Feb 4, 2022 Good News Roundup

Finding our joy

Welcome 😊 to Friday’s Roundup of Good News!

First, I want to thank everyone who posted some good news in yesterday’s Potluck GNR. I had a lot to do yesterday, so I could not really host it, but I dropped by when I could, and you had wonderful things to share. The scheduled author is fine (and the rotation of writers for Thursdays can make recalling difficult).

The last few years have been difficult. Even I, a generally optimistic, have experienced less joie de vivre (enjoyment of life). The news. I had a health issue, and then, just as I vanquished that, covid forced everyone to stay home.

How do we get that feeling back?

We need to take positive steps. Connect with others. Be kind. Give thanks for kindness. (Don’s Interjection: And live in Gratitude)

(My own personal steps: some meditation techniques using a Netflix show, and reaching out to people and scheduling video chats or in-person meetings.)

We need to remember, too, that feelings often follow actions, and that they may take a while to come back.

We need to be ready to accept some happiness again.

But I believe in us. I believe in you. Together we can do the things we need to do.


Regular Scheduled Programming

No one here is naïve; we are aware of the many who are fighting to destroy our country. Some of us expected it: the cheating, the lying, the chaos, and yes, even the attempts to cling to power despite the clear will of the people. But we are here to read the efforts and the positive results of those (including us and our fellow gnus) who are working so hard to save our country from those very bad people.  We are furious with them for what they are doing and we are letting them know.  Remember:

💙 There are more of us than there are of them.

💛 They are terrified when we organize.  THERE IS LOTS OF EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE TERRIFIED!

💔 They want us to be demoralized. The best way to keep up your spirits is to fight. So, take the time to recharge your batteries, but find ways to contribute to the well-being of our country and our world.

🗽 Biden as President!🗽

Biden, Harris and their administration have been hard at work. Here are the last week’s posts at the White House briefing room.

As of Thursday morning, according to the CDC, 87.1% of US adults have had at least one jab.

👎 Out with the Bad, In with the Good 👍

👎 Getting some bad apples out the army:

👍 Something to anticipate! I bet they have SO MUCH information…

Biden administration going to cap mines and wells Olivia Rosane EcoWatch

The Biden Administration announced new actions Monday to tackle methane pollution.

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The measures include $1.15 billion in funds from the Department of the Interior that states can use to close up abandoned oil and gas wells. The funding comes from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which set aside $4.7 billion for a federal program dedicated to orphaned wells.

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is enabling us to confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices that for too long have plagued underrepresented communities,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a press release. “We must act with urgency to address the more than one hundred thousand documented orphaned wells across the country and leave no community behind. This is good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers.”

👎 One more ISIS leader gone:

More troops to Europe:

💣 Republicans in Disarray 💣

I am not a fan of Barbara Comstock. Still, this shows how split the R party is:

And, although tRump may still be in charge of the party, most of the politicians trying to follow in his wake are way behind in fundraising. Lachlan Markay Axios

Driving the news: Key Trump-backed Republican challengers were heavily outraised by their Republican primary opponents late last year, newly filed financial reports show.

  • The money advantage has the potential to play a decisive role in closely watched House and Senate primary contests this midterm year.
  • And the lack of it can spell trouble for a number of candidates Trump has endorsed out of personal affinity, or simply a hatred of the more moderate Republicans they’re looking to unseat.

By the numbers: The trend was most evident in Wyoming.

tRump is sending his 🐶 Lewandowski to take out Governor Sununu Kate Riga Talking Points Memo

Corey Lewandowski, a relic of the Trump administration, said that he’s on a mission from the former President to field quality candidates against New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

Trump had given him two jobs in his home state, Lewandowski said Wednesday on the Howie Carr radio show.

“One is making sure we’ve got a great candidate in the U.S. Senate race up here in New Hampshire who can beat Maggie Hassan, another failed, hack, Washington, DC politician who’s never delivered,” he said. “And the second is potentially finding someone to run against Chris Sununu, to make sure they understand that the ‘America First’ agenda is more than just a saying. It’s actually about putting people first and listening to what constituents have to say.”

But…

💙 Democrats Being Cool 💙

Midterms may not be as dire…

I don’t approve of gerrymandering, but we can’t disarm unilaterally.

🎩 Maru

🎩 Maru

💜 Unity? 💜

Outside of maga media, bipartisanship on the dangerous issue of Ukraine is there. Jennifer Rubin Washington Post

…Meanwhile, President Biden, in contrast with his predecessor — who tried to extort Ukraine and openly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin — has been emphatic in his support for Ukraine. He has rallied the West and drawn overwhelming bipartisan support for Ukraine’s defense.

Despite the drumbeat in some pro-Russia quadrants of the right-wing media and their favorite pols, elected Republicans have generally stood shoulder to shoulder with Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate in defense of a muscular response to Russia’s threatened aggression.

Appearing together on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and James E. Risch (R-Idaho) — the chair and ranking Republican of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively — sounded resolute, a far cry from the days just a couple of years ago when Republicans were peddling Russian disinformation.

Some are even tweeting about it!

Agreement on reeling in Big Tech? Ashley Gold Axios

A bill that would upend how Apple and Google run their mobile app stores easily made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. ✂️

Why it matters: The 21-1 vote shows there’s increasing support in Congress for the kinds of bills that aim to reel in Big Tech companies.

  • It will still be a long haul for this bill to become law, but it’s notable that it made it out of committee so easily, garnering the support of many Republicans.
  • Another tech antitrust bill, the American Innovation and Competition Act, made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 16-6 vote last month.

⚡️ Arizona speaker shuts down the vote overturning bill Dan K Daily Kos ⚡️

Former foes work together on energy and water problems Stuart Braun, Tamsin Walker DW (deutsche welle)

In an act of climate barter, Jordan is gearing up to provide solar energy to Israel in exchange for desalinated water. The trade-off forms the basis of a climate cooperation deal between the two countries, which signed a peace treaty in 1994.

Under this brave new deal, water-scarce Jordan would export about 600 megawatts of solar-generated electricity to Israel, which in return would supply its neighbor with up to 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water.

According to media reports published around the time the declaration of intent was signed, a United Arab Emirates-based company would build a solar farm in Jordan, including the transmission lines that would connect it to Israel — possibly by 2026. Israel, meanwhile, already operates five desalination plants along its Mediterranean Coast and has two more in the planning stage.

“It’s a win-win situation and a model for out-of-the-box thinking on climate security,” said Gidon Bromberg, co-founder and Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East, an Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian environmental NGO.

It appears Turkey is siding with Ukraine and not Russia

More on the drones and trade pact here Laura Pitel, Roman Olearchyk Financial Times

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed a deal to deepen defence co-operation with Ukraine in defiance of warnings from Moscow not to further arm Kyiv.The Turkish leader struck a raft of deals on free trade and defence with Kyiv after three hours of talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital.

This shows that President Biden has real power.

📥 Actions You Can Take 📤

Voting rights. This may be the biggest issue threatening our democracy right now. Besides contacting your representatives at the state and federal level to do the right thing (depending on who they are), you can support and contact these organizations:

ACLUAmerican Civil Liberties Union

Democracy Docket — founded by Marc Elias, so important in fighting the challenges after the last election.

Fair Fight — founded by Stacey Abrams

🌱Grass roots. Biden and Harris can do the top-down stuff, but we have to support from the bottom. I don’t know how to deprogram 75 million people, but some things have been written about, such as deep canvassing, and lots of people are talking about this. If you know someone (who did not storm the Capitol), then see if you can be pleasant. Instead of trying to reason with them (logic is obviously not their strong point) distract them with something else. We need to remove the sources of lies and to take down the temperature. If we get more of the Rs to wear masks and to get vaccinated and to vote for Ds, the country will be a better place. We need to coax some of them out of the rabbit holes and diffuse the anger and the crazy.

🏃 Run for something. If you want to run for something, but have no idea what to do, these people will help you. They also like money and volunteers to help those people who are running, so even if you’re not in a position to stand for office, you can help. Note: they are especially planning to target the 57 Rs in local governments who participated in the insurrection.

👎 Defund the seditionists. This is a list with companies that sometimes have donated to the seditionists, and their current approach to supporting or not supporting the seditionists. The list is long. You will recognize many of the corporations, and you probably have a relationship with some — either you are a customer, a shareholder, or maybe even an employee. Contact them and compliment or complain, but let them know you are watching. Forward it to others.

🐍 Schadenfreude 😈

Gaetz PAC not raking in the dough Roger Sollenberger The Daily Beast

snakesordoughnuts2.jpg
snakes or doughnuts?

After two breakneck fundraising quarters to kick off 2021, his campaign committee, Friends of Matt Gaetz, ended with a $94,838.65 loss on the year, according to a report filed on Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

Those first six months saw record fundraising for the three-term Republican, and it likely would have been a banner year if it weren’t for the investigation, which is examining whether Gaetz sex-trafficked a 17-year-old girl, illegally paid for sexobstructed justiceviolated the Mann Act, and played a role in an allegedly corrupt political influence campaign—and additionally whether his campaign broke the law in furthering any of those possible crimes. ✂️

Gaetz’s joint fundraising committee with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) also appears to have all but officially gone bust. The two right-wing bomb-throwers never really made money from the jump. Everything they took in went right back out the door. But their final quarter in 2021 was notably bad.

The joint fundraising committee received one donation since the end of September—from Gaetz himself.

Spotify!

Lt. Colonel Vindman files lawsuit against Rudy and colludies Katelyn PolantzCNN

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Washington (CNN)Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served on the National Security Council and emerged as a star witness against then-President Donald Trump during the 2019 Ukraine impeachment, is suing Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and former Trump White House staffers, alleging they conspired against him.

Vindman, in a new lawsuit filed in DC District Court, says Trump’s family, his lawyers, right-wing media and others in the White House tried to intimidate and retaliate against him because he was willing to testify against the President, calling out Trump’s entreaties of Ukraine for his personal political gain.
Vindman seeks an unspecified amount in damages. Also named in his suit are former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino and Julia Hahn, a former Breitbart editor who worked in the Trump White House.

📣 Let’s Honor Truth ☀️️

To the heroes at the National Archives, who taped the truth back together! Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, Amy Gardener, Tom Hamburger Washington Post

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 28: Scotch tape manufactured by 3M is offered for sale at a big box retailer on January 28, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. 3M announced it would be cutting 1,500 jobs as well as making other changes at the company after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that plunged 27%.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

When the National Archives and Records Administration handed over a trove of documents to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, some of the Trump White House records had been ripped up and then taped back together, according to three people familiar with the records.

Former president Donald Trump was known inside the White House for his unusual and potentially unlawful habit of tearing presidential records into shreds and tossing them on the floor — creating a headache for records management analysts who meticulously used Scotch tape to piece together fragments of paper that were sometimes as small as confetti, as Politico reported in 2018. ✂️
The National Archives on Monday took the unusual step of confirming the habit, saying in a statement that records turned over from the Trump White House “included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.” The statement came in response to a question from The Washington Post about whether some Jan. 6-related records had been ripped up and taped back together.

🌹 Let’s Celebrate Love ❤️

🎩 Ice Blue for posting this in prior comments. There are still good people out there, being kind in small ways that make such a difference to others.

If you can, do something kind for someone today. If someone has done something kind for you, make a point to say thanks.

📎Odds & Ends 📎

Afghans settling into Orange County Doktor Zoom Wonkette

For a change, we have some nice time news from Orange County, California. Not a single deranged Republican officeholder or anti-vaxxer to be found outside this sentence, which is now finished. Instead, go take a look at the OC Register’s in-depth story on how refugees from Afghanistan are beginning to settle in after coming to

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the US, with help from charities, local government agencies, and lots of just good people in the community. It’s a welcome reminder of how the US is a better place now than it was under that “president” whose attitude toward refugees was that they should just not be here.

Roughly 400 Afghan refugees are now living in Orange County, out of the more than 76,000 Afghan refugees who’ve come to the US since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last August. Another 100 or so are expected to arrive in coming weeks, as the State Department finishes the vetting and paperwork process for some 10,000 refugees who are still being housed at three US military bases.

The story, by OC Register reporter Brooke Stagg with photos by Mindy Schauer, offers a good overview of the challenges refugees face, and of how communities are working to help them make the enormous adjustment to life in this weird country of ours. One of the details that really got me: a “TV station in Little Saigon that raised $80,000 for Afghan families from a Vietnamese audience that understands what it’s like to be a refugee.” Everyone’s just trying to live, and that’s how we do it. (I really am just the worst sentimentalist.)

Treatment keeping leukemia in remission Sofia Quaglia The Daily Beast

Doug Olson was 49 years old with a wife and four kids when he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 1996. His initial treatments were pretty successful, but by 2010 almost 50 percent of his bone marrow was cancerous again.

That’s when he enrolled into a clinical trial of a new cancer therapy led by his oncologist, David Porter from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, together with one other patient. The experimental treatment, also known as CAR T-cell therapy, would tweak Olson’s own immune cells to spot and kill leukemia cells, and reintroduce them into his body through blood infusion—something that previously showed promise only in trials on mice.

Olson started physically feeling the results after just a couple of weeks. “That’s when Dr. Porter came into my hospital room and he announced, hot off the press, that 18 percent of my white cells were CAR T-cells,” Olson said during a press conference Tuesday. “I will tell you that moment, I was absolutely convinced that this thing was working and that I was gonna be okay.”

More than 10 years have passed, and Olson is still cancer-free.

Elephant seals to help map the ocean Li Cohen CBS News via Yahoo News

UNESCO said Tuesday that about 40 elephant seals are being fitted with lightweight devices — weighing roughly 0.1% of the elephant seal’s body mass — that are attached to the seals’ hair. Those devices will send data from the seals’ roughly 80 daily deep dives back to researchers at the Animal-Borne Ocean Sensors (AniBOS) network team.

In a press release, AniBOS network member Clive McMahon, who has studied elephant seals throughout his career, said that the data they will gather is essential.

“If we know what’s happening in the High Antarctic Ocean, we have a much better grasp of global climate processes,” he said. “Obtaining high latitude observations is critical. Elephant seals can dive up to 2000 meters and have the fantastic ability to access platforms like coastal shelves that other platforms are unable to easily reach.”

Some redwoods going back to the indigenous peoples Cristen Hemingway Jaynes EcoWatch

Northern California’s majestic redwood forest was once the home of Indigenous tribes, including the Sinkyone people, that were forced from their land by European settlers. On Tuesday, nonprofit Save the Redwoods League transferred ownership of 523 acres of forest on the Lost Coast — which includes 200 acres of old-growth redwoods — to the Intertribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, a non-profit group of ten tribes, a statement from Save the Redwoods said.

In a celebration of the strength of the Sinkyone tribe, the forest will again be known as Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (pronounced tsih-ih-LEY-duhn), which means “Fish Run Place” in the language of the Sinkyone people.

“The Sinkyone Council today represents the Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of this land. Their connection to the redwood forest is longstanding, and it is deep,” said president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League Sam Hodder, according to the statement. “The League is honored to support a return of Native people to this place and to partner with the Sinkyone Council in their management and stewardship of Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ. We believe the best way to permanently protect and heal this land is through tribal stewardship. In this process, we have an opportunity to restore balance in the ecosystem and in the communities connected to it, while also accelerating the pace and scale of conserving California’s iconic redwood forests.”

🐦 I do a lot of other writing. A recent offering: Hunters of the Feather, a story about a thinker-linker crow who wants to save birdkind from extinction, and the sequel, Scavengers of Mind. (They’re really good! They’re really cheap! Buy and review or rate positively! And Hunters is also available on Audible!) Other stories, based on Jane Austen novels — including a new one for lovers of Pride & Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet’s Advice to Young Ladies — and others on Greek mythology, can be found here.

💙 What You Can Do to Rescue Democracy 💙

It turns out that participation in democracy is not just an every-four-years event but requires active participation, like, whenever you can find time.

Current projects:

Look in the comments for Progressive Muse’s report on Postcards to Voters

And some other ideas:

You can relax and recharge.

You can join protests and freeway blog.

You can help register new voters.

You can smile.

You can get out the vote for special elections.

You can reach out to upset Republicans.  We need to win some back.

You can share your ideas below.

🌻

💙 “Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured.” 💙

President Joseph R. Biden

🌹 🌹 🌹

TRUTH MATTERS. LOVE MATTERS.

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