Some Good News! In 6 Parts

February 28, 2018

It makes me happy to share some good news - most of it around gun control. Cause for hope.

1. Congress finally funded CHIP which must be a big relief to the families of the 9 million kids who depend on it. It's not over, of course, CHIP will likely face significant funding challenges in that timeframe but still, for now, phew!

2. The #BoycottNRA movement is gaining traction. You can join in! Check out Drain the NRA's comprehensive spreadsheet of companies to put pressure on.

3. Dick's Sporting Goods made a wonderful announcement today. They will no longer:
  • Sell assault-style rifles (a.k.a. "modern sporting rifles".) 
  • Sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
  • Sell high capacity magazines.
Dicks has never sold bump stocks and never will. 

They also called on elected officials to enact commonsense gun control legislation including:
  • Banning assault-style firearms
  • Raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
  • Banning high capacity magazines and bump stocks
  • Requiring universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
  • Ensuring a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
  • Closing the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks.
I found this incredibly heartening - the CEO of a big company actually has a conscience and a heart and is able to use them in concert with his brain! 

Naturally, Dick's is getting a TON of vitriolic blow-back so I called both my local store and also the corporate office to thank them and tell them they've got my business. 

You can find your local Dick's store here. And you can reach their main office at 1-877-846-9997, option 4 and then option 3.

I also tweeted at them to say thank you. You can respond to their announcement tweet or just tweet at @DICKS.

4. Then Walmart followed suit with its own announcement that they are raising their age of purchase for guns to 21 and will stop selling toys that resemble guns. Walmart had already stopped selling assault rifles in 2015. Regardless of how you might feel about Walmart, they need to hear that you support their decision.

You can like and respond to their announcement tweet here.  Or give them a call at 1-800-925-6278.

5. Last but in no way least, is the Parkland students who survived the shooting and are now leading a new wave of activism to pass meaningful gun control laws. They're awesome!!! Read more about Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg and check out the march info below.

6. March for Our Lives in DC on March 24th. Read more and consider joining (there will probably be a bunch of local marches at the same time, too.) 

3 Ways To Help Stop Gun Violence

February 16, 2018

It's been hard to focus on much of anything since the news broke about the Parkland shootings. Unfortunately, thoughts and prayers are not as effective as one would hope, so here are three simple ways you can help to stop the growing wave of gun violence.

1. Call your Representative and urge him/her to support the Stop School Violence Act H.R. 4909 that invests in early intervention and prevention to stop violence (read more about this bill here.) 

  • Find your Rep's phone number here
  • Follow the script below - feel free to use your own words and provide any personal experience you have of gun violence:

    "Hi, my name is YOUR NAME and I'm a constituent calling from YOUR TOWN/CITY. I'm calling to urge Rep. NAME to pass the STOP School Violence Act (H.R.4909) because children and teachers should not be risking their lives every day and too few of our schools and law enforcement have the tools to identify, intervene and help people who display at-risk behaviors. there is evidence that these strategies and tools really work. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me."
2. Join and/or help spread the word about the Weds, March 14th National School Walk Out being organized by the Women's March folks. Here's the Facebook event.

3. Help register likely Democrats to VOTE! Our options for preventing gun violence are limited unless and until we elect more members of Congress who are not beholden to the NRA for campaign contributions. Check Indivisible if you don't already know of a group doing voter registration in your area.

CHIP covers 9 million kids, why hasn't Congress renewed it?!

November 20, 2017

Congress still has not renewed CHIP - the Children's Health Insurance Program, an important state and federal program that covers 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women each year. Despite having two years to renew CHIP, Congress blew the September 30th deadline. CHIP is currently languishing in limbo-land while the states run out of money to pay for it -- which is very bad news for the kids and moms who rely on it.

CHIP is actually a popular program which has enjoyed largely bipartisan support since it was enacted in 1997 but the Republicans are attempting to hold it hostage in yet another attempt to destroy Obamacare. Sigh.

Please call your members of Congress to urge them to reauthorize CHIP immediately. Pregnant moms and sick kids really can't wait.
1. Find your Senator's number here.

2. Here's your script - feel free to revise or use your own words and it's always helpful if you can personalize your comments with your own relevant experience:

"Hi, my name is YOUR NAME and I'm a constituent calling from YOUR TOWN/CITY. 

I'm very concerned that Congress has not extended the CHIP program that provides health insurance to 9 million children - and 370,000 pregnant women each year. These families do not know if they will continue to have coverage and it's likely to run out soon. For the pregnant women, this may mean they do not have coverage when they need it most - like when they give birth! Many of these children are also sick or suffer from chronic conditions.

Congress has had two years to reauthorize CHIP and there's no excuse for failing to renew it when millions of children's lives are on the line. I urge the Senator to do everything possible to ensure that it gets renewed before the end of the year if not sooner.

Thank you for taking my call."

3. Hang up and call the other Senator. Then repeat with your House Rep - find his/her number here.

4. Please share! And I encourage you to tweet and post at your members of Congress about this, too.

Trump Wants to Hike Entrance Fees to National Parks. Say NO!

October 26, 2017

The latest outrage. Trump administration wants to increase entrance fees at our most popular national parks DRAMATICALLY. Entry at these parks currently costs $25 or $30 per vehicle, no matter the season. Under the new rates, entrance would cost $75 per vehicle during the five-month peak season.
Per-person entry fees which are currently $10-$15 would rise to $30 during peak season.

When you're trying to cut taxes for the 1%, I guess you've gotta stick it to the 99% to make up the difference...

Submit a public comment now to say you're opposed to making it harder for anyone who is not wealthy to enjoy these national treasures that are owned by all of us and are supposed to be there for EVERYONE to enjoy.

You can read the full fact sheet here. More on this from NPR. 

Click here to submit your comment. There's a sample comment below but I encourage you to use your own words. 

Please spread the word - the deadline to weigh in on this bad idea is November 28th.


SAMPLE COMMENT---------------------------

I urge you not to raise park entrance fees in this dramatic fashion as it will have the unfortunate effect of making it harder for working class and poor Americans to enjoy our national treasures which are owned equally by all of us, regardless of income level.

While I fully support efforts to fund the backlog needed for maintenance at our national parks, this is not a good way to get there as it will disproportionately hurt lower income Americans.

Please reject this misguided plan.

Thank you for your time and attention.