Yesterday, the world was covered in snow and ice. This morning, it was sixty degrees and much of the earth had emerged from under it’s white mantle. Birds were singing and the smell of earth made me think of springtime. I know that it will be cold again this afternoon (they say the temps will drop some thirty degrees in a matter of hours), but for now I am enjoying the blue skies and leonine winds that whisper of March being only a couple of months away.
That’s kind of how I feel about these weekend posts full of happy, hopeful headlines. They are like the January thaw of each week’s chilling barrage of autocratic, despotic, and racist behavior coming out of the White House. They are a brief moment in the sun that reminds us what it was like before this winter of our serious political discontent. We need to keep remembering. We cannot let any of what’s happening become the new normal. There is nothing normal about what’s happening in our country, and we need to keep calling that out. Again and again and again.
Next week marks the anniversary of the Women’s March, a worldwide gathering that rumbled through the streets and heralded a new era where women speak truth to power, step forward to say #metoo, and tell those who would silence us that their #TimesUp. Next Saturday, many of us will march again–standing shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm with sisters of the Resistance. I hope maybe I’ll see you out there, and—if not—know that we’ll be together in spirit.
Keep up your excellent fight.
In local good news:
- Joining other local communities, Beverly may be the next city up to introduce and pass a ban on plastic shopping bags.
- From the MA ACLU: If Sessions Wants To Roll Back States’ Rights On Legal Pot, We’ll See Him In Court
- For those of us who live in MA: For Massachusetts politicos, 2018 is chock-full of big races. Let’s gear up!!
- 30,000 Tainted Convictions, One Path Forward – “As long as Donald Trump is president, American criminal justice reform may depend on the states. So it’s significant that in one state, Massachusetts, a national model for remedying wrongful convictions has recently been created.” – ACLU of Massachusetts
- Sens. Warren, Markey query feds about Tennessee Gas pipeline wastewater spill in Agawam
- In the caught-red-handed category: “An obscure nonprofit with ties to Bay State Republicans is accused of disguising more than $1.2 million in donations from businesses, wealthy advocates, and even Mitt Romney’s federal committee before funneling them toward two failed ballot questions backed by Gov. Charlie Baker, state officials disclosed yesterday.” – Boston Herald
- Leading the Resistance since day one, the Alt National Park Service movement has been an inspiration and a salve. We’re happy to share that they have just launched their own website: https://www.altnps.org/. Bookmark that puppy for frequent visits.
- “New York City is taking on the oil industry on two fronts, announcing a lawsuit Wednesday that blames the top five oil companies for contributing to global warming and saying the city will sell off billions in fossil fuel investments from the city’s pension funds.” – AP News (More from the New York Times)
- “Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo wants to withdraw the state from the Trump administration’s to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling, and she’s requested a call with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to discuss it.” – The Telegraph
- Here’s a hopeful story about major innovation: With Energy and Justice for All – The city of Pueblo wants to go all-in on renewables. Low-income residents want affordable rates. Can they work together?
- Plastic microbeads ban enters force in UK – Manufacturing ban means the tiny beads which harm marine life can no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products. Canada has also instituted a ban on these harmful beads. Come on, U.S., let’s get on board!
- In an unexpected move: Trump-appointed regulators reject plan to rescue coal and nuclear plants.
- UK to end 140 years of coal power by 2025
- Heartening list from EcoWatch: 50 Ways 100% Clean Energy Won In 2017
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
- N.C. Gerrymandered Map Ruled Unconstitutional By Panel Of Judges (More from Mother Jones)
- In the women-stepping-up category: She Quit Working For Trump. Now She’s Running For Congress To Fight Him.
- ACLU Florida stands to protect voting rights: “The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, along with a coalition of voting and civil rights leaders and concerned Florida voters, has filed an emergency motion in federal court seeking to prevent the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity from distributing voters’ information to any other person or agency following its sudden dissolution earlier this week.” – ACLU of Florida
- Retired Fighter Pilot Amy McGrath Announces Run For Congress In Kentucky With One Of The Best Political Ads We’ve Ever Seen
And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front:
- On the humanitarian front, Bill and Melinda Gates Are Paying Off Nigeria’s $76 Million Debt to Japan
- In the thanks-for-growing-a-backbone category: US ambassador to Panama resigns, says cannot serve Trump
- In the it’s-about-GD-time category: Ralph Northam assembles a majority-female Cabinet, a first for Virginia (Way to go, Ralph!)
- As the battle continues for a free and open Internet, the good guys are making progress: Senate will force vote on overturning net neutrality repeal (Even some Republicans are getting on board – like Maine’s Susan Collins.)
- In a related story, Tech Giants Join Legal Battle Over Net Neutrality
- Talk about taking the fight to your opponent’s home court: Indigenous women occupy Washington state capitol lawn Thank you, ladies.
- In the rats-fleeing-sinking-ship category: NPR: Rep. Darrell Issa To Retire, Adding To Record GOP Exodus From Congress—There are 31 House Republicans leaving their seats open this fall. The last time a party had nearly that many retirements during a midterm year was when Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994.
- And, on a related note: Republican Retirements Raise Talk of Democratic Wave in November
- Still holding the front lines: Gillibrand Vows to Block Trump’s Likely Choice for U.S. Attorney in Manhattan
- The momentum of the #TimesUp campaign continues to help women speak up and hold people accountable: New York Times Cancels James Franco Event Amid ‘Recent Allegations’
- From the ACLU: Florida court ruling permanently halts forcing payments to delay an abortion for 24 hours
- It’s only temporary, but: Judge blocks Trump decision to end young immigrant program
- From our neighbors to the north (no, not Justin Trudeau land … a little closer): New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization
- Iceland has made it illegal to pay women less than men
We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia investigation front:
- Manafort is not having a good day: Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska sues Manafort and Gates in N.Y.
- Hmmm … we wonder what this could mean: Mueller adds veteran cyber prosecutor to special-counsel team
- And of course that was that little incident where one female Senator ran out of f*&ks to give: Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview With Dossier Firm (If you’d like to read a great overview of the transcript’s contents, check out Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin’s summary.)
- We can only imagine what might happen … Mueller indicates he is likely to seek interview with Trump
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- In response to 45’s abhorrent comments about immigrants from certain parts of the world that did not, apparently, measure up to our president’s racist standards, many individuals and organizations are stepping up to school the orange one on the idiocy of his remarks. Fodor’s posted a collection of breathtaking photos of beautiful landscapes in Haiti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sengal and other African countries under the title, Look at the Beauty of These “Sh*thole” Countries. Nicely played, Fodor’s. The Rough Draft Bar & Books bookstore in New York put together an impressive display of “Writers from S##thole Countries,” and now I totally want to go there for a drink and a read.
- While he’s got all kinds of other lame excuses, we know the real reason 45 won’t be putting in an appearance to open the new US embassy: Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears
- Perhaps taking a page from the playbook of the women behind the #TimesUp campaign that premiered at the Golden Globes last weekend, Democrats to invite sex misconduct victims to Trump’s State of the Union
- “On Sunday, a former White House ethics lawyer warned West Wing staff that if they help the president with the “fake news” awards he has promised to hand out, they could be breaking the law.” – Newsweek
- Who says people don’t read any more? Publisher rushing to print more copies of ‘Fire and Fury’
- Did he leave, or was he asked to leave? Bannon Leaves Breitbart After Trump Feud.
- We could watch this over and over. Thank you, Jake Tapper of CNN, for shutting White House Nazi Stephen Miller down but good. (We also really enjoyed Tapper’s chat with Seth Myers, in which they relived the weirdness of the Miller interview.)
“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
“Snowy Bluebird”: Kim Taylor Hull Flickr via Compfight cc