US Elections

"Social welfare" groups spent $137 million on the 2010 elections.

An excellent write-up of the deplorable situation in state and local races, where a few large donations can easily tip the balance in an election, and the source of the funds can remain unknown to the voters.

The Supreme Court recognized the importance of publicly naming donors, so "citizens can see whether elected officials are 'in the pocket' of so-called moneyd interests."

Instead, the decision has fostered a whole new era of secrecy.

According to the USA Today Editorial, these "social welfare" groups spent $137 million on the 2010 elections.

Women in elected office in US from Rutgers research

For stats on women elected officials in US, State, and local categories see this research report from Rutgers for 2011.

For starters:

Women hold 73 of 435 Seats in the US House of Representatives, which is 16.8%. Women Senators hold 17 seats out of 100 seats in the US Senate.

In 2011 71 women hold statewide elective office in the US. Women hold 22.4% of 317 of these positions.

NOTE: NC is stronger in % of statewide offices held by women, but weaker in legislative seats held.

Only 6 of 50 NC Senate seats (12%) belong to women in North Carolina, but women in the NC Council of State include Sec. of State Elaine Marshall, State Treasurer Janet Cowell, and State Auditor Woods and others.

On Asking Experts, Part Two, Or, What's An LBGT Voter To Do?

It’s been a few days now since we began a conversation that addresses the issue of how frustrated some number of LBGT voters are with the Democratic Party this cycle; this because they find themselves either frustrated at the lack of progress on the civil rights issues that matter to them, or because they see both the Democratic and Republican Parties as unreliable partners in the struggle to assure equal rights for all.

In an effort to practice some actual journalism, I assembled a version of an online “focus group” at The Bilerico Project (“daily adventures in LBGTQ”), with the goal of gathering some opinions on this subject in the actual words of those frustrated voters.

Part One of this story focused on “stating the problem”, and today we’ll take on Part Two: in this environment, with Election Day staring us in the face, what is an LBGT voter to do?

As before, there are a variety of opinions, including a very informative comment I was able to obtain from a genuine Member of Congress, Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania’s 8th District, and that means until the very end you won’t hear much from me, except to help “set the stage” for the comments that follow.

On Angst, Or, We Meet A Tea Party Protester

So if you’re like me, you have been wondering just exactly what all this “tea party” stuff is about. There’s going to be some sort of protest, that we know; but beyond that the whole thing seems a little...vague.

Alternatively, it’s possible that you were unaware that “tea party” has recently become a word reborn in conservative political circles.

Well, whether you knew it or not, April 15th was indeed a day of protest, with citizens gathering for what were reported to be a series of grassroots events across the nation that was intended to invoke the spirit of the Boston Tea Party.

In an effort to find out exactly what is motivating these folks, and to find out what they are trying to accomplish, I took my handy recorder and captured a conversation with a “tea bag” protester.

We will review that conversation, and we will follow it up with a few thoughts about how this group of voters might impact electoral politics going forward.

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