What’s Good, April 8 to April 21
Good News from The Swamp
- Speaker Paul Ryan (R WI-01) announced that he will not run for reelection this fall. Before the ink was dry on that announcement, Rep. Dennis Ross (R FL-15) announced he will join Ryan on the way out. Rep. Charlie Dent (R PA-15), who had previously announced he would retire at the end of this term, accelerated his plans and will resign next month.
- Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen is in a world of hurt: the FBI raided his office for records related to hush payments made on behalf of Trump to porn actress Stormy Daniels as well as a former Playboy model, and the judge presiding over the investigation refused a request by Cohen and Trump to preview the seized materials.
- Whether Cohen is willing to take one for Team Trump is unclear: multiple erstwhile Trump advisers have told the New York Times that “Donald goes out of his way to treat [Cohen] like garbage” and “whenever anyone complains about Trump screwing them over, my reflexive response is that person has nothing to complain about compared to Michael”.
- But in case Trump’s pardon finger starts itching, New York’s Attorney General announced a plan to enable prosecutors to bring state-level criminal charges against individuals (like, say, Cohen) even if they have received a presidential pardon for the same charges.
- While most news organizations were covering the raid on Cohen’s office, Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran a segment on “sex-crazed” pandas. Carlson’s bizarre distraction attempt suddenly made a lot more sense in retrospect the following week, when fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity was outed as another of Cohen’s clients.
- The deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee resigned after he, too, was outed as a Cohen client for whom Cohen arranged a $1.6 million hush payment with a (different) former Playboy model.
Good News from the courts
- The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from an abortion protester who harassed clients of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Portland, Maine.
- The US Supreme Court struck down a law that allowed the government to deport certain immigrants who commit serious crimes, due to the law’s vagueness. The court’s four liberal justices were joined on the 5-4 majority opinion by an unexpected Special Guest Liberal Justice.
- The Department of Justice was on the losing end of two federal court rulings in Los Angeles and Chicago against DOJ policies that made federal funding of local governments conditional on cooperation with immigration agents.
- A federal court ruled that an Indiana abortion restriction bill signed into law in 2016 by then-Governor Mike Pence is unconstitutional.
- Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled that ranked-choice voting will be used in the state’s June primary elections, despite uncertainty over the constitutionality of RCV for general elections in state races.
Good News from far and wide
- A far right-wing candidate who won the plurality of votes in the first round of Costa Rica’s presidential election was not just defeated but totally destroyed by his center-left opponent in the final round.
- Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled that the the country’s rainforest has legal rights, and that the government must take immediate action to protect it against deforestation.
- New Jersey passed an automatic voter registration law that will apply not only at RMV offices but also potentially at other state agencies such as welfare offices and the parole board.
- Teachers in Colorado walked out to demand increased education funding, following the lead of teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Teachers in Arizona plan to hold a statewide walkout on April 26 if their demands, including raises for teachers as well as school support staff, are not granted by then.
- GOP recall campaigns targeting two Nevada state senators failed to clear the signature threshold required to trigger a recall election.
- Missouri Republicans are piling on their fellow Republican Governor Eric Greitens in the face of a report accusing him of a litany of sexually abusive nastiness and a felony computer tampering charge.
- One of the members of Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission is being sued for voter intimidation and defamation, and another was found in contempt of court for violating a preliminary injunction against Kansas’s controversial proof-of-citizenship voting law.
- A Boston hedge fund billionaire who contributed $7 million to Republican candidates and political committees during the Obama administration has announced that he is switching teams and will be using his savings from the GOP tax cut to help elect Democrats.
- A Harvard Kennedy School poll of 18- to 29-year old Americans found a sharp increase in the number intending to vote this fall, and that a majority of those “definitely voting” intend to vote Democrat.
Bad News for NRA & Friends
- Major retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods won’t just stop selling assault rifles– they’re going to destroy their entire unsold inventory.
- Bank of America announced it will no longer lend to companies that manufacture “military-style firearms” for sale to civilians.
- The American Federation of Teachers dropped Wells Fargo as a recommended member mortgage lender over Wells’ lending ties to the NRA and gun manufacturers.
- Student gun control activists in Littleton, Colorado held a voter registration rally in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting; similar Vote for Our Lives voter registration rallies are planned across the country.
And lastly, a few chaser shots of 150-proof Neener Neener to make the Good News go down smoother
- Swamp-on-Swamp violence: the White House adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism resigned the day after warmongering walrus John Bolton took over as Trump’s national security adviser. Trump’s ambassador to the UN got into a public spat with his national economics adviser over Russia sanctions, but neither has resigned or been tweet-sacked– yet.
- The Scott Pruitt dumpster fire burns ever more brightly: a senior EPA career staffer was fired after approving a report criticizing Pruitt’s heavy security detail expenses AND THEN a Trumpkin EPA appointee told Congress he had been forced out after questioning Pruitt’s travel and security expenses AND THEN the Government Accountability Office reported that Pruitt’s $43,000 soundproof phone booth isn’t just paranoid and tacky, it also violated federal spending laws AND THEN the Office of Management and Budget announced an investigation into the GAO report allegations.
- Conservative blogger Erick Ericksen recorded this fascinating anti-Trump rant by an unnamed GOP House member in a DC-area Safeway grocery store, which includes gems like “[Trump] wakes up in the morning, sh*ts all over Twitter, sh*ts all over us, sh*ts all over his staff, then hits golf balls. F*ck him.”
- Former FBI Director and registered Republican James Comey announced that he no longer considers himself a Republican and will vote against Trump in 2020. “These people don’t represent anything I believe in.”
- Enjoy this video of Fox News accidentally running a graphic showing that they are far less trusted than CNN or MSNBC.
- An American boxer showed up in trunks featuring a brick wall pattern with “AMERICA 1ST” written on them for a match against a Mexican opponent– and got thrashed.