Putting together this week’s Good News Edition was, I will admit, a little challenging. Another school shooting. More precious lives lost. It is difficult to hold those families in our hearts and still recognize and share the good that is out there in the world.
While there is absolutely nothing good about any violence, let alone a massacre in an educational institution where children should feel safe, we try to, as Mr. Rogers urged us, “look for the helpers.” And they are there, the helpers; they are all around us, stepping up to speak out and push for the legislative change so desperately needed in this country to curb the horrific and uniquely American scourge of gun violence.
If you need to do something with your outrage and grief, there are a number of excellent organizations doing good work on gun control issues. One of our members recently posted a summary of these groups with links to their websites and other resources. We encourage you to check out the list and take an action. You’ll feel better, and you’ll be helping us all get that much closer to a day when mass shootings are a thing of the past.
We’re sending thoughts & prayers to the families of Parkland, but we’re also taking action.
In local good news:
- On Valentine’s Day, the Massachusetts Senate passed the PATCH bill, which closes a dangerous privacy loophole and protects patient confidentiality. Without this bill, many young adults, spouses, and teens forgo the care they need because they fear their privacy will be violated. This is a piece of legislation our groups have been actively supporting, so we’re extremely pleased about this win. Planned Parenthood has set up a page that makes it easy to thank your state senators. Next stop: The House.
- While he acknowledges 2017 was a tough year, our own Seth Moulton had plenty of good news to share and appreciation for all the hard work of his own office and his constituents.
- Our judicial system and planet Earth are turning out to be a pretty good team. In another important win, the court rules that Obama-era energy efficiency standards should proceed, despite 45’s attempts to scrap the rules.
- Scotland plans to ban plastic straws by end of 2019 – Scottish Environment Secretary says she would like to see more single-use plastics banned as a means of tackling marine pollution. Also The Queen Declares War on Plastic – Queen Elizabeth II is banning plastic straws and bottles across the royal estates.
- Ireland votes in favor of law to become world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels – Bill seeks to drop coal, oil and gas investments from Ireland Strategic Investment Fund
- Animals are using Colorado’s wildlife crossings, reducing collisions, CDOT says – The crossings keep animals and motorists safe along with aiding interbreeding
- From The Nature Conservancy: 12 Emerging Global Trends That Bring Hope for 2018
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
- These Black Women Launched #WakandaTheVote To Register Voters At ‘Black Panther’ Screenings Everywhere – “We will be registering people to vote at movie theaters across the country so that we can #wakandathevote at the ballot box.”
- Democrat Margaret Good Flips Seat in Florida, the 36th Democratic Flip Since Trump’s Inauguration – She won by a margin of nearly 8 points in a district that went for Trump by about 5.
- Restrictive voter ID laws are no match for this group
- Pennsylvania to require voting machines with paper backup
And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front:
- ‘Black Panther’ Rises To Top Of Marvel Pantheon With Its Own Powerful Myth
- FCC Boss Ajit Pai’s Own Agency Is Investigating Him For Potential Corruption – The FCC’s Inspector General has launched an investigation into whether Pai acted inappropriately as he rushed to dismantle media consolidation rules. (More on the story via News & Guts)
- It’s not the sweeping reform we need, but it’s a start: One Day After Florida School Shooter Kills 17, Oregon House Passes Gun Control Bill
House Bill 4145 would close “boyfriend loophole,” taking guns from stalkers or abusers who are not married to their victims.
- Senate Democrats blocked a proposal on Thursday that would crack down on cities that don’t comply with federal immigration law. Senators voted 54-45 on the amendment from GOP Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would limit the flow of federal grants to the jurisdictions, commonly referred to as sanctuary cities.
- Last week, Alameda, a city of 80,000 residents in California’s East Bay, took a stand against ICE’s Digital Deportation Machine. After a public meeting in which residents made it very clear they were uninterested in feeding an ICE surveillance database, Alameda’s City Council rejected a proposed $500,000 contract to purchase Vigilant’s automatic license plate readers for use throughout the city.
- Second U.S. judge blocks Trump administration from ending DACA program
- Twitter Bans GOP Candidate For Racist Meghan Markle Tweet
- Ditching Andrew Jackson for Mary Jackson – An elementary school in Utah will now be named for the first black female engineer at NASA, who was memorialized in Hidden Figures.
Meanwhile, our boy Mueller has been pretty busy:
- Mueller flips American who unwittingly sold bank info to Russian trolls
- Mueller levels new claim of bank fraud against Manafort – Prosecutors say they’ve found ‘additional criminal conduct’ by the former Trump campaign chairman.
- Russian troll farm, 13 suspects indicted in 2016 election interference
- A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with Mueller
- Steve Bannon met with Mueller multiple times over the past week
… now all I need is someone to explain to me what all this means and how long before I can start planning my impeachment party …
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- Our first “miscellaneous” item is a fun one. This week, artists revealed the official Obama portraits for the National Portrait Gallery, and the Internet went wild. We couldn’t choose one article to share, so here are a bunch from the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, and a piece about the dress Michelle is wearing. There’s also this piece about why the Obama’s portrait choices matter.
- We’re not sure whether to roll our eyes in disgust or do a gleeful spit take: EPA Head Says He Needs to Fly First Class Because People Are Mean to Him in Coach. Poor, baby. (Not.)
- And then there’s this bit of poetic justice: Big cat poacher is mauled to death and EATEN by the pride of lions he was hunting with only his head remaining at South African game reserve. Point to the big cats. (More on this story from the BBC)
- Nice matters: TV station in Seattle buys $1M worth of debt viewers owe to medical providers
- And, because art matters: Decrying Real Estate Developer’s ‘Insolence,’ Judge Awards Street Artists $6.7 Million in Landmark 5Pointz Case – The ruling is a decisive victory for street artists. (More on this story from the NYT)
- And, because we don’t have to play nice with bullies, many of the Superbowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles are declining that invitation to the White House.
“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
“Candle”: Elvinion Flickr via Compfight cc