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Kossacks - just a quick note to let you know that right now, Daily Kos sister-site Street Prophets is hosting a conversation between WaPo columnist EJ Dionne and Harvard theologian Harvey Cox on the Future of Faith, and the role of faith in the progressive movement.

Todd Gitlin is moderating the conversation, which is being streamed live from New York City.  EJ Dionne and Professor Cox will be taking questions from the online audience.  Head on over to Street Prophets if you would like to participate.  

In light of the recent debate brought up by the Stupak Amendment, this looks to be a timely discussion.  More details on the event below the jump.

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You've got to love young conservatives.  Stick them in front of a computer and hilarity ensues.  Whether it's gangsta raps about Ayn Rand, or this latest missive from the College Republican National Committee (emphasis mine):

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Cross posted from Future Majority.

A new report out of Southern Illinois University, delivered at the Harvard Political Networks Conference, attempts to quantify the use and effectiveness of Facebook support pages in the 2008 House elections: Explaining Facebook Support in the Congressional Election Cycle.

The report is a useful, if incomplete look at the factors behind  congressional campaign support on Facebook during the 2008 cycle.  It looks primarily at the advantages/disadvantages of money, incumbancy and district demographics.  Where it fails short (and the authors readily admit there is much more research to be done on this issue) is in how campaigns actually used Facebook to organize - via the "Events" function, cleaning up young voter lists, etc.  The effectiveness of those types of activities strikes me as much more useful data for campaigns staffers looking ahead to 2010.  

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Cross posted from Future Majority.

Writing at Roll Call, Stuart Rothenberg notes that Democrats are going to face an uphill battle in a number of districts during the 2010 midterms (an analysis recently backed up at Open Left by Mike Lux).  That's to be expected after 2 landslide elections.  What is unexpected about Rothenberg's analysis is his proposed solution for Democrats: maintain the interest of the youth vote and African Americans.

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I want to give a big shout out here on the blog to some excellent online organizing on the part of the Manhattan Young Democrats.  Those of you following the many gay marriage battles across the country will likely know that New York State Assembly recently passed a gay marriage bill, but that similar legislation faces an uphill battle in the state senate, despite the fact that Democrats now control the senate and the bill is supported by the Governor.

A few days ago, a diarist at the Albany Project, one of the most influential NY State Politics Blogs, threw down the gauntlet and called-out New York state advocacy orgs for pulling their punches on this issue and failing to put together a creative, coherent online strategy in support of the legislation.  Not one day later, the Manhattan Young Democrats rushed in to fill the void, launching a new website, New York Equality, and an online campaign to pressure swing senators to vote in favor of equal rights for all New Yorkers.

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Cross posted from Future Majority.

Aaron Marks of Next Gen GOP wrote a piece this week (currently featured on The Next Right) calling on GOP Chairman Michael Steele to include more young people in the party ranks, and create a GOP equivalent to the DNC Youth Council.

Marks is right to be worried about the lack of outreach to young voters on behalf of the Republican Party.  As a new report by the Center for American Progress (pdf), compiled from over a dozen sources, makes clear, failure to do so is political suicide for the GOP:

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I've written multiple times, on many different blogs, about the need for fundamental voter registration reform.  Normally I make that case on behalf of the young voter/voter registration community.  The most recent data from CIRCLE put young voter turnout in 2008 at 51.1% - one of the highest rates ever, yet still lower than any other portion the electorate.  But we also know that upwards of 80% of all registered young voters actually make it to the polls to cast their ballot - a turnout rate not much lower than that of the rest of the electorate.  

The conclusion is simple, and one that we are all familiar with: voter registration is a barrier to participation, and reforming it could well be the single most effective means of creating lasting gains in voter turnout rates, especially among young people.  Such reforms are in the works, and the proposed changes usually include some form of automatic registration and/or election day registration failsafes.  

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The Hill reports that a bipartisan group of senators are grumbling about some of President Obama's proposed reforms to higher education student aid programs.  Specifically, they are opposed to Obama's proposal to effectively end the Family Federal Education Loan program and channel all government lending to students through the Direct Loan program.  

If you are unfamiliar with the FFEL and Direct Loan programs, the difference is fairly simple.  FFEL is basically a government subsidy to the private loan industry, while the Direct Loan programs provide the same service to students at a lower cost to the taxpayers.  As an excellent primer from the Center for American Progress explains:

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Air Traffic Control, a group that monitors music and politics, and helps artists find ways to become politically engaged, recently released a survey of how music and politics collided in the 2008 election.  Here's a quick snapshot of their findings (pdf), taken over a 12 month period leading up to the election:

  • Total Activities Documented: 1,895

  • Participating Artists: 1091+  
  • Participating Organizations: 72
  • Swing State Activities: 532 (CO, FL, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, OH, VA, PA)
  • Songs Written For Candidates: 62

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Cross posted from Future Majority.

If you've been listening to the Republicans lately, you could be forgiven for thinking that Democrats are nothing more than socialists in capitalist clothing, looking to steal bacon-flavored lollipops from babies and redistribute that candy to appease pork-hungry interest groups.

What else are we to make of these statements by prominent conservative pundits and Republican party leaders? (emphasis mine)

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Hat tip to Matt Singer of Forward Montana for calling my attention to this bit of ridiculousness by John McCain (emphasis mine):

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As I've mentioned in a number of recent posts, I think that one of the most important projects for the progressive youth community in the 111th Congress is the passage of major voter registration reform legislation.

As I've written many times in the past, voter turnout is about access, not apathy.  There are no numbers yet for 2008, but in 2004, 81.6% of all registered 18 - 29 year olds voted.  The problem is not that young people register and then forget or abstain from voting; the problem is that, due to a variety of factors, young people are registered in far fewer numbers than older portions of the electorate.

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