Joe Mangino

Organizing for Hope on the Jersey Shore

The New Jersey Organizing Project is a marvel. This Jersey Shore grassroots group was born after Hurricane Sandy when neighbors in towns like Stafford, Brick and Seaside Heights came together to rebuild homes and lives, with a little help from their friends. No one embodies this resilience more than NJOP’s co-founder, Joe Mangino. This wildlife biologist and small-business owner unexpectedly became a community activist when his own home was destroyed by the storm. He immediately started helping his neighbors, ripping out drywall and helping to gut and rebuild over 800 homes, saving taxpayers $4 million in cleanup costs. When Governor Christie failed to deliver aid to Sandy survivors, leaving many still homeless, Mangino went to Iowa to publicly confront the then-candidate for president about his unkept promises.

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Jeff Bryant

Rising Teachers Put Education On The Ballot In Fall Elections

Hundreds of educators are running for office in this November’s midterm elections. This year’s Educator Spring brought teachers into the streets in massive protests that thrust education issues into electoral contests up and down the ballot, and pushed education-related initiatives onto ballots in 16 states, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress. “From taxes to bonds, governance to vouchers, education is on the ballot this November,” says the analysis. “Voters should not miss the chance to make their voices heard.” In states such as Arizona and Georgia where gubernatorial candidates are locked in tight races and Democrats anticipate gains in state legislatures, state ballot measures that focus on education could help provide the difference between victory and defeat.

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Miles Mogulescu

To Jeff Bezos: Put Up $10m to Find Your Columnist’s Murderers

Dear Mr. Bezos: You’re the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $160 billion according to Forbes. According to Time Magazine, in early 2018 you were earning $230,000 a minute (which comes to $13,800,000 an hour.) You’re also the owner of The Washington Post, whose columnist, American resident and Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi was reportedly tortured, murdered and dismembered in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul. Your columnist’s murder was one of the most ghastly and heinous threats to a free press and a civilized world in recent memory. As The Post’s owner, you have a unique responsibility to fight back to protect press freedom and free speech in America and around the world. Sadly, we cannot rely on any of the relevant governments to identify the killers and bring them to justice. The Saudi government has promised an investigation.

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Woody Woodruff

Ben Jealous is the Leader of Vision Maryland Needs Now

As Maryland prepares to name a new governor on November 6, voters have a clear choice: Ben Jealous, the Democratic challenger, or Republican incumbent Larry Hogan. Jealous is the former Rhodes Scholar who in 2008 became the youngest-ever national leader of the NAACP at age 35. Hogan, 62, is an Arundel County property developer, son of a Congressman, who’s been a GOP insider since the 1980s, when he first attempted to win his father’s old congressional seat. After several failed attempts to win elected office, Hogan got an appointed position in the administration of Republican governor Bob Ehrlich in 2008, which he then used as a launching pad for his own run for the governor’s office in 2014.

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Adrienne Evans

There’s Nothing More Powerful Than People Taking Back Democracy

Something good is happening in the Gem State. Real good. You might not read it yet in headlines, but it’s happening – and real – everywhere from Boise to Idaho Falls. “We’re winning the war of ideas, and that’s why they’re worried,” says Paulette Jordan. “They might outspend us, but there’s nothing more powerful than people deciding it’s time to take back democracy – and they know it.”   You probably know Paulette, but let me introduce you: she’s the thirty-eight year old rancher and farmer who’s running as a Democrat to be Idaho’s next governor. She’s a fearless and outspoken advocate for the expansion of health care and fully funded K-12 education in our state.  She was elected in 2014 to Idaho’s House of Representatives, where she served on the Business, Energy and State Affairs Committees.

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Anna Attie

Students Across the Nation Fight for #FreeCollege4All

44 million people in the US owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student debt, a total that grows larger every day.  Students often choose between eating three meals a day, paying rent, and buying textbooks. For many of us, the excitement of graduating is tempered by the fear of never being able to pay off student loans. My peers and I belong to a generation that faces unprecedented barriers to quality higher education. The cost of college has risen four times faster than inflation, but our universities continuously fail to meet the needs of marginalized students.   This is a national economic crisis, and one that disproportionately affects women and students of color. That’s why on October 15th, college students across the country held a National Day of Action, demanding free public higher education as part of the #FreeCollege4All campaign.

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Sam Pizzigati

Confronting Climate Change in a Deeply Unequal World

Two meticulously sourced — and deeply disturbing — warnings about our shared global future have appeared over the past week. One has terrified much of the world. The other hasn’t, not yet at least, but most certainly should. You’ve most likely already encountered the first of these warnings, a grim report from the United Nations  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a broad and distinguished panel of the world’s top climate scientists. They’re advising us that the level of global warming that governments once saw as “safe” would, if ever reached, trigger catastrophic dangers. Humanity has, the scientists tell us, about a dozen years to get our environmental act together. Or else. . . The second warning came from researchers at Oxfam, the global anti-poverty charity that has emerged as a top critic of our world’s increasingly concentrated income and wealth.

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Lois Gibbs

The EPA Doesn’t Give Equal Protection to All

If there’s one thing “EPA” doesn’t stand for, it’s Equal Protection for All. Too many communities of color, like North Birmingham, Alabama, are threatened by toxic chemicals in their soil and water, and the EPA doesn’t offer them the protections they are entitled to by law. Then instead of fixing environmental problems, they blame the victims. Industrial smoke in North Birmingham, 1972. Photo credit: EPA / National Archives Charlie Powell in Birmingham, Alabama has waited since 2005 for action from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Instead he gets the runaround. Why? Because he and his neighbors, like so many other communities we work with, they are poor and African American. They have the wrong complexion for real protection.

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Jeff Bryant

How the Wealthy Destroy Public Schools, One Gift at a Time

News about wealthy folks giving millions to education draw both praise and criticism. But two new reports by public education advocacy groups reveal the real impact rich people have on schools and how they’ve chosen to leverage their money to influence the system. ‘The Education Debt’ The first report, “Confronting the Education Debt” from the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, examines the nation’s “education debt” – the historic funding shortfall for school systems that educate black and brown children. The authors find that through a combination of multiple factors – including funding rollbacks, tax cuts, and diversions of public money to private entities – the schools educating the nation’s poorest children have been shorted billions in funding.

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Amy Halsted

Power Begins at Home: Vote

Many Mainers, especially women newly engaged around the recent Supreme Court fight, are asking me what’s next, now that Brett Kavanaugh has been seated on the Supreme Court. My answer? Building power at the state level matters now more than ever. Photo credit: Susan Melkisethian / Flickr / cc We’re four weeks away from a decisive election for our state and for the country. It’s within our power to harness the resistance to Trump’s agenda, and involve a record numbers of Americans in advancing a different vision for this nation.   In 2018, building this power begins at home. For Mainers, it begins in Maine. We can accomplish a lot for progressives in this year’s election in Maine: We have a clear path to taking back our State Senate and the Governor’s office.

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Daniel Karon

Kavanaugh and the Confirmation of Third-Branch Bias

Is there anything left in GOP politics that doesn’t involve sex? If you ask Lindsey Graham, the “single, white male from South Carolina [who] will not shut up,” or Orrin Hatch, the tone-deaf octogenarian who knows an “attractive” and “pleasing” victim of sex abuse when he sees one, it seems not. Congress has long buried its head in the sand when it comes to women’s issues. But in the fight over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, these issues were unavoidable. It’s about damn time. If anyone thought Washington was devoid of leaders or heroes, they need look no further than Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Lacking any discernible motive and with no interest in getting involved, the California professor – who goes by Christine Blasey in her academic work – subjected herself to loaded-for-bear questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Jeff Bryant

This Is Your Future Without Public Schools

Photo credit: johnsoncitypress.com / cc What if some communities no longer have public schools? That question, once unthinkable in America, may now be something policy leaders and lawmakers in at least one state may want to consider. In Michigan – home state to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos whose political donations and advocacy for “school choice” and charter schools drastically altered the state’s public education system – some of the state’s largest school districts lose so many students to surrounding school districts and charter schools that the financial viability of the districts seems seriously in question.

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Josie Mooney

From Kavanaugh to November

The fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court revealed truths that often stay unspoken in American life. The first is how many of us are touched by sexual violence.  A second is the deep fear that a loss of privilege strikes in the hearts of some. And a third is that they will do anything in their power to protect it. But the more powerful truth belongs to those who find the courage to speak out, and the decency of those who are willing to hear them. So I am confident that this forms a resilient majority that can ultimately prevail in our nation. This has been a pitched battle. President Trump, Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell are now congratulating themselves – they feel flush with victory.

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Miles Mogulescu

Georgia Voters Must Check TODAY If They Have Been Purged From Voting Rolls

RED ALERT! Georgia has purged nearly ten percent of its registered voters – nearly 750,000 people  -from the voting rolls without their ever knowing. Now these voters have just one more day to reregister. IF YOU VOTE IN GEORGIA, OR KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES, BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE TO SEE IF YOU OR THEY HAVE BEEN PURGED FROM THE VOTER ROLLS, AND TO GET HELP IN RE-REGISTERING BY TUESDAY. CLICK HERE. The problem is that even if these voters find out they’ve been purged, unless they reregister by Tuesday, October 9th, they won’t be allowed to vote. According to Rolling Stone investigative reporter Greg Palast, approximately 750,000 Georgia voters have been purged.

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Gary Zuckett

West Virginia Survivors Say NO To Kavanaugh

It was 5:00 a.m. when West Virginia Citizen Action members and coalition activists boarded a bus to cross the Allegheny Mountains as we headed towards Washington, D.C. We had one goal in mind: keep Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court. Along the way, we stopped in Morgantown to pick up fellow travelers. By the time we reached D.C., we were thousands strong, streaming in from all over the country, ready to march. We’re part of Our Time Is Now! – a new coalition of West Virginia nonprofits and faith groups, including the Our Children Our Future Campaign, ACLU, NAACP, West Virginia Free, Rise Up WV, and others who feel as strongly as we do that Kavanaugh is wrong for the job, and wrong for the nation. We’re also part of the millions who feel that not only is Kavanaugh wrong – the rush to confirm him is wrong.

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Jeff Bryant

Charter School Corruption Is Changing Education Policy and Politics

Photo credit: Derek Bridges, Flickr Creative Commons After years of credible reporting on the rampant corruption in the charter school industry, the schools are now drawing more scrutiny from state lawmakers and regulators, and political candidates are making negative stories about charters a contentious issue in the upcoming November midterm elections. Government officials from California to New York are increasingly considering, proposing, or passing new regulatory restraint on these privately operated, publicly funded schools, and in electoral contests from Arizona to Ohio, Democratic challengers are challenging Republican incumbents to defend their lax governance that has allowed charter schools to run amuck, costing the taxpayers millions and undermining the financial stability of public education.

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Tony Pierce

Why We Shut Down The EPA’s Dirty Energy Hearings

My name is Reverend Tony Pierce, and I am co-senior pastor of Heaven’s View Christian Fellowship in Peoria, Illinois and Board President of Illinois People’s Action. On Monday, together with forty grassroots leaders from across Illinois, we shut down the morning session of the Environmental Protection Agency’s sole national hearing on their so-called “Affordable Clean Energy” plan.  We took over the hearing because the EPA’s plan is, in fact, a dirty energy scam that will worsen environmental racism and pollution in our communities. By the EPA’s own numbers, the plan will kill as many as fourteen hundred – FOURTEEN HUNDRED – of our families, friends and neighbors each year. This “plan” gives dirty energy giants free rein to release millions of tons of CO2 and pollutants into the air. Trump’s EPA has no shame.

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Sam Pizzigati

Share the Wealth? We Can Start Now – Here’s How

In the United States, back during the Great Depression, three simple words animated a grassroots upsurge that would help make this nation the world’s first mass middle-class society: Share the wealth! And the nation did. By the end of the 1960s, the top one percent’s share of America’s national income had dropped by more than half. The bottom 90 percent share, meanwhile, had jumped from half the nation’s total income to over two-thirds. Redistribution — via the tax code — drove this dramatic egalitarian shift, as high incomes faced high tax rates throughout the middle decades of the 20th century. But these high tax rates, levies that topped 90 percent on income over $200,000, would have no staying power. The relentless assaults of America’s wealthiest would over time grind them down. Egalitarians in other developed nations saw the same dynamic.

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Jeff Bryant

‘Education Wave’ Inspires New Candidates and Voters

A new wave of education voters may well make Dr. David Garcia the next governor of Arizona, where the professor, school administrator and Democratic nominee is taking on GOP incumbent Doug Ducey. “Democrats see education as Ducey’s greatest vulnerability,” according to Governing magazine. Similarly, AP reports, “Education is one of the top issues in Arizona’s gubernatorial race.” García is one of 550 educators nationwide who are running in November, riding a nationwide wave of teacher protests against low wages and inadequate school funding. 20,000 Arizona public school teachers walked off their jobs earlier this year, rallying around the hashtag #RedForEd. In the midst of a nationwide crisis for school funding, especially in red states, Arizona is the state where Republicans have cut education spending more severely, arguably, than any other.

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Miles Mogulescu

Will the FBI’s Kavanaugh Probe Be a White House Coverup?

If you want to discover the truth instead of cover it up, would you appoint the accused’s lawyer to supervise and control the investigation of the charges against him? Hagen and Corleone, or Kavanaugh and McGahn? Photo credit: The Godfather Wiki That’s exactly what the Trump White House and Senate Republicans are doing with the one-week FBI investigation. They’ve appointed White House Counsel Don McGahn to oversee the FBI investigation, determine its scope, and  authorize, or refuse to authorize whom the FBI may interview. McGahn is the Federalist Society insider and White House counsel who steered Trump to pick Kavanaugh from the list of Far-Right Supreme Court candidates the Society put on his desk. He has since been in charge of shepherding Kavanaugh’s nomination through the Senate, advising the candidate in Judicial Committee hearings.

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