Sunday, April 9
On Friday, April 7th, New York State passed a budget which made us the first state in the country to offer free tuition at four year public colleges.
(Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)
As noted in the Washington Post,
"The $163 billion state budget agreement includes the Excelsior Scholarship, which covers tuition for any New Yorker accepted to one of the state’s community colleges or four-year universities, provided their family earns less than $125,000 a year.
Proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in January, the scholarship taps into one of the Democratic Party’s most popular ideas and advances a bipartisan movement to lower the cost of college that is taking shape across the country....The scholarship program will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019. Nearly 1 million families will qualify for the scholarship....In-state tuition at community colleges in New York pencils in at $4,350, while tuition at State University of New York schools is $6,470 for residents. The City University of New York schools cost about the same as their state counterparts."
Let's thank Governor Cuomo for taking this important step for New York families.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Saturday, April 8th
(Adapted from Rogan's List and Whst Do I Do about Trump)
Just because you don't want to talk on the phone, you don’t have to be inactive.
Here is a handy guide to activism for introverts.
Wednesday, April 5th
(Adapted from Rogan's List)
Following up on yesterday’s notice that Mercedes-Benz was pulling ads from Bill O’Reilly’s show after sexual harrassment claims & settlements against O'Reilly were reported, 24 other companies (and counting) have done the same (read about them here).
Action you can take today:
Advertisers recognize the power of consumers.
Use this spreadsheet (below) to thank these companies via Twitter, and encourage the remaining few to stop supporting Bill O'Reilly and Fox's culture of misogyny:
Sunday, April 2
(Adapted from Shannon & Jane's Do A Thing)
Today's Action: Decrease Your Carbon Footprint
The car in this picture is 19 years old, and well-oved by its owner. It seems like a responsible act, using something as long as possible. But this car also gets terrible gas mileage, mostly under 20 mpg. It turns out that buying a new car might be one of the best things some of us can do for our carbon footprint, according to this NYT article, which says that if every American household drove a car getting 56 mpg, we could reduce US carbon emissions by TEN PERCENT.
That's big.Small adjustments can add up too, though. For example, we could decrease emissions by another 2.2% if we each did ALL of these things:
- Reduce the distance you drive by 1.2% (that's 13 miles/mo for the avg American driver)
- Keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure for max efficiency
- Just be a chill driver; no speeding, hard stops, or gunning it
- Fly 10% less
- Turn down your thermostat by 3 degrees for 8 hrs/day in the winter
- Replace 1 out of every 5 incandescent light bulbs with an LED
- Eat 2% fewer calories (roughly, the # of calories in a miniature box of raisins)
- Reduce meat consumption by 7%; about a pound per month, if you're an average American adult
- Reduce the amount of food you throw away by 13%. Make a meal plan so you cook or freeze everything you buy before it spoils! Plan your leftovers carefully so you actually eat them!
Effort matters - take nothing for granted!
Friday, March 31st
(Adapted from the folks at the March for Science)
Advocate for Science Today
Tuesday, March 28th, the President proposed an immediate $18 billion cut from research, education, and additional programs. Although there are many hurdles before this version passes Congress, it’s important to make our concerns heard now. Take the time today to call your Member of Congress to push back against extreme budget cuts to the federal medical funding. These changes put everything at risk, including our health, our children's future, and the American economy.
Click here, enter your address and find contact info for your your members of Congress. Here’s a quick script, but always remember to personalize it and share why medical research funding matters to you.
“I’m calling because I want to urge Representative [Last Name] to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health. NIH’s research saves lives every day and the basic research they do creates new treatments and new medicine. It’s hard to believe we’re actually debating whether or not to fund an agency that saves lives, creates jobs and keeps the United States leading the world in medical research. Is my representative against these cuts or are they going to remain silent in the face of these unprecedented attacks on American science and people’s health?”
Thursday, March 30th
Senate Republicans held the Supreme Court vacancy open for more than a year and now are trying to rush through a nominee despite serious concerns over the administration’s possible interference in our elections.
Trump should not be able to move forward with Gorsuch’s nomination until an independent investigation into Russia’s interference is complete. Now is the time to ramp up the pressure on your Senator.
Action for today
Visit NoRussiaProbeNoSCOTUSRobe.com for all the info you need to resist Gorsuch’s nomination - it's a comprehensive compilation of actions that you can take if you have one minute, two minutes, or more.
Then turn out on Saturday in NYC for The People's Filibuster.
Wednesday, March 29th
A top advisor in an unnamed position in the White House is not normal.
There should be no security clearance for Ivanka Trump, nor should she have an office in the White House.
Action you can take today:
- First, read all about it here: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/ivanka-trump-white-house-236273
- Then, write a letter or a postcard to the Ethics Office and tell them all about your concerns:
US Office of Government Ethics 1201 New York Ave NW # 500, Washington, DC 20005
Tuesday, March 28th
(Adapted from ACLU & DailyKos)
On March 23, Republican Senators voted to overturn privacy rules implemented by the FCC in 2015 that protect your personal data online. These rules require internet service providers to get your permission before they sell your personal data.
The House votes today, TUESDAY, on a bill that will allow companies to sell your online data without your permission. The Senate already passed this bill on a partisan vote (50-48).
Action You Can Take Today
This is your opportunity to tell Congress to vote NO on S.J. Resolution 34. If the House removes these rules, Comcast and other internet service providers will be free to sell your personal information and online behavior history to the highest bidder without your consent or knowledge.
Call our Representative Representative Sean Patrick Maloney at (202) 225-5441 today and tell him you want the House to leave these important privacy rules in place.
Tuesday, March 28th
(Adapted from Rogan's List)
Representative Devin Nunes must step down.
The actions of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee are unprecedented. If you haven't been following the details of investigations into Trump and Russia, here's some background on Nunes, who leaked information to Trump without presenting it to his own committee.
We need a completely independent investigation, and you can read all about it here:
Action for today:
Call Rep. Nunes and let him know his conflict of interest means he must step down:
Nunes Clovis office: (559) 323-5235
Nunes Visalia Office: (559) 733-3861
Nunes DC office: (202) 225-2523
Monday, March 27
(Adapted from Rogan's List)
Action for Today:
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Minority member of the House Intelligence Committee is asking the public to call his fellow committee members and demand the public hearing on the Trump/Russia connection that Nunes canceled.
If you haven't been following this story, you can learn more here:
Contact Majority (GOP) members of the House Intelligence Committee:
Contact Minority (DEM) members of the House Intelligence Committee:
Saturday, March 25
Yesterday, Speaker Ryan and the Republican President pulled their healthcare bill, because it couldn't get enough votes to pass.
The President claimed it was Democratic opposition which sunk the bill, and while that's not completely true, let's accept the win here and be happy about the success of our effort to oppose bad legislation.
There is plenty of work to do going forward, on all fronts, but for today, let's take a moment and just be happy that we managed to stop this one.
If you are looking for something good to do, you can use a postcard or a letter to thank the following individuals for their recent actions (list from Jen Hofmann's Weekly Checklist for Americans of Conscience):
Thank Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) for speaking out against dangerous firearm accessories.
Leo W. O’Brien Federal Office Building, 11A Clinton Avenue, Room 821, Albany, NY 12207
Thank Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), for his new No Hate Act and sending a message that hate and discrimination are un-American.
90 State House Square, 10th Floor, Hartford, CT 06103
Thank Derrick Watson, the judge who blocked the second Muslim travel ban, for his good judgment and courage.
Hon. Derrick Watson,United States District Court, District of Hawaii, 300 Ala Moana Blvd C-338, Honolulu, HI 96850
Thank Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister, for his courage and integrity in explaining to 45 the role of immigrants in America.
PM Enda Kenny, Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, D02 R583, IRELAND
(Use $1.15 in US stamps or an international stamp.)
Thank Kristina Dunz, German reporter, for showing American media how to hold 45 accountable with honest questions.
Kristina Dunz, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Mittelweg 38, D - 20148 Hamburg, GERMANY
(Use $1.15 in US stamps or an international stamp.)
(Adapted from Center for American Progress Action Fund)
The House vote on TrumpCare is Thursday, March 23rd. This vote is far from a sure thing! More than two dozen House Republicans have said they are considering voting against the bill, which is all we need to defeat TrumpCare.
There's still more we can do. Find out how TrumpCare would impact communities - take a look at this interactive map.
Then use this toolkit with numbers and shareables, sample tweets, and sample call scripts to contact the representatives we need to vote no.
Tell the Justice Department: We Need a Special Prosecutor on Russia & Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Wednesday, March 22
(Adapted from Daily Acts of Resistance)
FBI Director James Comey confirmed on Monday that the FBI is actively investigating ties between Trump's campaign and Russia. We also know that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about his contact with Russian officials during Trump's campaign. We also know that Sessions has recused himself from leading the investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, and passed that responsibility on to Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, but that is not enough.
We need an independent Special Prosecutor to ensure a full, fair investigation.
Action You Can Take Today:
Call the Attorney General's Office at 202-353-1555. When you get through, here's your short script:
"Hi, my name is ___ and I'm calling from ___ to urge Deputy AG Boente (BEN-tay) to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Attorney General Session's possible perjury as well as Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and President Trump's possible collusion. These are obviously hugely sensitive issues of national security that require a thorough, impartial investigation that is not tainted by association with Sessions. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen."
Submit a comment through the AG's office's web site. You're welcome to copy the comment below or write your own. A relevant topic to choose is "Messages to the Deputy Attorney General."
"I'm writing to urge you to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate President Trump's ties to Russia and possible collusion in their successful attempts to influence our 2016 elections as well as to investigate Attorney General Jeff Session's ties to Russia and his lies under oath about his contacts with the Russians during Donald Trump's campaign.
Given that AG Sessions has admitted to lying under oath, I do not feel that merely recusing himself will be enough to ensure a truly free and impartial investigation. We need an independent investigator who can perform a thorough, unbiased investigation into these deeply troubling questions. Thank you for your time and attention to this truly urgent matter of national security."
Call Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Maloney to ask them to push for a special prosecutor, too. You can use the same script as above and just swap in their name for Boente's name.
Contact info for our members of congress is at: http://www.philipstowndemocrats.org/contact_your_legislators
Tuesday, March 21st
(Adapted from Indivisible)
Action You Can Take Today: Call our Senators and let them know you support opposing Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court.
Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch does not belong on the Supreme Court—and not just because Republicans stole this seat by refusing to hold a hearing (let alone a vote!) for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s supremely well qualified and moderate nominee. Judge Gorsuch is a staunch conservative out of step with the American people.
Decisions Senators make today about who to put on the Court and how Supreme Court appointments are made will affect our democratic system for decades to come. The Supreme Court will continue to hear cases on critical issues, from protecting minority rights to ensuring free, fair, and democratic elections. And political games Republicans may play would threaten the dignity, impartiality, and legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Senators who oppose Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, or are wavering, need our support and encouragement to demand a more moderate, consensus pick. And senators who support Gorsuch need to hear that their constituents will not tolerate short-sighted power grabs that undermine the Court in the long run.
Our Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillbrand, have said they will oppose Gorsuch's appointment. Let’s help them stay committed to that choice and applaud their actions on our behalf.
- Full list of contact information for Senator Schumer.
- Full list of contact information for Senator Gillibrand.
Some important background information about Neil Gorsuch:
Neil Gorsuch has routinely put the interests of employers, institutions, and big business ahead of average Americans. When a company fired a trucker for leaving his cargo to seek help in subzero temperatures—after the man waited long enough for his torso to go numb—Judge Gorsuch sided with the company. When a professor recovering from cancer was fired after requesting a short period of telecommuting to protect her fragile health from a flu epidemic on campus, Judge Gorsuch concluded that her modest request imposed an unfair demand that her employer provide a “safety net.” He also wants to judges to have greater liberty to substitute their own uninformed views for those of scientists, economists, and other technical experts who spent years meticulously crafting data-driven rules to protect our air, water, health, and safety. He’s no champion of free and fair government, either: he has been unwilling to stand up publicly against Donald Trump’s vicious attacks on federal judges and supports an extreme view that common sense restrictions on campaign contributions should be struck down unless they satisfy “strict scrutiny”--the most difficult test the Supreme Court applies, and the same one used to protect our most sacred, fundamental rights.
In what is probably Judge Gorsuch’s most famous case, he conjured up the new theory that for-profit corporations have a right to religious freedom. This right had traditionally been reserved for individuals, houses of worship, and other religious non-profits, and Judge Gorsuch’s philosophy theory radically expands on the fiction that big businesses are people with rights as important—or even more important—than actual people. Judge Gorsuch believes that business should be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees—even when doing so means depriving those employees of basic health care—and they should be able to use their “religious beliefs” to avoid the laws that protect the rest of us. But it’s not clear whether his expansive view of religious freedom extends beyond big business to protect, for example, Muslims’ constitutional right to an equal place in our society.
Senate Republicans have already been playing games with the Supreme Court for over a year. They only have a seat to fill today because of their unprecedented obstruction and breach of protocol last year. And those same Republicans, who used Senate procedures to block fair consideration of Merrick Garland, threaten to change the Senate rules to silence Democrats, unless Democrats rubber stamp thee far-right, anti-worker, anti-women friend of big business and big donors they have picked for the Court. Specifically, there is talk that Republicans will resort to the “nuclear option” of scrapping the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. With the centuries-old filibuster, any nominee requires support of 60 of our 100 senators, which nearly always means a nominee must have support from at least some senators on either side of the aisle. Without it, bare partisan preferences could select the next justice and all who follow.
Monday, March 20th
(Adapted from RISE Stronger and Rogan's List)
Action You Can Take Today
Twenty-two Republican Representatives need to vote 'No' next Thursday in order to stop TrumpCare. So far 17 Republicans have indicated that they would likely vote against TrumpCare. Five more votes are needed.
Here are are the nine most vulnerable Republicans that could get us to 22 votes.
Two of the nine are New York Reps Dan Donovan NY-11 (202-225-2371) and Peter King, NY-02 (202-225-7896).
The 11th district includes all of Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn, including the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and Gravesend. Politically, it is the most conservative district in New York City.
The 2nd district, in Long Island, includes southwestern Suffolk County and a piece of Nassau County.
Call your friends and relations who live in these districts and ask them to help their congressmen make up their minds before the next vote on Thursday, March 23 - the seventh anniversary of the original ACA signing.