Background Briefing - Sunday, August 8, 2010


Dr. Marvin Weinbaum was the former Afghanistan and Pakistan Analyst at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US Department of State from 1991 to 2003 and is an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois where he directed the program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Dr. Weinbaum was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and held Fulbright Research Fellowships for Afghanistan and Egypt. He has authored numerous books, including The Future of Afghanistan. He has a new article entitled "Hard Choices in Countering Insurgency and Terrorism in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier" in the current issue of Journal of International Affairs.

Check out more of Dr. Weinbaum's books here.
Raj Patel is an award-winning writer, activist and academic. He has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. Patel has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the US House Financial Services Committee and is an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, he regularly writes for The Guardian, and has contributed to the LA Times, NYTimes.com, The San Francisco Chronicle and many others. His first book was Stuffed and Starved:The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and his latest, The Value of Nothing, is a New York Times best-seller.

Purchase his books here - for more information go to rajpatel.org

Barbara Ehrenreich is an American feminist, democratic socialist, and political activist, a prominent figure in the Democratic Socialists of America. In 2006, Ehrenreich founded United Pro- fessionals, an organization described as "a nonprofit, non-partisan membership organization for white-collar workers. She is a widely read columnist and essayist, and the author of nearly 20 books. Her book Bright-Sided was inspired by her personal battle with breast cancer - as a woman.

Purchase Bright Sided  here, or check out more of Ehrenreich's publications here. Check out her website for up to date information.

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Daily Briefing - Thursday, August 5, 2010

Part 1: Net Neutrality

Gigi Sohn is the co-founder and president of Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens' rights in the emerging digital culture. She has served as a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and as Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm that represents citizens’ rights before the FCC and the courts. In May 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Gigi Sohn its Internet “Pioneer” Award. She is a member of the advisory board of the Future of Music Coalition and the Center for Public Integrity’s “Well Connected” Telecommunications Project.

Sascha Meinrath directs the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative and he is the Research Director of the Foundation’s Wireless Future Program. He is also a co-founder of Measurment Lab, a distributed platform for researchers around the world to deploy Internet measurement tools, advance network research, and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. In addition, he coordinates the Open Source Wireless Coalition, a global partnership dedicated to the development of open source, low-cost wireless technologies.

Part 2: Politics in Africa (continuing fall-out from World Cup-related bombings in Uganda; new Kenyan constitution)

Nii Akuetteh is a policy researcher and analyst who specializes in monitoring how international affairs affect Africa and exploring the participation of African immigrants in US public policy. Previously, he served as Executive Director of African Action in Washington, DC, he was the founder of the Democracy and Conflict Research Institute in Accra, Ghana and the Soros-funded grant-making foundation OSIWA. He also served as an aide to Randall Robinson directing a research affiliate of TransAfrica during the US anti-apartheid movement.

Part 3: Public participation in local politics (Corrupt Congresspeople and council members and the role of low voter turn-out and little press coverage)

Robert Stern is President of the Center for Governmental Studies. He began drafting and analyzing political reform laws as a staff attorney for the California Legislature’s Assembly Elections Committee; he then served as the Elections Counsel to the California Secretary of State’s office. He has drafted numerous state initiatives, was the principal co-author of California’s 1974 Political Reform Act, adopted by 70% of California’s voters, and was a principal drafter of the City of Los Angeles’ Ethics and Public Campaign Financing laws in 1990. Prior to joining the Center for Governmental Studies he served as the first general counsel of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

Daily Briefing - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8, Boycotting Target and the U.S. pulling troops out of Iraq.

NYU Professor of Politics, David Phillips gives us his input on Iraq.

Ilyse Hogue speaking of boycotting Target.

Tobias Wolf (professor of Pennsylvania Law School) about Prop 8

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Daily Briefing - Tuesday, August 3, 2010

William Gale is a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He also directs their Retirement Security Project, co-directs the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, and is the Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy. Prior to joining Brookings he was an Economics professor at UCLA and a senior staff economist in the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H. W. Bush. His books include, Taxing the Future: Fiscal Policy in the Bush Administration ; Aging Gracefully: Ideas to Improve Retirement Security in America and Economic Effects of Fundamental Tax Reform .

Charles Kennedy is a professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University, where he directs the Middle East and South Asia Studies program. He has been researching and writing about South Asian political and governmental systems since 1975, and has conducted extensive fieldwork in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. He served as the Director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies from 1988 to 2001. His books include Government and Politics in South Asia; Pakistan: 2005; and Pakistan at the Millennium.

David Enders is the author of Baghdad Bulletin, an account of his reporting on the American occupation of Iraq. He has reported and produced from the Middle East, Europe and the US for outlets ranging from Al Jazeera English to The Nation to The New York Times.

Alaa Majeed is an award-winning Iraqi journalist who has worked for Al Jazeera and McClatchy in their Baghdad bureaus, in addition to reporting for other news organizations. In 2007, she won the “Courage in Journalism” Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. She currently works as a reporter and does research for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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Daily Briefing - Tuesday August 31, 2010

Raed Jarrar is an Iraq-born architect, blogger, and political advocate. He currently lives in Washington, DC where he is the Iraq consultant for the American Friends Service Committee and a Senior Fellow at Peace Action. He first gain international prominence as the person referenced in the blog, “Where is Raed?” which was written from Baghdad by the pseudonymous author Salam Pax while the US invaded Iraq. Jarrar and his family compiled their own posts in the book, The Iraq War Blog, An Iraqi Family’s Inside View of the First Year of the Occupation. In 2003, he worked as the country director of CIVIC Worldwise, the only door-to-door civilian casualties survey in Iraq. He also founded Emaar, a non-governmental organization that carried out humanitarian and reconstruction work in Baghdad and southern Iraq. He has an article today on truthout.org titled, “Obama’s Iraq Speech: Don’t Expect Him to Say the War is Over.

Amjad Atallah Co-Directs the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation. Previously, Mr. Atallah headed Strategic Assessments Initiative, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing legal and policy assistance to parties involved in negotiations in conflict and post-conflict situations, where he worked on international policy and advocacy efforts of the Save Darfur Coalition, advised the Kosovar constitutional process, and prepared scenario planning exercises for the Palestinians and Israelis. Prior to that, Mr. Atallah advised the Palestinian negotiating team in peace negotiations with Israel on the issues of international borders, security, and constitutional issues, and served as their liaison to U.S. government officials in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Levy is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Policy Initiative of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He was the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative and directed policy planning and international efforts at the Geneva Campaign Headquarters in Tel Aviv. Previously, Mr. Levy served as senior policy adviser to former Israeli Minister of Justice, Yossi Beilin, and under the Barak government he worked in the prime minister’s office as a special adviser and head of the Jerusalem Affairs unit. He was a member of the Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations with the Palestinians in January 2001, and of the negotiating team for the “Oslo B” Agreement from May to September 1995, under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.