GamePolitics notes that presidential campaigns are increasingly interested in turning the work of running for office into games. This isn’t exactly a new idea: Howard Dean’s campaign had a Dean for Iowa game, where you could allocate campaign resources, canvas, and wave signs for your candidate. But things like this are a shadow of actual engagement — they don’t actually get voters registered or voters out on election day — and they produce a shadow of the feeling of actually being part of a movement. If you want to turn campaigns into games that people are meaningfully invested in, you’ve got to go real-world rather than virtual, and to change the way you manage volunteers on the ground, or to provide alternate opportunities for volunteers. I’m no Jane McGonigal, but you could set up competitions to register the most voters with the fewest registration cards thrown out for problems with signatures or addresses, or do scavenger hunts where you only get clues if you’ve registered enough votes along the way. Any game would have to be organized to place high value on compliance with election law, and to provide appropriate training to player-volunteers. The problem with campaign work is that a lot of it is difficult and dull, oriented towards compliance rather than innovation — and for good reason, electoral law is not unimportant. So finding ways to innovate while also taking advantage of the experience and knowledge of folks who have kept the flame alive will be key not just to good experiences for new volunteers, but to keeping the process running in a way that’s genuinely useful to campaigns.
Yale University Students Protest Morgan Stanley Recruitment, Chant ‘Make Change Not Money’ | As the majority of America’s brightest college graduates head to Wall Street, Yale University students gathered at a Morgan Stanley recruitment event yesterday to urge a different path. Chanting “Make Change Not Money” in unison, more than 30 students “held signs and shouted for their fellow classmates to forsake a career in financial services in exchange for careers that could positively affect the lives of many people.” Though 25 percent of Yale students seek careers in finance, protesters called it “a waste of brain power” and held signs labeling it as a “Brain Drain.” “They could do so much more in this world,” said one protester told the New Haven Register. “I’m concerned that they’re not putting all of their talents to use.” (HT: @aterkel)
New Study Confirms Unique Challenges Of LGBT Seniors | A new study from the University of Washington reinforces the reality that LGBT older adults face many unique mental and physical health challenges. LGBT elders have higher rates of disability, depression, and loneliness and are more likely to smoke and binge drink compared to heterosexuals of similar ages. Lifetimes of victimization and discrimination contribute to poor health, and 21 percent of elders continue to hide their identities from health care providers for fear of being denied care. The good news is that LGBT elders are incredibly resilient, with 91 percent engaging in wellness activities and 90 percent feeling good about belonging to their communities. The results of this study jibe with the groundbreaking study conducted by the Movement Advancement Project last year on impacts of stigma on LGBT seniors.
Corporations Renew Push For Tax Holiday A Day After CBO Says It Would Have Negligible Effect On Job Creation
The coalition of corporations pushing for a temporary repatriation tax holiday on money that companies have stashed offshore renewed its efforts in a letter to Congress and the White House today, a day after the Congressional Budget Office released a study showing that such a holiday would have a minimal impact on job creation. Executives at Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco Systems, and Pfizer are among the 15 executives that signed the letter, which asserts that Congress can’t wait any longer to push the holiday through, the Wall Street Journal reports:
CEOs seeking a tax holiday on their overseas earnings are sending a not-so-subtle message to Congress and the White House: We can spend the money here in the U.S. or we can spend it over there.
In a letter released Wednesday, the CEOs write that “the simple truth is that the longer we wait, the more money will be spent overseas, and these foreign investments are unlikely to return to the U.S. even if our tax policies are changed to encourage domestic investment in the future.”
Just yesterday, the CBO found that the repatriation holiday would have the weakest effect on job creation of all the major policy proposals made by both parties.
That analysis echoes the effects of the last such holiday, which was also sold as a job creation measure. According to President Bush’s own economic advisers, however, the 2004 holiday “didn’t accomplish its stated goals of bringing jobs and investment to the U.S.,” as large corporations used the repatriated funds to pay dividends and purchase stock before actually cutting jobs and moving even more money overseas.
Flouting States’ Rights Principles, House GOP Pushes Radical Concealed Carry Bill | Today the House of Representatives debated the controversial “National Right To Carry Reciprocity Act,” which would give people with concealed weapon permits in one state the right to carry their guns to 49 other states, even if it violates local gun restrictions. Proponents of the National Rifle Association-backed bill see it as an easy way to circumvent states that mandate gun training and background checks. But the bill also pits conservatives against their professed pro-states’ rights principles, which is why one Republican, Rep. Dan Lungren (CA), voted against the measure on the Judiciary Committee. The legislation has 245 House sponsors and is expected to pass easily. Mayors across the country have opposed the House GOP’s efforts. A handy guide to states’ concealed weapons laws, courtesy of Politico:
‘The Lung Thing’: How Cass Sunstein And Bill Daley Convinced Obama To Let 7,200 Americans Die Every Year | A scathing investigation by the New York Times’ John Broder finds that White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs chief Cass Sunstein were the instrumental figures in killing stronger smog standards that would have saved 7,200 lives a year. Daley’s arguments that convinced Obama to reject EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s attempts to clean up Bush-era corruption were “straight out of the industry playbook,” Broder writes. Jackson “talked about how important it was to do this, the lung thing, the asthma thing, the kids’ health thing,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Bruce Josten complained to the Times. “This decision was made on the merits and not on politics,” Sunstein says.
CIA Unlikely To Follow GOP Presidential Candidates On Waterboarding | Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) sparked a little life in the torture debate last weekend when they said they would be willing to put waterboarding back in the interrogation toolbox. Their comments drew sharp criticism from President Obama, and particularly Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who said he was “very disappointed” in the candidates’ comments. But while the military forbids the use of waterboarding, CNN reports that the CIA also isn’t too keen on getting back into the torture business. As Robert Grenier, the former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center put it, “people in CIA would be very, very wary about going down this road under circumstances where it is not at all clear there is a political consensus behind the use of those sort of aggressive measures.” Another official said: “When you have years-long investigations into past practices, it’s unlikely that you want to spend a minute engaged in them.”
Discussing comparisons between living standards in New York and Ontario, Felix Salmon hits upon some of the inherent difficulties in making these kind of comparisons. I might add to his list that though U.S. states and Canadian provinces are important governance units, they’re not real economic units. He writes that “New York’s GDP is artificially raised by Wall Street — something which does little good for poor families upstate.”
That’s in part just because much of New York is so damn far from the financial district. New York’s number two city, Buffalo, is much closer to Ontario’s number one city, Toronto, than it is to NYC. But western portions of Ontario are closer to Minneapolis than they are to Toronto. It’s much more enlightening, I think, to try to look at cities and metropolitan areas than to these weird subnational units. How does the Greater Toronto Area compare to similarly sized American metro areas? I think you’ll see that quality of life comparisons end up depending a lot on what you care about. Toronto is, obviously, very cold compared to the similarly sized Miami. On the other hand, the murder rate is much lower.
Podcast: Steven Chu Defends Investments in Clean Energy; Navy Secretary Mabus Says Clean Energy Doubters are “Wrong”
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is going to be in the hot seat tomorrow when he testifies before a House committee investigating the Solyndra bankruptcy.
If Chu’s previous remarks to the press are any indication of what he’s going to say to Congress, he’ll be stressing the need for continued strategic federal investments in clean energy — after defending himself from accusations of political influence in the loan guarantee process.
In this week’s podcast, we’ve got a brief conversation with Secretary with Chu, who laments the political response to the science of climate change, and who reiterates his support for continued federal investments in renewables.
“Even in desperate times like the Civil War, the United States was spending money, giving subsidies to railroad companies to build the transcontinental railroad. That wasn’t free. The United States invested their resources in federal lands to generate land grant universities that would increase the productivity of U.S. agriculture and schools like the University of California Berkeley and MIT and Cornell. That wasn’t free. And so, when push comes to shove, yes we have to make tough decisions, but we never took our eye from the long view. We didn’t eat our seed corn, we didn’t sell our plow horse.”
Chu sets up our conversation with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who describes why the military can be a force for accelerating the commercial deployment of cutting-edge renewables.
Tea Party Nation Founder Calls Cain ‘Simply Clueless’, Tells Him To Quit | Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips eviscerated GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain following his infamous Libya flail, saying the former pizza mogul should drop out of the race. Phillips, who was a supporter of Cain, wrote, “I was wrong about Herman Cain“:
Forget the sexual harassment allegations. Forget [campaign aide] Mark Block’s gross incompetence. Herman Cain needs to leave the race because he is not qualified to be President.
The video is painful to watch. It is obvious Cain is in over his head and simply clueless. [...]
In the debate last Saturday night, Herman Cain’s foreign policy philosophy seemed to be, ‘I’ll surround my self with people who have a clue because I do not.’
Earth to Herman Cain. You cannot subcontract out the duties of President.