Write your senators. I did:
President Trump pledged throughout his campaign to appoint an anti-choice nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and his first 11 days in office have shown that we absolutely should take him at his word when he threatens to enact policies that restrict our freedoms.
As your constituent, I’m asking you to ensure that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee commits to upholding the Constitution, all of the Constitution, including Roe v. Wade. If they won’t, I ask that you commit to blocking the nominee by whatever means necessary.
Trump has shown he will go to any length to get what he wants, regardless of legality, up to and including purging Cabinet departments of senior career leadership, using Congressional committee staff while not even telling the Members what he is doing, and firing officials who refuse to fall obediently into line. It is imperative that if he is to be given a new Justice, that it be someone who is not afraid to stand up to him.
(via NARAL Pro-Choice America.)
Once again, you can also write your House reps and other elected officials—they may not have a vote, but they know the folks who do a lot better than we do. Don’t forget to thank your local Democrat for standing against the illegal executive order on immigration. A simple note such as the one below should suffice:
Thank you for standing up and joining as a cosponsor HR 724 to void the President’s unconstitutional travel ban. Please continue to do everything necessary to oppose this disastrous Trump/Bannon regime.
Write your senators. I did:
As your constituent, I urge you to oppose the nomination of Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Carson has no experience working in government or running large organizations. But he has a long record of intolerance and of opposing fair housing laws and programs that help the poor—laws and programs he’d be in charge of at HUD.
Carson calls transgender people “abnormal” and same-sex couples “an abomination.” How can I expect him to prevent discrimination against gay couples, or ensure HIV+ individuals have equal access to public housing facilities? I believe Ben Carson would be a nightmare for gay and trans youth and adults facing poverty and housing discrimination.
As a member of the LGBT community, I am disturbed by Carson’s appalling comments about me and my community and his opposition to the very safety net programs HUD administers. Please vote no on the Carson nomination.
(via National Center for Transgender Equality.)
You can also write your House reps and other elected officials—they may not have a vote, but they know the folks who do a lot better than we do. Here’s the letter I sent to Pittsburgh’s rep in the House, Mike Doyle:
Dear Congressman Doyle,
I realize that as a member of the House, you do not have a direct vote on Secretary confirmations. However, I hope you will use your influence on your colleagues in the Senate and urge them to oppose the nomination of Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
As a member of the LGBT community, I am disturbed by Carson’s appalling comments about me and my community and his opposition to the very safety net programs HUD administers. While I know you do not have a vote yourself, I hope that you will oppose and urge your friends and colleagues to do everything possible to defeat the Carson nomination.
Port Authority is considering overhauling their fare system. If you missed the two public hearings, in late February and today, you can submit your comments online, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to Port Authority, Attn: Fare Policy Proposal, Heinz 57 Center, 345 Sixth Avenue, Floor 3, Pittsburgh PA 15222, until the end of March.
Yesterday marked four months since Susan Hicks was killed riding home from work. Next month, friends and others will join to complete her commute.
I want to hope that by the end of March there will be some news of the investigation or efforts to make Oakland a less dangerous place to be, but it is difficult to be optimistic. Our local leaders try to find ways to make it illegal to cross the street while ignoring rampant reckless speeding. Our safety studies give brownie points to transportation associations who tell students to “walk safe” and “don’t be a road zombie” but don’t even comment on the lack of safe-driving messaging—nor do they have any idea why large numbers of students would want to cross the road between classroom buildings. The university itself responds to pleas for a safer campus with bike racks, carpool marketing, and walk-safe messaging. Our bus drivers and police accost cyclists for occupying lane space, and even drivers who kill while sober rarely get more than a $500 fine and a few points on their licence.
When will we act to protect our people from those who actually do them harm, instead of blaming victims for the positions we force them into?
Today in the PG: “Viewing Oakland through the windshield of a Port Authority bus driver: Bus drivers describe dangerous behavior of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists”
Oakland Transportation Management Agency called it an “Interesting perspective from the view of our local PAT drivers.”
“[Pedestrians] can’t see and they’re not looking. People absolutely do not pay attention.”
“[Cyclists] can be frustrating… We put up with the Triangle Messengers Downtown for years, but now [bike riders] are all over.”
“Drivers unfamiliar with Oakland add another layer to traffic strife.”
Apparently the problems and dangers on Oakland’s streets are everywhere but behind Port Authority’s wheels. “Interesting perspective”, indeed.
I’ll probably have more response later as this percolates further, but for now I offer this: I will be more willing to consider increased jaywalking enforcement, as suggested by one driver quoted in this piece (of, I believe, two total), to be a valid tactic when police increase by a proportionate amount the resources devote to driver behaviours that make crossing legally unsafe.
For every student who walks out in front of a bus, how many are forced to stand on the curb for minutes at a time by bus operators and other drivers who refuse or simply fail to stop at marked (let alone unmarked, though legally defined) crosswalks?
For every person who runs across in the last seconds of the blinking “don’t walk” light, how many are brushed back by a bus driver trying to squeeze through the waning seconds of an “orange” signal, or jumping the light before it turns green?
For every individual who appears to expect that “a 20-ton bus can stop on a dime”, how many have simply miscalculated the available time to cross based on the mistaken assumption that drivers will obey the speed limit?
Via National Center for Transgender Equality:
The US Department of Health and Human Services has proposed regulations that—if adopted—would prohibit most insurance plans, including Medicaid, from denying coverage for transition-related care and require health providers to treat people according to their gender identity.
The comment period is only open until Monday, November 9. So we have just a few days left to send HHS a clear message: healthcare discrimination against transgender people should never be allowed.
I strongly support the proposed rule’s protections for LGBT people in all federally supported health programs and activities. Discrimination in health coverage and care prevents many LGBT people from getting the care they need to stay healthy and causes stress that directly contributes to negative health outcomes for LGBT communities.
The rule’s protections for transgender people are particularly important. It is essential that the final rule clearly prohibit transgender exclusions in health insurance plans and ensure that patients are treated according to their gender identity in health care settings.
The proposed rule should be even stronger to better protect all people at risk of discrimination in health coverage or care, and in all federally funded health programs. The final rule should recognize that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is necessarily a form of sex discrimination, and it should not include any new exemption that would permit discrimination based on religious views against women, people with disabilities, LGBT people, or anyone else.
There is no excuse for discrimination in health care using federal funds.
Please: send your own message to HHS via the National Center for Transgender Equality.