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 Tuesday, October 12, 2021

    bailout_sig.jpgThe Fight for Justice and More:  PM Weekly Memo for Tuesday, October 12, 2021

    As we marked another Indigenous People’s Day yesterday around the state and around the nation, we were moved by the Native elders, activists and faith leaders who came to Washington, D.C. to demand that President Biden declare a Climate Emergency. We’re inspired by the courage, vision, and determination of these front line activists who are raising awareness about the need to  save our waterways and restore our ecosystems. For decades, their communities have witnessed first hand the environmental destruction caused by the fossil fuel and other extractive industries. We should heed their call to “build back fossil free” and institute public policies that put the planet and people first. Congress can take a major step forward by keeping  the climate provisions in Build Back Better and then getting to work on a robust Green New Deal. 


    Federal action is needed now to address the existential threat of human induced climate change. Such measures will help all of our communities, particularly those that have suffered environmental degradation, like many areas of Baltimore. Read the post in today’s Maryland Matters by PM’s Executive Director about this topic: Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore




    Thanks for reading our update and for being part of this movement.


    In Solidarity,

    The Progressive Maryland Team



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  • Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore

    CampaignMiscImage_1594309709.6756.pngProgressive Maryland's Executive Director Larry Stafford Jr. sees the pro-urban and pro-Baltimore elements embedded in President Biden's Build Back Better plan. It's important to keep it intact as GOP indifference and some neolib Democrats want to dismantle it. Protecting it is vital, for Baltimore, for Maryland and for democracy. This piece first appeared as a guest commentary in Maryland Matters on Monday, Oct. 11.


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  • Media discourse keeps the "both sides" illusion alive

    As the full horror of Donald Trump's attempt to seize power and dump democracy fades in the public mind, the mainstream media -- which collectively had been pointing out the difference between facts and lies -- have slumped back into he said-she said vanilla coverage. Take the word "strict," analyst Sean Dobson suggests -- a word with a lot of positive connotations for most readers. Does it make sense to describe as "strict" scuh recent state-level atrocities as Mississippi's or Texas's draconian new abortion laws, or the blatant voter-suppression laws being passed by Republican legislators in a dozen-plus states where they have control? Or is the press slipping back to its old duck-and-cover strategy to avoid being tagged as "liberal"?


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 27, 2021

    CampaignMiscImage_1594309709.6756.pngCongress is back and we are stepping up the  Build Back Better campaign! We can’t let a few conservative Democrats stand in the way of a plan that will  enact $3.5 trillion dollars of funding for much needed investments in Medicare expansion, community health programs, green jobs, paid family leave, and the framework that will create a path to citizenship for those who need it. Let’s remind Congress as we did last week at the Welcome Back rally that they work for us, not for Big Pharma, the U.S.Chamber of Commerce and Big Oil. Join the fight!  More on this in our updates and news sections below.


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 13, 2021

    opioid_RIP_toon.jpgThe overdose crisis has reached new levels of harm and devastation in our country and communities. Last year more than  93,000 people in the United States died of preventable overdose. Sadly but not surprisingly the  number of people struggling and dying has increased during the pandemic. It’s long past time to end the overdose crisis and to invest in public health solutions like treatment and harm reduction. Progressive Maryland’s  Drug Policy Task Force is meeting with lawmakers, gathering stories, working with allies and holding a special  event this Wednesday evening, Stories From the Overdose Crisis (see below for more details) in order to sound the alarm. We need a new approach, one that prioritizes policies and programs that offer people help. Let’s come together now to do something about this crisis and to demand accountability from Big Pharma and to demand that drug policies be overhauled and updated. Let’s turn our concern into action.


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  • Eviction risk sharpens as rental assistance flags in Maryland, nationally

    eviction_scene.jpgThe last protections against eviction during the still-raging pandemic have fallen in many states, Maryland included. How did the feds' $46 billion in assistance get bogged down? We hear about it from Maryland Matters (our state failure) and The New York Times about today's bleak landscape and, well, supply chain issues plus appalling factors like "the reluctance of local officials to ease eligibility requirements for the poor," a familiar-sounding concern. We are on our own in Maryland and will have to watch our neighbors' backs as evictions continue and landlords (who could have worked with tenants to make this money flow much more quickly) instead march their lawyers into court to continue criminalizing poverty.


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  • BRIDGES Coalition Launches Campaign Advocating for Overdose Prevention Sites

    The BRIDGES Coalition launches the “Yes On My Block” Campaign to promote community support for overdose prevention sites (OPS) in Baltimore. The campaign launches on Overdose Awareness Day 2021 in recognition of the desperate need to support bold new strategies to save lives from overdose.


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 30, 2021

    As the virus resurgence and eviction crisis collide, we see more than ever how neglect of health security and housing security issues intersect (landlord rights win again; we have got to reverse that trend). We are at a crossroads for healthcare AND housing security in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! And they are looking at how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down the eviction moratorium.Let’s be sure that our lawmakers take the path that leads us to funding critical Medicare  expansion and which leads to protections for people who are behind on rent. Federal funds allocated for rent relief are also going unused. In many cases it’s too hard and complicated to apply for relief-we need to make sure the funds reach those in need.  Housing and healthcare should be a  universal right.  People need shelter. The less shelter, the less distancing and… you know what happens. Let’s do something.


    Thank you for being part of this moment and this movement. Because of the Labor Day holiday Sept. 6 you'll see the Memo next on Tuesday, Sept. 7.


    In Solidarity,

    The PM Team


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 23, 2021

    campaign_for_hc_justice_sig.pngWe are at a crossroads for healthcare in our country. As we speak, Congress is hashing out what could be the largest expansion of Medicare in years! Let’s be sure that our lawmakers take the very best path forward. The path that leads us to funding critical Medicare improvements and expansion which could result in: lower costs for prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate on Rx prices; coverage for vision, dental, and hearing; a younger eligibility age to enroll in Medicare; and lower copays. We can do this with your support.


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  • Time to trim lobbyists' privileged access to Assembly members

    us_money_larger.jpgOfficials fromaroundd the state are gathering in Ocean City this week at the Maryland Association of Counties annual meeting. The officials will be surrounded by deep-pocketed types aiming to influence the way they make law and policy. We have come to call them lobbyists.

    Jimmy Tarlau, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, checks off the ways high-paid lobbyists distort the public policy process with financial contributions and provides a checklist of how the Legislature should check the lobbyists power.

    As soon as they stop eating the lobbyists' crab cakes.

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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 16, 2021

    coronavirus_image2.jpgMaryland’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired Sunday without an extension of the state of emergency by Gov. Larry Hogan, despite a letter Friday  from House Speaker Adrienne Jones and her top lieutenants urging Hogan to extend it

    “This is a preventable public health crisis,” WMAR quotes Public Justice Center attorney Matt Hill, who said up to 4,500 Maryland families were at risk of eviction without Hogan’s extension. Support your neighbors in trouble and let your local officials know how you feel about Hogan’s do-nothing pandemic response. 


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  • The political "duopoly" keeps Maryland divided, conquered by mediocrity

    ballot_box.jpg“ 'Bipartisan' sounds like it includes all viewpoints, but it’s just another word for control by the duopoly," concludes veteran journalist and observer of folly Len Lazarick in this column on how Maryland's state politics stay in the grip of centrism.

    As he might have noted, county-level Central Committees, particularly of Democrats, consolidate the parties' grip on their locales by appointing replacements for Assembly members who die or leave office, magically creating the electoral power of "incumbency" for their in-house favorites.

    So the parties pick their voters, not the other way round.


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 9, 2021

    Stop evictions? MD has the money PM Weekly Memo for Monday, August 9, 2021

    Progressive Maryland joins our friends in the labor, civil rights, and social justice movements to memorialize Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO, who died last Thursday. He was a fierce fighter for working people and a powerful movement leader. Sadly we’ve lost him at a significant moment in the campaigns for the right to organize workplaces and for greater economic security for all Americans. Statement from the AFL . Mike Podhorzer, Special Advisor to President Trumka, lifted up this quote in his tribute to Trumka:  “There’s no evil that’s inflicted more pain and more suffering than racism--and it’s something we in the labor movement have a special responsibility to challenge. It’s our special responsibility because we know, better than anyone else, how racism is used to divide working people.” Let’s honor his legacy by staying committed to the struggle for racial and economic justice.

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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 2, 2021

    eviction_scene.jpgMaryland is still lagging in helping local governments get relief to those threatened with eviction as the moratorium on evictions expired at midnight Saturday. Gov. Hogan and the sometimes-contradictory federal program(s) do not help. Get the least confusing information and help here, in the Memo. And share it. Keep people housed in our communities.

    Thank you for being part of this movement. 


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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, July 26, 2021

    prog_hc_m4a_logo.PNGMedicare For All is making more sense to more and more people (it has always made sense to us). Montgomery’s Council joined many others in backing it last week. Just in time for its birthday Friday, July 30. You can sign on too; see below.

    Thank you for being part of this movement. 

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  • MoCo Council adds biggest county to those backing Medicare for All

    prog_hc_m4a_logo.PNGProgressive Maryland and The Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition Celebrate the Montgomery County Medicare For All Resolution as the Montgomery County Council passes a resolution calling on Congress to enact Medicare For All. Organizations and individuals including small business owners have backed this effort. Read more below.

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  • Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, July 19, 2021

    john_lewis.jpgMedicare for All is making more sense to more and more people (it has always made sense to us). Resolutions backing the national campaign passed in Annapolis’ council last week and looks to pass in Montgomery’s council this week. The New Era project is under way and the critical needs of our communities are on the line -- including health care and the welfare of kids, in the classroom and out. 

     And we lost Rep. John Lewis, champion of civil rights and voting rights, a year ago this week. The bill named for him, which would help ward off anti-voter craziness such as the Texas GOP is up to, is struggling in Congress. Join that struggle. Check it all out in this week’s memo.

    Thank you for being part of this movement. 


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  • published The War on Drugs is a war on people like me in Home 2021-07-16 15:06:51 -0400

    The War on Drugs is a war on people like me

    cuffed_individual.jpg"The War on Drugs has been with us for more than fifty years, and hasn’t been a war on drugs at all. It’s been a war on people: people like me, and my family. Black people. The part where it was supposed to decrease drug use? That part failed."

    Prince George's resident Alfrieda Hylton reminds us of the devastation Nixon's deliberate attack on his perceived enemies has brought to communities of color everywhere.


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  • Hogan admin stymied in attempt at early Unemployment Insurance cutoff

    HOGAN_STRIKE_3.pngAs reported yesterday in the emailed Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo, enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the Biden administration will last at least well into August despite attempts by Larry Hogan to burnish his credentials as a standard GOP oppresser of working families by unilaterally discontinuing their payment.

    As reported this morning in Maryland Matters, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a ruling before 10am that will maintain Maryland’s participation in enhanced federal unemployment benefits past the end of his own temporary injunction. More below.


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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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