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March 26, 2017

Today, I headed over to my neighbor neighborhood, North Minneapolis, to attend a meeting with the amazing folks at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. Since I arrived early to the 1100 block on Broadway, I of course had to stop in to stuff my face with cookies at the Cookie Cart, a few doors down from NOC headquarters.

Cookie Cart is a great place to order from if you ever need a giant batch of cookies for an event (they deliver!). They've got some awesome job training and other initiatives.

Yumminess for your tummy-ness. A nice space to sit and chat too!

Fortified with sugar and caffeine, I settled in at NOC. This particular meeting was about the Preemption Bill, which every Minnesotan should make their personal mission to understand.

Here are the cliff notes:

1. For two years, groups like NOC and Isaiah have fought hard to increase the minimum wage to something liveable ($15/hour) and get paid leave for sick time and emergencies for minimum wage workers. They succeeded. After a very lon...

March 23, 2017

Official investigations into Trump/Russia can happen a number of ways. First, there's Standing Committee investigations, which you see in play now with the Intelligence Committee's investigation. The GOP controls this committee, but there are Dem members, most notably Adam Schiff who delivered preliminary findings Monday. Dems are pushing for a Bi-partisan Select Committee, which would be evenly staffed by GOP and DFL. There are also calls for an Independent Commission, however this commission would also be responsible for coming up with a way to prevent future collusion, if collusion is found, so their work would take longer than the select committee. The last investigation route is through a Special Prosecutor. Thanks Vox for this neat summary.

Here's how a Special Prosecutor (also called Special Counsel) gets put into play: He or she can either be assigned by Congress (and with an over-ride of an inevitable Trump veto with a 2/3 majority), or be assigned by the Attorney General.

Signi...

March 21, 2017

I was so fascinated by Congressman's Adam Schiff's opening statements at the hearings today, I had to write out all the facts just to get my head around them! Here is the video, with summary of facts (which are a matter of public record per Mr. Schiff) below. I've removed his opening statements and just included the facts/timeline that he gave in the body of his speech.

TIMELINE

• It was July/August 2016 when the Russians started using information to actively harm Hillary Clinton and aid Trump. What was going on at that time?

• Early July, a Trump National Security Advisor named Carter-Page, traveled to Moscow on a trip approved by the campaign (approved specifically by JD Gordon, another Trump advisor). Page had been selected by Paul Manifort (Trump campaign manager) to be a go-between on Russian interests. While there Page gave a speech criticizing the U.S. as hypocritical in its efforts of democratization and the prevention of corruption.

• Per British intelligence agent Christopher Ste...

March 18, 2017

You'll have to forgive I've if I ramble a bit, I'm NOT used to getting up early on a Saturday – but so glad I did! I scooted over to the Take Action Minnesota annual conference. This is the first year they've done six break-outs vs. one large conference, so they had gatherings in Northfield, Grand Rapids, St. Cloud, Duluth, Wilmar and one handy for us Twin Citians at the Wellstone Community Center in St. Paul. I think Paul would've been proud of what happened today :)

The day started with small group meetings and I picked Taking on Corporate Power in Trump's America. It's a topic of interest to me as a firm believer in Conscious Capitalism. (To find out more check out the book "Conscious Capitalism" by Whole Foods CEO and Raj Sisodai – a review of the book is here.)

Anyhoo, the break-out was pretty fascinating, because Stand Up shared how they agitated against Target Corporation for some big wins. Stand Up was running a "ban the box" effort; the concept is that HR doesn't ask about crimi...

March 11, 2017

Sanctuary Cities can be a confusing topic – it can suggest to some that cities are actively welcoming and encouraging undocumented residents. In practice, however, a sanctuary city provides a passive form of protection, and sanctuary cities are defined by what they don't do more than what they do.

In a sanctuary city, police do not actively engage in immigration law enforcement. I.e, they're not checking paperwork and immigration status while doing other police duties. This allows the undocumented population to feel able to call the police when they're victims of crime, as well as to participate in police investigations more freely.

Per Congresswoman Betty McCollum, In 2004, St. Paul passed a special ordinance to address this. Her website states:

In 2004, St. Paul passed a “separation ordinance” that restricts city employees — including police — from asking about a person’s citizenship status before rendering services. In 2014, Ramsey County stopped detaining people based on suspected civ...

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