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.
This week brought us some exciting developments originating from the Russia probe and talk of a lot more to come, proving that stepping up and demanding justice is working. If your like me you did your happy dance at the Two for Tuesday, but settled right back in to working tp elect progressive leaders in the primaries and the November elections at city, state, and federal level. We may have lost the Queen of Soul this week but her music and memory continue to inspire us in our struggle now and will for generations to come. So believe it or not other good things happened while you were busy soaking up the Manafort/Cohen good news.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Los Angeles is suing the administration for the second time to try and stop the federal government from imposing immigration enforcement conditions on $1 million in annual funding for anti-gang programs. The ACLU continues to work for the reunification of the remaining families through the federal courts.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL A Michigan District Judge ruled that the State director of the Health and Human Services Department can be tried for involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty for the deaths of two people from Legionnaires Disease. ON EDUCATION A Circuit Court Judge in Florida struck amendment from the ballot for being misleading that would have allowed for the expansion of charter schools. ON HEALTH CARE Illinois passed legislation that strengthens insurance coverage for mental health conditions and addiction treatment. Maine’s highest court rules that the Gov. must move forward with Medicaid expansion and denied his request to delay implementation. Maryland was granted a federal waiver regarding their Affordable Health Care implementation that they expect will result in lower premiums with the same coverage. Nebraska officials certified a ballot measure to allow voters to decide whether to expand Medicaid. A federal judge in Frankfort dismissed the Kentucky Gov’s. lawsuit against 16 Medicaid recipients in an effort to defend his new Medicaid work requirement, because the state is already a party to another case in D.C. on the same matter. FOR WORKERS federal judge struck down executive orders aimed at weakening federal workers rights by restricting the amount of on-duty time union officials can spend representing their members in grievances, limited the issues that could be bargained over, and rolled back the rights of workers to appeal disciplinary action against them for poor performance.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE A federal judge ordered experts to re-examine a privately run Mississippi prison after a trial where inmates claimed unconstitutionally harsh conditions. A planned 19 day nationwide prison strike continues and solidarity rallies have occurred across the U.S. in an attempt to bring reform to the criminal justice system.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Maryland environmental regulators have proposed regulations requiring a Baltimore trash incinerator cut its emissions of a pollutant by about one-fifth. Ocean City to break ground on a solar farm that will generate enough power to run the town’s convention center and municipal buildings. The Gov. of New Jersey stopped the annual bear hunt on all state land for this year. New York Gov. signed legislation prohibiting individuals from smoking in facilities that provide child care. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will protect 11,640 acres of critical habitat for three Hawaiian plants on the island of Hawaii. The Interior Department is no longer going to try to sell off 1,600 acres of federal land from the reduced boundaries of Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante off the table.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS California’s legislature passed two bills that would ban ban secret settlements that require victims to stay quiet about crimes as well as mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements in employment contracts, hoping the governor signs them. CNN suspended Paris Dennard pending an examination of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Hooters is closing restaurants due to reduced interest.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Atlanta unveiled new street signs that will rename a street in honor of Rep John Lewis (D-Ga.). Activists toppled “Silent Sam,” a towering Confederate monument, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Confederate statue in Richmond (VA) was defaced with what appeared to be red paint.
🕬 GUN REFORM EFFORTS CONTINUE Massachusetts high school students undertook a three day, 50-mile march from Worcester City Hall to the Smith and Wesson headquarters in Springfield. New Jersey’s attorney general ordered state and local police forces to share information on buyers and sellers of guns used in crimes.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS A Missouri school district has installed multi-user gender-neutral restrooms at two new elementary schools and in some existing locations. The Clark County School District (NV) approved an explicitly inclusive policy to protect transgender and gender diverse students. A federal judge ordered the Florida Dept of Corrections to recognize a trans inmate in accordance with her gender identity.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling barring Alabama from prohibiting one of the most common forms of abortion after 15 weeks, the “dilation and evacuation” method. The UK will now allow women to take the second of two abortion pills at home, eliminating the current requirement that they take it at a hospital.
🕫🗳️VOTING AND ELECTION INTEGRITY A local elections board in rural Georgia voted down a plan to close seven of nine polling locations in a predominantly black county after widespread public criticism and fired the election management consultant who made the recommendations. Virginia Gov. called a special session for the Virginia General Assembly to redraw House of Delegates districts that a court said were gerrymandered. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife were charged with misuse of election funds for personal expenses for vacations, clothing, private school tuition, and so much more. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by “Anglo-Republicans” that they were being discriminated against in the Dallas election districts. Mi Familia Vota celebrated registering 450,000 since their beginning. LYFT is offering half priced rides to the polls for election day. A coalition of groups including, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and Promise Arizona, sued Arizona Secretary of State for violating federal law for not automatically updating voters’ registration when they update their address with the state Transportation Department.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE A White House speechwriter was fired after it was publically revealed that he had spoken on a conference panel with well-known white supremacists. A Bronx (NY) Supreme Court Judge denied Trump’s motion to dismiss allegations of assault and battery and destruction of property against him, the Trump Organization, and individual employees stemming from an incident during his candidacy where his security director, Keith Schiller and five others attacked a Mexican man protesting his racists comments about Mexicans. The last known Nazi camp guard living in the U.S. was deported. Two white-supremacist convicted of beating a black man in the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally were sentenced to 10 and 6 years.
🙂 RUSSIA/CAMPAIGN/RELATED/LAWSUIT ROUNDUP Just in case you have been living on a deserted island without even access to a carrier pigeon you should know that Michael Cohen pled guilty to a total of eight charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations. Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of the 18 charges he was tried for. There are other news stories about immunity deals with AMI (Owner of National Inquirer and the CFO of the Trump Organization, but you can follow those all you want on the front pages of the newspapers. The Special Counsel’s office recommended a judge sentence George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to federal agents. A federal judge dismissed a defamation case against the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele by three Russian oligarchs for allegations he made in his dossier about the Trump campaign and its links with Moscow.
💁 INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF KINDNESS A police officer in Argentina was promoted after a photo of her breast-feeding a neglected baby while in uniform went viral. A donor is matching $100,000 in donations to help families affected by an I.C.E. raid in Nebraska. One happy voter baked cookies for Beto Orourke. Vic Mensa organized a shoe drive in response to police trying to entrap poor kids in Chicago into stealing shoes from an abandoned truck.
🤸🏿 ALL OVER THE COUNTRY GROUPS HARD AT WORK TRYING TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY Poor People’s Campaign is organizing to knock on doors in 26 six states. Justice Alliance in Tucson is trying to stop local police cooperation with I.C.E. Indivisible San Diego rallied at arraignment for Congressman Hunter. An unknown person(s) changed a light-up road sign near New York City to read “F–k Trump.” Garland Dems had a candidate meet and greet. Occupy ICE LA held a rally to support prison strike. Open Progress signed up its 3,000 volunteer to talk to voters. Moms Demand Action were spreading the message of gun control at the Charlotte Pride Parade. Environmental activists were arrested standing up against big oil in California and Water Protectors are camping along a pipeline in Michigan in an effort to stop it. The Nuns on the bus go “No and No” all the way to Mar-A-Lago. Even the nabisco animal crackers have been freed from the cage on their packaging. A group of Wyoming women nature lovers entered a lottery to win the right to shoot bears, but intend to only shoot with a camera in a creative effort to save the bears.
Primary elections continue to bring some welcome outcomes for progressives and the democratic party. The rally that fizzled was driven out of D.C. and the Lafayette Park protest has past thirty straight days. We are all waiting anxiously for the Manafort jury to make a decision. But you don’t have to sit around wringing your hands while you wait. You can write postcards to voters from home or work with so many groups out there working hard to canvass, register, and energize voters. Now onto this week’s good news roundup.
☑️ ELECTION RESULTS Ilhan Omar, a progressive state legislator, and Somali- American who came to the U.S. as a refugee, won the Democratic primary in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Christine Hallquist, became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party when she won the Vermont’s Democratic primary. Progressive Democrat Jahana Hayes, previously named the 2016 “National Teacher of the Year” by President Obama, won the primary for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District and if elected, she would be the state’s first black Democrat to serve in Congress. George McGill was elected Fort Smith Arkansas’ first black mayor. There are now at least 183 women nominees for U.S. House and 11 women nominees for governor, the highest in history. #BlueWave2018
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS A federal judge extended a freeze on deportations of recently reunified families and ordered them to try to negotiate an agreement on a path to resolving their asylum claims. The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition launched its new advocacy arm, TIRRC Vote, designed to build political support for immigrants through focusing on registering voters, advocating for pro-immigrant policies, canvassing voters and endorsing candidates. The California Supreme Court made it easier for some immigrant children who are abused or abandoned by a parent to seek a U.S. visa to avoid deportation in a ruling where they held it is sufficient to notify the absent parent of the court proceedings and they do not have to make the parent a party to the proceedings. A new German opera is spotlighting refugees. The ACLU sued the Teller County Sheriff in Colorado for holding inmates beyond their sentences, or after they have posted bail upon a request from I.C.E. arguing it violates the state’s constitution. #StandWithImmigrants
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Nevada State Medicaid officials are easing recent restrictions on payments for mental health services in the face of widespread concerns about its effect on vulnerable recipients. After a recent court decision, Pennsylvanian is restoring “General Assistance”, a monthly cash program that aided poor individuals in the state before it was eliminated in 2012. The San Antonio City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance allowing workers to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave each year. The Connecticut Insurance Department determined state law prohibits the sale of skimpy “short term” health plans that the federal government is now allowing for much longer period. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing an Illinois School District for violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act for capping salary raises for teachers within 10 years of retirement eligibility at six percent and a Kansas school district for paying male principals more than female ones. The National Health Law Program, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and the Southern Poverty Law Center sued to try to stop the implementation of work requirements in Arkansas’ Medicaid program. #FightFor15
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE Marijuana legalization qualified for the ballot in North Dakota. A court found that a Michigan statute denying good-time credit to re-sentenced juvenile lifers to be unconstitutional. Philadelphia Eagles players wore shirts during pre-game practice calling out criminal injustice. Make the Road by Walking filed a complaint against the NYC police department for denying interpreter services. Nashville voters will now get to vote in November to create a new civilian-led police review board. #BlackLivesMatter
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT There were four great recent federal court decisions blocking the administration’s efforts to roll back environmental protections including;
- an injunction blocking the delay of the Waters of the United States rule in a number of state in a case brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center;
- stopping the EPA’s attempt to delay a chemical plant safety regulation written by the Obama administration under the Clean Air Act;
- ordering a full environmental review of a revised route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
- ordering the EPA to regulate harmful runoff pollution from commercial, industrial, and institutional sites in two Southern California watersheds.
A federal appeals court also ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s denial of endangered species protection for Montana Arctic grayling was unlawful and ordered the agency to reconsider protection for the rare fish. Illinois sued the Trump Tower in Chicago for violating clean water laws. In Virginia, activists held a People’s Caravan for Clean Air and Water. #ThereIsNoPlanB
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS Illinois governor signed a law that requires hospitals to train enough medical providers in how to treat sexual assault patients so that victims are seen by a trained provider within 90 minutes or arrival. A judge in New York ruled that a confidentiality agreement between the Trump campaign and a former staffer is limited in scope, and the staffer’s lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination and harassment while working for the campaign is not subject to out-of-court arbitration.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Berkeley school no longer named after the Georgia eugenecist and is now named in honor of the girl who won California’s Brown Vs. Board of Ed case integrating schools. #NoHate
🕬 GUN REFORM EFFORTS CONTINUE Shopify Inc., the Canadian provider of online stores for more than 600,000 businesses, banned the sale of some semi- automatic firearms and 3D-printed guns. Moms Demand Action gunsense candidates won 79 percent of their democratic primaries. Road to Change ended their successful cross-country trip in Newtown CT. #NeverAgain
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS The PA Human Relations Commission expanded the definition of “sex” as it applies to the state’s discrimination laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender transition, and transgender identity. A lawsuit against an Oregon school district that allows transgender students to use bathroom of choice was dropped. #Lovetrumpshate
🕫🗳️VOTING RIGHTS AND GERRYMANDERING Federal Courts issued some important rulings for voting and gerrymandering including;
- overturning a New Hampshire law giving local moderators the authority to reject absentee ballots due to concerns about signatures in a suit filed by the ACLU;
- requiring the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to sit for a deposition in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census;
- a Federal judge in California goes a step further than one in New York and holds that the way the administration sought to add a citizenship question to the census may have violated the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution in denying a motion to dismiss the suit;
- rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s congressional district map because it’s gerrymandered finding that it still has merit despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue and;
- denied a motion to dismiss a voter intimidation and defamation lawsuit against J. Christian Adams and the right-wing Public Interest Legal Foundation by the League of United Latin American Citizens.
New RestoreYourVote.Org Project from Campaign Legal Center helps ex-felons determine if they are legally allowed to vote. A judge ordered a candidate restored to the ballot after a county clerk in Utah admitted that he and a republican candidate conspired together to fabricate a case against the democratic candidate to kick him off the ballot. Voter turnout in the Vermont primary was 22 percent, the highest since 2010 and in Minnesota the turnout was 22.7, the highest since 1994. Recent research by Sister District shows that a follow up handwritten postcard to a person sent a voter registration form increased the chances that they registered to vote. #Vote
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Twitter has banned Alex Jones and InfoWars for all of a week. GrabYourWallet has a tool you can use to block all the Fortune 500 companies that advertise on Twitter until Alex Jones is banned permanently and tells Twitter about it, check it out, takes less than 30 seconds to do. The FCC shut down Alex Jones’s illegal pirate radio station. Yet another racist was fired for their actions, this time an aquarium in New Jersey says it has fired an employee who kicked out a group of black schoolchildren from a gift shop in a now-viral video. Thousands of counter-protestors turned up to face down the pitiful, barely 30 people that showed up for the Unite the Right rally in D.C. Activists are marching from NY to D.C. to stand up to white supremacy.
🙂 LAWSUIT ROUNDUP A federal judge upheld the constitutionality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment in a challenge to an indictment brought by a Russian firm accused of funding an internet trolling operation targeting U.S. voters. The Manafort jury has been deliberating for two day and counting.
📰 DEFENDING THE FREE PRESS 300 newspapers published editorials on the same day defending the free press from attacks calling them the opposition and “Fake News.” Even the Senate passed a resolution affirming the press is not “the enemy of the people.” One Utica business owner did their part to help the free media. #NotOurEnemy
🤸🏿ALL OVER THE COUNTRY GROUPS WERE HARD AT WORK TRYING TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY Indivisible Austin, Indivisible Mad River Valley, Indivisible MDI, Indivisible Cypress, and Justice Alliance were out protesting. Moms Demand Action was out in Omaha registering and talking to voters. Grannies Respond are trying to help a man who is ying to feed people being dropped at a bus station in Mexico by I.C.E. Thousands of Building and Trade Union workers in Philadelphia marched in support of immigrant rights. Indivisible Berkeley is on a road trip to Nevada to register voters and hosting 40 person phone bank. Indivisible East Tennessee and Suit Up Maine and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are training, canvassing, and working to GOTV. Be A Hero campaign is hoping to encourage Senator Collins to vote no on Kavanagh by publically raising money to be donated to her democratic opponent should she vote yes. Great thinking! Organizing Communities Against Deportation held marches and educational events. This young woman sat on a corner in NYC registering voters. Many groups participated in the Hands Along the Water event to call attention to the red tide problem in Florida. #GOTV
The trial of Paul Manafort continues on, new investigations and criminal charges follow those associated with the thief-in-chief, including his first republican endorser, his former lawyer, and his Secretary of the Interior, bringing us a chance to see criminal politicians accountable for their crimes. Primaries are bringing out loads of democratic voters and progressive candidates are breaking new ground. We may not yet know if Danny O’Connor won in Ohio, but we do know that lots of great actions happened this week and here is a brief roundup of some that hopefully inspire you to keep on fighting for our democracy, My highlights are:
- #FightFor15 Voters in Missouri overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative striking down an anti-union, “right-to-work.” law which bars the collection of fees from private-sector workers who choose not to become union members.
- #ImmigrantRights A federal judge ordered the administration to turn a plane around that was transporting two asylum seekers back to El Salvador who were fighting deportation in the case before him brought by the ACLU.
- #ThereIsNoPlanetB A federal appeals court ordered the EPA to stop allowing the pesticide chlorpyrifos to be used because the agency’s own research showed it had harmful effects on children and farmworkers.
- #Voter A federal judge invalidated part of North Carolina elections law that allows one voter to challenge another’s residency, a provision in a case brought by the NAACP and others.
- #LoveIsLove Costa Rica’s supreme court declared that existing laws banning gay marriage were unconstitutional and gave the legislature 18 months to change the law to allow gay marriage.
☑️ ELECTION RESULTS
- Kansas Democrats selected Sharice Davids as the state’s first openly gay, Native American nominee for Congress.
- Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim, child of immigrants, endorsed by progressive groups, won the democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, and since she is running unopposed in the general election is poised to become the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress.
- Last week, not only did the three democrats I reported on win their elections in Tennessee, but overall Democrats in the state won 21 of 26 county offices up for grabs.
- In the first primary since the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer, in which the St. Louis DA failed to obtain a grand jury indictment against the Officer, the 28-year DA was defeated by Wesley Bell who ran on a platform of reform.
- The Missouri GOP Senate candidate, Courtland Sykes, who claims women should be “traditional homemakers,” lost his bid for the party nomination.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS The Idaho Supreme Court held that an undocumented immigrant’s immigration status isn’t an absolute bar from long-term disability payments in addition to the workers’ compensation and temporary disability payments they are already eligible for if they are injured on the job. The Army is suspending discharges of foreign-born recruits who enlisted as part of a special military program that put them on the path to U.S. citizenship, following lawsuits by soldiers challenging their dismissal. A federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. constitution protects Mexican citizens from being shot by border patrol agents across the border without good cause.
AND STILL FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the administration over its decision to remove asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. The judge then blocked the administration from deporting any of the plaintiffs while the case is pending and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt. Freedom for Immigrants in California has raised over $100,000 for the Richmond ICE bail fund and is now training volunteers in the arduous task of completing the bail process. A Nebraska public school stepped up and offered sanctuary and help to families after I.C.E. raided local businesses. Resistance Nashville has again shut down entrances to CoreCivic and Abolish ICE Philly shut down traffic outside an ICE building.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE The New York City Council passed legislation to cap UBER, LYFT, and other rideshare vehicles in an effort to address the declining wages for drivers and allow them to study and set a minimum pay rate for drivers. A federal judge ruled that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is constitutional. Neighborhoods First Alliance and other proponents of a citywide paid sick leave ordinance in San Antonio packed City Hall.
👨🏿⚖️WINNING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE A federal judge ruled Memphis gathered “political intelligence” against activists violating a 1978 agreement against such actions, in a partial win for the ACLU of Tennessee in their case against the Memphis Police Department. AND FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE 200 students from youth-led organizations rallied in NYC to demand the Mayor eliminate arrests and summons in NYC schools. The ACLU sued the Flint Police Department for placing a year old student in handcuffs. Former NFL player Randy Moss was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame wearing a tie with the names of 12 black men and women who were killed by police. A number of Miami Dolphins football players took a knee, sat out, or raised their fists during the national anthem before the team’s game.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered a temporary halt to construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline after a decision by a federal appeals court to toss out key federal permits issued for the project. A California jury found Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killers, including Roundup, caused a plaintiff’s cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages. The California Coastal Commission ordered a Laguna Beach couple to pay $1 million in fines and tear down a sea wall that protects a single mansion from erosion at the expense of the public beach in front. Maryland launched a pilot program to allow anyone to power their home with solar panels, even renters and condo-dwellers. The New Zealand Government announced that they will ban the use of plastic bags within the next year. Ruth, Bader, and Ginsburg, are doing what goat goats do best and providing a natural way to get rid of poison ivy in Vermont by grazing on the plant in Montpelier.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS USC president stepped down in the wake of protests over how the university handled multiple sex-abuse scandals. Politico has a great article on one sports league that is standing up for justice, the WNBA.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Pa. Gov. created the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. A second federal court judge ruled the administration could not ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
🕫🗳️ JUDGES AND OTHERS ORDERING OPEN AND FAIR ELECTIONS Iowa Supreme Court affirmed portions of a lower-court injunction prohibiting signature- matching requirements for absentee ballots; requiring voters to include an identification number on forms requesting absentee ballots; and telling voters without elaboration that an ID is required to vote in 2018. Massachusetts governor signed the automatic voter registration bill that was passed last week. The N.C. state elections board adopted an election plan that will include early voting at N.C. State University with the lone independent on the board siding with the democrats.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE An Arkansas police officer was fired after telling a group of African-American men that “you don’t belong in my city.” Apple, Facebook, and YouTube have finally banned far-right broadcaster and known conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars network from their platforms. A man who killed a tech worker from India in a racially motivated attack in a Kansas bar received three life sentences. Kellogg’s is offering Rice Krispies Treats “Love Notes” in the form of Braille stickers and record-able audio boxes following their roll out writable wrappers on individual Rice Krispies Treats so as to include those with visual impairments. Anti-racist protesters and activists marched through the streets of Charlottesville in advance of a planned white nationalist rally.
⛼ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) announced that he would not run for reelection shorty after he is indicted on federal charges for insider trading. Less than a week after CREW filed a Hatch Act complaint against the administration’s director of media affairs for Latino and African-American news outlets, Helen Aguirre Ferré, announced she is leaving the White House.
🙂 FYI The University of Maryland, College Park was awarded a $3 million grant by the Scripps Howard Foundation to start an investigative journalism center, Illinois celebrated the first annual “Barack Obama Day.”
🧗♀️SOME GREAT ACTIVISM Indivisible Phoenix reached its 80th week of protesting in Phoenix. Action Together NJ is helping activists postcard to voters. NoIDC NY made a astounding 5,000 calls for candidates in one day with a blockbuster turnout. The city of West Hollywood approved to request the removal of the racist-in-chief’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Broadway performers traveled to D.C. to join the protestors at Lafayette Park. Activists were at work in Cedar Rapids. Indivisible Berkeley held a “Paint Congress Blue” event. Postcards to Voters had 1,600+ volunteers to write 26k Democratic voters in just three days.
SOME INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF KINDNESS A Walmart cashier used her break time to give a woman with a disability that sometimes causes her hands to shake a manicure after she was refused service at a nearby nail salon, a white man on a NYC subway hands his phone to a young black child to play a game, and one woman is helping to collect frequent flyer miles to use to reunite families.
Quite a few decisions on sanctuary cities, DACA, dark money in politics, and other things were issued by the courts that should bring you a waive of hope for the future. Anti-gerrymandering is making progress and so many groups are out there hitting the campaign trail for democrats and progressive candidates. The Manafort trial is on day four and we are learning a lot about rattlesnake coats, mortgage and tax documents, and M shaped flower landscaping. However, I will leave you to the NY Times, Washington Post, and other real news sources to read about the trial updates as there was so much other great things that happened. Now onto all the good to inspire you to keep going to the November elections and beyond.
☑️ELECTION RESULTS Democrat Jackie Hill and progressive activist, Tami Sawyer won seats on the Blount County and the Shelby County Commissions (TN). Democrat Lee Harris was elected mayor of Shelby County mayor, Tennessee’s largest county succeeding the term limited Republican. Four women won primaries for U.S. House races in Tennessee. #BlueWave2018
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS federal courts ruled that;
- The executive order threatening to withhold funding from #SanctuaryCities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities is unconstitutional.
- His order that the #DACA program must be fully restored, including accepting new applications will stand.
- The administration is 100 percent responsible for finding the missing parents of the children still in the U.S. who were forcibly separated and have the sole burden and responsibility and obligation to make reunifications happen. #FamiliesBelongTogether
- The government must transfer migrant children out of the Shiloh Treatment Center, an immigration facility in Texas, unless a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist determines they pose a harm to themselves or other. The judge also ordered the government to seek consent before giving psychotropic drugs to any child unless there is an emergency or court order, and determined an independent monitor was needed. #ReleaseTheChildren
There was no shortage of good things happening this week, and not just over a thousand children rightfully returned to their parents, but progress and new information on the Russia front (which I am not covering since I want to stay focused on what we can do as a citizens and it gets plenty of press coverage) and some positive polling for Democrats. We are now one hundred days until the November elections and it is crunch time to get people registered to vote, inspired to vote, and supporting candidates who will fight for equality, justice, health care, immigrants, a tax and spend plan that works for all people and not just the 1%, and so much more. If this blog inspires you, please take a moment to subscribe to receive the weekly list by email and like this week’s post to help me spread the good news. Some highlights for his week are;
- #StopICE The Philadelphia Mayor announced he is letting a contract with ICE expire and the city will stop giving ICE access to a real-time arrest database after activists fought hard to demand this change.
- #LivingWage Seattle passed a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights that requires all domestic workers be paid at least the equivalent to Seattle’s minimum wage, be given time off and breaks, and prohibits employers from retaining workers’ personal documents.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal The EPA announced it would reverse Pruitt’s decision to stop enforcing air emission standards for heavy-duty trucks under the Clean Air Act after a federal court blocked the decision in lawsuits brought by the Environmental Defense Fund, 16 states and D.C.
- #RightToVote A U.S. District Judge ruled that Florida’s ban on early voting sites on college campuses was unconstitutional and that it appeared to be done to stop younger voters from casting ballots.
- #EqualityForAll Washington Attorney General announced that Facebook agreed to make significant changes to its advertising platform by removing the ability of third-party advertisers to exclude ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and other protected groups from seeing their ads and will have nationwide impact for its platform.
🧕🏻 CITIES, STATES, AND CORPORATIONS STOOD UP FOR IMMIGRANTS with the Orlando City Council passing the ‘Fair Treatment for All Trust Act Policy’ that prohibits police from asking residents about their immigration status when they are victims or witnesses to a crime or during routine interactions with police. The New York Gov. pardoned seven people who are facing deportation for previous “minor criminal convictions.” United Airlines is donating flights to help reunite immigrant families. #FamiliesBelongTogether
JUDGES PROTECTED IMMIGRANTS thanks to a federal judge appointing a special monitor to oversee conditions for detained migrant children following claims of inhumane treatment in the Customs and Border Protection detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Another federal judge has permanently blocked the imposition of immigration related conditions on criminal justice grants to Chicago and said he will expand that decision to other jurisdictions. That judge also called the underlying law that the administration has pointed to as justifying its efforts unconstitutional citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision that the federal government cannot prohibit states from passing laws they choose. The undocumented immigrant arrested by ICE and detained for months after he delivered a pizza to a Brooklyn army base was ordered released from custody and his deportation was temporarily halted by a federal judge.
WORKING TO HELP IMMIGRANTS THROUGH NEW LAWSUITS the Border Network for Human Rights and the Southwest Environmental Center is challenging the administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy based on the Administrative Procedure Act which requires notice and public comment before any government agency adopts a major new policy.” ACLU is suing New Jersey school districts for requesting information that is a barrier to enrollment of immigrants and Teller Colorado to stop them from holding immigrants on ICE detainer requests because they lack legal authority to do so. The SPLC sued ICE and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for failure to provide documents pursuant detailing the way in which it arrests and detain immigrants through Florida sheriffs and on interstate buses and at bus stops.
ADVOCATES STOOD UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Children sat in at the Hart Senate building to stand up for immigrant families with Moms Rising and Young people showed up to protest ICE in the rain. Inmates at the Bristol County House of Corrections went on a hunger strike in solidarity with ICE detainees. RAICES is helping to post bond for immigrants. An amazing Swedish woman single handedly stopped a plane deporting an immigrant. Constituents of Rep. Steve Stivers protested at the congressman’s office to draw attention to the continued separation of immigrant families at the U.S. southern border. Protesters from Rise and Resist were arrested stopping traffic on 5th Ave in NYC to demand family reunification. Massachusetts activists demanded their state stand up for immigrants. #WeAreAllImmigrants
⚖️ The NAACP won a legal hurdle in their FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE when a federal appeals court allowed their lawsuit to move forward challenging an Alabama law prohibiting local governments from mandating pay or benefits for workers finding that it was plausible that racially discriminatory motivations were at play in passing it. California’s Supreme Court ruled that employers must pay workers for the time they spend completing off-the-clock tasks, such as locking up after work. Disney agreed to raise starting hourly wages to $15 an hour beginning next year and immediately raise pay 20% to $13.25 as part of union negotiations for 10,000 Disneyland workers. #FightFor15
On other notes of interest, The administration is resuming a program that pays billions of dollars to health insurers, just weeks after abruptly suspending the payments. A federal appeals court ruled that public prayers may not be held during school board meetings. New Zealand passed a law providing victims of domestic violence 10 days of paid leave, and allow them to leave their partners, find new homes and protect their children.
👨🏿⚖ The ACLU launched the ‘Campaign for Smart Justice” working to SEEK RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE in Allegheny County, with the goal of reducing mass incarceration by engaging local activists and organizations in promoting “smart justice” policies. #SmartJusticePA Court Watch NYC, a group that prepares people to attend and publicly report on court proceedings to highlight injustices and hold local District Attorneys accountable got a boost with an article on their work in a local paper. New Jersey Attorney General asked municipal prosecutors across the state to adjourn all marijuana offenses until Sept. 4 to allow his office time to develop “appropriate guidance” for handling such cases, with the eye to reform.
🌎 Environment Texas and the Sierra Club are helping to SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT in Texas by suing Pasadena Refining Services Inc. for violating Texas clean air and water law, leading to a settlement where they agree to institute programs and upgrades to reduce pollution and pay $3.5 million in civil penalties. Disney is eliminating single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its owned and operated locations across the globe by mid-2019. #ThereIsNoPlanB Mongolia began installing devices designed to remove diesel particulate matter on public buses in its capital with a grant from Japan.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER to those that see them, Shreveport Louisiana will be allowed to remove a confederate monument outside a parish courthouse now that a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to keep the statue the city voted to remove. Lakeland Florida received permission final approval from a local preservation committee to relocate a confederate monument from a central city park to a Veterans Park. Vendors at the Delaware State Fair were ordered to remove Confederate flags and items adorned with it, since the state prohibited them at the fair two years ago. The Chicago City Council renamed Congress Parkway to Ida B. Wells Drive making it the first downtown street named for a woman of color and honoring one of the city’s great journalists and activists fighting lynching and for women’s right to vote. #TakeThemDown
🕬 GUN REFORM happened in Michigan with the Michigan Supreme Court deciding that school districts may prohibit guests on campus from carrying firearms, in a case challenging the Ann Arbor and Clio school districts banned all guns from campus, regardless of whether the person had a permit. #MarchforOurLives ‘Road to Change’ has made it to Tallahassee.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ RIGHTS took a step forward when a federal judge ruled that allowing a transgender high school student in an Oregon school district to use the locker room and restroom that corresponds to their gender identity doesn’t violate the privacy rights of other students who object to sharing the spaces and threw out the lawsuit by Parents for Privacy. Delaware Gov. signed a law banning “gay conversion therapy” on minors.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHTS held firm when a federal appeals court upheld a ban on an Indiana law that forced woman to undergo an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion. While mostly symbolic since abortion is legal in the state, it was an important moment for women when the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill formally repealing the state’s 173-year-old law against “procuring a miscarriage. #RightToChoose Utah and Idaho passed laws to protect nursing mothers who need to breastfeed in public, making them the last two states to do so. #BreastIsBest
🕫🗳️VOTERS WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE AND BE COUNTED now that an Iowa district court judge ruled parts of a 2017 voter I.D. law unconstitutional and restored the absentee early voting period from 29 days to 40 days and blocks certain ID requirements and advertising that voter id is needed to vote. California passed a law requiring all counties to provide free postage for vote-by-mail ballots. A federal judge allowed a lawsuit against the administration to block the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census to proceed.
💸FOLLOWING THE CAMPAIGN MONEY Montana Gov. sued the IRS to block a new policy no longer requiring some non-profits to reveal their donors arguing that it interferes with Montana’s ability to gather data that the state needs in order to administer its tax laws. The New York State Board of Elections demanded that the former caucus of breakaway NY State Senate Democrats who caucused with the Republican party refund up to $1.4 million in contributions they received through an illegal campaign finance alliance.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE AND DISCRIMINATION was the New Jersey 101.5 radio which suspended hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco over the duo’s derogatory comments about state the Attorney General. After the Daily Caller doxxed the founder of the activists group Sleeping Giants, the publicity lead to them adding 11,000 members to their community, over 20 more advertisers left Breitbart and they landed on the front page of the NY Times business section.
SOME HATERS GONE THIS WEEK ARE Georgia state Rep. Jason Spencer, who dropped his pants and yelled racial slurs on camera in an episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s show Who Is America? resigned resigned from the legislature. Ximena Barreto, a deputy director of communications at the Dept of Health and Human Services, resigned after it was discovered she spread conspiracies and made anti-Muslim comments. A Dollar General manager was fired after he called the police on a black woman trying to use coupons and what may have been racist comments.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Land O’Lakes announced that Beth Ford would be taking on the role of president and CEO, becoming the first openly gay, female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. William G. Gross was named Boston’s first African-American police commissioner.
🙂 ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWSUIT ROUNDUP A federal judge ruled that Maryland and the District of Columbia can proceed with their lawsuit accusing the profiteer-in-chief of unconstitutionally accepting payments from foreign and state interests through his Washington hotel in violation of the Emoluments Clause. U.S. District Court Judge ruled that a Federal Records Act lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility alleging that the EPA and Scott Pruitt violated federal records laws by systematically failing to create and maintain documents of essential agency activities can proceed.
⛼ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST this week but it wasn’t just people, it was Ivanka’s clothing line. Publicly she says it was to avoid the appearance of profiting from her father but at least one magazine says it was also partially from a widespread boycott of her brand.
✐ SOME CREATIVE ACTIVISM INCLUDES Lady liberty in Maine fighting corruption. BLM Chicago is stocking boxes with free food. #OccupyLafayettePark is still going strong and celebrating shark week. Even Rolling Stone magazine thought the voter registration drive at San Diego Comic Con was one of the best things there. Make the Road by Walking is protest at home of JP Morgan CEO for financing private prisons. Indivisible Chicago held a great postcard writing party and Indivisible BK held a text banking party for Beto O’rourke. Rosemary reminds us activists were successful 43 years ago and we can do it again. Indivisible Petaluma used overpasses to spread their message to support immigrant families. An activist put up a new billboard in Colorado displaying the word “GOP,” but replacing the “O” with a Soviet-era hammer and sickle.
😁 JUST FYI NEWS I have repeatedly stated that I do not condone criminal activities but someone did smash the groper-in-chief’s Hollywood star, that person was bailed out of jail by the last person to destroy the star and the smashed star is now being guarded by two people dressed as Russian Officers. Oh, and activists are trying to get the liquor license for Trump DC hotel revoked for bad moral character.
I am amazed by the tenacious energy that hundreds of thousands of Americans have to come out week after week over the past year and a half to stand up to the ever increasing amount of injustices being done. This week citizens from every corner of the country came out for vigils to stand up for democracy after the Putin and the Traitor-in-Chief met in Helsinki, so soon after the massive protests against family separations. Even some republicans are beginning to stand up and say no, no to a racist federal appeals judge and no to allowing the administration to make any officials available for interrogation by Putin’s government. More and more groups are organizing to do the door-knocking, phone-banking, fundraising, voter registration, and postcard writing it takes to get progressive, honest, and qualified candidates elected. Here is this week’s roundup of inspiring actions and accomplishments to keep you going as we get another week closer to the November elections.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS #SanctuaryStates Attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington brought a multi-state lawsuit against the Dept. of Justice to block the federal government’s immigration-related conditions on a federal law enforcement grants. San Francisco began registering non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, to vote in the city school board election pursuant to a 2016 ballot measure opening school elections to non-citizens who are over the age of 18, city residents and have children under age 19. #FamilesBelongTogether A federal judge temporarily halted deportations of recently reunited families after the ACLU filed for the injunction arguing that it was necessary to allow time to ensure no family is being improperly deported.
A few of this week’s many #WeAreAllImmigrants actions: Michigan United and the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights delivered more than 400 postcards protesting deportations to an I.C.E. field office. Mashable created a list of immigrants, activists, and organization you can follow on immigration issues. A local 10 Below Ice Cream offered up free ice cream for an immigrant rights fundraiser. Direct Impact Coalition brought needed supplies to Central America. Ordinary citizen posted bond for an immigrant mother. Florida activist groups held a march and blocked traffic near the I.C.E field office in Miramar. A Catholic parish in Lansing designate itself as a “sanctuary church” for immigrants facing deportation.
⚖️ECONOMIC EQUALITY #HealthCareForAll Dental and vision care benefits will be restored for hundreds of thousands of Medicaid recipients Kentucky in a sudden reversal by the governor after outcry over the recent cuts. The Idaho Secretary of State certified the Idaho Medicaid Expansion Initiative to be on the ballot in November. #ConsumerRights TCF National Bank has agreed to pay $30 million to resolve allegations that it misled consumers about overdraft services in a case brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2016 under Obama’s appointee. #UnionStrong After the Janus decision democratic states are taking action to protect unions. #HomelessRights The ACLU and Southern Legal Counsel obtained justice for homeless individuals whose belongings were seized and destroyed during a raid by city workers on a homeless encampment in Florida. #EducationNotDeportation a New Mexico state court ruled the state is not providing all public school students with a sufficient education and is violating the state Constitution. Continue reading