Editors’ Choice

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VNV Tuesday – When the Children March 3/20/18

Sculpture dedicated to the Foot Soldiers of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Alabama

In the spring of 1963, the leadership of the SCLC and SNCC were determined to move on Birmingham, AL, viewed as the most dangerous city in Alabama (in part because it was the power base of Bull Connor). There were concerns that the Movement had stalled. Less than a year earlier, attempts had been made to desegregate facilities in Albany, GA, but the Albany police chief, Laurie Pritchett, had stymied their efforts at gaining national attention by meeting non-violent direct action with his own tactics of non-violence. Although protesters had been arrested, violence was kept at a minimum, and protesters were dispersed to jails throughout Georgia, depriving them of the ability to continue their protests in the jails. The leadership knew that Bull Connor, Birmingham’s racist Commissioner of Public Safety, would show no such restraint. If national attention was to be gained, and if the Kennedy Administration was to be pushed into action, it would take a major, but dangerous, push in Birmingham.

Fighting Back: “We need real, direct investment in infrastructure, not more gifts to the donor class”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

(Chief Deputy Whip Jeff Merkley (D-OR))

My Democratic colleagues and I know that America’s success is measured around the kitchen table, not the Wall Street boardroom table. So whereas President Trump plans to sell us out to Wall Street developers, Democrats want real, direct investments that make our nation competitive in the 21st century, strengthen our middle class, create good paying jobs, and grow our economy.

We believe we can not only be proud of America’s incredible past achievements – from the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam to the Eisenhower interstate highways – but that we can create a new generation of incredible infrastructure that will awe our children and grandchildren, and power our economy for decades to come. Let’s make it happen!

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

HNV Thursday – Trailblazers: Women’s Political Council of Montgomery 3/15/18

Leaflet issued by the Women’s Political Council calling for a boycott of Montgomery busses.

There are trailblazers and torchbearers. The trailblazer is the pioneer; the torchbearer follows and amplifies the path of the trailblazer. (There is no judgment implied in these designations, and one can be a trailblazer at one moment, while a torchbearer at another.) The students who sat at lunch counters in Greensboro and Nashville were trailblazers; one could make the argument that the Freedom Riders were torchbearers. Moms Demand Action/Everytown for Gun Safety are trailblazers; the students of Parkland and the March for Our Lives are carrying the torch. The Women’s Political Council of Montgomery, AL and Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, and Rosa Parks were trailblazers; Dr. King and the residents of Montgomery, who organized and conducted the Montgomery bus boycott, were the torchbearers. Today’s post is about the Women’s Political Council, without whom there would never have been a Montgomery bus boycott.

Fighting Back: “Republicans are giving a raw deal to hard working families across America.”

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey.

(Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Pascrell called out the GOP tax scam for what it is: a disastrous law that raises taxes on millions of middle class families, while handing massive tax breaks to corporations and the richest few. )

“Republicans didn’t write their bill for the middle-class. The middle class was the furthest thing from their minds. They wrote their tax bill for their donor class. Then they shoved it down our throats in hopes no one would read the fine print.

“Let’s talk about the fine print.

“The Republican tax scam cost more than $2 trillion. That’s trillion with a ‘T.’ Where will that money go? I’m going to tell you.

“About $1.6 trillion of that money will go straight to reward corporations and the top One Percent. Can you think of a group less in need of tax relief?

“I’m all for growing wealth. But I’m not for gaming the system in the name of greed.

“And what are these big corporations doing with their payouts from the Republicans? I’m going to tell you, again.

“They’re putting it right in their pockets. They’re giving themselves sweet bonuses. They’re lavishing buybacks on their shareholders. […]

“The Republicans’ only major legislation passed under this administration is a corruption of our democracy done at the behest of their donors.

“The Republicans are giving a raw deal to hard working families in New Jersey and across America. You deserve a better one – A Better Deal: with Better Jobs, Better Wages and a Better Future for everyone.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Fighting Back: “We must come together to work on gun violence reforms that will make a difference.”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.

(Sen. Dianne Feinstein Delivers the Weekly Democratic Address)

“On December 14, 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, with an AR-15, and murdered 20 children – ages six and seven, beautiful children – and six young staffers. Five years later, a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with another AR-15, and murdered 14 children and three staff. Between just these two shootings, Congress did precisely nothing to remove weapons of war from our streets. Nothing to tighten background checks. Nothing to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “There’s so much we can do. We just need the willpower and intestinal fortitude to take on the NRA and get something done for the safety of the men, women, and particularly the children in our schools of this country.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

The Other Closet: Living With the Stigma of Mental Illness

From the Motley Moose Archives(Photobucket images are no longer available and have been downsized)

I have touched on the topic of stigma against the mentally ill before, so I’m taking bits and pieces of research from that previous diary. But I’d like to revisit it here in a slightly different way. There was a statement made in another diary the other day that brought this to mind. Someone elsewhere in the blogosphere suggested that the mentally ill should be imprisoned “just like sex offenders” until doctors could determine that they were safe for society. I’m assuming that it was not intended as it was written (I certainly hope not), but unfortunately, there are many out there who do actually think this way.

Fighting Back: #NeverAgain – “We are tired of hearing it is too soon. It’s time.”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida).

(Congressman Ted Deutch, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, home to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, speaks on gun control)
Congressman Deutch:

For those who say it is too soon – For those who always say it is too soon to make change, you must live with the knowledge that it is too late for the grieving parents, it is too late for the survivors who will carry this with them forever, it is too late for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community.

We are tired of hearing that it is too soon. […]

It’s time for Republicans in Congress to show just a shred of the courage of American students. It’s time for Speaker Ryan to let the House vote to require background checks on every sale and transfer, to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, to outlaw bump stocks that enable automatic rates of fire, to require that no one under the age of 21 can buy a gun, and to once again ban assault weapons from our streets.

The students of Stoneman Douglas demand action. They will never give up. They are crying out, America has heard it, the world has heard it from them. Never again!

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Fighting Back: “Children are dying in our schools … all this Congress has to say is, let’s have a moment of silence.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference and the topic was the mass shooting in Florida and the weak Republican Party response to it. She was joined by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) who is the chair of the House Democrats Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Nancy Pelosi:

Once again, we come together very sadly. Our hearts have been broken by the tragedy of gun violence, this time Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Seventeen pronounced dead, more wounded. Innocent children sending terrified texts and goodbyes to their parents. We thank God for the heroism of the teachers, the school leaders, and our first responders running into harm’s way to save lives. […]

Children are dying in our schools, in our communities, on our streets. All this Congress has to say is, let’s have a moment of silence.

Mike Thompson:

If I was a Republican Member, I would be embarrassed that my Leadership wouldn’t address this issue. […] We were elected to deal with tough issues. And this is no different than any other tough issue. Somebody has to screw up the courage to be able to look at this issue and figure out what can Congress do. […]

And the idea that all of these shootings are mental health issues? I am sure that mental health factors in, but you can’t deflect by saying, ‘Oh, it is a mental health issue,’ and then turn around and work overtime trying to repeal the mental health programs that we have in place or put out a budget that cuts the mental health budget that we so desperately need across our United States of America.

The full transcript is below.

Fighting Back: Infrastructure Weak! “Trump’s plan is embarrassingly small”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon.

(Rep. Peter DeFazio knows infrastructure is a critical piece of any effort to create quality, good-paying jobs. That’s why he fighting for #ABetterDeal to Rebuild America.)

The administration must offer an infrastructure plan that strengthens the commitment to the national transportation network by providing stable funding for more than a year. Trump’s plan is embarrassingly small. Democrats have announced a better deal to rebuild America. This infrastructure plan is five times bigger than his proposal. One trillion dollars to rebuild crumbling roads, schools, extend high-speed internet to every family in America. […] We must strengthen the federal commitment to the national transportation network of providing stable, long-term funding. If the president and congress are serious about prioritizing infrastructure, they have a unique opportunity to make badly needed investments. But they have been avoiding this for decades. Democrats are ready to get to work and deliver to the American people a better deal, jobs, wages and future.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)