Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Independent News from the Center for Media & Democracy

Wisconsin Lawmakers Exploit Loophole to Hide ALEC Ties

Image of loopholesWisconsin state legislators are routinely deleting emails concerning their involvement with the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), exploiting a loophole that exempts the Legislature from records retention rules that apply to all other state and local government officials.

Chicago Teachers "On Strike for Better Schools"

Chicago Teachers' Strike protest sign - source Leslie PetersonNegotiations between the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) failed to result in a contract before Sunday, September 9, 2012 at midnight, sparking the first teacher’s strike in Chicago in 25 years. The strike is now in its second day.

"Citizens for Fire Safety" Smoked Out: Front Group Folds After Exposé

Image of chair in flamesManufacturers of flame retardant chemicals, an industry that got a boost from Big Tobacco's shadow money decades ago, are being exposed to increased public scrutiny. In the fallout, a front group formed by the three biggest manufacturers, calling itself "Citizens for Fire Safety," has been shuttered.

Walker's New Capitol Police Chief Cracks Down on the First Amendment

WI Capitol Police Chief David ErwinOn September 5, 2012, eight people were arrested, handcuffed, and ultimately given citations for simply holding signs in the Wisconsin State Capitol. This may come as a surprise to the hundreds of thousands of people who marched through the Capitol in February and March of 2011 proudly holding home-made signs that denounced Governor Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights, but there’s a new sheriff in town -- a new Capitol Police chief to be exact.

ALEC Member "American Chemistry Council" Drops $649K on WI Senate Race

WI Senate candidate Tommy ThompsonThe chemical industry trade group American Chemistry Council, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has spent $648,600 on ads supporting Tommy Thompson, a former ALEC member and the Republican candidate for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat.

Echoing ALEC's Playbook, the Real Story of Walker's Tort "Reform"

WI Governor Scott WalkerOn New Year's weekend in 2011, many Wisconsinites were focused on the Badgers' return to the Rose Bowl or whether the Green Bay Packers would beat the Detroit Lions and get another shot to win the Super Bowl, but the incoming administration of Governor Scott Walker had other, bigger contests on its agenda. In mid-winter, while many in the state were worried about who would win or lose the big games, Walker's team was preparing to change state law in numerous ways, including making it easier for corporations to win big cases and limit the damages paid if their products or practices kill or injure people in Wisconsin.

Club for Growth Flexing Muscle in Races Across the Country

Club for Growth Action logoThe Washington DC-based Club for Growth has racked up a winning record in its well-funded, $10.8 million effort to influence GOP Senate primaries across the country, and with help from some deep-pocketed donors, will continue throwing its weight around as November approaches.

Adidas Tells WI Court It Has No Obligation to Help Exploited Workers

Adidas logoDespite promising U.S. universities that it would help ensure fair labor practices, Adidas, the world's second largest athletic shoe and apparel company, has told a Wisconsin court that it can't be required to "stand in the shoes" of its global suppliers who owe millions of dollars to workers, according to a court document reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy.

New Yorkers Rally to Urge Gov. Cuomo to Reject Fracking

Don't Frack with Children's Future protest signThe future of New York's water supplies and the health of its millions of citizens hang in the balance as Governor Andrew Cuomo decides whether to end the state's moratorium on new wells to drill for "natural" gas through the controversial industrial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Activists estimated that over two thousand concerned citizens joined the march in Albany Monday to try to persuade Cuomo not to lift the moratorium -- statewide or in some counties -- a decision expected to be announced some time after Labor Day.

Marco Rubio, Geo Group, and a Legacy of Corruption

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's unsettling history of extremely close ties to private prison operator Geo Group and the possible federal investigation into Florida's private prison giveaway of more than $120 million.

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