The weekly list of positivity is back after a short hiatus for a much needed rest to renew the spirit of this one woman’s endeavor to bring some GOOD NEWS to counter the hourly demoralizing attacks on our democracy. The primaries have come to an end and both the large voter turnout and the success of many women and progressive candidates is heart-warming. But so are other things like the greatly increased readership of the phenomenal resource Ballotpedia.org, that reports on candidates, ballot initiatives, elections, etc., with an astonishing 1 billion page views by people looking to learn about elections, as is small donor donations to candidates, and people protesting against the Supreme Court nominee. This week’s post will cover a lot of the good that has happened since the beginning of September. While you were watching all the Kavanaugh and Manafort drama playing out other things were happening, I know it’s hard to believe, because if you are like me, every day feels like a year in a normal news cycle since the 2016 election; I’ve singled out some of my favorites for those who may not have the time to read the whole post. I will return to weekly posts for the coming weeks leading up to the November elections.
- #NoKavanaughConfirmation Somany have turned out to protest the Supreme Court nominee in so many ways, including sit-ins, civil disobedience, and red hand-maid shrouded messaging.
- #StopICE Atlanta’s Mayor issued executive orders to permanently end the city’s relationship with I.C.E. and ordered I.C.E. to transfer all remaining I.C.E. detainees out of city jails.
- #HealthCareForAll A federal judge rejected a request from a group of Republican-led states to suspend the Affordable Care Act.
- #FreeCollege A U.S. District Court judge ruled the U.S. Dept. of Ed unlawfully delayed the implementation of the federal student loan “Borrower Defense Regulations” meant to protect defrauded students in a case brought by 19 states.
- #ThereIsNoPlanetB California passed laws banning full service restaurants from automatically providing customers with plastic single-use straws; mandates a goal of a 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2045, blocks the federal government efforts to allow drilling off the coast of the state; and bans testing of beauty products on animals.
- #MyBodyMyChoice A U.S. District Judge struck down a Texas law that required hospitals and clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains.
- #NoHate Twitter permanently banned Alex Jones and InfoWars for violating the company’s abusive behavior policies and PayPal has stopped doing business with them.
- #TakeAKneeWithColin Nike selected Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign for this year.
- Read on for more inspiring news.
☑️ PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS In New York, 6 of the 8 former members of the IDC (a group of “fake” democrats who caucused with the republicans preventing democratic control of the Senate even with a 51 majority) lost their primary bids. #NoIDC In Massachusetts, Lori Trahan won the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District and Ayanna Pressley defeated ten-term Congressman Michael Capuano for the 7th Congressional District, and with no Republican running in the general election, Pressley is expected to become the first black woman to represent the state in Congress. Rachael Rollins, an African American progressive, won the democratic primary for Suffolk County district attorney. Safiya Wazir, a 27-year-old Afghan refugee ousted a four-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for a seat in the New Hampshire legislature and Molly M. Kelly beat Steve Marchand to be the democratic candidate for NH Governor. In Rhode island 15 Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC endorsed candidates in the Democratic primaries won, including 4 State Senate and 11 State Rep. races. There are now 20 states where Democratic Socialist backed candidates won their primary elections. With three women winning primaries with no general election opponents, 8 of 15 Providence City Council members will be women in 2019. Women have made history and shattered records with a total of 234 women winning Democratic or Republican House nominations this year, up from the previous record of 167 women in 2016. Democrats also hit a record number of female nominees. Democrats and Republicans nominated 22 women to run for Senate, the previous record was 18 female back in 2012. Six U.S. Senate contests will feature women as both major-party nominees. #VOTE
🚶🚶🏿🚶🏼ELECTION PARTICIPATION More than 40 million people voted in primaries this election cycle. There was a 64% increase in Democratic primary turnout from the 2014 midterms to this year and 22% increase in Republican turnout. 16 out of 61 women running for governor this year won primaries, 49% of female House candidates won their primaries, and 42% of female Senate candidates won their primaries. #BLUEWAVE2018
💵 ELECTION FUNDRAISING In 28 of the 30 most competitive House races and five of eight toss-up Senate races, as rated by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, the Democratic candidates have out-raised the Republicans in donations of less than $200. Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership have raised almost 1.5 million dollars in a CrowdPac campaign to fund the candidate who runs against Senator Collins in the next election should she vote “yes” on Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. #SmallDonorsMatter
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS A federal judge ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to testify in a case challenging the addition of a question about citizenship on the 2020 census and another issued a preliminary injunction barring the Dept. Of Justice from imposing requirements that local jurisdictions cooperate with immigration agents to receive anti-gang funds. HELPING ONE PERSON AT A TIME A community in Chicago came together to help a homeless family too afraid of deportation to seek help for themselves. The UC Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic was able to reopen the case of U.S. Army veteran Fabian Rebolledo 8 years after he was deported and win him his green-card status back which allowed him to turned home to California. AND NOT BACKING DOWN FROM I.C.E. 100 people gathered as First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia to welcome two immigrant families who the church is giving sanctuary to in order to block their deportations. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (TN) no longer obeys I.C.E. requests to hold suspected undocumented immigrants in jail past their scheduled release dates. If you want a taste of Muslim culture try checking out the“Contemporary Muslim Fashions” exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE Starting with WAGES AND BENEFITS The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a case seeking to require restaurants to pay tipped employees minimum wage for the time they spend on non-serving tasks can go forward. More than 30,000 workers at steel plants voted to strike if their demands are not met during negotiations and Chicago Hotel workers went on strike. Michigan passed laws that raises the state’s minimum wage and requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. A new federal law allows veterans working in medical positions at the VA to take paid sick leave related to their service-related conditions or injuries. EDUCATION Thirteen colleges, from Ivy League to Community Colleges are teaming up in Massachusetts to expand the availability of a free college education to prison inmates. Teachers in Battle Ground (WA) ended the state’s longest teacher strike with large pay increases. The Nevada State Board of Regents approved a tuition waiver for the state’s foster youth. HOUSING California passed a law that extend the time tenants are given to respond to an eviction notice. A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a homeless person cannot be cited for violating city ordinances prohibiting sleeping in outdoor public spaces if they do not have access to city shelters. Los Angeles opened its first of 15 temporary homeless shelters. HEALTH A U.S. District Court ruled that a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by consumer groups challenging a rule that allows manufacturers to secretly decide what chemicals can be added to processed foods without agency approval can proceed. Seven organizations, representing about 500 U.S. hospitals, formed “CivicRx”, to manufacture their own generic drugs. FOOD INSECURITY Illinois passed a law banning “school lunch shaming” of student and requiring schools to provide a meal for every student that requests one New York announced the launch of “No Students Goes Hungry” program to expand access to free breakfast for students and increase access to farm-fresh foods. CONSUMER PROTECTION The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a complaint against Future Income Payments for allegedly misrepresenting to consumers that their pension-advance products were not loans and other fraudulent activity. New York’s attorney general sued 10 companies for their alleged scam to induce thousands of struggling borrowers into buying student loan debt relief services they could have received for free.
☮️ SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CIVIL RIGHTS A federal judge ruled that dancers at a strip club are “employees” protected by federal civil rights laws. Believe it or not, but the U.S. EEOC has been busy. They sued Walmart for pregnancy discrimination, Corizon Health (the company that provides private health care to prisons) for disability discrimination, Fastenal for sex discrimination in pay, Del Taco for sexual harassment, IBM with age discrimination,
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE The Manhattan District Attorney (NY) dropped over 3,000 marijuana charges for misdemeanor possession and smoking charges dating back to as early as 1978. A federal judge issued an injunction banning Dallas County from using a predetermined schedule to set bail without considering other amounts or alternatives that would allow the suspects’ release from jail. Chicago police officers will be required to document every instance in which they point a gun at someone under a new agreement. Seattle’s rank-and-file police union ratified a collective-bargaining contract with the city that includes pay raises while imposing much needed sweeping accountability reforms.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, the group that runs the state’s bottle deposit system, has developed a new refillable beer bottle for distribution in addition to the recyclable ones. The U.S. Energy Information Administration issued a report stating that since 2007 the number of states that used coal for their most common electricity generation source dropped to 18 states from 28. Representatives from 19 U.S. cities and counties pledging to incorporate electric vehicles into their municipal fleets. Two new tree sitters set up to block the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County, VA. Two Native American communities filed a lawsuit alleging the federal approval of the Keystone Pipeline violates the tribes’ treaty rights and other laws. California and New Mexico sued the administration over its rollback of a rule aimed at reducing pollution from energy drilling on federal lands. Bolivia opened the country’s largest solar panel plant.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS The ACLU has filed an EEOC complaint alleging sex discrimination because Facebook is allowing employers to run advertisements that exclude women and non-binary users. A U.S. Court of Appeals allowed a gender discrimination lawsuit with over 2,000 women against Goldman Sachs to proceed as a class action. Les Moonves, the chairman of CBS, resigned following additional sexual misconduct allegations against him. It is the start of new school year and schools are being questioned about and changing sexist and inequitable dress codes and Alameda (CA) is just one example. McDonald’s employees in 10 different cities staged a walk-out to raise awareness for sexual misconduct at the company. Republican spokesman for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh resigned after past harassment claims surface.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER San Francisco’s Board of Appeals voted to remove a public sculpture, which many consider an offensive representation of Native Americans. Someone destroyed a Confederate monument in Georgia. An activist placed prison bars over Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame #TakeThemDown
🕬 GUN REFORM The California Insurance Commissioner ordered the NRA to stop selling liability insurance in the state without a license. Maryland’s ban on bump stocks will go into effect as scheduled after a federal judge rejected a request to block enforcement of the law while a case challenging it is heard.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Facebook removed ads for gay conversion therapy as a violation of their policies. A gay college student who escaped from conversion therapy in Kenya was awarded a $10,000 courage award. A US District Court for Minnesota ruled that a provision in the Affordable Care Act that bans discrimination in health care based on sex includes transgender and gender non-conforming people. A US District Court for Colorado ruled that US officials may not deny the passport application of an intersex individual based on the individual’s refusal to select a male or female gender marker. Chris Pappas, an openly gay candidate for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, won the democratic primary for the open seat. The New York City Council voted to include a third gender category, “X,” on birth certificates and to discontinue the need for a doctor’s note or health care provider’s affidavit to change one’s gender marker. The L.A. Lakers will finally host their first-ever Pride Night this year and the N.Y. Yankees will end their run as the only MLB team not to in 2019. AND OUTSIDE THE U.S. India’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s ban on consensual gay sex. Chile passed a gender identity law that allows transgender people over 14 years old to change their name and gender in official records.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE An Illinois’ Appellate Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging an Illinois law that allocates state funding for abortions for government employees and individuals on Medicaid. The Montgomery County school board, Maryland’s largest school system, voted to offer condoms at more than 20 high schools. The Anne Arundel County Council (MD) voted down a resolution that would have recognized the rights of “preborn” children.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING Starts with NO DARK MONEY The Supreme Court denied a stay of a lower court ruling so now nonprofit groups, which do not have to publicly disclose their donors, will have to report the names of contributors who give more than $200 per year toward their independent political campaigns. A new federal law requires Senate candidates to file their campaign finance reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission, making it easier to find donor and spending disclosures. VOTER REGISTRATION AND ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX In a move that makes me wonder in amazement, a national group with close ties to the Koch Brothers, Freedom Partners, threw its support behind the Florida ballot amendment to restore voting rights to most convicted felons. A U.S. District Court ordered 32 Florida counties to provide sample Spanish language ballots for the upcoming election. A U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated Michigan’s ban on straight ticket voting. A U.S. district court ordered the Missouri Driver License Bureau to forward address change information for voters who moved to election officials to update voter rolls before the midterm election. STOPPING REAL FRAUD A Virginia Circuit Court judge ordered independent candidate Shaun Brown removed from the ballot in Virginia’s 2nd congressional district race, finding that her qualifying petition was tainted by “forgery” and “out and out fraud” in a case brought by democrats. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a grand jury must be convened to investigate whether Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016. GERRYMANDERING A federal judge ordered Virginia Democrats, Republicans and state election officials to propose experts to be considered for appointment by the court to draw new boundaries to rectify gerrymandering and told House Republicans to file a series of status reports on the progress of redistricting efforts in the General Assembly. In efforts to stop gerrymandering, democrats in Wisconsin sued to challenge the 2020 state assembly district maps.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE The Bergen County (NJ) Sheriff and 4 undersheriffs resigned after a radio station posted audio clips of racist remarks made by the sheriff. A U.S. Army director who was offered a high ranking position with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will no longer take the post after his anti-Muslim social media posts were uncovered. The secretary of the Republican Committee in Beaver County (PA) resigned after her racist social media posts surfaced.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS NASA appointed Holly Ridings as the agency’s first female Mission Control flight directors at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. Dr. Lisa Freeman became Northern Illinois University’s president and the first woman to lead NIU. Shauna Duggins is the first woman to receive an Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program. Kathleen Kennedy will be the first woman to receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
🙂 RUSSIA RELATED LAWSUIT ROUNDUP George Pappadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Manafort pled guilty and his plea deal includes his cooperation with the Mueller and appears to include provisions that limit his ability to accept or request a presidential pardon.