fresh voices from the front lines of change







Senate Approves Fast-Track Budget

Senate approves budget plan that smooths path toward tax cut. NYT: " The Senate took a significant step toward rewriting the tax code on Thursday night with the passage of a budget blueprint that would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster. The budget resolution could also pave the way for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration by ensuring that drilling legislation can pass with only Republican votes... As early as next week, the House plans to take up the budget blueprint that the Senate approved on Thursday by a 51 to 49 vote. Doing so would allow for the tax overhaul to move ahead quickly."

Trump Appointees Sidestep Senate Approval

Trump nominees show up for work without waiting for Senate approval. Politico: "The Trump administration is pushing the limits of an obscure federal law that restricts nominees from serving in federal positions before they’re approved by the Senate. A POLITICO review has identified four officials at three different agencies doing substantially similar work to the position for which they have been nominated – despite not yet getting a green-light from the Senate... lawyers and other experts said the moves – including by the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget – to have unconfirmed nominees show up for work appears to skirt the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which prohibits most people who have been nominated to fill a vacant government position from performing that office’s duties in an acting capacity. It’s unclear whether the officials in question are in direct violation of the law, but some experts said the administration appears to be defying its intent."

Bush, Obama Condemn Bigotry, Divisiveness

Ex-Presidents send Trump a pointed message. NBC: "What was extraordinary about Thursday was having two ex-presidents — George W. Bush and Barack Obama — deliver what amounted to a bipartisan, two-pronged denunciation of the Trump Era. Neither Bush nor Obama mentioned by Trump by name, but they also didn’t have to... George W. Bush’s remarks were particularly striking, given that he didn’t really comment on politics during the eight years of the Obama Era. But it took Bush only nine months into the Trump Era to deliver the speech he did. Members of the media and some political professionals have remarked how this Trump Era is DIFFERENT from past political eras. And on Thursday, you had two ex-presidents saying pretty much the same thing."

Breitbart Emails Reveal White Nationalist Strategy

Alt-White: How the Breibart machine laundered racist hate. BuzzFeed: "During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be 'the platform for the alt-right'... in August, Breitbart published an article explaining that when Bannon said the site welcomed the alt-right, he was merely referring to 'computer gamers and blue-collar voters who hated the GOP brand.' These new emails and documents, however, clearly show that Breitbart does more than tolerate the most hate-filled, racist voices of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fueling and being fueled by some of the most toxic beliefs on the political spectrum — and clearing the way for them to enter the American mainstream."

Florida College Bells Troll For Peace

College's bell tower trolled white supremacist with black national anthem. CNN: "As white supremacist leader Richard Spencer prepared to take the stage at the University of Florida, a concert of bells rang through campus leaving a poignant message of unity. Laura Ellis, a music professor at the university, went up 11 flights of stairs in the school's carillon tower on Thursday to play 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' also known as the black national anthem. 'I think it was an appropriate time to play this song, to show our support for those who need it the most,' Ellis told CNN. 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' was first written as a poem in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson as part of a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday at the all-black Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida. Johnson, a civil rights activist, was also the school's principal. Johnson's brother, John Rosamond Johnson put the poem to music. The song was later adopted by the NAACP as its official song in 1919. It became a staple during the civil rights movement and remains a musical tradition in social, political and religious events in the African-American community."

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In Disasters’ Wake, Public School System DeVos Attacks Proves Essential. Jeff Bryant: "Betsy DeVos says conversations about education should not be about 'systems,' but recent events have shown that public schools and public-school educators are, literally, lifesavers in American communities hit by devastating natural disasters."

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