Latest attack on sanctuary cities meets major resistance

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From the campaign onward, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric also targeted sanctuary cities. Since his inauguration, his administration has made three moves against sanctuary cities: an executive order, a failed series of ICE reports, and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attack on nine sanctuary cities. With battle lines drawn, sanctuary cities are fighting back. Continue reading

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Just say no — final month for MN legislature

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As the Minnesota legislature rolls on toward its May 22 end-of-session deadline, bad bills keep on coming. Here’s a quick list of some of the worst. Call your legislators, conference committee members, and Governor Dayton to just say no to bad environmental legislation, private prisons, and protest penalties.  Continue reading

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Filed under agriculture, environment, organizing, police and crime, prisons

Global students in St. Paul: LEAP High School

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Rose Santos, LEAP principal, with self-portraits created by LEAP students. 

“A cow will drink calf’s milk.” What does this proverb mean? On a sunny winter afternoon, eleven students from six different countries share proverbs from their own countries. They say the proverb first in the original language, then translate, and finally explain the meaning. The cow drinking calf’s milk? “When they get older, parents must depend on their children.”

The students discussing proverbs are among 272 students from 20 different countries enrolled at LEAP High School, a St. Paul public school that welcomes new immigrants who are 15-20 years old. They study a regular high school curriculum, in all-English-language classes, trying hard to cram 12 years of education into four or five or six.  Continue reading

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Filed under education, immigration, St. Paul Notes

50 ways to kill your health care

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Photo by Images Money, published under Creative Commons license. 

Republicans are singing a new song since failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in March. The flurry of verses includes ending basic benefits, charging sick people higher premiums, and destroying the current system through uncertainty. With apologies to Paul Simon, their song sounds something like this:

The problem is all inside your head, he said to me,
but there’s no coverage for your therapy.
The answer is easy if you post a GoFundMe,
There must be fifty ways to kill your health care.

Raise that deductible, Jill, and premiums, too, Lou,
No more Medicaid, babe, just listen to me.
So I repeat myself, at the risk of being cruel
There must be fifty ways to kill your healthcare.

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Filed under health care, health insurance, Tracking Trump

Health care coverage – still under attack

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Photo by 401Kcalculator.org, published under Creative Commons license

Maybe you thought that the defeat of the Republican health care act meant safety for a while? And that we could turn our attention to other battles? Not so fast. The Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — is still under attack, at both the federal and state level. Continue reading

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Filed under health care, health insurance, Uncategorized

Making sausage in St. Paul: From omnibus bills to poison pills

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Laws are like sausages: it’s better not to watch them being made. So goes a venerable quote that, like many venerable quotes, has disputed origins. The truth remains: sausage-making is a messy business, and so is legislating. As the 2017 Minnesota legislative session draws closer to its end, the sausage-making mess is on full and awful display. Continue reading

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Filed under environment, organizing, police and crime

Named, blamed, shamed: What’s up with ICE and Hennepin County?

american-and-pattiotHennepin County was one of the jurisdictions named, blamed, and shamed in the first weekly report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The weekly reports, required by Trump’s executive order, list the jurisdictions that don’t hold immigrants on ICE detainers, called “non-cooperative jurisdictions.” Hennepin County was targeted for refusing to hold two individuals, but Sheriff Rich Stanek hit back with photos showing the two leaving the jail in the custody of ICE agents.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

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Filed under food and farming, immigration

Take-away from McCollum Town Hall: Keep those phone calls coming

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Photo by takao goto, published under Creative Commons license.

“It’s a good morning for Americans,” Congresswoman Betty McCollum told the Town Hall meeting on Saturday morning. She had flown back to St. Paul for the March 25 meeting after the defeat yesterday of the latest Republican attempt to kill Obamacare. And she was clear about how that happened: “The credit for the victory belongs to you — to the citizens, the millions and millions of citizens, because their engagement, their mobilization and their determination created an avalanche of opposition to President Trump’s health care bill.”

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Filed under health care, health insurance, organizing

Targeting Muslim Americans: We must respond

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American citizens have an absolute right to religious freedom – to choose and practice any religion or none at all. Today, U.S. officials target Muslim Americans in airports and haters target them in our streets and cities. This is not normal. This is un-American. We need to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans and stop the bigotry and hatred.

Muhammed ibn Ali is the son of the late Mohammed Ali, heavyweight world boxing champion (three times), famous as well for his political stands, including opposition to the Vietnam War. Muhammed ibn Ali is a U.S. citizen, born and raised here. As a U.S. citizen, he has an absolute right to travel freely in and out of the country. Yet, when he returned to the United States with his mother after attending a Black History Month event in Jamaica, U.S. immigration officials stopped him and questioned him for more than two hours. Continue reading

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Filed under human rights, race, religion

Muddying the waters

What’s happening in Washington and St. Paul right now goes way beyond muddying waters, both in the literal sense of what is flowing into our waters and in the metaphoric sense of how politicians talk about protection and pollution. Both in Washington and in St. Paul, politicians are shutting down water protection. They are ditching regulations that protect lakes, rivers and drinking water and slashing funds for enforcement. Continue reading

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Filed under environment