fresh voices from the front lines of change







Lawmakers Sort Of Agree To Avert Shutdown

With shutdown looming, sorder Deal Is Reached ‘in Principle’. NYT: "House and Senate negotiators on Monday night agreed in principle to provide $1.375 billion for fencing and other physical barriers at the Mexican border, part of a broader agreement that would stave off another partial government shutdown without funding President Trump’s wall. The agreement would allow for 55 miles of new bollard fencing, with some restrictions on location based on community and environmental concerns, according to two congressional aides, who requested anonymity to disclose details of the private negotiations. That is a fraction of the more than 200 miles of steel-and-concrete wall that Mr. Trump demanded — and 10 miles less than negotiators agreed on last summer, before Democrats took control of the House. The deal, which must still pass the House and the Senate, and secure Mr. Trump’s signature, came together just before Mr. Trump, framed by banners emblazoned with “Finish the Wall” at an event in El Paso, doubled down on his demands. “We’re building the wall anyway,” he told the crowd, saying that aides had told him that the negotiators had made progress. The funding for 55 miles of new fencing is a figure far lower than the $5.7 billion that Mr. Trump had demanded and marginally less than the $1.6 billion for 65 miles of pedestrian fencing in the bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee had passed last year."

Trump Show Upstaged By O’Rourke

Trump show upstaged by Beto O’Rourke and congressional realities. ABC: "President Donald Trump marched into El Paso Monday night, ready to go to battle on the border wall and against an emerging foe. But just moments before Trump took the stage, congressional negotiators cut a deal that cut him out. And the foe whose hometown he was in was leading El Paso as it marched back at an outdoor rally just down the road. “We stand for America, and we stand against walls,” said Beto O’Rourke, who was until six weeks ago a congressman from El Paso. The president’s first campaign rally of 2019 offered potential lessons surrounding the realities of 2020. The crowd chanted “Lock her up,” and Trump railed against the “Green New Deal” and a supposed Democratic abortion plan to “execute the baby.” But his was not the only voice of the evening. Trump mocked O’Rourke as “a young man who’s got very little going for himself,” and said his counter-rally’s attendance “may be the end of his presidential bid.” Of course, O’Rourke may not run at all. But while Trump tries to choose and define his enemies, he won’t be the only show in town."

Denver Teachers On Strike

Denver teachers go on strike for the first time in 25 years after failing to reach a pay deal. Daily Mail: "Union leaders told reporters they were frustrated with failed talks over the weekend aimed at reaching a deal. Union president Henry Roman said teachers were committed to reaching a deal but said that both sides needed a cooling off period. Another negotiation session is expected Tuesday. 'They need us. They need our labor, they need our minds, they need our talents to really make it happen,' lead union negotiator Rob Gould said. The strike for Denver's more than 4,000 teachers is their first in 25 years. It comes after teachers walked off the job in Arizona and West Virginia last year and Los Angeles teachers went on strike last month. The Los Angeles teachers ended up getting the same 6 percent raise offered early on by the nation's second-largest school district. However, they also sought and won promises for smaller class sizes and adding more nurses and counselors."

Fresh Organizing Bolsters Labor Since Janus

Unions see an opportunity in the wake of a decision that was supposed to finish them off. The Intercept: "Labor leaders said the losses from Janus were not as severe as they had feared, citing their proactive organizing efforts as primary reasons. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for example, lost 100,000 agency-fee payers since Janus, Lee Saunders, president of the union, said at the conference. Yet they also managed to flip 310,000 agency-fee payers into dues-paying members through new organizing. “For every member that we lost, we gained seven,” Saunders said. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, reported similar gains. The AFT lost 84,500 agency-fee payers after Janus, but between November 2017 and November 2018, Weingarten said the union’s membership numbers actually went up by 88,000. (Some experts anticipate unions will eventually feel the financial hit from Janus, especially if the well-funded “opt-out” movement, which targets public-sector workers to disaffiliate with their union, gains traction.) Weingarten said the Supreme Court’s ruling gave unions an opportunity to reflect on what their membership means. “The real challenge becomes six months, eight months, a year after Janus — what is the value of belonging?” she said. “What’s the community you are creating? And what are the values that people connect with — not just what’s the transaction — but what are the values? That’s what we’re learning.”

How AOC Crushes It On Twitter

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat everyone at Twitter in nine tweets. The Guardian: "When it comes to Twitter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress last November, beats every other US politician hands, nose and elbows down. She has built one of the most engaged followings on Capitol Hill in just eight months and was even appointed to teach social media lessons to her colleagues upon her arrival. How does she do it? I spend my days analyzing data for the Guardian and helping run our social media accounts, so I’m used to digging into numbers and figuring out what gets people going. And more often than not, it’s the less obvious things that reveal what’s really happening. Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter account (@AOC) has more than 3.1 million followers. It has gained more than 2.6 million of these in the last eight months. Before she won her primary in June, beating a powerful 10-term Democratic incumbent, she only had 446,000 followers. Even when you look at pure, non-weighted engagement, Ocasio-Cortez still punches well above her weight. For example, Trump has 21 times more followers than her. Yet he generated only 2.5 times as many total interactions as she did in January (43.2m compared to 17.5m). All these numbers are useful for understanding the scale of Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter popularity, but do little in terms of explaining it. To further understand why they’ve done so well, here’s a brief timeline of her rapid ascent, and the tweets that have defined it."

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