Reminder: Is your Republican representative reacting irrationally


It’s 2019 but have Republicans changed?

By ThinkProgress War Room

The GOP’s Most Extreme Reactions to Obama’s Commonsense Gun Safety Plan

It’s not just NRA lobbyists that are reacting completely irrationally to the president’s commonsense proposals to prevent gun violence. Matt Drudge likened President Obama to both Hitler and Stalin. But some Republicans are now even going so far as to suggest impeaching the president. Unfortunately, some of them are members of the House and actually have the power to introduce articles of impeachment.

Just some examples of republicans in 2013 and impeaching a potus

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

 Stockman plans to introduce articles of impeachment, calling Obama’s anti-gun violence efforts “an existential threat to this nation.”

Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL)

 Following Stockman’s lead is Florida Congressman Trey Radel, who said impeachment “should be on the table” and falsely claimed that Obama wants an executive order to “ban guns.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

 Gohmert, a Tea Party favorite who recently claimed an assault weapons ban would have to include hammers, charged that the president’s action is “illegal” and grounds for impeachment. “The American Revolution was all about fighting such a monarchy — and that is not what the Constitution anticipates. It’s not something a Constitutional president would do,” Gohmert lamented.

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese (R)

 Edwin Meese, former Reagan Attorney General and current Heritage Foundation official, is also taking up the call for impeachment. In an interview with Newsmax, Meese claimed Obama may have “really tried to override the Constitution itself.” Congress, he said, would have to take action, “perhaps even to the point of impeachment.”

Larry Pratt

The head of Gun Owners for America urged Republican lawmakers to stop being “spectators while the country is being torn apart” and impeach Obama. Pratt also attacked all gun safety laws as “the most pagan of paganism” because they assume guns and other “inanimate objects as possessing their own will.”

BOTTOM LINE: A majority of Americans — and gun owners — support sensible gun violence prevention measures. Instead of overheated rhetoric, it’s time for Congress to have a real debate about how we can protect our children and our communities from senseless acts of gun violence.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

More than 90 percent of gun owners and non-gun owners alike support universal background checks.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) isn’t really a reformer.

Feckless House Republicans refuse to vote for bills that they actually want to pass.

Republicans’ latest attempt to take the economy hostage isn’t going very well.

House Republicans hold panel discussion about minority outreach in a room named after a slave-owning plantation.

Poll finds that 64 percent of Republicans are birthers.

Ten things on energy and the environment the president can do during his second term.

The NRA tries to re-write the history of its long opposition to background checks.

Republicans brag about winning the House through gerrymandering

Photo: A Meeting in the Oval


President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in the Oval Office, Dec. 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Lady Reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Children’s National Medical Center

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Children’s National Medical Center with Bo and Sunny where she read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to a group of children.

READ MORE

Announcing “Of the People: Live from the White House” with Discovery Education

We’re always looking for new ways to open the White House and engage with citizens online. And that’s why we’re excited to kick off “Of the People: Live from the White House,” a virtual field trip series with Discovery Education that’s designed to offer middle and high school students unique access to the White House.

READ MORE

“Weekly Address: Marking the One-Year Anniversary of the Tragic Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut”

In his weekly address, President Obama honors the memory of the 26 innocent children and educators who were taken from us a year ago in Newtown, Connecticut.

READ MORE

It was just chicken salad…


Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

It won’t be easy. But we can do this.Our antibiotics must work when your family needs them. And that means taking on some of the biggest power players in the marketplace. Your tax-deductible, year-end donation will help us take the fight to them.

Donate Now!

At 15, Sam was on the top of the world. He pitched varsity baseball as a freshman, sprouted three inches in the off-season. Pro scouts even came calling.

Then he ate a chicken caesar salad that changed his life.

Within three days Sam was headed to the emergency room doubled over in a diaper. Sickened with antibiotic-resistant bacteria common to chicken, he was bleeding and wasting away. Drug after drug was tried. Each failed. His parents were frantic. A month later when his infection was finally under control, Sam lost 30 pounds and couldn’t jog without wheezing. His pitching career was over.

This is our reality – a strapping Midwestern teen taken down by a ‘superbug’ in his chicken salad. The rapid rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria is so serious, the CDC warns that unless we act soon, it may be too late. Which is why we need your help now to get the attention of those who can fix this.

Your $10 tax-deductible donation will go directly to getting politicians and industry to face up to our antibiotic crisis!

We’re up against some of the biggest power players in the marketplace – the giant industrial meat producers. They already use 80 percent of antibiotics sold, and want to keep feeding them to food animals so they’ll grow bigger and survive cramped, filthy conditions. Last week’s FDA move to voluntarily re-label animal antibiotics is expected to have only a small impact on overall use.

This overuse is spawning drug-resistant bacteria that make their way into our food and the environment. At least 23,000 Americans die each year. So we’re unleashing consumer power to stop this unnecessary use.

We’re pressuring Congress and health officials to take emergency action to stop antibiotic overuse in food production. We’re pushing a leading national grocery chain – Trader Joe’s – to lead the marketplace and stop selling antibiotic-raised meat. We’re testing supermarket meat at Consumer Reports labs to discover how widespread a problem it is.

We must do more to solve this. Can you help crank up the pressure in 2014 with your $10 year-end gift?

Drug-resistant bacteria robbed Sam of his baseball career, but through great effort he recovered and went on to play college football. Yet no child should have to go through this. You’ve stood with us throughout this important fight, and we need your help to see it through. For kids like Sam. For kids like yours and mine.

Sincerely, Chris Meyer, Consumers Union Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

Looking Back


By CAP Action War Room

2013

It’s that time of year again. ThinkProgress has started its series of items looking back at 2013.

Here are a few you should check out.

Yesterday, Alyssa Rosenberg brought you the best and worst books of 2013, including much-discussed titles like Lean In as well as others that you may not have heard so much about.

Today, Alyssa rolled her list of 14 great movies from the past year. This list also mixes well-known films like Zero Dark Thirty with others like Wadjda , the first feature film shot in Saudi Arabia, and Twenty Feet From Stardom, a documentary about backup singers.

Finally, Adam Peck rounds up some of the most iconic photos of 2013.

TP13

Be sure and check them all out HERE.

Stay tuned for more reflections on the often tumultuous, sometimes triumphant, and rarely boring year we’ve just experienced.

U of WA to screen applicants for criminal records


University of Washington Officials and Admissions Department: Do not include criminal history record screenings on college applications

Quick Overview

Petition by

Huskies For Fairness

We oppose the idea of adding criminal background questions to the undergraduate admissions process, because:

Research shows criminal background checks do not reduce crime or make university campuses safer; in fact, college campuses are far safer than the general community.

Research demonstrates education is strongly correlated with a decrease in criminal activity and reduced recidivism (46% less likely to re-offend).

Excluding students with a criminal history from participating in postsecondary education not only increases chances of recidivism, but has serious implications for racial equity.

People of color have historically been and continue to be arrested, detained, and charged at significantly higher rates than the rest of the population, due to unjust policies and an inequitable/unfair criminal justice system. This policy would target and further marginalize applicants from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and students of color.

This policy would further increase institutional racism. Institutional racism occurs where an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that, although it appears neutral, has a disproportionately negative impact on members of a racial or ethnic minority group (Randall, 2006).

Introduction

Huskies for Fairness is a group of University of Washington (UW) students, faculty, staff and community members opposing the idea of adding criminal background questions to the undergraduate admissions process. The proposed policy by UW officials would potentially disqualify students with criminal histories of violent crimes or sex offenses from admission into UW, but the policy could also result in exclusion for ANY past criminal offense. While much discourse surrounding universal background checks for students aims to promote safety on campus,we know the impact of such policies does little to decrease violence on campus. Instead, this policy would further increase the number of obstacles preventing students of color, low-income, formerly incarcerated, immigrant, refugee, and nontraditional students from accessing a college education.

Education should be available to everyone so they may bring their creativity, innovation, talents, experience and authentic selves to the classroom and learning environment. Punitive and oppressive policies disproportionately targeting certain groups of students exclude valuable voices necessary for building a socially just and equitable campus. Huskies for Fairness urges you to support a truly SAFE campus by supporting actions that work toward ending racial disparities in our education system, and allow each of us to thrive and participate in our communities.

The facts about campus safety and recidivism

Proponents of this policy assume inquiry into university applicants’ criminal histories will “weed out” prospective students with criminal backgrounds and ultimately reduce criminal activity on campus; this is an unsupported and unjustified association. Research indicates these procedures do little to prevent campus crime (Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice, 2010). The only study that has investigated the direct correlation between criminal history screening of university applicants and incidences of campus crime found no statistically significant correlation (Olszewska, 2007).

On the contrary, research indicates university campuses are remarkably safer places compared to the greater community (Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice, 2010). The U.S. Department of Education (2001) reports, “students on the campuses of post-secondary institutions [are] significantly safer than the nation as a whole,” and “college students are 200 times less likely to be the victim of a homicide than their non-student counterparts” (p. 5). The few crimes that do occur are mostly perpetuated by off-campus strangers, most notably instances of rape and sexual assault which show no statistical differences between college students and non-students (Hart 2003; Baum & Klaus 2005). The WA state Department of Corrections conducted the Government Management, Accountability and Performance (GMAP) study , which showed 92% of the 3,570 sex offenders studied between July and December of 2005, committed no offenses after leaving prison for the community. Of the 289 who did re-offend, only eight committed sex offenses (GMAP, 2005).

Research also indicates education is strongly correlated with a decrease in criminal activity and reduced recidivism. As the Wesleyan Center For Prison Education (2011) indicates, “a comprehensive analysis of fourteen different studies, completed by the Institute for Higher Education Policy on behalf of the Department of Justice, revealed that prisoners who merely participated in postsecondary education while in prison were 46% less likely to recidivate than members of the general prison population.”

As criminal activity is shown to decrease with access to education, and safety to remain largely unaffected, requiring background checks for university admission undoubtedly raises concerns about racial equity and opportunities for higher education. Implementing this policy will likely hinder those with minor criminal records from applying to UW, regardless of how long ago a criminal incident occurred or its severity (Halperin & Garcia, 2011). In addition, requiring background checks may ultimately deprive students with a criminal records from admittance into UW. This barrier from participation in postsecondary education not only increases chances of recidivism, but has serious implications for racial equity.

Racial inequities in the criminal justice system

By excluding students with a criminal record from our campus community and learning environment, students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are further subjected to the inherent discrimination imposed on them by the criminal justice system. People of color have historically been and continue to be arrested, detained, and charged at significantly higher rates than the rest of the population. In this striking reality, African Americans make up 15% of the youth population and account for 26% of the youth arrested – but of those arrested, African Americans make up 44% of those detained, 46% of those judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of youth in prison (Halperin & Garcia, 2011).

The likelihood of incurring a criminal charge when encountering law enforcement is largely a function of race, socioeconomic status, and location, resulting in people of color and members of disadvantaged groups being more likely to have a criminal record. This is not because these individuals are more likely to have committed a crime, but because they are more likely to be targets of unjust policies and victims of an inequitable criminal justice system (Alexander, 2010; Garcia & Halperin, 2011).

Why say NO to this policy? Disproportional disciplinary actions in the classroom and in the criminal justice system sustain racial disparities in education.

The increased racial disproportionalities in UW enrollment we can expect to see as a result of this policy, will further compound an existing lack of racial equity in our education system. Both the education and criminal justice system enact discipline while using a racial lens of prejudice — by which a student’s racial background significantly alters the severity of  the disciplinary action.“The problem [of racism] is deep and pervasive. Suspension rates for black students are three times higher than rates for white students, from elementary to high school. One-fourth of black middle-schoolers have received short-term suspensions every year since 1996” (Nelson & Nguyen, 2013, p.1). While disciplinary recourse surges ahead for students of color, reading levels and high school graduation rates show they are falling behind.

Sign this petition and PLEASE, keep the conversation going.

Although this proposed policy may appear neutral, it would have a disproportionately negative impact on members of racial/ethnic minority groups and would thus contribute to institutional racism. Institutional racism is difficult to eliminate because it is so insidious and hidden from those who do not constantly struggle against oppressive and inequitable policies and practices. “Those of us who are white often don’t realize the unintended privileges we receive. We often get the ‘benefit of the doubt,’ or the trust and confidence of people who do not yet know us, or other benefits that are invisible to us as white folks” (Racial Equity in Seattle 2012-2014 Report, p. 2). Institutional racism occurs where “an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that, although it appears neutral, has a disproportionately negative impact on members of a racial or ethnic minority group” (Randall, 2006).

A multitude of barriers already exist to obstruct students of color on the pathway to educational success. This additional obstacle to attaining higher education must be stopped. We urge you to not only sign this petition, but continue this critical conversation with your peers, friends, classmates, professors, and administrators in the classroom and beyond the university community.

References

Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: New Press.

Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice. (2010). The use of criminal history records in college admissions:Reconsidered. Retrieved from: http://www.communityalternatives.org/pdf/Reconsidered-criminal-hist-recs-in-college-admissions.pdf

Erisman and Contardo, (March, 2005). Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50 state Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy. Washington, DC: The Institute for Higher Education Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.wesleyan.edu/cpe/documents/CPEFactSheet2011.pdf

Garcia, G., & Halperin, E., (2011). Criminal Background Checks Upon Acceptance to Medical School: The Wrong Policy at the Wrong Time. Academic Medicine, 86(7) 808 doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31821e4176

Gunawan, Imana. (February 7, 2013). UW considers adding criminal background question to undergraduate application. The Daily of the University of Washington/ since 1891.

Nelson, J., & Nguyen, M., (April 4, 2013). Guest: Addressing racial disparity in Seattle school discipline. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from:http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2020712915_julienelsonmichaelnguyenopedxml.html

Olszewska, M. J. (2007). Undergraduate admission application as a campus crime mitigation Measure: Disclosure of applicants’ disciplinary background information and its relationship to campus crime. Unpublished Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education, East Carolina University.

Race and Social Justice Initiative. (2012). Racial Equity in Seattle 2012-2014 Report. Retrieved from:http://www.seattle.gov/rsji/docs/RacialEquityinSeattleReport2012-14.pdf

Randall, V. R. (2006). THE MISUSE OF THE LSAT: DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BLACKS AND OTHER MINORITIES IN LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS. St. John’s Law Review, 80, 1.)