What Is ALEC?


American Legislative Exchange Council

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a 501(c)(3) American organization, composed of politically conservative state legislators.[3][4] According to its website, ALEC “works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.”[5]

ALEC provides a forum for state legislators and private sector members to collaborate on model bills—draft legislation that members can customize for communities and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures.[6][7] Approximately 200 such bills become law each year.[8][9] ALEC has produced model bills on issues such as reducing corporate regulation and taxation, tightening voter identification rules, and promoting gun rights.[8][10][11] ALEC also serves as a networking tool among state legislators, allowing them to research conservative policies implemented in other states.[11]

Since 2011, ALEC’s political activities has received considerable scrutiny by both the media and liberal groups. The New York Times reported that special interests have “effectively turn[ed] ALEC’s lawmaker members into stealth lobbyists, providing them with talking points, signaling how they should vote and collaborating on bills affecting hundreds of issues like school vouchers and tobacco taxes.”[10] Bloomberg Businessweek stated, “Part of ALEC’s mission is to present industry-backed legislation as grass-roots work.”[8] The Guardian described ALEC as “a dating agency for Republican state legislators and big corporations, bringing them together to frame rightwing legislative agendas in the form of ‘model bills’.”[7] Several liberal groups, including Common Cause, have challenged its tax-exempt status.


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“Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours”


David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of

whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act

Glenn Greenwald (right) and his partner David Miranda, who was held by UK authorities at Heathrow aiport. Photograph: Glenn Greenwald
Glenn Greenwald (right) and his partner David Miranda, who was held by UK authorities at Heathrow aiport. Photograph: Glenn Greenwald

The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London‘s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. Accordingto official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.

Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

Since 5 June, Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing theNSA‘s electronic surveillance programmes, detailed in thousands of files passed to him by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Guardian has also published a number of stories about blanket electronic surveillance by Britain’s GCHQ, also based on documents from Snowden.

While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian.


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“The Republican Allure of Climate Change Denialism”



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“MEET THE NSA LEAKER” (Is Treason Dead?)




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The Guardian newspaper has named Edward Snowden, 29, as the source who leaked material from the National Security Agency.

His identity is being revealed at his request, the paper reported Sunday on its website.

He is a former technical assistant for the CIA and has been working at the NSA for the past four years as an employee of various outside contractors, the paper reported.

On Wednesday, the Guardian disclosed a secret order from a U.S. intelligence court that required Verizon Business Network Services to give telephone records detailing the time, location and telephone numbers involved in domestic calls from April 25 to July 19.

Thursday, the Washington Post and the Guardian disclosed the existence of PRISM, reporting that the program allows NSA analysts to extract details of customer activities — including “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents” and other materials — from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other Internet firms.

Follow complete coverage of breaking news on CNN TVhttp://cnn.com and CNN Mobile.

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“Michael Douglas Blames Oral Sex for Throat Cancer”


Actor Michael Douglas poses for photographers as he arrives for the screening of Behind the Candelabra at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, in this May 21, 2013. (David Azia/AP Photo)
Actor Michael Douglas poses for photographers as he arrives for the screening of Behind the Candelabra at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, in this May 21, 2013. (David Azia/AP Photo)

Actor Michael Douglas says that his throat cancer was caused by a virus he contracted by performing oral sex on women.

The Guardian newspaper published an interview Monday in which Douglas blamed cunnilingus for the grave malady that was diagnosed in 2010.

The newspaper also quoted doctors who were skeptical about his claim.

The 68-year-old Douglas has been free of cancer for more than two years after receiving extensive chemotherapy and has returned to acting.

Douglas has starred in many movies, including “Basic Instinct” and “Fatal Attraction.” He is currently appearing in an acclaimed bio-pic about Liberace.

He is married to the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.


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“How to be gay in 10 easy steps”

 “How to Be Gay in 10 Easy Steps”

The title caught me off guard too, I admit. This is a blog from UK news site The Guardian that somewhat jokingly discusses whether or not there are markers of gay culture that unify the LGBT community.

The author starts by talking about how an acquaintance of his wanted to “revoke his gay card” when he tweeted that he didn’t like a Kylie Minogue song. That ticked him off, and so he explains that, as we all know, you don’t have to like Kylie Minogue to be gay, just like you don’t have to watch Glee or worship Cher or any of those other stereotypes.

But then he suggests – again, partially jokingly – that there are key experiences that bring gays together. (Disclaimer: he seems to be mostly listing experiences relevant to gay men.) Some of them are somewhat meaningful, like paying tribute to Stonewall or honoring the people we lost to the AIDS epidemic, but others buy into the very stereotypes he seems to be against, like diva worship or knowing how to cruise. Here’s the full list (explanations at the link above):

  1. Have a diva
  2. Dress in drag
  3. Cruise
  4. Know about poppers
  5. Protest
  6. Go to Pride
  7. Develop a Gaydar
  8. Appreciate camp
  9. Visit the AIDS quilt
  10. Come out

What do you think of this piece? Are there certain things every gay person should do, like go to Pride and come out? Or is the author discrediting the wide variety of ways a person can be gay?