In the News

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down strict limits for money contributions and spending for state political campaigns, dealing a setback to advocates of campaign finance regulation.

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But the Alliance's approach to long-term funding also suggests the promise of a significant change in the way the left is funded, one that many say is long overdue.

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Given that progress, some politicians and social observers say, the Voting Rights Act has outlived its usefulness. It's time to let it die, they say.

"First job. First house. First child. These 'firsts' traditionally signal the arrival of adulthood. Today we can add dodging debt-collection calls and filing bankruptcy to the list," writes Draut.

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For Callahan the problem of corruption in politics and business is a symptom of a wider cheating culture. He pointed to many other areas - including employees stealing from their employers, tax evasion and dishonestly in professional sports - where he said cheating was rife.

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Over 4 million Americans-mainly poor, black, and Latino-have lost the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws. In Conned, Sasha Abramsky investigates the impact these laws had on the 2004 Presidential election.

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The American dream has changed. It used to be a college education, a steady job, a nice house (and a family to fill it), and a better financial picture than what your parents had.

There is a new American dream that is still about "doing better than your parents," but not in a financial sense. This dream is about fulfillment.

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HAVA also created the concept of "provisional ballots," to be used when voters thought they should be allowed to vote but were not on the list--an important step towards universal same-day registration that is the norm in many democratic countries. Unfortunately, Demos, a leading voting rights organization, found evidence that some states ignored both the spirit and letter of HAVA's provisional ballot requirement.

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"It's discouraging that we can't make our political statements independently," said Stuart Comstock-Gay, executive director of the National Voting Rights Institute. But, he added, placing strict restrictions on political activity is a condition of many organizations, including non-profits, who wish to maintain neutrality.

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"Acceptance of status quo is one of the reasons I wanted to write this book," said Draut, who spends her day job researching economic security and the middle class with Demos, a national think tank in New York City. Draut recognizes that the challenges facing young people are "really at a tipping point where people are realizing it's too much."

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The Mills Campanil