The story of Hanukah that we are all familiar with is the miracle of the oil lasting for 8 days.   The Maccabees needed to light their menorah for eight days and they found that they only had a tiny bit of oil.  God preformed a miracle and the oil lasted 8 days.
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Here is a fun fact: that bit about the oil and the miracle isn’t actually mentioned anywhere in the books of the 1st and 2nd Maccabees.  Where did it come from?  Well, Hanukkah was originally a holiday celebrating the victory of the Maccabees over their oppressors.  The Maccabees took to caves in the mountains rather than living under oppressive Greek-Syrian rule.  Despite terrible odds, they spent years and years battling their oppressors and eventually they won. 
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However, when looked at from a historical perspective, the Greek-Syrian rule wasn’t actually that bad (when compared to a lot of other times of oppression).  Sure, they couldn’t practice their religion openly and sure, their temple was taken from them.  But they could have gone on living if they were willing to just keep their heads down and keep quiet and go with the flow.  That is a lot better than many other Jews have had it during our history.  But they didn’t.  Against all odds, they fought.
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Many scholars argue that early rabbis adopted (perhaps, made up?) the story of the miracle of the oil in order to change the moral of the Hanukkah story.  Originally, it was a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees.  However, the rabbis found that people were using that story as a lesson to fight to the death even when the odds are terrible.  When you do that enough, a lot of people die for very little.  It is not good.  So the rabbis wanted to find a way to change the focus of the holiday and so they introduced the oil thing.
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It is important to keep people from making (basically) suicidal decisions because they think that it is what God wants.  Plus the oil thing makes a lovely story for children.  And it allows us to celebrate light in a dark time of year.  So there are some real pluses to the story.
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But this year, I feel like we need the original story more.  We need a story about fighting back, not because your actual life depends on it, but because the way of life of your entire community is on the line.  We need a story about fighting for what is right, even when things seem dark.  We need a story about putting everything you have into saving your world even when their are no guarantees that you will win.
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Miracles from God are nice and all, but you can’t count on them.  We should not be waiting for this world to be fixed by a holy hand from up high.  We should be fighting for it.  Even when the odds seem long and the days seem bleak.  Even when it would be easier to just go with the flow and accept a less fair and less safe and less equal existence.  
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This Hanukkah, I am celebrating the original story.  I am celebrating the story of people seeing what they value being destroyed and refusing to give in.  I am celebrating people not waiting for a miracle or a helping hand, but banding together to protect what means so much to them.
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I am not talking about taking to caves to fight for a physical temple.  Our temple is democracy.  Freedom, equality, and safety for all people are our temple. 
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And our fight is at the ballot box, and the donation envelope, and the postcard, and the days spent going door to door and texting and calling.  Our fight is about speaking out minds and reaching people’s hearts. 
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And we fight even when things seem darkest and when victory can’t be guaranteed.
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And we should celebrate that.  We should light candles and sing and eat and drink because there is something holy and brave and wonderful about doing all we can to make the world better. 
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We are not waiting for a miracle.  We are making our own light in this dark, dark world.
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And we are doing it together.

The Economy is Doing Well

good economic news

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified today before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, saying that although the rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant had slowed recovery, the gross domestic product is still on track to grow about 5% in 2021. According to Christine Romans, CNN’s chief business correspondent, the last time we had that kind of growth was under the Reagan administration forty years ago.

Unemployment is also down. The economy added 531,000 jobs in October, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.6 percent, the lowest rate since November 1969. 

Meanwhile, the American Rescue Plan is restoring the nation’s basic social safety net. According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, food insecurity dropped 24% for families as a result of Biden’s Child Tax Credit, creating “a profound economic and moral victory for the country.”
Powell also noted that inflation is up, from the 2% level for which administrations aim to about 5%. He predicted that inflation will ease as supply chains smooth out and as the administration takes measures at its disposal.
In illustration of what sort of measures those might be, Biden released 50 million barrels of the nation’s oil reserves to combat the rising gas prices that have grabbed headlines. Other nations, including India, the United Kingdom, and China, released some of theirs as well, and the price of WTI Crude has dropped back to what it was in early September. That fix may very well be temporary as economic growth puts pressure on oil supplies.

There were some terrible headlines yesterday about the jobs numbers yesterday.  That is annoying because a lot of the data was really good

The November unemployment rate dropped to a pandemic low of 4.2 percent, from 4.6 percent in October.

The 4.2 percent unemployment rate, down from 4.6 percent in October was particularly significant, because it came as more workers returned to the workforce, looking for jobs. During much of the pandemic, drops in the unemployment rate have at times come from workers leaving the workforce for a variety of reasons including public health concerns, child-care challenges and retirement.

“Holistically this report looks pretty good,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist for MetLife Investment Management. “More people are participating in the economy and fewer of them are unemployed. When you take those two together, I think they’re more important than what the headline payroll figure might look like.”

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Yes, weird.  Those bad numbers are numbers that have been bad every month and then had to be revised upwards when they came in as “real” numbers

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We Can Win in 2022

I am not going to pretend that 2022 is going to be easy.  We are the underdogs.  But we don’t give up.  Look at the kids:

Georgia teens become unlikely warriors in redistricting fight

At 13 years old, DJ Horton can’t vote or even drive a car, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a prominent voice in Georgia’s redistricting process.

Horton is one of the dozens of teenagers mobilizing and testifying in Georgia’s redistricting process this year, juggling finals and extracurriculars with special legislative sessions and injecting an unusual level of youth engagement into a typically wonky, insiders’ political routine.

In the last few years, a surge of interest in redistricting has raised awareness about the effects of gerrymandering and propelled many states to revamp their map-drawing processes, prompting more young people to get involved around the country. Middle school students in New York created an algorithm for drawing maps, while North Carolina college students lobbied against the gerrymandering that split their campuses into multiple districts.

and some opportunities:

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and some examples of winning:

Democrat Jamie Belsito wins North Shore seat long held by Republicans

Democrats pried one more legislative seat from Republicans as Topsfield’s Jamie Belsito defeated Rowley Republican Robert Snow on Tuesday.

A women’s health advocate, Belsito is poised to fill the seat held for more than two decades by Ipswich Republican Brad Hill, who resigned his seat to join the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The win enables Democrats to further bulk up their supermajority status on Beacon Hill.

and some AMAZING candidates:

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Justice is out there

The SC news this week was depressing as hell for all of us who wanted to give out daughters a better world (and certainly not a worse one).  

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Man sentenced for threatening to hang 6 members of Congress if they didn’t ‘get behind’ Trump

A New Hampshire man who threatened to hang six members of Congress if they did not “get behind Donald Trump” will spend 33 months in federal prison, according to officials.

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Democrats are doing great things

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Biden pledges to fight new variant ‘with science and speed,’ 

President Biden announced an array of measures Thursday to protect Americans from a potential winter surge of coronavirus infections

The president’s plan includes campaigns to increase vaccinations and booster shots, more stringent testing for international travelers and plans to make rapid at-home coronavirus testing free for more people. While some of the measures are new — notably a plan to launch “family mobile vaccination clinics,” where all eligible members of a family could simultaneously get shots and boosters — others build on existing tactics, such as rallying businesses to impose vaccination-or-testing mandates for employees.

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The Jan. 6 panel will take a deposition from Mark Meadows “next week.”

 Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will come in for a deposition with the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection “next week,” its vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), said in a brief interview with POLITICO.

this one just made me laugh:

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Jan. 6 panel hasn’t subpoenaed lawmakers’ communications yet — but still plans to

The Jan. 6 select committee has not subpoenaed the phone records of any members of Congress but is likely to do so, multiple people familiar with the panel’s work told POLITICO.

Seizing lawmakers’ private communications would be a controversial decision, one that’s already sparked preemptive resistance from House Republicans, and investigators are proceeding carefully as they weigh their next steps. The panel is homing in on a limited number of GOP lawmakers with whom rally-goers claim to have communicated.

Silver Linings…

Why overturning Roe v. Wade would be a disaster for conservatives

Here’s the best-kept secret about the so-called abortion “debate” in the United States: It’s actually not that much of a debate at all. A majority of Americans believe that the decision to end or continue a pregnancy should be left to a woman and her doctor, not the state. Most Americans oppose laws that make it more difficult for reproductive health clinics to operate.

Despite political treatment of abortion as a contentious partisan issue, the truth is that America is a pro-choice nation. And if the anti-abortion movement gets their way and the Supreme Court overturns Roe, the Republican Party and the Supreme Court itself will have a lot of angry Americans to contend with.

Good Virus Deals

Pfizer set to request authorization for coronavirus booster for 16- and 17-year-olds

As President Biden exhorts Americans to get coronavirus vaccines and booster shots to strengthen protections against the delta and omicron variants, another age group might soon become eligible for the boosters: 16- and 17-year-olds.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are expected to ask the Food and Drug Administration in the coming days to authorize its booster shot for that age group, according to two people familiar with the situation. The regulators are expected to sign off quickly, said the individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue.

still lots to learn about Omicron and the rate at which it is spreading is alarming, but there is reason for hope as well

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FDA advisers narrowly recommend authorization of first antiviral pill to treat covid-19

Expert advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended authorization Tuesday of the first coronavirus pill to prevent high-risk people from developing severe illness in a divided vote that reflects the complicated mix of benefits and risks involved with a new and easy mode of treatment.

Fauci says Biden administration is preparing for possible ‘variant-specific boost’

“We may not need a variant-specific boost; we’re preparing for the possibility that we need a variant-specific boost,” Fauci said. “And that’s what the companies are doing. We have been — the administration has been in contact with the pharmaceutical companies to go ahead and take the steps in case we need it. But the mistake people will make is to say, ‘Let me wait and see if we get one.’ If you’re eligible for boosting, get boosted right now.”

Jill Biden’s White House is stunning

After four years of bleak and weird, it is so lovely to see the White House decorated so beautifully.

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Best Gifts Ever!

I get most of my holiday gifts from Speakeasy Works.  It is owned by a Buffalo, NY woman who is a key member of the local activist movement, an amazing artist, and who spends much of her time helping local refugee women support themselves (and their families) through fiber arts.  She is amazing.   All of her items are made by her.  Some of the fabric is designed by her and all the embroidery is done by hand. 

As a holiday treat for her fellow Gnusies, she is giving all Good News Roundup readers free US shipping + 10% off on all orders of $35+!  Use code: goodnews

You can find her shop here: www.speakeasy.etsy.com

The special deal is only available this weekend, so head over ASAP.  What did you buy?  Let us know in the comments!

The products are super well made and even lovelier in person!  Here are some I love:

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and one of my favorites:

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Maybe swearing will help? The perfect stress reliever when you’re ready to drop the F-bomb . . . but can’t. Squeeze it, toss it, or just have a good giggle to feel a lot better.
Made eco-friendly with fleece and polyester fill from post-consumer waste. Ball stands approximately 5 inches tall.

Like them?  Head on over and see more and get yourself some awesome gifts, made from one of the most amazing woman I know.  Support a small independent women led business and a fellow progressive ally. AND give someone a cool holiday gift they will LOVE.  Win, win, win!

Free US shipping + 10% off on all orders of $35+!  Use code: goodnews

You can find her shop here: www.speakeasy.etsy.com

The special deal is only available this weekend, so head over ASAP.

On The Lighter Side

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Save Democracy

What can you do to save democracy?

Most important: DON’T LOSE HOPE.  This is a giant and important fight for us but, win or lose, we keep fighting and voting and organizing and spreading truth and light.  We never give up.

That is it for today.

I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with you ✊🏾✊🏻♥💙💚💛💜🧡✊🏽✊🏻

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