California struck a secret deal with automakers to thwart Trump’s attempt to reduce fuel-efficiency standards
via Corey Thompson / Flickr

One of the United States' greatest weapons against tyranny are states rights.

While they've typically been championed by conservatives who don't want to abide by federal dictates, the left-leaning state of California has been using its rights to push back against Trump's harmful environmental policies.

While the Trump Administration has been rolling back federal climate regulations, the state of California has created its own aiming to get 100% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by mid-century.

"What we're seeing is a tale of two climate nations," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times. "The split has become much more pronounced in recent years."


The most populated state in the nation struck another blow to Trump's environmental policies by signing a deal with four major auto companies to reduce their emissions.

During the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency set new car emissions standards where auto manufacturers would have to raise their fleet average to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Trump Administration has announced that it intends to roll back the Obama-era standard to about 37 miles per gallon. It has justified the decision by saying that the dirtier cars will be safer.

Calironia Governor Gavin Newsomvia JD Lasica / Flickr

Related: Coca-Cola has stopped supporting a pro-plastic lobbying firm after pressure from Greenpeace.

"The Trump administration is hell bent on rolling [emissions standards] back. They are in complete denial about climate change," California Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters. "I don't know if they're sincere about that, but for whatever reason, politically, they think it's advantageous."

"The standards the Trump administration is trying to roll back are the biggest single step that any nation has taken to tackle global warming," Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, told NPR.

"They would save six billion tons of carbon dioxide, if not weakened. So this is an enormous threat to the planet if the president's rollback goes forward," he added.

The state of California, with its nearly 40 million residents, million holds considerable sway with auto manufacturers. So it secretly negotiated with Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW to reach a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, undermining Trump's planned rollbacks.

The four manufacturers represent about 30% of the total U.S. car market.

The Trump Administration is expected to challenge the state's ability to set its own fuel standards. But Califonia has vowed to fight the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

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Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

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