Posts tagged with "president"

Politics by 360 Magazine via 360 Magazine

Extend the PSLF Waiver

Menendez, Kaine, Gillibrand, Van Hollen, Sarbanes, Hayes, Courtney Urge the Biden Administration to Extend the PSLF Waiver.

The bicameral group of lawmakers asked for the waiver deadline to be extended until July 1, 2023

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), alongside U.S. Representatives John Sarbanes (D-Md.-03), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05), and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02), today led a bicameral group of nearly 100 colleagues in urging U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to extend the limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver deadline until July 1, 2023 – when the Department of Education’s new PSLF regulations are set to take effect, in order to ensure all public servants with federal student loans can benefit from this historic waiver. Since the Department announced the limited PSLF waiver last October, more than 189,000 public servants have had their student loans forgiven through the program and one million have received an average of one additional year of PSLF credit.

“To date, the waiver has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing barriers for borrowers to receive PSLF relief, as the waiver accounts for almost all (91%) of the borrowers who have received forgiveness through the PSLF program through July 31, 2022,” wrote the lawmakers to Secretary Cardona. “The limited waiver [has] also [been] a lifeline for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers who—for the first time—have seen their payments acknowledged in the PSLF program.”

Despite how many public servants have already benefited from the limited waiver, the lawmakers highlighted that these borrowers represent only a fraction of the public servants who are eligible for PSLF. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center’s estimates, only 15% of the 9 million public service workers with student debt have filed paperwork to track their qualifying payments under PSLF. The lawmakers also echoed the more than 20 state attorneys general who warned that fundamental programmatic problems with the PSLF program will immediately return – likely in a more exacerbated manner – if the waiver ends before the Department of Education implements its new PSLF regulations.

“Extending the PSLF waiver will also allow more military service members and federal employees to make progress towards loan forgiveness through PSLF. Though the Department has announced that it is currently working to ensure that all federal agencies and departments automatically provide credit for PSLF for members of the military and federal employees, this program is not yet in place,” added the lawmakers. “Military and federal data matches are critical to ensuring that the Department can identify which borrowers are eligible for PSLF and provide them automatic relief.”

Sen. Menendez and many of his colleagues have long called on the Department of Education to make comprehensive fixes to the PSLF program, which has faced scrutiny for several implementation challenges since its inception in 2007, with only 1 to 2 percent of PSLF applicants being approved each year prior to the Biden Administration proposing a sweeping overhaul of the PSLF program. Today’s effort comes more than a month after Sen. Menendez and several of his colleagues led a group of more than 100 lawmakers in calling on the Biden Administration to extend the PSLF waiver deadline.

This effort is supported by 35 advocacy groups, including: AASA, The School Superintendents Association, Accountable.us, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), American Council on Education (ACE), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American Psychological Association (APA), OCA- Asian Pacific American Advocates, Association of Young Americans (AYA), Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW), Community Service Society of New York (CSSNY), Consumer Action, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Fosterus, Maryland Center for Collegiate Financial Wellness (MCCFW), National Action Network Washington Bureau, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Council of Nonprofits, National Education Association (NEA), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), New Leaders, New Jersey Citizen Action, Public Law Center, Social Current, Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC), The Arc, The Education Trust, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), UnidosUS, and Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC).

Joining Sens. Menendez, Kaine, Gillibrand, and Van Hollen in the Senate in signing the letter are: Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Joining Reps. Sarbanes, Hayes, and Courtney in the House in signing the letter are: Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.-12), Colin Allred (D-Texas-32), Cynthia Axne (D-Iowa-03), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.-16), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.-02), Shontel Brown (D-Ohio-11), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.-24), Sean Casten (D-Ill.-06), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-27), David Cicilline (D-R.I.-01), James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.-06), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.-46), Angie Craig (D-Minn.-02), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.-07), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.-03), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-11), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.-12), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas-35), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.-13), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-03), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.-04), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas-29), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.-34), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas-18), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.-53), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.-07), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.-06), John B. Larson (D-Conn.-01), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.-14), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.-03), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.-08), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.-06), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.-04), James McGovern (D-Mass.-02), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.-09), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.-04), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-32), Marie Newman (D-Ill.-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-At-Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.-14), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.-06), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-20), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.-09), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.-07), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.-05), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.-08), Deborah K. Ross (D-N.C.-02), C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.-02), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.-01), Gregorio Sablan (D-N. Mariana Is.-At-Large), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.-09), David Scott (D-Ga.-13), Adam Smith (D-Wash.-09), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.-07), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.-11), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.-03), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.-15), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-13), David Trone (D-Md.-06), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12), Peter Welch (D-Vt.-At-Large), Susan Wild (D-Pa.-07), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.-05), and John A. Yarmuth (D-Ky.-03).

Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.

Dear Secretary Cardona:

Thank you for your continued efforts to improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. As you are aware, the limited PSLF waiver, announced last October, has significantly improved the lives of the more than 189,0001 public servants who have had their student loans forgiven though the program and the one million2 who have received an average of one additional year of PSLF credit. Given the upcoming October 31, 2022 limited PSLF waiver deadline, we write to reiterate our request3 that the Department of Education extend its deadline until July 1, 2023—when the Department’s new PSLF regulations will take effect—in order to ensure that all public servants with federal student loans are able to benefit from this historic waiver. 

To date, the waiver has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing barriers for borrowers to receive PSLF relief, as the waiver accounts for almost all (91%) of the borrowers who have received forgiveness through the PSLF program through July 31, 2022.4 The limited waiver is also a lifeline for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers who—for the first time—have seen their payments acknowledged in the PSLF program. Yet, data indicates that only a fraction of the public servants who are eligible for PSLF have utilized the waiver. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center’s estimates, only 15% of the 9 million public service workers with student debt have filed paperwork to track their qualifying payments under PSLF.5

As more than 20 state attorneys general have pointed out, “[g]iven the essential benefits provided by the limited PSLF waiver, and the fact that fundamental problems with the PSLF program will immediately return (likely in an exacerbated form) upon the waiver’s end, we have grave concerns about the plans to end the waiver . . . before the Department’s new PSLF regulations take effect.”These attorneys general, alongside the education advocacy, government, and non-profit community as a whole, agree that operationalizing and explaining the waiver has been an incredible challenge for the Department, as well as its servicers. Such challenges have left numerous public servants confused about how the waiver, consolidation, and the Department’s one-time review to fix forbearance and deferment failures will work. This is especially true for FFEL borrowers and borrowers who still hold joint consolidated loans from the Department, many of whom are still unaware that they may have an opportunity to qualify for PSLF under the limited PSLF waiver.

Importantly, extending the PSLF waiver will also allow more military service members and federal employees to make progress towards loan forgiveness through PSLF. Though the Department has announced that it is currently working to ensure that all federal agencies and departments automatically provide credit for PSLF for members of the military and federal employees, this program is not yet in place. Military and federal data matches are critical to ensuring that the Department can identify which borrowers are eligible for PSLF and provide them automatic relief.

Since the deadline of October 31, 2022 to qualify for PSLF under the waiver program is less than one month away, we ask that the Department extend this deadline in order to ensure that all public servants with federal student loans are able to benefit from this historic waiver.

Sincerely,

Follow Senator Menendez on Instagram I Facebook I Twitter I YouTube I Flickr I Website

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Tornadoes Devastate Central and Southern United States

A devastating stream of tornadoes unleased late Friday December 10 and early Saturday December 11 across sections of the central and southern United States. In accordance with information from the Storm Prediction Center, there were at least 50 tornado reports. The states affected include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

Click HERE to see how you can assist and support the victims of these destructive tornadoes.

The most substantial damage arose as Tornadoes and strong winds broke down a nursing home in Arkansas, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois and an inhabited candle factory in Kentucky. People were killed in all separate incidents and responders have been struggling to rescue survivors.

At least one death out of an anticipated two in Arkansas has been credited to the collapsing of a nursing home. Several were trapped in the nursing home before being saved. Around 20 people were injured at the nursing home, and eventually all were taken out of the home and accounted for. Another individual in Arkansas was reported dead after being trapped in a Dollar General when the storm hit, as reported by Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.

One of the tornadoes fell upon an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois on the night of Friday December 10. Authorities were unable to recount the exact number of workers in the Amazon warehouse because “the warehouse does not employ a ‘set staff.’” It has been verified, however, that at least two individuals died when the warehouse collapsed. Edwardsville police chief Michael Fillback validated this report on Saturday December 11 and stated that an additional person was hospitalized.

Fillback also communicated that rescue operations were not at ease due to misplaced power lines, concrete and extra water everywhere from the fire suppression system. An OSHA investigation was opened on Monday December 13 to dig deeper into the collapse of the Amazon warehouse.

On the night of December 10, another tornado hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in the Mayfield, Kentucky. Inside, around 110 people were working, and dozens were anticipated to be dead there. At least 40 people were rescued from the candle factory, but piles of metal and corrosive chemicals that toppled the factory limit the number of anticipated survivors that could be found alive.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, survivor of the catastrophe that struck the candle factory, recounted the events of that night. She explained that workers had been hurried into a safety area before the storm officially hit. Parsons-Perez recounts seeing “a little dust of wind. My ears start popping. And it was like the building, we all just rocked back and forth, and then boom — everything fell on us,” Parasons-Perez told CNN’s Boris Sanchez.

During the devasting storm, Parsons-Perez broadcasted the tragedy on Facebook Live and made phone calls to 911 and other family members. She recounts realizing that rescuers were there when she felt pressure from people walking on the debris above her. “I was screaming like, ‘Sir, can you please just get this so I can move my leg?’ He said, ‘Ma’am, there’s about 5 feet worth of debris on top of you,'” Parsons-Perez recounts.

As of Monday December 13, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that there is a confirmed number of 64 deaths across Kentucky, and that it could take some time to account for the full number of fatalities and damage that fully hit the state. Beshear noted that at least 105 individuals were unaccounted for as of that Monday morning. At least 13 people in the other varying states have been confirmed dead.

Emergency workers consisting of 300 members of the National Guard have been searching for survivors, searching through wreckage and remains and delivering water and generators to residents of Western Kentucky. Beshear talked of the damage during a press conference, stating “I’m not doing so well today and I’m not sure how many of us are. The people of Western Kentucky have gone through an unspeakable trauma. The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life,” Beshear stated.

President Biden is scheduled to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday, December 14 to assess damages and aid in the recovery processes. “We’re going to get this done. We’re going to be there as long as it takes to help,” Biden stated during a briefing on Monday December 13 regarding federal reaction to the destructive tornadoes. Biden ensures that he does not want to get in the way of rescue efforts, but to just provide aid to the community that truly needs it in these trying times.

By: McKinley Franklin

Rodney Ramlochan image via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Rodney

Rodney Ramlochan is an executive, entrepreneur, and global business generator who has dedicated his career to empowering others, identifying strategic relationships, and building world-class organizations. Driven by his passion for technology, fashion, lifestyle, and culture, he serves as 360 Magazine’s global business manager. Rodney builds market position for 360 by locating, developing, defining, and closing business relationships with leading brands.

Alongside his role at 360 Magazine, Rodney serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dev-Byrne & Company, a national technology expense management firm serving premier clients ranging from global not-for-profits to Fortune 500 firms. He is a highly accomplished leader known for laser-like vision in formulating and executing cutting-edge strategies to achieve business goals.

Over the years, Rodney has held multiple roles within the business sector over the past two decades. As Vice-President and co-founder of an award-winning telecom auditing firm, he garnered an elite list of clients, taking the startup from obscurity to highly profitable in under three years. At Verizon, he oversaw large business units responsible for service delivery for enterprise clients.

Rodney completed both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with honors at New York University. He is a published contributing author who has written papers on service delivery and Total Quality Management. In addition, he has served on the Alumni Board Committee of New York University and the chairman of the board for St. Frances Cabrini Academy in Brooklyn, NY.

Aventador illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Direzione Cor Tauri

Lamborghini announces its roadmap for electrification: “Direzione Cor Tauri”

A landmark transformation plan for Lamborghini’s sustainability path: from product electrification to the Sant’Agata Bolognese site

  • Top product performance: the absolute priority throughout the entire electrification program
  • Roadmap incorporates celebration of the combustion engine and the range’s hybrid transition by 2024
  • Internal target defined: 50% less product CO2 emissions by the beginning of 2025
  • The largest investment in Lamborghini’s history: more than 1.5 billion euros over four years
  • Vision of a fourth fully electric model in the second part of the decade

Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, today presents “Direzione Cor Tauri” (Towards Cor Tauri): a roadmap to decarbonization of future Lamborghini models and of the Sant’Agata Bolognese site based on a holistic approach to its environmental sustainability strategy. Throughout the product electrification process, Lamborghini will focus continually on identifying technologies and solutions that guaranteetop performance and driving dynamics in keeping with the marque’s tradition. In reference to the logo chosen by company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963, Cor Tauri is the brightest star in the Taurus constellation, and represents Lamborghini’s move towards a future that is electrified but always faithful to the heart and soul of the ‘bull’ brand.

Winkelmann commented: “Lamborghini’s electrification plan is a newly-plotted course, necessary in the context of a radically-changing world, where we want to make our contribution by continuing to reduce environmental impact through concrete projects. Our response is a plan with a 360-degree approach, encompassing our products and our Sant’Agata Bolognese location, taking us towards a more sustainable future while always remaining faithful to our DNA. Lamborghini has always been synonymous with preeminent technological expertise in building engines boasting extraordinary performance: this commitment will continue as an absolute priority of our innovation trajectory. Today’s promise, supported by the largest investment plan in the brand’s history, reinforces our deep dedication to not only our customers, but also to our fans, our people and their families, as well as to the territory where the company was born in Emilia-Romagna and to Made in Italy excellence.”

Cor Tauri, Lamborghini’s roadmap, will comprise of three phases:

  1. Celebrating the combustion engine (2021-2022) by presenting models paying tribute to the company’s recent period of continuous success. In the wake of steady sales growth and a seven-fold increase in turnover over the last fifteen years, Lamborghini has established itself as a center of excellence in the production of the best super sports cars. Unique design, technological innovation at the highest levels backed by huge investments in research and development, and the highest quality and craftsmanship are the basis for a pyramid of products: from the Urus Super SUV, the cornerstone of today’s success, rising to the pinnacle of technology and design masterpieces with the limited series. The most recently unveiled, the Sián, kicked off the electrification journey: the first Lamborghini featuring hybrid technology. This phase will be characterized by the development of combustion engines for versions that pay homage to the brand’s glorious history and iconic products past and present, but always under the impetus of the visionary spirit that distinguishes Lamborghini. Two new cars in the V12 model line-up will be announced in 2021.
  1. Hybrid transition (by the end of 2024): in 2023 Lamborghini will launch its first hybrid series production car, and by the end of 2024 the entire range will be electrified. Performance and the authentic Lamborghini driving experience will remain the focus of the company’s engineers and technicians in developing new technologies, and the application of lightweight carbon fiber materials will be crucial in compensating for weight due to electrification.  The company’s internal target for this phase is to reduce product CO2 emissions by 50% by the beginning of 2025.

Leading the hybrid transition will be an unprecedented investment: more than 1.5 billion euros allocated over four years, the largest in Lamborghini’s history. It is a tangible sign of the company’s strong sense of responsibility towards the need for a concrete response, through significant innovations, to the period of profound transformation that is affecting the whole automotive industry.

  1. First fully electric Lamborghini (second half of the decade): acceleration in the second part of the decade will be dedicated to full-electric vehicles, with the vision of a fourth model in the future. Once again, technological innovation in this phase will be oriented towards ensuring remarkable performance and positioning the new product at the top of its segment. This is how Lamborghini sees the culmination of this part of its journey: Cor Tauri, the brightest star in the constellation to which the company’s roadmap points, is represented by a fourth fully electric model.

Lamborghini’s program towards 2030 starts from a holistic vision of the company’s sustainability strategy: a 360-degree approach that spans product to the Sant’Agata Bolognese site, from the production lines to the offices. The 160,000 square-meter area achieved CO2 neutral certification in 2015, which was maintained even after the production site was doubled in size in recent years. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, environmental protection, sustainability in the supply chain, attention to employees and corporate social responsibility are integral parts of this strategy.

The heart and compass of the Cor Tauri transformation plan is the brand’s DNA, and its innate ability to turn challenges into opportunities through continuous technological innovations, leading to improved performance and driving emotions but within the constraints imposed by the increasingly stringent CO2 regulations. A journey towards a new Lamborghini, but always faithful to itself and its roots.

California Wildfire illustration by Heather Skovlund

Windsor Vineyards × California Wildfires

HOLLYWOOD CELEBS RAISE MONEY TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Windsor Vineyards Wine Magnums featuring Celebrity-Designed Wine Labels To be auctioned on eBay starting at $10,000 bottle

This year marks the first anniversary of the 9,639 wildfires that affected over 10,000 California residents and businesses in 2020 — from wine country in the north down south to the Hollywood Hills. As the 2021 wildfire season fast approaches, celebrities are showing support and solidarity by partnering with Windsor Vineyards and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to auction exclusive wines, with 100% of proceeds benefiting wildfire victims throughout the great state of California.

Windsor Vineyards and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy — recently featured during the 14th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute — have enlisted stars including Zooey Deschanel, Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Fran Drescher, Melissa Joan Hart, Ryan Guzman, Kevin O’Leary, Denise Richards, Sydney Sweeney, Sahara Ray, Corbin Bernsen, Jean Smart, Alison Sweeney, Camille Grammar, Josie Canesco, and Camilla Belle to design one-of-a-kind wine labels to adorn magnums of Windsor Vineyards award-winning wines.

“The wildfires and the pandemic compounded to devastating effect for many Californians in 2020,” said Patricia McIlreavy, president and CEO of CDP. “It is an honor to partner with Windsor Vineyards in bringing together two items quintessentially Californian -creative artists and wine – in support of the state’s recovery.”

“As a Sonoma-based wine company, we feel a great affinity to the local community that was, and continues to be, affected by wildfires,” said Jessica Kogan, Chief Digital Officer of Vintage Wine Estates, owner of Windsor Vineyards. “Given Windsor’s 60-year history of producing the most exciting custom wine labels and bottle etches, a charity auction celebrating the creativity of today’s most inspiring generational stars felt right. It’s a perfect way for us to help make a real difference and support a cause that quite literally hits close to home.”

The limited-edition, celebrity-designed wine magnums will be available for purchase on eBay beginning May 4th, 2021 and will be auctioned June 1st through June 8th, 2021 with 100% of proceeds benefiting the CDP California Wildfire Recovery Fund. Donations to The Fund will support communities across the state as they prepare, rebuild and recover from wildfires.

About the CDP California Wildfire Recovery Fund:

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. In addition to providing expertise, CDP manages domestic and international Disaster Funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. For more information, visit: Disaster Philanthropy website and Twitter

About Windsor Vineyards:

Windsor Vineyards is one of top three most awarded American wineries for the past 60 years. Windsor was founded by legendary winemaker Rodney Strong in 1959 to support customer requests for custom wine labels for his wines. Windsor Vineyards continues to be dedicated to producing great wine, personalized wine labels and custom-etched bottles for private and corporate customers and gift recipients in the United States and abroad. For more information visit Windsor Vineyards.

The Nation cover illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original cover art Illustration by Barry Blitt) for 360 Magazine

Elie Mystal × The Nation

Can Biden Fix the Courts That Trump Broke?

There is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges.

In The Nation’s latest cover story, justice correspondent Elie Mystal explains:

“While previous Republican administrations tried to break government, Donald Trump tried to break democracy. He did this boldly and brazenly, by attacking elections, and he did it less boldly but no less brazenly, by working alongside Mitch McConnell to take over the unelected branch of government that sets the rules for all the others: the federal judiciary. That branch is now stuffed with conservative ideologues masquerading as jurists.”

Making the case that there is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges, Mystal evaluates whether Biden can fix the courts that Trump broke: Happily, there is a solution, and that solution is to expand the lower courts.

Congress has used its constitutional authority throughout history to expand the federal judiciary. Historically, these lower court expansions were bipartisan: As the country grows in population, so does the number of lawsuits. Adding judges is just a thing we used to do to keep the judiciary running smoothly. But since 1990, when the last judgeship bill was passed, the US population has grown by a third; the number of district court cases has grown by 38 percent; and the number of cases involving a felony defendant has grown by 60 percent. The number of judges has not changed.

“I absolutely believe that if Trump had won reelection and McConnell had hung onto the Senate, Republicans would be working on court expansion right now,” writes Mystal. “There just aren’t a lot of vacancies left in the federal judiciary. Republicans can always find some casus belli for stacking the courts with conservative judges. The only question is whether Democrats will ever realize there’s a war, and they’re losing it.”

“To balance out decades of inequity, Biden’s judicial appointments shouldn’t ‘look like America;’ they should overrepresent the kinds of Americans routinely excluded by Republican administrations,” he continues. “You can’t balance a seesaw by standing in the middle when an elephant is sitting on one side.”

Read the full cover story here. Mystal, who covers the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics for The Nation, has also recently reported:

Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Is Designed to Fail

Biden’s recently announced commission to study court reform isn’t designed to offer solutions—it’s designed to be an excuse to do nothing.

How the Supreme Court Gave Cops a License to Kill

Derek Chauvin’s defense team is hoping that the 1989 Graham v. Connor ruling will be his ticket to acquittal.

The Blue Wall of Silence Is Crumbling Around Derek Chauvin

For one of the first times in memory, police are testifying against one of their own. But will it lead to an actual conviction?

ABOUT Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal is The Nation’s justice correspondent—covering the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics—and the force behind the magazine’s monthly column, “Objection!” He is also an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Mystal was previously the executive editor of Above the Law and a former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton. He’s a frequent guest on MSNBC and Sirius XM. 

Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.

Transgender illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original Photo Credit: Pixabay) for 360 Magazine

Parents Open Letter to Lawmakers

1,500+ Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth Condemn Anti-Trans Bills in Open Letter to Lawmakers

More than 1,500 parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth — from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — signed a letter imploring elected officials to oppose anti-transgender bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country.  

The letter — organized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council — was sent to elected officials Monday morning.

The letter comes in response to a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are currently more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of these discriminatory bills, 106 directly target transgender people, including efforts to ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and prohibit evidence-based, life-saving health care for transgender youth.

“Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: ‘You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power and you don’t,’” the parents wrote. “Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society.”

“Transgender children are children. They deserve the ability to play organized sports and have access to medically necessary care, just like all children. These bills are cruel — and parents are not going to be silent when elected officials attack their children through discriminatory legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth impacted by these bills are among the most vulnerable to experience depression and engage in self-harm, including suicide. Legislators must realize the seriousness of this issue and remember that they were elected to lead — not call into question whether certain children have the right to exist, to be happy, or to live authentically.”

“As a trans person, I know what it means to have lawmakers try to write me out of existence — imagine being a trans child trying to cope with this reality. There is a coordinated attack on transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth being waged in state legislatures across the country and it is having a devastating impact on the mental health of kids, who just want to be kids,” said Jay Brown, Senior Vice President, HRC Programs, Research & Training. “Parents will not back down when it comes to protecting their children, and they will not tolerate their elected officials using their positions of power to harm and further oppress them. We will never give up hope that if people — including elected officials — hear from people at the center of the policy debate, and their loved ones, that their hearts will open, and their minds will change.”

The full letter is below.

April 12, 2021

Dear Elected Officials,

Many of you are sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for legislation that would force transgender children to participate in sports based on a letter on their birth certificate rather than who they are – or not participate at all. Some of you are also sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for bills that would criminalize best-practice, evidence-based, life-saving health care that transgender youth need (and deserve!) to thrive. 

Parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth like us have called you, sent you emails, and have showed up in the midst of a global pandemic to testify about how devastating these bills are…not only if or when they pass and become law, but also right now because, by whipping up a firestorm of attacks on our kids, they have already caused damage to our families.

Parenting during a pandemic is hard enough. The fact that these bills exist at all—that the lives of our children are up for debate in any state in this nation—adds a layer of worry to an already fraught time. Let’s be clear: the impact of these bills goes far beyond sports and medical care; they call into question whether our children have the right to exist, to be happy, to live authentically. The answer is yes. They absolutely do.

We have shared studies with you explaining that trans youth are more susceptible to struggle with anxiety or depression, not because they are transgender but because of stigma and discrimination. You have heard that being able to participate in sports and being on a team with friends and classmates can improve their mental health. You have heard adolescents tell you how afraid they are of experiencing the wrong puberty or how terrified teenagers are of having their medically-prescribed hormones denied to them. 

This isn’t the first time. We tried telling you all of this a year ago before the pandemic thankfully cut many legislative sessions short and these bills floundered. After hearing some of these concerns last year, a senator in Missouri was quoted dismissively saying “We can’t be responsible for everyone’s mental health.”

We are pointedly telling you now that you actually are responsible for the mental health of these kids. We are holding you personally responsible for the amount of stress, anxiety, and fear our precious children are currently struggling with. We are holding you responsible for how some of our children are crying themselves to sleep every night, asking why so many people hate trans kids and want them to suffer. You are the reason they are asking to move somewhere where they will be protected, because their home doesn’t feel safe anymore with you in charge of creating its laws.

You were elected to your positions to lead. And leaders understand that in our great but imperfect system of government, we favor the concept of “majority rule, minority rights.” Leaders do not use their positions of power to harm and further oppress a struggling and hurting minority.

Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: “You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power, and you don’t.”

Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society. 

Here is a powerful quote from Nomi Ruiz, a Puerto Rican trans woman, artist and performer, that we’d like you to take time to think about…

“The outside world will never truly understand the magnitude of the trans experience, especially that of a child who has an undying need to live in truth despite being ostracized for it. The only way for trans children to thrive is to allow them to live freely in the face of a society that abuses them for it.”

Stop abusing our kids by creating legislation that targets them. Kill these bills now and leave our kids alone.

Justifiably angry,

Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth

Empowering women by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Lauren Rottet Pays Tribute

Architect and Interior Designer Lauren Rottet pays tribute
to Women’s History Month

Rottet’s ongoing commitment to her profession is female-forward

Lauren Rottet, FAIA, FIIDA, internationally celebrated architect, designer, and founding principal/president and owner of Rottet Studio, acknowledges Women’s History Month, and her continuing commitment to the design industry and to women who create public and private spaces.

A WBE-certified business, Rottet Studio occupies a unique place in the industry – over 60% of their full-time staff are female. Rottet is also the first woman in history to be elevated to Fellow status, the highest membership honor, by both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and International Interior Design Association (IIDA).  In the past two decades, Rottet has broken new ground with award-winning furniture, office, workplace, and hospitality design.  Her firm’s output totals more than 65 million sq. ft. of built design.

“I was raised by a father who told me that there wouldn’t be a difference between men and women in my generation, and I needed a career so that I wouldn’t need to rely on anybody else.” This is how Rottet described her decision to study architecture, after forgoing a career in medicine. “Fewer than 10 percent of women graduated in my class, but I didn’t really think consciously about being a woman in architecture. I never really thought about it as a male field,” she adds.

“I think probably the best career advice I ever received, was just to listen. You want to immediately come up with a solution or an idea, and instantly respond, but I think if you sit back and listen to the parameters,
to what the client wants, what the surroundings tell you about a project, I think that’s probably the most helpful professional advice one can give.” 

“They always say, ‘Hire your replacement, because then you can do bigger and better things,’” she says about the hiring and mentoring process. “The key to being a good mentor is recognizing when you can’t do it all by yourself, and that you have to teach someone else how to do it. The education of our staff, and of our clients is absolutely key.”

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Idris Elba × HarperCollins

Iconic and multi-award-winning actor, musician, filmmaker, and activist Idris Elba has signed a global multi-book deal with HarperCollins to publish a range of children’s books launching in 2022.

In a major UK/US co-publication deal, world rights were acquired by Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher, HCCB UK, and Suzanne Murphy, President, and Publisher, HCCB US, from Crystal Mahey-Morgan at OWN IT! Entertainment Ltd.

Publishing will include picture books and fiction featuring a character and world imagined and developed by Idris and his writing partner Robyn Charteris, who has written numerous live-action drama, pre-school and animation programs for BBC, Channel 4, the Jim Henson Company, and Endemol as well as educational theatre for schools. Idris Elba said, “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to bring stories inspired by my daughter to life with my incredible partner Robyn Charteris, and the powerhouse team at HarperCollins.”

Executive Publisher HCCB UK, Ann-Janine Murtagh said, “Idris Elba is one of the most iconic and multi-talented creatives of his generation and I am delighted that he is joining the HarperCollins Children’s Books list. From the outset, Idris had a very clear vision of the characters and stories he has imagined and is passionate about creating books that will appeal to all children. Robyn Charteris has a fantastic track record in writing for children, working with some of the biggest producers of children’s entertainment, and I am hugely excited to also welcome her to the world of children’s books. I feel privileged that Idris has entrusted us to bring his stories to life and I cannot wait to share them with children across the globe.”

President and Publisher HCCB US, Suzanne Murphy said, “Idris Elba is a creative force, who has many wonderful stories to tell. We are honored to be working with him and with Robyn Charteris to bring Idris’s rich and imaginative storytelling to the world of children’s books, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the HarperCollins family.”

IDRIS ELBA

Golden Globe and SAG winning Idris Elba captivates audiences as an actor, producer, and director, and continually secures his position as the one to watch in Hollywood. He is the first actor to receive dual SAG awards in one evening.

Idris’s career skyrocketed on the small screen in some of the UK’s top-rated shows. Soon after, he landed the role of Stringer Bell in HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire (NAACP Image Award nomination). In 2010, Idris landed the title role on the BBC mini-series Luther, which earned him a Golden Globe, SAG Award, and four Emmy nominations. In 2005, he began his film career; his credits include American Gangster (Golden Globe nomination), Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom (Golden Globe nomination), Beasts of No Nation (SAG Award, Golden Globe nomination), and the Oscar-nominated film Molly’s Game.  He can be seen this April in the Netflix film Concrete Cowboy, which he also produced, and this summer will be starring in The Suicide Squad 2.  Other upcoming films include The Harder They Fall and Three Thousand Years of Longing.

Behind the camera, Idris made his feature-film directorial debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with Yardie. In 2013, he founded his production company, Green Door Pictures, to champion diversity of thought. With Green Door, Idris released the documentary Mandela, My Dad and Me, produced the TV mini-series Guerrilla for Showtime, and created, produced, and appears in the Sky comedy series In the Long Run. He also created, produced, and starred in the Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie.

ROBYN CHARTERIS

Robyn began her career writing educational theatre for schools and charitable organizations internationally before graduating to television. For television she has written on numerous live-action drama, pre-school, and animation programs for the BBC, Channel 4, the Jim Henson Company, Channel 5, Initial Kids (Endemol), Carlton TV, Gullane, Hit Entertainment, Granada, SABC, Urban Brew, Disney, and M-Net.

Her credits include a BAFTA-winning children’s drama series for CBBC, creating and writing one of the first original 52-episode pre-school series for the launch of the digital channel CBeebies, creative consultancy for Mattel Toys and Lego, and a master’s degree in Playwriting.

ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS
HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers, the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 17 countries, and was named Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards 2018. With over two hundred years of history and more than 120 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in 16 languages, and has a print and digital catalog of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins UK has offices in London, Glasgow, Honley, and Manchester and can be found online.

HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS, UK 

HarperCollins Children’s Books, unprecedented three times winner of Children’s Publisher of the Year (2014, 2015, 2016), is one of the leading publishers of children’s books, recognized for nurturing new talent as well as boasting a reputable list of established bestselling authors. Respected worldwide for its tradition of publishing quality, award-winning books for young readers, HarperCollins is home to many children’s classics, including The Chronicles of Narnia, Mary Poppins, the Paddington stories, The Cat in the Hat, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and to some of the biggest names in children’s literature past and present, including Judith Kerr, David Walliams, Lauren Child, David Baddiel, Oliver Jeffers, and Michael Morpurgo.

HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS, US: 

HarperCollins Children’s Books is one of the leading publishers of children’s and teen books. Respected worldwide for its tradition of publishing quality, award-winning books for young readers, HarperCollins is home to many timeless treasures and bestsellers such as Charlotte’s Web, Goodnight Moon, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild Things Are and The Hate U Give; series including the Chronicles of Narnia, Ramona, Warriors, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Pete the Cat, Fancy Nancy, Divergent and Red Queen; and graphic and illustrated novels such as Nimona, Invisible Emmie and New Kid. Consistently at the forefront of digital innovation, HarperCollins Children’s Books delights readers through engaging storytelling across a variety of formats and platforms, including the largest young adult (YA) book community, Epic Reads. HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers, which is the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, has operations in 17 countries, and is a subsidiary of News Corp.

You can visit HarperCollins Children’s Books at HarperCollins Children, Epic Reads, and at HarperCollinsPublishers.

Illustration of Melania Trump and Jill Biden by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Dear Melania Trump, Our 2nd Immigrant First Lady

By Javier Pedroza

Dear Melania: Why didn’t you invite the new FLOTUS, Dr. Jill Biden, for a private tour of the White House living quarter?

“Under all circumstances, we must never desert ourselves”. – Louisa Catherine Adams, the first FLOTUS born outside of the United States of America (1825 to 1829). Historically, First Ladies are mostly respected and admired. The coveted position has been uncontroversial until 2021. 

Melania Trump, formerly known as Melanija Knavs, was born on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia. At age 16, she began what would soon become a successful modeling career, appearing in many high profile ad campaigns and working with some of the best photographers in the fashion industry. In 1996, Mrs. Trump moved to New York and 10 years later she proudly became a United States Citizen. Former First Lady Melania Trump is the wife of the 45th President, Donald J. Trump and the mother to their son, Barron Trump. She is the second First Lady born outside of the United States, and she is the only First Lady to become a naturalized United States citizen. 

Mrs. Trump is the first modern former First Lady to break one of the transfer-of-power rituals; welcoming the incoming president and family into the White House. This American tradition commenced in the 1920s and was respected all the way to 2017, when outgoing FLOTUS Mrs. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama hosted Mrs. Melania Trump for tea while discussing the private residence. 

“Mrs. Trump should have invited Dr. Biden in for the traditional coffee. Typically, the first lady would come prepared with questions, she’ll meet and talk to the chef, the full time residence staff and have an opportunity for them to break the ice. It’s a courtesy, but logistically it’s incredibly helpful. That didn’t happen,”Capricia Marshall told The New York Times. Capricia Marshall was the former White House social secretary in the Clinton administration. 

In 2016 when former President Barack Obama welcomed Donald and Melania Trump to the White House, Former First Lady Michelle Obama held her head up high despite Donald’s reckless lies about her husband. Michelle Obama went on instagram and described how she felt during that time, sharing that while she was “hurt and disappointed,” she accepted that “the American people had spoken.” She went on to write, “My husband and I instructed our staff to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power — one of the hallmarks of American democracy.” 

On January 19th, 2021 CNN reported, “Melania Trump left the White House with the worst popularity rating for any first lady at the end of her term in polling history. The latest CNN/SSRS poll had Trump’s favorable rating at 42% to a 47% unfavorable rating. The 47% is the highest unfavorable rating we ever recorded for Trump. It’s also amazingly high from a historical perspective.” 

On January 20th, another protocol was broken when neither the former President nor any member of his family attended the inauguration. The Trumps also bypassed the laying of a wreath atop the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Ceremony, where the Biden’s were joined by former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and their spouses. 

As trending headlines like “Trumps’ snub of Bidens historic in its magnitude” by CNN circulated in the media early this week, we watched Melania Trump address the nation for the last time as First Lady of the United States. This was her first on camera appearance since the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol and she had not been seen in public since New Year’s Eve. During her farewell speech she spent much of her time expressing the importance of kindness. “In all circumstances, I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best. To focus on what unites us, to raise above what divides us. To always choose love over hatred, peace over violence and others before yourself.” 

Was this Melania’s opportunity to demonstrate to the world that she is her own person? A proud immigrant from Slovenia who later became an American citizen who respects all aspects of what it means to be an American or perhaps Melanija Knavs has always been a Trump. 

“Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.” – Maya Angelou