Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Investing in YOUR Future

These days, it seems like young people have enough on their plate: unemployment, health insurance, mounting personal debt. Couple that with an economy in crisis, and it seems like the financial well-being of an entire generation is in jeopardy.

To help remedy these problems, Mobilize.org and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation will convene a grant summit in Chicago from November 18-20, called Exploring the Millennial Generation’s ROI [Return on Investment]. After all, coming up with creative solutions to our economic problems requires a substantial initial investment of passion, time, and money... And as any seasoned investor will tell you, any good investment should result in a great payoff!

We have to come up with sustainable solutions that will:

a) utilize the strengths and resources of the Millennial generation
b) establish creative new ways for Millennials to achieve financial health
c) generate a substantial return on investment - both financially and socially

So put your thinking caps on – Mobilize.org will be awarding grants up to $25,000 for great ideas that “begin to address the the barriers preventing our generation from achieving financial health.” Declare Yourself will be there – will you?

Visit Mobilize.org for more info and APPLY before October 17th. Email info@mobilize.org or call 202-736-5703

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bloomberg Supports Voter Registration Modernization

Last week, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced “Easy to Vote, Easy to Run,” his new plan to modernize the registration and election system.

Though many of the plan’s proposals might seem far-fetched, some are very simple and easily implemented. Some highlights include:

− A “Democracy Index,” which will measure the effectiveness and preparedness of election administration in different areas of the city. Metrics will include: registration, length of lines at the polls and how long it takes for votes to get counted.

311: New York City’s new Official Voting Hotline – where city residents can get all of their voting questions and concerns taken care of: “Where do I go?” “How do I get an absentee ballot?” and “I was a victim of voter fraud!”

Support for National Voter Registration Modernization, which would help boost voter participation and cut down on administrative costs.

Support for Weekend Voting, an initiative sponsored by Reps Herb Kohl (WI) and Steve Israel (NY), which would change voting day from Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday.

In addition, Bloomberg’s proposal would also make it easier for everyday Americans to run for office by:

− Lowering the number of signatures required to get a spot on the ballot

− Opening up the petitioning process so that Independent voters can nominate candidates of their own via the petitioning process.

Many of these proposals are quite vast in scope, but efforts like these show that our politicians are well aware of the problems with the current electoral system and are doing their best to correct it.

Many of you are well aware of our own staunch beliefs in support of Voter Registration Modernization (VRM). Over the next few years, we hope to work alongside other like-minded organizations to raise awareness for this cause and build the infrastructure and legislation needed to make sure every vote counts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembrance and Service

"The anniversary of 9/11 is always a very personal day of sadness and reflection for me and my family, but it can also be a day when the nation comes together to embrace once more the spirit of compassion that helped our family and the entire 9/11 community see us through the very dark days following the attacks. Rightly so the anniversary of September 11 will finally become a national day of service and remembrance and such a designation not only pays appropriate tribute to those who were lost and those who rose in service, but also provides a constructive and meaningful way forward for our nation."

Jay Winuk, co-founder of MyGoodDeed, and brother of volunteer firefighter Glenn, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower.

To participate in remembrance of the victims of September 11, 2001 by taking part in national service today or this weekend, search for local opportunities here.

Activism and the internet: youth presence is pronounced, growing

While democratic involvement is still rooted in the upper and middle classes, it seems that the millenial generation's online engagement may be breaking through socioeconomic lines. In a study released by the Pew Internet Project based on surveys conducted this August, respondents reported an interesting mix of figures related to activism and the internet. Historically, civic participation has a strong correlation with economic standing; those in the bottom one-sixth of all earners have voted at around half the rate of people in the top one-third bracket consistently since the 1940s. According to the report, the internet has yet to radically change this trend: those who earn over $100,000 were more than three times as likely to have participated in some online political activity than those who earned under $40,000.

Still, the report makes two important points. Firstly, political participation on social networking sites seems to transcend class lines:

Taken together, just under one in five internet users (19%) have posted material about political or social issues or a used a social networking site for some form of civic or political engagement. This works out to 14% of all adults -- whether or not they are internet users. A deeper analysis of this online participatory class suggests that it is not inevitable that those with high levels of income and education are the most active in civic and political affairs. In contrast to traditional acts of political participation—whether undertaken online or offline—forms of engagement that use blogs or online social network sites are not characterized by such a strong association with socio-economic stratification.
Furthermore, when the data of online activism was broken down by age group, the youngest cohort was overwhelmingly participatory:
Some 37% of internet users aged 18-29 use blogs or social networking sites as a venue for political or civic involvement, compared to 17% of online 30-49 year olds, 12% of 50-64 year olds and 10% of internet users over 65. It is difficult to measure socio-economic status for the youngest adults, those under 25 -- many of whom are still students. This group is, in fact, the least affluent and well educated age group in the survey.
Thus, the study implies that while socioeconomic status is still prevalent in determining political participation online or off, this may change as a new generation of internet-users grows older.

On another encouraging note, the report found that online activism doesn't just mean teenagers are engaging in simply clicking on Facebook links, In fact:
Those who use blogs or social networking sites politically are much more likely to be invested in other forms of civic and political activism. Compared to those who go online but do not post political or social content or to those who do not go online in the first place, members of this group are much more likely to take part in other civic activities such as joining a political or civic group, contacting a government official or expressing themselves in the media.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Secretary of Commerce

Name: Gary Locke
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Current City: Washington, D.C.
Job at time of appointment: Lawyer, Washington co-chairman of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's bid for president
Age: 59

A third-generation American with paternal ancestry from Taishan, Guangdong in China, Locke is the second of five children. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in political science in 1972, and went on to gain a law degree from Boston University School of Law.

After serving in the Washington house of representatives, Locke was elected the first Chinese American state governor in United States history in 1996. While some Democrats criticized the governor for his stringent no-new-taxes strategy, but he would become a favorite of the party and was even considered as a vice-presidential pick in 2004.

In a surprise move, Locke announced in July 2003 that he would not seek a third term. He went on to join an international law firm and to campaign for Hillary Clinton. On February 25, 2009, Locke was announced as President Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Commerce. His nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on March 24, 2009.