Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
This is the year 2016. Isn’t it time women had equal rights in America? Will you join me by signing a petition compelling your lawmakers to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 by Alice Paul, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law regardless of sex or gender. Seems self-evident, right? Do you think that women’s equal rights are guaranteed by our constitution? Sadly, they are not. The ERA never passed, leaving women’s rights up for interpretation. This imbalance has been demonstrated time and time again in the highest courts in the land, where women often lose even when clear bias is shown. Women’s rights are seemingly at the mercy of whoever is in office or on a judicial bench at any given time. Here is what one of our most influential Supreme Court justices said on the matter of sex discrimination: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't." —Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia While we in America may think that women are doing fine, the rest of the world does not. The United Nations has deemed the United States to be a country that does not adequately protect women’s human rights. The Equal Rights Amendment may seem unnecessary to some, but the truth is American women do not have explicit rights under The Constitution. There are dozens of areas where a lack of equal rights negatively affects women and the families they support. Here are just a few: • America is the only nation in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate. • 10,000 abused women are turned away from shelters daily, a total of 3.65 million denied requests per year. When looking specifically at the gender pay gap: There is a direct correlation between underpaying mothers and child hunger. It is estimated that half of the 33 million women and children living in poverty in the United States would not be if women were paid their full dollar. Is it any wonder that 1 in 5 children in America go hungry? Seventy-five percent of all African American children are being raised by full time working single mothers who are paid .60 cents on the dollar. Latinas earn .55 cents on the dollar, and white women make .78 cents compared to their white male counterparts. Our transgender sisters are faring even worse. They are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed. Over the course of her working life, an American woman will lose between $400,000 and two million dollars due to wage discrimination. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide an express constitutional basis to challenge sex-based discrimination. It would also ensure that laws and government actions that treat women differently are reviewed by the courts with the strictest of standards. With the upcoming 2016 election we need to intensify the conversation around women's issues and compel our lawmakers to protect the basic civil and human rights of American women by passing the ERA. It is time that we finally make this happen for ourselves, our daughters, and for the future of our nation. If even Supreme Court justices don’t believe the Constitution protects women from discrimination, let’s pass an amendment that will. Please join me along with Kamala Lopez, the director of the upcoming documentary “Equal Means Equal,” the ERA Coalition, and Noreen Farrell of Equal Rights Advocates, to sign this petition for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment #EqualMeansEqual —Patricia Arquette
Minnesota to secede from the United States of America and join the nation of Canada
With the recent election of Donald Trump for President of the United States, we, the people of the State of Minnesota, feel it is against our state's better interests to remain in the Union of the United States under such leadership. It is the people's opinion that this State now has more in common with the Nation of Canada than the United States when the President-Elect is sworn in. President-Elect Trump has a history of comments and potential policies that will openly discriminate against a large portion of Minnesotans that are of minority decent. This could include thousands of unlawful deportations or severe bullying and harassment of Minnesota citizens, families, and children. Mr. Trump also has several potential policies and opinions that are against the State's own laws of water and conservation, and game and recreation that could have significant impact to the western prairies and northern forests of this State. Culturally, the State of Minnesota is one of the most open and accepting States in America; with huge diversity in race, religion, and gender, in which Minnesota is leading the nation in equality for all. With Donald Trump as President, the State would be forced to recognize a man who is against such diversity and could force the State to backtrack on much of the progress it has made. We, the people of Minnesota, urge our State's leaders to consider the possibility of leaving the United States and join Canada. This would allow us to better maintain a way of life for all Minnesotans in terms of society, environment, and equality.
Stop bowing down to law enforcement and stand up for patients!
Governor Mark Dayton is holding up the medical marijuana bill in Minnesota because he is worried it will upset his friends in law enforcement. This is simply unacceptable. Please sign our petition calling on Gov. Dayton to show some backbone and get this important legislation passed. Seriously ill Minnesotans deserve legal access to medical marijuana. Rep. Carly Melin temporarily pulled her medical marijuana legislation, HF 1818, from the House Government Operations agenda this week after her good faith efforts to compromise with law enforcement fell on deaf ears. Gov. Dayton has said he will only support a bill that has law enforcement officials’ approval, but they have steadfastly refused to support workable medical marijuana legislation. Help us send Gov. Dayton a message. Tell him to stand up for patients and stop catering to law enforcement's unreasonable demands and stalling tactics.
To make Prince's birthday, June 7th, an official Minnesota state holiday. #PrinceDay
#PrinceDay Prince was born on June 7th, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and went on to become one of the most influential musicians of all time. He never lost touch with his roots in Minnesota and called it home his entire life. He help put the Minnesota music scene on the map and continued to invest his talent into our community and help foster a new generation of musicians. We should honor his legacy and declare his birthday an official state holiday. Photo Credit: Robert Whitman, NY
End or Reform Topix.com (
There is a dangerous, at times criminal, cyberbullying/hate-filled website on the internet called Topix.com that has been allowed to fly under the radar for far too long. Topix, which falsely claims to be a news aggregator (when in fact many of their forums contain virtually no news whatsover), is out of control throughout the United States and other countries. Topix is making a profit off of the very serious issues of bullying, harassment, drug sales, racism, and sexual predators with no accountability. Their lack of conscience is particularly alarming due to the growing number of suicides, cyberstalking victims, and people who have lost their reputations through the behavior of those who hide behind a keyboard. The way Topix functions is every town and city are given their own Topix site. For example, you can google Van Buren, Missouri topix and then click on the section which says forums. Topix allows hidden posters, without required registration, to post anything they want. This means that in many areas, especially small towns, people are libeled and defamed relentlessly and without moderation. The company claims they will remove abusive posts within 72 hours that are reported, but that rarely occurs. It should not be the responsibility of users to police the site when Topix are the ones making a profit. Topix has no desire to remove particularly popular posts, because they fear it will cost them website hits even if it destroys others. Topix has mocked freedom of speech. Libel, defamation and forums that promote incest and drug sales are not protected by the first amendment. Many innocent people have been called anything from drug users to pedofiles, or are accused of other things. This can destroy a reputation and much of the hatred is targeted toward children with no conscience or morality displayed by Topix management. We encourage you to do a search and find your own town or city's site and you will be horrified by much of what you see. There are also other Topix forums not dedicated to communities such as the human sexuality and AFAM forums that promote racism, incest, and even rape! This is not what the framers of our Constitution meant by the first amendment. Over 30 attorney generals two years ago sent a letter to the CEO of Topix, Mr.Chris Tolles, and he continues to make excuses. The company has even claimed that speech is more important than the victim. That is morally deplorable. In lieu of numerous complaints, Topix even changed their Terms of Service to become even more vague, making their site worse than ever. People are being forced to move to different towns and there have been incidents of violence because of the Topix website. Please sign the petition and ask for the forums section to either be completely removed if the forums are not going to be better moderated with accountability for those who slander and libel other people's names. Remember it takes a lifetime to build your reputation but only seconds for someone or a cowardly company to destroy it.
Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota: Investigate psychiatric research misconduct at the University of Minnesota
In November 2003, psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota used the threat of involuntary commitment to force a mentally ill young man named Dan Markingson into a very profitable, industry-funded study of antipsychotic drugs. Dan was enrolled in the study over the objections of his mother, Mary Weiss. For months Mary tried desperately to get him out of the study, warning the psychiatrists that Dan’s condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself. The psychiatrists refused to listen to her. On May 8, 2004, Dan committed suicide, and Mary lost her only child. I feel privileged and humbled to have called Dan my friend. Because of a very unique situation I had a front row seat watching Dan’s resilience as he attempted to overcome not only his original mental and emotional crisis, but also the trauma that occurred when he was betrayed by those who were charged and licensed to provide care, healing and protection. For the past nine years Mary and I have tried unsuccessfully to have the University of Minnesota and its psychiatrists held accountable for Dan’s death. But Mary’s lawsuit against the university was dismissed on a technicality in 2009, and the university used legal threats to force her to give up her right of appeal. Even so, Mary has refused to back down. In 2009, the Minnesota state legislature passed “Dan’s Law,” which prohibits researchers from recruiting a patient under an involuntary commitment order into a psychiatric drug study. Media outlets such as Mother Jones, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages and Scientific American have published accounts of Dan’s story. His story was also featured in the documentary film, Off Label. In 2010, AstraZeneca, the sponsor of the study in which Dan died, settled federal fraud charges for $520 million, and a University of Minnesota psychiatrist was implicated. Last year, the Minnesota Board of Social Work found serious wrongdoing by the study coordinator for the research study in which Dan died. More recently, evidence of fraud and serious privacy violations in psychiatric studies at the university have emerged. It is possible that other research subjects have died or suffered serious injuries, or that they have been mistreated in other ways. Bioethicists at the University of Minnesota itself have called for an external investigation, yet the university still refuses. I cannot tell anyone else what way of speaking out is most aligned with his or her own personal principles. However, I believe those of us who are personally affected by these issues must break the silence about the human rights violations inherent in coerced participation in psychiatric research. While University of Minnesota researchers used many unethical methods to force Dan to participate in this research study, the most egregious of them was fear. Dan was afraid that there was no alternative to taking part in the study, and that he would face a complete loss of liberty if he did not participate. Given the repeated failure of university officials to act in good faith, I believe that the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, should appoint an external panel of experts to investigate ethical wrongdoing in psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota, including the circumstances surrounding Dan’s death. The panel should be given latitude to investigate the University of Minnesota human subject protection program, the Department of Psychiatry, the Office of the General Counsel, and any other university officials involved in the oversight of human research. Let me finish by allowing Mary Weiss, Dan’s mother, to speak for herself. Dan and I were very close. I have experienced more anguish than I thought humanly possible since Dan’s death. He had dreams, like everyone. He had a talent for creative writing, and he had hoped one day to write for The New Yorker magazine. Unfortunately, his unfinished life robbed him of this dream. In fact, his short time on earth took many dreams from him, and also from me. The things he wished for, I wanted him to realize. Please demand an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dan’s death, and help ensure no other family ever suffers such a loss from unregulated and improperly supervised clinical trials. Please sign the petition below. Help us find justice, not vengeance.
Elected Officials: Prevent Sulfide Mining Pollution
Tell Governor Dayton and state and federal regulators thanks for standing up for clean water in the BWCA, and demand answers to the 4 questions below before permitting PolyMet. We must ensure that Governor Dayton, his state agencies, and federal regulators get real answers to these questions before the final decisions at PolyMet are made. The U. S. Forest Service is deeply concerned by the inherent risks associated with potential copper, nickel and other sulfide mining operations. Governor Dayton has repeatedly acknowledged the inherent risks of sulfide mining. These risks have been recently publicized as the U.S. Forest Service is considering withholding consent at the Twin Metals sulfide mine proposal. Those same inherent risks of sulfide mining exist at PolyMet’s proposed sulfide mine less than 10 miles from Twin Metals. PolyMet’s proposal still has a number of sizeable questions that demand answers before the Dayton administration or any Minnesotan should feel comfortable: 1) Will the state of Minnesota follow its own rules that prohibit mines requiring long-term treatment of polluted water after closure? Minnesota’s rules for copper-nickel mines were designed to prevent long-term pollution by requiring that mines be “maintenance-free” at closure. PolyMet’s own models suggest that it could take centuries after the final ore is extracted for the site to become maintenance-free. Will the state enforce the law? Or will regulators help PolyMet skirt the law by allowing the mine to stay technically “open” for centuries after mining has stopped? 2) Will the state require an upfront damage deposit sufficient to protect taxpayers and the environment? The single largest risk this mine presents to most Minnesotans is the financial cost of cleaning up the site once the mining company leaves or cleaning up a pollution spill the likes of which we have recently seen in Colorado and British Columbia. The state requires the company to put up a damage deposit to help prevent these costs from falling on the taxpayers. But the mining company has been adamant that the amount it be asked to put forth can be determined at a later date. Will the people of Minnesota be at risk for paying for cleanup costs? 3) Will pollution flow north to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, south to Lake Superior, or both? For years, PolyMet has claimed that polluted water escaping the site would flow only south, toward Lake Superior. Independent review of the project suggests it is likely pollution would also flow north into the Boundary Waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said the state must take time to gather the data required to answer this question. Whether the Boundary Waters is at risk seems like a pretty basic question, but Polymet has yet to answer. 4) Will regulators require PolyMet to show how it’ll compensate for thousands of acres of lost wetlands? PolyMet’s proposal, if permitted, would be the largest single destruction of wetlands in modern Minnesota history. It would dig up over 900 acres of high-value wetlands; the company has identified a plan to replace or restore equivalent wetlands. However, PolyMet may drain the water from up to 8,000 additional acres of wetlands. PolyMet is required by law to replace these wetlands, too, but has not come up with a plan for how it would do so. Will PolyMet compensate the state for thousands of acres of lost wetlands?
Tell blue states to form an interstate single-payer healthcare system for their residents
We call on Governors Jerry Brown of California, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, and governors of other Democratic states to explore the possibility of forming an interstate, single-payer healthcare system for their residents. Ideally, this system would provide ALL residents of these states equal, quality health coverage which would be accepted in any of these states. It would be funded by the collective healthcare budgets of these states, as well as reallocated federal funding for programs such as Medicaid. According to a Gallup poll published on May 16, 2016, 58% of Americans say that they would prefer to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans. However, Congress has been in a deadlock on this issue for decades. Switching from the current system -- a hodgepodge of employer-based and subsidized care for the most needy -- to single-payer has for many seemed too drastic a change for Congress to successfully implement nationally. A few states, including CA, MA, VT, and CO have discussed or tried to establish single-payer systems confined to their own states. But such systems have been bombarded with budget concerns and do not create a clear path to single-payer on the national level. In light of this, we propose that by first forming an interstate single-payer system among a few powerful blue states, the country can gradually and steadily replace the current system with an efficient, potentially national, single-payer system as more and more states, including red states, will want to join in years to come if they see it is working well. Call it AmeriCare? Furthermore, we believe it would be in the interest of our states to be part of initiating this project. If acted upon, it would uniquely provide all the benefits of single-payer to residents and businesses, and show that our states are leading the way in reform on this important issue. FAQ: Why CA, NY, MA, and CT? I want my state in too. The author of this petition has lived in the four states mentioned, hence why they were selected, but governors of other states are on this petition's list of recipients. And residents of all states are welcome to sign and encourage their states to join too! Is this constitutional? It appears so. This would likely be an interstate compact, which Congress has the power to allow. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_compact
DON'T ABOLISH PERPICH CENTER FOR ARTS EDUCATION
There is a bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives being introduced to have the "Perpich Center for Arts Education abolished". See: HF 1825 (90th Legislature, 2017 - 2018) This school has been an invaluable resource to thousands of children who want to make art the focus of their lives and/or future careers. Whatever problems there are within the inner-workings of the institution can and should be solved without totally refusing this center for arts education to future generations. Abolishing this unique school would be a true disservice to Minnesota's youth. I know the untold psychological benefits of this school personally because attending it in the late nineties introduced me to friends who I still collaborate on art projects with and saved me from a school which instead locked its students indoors and put great emphasis on sports *shudders*. We need more art schools, not less. Young artists don't have it easy, please don't limit their options but instead encourage them to thrive and wave that freak flag high.
Shut Down Northern Metals!
Northern Metal Recycling (metal shredder) is responsible for the highest levels of airborne lead in the state, and we are pushing to revoke Northern Metal’s air quality permit. Northeast and North Minneapolis residents, especially young children, are affected by this airborne lead. Please leave a public comment with your concerns to help shut down Northern Metals.