Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 Interest Group Mini-Research Projects

2015 Interest Group Mini-Research Projects
Please post your assigned interest group report here no later than Tuesday, December 8.  Then read all the posts and use them to help address the writing prompt, "What makes interest groups powerful?" which must be turned in no later than Friday, December 11.


Savanna Petway said...

Public Citizen is a nonprofit organization that does not participate in partisan political activities or endorse any candidates for elected office. It is a public interest group founded in 1971 with around 400,000 members and supporters. The members of this group tend to have more democratic views on issues such as not allowing big businesses have too much influence or power. This interest group is nonpartisan, so if the members are voting citizens they probably tend to be independents. Protection of consumers from businesses, assuming that they need protection because this is propaganda against businesses found on the website, is a main goal of Public Citizen. Another major point of this group is to "ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power." Interests of this group that prove to be democratic are focusing on the "fallout" from the global economic crisis, health care reform, and climate change. Propaganda is shown through words and phrases of the goals of this group, such as challenging the abusive practices of the pharmaceutical, nuclear,and automobile industries. There are two offices in Washington D.C., and Austin, Texas. Litigation groups are services offered by Public Citizen in which Public Citizen takes companies to court and sue for services not offered or that are offered and harmful to citizens. Public Citizen has purposive ethical/ideological principles and motives for their interest group. They have the motive of representing citizens and to "protect" them from businesses. Their beliefs include that big industries such as the automobile and pharmaceutical companies are abusive and possess more power than that of the citizens, so they take action such as grass-root lobbying to create legislation against those companies and for the people. Signatures were gathered on a petition and it was taken to the National Highway Safety Administration to get legislation in their favor.

Sam B. Stewart said...

The agricultural interest group Dairy Farmers of America was founded 17 years ago, in 1998, when officials from four separate dairy cooperatives, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Mid-America Dairymen Inc., Milk Marketing Inc., and the Western Dairymen Cooperative Inc., decided it would provide the most equal voice for all the dairy farmers each group represented. Its headquarters is in Kansas City, Missouri. The membership of Dairy Farmers of America now numbers approximately 15,000 and is composed of dairy farmers. The main issues the group addresses are making sure they are represented and treated fairly by congressional policies, and getting their members involved.
Having an equal voice is stressed very strongly by the Dairy Farmers of America, and is listed as one of the benefits of membership on their website. Other services offered include price risk management tools, a competitive market for goods, on-farm field services, leadership and development programs, and health and workers compensation insurance. There are material incentives offered for being a member: profits from the cooperative, as well as returns on investments.
Dairy Farmers of America is very influential in the agrarian community and represents many big brand names such as Kemps and Borden Cheese. Since its formation, five other cooperatives, Black Hills Milk Producers, California Cooperative Creamery, Dairylea Cooperative Inc., the Independent Cooperative Milk Producers Association, and Valley of Virginia Milk Producers Association. Having an equal voice is stressed very strongly by the Dairy Farmers of America, and is listed as one of the benefits of membership on their website. Other services offered include price risk management tools, a competitive market for goods, and health and workers compensation insurance. There are material incentives offered for being a member: profits from the cooperative, as well as returns on investments. It now has a large enough membership to market overseas as well as the U.S.A.

Maya Iliff said...

Airline Pilots Association is a labor interest group. Members of this group are primarily pilots and retired pilots. There are over 52,000 current members in the United States and Canada. This group is almost solely interested in flight related issues. Within that, they mostly focus on safety issues. This group was created in 1931, and has been around for 84 years. They have many services for their members. They have an accident hotline for pilots in the air, insurance plans, and financial assistance for pilots injured on the job during emergency situations. If you join the group, you also have special access to information about how to counter threats in the air.

Hannah Abdelaal said...

I was given the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). It is an agricultural group established by farmers from 30 different states in 1919 in Chicago. They mostly consist of rural farmers and ranchers who work at the grassroots level to enrich their own agricultural communities. They represent other farmers, ranchers, and generally people in agricultural and rural communities. The AFBF defends towns and people who mostly depend on farming, livestock, or other agronomic means of making a living for themselves. Currently, there are about 6 million members of the AFBF in the United States.

The AFBF is interested in several different issues. One is protecting the ability to use technology in agriculture. Immigration is also an issue, since many illegal immigrants find work in agriculture. The AFBF wants to address the needs of long-term and short-term labor. They also want to reform the Endangered Species Act, and oppose the jurisdiction that the Clean Water Act allows. This organization is also clearly interested in preserving the environment and climate change. They want to address the issue of gassing honeybees in order to get the honey. The AFBF wants to find a way to obtain honey that would be safer for the bees.

There are several incentives for joining the AFBF. In terms of solidary incentives, there is an annual Thanksgiving dinner that anyone can attend. There are many different events that almost everyone can go to. Since most people in the AFBF have agriculture in common, getting together can be a pleasure, which can sometimes be incentive enough. Their material incentives are much more indirect, however. Instead of outright giving their members anything, they protect them, like how they are trying to protect their technology, or stop government expansion under the Clean Water Act. The organization has won enough battles that there is enough purposive incentive to join as well. For example, the administration support for biotech was a major victory in itself that most likely caused a lot of satisfaction.

Hannah Abdelaal

Vanessa Reed said...

The Sierra Club is an environmental group in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892, in California, by the Scottish- American preservationist, John Muir, Who became its first president. The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest and most influentional grassroots environmental organization, with over two million members and supporters. The main purpose of this interest group is to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the Earth, which is also in their motto: Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet. Members of this interest group are interested in protecting and preserving the environment, from volunteer work to getting laws passed that protect our Earth. This particular group has had great success, for example they have helped pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and they are currently leading the movement to move away from dirty fossil fuels that cause climate disruption with plans to have a clean energy economy. An example of lobbying that the Sierra Club has done was in 1914 when the founder, John Muir passed away, the Club successfully lobbied the California State Legislature to establish a trail to run between Yosemite Valley and Mount Whitney in honor of him. For joining this group there are solidary incentives because members want to join to help protect the Earth with others who share the same interest.

Vanessa Reed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The National Resources Defense Council was founded in 1970, about 45 years ago. It is an environment group. Some of the priority issues include curbing global warming, creating clean energy for the future, reviving the World's oceans, defending endangered wildlife and wild places, protecting our health by preventing pollution, and ensuring safe and sufficient water. The overall issues of this interest group is to help wildlife, use clean energy, stop pollution, and ensure safe water. There are currently over 2 million members. The group often lobby's Congress. They have over 350 lawyers, scientists, and economists. They offer medical coverage, dental coverage, vision care, life insurance, and short-term disability insurance. NRDC ranked 9th out of 50 best nonprofit organization to work for in 2012.

Matthew Smith

Matthew Carr said...

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO, is an interest group that represents people who work. They are a labor interest group and focus on the betterment of the workforce for the greater good. The group was founded on December 4, 1955 by the merging of the AFL and the CIO. Their membership is of 2014 is 12,741,859 making it the largest group of unions in the United States. The group is actually a collective of 52 different trade and labor unions and is also one of the most active and highest spending groups. The largest union in the AFL-CIO is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees with 1.4 million people. Certain areas of focus for the AFL-CIO include improving the lives of working families, improving work conditions, securing social equity, and being valued in the work place. The group lobbies for job, economic, trade, health care, retirement, work & family, and education issues for the better for workers. They also lobby for the importance of voting, at one point sending out 28.6 million pieces of mail in order to get people to go and vote. The incentives that they provide are solidary in the fact that the AFL-CIO represents everyone in the workforce and purposive in the regard that the reward is the goal, such as trying to lobby for better wages.

Anonymous said...

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)is a special interest group. This group represents Americans over the age of fifty. Their members are required to pay a $16 annual membership fee, and with that sixteen dollars they get membership benefits for a year and a free membership for their spouse or partner. This group currently has over 40 million members and is one of the largest interest groups in the nation. This group was founded in 1958 and has an office in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories.

This group is interested primarily in the well being of people aged fifty and over. They focus primarily on struggles like hunger, income, and housing and isolation. They do their best to help solve these problems through immediate affirmative action and appealing to the law. They protect programs such as social security and its funding. Having so many members whose age group has a high rate of political efficacy makes it a serious consideration when the federal government has to make budget arrangements for social programs.

This group offers a variety of political platforms that reflect the struggles of its members. It presents hunger as a health issue so people will be inspired to improve food outreach programs in their communities. They offer many documents detailing how to make yourself comfortable on a limited budget. They team up with reputable researchers like Harvard scholars to address the dangers, causes, and effects of things like seniors being unable to have housing that is safe for them. They provide links to arts councils that have programs for seniors to help combat the trend of isolation in people over fifty. They also meet with legal council, petition, and lobby the government to make laws that improve the quality of life of seniors. When something comes up that could negatively effect the AARP community they let their members know and give them ways to tell their government they disagree. They help them lobby through email and petitions.

The AARP itself is a solidary incentive. Many people fifty and over feel isolated in their families and communities and the AARP gives them a way to combat this feeling and gives them a way to reengage. Feeling close to people your age who take political action can make you feel purposeful, a feeling many seniors lack and are anxious to have. Material incentives include discounts at chain restaurants like Papa John's, discounted insurance, discounted plane tickets, a free subscription to the AARP magazine, and such things as conferences and group trips.

The biggest purposive incentive the AARP offers is the idea that seniors are actively protecting their own best interests. This sense of affirmative action is very valuable to them, and is what keeps this nonprofit organization funded and operational.

Addison Lackey

Tre Miller said...

The American Medical Association is an interest group that was established in 1847 by Nathan Smith Davis. The current AMA includes working medical physicians and undergraduates studying for a career in the medical field. The group represents physicians and their patients by lobbying to make an impact/influence on the legislative branch. The AMA spent over $264 million dollars on lobbying in a span of 13 years (1998-2011). The interest group publishes its own information called "Journal of the American Medical Association". The information is located on a separate website The ideas of articles come from the liable members, 217,490 in total. The AMA consists of various international groups that meet twice a year to discuss policy and political affairs. On the AMAs website it states they are the best and nothing but it by describing actions they take in order to influence policy. After looking throughout the websites "AMA history" section, it's obvious they talk more than impact anything significant.

Eliza Caperton said...

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a special interest group. It represents people who are against gun restricting legislation. They believe restricting gun ownership limits personal freedoms and goes against the Constitution. They have 4.5 million members that they describe as “Americans who value protecting traditions and liberties,” which is a solidary incentive.

Gun control is the main issue that the group is concerned with. They believe under the second amendment, everyone has the right to own a gun whether it is a small pistol or an assault rifle. In addition, the NRA also advocates veterans by urging congress to pass the Second Amendment Protection Act and the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act. In response to recent news, the NRA has been especially outspoken about carrying guns for personal protection after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The NRA has ben in existence 144 years and 35 days. (It was founded November 7, 1871.) Upon joining the NRA, members receive a free black duffle bag with “NRA” embroidered in yellow across the front pocket. They also supply members with NRA ID cards, and add them to their mailing list for magazines and letters. These services identify as material incentives.

Another service, the most important one according to the NRA website, is “the defense of your Constitutional right to keep and bare arms,” a purposive incentive. The group tracks all legislation dealing with firearms and hunting at both state and local levels of government so members will know when action needs to be taken. One of the ways they alert members is through their texting service which immediate and direct way of calling people to action. Such actions include organizing grassroots and encouraging members to lobby government officials. The NRA presents itself as a group of American’s who are passionate about protecting their freedoms exactly as they are stated in the Constitution.

James Kidwell said...

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, a public interest group, is a interest group with its main office in Washington DC. The interest group was established in 1919 to express members concerns on the Palmer Raids. With high feelings towards the issues and the large numbers of unwarranted arrests and deportations, a small group of individuals banned together, thus the ACLU was created.

The member count today top 500,000 members. The general focus of the group is to advocate equality of rights of the Amerian public. The group focuses on rights such as human rights, capital punishment, LGBT rights, voting rights, juvenile issues, free speech, and immigrant's rights, and much more. They seem to have a rather liberal view, at least according to their stance on the issues they have on their website.

The group states that they have over 200 staffed attorneys and thousands of volunteer attorneys. They speak of the assistance the attorneys provide for the issues that arise in the group and its members. They have a location specifically for media, and try to reach out to individuals requesting in involvement to push an issue in a specific way. This involvement may include donations, leaving comments, sharing posts (social media in general), signing petitions and lobbying your local representatives. These are all through out the website, however, they have a specific link stating "take action" to allow one to get involved in a particular ,movement they have an opinion on.

The website did not convey a material incentive, however they made it very clear that there can be tax deduction if donation is placed. They state all donations are tax deductible which is an incentive if you donate to the interest group.

Overall, this interest group is a group of rather liberal individuals fighting for what they feel is the greater good of the American public. They discuss major issues, what they feel is an appropriate solution, and take action to seek the favorable outcome for themselves and the public.

Anonymous said...

Lexi Miller

The American Bar Association is a professionals interest group founded in 1878 for those who support the legal profession. Members of this organization consist of law students, lawyers, and/or any person interested in legal matters or law professions. This is a large group, having nearly 400,000 members. Not only do they have many members, they have more than 3,500 entities. Enhancing law and improving the legal profession are their main goals. By eliminating bias and enhancing diversity, they can improve and advance throughout the United States, and even the world. The American Bar Association contains material, purposive, and solidary incentives for joining. You can save money with your membership, you get insurance through American Bar Endowment, and you can certain free downloads from the organizations. These incentives would fall under the material incentive category. As far as purposive incentives go, they feel so strongly about law that they started the group, also allowing many to follow the group and support it. With solidary incentives, they share an interest of law with all the members and they all have the same motives and desires. Law is their career or interest therefore giving them an incentive to be a part of the group. This group has a newsletter which is a publication for people of interest. As being lawyers, they do have legal assistance. As seen from this information, the American Bar Association is a strong, upheld group for many lawyers.

Ally Dengler said...

The National Association of Broadcasters is a business group that was founded in 1922. The NAB represents our nation's owners and operators of broadcasting. There are approximately 7,500 members of the NAB, who all choose to accompany the leaders of the NAB during the different services that are provided. The members are made up of radio and television broadcasters. The NAB offers a few different kinds of incentives to its members. Members are provided with three types of insurances; AxisPro, AmWINS, and Agility Recovery Solutions. The members of the NAB will receive discounted hotel rates, which is a material incentive. On, it is stated that the NAB is promoting spectrum policies that serve the public, the idea of serving the public makes this a purposive incentive. The NAB focuses highly on the concerns of the broadcasters of America and protecting the rights of journalists. This business group is aiming to unlock FM radio signal on mobile devices for free, and they also want to prevent the performance tax on local radio broadcasters. The National Association of Broadcasters also offers many services to its members. There is another branch of the NAB called the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation which was made available for students and faculty in order to prepare them, as our future generation of broadcasters. The NAB also has a political action committee - the NABPAC. This political action committee will pay money to people (mostly members of Congress) that they think will agree with them. The NABPAC supports the election of candidates into Congress.