Sanity-Saving good news – “Using your anger for good” – Edition

Good news in basic humanity.

Lin-Manuel’s advice works for everything, actually. This was a hard week where we wonder about our basic humanity. But then all this happens and, well, it helps a bit.

San Juan Mayor Carment Cruz does not back down.

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“This terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it does not embody the spirit of the American nation.” San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz on 45’s trip to Puerto Rico

Racial slurs were shouted at a Nevada Union High School student in Grass Valley as he walked down Mill Street, according to his father on an amazing Facebook heart-to-heart to the white people in his community. Concerned local residents, including the police and the Nevada Union High principal, asked the community to do better and stand up to racism.  And this happened.

People line up around the block to donate blood in Vegas.

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Mexico plans to deliver water, insect repellent, and energy specialists to Puerto Rico.

A Real Housewife takes 4 planes to PR with food—and returns with cancer patients.

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Bad News for People Willing to do bad things…

In news of the constantly shrinking good-bye party deadline for Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), the anti-abortion lawmaker who allegedly pressured his mistress into having an abortion, announced that he will resign—effective today. Late on Wednesday, Murphy had said that he would retire at the end of his term, and then Politico reported an end of the month farewell.  Could also have something to do with a six-page memo written by his chief of staff, Susan Mosychuk, who described a hostile workplace in which Mr. Murphy reportedly denigrated employees, threatened them and created a state of “terror.”  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan summarized the whole thing with “It was Dr. Murphy’s decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it.”

Murphy isn’t the first anti-abortion Congressman to build a career on restricting abortion access to his constituents only to suggest abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. In 2012, Republican Scott Desjarlais pressured his mistress into having an abortion. Two years later, Desjarlais voted for a 20-week abortion ban. Time to ask him to do the “right thing” too…

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In case you blinked and missed this last week—Tom Price is out, joining the long list of top officials who have seen the door. Not rich enough to have his own plane + failed on Trumpcare 3 times! You’re out!  And now you can read about the journalists who put together the story that brought him down. #PriceCutOnPennsylvaniaAvenue

The CEO of Equifax resigned over their epic data breach. But don’t you worry about him. He and his $90 million parting gift will be OK. You, not so much. Have you frozen all your accounts yet? His Senate hearing was made much more interesting by the appearance of “Rich Uncle Pennybags” behind him, later identified as activist Amanda Werner, who made facial expressions, stroked a handlebar mustache, and appeared to be taking notes.  Meanwhile, Equifax continues to face more lawsuits and investigations over its data breach.

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U.S. District Judge ruled that shareholders can seek to hold Wells Fargo’s current and former executives and directors personally responsible for the fake accounts scandal.

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been indicted on a count of felony perjury relating to an assault charge earlier this year.

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Good News in Civil Rights and Justice

Thousands of people in Washington D.C. turned out to march for black women’s rightsand racial justice this past weekend. #blackwomenmatter

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Georgia high school students got a great lesson in their own civil rights recently when the sheriff who patted-down the whole school without a warrant or permission of the school was indicted.  Sheriff Jeff Hobby, entered their school with a list of 12 students who were suspected of carrying drugs. Even though only three from that list were actually on the premises, he and his deputies proceeded to lock down the school for four hours and  aggressively searched the 800 students, which also led to sexual battery accusations for one of the deputies.

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The Justice Department plans to unveil a new initiative Tuesday to increase protections for women facing sexual harassment by landlords, security guards and a bevy of other rental property staff. The new program seeks to establish a “reporting pipeline” for survivors of harassment to report abuse and raise awareness about the issue more generally.

Mueller is digging into the Steele dossier and links between Russia and the president and he’s already getting ready for the inevitable flood of pardons

Steve Croman, one of New York City’s most notorious landlord who used force and harassment to force tenants out of rent regulated apartments was convicted in criminal court and sentenced to 1 year in jail, a $5 million fine, in a big win for tenants.

Pennsylvania’s attorney general sued Navient Corp, the largest student loan company, accusing it of engaging in abusive practices against consumers.

Several groups sue over the president’s third Muslim ban.

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The end to school lunch shaming is growing in big and small school districts.  We already talked about children in NYC public schools (more than a million) getting free lunches. Now Fauquier County Virginia students will continue to get a hot meal even if they owe money on their lunch account.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state’s new school finance system is unconstitutional, finding that it failed to meet the state Constitution’s requirements to adequately fund education and ordered a fairer distribution of funding to poor districts

Good news for our LGBTQ community!

A rainbow flag will be installed at the Stonewall National Monument in New York City, the first such flag to be permanently placed on federal land. The flag will officially go up at noon October 11, which is both National Coming Out Day and the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington for LGBT Rights. On that day in 1987, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to call for an end to discrimination and more federal funding for AIDS research and treatment.

 

Westminster, Colorado’s mayor and town council issued a proclamation against “conversion therapy.

Equality Utah settled a lawsuit against Utah over a sex-education law that allowed discrimination against homosexuality in schools. The Utah Dept. of Ed agreed to issue a memo reaffirming the right to be free of discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity and require schools develop and implement a safety plan for LGBTQ students.

First United Methodist Church in Austin, TX announced that it will no longer allow weddings at the church until it is allowed to perform same-sex marriages. The church recently voted to stop hosting weddings as long as its denomination prohibits clergy from officiating same-sex marriages. The First United Methodist Church in downtown Austin announced on its website that its congregation had voted 93 percent in favor of the new resolution “to align its wedding policies with its strongly-held principle of full inclusion of all persons.” Bravo!

The Missouri Appellate Court held that a woman who helped raise a child with her former same-sex partner following artificial insemination can seek custody or visitation with the child even though they were never married and she was not the one who gave birth.

Good news for Californians!

(Want to know which bills Governor Brown has signed so far? Click here.)

Gov. Jerry Brown placed new limitations on state and local law enforcement’s ability to help the federal government enforce immigration violations by signing California’s controversial “sanctuary state” bill into law on Thursday!

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California landlords can’t threaten undocumented tenants anymore under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Thursday. Assemblyman David Chiu’s AB 291, known as the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, bolsters state law to prohibit landlords from disclosing tenants’ immigration status and bar landlords from threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities.

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Citizens United unleashed unlimited anonymous political spending and over $1 billion was spent on CA ballot measures in 2012 – 2016, almost all of it by donors hiding behind innocent names like “Stop Special Interest Money Now” or the “Californians Against the Deceptive Rx Proposition”. Well, that’s done. AB 249 was just signed by Governor Brown. AB 249 requires the following:

  • Requires ads to show 3 largest funders of $50,000 or more in large clear type on a solid background.  No more fine print.  Applies to all ballot measure ads and to ads about candidates paid for by outside groups.
  • On television and video ads disclosures must be shown on a solid black background on the bottom 1/3 of the screen for a full 5 seconds.  Each funder must be clearly listed on a separate line in a large Arial font, and in easy to read mixed case (not all capital letters).
  • Also applies to ads, print ads, mass mailers, robocalls, and online ads.  Radio ads and robocalls must clearly name the two largest funders.  Applies whether ads are paid for by corporations, unions, or millionaires.
  • Uses new earmarking rules to identify original donors of ballot measure ads so they have to display the true funders instead of misleading names even if funders try to hide behind multiple layers of organizations.  The new rules also apply to independent expenditure ads when funders identify the specific committee that pays for the ad

Governor Jerry Brown today signed SB 239, landmark legislation to reform outdated laws that unfairly criminalized and stigmatized people living with HIV.  “Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” said Senator Wiener. SB 239 updates California criminal law to approach transmission of HIV in the same way as transmission of other serious communicable diseases. It also brings California statutes up to date with the current understanding of HIV prevention, treatment and transmission. The bill fulfills a key goal of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and is consistent with guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and with California’s “Getting to Zero” HIV transmission reduction strategy.

California’s Governor signed SB 33, a bill prohibiting financial firms from forcing customers into arbitration to settle disputes under certain circumstances. Wells Fargo & Co.’s home state of California passed a law aimed at curtailing the bank’s use of closed-door arbitration to shroud complaints from aggrieved customers affected by its scandals.

Good news for the Press!

Pen America, the national branch of the well-established international organization that fights for press freedom, is trying to help us fight back against the recent attacks on the free press in our country. “The Press Freedom Incentive Fund will support new initiatives to invigorate local communities with ideas, information, questions, and discourse around press freedom defense. Proposals may center on events, panel discussions, campaigns, outreach efforts, educational initiatives, guest speakers, or other formats that can be effective in reaching local audiences.” Anyone is eligible, and grants of $1000 – 4000 are available. Let’s find out more here.

Here’s a spot of good news in a bleak week – public trust in the media is going up. Let’s continue to financially support trusted media sources as we are able.

Good News in Elections and Voting Rights!

With the help of Our Revolution volunteers, progressive candidate Randall Woodfin won the Birmingham, Alabama mayoral race!

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The League of Women Voters and the Texas State Conference of the NAACP won a lawsuit protecting voter data from Trump’s bogus voter fraud commission. The ACLU is also taking on that commission by launching a campaign to increase voter participation in all 50 states. #TakeThat #LetPeopleVote

Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor questions a weak defense of gerrymandering. “Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering? How does that help our system of government?” And everybody heard it.

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Three groups sue over illegal purging of Ohio voter rolls.

Good news in the fight against gun violence.

 Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, has called on country musicians to stand up to the NRA:   Through their NRA Country, the NRA is attempting to seek younger members to offset their aging base. Country music fans, contact your favorite musicians and ask them to distance themselves from the gun lobby.

Retailers pull gun “bump stocks” from shelves in the wake of Las Vegas violence.

The kids are alright.

In a modern example of how young people do resistance, the great silent flash protest against Betsy Devos started with it a text. Read all about it.

Good News for Women

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We are not sitting back and taking anything quietly.  On Friday, the women’s rights group UltraViolet set up a large truck-mounted video screen playing President Donald Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, accompanied by statistics about sexual assault. It played for 12 hours, on a continuous loop, commemorating the approximately one year  anniversary after the 2005 tape became public. We’re pretty sure the location next to the phallus-shaped Washington Monument is completely intentional. They got game, these women. Bravo!

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Congress passed the Women, Peace and Security Act! This is a big victory for our Peace is Loud family, especially Tanya Henderson who was an integral part of this legislation, which requires women’s participation in U.S. foreign policy. Now waiting for Trump’s signature…

Thanks to a federal judge in Kentucky, women will no longer have to be subjected to an ultrasound before being able to have an abortion.

The ACLU and others announced they are suing over new regulations allowing employers, to stop offering birth control in their insurance plans on moral or religious grounds.

The ACLU sued the FDA to expand access to medication abortions, by demanding they eliminate the requirements that the abortion pill be dispensed at a medical facility under the care of a provider, require providers register with the manufacturer, and be capable of providing a surgical abortion if complications arise.

A U.S. District judge blocked a Florida law that would require people and groups that provide abortion advice to register with the state and furnish women with a detailed explanation of the alternatives and procedures, including a “full and detailed description of the abortion procedure” and was opposed by the ACLU.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has just filed a lawsuit Friday against the Trump administration, challenging a new federal policy allowing employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control.

and men…Stanford just installed a vending machine dispensing emergency contraceptives in one of their restrooms, including generic Plan B and condoms. Making these items available 24/7 without any confrontations with religious-right pharmacy staff is an example all colleges should follow.

(From Whatwentright) Mariah Klenke became the first female officer to lead an assault amphibian vehicle platoon for the Marines.  Cynthia Mitchell is the first woman to be appointed as Colorado’s Pueblo County attorney. The Georgetown Kentucky Fire Dept. promoted Anne Willett making her their first ever female captain. Sahara Ali is the first female taxi driver in Hargeisa, Somalia, a city of 1.5 million. Melissa Grego was named CEO of Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Television Society, becoming the first woman to lead the group in its 70-year history. Rebecca Ackerman is the first woman promoted to battalion chief at the Austin Texas Fire Department.

Planned Parenthood announced they are constructing of a new health center in Milwaukee. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Planned Parenthood can continue with plans to obtain abortion licenses for its Springfield, Joplin and Columbia clinics in Missouri.

Two of our best forms of self-defense are Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Consider giving a small donation monthly if you can. And we specifically did not tell you to make your monthly gift to PP in Vice President Pence’s name.

Good news for the Environment!

With pressure from the CFA and Earthjustice, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to outlaw toxic chemicals often found in baby products.

A federal judge orders the State Department to reinstate methane emissions rules.

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An Interior Department executive speaks truth to power in resignation letter.

A billionaire is using his wealth for good and using the GOP’s playbook to save the planet. After decades of complaining about the influence of big money on politics, environmentalists in this election cycle are spending big money on politics. Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund manager turned environmental champion, has put fifty-eight million dollars into various midterm campaigns, mostly through his super pac, NextGen Climate Action Committee.

TransCanada has cancelled a controversial pipeline project.

Conservatives descend on DC to advocate for clean energy.

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GM is planning for a zero-emissions future, beginning with the release of 20 all-electric models by 2023, and the Chinese government announced they’re taking steps to end sales and production of fossil fuel vehicles. This is real. This is not a drill!

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After people participated in seven (!!!) years of hearings, rallies, public comments, letters to the editor, and phone banks, the Washington Department of Ecology denied a permit needed to create North America’s largest coal-export terminal. As our reader Ellen, who worked hard for this victory, confirmed: “Each of these acts built a mountain of support that made today’s victory possible.”

One of Texas’ largest coal plants, located near Dallas, is shutting down.

England is making another exit, but this one we can get behind—they’re pulling out of the coal-burning power plant business, with the last plant set to close by 2025.

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Oxnard community members have spent 3 years fighting the placement of another power plant on their beach, part of a racist legacy of sacrificing their city for dirty energy production and finally they have signs of progress. Two of the California Energy Commissioners assigned to review the proposed Puente Power Plant said they will reject the project as it’s inconsistent with laws and regulations, and will result in environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated.  They plan to issue a proposed decision soon rejecting the project, and are giving advance notice for utilities to begin seeking clean energy alternatives as soon as possible!

Sea turtle numbers are improving–a conservation WIN!

Private landowners partner with USFWS to restore the native longleaf pine tree.

Octopus news: are there octopus communes out there?

Good news for workers!

Farmworker leaders from Migrant Justice and the CEOs of Ben & Jerry’s jointly signed the Milk with Dignity agreement, establishing the dairy industry’s first worker-led labor program.

Berkeley California’s paid sick leave ordinance and increase in Berkeley’s minimum wage took effect.

Good news for health care!

If the Trump administration isn’t going to try to sell Obamacare to consumers this year, these Obama administration veterans are ready to step in. Two former officials who worked on the sign-up campaigns for the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges when Barack Obama was president launched an initiative Wednesday called Get America Covered. In essence, it seeks to stand in for a federal government that, under President Donald Trump, is dramatically scaling back efforts to get the word out that enrollment season is about to begin. Go to their site and help them spread the word to everyone you know.

Healthcare advocate moms and their “little lobbyists” make headway.

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Putting treatment before trial, opioid crisis intervention court saves lives in Buffalo, NY.

The cities and states suing opioid making pharmaceutical companies is growing, Upshur County the first one in Texas just did, after Louisville, counties in NY, CA and others.

Good news just for the heck of it, and for cats…

The world wasn’t supposed to know about Ramona’s obsessive love for cats, but Dad accidently posted this information in the wrong place.

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Proceeds from this cookbook go to the extraordinarily busy ACLU.  The chef  and author who is helping to feed a hungry resistance.

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(Thanks as always to Jen Hofmann, Rogan’s List, Alison & Stephanie,  2hoursaweek,  Marla’s Good News, What Went Right, great links from Indivisible and personal contacts and the still wide-open internet.)

 

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