The Info File: index to Progressive Maryland blog posts since June 2015

The Progressive Maryland PM BlogSpace has hosted 108 posts since June 2015 -- a storehouse of information on state and local governance and activism. Here's an index with links.

/A PM BlogSpace Report/  Bloggers for Progressive Maryland have covered the range of local, state and national issues important to PM activists in 108 posts since June 2015. Here's an index and summary of the posts so you can catch up.

Since June 19, 2015, Progressive Maryland’s “Progressive BlogSpace” on this page has tackled the range of issues that PM embraces – because they are the issues that most people find important to them, in their lives as workers, as consumers, as members of families and as active citizens at the local, state and national level.

We cover them in the blogs because the information we all need about these issues is dynamic – your understanding of them cannot stand still and you always need the latest.

Progressive Maryland, of course, is far more than a website/blog location. PM staffers and volunteers monitor and critique local and state government, keeping them honest and working above all to fight inequality and injustice by keeping the influence of money reduced or eliminated in our democracy at all these levels. You can find upcoming street-level events, government hearings and community outreach events on our calendar along with ways you can participate.

Part of your engagement with your community and its governance comes in the information sphere, and that’s where the website and the blogs come in. In these nearly fourteen months our blog posts have covered many issues, and you may have missed some of these posts. We are setting out our 108 posts since June 2015 in a chronological table of contents with links so you can check them over for issues you care about. These issues are the ones that make a difference to you. We hope you’ll find this indexed blog history handy for keeping up with the issues of the day. We plan to keep this updated and easy to access for PM members and allies who want to stay current.

And we want you to think of the part that you can play in this activity – enriching our PM community’s knowledge and passion to make a better neighborhood, a better Maryland, a better world. See yourself as a blogger, “write what you know” and submit a blog post to


July 22, 2016 As the debate over new payday lending regulations heats up, 28 US Senators have signed a letter urging they be made even stronger.

July 21, 2016 Unions and progressive allies fight a stealth bill to weaken the bargaining power of public sector unions in Montgomery County. Dylan Shelton, a resident activist, recounts the hearing.

July 21, 2016 As the National Doorstep Convention continues to provide counterpoint for the party conventions, Progressive Maryland volunteers touch the hopes of households in the area.

July 14, 2016 The Prince George’s council, doing a  hasty favor for a Bowie developer, is treading close to changing the subdivision ordinance in a way that could unleash big-time sprawl, Sierra Club chair Martha Ainsworth relates.

July 13, 2016 As the two major parties begin their back to back conventions, the National Doorstep Convention, in which Progressive Maryland is a participant, gets to the needs and wants of everyday working families.

July 11, 2016 The Weekly Memo highlights high drama in county council hearings on adding tipped workers to a minimum wage increase in Montgomery and adding at-large members to the Prince George’s council.

July 6, 2016 At the state and local level, once-promising progressive moves are being rolled back stealthily by politicians worried about losing business support (and conributions).

July 5, 2016 The Weekly Memo: Loan sharks, the Fight for Fifteen and a protest at the Prince George’s County Council against a Walmart intrusion.

July 1, 2016 Slowly But Surely Paid Sick Leave Is On The Way
Locally and at the state level, activists have pushed sorely needed paid sick leave closer to passage. In one county, it has passed. The public health and household stability benefits of paid sick leave have become well known. Jasmine Snead provides a reminder.

June 30, 2016 Proposed Federal Rules On Payday Lending's Exploitation Deserve Support, Need Improvement
Payday lending costs 12 million vulnerable, low-income workers excessive interest payments each year. Federal regulations propose to end the "debt trap" of predatory short-term lending and need both support and improvement.

June 28, 2016 The Weekly Memo focused on (Loan) Shark Week as the campaign to strengthen proposed federal rules curbing predatory payday loans heats up. 

June 27, 2016 The People’s Summit And Continuing The Political Revolution In Maryland -- Progressive activists gathered in Chicago a week ago to continue the surge of resistance to business as usual exemplified by the Sanders campaign. Larry Stafford, PM executive director, reports on his impressions as a participant

June 26, 2016 Advocates For $15 Minimum Wage, Tipped Workers Boost Pack Montgomery County Council Hearing -- Advocates for a proposal to increase Montgomery County's minimum wage to $15 an hour -- the Fight for Fifteen -- urged the Council to include increases for tipped workers, among the county's most exploited and poorly paid.

June 25, 2016 How Police, Prosecutors And Judges Form Their Own Triangle -- A veteran Maryland lawyer and blogger details how judges and prosecutors are so dependent on police that getting justice in the case of police brutality and misconduct can often be out of reach.

June 24, 2016 Slow, Steady Progress Toward A Secular Set Of State Laws -- Activists report on the slow, steady lobbying work in this year's General Assembly session of making state laws and practices neutral toward religious faith -- or lack of it. A report card from the Secular Coalition for Maryland.

June 22, 2016 ORLANDO --CAN WE TURN OUR ANGUISH AND GRIEF INTO ACTION? Patty Snee reflects on the massacre in Orlando and how to fight hate crimes in a comprehensive, long-term fashion.

June 20, 2016 The Weekly Memo focused on the next day’s Fight for Fifteen hearing before the Montgomery County Council.

 June 17, 2016 GETTING MONEY OUT OF ELECTIONS IN HOWARD – Howard County can become the second Maryland county to choose limited public financing for elections and begin to get the influence of big money out of local elections. Voters can opt for fair elections on the November ballot.
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June 14, 2016 The Weekly Memo (oops – headlined “June 16”) recounted local organizing meetings and important actions on the Fight for Fifteen and Walmart inrusions.

 June 13, 2016 The crushing news from Orlando brought a reminder of the intersection of hate speech and the Wild West access to lethal weapons (thanks to the NRA and others) and what can be done to change that disruptive combination.

 June 8, 2016 a reminder about a Prince George’s chapter meeting and its agenda.

 June 7, 2016 The Weekly Memo highlights important meetings and hearings on the Fight for Fifteen and on Walmart’s intrusion into a Prince George’s neighborhood.

 June 3, 2016 new rules proposed at the federal level will cut back on the exploitation of payday lending, a predatory practice that victimizes millions of low-wage workers every year.

 June 2, 2016 Clean energy advocate Armando Gaetaniello shows the connection between increased clean energy and increased social justice in our communities.

 June 1, 2016 The Weekly Memo details the struggle to include tipped workers fully in the Fight for Fifteen.

May 26, 2016 Justin Vest brings a personal account to reinforce why the Fight for Fifteen is important in Montgomery County and indeed throughout the state.

May 25, 2016 the Weekly Memo foregrounded two upcoming chapter meetings and the growing activism around the Fight for Fifteen.

May 23, 2016 Progressive Maryland staffer Justin Vest reported that the recent presidential order on overtime pay will help all US workers, including 800,000 in Maryland, who are currently pushed for more than 40 hours' work a week without compensation because of outdated rules..

May 20, 2016 Important measures on police accountability and criminal justice reform, top priorities for Progressive Maryland, were signed by Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday, May 19.

May 18, 2016 A post-session flurry of excitement comes as the deadline for the governor to sign or veto bills approaches. We listed the important bills we urged him to sign.

May 16, 2016 Residents of Brandywine, in unincorporated Prince George's, say a gas-fired power plant slated for their neighborhood -- backed by county officials -- imposes health costs on them and their children

May 13, 2016 An activist group pushes back against Gov. Larry Hogan’s anti-immigrant rhetoric with the help of 76 Assembly members who signed onto a letter.

May 12, 2016 Weekly Memo: Marching with UFCW Local 400 as they try to save jobs at Giant in the midst of a massive corporate merger.

May 9, 2016 A tale of two environmental meetings illustrates how environmental justice is better explored when those on the receiving end are part of the conversation.

May 6, 2016 …and we report on the inevitable outcome as Walmart buffaloes the (easily-buffaloed) Prince George’s Planning Board.

May 5, 2016 The hottest of news: our alert just as the Prince George’s Planning Board is about to get rolled by Walmart lawyers.

May 2, 2016 The Monday Memo details local-government hearings and why they matter.

April 29 In a crosspost from the Hyattsville Wire community blog, how Hyattsville and other Prince George’s urban neighborhoods are doing urbanism right.

April 25, 2016: The Monday Memo, one day till election, getting out the vote is Priority One.

April 22, 2016: A stirring account by an Eastern Shore high school student who inspired and joined her fellow students to protest the hate-spewing Donald Trump’s appearance in one of their local public schools.

April 20, 2016: Details of another Walmart outrage, trying to wedge a superstore into the Duvall neighborhood near Glenn Dale in northern Prince George’s. Progressive Maryland is engaged in that fight. Neighbors won at the level of government but the deep-pocketed retail behemoth is forcing them to fight in court as well.

April 18, 2016: The Monday Memo, in the midst of early voting for the primary election.

April 16, 2016: A detailed account of Walmart’s history of duplicity and profiteering as it tries to gain advantage at present and proposed store sites. Progressive Cheverly members have long fought expansion of the Capital Plaza store.

April 15, 2016: The reaction of Progressive Maryland and its allies to reports of a Donald Trump campaign visit to Maryland. The first dates floated turned out to be less than factual, but progressives are still ready to give the hate-spewing GOP front-runner a Maryland welcome when he comes to the state April 20 (now confirmed).

April 14, 2016: A Progressive Maryland staffer recounts the ups and downs of lobbying for priorities during the legislative session.

April 12, 2016: the drama of the closing night of the Assembly session, when two good bills collided with one another and neither made it through by midnight.

April 11, 2016, The Monday Memo: reaching voters, getting out the vote.

April 10, 2016: A ground-level look at the Democracy Spring marchers who arrived in D.C. Sunday on foot from Philadelphia with a message: End the corrupt role of corporate money in our elections.

April 8, 2016: A skeptical look at the seemingly risk-averse strategy of the Democratic leadership in the Assembly, which seemed to concede easy victories to Gov. Hogan that could be won with a little backbone.

April 6, 2016: An update on the fortunes of paid sick leave, a Progressive Maryland priority, as the legislative session drew to a close for 2016.

April 4, 2016: PM BlogSpace’s first “Monday Memo,” recapping the last week’s blog posts for those who missed them and previewing the organization’s priorities for the week.

April 1, 2016: As the Earned Income Tax Credit bill goes to conference between the Assembly chambers, loading it up with goodies for the wealthy brings stalemate.

April 1, 2016: A longtime transportation specialist explains why Metro needs a dedicated funding source to escape from its woes.

March 30, 2016: Paid sick leave makes it out of the House Economic Matters Committee for the first time in four years… a big deal, and we made a big deal out of it.

March 25, 2016: A primer on how to get your political information in Maryland in an era when traditional media are fading.

March 22, 2016: A blogger argues that allowing a tax break for corporate contributions to private schools is a bad idea.

March 21, 2016: The proposed merger of the UMD campuses in College Park and Baltimore, which the Assembly is considering, needs more time to get right.

March 16, 2016: Metro’s one-day closedown of the rail system shows how poorly the system has been managed by professionals and politicians alike.

March 11, 2016: Remembering the legacy of Parren Mitchell, Maryland’s first African-American congressman, who worked tirelessly for people-first programs instead of war and profit.

March 7, 2016: In the midpoint of the legislative session, a survey of how Progressive Maryland’s priority bills are doing.

March 2, 2016: MetroAccess riders and drivers join forces against the effects of privatization of the system, which puts profits over safety and service.

Feb. 29, 2016: Chapter and verse on the need for paid sick leave in Maryland and the plan to get the bill passed this year.

Feb. 29, 2016: A response to Governor Hogan’s call to keep refugees out of Maryland, arguing that Marylanders are not mean-spirited like that.

Feb. 25, 2016: Covert attempts to discriminate against some peoples’ sexual, ethnic and religious attributes and choices are not limited to the Old Confederacy. A list of bills trying to enable such practices in Maryland was laid out here.

Feb. 24, 2016: A detailed discussion of the police reform project and bills as they were moving through the General Assembly.

Feb. 21, 2016: An essay on the joys and frustrations of citizen lobbying in Annapolis during the legislative session.

>>Feb. 17, 2016: An index of blog posts from June 2015 to Feb. 17 of this year is here, total of 42 posts.

Feb 15 educator Rosalyn Turner described how the Earned Income Tax Credit helped her students’ struggling families – and how much more could be accomplished both by enhancements of the federal EITC program and by significant complementary bills now in the Maryland General Assembly for consideration.

Feb. 10 our readers heard about the Maryland Senate override of Gov. Hogan’s last remaining veto, which took place just the day before. It was six out of six for the Assembly’s overrides and gave voting rights to returning citizens as they re-entered their communities.

Feb. 9, Kurt Stand reported on a victory for working people in Prince George’s County that was accomplished by close cooperation between unions, local officials and the community.

Feb. 5 we reported on the Montgomery County Council’s passage of a strong package preventing county contractors from evading the requirement to pay a living wage to employees.

Feb. 4 as the Assembly session gets seriously under way, a solid pair of bills on statewide paid sick leave is introduced.

Feb. 2 regular blogger Matthew Snider wrote about a Maryland Assembly attempt to re-legitimize prejudice on sexual orientation through a bogus “religious liberty” bill.

Jan. 27 a returning citizen wrote about the state’s need to fully include those returning from incarceration in our political life by extending voting rights by overriding the governor’s veto.

Jan. 13 The Maryland General Assembly and lawmaking affecting our everyday lives have been covered, previewing the 2016 session.

Jan. 12  We covered the merger of two human rights organizations in the state This was a follow-up on last July 25’s blog noting the possible folding of Equality Maryland following some human rights victories – and why it was still needed.

Dec. 17  We cross-posted a Maryland Scramble discussion of the Assembly’s veto overrides

Jan. 1 Health care in Maryland and its religion-based limitations

Dec. 10 People organizing in Prince George’s County to pursue their needs

Dec. 5 PM’s staffers testify against privatization at the state and local level

Nov. 27 a discussion by regular blogger Hal Ginsberg of what’s right and wrong about on-campus student protests

Nov. 23 we made the case why refugees should be welcomed in Maryland despite the governor’s knee-jerk declaration otherwise.

Nov. 17 saw analysis of a way to fight gentrification and have smart development without displacement in Prince George’s County and elsewhere.

Nov. 11 Hal Ginsberg recounts a speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren showing that the template for economic prosperity based on an active public and government applies to racial justice as well.

Oct. 21 environmental blogger Susan Ungar previewed a climate expo in Suitland that focused on green jobs and the economic development they would bring.

Oct. 16 Hal Ginsberg argued that the Trans Pacific Partnership is a bad deal for working people and consumers.

Oct. 1 blogger Dave Piper delved into history to show that this year’s “angry voters” were just the latest in a long line.

Sept. 22, as the Prince George’s Council began to consider a paid sick leave bill for the county, we presented the arguments for it. A failure of nerve later led to the deferral of the bill in favor of a state-level bill.

Sept. 16 Hal Ginsberg pointed out inconsistencies in the Obama Administration’s environmental stances.

Sept. 2 Dave Piper celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and noted the GOP candidates for president ignored the question of its gutting by the Supreme Court.

Aug. 21 as the nation debated a nuclear deal with Iran, we presented the arguments for peace and diplomacy.

Aug. 19, as the Hogan administration was trying to take apart clean air rules from the previous administration, the Sierra Club’s Seth Bush guest-blogged with a piece cross-posted from the state Sierra Club’s blog site.

Aug. 13 we cross-posted from Jon Shurberg’s “Maryland Scramble” political blog on the shame of local laws around the country criminalizing homelessness and a court case that might well throw them out.

The crisis in affordable housing is nationwide, but Maryland is an impact zone for housing affordability, Justin Vest noted Aug. 8.

Aug. 5 blogger Dave Piper said our scorn (even then!) for the GOP presidential aspirants masked the fact that progressive Democrats had a pretty thin bench nationally.

Aug. 3 we noted that Supreme Court conservatives’ claims about “original intent” of the Constitution masked an appeal to long-standing biases and prejudice.

July 27 environmental blogger Susan Ungar urged readers to attend and testify at the state Commission on Climate Change hearing in Prince George’s County coming up that week. (The bipartisan Commission subsequently delivered a startlingly strong recommendation for carbon reduction and green jobs/economic development).

July 25 Mathew Goldstein analyzed the prospects and perils of a truly nonpartisan redistricting plan for Maryland – timing would be critical, to avoid a one-sided outcome.

July 18 we covered the pro-business efforts of the Assembly’s two leaders and how Gov. Hogan adroitly amplified these anti-worker projects.

July 18 blogger Hal Ginsberg gave two cheers for the slightly progressive tilt of major Supreme Court decisions at the tumultuous end of its session.

July 13 Justin Vest discussed the meaning of the Confederate battle flag’s lowering from the South Carolina State House and what still needs to be done.

July 10 Hal Ginsberg’s obituary of the suburban weekly Gazette newspapers, closed by the Washington Post, lamented the loss of local coverage and watchdogging of local government over the years.

June 29 blogger Matthew Snider observed that conservative politicians were invoking “evolution” to describe their moves into the stream of mainstream opinion without understanding what it means, scientifically and socially.

June 29 blogger Mathew Goldstein examined the many ways other than our severely gamed electoral system that we could select winners for political office.

June 22 PM director Larry Stafford described the community-based effort to keep Walmart’s planned complex at Duval shopping center from disrupting that underserved neighborhood.

On June 19, Justin Vest outlined the stakes as Montgomery County’s council considered a strong paid sick leave bill – which later passed.

On June 19, Hal Ginsberg outlined the arguments against the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade bill that even then, still secret, was becoming known as a pro-corporate boondoggle that would hurt workers and consumers in the US and abroad.