Conference: Campaign Finance, Political Communication, and the 2012 Elections

This Friday, featuring guests from Politico, NPR, ABC News and USA Today, as well as our own Wesleyan Media Project team. I recommend students and colleagues attend!

Wesleyan Media Project » Events.

Interactive map of small arms imports and exports

An online interactive map highlights the recent arms trade. I find it interesting that the DRC, site of so much violence only registers imports of about $.5 million whereas neighboring Uganda has one of the highest tallies in the region with more than US$7.7 million in imports.

Interactive Globe: Small Arms Imports & Exports.

Thanks, to Chris Blattman for the link.

Major conflict could become a regional war

Over the past week or so we have all seen a major conflict erupt that includes a devastating human toll. This is a conflict that has a long history and which, despite the efforts of mediators and peacekeepers, has not found a solution. It is a regionalized conflict and threatens to draw those countries and others into a regional war. As I write this, reports are in about the cities and towns being bombed, and about a ground war which has resulted in rebels taking over a city and its airport.

Wait, rebels? airport? Weren’t you talking about Gaza?

I’m talking about Goma, of course, and not Gaza. And Goma has made its way–marginally–into the news. But, as noted at AlertNet (and the Guardian), a key difference between the conflicts is the amount of attention each receives. In both conflicts, war weary residents of the affected areas are suffering. In Israel and Gaza, there is the uncertainty about where the next rocket will land. In Goma, there is the uncertainty of who will control the territory where you live. For the later, it is easier to flee and they have fled but the toll is still there. The LA Times reports a reasonable estimate of 60,000 people fleeing in the past few days. It is definitely reasonable to question the UN’s mandate which, like so often in peacekeeping situations, keeps them from intervening in substantive ways.

For those of you who haven’t heard much about the conflict in Goma, a good resource is the International Crisis Group. One of their recent posts discusses steps needed to avoid a regional war (the DRC and Rwanda are the main state actors, but Uganda, Burundi, and others in the region had direct interests at play.

On twitter, you may want to follow Gabriel Gatehouse (@ggatehouse), a BBC correspondent who is there; and Laura Seay (@texasinafrica), an academic familiar with the region and conflict. Jason Stearns’ blog, Congo Siasa, is another useful source for commentary (http://congosiasa.blogspot.com/).

Job Opportunity: Environment Connecticut

Become an Environment Connecticut fellow!

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, November 28th

More info: http://bit.ly/EnvCTFellow

If you’re looking for the opportunity to organize, advocate and fight for Connecticut’s environment, apply to be an Environment Connecticut fellow today. We’re hiring a Field Associate to start in August 2013.

Build and mobilize support to protect Connecticut’s environment

Environment Connecticut’s field associate will build the public and political support we need to protect Connecticut’s environment. We face powerful opposition, and to overcome that opposition we need media attention, the support of broad-based coalitions, an informed public and grassroots action to win the day for our environment. Our field associate will organize news events, bring community leaders and other constituencies together around our issues and organize grassroots actions to show support for our campaigns.

Note that we are also hiring for fellows in cities across the country as part of the Environment America Federation.

For more info, visit our online interest form at http://bit.ly/EnvCTFellow. Or to learn more and apply, visit: http://jobs.environmentamerica.org/jobs/amr/environment-connecticut-field-associate

Not a senior? Check out our internships! http://bit.ly/EnvCTIntern.

Reuters Africa page moved

Reuters has changed its “Africa” page.

http://africa.reuters.com is now http://www.reuters.com/places/africa

Reuters.com | Africa.

Not quite sure why! And it does not seem to mark any clear improvements (so far I like the old version better). But maybe more changes are still on the way.

The best of the world leader congratulations | FP Passport

The best of the world leader congratulations | FP Passport.

Some favorite quotes in this piece:

Iranian President Ahmadinejad: the election was a “battleground for capitalists”

CubaSi’s headline: “U.S. elections: the worst one did not win”

Voting Information for Connecticut

So, Connecticut fails to mail out a voter information guide with sample ballot. This is something that I think is very unfortunate, spoiled Californian that I am. So where to go for information about the local, state, and national elections? There is no easy answer but below are some of the sources I found in my last-minute quest to inform myself. All of these are (mostly, anyway) unbiased presentations of what the candidates and issues are.

The issue that makes me most irate is that I know there are “Questions” to vote on in this year’s local ballot. But (a) there seems to be almost no media coverage of such things here an (b) unless you go to the registrar or secretary of state’s website, you don’t even know these questions exist! So, you just show up and answer the question?

Should I approve $37 million towards a pump station? Why? Who is for and against this and why?

Should I approve close to $5 million to repurpose a building as a senior center? Why? Who is for and against this and why?

For all of these issues, shouldn’t there be some independent analyst’s impact analysis for such things as budget and the environment? This is what I grew used to receiving on a silver platter in California. How am I–and how is the average voter–supposed to learn about these issues and the trade-offs that are made in voting on them?

Here are the links I promised:

UPDATE: Just noticed that Wesleying mentions the Questions in their post about today’s election. But more analysis would still be useful.

The Middletown CT Patch has a “Middletown Election Guide 2012″. But no mention of the Questions.

CT Secretary of State

Middletown CT Registrar of Voters

The CT Mirror: Good political coverage but not exactly the voter’s guide I was looking for

The Hartford Courant’s Voter’s Guide, which I find rather confusing in layout and not very useful.