Welcome 😄 to Friday’s Roundup of Good News!

Biden is still president, because March 4th hasn’t been the date of the inauguration for 80+ years or so, and so again, Biden has beaten the other guy in taking over the presidency.

This week Biden announced that there will be enough vaccine for the entire US adult population by the end of May. According to the CDC, as of Thursday, 82.6 million shots had gone into arms.

But FOX is talking about Potato Head going gender-free (it’s a potato!) and Dr. Seuss and the muppets, instead of talking about Biden’s agenda. They have tried calling Biden sleepy, they have tried questioning Dr. Jill Biden’s right to demand respect for her doctorate, and another right-wing group went after the Biden’s elderly dog.

I don’t think they’ve got much, do you? Not let’s-storm-the-Capitol stuff, anyway — and none of it is rational, although the Rs are not into rationality and logic.

Still, the forces of evil are there, and we don’t have that much time. So that’s the bad news. The good news is that our people are working hard, really hard. Pull up a chair at the Gnuville café and peruse the good news.


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. I mean, really hard at work. I’ve got the entire briefing room links. Here are the last week’s posts at the White House briefing room.

👎 Out with the Bad, In with the Good 👍

Just a tiny sample.

Biden installs voting-rights heavy hitters at DoJ Tierney Sneed Talking Points Memo

Gavel, the Constitution and scales of justice.

President Biden has chosen for top positions at the Justice Department three advocates who have spent their lifetimes in the civil rights arena and the last four years in particular combatting the Trump-era’s most egregious assaults on democracy.

When then-President Trump put forward judicial nominees who had shown hostility to voting rights, Vanita Gupta organized the civil rights community pushback that helped sink the confirmations of at least two of them.

When the administration stood up a sketchy “election integrity” commission to validate Trump’s false voter fraud claims, Kristen Clarke spearheaded one of the early legal challenges that contributed to the panel’s eventual demise.

And when Trump hijacked the U.S. foreign policy apparatus to smear his 2020 presidential opponent, Pam Karlan testified in House impeachment proceedings about the implications that gambit had for democracy.

Not a Biden administration story, but still good news that belongs here: Trader Joe’s rehires employee who raised the alarm about COVID Maxwell Tani The Daily Beast

Trader Joe’s is reinstating an employee who was fired after criticizing the company’s COVID safety policies to the CEO, The Daily Beast has confirmed.

On Wednesday evening, the popular grocery chain offered to reinstate Ben Bonnema, an employee at one of the grocery chain’s New York stores who wrote a letter to CEO Dan Bane admonishing the company for not taking adequate safety measures to keep workers safe from COVID-19. His initial firing went viral on social media and received national news attention.

💣 Republicans in Disarray 💣

Mary Trump thinks her uncle will pretend to run again Sarah K. Burris, Raw Story

Speaking to Mehdi Hasan for his new MSNBC show, Dr. Trump explained that his political ventures have been extremely lucrative for the former president.

“It’s not that I don’t think he will,” Dr. Trump said about her uncle running in 2024. “I think he will pretend to, for sure. Think about how much money he made in the last few months. He made more since [President Joe] Biden won the election than he has in his entire life. I don’t think he will let that go so soon. But you’re right, there is no way he will put himself in the position of losing again. But the Republican Party seems determined to continue to keep him relevant.”

And as long as ex-president tRump has his grip on the R party, they are stuck.

Not even everyone at CPAC wants tRump E.J. Dionne, Washington Post

Yet if the CPAC conclave was a Trump revival, complete with a golden Trump statue, there was some quiet dissent just beneath the surface. When the results of the CPAC straw poll for 2024 came in, Trump received just 55 percent of the ballots. Imagine Tom Brady receiving 55 percent for MVP from Tampa Bay fans.

When protected by the secret ballot, the hard core was going a little soft. They cried “we love you,” but the eyes of nearly half of them were straying. Perhaps more on the right want to move on than will ever say so publicly.

Running second was Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, the functional favorite son for the weekend, at 21 percent. It’s a sign that Trump is, for now, blocking every other Republican hopeful’s way that no other candidate got more than 5 percent.

tRump is creating a PAC to take on members of the GOP that he doesn’t like Roger Sollenberger, Asawin Suebsaeng the Daily Beast

On Sunday, Donald Trump’s fundraising machine charged back to life after its January lull, blitzing fans with emails and texts on the heels of the ex-president’s CPAC keynote address, urging them to “donate” to “SAVE AMERICA!” It worked, netting Trump and his team more than $3 million off of that speech, according to an adviser, bringing the committee’s on-hand total north of $80 million.

That cash was divvied up between three political committees tied to the former commander-in-chief, two of them formed just days before he riled up the CPAC crowd packed into a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The new setup indicates that Trump is bent on raking in cash like someone who is mounting a run—or who wants to pressure anyone who thinks they can take him on. ✂️

Trump ditched his official candidate committee in favor of a nonconnected committee—a fundraising vehicle not tied to a candidate, party, or corporate interest—called MAGA PAC. It’s a move that will enable him to accept more money from individual contributors over a longer period of time. He can also carry on his tradition of self-enrichment, tapping the new PAC as a personal slush fund, including for hanging legal debts incurred as an officeholder and candidate.

Additionally, unlike a super PAC setup, this allows Trump to directly fund candidates of his choosing—a key part of his post-presidency ploy to retain the loyalty of politicians who might be tempted to move on from the MAGA era.

tRump wants to be worshipped, but I think he likes money more. I think most of these funds will find their way into his pockets (or get siphoned off by Kushner et al) so even the candidates tRump supports will be disappointed. 

The GOP is sending a copy of the Cat in the Hat to donors who give 25 or more Lachlan Markay Axios

Peachment-cat-in-hat-crochetted-like-peach-attb-Pinterest.jpg
Different cat, different hat

The House Republicans’ campaign arm is offering donors copies of the Dr. Seuss classic “The Cat in the Hat,” seeking to capitalize on a new front in the culture war.

Why it matters: The offer, while gimmicky, shows how potent appeals to “cancel culture” can be for grassroots Republicans, even amid debates about more weighty policy matters like coronavirus relief and voting rights.

What’s happening: The National Republican Congressional Committee is sending the books to donors who give $25 to GOP efforts to retake the House. ✂️ 

The potency of this particular flashpoint was evident Thursday morning, when 11 of the top 12 best-selling books on Amazon were Dr. Seuss works

So many problems with the R argument. The Ds are not cancelling Dr. Seuss. It is Dr. Seuss Enterprises who decided to remove a few titles from their list (and not The Cat in the Hat). And, of course by sending a copy to every donor, the Rs are supporting Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the group responsible for kicking a few now-deemed-racist volumes off their sell list. But logic was never the Rs’ strong point, and it’s better for donors to get a copy of The Cat in the Hat as opposed to the usual R screed from authors such as tRump jr.

💙 Democrats Being Cool 💙 

Democrats have been passing cool stuff in the House. You know about the Covid relief bill and the Voting Rights bill. There’s also The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Robyn Penacchia Wonkette

Starting Monday of next week, Derek Chauvin — the officer who killed 46-year-old George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for several minutes — will stand trial in Minneapolis. This week, the House voted in favor of enacting reforms to prevent that kind of thing from happening again.

On Wednesday, the House passed Rep. Karen Bass’s (D-CA) very good George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, mostly along party lines, with one Republican voting for it accidentally, and Democrats Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Jared Golden of Maine (a state where there is ranked choice voting) voting against it. You may remember Jared Golden from last week, when he voted against the COVID relief package.

Among other necessary reforms, the act would bar racial and religious profiling, reform qualified immunity for law enforcement officers (making it easier for victims to sue police officers for violating their civil rights), ban certain no-knock warrants, ban chokeholds, redirect some funding to community-based policing programs, and establish a nationwide database of police misconduct.

💜 Unity? 💜

The country is more-or-less unified on certain things.

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📥 Actions You Can Take 📤

🌱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 😈

Texas utility company has to file for bankruptcy because its power bill is too high Doktor Zoom Wonkette

You know things have gotten out of hand when the power company can’t afford its electric bill. Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, which Reuters notes is Texas’s “largest and oldest electric power cooperative,” filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday because it couldn’t afford to pay a $2.1 billion charge from the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Brazos Electric had committed to provide power to the grid, but wasn’t able to because so many power stations were knocked offline by the winter storm last month. So the company had to meet that commitment by buying power at hugely inflated prices — $9,000 per megawatt-hour, the highest allowed (normal wholesale prices average around $35 per MWH).

On top of that, ERCOT added other fees that bumped the full price of electricity to $25,000 per MWH. In all, Brazos said, ERCOT’s bill for just seven days amounted to three times as much as Brazos’s wholesale power costs for the entire year of 2020.

✂️ 

NPR explains the storm was simply catastrophic for the co-op:

Brazos said in court documents that the company was in solid financial shape leading up to the late February cold storm. As February began, the idea the company would end the month preparing for bankruptcy was “unfathomable.”

“Yet that changed as a direct result of the catastrophic failures that accompanied the winter storm that blanketed the state of Texas on or about February 13, 2021 and maintained its grip of historically sub-freezing temperatures for days,” the company said. “Electric generation equipment and natural gas pipeline equipment have been reported to have frozen, causing the available generation within ERCOT to dramatically decline.”

If you want to follow all the cases against former president tRump, go here.

Some insurrectionists think life is unfair:

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📣 Let’s Honor Truth

Rather long, and sometimes not exciting … the press secretary conveying information to the press. Facts. What the government is doing. Actions we no longer take for granted.

🌹 Let’s Celebrate Love ❤️ 

I’m not crying, you’re crying… 

Dolly deserves ❤️ 

📎Odds & Ends 📎

 Trees to be planted in low-income neighborhoods Good News Network

American Forests, the non-profit, and TAZO Tea, the corporation, have teamed up to create TAZO Tree Corps—a paid, locally hired workforce that will increase and maintain the tree canopy in lower-income urban areas—starting in parts of Minneapolis, Detroit, Richmond, the Bronx, and San Francisco in the spring of 2021.

Trees play all kinds of roles in cities. Along with helping to filter the air and prevent flooding, a few trees together on and around a street can cool down asphalt and the air, so it’s 9°F-less in the summertime than streets exposed to the sun. This also helps reduce energy demands for air conditioning and heating—saving people $7.8 billion nationwide annually to be exact—thereby saving energy and reducing emissions, too. ✂️

“We are building a national movement to ensure that every neighborhood can experience the healing power of trees while also helping create green jobs that benefit people in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities,” said Jad Daley, CEO and President of American Forests in a statement.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is not only a lack of tree surgeons at present, but vacancies will grow to about 10% by 2028.

Windpower company to breed condors the Guardian

An energy company in California is teaming up with federal wildlife officials and the

19-28-NPS-PHOTO-Condor-Family-409-mom-_chick1000_523-dad.jpg
Some other condors

Oregon Zoo in an innovative project to ease the plight of the mighty, soaring condor, a critically endangered species of vulture threatened by giant wind turbines in the Tehachapi mountains north-east of Los Angeles.

Avangrid Renewables, which operates 126 turbines as part of its Manzana wind power project, will finance the breeding of birds in captivity to replace any that might be killed by the 252ft diameter turbine blades.

The company will be “working with a captive breeding facility to fund the breeding of additional condors for release into the wild”, according to a statement by Scott Sobiech, field supervisor for the US Fish and Wildlife (FWS) service’s Carlsbad and Palm Springs office, and reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Reinfection not likely for those who have had covid 19 Science Daily

People who have had evidence of a prior infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, appear to be well protected against being reinfected with the virus, at least for a few months, according to a newly published study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This finding may explain why reinfection appears to be relatively rare, and it could have important public health implications, including decisions about returning to physical workplaces, school attendance, the prioritization of vaccine distribution, and other activities.

🌱 Go seaweed!

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🐦 

I do a lot of other writing. My most 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!) Other stories, based on Jane Austen novels 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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