IN THIS ISSUE:
CAMPUS HIGHLIGHT...ADONAL'S BLOG...MONEY ON MY MIND...COLLEGE COSTS ON THE RISE...DM SPEAKERS BUREAU...FACTS YOU CAN USE
CAMPUS HIGHLIGHT - INDIANA UNIVERSITY AT BLOOMINGTON
Brianna Dines and her stalwart band of IU Democracy Matters activists have been reaching out to students in a “fun and social atmosphere” to get their message across and recruit more DM members. Not to be outdone, they have organized four events just in the past three weeks!
A “Rock for Your Rights” concert with local bands at their Student Union (see picture above) also featured talks about Democracy Matters, health care reform, and Fair Elections Now. A few days later, outside at the busiest spot on campus, they drew a crowd with their “Mock Auction.” Holding up hand-painted logos of huge contributors like Exxon and Halliburton, they auctioned off Congressional seats to the highest bidder.
Next they organized a Climate Change Panel, inviting local activists to talk about how big contributions continue to block progressive legislation on climate control, and how public financing weakens the influence of big money. And finally they invited Congressman Matt Pierce, a strong supporter of public campaign financing, to talk with students about how they can make their voices heard, and they also met with another Congressman's staff to talk about the need for health care reform and fair elections.
Asked what motivates her, Bri replied: ‘It’s exciting working with Democracy Matters – learning about activism and true citizenship. Doing something about what we believe in feels great!”
Read our Campus Activism Blog.
Democracy Matters’ President, Adonal Foyle, is a regular blogger for the Orlando Sentinel in Florida where he makes his home during the NBA season. Recently Adonal has spoken out on the need for health care reform as well as on the Louisiana justice of peace who denied an interracial couple a marriage license, and of course he has lots to say about NBA 'doings.' Check out Adonal’s blog.
Link to Adonal's Blog.
MONEY ON MY MIND
This month, Jay Mandle’s column calls for a robust political dialogue on role and cost of the American military. Noting the future need for budget deficit reduction, Mandle questions why proposed cuts focus on domestic spending for programs like social security, Medicare, and education, while at the same time the military budget remains sacrosanct.
Read the full article and explore other issues of MOMM.
COLLEGE COSTS ON THE RISE
Did you know that the cost of a college education continued to rise substantially last year, despite a decline in the Consumer Price Index? At private colleges, tuition and fees rose on average 4.4% (to $35,636) while at public colleges and universities they rose 6.5% (to an average of $15,213). Public two-year institutions experienced the largest increases of all – 7.3% (to $2,544).
Releasing these figures, the College Board emphasized that public universities have been forced to raise their prices because state legislatures have cut higher education funding. In response, students have begun organizing to let their elected representatives know that they vote, that they want politicians to respond to the real needs of their constituents, and that only public financing laws can ensure that elected officials are accountable to voters, not to funders!
THE DM SPEAKERS BUREAU
Democracy Matters’ speakers have been busy explaining how we can stop the big campaign contributions that are blocking progress on critical issues. Topics included how big money in politics impacts health care reform, the environment, income inequality, higher education funding, and more. DM speakers also explored such issues as women in politics, the development of social movements, and how democracy is deepened through Fair Elections.
Just this fall, our staff, board, and student speakers have brought this message to over twenty campuses including the State University of NY campuses at Oneonta and Geneseo, Vassar College and Monroe Community College (NY), in Maryland at both Towson State and Bowie State Universities, in Minnesota at the University of MN and Gustavus Adolphus College, to Allegheny and Bryn Mawr colleges (PA), and to North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina (Wilmington), and a NC regional “Climate Shift” conference.
Email us at the link below to invite an dynamic DM speaker to your campus or organization!
Invite a DM speaker to your campus or organization.
FACTS YOU CAN USE
Rep. Visclosky Exposé Shows Need for “Fair Elections” Campaign Reform
Last week The Washington Post published a front-page article on earmarks that Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) secured for a handful of campaign contributors, none of whom were based in his home state of Indiana. One more “pay-to-play” scandal in the making again shows the need for Congressional Fair Elections.
Excerpts from The Washington Post article, Monday, October 26:
“Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, a little-known Indiana Democrat who sits on the House committee that funds the Pentagon sponsored or supported at least $44 million in earmarks in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for more than 15 technology firms that had hired K & L Gates as lobbyists. None of the companies operated in Visclosky's home state, but nearly all of them donated to Visclosky's campaign just before or soon after receiving the promise of federal money.
A Post review shows that the K & L Gates clients winning Visclosky's support, along with their lobbyists and investors, donated almost $200,000 to Visclosky and an additional $130,000 to the House Democratic campaign committee since 2005. The donations often came in clusters, around the time Visclosky's committee was crafting its annual earmarks, which are added to the budget by committee members and do not go through the competitive or approval processes required for most government contracts.
David Rosenberg, who founded Hycrete in New Jersey in 2005, said he hired K & L in August 2007 and has since paid the firm $190,000 to help obtain defense appropriations and other funds. Rosenberg said K & L encouraged him to donate to Visclosky -- "to build a relationship with a member of Congress." Last year, Visclosky requested a $2 million Army earmark to evaluate Hycrete's technology. The next month, Rosenberg and his colleagues donated $20,000 to Visclosky and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Nearly 30 percent of Visclosky's earmarks -- $63 million worth in 2008 and 2009 -- were steered to firms outside Indiana. And nearly three-quarters of his campaign donations came from out of state, as well, most of it tied to firms requesting earmarks."
Read the full article.
To honor our 2010 DMers we list 10 DM chapters in each E-News.
Cornell University...Hamilton College...Southern Methodist University...SUNY Geneseo...SUNY New Paltz...SUNY Oneonta...Syracuse University...The Long Trail School...Towson University...Tulane University...(to be continued)
More Campus Chapters.