What’s Good, June 11 to June 24
Bad News for racists
- MoveOn.org, the ACLU, and other advocacy groups are organizing a nationwide June 30 day of #FamiliesBelongTogether protests in response to the Trump administration’s barbaric policy of forcibly separating migrant families. The headline event will take place in Washington, DC; you can find your nearest event here.
- All five living first ladies, including even Melania Trump, issued statements condemning the family separation policy.
- When even disgraced former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly criticizes your Republican administration as too cruel, you know you’ve blown it.
- American, Frontier, Southwest, and United airlines declared that they will not transport immigrant children forcibly separated from their parents as part of the policy.
- House Republicans continue to be unable to agree among themselves on whether the GOP should be Totally Xenophobic or just Mostly Xenophobic: their Totally Xenophobic hardline immigration restriction bill was defeated by almost 40 votes, and Paul Ryan postponed a planned vote on the Mostly Xenophobic alternative bill.
- A Facebook page aiming to raise contributions for low-cost legal defense services for immigrant and refugee families created on June 16 set a modest fundraising target of $1,500. It has raised over $20 million since then.
- If you want to help run up the score, click here.
Good News from the courts
- The US Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement bodies cannot access cellular phone metadata such as call listings and location data without a warrant.
- A federal judge permanently blocked a Kansas law requiring voters to prove their citizenship before registering to vote. The judge also publicly humiliated the law’s main proponent, Kansas Secretary of State and notorious vote-suppressor Kris Kobach, by ordering him to take continuing legal education classes.
Good News from the ballot box
- San Francisco elected its first-ever black female mayor, who will also be the only female mayor of any of the 15 largest US cities.
- Maine’s first-in-the-nation Ranked Choice Voting system was successfully defended in a statewide referendum. Maine’s candidates in all state and federal primary elections, as well as in all federal general elections, will use RCV henceforth.
- A Democrat won a special election for a Wisconsin state senate seat that had been held by Republicans for more than 40 years and that Trump had won by 18% in 2016.
Good News from America’s statehouses
- Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker reversed his previous plans to deploy the Massachusetts National Guard to the Mexican border, citing the Trump administration’s “cruel and inhumane” family separation policy.
- A veto-proof majority of the Massachusetts legislature approved a “grand bargain” bill mandating paid family & medical leave and raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. Among its other features, the bill also includes a phased repeal of the state law that workers be paid time-and-a-half on Sundays, an annual statewide sales tax holiday, a pasta-maker attachment, and a flamethrower arm.
Good News from far and wide
- Canada became the second nation in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize recreational marijuana.
- Republican-turned-Independent former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he will spend $80 million of his fortune to support Democratic Congressional campaigns this year. “Republicans in Congress have had almost two years to prove they could govern responsibly. They failed.”
- Electronics giant Samsung announced a plan to transition to 100 percent renewable energy at its facilities in Europe, China, and the US by 2020.
- McDonald’s will end its use of plastic straws in Britain by 2019, as a result of a petition that gathered half a million supporters.
- Canada’s House of Commons unanimously condemned the Trump administration for “disparaging ad hominem statements… which do a disservice to bilateral relations”.
Good News from The Swamp
- The Democratic National Committee announced it will no longer accept campaign donations from fossil fuel companies.
- Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s attorneys quit. Cohen subsequently told friends that he is willing to provide information on Trump to investigators.
- Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will cool his heels in jail while he awaits trial, after a federal judge revoked his bail in response to new witness tampering charges against Manafort.
- New York’s attorney general sued Trump, his children, and the Trump Foundation for “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct occurring over more than a decade”. The suit seeks to dissolve the Trump Foundation and to bar Trump from being the director of any New York not-for-profit enterprise for 10 years.
- A Health and Human Services report on chemical toxicity that had been suppressed for months by the EPA and White House as “a potential public relations nightmare” was released.
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission affirmed to a Senate committee that the closure of failing coal and nuclear power plants in the US poses no national security risk that would warrant market intervention– contradicting claims made by Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
- The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected Trump’s proposed Interior Department and EPA budget cuts. Instead, the committee proposed a $600 million increase over the agencies’ fiscal 2018 funding.
- The NRA quietly deleted its online archive of its past lawmaker ratings because “our enemies were using that”.
And lastly, a few chaser shots of 150-proof Neener Neener to make the Good News go down smoother
- Good help is hard to find: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told visiting senators that the White House is “a miserable place to work” and is reportedly eyeing the exits (but was beaten out the door by his deputy chief of staff, who has resigned already). A report also surfaced that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her deputy both plan to quit by the end of the year. The shortage of qualified candidates interested in working for Trump has reached the point where the White House has been forced to send recruiters to conservative job fairs.
- Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Press Secretary Sanders each experienced public dining humiliation: after a busy day of overseeing the breaking apart of migrant families, Nielsen was heckled out of a Mexican restaurant by protesters. Sanders escaped her brush with restaurant disaster with more of her dignity intact: when the restaurant owner personally asked Sanders to leave, Sanders took the hint and departed.
- The Scott Pruitt dumpster fire burns ever more brightly: Fox News wingnut pundit Laura Ingraham joined the public chorus calling for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to be fired.
- Republican strategist Steve Schmidt renounced the Republican party and declared that he will vote for Democrats “as someone who retains belief in democracy and decency”.
- A Fox News host referred to the Singapore summit between aspiring autocrat Trump and actual autocrat Kim Jong Un as a “meeting between the two dictators”.
- Those willing to dig into a longread can enjoy this legal dissection of Trump’s “terrible arguments against the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation”.
- If something seems unusual about the byline, it might be because the author is Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s husband.
- And lastly, good news for those who can’t get enough Good News: The New York Times has launched its own Good News newsletter.