The OB Media Rundown for 3/13/12

Scholarship competition for best essays about the Occupy Movement open to students nationwide

More than $25,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school juniors and seniors who place in the regional and national competitions. All students must submit an essay about the “Occupy Movement” by March 31, 2012 to compete.

[This is a correction to an earlier Media Rundown article that incorrectly identified the competition as being only open to students in one state.]


Housing Crisis Pushed Black Homeownership Rate Below 1990 Level

During the housing crisis, Black and Latino homeowners were twice as likely to be foreclosed on. Indeed, in California Black and Latino homeowners are said to make up 50% of foreclosures but only 30% of homeowners.

During the housing crisis, the Center for American Progress found, there were huge racial disparities in the makeup of high-priced lending with banks targeting people of color. One of the banks that received a government bailout, was even accused of having steered people of color toward subprime loans. Undoubtedly, these dubious and racist banking practices led to the homeownership numbers we see today.

Watchdogs, unions, Occupy groups vow to expose corporate money in campaigns

Liberal interest groups, watchdogs and unions on Monday threatened to boycott, protest and publicly embarrass corporations that spend money trying to sway the outcome of the November election.

Gathered Monday at the Washington headquarters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the groups issued a call to arms for the 2012 campaign, vowing to aggressively challenge companies that contribute to super-PACs and 501(c) nonprofit groups.

“If you secretly contribute and scheme to buy our elections, we’re going to come knocking on your door,” said Aaron Black of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “And it’s not just going to be a couple of us. It’s going to be thousands of us. Everywhere you turn your head.”

Three Ways to Beat Corporate Giants

As Occupy and other movements across the world take up anew the question of how to combat corporate power, here are three good lessons from the front lines.

Rush Limbaugh Syndicator Suspends National Ads For Two Weeks

The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh’s incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.

A New Progressive Federalism [states’ rights]

It is a mistake to equate federalism’s past with its future. State and local governments have become sites of empowerment for racial minorities and dissenters, the groups that progressives believe have the most to fear from decentralization. In fact, racial minorities and dissenters can wield more electoral power at the local level than they do at the national. And while minorities cannot dictate policy outcomes at the national level, they can rule at the state and local level. Racial minorities and dissenters are using that electoral muscle to protect themselves from marginalization and promote their own agendas.

Progressives have long looked to the realm of rights to shield racial minorities and dissenters from unfriendly majorities. Iconic measures like the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act all offer rights-based protections for minorities. But reliance on rights requires that racial minorities and dissenters look to the courts to shield them from the majority. If rights are the only protections afforded to racial minorities and dissenters, we risk treating both groups merely as what Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan calls “objects of judicial solicitude rather than efficacious political actors in their own right.”

Americans find ways to support undocumented immigrants


In Alabama and Mississippi, immigration reform is at the forefront of political debates. Controversial laws that limit opportunities for immigrant students in several Southern states have prompted immigrant allies to develop a 21st century “underground railroad” of assistance for their undocumented neighbors.

As eco-terrorism wanes, governments still target activist groups seen as threat

Ben Kessler, a student at the University of North Texas and an environmental activist, was more than a little surprised that an FBI agent questioned his philosophy professor and acquaintances about his whereabouts and his sign-waving activities aimed at influencing local gas drilling rules.

“It was scary,” said Kessler, who is a national organizer for the nonviolent environmental group Rising Tide North America. He said the agent approached him this past fall and said that the FBI had received an anonymous complaint and were looking into his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” The bureau respected free speech, the agent told him, but was “worried about things being taken to an extreme level.”

Even as environmental and animal rights extremism in the United States is on the wane, officials at the federal, state and local level are continuing to target groups they have labeled a threat to national security, according to interviews with numerous activists, internal FBI documents and a survey of legislative initiatives across the country.

New Occupy in West Seattle will hold first rally

Locally Occupy West Seattle has been percolating for a few months now and on March 13th, 2012, the movement will deliver its first rally. Calling it their “birth,” the movement has chosen to introduce itself on March 13th for several reason all of them surrounding CHASE Bank.

Group for nuclear safety marches past Pilgrim Sunday

Members of Occupy Cape Cod lent their support, signs and voices at Sunday’s Nuclear Safety Rally and Fukushima Memorial Walk on Sunday in Plymouth. organized the protest walk past the Pilgrim nuclear reactor on Rocky Hill Road to Plymouth Rock on the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The group advocates for more safety regulations at the plant.

Prosecutors subpoena Occupy protester’s tweets

The subpoena seeks all of Rae’s tweets from Sept. 15 — two days before the Occupy movement began in downtown Manhattan — through Oct. 31, along with account and contact information for Rae. The subpoena, which Twitter emailed to Rae, is dated March 8.

A faxed cover sheet posted by Rae indicates that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office subpoenaed Twitter for five different user accounts. It was not immediately clear whether the other four are also Occupy defendants, though in January, prosecutors filed a subpoena seeking similar information from Malcolm Harris, another arrested protester.

Cincinnati, Occupy protesters strike deal

The city of Cincinnati dismissed 300 criminal cases against Occupy protesters Monday while the protesters ended a federal lawsuit against the city.

The agreement between the city and Occupy Cincinnati protesters drew praise from local legal experts, civil rights lawyers and Occupy Cincinnati members, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The agreement designates a section of Piatt Park, a small downtown park where Occupy members were cited and arrested last fall, as a 24-hour public space for one year beginning 10 p.m. March 19.

High School Students Suspended For Organizing Walkout To Support Higher Teacher Salaries [MD]

Four Northwestern High School students were suspended this month after they organized a walkout to support increased teachers salaries and improve the quality of education.

Now, a community meeting is planned to address concerns about the principal Edgar Batenga’s response to the demonstrations.

Community leaders and even Occupy protestors argue that the students’ rights were violated and are demanding the suspensions be removed from their permanent record.

Occupy protesters greet General Electric CEO Immelt at Stanford dinner

A small contingent of Occupy Stanford protesters made their voices heard at a dinner Friday night, where General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt was the keynote speaker.

The four Occupy protestors held one large sign outside the Stanford University alumni center, where guests and supporters of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research were gathered at a reception before dinner.

The protesters’ sign read, “GE, here is a bright idea, pay your fair share of taxes.”

Rally in Ithaca calls for a livable wage for all workers

Wedged into Bank Alley and chanting “we are the 99 percent,” labor groups, politicians and everyday citizens gathered in solidarity on The Commons Monday, clamoring for a raise to not just a new minimum wage, but to a livable one. The rally called on New York state to adopt a living wage of $12.78 an hour, saying a minimum wage cannot cover a worker’s basic needs.

Occupy protesters arrested after taking on Chase Bank

Police said Occupy Atlanta protesters disrupted the operations of five separate Chase Banks in two counties, leading to more than a dozen arrests.

Occupy Movement Takes on Foreclosure Fraud [CA]

Occupy demonstrators are adding on a new plight to their cause, this time they want justice for California’s Homeowners affected by foreclosures. ” Bringing attention to foreclosure fraud, letting people know that there is a lot of fraudulent behavior going on in these foreclosures,” said Chico Occupy Spokesperson Tammy Wichman.

The movement hit clerk recorder and district attorney offices throughout California on Monday. Demonstrators are asking for a foreclosure moratorium. They also ask that audits be performed on foreclosures to investigate for fraud.

Occupy protesters demand action on foreclosures in Sonoma County

Members of the Santa Rosa and Petaluma Occupy movements on Monday urged District Attorney Jill Ravitch to investigate what they consider widespread fraud in property foreclosures.

“We see the county recorder and the district attorney as an ally for us trying to stop these illegal foreclosures,” said Tim Nonn of Petaluma, an organizer of the protest. “All we are asking for is justice.”

Ravitch agreed to review documents provided by protesters, but stopped short of promising an investigation.

Colorado Progressive Coalition and Occupy Denver launch foreclosure action week

The issue of foreclosures is one the Colorado Progressive Coalition has remained involved with for two and a half years — though many of its members can put that number to shame. So as House Bill 1156 nears the chamber’s economic and business development committee hearing tomorrow, CPC,, Metro Organizations For People and Occupy Denver have launched a week of action in support of the regulations it could impose on foreclosures statewide.

Homeowner takes message to Occupy Helena

After nearly losing her home to foreclosure in February, Donna Peterson of Helena filed suit against Bank of America. Now she is giving advice to others in the same situation.

She shared her story on Sunday during an “Occupy Helena” dialogue series and gave advice to those in similar housing foreclosure situations. Peterson told those in attendance not to give up if they’re facing foreclosure.

Peterson says she is using the Occupy movement to help get her message out.