Progressive Breakfast for February 20

Morning Message

St. Paul Teachers Score a Win for Kids Over Big Money

State and local governments claim there's "no money" for public services like education, yet lavish huge tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy. The St. Paul teachers' union has shown progressives how to fight back, and win.

PA Redraws Congressional Districts

New PA Congressional map is a big win for Democrats. NYM: “Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court issued a new, redrawn map of the state’s congressional districts on Monday, and it looks very good for Democrats. The map, which the court had ordered after ruling that the current version is overly partisan, does away with the wackily shaped districts that are the hallmarks of gerrymandering. It features contiguous districts that split far fewer counties, and, as a bonus, is far easier on the eyes… The new map means that Democrats can expect to compete in the majority of the 18 congressional races in November, with experts generally concurring that they could pick up more than ten seats. Democrats need 24 seats total to take back the House of Representatives, so this could have enormous implications for control of Congress.”

Student Walkouts Protest Gun Violence

Students are rising up against gun violence in the aftermath of the Florida shooting. Vox: “This time, it may be different. That seems to be the hope after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed at least 17 people and injured at least 14 others. In the days after the shooting, students and activists have called on their peers around the country to demand action. This has so far culminated in two planned events: the National School Walkout on March 14 and the March for Our Lives on March 24. The theme of both events: Enough is enough.”

MI Utility To End Use Of Coal

Michigan utility plans to end use of coal by 2040. AP: “Consumers Energy’s CEO said the Michigan utility will phase out electricity production from coal by 2040 to slash emissions of heat-trapping gases that cause global warming. The utility plans to generate 40 percent of its power from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy by then, Patti Poppe said in an interview ahead of the public announcement Monday. She said the utility also will rely on natural gas, hydropower and improved efficiency to meet customer needs. Consumers Energy and DTE Energy Co., which supply most of Michigan’s electricity, are among many U.S. providers moving away from coal even as President Donald Trump’s administration boosts fossil fuels and seeks to unravel former President Barack Obama’s policies that promoted cleaner power.”

Kucinich Pledges To End Oil And Gas Drilling In OH

Kucinich vows to end all OH drilling, sue extractors. The Intercept: “the Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate unveiled one of the most cutting-edge environmental platforms of any candidate in the country. Kucinich called for a total end to oil and gas extraction in the state of Ohio. To accomplish this, he would deploy a battery of radical policies. He would, for instance, utilize eminent domain to seize control of oil and gas wells throughout the state and then shutter them. He would block all new drilling permits and order a total ban on injection wells. Kucinich would also deploy the Ohio State Highway Patrol to stop and turn away vehicles that possess fracking waste. Under a Kucinich administration, Ohio would give subsidized health screens to residents living near fracking sites; that data would then be used to file a class-action lawsuit against fracking companies similar to how states took Big Tobacco to court in the ’90s.”

Trump Dismantles Defense Of LGBT Rights, Health

Trump administration dismantles LGBT-friendly policies. Politico: “The nation’s health department is taking steps to dismantle LGBT health initiatives, as political appointees have halted or rolled back regulations intended to protect LGBT workers and patients, removed LGBT-friendly language from documents and reassigned the senior adviser dedicated to LGBT health. The sharp reversal from Obama-era policies carries implications for a population that’s been historically vulnerable to discrimination in health care settings, say LGBT health advocates. A Health Affairs study last year found that many LGBT individuals have less access to care than heterosexuals; in a Harvard-Robert Wood Johnson-NPR survey one in six LGBT individuals reported experiencing discrimination from doctors or at a clinic. The Trump administration soon after taking office also moved to change the agency’s LGBT-related health data collection, a window into health status and discrimination. Last month it established a new religious liberty division to defend health workers who have religious objections to treating LGBT patients. The changes at the Department of Health and Human Services represent ‘rapid destruction of so much of the progress on LGBT health,’ said Kellan Baker, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health who worked with HHS on LGBT issues for nearly a decade. ‘It’s only a matter of time before all the gains made under the Obama administration are reversed under the Trump administration, for purposes that have nothing to do with public health and have everything to do with politics.'”