Social Justice

Wisconsin Workers "Fight For Fifteen"

Wisconsin workers are joining the "Fight for Fifteen" -- better wages for those at the bottom of the U.S. payscale. Three cities in Wisconsin were among 58 across the United States where thousands of low-wage fast-food workers walked off their jobs to demand a living wage, safe working conditions, and the right to unionize without being penalized. The coordinated actions on August 29 constituted the largest fast food strike in U.S. history.

Groups Attempt to Deliver Letter to ALEC re: ALEC/NRA "Kill at Will" Law

On March 29, a diverse coalition of advocacy organizations, activists, and national leaders protested the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) paid promotion of deadly "Kill at Will" legislation written by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The attendees delivered a letter to ALEC headquarters at 1100 Vermont Ave, NW in Washington demanding that the group disclose all NRA funding and publicly pledge to end its promotion of "Kill at Will" bills.

Organizing sponsors include the National Urban League, NAACP, ColorOfChange,, AFL-CIO, SEIU, ProgressNow, Center for Media and Democracy/, Presente, Public Campaign, Common Cause, People For the American Way, UltraViolet, Faith in Public Life, National Council of Churches, USAction, and more.

Some Wisconsin Women “Mad As Hell”

Hundreds of protestors showed up to the "Mad as Hell" rally on the Wisconsin State Capitol steps March 13 to protest a series of bills being pushed by Republican lawmakers that would take away a number of women's rights and interfere with women's access to health care in the state.

The rally was led by The Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and a number of other women's rights groups.

"Unfortunately, we have one of the most anti-women's health, anti-choice, anti-birth control legislatures that Wisconsin has ever seen," said Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Students Rally at Debate On Affirmative Action

MADISON -- The president of the group alleging the University of Wisconsin discriminates against whites debated a law professor Tuesday night on the merits of race-based university admissions policies. Hundreds of students rallied and attended the debate.

Local Ordinances and Land Grabs: Democracy Convention Panels Discuss Food Sovereignty

Attendees of the Democracy Convention in Madison in late August were treated to panels on a host of different issues, from democratic media to racial inequality. The Center for Media and Democracy was one of the sponsors of the convention, and our own Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer addressed democracy activists. At panels on food sovereignty, we heard from a range of experts, including local Wisconsin dairy farmer Jim Goodman, Massachusetts food and farming activist Barbara Clancy and Jim Tarbell of the Alliance for Democracy (publishers of Justice Rising), and Ronnie Cummins, leader of the Organic Consumers Association.

Profit Motive Underlies Outbreak of Immigration Bills

July 29 marked the one-year anniversary of Arizona's controversial immigration law, a year that has seen similar anti-immigrant bills emerge across the country. Thanks to the release of over 800 pieces of "model legislation" by the Center for Media and Democracy, we can now pinpoint the source of the outbreak to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bill factory for legislation that benefits the bottom line of its corporate members. While it has been reported that more immigrants behind bars means more income for ALEC member Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), less discussed has been how immigrant detention benefits commercial bail-bond agencies, an industry represented in ALEC through the American Bail Coalition.

Because of Two Determined Women, Vermont May Be First Single-Payer State

While several states are suing the federal government to block health care reform and dragging their feet on implementing any part of it, Vermont this week will be taking a giant leap in the other direction -- toward universal coverage and greater cost control -- when Governor Peter Shumlin signs legislation putting the state on the path toward a single-payer health care system.

The Vermont House last week voted 94-49 to approve legislation that has been years in the making. The Senate approved the measure a few days earlier. While it will not establish a government-run system right away, work will begin almost immediately to lay the groundwork to create a state health plan -- called Green Mountain Care -- that could be up and running as early as 2014.

Insurers Getting Rich By Not Paying for Care

If I had stayed in the insurance industry, my net worth would have spiked between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Thursday last week -- and I wouldn't even have had to show up for work.

I'm betting that just about every executive of a for-profit health insurance company, whose total compensation ultimately depends on the value of their stock options, woke up on Good Friday considerably wealthier than they were 24 hours earlier. Why? Because of the spectacular profits that one of those companies reported Thursday morning.

Among those suddenly wealthier executives, by the way, are the corporate medical directors who decide whether or not patients will get coverage for treatments their doctors believe might save their lives.

Court Race Throws a Spanner in the Works of Wisconsin Wingnuts

While Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan prepares to shut down the federal government to prove that government is bad, analysts say the radical agenda of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker suffered a major set back today as his good friend incumbent Justice David Prosser was defeated for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

America's Inefficient and Ineffective Approach to Border Security

Last week, the Senate refused to approve the DREAM Act, a bill that would have offered a path to citizenship for children brought into the country illegally if they attend college or serve in the military. Opponents stated that no immigration reform will happen without first "securing" the 1,951 mile U.S. border with Mexico. America's current approach to border security is wasteful and ineffective, and "securing the border" will never be achieved until we redefine our approach to, and definition of, border security. With many in Washington expressing concern about fiscal responsibility, reining in the billions wasted annually on current border security policies should really be a priority. But America's xenophobic preoccupation with an "invasion" by brown-skinned "illegals" may keep us pursuing an expensive and unreasonable approach to border security.

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