Good News Friday

• European researchers have developed an airport scanner that can screen liquids. The scanner is being tested in Europe and could result in removing the ban on liquid carry-on as early as 2013.

• The Pentagon is closer to allowing women in active combat.

• Faced with a boycott threat and other right-wing hissy fits over its decision to hire the openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as its pitchwoman, JC Penney isn’t backing down, saying “Ellen represents the values of our company.” Good for them. If you haven’t seen this clip of DeGeneres responding to the controversy, give it a look:

• Anti-war protestors falsely arrested in Chicago in 2003 are offered $6.2 million settlement.

• The New York Times reports that young people are watching less television. Instead, they’re spending more time on social media, watching internet videos, etc. Why is this good news? Well, if you think networks and cable TV are gatekeepers to the free expression of ideas, then it’s a good thing to see those gates come crashing down. Maybe I’m being Pollyanna here, but I can’t help but see this wresting of control away from big media conglomerates as a good thing.

• Lawmakers in South Dakota struck down a ban on collective bargaining.

• A 136-count criminal indictment has been handed down against DocX and its founder and CEO, Lorraine Brown, in the “robo-signing” scandal that resulted in mass fraudulent foreclosures.

• The U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift a stay of execution on Ohio death row inmate Charles Lorraine, ruling that Ohio can’t be trusted to carry out executions properly. Ohio had agreed to change its lethal injection protocols but had failed to do so.

• Japan has announced plans to cut its consumption of the rare earth metal dysprosium by 30% in two years via development of dysprosium-free technology and increased recycling of the product. China has cornered the market on dysprosium, which is used to manufacture hybrid cars and many electronics.

• Insurance commissioners in California, New York and Washington State will require that companies have a plan for responding to climate change-related disasters, such as increasingly severe storms, flooding and wildfires.

• The U.S. is nearing energy independence. This is somewhat good news, as I realize the reasons aren’t always green or clean but I’m throwing this out there regardless. From the Bloomberg link:

The result: The U.S. has reversed a two-decade-long decline in energy independence, increasing the proportion of demand met from domestic sources over the last six years to an estimated 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the U.S. Department of Energy. That would be the highest level since 1992.

Just curious: why are gas prices so high then? Hasn’t Newt Gingrich been telling us for years that if we “drill here” we’d pay less? Guess not.

• The U.S. State Dept. announced plans to slash in half the number of people it has at the ginormous Baghdad Embassy in Iraq.

• Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania is offering Plan B at university vending machines, and now Towson University in Maryland is considering a similar idea.

• A Federal appeals court has struck down California’s Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage.

• A plastic-eating mushroom has been discovered in the Amazon. This is why we’re protecting the rainforest, people.

• GE workers in Kansas City, MO voted to unionize for the first time in 10 years.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• UT Knoxville celebrated Charles Darwin with a week of workshops, lectures, a film screenings and other events. I found this interesting:

Annual Darwin events have been held on the campus since 1997. They are believed to be the longest running such events in the country.

How cool is that? Amid all the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals here in Tennessee, we’re also home to the longest-running Charles Darwin celebration. See, things aren’t so bad, after all.

• Construction has begun on the Murfreesboro Islamic center that had Islamophobes from around the nation in such an uproar, even filing suit to stop the project.

• Volkswagon’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant is the world’s first auto plant to receive LEED-Platinum certification.

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13 Comments

Filed under Good News

13 responses to “Good News Friday

  1. deep

    The first comment in the article about DOCX (Richard Saunders February 8, 2012 | 5:44 p.m. ) makes a very good point.

    tl;dr: MERS has been hiding mortgage fraud for years and nobody even knows about because the media won’t talk about it.

    • Kaylynne

      Wow! Did I wake up in a better dimension or am I having a nice dream.

      Is sanity breaking out? Intelligence re-emerging from hiding?

      Do you mind if I copy and paste this post, and give you credit for making my day brighter?

  2. John Weiss

    SB, I’m sure that you know that the petroleum market is a world-wide commodities market: what we get out of the ground here has a minuscule effect on that market. Rebpubs don’t seem to understand that, though.

    • Yes my question about gas prices was a rhetorical one.

      • Jim

        speaking of gas prices – can you give me an update on your Nissan Leaf? I will be looking for a new car in about a year and I am seriously considering a Leaf as this would be a third car for my family and could be used just for driving around in town. I figure with another model year’s worth of development they would be able to address any issues that may have come up (if any have come up that is).

      • I’ll do an updated post this weekend. So far it’s awesome. I spend a fraction on fuel that I did before. Last time I calculated it was under $10 a month versus $65-$75 a month before, but I need to recalculate as I’ve driven more. Admittedly I don’t drive that much anyway but regardless, electricity is cheaper than gasoline. And gasoline has gone WAY up.

        The car is great, love it, no problems. I highly recommend it, if you aren’t doing a lot of long commutes. For around town, it’s great.

        The thing that still amazes me is that I can generate charge with regenerative braking and watching my driving habits so my car actually fills itself up. Today I pulled out of the driveway and it said I had 88 miles on my charge. I went to the store & a couple other errands and came home with 92 miles on my charge. My other car never filled itself up!

  3. Jim

    Most of my driving is to drop the kids at school and then head to my office. If need be, I could probably get a charging station installed at my office since we are part owners in the building and I bet the other owners would go along. That means I could charge the vehicle as needed at home and at work so even if I have to go somewhere during the day for a meeting, I would likely have a fully charged car. One question – how does the car perform on the interstate? Even though I am “in town” I usually hit the interstate for about 10 miles of driving each way. Thanks for any input – you are the only owner I know of personally and it helps to have a hands on reviewer.

    • It’s perfectly fine on the interstate, though you do use a lot more charge at those speeds. But really it’s like any other car of its size. It’s a small car, maybe Prius-sized. If you’re used to a big SUV you might need to adjust.

      One nice thing is that the car has two “modes” — regular drive mode, which uses more energy, and “eco” mode. I usually drive around town in “eco” but if you’re needing some extra kick to get on the interstate, the “D” mode gives you that. It’s got a lot of zip in “D” mode.

      I bet there is someone in your area with a Leaf who can let you see their car and maybe even drive it. Action Nissan here in Nashville actually had a few cars on the lot for a while because Nissan USA ordered too many for their employee rewards program. But I bet they are gone now.

  4. ThresherK

    The One Million Mom people, are they for real?

    I remember when some “housewife” went on a tear about the sitcom “Married With Children” and got all sorts of press. Turns out she was married to the “nobody” who would go on to run Mitt Romney’s ’88 campaign. And her sister was once the daughter in law of George Romney.

    That the Romney family is involved is coincidental, meaningless. But I’d like a little more skepticism from our Librul Media about right-wing moralising “nobodies” who fall for this shit every time.

    • ThresherK

      ugh…

      our Librul Media about right-wing moralising “nobodies”? The media fall for this shit every time

    • The One Million Mom people, are they for real?

      Well, there aren’t a million of them. Last I heard the number was more like 40,000. They’re a division of the American Family Association, you know that creation of anti-gay bigot Donald Wildmon? There’s supposedly also a One Million Dads group but interestingly we never hear from them on anything.

  5. ThresherK

    CPAC is in session.

    Is it time for your biennial (or quadrennial) Bob Roberts post yet? I’m thinking a little “Wall Street Rap”, a little “I Want to Live”.