Monday Morning Open Thread: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Some history I didn’t know, from the Washington Post“This was Martin Luther King Jr.’s most ambitious dream”:

I was 14 when my parents took my brother and me to Washington to witness the masses gathering there. It was the spring of 1968, and thousands of African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Asian Americans and poor whites from across the country had made their way to the Mall to protest the thing they all had in common: poverty.

They came by train, bus and car caravans. Some traveled by mule carts. They came from farm towns, big cities, the Appalachian hills and Native American reservations. It was the start of the Poor People’s Campaign.

And they brought the nation’s attention to the crippling effects of poverty — and issued a demand for jobs, training, health care and affordable housing. This was the mission of Resurrection City — the final vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and, perhaps, his most ambitious dream.

Once they reached the Mall, they built Resurrection City. It became home for more than 6,000 people; they were there for six weeks. They built 540 tents that resembled wooden shanties, where they lived, worshiped, held meetings, set up Head Start classes and received medical care…

For all its pioneering work, the Poor People’s Campaign failed to realize its aims, in part because there is no simple solution to the nation’s economic ills. Resurrection City brought to light the country’s poverty problem but, befitting its muddy ground, found itself in a social and political quagmire — one that failed to design and construct a strategy for addressing poverty decades into the future.

Today we find ourselves in another pivotal moment in our history — one in which poverty is pervasive and knowledge of its scope scarce. Revisiting the Poor People’s Campaign offers a new vantage point into our shared story, a rich body of knowledge to inform our debates and a model for exposing injustice…


Apart from community service, what’s on the agenda as we start the new week?

A short review of 2017

Now that I’m back from vacation, I should stop procrastinating and do a quick year in review.

My biggest miss

The first week after the 2016 election, I was convinced that the entirety of the ACA minus the Medicare Advantage cuts was dead.  Medicaid expansion gone. Pre-existing conditions gone. Essential Health Benefits gone. Subsidies gone.

I was wrong.  The individual mandate is gone and Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR)subsidies are a mangled mess of ineffective sabotage.

My most important post

CSR and the limited time fuse

I argued that the threat to terminate payments for CSR subsidies was limited in scope and duration.

The CSR threat loses its ability to blow up the market by sometime in the fall.

This post led me to believe that CSR payments required Republican concessions and not the conventional wisdom of Democratic concessions. From there, it led me to believe and argue that there will never by an appropriation for CSR again.

Proudest moment

Every time every one of you picked up the phone and called.  Every time that we stood for our values.  Every time that we looked at our world and tried to figure out how to make it better and not worse.

End Notes

2017 was a huge transition year for me.

Read more

Open Thread: If It Weren’t for Their Mommy Issues, These Hipsters Would Have No Issues At All

So the grown-ups at Vanity Fair decided, during this (usually) slow-news week, to let their Bright Young Things make a clickbait twitter video about how much they despise that Hillary Clinton woman. If you haven’t already tripped over it, you can click on the link above. I try to remind myself I said some very dumb shit when I was that young… but I was never that irresponsible.

Read more

Please help a friend help us live up to our ideals

A lifelong friend of my sister is an attorney and an all around good person.  Melanie Gleason has been working as an immigration/asylum attorney with a specific focus on cases on our Southwest border.  Her clientele seldom can pay so she needs help.

I don’t often do this but I would like to ask our community to help her out if you can do so.  We need to hold to our ideals and help those who are fighting for those ideals day in and day out.

Happy Holidays! How are you? I hope this finds you doing as well as possible—I know it has been quite a year (oof). I also want to apologize for being more out of touch lately; work has honestly been rather tough down here on the border (e.g. on Thanksgiving, I was contacted by a handful of different people whose loved ones were actually detained by ICE that day). So, I am looking forward to being able to connect more in the new year—thanks so much for your support.

I also wanted to share what’s new with Attorney on the Move:

Today, I’m launching a campaign to continue to provide free legal services to asylum seekers here on the border in 2018. Please click here to find out more and contribute.

After providing legal services out of my car for a year a half & when #45 won the election last fall, I made the decision to move to the U.S./Mexico border to be on the immigration frontline to help asylum seekers seeking refuge and peace. There have been many difficult days and nights, but it has all been worth it—to see clients released from detention and not feeling alone because they have a lawyer representing them. For a number of immigrant detainees, I am the only person who comes to visit them at Eloy.

In 2018, in addition to providing full representation for asylum seekers on the ground, Attorney on the Move will aim for more scalable impact, including:

  • More op-eds elevating the voices of those who are detained and shining the light on other injustices within the immigration system and beyond—such as this piece I wrote featured in The Hill (and then a videographer from The Atlantic contacted me to see if my client’s voice could be featured in an upcoming piece)
  • A weekly newsletter starting in early January featuring a curated list of immigration and other social-justice focused articles and commentary—as well as updates on what’s going on here on the ground
  • Working closely with other social justice lawyers and advocates to help them launch their own social ventures to address systemic inequities around immigration and other important issues.

This project has been funded by grassroots donations since the very beginning—and it’d be an honor to receive your support. You can help create momentum early on by clicking here to chip in.

I always look forward to the next time our paths will cross—thank you for all you are doing during these wild times. And I’d love to hear more about what you’ve been up to and how things are going over on your end. Happy holidays and I’m grateful to be connected as we move into 2018!

In solidarity,



If the Republican tax bill passes, it will be a dark moment in our nation’s history. Truly, the fact it is even close to passing makes today a dark moment in our nation’s history. There’s not a way to describe what’s going on that doesn’t sound sappy or melodramatic.

Days like this can be very depressing and very demotivating. So let’s remember the day that Obamacare passed. Pelosi’s not perfect, Obamacare’s not perfect, but that was a great day.

Like every good liberal blogger, I’m obsessed with “The Wire”. So I will close with some approximate Jimmy McNulty: “Trumps’s an asshole. He does not get to win. WE get to win!”