I want to thank everyone for reading and sharing this blog every week. I hope that it provides inspiration to keep on resisting. I am taking a much needed vacation and will return on September 14th with a mid-week catch-up post.
In my absences, I encourage you to share events, news, and other information that has inspired you this week with other readers in the comments.
I look forward to resuming the posts next week. Have a great labor day weekend.
The fallout from the Charlottesville response continues, there were significant victories in Texas that could help shape upcoming elections, and we continue as a nation to see many thousands stand up against hate in city after city. Here is your weekly summary of what went right for 8-26-17
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS – Coachella Calif.voted to become a sanctuary city. Los Angeles sued over the administration’s threat to cut funding for “sanctuary cities.” An undocumented mother who took refuge at a NYC church was granted a temporary reprieve from deportation.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE – Missouri Governor temporarily halted the execution of a man after new DNA evidence surfaced supporting his claim to innocence. The ACLU and others are suing Missouri, claiming they do not provide adequate legal counsel because the public defenders are underfunded. The ACLU filed suit against Indianapolis, alleging they are violating homeless people’s constitutional rights by using a prohibition on standing, sitting, or congregating on sidewalks discriminatory against homeless individuals.
LGBTQ RIGHTS – Illinois Gov. signed legislation allowing transgender and intersex individuals to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Athens, Ohio City Council voted to ban “gay conversion therapy”. Canada is allowing a third option for “x” when identifying gender on passports. India’s Supreme Court declared the right to privacy a constitutional right, including right to privacy regarding sexual orientation.
PROGRESS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR AND WOMEN – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi appointed Kelly Quintanilla as the first woman to serve as president. Cuyahoga County Democrats elected Councilwoman Brown as both their first black and woman leader. The American Legion elected Denise Rohan as the first female national commander.
SAVING THE PLANET – A bipartisan coalition of nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, agreed to a plan to cut power plant pollution by another 30 percent through 2030 by tightening the emissions cap in the nation’s first market to cut carbon pollution. A U.S. District Judge ordered a natural gas pipeline company to repair erosion that occurred along their pipeline canals on 20,000 acres of wetlands owned by another company. The top three container ports in California released an environmental study for 2016, finding it surpassed its 2020 goal for reducing the public health risk. Stockton, California became the first in the nation to have an all electric rapid transit bus route. The Interior Secretary did not recommend the elimination of any national monuments. A U.S. Appeals court rejected the government’s approval of a natural gas pipeline project in the southeastern U.S., citing concerns about its impact on climate change.
STATES AND CITIES DOING THE RIGHT THING – Washington state worked with the Federal govt to get Aequitas Capital Management, a private student loan company for a for-profit college to provide $7 million in debt relief to more than 2,000 Washington student loan borrowers. Oberlin, Ohio voted to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous People’s Day.
ELECTION WINS – Democrat Dawn Euer was elected to the Rhode Island Senate for District 13, maintaining the seat for the democrats. An 18 year old high school student was elected to the Rowlett, Texas City Council. A liberal insurgent democrat, secured more votes than the democratic establishment candidate in the Birmingham Mayoral primary.
PART TWO – The Other good Stuff From the week ending 8/19/17
DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA – In a first of its kind ruling, a judge in California would not allow two defendants charged with violating federal laws for growing marijuana to plead guilty as part of a plea deal, holding that the Congressional budget rule forbidding federal law enforcement from interfering with states where medical marijuana is legal required the dismissal of the case regardless of a plea deal.
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS –California is the first state to announce that they are suing the Department of Justice over the “sanctuary city” restrictions on selected public safety funds to counties that limit cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement. San Francisco followed suit.
SAVING HEALTHCARE – The administration announced they would make the next upcoming payment to insurance companies for subsidies that are critical to keeping the industry stable.
ENDING MASS INCARCERATION –The New York City Council’s bail fund officially launched operations, which provides bail to low-level offenders facing misdemeanor charges who cannot afford to post bail..
LGBTQ SUPPORT – Cincinnati Council member held a rally at city hall to welcome transgender people to apply for positions in their police department. The NHL publicly came out against the Texas “bathroom bill.”
PROGRESS FOR WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR – Cassie Olive is the first woman to pass the requirements for training for the ground artillery forces with the U.S. Marines. Prince William County is naming a new elementary school after the first African American to serve on the school board. The Utah Court of Appeals for the first time has a majority female membership — four women and three men. The University of North Texas Regents selected Lesa Roe, who is currently acting as NASA’s second in command, as the sole finalist for the position of chancellor. Wells Fargo named Elizabeth Duke as the first female board chairperson in its 165-year history. Philadelphia is getting its first statue honoring an African American on its public land
SAVING THE PLANET ONE STATE AT A TIME –Massachusetts regulators released their plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions to comply with a court order to properly implement a 9 year old clean air law. The new rules require utilities produce 80 percent of their power from low-carbon sources by 2050, creates a cap-and-trade program for 21 fossil fuel power plants, lower emissions from vehicles operated by the state, decreasing transportation sector emissions and a reduction in methane leaks along natural gas distribution lines. A U.S. District Court Judge ruled experimental seawalls on South Carolina Islands, which were installed to protect private beachfront property must be removed because they interfere with the turtle nesting of threatened and endangered species. California is tightening the rules on the pesticide use Chlorpyrifos by putting it on a list of chemicals known to be harmful to humans and to increase the distance from schools and homes in which farmers can apply it. The City of Waterbury, Conn. and the EPA have entered into a consent decree to install emission control equipment to limit the discharge of pollution to the atmosphere at a city owned incinerator.
STOPPING THE ADMINISTRATION FROM DESTROYING THE PLANET The NRDC and other groups are suing the EPA over the issuance of a set of rules it issued making it easier to ignore chemical risks and disregard harmful exposures under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Department of Interior announced they will not make any threatened changes to the Sand to Snow National Monument in California, a 154,000-acre monument of trails, which was created last year after the public comment period. The Sierra Club sued the Department of Energy for its failure to comply with a Freedom of Information request for records about internal deliberations and outside communications over a key study on the reliability of the electric grid.
ECONOMIC JUSTICE – A State District Judge dismissed a lawsuit trying to keep a local initiative requiring employers provide sick leave off the ballot in the upcoming election in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Forever GI Act was signed into law expanding the veterans’ education bill by removing the 15-year time limit on the use of GI benefits, increasing assistance for National Guard and Reserve members, providing benefits to Purple Heart recipients whose injuries forced them to leave the service, and allow benefits to be transferred to dependent of those killed in the line of duty., among others. Elk Grove School District in California and Cumberland and Waverly districts in Rhode Island will no longer give students an “alternative” meal if their cafeteria bills aren’t paid up. Instead, students will get the normal meal, ending lunch shaming.
STATES AND CITIES DOING THE RIGHT THING –Bathroom bill is dead for now, as is limiting local property tax increases and a bill protecting motorists who hit demonstrators (yes you read that right) in Texas. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved for circulation three petitions seeking to put initiatives on the ballot in 2018 to create an independent citizen redistricting commission, require employers to offer paid sick leave and legalize all forms of marijuana.
This week’s belated post comes in two parts. The first part is a summary of the fallout from, and amazing activism inspired by, the Charlottesville home grown terrorist event and the administration’s inadequate and inappropriate response to it. It has been difficult keeping up with the tsunami like wave of condemnation and actions and I am sure I missed many but I am listing some of the big ones.
Part Two is all the other good things that happened because I don’t want them to get drowned out in the tsunami because we are fighting this war on so many fronts.
PART ONE –
THERE WERE THE PROTESTS AND OTHER AWESOME FORMS OF ACTIVISM – FIRST, Thank you to the thousands upon thousands of brave and loving people who came out in solidarity rallies in city after city and of course those at Trump Tower and Bedminster. The good people of Charlottesville came out by the thousands for a candlelight vigil at UVA. And as the NY Daily News describes it “plenty of fire and fury” greeted 45 along Fifth Ave. in Manhattan when he made his first visit home since he took office. Days after activists toppled a statue in North Carolina, hundreds of residents lined up at the jail to turn themselves in for the crime in support of three activists who were arrested for the removal.
THE DEFECTION BY CORPORATE AMERICA – CEO’s began to drop like flies from associating with 45. The first to resign from the president’s American Manufacturing Council in protest was the CEO of Merck. Then came the CEO’s of Intel, Under Armour the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and the AFL-CIO. As the resignations grew, the remaining members of the council decided to disband, and then the administration decided to disband the council. Then came the disbanding of the planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, before it could even start. Billionaire Carl Icahn then stepped down as a special adviser to the president on regulatory reform.
TELEVISION, MOVIES AND OTHER ARTS ABANDON TOO – All 17 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned saying “We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions. Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions” At the end of the letter, the members call on him to resign if his values do not align against white “supremacy, discrimination and vitriol,” and the first letter of each paragraph throughout the letter spell out RESIST. After at least two honorees said they would not attend, 45 announced that he would not be appearing at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.
THE REMOVAL AND PROPOSED REMOVAL OF CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS – The number of confederate monuments being removed around the country grow by the minute and The New York Times is keeping an updated list. Some of the early ones to announce they were seeking to remove statues were Jacksonville Florida, Lexington, Kentucky, and Baltimore, Maryland. Protesters in Durham, North Carolina, decided not to wait on the government and found the courage and strength to topple a Confederate Monument on their own. In the dead of night, Baltimore removed 4 confederate statues from public spaces Baltimore and activists placed a statue stylized as “lady liberty of black power” in its location. An Arizona monument dedicated to Jefferson Davis, was tarred and feathered. The Maryland State House Trust voted in favor of removing the statue of Taney, who was the author of the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery, which was then removed immediately afterwards. Six Flags amusement parks announced they would no longer fly the Confederate Flag as one of its six flags. Continue reading
It has been an unexpectedly violent and scary week at a time when many of us resistors were hoping for a moment to breathe with Congress and the twittler on vacation, so I truly hope that this week’s summary of what went right can help bring you a moment of peace – 8/12/17.
ELECTION WINS – Democrat Liz Zimmerman Keitt was re-elected to the Orangeburg South Carolina City Council after running unopposed. Phil Miller (D) won the 82nd House district of Iowa. At first glance, a deceased Democratic was replaced by another Democrat. What is interesting here is that he won 54/44 over the republican in a town evenly divided between registered Democrats and Republicans that swung heavily to the twittler by a 58/37 margin and the GOP candidate tried to paint Miller as a liberal extremist because he supported a transgender student as a school board member.
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS – Chicago sued the administration over its plan to withhold law enforcement grants from “sanctuary cities” alleging the policy forces cities to choose between the money or fulfilling their constitutional obligations. A federal judge dismissed Texas’ efforts to have a “sanctuary cities” ban preemptively declared constitutional allowing the state’s largest cities, including Houston and Dallas, to proceed on a separate federal lawsuit they brought seeking to stop the law. An immigration appeals court dismissed the final deportation order for Romulo Avelica -Gonzalez, an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S. for 25 years, who was detained in February as he dropped his daughter off at school and remanded his case back to the local immigration court.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND ENDING MASS INCARCERATION –Legislation takes effect in New Mexico to curb the ability of law enforcement to seize property, requiring they prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the item they want to confiscate were involved in criminal activity, which is a higher standard than the old one which only required they prove by a link between the property and a crime by a “preponderance of evidence.” District Attorneys in New York City moved to dismiss 644,000 outstanding arrest warrants for minor offenses at least 10 years old, which stemmed from the now-discredited belief that petty offenses, like riding a bike on the sidewalk or drinking in public, could lead to more serious crimes and which disproportionately affected minority neighborhoods. Hundreds of thousands of people will no longer have to live in fear of the old warrants for minor infractions. The SPLC and ACLU sued Baton Rouge, Louisiana for coercing defendants into paying hundreds of dollars to a private company for “supervision” before releasing them from jail, even after they paid their bail
LGBTQ RIGHTS – GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed suit against 45, Defense Secretary Mattis, and other military leaders on behalf of five transgender members of the U.S. military challenging his tweet announcing a ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces. U.S. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said he believes “any patriot” should be allowed to serve, including those who are transgendered. Disney’s popular show Doc McStuffins aired an episode with 2-mom family.
SAVING THE PLANET – A new report from the EPA found that since the passage of the Clean Air Act the economy has more than tripled and the number of vehicle miles traveled every year has nearly doubled, while the nation’s population and annual energy consumption has surged, and shows that clean air and economic growth can happen together. Now if only there was an administration official capable of reading and understanding this report. Los Angeles Mayor ordered city inspectors to track whether required air filtration systems are being installed in new homes near freeways, and is enhancing building inspection software to track and capture statistics related to their installation. In a partial victory, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA can remove ozone-depleting HFCs from the list of acceptable substances for companies to use, but only if the company hasn’t already phased out ozone-depleting gases.
DAVID VS GOLAIATH – A State District Judge in New Mexico rejected a challenge to the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance. Oregon Gov. signed the country’s first statewide employee scheduling law requiring big companies in retail, hospitality, and food service to give employees schedules at least a week ahead of time, and offer stress pay to workers who don’t get a 10-hour break between shifts, and by 2020 employers covered by the law will have to provide schedules two weeks in advance. UE Local 1121 members voted to ratify an agreement with Aramark, winning the strongest contract ever for the workers with 40 cents an hour wage increase, paid sick days, and a stronger safety committee after months of struggle by the laundry workers where they united to stage a walkout. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
If you were like me, you experienced extreme emotional vacillation between intense late night anxiety and outright hysterical laughing at the White House antics, which even the conservative newspaper the NY Post couldn’t help but poke fun at. As another roller-coaster of a week ends, I can report that many good things happened – 7/29/17.
HEALTHCARE, HEALTHCARE, HEALTHCARE – Three republicans stood up to their party, and all the democrats, and saved millions of people from losing affordable healthcare. Now we need to make sure the same happens for tax cuts for the wealthy.
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS – Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court, ruled that local law enforcement does not have the authority to detain people beyond the time they would otherwise be entitled to be released from state custody based solely on a request from federal immigration authorities. Oxnard City Council in California passed a “safe city” resolution to support immigrants and their commitment for police not to enforce federal immigration laws.
SAVING THE PLANET – The UK has banned new diesel and petrol cars from the UK starting in 2040 and announced a £255m fund to help local councils tackle emissions. A coalition of 11 states, including NY, IL, IA, ME, MD, MA, NM, OR, RI, VT and WA filed a petition with the U.S. Ct of Appeals challenging the EPA’s decision to delay new chemical plant safety rules. 100,000 pages of documents collected by environmentalist regarding the chemical industry obtained through discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the EPA and others are now publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – Pedro Hernandez, a teen held at NYC’s notorious Rikers Island for a year on $250,000 bail awaiting trial, was released on bail after the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization posted his bail after the DA agreed to lower the amount. The City of Aurora Colorado will pay $110,000 to settle a claim by the ACLU on behalf of Darsean Kelley, a young Black man who was unlawfully stopped and tased in the back by the police just as he said “I know my rights.” Luckily he was not killed. The ACLU sued Cranston, RI over its panhandling ordinance.
DECRIMINALIZING MARIAJUANA – Massachusetts Gov. signed a law to enact the rules to legalize marijuana for recreational use, nine months after voters approved ballot measures to allow it. York City became the 5th municipality in Pennsylvania to reduce possession of small amounts of marijuana to a violation from a crime and give officers the discretion to issue citations and fines instead of arresting.
PROTECTING WOMEN’S HEALTH – A U.S. District Court Judge issued an injunction blocking new abortion restrictions in Arkansas, including a ban on D&C’s procedures during the second trimester and a fetal remains law that would require a partner’s consent before a woman could get an abortion. An anti-abortion group dropped its challenge of a federal restraining order which required a buffer zone to prevent them from blocking the entrance to the only abortion clinic in Kentucky. In Washington State, victims of domestic violence will now be notified if their abuser illegally tries to buy a gun.
ELECTION NEWS – Democrats held on to two state senate seats in special elections in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to replace legislators who died. Kevin Cavanaugh won for District 16 in NH and n MA, Cindy Friedman won the 4th Senate District, where no republican even challenged her. A Brookings report shows that as of the end of June 208 democratic House challengers filing with the FEC had raised $5,000 or more as compared to 28 Republicans, with 105 Republican incumbents having Democratic challengers with $5,000, double the amount at this same time in 2009. Continue reading