This is an extra-long post this week ending 8/5/17 since the week started off with such a bang, I was so inspired to keep track of the good. But before I get to the full post I want to thank you for reading WhatWentRight.org and am asking for a little help from my readers. It is getting harder under Facebook rules and becoming very time consuming to post this every week in the many Facebook groups that want it. So if you like this blog subscribe to it by entering your email into the “subscribe to this blog” box on the home page and by sharing the weekly post to Facebook groups that you are a member of each week that you think would like it. I promise you won’t receive a ton of unwanted emails if you subscribe, mostly the usual once a week post. Now here’s the good stuff.
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS – Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for willfully violating a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling and now faces jail time. Homeland Security’s Inspector General report says the administration’s plan to hire an additional 15,000 Border Patrol agents and Immigration Officers is unrealistic and may be unnecessary, because they would need 1.2 million applicants to hire the 15,000 and the agencies cannot identify how many additional employees they need, what kind of hires are needed, and where to deploy them. California enacted legislation that prohibits inquiry into a person’s immigration status when they bring a claim to enforce state labor, employment, civil rights or housing laws.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – Connecticut enacted legislation reforming their criminal justice system, including eliminating cash bail for non-violent offenders arrested for misdemeanors and who would not face prison time if convicted, and allowing barbers and hairdressers to obtain a state license despite having a prior conviction. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint with the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board requesting an investigation into the District Attorney’s Office for issuing fake subpoenas threatening witnesses with fines and jail time to coerce them into answering questions. The ACLU filed suit against Wyoming for discrimination because the state only has a six month “boot camp” program for men and not women, where offenders receive assistance in rehabilitation and after successful completion can get probation.
FIGHTING THE TRANSGENDER MILITARY BAN – 56 Retired Generals and Admirals released a letter opposing the transgender military ban. Coast Guard officials said “they will not break faith” with transgender members in the face of the proposed transgender ban.
LOVE IS LOVE – The Pima County Board of Supervisors in Arizona approved a resolution banning paid sexual orientation “conversion therapy” for minors. The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the five U.S. Supreme Court justices who allowed the legalizing of gay marriage. A growing list of businesses, including Chevron, Shell, Conoco, Exxon, Uber, Lyft, Neiman Marcus, JPMorgan Chase, PayPal, Frito-Lay, and PepsiCo publicly opposed the Texas “bathroom bill.” The first gay marriage ceremony in an Anglican church in Britain took place. The Boy Scouts announced they will accept members based on their gender identity, opening the door for transgender boys to join.
PROGRESS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR AND WOMEN – Delphine Metcalf-Foster was elected the first female commander of the 1.3 million member Disabled American Veterans. West Point Cadet Simone Askew will serve as the first female Africa-American captain of the Corps of Cadets. Briana Scurry, was the first black woman elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College confirmed Wilma Mishoe as the first woman to chair its Board of Trustees. Dr. Kathleen Baxter was named the first woman State Comptroller for Alabama. NBC is launching The Female Forward Initiative to get more female directors in television, giving 10 female directors the opportunity to shadow another director on an NBC series, after which she will have an opportunity to direct at least one episode of the series.
SAVING THE PLANET – JPMorgan Chase announced plans to switch its Texas facilities to 100 percent renewable power by 2020, including 584 branches and will install solar panels on 1,440 bank branches and commercial buildings worldwide. Two environmental agencies in Scotland have objected to plans by the Trump Organization to build a new 18-hole golf course in Scotland saying the plans violate sewage pollution, environmental protection and other rules. The Interior Department recommend no changes to the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana. The Court of Appeals for D.C. ruled against the Interior Department’s decision to de-list the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act.
PROTECTING THE PLANET FROM SCOTT PRUIT – Attorneys Generals from 15 states petitioned to join the lawsuit to overturn the EPA decision to delay rules for reducing smog-causing air pollutants. One day after getting sued by the 15 states, the EPA reversed its decision to delay implementing the rules. The Court of Appeals allowed the states to join the lawsuit to defend the ozone pollution rules. The DC Court of Appeals ruled the EPA must enforce the methane pollution rule. Four environmental groups sought to intervene in a lawsuit to keep the golden-cheeked warbler on the endangered species list in Texas. Two organizations filed a complaint in a U.S. District Court seeking to force the EPA to review the Ohio EPA’s list of impaired water to include the open waters of Lake Erie.
CARING FOR PEOPLE – The Helping Our People Excel Act in Arkansas took effect this week which opts the state out of a federal law prohibiting benefits to people with drug conviction, allowing those with drug convictions to receive public benefits, including food stamps in Arkansas. Oklahoma Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the four leading manufacturers of opioid pain medication in the U.S., for deceptive marketing, seeking to hold the companies accountable for the public health crisis caused by the opioid epidemic. Who knew Oklahoma and Arkansas had it in them? Arizona’s new minimum wage is here to stay thanks to Arizona’s Supreme Court ruling the new law isn’t a violation of the constitution. The law raised wages from $8.05 an hour to $10 and mandates employers provide at least three days of paid sick leave and pay $12 an hour by 2020. A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the 16 Democratic state Attorney Generals can defend subsidy payments to insurance companies, a critical part of the ACA.
A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE – The ACLU settled a lawsuit against Skagit Regional Health Care a public hospital in Washington that will require it to provide both medication and surgical abortions at its facilities and incorporate training for abortion procedures into its family practice residency program, neither of which it was doing. As a result of a suit by Advocates, the Alaska Medical Board is changing restrictions on abortion making it easier for Alaskan women seeking an abortion later in their pregnancy.
STATES AND CITIES DOING THE RIGHT THING – Maryland State Attorneys are dismissing dozens of cases in Baltimore after a video appears to show an officer planting evidence at a crime scene. At least the state is doing the right thing to make a bad situation better. San Diego passed a law requiring city contractors and consultants to pay employees equally regardless of gender or ethnicity.
FEDERAL AGENCIES STILL DOING THEIR JOB – Wells Fargo & Co. will pay $108 million to settle two whistle-blower lawsuit regarding their firing for reporting the bank charged fraudulent fees. The Dept. of Justice filed a lawsuit against two companies for allegedly violating the Immigration and Nationality Act by limiting the acceptable documents employees can use to prove their employment authorization.
PROTECTING US FROM AND STOPPING 45 – Secretary of Defense Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly agreed to coordinate travel plans so as not leave the U.S. at the same time to ensure they could keep tabs on the White House. Good news for those of us who think that the pre-schooler with the nuclear codes needs supervision. The Senate unanimously blocked 45 from being able to make recess appointments as they leave for their August break.
BRINGING GUNS UNDER CONTROL – Shares of gunmakers and sellers, Sturm Ruger and Cabela’s were down and they attributed the decline to a slowdown in firearms sales since the election. New Jersey’s recent gun buy back initiative was the most successful in state history, with 4,775 guns turned in for cash during the two-day buyback and all the guns turned in will be destroyed.
SECURING VOTING RIGHTS – Federal judges ordered North Carolina’s state legislature to draw new legislative district boundaries within a month, because they discriminated against African-American voters by weakening their political power. NY expanded voter registration access through an order that increases the number of state agencies that must provide voter registration forms and a new task force to oversee voter registration efforts. A new U.S. Census Bureau designation requires Georgia’s second largest county, Gwinnett County, to offer Spanish-language ballots and other assistance to Hispanic voters, after a spike in minority voter registration. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Fulton County for sending out address confirmation notices to registered voters telling them they will be declared “inactive” if they don’t respond within 30 days. Advocates are appealing the ruling against it challenging the Voter Suppression Committee meetings and voter data.
THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH 45 NOT DOING SO WELL – An “email prankster” tricked top White House officials by posing as various administration members in emails, briefly convincing them that he was Kushner, Priebus and Huntsman. Corey Lewandowski, the former manager of 45’s campaign was fired from his newest job at the right-wing One America News Network. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Kris Kobach’s request to get out of a deposition regarding the voter restriction proposals he brought to a meeting with the administration. Rod Wheeler, a commentator for Fox News filed a lawsuit against Fox alleging they conspired with the White House to concoct a story about the death of a DNC aide and having another reporter create quotes out of thin air and attributed them to him. Scaramucci was incorrectly listed as dead in the newest edition of the Harvard Law School alumni directory
FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT – On an unrelated matter, Martin Shkreli, the man who jacked up the price of an AIDS drug, was convicted of securities fraud and faces 20 years in prison. Check out the awesome Newsweek cover calling the president lazy right here.
“CELEBRITY APPRENTICE” OR “SURVIVOR” THE WHITE HOUSE EDITION? You decide. In case you were hiding under a rock you know “the mooch” lasted 10 days. Other departures this week include Director of Scheduling, George Gigicos, left the WH at the age of 50 to “spend more time with my family” saying it had nothing to do with the shake-up. Sure, I’ll buy that and a piece of our invisible wall that people throw 60 pounds of drugs over hitting people in the head. Ezra Cohen-Wantick, the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council was also fired.
AWESOME ACTIVISM – A new edition to helpful resources is the Our States website that provides information on how to fight for legislation at your state level. One of the most creatively written pieces of legal of advocacy I have seen is the ACLU brief defending John Oliver, “Anyone Can Legally Say ‘Eat Shit, Bob.” Good work was done by all who came out for protests against the transgender ban.