HEROES ARE EVERYWHERE!

We have James Shaw to prove that a good guy doesn’t need a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun; Teachers showing us that threats of firing and jailing can’t stop them from standing up for the rights of students to have a quality education and educators a living wage; Moms Demand Action groups going to NRA, A+ rated Republican held state houses demanding and getting gun reform passed; and Democratic candidates giving republicans a run for their money and winning seats all over the country. Yes, there are heroes. Who were your heroes this week?

This week’s HIGHLIGHTS of the inspiring news are;

  • #BlackLivesMatter The National Memorial for Peace and Justice commemorating 4,400 black people who were slain in lynchings and other racial killings between 1877 and 1950 opened in Alabama.
  • #MuellerTime The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller thanks to four Republicans voting for the bill.
  • #BlueWave2018 Democrats in New York held on to two State Senate seats and flipped a State house seat that had been held by republicans for more than thirty years, making it the 40th legislative flip since the inauguration.
  • #DreamActNow A third federal judge ordered the administration to continue DACA renewals, and is the first judge to also ordered the administration to accept new applications as well.
  • #ClimateChangeIsReal A federal appeals court ruled the administration cannot delay a regulation that increased automakers’ fines for cars that violate fuel efficiency standards.
  • #JamesShawIsMyHero Not only did James Shaw, an unarmed black man single-highhandedly stop a white man with an assault rifle from killing more black people, but he also helped raised over $165,000 for the victims and their families.

🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS took place in New Mexico, New York, and Connecticut. Albuquerque’s Mayor signed the legislation that prevents immigration officers from using city facilities to detain or question people about their immigration status and prevents city officials from investigating a person’s immigration status. Connecticut passed a law allowing undocumented students without legal status to be eligible for institutional financial aid at state-run colleges. New York’s Gov. sent a cease-and-desist letter to ICE saying their actions in the state are “reckless and unconstitutional enforcement actions.” The ACLU launched a celebrity-filled campaign to help immigrants know their rights in interactions with federal agents, which feature the phone number for rapid response teams to flag immigration raids and help immigrants get legal representation.

Immigrants and their supporters organized a two-day “emancipation march” to the Minnesota State Capitol, protested outside a Dept. of Homeland Security office in Grand Rapids, and when ICE showed up at Staten Island Criminal Court to detain a defendant suspected of entering the country illegally lawyers there staged a protest outside the courthouse.

⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE is being fought for by Hundreds of teaching and research assistants at Columbia University who went on strike over the schools refusal to negotiate a contract. The #RedForEd movement in Arizona continued into the second day of state-wide walk out of teachers, with 50,000 protesters at the Arizona Capitol demanding increased education funding and promising to be back next week. Colorado teachers also took to the state house in their quest for better education money/pay. The Western Springs Village Board (IL) reversed its decision and will now opt-in to county regulations raising the minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave to private sector employees. FEMA extended the hotel stays of 1,700 families who evacuated Puerto Rico and relocated to mainland U.S. states after Hurricane Maria that were due to end.

👨🏿‍⚖️CRIMINAL JUSTICE reform was led by New York City this week when they began providing free daily buses for those seeking to visit an inmate at the city’s main jail, which had been difficult and time-consuming for most, in an effort to help inmates stay connected to family and reduce recidivism. NYC also announced the creation of a new bail payment system to reduce jail time by allowing bail to be posted online, by phone or by kiosk rather than the current costly and time-consuming trip to a correctional facility. Activists protested in Chicago for bail reform in response to a lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff for holding a detainee for 60 hours after bail was posted. Roanoke Jail Solidarity is holding a benefit concert at Dumas Center to raise money to bail out mothers for Mother’s day. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Joplin (MO) alleging the city’s new panhandling ban is unconstitutional. Corinth (MO) is seeking court approval of their settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center, in which they agree to guarantee arrested individuals see a judge within 48 hours, to release most people without requiring bail, determine if people accused of violent offenses can afford bail, and offer installment plans or perform community service for those who can’t afford fines, instead of jail time.

🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Michael Bloomberg announced he will pay the $4.5 million to cover this year’s US commitment to the Paris climate agreement. New York City owned buildings will have to be completely powered by green energy by 2050 under a bill passed by the City Council. A Georgia County Superior Court Judge ordered the state Environmental Protection Division not to allow construction of a parking lot on top of a stream. Maryland ordered a hydropower facility to reduce nutrient pollution passing through the dam or pay $172 million a year for someone else to do it.

🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET  The European Union is banning the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees. More than 40 companies, including Britain’s biggest supermarkets, Coca Cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble promised to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging in the UK by 2025. Sweden unveiled a new road that charges electric cars while they drive. The world’s first passive plastic collection device is going to be deployed in the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to address the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Even small steps help, Grand Designs Live Expo in London will not sell plastic bottles or straws and will use biodegradable cutlery.

👩#MeToo Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault against Andrea Constand, one of the many brave women who came forward to hold him accountable for his actions. The ACLU sued Chicago on behalf of a mother who was told to use the men’s restroom when she needed to use a breast pump while reporting for jury duty. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) announced he is resigning from Congress effective immediately rather than serve out the remainder of his last term and that he would reimburse the govt for the $39,000 that was paid to a former staffer he sexually harassed. The U.S. EEOC recommended the Michigan Dept. of Corrections improve its sexual harassment training after determining the state department violated a female employee’s civil rights.

🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER to those that see them so check out two new murals one in Santa Cruz, “Unify, Decolonize, Thrive” mural and “Justice is Blind” mural now unveiled at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Alabama to reflect diversity and to balance two racist murals that it joins. A statue of the “Oh! Susanna” songwriter with a slave sitting at his feet was removed from a Pittsburgh park.The Austin City Council voted to take the names of Confederate leaders off two roads and rename them after Azie Taylor Morton, the first African-American U.S. treasurer, and William Holland, an African-American Texas state legislator. Boston is renaming Yawkey Way by Fenway Park because it is named for the Red Sox owner who resisted integration of the league. Millicent Fawcett’s statue was finally unveiled in London’s Parliament Square.

🕬  GUN CONTROL AND  ACTIVISM CONTINUES IN FULL SWING The Delaware legislature unanimously passed a “red flag” gun control bill allowing police to temporarily seize firearms from someone deemed a danger to themselves or others by mental health professionals and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Hawaii passed legislation banning bump stocks and the Governor announced he supports it.  While expected, it is nice to see it official that the Maryland Gov. signed the recently passed three new gun regulations into law. Kansas governor signs law limiting abusers access to guns. More than half a dozen governors announced plans to launch an multi-state consortium to study gun violence as a public health issue. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other tech giants are ditching their handgun emoji and using a water gun in its place.

🏳️‍🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Hoboken (NJ) ordered all city-owned, single-occupancy restrooms to be gender neutral. A republican candidate for a Texas School Board who claimed that public school preschool programs would make children gay was defeated.

🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE A third federal judge has now blocked the administration’s early end of grants for some organizations participating in a federal teen pregnancy prevention program.

🕫🗳️VOTING MOBILIZATION AND VOTING RIGHTS A Texas judge dismissed a lawsuit by the GOP to remove more than 80 Democrats from the November general election ballot. Arizona Democrats blocked Republican concocted plans to keep McCain’s seat in republican hands for two years without an election. A federal judge ruled that Marion County Indiana must establish at least two early voting locations ahead of the November midterm elections in a case brought by Common Cause and the NAACP alleging unequal ballot access. A Colorado court blocked incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R) from the ballot for signature collection irregularities.

💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Syracuse University has permanently expelled a fraternity over a video that was “racist, homophobic, ableist, sexist and anti-semitic. About 60 out of the 200 or so Olympians are choosing not to attend the White House reception in their honor this year. The University of Virginia has banned Jason Kessler, the organizer behind the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, from all university property. NYC bars are a tough place to be for haters… a judge dismissed a lawsuit against one New York City bar for discrimination by a man who was thrown out for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat saying the law doesn’t protect against political discrimination and “supporting Trump is not religion;” and the infamous hater, Milo Yiannopoulos was run out of another bar, with chants of “Nazi scum get out!Richard Spencer has ended his cancelled his campus tours and dropped his lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati.

👩‍🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Paramount announced that S.J. Clarkson will be the first woman to direct a “Star Trek” film, Star Trek 4. This self-admitted Trekkie could not be happier. More female firsts include newly elected leader of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats party, general secretary of the top U.S. board of the Assemblies of God, the director of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, head of the USC medical school, head of Montana’s Forestry Division, and the Superintendent of the Smithville School District (TX). Two female South African environment activists who helped stop a secret $76 billion dollar nuclear power deal with Russia won the prestigious 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize.

🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION Michael Cohen asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in the lawsuit against him by Stormy Daniels and the judge placed the case on hold finding that he was likely to face a criminal indictment as a result of the raid. A federal judge tossed out Paul Manafort’s lawsuit challenging the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST The director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs resigned after only six months on the job. Ronny Jackson withdrew as the nominee to lead the Department of Veterans affairs. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) seat is now vacant. Two NY State Senate Republicans announced they are not running for reelection, giving democrats a chance to really control the State Senate.

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, WHATWENTRIGHT.ORG IS HERE TO HELP EXPLAIN THE REAL GOOD NEWS, EVEN THOUGH YOU DON’T GET CONFUSED!

Is your head spinning with memos, porn stars, playboy models, who represents who, defamation/libel/collusion/criminal cases, and slime-ball twitter wars? Then it is that time of the week where I try to help refocus you on real accomplishments as well as creative and inspiring actions and remind you of what the progressive movement is working towards. While I admit the drama is griping and fascinating, we have little control over the outcome (other then the call to take to the streets if the dreaded firing happens and to demand Congress protect the investigation).  On the other hand, activists, activist funded organizations, judges, and progressive elected officials, put into office by activists voters, accomplish a whole lot of good every day. The highlights since my 4 day break in the Vermont April snowfall are;

  • #StandUpforImmigrants The Supreme Court ruled an immigrant’s conviction on two burglary charges did not constitute a violent crime as the law was too vague as to the definition of a violent crime, and therefore he could not be deported for such a conviction; Justice Neil Gorsuch was the deciding vote WTF?.
  • #Vote New Jersey joined 11 other states with automatic voter registration when recently elected democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law. See what kind of crazy stuff happens when you elect democrats to govern your state.
  • #RespecttheLaw A federal appeals court upheld a nationwide injunction blocking the administration from withholding federal grant money to jurisdictions that refuse to allow federal immigration access to detention facilities and provide 48 hours notice before they release an undocumented immigrant wanted by ICE.
  • #TransRights A U.S. District Judge upheld the injunction stopping the ban on transgender members in the military and found that transgender people are a protected class of people because they have been subjected to systemic oppression and attempts to exclude them from the military will be looked at with “strict scrutiny.”

🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Albuquerque (N.M.) City Council passed a law barring federal immigration officials without a warrant from going into city-operated areas and prohibits city workers from taking information on people’s immigration status. The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a decision that requires the El Paso County Sheriff to release people who are wanted for possible deportation by federal authorities but have paid bond in a case brought by the ACLU. Award winning poet, high school student, and asylum seeker from Maine, Allan Monga, will be allowed to compete in a National Endowment for the Arts national poetry contest after a judge ruled he was eligible, overruling the NEA declaring him ineligible due to his immigration status. Alejandra Pablos, an immigrant rights activist, was released on bond after supporters raised the money needed. The New Jersey legislature passed a bill to extend in-state college financial aid to undocumented students and the Gov. indicated he supports the bill. Looking for even more justice, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued private prison company CoreCare Inc, which houses individuals detained by ICE, for forcing detainees to work for a $1 a day to clean, cook, and maintain the detention center and threatening those who refuse with solitary confinement and the loss of access to basic necessities.

⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE means that a pharmacy in West Virginia will pay a $550,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit brought by the state accusing it of negligence in dispensing nearly 10 million doses of painkillers in 11 years to a county of fewer than 25,000 people; T-Mobile will pay $40 million to settle a complaint with the FCC for failing to fix problems with calls to rural consumers and for providing misleading information about the fix; and Wells Fargo was fined $1 billion by two federal regulators for abuses tied to its mortgage/auto lending businesses.

TEACHERS ARE STILL ROCKING THE STATE HOUSES AND DEMANDING A LIVING WAGE. Hundreds of Colorado teachers forced school closings as they staged a protest at the state Capitol, and in their districts, to demand changes in school funding, higher teacher pay, and a stronger retirement fund. Teachers at about 1,000 Arizona schools held “walk-ins” to demand higher salaries and more school funding as part of the #RedforEd campaign, organized by Arizona Educators United, and Arizona educators and school employees voted in support of a walkout for next week. The Georgia Board of Regents voted not to increase tuition for this year at all public colleges and universities. The New Jersey legislature passed a paid Sick Leave Act requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave, and the governor pledged to sign it. Iowa enacted a law prohibiting school lunch shaming of children who don’t have money to pay for lunches.

5,000 Graduate students working as teaching and research assistants at Harvard University voted to form a union. Not only did grad students organize, but so did JetBlue Flight Attendants, the staff at the New Republic, and nurses at Albany Medical Center (NY). And making sure a union is worth something in New York should the Supreme Court decide in a pending case to weaken them nationally, he signed a law to protects union membership.

A few interesting things out of Kentucky, that bastion of liberal activism, Morehouse State University rescinded its decision to take away unused sick days when calculating pension benefits for retiring staff and froze tuition for next year, and the Attorney General Andy filed a lawsuit against an opioid pharmaceutical maker for contributing to an illicit drug market in the product. Continue reading

SO MANY FLEEING CHEETOS’S BIG RED SINKING SHIP!

It’s been a big week for departures in this episode of Survivor White House Edition (and it’s only Thursday). I wish I had a video to share with you of the celebratory dance I launched into, after the too scared to face the vote so I will just quit Ryan announcement, but the camera crew just wasn’t fast enough. I was told it was fun to watch. With so much exciting news to cover, as one of my favorite TV hosts says, “Let’s get to today’s…” best of the earlier than usual roundup of the good news for resistors.

  • Not wanting to face his re-election tribal council without a coveted immunity necklace, Paul Ryan snuffed out his own torch. But Ryan wasn’t alone, he was joined by fellow red tribe member Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL). I’m upgrading my #BlueWave2018 to #BlueTsunami2018 (as long as we register to vote and head to the polls in November, dragging everyone we know with us).
  • Lucky for us, this was a double elimination week, as the White House also lost multiple contestants after injuring themselves in a challenge by tying themselves to McMaster, and were carted out of the game, including, National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton, top homeland security aide, Tom Bossert, Nadia Schadlow, the US deputy national security adviser for strategy, and Ricky Waddell, the No. 2 official on the National Security Council.#Chaos
  • Working to make sure everyone is playing fair, the FBI raided the offices and hotel room of Michael Cohen, the liar-in-chief’s lawyer, with a warrant for what news reports are saying have to do with a porn star, some possibly illegal payments, NYC taxi medallions, and more. #FBIRaid
  • Oklahoma teachers called off the 9 day walkout after they secured historic gains in education funding and raises for teachers and staff while vowing to seek even more gains through the power of voting. #TeachersRock  

🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS: Taking the opposite approach of red tribe governors hoping to avoid elimination, the blue tribe Virginia Gov. vetoed a bill prohibiting localities from becoming sanctuary cities. The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security for blocking immigrants held in extremely isolated civil immigration prisons from their ability to access lawyers claiming the constitution is still the rule in this game; and the ACLU sued them alleging immigration officials are detaining noncitizen spouses while they are at immigration offices completing the process for seeking lawful immigration status in violation of the rules.

📰REAL NEWS IS KING IN THIS GAME so for those looking for information to sway your fellow tribe mates to vote your way, you can check out the newly released searchable database tool from the Americans for Tax Fairness on how much the big corporations won from the tax scam challenge and how little they shared it with the losing little people. And information on CEO pay to employee pay ratios can now be found thanks to SEC rules to help you in your quest to distribute tribe resources more fairly if you check out this article in Bloomberg News.

👛WORKING TOWARDS ECONOMIC EQUALITY the Absolutely incredible teachers in Oklahoma took on the challenge to march 110 miles to the State capital to protest education cuts and teacher pay and when they arrived they encountered support from Teamsters who stood with them by refusing to cross the picket line to work on renovations there. California Atty. Gen. announced the state is part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general who have filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Texas and other red states seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act to argue the Texas challenge is unconstitutional. Continue reading

RISING UP IS REALLY HAPPENING!

Teachers continue striking and marching on the capitals in Oklahoma and Kentucky, states are taking action on gun control, Sinclair media got caught forcing their “fake news” promos on networks, and we learned that Americans protested in unprecedented numbers in the last year.  There are also many state legislatures in session and therefore a lot of great action taking place at state levels that I could not possibly cover all of it in this blog, so I encourage you to check out what is going on in your state. Those of you from New York may notice I have not included the merging of the Independent Democratic Committee (“IDC”) back into the Democratic caucus, as a positive thing, I feel very mixed about this and I’m not calling it a real win, I leave it to you to decide for yourself. With all that being said, my highlights for this week are;

  • #TeacherWalkout Thousands of teachers marched on state capitals in Oklahoma and Kentucky, closing down schools, and demanding pay increases and better funding for schools. Teachers in Oklahoma said the legislation raising average salaries by about $6,100 a year is insufficient to bring them on par with teachers in other states and are striking for a more livable wage.
  • #BlueWave2018 Judge Rebecca Dallet, a liberal-aligned and democratic party backed candidate, won election to the Wisconsin state Supreme Court, the first time a liberal candidate has been elected to a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court since 1995. Voters in the state also soundly rejected a proposal to eliminate the state treasurer.
  • #LoveTrumpsBadParenting One Maryland House member helped to pass a bill prohibiting “gay conversion therapy” on minors, like the one she was threatened with as a child by her Maryland State Senator father, who voted against the ban; the governor has expressed support for the legislation.
  • #FairElections A U.S. District Judge ruled that Texas was in violation of the National Voter Registration Act which requires states to give residents the opportunity to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s licenses.
  • #LoveisLove Costa Rica elected Carlos Alvarado Quesada for President, who campaigned on a liberal, pro-gay marriage platform and Epsy Campbell Barr for Vice President the first woman of African descent to be elected vice president not just in Costa Rica, but anywhere in North or South America.

IN OTHER ELECTION WINS Sandra Cano (D) won a special election for the Rhode Island senate and Sydney Kamlager (D) won a special election for a seat in the California Assembly, maintaining those seats in democratic control.

🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS are jurors, San Gabriel, and Washington State. The San Gabriel City Council voted to approve a “safe cities” resolution affirming the city’s commitment to its immigrant population. A jury awarded nearly $17 million to a former Ford engineer who sued the automaker for discrimination after supervisors repeatedly harassed him over his Middle Eastern background and accent. On a related note, Washington state will now officially observe March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day. Continue reading

STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS RISING UP!

The students from MSD high school and #NeverAgain have kept their message at the top of media coverage, thanks in part to the insensitive and insulting rants, by the likes of politicians, media hosts, and washed-up musicians. Have you ever seen a March Madness month where important games can’t even get top billing on CNN? Taking a page from West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, are demanding the wages and benefits they deserve. To channel this activism towards the #BlueWave2018 you can check out the newly announced Sister District candidates they are supporting.  The highlights this week are;

  • #ShowYourTaxes A federal judge ruled that the D.C. and Maryland may proceed with a lawsuit against the twittler-in-chief alleging he has violated the emoluments clause of the constitution’s for his company receiving payments from states and foreign governments, making this the first such lawsuit clearing the initial legal hurdle of proving that the plaintiffs have legal standing to sue.
  • #RightToChoose A nationwide order temporarily preventing the government from blocking access to abortion services for teens detained in immigration custody was issued by a federal judge as part of a lawsuit.
  • #Vote Maryland’s legislature passed legislation (with a veto-proof majority) adopting automatic voter registration for eligible citizens when they interact with state agencies such as the Dept. of Motor Vehicle, health-care exchange or social services offices. The 11th state to do so.
  • #DreamActNow A federal judge who had previously granted an injunction preventing the termination of DACA has now also denied the administration’s request to dismiss the case using strong language suggesting there is racial bias in the decision to end DACA.
  • #FairWages Oklahoma approved the largest ever pay raise for teachers and staff, but the teacher’s union is standing strong and is still prepared to strike for better school funding and larger increases to bring their salaries on par with other states. Arizona is next.

🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS is what members of the Springfield Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (MA)  and the First Universalist Society in New York City are doing by providing sanctuary to women and their families who are in fear of deportation. Together Juntos Caravan started its travel across Texas to educate immigrants about their constitutional rights. Thirteen states have stated that they have or intend to sue to block the citizenship question on the 2020 census. Continue reading

WE MARCHED LIKE OUR LIVES DEPENDED ON IT!

It has been an exhausting and significant week of news on so many fronts. The student activists organized powerful and emotionally moving marches across the country, with estimates of 800,000 in D.C. alone. The Omnibus spending bill was signed and it includes funding for many important areas such as the EPA and education and does not fund a big beautiful see-through wall. And of course you are getting your popcorn and shot glass ready for tonight’s 60 Minutes interview to kick off what will no doubt be another crazy week.  This is an edited version of the weekly post. My highlights for this week are;

  • #MarchForOurLives The turnout and coverage of the March for Our Lives protests rivaled or may have even surpassed that of the Women’s marches. The media was forced to talk with, listen to, and report on the young people speaking and organizing as most of the adults behind the scenes, including celebrities, refused to be part of the media coverage. Their message was clear, loud, and powerful. I’m in awe and like many others, they give me hope for the future. I don’t think you need me to point you to news coverage. My favorite signs from the NY March IMG_3642IMG_3588IMG_3583IMG_3590
  • #ImmigrationReform A Colorado judge ruled that the El Paso County Sheriff cannot continue to jail suspected undocumented immigrants passed the time state law requires their release in order to give ICE more time to pick them up under a detainer request and ordered the sheriff’s office stop the practice. And the Supreme Court declined to hear a case seeking to prevent Arizona’s DACA recipients from keeping their state driver’s licenses.
  • #RightToChoose A U.S District Judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.
  • #ClimateChangeIsReal Not only are children working to save us from gun violence, they are also working to save us from destroying the planet as a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit by young people claiming the federal government is violating their constitutional rights by ignoring the harms caused by climate change can proceed.
  • #BlueWave2018 It’s a great time to be a voter in PA as both the U.S. Supreme Court and a three judge panel of a U.S. District Court declined a request by republicans to block the newly drawn, and now free of unfair gerrymandering Pennsylvania congressional map for the 2018 elections.
  • #Vote Washington Gov. signed a package of bills aimed at increasing voter participation by instituting automatic voter registration for citizens obtaining a state driver’s license or identification card.

💰BIG WINNERS IN THE OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL – SPOILER ALERT – NOT THE PERSON WHO MADE AN EMPTY THREAT TO VETO IT While the budget is over 2,000 pages and it was just released a lot of the details are not yet fully analyzed yet, but what is clear is that Congress rejected a lot of the bad-negotiator-in-chief’s budget demands. The Education Secretary’s agenda of spending 1 billion on private/charter school choice was ignored, and Congress kept funding for after-school programs for needy youth, programs to help low-income students go to college, and money for the Office for Civil Rights among others. A slew of provisions that would have gutted environmental and campaign finance laws were removed to win democratic support and the EPA saw no cut in funding. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities will continue to get funding. The Election Assistance Commission will receive $380 million for state funding for election-related cybersecurity and the FBI gets $300 million for counterintelligence to combat Russian hacking. Only $1.6 billion was for defenses on the U.S.-Mexico border, but most of the money is earmarked for specific projects that were likely to have been funded regardless of the election, but the biggest gift was the prohibition of using the funding to build any of the new big, beautiful wall prototypes.

guncontrolIN OTHER GUN REFORM AND GUN CONTROL ACTIVISM NEWS The Omnibus spending bill also takes a step in the right direction on gun control, it “clarifies” that the CDC can’t use taxpayer funds to promote or advocate for gun control, but specifies that the CDC does have the authority to conduct research on gun violence. This weakens the “Dickey Amendment” which has prohibited the CDC from gun research for years. In New York City, a local NRA fundraiser has now been booted from two popular venues because of community outage and Moms Demand Action showed up in the snow for Advocacy Day in  NY. The #Pennridge225 students continue to serve detention for participating in the March 17th walkout, by sitting in silence, arms linked in a circle, with the names of the Parkland shooting victims on them, with supports outside the school.

COMPANIES LIKE CITIGROUP AND YOUTUBE DO THEIR PART FOR GUN CONTROL Citigroup will stop doing business with clients that sell high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, including small business, commercial and institutional clients, and credit card partners, including co-brand or private label. YouTube introduced tighter restrictions on videos and now bans videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories and videos with instructions on assembling firearms. Kroger announced it will no longer sell print magazines featuring assault rifles. Continue reading

IN LIKE A LAMB, OUT LIKE A REX!

Young people are refusing to let their efforts at, or even news coverage of, their push for gun reforms and safety at school fade away.  Their call for a March 14th, 17 minute walkout led to actions across the country and around the world, from one student in North Carolina standing alone, to schools with full support. The images of their walkouts spread across the news, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms were heartwarming. These actions followed a day after Connor Lamb caused much angst to the Republicans party. It was another inspiring week of action for progressives and my highlights are;

  • #BlueWave2018 Connor Lamb won the special election for a House seat in a PA district the twittler-in-chief, carried by 20 percentage points. While votes are being recounted, the recount is not likely to change the outcome.Democratic Donkey
  • #ClimateChangeIsReal A U.S. District Court Judge determined that the EPA violated the law when it failed to announce by Oct. 1 which areas of the country were not in compliance with ozone pollution rules and ordered the EPA to publish the findings for the rest of the country by April 30.
  • #BlackLivesMatter A jury awarded $33.5 million in damages, including $18 million in punitive damages, to the parents of a black man who was fatally shot by a California officer, finding he unreasonably detained the man, delayed medical aid, was negligent in use of deadly force.
  • #ProtectDACA The Indiana Legislature passed legislation to lift a prohibition on “Dreamers” from obtaining state professional licenses and the governor says he supports the measure.
  • #LoveIsLove Dean Trantalis was elected the first openly gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale Florida.
  • #ImmigrationReformNow An ICE spokesman resigned and stated that he could not support the perpetuation of false and misleading statements made by Jeff Sessions and ICE’s acting director regarding the Oakland (CA) mayor’s warning about an ICE raid.

🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS In California, the Long Beach Values Act was passed expanding the cities sanctuary cities policies and an undocumented immigrant was named was appointed to statewide advisory committee on low-income college student California students. The Virginia Governor made clear he intends to veto anti-sanctuary cities law passed by the legislature. The ACLU sued the Administration on behalf of U.S. children whose parents from El Salvador had their Temporary Protected Status terminated challenging the termination as a constitutional violation of the children’s rights. The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed the Immigration Protection Act, which prevents Westchester County from using any of its resources to assist in federal investigations based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or national origin. Continue reading