They Are Children
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From a piece by Bruce Lesley for The Huffington Post.
Children are "fleeing for their lives," according to journalist Sonia Navario, who has investigated the root causes, circumstances, and plight of vulnerable migrants who have been traveling -- often by themselves at enormous risk -- to the United States and other countries throughout the Americas from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
In the case of Cristian, an 11 year-old boy from Honduras that Navario interviewed in Honduras, his father was murdered in March by gangs, he witnessed the murder of three people who defied the narco-cartels that control much of the countryside, and a girl his age "resisted being robbed of $5. She was clubbed over the head and dragged off by two men who cut a hole in her throat, stuffed her panties in it, and left her body in a ravine across the street from Cristian's house."
In the case of Andrea, she was 13 years old when she was raped and forced into prostitution by the drug cartels in Honduras. Two years later, she managed to escape and fled to the United States for the United States two years and is now seeking humanitarian relief.
Cristian and Andrea are just two of the thousands of children in Central America who are fleeing their Central American homes and neighborhoods from such extreme violence. In fact, Honduras' homicide rate of 90.4 per 100,000 is the highest in the world - by a wide margin. The prevalence of drug cartels and gang violence and penetration in the country puts its murder rate at almost double the next most dangerous countries in the world, which include Guatemala and El Salvador.
In response, some of our political leaders have said they simply cannot imagine sending their children on an extremely dangerous journey to the United States and question the choices these families and children are making to come here.
But, that is precisely the point. Politicians cannot imagine it because these children are fleeing violence, rape, and fear that are unfathomable to us. These children are not leaving their home countries to make a perilous journey across hostile territory to the United States simply in search of a better job. They are children. And, as Sonia Navario says, many of them are "fleeing for their lives."
CECANF meeting in Michigan on August 28
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Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities to Hold Public Meeting Near Detroit, Michigan
The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), a federal advisory committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (P. L. 112-275), will hold an open meeting on Thursday, August 28, 2014, in Plymouth, Michigan.
Meeting time: Thursday, August 28, 2014, from 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT.
Location: The Inn at St. John’s, Grande Ballroom, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth, Michigan 48170.
Attendance: Individuals interested in attending the meeting in person or via teleconference must register in advance due to limited space (see link below). The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Members of the public will not have the opportunity to ask questions or otherwise participate in the meeting, either on the phone or in person.
To attend in person or listen to the teleconference, please register by Tuesday, August 26: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6733919742151620354
Outside Money Drives a Deluge of Political Ads
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By Ashley Parker for the New York Times.
July 27, 2014
An ad paid for by the Senate Majority PAC against Representative Cory Gardner, calling him an extremist on women’s issues.
An explosion of spending on political advertising on television — set to break $2 billion in congressional races, with overall spots up nearly 70 percent since the 2010 midterm election — is accelerating the rise of moneyed interests and wresting control from the candidates’ own efforts to reach voters.
In the first full midterm cycle where outside groups have developed a sophisticated infrastructure, the consequences are already becoming apparent: a harshly negative tone dictated by the groups and a nearly nonstop campaign season that could cause voters to tune out before Election Day.
“They have become a shadow party that’s effectively impossible to dislodge, and they will shape, if not control, the dialogue in key races and therefore nationally,” said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director for the Center for Responsive Politics. “All of this sets the stage for 2016.”
Democratic, Republican Voters Want More Preschool, And They Want It Now
Both Democratic and Republican voters want more of an investment in early childhood education, and they want it now, according to a new national poll.
The poll, commissioned by early education advocacy group the First Five Years Fund (FFYR) and conducted by bipartisan researchers, surveyed 800 registered voters on their views. The sample was demographically representative of the electorate and included voters living throughout the country.
Similar to previous polls conducted on the subject, Americans expressed support for the idea of early childhood education. Out of nine sample national priorities, including “reducing the tax burden on families” and “securing our borders,” voters ranked “making sure our children get a strong start in life,” as the second most important, only trumped by “increasing jobs and economic growth.”
Overwhelmingly, voters said the nation should be doing more to make sure children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need (see graph below).
Additionally, respondents expressed support for the ideas behind The Strong Start for America’s Children Act, a bipartisan bill, introduced in November 2013, that seeks to expand early childhood education. The phone survey, which never directly references the act, asked respondents if they support a plan being considered by Congress that:
helps states and local communities provide better early childhood education programs to parents of children from birth to five. It provides ten billion dollars per year for ten years in grants to states to provide all low and moderate income four year olds with voluntarily access to high-quality preschool programs. It also makes available voluntary programs in high-quality early education and child care for infants and toddlers, as well as home visiting and parent education.
Voters across the board said they supported such a proposal.
Those who are typically considered swing voters also supported the proposal:
However, support for the proposal seemed to be somewhat conditional upon its funding method. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they found the proposal to be acceptable “if it were paid for in a way that did not add to the deficit or increase debt," but only 46 percent said they found it acceptable "if it were paid for by prioritizing funding for this program and cutting funding for other programs.”
Still, 76 percent of those surveyed said they thought the suggested proposal should be handled by Congress either this year or next.
Steven Barnett, director of National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, previously told the Associated Press that about half of American children ages 3 or 4 attend an early education program and that a third of children attend programs that are publicly funded.
According to this poll, early childhood education is one of the few issues that unites voters on both sides of the aisle.
Now all Congress has to do is hurry up and take action.
New Hampshire Senator Watters on Living with the Minimum Wage
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Along with fellow New Hampshire legislators, Senator David Watters was challenged by the NH Minimum Wage work group to live on the minimum wage for a week. Working with a budget of $38.50 (the amount of food stamps for one person for one week), the Senator had this to say about his experience (see the video below):
“…I bought a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, and carrots, my usual lunch materials, thinking this would get me through the week for a sandwich each noon, and then toast in the morning. However, there are 21 slices of bread, so take out 14, and there's just one left for breakfast. And when I made the sandwich, I recalled when I was working in a factory, and in particular when working as a carpenter in my younger days, I would put 4-6 of these sandwiches, fruit, cookies, and milk, in my lunch box, and eat every crumb. And after eating one sandwich, I was really hungry for the rest of the afternoon. So, more potatoes for supper, cooked with an onion, and one piece of chicken, but knowing that if I ate too much today, the end of the week would get very tight. Just not enough to make it through the day, let alone the week, on $5.50 a day…”.
Tell your Rep. to vote YES on Thompson/King
This past weekend, another mentally unstable man was able to obtain firearms and go on a killing rampage. This time it occurred in Santa Barbara, California. Next time could be anywhere. Fortunately, unlike after most mass killings, Congress is on the verge of taking a step that could deny firearms to dangerous individuals.
Today, the House of Representatives will likely vote on an amendment that would provide additional funding to states to submit records to the National Instant Check System (NICS) for firearm purchases. This bipartisan amendment is being sponsored by Congressmen Mike Thompson (Democrat from California) and Peter King (Republican from New York). It would prohibit convicted felons, domestic abusers, the dangerously mentally ill, and other violent individuals from purchasing firearms by making sure their disqualifying records get into the FBI's NICS database.
Please call your U.S. Representative right now and tell him/ her to vote YES on the Thompson/King Amendment to H.R. 4660. You can be connected to your Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you do not know who your Representative is, you can find out by clicking here.
Make your call today! If enacted, the Thompson/King Amendment WILL save lives. We must seize this moment together and make sure Congress does not drop the ball yet again.
Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities to Hold Public Meeting in San Antonio, Texas
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The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), a federal advisory committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, Public Law 112-275, will hold an open meeting on Monday, June 2, 2014, and Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
Meeting times: Monday, June 2, 2014, from 1:00–5:30 p.m. CDT, and Tuesday, June 3, 2014, from 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. CDT.
Location: University of Texas at San Antonio, Downtown Campus, 501 W. César E. Chávez Blvd., Southwest Room, Durango Building 1.124, San Antonio, TX 78207.
To attend in person or participate by teleconference, please register at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5WLJYWH
A call-in number is available upon registration.
ECM Suggests the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift
We all know the best and most important present a Mom can have is healthy, safe, and happy kids.
So, to ensure Moms everywhere receive that perfect present, you can do just a little something every time you hear from us:
And for you Moms who are reading this, have a glorious Mother’s Day!
Raise the Minimum Wage – Call 202-517-2321
On Wednesday this week, the United States Senate will hold a vote to raise the minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour, by 95 cents a year for the next three years. It will become $10.10 an hour in 2016. The wage for tipped workers will be set at 70% of the minimum wage. Most importantly, the wage will increase by inflation every year so low-wage workers won’t have to wait for years and years for a raise from Congress as they currently do.
The minimum wage has not increased since 2007. The tipped minimum wage - $2.13 an hour - has not increased in over 20 years. In the past 40 years, inflation has taken away 30% of the value of the minimum wage. It would be $10.60 an hour today if it had kept pace with the cost of living.
The minimum wage helps hard working families and reduces poverty. More than 14 million children have a parent who would get a raise. Raising the minimum wage will not reduce jobs, according to the more rigorous studies and real-life experience of states who have raised it.
Make Your Voice Heard. Call 202-517-2321.
You will be connected to your Senators’ offices. Tell them that no American who works full time should live in poverty. Pass the $10.10 minimum wage and stand up for America’s working families.
We Will All Prosper from the Better Off Budget
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The House of Representatives will vote next week on various budget proposals for 2015. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his budget for the House Republican majority on April 1st. Earlier this month, the House Progressive Caucus released its budget, the“Better Off Budget”. The Ryan/Republican Budget is dead on arrival and will move no further in the congressional process this year because of certain Senate opposition. However, these two budgets clearly illustrate differing visions of America’s future. ECM strongly supports the Better Off Budgetand urges the House to vote “Yes” on it next week. Here is a brief comparison of the two budgets: