U.S. Politics

9th And 10th Companies Drop ALEC

This is great news.  I hope this will have a domino effect and pinch a nerve or two in the ALEC machine.

Think Progress

Reed Elsevier — a personal information provider (of services such as Lexis-Nexis) — and American Traffic Solutions — a provider of traffic technology solutions— have become the 9th and 10th companies to drop ALEC.

Reed Elsevier stated that the campaign to highlight ALEC’s promotion of measures that disempower and disenfranchise minorities played a role in its decision. “We made the decision after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC,” said a Reed Elsevier spokesman.

American Traffic Solutions spokesman Charles Territo said his group’s decision not to renew its membership with ALEC “was based on how best to allocate our resources.”

To recap, here is the list of companies that have dropped ALEC so far:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mars, Inc.
Arizona Public Service
Reed Elsevier
American Traffic Solutions

Zaid Jilani reports that, while complaining about “bullying” and “intimidation” by others, ALEC is “apparently deleting comments on its Facebook page that are critical of the corporate front group.”

U.S. Politics

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pull support from ALEC

ThBillionaire Bill Gates. Image via AFP.e American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is having a very bad week, thanks to Color of Change and other groups…

The Raw Story

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday vowed to withdraw financial support for the American Legislative Exchange Council, an influential conservative nonprofit that drafts model bills for legislators.

The foundation contributed more than $375,000 to ALEC in the past two years, according to Roll Call.

“We have made a single grant, narrowly and specifically focused on providing information to ALEC-affiliated state legislators on teacher effectiveness and school finance,” said Chris Williams, the company’s spokesman.

Though the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was formed almost 40 years to organize conservative state legislators and allow them to share and replicate one another’s legislative ideas — and has been “soliciting more input from private sector members”about what is good for them for more than 20 years — it wasn’t until recently that it attracted almost any scrutiny for its promulgation of everything from Stand Your Ground laws to voter ID to business-friendly tort reforms to Arizona’s controversial immigration law to privatizing public education. That increased scrutiny may have just started to get costly for ALEC.

Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Color of Change, and several other groups have begun targeting influential sponsors of ALEC. Last week, Kraft Foods Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and Intuit Inc. announced they would no longer support the organization. Pepsi dropped out of ALEC in January.

Color of Change has set its sights on another member of ALEC, the telecom giant AT&T.

“After hearing from us about ALEC’s involvement in voter suppression, major corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Kraft have done the right thing and decided to stop funding the group,” Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change, said Monday. “But despite numerous letters, emails and telephone calls from ColorOfChange, AT&T seems unconcerned their dollars are helping to suppress the black vote, support shoot first laws and undermine our democracy. It’s time that At&T hears the voices of people all across the country who expect better.”

Color of Change strategy director and head of the anti-ALEC campaign Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte last week told Raw Story that transparency is the best weapon of progressives and consumer advocates.

Color of Change, he said, plans to continue its campaign to publicly expose companies who still support ALEC. The group intends to mobilize supporters through a combination of email and social media.

Health Care Reform

Man Robs Bank of One Dollar

Someone once said that desperate times call for desperate measures.  However, I honestly think this fella took the phrase a bit too literally…

The Daily Beast

Richard James Verone allegedly walked into a bank and handed a note to the teller saying he was armed and demanding a single dollar. He then sat down and waited for the police to arrive. “He’s sitting on the sofa as you walk in the front door,” the teller said in the 911 call. Verone, who was unarmed, demanded such a small amount because he wasn’t interested in making money; he wanted to get sent to prison, so he could receive health care to treat a growth in his chest and two ruptured disks. “I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic, what I came up with,” Verone said in a jailhouse interview. “If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care, then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care.”  He appears in court June 28.

Read it at ABC News