Welcome back to the Good News roundup, the article which gives you all the good news you need in order to get your day off to a good start. Its Spring in Western New York, which means…its currently 15 degrees outside and snowing. Because of course it is. But while our bodies may be cold, the GNR Newsroom is here to warm your spirits with good news. So lets get right into it.

Former KKK leader disqualified from running for office in Georgia

A former Ku Klux Klan leader running for public office in Georgia has been ruled ineligible after an investigation exposed him as a convicted felon.

Earlier this month, Chester Doles, 61, who was once known as the Grand Klaliff of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Maryland, announced plans to run for a seat on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners.

However, an investigation by CBS Atlanta determined that Doles is unqualified to hold elected office in Georgia because he’s a convicted felon. In 1993, Doles spent time in federal prison after he was convicted of beating a Black man in Maryland; in 2003, he was convicted of weapons violations in Georgia and spent four more years behind bars.

Always nice to see racist assholes get slapped down and told no.

GOP Governors veto anti trans sports bills in Indiana and Utah

he governors of Indiana and Utah vetoed anti-trans sports bans in their states this week, bucking GOP lawmakers in rare moments of public disapproval of the controversial measures by Republican state leaders.

Explanations for the vetoes – of bills that sought to prohibit transgender women and girls from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender – by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday shared some key similarities. But Cox, noting that only four of the 75,000 high school athletes in his state are transgender, proved an unusually compassionate voice on the issue.

“That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day,” Cox wrote in a letter to the leaders of the state’s Republican-led legislature.

Nice to see there are some people in the GOP capable of having compassion for others (or at the very least understanding that attacking Trans people is a no through road for the GOP)

Democracy comes to Michigan

This year, Michigan is preparing to hold the most competitive election the state has seen in decades. It has completely redrawn its congressional districts, changing from a state that was heavily gerrymandered to one that allows for fair and competitive elections. We ran a story in 2020 about the citizen-driven campaign that led to this moment. Now, the state’s congressional maps have been redrawn in a way that lets voters — and not politicians — determine who will represent them.

Fair voting maps are always good news for us. When people get to vote unimpeded, we win.

How Western news is getting around Putin’s digital Iron curtain

Russians are, however, finding technical workarounds to sidestep the government’s bans, some of which have been encouraged by international news outlets that are keen to maintain a digital presence in the country, even if they can no longer claim a physical one. The New York Times, which has announced that it has withdrawn its journalists from Russia, and The Washington Post, which has removed bylines from its Russia stories to prevent its journalists there from being caught up in the crackdown, launched their own dedicated channels on Telegram, the as-yet-unbanned social-media-and-messaging app that claims more than 1 billion downloads (Russia is its second-biggest market) and acts as a platform to both news outlets and Russian state channels alike. Meanwhile, the BBC, whose Russian-language website more than tripled its weekly average audience (10.7 million people compared with its average 3.1 million) in the first week of the Russian invasion, before being blocked by the Kremlin, encouraged its audience to use tools such as the Psiphon app, an open-source, virtual private-network service that helps users conceal their location, and Tor, a more secure web browser. (The British broadcaster also reverted to more old-school tactics, announcing that it would revive its shortwave radio service as an alternative means of reaching its audiences in Ukraine and Russia.) In the weeks since the Russian invasion began, demand for VPNs in the country has skyrocketed by more than 2,500 percent compared with pre-invasion levels, according to Top10VPN, an online VPN tracker.

People in Russia are getting the truth about Putin, no matter how much he wants to cover it up.

Facing repression, Russians are turning to antiwar graffiti

In order to circumvent this control over free speech and assembly, Russian activists and artists use spray paint to share anonymous and subversive views on a city’s walls. While this art form has existed in the region since the 1970s, it took a distinctly political turn in the early 21st century. Today, graffiti is an effective form of anonymous and accessible political critique, functioning as a “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to sharing otherwise privately-held political discontent.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, there has been a resurgence of politically subversive graffiti that the state has spent the last 10 years trying to crowd out of public spaces.

Spray-painted tags with a simple message — “No to War!” — appeared as early as Feb. 25, even before the first major antiwar demonstration in Moscow. This same message has been painted in metro stations, schoolyards and pedestrian thoroughfares in Moscow and St. Petersburg, which are Russia’s biggest cities and have traditionally been the hub of political dissent, as well as in smaller towns including Lipetsk, Irkutsk, Samara and Tomsk.

Russian protestors are really going the extra mile opposing Putin.

Radical climate action

oung people know the climate crisis will affect the rest of their lives. And global leaders know what policy changes are required to address it. The problem is that we’re not enacting them yet.

While the United Nations’ 26th Climate Change Conference in November was touted as a world-changing event, not that much actually happened. And while almost 90 people died from unusual December tornadoes in the Midwest, President Joe Biden still can’t get his spending and climate package through the U.S. Senate.

So youth climate activists are taking matters into their own hands, using innovative tactics and literally putting their bodies on the line to say the time for change is now. In recent months, young activists across the globe have undertaken a hunger strike outside of the White House for climate reform, sued the government in the United Kingdom for not acting swiftly and clearly enough on climate change, and formed blockades around old-growth forests on Vancouver Island.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The kids are alright. I wish them luck in their endeavors.

Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows tweeted about overturning election

Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly pressed White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks following the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post.

Oof, I think this might be what some people would call a “bad look”. Seems like the sort of thing that would lead to another SCOTUS seat getting opened for us.

We could fit a lot of homes in old strip malls

What can you do with half-empty parking lots at struggling strip malls and shopping centers?

A lot, according to a report released last month by Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council. MAPC’s analysis of the region’s 3,024 strip malls found that redeveloping just the best-suited 10 percent of them per town into mixed-use housing and commercial space could provide 125,000 new homes for the Boston metro region.

This change alone could entirely fulfill the need for 120,000 to 140,000 new multi-family homes that the regional planning agency has estimated it must add by 2030 to keep pace with demand.

These figures are also roughly equivalent to the need in Oregon, where chronic underproduction of housing has resulted in a shortage of 140,000 homes. As cities in the Pacific Northwest grapple with how to accelerate new home construction, this report offers a compelling strategy to consider.

Sounds like a good idea. Fun fact the person who invented shopping malls meant for them to have apartments in them for people to live in, and other stuff, and they were upset that people only put stores in them.

Next gen solar cells could make single use batteries obsolete

When Bates Marshall, CEO of Ambient Photonics, looks at a square-inch solar cell, he sees a future free of disposable batteries.

One square inch is roughly the size of the dye-sensitized solar cells that the Mill Valley, California–based startup is embedding in remote controls that Universal Electronics, a major manufacturer of these devices for companies around the world, plans to start selling in 2023.

That’s some pretty good news. Disposable batteries are pretty bad for the environment.

Second Transgender judge named to California supreme court

LOS ANGELES — A disability rights advocate will become the second openly transgender person to serve as a California judge after being appointed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Andi Mudryk, 58, chief deputy director at the Department of Rehabilitation, will serve on the Sacramento County Superior Court.

She follows in the path of Alameda Superior Court Judge Victoria Kolakowski, who became the first openly transgender judge after being elected in 2010.

Good for her, hope she can affect some good change over there.

Chris Wallace left Fox when they started to “Question the truth”

Chris Wallace says he left Fox News after people at the news organization began to question matters of truth, like the Jan. 6 riot and whether the 2020 election was stolen.

“I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox,” Wallace told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday.

Wallace, who announced his departure from Fox News in December, told The Times that life at his former network was “unsustainable.”

Chris, my dude, Fox News has always been a propaganda machine. It was basically invented by Rupert Murdoch in order to brainwash people. And you’re just now noticing this? Whatever, better late than never I guess.

Ketanji Brown most popular Supreme Court pick in years

     Five recent surveys have indicated strong support for President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Jackson for the Supreme Court seat retiring Justice Stephen Breyer is vacating. According to an average of polls by Gallup, Fox, Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University and the Pew Research Center, about 53% of Americans supported her confirmation, with about 26% of Americans opposed. This is good for a +27-point net popularity rating.

If Jackson’s ratings hold up through her likely confirmation, she would be the most popular nominee to be confirmed since John Roberts in 2005. Jackson’s popularity should only help her in the confirmation process.

A few years ago, I built a statistical model to help understand why senators vote the way they do on Supreme Court nominees. The model took into account variables such as a nominee’s qualifications, the ideology of the nominee and the senator, etc.

Well I mean yeah she’s popular, unlike the last three clowns that were forced through under Trump, she actually deserves to be  on the Supreme Court, so good for her and I hope she gets in.

On that note we should draw a close on the Good News roundup for this week, we’ll be back next week, with more good news (and hopefully some warmer weather too, but I’,m not holding my breath).

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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