Good news for people who want to do good: Week 64


News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.  

Welcome to your weekly roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference — and a picture of President Obama to make you smile.

John Oliver shuts down "crisis pregnancy center" nonsense

Reproductive rights activists were at the Supreme Court recently, defending a California law that forbids so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" from lying to patients about things like the safety of abortion.

And on his HBO Show, host John Oliver took CPCs to task for those garbage tactics. As he notes, the "primary purpose" of these centers "is to talk women out of terminating a pregnancy — something they don't often make that clear."

CPCs use deceptive ads and names, and even open their facilities just steps away from an actual abortion clinic, all to attempt to lure people in and shame them into continuing a pregnancy they don't want, can't afford, or which may endanger their health.

Watch Oliver give a brilliant and informative run-down of these shady centers.

Oregon becomes second state to pass net neutrality law

Following the lead of its neighbor to the north, Oregon just became the second state in the country to pass its own net neutrality law in defiance of the Trump administration's efforts against it.

"When the federal government repealed net neutrality, it took a giant step backward," Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said upon signing the bill.

The bill will block ISPs like Comcast and AT&T from throttling traffic to users, and also prevents state agencies from doing business with ISPs that don't play fair.

ACTION ALERT: Protect the Census!

The Trump administration is actually trying to sabotage the Census, a crucial tool for political representation, funding for vital services, and more.

Organizing for Action can put you in touch with your senator to demand an accurate and thorough Census.

Minnesota Public Schools to officially accept students' preferred names and gender

Minnesota Public Schools took a big step toward inclusivity and progress for transgender and non-binary kids.

Students may now fill out a form noting their preferred gender identifiers and pronouns, as well as their preferred names, to be entered in the MPS database.

As Out4GoodMPS noted, "This important change allows for students to have their name and gender properly reflected in our systems, brings about greater visibility and respect for our transgender and gender non-conforming students, and helps build strong student/staff relationships."

Anchorage voters are first in the nation to reject bigoted "bathroom bill"

Anchorage, Alaska, made it clear that transphobic "bathroom bills" are not welcome or wanted in the city.

Voters there rejected the hateful bill that would have forced people to use public bathrooms and locker rooms that align with the gender they were assigned at birth.

The bill's failure was a hopeful sign in the fight against such bigoted efforts.

"Transgender discrimination is popping up everywhere, and this victory means that as a nation we can stand together against discrimination," declared Lillian Lennon, a trans woman who campaigned against the bill.

Equal Rights Amendment one step closer to finally becoming reality

The Equal Rights Amendment has a simple and seemingly inarguable aim: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Yet the amendment, first introduced in 1923, has been shunted aside time and time again. In 1972, Congress passed the amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. 38 states needed to do so in order for the amendment to be added to the Constitution. By 1982, after numerous deadline extensions, 35 had done so, and there it stayed until Nevada ratified it in 2017.

Now, Illinois has finally come around, with the state Senate voting 43-12 to ratify the ERA. With that passage, only one more state would be needed to — finally — make this very straightforward concept a legal reality.

ACTION ALERT: Trump is not above the law!

Already, over 300,000 Americans have committed to protesting if Trump makes the reckless move to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

MoveOn has all the information you need to find an event near you or start one yourself, to make sure Trump knows that despite his fervent beliefs, he is not above the law.

Break out the tiny violins: Stormfront is going broke

Here's the best dose of schadenfreude you've gotten in a long time: the internet's oldest white supremacist website is going broke.

Stormfront launched in 1996, and has been a cesspool of hatred and violence ever since. But apparently, people aren't buying what the racists are selling anymore.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, noticed a recent post on the site from founder and former Klansman Don Black that bemoaned a massive drop in donations.

"Our contributions have once again totaled less than $2000, which is not enough to cover our basic server and radio bills, and this month we no longer have enough personal money to make up the difference," Black wrote. The site will also archiving and shuttering its main server and restricting access due to the "financial crisis."

Hallelujah — and good riddance.

Justice Ginsburg knows immigrants make America great

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over a naturalization ceremony at the New York Historical Society, where she offered history, wisdom, and some heartfelt words of welcome.

She spoke about her own father, who came to the U.S. at 13 with no money and unable to speak English. And she held up her own life as proof that where one starts from needn't determine where one will end up in life.

The audience included new citizens from 59 countries, and Ginsburg's famous collar was a special multi-colored one to mark the diverse occasion.

"We are a nation made strong by people like you," she told the crowd of pastors, doctors, taxi drivers, and others. And she made sure to offer a different take on America's greatness than the one we tend to hear these days.

"Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than other nations, but rather in her ability to repair her faults," Justice Ginsburg said.

ACTION ALERT: No troops at the border!

Trump wants to send troops to the southern border as part of his racist and ridiculous attacks on immigration.

Sign the petition from the Southern Border Communities Coalition to tell him that we don't need more militarization to stoke his anti-immigrant agenda.

Bank of America will no longer lend to manufacturers of "military-style" weapons

The gun safety movement, which has been given renewed and notable vigor by the teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting, saw another crucial step forward.

Bank of America recently announced that it will stop lending money to companies that manufacture "military-style" weapons, such as the AR-15.

After the shooting in Parkland, the bank wanted "to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings," said Anne Finucane, the bank's vice president. To that end, executives decided that they no longer wanted to "underwrite or finance" the weapons used in those horrific events.

Vermont governor signs gun control package

Setting an example for his fellow Republicans, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed a package of new gun safety measures into law.

The bills include raising the minimum gun-buying age to 21, enhancing background checks, and banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.

Scott made the non-partisan urgency of such measures clear, calling it a "moral and legal obligation and responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens."

Defying hecklers in the crowd at the signing ceremony, Scott declared that he was choosing "action over inaction, doing something over doing nothing."

ACTION ALERT: Boot Pruitt!

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has become almost cartoonish in his corrupt nature. So it's long past time to give him the boot.

Join the Center for American Progress in calling on Pruitt to resign from the office he is not fit to hold.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth became the first senator to have a baby in office

You already knew Sen. Tammy Duckworth was a bad-ass, but she decided to go ahead and prove it once again.

Duckworth recently gave birth to her second child, daughter Maile Pearl, becoming the first senator to have a baby while in office.

She's been a trailblazer for decades, and is an amazing role model not just for her own children, but for kids — and adults! — everywhere.

And as she continues to fight for every American to be able to live their best and healthiest lives possible, she also makes clear that inspiration can be found in every one of us.

"What inspires me is when people get up and exercise their constitutional rights, like the children who protested for sensible firearm legislation," Duckworth declared. "I wore the uniform of this country for 23 years to defend my fellow Americans’ right to freedom of speech. When I see somebody act in the most patriotic and American of ways and choose to speak their mind, that inspires me."