As a progressive, I haven’t been jumping out of my chair in terms of our politics and legislation in this country. But lately, the good news just keeps on rolling in. Here are five reasons why I am sporting an ear-to-ear grin right now:
1.) The EPA implemented new mercury and air toxics standards. Woo-hoo! Despite vicious lobbying by Southern Company and some coal-powered electricity plants, the EPA and President Obama went ahead to implement new mercury and air toxics standards that promise to save tens of thousands of lives a year, not to mention, billions of dollars in health care costs. I, for one, am resting easier knowing that my kids aren’t inhaling unhealthy amounts of mercury, arsenic, chromium and other dangerous metals. Thank you EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Obama! Here is a photo, provided to me by Moms Clean Air Force, of Administrator Jackson tweeting:
2.) AZ Sheriff Joseph Arpaio was brought to justice. Besides the environment, I have been passionate about immigrant rights, and the rights of families in general. It was a good day to hear that the U.S. Department of Justice found Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio guilty of “unconstitutional policing.” He has been vicious in his tactics from racial profiling of Latinos to breaking up families and retaliating against anyone who questions his policies. Here is a great MomsRising write-up of it. In related news, I wrote a letter to the editor to the New York Times that helped push the paper to update its stylebook and not use the made-up word “illegals” in its reporting.
3.) Republicans cave on payroll tax extension. Just when I was starting to think that the Democrats were beyond weeny, I start reading headlines about how the Republicans “succumbed” to the Democrats’ plan to extend payroll tax cuts for 160 million Americans. Finally, the Dems have grown some cojones!
4.) Unemployment insurance extended for two months. Even the Republicans have to admit that leaving unemployed workers and their families in the cold this holiday season is beyond cruel. Unemployment insurance was extended for another two months. Whew!
5.) More people have health insurance because of healthcare reform. I wasn’t that crazy about this bill when it first came out, and would still prefer a single payer healthcare system. But it has insured 2.5 million more young adults and promises to insure even more people as all its components fall into place.
And I got a holiday bonus! Okay, this is more personal news, but I work closely with my co-workers on all the above issues. To be able to celebrate these victories and be rewarded for it with a call from the boss with a holiday bonus is beyond humbling and a blessing especially during these times. It’s been a great year for me, and I am so grateful.
What were some of your favorite news stories from the year?