Sandy’s Anniversary: More homelessness to come?

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Six months ago, Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast. As Sandy’s forceful winds blew and lifted waves in its path, entire neighbourhoods were torn apart as homes and lives blew away.

Since then, we’ve seen the best of government: New York and New Jersey’s respective governors, Andrew Cuomo (D) and Chris Christie (R) working hand in hand with President Obama to survey the damage, form assessments and get the wheels turning to expedite aid to displaces families.… [Read more]

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau still in limbo

Cordray-CFPB

Remember back in January of this year when President Obama had to renominate Richard Cordray to the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau position? The same CFPB that many hoped now Senator Elizabeth Warren would lead as a champion for the middle class but she was effectively derailed by Republican senators before she had an opportunity to get started.… [Read more]

April 22: Earth Day 2013

Earth Day 2013

It’s Earth Day; today is the anniversary of a green environmental movement that began in 1970. The movement has grown from 20 million participants to over 1 billion people who are committed to the planet we all call home. Prior to December 1970, there was no legal way to thwart environmental polluters until Congress authorised the creation of the U.S.… [Read more]

Putting Politics Before the Common Good

Senators who voted for and against gun control

Four Democrats helped kill the gun reform legislation supported by nearly 90% of the American public yesterday in a 54-46 vote. Those Democratic Senators who voted against the Toomey-Manchin bill were: Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, voted against the bill but that was for ‘procedural reasons’ in that in order to re-introduce the bill at a later date, as leader of the House he is required by rule to vote against it.… [Read more]

Gun Control Vote Today: Will Senate Step Up?

Guns - Background Checks

After countless gun-related tragedies which include a massacre at an elementary school, the US Senate has arrived at a day of reckoning.

Today at 4pm ET, the senators are expected to vote on a gun control background check bill that would expand background checks to more gun purchasers, increase aid for school safety and strengthen existing gun trafficking laws.… [Read more]

We are Boston

boston-marathon-bombing-brooklyn-music-yankees-red-sox-king

Even those of us who are ‘all news, all the time’ types reach a point of overload. Yesterday’s events at the Boston Marathon finish line which two bombs resulted in the death of three people, including an eight-year-old child, and countless injuries to approximately 154 people have brought together the mixed feelings of sadness, fear, anger and even exhaustion.… [Read more]

Libraries: Budget Cut Casualties

New York Public Library

Budgets reflect priorities. As a nation we often state that our priorities begin and end with the health, safety and well-being of citizens, especially our children as they are represent the future of the country. Education is part of ensuring well-being, and a well-educated populace enables the nation to compete globally among developing countries that are rapidly advancing their social agendas that are supported, in large part, by their technological developments.… [Read more]

Senate arrives at bipartisan gun background check agreement

Criminal-Background-Check

Yesterday, after much intense debate, the Senate struck a deal to expanding background checks for gun buyers. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), both of whom are strong traditional allies of the National Rifle Association, revealed a compromise to close the gun show loophole.

According to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:

“Unfortunately, current federal law requires criminal background checks only for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers, which account for just 60% of all gun sales in the United States.[Read more]

Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ Passed Away

Margaret Thatcher

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away. The Baroness, who died today at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, was the longest serving PM of the 20th century having served from 1975 to 1990, was a leader of the Conservative Party, and was Great Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister.

A woman of humble beginnings, Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter who became a chemist and then an attorney before entering politics.… [Read more]

The Politics of ‘Food Insecurity’

Food Insecurity

Hungry children are less likely to develop properly and they are far less likely to be able to pay attention and focus on educational pursuits. So, given how pervasive hunger is for children in this nation, doesn’t it seem all the more incredible that children would be forced to throw out school lunches because of an inability to pay?… [Read more]

Mississippi, religion and abortion…

Terri Herring, anti-abortion activist

The state of Mississippi made news recently when its governor, Dewey Phillip Bryant, selected Ms. Terri Herring to fill a vacant slot in its Board of Health. Normally, appointments by governors don’t gain much attention and, on its face, some may think that selecting a woman for a health department position in a state where health concerns loom large due to the alarming rate of obesity and its 6th-place rank in terms of teen pregnancies – but this particular woman has her own agenda.… [Read more]

Thanks, Environmental Protection Agency!

Environmental Protection Agency

Today, the Environmental Defense Fund relayed some information that should make all of us breathe a little easier:

The EPA has just announced historic new standards to reduce soot, smog and other dangerous pollution that spews from the tailpipes of our cars and trucks.

With every breath, these standards will deliver cleaner, healthier air to the lungs of millions of Americans, producing billions of dollars of public health benefits every year.[Read more]

It’s an ‘Obamanation’…Or so the fear goes.

Ryan Budget Anything But Balanced

abomination [əˌbɒmɪˈneɪʃən]

noun
1. a person or thing that is disgusting
2. an action that is vicious, vile, etc.
3. intense loathing

It’s clear that many on the right view President Obama as an abomination worthy of disdain — but is it possible that what the electorate is witnessing is their fear that the extremist ideology touted by the right continues to lose support?… [Read more]

LGBT Rights and the Supreme Court

DOMA and the SCOTUS

Much progress towards full LGBT rights was achieved last year; marriage equality was won in several states, bringing the total to nine (Maryland, Iowa, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia). Additionally, a hate crimes law was enacted, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended and, for the first time ever, a sitting President stated his full support for marriage equality and instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was enacted in 1996.… [Read more]

Equalizing Education, Equalizing Pay

Equal Education, Unequal Pay

Here’s a sobering thought as we pass the mid-way point of Women’s History Month: we’re still too far apart in closing the gender wage gap.

Even with moves toward equalizing pay between men and women, and the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Act requiring equal pay, men still make almost 20% more than women in nearly all industries.… [Read more]

Officially Nominated: Thomas E. Perez for U.S. Labor Secretary

thomas perez

President Obama continues to fill out his second-term team, adding to the recent confirmations of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense and CIA Director John Brennan. Today, Thomas E. Perez, currently an Assistant Attorney General heading the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice has been nominated by the president to take over as the United States Secretary of Labor, replacing outgoing Secretary Hilda Solis.… [Read more]

‘Lawyered Up’: Anniversary of Landmark Supreme Court Decision

Gideon v. Wainright

“If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell . . . to write a letter to the Supreme Court . . . the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter, the Court did look into his case .[Read more]

Stop-and-Frisk Milestone Reached and it’s Nothing to be Proud Of

ACLU: NYPD's Stop and Frisk

With approximately 34,500 uniformed officers and 51,000 employees overall – even more than the Federal Bureau of Investigation – the New York City Police Department is the largest police force in the country. It’s a powerful army in its own right and it has been expanding its global presence as it continues to fight the global war on terror.… [Read more]

International Day of Action for Rivers

International Day of Action for Rivers

Did you know that this is “We Love Nature” month and that today is the International Day of Action for Rivers? As part of the month, today’s global activities will introduce many of us to nature and what we can do to actively protect the environment. 

According to InternationalRivers.org: “Every year, thousands of people around the world lift their voices to celebrate the world’s rivers and those who struggle to protect them.… [Read more]

It’s International Women’s Day

International Women's Day 2013

Did you know that today is International Women’s Day? Also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, International Women’s Day is held each year on March 8th to celebrate the achievements of women over time and around the globe, and to note that while women have come quite far throughout history, there is still a long way to go before women experience the full benefits of equality.… [Read more]