It’s hard to believe that the loss of healthcare for 22 million people this week hinged on the removal of a small blood clot in an elderly man’s head, but thanks to coagulation we are saved from a vote for another week. That being said, let’s get to what else went right this week ending 7/15/17.
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS – The US District Court again partially halted the travel ban in a challenge brought by Hawaii, ruling that “grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins” constitute sufficiently close family and a refugee resettlement agency’s “formal assurance” to a refugee seeking admission are bona-fide relationships to allow for entry. A group of girls from Afghanistan were granted permission to enter the US to attend an international robotics competition after previously being denied visas twice, because there is nothing more dangerous than a teenage girl with a pocket protector.
SAVING THE PLANET – The Gov. of Colorado signed an executive order launching a climate-action plan to reduce greenhouse-gas and carbon-dioxide emissions, cut down the amount of electricity used, and make Colorado the 14th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, which has committed to following the Paris Climate Accord. The Interior Secretary recommended that two national monument designations, Idaho’s Craters of the Moon and Washington’s Hanford Reach, remain without any changes. Activist groups sued the EPA to force it to reverse its decision to delay issuing smog cleanup rules.
STATES AND CITIES DOING THE RIGHT THING WHEN CONGRESS WON’T – Seattle’s city council passed a 2.25 percent income tax on the city’s wealthiest residents saying it is designed to “replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness” while ensuring Seattle can withstand 45’s austere budget. Gov. of Alabama banned the appointment of registered lobbyists to state boards and commissions.
PROTECTING A WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE – Hawaii passed a law requiring anti-choice pregnancy centers distribute a notice to every client informing them the state offers free abortions, as well where and how to get such assistance from the state, reigning in the real “fake” info provided to women when they are at their most vulnerable. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency announced they will only provide funding to organizations that do not refuse to provide information and assistance with abortions to counteract the “global gag” rule reinstated by the White House.
VOTING RIGHTS – Presidential Commission on Election Integrity Voter Suppression Panel temporarily halted its effort to collect voter information after a complaint was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and resistance from almost every state and the ACLU has also sued the commission alleging violations of federal law requiring transparent government and fair and balanced staffing.
THOSE PESKY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO FREE SPEECH, FREE PRESS AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION – Desiree Fairooz conviction for disorderly conduct for laughing during Sessions confirmation hearing had her conviction overturned and a new trial ordered. Knight First Amendment Institute and a group of Twitter users blocked by the twittler-in-chief brought suit against him arguing that his account amounts to a public forum that he, as a government official, cannot bar people from because they expressed opinions he did not like or agree with. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Rowan County, NC’s holding mostly Christian prayer practices before its meetings unconstitutional.
ELECTION WINS – Two Democratic candidates in Oklahoma won in special elections, flipping two of the three seats up for election due to resignations in disgrace. Michael Brooks won his race for state senate in District 44 and Karen Gaddis won for a House seat in District 75.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – A judge has ordered the Orleans Parish DA’s Office to turn over records to the ACLU regarding fake subpoenas sent to people by prosecutors after they sued to stop the practice. St. Augustine, FL is no longer enforcing some rules that restrict where people can panhandle. A Seattle jury awarded $14 million to the family of an unarmed African-American man who was shot and killed by police in front of his 9-year-old son.
BIG PRIDE NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD – Malta voted to allow gay marriage and will also replace “mother and father” on birth certificates with “parent who gave birth” and “parent who did not give birth”. The UK Supreme Court ruled same-sex spouses are entitled to the same pension rights as any other spouse. The Church of England’s governing body voted to condemn “gay conversion therapy” and reaffirm its welcoming of transgender members.
FEDERAL AGENICIES STILL DOING THEIR JOB – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted a rule prohibiting financial firms from forcing consumer into arbitration in disputes over their bank and credit card accounts allowing consumers to band together in class-action lawsuits to fight the big banks.
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS – Dana Canedy was elected as Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes and is the first woman and person of color to hold the position. Colonel Jennifer Short became the first female commander of the 23rd Wing and the legendary “Flying Tigers” at Moody Air Force Base. The Christian Church and its 600,000 members elected Teresa Hord Owens their first African-American president. The In MA the Groveland Police Dept. appointed Detective Sgt. Riley as their first female supervisor and Topsville appointed Jenifer Collins-Brown their first female fire chief.
JUST CAN’T MAKE THIS S&*%*& UP – I rarely comment on the Russia/Trump controversy because it is too amorphous and 45 out of office and Pence in his place is actually worse in my uneducated view. That being said, Junior’s reveal of emails, which confirm some of what 45 has been trying to deny is just priceless. Have his lawyers even tried to get him to understand the definition of collusion or is this word just too big for his small brain. And then there is Rob Goldstone, the man who set up this up, actually checked in for the meeting at Trump Tower on Facebook. Oklahoma State Senator Marlatt (R) was stripped of his committee leadership positions after allegations he sexually harassed an Uber driver.
IMAGINING A WORLD RUN BY WOMEN – Democratic Female lawmakers gathered on the steps of Congress to support the right to “’bare arms” wearing sleeveless attire to demand an updated House dress code after reporters were banned from the Speaker’s hall for wearing sleeveless tops. Two Indian companies are giving paid leaves to their female employees on the first day of their period.
AWESOME ACTIVISM – The volunteer Chicago Community Bond Fund posted bond to free its 75th person from pre-trial detainment, allowing people to fight their cases from a place of freedom. The molehill of hate was met by a mountain of love when the KKK came out to protest in Charlottesville VA, much respect for those that fearlessly looked hate in the eye and said not in my backyard. 2.6 million people commented on the proposed rule to review national monument designations. Major companies, including Google, Facebook and Amazon, advocacy organizations, and democratic lawmakers, banded together to save net neutrality rules, staging a net neutrality “Day of Action.” It’s not too late, instructions on commenting on net neutrality is here. In a letter to the Alabama State Bar, Rep. Lieu describes Sessions as committing “possible violations” of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. Protect Democracy filed suit on behalf of Democratic donors against 45 and Roger Stone, alleging they conspired to release emails stolen from the DNC in violation of privacy laws and civil rights laws.
It has been a while since I have suggested donations as a form of activism because not everyone can afford to give. The ACLU, SPLC, NRDC and many, others continue to be crucial partners in the fight to protect our rights, freedoms, and the planet we live on. If you can, consider making donations to your favorite cause, or donate to a candidate, or subscribe to your favorite newspaper, the media may have its flaws, but it is vitally important that we support the journalist who are on the battlefields everyday trying to uncover the truth.