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20 startling photos of the movement that came before the Civil Rights Act was signed 51 years ago today

Today marks 51 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The seminal legislation made discrimination based on race, color, nationality, or gender illegal. But it also came after years of bloody, and sometimes deadly, confrontation between the African-American and white community.

Mr. President, the stroke of your pen can have transformative impact for millions of workers. As low-wage fast food, retail and federal contract workers continue to strike in growing numbers to ‘Fight for $15 and a Union,’ we urge you to harness the power of the Presidency to help these workers achieve the American Dream.
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Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced she will not seek a 6th term. She’s the longest serving woman in Congress. She was first elected to the House in 1976, and has served in the Senate since 1987. 

“Do I spend my time raising money or raising hell to meet your day-to-day needs?” she said at today’s announcement. 

NPR’s Jasmine Garsd has more on the two-way blog and Brian Naylor will report on All Things Considered tonight.

Note: Apologies, we could only find a #whiteandgold outfit for that 5th photo.

(Photos: Getty Images

Red - On stage at the DNC, 2012; Orange - With then FBI Director Robert Mueller before a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, 2012; Yellow - At a Girl Scouts event on Capitol Hill, 2012; Green - With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Singaporean PM Hsien Loong, 2014; Blue - Leaving a closed-door Senate Select Intelligence Committee meeting, 2013. Purple - Mimicking a raven after a Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl win, 2001.)

senate.gov
U.S. Senate: Senators of the 114th Congress
Senators of the 114th Congress

HEY FOLKS, IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD, THE SENATE IS MAKING ITS FINAL VOTE TOMORROW TO RAM FAST TRACK THROUGH CONGRESS, ALLOWING OBAMA TO PASS THE TRANS PACIFIC PARNERSHIP WITH NO DEBATE AND WITHOUT LETTING THE PUBLIC SEE IT!

THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE RIGHT WING OR LEFT WING, THE TPP IS BAD NEWS! PARTS OF IT HAVE BEEN LEAKED, AND AMONGST OTHER THINGS IT INCLUDES PROVISIONS ESSENTIALLY MAKING HEALTHCARE MORE EXPENSIVE FOR EVERYONE, PUTTING EVERYTHING FROM SOPA AND PIPA INTO INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ALLOWING CORPORATIONS TO SUE COUNTRIES IN FRONT OF A CORPORATE TRIBUNAL FOR MAKING LAWS THEY DON’T LIKE!

THERE’S A REASON THEY DON’T WANT TO HAVE AN ACTUAL DEBATE TAKE PLACE ON IT, BECAUSE IF IT WERE GIVEN SUNLIGHT, THE PUBLIC WOULD ACTIVELY REJECT THIS CYBERPUNK NIGHTMARE OF A TREATY!

SO, FIND YOUR SENATORS ON THIS LIST, FIND THEIR DC OFFICE NUMBERS ON THIS SITE AND CALL THEM NOW! TELL THEM TO KILL FAST TRACK OR THEY’LL BE OUT OF OFFICE SO FAST IT’LL MAKE THEIR GODDAMN HEADS SPIN! THEIR OFFICES ARE OPEN UNTIL FIVE PM WASHINGTON DC TIME, SO START FLOODING THOSE PHONE LINES NOW!

partlysmith, sunidonuts, I KNOW YOU CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE SO SIGNAL BOOST THE FUCK OUT OF IT, AND CALL YOUR CONGRESSFOLKS TOO!

The Senate funding bill just came out — and it puts our country lightyears behind other developed nations on reproductive health: It slashes effective teen pregnancy prevention by 80% and cuts Title X, the successful U.S. family planning program.

That’s not even the worst of it. The bill also triples (yes, *triples*) funding for ineffective, abstinence-only programs. CONGRESS: It’s time to move forward — not backward — on women’s health!

The Senate may consider legalizing medical marijuana.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators will introduce Tuesday a bill that would end the federal ban on medical marijuana, reversing a decades-old law that prohibits even military doctors from prescribing cannabis to war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. This is great news — but which of the potential Republican 2016 candidates would be on board with legal weed in the future?

(GIF via)

Why SpaceX’s failure’s such a big deal:

After the Columbia disaster, President George W. Bush ordered the oncoming retirement of NASA’s space shuttle program. President Barack Obama completed this order and in 2011, NASA’s Atlantis space shuttle completed its last mission.

Since then, NASA’s had no vehicle with which to send astronauts to space. America had completed its retreat back to Earth.

NASA now pays Russia $70,000,000 per astronaut to allow Russia to put aside a seat for them when they launch to orbit.

Both pride, progress and the Ukrainian crises has led to pressure on NASA to finally develop a means to get astronauts to space again.

The political stance the U.S. adopted during the Russian annexation of Crimea led to intense tension between the two countries. NASA, Congress decided, could no longer consider them a reliable ally in their endeavors.

Soon after this tension built up, one of NASA’s most-used rockets, the ULA’s Atlas V rocket, was found to be using rocket engines from Russia known as RD-180′s.

NASA’s reliance on Russia went deeper than most people realized.

What’s worse is that the Air Force had only certified one company to launch their payloads to space: The United Launch Alliance (ULA).

Yes, the Air Force got their material to space due exclusively to Russian rocketry.

So you see this issue is really bad from a political standpoint, but all this…

…is actually good news.

If the ULA had been using entirely American rockets for the Air Force, I’m not sure Congress would’ve been under pressure to allow changes to the launch market. A lot of the people in Congress get lots of money from the aerospace industry (like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the two parent companies of the ULA). 

The fact that one company had sole access to Air Force contracts for decades (yes, it was a monopoly) meant that the price to launch things to space ever since the Apollo era have only gone up. Rocket technology hasn’t really changed nor have prices dropped despite the fact that the ULA has been subsidized by U.S. taxpayers in addition to them being the only company allowed to launch Air Force (and most of NASA’s) payloads to orbit.

A month ago, SpaceX won their lawsuit against the Air Force and broke the ULA monopoly.

Both the ULA and their friends in Congress (People like Senator Shelby from Alabama) aren’t happy about this.

Additionally, NASA had to start seeking an alternate and independent method to get to space.

…and they had to do it without any significant raise in their budget.

Right now NASA’s budget is about 0.4% of the United States federal budget.

Together, President Obama and NASA came up with a plan to get NASA some new vehicles to carry their astronauts to space again - without an increased budget.

This plan is known as the Commercial Crew Program. The idea is that NASA would put some money aside to help companies seeking to make their own astronautical spaceships.

The ones showing promise would continue to get some funding and move on to the next “stage”. Eventually, NASA selected the top two competitors, Boeing and SpaceX, and awarded them contracts that contain sufficient funding to both finish their spacecrafts and carry NASA astronauts to space again.

The cost of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is about $69,000,000. This rocket will be bringing the Dragon V2 to space, a new space shuttle capable of carrying 7 astronauts. This is 1/10th the price of what NASA pays Russia to carry us into orbit.

What’s more, SpaceX has been working towards lowering the overall cost to get to space by doing something no one thought possible:

By turning their rockets into reusable vehicles, just like we reuse our cars and airplanes.

If they succeed at this then the cost will go from $10,000,000 per astronaut to get into orbit…

to just $28,571 per astronaut (the cost of fuel per person on a Falcon 9)

Yes. This would change the world.

Now, do you remember those Congresspeople and their funders from the Aerospace community?

Many of those people, for reasons beyond me, are vigorously opposed to anything the President tries to do. In addition to this, many of them aren’t happy about SpaceX’s intrusion into the previous cash cow that was the ULA monopoly on Air Force contracts.

Until SpaceX’s rocket exploded, they had an essentially perfect record and no one could stop them. Now, there’s a chink in their armor so to speak.

It’s not a big one, as space is hard and even NASA’s had their share of disasters, but I don’t expect SpaceX and the president’s political enemies to play fairly.

Even now NASA’s budget for the commercial crew contracts (which they’ve already awarded!) was cut down from the minimum requirement of $1.2 billion to $1 billion by the House and then by the Republican Senate (led largely by Ted Cruz) to $900 million.

That was before the explosion. We’ll have to see what sort of political fallout occurs now.

I’m personally still optimistic that they will make a comeback from all this, though I fully expect there to be political consequences to this setback.

(Image credit: NASA)

ACTION ALERT: ESEA Reauthorization Bill Moving Fast YOUR ADVOCACY NEEDED!

SUMMARY:

Congress is in the midst of negotiating the new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main legislation authorizing federal funding and rules for public schools across the country.  Senator Alexander and Senator Murray (D-W), the Ranking Member on the Committee, are negotiating changes to the bill. Many Members of Congress do not understand the impact these changes would have on students with disabilities and they need to hear directly from their constituents.

Three parts of the bill threaten quality education and the future of students with disabilities:

1)     Allowing an unlimited number of students with disabilities to be diverted from pursuing a high school diploma;

2)     Lowering standards for teaching children with disabilities, thereby making them not ready for any post-secondary education and entry level jobs;

3)     Making it easier for school districts to overrule parents and place their children with disabilities on track to receive a lower quality education.


To keep protections in place for children and youth with disabilities and to keep expectations high and keep open their opportunities in the future, tell your senator:

  • that you have great expectations for children with disabilities and that you want schools to have those same high expectations.
  • that students with disabilities should have the equal opportunity to earn a high school diploma and quality for a job
  • that the decision to remove a child from the general education curriculum that will allow him or her to graduate with a high school diploma shouldn’t be happening without parental permission;
  • that you oppose any revision to ESEA that allows for unlimited numbers of students to be assessed using an alternate assessment;
  • that research tells us that less than 1% of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities need alternate assessments; and
  • that no more than 1% students should be tested with an alternate assessment so that as many students as possible can earn a high school diploma, a chance to go on for further education, and the opportunity to work.



The reauthorization of ESEA is happening fast – purposely fast so that we don’t have time to oppose!
 Senator Alexander’s version could be very harmful to the future of children with disabilities.  Your senators need to hear from you now about the issues above and that you OPPOSE the bill as it is currently written.

HERE’S HOW TO TAKE ACTION:


Call your Senators:

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your Senators


Message:  “I am calling to ask Senator _________ to oppose Sen. Alexander’s version of the reauthorization of ESEA and to make sure any reauthorization of ESEA includes all students with disabilities in the assessment and accountability systems using the same standards and assessments with accommodations.  Students with disabilities can achieve, they can work, they can contribute to society, and they can go on to college and other education programs after high school.  Don’t limit them by having low expectations and tracking their future as early as third grade.  Limit the ability of schools to lower expectations for children with disabilities by limiting the use of lower standards and alternate assessments.  Senator Alexander’s draft bill puts the future of children with disabilities at risk.  Please oppose Senator Alexander’s bill and keep the expectations for my child as high as possible.”


You can also send a message to your senator at:http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

The Senate

On last night’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver takes on the Senate spending scandal and remarks, “This scandal couldn’t be any more Canadian if public money was used to get Drake to drink maple syrup on Niagara Falls.” The Senate is an unelected legislative body filled with appointed senators who serve for life, forming one of the more baffling points of Canada’s “democratic deficit.” Every party promises to reform it, including Stephen Harper who famously said he would not appoint senators but then did. Still, $24 million to audit less than $1 million in inappropriate expenses is hilarious.

washingtontimes.com
Rand Paul to sue IRS, U.S. Treasury over Obama's unconstitutional treaties with foreign governments
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will sue the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service for denying his constitutional right to vote on treaties that the Obama administration unilaterally negotiated with dozens of foreign governments.
By The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com

This doesn’t look like any kind of a campaign stunt to me.  It’s too much political wonkiness for the average voter to even care.  This looks like Rand Paul is sick and tired of Obama’s lawless end-runs around Congress, and he’s finally decided to do something about it.

from Washington Times:

Rand Paul is poised to become the first major presidential candidate in memory to sue the government he seeks to lead as president.

The Kentucky senator will take legal action against the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service for what he says is the denial of his constitutional right to vote on more than 100 tax-information treaties that the Obama administration unilaterally negotiated with foreign governments, The Washington Times has learned.

In what the suit says is a violation of Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, President Obama has not consulted the U.S. Senate about the treaties nor given the Senate an opportunity to approve or disapprove of the treaties. The administration calls them “intergovernmental agreements.” They require foreign banks to gather and share private financial information about millions of Americans living and working outside the U.S. — information they would not have to disclose to the U.S. government if they lived and worked in the U.S.

The treaties or agreements are the enforcement mechanisms of the Obama administration’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted by a Democratic-controlled Congress in 2010.

The act is despised by many of the estimated 8.7 million Americans living overseas, a record number of whom have — with great anger and reluctance, according to those who have spoken to the foreign and U.S. press — renounced their U.S. citizenship rather than attempt to comply with FATCA.

What percentage of them simply want to evade paying taxes to the U.S. government and to the foreign governments in whose countries they work and/or reside is unknown. The U.S. is one of the few countries that taxes its citizens on income earned and property held both at home and abroad.

President Obama pushed for the passage of FATCA as a means of capturing hundreds of millions of dollars in income and property taxes owed to the Treasury by those Americans living and working outside the U.S. But many Americans living abroad say the Treasury and the IRS are treating them as guilty of tax evasion until proven innocent.