I don’t usually include updates on the Russian investigations because it distracts from the substantive issues and the elections going on and as something we have no control over and can’t participate in, I don’t find it productive to focus on. But this Friday’s bombshell report that charges were filed and a potential arrest coming on Monday, make me giddy with excitement to see who will be the first person(s) Mueller takes down. Only one more day till we find out. In the meantime, you still probably want to know about all the other good things that happened this week, so I found time during my trip to Virginia to canvass for democrats running for state office to make this week’s list for you. Happy reading!
PROTECTING WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE – Ontario province in Canada voted to create “safe zones” around abortion clinics and clinic worker’s homes of between 50-150 meters to protect clinic patients and staff from potential harassment by anti-choice protesters. A U.S. District Judge ruled two Alabama abortion laws unconstitutional and blocked the state from enforcing them. One prohibited abortion clinic within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school and the other would criminalize the most common method of second-trimester abortions, and effectively limiting abortions to 15 weeks.
STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS – A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled an undocumented minor immigrant being held in ICE custody in Texas must be allowed to have an abortion, and advocates were able to arrange for her to have the procedure before the administration had the chance to appeal the decision. A group of 350 Filipino teachers in Louisiana won a class action lawsuit for exploitation and human trafficking against Universal Placement International job placement agency and will each receive about $2,200 from them and the ringleader is going to jail.
MOVING FORWARD NOT BACK ON LGBTQ RIGHTS – A U.S. District Judge denied Kentucky’s request to reverse his ruling that the state must pay the nearly $225,000 in legal fees to the couples who sued a county clerk for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to same-sex marriage, saying the Governor fell “woefully short” of convincing him. Kentucky judge W. Mitchell Nance, who refused to hear adoption cases involving LGBTQ parents resigned. Campaign for Southern Equality was allowed to reopen a ban on gay marriage case that ended after the 2015 Supreme Court marriage ruling by a judge in Mississippi as another way to challenge the anti-lgbtq legislation the state passed. The world’s first lesbian bridal magazine, Dancing With Her, began publication in Australia.
CARING FOR THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE – The $36.5 billion emergency aid for disasters was passed by Congress and signed by 45. U.S. prosecutors brought a fraud and racketeering case against the executives of an opioid maker alleging they bribed doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for an opioid meant only for cancer patients with severe pain, for non-cancer patients. San Diego has sanctioned a non-profit supported parking lot for homeless people that live in their cars instead of trying to dismantle it.
SEEKING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is a violation of person’s constitutional rights to be jailed for 96 days without seeing a judge and that defendants who are can sue the sheriff and county that held them because they have a duty to get those jailed promptly before a judge. The U.S. Dept. of Justice charged three officers with the Pomona Police Department (CA) for violating the civil rights of a minor who was beaten at the county fair and attempting to cover-up the attack. The Iowa Supreme Court adopted rules prohibiting the use of handcuffs and other restraints for juveniles appearing in court unless approved by a judge. The SPLC brought a judicial ethics complaint and a lawsuit against Professional Probation Services, a municipal court judge, and Gardendale, Alabama for creating an illegal probation scheme that requires anyone who cannot afford to pay their fines for traffic and misdemeanor offenses to illegally be placed on supervised probation with a private company. Advocates got the Mayor of Pearl, Mississippi to shut down the Youth Court and forced the judge to resign for his decision to bar a mother from seeing her baby over her unpaid court fees.
PROTECTING OUR CIVIL RIGHTS – The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that state law bars employment discrimination based on a failure to conform to gender stereotypes even though Missouri law doesn’t specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, finding that stereotyping can be evidence of sex discrimination, which state law does prohibit. A Municipal Court judge (OH) dismissed disorderly conduct charges against protesters who burned an American flag outside the Republican National Convention last year, ruling the flag burning was protected free speech. A Vermont judge issued a restraining order against Burlington in a case brought by the ACLU to stop the city’s plan to evict people from a local homeless encampment arguing it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment when the city shelters are full and they cannot offer the defendants temporary shelter. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that a woman who posted a picture of the bumper stickers on a neighbor’s car that promoted the League of the South, which the SPLC lists as a neo-Confederate hate group and featured the word “SECEDE” next to a picture of a Confederate battle flag and called the family “white supremacists” was not defamation and is protected free speech.
PURSUING FAIR AND FREE ELECTIONS – BuzzFeed sued the Kansas Secretary of State for refusing to release emails that relate to immigration/election under a Kansas records law. Twitter announced they will no longer run ads from Russian-funded news outlets RT and Sputnik. The New York City Board of Elections admitted as part of a lawsuit that it illegally purged voters from the rolls and agreed to consent decree to federal oversight and numerous restrictions. One republican member of the The Voter Fraud Commission (Voter suppression) said that “there is nothing going on” with the commission at this time because of the “chilling” effect of the eight lawsuits filed against it. An Ohio grand jury voted not to charge 17 residents who were among only a few dozen of non-U.S. citizens out of the states 7.8 million voters identified by Ohio as illegally voting or registering to vote in past elections. Virginia’s Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by a redistricting advocacy group challenging a judge’s decision upholding 11 Virginia state House and Senate districts. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Montana’s limits on direct contributions to political campaigns.
ELECTION WINS – Democrat Casey Conley won a special election for Strafford 13 state representative in New Hampshire. Cordal Morris, is running unopposed for Michigan’s Bay City Commissioner, so come election day he will be the first African-American to hold that position.
SAVING THE PLANET – London began imposing a daily “Toxicity-Charge” on vehicles entering the city that don’t meet minimum emissions standards, with the London Mayor saying he “refuses to stand by while Londoners are killed by pollution.” Don’t you just want to hug Mayor Kahn. NY state filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA for violating the federal Clean Air Act by failing to curb ground-level ozone (or “smog”) pollution that blows into New York from upwind states.
BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER – The Quincy School Board in Illinois voted to name two new schools after the first woman physician at the local hospital from the 1800’’s and a local African-American, air force veteran, and famed Tuskegee Airmen. To honor C. Bette Wimbish, the first black person to hold elected office in Tampa Bay, the first black female lawyer in Pinellas County, and the first black to serve on the St. Petersburg City Council, she will have a highway named after her by the city. The DeKalb County Commission (GA) voted to order the county’s attorneys to find a legal way to remove or relocate a 30-foot monument honoring the Confederacy, since State law prohibits such monuments from being “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion.”
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST – Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake announced he will not run for reelection and delivered a scathing rebuke of 45 in the process . The Vice President of Programs for Gallatin County Republican Women in Montana, Karen Marshall, resigned after she said she “would’ve have shot” the reporter who asked pointed questions of Rep. Greg Gianforte (remember the guy that assaulted a reporter) if he had asked her questions. A federal court has found it to be likely that North Carolina did not remedy the unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in nine state House and Senate districts, and has appointed a special master to help it make a final determination.
COMBATING HATE AND VIOLENCE – The Italian soccer federation, will require a moment of silence and read passages from Anne Frank’s diary as part of soccer matches in Italy this week in response to recent anti-Semitic acts by some team fans. Reddit announced plans to eliminate hate-based groups from its site and instituted rules to ban material that “encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people.” A JacketRadio.com sports announcer was swiftly fired and the station barred from broadcasting future football games for Cleburne High School (TX) after the announcer made racist comments about the team on air.
BREAKING GLASS CEILINGS BIG AND SMALL AND PROGRESS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR – Maj. Susan Ballard was selected as the first woman Chief of the Honolulu Police Department. Sandra T. Parga was sworn in as Kane County’s newest associate judge — and first Latina on the bench. The Museum of the City of New York has opened a new exhibition entitled “Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics,” which will run until July 2018. Dr. Barbara Gaba, was sworn in as the first woman and African American president of Atlantic Cape Community College and Dr. Christina Royal was installed as the first female president of Holyoke Community College. The Pedernales Electric Cooperative hired Julie Parsley as their first woman head of the cooperative.
FEDERAL AGENCIES STILL DOING THEIR JOB – A U.S. Dept. of Labor Administrative Review Board found that JPMorgan Chase & Co. must face a labor discrimination case alleging the company knowingly paid its female employees less than their male counterparts.
FYI – NBC news announced that Mueller’s investigation has led to an indictment and that arrest warrants(s) may be coming on Monday. Toddler-in-Chief ally Roger Stone was blocked from Twitter after profanity laced rant aimed at reporters.
CREATIVE ACTIVISM – A plaque commemorating 45’s bragging about grabbing women “by the p—-” was posted at the studios where the comment was made and says “On this spot in September 2005 Donald J. Trump bragged about committing sexual assault. In November 2016, he was elected President of the United States.” Philadelphia (PA) saw the launch of the Philadelphia Bail Fund, the city’s second bail fund, and has already raised $17,000 of its $50,000 goal to begin bailouts. The National NAACP announced it would move to change the non-profits designation from a 501(c)(3) charity to a 501(c)(4), which would allow it more leeway for political lobbying.
Please make sure to call, email, fax, mail, postcard, flower bouquet, carrier pigeon, or send smoke signals to every one of our 100 Senators expressing your views on “tax reform” for the wealthy.