In the News
Explanatory and under-reported news on the issues.
Members of Congress shocked at lax safety in Tex-Mex job giveaway
(Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen - Share News Flash, Aug. 6, 2018) “Members of Congress expressed grave concern that the Federal Railroad Administration would allow the railroad to apply a lower safety standard to Mexican train crews than to U.S. train crews,” BLET President Pierce said. “Our members are held to the highest standard while crews coming in from Mexico are essentially given a break in terms of certification, testing, and operating experience.”
Despite Today’s Court-Ordered Deadline, More Than 900 Migrant Children Remain Separated from Parents
(Democracy Now!, July 26, 2018) Of the families with the more than 2,500 children forcibly separated from their parents, most were seeking asylum from violence in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Immigration lawyer: "[T]he process ... is that you go through what’s called a credible fear interview [where] you need to demonstrate that there’s a 10 percent possibility, that you’re going to be persecuted ... [T]here did seem to be, in Port Isabel, ... a blanket negative across the board. And that was really shocking."
Thousands rally in Ohio for solution to pension crisis
(Associated Press, July 12, 2018) "Ohio's two U.S. senators — Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman — will chair Friday's hearing of the House and Senate Joint Select Committee on Pensions. Brown championed creation of the committee and calls the fifth public meeting in Ohio perhaps its most important to date. ... Brown said that if a solution isn't found, affected retirees will face pension benefit cuts of up to 70 percent... Brown said legislation he has proposed has been vetted by actuarial experts and could work to resolve the looming problem. Dubbed the Butch Lewis Act, it would create a loan program for retirees.
Rhode Island Sues Oil Companies Over Climate Change, First State to Do So
(Inside Climate News, July 2, 2018) "The lawsuit ... names 14 oil and gas companies ..., saying they created conditions that constitute a public nuisance under state law and failed to warn the public and regulators of a risk they were well aware of. ... 'As a direct and proximate consequence of Defendants' wrongful conduct described in this Complaint, average sea level will rise substantially along Rhode Island's coast; average temperatures and extreme heat days will increase; flooding, extreme precipitation events, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, and drought will become more frequent and more severe; and the ocean will warm and become more acidic,' the lawsuit states.
DNC Quietly Adopts Ban On Fossil Fuel Company Donations
(HuffPost, June 12, 2018) "The resolution bars the organization from accepting contributions from corporate political action committees tied to the oil, gas and coal industries. ... 'We talk about how climate change is real and climate change is a planetary emergency, what we need to do is stop taking money from the institutions that have created this crisis,' said RL Miller, president of the super PAC Climate Hawks Vote Political Action and a co-author of the resolution."
Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.
(The New York Times, June 5, 2018) "The Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families entering the United States violates their rights and international law, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday ... "'Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation,' [Ravina Shamdasani] said, calling on the authorities to adopt noncustodial alternatives. The A.C.L.U. has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court ... calling for a halt to the practice and for reunification of families."
50 years after the Poor People’s Campaign, poverty persists because of a stingy safety net and a dysfunctional labor market
(Economic Policy Institute, May 24, 2018) On the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, the EPI takes a look at those who fall below the official poverty line. Of the 22.8 million working-age Americans living in poverty, 39% are disabled, in school or retired. Of the rest, 62% are working (45% full time, 17% part time). "Poverty isn't the result of Americans refusing to work -- it is driven by a safety net that is too stingy for those who can't work and by the lack of decent jobs available for those who can."
Meet the 2018 Teacher of the Year Honored by Trump the White House Doesn’t Want You to Hear
(Democracy Now! May 7, 2018) (Interview) "When Mandy Manning received her 2018 Teacher of the Year award at the White House Wednesday, the press was barred from her speech, and President Trump did not mention who she teaches: immigrant and refugee children. ... MANDY MANNING: ... And all of the students who come through my classroom have three things in common: They are just learning English. They have escaped trauma to find new lives in our nation, and they are focused and determined to be productive citizens of our United States. And most importantly, they succeed."
Carbon Markets Pay Off for These States as New Businesses, Jobs Spring Up
(Inside Climate News, April 17, 2018) "A 3-year review found $1.4 billion in economic benefits across the 9 RGGI states, no harm to electric grid reliability, and long-term benefits for residents. ... Here's how RGGI works: Using an auction system, the states offer a declining number of carbon emissions credits each year, which power plant owners bid on and are then required to use to offset their carbon dioxide emissions. The states then invest the proceeds in a variety of energy programs."
In Oklahoma schools, bosses are helping teachers go on strike
(LA Times, Mar 29, 2018) "[I]n Oklahoma — as with the recent nine-day teacher's strike in West Virginia — the traditional battle lines between workers and management have gotten blurred as both sides take aim at a bigger target: the state Legislature. ... "What you are seeing right now is a fight for public education, because the school boards are saying, 'How are we going to get teachers for this and the next generation of kids?'""
How the NRA resurrected the Second Amendment - Here’s the story of how America’s gun politics got so broken.
(Vox, Mar 14, 2018) "[T]his deterioration has been decades in the making, as ... the National Rifle Association, took part in a decades-long, massive political campaign that helped alter Americans’ — and even the courts’ — views of gun rights and particularly the Second Amendment. In doing this, the NRA shifted the country from the view that the Second Amendment is about the federal government’s role in state-run militias to one that it’s really about individual Americans’ right to bear arms.
How immigration raids have — and haven’t — changed under the Trump administration
(PRI's The World, Mar 16, 2018) "[I]mmigrant advocates and observers said enforcement tactics of [ICE] have changed under the Trump Administration. Arrests by the agency increased by 30 percent in fiscal year 2017, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Immigrant advocates and analysts attribute that jump to the agency casting a wider net and arresting people whose only offense is breaking immigration laws. 'People who are not expecting enforcement are suddenly faced with enforcement,' [an expert observer] said."
Students are rising up against gun violence in the aftermath of the Florida shooting
(Vox, Feb 21, 2018) "This time, it may be different. That seems to be the hope after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed at least 17 people and injured at least 14 others. In the days after the shooting, students and activists have called on their peers around the country to demand action. This has so far culminated in two planned events: the National School Walkout on March 14 and the March for Our Lives on March 24."
Ohio voter purge travels to U.S. Supreme Court
(The New Political, Jan 22, 2018) The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on Sec. Husted's voter purging policy by summer. "According to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, states are prohibited from removing 'the name of any person from the official list of registered voters for failing to vote.' Yet under Ohio state policy, voters who miss two federal elections are sent a confirmation notice ... If they fail to return the notice and fail to participate in voter activity for the next four years, their registration to vote is removed.”
24-Hour Solar Energy: Molten Salt Makes It Possible, and Prices Are Falling Fast
(Inside Climate News, Jan 16, 2018) No, Area 51 is down the road. But still, "there's not yet anything quite like [this solar plant] ... anywhere else on the planet."
Trump's Disdain For Science
(New York Times, Jan 4, 2018) No president in recent history has needed a capable science adviser more while apparently wanting one less. But given Mr. Trump’s obvious disdain for science — and for evidence in general — it will be difficult at this point, if not impossible, to find an accomplished, reputable scientist who would agree to work with him.
Ohio - Killing Clean
(The Weather Channel, Dec 29, 2017; video & text) "With scare studies, policy drafts and political donations, industry groups turned Ohio lawmakers against [clean energy] policies they once overwhelmingly supported."