NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation Fact Sheet

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation Fact Sheet:

Take Action: Defend NPR & Join the “Muppet Lobby”

Take Action:  Defend NPR & Join the “Muppet Lobby”

Well, we’re only a few weeks into the 112th Congress, and already Republicans are trying to pull the plug on public media.  They’ve announced a budget plan to ZERO out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS, Pacifica and more.

Fortunately, we’re working with our friends at CREDO and a number of other allies to fight back.  And over 400,000 people have already signed our petition to Congress to fully fund NPR and defend public service media.  Wow! 

Join them: Take action, spread the word (forward this email, share on FB, tweet it, etc.), and fight back.

National public broadcasting is remarkably cost effective, providing local news and information free of charge for millions of viewers — while only receiving about .0001% of the federal budget (that’s right — less than one ten-thousandth of a percent).

Oh, and not only is the Republican leadership trying to gut funding, they are openly mocking supporters of NPR and PBS.  Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina not only vowed to pursue the cuts, he derieded supporters of PBS as the “Muppet lobby.”  

Well, we’ve got our own message for Senator DeMint:  Muppet Lobby?  You BET we are!  If we have to choose between “Big Bird” and “Big Oil,” we know where we stand.  

And you can tell him that yourself:  Take action at Left Action, sign our petition, and tell Senator DeMint, “I Stand with the Muppet Lobby!” 

And a reminder, if you want to get even more involved with Left Action, here are other steps you can take:

Thanks again.

Sincerely, 

John Hlinko and the Left Action team

http://LeftAction.com
http://Facebook.com/LeftAction
http://Twitter.com/LeftAction

D-backs’ FanFest ramps up excitement

D-backs’ FanFest ramps up excitement 

By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com | 02/12/11 9:30 PM EST

PHOENIX — For Ken Kendrick, the beginning of baseball season is not the first pitcher-catcher workout of Spring Training. Nor is it the first full-squad workout.

For the D-backs’ managing general partner, the 2011 season officially got underway Saturday with the Arizona Diamondbacks Subway FanFest at Chase Field.

An estimated 12,500 attended the event, which featured tours of the clubhouse, question-and-answer sessions with players, autograph and photo sessions and a host of interactive inflatables.

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FanFest at Chase Field
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2/12/11: The D-backs host FanFest at Chase field, giving fans the opportunity to spend time with players and coaches
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks
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“This is the real start of it here for me,” Kendrick said as he mingled on the field with fans. “You have the players here with the fans interacting, and you have the people here who really, really care about the Diamondbacks. These are our core fans that are always here and I enjoy getting to see them and see how excited they are about things getting going again.” There were a lot of new faces for fans to familiarize themselves with, from starter Armando Galarraga to reliever Kam Mickolio. Manager Kirk Gibson’s coaching staff was there as well, including newcomers Alan Trammell, Don Baylor, Charles Nagy and Eric Young. “It’s nice to see the fans,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “We’re having a lot of fun with them today. It’s always good. I see a lot of people out here that are supporting us and now we just have to support them with some more wins.” Kendrick said he sensed a lot of optimism among fans after a season in which the D-backs made significant organizational changes. Gone are GM Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch, and in their place are Kevin Towers and Gibson. The D-backs’ pitchers and catchers start reporting to the club’s new Spring Training facility — Salt River Field at Talking Stick — on Sunday. “It’s a chance for a new beginning in various ways,” Kendrick said. “You start with Salt River, the new Spring Training complex, and Kevin Towers, a new general manager with a great history, Gibby getting his first opportunity to put together a coaching staff and a big change in the roster. So you’re hopeful heading into the spring, and I’m enthusiastic about getting good, and I think the chances are that we’ll be pretty good.”

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Original article at this link contains four videos that will not properly display here.

D-Backs Announce Champs’ 10-year Reunion

D-backs announce champs’ 10-year reunion

2001 World Series winners will come back to desert Sept. 9-11

By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com | 02/11/11 12:29 PM EST

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks will turn back the clock Sept. 9-11 when they officially celebrate the 10th anniversary of the club’s World Series championship with the “2001 World Championship Reunion Weekend.”

The weekend will begin with the D-backs wearing throwback jerseys for the Sept. 9 game against the Padres. The club will wear the traditional home white top with purple pinstripes and the “A” logo. That was one of the uniform tops the club wore from 1998 through 2006, when its color scheme was purple, turquoise, copper and black. In 2007, the team switched to its current color scheme of sedona red, sonoran sand and black.

“The players on the 2001 team will always be remembered by D-backs fans for our proudest achievement,” D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall said. “So we want to make sure we have as many of them return to Chase Field in September to recreate those special memories.”

The Diamondbacks celebrated after winning Game 7 of the World Series over the Yankees on Nov. 4, 2001. (Matt York/AP)

Members of the 2001 team will be in attendance and will be recognized during a pregame ceremony Sept. 10. The players will also be celebrated during the game as the organization relives an inning-by-inning recap of the club’s Game 7 win over the New York Yankees.

The team said it will announce which players from the 2001 team will be in attendance at a later date.

The first 15,000 fans entering the ballpark on Sept. 10 will receive a 2001 World Championship Replica Ring, courtesy of Chase.

“I can’t believe it has been 10 years since our magical season in 2001 that created so many thrilling memories for D-backs fans throughout Arizona,” said Luis Gonzalez, who currently serves the D-backs as a special assistant to the president and CEO. “I am looking forward to seeing my former teammates and reliving the many memories from the 2001 World Series with our fans in September.”

To close out the weekend, the D-backs will honor first responders in remembrance of the many Americans who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

D-backs fans can purchase tickets to the “2001 World Championship Reunion Weekend” beginning Saturday, when D-backs 10-Pack ticket packages go on sale at SUBWAY D-backs FanFest, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. MST at Chase Field.

The D-backs’ 10-Pack packages include 10 flex tickets to 2011 regular-season games, $10 in D-bucks and a free MLB All-Star FanFest ticket. The ticket packages can also be purchased by calling (602) 514-8400.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. 

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12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin

12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin

 
Public workers and supporters picketing the mansion of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, February 13, 2011

What’s happening in Wisconsin is not complicated. At the beginning of this year, the state was on course to end 2011 with a budget surplus of $120 million. As Ezra Klein explained, newly elected GOP Governor Scott Walker then ” signed two business tax breaks and a conservative health-care policy experiment that lowers overall tax revenues (among other things). The new legislation was not offset, and it turned a surplus into a deficit.”

Walker then used the deficit he’d created as the justification for assaulting his state’s public employees. He used a law cooked up by a right-wing advocacy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC likes to fly beneath the radar, but I described the organization in a 2005 article as “the connective tissue that links state legislators with right-wing think tanks, leading anti-tax activists and corporate money.” Similar laws are on the table in Ohio and Indiana.

Walker’s bill would strip public employees of the right to bargain collectively for anything but higher pay (and would cap the amount of wage hikes they might end up gaining in negotiations). His intentions are clear — before assuming office, Walker threatened to decertify the state’s employees’ unions (until he discovered that the governor doesn’t have that power).

But he’s spinning the measure as something else — a bitter pill state workers must swallow in order to save Wisconsin’s government. So the first things you need to know are:

1. Wisconsin’s public workers  have already “made sacrifices to help balance the budget, through 16 unpaid furlough days and no pay increases the past two years,” according to the Associated Press. The unions know their members are going to have to make concessions on benefits, but they rightly see the assault on their fundamental right to negotiate as an act of war.

2. There are already 13 states that restrict public workers’ bargaining rights and it hasn’t helped their bottom lines. As Ed Kilgore notes,  “eight non-collective-bargaining states face larger budget shortfalls than either Wisconsin or Ohio,” and ” three of the 13 non-collective bargaining states are among the eleven states facing budget shortfalls at or above 20%.” 

3. This isn’t just about public employees. What even a majority of the protesters don’t know is that Walker’s law would also place all of the state’s Medicaid funding in the hands of the governor.  State senator Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton — one of the Dem law-makers who fled the state to block a vote on the bill — told local media that this amounted to “substantial Medicaid changes” that put “the governor, all of a sudden… in charge of Medicaid, which is SeniorCare, which is BadgerCare …and he has never once said what he intends to do” with those programs. But the provision led journalist Suzie Madrak to conclude that “the end game for all this is to defund state Medicaid programs and make it impossible to serve as part of the new health care safety net.”

4. Health-care costs, rather than workers’ greed, are what has driven up the price of employees’ benefits. But generally speaking, those public sector health-care costs have grown at a slower clip than in the private sector.

5. Public employees’ pensions account for just 6 percent of state budgets.

This has nothing to do with the state’s fiscal picture. Aside from potentially undermining Wisconsin’s public health-care system, it’s really about destroying the last bastion of unionism in the American economy: public employees. As Addie Stan wrote on AlterNet’s front page:

 

Walker is carrying out the wishes of his corporate master, David Koch, who calls the tune these days for Wisconsin Republicans. Walker is just one among many Wisconsin Republicans supported by Koch Industries — run by David Koch and his brother, Charles — and Americans For Prosperity, the astroturf group founded and funded by David Koch. The Koch brothers are hell-bent on destroying the labor movement once and for all.

Consider these facts:

6. Last year, more working people belonged to a union in the public sector (7.9 million) than in the private (7.4 million), despite the fact that corporate America employs five times the number of wage-earners.  37 percent of government workers belong to a union, compared with just 7 percent of private-sector employees.

7. Whether in the public or private sector, union workers earn, on average, 20 percent more than their non-unionized counterparts. They also have richer retirement and health benefits — the “union compensation premium” rises to almost 30 percent when you include those bennies.

That workers can still negotiate from a position of strength somewhere in the US is simply unacceptable to the right, and that’s what this is about. As you might expect, the tool they’re using in their campaign is a pack full of lies and distortions about public employees. Here are some answers to those falsehoods:

8. Public sector workers have, on average, more experience and higher levels of education than their counterparts in the private sector (they are twice as likely to have a college degree). 

9. When you adjust for those factors, they make, on average, 4 percent less than their private-sector counterparts.

10. Like any group of workers with a high union density, they have better benefits, on average. But even including those benefits,   state and local employees still make less in total compensation than they would doing the same work in the private sector.

11. In 2007, the average pension for a public sector worker was $22,000. Not exactly caviar dreams.

12. Many public employees are not eligible for Social Security — those pensions, and whatever they can put away on their own, is all that they’ll have in their golden years.

(Unless otherwise indicated, you can find links to the data for all of the above in my piece, “Right-Wingers Using Public Employees as 21st-Century Welfare Queens.”)

The Right has made great political progress getting Americans to ask the question: “How come that guy’s getting what I don’t have?” It’s the crux of the politics of grievance. Progressives need to get Americans to ask a different question: “What’s keeping me from getting what that guy has?” At least part of the answer is the Right’s decades-long assault on private sector workers’ ability to organize, and the latest battle is being waged in Wisconsin.

 

By Joshua Holland | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at February 18, 2011, 1:12 pm

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Public workers and supporters picketing the mansion of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, February 13, 2011

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