11 corporations you should protest and 2 more that aren't quite as bad as you thought.

We all love a good David and Goliath story. Maybe that's why hating on corporations is so easy. (And fun!)

But the fact is that corporations, like people, aren't innately bad. (Can we go ahead and agree that they're not actually people though?)

If we're being technical, corporations are simply groups of people authorized to act as a single legal entity. And while it's easy to use for the word "corporate" to take on a pejorative meaning in casual conversation (hey, I'm totally guilty of it), it's not exactly fair or accurate.


Except in the case of these corporations who are totally The Worst and have this one thing in common:

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Most of the corporations that you hear the horror stories about have a longstanding history with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

Again, if we're being technical, ALEC is simply a nonprofit organization dedicated to free-market capitalism. But if we scratch the surface (like, just the tippy top), it becomes glaringly obvious that ALEC's primary function is to help corporations write fill-in-the-blank laws for congresspeople to sign and pass.

Basically everything you've ever heard or suspected about American political corruption starts with ALEC.

You can find their fingerprints all over the prison-industrial complex, voter disenfranchisement, privatizing education, undermining consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, "stand your ground" laws, pollution and anti-environmental initiatives, and more.

Here are just a few of the corporations that are still in cahoots with ALEC:

Photo by Fibonacci Blue/Flickr.

1. Anheuser-Busch

In addition to sponsoring the open-bar cocktail hour at the 2015 ALEC annual conference, beverage giant Anheuser-Busch is also a member of ALEC's Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force — responsible for numerous anti-worker and union-busting initiatives. So, why not consider getting your drink somewheres else? (Uh, also: no big loss. Their beer tastes like pee.)

Photo by Dorisal/Wikimedia Commons.

2. AT&T and
3. Sprint Nextel

In case you were wondering why your cellphone bill is so impossibly convoluted or why your supposedly "public" utilities look a lot more like a group of private companies that put profits over people, it might have something to do with the insane-o ALEC-sponsored legislation that AT&T and Sprint Nextel have pushed through Washington. For example: Ever wonder why your local public utility commission still hasn't laid any high-speed fiber-optic Internet cables in your town? Yep: ALEC.


Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr.

4. Comcast Corporation and
5. Time Warner Cable

Like our friends above, Comcast and Time Warner Cable use ALEC to help them maintain oligarchical control over Internet and television utilities. They're also responsible for throttling your download speeds on certain websites, and — oh yeah — making it impossible for you to switch services because there are no other available competitors in the area.


Photo by Shane Dwyer/Wikimedia Commons.

6. ExxonMobil

OK, this one isn't much of a surprise. I mean, they're an oil company. Are you surprised that ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.5 million to ALEC's hardline climate-change-doubting agenda over the last 17 years?


Photo via Coolcaesar/Wikimedia Commons.

7. FedEx and
8. UPS

How's this for cozy? UPS's vice president of corporate public affairs is the second vice chairman of ALEC's private enterprise advisory board. Meanwhile, FedEx has at least one lobbyist on the executive committee for ALEC's Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force. Good thing can we still rely on the U.S. Postal Serv ... I can't even type that sentence with a straight face, ugh.


Photo by Andreas Lischka/Wikimedia Commons.

9. Pfizer and
10. Novartis

Both Pfizer and Novartis benefitted greatly from ALEC's Data Quality Act, which made it legal for corporations to validate and regulate their own scientific data (thus enabling them to get away with using cheaper chemical shortcuts in products that cause damage to human beings as well as the environment). They've also played a major part in fighting against health care reform and in protecting pharmaceutical companies from liability lawsuits.


Photo by Editor182/Wikimedia Commons.

11. The Wall Street Journal

So much for free press, huh? It might be acceptable for media companies to have corporate relationships, but not when they disguise ALEC propaganda as independent editorial content. (Perhaps not that surprising, considering that The Wall Street Journal is also owned by Rupert Murdoch.)


Photo by Steve Rainwater/Flickr.

But recently, ALEC's schemes have gotten so bad that some supposedly awful corporations have cut ties with them.

In March 2015, oil giant BP — yes, that BPfinally pointed at ALEC and said, "Hey, we've done some bad stuff in our time. But at least we're not those guys." Harsh.


Photo via Dirtyharry667/Wikimedia Commons.

And thankfully, it make have sparked a trend: Fellow oil giant Royal Dutch Shell also cut ties with ALEC in August 2015, and they actually had something sensible to say about it: "We have long recognised both the importance of the climate challenge and the critical role energy has in determining quality of life for people across the world," a spokesman said. "As part of an ongoing review of memberships and affiliations, we will be letting our association with ALEC lapse when the current contracted term ends early next year."

Granted, Shell still forged ahead with their plans to drill for oil in the Arctic despite the potentially disastrous environmental impact and only stopped when they decided it wouldn't be profitable enough. But still; we'll take it.


Photo by Stefan Kühn/Wikimedia Commons.

ALEC may still have a stronghold on politics — but we can still vote with both our ballots and our dollars.

What can you do in the face of seemingly endless political corruption and board rooms building built-to-fail schemes to keep the sway of power in their favor? Simple: Refuse to play their games. They can't win if there's no one to play against.

For starters, you can refuse to support the ALEC-affiliated corporations above. Be a conscientious consumer and take your business elsewhere whenever possible. If there's no alternative, you can always sign this petition to pressure companies to cut their ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

And finally, refuse to give your vote to any politician who still has ALEC's dirt on their hands. It won't fix everything, but it's a darn good start.

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In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...in the most delightful way.

There are certain songs from kids' movies that most of us can sing along to, but we often don't know how they originated. Now we have a timely insight into one such song—"A Spoonful of Sugar" from "Mary Poppins."

It's common for parents to try all kinds of tricks to get kids to take medications they don't want to take, but the inspiration for "A Spoonful of Sugar" was much more specific. Jeffrey Sherman, the son and nephew of the Sherman Brothers—the musical duo responsible not just for "Mary Poppins," but a host of Disney films including "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," as well as the song "It's a Small World After All"—told the story of how "A Spoonful of Sugar" came about on Facebook.

He wrote:

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Blackface has a long and shameful history in this country. We think—we hope—after numerous call-outs and emotional explanations, Americans get the message: blackface is not okay. But that isn't the case, as many were re-made painfully aware, when Dr. Regina N. Bradley, a professor and critically acclaimed writer, shared the shocking auditory version of her new essay, "Da Art of Speculatin'", on Twitter.

Due to outrageous oversight, Fireside—a progressively minded short-story magazine who claim, in their About page, to resist "the global rise of fascism and far-right populism"—hired a young, white male voice actor to read and record Bradley's essay—an essay that identifies its writer, in its very first line, as a "southern Black woman who stands in the long shadow of the Civil Rights Movement."

According to the Washington Post, Rineer spoke in an accent that listeners interpreted as something that would appear in minstrel show, an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century, in which white people lampooned Black people, often portraying them as dim-witted and buffoonish, with stock characters including the dandy, the slave, and the 'mammy.' It's incredibly, incredibly offensive. So it's no wonder that, upon hearing the clip, a horrified Bradley fired off an outraged tweet, asking Fireside and Rineer if they honestly thought this is what she sounded like.



How could something so offensive have been approved, one wonders, especially in a year defined by reckoning with racial injustice? For the answer, look to Pablo Defendini, the publisher and editor for Fireside, who claimed, "nothing insidious in his decision… he just didn't listen to the recording before posting it."

"The blame for this rests squarely with me, as the person who hires out and manages the audio production process at Fireside," Defendini said in a statement. "In the interest of remaining a lean operation, I've been hiring one narrator to record the audio for a whole issue's worth of Fireside Quarterly, and I don't normally break out specific stories or essays for narrating by particular individuals."

"My personal neglect allowed racist violence to be perpetrated on a Black author, which makes me not just complicit in anti-Black racism, but racist as well."

As for Rineer, he regrets not breaking a contract rule and contacting Bradley directly about her work. His gut instinct told him not to proceed—that he was the wrong person for the job. Still, upon expressing his doubts to Fireside, he was ignored, and so proceeded with the recording—he'd already signed the contract.

"I made the mistake of reading Dr. Bradley's work and assuming an accent that was not representative of her voice," he said. "I had tried to find a different narrator who would be a suitable representative in my network and via public forums, to no avail, in the week-long time frame I had."

As for Bradley, Defendini's apology isn't cutting it. "Not listening" isn't an excuse—it's deepening the wound. Black Women have been "not listened" to since the dawn of this nation's founding.

"I am angry," she wrote. "Seething from centuries of silenced Black women angry."