Morning! Another week, another avalanche of unbelievable headlines and horror shows; BUT … there’s always a little Good News making it’s way to the front page as well. While your head might be spinning as you try to keep up with all the latest developments, rest assured that there is still some good stuff happening out there. Here, to prove it to you, is our latest batch of happy headlines and hopeful stories.
In local good news:
- Massachusetts to expunge convictions for cannabis possession – On Friday (April 13), Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law one of the most wide-ranging reforms to the state’s criminal justice system in years. It will expunge the records of people convicted for the possession of cannabis, which has been legal since the state approved recreational marijuana at the ballot box in 2016.
- Mass. ACLU sues Trump administration, citing ‘bait and switch’ immigration policy
- The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Exxon Mobil must provide the state’s attorney general with records pertaining to their investigation into Exxon’s violation of state consumer protection laws based on Exxon’s knowledge of fossil fuels role in climate change.*
- This evening (Sat, April 28th) Brainpickings is hosting it’s second annual Universe in Verse event – a live poetry reading featuring the likes of Amanda Palmer, Zoe Keating, Terrance Hayes, America Ferrera, Diane Ackerman, and many others reading their own works and the works of poets like Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and numerous others. The event is held in celebration of Earth Day, and this year pays special homage to scientist, writer, and activist, Rachel Carson. The event will be live streamed at 7PM EST, but if you can’t wait for a taste, there’s a video of last year’s event on the Brainpickings site.
- World’s first ocean plastic-cleaning machine set to tackle Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Pioneering effort to collect debris that kills wildlife about to begin after teenager made his dream come true
- Scientists have created an enzyme capable of “eating” plastic that could improve on current plastic recycling.*
- New oil, gas and mineral exploration and development will be prohibited in the San Gabriel Mountain National Monument under a new management plan for the largest wilderness area in Los Angeles County.*
- New Zealand announced they will ban all new offshore drilling and gas exploration off its coast and will not renew current permits when they expire.*
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
- Yet another member of Congress resigns under a cloud of scandal
- Democrats didn’t win in Arizona, but here’s why they’re celebrating anyway
- New Jersey joined 11 other states with automatic voter registration when recently elected democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law.*
- A federal judge found Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court for failing to comply with multiple court orders regarding voter registration, information, and training, in a case challenging a state law on proof of citizenship.*
And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front:
- In a win for the #metoo movement: Bill Cosby Is Found Guilty of Sexual Assault
- Federal judge: Trump administration must accept new DACA applications Or, as the ACLU put it, “DACA is Constitutional. Deal with it.”
- Waffle House Hero Is Raising Money for Shooting Victims – “I hope we can bring violence in all facets—not just gun violence, but all facets of violence—to an end.”
- Seattle seeks to abolish hundreds of pot convictions in light of legal marijuana
- With four Republicans voting in favor, the Senate Judiciary Committee just fired a warning shot over 45’s toupé: Senators Advance Bill to Protect Mueller. Chalk one up for the Rule of Law.
- White House doctor Ronny Jackson withdraws as Trump’s nominee to head Veterans Affairs Department. Chalk one up for sanity.
- A U.S. District Judge upheld the injunction stopping the ban on transgender members in the military and found that transgender people are a protected class of people because they have been subjected to systemic oppression and attempts to exclude them from the military will be looked at with “strict scrutiny.”*
- Moms Demand Action stopped the passing of bad gun laws in Louisiana and Kentucky.*
- Starbucks announced it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the U.S. for one afternoon to provide training to 175,000 employees on racial bias, following the arrest of two black men waiting for a friend at a Starbucks after the store manager called the police.*
- Counter-protestors far outnumbered the handful of white supremacists once again, this time at a rally that took place in Georgia.*
- In the category of Let’s Not Blow Up the World: North and South Korea vow to end the Korean War in historic accord
We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia investigation front:
- Lawyer Who Was Said to Have Dirt on Clinton Had Closer Ties to Kremlin Than She Let On
- This may not be strictly related to Russia, but who can tell what’s what these days. There are so many scandals, who can keep track? At any rate, innocent people don’t plead the 5th, so this seems like good news: Michael Cohen asserts Fifth Amendment rights in Stormy Daniels case
- THE ABSENT PROFESSOR – A Key Trump-Russia Intermediary Has Been Missing for Months, as the Case for Collusion Grows Stronger
- Judge tosses Manafort civil suit challenging special counsel
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- Journalist Sarah Kendzior goes on Morning Joe and calls out Joe and Mika for helping to fuel Trump’s rise
- See Melania Trump’s Latest Awkward Hand-Holding Moment — In the White Hat Setting Twitter Ablaze
- L’AMOUR EST FOU: EMMANUEL MACRON TURNS ON TRUMP, CALLS HIS POLICIES “INSANE” – Three days of touchy-feely diplomacy ends in frustration for France’s ambitious young president.
- And over in England, 45’s originally planned state visit has been downgraded to a “flying visit” which will not include being hosted by the queen. Seems the fear of protests got to the old goat.
- A Giddy Seth Meyers Recaps Trump’s Fox & Friends Meltdown: “Look at Those Faces!” – The Late Night host gleefully admired the shocked looks delivered by Fox & Friends hosts as the president rambled: “That’s how scientists who test zombie viruses on monkeys look when they see the cage is open and the monkey is gone.”
“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