fresh voices from the front lines of change







NY Heads To Primary Polls

7 New York Democratic primary races to watch. CNN: "On Thursday, Democratic primary voters in New York will decide whether to choose Andrew Cuomo for a third term in office, matching his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo. In the other corner stands Cynthia Nixon, whose insurgent campaign has cleared a path for progressives up and down the ballot. The primary results could adjust the balance of power both within the state party and in Albany, the state capital, where a divided legislature -- and, progressive critics say, an obstinate governor -- has stymied efforts to pass more ambitious legislation. Over the past week, the governor has cut the ribbon on a new bridge span only to see its actual opening delayed over safety concerns related to the one it replaced, leading to accusations he rushed the process in order to secure a photo op -- alongside Hillary Clinton -- before the primary. A day later, the New York State Democratic Committee, which Cuomo effectively controls, was busted for sending out a mailer to voters that falsely implied Nixon is anti-Semitic. (The rabbi at the synagogue Nixon attends denounced the mailing in a long Facebook post.) As the flier furor grew, the state party apologized and Cuomo at a Sunday press conference sought to distance himself from the backlash, saying he knew nothing about its printing and distribution while disavowing its content. Nixon said she found that his claims to ignorance were hard to believe and the New York Times editorial board, which endorsed Cuomo, seemed to agree."

Education Concern Drives Midterms

Education Is a Top Issue in the Midterms. Time: "All across America, public anger over education funding has scrambled the political map for November. The activism that started with this spring’s sudden wave of teacher strikes and walkouts didn’t ebb when the picket lines did. It got channeled into political action. The outcry has created competitive races–and spurred primary upsets–in some unexpected places. And with scores of teachers now running for office themselves, it’s changed the face of the midterm elections. Edmondson, a former Oklahoma attorney general who worked for a year before law school as a high school teacher in Muskogee, spent the summer on an education-themed tour of the state. The dismal conditions highlighted by the teacher walkout helped make the outgoing governor, Republican Mary Fallin, the most unpopular in the country, with an approval rating recently measured at just 19%. A similar dynamic is playing out in Kansas and Arizona, two red states where cuts to education spending have made Republicans unpopular. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who is seeking re-election, saw his popularity plummet when teachers went on strike in April and May for better pay. In Kansas, Republican gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach is known nationally for his controversial views on immigration and voting rights, but his Democratic opponent spends most of her time focusing on Kobach’s support for his predecessor’s education cuts."

Congress Races To Avoid Shutdown

Congress races to avert government shutdown. LA Times: "Congress is scrambling to fund much of the federal government before the fiscal year ends, anxious to avoid an unpopular government shutdown or a bitter battle over President Trump’s demands for a border wall less than two months before the midterm elections. Republicans and Democrats hope to complete legislation that would appropriate $1.24 trillion before the government runs out of money on Oct. 1, potentially forcing all but vital services and agencies to shut down or trim operations."

ICE Holding 12,800 Children

Detention of migrant children has skyrocketed to highest levels ever. NYT: "Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States. Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017. The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests."

DeVos Loses Student Loan Lawsuit

Betsy DeVos Loses Student Loan Lawsuit Brought by 19 States. Time: "U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos lost a lawsuit brought by 19 states and the District of Columbia, accusing her department of wrongly delaying implementation of Obama-era regulations meant to protect students who took out loans to attend college from predatory practices. A Washington federal court judge on Wednesday ruled the department’s postponement of the so-called Borrower Defense rule was procedurally improper. The Obama administration created the rule in the wake of revelations that some for-profit colleges enticed students with promises of an education and diplomas that would allow them to get jobs in their chosen fields. In reality, many of those certifications weren’t recognized by prospective employers, leaving graduates saddled with student loans they couldn’t repay. The department deprived plaintiffs 'of several concrete benefits that they would have otherwise accrued,' U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss wrote in a 57-page opinion. 'The relief they seek in this action — immediate implementation of the Borrower Defense regulations — would restore those benefits.'"

After Trump: Moving On

The Donald in the rearview mirror. TomDispatch: "Donald Trump’s tenure as the 45th U.S. president may last another few weeks, another year, or another 16 months. However unsettling the prospect, the leaky vessel that is the S.S. Trump might even manage to stay afloat for a second term. Nonetheless, recent headline-making revelations suggest that, like some derelict ship that's gone aground, the Trump presidency may already have effectively run its course. What, then, does this bizarre episode in American history signify? Compare the America that welcomed young Donald Trump into the world in 1946 with the country that, some 70 years later, elected him president. As the post-World War II era was beginning, three large facts -- so immense that they were simply taken for granted -- defined America. By 2016, the U.S. had long since become a deeply unequal society of haves and have-nots. Finance capitalism, the successor to industrial capitalism, was creating immense fortunes without even pretending to distribute the benefits equitably. Politicians still routinely paid tribute to the Great American Middle Class. Yet the hallmarks of postwar middle-class life -- a steady job, a paycheck adequate to support a family, the prospect of a pension -- were rapidly disappearing. While Americans still enjoyed freedom of a sort, many of them lacked security."

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