Life’s intervened, bigtime, with my ability to keep up with Good News. This is my last post, but I’m confident that, with all the talent out there in IS-Land, someone will pick this up and reshape Good News in amazing ways. I’m looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing the (good) news with me all these months.
What’s Good, January 29 to February 10
Former Minnesota Tea Party congresswoman Michele Bachmann said she’d been looking for a sign from God about whether to run for the Senate in 2018, and, with help from a crowdfunding campaign, a St. Paul billboard announced that God said no. She decided not to run.
White Democratic Party members have gotten much more liberal on identity issues, according to 538.com. “Whites in the Democratic Party now see racism against people of color as a huge issue, increasingly perceiving it in a similar way to African-Americans and much differently than white Republicans. Similarly, men in the Democratic Party now see women as facing sexism in American society in numbers comparable to how Democratic women see the issue — and often in much greater degrees than Republican women.”
Democrats flipped a Missouri state House seat, the 35th seat to change from red to blue since Trump become president. Mike Revis defeated his Republican opponent by 3 percentage points in a district that went for Trump by 28 points.
In what Maura Healey deemed “a huge victory for ratepayers who deserve the benefit of this major tax break for utilities,” the Mass DPU ordered electric, gas, and water companies to determine new rates to adjust consumer bills to reflect Trump’s corporate tax cuts.
Mehreen Butt, a 40-year-old public policy attorney and social justice advocate, was elected to Wakefield’s board of selectmen, the first Muslim-American woman in Massachusetts to be elected selectman.
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito rejected an emergency GOP request to stop the redrawing of Pennsylvania electoral maps in response to a ruling by the state Supreme Court that the maps violate the state constitution and unfairly benefit Republicans.
Legislators in Ohio, one of the most gerrymandered states, spent Superbowl Sunday negotiating a bipartisan redistricting plan—thanks in large part to pressure from the activist group Fair Districts = Fair Elections.
Gonzalo Curiel—the judge whom, in the Trump University litigation, Trump called a hater because of his Mexican heritage—will decide the case about whether Trump can waive environmental laws in the construction of his wall.
The number of people who signed up for ACA insurance this year declined by only 3.7% even though the administration cut the publicity budget by 90%+ and cut the open enrollment period by half. States like Massachusetts that enrolled people beyond the early administration deadline saw increased participation.
Nancy Pelosi used her unlimited “magic” minute, available in the House only to party leaders, to speak for a modern record of more than 8 hours in an attempt to force a vote on the Dream Act as she read story after emotional story about Dreamers who aspire to become U.S. citizens.
A federal appeals court in Colorado ruled that 9 immigrant detainees challenging conditions of forced labor at a detention facility can represent a class of about 60,000 others also detained at the site.
A federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order stopping ICE from deporting several Indonesian Christian immigrants while she reviewed their request for a second chance at asylum.
Activists in 4 red states—Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, and Utah—are working to gather signatures to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot, hoping to duplicate the successful Maine campaign to expand Medicaid through a ballot initiative.
Randy Brice, Democratic challenger to Paul Ryan, raised more than $150,000 after Ryan deleted his clueless tweet lauding a Pennsylvania woman’s $1.50 a week paycheck increase as an example of the benefits of Trump’s tax law.
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against a Texas law requiring healthcare workers to bury or cremate fetal tissue following an abortion.
Polling by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows Trump trailing not just in the 23 GOP-held districts Hillary Clinton won, but also in more than 60 districts Trump won, and 11 others where retirements have left seats open.
Macy’s is about to become the first U.S. department store to carry hijabs as it launches a line of clothing for Muslim women.
An employee at the Montana Department of Labor quit his job rather than assist ICE in deportations.
The Senate blocked a proposed federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
The Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Pennsylvania officials and the city’s district attorney to end cash bail.
A federal judge ordered immigration activist Ravi Ragbir released from custody in a temporary reprieve from deportation, saying ICE agents had violated his rights to due process.
A federal judge ruled that Florida’s system for barring former felons from voting is unconstitutional and potentially tainted by racial, political, or religious bias.
Dunkin’ Donuts will stop using foam cups by 2020, removing a billion of them each year from the waste stream.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to shut down all his country’s coal-fired power plants by 2021.
Lawmakers from 9 states, including Massachusetts, formed a coalition to help pass carbon pricing at the local level.
In response to Trump’s plan to open up offshore drilling, California announced it will deny pipeline permits for transporting oil over land from new leases off the Pacific Coast.
Harvard announced it will strive to become fossil-fuel-neutral by 2026 and fossil-fuel-free by 2050.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has begun plowing money into renewable energy, planning to reshape its energy mix at home and become a global force in clean power.
The EPA announced it is withdrawing its plan to suspend environmental protections for the area of Alaska that’s home to the world’s most valuable wild salmon fishery.
The reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis relaunched Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign with rallies across the country.
New Jersey’s Phil Murphy signed an executive order requiring all internet service providers with state contracts to adhere to net neutrality standards.
Governor Murphy also announced plans to create a state office to provide legal support for immigrants.
CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin said he regretted pushing a false equivalence between Clinton and Trump during the election: “every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the pussy, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’”
The House passed a measure requiring lawmakers to pay their own settlements in sexual harassment cases instead of using taxpayer funds; the measure also took steps to strengthen worker protections for congressional employees.
K.T. McFarland withdrew from consideration as ambassador to Singapore. Her nomination was stalled because of concerns about her involvement, as a member of the Trump transition team and as Michael Flynn’s deputy, in communications between the Trump camp and the Russian government.
CDC head Brenda Fitzgerald resigned after revelations that she’d traded tobacco stock while leading anti-smoking efforts.
The White House has withdrawn its nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White. Her testimony that scientific facts are a “matter of opinion” went viral.
Steve Winn, the RNC finance chairman, resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations by dozens of women.
Republicans continue to decide it’s time to retire: Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; and Benghazi pitbull Trey Gowdy (SC), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The Justice Department sided with Robert Mueller in a lawsuit from Paul Manafort that contended the special counsel’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia exceeded its legal authority.
In a development that could signal that Manafort associate Robert Gates might seek a plea deal with Robert Mueller, a group of lawyers representing Gates withdrew from his defense.
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the Kansas law requiring that anyone with contracts with the state certify that they are “not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel.”
Kentucky quietly pulled out of the Interstate Crosscheck System, citing concerns about reliability and privacy.
Trump signed a bill recognizing 6 Virginia-area Native American tribes after a two-decade effort by the tribes.
Responding to pressure from civil rights groups, Savannah, Georgia, suspended its discriminatory Crime-Free Housing Program, which harmed low-income renters and people of color.
After decades of protests from Indigenous activists, Cleveland’s baseball team is finally dropping its racist logo.
PolitiFact’s fact-checking website crashed thanks to high web traffic during Trump’s State of the Union.
Dictionary.com tweet-trolled Trump again: “Treason: The offense of acting to overthrow one’s government or to harm or kill its sovereign. Not found: Refusal to applaud. #Trump.”
Guess what—Trump also cheats at golf. “He cheats like hell,” according to LPGA legend Suzann Pettersen. “So I don’t quite know how he is in business. They say that if you cheat at golf, you cheat at business.”