Welcome to the weekend!
It’s been another craaazy week, but that’s not going to stop us from bringing you all the good news we can find. In days like these, we need to take time to celebrate each and every win, appreciate all the hard work everyone is doing, and also remember that none of us is in this alone. There are so many people working side by side and across this country to create an America that is smarter, stronger, more inclusive, more just, and more environmentally sustainable. While the majority of the headlines might make you want to crawl back under the covers and/or pour another glass of wine (depending on the time of day), we hope that this week’s selection of Good News Items will make you smile and stir the little bird of hope in your heart.
Thanks for being here & see you on the front lines!
Let’s begin with 45’s announcement that the U.S. is bailing on the Paris Agreement … because – believe it or not – there’s lots of good news to be had on this topic:
So, of course, this is a horrific and monumentally ignorant decision. We all know that. All the scientists know that. Most of the world knows that. But, it still came as quite a shock late this week when our “leader” stood in the Rose Garden and glibly said that he was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. Well, that turned out to be his first mistake because Pittsburgh’s Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto was having none of it. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Peduto pointed out that 80% of the Pittsburgh vote was for Hillary Clinton, and also shared how Pittsburgh was a great example of a city that had turned itself around in terms of major air pollution. When asked if he had a message for the president, Peduto said, “What you did was not only bad for the economy of this country, but also weakened America in this world.” Damn straight.
Closer to home, Boston Globe writer Indira A.R. Lakshmanan – who is a native of Pittsburgh – published an enlightening piece titled, Mr. Trump, you don’t know Pittsburgh like I know Pittsburgh. I’m not going to call it a smackdown, exactly, but give it a read and see what you think. (Whatever you call it, I’m sending Indira a virtual high five.) Researchers at MIT also called the president on the inaccuracies of statements in his speech and came this close to saying that he twisted the facts to suit his own agenda. In a post on the MIT Technology Review, James Temple writes that Erwan Monier, coauthor of the study and principal research scientist at MIT’s department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, says “It appears … that the White House cherry picked the lowest number they could find among studies that explored the impact of the climate accord.” Naughty-naughty.
And, finally, in a rousing and wide-sweeping effort to do the right thing, mayors and governors all across the country responded to the president’s ill-advised decision by joining together to say that they are committed to adopting, honoring, and upholding the Paris Agreement … even if the federal government is not. As of this writing, 186 mayors (and counting!) have signed an open letter posted on Medium saying that they will stick with the Paris Agreement. Nice going! (For more details – visit the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda.)
Not to be outdone (or perhaps because of the avalanche of calls I assume his office received after I waited 20 minutes on hold trying to get through), on Friday afternoon Governor Charlie Baker officially joining the United States Climate Alliance, an alliance formed one day earlier by New York’s Governor Cuomo.
Finally, there’s this: Bloomberg pledges $15M to UN to cover US climate share. Way to step up.
In other good news on the environmental front …
- From the NYT: Wind Project in Wyoming Envisions Coal Miners as Trainees
- Also from the NYT: India, Once a Coal Goliath, Is Fast Turning Green
And, in other news – locally and elsewhere …
- Brookline Town Meeting calls on Congress to investigate Trump
- Groundbreaking 7th Circuit Ruling in Favor of Ash Whitaker, Transgender Student Seeking Access to Correct Bathroom
And here are a few selections from Jen Hofmann’s weekly “Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience.” (It’s free and it’s fabulous if you want to sign up.)
- 45’s travel ban is found unconstitutional (again).
- After initial pushback, Mulvaney will provide transparency on lobbyists’ ethics waivers.
- Thanks to bipartisan support, funding preserved to solve the opioid epidemic.
- FOX moves to third place in cable news as viewers leave for MSNBC.
- Brietbart.com is seeing a big dip in website traffic.
- Americans have already registered 115,000 comments about National Monuments.
- The Supreme Court struck down NC’s unconstitutionally discriminatory congressional (voting) map. Texas and Wisconsin are up next.
- Exxon must produce documents showing how much it’s known about global warming.
- Texans are supporting immigrant rights and opposing anti-immigrant legislation.
- Nebraska Supreme Court grants gay couples the right to foster kids.
- CT and NV governors signed bills banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth.
- … for more from Jen’s list, visit last Sunday’s Google Doc.
And here are a few picks from a newly discovered and awesome source of good news: What Went Right:
- Cities and States Do the Right Thing: Tennessee became the first state to offer a free two-year college education to all residents. The Seattle City Council unanimously passed significant police reform, bolstering community oversight of the department’s disciplinary system, creating a powerful civilian inspector general and civilian supervision of internal investigations. Denver reduced the penalty to less than a year of jail for many criminal ordinances so that undocumented immigrants convicted of these violations can avoid federal rules that can put them on the radar for deportation when they are convicted of crimes carrying a penalty of a year in jail.
- Strong Women: Kim Reynolds (R) was sworn as Iowa’s first woman governor. She started in politics as the treasurer of a rural county in Iowa, start small, dream big, think long-term strategy. Charlene Diggs was hired as the first African-American woman police officer in Beckley WV, the NY Jets (that’s a National Football League team for those of you not familiar with sports) hired Collette Smith making her the first female coach in Jets history and the second for the league, and Rocky Mount, NC hired Rochelle D. Small-Toney as their first female City Manager.
In slightly snarky news …
- 8th graders refuse to take a photo with Paul Ryan because they don’t “want to be associated with him”
- 3 A.M. ‘Sanctuary’ Protest at Governor Abbott’s Mansion Blares Mariachi Music
- And, according to FiveThirtyEight, Donald Trump’s Base Is Shrinking
- Also, there’s this: Some guy was seriously rankled by the fact that the Alamo Drafthouse movie theatre, located in Austin, TX, dared to screen a women-only showing of the new Wonder Woman movie. In his letter, he said, “I hope every man will boycott Austin and do what he can to diminish Austin and to cause damage to the city’s image. The theater that pandered to the sexism typical of women will, I hope, regret it’s decision.” He then went on a tirade of almost epic proportions about how useless women are in general. Happily, Austin Mayor Steve Adler had a delightfully scathing and sarcastic response. (Seriously – it’s worth the read.) Also, it seems the theatre isn’t backing down either, and has scheduled additional women-only viewings.
- Also, from What Went Right …
- Just for Amusement: In entertainment from the overseas trip, there is Melania swapping her husband’s hand away, not once but twice, some epic handshake matches won by France’s Macron and Tajikistan’s president and some photos of the Pope with the creepy entourage that show a picture is worth a 1,000 words. The earth tried to swallow 45 whole or a giant sinkhole formed directly in front of Mar-a-Lago, you decide?
- Awesome Activism: Dozens of students at Notre Dame walked out of Pence’s commencement speech at graduation and hundreds of Milton Academy students staged a sit-in to protest the school’s failure to address racism on campus. Half the middle schoolers from a NJ school refused to pose with Paul Ryan because they disagree with his political views. Teaching them young. Obama got a rock star greeting by tens of thousands in Berlin while there for a celebration, while 45 was greeted by thousands of protesters in Italy and Belgium. Happy the resistance in Europe’s got our back. We are not alone.