Each week I think, “Wow, what a week!” … and then the next week arrives and the new batch of headlines tease stories even more unbelievable and baffling than the previous week’s. It’s like we’ve stepped through the looking glass, but instead of the Red Queen we have the Orange King, behaving like a tyrannical toddler and screaming (via ALL CAPS tweets), “Off with their heads!!” It’s exhausting. Thank goodness that along with the cringe-worthy news ledes, there are also some stories that reassure, inspire, and amuse. I mean, seriously, thank goodness.
Here is this week’s collection of headlines that won’t make your head spin.
In local good news:
- A little to the north: Vermont governor signs bill that raises age to buy firearms, makes it easier to take guns from people who pose threat
- Hundreds rally for science in Boston Saturday
- A common sense gun-related piece of legislation called the “extreme risk order protection bill,” or ERPO (H 3610) finally moved out of committee at the state house. This is a positive step for this important bill, which has garnered wide-ranging support, BUT the fight is not over. The bill will now to to Ways & Means, and then it’ll be up to Speaker DeLeo to bring it to the floor for a vote. That’s where we come in, so keep your eyes on our Facebook pages for a call to action to get on the phone to DeLeo’s office and demand a vote on this important piece of legislation. As a side note – huge kudos to the high school students from Somerville and other area schools who orchestrated a very effective phone bank blitz on this issue. Nicely done!
- Thank you, Elizabeth Warren, for once dishing it up to Mick Mulvaney. He definitely needed that.
- As much as we have to acknowledge the deep and possibly irreparable damage 45’s administration is doing to the environment, this story from Earth Justice gives me some hope: Scott Pruitt Doesn’t Play by the Rules—and He Still Can’t Win – The EPA administrator’s efforts to go rogue and ignore bedrock environmental law keep failing.
- On keeping our natural resources more accessible to all: Public outrage forces Interior to scrap massive increase in park entry fees
- Are Mustang Slaughter Proponents Shifting Tactics? We can’t put this one in the win category yet, but seems like the debate may be moving in a positive direction.
- New Zealand bans all new offshore oil exploration as part of ‘carbon-neutral future’ – Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says move ‘will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time’ (More from the NYT)
- Glendale Hits the Brakes on $500 Mil Gas-fired Power Plant – Glendale joins California’s shift away from gas-fired power, votes to study clean energy options instead of locking themselves into building a dated gas plant
- Victory: Added flow over dams helps juvenile salmon on migration out to sea
- The Virginia Gov. vetoed a bill which would limit the governor’s authority to use a market-based carbon trading program to reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy sector.*
- Thanks to lots of activism, the Brooklyn (NY) Friends of the NRA fundraiser was chased out of multiple venues and have now called off their event, shout out to Gays Against Guns and others who helped make this happen.*
- A court blocks Exxon’s efforts to conceal climate research and public statements.†
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
- More than half of the nearly 50 women running for Congress in Texas won their primaries. Way to go, ladies!!
- And more members of the GOP are fleeing DC like rats from a sinking ship, including Paul Ryan and Rep. Dennis Ross from Florida. See ya, fellas!
- California where they announced the pre-registration of teens to vote before they turn 18 to get them into the voting game is accelerating and building on that momentum the state launched HighSchool.sos.ca.gov, a website to connect youth with civic engagement opportunities.*
- There are now more state-level bills across the country expanding voting rights than restricting voting access.†
- NJ is poised to become the 12th state to implement automatic voter registration.† Let’s make MA next!!
And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front:
- Arizona Governor Agrees To 20 Percent Raise For Protesting Teachers
- Oklahoma Teamsters stop renovation work to stand in solidarity with striking teachers.†
- First black woman nominated to be Marine brigadier general
- The US Supreme Court gains its first-ever Native American law clerk.†
- It doesn’t undo anything or address all the issues of how big banks invest, but it’s a positive step: Bank of America will stop lending money to makers of assault rifles
- Net Neutrality Rules may not be tossed out of the game so fast in Oregon now that the Gov. signed a law prohibiting state agencies from purchasing internet service from providers that violate the core net neutrality principles.*
- After communities protested the muting of footage minutes after the Stephon Clark shooting, the Sacramento Police Dept. ordered officers to keep their body cameras on until the enforcement activity has concluded, except under limited and specified circumstances and they must say on camera why they are turning off the cameras before doing so.*
- “The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class.”†
- Two former Secretaries of Commerce, one Democrat, one Republican, joined to write an op-ed opposing a census citizenship question.†
- A Southern District Court of Texas judge ruled that workers can’t be discriminated against based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, the first Texas based federal court to do so.*
- Anti-Muslim activist John Guandolo was forced to cancel five speaking engagements in Midwestern cities after protesters put pressure on the venues through protests leading them to back out.*
- Sen. Tammy Duckworth became the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office.
- Fairfax Co., Virginia sheriff is prioritizing community safety and limiting ICE’s reach.†
- A US District Court ruled that police departments cannot be denied federal funds for not cooperating with ICE.†
- For Passover, Jewish New Yorkers stood outside mosques to support and protect their Muslim neighbors.†
We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia investigation front:
- This was fun: F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It ‘Disgraceful’
- And now, it’s official: DOJ: Michael Cohen ‘under criminal investigation’
- Ruh-ro: The NRA May Have More Russian Contributors Than It First Said
- Over 100 DOJ alumni issue a statement supporting the rule of law, Rosenstein, and Mueller.†
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- Here’s a nice story about nice guys coming in first for a change: Denzel Washington paid for ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman to study at Oxford
- Once again, Merriam-Webster for the win: Kakistocracy, a 374-year-old word that means ‘government by the worst,’ just broke the dictionary #wordgeeks
- Sinclair show canceled after commentator’s vulgar tweet about Parkland survivor David Hogg
- Will the walk of shame never end: R.N.C. Official Who Agreed to Pay Playboy Model $1.6 Million Resigns #bottomlessswamp
- Wakanda Forever: A ‘Black Panther’ Sequel Has Officially Been Confirmed #cantwait
- I just can’t. This guy is a total ass hat, and I hope the shaming of him for his abhorrent behavior continues: Tony Robbins suggested #MeToo was about ‘victimhood.’ Now he’s apologizing.
- The White House also lost multiple contestants after injuring themselves in a challenge by tying themselves to McMaster, and were carted out of the game, including, National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton, top homeland security aide, Tom Bossert, Nadia Schadlow, the US deputy national security adviser for strategy, and Ricky Waddell, the No. 2 official on the National Security Council.* #Chaos
- Laura Ingraham lost more advertisers including IBM and Blue Apron.*
- Contemporary indigenous women are telling their stories and reclaiming matriarchy.†
“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