Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Mexican-American Boom: Births Overtake Immigration

Births have surpassed immigration as the main driver of the dynamic growth in the U.S. Hispanic population. This new trend is especially evident among the largest of all Hispanic groups-Mexican-Americans, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

More Confidence In Obama Than Congressional Leaders

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted July 14-17 among 1,006 adults, finds that the public expresses far more confidence in President Obama than it does in congressional leaders of either party when it comes to the debate over the debt ceiling. Nonetheless, only about half of Americans (48%) have even a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with the debt ceiling, while nearly as many (49%) say they have not too much confidence or no confidence at all in the president on this issue.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pew Studies Emergence of Non-Profit Online News Sites

Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is out with a new study that looks at the new universe of nonprofit journalism. The study looked at who is publishing news under the legal structure of a 501(c)3 exemption. After all, “nonprofit” signals a tax status, not a belief system or a commitment to any particular fair and balanced set of ideals, journalistic or otherwise.

In 1910, nearly 60% of cities had competing daily papers, but today that completion of viewpoints has all but disappeared. More than two-thirds of independently-owned newspapers have disappeared over the last 35 years with more than 200 publishing companies disappearing over the last 20 years. Vin Crosbie, a noted Syracuse University professor and consultant, has predicted that more than half of the approximately 1,400 daily newspapers publishing in the country today could be out of business by 2020.

Newspaper publishers have reduced daily newsroom staffing by more than 29% from since 2001 as circulation and advertising revenues have plummeted over the last decade. Every year there are fewer and fewer newspaper reporters covering state capitols and city halls, while the number of states with newspapers covering the U.S. Congress full-time has dwindled from 35 in 1985 to just 21 in 2010.

As traditional newsrooms have shrunk, a group of institutions and funders motivated by something other than profit are entering the journalism arena. This distinguishes them from the commercial news institutions that dominated the 20th century, whose primary sources of revenue—advertising and circulation—were self-evident. The emergence of these new online news sources is significant since a national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5, 2010, found that more people cite the internet than newspapers as their main source of news.

Former Fox News Producer Claims Network Hacked Phone Records

A former producer with Fox News claimed in a lengthy essay gaining new traction this week that the conservative television station has a "Brain Room" in its New York headquarters which enables employees to view private telephone records with ease.

Though published years ago, the allegations have returned to relevance in the wake of the phone hacking scandals that have rocked News Corporation to its very core, threatening to topple one of the world's largest and most powerful media conglomerates.

According to former Fox News executive Dan Cooper, whose gripes with his former employer run quite deep after being fired in 1996, Fox News chief Roger Ailes allegedly had him design the so-called "Brain Room" to facilitate counter-intelligence efforts and other "black ops."

In a lengthy 2008 diatribe said to have doubled as a book pitch, Cooper claimed his own phone records had been hacked by Fox News employees, who he says used them to pinpoint him as a source used by David Brock, who founded liberal watchdog group Media Matters.

That wasn't the last time word of Ailes's "Brain Room" surfaced: in a recent piece for Rolling Stone, journalist Tim Dickenson discusses Cooper's allegations too, focusing on the man Ailes allegedly picked to run the secretive office.

According to The New York Times, a New Jersey company called Floorgraphics accused News Corp. in 2009 of hacking into their password-protected computer systems to obtain proprietary information, then allegedly spreading "false, misleading and malicious information" about the firm, causing them to lose important contracts.

News Corp.'s response to the scandal was to buy Floorgraphics outright, after offering a $29.5 million settlement.

Cases like Floorgraphics' are hardly unique: in recent years, the Times noted, News Corp. has paid over $655 million in settlements and hush money to keep allegations of anti-competitive and illegal behavior under the rug.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have launched their own investigations into whether News Corp. participated in the hacking of 9/11 victims or U.S. officials.

Read the full story @ The Raw Story

(H/T: The Nation)

Groups Neglect Web in Wisconsin Recall Elections

Writing for ClickZ Politics, Kate Kaye takes a look at the online action — or lack thereof — around the Wisconsin recall effort.

In the wake of the Wisconsin state legislature's passage of a controversial collective bargaining law, Democratic and labor groups mobilized to trigger recall elections against six Republican state senators. The Democratic candidates each won their primaries, fending off candidates running with Republican support and advancing the recall effort, the Washington Post's Rachel Weiner reports.

To bolster efforts to recall state senators who voted for the collective bargaining law, which weakened public sector unions, progressive groups engaged in online community organizing and activism. But, Kaye reports, they did little to no online advertising. She quotes Democratic digital consultant Chris Talbot on the why:

Techpresident: A Major Union Doubles Down Online

Union protesters rally against Ohio Senate Bill 5 in March. Union staffers nationwide say their members have moved increasingly online throughout this year's fights over state budgets and collective bargaining rights. Photo: Ohio AFL-CIO / Flickr
One of the most politically influential labor unions in the country has signaled a shift in emphasis towards organizing and campaigning online by hiring senior digital staff in at least a dozen major U.S. cities.

Organizers and activists are quickly learning that new media on the Internet provides additional communication channels to reach out to the community. They increasinly understand that New media can efficiently promote, support and supplement all other traditional organizing activities like social meet ups, issue oriented community town hall discussions, messaging, as alternatives to TV and radio, registration drives, voter rights and poll watcher training, block walking, community service events, and so forth, particularly for the under 35 age group, and vice versa. 

To effectively use new media to motivate people to action, one must have a 'messaging strategy' to create and push framed messages through the communication channels. Blogs, YouTube and websites used in combination with social media networking and email can be used to rapidly broadcast messaging to targeted audiences. Again, messaging is used to drive and support the full community organizing agenda.

Techpresident: In what may be a first for organized labor, Service Employees International Union is beefing up its online operations by hiring new media directors and campaign directors to work directly under the chiefs of staff of union locals in each of those cities, including Columbus, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Detroit, Mich; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Miami, Fla., among others, according to job postings that were available online. Because of the way union locals are organized, the size and territory of each organization varies. One of the largest locals in the country, for example, 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East, includes workers in six states.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Constitutional Amendment Election Coming Nov 8

Texas voters will go to the polls Nov. 8, 2011 to vote on 10 proposed constitutional amendments, deciding on issues touching on school funding, agricultural exemptions and when politicians must resign one office to run for another.
The amendments were authorized by two-thirds of the House and Senate in the 2011 legislative session. Since the Texas Constitution was ratified in 1876, Texas voters have considered 646 proposed amendments and approved 467, according to the Legislative Reference Library.
A majority of the voters must approve the amendments before they can be implemented. Several cities have also authorized "special election" ballot propositions for their respective jurisdictions. Check the appropriate sample ballot style for your election precinct to see if your city has a "special election" proposition on your ballot. Don't know your precinct number? Find out how to locate your precinct number by clicking here.

Election Day Vote Centers Coming to Collin Co. Again For This Nov. 8th Election:
Election Day Vote Centers work almost exactly like Early Voting Polling Places. On Election Day any voter registered in the Collin County can vote at any polling place through out the county. (see links given later in this article)
Here's a rundown on the constitutional amendments you'll be deciding come November:

Proposition 1 - Ease the financial burden on spouses of totally disabled veterans SJR 14 - By state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, would ease the financial burden on spouses of totally disabled veterans. It would allow the Legislature to exempt the surviving spouses of 100-percent disabled veterans from property taxes on all or part of the market value of their home.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran."

For - Would allow homestead property tax exemption to transfer to the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran.

Proposition 2 - Allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds SJR 4 - Would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds for projects that will eventually become self-sustaining. The board, which has a zero default rate, issues bonds for water infrastructure projects. The amendment would allow the board to issue a maximum of $6 billion at any time.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding.”

For - Would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue revenue bonds (for various water development and conservation projects), not to exceed a revolving $6 billion at any one time.

Proposition 3 - Allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to finance student loans SJR 50 - Would allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to finance student loans.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Texas to finance educational loans to students.”

For - Would permit issuance of general obligation bonds to finance educational loans to students.

Note: This program would effectively continue an existing low-interest, fixed-rate student loan program (Hinson-Hazlewood, created in 1965 and managed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board), which had a dollar limit periodically renewed and raised. This raises the current limit of $125 million to $350 million; the program has a long record of success and a good repayment record. Free public higher education would be the best alternative, but that's not currently in the cards. The market might one day blanch at these bonds, but they've been working well for nearly 60 years.

Proposition 4 - Allow counties to issue bonds to finance the development of transportation reinvestment zones HJR 63 - Would allow counties to issue bonds to finance the development of transportation reinvestment zones. Such zones allow cities to use certain property tax revenues to build roads and other transportation projects in that area. Currently, cities are able to issue transportation reinvestment zone bonds, but it has been unclear whether counties have the authority to do so.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates."

For - Would grant to counties tax-increment financing of "unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas," to be repaid by the TIF created for the development.

Note: TIFs are already a municipal tool; this would extend bonding authority to counties. There is some opposition from anti-tax absolutists, although the program seems largely self-limiting. In Travis, it would likely enable better city-county collaboration on specific projects.

Proposition 5 - Allow agreements between local government agencies to share budgets SJR 26 - Would make it easier and cheaper for cities or counties to enter into multi-year inter-local contracts — agreements between government agencies to share budgets. Right now, if a city or county wants to partner with another on a project, it has to create a special tax and a special debt fund for that project. Julie Frank, committee director for the Texas Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, said the amendment would simply “clean up” the process.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund."

For - Would permit certain city-county interlocal agreements without consequent debt fund requirements.

Note: This provision would make it easier and more efficient to enter into interlocal agreements; it might even help with Austin-Travis County collaborations.

Proposition 6 - Clarifying references to the Permanent School Fund HJR 109 - Would allow more money to be transferred from the Permanent School Fund, a pot of constitutionally guaranteed money generated from the sale of state property that goes to finance Texas public schools to the Available School Fund, which is the pot of money the Legislature is allowed to draw from to spend on Texas schools. It would allow the General Land Office to distribute revenue from the fund, and it would increase the market value of the permanent school fund, allowing schools to get more money.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment clarifying references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and providing for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distributions from the available school fund."

For - Would allow inclusion of permanent school fund real property assets in calculating the fund's market value (now confined to the value of the fund's investments), thereby increasing available monies ($300 million annually) for distribution to schools.

Note: The income and royalties from sales and leases of property that must currently be returned first to the fund would under this amendment be available for direct distribution to the permanent school fund, which lends greater flexibility to the fund. (see: House Considers Accounting Maneuver To Slightly Ease School Funding Crisis)

Money from the permanent education fund remains mandated to education. The method of fund valuation changes - making more money available to disburse - and disbursement is a step less complicated - making fund money more available to payout to school districts. This amounts to an accounting trick to accelerate a few extra hundred million dollars out of the fund a little faster to current school budget funding. The legislature passed a 2011-13 public education budget that cut over $4 billion over the biennium - assuming prop 6 passes. If prop 6 fails to pass, that cut bumps up to over $4.5 billion. Prop 6 is only a band-aid to treat the severed artery of school funding, but it is worth a FOR vote.

Proposition 7 - Allow El Paso County to create conservation and reclamation districts SJR 28 - Would allow El Paso County to be included in the list of counties authorized to create conservation and reclamation districts. With the amendment, El Paso County could use tax revenue to develop parks and recreational facilities.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities."

For - Would let El Paso reclamation districts issue bonds for parks and recreation facilities.

Proposition 8 - Create an open-space tax exemption for water stewardship SJR 16 - By state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, would create an open-space tax exemption for water stewardship. Open-space is land zoned for preservation of natural resources, and historically, open space in Texas has been used for farming or timber. The amendment would add water stewardship, or conservation, to the list, providing extra incentive for individuals to conserve the 90 percent of state water that flows through privately owned land.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water-stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity."

For - Would allow water stewardship property tax exemptions for water conservation and protection.

Note: This is a step toward greater attention toward stewardship of common water resources.

Proposition 9 - Allow the governor to issue pardons to individuals who receive deferred adjudication SJR 9 - By state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, deals with the governor's authority to pardon individuals who receive deferred adjudication. Individuals who are sentenced to deferred adjudication are given probation-like conditions, and if they complete the program successfully, a judge can dismiss the charges. Currently, the governor can only pardon convicted individuals, but the authority does not extend to those who have deferred adjudication. The governor would only be able to issue a pardon with the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles and in criminal cases excluding treason and impeachment.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the governor to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision."

For - Would permit a governor's pardon for deferred adjudication cases, as now allowed in criminal convictions under special circumstances.

Note: This is unlikely to affect many people, but it resolves an inconsistency in the law.

Proposition 10 - Align the resign-to-run laws with the new primary election filing date SJR 37 - Would align the resign-to-run laws with the new primary election filing date. Currently, elected officials can only remain in their current office if they file for candidacy to another office with less than one year left in their current office term. But during the legislative session, lawmakers moved the primary election filing deadline from Jan. 2 to mid-December to accommodate military and overseas voters. That would force some elected officials to resign from their current post to file for candidacy. The amendment would change the length of unexpired term from one year to one year and 30 days.
The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment to change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office.

For - Would extend by one month the current one-year "resign-to-run" (for another office) provision, in keeping with Senate Bill 100's change in the election filing dates. (see SB100 below)

Note: This is a necessary change to comport with the new election calendar if current officeholders are to be allowed to maintain their positions (within limits) while running for another office.

League Of Women Voters Collin County Information:

Collin Co. Election Registrar Information for the November 8, 2011 Constitutional Amendment and Special Election:

Secretary of State postings for the Nov. 8, 2011 Election:

For another comprehensive look at the state constitutional amendments read the House Research Organization's Voter Guide.

Background on Plano's "Special Election" ballot proposition:

The 2011 Texas Legislature revised the Texas Election Calendar, to comply with the federal Move Act, with the passage of SB100. SB100 requires ballots to be mailed or emailed to military and overseas voters no later than the 45th day before the election.

To satisfy this requirement all Primary Election candidate filing dates were move back to start in early November and end in early December. Previously the filing period had been during the calendar month of December to the first business day of January. The "45 day" requirement also shifts the Primary Runoff Election date from early April to the Fourth Tuesday in May -- May 22 for the 2012 election cycle.

The new primary Run off Election date conflicts with Cities and School Districts elections, which historically held their elections on the early May uniform election date of even numbered (primary election) years. SB 100 gives cities and school districts the option of moving their non-partisan May elections to the November uniform election date.

Cities and School districts who chose to continue to hold their elections in May of even numbered years, likely will be forced to find alternate vendors to conduct their election. This is because many local jurisdictions rely on their County's Election Office to supply voting equipment and staff to run their city and ISD elections. County Election Administrators may no longer able to turn around election equipment quickly enough, if a Primary Runoff Election is scheduled.

The Collin County Election Registrar offered to continue to support local jurisdictions, if they choose to continue to schedule their elections for the early May even year uniform election date. However, the Collin County election registrar notified local jurisdictions that the election contracting fee charged by the county would increase by over 4 fold the previous cost. The increase in contracting fees are needed to cover the cost on the addition equipment and staffing needed to cover both local elections and a Primary Runoff Election in May. A typical Plano city May election in the past cost about $30,000. Under the new county contracting fee rate Plano city elections held in even numbered (primary election) years could cost as much as $130,000. (more @ Plano Star)

Cities and school boards are assessing the feasibility of conducting their own elections without contracting with the county election office to supply election equipment and staff verses moving their elections to the November uniform general election date. Counties in Texas already conduct Elections each November. Conducting a Joint Election in November could save the taxpayers some money.

The City of Plano has decided to ask the voters to authorize (by amending the City Charter) lengthening terms of office so city elections can be held only every other odd numbered year:

Provide for the election of City Council Members from three to four year terms and reduce the number of terms served from three to two and apply the term limits to any full term served; provide changes to the Municipal Court to allow the City Council to select all judges and decide terms of office and grounds for removal, and expand powers of the court; provide a single proposition to correct nonsubstantive errors, clarify meanings, correct paragraph numbering; conform to requirements of federal and state law... (see Plano City Council Agenda Document PDF / Video of Plano City Council discussion on calling a special charter amendment election)

Shall Section 3.01. Number, selection and term of Article 3 of the Plano City Charter be amended to change city council terms from three years to four years; hold elections in odd-numbered years beginning in 2013 for Places 2, 4, 6, & 8 and in 2015 for Places 1, 3, 5, & 7; change the term limits from three terms to two terms; and term limits shall be applied retroactively for city council members currently serving?

For / Against

Shall Section 4.04. Municipal court of Article 4 of the Plano City Charter be amended to allow the court to operate as authorized by the City; allow the city council to appoint all judges for specific terms including appointment of the chief municipal judge when a vacancy occurs; and, provide a process and reasons for the removal of any judge?

For / Against

Shall changes be made to the Plano City Charter throughout to correct non-substantive errors to revise obsolete dates and clarify language by amending City Charter Sections 1.02, 2.02, 5.01, 6.03, and 11.11; and shall language be revised or removed to conform to federal, state and local law including removing redundant provisions thereby changing City Charter Sections 3.02, 3.06, 4.07, 6.07, 7.02, 9.06, 9.14, 10.02, 10.04, 10.11, 11.01, 11.04 and deleting in their entirety City Charter Sections 6.11, 8.01, 8.03, and 10-A.02?

For / Against

November 8, 2011 - Uniform Election Dates
**First Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot (for cities and schools ONLY) (filing deadline for other political subdivisions may vary) Monday, August 8, 2011
Last Day to Order General Election Wednesday, September 7, 2011
**Last Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot (for local political subdivisions ONLY) Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.
First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail Friday, September 9, 2011 (does not apply to FPCA)
Last Day to Register to Vote Tuesday, October 11, 2011 (deadline is extended to next business day after Columbus Day)
First Day of Early Voting Monday, October 24, 2011 (17th day before election day falls on a Saturday, first day moves to next business day)
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked) Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Last Day of Early Voting Friday, November 4, 201

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dramatic Climate Swings Likely as World Warms

ScienceDaily (July 15, 2011) — Dramatic climate swings behind both last year's Pakistan flooding and this year's Queensland floods in Australia are likely to continue as the world gets warmer, scientists predict.
Horn of Africa Drought ‘Set to Worsen’

The plight of millions of drought-stricken people across the Horn of Africa is set to worsen, with rains expected only later in the year and harvests months away, a top UN official warned Saturday.

Scanty or failed rainfall in the region over the past two years has already forced thousands of Somalis to flee the country and ruined the livelihoods of millions in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. more...
Fiery reds and oranges nearly covered the United States on meteorologist maps as a massive heat wave hit hard in much of the country on Saturday. Temperatures averaged up to 15 degrees above normal, with most peaks in the 90s but triple digit heat expected to strike from Montana to New Mexico, according to lead meteorologists for The Weather Channel and The National Weather Service.

Paired with oppressive humidity, temperatures will feel even hotter, as measured by the heat indexes. The NWS issued excessive heat warnings and watches for the Midwest from Texas to Canada, and heat index values over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 C) are possible for portions of the central and eastern United States by the middle of next week.

Locations affected are expected to see temperatures and heat indexes of up to 117 degrees (47 C), including cities like Minneapolis where that is extremely rare. "The stage is being set for a massive heat wave to develop," the National Weather service warned on Thursday.
Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Leeds have discovered that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the sloshing of the warmest waters on the planet from the West Pacific towards the East Pacific every 2-7 years, continued during Earth's last great warm period, the Pliocene.

Their results suggest that swings between the two climatic extremes, known as El Niño and La Niña, may even have occurred more frequently in the warmer past and may increase in frequency in the future. Extreme ENSO events cause droughts, forest fires and floods across much of the world as well as affecting fishery production.

Reporting in the journal Paleoceanography, the team of geochemists and climate modellers use the Pliocene as a past analogue and predictor of the workings of Earth's future climate.

The Pliocene (which lasted from 5 to 3 million years ago) had carbon dioxide levels similar to the present day, with global mean temperatures about 2-3ºC higher, so it is a useful test-ground for climate research.

Lead Scientist Nick Scroxton from Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences said: 'We know from previous studies that the mean state of the Pacific during the warm Pliocene was similar to the climate patterns observed during a typical El Niño event that we see today.

'However, until recently it was believed that a warmer Pacific would reduce the climate swings that cause the dramatic weather extremes throughout the region leading to a permanent state of El Niño. What we didn't expect was that climatic variability would remain strong under these warmer conditions.'

The team combined experiments performed on the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model, HadCM3, with the analysis of the chemical composition of lots of individual shells of small organisms, known as foraminifera.

These were collected from a deep sea sediment core in the East Equatorial Pacific, and provided a record of temperature in the upper layer of the ocean through time. They discovered that the range of temperatures experienced by these organisms during the Pliocene, was higher than what would be expected from just the seasonal cycle.

The extra variation in temperature can be explained by the additional extreme temperature swings provided by the El Niño/La Niña system.

Friday, July 15, 2011

ALEC Exposed - And It's Connection To Texas Laws

This week the Center for Media and Democracy rolled out a new web site, ALEC Exposed, to make public information about the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a powerful coalition of corporations, right wing foundations, and state legislators who have been literally writing the laws at the state level to push their pro-business agenda.

The ALEC has operated in relative secrecy since 1973, avoiding scrutiny from the media and watchdog groups as it has sought to impose a coordinated corporate agenda on all fifty states. ALEC’s scheme is to game the lawmaking process with “model legislation” penned by corporation insiders and billionaire conservatives, which is then passed to Republican state legislators to submit as their own bills in state legislatures in all 50 states. ALEC's "model legislation seeks to protect polluters, privatize public education, break unions and give advantage to Republican candidates through restrictive voter photo ID requirements and other legislation crafted to restrict access to the voting booth.

ALEC counts among its alumni House Speaker John Boehner, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Texas Governor Rick Perry and other key players in the current push to restructure federal and state government with tax breaks for the rich, regulatory breaks for corporations, privatization strategies and draconian “Voter ID” laws that threaten to make it harder for millions of Americans to cast ballots.

According to this ALEC watch report, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is an Austin-based conservative think tank that lobbied Republicans in the Texas legislature to make deep cuts to K-12 public education funding, college funding and Medicare funding in the 2011-13 state budget Gov. Perry signed into law last month.

TPPF also strongly advocated for the Texas voter photo ID legislation Gov. Perry signed in law in May as well as the Texas' Sanctuary Cities anti-Immigrant legislation and the privatization of public schools in Texas introduced during the 2011 Texas legislative session.

Trickle Down Tax Cuts To End Elected Government And Put The Rich In Control

David Stockman, Pres. Reagan's budget director, "In 1985, the top five percent wealthiest households had a net worth of $8 trillion, but since then the top 5% have gained more wealth than the whole human race had created prior to 1980."

If you remember anything at all about David Stockman, it’s probably his being “taken to the woodshed” by Pres. Ronald Reagan when he was Reagan's budget director. That was back in late 1981 when he gave a long interview to William Greider for the Atlantic magazine. In a piece titled “The Education of David Stockman,” the young former congressman from Michigan acknowledged that Reagan’s tax cut was “a Trojan horse” to cut the top tax rates for the rich.

“The supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down’,” Stockman admitted to Greider. "None of us really understands what's going on with all these numbers.”

The result of Reagan's tax cuts, without accompanying cuts in government spending, were rapidly rising deficits. The deficit created by those tax cuts got so large so fast in the early 1980's that Reagan himself reversed course and supported budget legislation restoring some of the tax rates.

"Trickle-down economics" is a pejorative terms that refer to the theory that providing tax cuts to the wealthy and tax benefits to conglomerate corporations will provide incentive to corporations and the wealth to great jobs for the rest of the society and thus indirectly benefit the broad population.

Lesley Stahl comments on her interview with David Stockman.

The "trickle-down" term is attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said during the Great Depression of the 1930's that "money was all appropriated to the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy."

Stockman is back with essentially the same message as he delivered in that 1981 Atlantic magazine interview.

On a CBS 60 Minutes interview of David Stockman by Leslie Stahl in October 2010 Stockman said that Americans need to pay more taxes: