News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngHere’s an invite to the broadcast of the People’s Action Organizing Revival, starting Sunday evening and live, from, Arlington Va. Progressive Maryland members and volunteers will be on hand. In honor of the People’s Action event (which will preoccupy PM folks early in the week) we’d send out News You Can Use a little early, along with the Memo.


Here’s an invite to the broadcast of the People’s Action Organizing Revival, starting Sunday evening and live, from, Arlington Va. Progressive Maryland members and volunteers will be on hand. In honor of the People’s Action event (which will preoccupy PM folks early in the week) we’d send out News You Can Use a little early, along with the Memo.

Like all of us here in Maryland, you have worries no matter where you are on the power graph.

But, as a new United Way study showed over the weekend, there are nearly a million Maryland households that are employed, "earn above the [Federal Poverty Level], but not enough to
afford the basics in the communities where they live." This post-COVID assessment can't hide the fact that in the boom times before COVID, there were only 70,000 fewer households in that boat, which is nicknamed ALICE, for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. "A recent report from the organization reports that there were 899,798 households that fell below the ALICE threshold, which was an increase of about 70,000 households in 2019, before the COVID pandemic," says Maryland Matters' account of last week's United Way confab focused on the report, and here's a link to the actual report.

How do households find themselves behind the curve so easily? Here’s a little catalogue as reflected in recent news, both in Maryland and around the states.

So you say you are worried, in this order, about (1) getting to your job without death or injury on the road and (2) getting to your job safely only to find out you have lost it to a robot? Double trouble, already (it usually starts at the workplace, still the most unfree place in the Land of the Free).

  We do have agency even in the age of AI, though, the economist Dean Baker says:  AI, Job Loss, and Productivity Growth: “The moral of the story is that there is nothing about AI technology that should lead to mass unemployment and inequality. If those are outcomes, it will be the result of how we structured the rules, not the technology itself,” Dean Baker writes on the Center for Economic Policy and Research website. Via Portside

So you DID lose that job, eh? Next, make the rent by the first of the month while job-hunting?

Official Covid emergency is over and that makes a lot of difference for renters:

No roof for you, at least not right away. Sooo… Got to stay cool and collected. Easy, right? Mayors: There’s a Mental Health Crisis in Every City

It’s enough to make you sick. No time for that, though. State coffers to take a hit with the end of extra federal Medicaid funding

Life is already hard, and what if you get pregnant when you didn’t expect or want to? It’s been a year since Trump’s appointees to SCOTUS erased Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision.

“Post-Roe, abortion in America is a messy patchwork of access that affects people unevenly based on factors they largely have no control over, including race, income level, medical history and, especially, where they live,” reports News from the States.  “Fourteen states ban the procedure entirely; similar policies are on hold in eight additional states pending the outcome of ongoing legal challenges. Republicans hold legislative majorities in each of those states. In 18 of them, the GOP controls every branch of government.

“The effects of those restrictions extend beyond just abortion. Maternal health is far worse in anti-abortion states than in those that support it, a gap that seems destined to widen as medical providers confront the reality of administering reproductive health care in states that are openly hostile to reproductive health. Nationwide this year, OB-GYN residency applications fell by 10.5% in states with abortion bans, almost double the drop in states where abortion remains legal.” States Newsroom

Stateline reports that the lines are being drawn quickly and mostly geographically: “Democratic governors and state lawmakers across the country are mobilizing against a surge of Republican restrictions on transgender health care by establishing their states as sanctuaries for gender-affirming care. Earlier this month, Democratic Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order making Maryland the 11th state, plus the District of Columbia, to declare itself a sanctuary.” Most such states are also sanctuaries for reproductive freedom. However, AP reports that above the state level, there are House GOP stealth plans afoot to contain medical terminations In post-Roe era, House Republicans begin quiet push for new restrictions on abortion access

What to do? Want to reinforce the rule of law, especially when it comes to elections, so you can make change? In those states where the rule of law is going south (pun intended) in favor of authoritarian GOP legislators’ wishes, AP has a roundup passed along by POLITICO Playbook: Battle For The Ballot: “GOP state legislatures seek greater control over state and local election offices,” --  “Attempts by Republican legislatures to expand their power over how elections are run have soared since the 2020 presidential election, spurred by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud.”

There’s some contrast here in Maryland as the Elections Office changes hands.

New Md. Elections Head Discusses His Vision For The Job: For the first time in more than two decades, Maryland is poised to welcome a new elections administrator with the selection of Jared DeMarinis to replace longtime administrator Linda Lamone. The Baltimore Sun sat down with DeMarinis to talk about his vision for the job and the challenges the role brings as elections across the country face intense scrutiny.

And also back here in Maryland, Blueprint Fatigue is being accelerated by push-polling: If you ask the question JUST right, you might get the answer you want…

Poll Finds Opposition To Higher Taxes For School Funding: A 63% majority of Maryland voters oppose the tax increases needed to fund education spending hikes, according to a new Maryland Public Policy Institute poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Services. The overwhelming opposition to income and property tax hikes comes as Maryland taxpayers are learning of the large cost [notice the question begged here] of the “Blueprint for Maryland's Future” devised by the Kirwan Commission in 2019. The article contains the precise wording of the poll question. (The institute is a free-market advocacy think-tank.) Maryland Public Policy Institute

Meanwhile, the oversight board for individual school systems’ plans for compliance with the Blueprint may make some easily-misunderstood decisions pretty soon. Maryland Matters

See you next week and back on a regular schedule. Remember, we'll always know more than we do right now by next week -- for better or worse. Come along for the News You Can Use ride.


woody woodruff


M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...