What’s Good, February 11 to February 24
Howdy, Indivisivillains! Following the recent retirement of Mary Wasmuth as your bringer of the Good News, GN is transitioning to new management. Please pardon our appearance during the renovations! We will be back in business and badder than ever shortly. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following installment.
Good News from far and wide!
- The latest California voter registration statistics show that as many voters identify as “No Party Preference” as identify as Republicans. At some point between now and Election Day 2018, Republicans will be reduced to third-party status in the nation’s most populous state.
- A Salt Lake City, UT elementary school formerly named for divisive, slave-owning president Andrew Jackson has been renamed for another famous Jackson: Mary W. Jackson, the first black woman to work as a NASA engineer, whose story was the subject of the book and movie “Hidden Figures.”
- Ten years after it was first proposed, Maryland’s legislature has finally passed– and Maryland’s Republican governor willingly signed– a bill allowing impregnated rape victims to ask judges to revoke the parental rights of their rapists.
- Democrat Margaret Good won a special election flipping Florida’s state House District 72. The district has 12,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, and Trump carried the district in 2016, but even a last-minute rally appearance by Trump surrogate Corey Lewandowski on the eve of the election wasn’t enough: Good won by 7 percentage points.
- A special shout out plus high-fives to the Indivisivillains who partnered with Sister District Project in January to write GOTV postcards that helped power this victory!
- Not to be outdone, Democrat Linda Belcher won a special election flipping Kentucky’s state House District 49. Trump had won this district in 2016 by a ludicrous 49 percent margin, beating Hillary Clinton 72-23.
- The American Bar Association passed a resolution that employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation should be prohibited under a proper interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The resolution also urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to withdraw a recent DOJ interpretation that Title VII does not protect transgender citizens against workplace discrimination.
- The Trump administration agreed to settle a pending FOIA lawsuit, by posting monthly public visitor logs for some offices of the White House. Adding insult to injury, as part of the settlement the administration also will pay the legal fees of the nonprofit group, Public Citizen, that brought the suit.
- The administration suffered a second loss at the hands of Public Citizen just a few days later: the Department of Housing and Urban Development agreed to abandon an attempt to delay a federal rule providing greater housing opportunities for low-income renters.
- A company that had been seeking support from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to build a massive coal-fired power plant in Vietnam withdrew its request.
- Civil rights activist Shaun King announced that he is founding a political action committee, Real Justice PAC, that plans to spend upward of $1 million to support campaigns by reform-minded progressives running for district attorney offices at city and county levels.
- As part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations, the Justice Department charged 13 Russians and three companies in a wide-ranging indictment alleging a sophisticated network designed to subvert the 2016 election and support the Trump campaign.
- In other special counsel news, Trump campaign aide Rick Gates has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s inquiry after pleading guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.
- The House Intelligence Committee finally released the Democratic counterpart to the Nunes memo, rebutting in detail the Republican claims that the FBI and DOJ had abused their powers in spying on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
- Trump’s controversial pick to run the 2020 Census withdrew from consideration to be deputy director of the US Census Bureau. The withdrawn nominee, Thomas Brunell, is a professor with no prior government experience who has authored a book titled “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America”.
- Box office hit Black Panther is pulling in not just dollars but also voter registrations, via a #WakandaTheVote campaign.
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new congressional district map to replace the existing one they recently smacked down as an unconstitutional gerrymander. If the new map had been in place in 2016, Trump would have won only 10 congressional districts, instead of the 12 he actually won.
- FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, also known as the arch-villain behind the repeal of Net Neutrality, is under investigation by his own agency’s inspector general regarding whether Pai abused his chairman’s power to improperly benefit a proposed merger involving Trump mouthpiece Sinclair Broadcasting.
- 120,000 Teamsters in Long Island and New York City are training to act as a “sanctuary union”. The training emphasizes honoring the principle of union solidarity over immigration laws.
- A(nother) federal judge (once again) blocked Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This latest ruling found that the administration’s given reasons for winding down the program were too arbitrary and orders the government to continue to process both initial requests for DACA status as well as renewals.
- A Chicago man tweeted out a request for 10 volunteers to help his elderly neighbors during a snowstorm. 120 volunteers showed up.
Good News from close to home!
- The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association announced its support for the state’s S.1305/H.3269 Safe Communities Act, which would prohibit local police chiefs and county sheriffs from acting as immigration enforcement agents.
- Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone joined more than 200 other mayors from 47 US states and territories, representing over 51 million Americans, in cosigning a letter to the EPA strongly opposing the EPA’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
- But since only suckers wait up for Scott Pruitt’s EPA, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change went ahead and approved S.479, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, which would commit Massachusetts to a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The bill now heads to the Senate Ways and Means Committee before coming to a vote of the full Senate.
- Representative Mike Capuano (D-MA-07) submitted a letter to the FAA urging them to redirect more outbound Logan Airport departure paths over the water, instead of over Somerville, Arlington, and other nearby residential communities.
Good News for people who support Americans’ right to not be mass-murdered by gun-wielding madmen!
- Al Hoffman Jr., a prominent Florida Republican donor, demanded that Republicans pass gun-control legislation and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or PACs that do not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.
- In a small but significant step, Florida Governor Rick Scott (NRA rating: A+) announced a plan to raise the state’s minimum age to buy any firearm, including semiautomatic rifles, from 18 to 21, defying his NRA paymasters.
- Insurance company Chubb will no longer offer its NRA-branded Carry Guard insurance for gun owners. Carry Guard covered legal costs related to firearm use, including self-defense and “stand your ground” shootings, leading gun-control advocates to brand it as “murder insurance.”
- The NRA’s corporate and promotional business partners are dumping it like a dogcrap-slathered hot potato. The latest to bail include most major car rental companies, Symantec, MetLife, United and Delta Air Lines, North American and Allied Van Lines, and First National Bank of Omaha.
And lastly, a few chaser shots of 150-proof Neener Neener to make all that Good News go down smoother:
- Unknown parties trolled the Conservative Political Action Conference by projecting a “Dreamers Deserve Protection” message on the hotel hosting CPAC.
- In an interview with CNN, the vice mayor of Florida’s Broward County was not impressed by President Trump’s visit with the victims of the Parkland school shooting. “Him coming here is absolutely absurd, and he’s a hypocrite. How can you come here and talk about how horrible it is when you support these laws?”
- Missouri’s Republican governor Eric Greitens has been indicted on a first-degree felony charge of invasion of privacy relating to blackmail allegations surrounding an extramarital affair.
- Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who is up for re-election this November, received financial support from a surprising source: the parents of one of Baldwin’s Republican challengers each contributed the maximum allowable $2,700 to Baldwin’s campaign.
- In a New York Times survey of presidential political experts, Trump comes in dead last. Even the Republican experts surveyed rated Trump as one of the five worst presidents of all time.