What’s Good, July 9 to July 22
Good News from far and wide
- President Trump said that the lively protests that greeted him in London and elsewhere in the UK made him feel “unwelcome”.
- Americans will soon be able to experience a key piece of the London protests at home: the giant “Trump Baby” balloon that served as the centerpiece of the protests, which Trump specifically mentioned in his complaints about the hostile reception, will follow Trump back to the US.
- Princes Charles and William refused to honor Trump by meeting with him during his UK visit.
- The Irish parliament passed a bill making Ireland the world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels.
- After years of pressure from climate and science activist groups, ExxonMobil finally quit the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate lobby group that opposes the clean energy industry and the Clean Power Plan.
- The global War On Trash made two major advances: the Indian state of Maharashtra (population: 114.2 million) banned plastic bags, straws, Styrofoam, and other single-use plastic items, and Starbucks announced that it will discontinue use of plastic straws in its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.
- The NFL and its players agreed to temporarily suspend a recently instituted league policy that limited on-field protests by requiring players to “stand and show respect for the flag” during the national anthem.
- Seven national fast-food chains agreed to end corporate policies that limit their workers’ wages and job opportunities by prohibiting them from moving to jobs at different franchise locations.
Good News from The Swamp
- A bipartisan shower of criticism greeted Trump’s statement that he trusts Vladimir Putin more than he trusts the US intelligence community on the matter of Russian election interference.
- As just a few examples of the juiciest responses to Trump’s statement: far-right Tea Partying former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh (IL) tweeted that “I will never support Trump again… Trump was a traitor to this country today. That must not be accepted”, GOP Rep. Will Hurd (TX) published an Op-Ed in the New York Times declaring that “Trump is being manipulated by Putin”, and Texas GOP state Rep. Jason Villalba published an open letter to fellow Republicans saying that Trump “thinks you are a fool… It is time to push him into the ash bin of history. Today, I ask you to impeach Trump.”
- The Senate passed a unanimous resolution disapproving Trump’s preposterous idea of allowing Russia to interrogate Americans in exchange for providing assistance to the ongoing Russian election interference investigations.
- The Justice Department announced new indictments against 12 Russians connected to the hacking of Democratic Party emails and other targets in 2016 and arrested a Russian pro-gun activist on charges that she infiltrated the NRA on Russia’s behalf in order to influence the Republican Party.
- The White House withdrew Circuit Court judicial nominee Ryan Bounds when Bounds’ history of racist remarks caused a key Republican Senator, Tim Scott (SC), to drop his support for the nomination.
- The fight to keep Brett Kavanaugh off of the Supreme Court is obviously much more significant, but this is nonetheless a major victory that shows what organized resistance can achieve. If you haven’t called your senators yet to ask them to slow Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings and oppose his nomination, now is the time.
- Rep. Mike Coffman (CO) became the first Republican House member to sign onto Democrats’ Congressional Review Act resolution to save net neutrality.
- FCC Chairman and Big Telecom lackey Ajit Pai dealt a major and surprising setback to Trump-loving Sinclair Broadcast Group’s attempt to acquire Tribune Media Company, saying the merger as proposed would violate the law.
Good News from the courts
- A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot hold migrant families in long-term detention.
- Another federal judge ruled that municipal governments can require foster care agencies to adhere to their nondiscrimination policies, even when the agencies claim that discrimination against same-sex couples is part of their religious beliefs.
Good News from America’s statehouses
- The Massachusetts legislature advanced several additional progressive bills following the passage of its “grand bargain”: the state Senate unanimously passed a net neutrality transparency and consumer privacy bill, the state House passed an automatic voter registration bill 130-20, and both chambers passed a bill repealing outdated laws on adultery, abortion, and contraception by veto-proof margins.
- Kentucky reinstated vision and dental coverage to 400,000 Medicaid recipients that its Republican governor’s administration had stripped of coverage earlier in the month.
Bad News for racists
- The Trump administration quietly reinstated the previous “catch and release” policy for undocumented migrants after losing a series of court rulings against its controversial “zero tolerance” policy.
- Hillary Clinton announced a project to help reunite migrants that have been separated from their families and cannot afford travel costs.
- Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman and is having his image purged from company marketing materials after he used a racial slur during a conference call.
- Leading Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer removed all images of the misappropriated Alt-Right icon Pepe the Frog from its site after being served with copyright infringement notices from Pepe’s (non-racist) creator.
And lastly, a few chaser shots of 150-proof Neener Neener and random acts of kindness to make the Good News go down smoother
- Good help is hard to find: Trump’s legislative affairs director quit and will be replaced by one of his economic advisors, who planned to quit last month but apparently didn’t make it out the door in time. Meanwhile, Trump’s personal driver for 20+ years is suing Trump for over 3,000 hours of unpaid overtime wages.
- All 12 of the boys and the coach of the Thai soccer team that were trapped in a flooded cave a mile underground for 17 days were rescued.
- Punk band Green Day’s 2004 hit song “American Idiot,” released 14 years ago as a criticism of then-President George W. Bush, returned to the charts once again thanks to its role in protests against Trump’s UK visit. The song reached the #1 UK chart position at Amazon and Google Play and #2 at iTunes and even returned to Billboard’s “Hot Rock Songs” US chart at #23.
- Neighboring African nations Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to their 20-year war.
- French soccer phenom Kylian Mbappé donated his entire $500,000 share of France’s World Cup winnings to a children’s charity in his hometown. Another international star athlete, NBA All-Star Marc Gasol of Spain, spent part of his summer offseason rescuing shipwrecked migrants in the Mediterranean.
- Chicago-born rap star Chance the Rapper purchased and reopened a beloved hyperlocal Chicago news website that had been defunct since its previous owner shut it down in response to the staff’s decision to unionize.
- A family of woodchucks moved into House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Chevy Suburban, eating the wiring and rendering the vehicle useless.
- And lastly, enjoy this preview of an upcoming project by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in which he masquerades as “anti-terror expert Erran Morad” to dupe a series of credulous gun lobbyists and Republican politicians into supporting a farcical “guns for toddlers” program.
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