Turning it up at US Conference of Mayors. Hundreds of mayors from across the country are convening in Miami this weekend for the annual US Conference of Mayors. Climate change and control of municipal water supplies are high on the list, and Sierra Club's Mayors for 100 campaign is out in full force. Clarkston, GA Mayor Ted Terry just publicly got on board and the mayors are set to vote on a resolution in support of climate change later today. Now is your chance to act when it matters.
Reading is fundamental: In 2010, Republican lawmakers in Arizona banned ethnic studies in public school in what can only be described as a blatant act of xenophobia. The backlash from the Latino community has been swift and the case is now going to state's Supreme Court. Activists of the Librotraficante Caravan have responded by trafficking banned books from Texas into Arizona to restock underground libraries on Mexican American Studies. If you want to help their cause you can offset caravan costs with donations or give them banned books to bolster their collection.
Orange is the new red, white and blue: People who are convicted felons aren't allowed to vote while in prison, on parole or on probation. It's a rule that's been on the books since the end of the Civil War, and, like voter-ID laws, it's one of the many legal practices use to deny minorities their right to vote. But, things are changing. Democrat and Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe has restored the right to vote for more than 156,000 ex-cons. Other states like Maine, Vermont, Iowa, Florida, Kentucky and Maryland have already followed suit.
A very bad bill: Senate Republicans have unveiled their new healthcare bill that will majorly slash funding for Medicaid and fuck over old people. The bill has been received negatively by numerous hospitals and public health organizations, as well as by political figures on both sides of the aisle. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to hold a vote as early as next Thursday, in order to rush the bill through before the Democrats can organize their opposition. The bill needs 50 Senate votes to pass, but four conservatives --Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul-- have stated outright that they aren't ready to get behind the bill as it is.
Touchdown: Former NFL lineman Ryan O'Callaghan just came out as gay. This is big news in the football world since he is only the seventh NFL player ever to open up about his sexuality. He follows in the footsteps of athletes like NFL draftee Michael Sam, Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy and pro-skater Brian Anderson. O'Callaghan says that his football career was partially driven by a desire to hide his sexuality, because "no one [assumes] that the big football player is gay." He wants to be a representative for the LGBTQ community and help people "who relate to [his] story."
ICYMI: Senate Republicans have been doing everything in their power to keep their health care bill that's supposed to replace the Affordable Care Act from prying eyes. Yesterday they spilled the beans and it doesn't look good. People with disabilities protested the legislation outside Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office on Thursday. Rather than hear them out, McConnell had the police forcibly remove protesters and the demonstration ended in 43 arrests. So much for the right to peaceful assembly.