Monday we took 13 minutes to celebrate not just the end of the Iran War but our not having had to fight it in the first place.  That saved us a couple of trillion dollars.  Tuesday we added quality years to our lives.  Wednesday we explored the big win-for-America that is the TransPacific Partnership.  And yesterday, well, who doesn’t like to dance?

And so here we are, Friday, with the market actually up a bit yesterday, and two upbeat items to end the week.

(I’ll try to be less cheerful next week but it’s hard.  We have hot water!  As much as we want!!  Anytime we want it!!!  Think how amazing that would have been to the first few thousand generations of humans who struggled and suffered and shivered to get us to this point.)

Upbeat Item #1

In the What Have Your Ex-Presidents And Ex-Vice Presidents Done Lately Department, I give you Jimmy Carter, who among much else since leaving office has all but eradicated a horrible human agony: guinea worm.  Down from millions of cases in 1986 to only 22 in 2015.  “The Carter Center: Waging Peace.  Fighting Disease.  Building Hope.”

Upbeat Item #2

You know how gerrymandering subverts the will of the people? and discourages moderation and compromise?  Well, a citizen named Ellen Freidin decided to do something about it in Florida, one of the worst examples — a state that’s long leaned slightly Democratic yet has had an overwhelmingly Republican state legislature and Congressional delegation.

She organized and led a referendum — which in Florida requires not just a majority but 60% to pass — and she won!

And then fought five years of Republican efforts to block implementation of that referendum . . . efforts which essentially ended with this headline yesterday: Senate Won’t Appeal Redistricting Ruling.

As Ellen reported to her donors:

We now have Senate and Congressional maps that give Floridians the opportunity to elect Senators and Congressional Representatives that reflect the political choices of voters – not legislators.

Because of your contributions, Florida is way ahead of the vast majority of states. We have done something about this pernicious problem of gerrymandering. We have changed Florida in a monumental way.

See?  We can make positive change.  We can eradicate disease.  We can become energy independent.  We can prevent Iran from going nuclear without repeating the mistakes of Iraq.  We can unite the world to combat climate change.  We can level the field for competing in Asia.  We can avert the global depression we teetered on; restore our housing and auto industries to health; cut the deficit by two-thirds (and get our Debt shrinking, once again, relative to the economy as a whole); enjoy 70 consecutive months of private-sector job growth (more in the last 12 weeks under Obama than in the last 12 years under Republicans).

We can raise the high school graduation rate to record levels.  We can allow our LGBT sons and daughters to serve openly and marry the ones they love.  We can tax wealthy investors — albeit less than Ronald Reagan did — in order to subsidize health insurance for millions of low-income workers and prevent anyone (even you) from ever being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.

The market has sucked of late and may suck some more.  But there’s still lots to cheer about — and will be lots more if we don’t buy the line that “everything’s awful and we just need to build a wall, stop taxing billionheirs, ignore climate change, and carpet bomb the Middle East for it all to be good again.”

Have a great weekend!



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