Wednesday’s good news roundup (now with poll!) electricity images cartoon


The Good News Roundup is where we come to restore ourselves, to remember that we are winning battles, to cheer ourselves up for the fight, and to encourage ourselves to keep going. There is plenty of bad news and we haven’t forgotten that, but there is light in the darkness, too, and a good news story may inspire us to take even further action.

Today is [yesterday was] a major deadline for Donald Trump and this legal team, who must either disclose the debts Donald Trump owed his attorney Michael Cohen for his agreement with Stormy Daniels and any other similar hush-money pay-outs or double-down on a dicey legal strategy. The Ethics in Government Act establishes May 15 as the deadline for reporting any “liabilities that exceeded $10,000 at any time during calendar year 2017.”

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of Manafort on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine was within the authority that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted to Mueller in May.

One of the largest contributions to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee in 2016 appears to have been orchestrated by a set of powerful conservative legal activists who have since been put in the driver’s seat of the administration’s push to select and nominate federal judges.

The Dallas County Republican Party sued the Dallas County Democratic Party in Texas because they wanted to get 127 Democratic candidates thrown off the ballot. Their excuse was that the County Chair, Carol Donovan, did not personally sign the ballot applications. Unfortunately for the Republican Party, Texas election code doesn’t require the County Chair to sign the ballot applications, so the case was dismissed, and the Dallas County Republican Party is required to pay the $50,000 attorneys’ fees to the Dallas County Democratic Party, and the Republican County Chair, Missy Shorey, is also “jointly and severably liable” for the attorneys’ fees. Thus endeth the frivolous lawsuit.

The issue of online voter registration came back into focus this year with Garcia’s May 10 ruling on a 2016 case alleging that Texas is violating the decades-old national voting rights law. Texans can already register in person at Department of Public Safety offices, but not when they renew their licenses online.

The state’s "excuse for noncompliance" — including purported technological difficulties associated with online voter registration — "is not supported by the facts or the law," Garcia wrote last week in a 61-page opinion, giving the state until Thursday to propose a detailed fix for the system.

As many as 15,000 teachers were expected to defy forecasts of rain for a rally in Raleigh as the Republican-dominated state legislature begins its annual session. Previous strikes, walkouts and protests in West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma have led legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding.

The state’s main teacher advocacy group, the North Carolina Association of Educators, demands that legislators increase per-pupil spending to the national average in four years, increase school construction for a growing state, and approve a multiyear pay raise for teachers and school support staff that would raise incomes to the national average.

Uber will no longer force customers, drivers or employees who claim they were sexually assaulted or harassed when using the ride-hailing service to pursue their cases behind closed doors, a move meant to make the company’s safety issues more transparent.

A research team from the Department of Chemistry of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has invented a portable device for one-stop detection of lead concentration in drinking water. The DNA-based device, which works together with a smartphone, can accurately detect lead concentration in less than 10 minutes. Compared with traditional detection methods, it is much quicker, lower in cost, and highly accurate.

Currently, the only way for people to check if water is contaminated with lead is via remote laboratories equipped with detection technology. This method is expensive, and takes three to four days to get a result. The new method invented by the team enables users to check their drinking water without prior training. The user simply takes a drop from the sample, puts it on the test strip and slides it into the device, then checks the signal result (brightness) with a smartphone app.

The social network released its Community Standards Enforcement Report for the first time on Tuesday, detailing how many spam posts it’s deleted and how many fake accounts it’s taken down in the first quarter of 2018. In a blog post on Facebook, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management, said the social network disabled about 583 million fake accounts during the first three months of this year — the majority of which, it said, were blocked within minutes of registration.

That’s an average of over 6.5 million attempts to create a fake account every day from Jan. 1 to March 31. Facebook boasts 2.2 billion monthly active users, and if Facebook’s AI tools didn’t catch these fake accounts flooding the social network, its population would have swelled immensely in just 89 days.