 PM EST with Rep. Keith Ellison. While the 2008 election saw more people turn out to vote in over a decade, as many as 5 million voters will be restricted from voting in this upcoming election due to state laws that have already passed. It's no surprise that those disenfranchised voters include African Americans, Latinos, elderly, students and others. Why? It's all part of a larger Republican strategy -- to restrict voting rights to people who have traditionally voted for Democratic candidates. Almost five decades ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing discriminatory voting practices. The bills champion, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, fought tirelessly to expand voting rights to all Americans. As we celebrate his legacy this week we need to keep a keen eye on every attempt to keep Americans from the polls. DFA and Rep. Keith Ellison are fighting on the legislative front and to expose the corporate money that funds these efforts to disenfranchise voters. And, we need your help. We want to hear from you at the Live Telephone Town Hall on Monday, Jan. 23 at 8:00PM EST with Rep. Keith Ellison. Sign up to join in here. Thank you for everything you do. -Jim Jim Dean, Chair Democracy for America
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