While we wait for April the Giraffe to give birth, let me tell you again about a lot of the good that happened this week (4/1/17).
- The Judge in Hawaii extended the order to stop the travel ban, and issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation.
- Protests against fascism and dictators spread to Russia. In a rare show of force, thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow and other cities in the biggest anti-government protests in years risking arrest and imprisonment.
- Daniel Ramirez Medina, who spent more than six weeks in immigration detention despite his DACA status was released from custody pending deportation proceedings.
- The Maryland legislature voted to ban fracking and sent it to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who publicly supports the ban. A number of horrible bills in Tennessee failed to pass at the end of this legislative session. This included a measure that would have dramatically relaxed Tennessee’s gun laws, a bill legally recognizing only marriages between one man and one woman, and this year’s version of the bathroom bill.
- The Spokane Valley and Spokane City Councils in Washington state approved anti-discrimination resolutions. Columbus City Council in Ohio voted to ban conversion therapy for minors. Columbus follows other cities like Cincinnati and Toledo that have passed similar ordinances. A reminder that a lot of good can be accomplished at your local level.
- The Supreme Court continued a trend toward limiting capital punishment, rejecting Texas’ approach to deciding which intellectually disabled people must be spared the death penalty. Justice RBG said Texas had failed to keep up with current medical consensus, relied too heavily on I.Q. scores and took account of factors rooted in stereotypes.
- Prairie dogs won bigly this week (along with other endangered animals). The 10th Circuit held that the ban on the unauthorized destruction endangered wildlife is a “cornerstone” of the Endangered Species Act and that “Congress had a rational basis to believe that regulation of the killing of the Utah prairie dog on non federal land is an essential part of the ESA’s broader regulatory scheme, which, in the aggregate, substantially affects interstate commerce.” A coalition of environmental groups, including the NRDC and the Sierra Club challenged the federal permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that additional environmental scrutiny is needed because the initial environmental review is inadequate and outdated. Your donations hard at work.
- A federal judge in Kentucky ruled that a suit against the creepy tweeter for inciting the use of violence against protesters when he told supporters at a campaign rally a year ago to “get ’em out of here” can proceed. The Judge wrote that because violence had broken out at a prior Trump rally and that known hate group members were in the Louisville crowd, Trump’s ordering the removal of an African-American woman was “particularly reckless.” Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute sued the Dept. of Homeland Security over their delay in responding to their Freedom of Information request regarding data on how often electronic devices were searched at border crossings, complaints about the practice, and government training materials.
- Jan Rader was appointed the Chief of the Huntington Fire Department becoming the first female fire chief in the state of West Virginia. Meanwhile, a Michigan lawyer, Andrew Shirvell was disbarred in a misconduct case related to his public hostility for a gay student leader at the University of Michigan.
- The PAC “Run For Something” founded by former Clinton Campaign staffers post-election announced that 8,000 people have contacted them since they formed expressing an interest in running for office and Emily’s List announced that 10,000 women have reached out to them for information on seeking office. Now that is something that gives me great hope for our future. Check out Sister District which can help you connect to those in nearby red districts that need help.
My one and only plea for this week, work hard and email, call, fax, and protest to stop the upcoming appointment of Gorsuch. We stopped Trumpcare, we can stop this too. Resistbot is a great FREE and easy to use fax tool. Just Text “Resist” to 50409 and see how effective it is. Brought to you by Jodi Harawitz. Feel free to share.
What Went Right back by popular demand for this week. I couldn’t narrow down my favorites this week, so the list is long.
1. All 100 Senators, in a rare show of unity, sent a letter to Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the FBI urging them to assist in protecting Jewish institutions and help prosecute those who threaten them in response to a rise in anti-Semitism
2.The Supreme Court ruled that when a juror makes a clear statement indicating that they relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict, jury secrecy rules give way to allow a review of the jury deliberations to determine if the defendant was denied a fair trial. Justice Kennedy wrote “An effort to address the most grave… racial bias is… an effort… to ensure that our legal system remains capable of coming ever closer to the promise of equal treatment under the law that is so central to a functioning democracy.
3. In a roundup up of state actions; Maryland passed an extension of a successful state program aimed at reducing per-capita energy use, reminding us that environmental protections also happen at the local and state level. The Republican Governor of Massachusetts broke with the usual Republican position and pledged to replace any lost federal Planned Parenthood funds with state funds. Two New Mexico bills that would have placed restrictions on abortions were killed by a NM House Committee. And going big out there in Texas, democratic State Rep. Jessica Farrar, filed a bill that would penalize men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions” and regulate Viagra use.
4. The fight against TrumpCare gained powerful supporters when the AARP, the American Medical Association, and the largest Health Insurance trade association, announced that they didn’t support it as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.
5. Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and Oregon filed lawsuits against the revised travel ban, arguing the order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.
6. The SPLC secured the release of Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old DREAMER, from ICE custody after 10 days in detention after she was detained moments after speaking publicly about immigrants’ rights. Her arrest was a transparent attempt to chill free speech and intimidate immigrants who speak up. These are your donations at work.
7. Just to prove to you that Canada isn’t the only cool place to live, Iceland announced it will soon require all employers with more than 25 employees to certify they give equal pay for work of equal value. While other countries, and Minnesota, have equal-salary policies, Iceland is the first to make it mandatory for both private and public firms. If they can do it there, we can do it here.
8. Two democratic candidates in very conservative districts are raising large amounts of money in their bids to give republican candidates a run for their money. Jon Ossoff, is running for Congress in a special election in April to fill Tom Price’s seat and has raised almost 3 million. Kathryn Allen, a democrat and doctor, in Utah was so outraged by Jason Chaffetz’s infamous i-phone/healthcare comment that she decided to run against him after her exploratory steps raised over $350,000 in just days.
9. International Women’s Day brought out thousands of people in many cities across the country for demonstrations, while a call for pro-trump rallies brought out only a tiny handful of people at a few locations with headlines like “tens of people showed up”.
10. I try not to make this post controversial and would not usually consider death good news and I have no doubt I will face many unpleasant comments over this, but nevertheless I will persist on behalf of all the people who have been saved from future harm. Joseph Nicolosi, a co-founder and acting practitioner of gay conversion therapy died and will no longer be able to inflict untold suffering on those facing his extremely damaging brand of torture.
Keep those donations flowing, those protests loud, those phone calls, emails, letters and postcards rolling out, and consider running for office no matter where you live.