A Day of Firsts for LGBTQ Candidates, and the Anniversary of “Georgia on My Mind”

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Eighty-nine years ago today, Louis Armstrong recorded “Georgia on My Mind.” Counting in Georgia continues as I write this, and a listener asks, “What date did Louis record ‘I’ve Got My Fingers Crossed’?” Answer: November 21, two weeks from now. I heard last night on the radio a back-to-back set of “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe” by Ella Fitzgerald, “Good for Nothin’ Joe” by Lena Horn, and “Hold ’Em Joe” by Harry Belafonte. “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix was missing. I don’t endorse candidates or radio stations, but I endorse music and justice; while we wait, Armstrong is here, Fitzgerald here, Horn here, Belafonte here, Hendrix here, and good news here:

Earth’s people. Nevada voted to require half of all energy to come from renewable sources in 10 years. The state is also the first to repeal a same-sex marriage ban in its constitution.

Path to power. Ohio welcomes its first woman and LGBTQ person as sheriff in the history of Hamilton County. “My role,” Charmaine McGuffey said, “is to be an example of what you can accomplish as an LGBT person because there’s a lot of discrimination out there.” 28-year-old Adrian Tam becomes Hawaii’s only declared LGBTQ elected official in the statehouse, beating a leader of the Proud Boys, the violent far-right group that includes white supremacists. And in Oklahoma, 27-year-old Mauree Turner becomes the country’s highest-ranking nonbinary lawmaker.

Naming rights. Rhode Island has removed the word “Plantations” from its official name. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is now just Rhode Island. When the name was adopted in the 17th century, the word didn’t refer specifically to a place where people were enslaved locally, but 53 percent of voters approved the switch, recognizing the role the state played in the transatlantic trade.

Moons ago. If the planet is wearing you down, remember that NASA announced last week the discovery of water on the moon’s sunlit surface. When safe travel returns, Recharge party on the moon, your treat. Mother Jones is reader-supported; if you can, support us and I’ll look into a 2021 moon Recharge. Until then, keep Georgia on your mind, and keep ideas coming at recharge@motherjones.com.

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Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

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