Welcome 😄 to the Roundup of Good News!

Happy days after Thanksgiving! I hope you are all comfortably full.

After the travesty in Wisconsin, the verdicts in Georgia brought balm to many.

These just verdicts did not happen in a vacuum. In fact, they nearly did not happen at all. The first two prosecutors, part of the system, were ready to sweep the murder under the rug. The police also joined the cover-up, as they did not arrest the trio of killers — despite having seen that video.

The fact that these murderers were arrested, tried and convicted is because good people stepped up and made a difference. Reporters investigated. The video was leaked. People protested. A good prosecutor was assigned to the case. Despite the defense’s effort to stack the jury, something noted by the judge, 11 white people voted with the single person of color to convict.

Good people stepped up. Good people made a difference.

So keep on working, even when things seem hopeless. We are making a difference.

Now, curl up with your favorite beverage — perhaps a plate heaped with leftovers — and partake of the many good pieces of 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. 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 posts from the last week + 2 days at the White House briefing room.

As of Wednesday morning (no numbers were issued on Thursday), 82.2% of American adults have had at least one jab.

👎 Out with the Bad, In with the Good 👍

News that’s a little older, but in case you missed it: Bye-Bye, tRump Hotel Stephanie Mencimer Mother Jones

It turns out not even Rudy Giuliani’s bar tab could save the Trump International

The International Trump Hotel is seen in Washington, DC, on January 24, 2019. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH / AFP)        (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images)
It’s actually a nice building, even if it was right-leaning for a while. Hope Waldorf Astoria straightens it out!

Hotel. The Trump Organization lost at least $70 million since its opening in 2016, even as the grand hotel became a fixture of Trump-era Washington, a place where the president’s loyalists and sycophants alike could gather in a cozy bubble safely away from the fake news and impeachment managers and sip champagne from a spoon and imbibe cocktails starting at $24 a pop.

The Trump family has been threatening to sell it for the past few years, and now it seems they finally have: The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that a Miami-based investment firm, CGI Merchant Group, intends to assume the lease with the federal government for $375 million and turn the Trump Hotel into a Waldorf Astoria.

The hotel had become a liability for a family company that no longer had a steady stream of lobbyists and influence-seekers willing to pay inflated prices for rooms in a hotel that many businesses wouldn’t come near because of the association with Trump. It was by far one of the former president’s biggest conflicts of interest—he refused to relinquish control of the company that ran it. Trump had won the contract to lease the former Old Post Office Pavilion from the federal government by wildly overpaying, and then sinking $200 million into renovations, paid for with $170 million borrowed from Deutsche Bank. That loan, and others, comes due in 2024. Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee is continuing to probe how Trump handled hotel-related conflicts of interest, and the DC attorney general is currently suing the Trump Organization, alleging that the nonprofit created to manage Trump’s inauguration improperly misused charitable funds by grossly overpaying the Trump Hotel for event space to enrich the Trump family. Those investigations are likely to continue regardless of who owns the hotel.

💣 Republicans in Disarray 💣

The circular firing squad is loaded Travis Gettys Raw Story

Donald Trump’s biggest election-fraud conspiracists — Lin Wood, Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn — have turned on one another more than a year after his loss, a split that accelerated after teenage vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse turned on his former lawyer over $2 million in bail money raised online, reported The Daily Beast.

“That really puts Lin Wood in a hot spot because Kyle Rittenhouse is just the darling of the right, right now,” said Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer on the website’s “Fever Dreams” podcast.

Former Trump White House adviser-turned-right-wing podcaster Sebastian Gorka has branded Wood a “fraud,” and Powell has not spoke(n) out in support of her former legal ally. ✂️

Wood has denounced Powell and Flynn, who he accused of dabbling in the occult, and the former Trump allies have been trading barbs on right-wing social media.

Another GOP governor rebuffs tfg Nicole Lafond Talking Points Memo

Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan threw himself into the small chorus of GOP governors willing to distance themselves from former President Trump this week.

On Monday evening, Hogan subtly went after Trump for thrusting his influence into Maryland’s Republican gubernatorial primary race. Hogan posted a tweet that mocked Trump’s standing in his state not long after the former president endorsed a different Republican candidate from the one that Hogan is backing.

“Personally, I’d prefer endorsements from people who didn’t lose Maryland by 33 points,” Hogan tweeted Monday evening, referencing Trump’s 33.2 percentage point loss to President Biden in Maryland in 2020.

Not all is well under the rainbow Roger Sollenberger The Daily Beast

The head of the Oklahoma Republican Party on Tuesday called on Republican

Rainbow.jpg

National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to resign after she expressed the party’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community at a gala earlier this month.

In an 1,100-word fundraising email headed “RNC Chair MUST Change Course or RESIGN,” OKGOP chair John Bennett said McDaniel “must resign” if “she cannot or will not stand for who we say we are.”

“The OKGOP will not cooperate with this decision and, as your Chairman, I assure the Oklahoma Republican Party that I will continue to stand up for our Republican Party Values and our principles,” Bennett wrote in the email. He added that religious freedom is “flat-out incompatible with the pillars of the LGBT movement.”

Empty Greene is threatening to thwart McCarthy’s speakership Melanie Zanona and Chandelis Duster CNN

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress, on Thursday laid out demands for a GOP leader to earn her vote for House Speaker if Republicans are able to retake the majority after the 2022 elections and cast doubt on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy being elected to the position.

“We know that Kevin McCarthy has a problem in our conference. He doesn’t have the full support to be speaker,” Greene said on an episode of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s podcast that aired Thursday morning. “He doesn’t have the votes that are there, because there’s many of us that are very unhappy about the failure to hold Republicans accountable, while conservatives like me, Paul Gosar, and many others just constantly take the abuse by the Democrats.”

By “failure to hold Rs accountable,” this crazy person means that Rs who support infrastructure should be banned from the party.

💙Democrats Being Cool 💙 

Democrats have been getting so much done. For example:

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Now, there are multiple ways to interpret the above — some people have left the job market, and others have had their unemployment benefits expire, but it’s sure better than anything else.

The January 6 committee has also been busy Josh Kavensky Talking Points Memo

The Jan. 6 Committee made public ten subpoenas it issued this week, signaling a new direction for the probe: the far-right, its fever swamps, and its paramilitaries. ✂️

The subpoenas issued this week mark a level of progress in the investigation: they cite and reveal information that the panel has gathered in the course of its probe.

But they also reveal where Congress is looking next. In this case, it’s the assortment of far-right provocateurs like Alex Jones and Roger Stone that breathed life into the Big Lie, MAGA operatives who helped stage the rally on the ellipse on Jan. 6 at which Trump spoke, and organizations like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys whose members were willing to use violence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s win.

Also, we don’t know everything that the 1/6 committee or DOJ are doing:

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💜 Unity? 💜

💉 Mandates work. Federal employees with at least one jab now over 90%. Eric Yoder Washington Post 💉 

SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 01: Safeway pharmacist Shahrzad Khoobyari (R) administers a Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination into the arm of Chen Knifsend at a vaccination booster shot clinic on October 01, 2021 in San Rafael, California. Marin County opened its first COVID-19 booster shot clinic inside a former Victoria's Secret store at Northgate Mall. The clinic is giving priority to residents over 75 years old but is open to all ages that are eligible to receive the Pfizer booster. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ninety-two percent of federal employees and military personnel have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine while nearly 5 percent more have asked for exemptions on religious or medical grounds, the White House said Wednesday.

Among civil servants, vaccination percentages range from 86.1 percent at the Agriculture Department to 97.8 percent at the Agency for International Development (AID). Percentages of employees asking for exemptions also vary, from 10.2 percent at the Veterans Affairs Department to 1.3 percent at AID and the State Department.

Isn’t this nice?

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📥 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:

ACLU — American 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 😈

✈️ 💰 8 very fined people Rebecca Falconer Axios

Eight airline passengers are facing fines totaling more than $160,000 for violations of alcohol and face mask rules aboard planes — including an individual penalty of over $40,000.

Why it matters: There have been more than 5,000 unruly passenger reports this year — including nearly 3,800 mask-related incidents, according to the latest figures from the Federal Aviation Administration, which proposed the latest fines.

  • “Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received nearly 300 reports of passenger disturbances due to alcohol and intoxication,” per an agency statement Monday.

First prosecutor on the Arbery case booked into jail:

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7 “doctors” at anti-vax conference fall sick Michael Daly The Daily Beast

To hear the fringe doctors who gathered at an equine facility for the Florida COVID Summit earlier this month, ivermectin is as effective against the virus in humans as it is against worms in horses.

“I have been on ivermectin for 16 months, my wife and I,” Dr. Bruce Boros declared at the end of the meeting at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. “I have never felt healthier in my life.”

Two days later, the 71-year-old cardiologist fell ill with COVID-19, according to the organizer of the one-day gathering and two other people with direct knowledge.

The organizer, Dr. John Littell, further reported to The Daily Beast that six others among the 800 to 900 participants had also tested positive or developed COVID symptoms “within days of the conference.”

Good things to come?

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Judge orders lawyers to pay up for challenging the 2020 election Rosalind Helderman Washington Post

A federal judge has ordered two Colorado lawyers who filed a lawsuit late last year challenging the 2020 election results to pay nearly $187,000 to defray the legal fees of groups they sued, arguing that the hefty penalty was proper to deter others from using frivolous suits to undermine the democratic system.

“As officers of the Court, these attorneys have a higher duty and calling that requires meaningful investigation before prematurely repeating in court pleadings unverified and uninvestigated defamatory rumors that strike at the heart of our democratic system and were used by others to foment a violent insurrection that threatened our system of government,” wrote Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter.
The two lawyers, Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, filed the case in December 2020 as a class action on behalf of 160 million American voters, alleging there was a complicated plot to steal the election from President Donald Trump and give the victory to Joe Biden.

Hey, shouldn’t those numbers have been the same?

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📣 Let’s Honor Truth ☀️

Standing up for the truth can take a lot of persistence. Here are some great examples this week.

Jean Peters Baker is a prosecutor in Missouri, who fought hard (and finally successfully) to get Kevin Strickland released. This is from the 11/23/2021 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show.️

MADDOW: Then something happened that really never happens. The prosecutor`s office that brought these charges, brought the prosecution against him back in the day, the prosecutor`s office came out and said, that prosecution that we did, that was wrong. They came forward and said that they had independently investigated this matter, reinvestigated this crime, and they found that Kevin Strickland was factually innocent of this crime for which he had been convicted. They said the case never should have been brought.

The lead prosecutor in that office in Jackson County, Missouri, came forward publicly and abjectly apologized. She said Kevin Strickland should be immediately freed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN PETERS BAKER, JACKSON COUNTY, MO, PROSECUTOR: I`m here advocating for Mr. Strickland`s freedom and his conviction should be vacated. Most importantly, I`m advocating that this man must be freed immediately.

My job is to protect the innocent, and often prosecutors show hubris, right. You have probably seen me show some of that from time to time, and today my job is to apologize.

It is important to recognize when the system has made wrongs, and what we did in this case was wrong.

So to Mr. Strickland, I am profoundly sorry. I am profoundly sorry for the harm that has come to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Since that remarkable public statement, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker who you saw there, she has been trying to fix this. We interviewed her here on the show and she told us she would fight until this was fixed.

Now, again, the Republican governor in the state could easily fix this. He could pardon Mr. Strickland, commute his sentence but he refused to do anything to fix what had gone wrong here. So, Jean Peters Baker, among others, advocated for a new law in Missouri which just, in fact, went into effect this August. That new law lets prosecutors like herself file motions in court so a judge can fix wrongful convictions like this one.

Well, it finally worked today. After 42 years and 4 months in prisons, one of the longest times served in U.S. history in what is known to be a wrongful conviction, today, Kevin Strickland went free.

Of course the GOP governor did not fix this, as Strickland is guilty of being black (but the governor had no problem pardoning the gun-toting McCloskeys). Strickland has spent more than 42 years in prison; he is now in a wheelchair; he is not expected to receive any compensation for this wrongful theft of more than four decades of his life. But today we are acknowledging Jean Peters Baker, who worked so long and so truthfully to get him out.

For the Ahmaud Arbery case, successfully prosecuted:

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If you have been following it, you know that the first two prosecutors assigned to the case planned to engage in the usual cover-up.

We also honor Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn, two of the women who successfully brought the case against the Charlottesville Very FINED people. This is also from the 11/23/2021 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show.️

DUNN: Absolutely. I mean even for people like Robbie and me who spent four years completely immersed in this, we saw with clarity for the first time some of the most dangerous parts of this movement.

First of all, we saw the meticulous planning of what went on in Charlottesville, and we really only knew I think half of it before we saw the truth told on the witness stand at trial. We saw a theme emerge. We saw that people came to plow through counterprotesters with their bodies, with shields, and finally, as everyone tragically knows, with a car. It was all versions of the same thing.

We also got an admission today from one of the defense counsel, who after the verdict told a reporter that actually they had implemented a strategy to desensitize the jury to the hateful rhetoric and violence and just the racial epithets that were used by saying them over and over and over again.

So we knew that this was a strategy, and ourselves told the jury that this was happening. But the fact that this was admitted by one of the defense counsel after the trial just lays plain what is going on here and to what degree they were trying to misrepresent the situation to the jury, who did not buy it.

MADDOW: Today the jury did find in favor of the plaintiffs on most of the counts that were before them, but they deadlocked. They were able to come to an agreement on the first two counts that were put to them, which were essentially federal racially motivated conspiracy charges.

Now, you said, Robbie, after the hearing today — excuse me, after the proceedings today that those counts will be tried again, that you will seek to retry those defendants on those counts on which the jury deadlocked. Can you explain how that works and what you mean by that?

KAPLAN: Yes. So essentially with respect to those two counts, Rachel, it is as if they never happened. A jury, I think wanting to get home for Thanksgiving, understandably were not able to reach agreement. That gives us the opportunity to go after the defendants on those counts again.

We fully intend to consider doing so.

🌹 Let’s Celebrate Love ❤️

B️est friends at 9, separated by the Holocaust, they meet in person at last — more than 8 decades later Sydney Page Washington Post

For 82 years, Betty Grebenschikoff believed her best friend from Germany was dead. But just a few weeks ago, there she was in the flesh, standing in a St. Petersburg, Fla., hotel room.

The last time Grebenschikoff saw Ana MarĂ­a Wahrenberg was in the spring of 1939, when they were 9 years old. They shared a tearful hug in a Berlin schoolyard before their families were forced to flee the country and the Nazis on the cusp of World War II.

They both thought that would be their final hug. But on Nov. 5, after more than eight decades apart, the two women — now 91 years old — embraced once again.

📎Odds & Ends 📎

Why I’ll Leave Prison Ready for a Green-Collar Career Ryan Moser Reasons to Be Cheerful

At the Florida prison where I reside, incarcerate*d folks are training each other for stable, well-paying jobs in sustainable industries.

kitten holding its paw under faucet

On February 29, 2020, seven men walked into the education building at Everglades Correctional Institution (ECT) as inmates. Three hours later, after passing a taxing Florida Department of Environmental Protection state exam, those same seven men walked out as certified Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators — with a promising career ahead of them.

The journey to that small classroom was not an easy one, but for hundreds of men and women in the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC), it has been rewarding. The prerequisites to the state exam are challenging: students must possess a high school diploma and pass tests in chemistry, microbiology and algebra through a California State University correspondence course on water treatment.

They’re able to do this because of a years-long effort led by currently incarcerated people at ECI to lead a wastewater class regularly attended by 60 people. It’s created an effective job pipeline into the green jobs industry with stability, high pay and benefits, all of which serve as important lifelines for people leaving prison.

☕️ 🍵 Coffee and tea associated with reduced stroke and dementia Good News Network

Drinking coffee or tea may be associated with a lower risk of stroke and dementia, according to a study of healthy individuals aged 50-74. Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of post-stroke dementia. ✂️

People who drank 2-3 cups of coffee or 3-5 cups of tea per day, or a combination of 4-6 cups of coffee and tea had the lowest incidence of stroke or dementia.

Individuals who drank 2-3 cups of coffee and 2-3 cups of tea daily had a 32% lower risk of stroke and a 28% lower risk of dementia compared with those who drank neither coffee nor tea.

🐝 Bees survive being buried by volcanic ash Andy Corbley Good News Network

Rescuers uncovering beehives under ash from the September eruptions on La Palma in the Canary Islands recovered not one, not two, but five beehives and all their

2021.05.19_swarm.jpg
Not those bees

buzzing residents after digging them up 50 days after being buried.

Amazingly the bees had survived by creating propolis, a resinous material which they used to seal up the holes in their hive, protecting them from the choking ash.

Safely inside, they kept themselves sustained by eating their winter honey stores, which the beekeepers had, conveniently for them, not collected.

🐦 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. (Hey, great gifts for Xmas!)

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

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