southernstudies's blog

Stand up to Art Pope's Influence in Higher Education

Last week Art Pope was appointed by the UNC Board of Governors, the body that oversees NC's public university system, to the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions, which decides spending and academic priorities for the UNC system for the next 5 years. Joining Pope on this committee are a number of conservative political leaders, many of whom are strong allies of the Pope empire.

Big money influence has been disastrous in our political process, and now it is infiltrating higher education here in North Carolina. Stand up against the Pope network of hard-line conservative organizations and politicians who aim to move the state backwards. This Thursday (Sept. 27) at 11am, join NC State students and supporters of higher education by picketing Art Pope's speaking event at the Doubletree Hotel (1707 Hillsborough Street,Raleigh)

Art Pope's track record and intent is clear- he wants to cut budgets, raise tuition, and attack programs like Women's studies and African-American studies. Pope's past donations to higher education show that he is interested only in his own agenda, and not promoting a diverse educational system. For more information on Art Pope, see this flyer by Democracy NC.

RSVP to the event on Facebook and spread the word: Art Pope, hands off our higher education!

INSTITUTE INDEX: The truth behind Gingrich's false food-stamp claims

Cross-Posted From the Institute for Southern Studies Facing South Blog

With Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich erroneously claiming that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history," we take a by-the-numbers look at the food assistance program.

Fracturing democracy?

Cross-posted from the Institute for Southern Studies Facing South blog.

As the grassroots movement opposing the controversial gas-drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" racks up political victories, the industry embraces military tactics for dealing with its critics.

What I learned at my arrest at Troy Davis' execution

By Stephen Dear, cross-posted from Facing South. Originally posted at Huffington Post.

A few minutes before Troy Davis was scheduled to be poisoned to death in Jackson, Ga., on Sept. 24, I made the sign of the cross, took a deep breath and, with my friend Kurt, calmly stopped traffic and walked across the street into a phalanx of heavily armed police and SWAT officers at the gates of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison. We were surrounded.

"I am here to stop the execution of Troy Davis," I said.

Nationwide rallies aim to save U.S. Postal Service

Cross-posted from Institute for Southern Studies.

Rallies are scheduled for today in every congressional district across the nation in support of the U.S. Postal Service, which is facing a financial crisis because of past congressional action. Participants will be asking lawmakers to approve a bill that's been introduced to fix the problem.

In 2006, Congress passed a postal reform law that, among other things, required USPS -- a self-funded agency that receives no taxpayer money -- to pre-pay 75 years' worth of retiree health benefits within just 10 years. The mandate, which no other federal agency is under, costs USPS $5.5 billion a year -- and accounts for all of the Postal Service's $20 billion in losses over the past four years.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Exposing ALEC's corporate agenda

Cross-posted from the Institute for Southern Studies.

Number of model bills and resolutions crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council -- a nonprofit that promotes state policies advancing conservative causes -- that were released last month by the watchdog Center for Media and Democracy: over 800

Year in which ALEC was founded by a small group of conservative state lawmakers and free-market advocates: 1973

Number of state legislators that currently belong to the group: about 2,000

Number of corporations that are members: about 300

What can we do about disasters?

Hurricanes in the Gulf Coast. Devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. The news is filled with vivid stories of disasters, both sudden and -- as with the case of incremental global climate change -- slow-moving.

At first, the calamities are blamed on "Acts of God," natural events outside our control. But further investigation usually reveals how very human-made problems -- bad planning, thoughtless development, poverty, environmental degradation -- have made certain communities more vulnerable to destruction, or helped create the disasters in the first place.

Good news or bad news for the Gulf Dead Zone?

Cross-posted from the Institute for Southern Studies.

Last week, scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the Gulf Dead Zone -- an area of ocean unable to sustain sea life for much of the year -- had reached 6,765 square miles, roughly the size of New Jersey.

Believe it or not, that was considered good news. Over the last few decades, the Gulf Dead Zone has been steadily expanding. The biggest culprit is thought to be runoff of fertilizers from farms further up the Mississippi River, which drain into the Gulf and eventually fuel an explosion of algae that rob oxygen -- a process known as hypoxia -- from ocean waters.

At-risk Southern states dodge credit downgrade

Cross-posted from The Institute for Southern Studies

The last-minute debt ceiling deal reached last week by Congress and signed into law by President Obama wasn't enough to prevent Standard & Poor's credit rating agency from downgrading the U.S. [pdf] for the first time in history from Aaa to Aa+, a move that sent the stock market plummeting today.

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