When reporters exposed a massive wiretapping program and phone call
database orchestrated by the National Security Agency with apparent
help from a number of phone companies, many consumers felt rightfully
that their privacy rights had been violated.
The State of Vermont realized that Verizon and AT&T may be violating state consumer protection laws by handing over massive amounts of data to the federal government. Now their investigation into the privacy violations is being held up by a lawsuit filed by the federal government accusing the state of overstepping its bounds.
The information that Verizon and AT&T made consumer records available to the federal government was reported widely upon earlier this year.
In the groundbreaking film An Inconvenient Truth, Vice President Al Gore makes an impressive case that it is now essential that the world act to prevent the potentially catastrophic implications of global warming. The film could not come at a more critical time. While the planet warms, Washington dawdles. The nation's political elite remains mired in a debate manipulated by powerful energy interests.
Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted
to create a health care plan to provide health care coverage for the
85,000 uninsured residents of that city. While there are additional
votes needed to finalize the bill, with a unanimous vote and the
endorsement of the mayor, the proposed ordinance is expected to become
law with no problem.
Both Democratic candidates for Governor, federal candidates, and legislative candidates from both parties have either released their own plans for Health Care for All in Connecticut or expressed their support for the concept.
This week, the Supreme Court struck down Vermont's strict limits on
campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates. In a set of
fractured opinions in Randall v. Sorrell,
the Court did not put an end to all campaign finance limits but did put
a roadblock in the way of anything much more restrictive than most
present laws. So if there is going to be more serious reform to lessen
the power of special interest money in politics, the only real
remaining route to reform are systems of public financing of elections like Maine and Arizona.
The 2000 election sparked an interest in electoral reform. Paired with
a rising tendency among voters toward self-declared independence from
the two major parties and a new wave of reforms have started growing in
popularity across the country. In statehouses and in voting booths,
reforms are moving forward to give Americans more real options at the