NDN Blog

Reaching Hispanics With Soccer

I think i'll leave this article without too much comment. In relation to the wisdom NDN's soccer campaign, i'd say it pretty much speaks for itself:


On soccer Sundays, Hispanic immigrants crowd parks across nation

By MATT REED Associated Press Writer

(AP) - COLUMBUS, Ohio-The buzz of a nearby highway can't drown out the yelling, the shouts in Spanish, the referee's whistle - the sounds of soccer being played on a weekend afternoon.

At Rhodes Park on any given summer Sunday, families and friends gather to watch teams with names such as Club Chiapas, Cantaranas or Quiroga - names that recall professional soccer teams or home villages in Mexico and Honduras.

As more immigrants settle outside the Southwest, Hispanic soccer is becoming more competitive and organized around the country and attracting interest from businesses looking to reach young Hispanic immigrants.....The secret is to reach Hispanics where they are, and they're gathering on the soccer fields, not at high-end malls.......


Wise Words from Ben Bernanke on Globalization

Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is off in Wyoming at the moment, at the Fed's annual economic pow-wow. Moving on from how wonderfully nerdy the cocktail chat must be, Bernanke gave a really very interesting speech about Globalization this afternoon. Its full of intriguing history lessons, and includes a fun quote from that noted sage of the global economy, Martin Luther.

The most interesting issue from NDN's point of view are the parallel's he draws between the current period of global integration, and previous analgous times in history. His lessons are particularily apt: 

A second conclusion from history is that national policy choices may be critical determinants of the extent of international economic integration. Britain's embrace of free trade and free capital flows helped to catalyze international integration in the nineteenth century. Fifteenth-century China provides an opposing example. In the early decades of that century, the Chinese sailed great fleets to the ports of Asia and East Africa... These expeditions apparently had only limited economic impact, however... Evidently, in this case, different choices by political leaders might have led to very different historical outcomes.

At a time in which the rise of protectionist sentiment is evident in America, we would do well to head his words. Integration made by policy can be so undone. But perhaps his third lesson is even more important at present: 

Social dislocation, and consequently often social resistance, may result when economies become more open. An important source of dislocation is that--as the principle of comparative advantage suggests--the expansion of trade opportunities tends to change the mix of goods that each country produces and the relative returns to capital and labor. The resulting shifts in the structure of production impose costs on workers and business owners in some industries and thus create a constituency that opposes the process of economic integration. 

This is wise advice for those around the President, including sadly his otherwise impressive new Treasury head, who think nothing needs to be done to help those currently not feeling the benefits from Globalization and Trade. As Robert Rubin has said recently, the case for trade is overwhelming, but its benefits must be broadly-enjoyed. The clear and present danger is that a globalization whose benefits are enjoyed by only a few cannot be sustained. Bernanke seems to understand this. We must hope his boss can be won round soon enough. 

Dick Cheney Takes Aim At The Slowing Economy

The economy isn't doing well. This we know. Figures yesterday showed ever more evidence of a housing slowdown. Stocks took a tumble as a result. Paul Krugman, noticing the same McMansion decline i discussed yesterday, took a swipe at housing gloom today. As if this isn't enough, today we had the most tellingly indicator of all. The Editorial page of the Wall St Journal ran had a big piece trying to put the housing decline squarley within the context of past monetary policy. Put another way, they judged the decline in house prices as sufficiently politically dangerous that they needed to try and find a way not to blame the President.

The Journal is now a key indicator of economic bad news. So wedded are they to Bush administration, that they feel compelled to defend even the worst performing parts of the economy. Amid mounting evidence of a slowdown, they returned last month to their concept of the "Dangerfield Economy", named after Rodney Dangerfield, and so coined because the economic expansion gets "no respect.' And recently their place on the fringes of mainstream economics has been confirmed by repeated denials of the Phillips Curve, the orthodox economic view that a short term trade off exists between growth and inflation.

Bottom line: if the WSJ says something isn't the President's fault, you can be almost certain it is. And if they say the economy deserve respect, its time to buy abroad. But - hey! - don't take our word for it. Ask Dick Cheny. Since its friday i thought it'd be ok to link to a fun report on Alternet claiming that our sharp-shooting Vice-President is busy moving his private wealth into foreign securities to avoid the coming downturn in the american economy. I'm not exactly sure what the piece means when it says "in markets that do not fluctuate based on the U.S. dollar". Any foreign denominate security must eventually be sold back to earn dollars, so their value depends on the exchange rate. Nevertheless, if the Vice-President thinks that the economy is in the tank, then perhaps the more aggressive reccesion forcasters might not be so far off?

"This is a Development for Democracy..."

Hat tip to Simon for pointing this my way... It's a great article in the Post describing political protest and activism in the Philippines using mobile text messaging... It is a facinating case study, as the Philippines mobile network is much more advanced than their land line Internet. The entire article is amazing, but here are some snippets...

"Cellphones and text messaging are changing the way political mobilizations are conducted around the world. From Manila to Riyadh and Kathmandu protests once publicized on coffeehouse bulletin boards are now organized entirely through text-messaging networks that can reach vast numbers of people in a matter of minutes.

The technology is also changing the organization and dynamics of protests, allowing leaders to control, virtually minute-by-minute, the movements of demonstrators, like military generals in the field. Using texts that communicate orders instantly, organizers can call for advances or retreats of waves of protesters.

This tool has changed the balance of political power in places where governments have a history of outmuscling dissent....

Every major Philippine political party and nonprofit group has a database of its supporters' cellphone numbers. Many use computers to automatically generate mass text mailings to those phones with news about issues or rallies or upcoming votes....

"Before, we had no choice but to keep quiet and listen to the president," Palatino said, still holding his tiny phone. 'This is a development for democracy.'"

They are in serious trouble

A front page Post piece this morning was devastating for the Administration.  In plain simple language it made the case that Bush was finally recognizing that our work in Iraq was in serious trouble, and if anything was much likely to worsen this fall. 

Also likely to worsen this fall is the economy.  Some say slowdown, some say recession.  Whatever happens, it is happening now, and will likely worsen as we approach November. 

It has been my belief for a long time that elections are fought primarily on peace and prosperity.  The sober reality for Republicans now is that on the two most salient issues facing the nation, the Middle East and broadly shared prosperity, their record has been dismal; and conditions are more likely than not to get a whole lot worse before the elections.  And there is very little Bush and company can do about it. 

Which is why this is shaping up not to be an anti-incumbent year, but an anti-Republican one.  All polling shows that people believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction and appropriately blame those in power, which in this case are the Republicans.  Few Democratic incumbents are endangered in Congress or in Gubernatorial races.  Meanwhile many Republican seats are in serious jeopordy in the Senate, the House and in Statehouses.  If it was an anti-incumbent year more Democrats would be in trouble.  They aren't. 

The tide has turned hard against the Republican Party.  And it is about to get a whole lot worse. 

The No Benefit Economy

Robert Reich packs a big brain in a small body. And he has been using it to good effect to explain the mystery behind public dissatisfaction with the economy. As you might expect, it doesn't really take all of Reich's grey matter to come up with the answer:

Rarely before in history has the American economy grown so nicely without most Americans sharing in the growth. Corporate profits are fatter than they've been in years. What corporations aren't using for investment they're awarding to their top executives or distributing to their shareholders. The top one percent of income earners, gleaning over $750,000 this year, are doing wonderfully well and are quite happy about the economy. The typical family -- with stagnant income, a house that's no longer a piggy bank, and higher fuel bills -- is not. Hence the real disconnect.

Obvious, when you think about it. Strange the President hasn't figured it out yet. Perhaps he is too busy with his faintly implausible summer reading list?

Republican learning curve on the new reality of bottom-up video

The front page of the San Francisco Chronicle has a column on the recent run of Republican gaffes now brought to the nation via user-generated video. The New Politics Institute’s Theo Yedinsky is quoted above the fold on the paper edition. The story recounts how Senator George Allen, Senator Conrad Burns, and Florida Congressional Candidate Tramm Hudson have blundered their way into the national spotlight by being caught on video saying dumb things that ordinarily would have gone unnoticed.

I do not think it is a coincidence that this is happening more to Republicans. It’s not because Democrats don’t (occasionally) say dumb things. It’s more that the phenomenon of bottom-up video is playing to progressive strengths. The progressive blogosphere is much more active, innovative and powerful than the conservative one. The Millennial generation, those young people who are most into video-blogging, etc., are also trending much more progressive. And progressive politicos are more attuned to the sensitivities of different groups because diversity and tolerance have been hallmarks of progressive politics for decades. I also think progressives, for better or worse, are more used to the rough and tumble of more open forums and debates.

So I think these early stages of the development of bottom-up video in politics will largely benefit progressives. The conservatives, as they tend to do, will be relatively fast followers and adapt to the new realities, probably by trying to maintain more control and throwing money at the problem. But for a while, the conservatives are going to be knocked around a lot. It will be interesting to watch.

Peter Leyden


Piolín among most powerful people in Southern California

In the Los Angeles Times' West Magazine, Eddie "Piolín" (or Tweety Bird) Sotelo ranks as one of the 100 (the 3rd youngest by my count) most powerful people in Southern California. His radio show, "Piolín por la Mañana", has an audience that "beats Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and Tom Joyner every weekday morning, according to Arbitron ratings" (Washington Post, April 30th, 2006). Once more, the power and potential of Spanish-language media is recognized. NDN, of course, has understood this since 2004 and continues to speak to Hispanics via our "Mas Que un Partido" media campaign.

Simon and Joe met with him in California. (Shameless plug: Piolín is holding his "Democratas Unidos" jersey, which you can order from us here)

West magazine writes:

Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo
Spanish-language deejay; 35, Los Angeles

When Congress threatened to crack down on undocumented immigrants, Sotelo—L.A.'s top-ranked morning deejay—gave organizers of a proposed pro-immigrant rally four hours on his program on KSCA-FM (101.9). Sotelo then worked with KBUE-FM (105.5) host Ricardo "El Mandril" Sánchez and others to pump up the volume. Urging protesters to carry American flags and to be peaceful, the deejays summoned half a million or more to L.A.'s streets.

Iraq: How much worse is enough?

Its a grim day in Iraq. But isn't every day? Perhaps the damning headline of the war is on the front page of this morning's Post - Bush's New Argument on Iraq: It Could Be Worse. I'm not sure how. The article is pretty devastating for anyone retaining a positive view of the war's future. I'm going to go along to this intriguing looking event at the New America Foundation at lunchtime - Moral Clarity and the Middle East: Long War, Wider War, or the Return to a Peace Process? - to see how much longer the long war can be expected to drag on. I can't think its going to be uplifting. I'll report back later. 



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