Meet Tiffany and Family

The White House

Over the last week we’ve asked you what $2,000 more in taxes would mean to you and your family, and we’ve already received more than 370,000 responses — including one from Tiffany.

Today, President Obama will meet Tiffany and her family in their Northern Virginia home, where he’ll talk more about why it is so important for Congress to pass the middle-class tax cuts before the end of the year, both for families like hers and our economy.

Meet Tiffany, and find out why $2,000 means so much to her family.

Video: Meet Tiffany

In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:President Obama Speaks to the Business Roundtable
Yesterday, President Obama spoke to members of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of American businesses, and reiterated his plan to extend tax cuts for middle-class families.Watch: President Obama’s Twitter Q&A on #My2k
From the Roosevelt Room of the White House Monday, President Obama connected directly with Americans via Twitter, where he answered questions about extending middle-class tax cuts.

Continuing the Progress in Tribal Communities
Yesterday, President Obama hosted the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of Interior. This conference continued to build upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian Country



NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

 Dear Friend of the Museum,I want to thank you for making 2012 an exciting year of progress for the Museum.

It has been a busy, productive year.

  • Our critically acclaimed new exhibition, Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty, was enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors.
  • Our collections now number more than 19,000 historic objects and artifacts — and still growing!
  • And since the membership program began in August 2009, nearly 42,000 people throughout the nation — and around the world! — have joined in support of building the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Of course, the biggest event over the past 12 months was our groundbreaking in February. It was marked by a special ceremony attended by President and Mrs. Obama, and featured speeches by the President and other dignitaries. This event stands as one of our major milestones and accomplishments thus far.

Today, our future site on the National Mall is a hive of activity. The bulldozers, backhoes and other construction equipment are drawing a lot of attention from people visiting the Capitol, the national monuments, and the museums that line the Mall.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are knowing that in 2015, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open its doors and take its place among the great family of Smithsonian institutions — provided we continue to progress on schedule.

Your support is vital to the Museum. Now, before we ring in the New Year, I hope you will consider making a special year-end contribution and help ensure we stay on schedule. Remember, your gift is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law — so, while you are helping the Museum, you are benefiting with a tax deduction, too.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours all the best in the coming year. Thank you for your kind generosity to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture — and for making this dream a reality.

Adrienne Brooks Sincerely,
brooks sig
Adrienne C. Brooks
Director of Development

a message from .. Lindsey Twombly

Human Rights Campaign

Thank you for all you did to secure marriage equality in Washington

Planning on getting married? Or know someone who’s getting ready to walk down the aisle?

This past election, people across the county watched as you made history in Washington. Washingtonians voted to approved Referendum 74, which allows loving same-sex couples to legally marry in the state. This law will take effect tomorrow, Thursday, December 6, 2012. We wanted to make sure you have access to this information about implementation of marriage equality in Washington.

How do I obtain a marriage license in Washington?
Once licenses are made available to same-sex couples, the procedures will be the same as the existing ones for other married couples. They are issued at the county level and procedures/fees may vary slightly; links to information from individual counties is available online. Marriage licenses will be available starting Thursday, December 6. Don’t forget about the three-day waiting period – marriages will begin to take place on Sunday, December 9.

What rights and responsibilities do same-sex couples who legally marry receive in Washington?
Same-sex spouses receive the same rights and responsibilities provided to different-sex spouses under Washington law, including health care decision-making, property and inheritance rights. Married same-sex couples do not receive access to the more than 1,100 federal rights and responsibilities based on marriage because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the new law in Washington does not change that.

What do I have to do if I’m a Washington resident who is legally married in another jurisdiction?
You do not have to get married in Washington or otherwise register your marriage in Washington. Washington’s marriage equality law recognizes as valid lawful marriages between same-sex couples from other jurisdictions.

What does the law mean if I have entered into a domestic partnership with my partner in Washington?
In 2007, Washington enacted statewide domestic partnerships, and expanded them in 2009 to grant all the rights and benefits of marriage to registered domestic partners. A couple who is currently in a registered domestic partnership can marry and their domestic partnership will dissolve. On June 30, 2014, the remaining domestic partnerships will automatically convert to marriages unless they are dissolved. Domestic partnerships will continue, however, for couples (gay and straight) where at least one partner is at least 62.


Lindsey Twombly

Lindsey Twombly
Associate Director, Online Mobilization
And soon-to-be married Seattle, WA resident

Workers Under Attack — Again

By ThinkProgress War Room

Last Minute Attack on Unions in Michigan

After sweeping into complete control of state government for the first time in almost a decade following the 2010 election, Michigan Republicans wasted little time before pursuing numerous pieces of right-wing legislation, including

*The emergency manager law was repealed via referendum by Michigan voters last month; however, the Michigan legislature is rushing to pass a new version as we speak.

Despite pursuing this extreme agenda and other anti-union measures, Republicans had chosen to set aside one of the right’s favorite goals: a so-called “right to work” anti-union law. Indiana Republicans passed such a law in 2011 and well-known fights over anti-union measures occurred in numerous other states including Ohio and Wisconsin. For his part, Snyder even went so far as to say that right to work legislation was “divisive” and not “appropriate for Michigan in 2012.”

Mere months after making those comments, Snyder has flip-flopped and endorsed a last-minute, lame duck effort by Republicans in the legislature to push through a right to work bill. Worse yet, Republicans are including a provision in the bill that will make it impossible for voters to repeal the measure via referendum.

ThinkProgress’ Travis Waldron explains why such laws are accurately referred to as “right to work for less” by unions and pro-worker groups:

Though Snyder refers to his agenda as “pro-worker,” a quick glance at studies of “right-to-work” legislation paints a different picture. According to the Economic Policy Institute, right-to-work laws have virtually no impact on job growth and have a negative impact on both union and nonunion workers, reducing wages by up to $1,500 a year. A Ball State University study conducted during Indiana’s push to pass right-to-work found that “no impact is likely” for job growth or wages in the manufacturing sector. Another EPI study suggests that right-to-work laws had a negative impact on Oklahoma’s economy and that right-to-work is “is ineffective as a strategy for increasing a state’s employment.”

The right-to-work experiment failed miserably the last time it was tried in the Midwest. Indiana originally passed right-to-work laws in 1957, but workers hated the new laws so much that they were repealed just eight years later.

Check out this recent Center for American Progress report for more on why right to work is wrong.

It should come as no surprise that the Koch Brothers and their Americans for Prosperity front group are heavily involved in this anti-union push, just as they have been in other states like Wisconsin, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Ohio.

Unfortunately, it appears that the measure could become law within the next few days. A bill narrowly cleared the Michigan House just within the past hour. Since several Republicans opposed the measure and Democrats actually picked up seats in the Michigan House in last month’s elections, it’s clear why Republicans are rushing this and other controversial measures through at the last minute during a lame duck session.

The situation on the ground is evolving very quickly and the state capitol in Lansing has been the site of large protests today. Earlier today, the doors of the capitol were locked in order to prevent demonstrators from entering; however, an injunction ordering the capitol to be re-opened. A few demonstrators able to make it inside were arrested and pepper-sprayed after they attempted to enter the senate chamber.

Stay tuned to ThinkProgress for the latest updates.

BOTTOM LINE:Stronger unions mean a stronger middle class, so right-wing attacks on unions are really just attacks on all working and middle-class Americans.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

11 reason why you should be glad Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is resigning in order to head the Heritage Foundation.

5 Republicans who could replace Jim DeMint.

As of today, you can legally get same-sex married and smoke pot (at least under state law) in Washington State.

Former Bush press secretary: female domestic abuse victims should “make better decisions.”

Extending emergency unemployment benefits will support far more jobs than extending the Bush tax cuts would.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell filibustered his own bill to lift the debt ceiling.

The GOP’s bad fiscal cliff hand, by the numbers.

GOP Rep. says there is a growing sense President Obama has won on tax rates for the wealthy.

7 upcoming television dramas to get excited about.

Tar Sands …


A secret deal could allow China’s energy companies to take over an enormous toxic oil reserve with devastating consequences for the planet. A lawsuit is our big chance to stop it. Click to chip in and Avaaz will only process your donation if we raise enough money to make this important case happen :

Pledge now

Right now, the tar sands, a toxic oil reserve almost the size of Saudi Arabia’s but over 3 times as dangerous for climate change, sits landlocked in Northern Canada. People power has twice blocked new pipelines into this poison, but now we have a bigger challenge.

A new trade deal, negotiated in secret with China, could allow China’s companies to take over the tar sands and sue the Canadian government if it hampers their exploitation with environmental or health laws. Canada’s right-wing Prime Minister is an oil-man with a history of climate-denial, and he’s using this tactic to bypass democracy, with potentially devastating consequences for the planet.

Our big chance to stop this is that the deal may not be legal. It’s likely to be signed in the coming days or weeks and we need to be ready to hit back when that happens. If 20,000 of us pledge now to help hire outstanding lawyers and fund research and public campaigning, we can be sure to hit the ground running when the government acts — Avaaz will only process the pledge if we get enough to make this important case happen. Our climate is already under grave threat, and tar sands could push it over the edge. Pledge now to defend the planet:

Tar sands oil would harm all of us: The emissions from this dirty oil are up to 35% greater than regular crude oil, the process for getting it out of the ground alone emits three times the pollution, and the production of one gallon of oil poisons up to 35 gallons of fresh water. Not to mention that the exposure of another huge oil reserve would skyrocket the destruction of our planet.

That’s why experts and campaigners all over joined the fight to stop pipelines from being built in the US and Canada that would unlock this toxic sludge from the ground. Now those hard-fought victories could be wiped out.

We have already reached out to one of the top constitutional law firms in Canada and they are standing by to help us fight this dirty deal. But it’s going to take a powerful legal fund to stand up to the government’s deep pockets, campaign to win in the court of public opinion and make sure we keep dirty oil in the ground. Let’s all pledge our support now. Then, if the deal goes through, we’ll be able to get started right away defending our planet in Canada’s courts. Chip in to join the fight for our planet:

We’ve taken on the Canadian government before, and won — striking a blow against a Fox News-style television network and beating back attempts to stop Canadian Avaaz members from campaigning during federal elections. This is our chance to win a battle for the entire world’s survival against a trade deal that threatens our water, air and land.

With hope and determination

Dalia, Ricken, Emma, Morgan, Rewan, Ari, Grant and the rest of the Avaaz team


Chinese FIPA now a lose-lose proposition (Vancouver Sun)

What if the Canada-China investment treaty is unconstitutional? (The Globe and Mail)

Even Canada doesn’t believe its own spin on tar sands (Guardian)

Canadian Government: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Tar Sands May Double by 2020 (Think Progress)

Background: Environmental Impacts of Tar Sands Development (Sierra Club)