Joe Garcia Goes to Energy, Other NDNers in the Administration

Yesterday the White House announced that long time NDNer Joe Garcia had been named to be the new Director of Minority Economic Impact at the Department of Energy.   We of course are proud of Joe, and look forward to working with him closely in the exciting days ahead. 

Joe joins other NDN alums in the new Administration.  Former NDN Advisory Board Members Ron Kirk, Ken Salazar, Adolfo Carrion and Karen Kornbluh are now United States Trade Representative, Secretary of the Interior, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs and Ambassador to the OECD.   Both Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and the new Ambassador to India Tim Roemer were active with NDN during their days in the US House.  NDN and New Policy Institute authors and collaborators Alec Ross, Tom Kalil and Kenneth Baer are now Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Innovation, Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Communications Director for the Office of Management and Budget.  And former NDN intern and staffer Patrick Dillon is now, excitedly, Deputy Political Director in the White House itself.

As NDN matures it has been very gratifying to see people we have collaborated closely with rise to positions of influence throughout the government and center-left politics.  There is certainly a longer list I could site today - including former NDN Board Member Kirstin Gillibrand, now Senator from New York - but for now I will sit back, thank and congratulate the talented group of NDN friends who are serving the country at this time of great challenge - and heartily wish them well.

Al From, the Old Warrior, Steps Down

News came this week that Al From, the CEO of the DLC, is stepping down after 24 years at the helm. As he looks backs at those years, Al certainly has a great deal to be proud of. The DLC was instrumental in mounting the first sustained, center-left intellectual and political response to the rise of modern conservatism, and was central to crafting the argument that became the core of Bill Clinton's inspiring campaign and successful Presidency. The language, arguments and analysis of those days, while they are perhaps not as fresh as they once were, are still are very much alive and still influential in today's Democratic Party.

There is a strong argument to be made that the DLC has been the most influential think tank in American politics over the past generation. Some may argue that the Heritage Foundation did more for the conservatives than the DLC for the center-left. However you come down on that one, what we do know is the DLC helped set in motion a period of party modernization that has helped the Democratic Party finally, in this last election, led by Barack Obama, overcome the potent and ultimately ruinous rise of the New Right and become once again America's majority party.

But as an alumnus of the DLC, I can say that I think Al From's greatest legacy may not be the Clinton Presidency or the many politicians the DLC has helped over the years. Al's lasting legacy may very well end be in the intellectual leaders he helped train, and the many DLC-inspired institutions these leaders have gone on to create. The Third Way, NDN, Democracy Journal, Education Sector, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the newly independent Progressive Policy Institute and of course, the new DLC under Bruce Reed, can all trace their lineage back to Al From and the DLC. Al helped birth a Presidency, but he also helped spawn many vibrant institutions who will be in their own way carrying on his mission for years and perhaps generations into the future.

His argument that "ideas matter;" his understanding of the need to revitalize the great progressive tradition which had lost its way; his own entrepreneurial spirit, and intolerance of lazy compromise, helped inspire not just a President, but thousands of elected officials, writers, thought leaders and next generation progressive entrepreneurs. While I had my differences with Al over the years, I for one hope that he looks back with bountiful pride at the dynamic, modern and successful 21st century progressive movement and Democratic Party in place today, ones he very much helped architect and create.  

From those of at NDN, we thank you, Al, for your years of passionate service, and wish you good luck in this next chapter in what has been a full life, hard fought and well-lived. 

Dispatches From A New Political Era

I've been in Washington for 16 years now, coming as many did with President Clinton back in 1993.  I have seen a lot of changes in my time here, but the rate of change we are witnessing today is breathtaking.  Just take a look at a few of the headlines today from a vastly changed political and societal landscape:

Economy Shrinks at Staggering Pace

Obama Announces Iraq Withdrawal Plan

AIG Faces Possible Breakup

Part of Denver's Past, the Rocky Says Goodbye

Broadcast TV Struggles to Stay Viable 

Obama's Greenhouse Gamble

Top Officials Expand Dialogue on Race

Playing With Fire In Pakistan

'Great Society' Plans for the Middle Class

The Bill That Could Break Up Europe

There are large and systemic changes underway here in the US and around the world. 20th century challenges, institutions, ideologies, economics, media and even racial understanding are being swept away.   A new global political era is surely emerging now, unfolding in front of us, one that our new President is both responding to and attempting to shape.  The President's ambitious budget this week was itself the most powerful examples of how much our politics is in the process of changing.  

I end my quick morning post with an excerpt from Joe Nocera's column from the New York Times today.  Nocera has been writing as intelligently as anyone about the financial and economic crisis, and this column, Propping Up A House of Cards, is an absolute required read: 

Next week, perhaps as early as Monday, the American International Group is going to report the largest quarterly loss in history. Rumors suggest it will be around $60 billion, which will affirm, yet again, A.I.G.'s sorry status as the most crippled of all the nation's wounded financial institutions. The recent quarterly losses suffered by Merrill Lynch and Citigroup - "only" $15.4 billion and $8.3 billion, respectively - pale by comparison.

At the same time A.I.G. reveals its loss, the federal government is also likely to announce - yet again! - a new plan to save A.I.G., the third since September. So far the government has thrown $150 billion at the company, in loans, investments and equity injections, to keep it afloat. It has softened the terms it set for the original $85 billion loan it made back in September. To ease the pressure even more, the Federal Reserve actually runs a facility that buys toxic assets that A.I.G. had insured. A.I.G. effectively has been nationalized, with the government owning a hair under 80 percent of the stock. Not that it's worth very much; A.I.G. shares closed Friday at 42 cents.

Donn Vickrey, who runs the independent research firm Gradient Analytics, predicts that A.I.G. is going to cost taxpayers at least $100 billion more before it finally stabilizes, by which time the company will almost surely have been broken into pieces, with the government owning large chunks of it. A quarter of a trillion dollars, if it comes to that, is an astounding amount of money to hand over to one company to prevent it from going bust. Yet the government feels it has no choice: because of A.I.G.'s dubious business practices during the housing bubble it pretty much has the world's financial system by the throat.

If we let A.I.G. fail, said Seamus P. McMahon, a banking expert at Booz & Company, other institutions, including pension funds and American and European banks "will face their own capital and liquidity crisis, and we could have a domino effect." A bailout of A.I.G. is really a bailout of its trading partners - which essentially constitutes the entire Western banking system. 

UPDATE: NDN, America's Voice, NCLR Reiterate the Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year, the Message Goes Abroad

In keeping with our "new tools" theme, reporters in Mexico made use of our new live webstreaming capability and were able to watch our conversation on "Making the Case for Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year."  Our case is crossing borders, as a journalist from one of Mexico's most respected newspapers, El Financiero, writes in this piece.  The article elaborates on the two key points made by the speakers: 1) Immigration reform is vital in order to help revive our economy, and 2) legalizing those currently outside of the protection of American labor law will only help bring them into the system and generate greater revenue for the U.S. Treasury.

NDN, America's Voice, NCLR Team Up to Reiterate the Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year

Yesterday at NDN we heard from several experts, advocates, and strategists on the issue of immigration reform.  NDN President Simon Rosenberg was joined on a panel by Rick Johnson of Lake Research, Pete Brodnitz of Benenson Strategy Group, Janet Murguia of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and Frank Sharry of America's Voice.  Andres Ramirez, Vice President, NDN Hispanic Programs, moderated the discussion. 

Building on the great work by these organizations over the last few years, and the creation of the Immigration08 campaign, the meeting consisted of a vibrant - and very timely - discussion during which the panelists reiterated the reasons why our economy and American values require passage of comprehensive legislation to fix the broken immigration system this year.

NDN would like to thank America's Voice, NCLR, Lake Research Partners, and Benenson Strategy Group for their hard work and partnership on this issue.

Video of the event will be posted next week.  For additional information, please refer to the final slide in this presentation, which will take you important work completed by each of the participating organizations.

As NDN mentioned during the event, we are making the speakers' presentations available below.  Presentations in order of appearance: 

Simon Rosenberg, NDN

Rick Johnson, Lake Research Partners

Pete Brodnitz, Benenson Strategy Group

Additional Resources:

NDN - www.ndn.org
The Immigration Proxy Wars Continue, by Simon Rosenberg, 2/13/09
An Updated Analysis of the Hispanic Vote 2008, by Andres Ramirez, 11/13/08
NDN Polls on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Battleground States, 9/10/08
Hispanics Rising II, 5/30/08
Can Democrats Seize the Opportunity the Immigration Debate Offers Them? by Simon Rosenberg, 12/11/08

America's Voice - http://www.americasvoiceonline.org
www.immigration2008.org What the 2008 Elections Mean For the Future of Immigration Reform, by Frank Sharry, 1/28/09
A Prescription for Comprehensive Reform
The Facts About Immigration

NCLR - www.nclr.com
NCLR Position on Immigration Reform
NCLR Immigration Information
NCLR Immigration Basic Fact Sheet

New High-Tech NDN Event Space, Webcasting Capacity Launches Tuesday

On Tuesday NDN will be unveiling a new set of high-tech investments in our event space and web capacity.  For those coming to our space in the future you will find a whole new digital audio and video system, which will vastly improve the experience of our events.  It will also allow for us to use the web to bring remote participants into the event space through a new HD projector, making it much easier to tap into our network across the country to weigh in at the many events we do in DC. 

But the true impact of this new investment will be felt by those not attending our events. Our new system will allow us to bring high quality video and audio to those watching live on the web or watching a recording of the event later on our site.  It will also allow us to do web only events, even bringing in participants from remote locations to lead conversations and share their ideas.  All in all this new system will allow all our members and friends to better experience NDN no matter where they live, bringing our high-quality work closer and more frequently to you.  

This exciting new chapter in NDN's evolution and growth is possible because of you.  Late last year we made a special appeal to our members across the country, asking them to invest with us in this new project.  And you responded, donating more than $30,000 in just a few days.  This infusion of targeted capital allowed us to make this smart investment, helping us improve the NDN experience and reach many more people in a meaningful and powerful way. 

Look for a formal announcement on Monday on how to watch our two events this week.  It would be great if all of you could make time to watch these events even for 5-10 minutes and give us your feedback.   How does it look? Was the sound and video quality good?  How can we improve it in the coming days? 

So check back here on Monday for more detail on how to watch our events live, and please let us know how you think this targeted investment, made possible by you, is working. 

We will be testing this new technology on Tuesday at our event, New Tools for a New Era, and on Thursday, Making the Case: Passing Immigration Reform This Year.   We hope you will check them out, in person or on the web.  

And thanks again to all of you who have made this exciting opportunity possible.

NDN Backgrounder: Immigration Reform and the Growing Power of the Hispanic Vote

With debate over the recent vote in Congress on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) largely turning into a debate on immigration, we present much of NDN's key work on comprehensive immigration reform, the changing demographic realities of 21st century America and Hispanic electoral trends.

NDN Weekly: NDN on the Inauguration, the Stimulus & More

Welcometo the NDN weekly update e-mail! Be sure to check our Web site and our blog for new essays, videos, and other features on politics, the economy, and the world.


Simon on YouTubeBarack Obama took the oath of office last week, and we at NDN applaud him heartily on this great occasion. Simon reflected on this momentous day in two videos and posts. The first video reviewed our argument these past few years that a “new politics” is emerging in America, very different from the politics of days past. In the second video, Simon reflects on how the idea of race is changing in America, and how Obama’s election offers us a chance to redefine what race is in the America of the 21st century. In a third post, Simon makes the case the ethic of this new day might be described as “it's time just to put things right.”

NDN fellows and co-authors of Millenial Makeover Morley Winograd and Mike Hais took the inaugural occasion to urge our president to take advantage of the civic nature of the Millenial Generation, reduce ideological divisions, and bring all Americans together. Through his actions and through his words, Obama can-- and must-- unite this country once again.


Just before the inauguration of our new President, the House Leadership introduced its version of the economic recovery package. That day, NDN released this statement:

"President-elect Obama has made clear that this proposal should not only create more jobs, but do so in ways that will help drive the development of a real, 21st century workforce and genuine 21st century economic infrastructure," said Dr. Robert Shapiro, the Chair of NDN’s Globalization Initiative. "Investments in this 21st century economic infrastructure, such as increased broadband access, computers in schools, health information technology and provisions to green the federal government, are critical to increasing demand for the important technologies and skills that will in turn expand the nation’s capacity for innovation and economic growth."

NDN President Simon Rosenberg praised both the recovery package and President-elect Obama’s commitment to use TARP funds to help keep people in their homes.

"For years, NDN has argued that the central economic issue of our time has been the stagnating wages and incomes of everyday Americans, which led directly to the overleveraging of Americans' largest assets: their homes," Rosenberg said. "By pledging to use TARP funds to keep people in their homes, using part of the recovery package to stabilize the housing market, which is the root cause of the financial crisis, and targeting investments to create long-term prosperity, President-elect Barack Obama and the Congress have made a crucial commitment to focus America’s economic strategy on the well-being of everyday people."

"The new prominence of critical investments in clean technology and clean infrastructure in this package rightly shows that clean energy is no longer a marginal topic and now sits at the heart of America’s economic strategy," said Michael Moynihan, the Director of NDN’s Green Project, who has long argued for clean infrastructure investment. "The inclusion of $32 billion in clean technology investments at the center of this package is not only vital to addressing our short term crisis but also has the potential to power the next great wave of prosperity."

For more on NDN’s work promoting economic recovery, please see "A Stimulus for the Long Run," (pdf) an essay penned by Simon and Rob Shapiro, and "Acceleratingthe Development of a 21st Century Economy: Investing in Clean Infrastructure," (pdf) an essay by Michael Moynihan.


To find out what's new in the world of immigration reform, be sure to check out Zuraya Tapia-Alfaro's weekly immigration update. After U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid's statements on immigration reform on "Meet the Press" a few weeks ago, she follows his stance on reform during an interview with Spanish-language Univision on Al Punto. She highlights evidence that immigration reform is and will remain a top priority for Hispanics, as well as evidence of bipartisan support for reform. Zuraya comments on the recent GAO study finding that US Citizenship and Immigration Services did not adhere to certain accounting standards when developing its fee schedule, looks back on NDN’s participation in pre-inaugural events, and points to additional reasons why economic recovery and immigration reform go hand in hand.


President Barack Obama’s inauguration last week shattered records for U.S. Internet traffic. A full 60% of Americans watched the Inaugural ceremonies, and CNN said it provided 21.3 million video streams that day. In his weekly New Tools feature, Dan Boscov-Ellen takes a look at how the Web is changing our media consumption habits, and discusses the need to invest in our broadband infrastructure to bring more Americans into the 21st century.


NDN Fellows Winograd and Hais provided some context and insight into the generational implications of last week's inauguration in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, the Palm Beach Post, and the Orlando Sentinel. From the Chronicle:

Morley Winograd, an author and a fellow at NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy organization, says the Woodstock comparison is entirely appropriate. "This is their moment to demonstrate to America what they think America's future should be like," said Winograd. "They are going to celebrate that and underline it for all of America. Of course, the race relations breakthrough is huge, and the media will be focused on it ... but the generational difference, the moment the generational shift takes place, is also an important story."

Simon was quoted in the Financial Times and the Boston Globe on the challenges facing our new president. From the Globe:

"These are happy times for our politics, but a very tough time for the country," said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a progressive think tank. "There's both tremendous hope and a great deal of sobriety. People are having both of these feelings at the same time."

Simon was also featured in The Caucus, a blog published by the New York Times, talking about immigration reform.


CFO - NDN is seeking a CFO with four to five years of experience in financial management to direct and oversee all financial activities of the organization, including preparation of current financial reports and forecasts for economic trends and future growth. For more details, visit ourjobs page or contact jobs@ndn.orgfor more information.

Winter and Spring Interns- NDN is looking for interns to join our staff this winter and spring. If you or someone you know is interested in working at NDN during this exciting time, visit our internships page or contact jobs@ndn.org.

NDN Jobs

I <3 my jobSam here, writing with a reminder that you might be interested in working for NDN!

We're still taking applications for winter and spring internships.  See details here.

We're also looking to hire a CFO.  Details below, and more here.

Questions? Answers?  Write to me.  

Chief Financial Officer

Job Description:To direct and oversee all financial activities of the organization(s), including preparation of current financial reports and forecasts for economic trends and future growth

Essential Functions:

  • Oversee all accounting practices, budget preparation and audit functions
  • Meet regularly with president and department heads to keep informed and to offer direction
  • Prepare budgets and financial reports Direct financial strategy, planning and forecasts based on the financial reports and suggest methods for improvement
  • Supervise investment and/or raising of funds
  • Study, analyze and report on trends and opportunities for expansion and projection of future growth
  • Closely monitor cash flow with controller/bookkeeper


  • Master’s Degree in business administration, accounting, or finance
  • CPA designation preferred
  • 4 to 5 years of experience in financial management
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills
  • Knowledge of MS Great Plains accounting software preferred

The Census Confirms: The U.S. Increasingly More Southern and Western

On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau released its estimates of state-by-state population, which show a decades-long pattern continuing apace: growth in the country's Southern and Western states continues to out-pace that in the states of the Northeast and Midwest.  Sound familiar? Yes, that's because you heard it here first.  Since NDN began its analysis of the Hispanic electorate and the demographic trends nationwide, we concluded that our nation is becoming:






Some have criticized President-elect Obama for having a Western-heavy cabinet and administration, and while this might not have been intentional, it does reflect the demographic trends of the nation.  Finally, the Census data is important because it provides our first clues as to re-districting based on the 2010 Census - for example, Texas is expected to gain three House seats, Nevada will most likely gain at least one. Stay tuned as NDN continues its demographic analysis during 2009, in preparation for re-districting analysis. 

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