News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.
Welcome to your weekly roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference and a picture of President Obama, because youve earned it.
After a glorious victory night last November, when Democrats kept the governorship and greatly increased their numbers in the House of Delegates, they're ready to expand voting rights. They're introducing a series of bills to make it easier to vote, with same day registration, permitting absentee ballots for any reason, repealing the photo ID requirement, and a host of other reforms.
Republicans are pushing back on some of these measures, but even they want to expand certain voting rights for the military, for example. It will be a tough fight, as Republicans still maintain a slim majority in the legislature, but after Democrats picked up so many seats, they are certainly feeling emboldened to try to get something done for the people who elected them to take the commonwealth in a new direction.
New York Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is not letting Trump's FCC get away easily with its attack on net neutrality.
He's leading 22 other attorneys general in the fight to protect free and open access to the internet for all Americans. And he wants you to jump in, too.
"We need everyone to speak up, speak out, and be heard. This fight is just beginning."
The U.S. public school system ought to be a model for the world to follow. And investing in our public schools making them stronger, safer, and fully modernized should be a nonpartisan issue that any administration places at the top of its priority list.
Over 150 Democrats in Congress are asking the Trump administration to take up this crucial task, referencing Trump's speech after the November 2016 election in which he promised to "rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, [and] hospitals."
"We are eager to work with you to fulfill that promise," the Democrats write.
"Safe, healthy, modern, well-equipped schools are essential for advancing student achievement and for ensuring that the next generation can achieve the American Dream," they continue.
But millions of students and educators attend and work in schools that are not up that standard, and that require financial investment from government at all levels to correct that. And as the Democrats point out, this investment will not just improve schools in the immediate future, but will also help create jobs and improve the nation's economy for years to come.
Trump's hateful, bigoted attack last week have only served to reinvigorate immigration activists. And one group just launched an ad campaign taking on certain Republican senators in their home states.
"Build dreams, not walls," the ads read, followed by Trump's crass quote: "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"
The group, iAmerica Action, is running the ads ahead of Friday's looming government shutdown deadline. The ads will appear in Washington, D.C., as well as the home states of Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Capitol police arrested 82 rabbis and Jewish activists who were protesting Trump's attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and demanding that Congress pass a clean DREAM Act.
Jewish groups, including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, and the Anti-Defamation League, were out in force, wearing prayer shawls and yarmulkes, singing and speaking out in support of immigrants.
As Barbara Weinstein, associate director of the Religious Action Center, told HuffPost, this kind of action "speaks to who we are as a Jewish community."
"We as Jews know the experience of being immigrants," she continued. "And as Americans, were deeply aware of our history as a nation of immigrants, and that throughout that history immigrants have been a source of strength for this country."
BREAKING: Jewish Leaders have taken over the rotunda in the Capitol building. They are refusing to leave until a clean #DreamAct is passed.
CHIRLA #cleanDREAMAct (@CHIRLA) January 17, 2018
Jesus Contreras is a paramedic in Houston, Texas, who has felt called to serve since he was a child. And he is doing so every day.
He's also a DREAMer, and without DACA, he would not have been able to do the lifesaving work for his community.
Listen to his powerful message about why we need a clean DREAM Act now:
You've seen the protests, and heard the messages.
Now it's time to do your part: Visit dreamacttoolkit.org to find contact info for key lawmakers, and tell them they need to do their job and pass a clean DREAM Act.
The tax scam bill that Republicans rammed through Congress is nothing but bad news for anyone who isn't in the highest echelons of society.
And the people who have been hurt by it know exactly who to blame.
Héctor Figueroa, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32B, called out the dishonesty spread by Trump and the GOP regarding the tax bill.
"President Trump and CEOs are saying that workers are getting bonuses and wage increases as a result of the tax cuts passed by Congress," he told MoveOn.
"But in fact, that is not really true."
There may have been some "one-time bonuses" handed out, but as Figueroa notes, "these things are not lasting."
"We have seen companies that are giving bonuses with one hand, laying off workers with the other," he said.
To really give the working people of the country a better deal, it's not tax cuts for the wealthy that they need. "It's to allow the workers to bargain with employers from a position of power," Figueroa said.
Temperatures in the 20s and piles of snow would keep most people indoors all day.
But Indivisible Maine had a message to get out, and they weren't going to be hindered by Mother Nature.
Indivisible_MDI (@Indivisible_MDI) January 16, 2018
Gail Leiser (@gail_leiser) January 14, 2018
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was met with fierce pushback by Democrats during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called her out for claiming ignorance about Trump's racist attack on Haiti, El Salvador, and the continent of Africa.
And California Sen. Kamala Harris slammed Nielsen for talking about threats to the country from terrorism without ever mentioning domestic terrorism from white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
"It is deeply troubling that, in your opening comments, when you talked about the threats to our nation, our homeland, to national security, that you failed to mention a report that outlined a very specific threat to us as the American people," Harris stated.
"You must understand the inference, the reasonable inference, that the American public is drawing from the words you speak, much less the words of the president of the United States."
April Ryan is the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks.
And she is also a total boss.
So go give her the kudos she is due for her indefatigable work speaking truth to power in the Trump era. Vote for her as Best Journalist in the Shorty Awards, honoring the best across multiple categories in social media.
We need voices like hers more than ever!