THE SWEET HOME ALABAMA EDITION
First we had New Jersey and Virginia, now Alabama. The Alabama win gave me the boost I needed to keep on fighting. How about you? And to keep that positive energy flowing, coming up in two weeks on December 30th will be WhatWentRight’s first ever year-end roundup of the best of the best that happened. Don’t forget to sign up to receive the weekly blog by email so you don’t miss all the goodness coming up. In the meantime, this week’s highlights include;
- FLIPPING A DEEP RED STATE SENATE SEAT BLUE Democrat Doug Jones beat alleged pedophile Roy Moore for the Alabama senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. #DougJones
- NOT GIVING UP THE FIGHT AGAINST DAPL 🛢️ A U.S. District Judge granted a request by Native American tribes for additional measures to protect Lake Oahe reservoir and ordered the Army Corps of Engineers and the developer of the DAPL to complete an oil spill response plan for the stretch of pipe beneath the Missouri River.
- ACCESS TO BIRTH CONTROL STAYS FOR NOW 🏥 U.S. District Court issued an injunction against the implementation of the administration’s rules allowing employers to deny health coverage for contraception on moral grounds in a lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania and PA gov vowed to veto the restrictive abortion legislation just passed in the state senate.
- TRANSGENDER MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS STILL HERE 🌈 Another federal court has ruled against the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military and blocked the ban from being implemented.
- KEEPING UNQUALIFIED JUDGES OFF THE BENCH Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) announced the Senate would not move forward on the nominations of Jeff Mateer and Brett Talley, both rated “Not Qualified” by the Bar Association, after reports that they made public comments celebrating discriminatory groups or policies.
- STATES LINING UP TO SAVE NET NEUTRALITY 🌐 So far 9 states and multiple advocacy groups have announced they will fight the net neutrality change in court.
There is plenty more good news so read on;
🌎 SAVING THE PLANET – France made good on a promise after the 2016 election and awarded 13 climate scientists from the U.S. millions of dollars in “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants to relocate to France for the rest of 45’s term to research climate change issues, with more grants to be awarded soon. The government in the Canadian Ontario province announced the Green Commercial Vehicle Program to provide rebates for low-carbon vehicles and fuel-saving devices on trucks. Washington adopted rules to protect farm workers working with and around pesticides. Two concrete mixing companies will pay $300,000 to advocacy groups in California as part of a settlement following allegations they polluted local bodies of water. Minnesota is implementing restrictions on the use of the herbicide dicamba. A coalition of environmental groups filed a petition for review with a U.S. Ct. of Appeals to overturn Virginia’s approval of the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. As of 2019 the World Bank Group will stop financing oil and gas to align with the Paris Climate agreement. Graniterock will pay more than $100,000 for violating pollution rules in California as part of a settlement with the EPA.
PROGRESS FOR WOMEN, PEOPLE OF COLOR, AND IMMIGRANTS – The Pine Bluff Arkansas Fire Department promoted its first woman to the rank of Lieutenant, Hopewell Township (NJ) promoted its first women to detective, and the Baltimore Fire Department promoted its first woman to battalion chief. The VFW post in Bridgeport (MI) selected their first ever woman and black woman commander and are the first to select a black woman leader in the state. The Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society elected its first female board of directors president. Clarinda, Iowa swore in its first female mayor. St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island (WA) named its first woman rector. Christina Nolan was sworn in as Vermont’s first female United States Attorney. The University of Arkansas hired its first female dean of its Law School. NJ Gov.-elect nominated Gurbir Grewal for state attorney general, he would be the first south-Asian attorney general in state history and the first Sikh to serve as a state attorney general in the U.S. And something I missed last week, Bee Nguyen won a Georgia House seat and is the first Vietnamese American candidate to hold a Georgia House seat.
🙋WOMEN LEADERS STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE – The Minnesota Governor appointed Lt. Governor Tina Smith to serve as the Senator for Minnesota, to replace Al Franken. London Breed became San Francisco’s first black female mayor (albeit only Acting).under the city charter succession rules, after the sudden death of Mayor Lee.
🛑 STOPPING HATE – The charges were increased to first-degree murder against the white supremacist who killed Heather Heyer in the Charlottesville hate rally. A Milwaukee city contractor fired an employee for showing up to a job site with a lunch cooler with a Confederate flag and KKK stickers on it. The administration nominated Chai Feldblum, a liberal gay activist, for another term as an EEOC Commissioner.
🗽BECAUSE NAMES AND MONUMENTS MATTER – The University of Cincinnati named its newest residence hall after Cincinnati’s civil rights pioneer, Marian Spencer. The University of Chicago unveiled a bust in a prominent campus building of Georgiana Rose Simpson, the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from the school and one of the first black women to receive a PhD in the United States. In Texas, a Dallas school district renamed 3 elementary schools that were originally named after Confederate leaders and the Fort Worth City Council voted to change the name of the city’s Jefferson Davis Park to Unity Park. Memphis sued to overturn the Tennessee Historical Commission denial of a request to remove a confederate-era statue from a public park.
👮CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM CHUGGING ALONG – The Massachusetts Bail Fund is expanding to increase public participation in posting bail and conducting court watches of bail hearings. Just City, a criminal justice reform advocacy group, announced the launch of the Nashville Community Bail Fund. A U.S. District judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the bail bond industry over bail reform rules in New Mexico. A number of cities took steps to bring about criminal justice reforms including NYC, Austin, and Milwaukee. The ACLU announced the start of the Campaign for Smart Justice a nationwide campaign to end wealth-based incarceration.
⚖ USING THE COURTS TO SEEK JUSTICE – The Navajo Nation sued Wells Fargo Bank for allegedly using unfair and deceptive banking practices to prey on tribal members. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued ICE, alleging unconstitutional immigration raids in Georgia. the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Aarons, a chain of rent-to-own stores, alleging they engaged in race-based harassment of black employees. A federal judge voided all contracts for predatory loans based on anticipated settlements with the NFL for concussion injuries by retired professional football players saying the damage left them incapable of understanding what they signed.
👍 STATES WORKING TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS – The California Attorney sued the U.S. Dept. of Ed for failing to process debt relief claims by former Corinthian Colleges students on the same day that the attorneys general of MA, NY and IL also filed suit alleging similar lack of action. Maryland General Assembly voted to update the chamber’s sexual harassment policy including; requiring incidents be documented and made available to the public. #MeToo At least 18 states signed onto a lawsuit to stop 45’s appointment of a director of the CFPB.
🕬 FREEDOM TO SPEAK AND PUBLISH – A D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed the most serious charges of inciting a riot in the trial of six people charged in Inauguration Day protests that turned violent. USA Today’s Editorial Board said of 45, “A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.” Rep. Peter King says on TV that “Steve Bannon “looks like some disheveled drunk that wandered onto the political stage.” NY Daily News headline on Doug Jones win, ‘Screw You and the Horse You Rode in On”.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ AND OTHER PROGRESS AROUND THE WORLD – The first gay couple legally married in Australia. Newfoundland and Labrador eased restrictions on obtaining a gender-neutral birth certificate. Saudi Arabia will allow movie theaters to open for the first time.
🚪SURVIVOR WHITE HOUSE EDITION IS BACK – Omarosa is out and reports say she was physically escorted out screaming obscenities. AND ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) will not run for reelection in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and Arizona Republican Trent Franks resigned. The nominee to lead the EPA‘s chemical safety office withdrew his name amid criticism of his ties to the chemical industry.
🙋📣AWESOME ACTIVISM – The makers of “Cards Against Humanity” showed how to tackle wealth inequality, using a combination of user information and census data, the company sent $1,000 checks to 100 of their least-wealthy customers, and $15 to 10,000 others from the money they raised to buy property along the Mexico border to stop the wall. When a Texas middle school asked for 50 more men to help mentor boys at “Breakfast with Dad” event, 600 showed up. Texas Democrats announced they are contesting all 36 U.S. House seats in 2018, 133 out of 150 state House seats and 14 out of 15 state Senate seats, a big increase over prior years. The Labor Department is extending the time to comment on a proposal to roll back a rule that bans employers from pooling workers’ tips. Who knew that commenting on Regulations.gov was so easy and addicting. Here is the link if you want to comment on this wage theft rule.
And in random interesting news 45 (couldn’t get his own DOB right), Ivanka (mailed to late), Jared (didn’t mail at all), and Melania (forgot to sign) failed to properly complete their absentee ballots in the November election for NY.
It’s not too late to take action on tax reform. Indivisible and TaxMarch have info on calling elected officials, including peer to peer calling to get calls out in red states. A few dates to keep in mind are the women’s marches planned for the weekend of January 20th and upcoming special election in Florida on February 13 that Sister District is getting behind.