March on Harrisburg Stops Marching and Starts Lobbying

The second day of March On Harrisburg’s march. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Voice’s Periscope.

One hundred and five miles in nine days—that is the feat just accomplished by March on Harrisburg’s participants, who marched from Philadelphia to the State Capital in Harrisburg, May 13-21. But the activists do not have time to rest their feet, as they start a four-day lobby and protest at the State Capital, May 22-24.

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Verizon, Comcast May Not Let You Read Articles Like This

John Oliver is back at net neutrality, since his last segment on the topic in 2014, on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

Without the requirement to treat all data equally, big internet providers would be allowed to block or slow down access to any website whose ideas they do not like, or simply whose owners do not pay extra to be part of the “fast lane.”

Websites like the Philadelphia Jewish Voice could be silenced if they express views not in line with the company’s management.

Oliver shared the URL www.gofccyourself.com, which directly links you to the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System so that you can voice your support of net neutrality. After Oliver’s plea, the FCC’s site crashed, most likely as a result of the high influx of visitors. Back in 2014, Oliver’s call to action led to millions rallying behind net neutrality, and which contributed to the FCC’s Title II Net Neutrality Rules, passed in Feb. 2015, that tightened rules against the privatization of the internet.  You can also contact the FCC via email.

Thank you.

Do you value your continued access to alternative sources of information? Learn what you can do after the jump.

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Maccabiah: US Futsal Team Seeking Financial Help

U.S. Maccabiah futsal team.

Among the athletes participating in the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel in July, the U.S. delegation will include a futsal team. Futsal is similar to soccer, but played on a field the size of a basketball court with five players on each side.

Last year, at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Chile, the team came fourth, losing the bronze medal in penalty kicks to the host after a 3-3 draw.

At the 2013 Games, the team included four players from Greater Philadelphia, in addition to Coach Michael Monheit. Practicing in King of Prussia, the current team only has one local: goalkeeper Ethan Clearfield, who played in Chile as well.

The team is trying to raise $10,000 to ease the burden on the players. Monheit said that “for a number of players the competition and experience will not be possible” without this help:

For many of them, it will be their first trip to Israel and it will be a visit that will change their lives. I assure you, this will be the most significant connection in each of their lives so far to their Jewish heritage.

Currently, the team has raised about $2,000. Monheit said that “every dollar counts towards making it possible for these players to be able to join the team.”

Political Prisoners in the United States? Depoliticizing our criminal system

 

Does the United States actually have political prisoners?

Green states do not disenfranchise. Yellow states only disenfranchise those who are actually in prison. Purple states also disenfranchise felons who are out on parole. Red states disenfranchise prisoners who are on parole or probation. Orange states restrict the rights of some to vote even after they have completed their sentences. (Source: The Sentencing Project)

Green states do not disenfranchise.
Yellow states only disenfranchise those who are actually in prison.
Purple states also disenfranchise felons who are out on parole.
Red states disenfranchise prisoners who are on parole or probation.
Orange states restrict the rights of some to vote even after they have completed their sentences.
(Source: The Sentencing Project)

Probably not by the strict definition of the term: people incarcerated for their political beliefs. But there are millions of American citizens in the criminal justice system who are pawns in our political system. The criminalization of an activity and the pursuit, arrest and incarceration of people engaged in those activities have political ramifications which, in turn, can tempt lawmakers to make decisions which favor their own political viewpoints.

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March on Harrisburg Aims to Repair Trust in Our Democracy

— Michael Pollack

March on Harrisburg PosterMarch on Harrisburg is a grassroots, nonpartisan group dedicated to healing our wounded democracy and repairing the relationship between “We the People” and our elected representatives. We have a solid plan underway to pass three crucial and important laws in Pennsylvania, but first, it is important to understand the disease we are working to alleviate, the deep disease in our society, rooted in the way we relate to one another. [Read more…]

Yes, I Can Be A Zionist And A Feminist

A side-by-side of Mayim Bialik (left) and Linda Sarsour (right). Photo courtesy of Fox News.

A side-by-side of Mayim Bialik (left) and Linda Sarsour (right). Photo courtesy of Fox News.

This article was originally published on Huffington Post.

Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American political activist, expressed back in March how feminists need to care for Palestinian women, and alluded to the sentiment that Zionism and feminism are incompatible. Sarsour said to The Nation, “It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, ‘Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.”

Big Bang Theory actress and Orthodox Jew, Mayim Bialik, retaliated by writing an article for Grok Nation, which outlined how Sarsour’s statements were not only offensive, but also false. Bialik wrote on her Facebook page, where she also apologized for making it seem as though Sarsour directly said that Zionism and feminism are incompatible, “[The] conversation surrounding Zionism finally went too far for me to keep my big mouth shut.” Bialik vocalized her frustrations, and now I am following suit. I am tired of the discrimination against my people and of activists, such as Sarsour, who think they can pit my identity as both a Zionist and feminist against each other.

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When we say, ‘Never Again’ we must mean it.

PA Representative Dwight Evans’ statement in response to White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s comments on Adolph Hitler.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer mentioned Hitler in reference to the most recent chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Assad and said, “you had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” This incredibly careless and disrespectful comment demonstrates Mr. Spicer’s clear mischaracterization of history.  Mr. Spicer’s inexcusable comments fall during Passover. We can never tolerate Holocaust denial, but it certainly is in even greater distaste during this reflective and meaningful time for Jewish communities across the US and our globe.  Holocaust denial and a general lack of understanding for communities who have suffered the worst form of persecution throughout our history and those who are still being persecuted today is something we as a nation cannot and will not stand for. I am glad to see Mr. Spicer apologize for his comments yesterday but I repeat when we say, #NeverAgain we mean Never Again.

Watch Sean Spicer’s original comments comparing Hitler and Assad:

Filibustering Is Not Obstructing

Empty Chair at Supreme Court. Photo: OneNewsPage.com

Empty Chair at Supreme Court. Photo: One News Page.

When the Democrats launched a filibuster against the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, some claimed that it was only nasty revenge for the refusal of the Republicans in 2016 to vote, or even hold hearings, on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. The comparison is not apt.

Judges Gorsuch and Garland are both highly gifted members of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, judicial offices second in rank only to the justices of the Supreme Court. There the similarity ends. [Read more…]

Muslim Laptops?

Muslim man has his bag checked at the airport.

Muslim man has his bag checked at the airport. Photo courtesy of France 24.

With its new ban, the Transportation Safety Administration has adapted to the Trump Administration too easily. “Intelligence showing that the Islamic State is developing a bomb hidden in portable electronics spurred the United States and Britain on Tuesday to bar passengers from airports in a total of 10 Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptop computers, iPads and other devices larger than a cellphone aboard direct inbound flights, two senior American counter terrorism officials said,” according to the New York Times.

We need to take a long breath and think about what is happening. Laptop computers and tablet readers might pose a danger to air travel. But singling out ten Muslim-majority Middle East nations is not our way, and is not logical.

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