Back by popular demand, today we bring you the inaugural issue of our re-imagined Practical Progress newsletter which offers influential progressives a now-weekly, smart, insightful, actually ‘brief’ briefing on the most important News From The Movement.
ALL YOU NEED IS A GUN LICENSE TO VOTE – Center for American Progress published a five-point primer on why protecting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act during the Supreme Court’s hearing of Shelby County v. Holder on Feb 27th is critical for preventing voter-suppression laws from rising in 16 states. Section 5 requires states with discriminatory voting practices to seek ‘pre-clearance’ with the DOJ or a three-judge court in DC before making any legal changes to their voting laws. NOTE FROM CAP: without Section 5, Texas would have considered concealed handgun licenses a valid form of voter ID, but not college or state employee IDs. (For more progressive substance on Section 5 this month, see these pieces from: Brennan Center for Justice, American Constitution Society, Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights, Color of Change,Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, America Votes, and NAACP).In defense of Section 5, Alliance for Justice will host a Twitter Town Hall on Feb 26th, a rally in front of the Supreme Court in D.C. on Feb 27th, and provide analysis on their blog Justice Watch after the hearing.
FACEBOOK PROFITS: $1.1 BILLION, FACEBOOK TAX BILL: $0 – A new Citizens for Tax Justice report shows that while Facebook will not be paying any federal or state taxes this year in spite of turning over $ 1.1 billion in profits, it is expecting to get $429 million back in net tax refunds. In a footnote on Facebook’s January financial statements, CTJ found that the company’s half a billion dollar refunds result from taking advantage of a single (and legal) corporate tax break: the tax deductibility of executive stock options. CTJ’s Rebecca Wilkins, Senior Counsel on Federal Tax Policy tells PP: “Why does the company get to take a deduction for stock option compensation, when it didn’t cost them a dime? If Mark Zuckerberg won the lottery tomorrow, would we expect Facebook to get a tax deduction for his winnings? Stock options have pretty much the same impact on a company’s income as do lottery winnings.” In a similar report last year, CTJ identified the stock option tax break as one of the reasons why Fortune 500 companies pay so little taxes. (See CTJ’s Facebook report in BusinessWeek, Gawker, and The Atlantic).
…And on a much lighter economic note today: Sorry Boehner, You Can’t Rewrite Sequester History!
99 PROBLEMS – Fox News prime-time hosts and their guests have used the terms ‘Illegals,” “Illegal Aliens,” and “Anchor Babies” 99 times since the election, even though these terms are banned on Fox News’ website for Latinos, according to a new Media Matters research analysis released on Tuesday. In an interview with The New Republic a few days ago, Fox President Roger Ailes admitted that Fox News really needs to find a new message on immigration.
Presente’s Movement Building Director Ana Perez tells PP: “Fox can’t have it both ways, loving Latinos on Fox Latino and hating Latinos on Fox in English. If Fox really wants to enter the Latino media market in a serious way, Roger Ailes needs to steer the network away from racial profiling and immigrant scapegoating. The Latino community knows this about Fox and we don’t appreciate it. As the Univision-ABC Latino venture and other new Latino media initiatives indicate, you either lose the bigotry or lose the Latino market.”
In other immigration news, kudos to Progress Michigan for working hand-in-hand with Alliance for Immigrant Rights on getting Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) to finally begin granting driver’s licenses to DREAMers this month.
KEN CUCCINELLI IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR – American Bridge launched a website outlining passages that are “extreme by any standards” from VA Attorney General and aspiring Governor Ken Cuccinelli’s new book, The Last Line of Defense. According to the most overtly partisan Attorney General in Virginia history: “Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases like methane were pollutants dangerous to public health because they allegedly caused global warming. Yet carbon dioxide is what we exhale every second of the day. It keeps the trees alive and allows them to make the oxygen that keeps us alive. It’s a wonderful symbiotic system that sustains life on earth. But to environmentalists, carbon dioxide is a slow killer” (p10). *See also: American Bridge’s Part-Time Cuccinelli video and Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Keep Ken Out, which MIGHT explain this from WaPo: “Democrats urge sales of Cuccinelli Book…”
HOT OFF THE PRESS – League of Conservation Voters launched a new Environmental Scorecard revealing whether members of Congress stood with the people or polluters last year. According to LCV President Gene Karpinski: “This was hands down, the most anti-environmental House of Representatives ever.” Advancement Project launched a new website to end the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track. Must-read: The Top 12 Reasons to end the School-to-Prison Pipeline. (If you haven’t already, see these pictures of Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis with Michelle Obama’s special SOTU guest, 102-year old Desiline Victor and Practical Progress’ 2012MDV (‘Most Determined Voter’).
AWAKE THE STATE – On March 5th, Floridians will rally across the state in a growing grassroots chorus of discontent with Governor Rick Scott. They will demand lawmakers to undo the damage of the 2011 voting law that notoriously caused Floridians to wait in line for up to 8 hours to vote last year (Find out more here). Central Organizers of ‘Awake The State’are: Progress Florida, Florida Watch Action, and America Votes.
JUMP ON THE WARREN BANDWAGON – Americans for Financial Reform issued a letter last week criticizing 43 Senate Republicans for attempting to filibuster Richard Cordray’s appointment to Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Lending full support to Cordray’s nomination, the letter accosts Republicans for exercising “extreme political brinkmanship of refusing to consider a well qualified nominee in order to extract changes in the law,” adding that their effort to block Cordray in order to “relitigate policies would hold hostage not just the CFPB director, but the future well-being of consumers, financial markets, and the economy.”
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