NOM Exposed: A Facebook Swarm -from Kevin Nix

A door just opened, one that allows all of us to further expose and challenge the homophobia of the National Organization for Marriage.

You may have heard about Louis Marinelli, NOM’s online strategist who recently resigned because he supports marriage equality. He took all of the organization’s 290,000 Facebook fans with him. They’ve just begun to rebuild a Facebook fan base from scratch.

Here’s where you come in. If everyone on this list – after holding your nose – friended NOM, pro-equality supporters would outnumber NOM’s current anti-equality supporters 6 to 1.

But you know what would really make an impact? Leave a comment on NOM’s Facebook posts. Let’s saturate their page with positive, fact-based pro-equality messages. Some suggestions:

-Marriage for gays and lesbians will do nothing to religious freedom. Houses of worship will continue to decide whether they want to recognize gay marriages, or not. We’re talking about committed gay and lesbian couples going down to city hall to get married.

-Gay couples want to make the public commitment of marriage – and be held accountable for that commitment .

-Credible polls show a majority of American Catholics actually support marriage for gay and lesbian couples. People in the pews do not necessarily agree with the Catholic hierarchy.

You can get more ideas for comments in our “Fact” section of But – please – don’t leave personal, ad hominem attacks. Don’t let them drag you into the gutter. No tit for tat. That gets us nowhere. We need elevated, positive conversation.

One last thing. The fight for marriage in New York is heating up. While HRC and other LGBT groups just launched a new campaign in New York. NOM has too and is trying to mobilize its people. If you live in New York State, become a NY NOMWatcher. We need more eyes and ears on the ground and online.

As always, thanks for your interest and engagement.

Kevin Nix

Director, NOM Project

Home equity loan rates for April 21, 2011 | 2011-04-21

Here are the average home equity rates from Bankrate‘s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts.

CD rates for April 21, 2011 | 2011-04-21

Here are the average CD rates from Bankrate’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts.

Credit card interest rates for April 21, 2011 | 2011-04-21

Here are the average credit card rates from Bankrate’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts.

National mortgage rates for April 21, 2011 | 2011-04-21

See rates from our survey of CDs, mortgages, home equity products, auto loans and credit cards.

Auto loan rates for April 21, 2011 | 2011-04-21

Here are the average auto loan rates from Bankrate’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts.

Is it ever OK to tap your 401(k)? | 2011-04-21

Only in very specific and highly limited situations should you consider tapping retirement savings early.

confederate history month …or something else ? Repost


From ThinkProgress


Last week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) “quietly declared April 2010 Confederate History Month,” calling on Virginians to, among other things, “understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War.” Notably absent from the proclamation, however, is any mention of slavery. McDonnell explained yesterday that he did not reference slavery because he focused on the issues that he “thought were most significant for Virginia.” Neither of Virginia’s previous two governors, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, declared a Confederate History Month. Republican governor Jim Gilmore, who served from 1998-2002, did issue such proclamations but acknowledged slavery as “one of the causes of the war” and a practice that “degraded the human spirit” and “is abhorred and condemned by Virginians.” For his final proclamation in 2001, Gilmore replaced Confederate History Month with “a tribute to both black and white Civil War combatants that expressly denounces slavery as the root cause of the four-year conflict.” Gilmore’s predecessor, Republican George Allen, started the practice of Confederate History Month. He didn’t include slavery in his proclamation and, under significant pressure from civil rights leaders, eventually apologized. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on April 12, 1997, Allen said, “Surely, I don’t want want to upset anyone. For those who are sincerely offended…I apologize.” The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer writes that McDonnell’s proclamation is “telling” because “it reveals which Virginians he feels are ‘significant.'”

Energy: The Costs Of Fossil Fuel Dependence

Reminding us all how dangerous the dependence on fossil fuel can be, yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico — the”greatest man-made disaster” since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center — which resulted in the loss of eleven men, crippled the livelihood of Gulf residents, and severely deteriorated the Gulf’s fragile ecosystem. A government-backed study found last month that the blowout preventer — a cutting device that shears and seals the pipe of a leaking well — failed on the Deepwater Horizon, resulting in the release of nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf. The detrimental effects of the BP disaster — such as its grave contribution to global warming — have prompted both retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who oversaw the Obama administration’s response to the disaster, to warn that [t]here’s no such thing as risk-free drilling,” and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) to question the safety of deepwater drilling in the Gulf. The month of April provides yet another grim warning of the perils of dirty energy: the one-year anniversary of the Massey coal mine disaster, which tragically claimed the lives of 29 miners. But just yesterday, on the BP disaster anniversary, Pennsylvania got a haunting reminder of the potential dangers of drilling for fossil fuels when a natural gas well blew, causing a major leak of fracking fluid — a mixture of sand, water, and undisclosed chemicals that pose significant threats to underground water supplies.

A YEAR AFTER THE SPILL: Breaking a one year moratorium on political donations, a campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday details BP’s campaign contributions to climate zombies House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the leader of the climate-deniers Fred Upton (R-MI) — among others. Noticeably, all but one of BP’s political contributions were for Republicans. After writing off the losses incurred from the tragedy they created, BP received nearly a $10 billion dollar credit on their 2010 federal tax return — compare that to the EPA’s annual budget of $10.5 billion in 2010. Moreover, the president of BP’s Alaska unit asked the state to lower its oil production taxes to boost investment in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Even worse, despite the country’s month-old civil war and confrontation with Western governments, BP is still planning to move forward with drilling in Libya. Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of BP’s $20 billion claims fund for victims of the spill, has faced sharp criticism for the slow pace of payments to Gulf residents, and has been found to be financially tied to BP, as documents show that BP pays Feinberg’s law firm $1.25 million a month for his services. Adding insult to injury, the Gulf coast ecosystem is still reeling from the disaster. The National Wildlife Federation reported this month that the BP disaster contaminated 3,000 miles of beach, wetlands, and that new “tar balls” are washing up on the shores every day. Sixty-five dead baby dolphins have been found in the Gulf region — five times higher than the average — and the National Audubon Society has warned that the spill continues to threaten many endangered migratory species< in the Gulf. As CAP warned last year, the impact of the spill on the health of Gulf region residents has also been quite noticeable. James Diaz, director of the environmental and occupational health sciences program at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, said that [w]e’re seeing patients who will come in and say my nose is bleeding all the time, my cough gets worse.” Diaz said that he knows “a lot about the acute health effects of the compounds in petroleum because it’s a major industry” in the Gulf region, and that he is “seeing a lot of” coughing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, nosebleeds, and sneezing — all symptoms of exposure to crude oil.

MINING BLACK DEATH: A federal probe concluded in March that a trapped piece of drill pipe stopped a key failsafe device from sealing off the blown oil well, which lead to a methane explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and its collapse into the Gulf of Mexico. With nearly a total of five million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, the BP disaster wreaked havoc on the environment, caused overall tourism and consumer spending to drop 40 percent, and is the world’s worst accidental offshore oil spill in history. The mining of coal has also brought devastation. A Mine Safety and Health Administration investigation found that the mixture of accumulated, highly explosive coal dust and methane gas set the stage for a blast of astonishing power in Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, which caused the death of 29 coal workers The Massey coal mine accident is the worst mining disaster in the US in the last 4 decades. But the accident came as no surprise, as four of Massey’s coal mines in 2009 had injury rates more than double the national average, Massey’s Freedom Mine in Kentucky was shut down by federal regulators, and even the Upper Big Branch mine — the location of the disaster — had more closure orders than any other mine in the nation.

SAFETY SACRIFICED FOR ENERGY: Oil and coal workers continually risk their lives for our dependence on dirty energy. “Coal mining is a dangerous profession,” CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez write, and results in “[e]xplosions, fires, and collapsed mine shafts [that] have killed at least 3,827 miners since 1968 — not to mention thousands of others who have suffered from pulmonary diseases and other work-related injuries.” Oil workers are not exempt from the danger, as “[t]here have been 77 fatalities and 7,550 injuries at onshore and offshore oil production facilities since 1968,” write Weiss and Vaquez. Totaling at 7.5 million barrels of oil, spills related to these accidents have wreaked havoc, causing billions of dollars of environmental and economic damage. Following the BP disaster, 101 oil-spill-related bills were introduced by the 111th Congress, but to date, zero have been enacted. And instead of hitting the brakes after the disastrous spill, House Republicans have accelerated the oil drilling permitting process in Gulf. Citing the resoundingly disproven concept that additional offshore drilling will lower domestic gas prices, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) has brought a bill to the House that ” would dramatically accelerate the permitting process in the Gulf of Mexico and require the Secretary of the Interior to open portions of the heretofore untouched outer continental shelf in the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific Oceans to more drilling,” writes CAP’s Michael Conathan. The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), on the other hand, advocates that oil companies use their thousands of existing, undeveloped leases in the western Gulf of Mexico first or lose them. Markey has also called for an immediate inspection of whether blowout preventers — cutting devices that seal the pipe of a leaking well and failed during the BP spill — could ever be counted on. And two bills introduced in the House and Senate would establish “legislation mandating 80 percent of BP’s Clean Water Act fines that will ultimately come due as a result of this spill—likely to total between $4.3 billion and $16.9 billion—be sent directly to the Gulf Coast to repair the damage done to both the environment and the economy,” writes Conathon. But West Virginia hasn’t fared any better, as the state has failed to pass any mine safety package after the Massey disaster. Finally, as Weiss and Vasquez point out, the US needs to make significant investments in “clean, noncombustible renewable energy sources” — such as solar panels and wind farms — citing that they “are much less susceptible to large, catastrophic disasters such as the Massey and BP Deepwater Horizon tragedies.”

Happy Earth Day! Take the eco personalit​y test! from RAN

What kind of environmentalist are you? What inspires you to action? For Earth Day 2011, we’ve devised a highly entertaining personality test to help you find out.

Whether you’re a lover of charismatic megafauna (i.e. fluffy animals) or a cycling fanatic with a taste for organic chimichangas, RAN’s Eco Personality Test will have you pegged in no time. And the best part? When you complete this 5-minute test, you get a big colorful sticker featuring YOUR eco personality in the mail. Yay, presents!

Take RAN’s Eco Personality Test and find out what kind of environmentalist you are!

RAN’s design mavens have brilliantly captured the iconography of each environmentalist in five custom coat of arms stickers. We hope you’ll brandish yours with pride. Happy Earth Day!

Take the Eco Personality Test!Get a free sticker featuring your personality type.

For the planet,

Jenn Breckenridge

Social Media Manager