woody woodruff

Solidarity is critical, in and outside of Prince George's County. Big money and corporate thinking just about run the show and we the people must become the showrunners.

  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 27, 2022

    memo_logo.pngYou probably know by now the news about the outrageous Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey on Friday, and you may have seen or been part of  the sweeping response from hundreds of thousands of people across the country. It was great to be at demonstrations and rallies around Maryland throughout the weekend to voice our opposition to this ruling and the right wing extremist majority dominating this third branch of government. Three of the rallies hosted more than 200 people (on short notice) and at some of the events, people shared their personal stories, in some cases for the first time in public. Powerful. We’re grateful to our allies in the Maryland Abortion Access Coalition for organizing the protests. We also put out a statement on the SCOTUS decision. 


    How can we ensure Maryland remains a state where abortions are safe and legal?  Here’s what we can do right now: Elect dedicated pro-choice candidates, including more women and LGBTQ individuals, who will take bold action on issues like abortion rights to counter the moves that the GOP Justices and their supporters in the Senate are making to turn back the clock on our basic rights and protections. Let’s keep turning our anger into action.

    More about what we can do is here, in the PM Weekly Memo.


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  • Fighting back on the Dobbs abortion decision -- and a few more challenges


    While the nation reels at the duplicity of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees under oath ("Roe is settled law") and the pent-up, vengeful Dobbs opinion authored by Alito overturning Roe, Larry Hogan keeps playing his games.

    Maryland, which put abortion rights into law via referendum years ago, has shaped a role as a sanctuary state for those who need reproductive health care but live in medieval states. West Virginia and Virginia residents may soon need the sanctuary; Pennsylvania is a maybe.

    But Hogan, playing footsie with GOP orthodoxy while still trying to present the Facebook-fueled Good Guy Larry persona that got him stealth-elected twice, refuses to release properly appropriated funds intended to prepare Maryland’s health care system for the rough times to come.


    More about the fight against Dobbs, up-n-down news on gun safety, and a big step on overdose prevention -- also in News You Can Use this week.

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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, June 21, 2022

    The Memo will appear here after the email version has been sent.

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  • Congress in one-week sprint but Maryland summer-sleepy

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngThe Congressional circus is back for one more sprint and they are hot on Trump’s trail, but also working on guns and maybe a downsized Build Back Less Bad bill, maybe… it all needs to be packed into this week, before the two-week July 4 recess…


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 13, 2022


    It’s a busy time of year! Graduations, end of school, weddings, vacations, visitors, swim meets, softball tournaments, gardening, community festivals, outings, and more. Not to mention work, juggling family needs, and trying to keep up with and process the news of the day. One big event this summer that deserves our full  attention no matter where we live or what our schedules may be: the Primary Election in July. The simple act of voting not only keeps our democracy going, it  gives us a chance to express our support for candidates who want to make positive progressive change. Every vote matters! Four years ago, the outcome in the County Executive race in the Montgomery County Primary was decided by 80 votes (out of about 130,000 votes cast). 


    Our individual votes matter and this year we are working to collectively gather our voices and votes to make a difference for progressive candidates. Find out how to make change happen -- together -- in the Memo. Read on.


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  • Hope for modest gun law reform in DC, prepping for more pandemic (s?) in MD

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngPossible good news, for a change, in Congress -- some modest tightening of access to guns may pass.

    Meanwhile, in Maryland, prepping for more of this pandemic plus the next one (?); a Hogan veto increases election results uncertainty and (for sure) opens up more time for Big Lies to grow; Dem Guv hopefuls feel pressure on education futures; state's higher ed schools show variety in recovery from COVID pause.


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 6, 2022

    memo_logo.pngThe Memo will be posted here Monday after the email version is sent

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  • News You Can Use: Swan-song veto pushbacks; pre-primary fever spreads (a little?)

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngIn a final veto dump on the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, Gov. Hogan erases laws for better transit, more transparent and easy voting and protecting tenants against eviction. What's not to like? We have the reaction to that and more in state action, plus the prospect of a week when both US House and Senate will be in at work and dodging questions about, you know, guns and dead elementary school students. Read on ...

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  • News you can Use: National (elections stuff) and Maryland (well, more COVID)

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngLook here for fun stuff on national elections and the Trump Effect as well as less fun stuff about the rise in COVID infections in Maryland, and what some school districts are doing to respond.

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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 16, 2022


    Let’s band together to turn back the attacks on our fundamental rights and the attempts to roll back advances we’ve made when it comes to racial and environmental justice,  progressive economic policies, and the need for a just and equitable response to the pandemic and healthcare disparities. We know it’s no small feat to take on growing corporate power on one hand and the rise of a white nationalist movement on the other. But it can and must be done!


    By banding together, in communities across the country, we stand a good chance of stopping what those forces are doing. We know that the majority of Marylanders support our issues. We just need to build more grassroots progressive power in order to prevail. It’s not easy but it is fairly simple in many ways: each of us can organize or donate to support organizing;  we can host a meeting or go to a meeting, we can vote and we can help voter turnout efforts for progressive candidates. We can write a letter to the editor,  march,  demonstrate, show up, and express our solidarity with one another. It’s a critical time to work together on many fronts, including the ongoing work to push for support for families and individuals who are dealing with the impact of  COVID and the overdose crisis.


    Find the tools you -- we -- need to make change and advance our communities here, in the Weekly Memo. Read on -- and take action.

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  • NYCU: Reproductive rights and gun control newly possess Congress, D.C.

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngReplace who? Working people of all identities have lots to stick together for -- to fight off the predatory corporations and banks and the right-wing politicians and media crazies they have bought and continue to support. But too many desperate people are vulnerable to conspiracy theories about “replacement” that goad them to find folks of a different hue, origin or identity to blame.  And so, we have Buffalo, which will burn in our hearts. Until the next heartbreak.

     We should be in solidarity against those big-money pundits, their corporate enablers and the gun culture that they always dangle in front of the desperate and vengeful. But the lure of rapidfire revenge steadily peels off the desperate and easily-duped and brings camo-clad tragedy, where real harm reduction (mental health aware-care, not militarized cops and easy gun purchases) could have brought a different outcome.

    Cities like Buffalo struggle with gun violence, even of the sort that drives many miles to find black people in groups large enough to shoot. But they are near-powerless to change it locally.  So we’ll start with the federal side this week, where gun control can be expected to bubble up again in Congress. So News U Can Use starts in DC this week.



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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 9, 2022


    It’s been an unbearable past week as we started the month of May: hearing as we did about what’s spelled out in the draft brief by Justice Alito on abortion rights, seeing Governor Hogan refuse to release state approved funds for the abortion care clinical training program, and learning in the past few days that we’ve reached the tragic milestone of a million COVID related deaths in this country and fifteen million deaths in the world. It’s hard to take in and absorb such devastating news. We hope you got to take a little break from it all yesterday on Mother’s Day as we paused to celebrate our family members and friends who are moms or all those we know who help the kids in their lives. 


    Now it’s time to raise some hell! Time to lift our voices, to organize, raise money, get in the  streets, help elect candidates who pledge unwavering support to abortion rights, women’s health and healthcare for all. Please join us!






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  • Hogan shows true colors by withholding training funds appropriated in state abortion bill

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngIn news you can use this week: Hogan is backfilling his GOP credentials for a prez run by withholding appropriated funds to train workers for reproductive health clinics. Also: One commentator argues that slow-thinking Democrats have allowed the threat to democracy to deepen. Long Covid may afflict up to 300,000 Marylanders. Prince George's plays it straight down the fairway, despite dodgy resignation ploy. Plus what's going on (or not) in DC in a big week for health care.


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  • Celebrate our New Era PAC birthday and keep making change happen

    new_era_PAC.pngTo our members and supporters in Maryland:

    Our New Era PAC is an effort to turn the tide in Maryland politics away from corporate-funded officials who carry water for big business, not working people and families.

    Please join us May 21 to celebrate the anniversary of this ground-breaking effort and ensure that the people's voice is heard loud and clear.

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  • Oakland shuts down community school programs despite excellent outcomes

    school_generic.jpgMaryland's Blueprint for school reform is grounded in the proven community schools model, in which "wraparound" services are added to an enhanced and enriched community-centered curriculum in schools where communities themselves are impacted and struggling.

    In this account from IndyMedia's "Our Schools" reporting project, veteran education reporter Jeff Bryant shows how shortsighted "economies of scale" budgeting has led to bad outcomes in a school system that was a showcase for the community schools example. One factor that crippled Oakland, and should give Maryland and DC schools pause as they enter the community schools project, has been the invasive charter school movement.

    Some parts of Bryant's deep dive into the Oakland experience have been condensed in this version.

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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 2, 2022


    Eid Mubarak! We wish all who are observing a happy and prosperous Eid!


    A team of Progressive Maryland staff traveled to Denver this past weekend to attend the People’s Action Strategy Summit. Two of PM’s leaders, Mike Walsh and Alfrieda Hylton, also attended the event. Each of them shared their personal stories with the full assembly, Mike’s about health care and Alfrieda’s about ending the drug war. We’re so grateful to them for sharing their powerful and moving stories from the stage with the 300 folks in the room and others of us who watched on zoom. And Sulma Arias, the new Executive Director of People’s Action, delivered an inspiring welcome speech on Friday to open our first in-person large gathering since 2019.


    While there, dozens of participating organizations and leaders committed to building long term organizing efforts to win healthcare justice for all, to end environmental racism and fight climate change, to win a National Tenant’s Bill of Rights, to end the war on drugs, and to reinvigorate movement politics. We’re excited by the potential our national network has  to build and wield grassroots power. We’re honored to have you in this struggle with us. 


    Will you help us spur others into action? On the immediate front, please get involved with our 2022 election campaigns, donate your time or money, door knock and talk to voters, take a shift at an early voting site, or sign up to phonebank. Let’s make Maryland better together!


    In Solidarity, 

    The Progressive Maryland Team


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  • News You Can Use -- making sure your vote counts in Maryland

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngOur system of democratic elections is really an intricate one and it depends on people's routines -- routines that many of us don't even think about ordinarily but REALLY had to focus on during the pendemic.

    Along with your personal routines that get you to the polls or make sure that you get that mail ballot requested and returned on time are the routines of others. And many of them got disturbed in the 2020 election, especially in other states, in ways that have thrown doubt on the strength of our democratic process. Some of those, we see in this week's News You Can Use, are election judges -- who are wondering if they can continue doing this nearly-free public service when faced by open abuse from people who seem to think a staggering democratic process is to their advantage.

    Your democratic rights are threatened in many different ways -- that hasn't gotten better. See what you can do, here.

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  • State board of ed embarks on fall 2022 engagement with schools Blueprint

    slate_for_school.jpgAcknowledging that K-12 schooling in Maryland already contained structural inequalities that were only widened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland school leaders embarked on the full implementation of the Blueprint, or Kirwan, plan for improving the state's system. This article from Maryland Matters outlines the task and players; additional access to information is included.


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, April 25, 2022

    memo_logo.pngWe know we’re living in challenging times, burdened by the inequities in our system and trying to stave off the serious threats to our democracy and our fundamental rights. That’s why organizing is so important right now here in Maryland and around the country! We’re very inspired by the news of what advocates, workers, and activists are doing: from Earth Day actions last Friday that brought people into the streets, to the union organizing that’s happening at Amazon facilities, Starbucks stores, college campuses (including locally at AU and the University of Maryland), at hospitals, and at manufacturing plants and coal mines. Public support for unions is now at historically high levels and that’s good news!

    We’re organizing ideas and people, and tapping into people’s strong desire for change - and we need you to spur others into action. On the immediate front, please get involved with our election campaigns: donate your time or money; door knock and talk to voters; take a shift at an early voting site, or sign up to phonebank. Please check out the Maryland Elections and Candidate Corner section to learn more about getting involved. Let’s transform Maryland politics together! 


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  • Congress is back so get on their backs; PA joins regional green group

    News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngA lot of news -- disasters, war, climate decline -- just thumps you in the noggin and leaves you stunned and feeling helpless. In this weekly blog post we try to round up news from Maryland and the federal government that offers you a path to make change. Still feeling kind of surrounded and alone? News you can use shows how people acting together make bigger change, so join Progressive Maryland to open that window.


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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...
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