Welcome 😄 to Friday’s Roundup of Good News!

We keep hearing that our country and our world are in crisis: with respect to democracy, with respect to pandemics, with respect to rights, and with respect to climate. Sometimes I resent these headlines, because they feel as if they are trying to be click-baity by stoking my anxiety. I worked so hard (for me, anyway) to get Biden & Harris elected; can’t I relax now?

But the country and the world are in crisis. The problems are serious, some are even existential, and they will not vanish on their own.

However, a crisis is not always a bad thing. As many have said, we are at inflection points.  An inflection point is the point of a curve at which a change in the direction of curvature occurs. In other words, we have the chance to change direction. The direction will only change, however, if enough of us push hard enough.

“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F Kennedy

The times when I can no longer bear to focus on the danger, I will focus on the opportunities. 

Many people in our country and on our planet are working hard on these opportunities. Come in, dear gnusies, and read what our allies are doing. Please add the good news you have to share.


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. We have to keep demoralizing them. Name, blame and shame!  IT IS WORKING! WE HAVE EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE 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.

👎 Out with the Bad, In with the Good 👍

Biden is getting more attention these days. This week I heard more of his speeches on MSNBC. And I am so impressed. Here are a few excerpts from his speech at Tulsa.

One hundred years ago, a violent white supremacist mob raided, firebombed, and destroyed approximately 35 square blocks of the thriving Black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Families and children were murdered in cold blood. Homes, businesses, and churches were burned. In all, as many as 300 Black Americans were killed, and nearly 10,000 were left destitute and homeless. Today, on this solemn centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I call on the American people to reflect on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country.

It was so important that he called the event a massacre instead of a riot. Then, not only did he go into the history, he went into what his administration plans to do.

In the years that followed, the destruction caused by the mob was followed by laws and policies that made recovery nearly impossible. In the aftermath of the attack, local ordinances were passed requiring new construction standards that were prohibitively expensive, meaning many Black families could not rebuild. Later, Greenwood was redlined by mortgage companies and deemed “hazardous” by the Federal Government so that Black homeowners could not access home loans or credit on equal terms. And in later decades, Federal investment, including Federal highway construction, tore down and cut off parts of the community. The attack on Black families and Black wealth in Greenwood persisted across generations.

Mrs Viola Fletcher. Tulsa Race Massacre Survivor
Viola Fletcher

The Federal Government must reckon with and acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to acknowledging the role Federal policy played in Greenwood and other Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities through historic investments in the economic security of children and families, programs to provide capital for small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses, and ensuring that infrastructure projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.

A century later, the fear and pain from the devastation of Greenwood is still felt. As Viola Fletcher, a 107-year-old survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre courageously testified before the Congress recently, “I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home. I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day. Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.”

With this proclamation, I commit to the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, including Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, the descendants of victims, and to this Nation that we will never forget.  We honor the legacy of the Greenwood community, and of Black Wall Street, by reaffirming our commitment to advance racial justice through the whole of our government, and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies, and our hearts.

tRump takes down his own blog Drew Harwell and Josh Dawsey Washington Post

Former president Donald Trump’s blog, celebrated by advisers as a “beacon of freedom” that would keep him relevant in an online world he once dominated, is dead. It was 29 days old.

Upset by reports from The Washington Post and other outlets highlighting its measly readership and concerns that it could detract from a social media platform he wants to launch later this year, Trump ordered his team Tuesday to put the blog out of its misery, advisers said.

On its last day, the site received just 1,500 shares or comments on Facebook and Twitter — a staggering drop for someone whose every tweet once garnered hundreds of thousands of reactions.

This is good news in many ways. First, it shows that the hunger for tRump rantings is waning and draining. This means he has less influence, and despite saying that he will be reinstated in August, and the alarms this has provoked regarding a potential armed insurrection (and we should be alarmed), recall they also said he would be inaugurated on the “real” inauguration day, March 4th, and that didn’t happen. But it also means tRump will not run again. tRump cannot bear to lose. He lost in 2020, and the sting has stayed with them (his niece, Mary Trump, has also said this in an interview).

tRump still obsessed by his loss Jamie Ross The Daily Beast

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something pretty although orange

Seven months on from the election, Donald Trump is still having a hard time coming to terms with his defeat. According to The Washington Post, the former president has recently become even more unhealthily obsessed with the idea that last year’s election could somehow be overturned—despite being told by almost all of his 2020 campaign advisers that there’s no legal route for that to happen. One adviser told the paper that, regardless of the topic of conversation, Trump always drags it back to the ballot reviews being pushed by his supporters. ✂️  Aides also said that, when they write speeches for Trump that don’t reference ballot audits, he simply ad-libs. One person close to Trump reportedly said that he obsessively watches news coverage about the audits and reads “everything he can get his hands on” about them. Trump’s office refused to comment on the Post’s report.

Some people have speculated that the leaks about his obsessions are being leaked so people will realize he’s nuts.

💣 Republicans in Disarray 💣

tRump really believes he will be reinstated in August Charles Cooke National Review (right-wing but anti tRump; you may not want to increase the site’s numbers)

Two days ago, the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman reported that Donald Trump “has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August.” In response, many figures on the right inserted their fingers into their ears and started screaming about fake news.

Instead, they should have listened — because Haberman’s reporting was correct. I can attest, from speaking to an array of different sources, that Donald Trump does indeed believe quite genuinely that he — along with former senators David Perdue and Martha McSally — will be “reinstated” to office this summer after “audits” of the 2020 elections in Arizona, Georgia, and a handful of other states have been completed. I can attest, too, that Trump is trying hard to recruit journalists, politicians, and other influential figures to promulgate this belief — not as a fundraising tool or an infantile bit of trolling or a trial balloon, but as a fact. ✂️

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The scale of Trump’s delusion is quite startling. This is not merely an eccentric interpretation of the facts or an interesting foible, nor is it an irrelevant example of anguished post-presidency chatter. It is a rejection of reality, a rejection of law, and, ultimately, a rejection of the entire system of American government. There is no Reinstatement Clause within the United States Constitution. Hell, there is nothing even approximating a Reinstatement Clause within the United States Constitution. The election has been certified, Joe Biden is the president, and, until 2024, that is all there is to it. It does not matter what one’s view of Trump is. It does not matter whether one voted for or against Trump. It does not matter whether one views Trump’s role within the Republican Party favorably or unfavorably. We are talking here about cold, hard, neutral facts that obtain irrespective of one’s preferences; it is not too much to ask that the former head of the executive branch should understand them. ✂️

There is nothing to be gained for conservatism by pretending otherwise. To acknowledge that Trump is living in a fantasy world does not wipe out his achievements or render anything else he has said incorrect. It does not endorse Joe Biden or hand the Republican Party over to Bill Kristol or knock down an inch of the wall on the border. It merely demands that Donald Trump be treated like any other person: subject to gravity, open to rebuttal, and liable to be laughed at when he becomes so unmoored from the real world that it is hard to know where to begin in attempting to explain him.

I personally think tRump’s health may be questionable. He has made very few appearances since leaving office. He was at CPAC, where the stage was rearranged to show less of him. He had an interview with Hannity, but it appears to have been taped, so it could have been edited. He has called into a few shows, crashed into a wedding, and has been photographed drinking out of a straw (easier than carrying a glass to his mouth). The speech this weekend forbids photographs or videos.

Note that I believe acknowledging the fantasy world of tRump is important, because it makes it more difficult for the supporters.

Rs worried about the lies regarding elections:

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Now, there are other explanations for low turnout, such as a special election in June. 

Idaho governor and lieutenant governor (both Rs) fighting about masks Doktor Zoom Wonkette

Little had gone to a Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, and Idaho’s state constitution says that when the governor leaves the state, they are no longer governor. So last Thursday, McGeachin issued a batshit crazy executive order prohibiting all state “political subdivisions” (other than nursing homes and hospitals) from mandating face masks.

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As the Idaho Capital Sun ‘splained, the order applied to all Idaho “public schools, counties, cities and public health districts. It also extends to state boards, commissions, departments and divisions.” McGeachin said she hadn’t checked with schools or informed them of the order before issuing it.

The first that Gov. Little heard of the order was right after he’d spoken at the RGA meeting, when he got a call from Secretary of State Lawrence Denney, the Capital Sun reported yesterday.

“He says, “Brad, I’ve got an executive order here,'” Little said in a lengthy interview […] in his office Tuesday morning.

“That’s when I first found out about it.”

Little returned to Boise last Thursday night, and on Friday morning issued a new executive order undoing McGeachin’s craziness. As of yesterday afternoon, the governor and the lieutenant governor hadn’t spoken. In Idaho, the two officers are elected separately; they don’t run together on a party ticket. It being Idaho, you’re gonna have Republicans in both slots anyway. Idaho does have a two-party system, however: There are conservative Republicans like Little, and then there are bonkers whackjob far-Right Republicans like McGeachin.

RNC considering pulling out of presidential debates Jamie Ross The Daily Beast

no quitter

The Republican National Committee has threatened to stop putting presidential candidates forward for TV debates unless organizers give in to a long list of their demands. According to CNN, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel sent a furious letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates on Tuesday, laying out what changes need to be made for her to advise future Republican nominees to take part in the debates. “Our sincere hope is that the CPD accepts this criticism and works to correct its mistakes,” she wrote. “If not, the RNC will have no choice but to advise future Republican candidates against participating in CPD-hosted debates, and the RNC will look for other options for its candidates to debate the issues before the American people in a neutral and nonpartisan forum.”

They are self-canceling. Really early.

 💙 Democrats Being Cool 💙

Biden makes a dull villain McKay  Coppins The Atlantic

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In the conservative book world, nothing is supposed to set off a gold rush like a new Democratic president. Ever since Bill Clinton inspired a wave of right-wing best sellers in the ’90s, publishing houses that cater to Republican readers have learned to make the most of a new villain in the Oval Office, churning out polemics and exposés that aim to capitalize on fear of the new president.

Unless, that is, the new president is Joe Biden.

His presidency may be young, but industry insiders have told me in recent weeks that the market for anti-Biden books is ice cold. Authors have little interest in writing them, editors have little interest in publishing them, and—though the hypothesis has yet to be tested—it’s widely assumed that readers would have little interest in buying them. In many ways, the dynamic represents a microcosm of the current political moment: Facing a new president whose relative dullness is his superpower, the American right has gone hunting for richer targets to elevate. ✂️

So far, though, no one—in conservative publishing or the Republican Party—has cracked the missing-villain problem. And it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Last month, when the conservative author David Horowitz released his new book, The Enemy Within, the cover featured an array of would-be Democratic bad guys, including Harris, Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and so on. It was expected to be a hit; Horowitz’s last book—a vigorous defense of Trump—had sold more than 168,000 copies in hardcover alone. But apparently his readers weren’t as taken with his new cast of characters. As of this writing, The Enemy Within has sold 12,898 copies.

Kornacki on the New Mexico win Yahoo News

Flowering yucca
the yucca is the NM state flower

“What Republicans were hoping for was not necessarily to win this — obviously they would have been thrilled to win this seat,” Kornacki said. “What Republicans were really hoping for more realistically was for a race that was closer than these two numbers,” 23 points and 16 points, and preferably “a single-digit race.” Beating expectations, as the Democrats did in special elections running up to their 2018 blue wave, would be seen as a harbinger of a GOP House takeover in 2022.

With all of the expected vote counted, Stansbury beat the Republican candidate by 24.6 points. “Take these special elections with a grain of salt — there always sort of varying circumstances involved — but Republicans came into tonight hoping they could get a big talking point, hoping they could get some momentum that would point to a big midterm year for them,” Kornacki said, “and it’s Democrats who are going to be coming out of New Mexico 1 bragging.”

💜 Unity? 💜

Strong hiring numbers in May Greg Robb MarketWatch

The numbers: U.S. private-sector employment surged by 978,000 in May, according to the ADP National Economic Report released Thursday. The gain was well above forecasts from economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal who expected a gain of 680,000 jobs.

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I searched on “cat working” and this is what I got

It is the largest monthly gain since last June when the economy began to reopen after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The private-sector added a revised 654,000 in April, down from the prior estimate of 742,000.

Big picture: Economists expect a rebound in the Labor Department’s May nonfarm payrolls, due Friday, after a surprisingly subdued 266,000 gain in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. ✂️

What are they saying? “The gain in the ADP measure of private employment in May would appear to pour cold water on the idea that widespread labor shortages are continuing to weigh on hiring,” said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

MSNBC Maddow transcript on getting people vaccinated, 6/2

It`s interesting, you know, there`s not very many things in this country that we care

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enough about as a country that we`re willing to donate free beer to it, you know? Let alone free super bowl tickets and free million dollar prizes and free college scholarships and all the rest of it. But, you know, if anything can get us across that threshold, it`s probably a national call for volunteers to help do this for your country paired with free beer for everyone if we do it. I mean, that`s kinds of the perfect set of incentives, right?

You know, in Ohio and California and New York and Oregon and Colorado, it`s cash prizes up to $1.5 million. In some states, it is college scholarships, including Ohio and New York. In West Virginia, they`re giving up shotguns and customized pickup trucks.

In Minnesota, I kid you not, you can get a free fishing license if you`re vaccinated which makes me wonder how expensive a fishing license is in Minnesota anyway. But all over the country, all different ways, they are sort of pulling out all the stops.

And if the country can actually pull together in the same direction on this for a month aiming at July 4th having 70 percent of the country vaccinated, we would really be something for us as a country. It would be bragging rights for sure. It would be a collective endeavor we`d all get to brag about being part of. Of course as a bonus, hey, maybe we`ll all survive the fall and winter next year.

📥 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 😈

DeJoy being investigated for illegal politicking Matt Zapotosky and Jacob Bogage Washington Post

Sasquatch on mailbox
Coming after DeJoy?

The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign fundraising activity involving his former business, according to people familiar with the matter and a spokesman for DeJoy.

FBI agents in recent weeks interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and the business, asking questions about political contributions and company activities, these people said. Prosecutors also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information, one of the people said.

That person, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing and politically sensitive investigation.

Mark Corallo, a DeJoy spokesman, confirmed the investigation in a statement but insisted DeJoy had not knowingly violated any laws.

National Enquirer fined for role in 2016 election Tierney Sneed Talking Points Memo.

The Federal Election Commission slapped the National Enquirer’s parent company with a $187,500 fine for its role in 2016 in silencing a Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump.

The fine is a coda of sorts to the Justice Department’s probe into the 2016 hush money scheme.  Trump himself has so far been able to avoid prosecution, but his former lawyer, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for orchestrating the payouts to Karen McDougal, the Playboy model, as well as to another woman who claimed to have had sexual relations with Trump.

A company then known as American Media Inc., which owns the Enquirer and other tabloids, has now reached a settlement with the FEC, which was investigating the $150,000 AMI paid McDougal to secure the rights to her story. At the time, AMI was run by David Pecker, a longtime Trump pal.

My only concern is that this not nearly enough for what they did — but to be fair, many others behaved far worse.

📣 Let’s Honor Truth ☀️ 

The Texas Democrats have really stood up for Democracy this week, stopping, or at least pausing, the most recent horrible voter suppression bill Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

Texas Democrats managed to run out the clock on state Republicans’ egregious Jim Crow-style bill that has nothing to do with “security” and everything to do with voter suppression. ✂️

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Bluebonnet, TX flower, in snow

Even more dangerous, the legislation would make it easier for the Republican-dominated state government to overturn election results. As Democratic voting rights lawyer Marc Elias tweeted, “It lowers the burden of proof to overturn an election based on allegations of voter fraud.” He added: “The election challenger is no longer required to show that fraudulent votes resulted in a win.”

The bill plainly aims at creating hurdles to voting in Harris County, Texas’s largest county and the home of the state’s largest African American population. Even though there was virtually no fraud in Texas in 2020 (16 cases out of millions of votes cast) and the state has some of the most stringent voting rules in the country (Texas did not open up mail-in voting last year like many other states), Republicans insist on making it harder to vote by banning drive-through voting locations, which Harris County introduced last year, and prohibiting early in-person voting on Sundays before 1 p.m., directly aimed at Black churchgoers who often participate in “souls to the polls” events.

Governor Greg Abbott threatened to defund the legislature. But the Ds are scoffing at his threat. Sarah K. Burris Raw Story

Speaking to MSNBC, State Rep. Chris Turner, a Democrat, implied that Democrats didn’t care about money, they’re standing up for voting rights.

“My understanding is you make like $600 a month, so it’s not like — what do you make of his threats?” asked MSNBC host Joy Reid.

“That is true. That is our salary, a per diem too in session. Look, I think it’s absurd,” said Rep. Turner. “It’s co-equal branch of government to the governor. The idea that the governor can zero out the legislature is absurd. So, I don’t know what the governor is talking about.”

Then, another great lady, this one quite young, from Texas:

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🌹 Let’s Celebrate Love ❤️ 

Melanie Kaplan, therapy human for a beagle Washington Post

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Different beagle

In real life, Alexander Hamilton is an 11-year-old beagle who spent his first four years in a testing laboratory. Not to ruin your day, but you should know that university and private labs still experiment on tens of thousands of dogs. Many of them are beagles, and many of the beagles arrive as puppies. The majority come from breeders who sell directly to the testing facilities, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Imagine taking the softest, most innocent and compliant being and putting him in a caged prison for years.

Hammy and I met in 2013. Years after I lost my beagle, Darwin, I had signed up with a nonprofit organization to foster a former laboratory dog; it was months later when I got the call asking if I was available the following week. ✂️

At home, Hammy was petrified, rarely leaving his bed and scared of everything. He had the naivete of a toddler and the frights of a prisoner of war.

After years in a cage, his legs were so undeveloped that I had to teach him to climb stairs and hop on a couch. He couldn’t bark because, I was told by the nonprofit group, his vocal cords had been cut — apparently a common practice in some labs to prevent howling. Even his sense of smell (a beagle’s superpower) was weak, so I hid treats, encouraging him to exercise his sniffer muscles. On one of our first car outings, he ducked when we drove beneath an underpass and again when I turned on the windshield wipers.

📎Odds & Ends 📎

Maldives building a floating city World Economic Forum, Natalie Merchant EcoWatch

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Maldives

The atoll nation of Maldives is creating an innovative floating city that mitigates the effects of climate change and stays on top of rising sea levels.

The Maldives Floating City is designed by Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands and will feature thousands of waterfront residences and services floating along a flexible, functional grid across a 200-hectare lagoon.

Such a development is particularly vital for countries such as Maldives – an archipelago of 25 low-lying coral atolls in the Indian Ocean that is also the lowest-lying nation in the world.

Waterworld is here!

Mattel wants to recycle your old toys Tiffany Duong EcoWatch

Mattel, the maker of Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA toys, wants your old toys. The 76-

Some of the new Barbie "Sheroes" dolls and the "Inspiring women" dolls.

year-old toy company has launched a pilot program to recover and recycle materials in certain old toys into future Mattel products, creating a more circular model with sustainability in mind.

Mattel PlayBack,” as the program is called, is a “toy takeback” program that “enable[s] families to extend the life of their Mattel toys once they are finished playing with them,” a company press release said. The idea is to offer parents “guilt-free solutions for toys that have reached the end of their useful life,” the program webpage said, and to ensure that “fun comes full circle.”

To participate, consumers can visit Mattel.com/PlayBack to print out a free shipping label. Once Mattel receives the old toys, they are sorted and separated by material type. What can be processed and recycled is, and what cannot is either downcycled into other plastic products or converted from waste to energy, the press release noted.

🐦 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. (It’s really good! It’s really cheap! Buy it! Review or rate it positively! Now 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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