It’s been a busy week so I don’t have a ton of stuff lined up, but for what it’s worth: your weekly progress report!
• My beloved Nashville Predators have advanced to the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, having crushed the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games. Woo hoo!
• Oklahoma’s personhood bill granting blastocysts, zygotes and embryos the same rights as actual people was quashed before coming to a vote.
• Fast food giant Yum! Brands, owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, have dumped ALEC.
• On a related note: some suspect it is a PR stunt, but ALEC announced it is ending its “non-economic” task forces, which includes voter suppression and gun legislation.
• The VA has increased its staffing of mental health professionals to reduce long wait times for psychiatric services at many VA hospitals around the country.
• Ted Nugent has been kicked off the lineup of the June 23 summer concert at Fort Knox. He was scheduled to be the opening act for Styx and REO Speedwagon. You know you’re a has-been when you’re opening for Styx and REO Speedwagon. Just sayin’.
• Citigroup shareholders voted no to the bank’s $15 million pay package for its CEO Vikram Pandit. It’s the first time that shareholders have joined together in unanimous opposition to executive pay package. Lest we get too excited, the vote is non-binding, though Citigroup’s board promises to “carefully consider it.” The larger point here is that the issue of income inequality and outsized CEO pay is not a concern of just the Dirty Fucking Hippies occupying Wall Street, but rather a broad concern that is not going away.
[Update]: The Citigroup link has been corrected; also, FirstMerit Bank shareholders have followed suit, prompting some to call this a trend.
• UC Davis’ police chief has resigned over the notorious pepper spraying of Occupy protesters.
• Upward mobility in India: Kalpana Saroj, born into India’s “untouchable” class, is now a millionaire, thanks to her manufacturing business.
• The EPA issued new air quality standards requiring the capture of toxic chemical air pollutants prevalent at natural gas fracking sites. Fracking releases toxic benzene, hexane and methane.
• The average price of electric car batteries fell 14% in the first quarter of 2012, good news for the price of EV cars.
• Deadheads rejoice: Jerry Garcia may be gone but the Grateful Dead are still touring … in a video game.
• Sen. Dianne Feinstein put a hold on the senate’s two controversial concealed-carry reciprocity bills, pointing out the danger they pose to domestic violence victims and law enforcement officers.
• Scientists in the Netherlands have found the much sought-after Majorana fermion particle. Not entirely sure what that means but if scientists have been looking for it and now they’ve found it that has to be a good thing, right?
• Foreclosures are at their lowest level since 2007.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• A proposed Tennessee tax on solar installations (I know! I know!) is dead … for now.
• Knoxville’s city council passed a non-discrimination ordinance covering GLBT employees on first reading.