Because we support each other
Welcome and happy Monday, all!
You all continue to show me so much kindness, and I’m so thankful you choose to spend some of your time listening to what I have to say.
We continue seeing incredible pain and challenges. I strongly and clearly condemn the vile terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians, and I’m encouraged by the overwhelming, bipartisan condemnation against the attacks by leaders in the U.S. and globally. Because protecting civilians is non-partisan. That is why we also grieve over the pain Palestinian civilians have faced in the wake of Hamas’s brutal attack. In addition, the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has continued to fail at electing a Speaker, leaving Congress paralyzed by the most extreme in the House Republican Caucus.
With all this pain, it’s so important for us to recenter ourselves with what is going right. Because despair defeats and paralyzes; hope heals and fertilizes. Let’s get started. 🌱
I want this post to cover much more than just the two stories I’ve mentioned above. However, I have researched both of the above stories pretty extensively and, as always, want to transparently share where my perspective is based on my current research.
We should fight to protect innocent civilians and the rule of law.
We agree about standing up for protecting innocents and rebuking aggressors.
President Biden has shown strength, compassion, and wisdom with his actions and words in response to this horrific tragedy.
I was incredibly encouraged hearing the leader of the free world speak clearly and undeniably that all should have a chance at important values: freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I would highly recommend the speech he gave after visiting the Middle East. Here it is, and I’ve included some of the encouraging news from the otherwise devastating situation in the main section.
As I’ve said before, we need to focus on what is going well to keep making progress. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on the good in the world. And please continue taking care of yourself and those around you.
Please consider sharing some of the pieces of good news below with your neighbors; we can all use a little more hope.
As with last week, quite a few stories I originally encountered or was reminded of in Jessica Craven’s Sunday post.
A Nashville organization, Room in the Inn, partners with local congregations to provide shelter for the unhoused of Nashville, especially during cold winter nights (link).
One of the White House’s recent nominees for a federal judge in Oklahoma is Sara Hill, previously the Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation. Once confirmed, Hill will be the first Indigenous woman to serve as a judge in Oklahoma’s federal courts and the only sitting Indigenous judge for the state (link).
Young drivers are significantly safer than 20 years ago, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Crash and fatality rates among drivers under 21 have fallen dramatically in the U.S. during the past 20 years, a new report says, while noting young drivers are still the riskiest group behind the wheel.
The report says the main reasons for the lowered crash and fatality rates include laws that keep young drivers out of dangerous situations like driving at night or with many peers (link).
In a huge relief for employees, GM agreed to include its EV and battery plants in any contract agreements. Workers were concerned they would win benefits only to lose them in the transition to electric vehicles; this concession by GM ensures employees keep any benefits the company commits to honoring for workers (link).
Collective bargaining by union workers at Kaiser Permanente significantly improved the wages and working agreement for those Americans. The tentative agreement includes 21% raises over a 4-year time, better retirement options, and increased investment in professional development among other benefits (link).
With $3.5 billion announced in strengthening our country’s electric grid over 44 states and 58 projects, it looks like the Biden-Harris Administration are putting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to work by creating good paying jobs for Americans and increasing our energy independence (link).
The American Climate Corps jobs and training program got 42,000 interested applicants sign up (link). The program seeks to train people for good paying clean energy jobs and work with local communities to make invest in clean air and clean water. One example of these local partnerships is with the Indigenous people who have taken care of the land for thousands of years. CEO of AmeriCorps, Micheal Smith, told Mashable in the link above many of the benefits of the program including higher starting wage, better impact on communities, and improved reliability of career growth.
"We are excited about how this work will not only address the challenges that our tribal communities are facing, but also involve them and make sure that we're honoring their practices," said Smith. "What [AmeriCorps has] heard over and over again is: 'We have been doing this work since time immemorial. We have the solutions. You bring in the investments and let us lead.' That really is the secret sauce of America and what will be the secret sauce of the American Climate Corps. We are not telling individual communities what to do. We are letting this next generation lead the work, and we are letting local communities lead the work."
The Internal Revenue Service is expanding free, online tax filing to allow millions more Americans to benefit (link). It’s being piloted to a few states and expanded to all states in the coming years.
Giant tax prep companies like H&R Block and TurboTax have fought free filing for years, making tax preparation much more complicated and expensive than it should be. But with substantial new IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the beleaguered agency was able to expedite the pilot program.
The shipping industry is looking to cut fuel costs and pollution using an innovative new technology: sails. Seriously, companies are even looking at how these new sails could help current fossil fuel powered ships cut emissions. Check the article for a cool picture of the interesting new sail designs (link).
After the first 20 trucks of humanitarian aid successfully got to the civilians in highest need in Gaza, 14 more aid trucks arrived today. The trucks carry water, food, medicine, and other highly needed supplies for the civilians there (link). The continued successes of getting aid to the civilians in need means it is likely to continue.
The murder rate fell by 6.1% in 2022 with 2023 on track to follow it by another decrease in murders by 12% based on current data as of writing (link).
I’m also encouraged we as a nation cut violent crime significantly from its level in the 1990s and for the past 12 years kept it lower than we’ve seen in over 50 years (link).
The nation’s violent crime rate has remained largely flat over the last 12 years and those seeking to push the narrative of a violent crime wave in this country are badly out of step with the data.
After the chaos in the U.S. House resulting from Rep. Gaetz ousting the Speaker and multiple failed attempts by the Republican representatives to agree on and elect a replacement, there is hope they will get back to governing (link). While Rep. Emmer seems to have support and experience getting consensus, it seems the most extreme voices in the Republican conference are against him.
If the majority still fail to elect a Speaker, hopefully it will push them to consider the bipartisan path minority leader Jeffries has been suggesting (video below, bipartisan option discussed at 4:32).
I encourage us all to call your representative and let them know what you would have them do since they will be making decisions in the coming days.
Hope you enjoy! 😁🌱.
Spare Time by The Classic Crime
Cool video on math and hidden universes
Interested in math? History? Hidden universes? I think you’ll enjoy this one. 😁