WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27, 2017

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Maryland Court Says Automatic Weapons Are Not Protected By The Second Amendment

A federal appeals court in Maryland upheld a ban on 45 different kinds of assault weapons, stating that such weapons are not protected under the Second Amendments. Calling them “weapons of war”, Judge Robert King also upheld a 10-round limit on gun magazines.

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Google Pledges $11.5 million to Fight Racial Bias in Policing and Sentencing

Tech giant, Google, is set to give out grants totalling over $11 million this year to organizations that combat racial injustice in the way crimes are prosecuted and convicted.

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Obama’s Lawyers Team Up To Fight Trump

Top lawyers from the Obama White House have formed a group called United To Protect Democracy, to hold the Trump administration to the fire with a focus on ethical violations

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Latest Poll Shows Trump’s Worst Numbers Yet

In a Quinnipiac poll released February 23, Trump’s disapproval rating is at 58%, his worst since taking office just one month again.

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Muslim Activists Raise Over $70,000 To Help Repair A Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

Through a crowdfunding website, the Muslim community has raised over $70,000 and counting to repair a Jewish cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri that was vandalized on Sunday night. The proceeds will go to repair the cemetery and anything left over will be donated to repair other vandalized Jewish communities.

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U.S. District Judge In Texas Blocks Plan to Cut Planned Parenthood Funding From Medicaid

A U.S. judge in Austin issued a temporary injunction February 21 that blocks a Texas state plan to cut Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood. The order would protect the 11,000 Texans on Medicaid that us Planned Parenthood as their primary care provider while the court deliberates to make its final decision..

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Math Professor Fights Gerrymandering With Geometry

A female math professor at Tufts is developing a program to train expert geometrists to testify in cases of gerrymandering using metric geometry

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Senator John McCain Defends Press, Blasts White House in Speech

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 17, McCain said "more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent." He also blasted the President’s calling out of the press stating that oppressing the press is “how dictators get started.”

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Eighteen States Considering Bills Requiring Presidential Candidates To Release Tax Returns

Oregon introduced a bill last week that would make it mandatory for presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns or they would not appear on that state’s general election ballot. 17 other states have introduced similar legislation on their senate floors, five of which are Republican states.  And it also looks as if Congress will debate a similar, national law.

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North Carolina Supreme Court Blocks GOP Legislation Limiting Governor

Back in November, when North Carolina elected, Roy Cooper, a Democrat, as their new governor, the GOP state senate passed a series of laws limiting the governor's powers. One was being the head of the election board, a post traditionally belonging to the governor. This week the state’s supreme court blocked this law from taking effect for now.

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Under Armor CEO Walks Back Trump Support

After calling President Trump an “asset” to the country, Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank took out a full page ad in the Baltimore Sun to oppose Trump’s travel ban. Amid threats of boycotts and celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson publicly criticising the brand, the letter published this week states a pro-immigration stance, "I personally believe that immigration is the foundation of our country's exceptionalism."


WEEK OF FEBRUARY 13, 2017

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." - Helen Keller

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Out Like Flynn

Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, resigned Monday over allegations that he spoke to a Russia envoy about lifting sanctions back in December, BEFORE Trump took office. Then he lied about it to Vice President Pence.

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The Ninth Circuit Court Votes to NOT Reinstate the Travel Ban

In what might be the most hopeful news of the last week, the 9th Circuit Court decided to keep the stay on Trump’s immigration ban for now, meaning that it is unenforceable. Following Trump's all caps tweet, the White House decided not to challenge the order but instead they are looking to issue a new executive order

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In North Carolina, They Are Winning the Fight Against Extremism

A march organized by a multiracial coalition of people of faith started 11 years ago has helped to overturn an extremist hold in North Carolina. On February 11, over 80,000 people gathered in this year’s “Moral March.”

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Although...Trump’s own Supreme Court Pick Criticizes Him in Private Meetings

In private meetings with senators, Neil Gorsuch has called the attacks on the courts “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” Since then, the White House has said he was referring “broadly” to attacks on the judiciary, but we can only think of one person who’s been attacking the courts on the regular and he lives in the White House.

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Utah’s Jason Chaffetz Town Hall Was Filled with Angry Voters Demanding Answers

Straight out of the pages of the Indivisible Guide, Utah voters showed up en masse to Jason Chaffetz’s town hall to grill him about everything from immigration to conflicts of interest. It got real, real fast.

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Rep. Diane Black Faces Ethical Questions at Her Town Hall

While Utah showed up for Chaffetz, people in Tennessee also battered one of their Republican representatives with questions about Obamacare. One woman took the internet by storm citing her Christian faith (a faith most GOP reps tout as their guide) as the reason she supports the Affordable Care Act.

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Nadja West Becomes the First Black Female Three-star General

On Tuesday, West became not only the highest ranking African-American woman in the United States Army, but also the highest ranking female to have ever graduated from West Point. West, once an orphan, will take up her post as the new Army Surgeon General.

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Harvard Law Review Names First Black Woman As President

In an historic election, ImeIme A. Umana will become the first black woman to head the 150-year-old legal journal. She will oversee 90 student writers and permanent staff, including senior members of Harvard Law’s faculty.

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UTA Cancels Oscar Party to Have a Refugee Rally

The huge talent agency that reps actors from Bryan Cranston to Oscar Nominee Viggo Mortenson to Ice Cube has cancelled their annual Oscar party in favor of a rally a few days before the annual ceremony.

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Wisconsin’s Gerrymander Has Been Struck Down

On Monday of this week, a federal district court in Wisconsin struck down the gerrymandering of their legislative districts, saying that they were intentionally constructed in order to favor Republicans. This, coupled with some rulings in North Carolina, could signal a trend in the courts that could result in  redistricting in a lot of states where gerrymandering has cost Democrats seats.

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Sears and Kmart Eliminate Ivanka’s Home Line

The two discount retailers are removing Trump’s lines due to poor sales, making them the third and fourth chains to distance themselves from Ivanka.

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Planned Parenthood Anti-abortion Protesters Met with Counter Demonstrations

Anti-abortion activists emboldened by the Trump administration staged rallies around the country on Saturday, calling for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood. In some cities, however, counter-protests dwarfed the demonstrations

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Company Develops Shipping Pallet Which Can be Transformed Into Sports Equipment for Refugees (Brooklyn)

With the backdrop of increasingly negative rhetoric and government policy directed at displaced people, this Brooklyn-based company is working to make sure that refugees — specifically the 51% of whom are children — are afforded the basic human right of the ability to play.

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Small Business in Oregon Helps Refugees With Jobs and English lessons

Sparrow Furniture – a business that repurposes and refinishes furniture, lighting, and decor will help refugees adjust to their new city by providing them with work, job training, and English lessons.  Refugees fleeing the destructive war plaguing their homeland already have to undergo a strenuous admissions process in order to seek asylum in the United States – once they arrive, however, they’re given very few tools to get by in American society.That’s why Sparrow Furniture is welcoming migrants with open arms as they seek meaningful employment in Salem, Oregon.

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Germany’s New President Once Called Donald Trump a ‘Hate Preacher’

In Germany, it’s the chancellor who leads the government – the president’s role is mostly symbolic – but this week they elected long-standing foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin. He’s from the center-left Social Democratic Party and will serve a five-year term. His candidacy didn’t initially have the support of the Christian Democrats, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Merkel is also no fan of Trump. Both Merkel and Steinmeier have been publicly critical of Donald Trump, and feel a special responsibility to speak out and push back against populism.


WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2, 2017

"Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment." - Napoleon Bonaparte

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Federal Court votes against GOP gerrymandering

A federal court in Wisconsin voted 2-1 that the GOP drawn districts in the state were “intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters.” They have asked the two sides to work together to redraw the districts.

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Resistance Is Working!

From stopping the abolishment of the Committee of Congressional Ethics (doesn’t that seem like so long ago?) to unprecedented difficulty in getting Cabinet picks confirmed, the protests and phone calls resisting this administration’s policies are working.

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Jewish people give Muslims key to their synagogue after town's mosque burns down

Jewish people in a small Texas city handed Muslim worshippers the keys to their synagogue after the town's only mosque was destroyed in a fire.

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Bill to transfer federal lands to states to sell withdrawn after public outcry

After complaints from constituents, Utah’s Jason Chaffetz withdrew a bill that would transfer federal lands to the states which would limit access to these public lands.

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No Breitbart in France (at least for now!)

A student bought Breitbart France’s domain name ahead of the French elections and is planning to redirect them to promote organizations fighting racism and anti-semitism. Breitbart was attempting to launch the site in France this spring.

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Nordstrom Is Cutting Ivanka Trump’s Brand

The department store chain claims it is due to low sales which either means people are boycotting or the company doesn’t want to be associated with her anymore. Either way, it’s a win.

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Neiman Marcus ALSO drops Ivanka

After #GrabYourWallet targets the high end department store, Ivanka’s line starts disappearing from their website.

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Even More Companies are Backing Away from Trump

From Uber to Kawaski, consumer-based companies are distancing themselves from the White House as boycotts threaten their bottom line.

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Repairing Obamacare is More Likely Than a Repeal

The strong GOP rhetoric of “repeal and replace" seems to be softening as key Republican lawmakers are now saying they intend to simply repair some of the provisions they see as contributing to insurers dropping out and raising premiums.

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Art Trumps Hate

MoMA rehangs art by Muslim artists in protest of Trump’s immigration ban.

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Cameron Esposito raises $15,000 for Trans Lifeline after Gov. Huckabee makes a transphobic joke

Twice failed presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee made fun of Senator Chuck Schumer, grandson of Holocaust survivors, for crying while speaking about the immigrant ban, using the title of the 2000 film, “Boys Don’t Cry,” about a trans person as the punchline. Esposito was not having it and used the occasion to raise money for trans nonprofit Trans Lifeline.