For the 40th time this year, the 141st time since the Sandy Hook massacre, a gunman opened fire yesterday morning at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, killing 10 people before being shot and killed by police. The witness’ accounts are chilling, but that goes without saying.
This is the latest in a string of mass shootings that has left the nation stunned, saddened and shell-shocked, but with no elected officials willing to stand up to the NRA to make meaningful changes.
I’ve had a policy of not using the murderers names on my show or blog, as I have no desire to give these assholes even one second of the fame they want. The Daily Beast today suggests a name you should know – Chris Mintz, who charged the gunman and likely saved many lives, while taking seven bullets in the process.
Our only hope is electing representatives who will make doing something about our gun violence epidemic a thing of the past. I spoke with one of them this morning. Joseline Peña -Melnyk is running for Congress from MD’s 4th district, the seat being vacated by Donna Edwards as she runs for the Senate.
Howie Klein was on yesterday, and told us about a Blue America contest they’re running to support Peña -Melnyk‘s campaign, with a very rare Steely Dan RIAA platinum award that also commemorated the band’s four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, for Two Against Nature.
Joseline Peña-Melnyk is a progressive with heart and smarts. She’s the true progressive running for Maryland’s 4th congressional dstrict to replace Donna Edwards. Born in the Caribbean and fluent in Spanish, she is equally at home with the district’s growing Latino population and its longstanding African American majority. She preaches unity, not division.
She’s a doer. As a former prosecutor and defense lawyer, Joseline saw that minorities are over-represented in prison. Thanks to her, a new Maryland law taking effect soon will help remove bias by requiring police line-up administrators to be ‘blind’– that is, the administrator will not know the identity of the suspect or, if he knows the identity of the suspect, the administrator should not know which line-up member is being viewed by the eyewitness. Research shows that in lineups today eyewitnesses often take cues from the line-up administrator and feel pressure to make a selection. The result of her law should be fewer wrongful convictions and more confidence in the justice system.
Progressives can be practical too. Joseline led Maryland into the adoption of digital medical records. With doctors sharing a database of patient information there are fewer mistakes, fewer duplicative tests, and less unnecessary expensive care. When a constituent came to her with a family tragedy– the suicide of a teenage daughter, Joseline was the motivator behind “Lauryn’s Law” to ensure that school counselors have training in recognizing teen suicide risk factors.
Immigrant students with limited English language skills were failing in Maryland schools. Only 55% percent of these students graduate high school, as compared to 77% of the general population. Joseline worked closely with the schools administrations to establish two new high school programs funded in part with $3 million in seed money from a Carnegie Corporation grant to target this achievement gap. She did it because we all win if the next generation is prepared to take their place in our society.
In Congress Joseline will continue pushing smart progressive ideas. She’ll support creating jobs by rebuilding the nation’s failing roads, bridges and sewer and water systems; she’ll keep fighting for affordable education; and she’ll keep protecting the civil rights of the people on the margins and working to get them a bigger piece of the pie.
Please help get Joseline Peña-Melnyk in Congress where she belongs through your Blue America contribution and maybe you’ll luck out and win a very special and very rare Steely Dan platinum album award as a bonus. Rolling Stone has called Steely Dan– Walter Becker and Donald Fagen– “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies.” Maybe that’s like Reagan being the anti-hero to Trump. I don’t know, but Steely Dan is a complex blend of jazz and rock that is simultaneously intellectually challenging and spiritually, emotionally and physically uplifting. The band sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The particular platinum record we’ll be giving away to one lucky randomly-selected contributor is a super rare collector’s edition for Two Against Nature that commemorates RIAA platinum sales certification (1,000,000 albums) and 4 Grammy Awards in 2001– including Album of the Year. Only a few were made for the band and their associates. This particular one was awarded to Blue America co-founder Howie Klein, then president of Reprise Record, now a devoted Joseline supporter. You can help her win a crowded primary and take a chance on a memorable piece of music history.
The “contest rules” are simple. Just contribute any amount to Joseline Peña-Melnyk’s campaign on this page. We’re not Republicans so the winner isn’t the person who contributes the most. Any amount goes. In fact, if you don’t have any cash to spare at the moment and want a chance to win anyway, just send us a post card to Blue America, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you’ll have the same chance as anyone else. But do it quickly. The contest is over next Sunday night at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time.
It just so happens that I hosted the world premiere broadcast for that album back in 2000 and, for our Flashback Friday segment today, played the raw interview audio from the recording session. It has everything that was included in the broadcast (that we played on FBF last summer). Today, you got to hear the behind the scenes chatter as well…
I won’t be here Monday, so I’ll share a couple of shows from the past… from April of 2011 following my night in jail after being arrested at an Allen West “town hall meeting,” and another show from December of 2013 when I guest hosted the Randi Rhodes Show following the Newtown massacre. We need to feel the outrage again to get the change we need.
And I’ll be back Tuesday morning to take on the world yet again, radio or not.