On Friday, Leonard spoke to filmmaker Annie Sundberg and democratic protestor Myo Myint Cho, who is the subject of Ms. Sundberg's film "Burma Soldier." The film premieres in the United States this Wednesday on HBO 2, but in Burma it's been shown in less conventional ways. The filmmakers, working with the Democratic Voice of Burma, made a Burmese language version of the film that has been pirated via satellite transmissions and other means into Burma. The filmmakers are encouraging people, says Sundberg, to "watch, duplicate and share the film in any way possible, from free DVD copies left in internet cafes to downloading and forwarding links to the film via email, with the goal of reaching as many Burmese as possible."
The film seeks to help Burmese better understand the 60-year civil war still unfolding in their country. Few Burmese have access to a non-government-approved version of their country's violent history.
Virginia state lawmakers are debating a bill that would amend state law to prevent undocumented immigrants from enrolling in public state colleges and universities. Passage of the bill would make Virginia the fourth state to prevent, in one way or another, undocumented students from attending state schools. This comes a month after the defeat of the DREAM Act in Congress, which would have allowed some undocumented immigrants to attain legal status by attending college or serving in the military.
Conservatives from across the country have convened in Washington this week to elect the next Republican National Committee Chair. With the 2012 presidential election right around the corner, Republican officials are looking for a leader who can rally the base, attract new voters and, of course, raise money. Michael Steele, the current RNC chair, doesn't seem to have enough support to win a second term, although he has in some ways raised the profile of the office during his term. What else does the RNC Chair need to ensure a GOP win in 2012?
President Obama is reaching out to Republican lawmakers this week in an attempt to foster bipartisanship. However, a growing number of state Democrats are turning their backs on the party and joining Republicans. So far 13 politicians in five states have switched parties. Is the move a reaction to anti-Washington sentiment, an expression of personal political ideology or a reflection of a changing constituency?