Is it really mid-August already?!? Boy how time flies when the world is crumbling around you.
I’m just kidding. Sort of.
There’s no denying that these past six+ months have been tumultuous (and that’s putting it lightly), but – thank goodness! – there’s always some good news to balance out the never-ending stream of nightmare-inducing headlines. While some of my friends have been – with only the best of intentions – posting articles about what to do in case of a nuclear attack (thanks for the tips, guys!), I’ve been doing my best to keep an eye out for slightly less horrific stories. You know – something that might help me remember the good parts of humanity.
Here is this week’s collection of such stories – sourced and curated for anyone else out there who might need a little virtual hug.
Oh! Also … a humble PSA: This fight is hard. It’s a marathon of emotional and intellectual rigor that’s a completely new (and exhausting) experience for many of us. It’s overwhelming, soul crushing, and crazy enough to make you wonder if maybe you’re the one who has lost your mind. PLEASE … give yourself a break now and then. We love you. We need you. BUT, stepping away for a breather is the only way you will be able to keep your strength up. It’s like they say on planes – please put your oxygen mask on first. Seriously. Do that.
I just returned from a trip to Los Angeles. It was my and my daughter’s inaugural mother/daughter trip, and it was a blast. For an entire week, I focused all my attention on being in the moment with her – exploring and having fun. I didn’t read a single article or watch a single news cast. It was glorious. Of course, my re-entry into the fray has been difficult, but I do feel energized and more capable.
So, if you can, please take a break. Do whatever feeds your soul so that you can come back into the fight fresh and full of passion. We’ll be here when you get back. Promise.
In local good news:
- This may not be an overtly political win, but it’s one in which the people spoke up and the government and business listened. This week, the deal to build a series of 75-foot high wireless monopoles along the commuter rail fell apart. Originally a plan of the Mass Transit Authority and a company called inMotion, this project was killed after public outcry. Nice job, people!
- After 45 made a speech in which he encouraged police not to “be too nice” when arresting people, the Boston Police Department responded with a statement that they are here to help, not harm.
- It’s a fight that seems unending, but as the powers that be work to determine the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, activists descend on Nebraska to stop it from destroying the natural landscapes and ecosystems.
- JPMorgan Chase announced plans to switch its Texas facilities to 100 percent renewable power by 2020, including 584 branches and will install solar panels on 1,440 bank branches and commercial buildings worldwide.*
- The Court of Appeals for D.C. ruled against the Interior Department’s decision to de-list the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act.*
- Attorneys Generals from 15 states petitioned to join the lawsuit to overturn the EPA decision to delay rules for reducing smog-causing air pollutants. One day after getting sued by the 15 states, the EPA reversed its decision to delay implementing the rules.*
- Despite Paris announcement, the president still wants to take part in climate talks.†
- Nations begin talks to protect fish in the open seas.†
- Five national monuments retain their status and will not be developed.†
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front:
- While Milo Yiannopoulos may not be your cup of tea, you still have to give the ACLU props for suing the Washington, D.C. Transit System for removing the alt-right figure’s ads from their properties. The heinous Mr. Y is not the only entity the ACLU is representing, though. They are also suing on behalf of PETA and Carafem, an organization that provides abortion services. The crux of the suit is First Amendment rights, which – the ACLU points out – must apply to everyone.
- While we’re now starting to realize that 45’s lashing out at transgender people in the military was likely at least partially in response to learning about Mueller’s pre-dawn no-knock raid on his former campaign manager’s home, that’s still no excuse for such morally bankrupt behavior. Thankfully, the transgender community isn’t cutting him any slack either. In fact, five active-duty service members are suing 45 over his intentions to ban transgender personnel from serving in the military. Take that.
- Also, 56 Retired Generals and Admirals released a letter opposing the transgender military ban.*
- Mainstream Disney produced an episode of it’s popular Doc McStuffins show that featured a two-mom family. Not to be ungrateful, but it’s about time.
- The battle over net neutrality is heating up, and ten members of Congress let the FCC know exactly how they feel about the agency’s intentions to dismantle these critical consumer protections.
- Google stepped up and fired the author of the divisive (and subversive) memo on gender differences. We don’t applaud the memo, but we’re glad it saw the light of day and woke some people in Silicon Valley up.
- In Texas, the House passed a unanimous vote to restore funds to disabled kids. (Seems like a no brainer, but in these times, you never know what to expect. Good job!)
- A court ruled that public officials cannot block people on social media simply because they are criticizing the official.
- California enacted legislation that prohibits inquiry into a person’s immigration status when they bring a claim to enforce state labor, employment, civil rights or housing laws.*
- A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the 16 Democratic state Attorney Generals can defend subsidy payments to insurance companies, a critical part of the ACA.*
- Federal judges ordered North Carolina’s state legislature to draw new legislative district boundaries within a month, because they discriminated against African-American voters by weakening their political power.*
We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia investigation front:
- Democracy is working: Powerful special counsel and a grand jury slowly reveal the truth.†
- This isn’t Russia related, but I wasn’t sure where else to put it: Secretary of Defense Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly agreed to coordinate travel plans so as not leave the U.S. at the same time to ensure they could keep tabs on the White House.*
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- This story about the far-right crew aboard a “Nazi ship” being rescued on the open sea by a refugee rescue boat … well, it just doesn’t get more ironic than that. The far-right-manned vessel – sporting an oh-so-friendly banner that read, “No way. You will not make Europe home.” – of course says that they were just fine. I beg to differ. There’s nothing fine about patrolling the ocean trying to thwart refugee families from reaching safety.
- After he made the mistake of tweeting a Nazi salute at an adversary, Jeffrey Lord found himself on the outs with CNN. Good riddance.
- It was silly and perhaps petty, but the giant inflatable chicken floating over the White House was also delightful. Fighting fire with fire rarely ends well, but fighting fire with humor and satire … that’s very effective and also very entertaining. More, please.
- We’re not entirely certain what to expect yet, but news on the street is that David Letterman is working with Netflix on a series of six hour-long specials. If these shows are anything like the recent “Boiling the Frog” videos Letterman done with his friend Al Franken on the topic of climate change, we will definitely be tuning in.
- Not only did he have one of the shortest tenures (or non-tenures) at 45’s White House, apparently Scaramucci was incorrectly listed as dead in the newest edition of the Harvard Law School alumni directory.*
- The creator of the bigoted Archie Bunker on the TV sitcom All In the Family Norman Lear – – has declined to attend the Kennedy Center Honors at which he is slated to receive a lifetime achievement award. We’ll give you one guess why he’d rather not attend. Each small act of defiance matters.
- Finally, just a bit of sweetness as a plea from the Tanglewood stage by cellist Yo-Yo Ma reunites a lot puppy with its owner. Awwww ….
“Mass State House Dome”: Photo Credit: twiga_swala Flickr via Compfight cc“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“I Voted”: standing8 Flickr via Compfight cc
“Blind Justice”: Government of Prince Edward Island Flickr via Compfight cc
“Russia Sickle”: AK Rockefeller Flickr via Compfight cc
“Snark Kitty”: Gratisography