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Infographic: What's the Cost of Getting Into Congress?

It costs a lot to get into Congress, and our candidates get that money from a tiny slice of the American public.

In May of last year, telecommunication companies lobbied aggressively in North Carolina to prevent local communities from building their own broadband networks. Corporate cable providers such as Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink argued that competition with local networks would be unfair, and paid out significant money to lawmakers in North Carolina to ensure passage of a bill that would restrict municipal broadband projects. Local broadband networks are cheaper and faster, and at least six cities in North Carolina fought against the bill. Unfortunately, it passed – with the help of North Carolina lawmakers who received significant campaign contributions from telecommunication lobbyists. In fact, the four primary sponsors of the bill received a total of $37,750 from telecommunication donors. (One of the cities that opposed the legislation, Raleigh, was partially represented by the bill's sponsor, Marilyn Avila (R). Representative Avila explained her decision to part ways with her constituency as an effort to protect businesses from "predatory" local governments.)

There are different opinions on what we should do about the campaign finance system, but almost everyone agrees that lobbyists and other wealthy donors exert a troubling influence over political outcomes in the United States. When the Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United decision, the political heft of lobbying power gained a bit more strength. Why? Because elections cost money—a lot of money—and most of that money comes from a very tiny sector of the American public, comprised mostly of corporations and wealthy individuals.


GOOD is partnering with Lawrence Lessig and Rootstrikers to shine a light on the corrupt relationship between political fundraising and lobbyist power in this country. Through a series of infographics and articles titled Capital in the Capital, we’ll be evaluating the campaign finance system, PACs, and how money influences certain political results in this country—which, in turn, affects all of us.

Take a look at our first infographic, which shares some surprising facts about how much it costs to run for office and where political representatives get that money. Stay tuned for additional infographics as we look at Super PACs and the effect of lobbying by industry.

Lessig is also mobilizing an anti-corruption movement to force Congress to address campaign finance reform. The goal of Capital in the Capital is to connect and inspire one million citizens to fight for a more transparent, representative political playing field. If you want to fight the corrupting influence of money over our political representatives, sign the anti-corruption pledge and encourage your representatives to do the same.

Infographics
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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