Good News Friday

We’re off to the races:

• Lookie here, BP will pay in a big way for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

• Good news, air travelers: snow globes, cakes and pies have been cleared for carry-on by the TSA. Too late for my volcano snow globe, unfortunately.

• Seems Ireland has one of those “no abortion unless the life of the mother is at risk” laws Republicans are trying to foist on women here in the U.S. Surprisingly, they don’t always work! After the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, neither Catholic nor Irish, who miscarried at 17 weeks and later died of blood poisoning, the government has vowed to “clarify” its abortion rules. This story is 20 levels of tragic; I just hope we can keep it from happening here.

• Results are still dribbling in from Red States like Arizona which are too incompetent to run an election because hey, we all know government doesn’t function, amiright?! Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies, y’all. Anyway, Democrats picked up yet another seat in the House and this one is notable because it gives us the first openly bisexual member of Congress. Congratulations, Kyrsten Sinema.

• Okay, that “Red States can’t do elections” dig was a low blow; California is still counting its ballots, too. But lookie here, the House of Representatives got another Democrat on Thursday. Congratulations, Ami Bera.

• [UPDATE]: Another one bites the dust in California. Congratulations, Scott Peters! I found this of interest:

Peters was able to overcome a roughly 2-point Republican registration advantage in the redrawn district, which stretches from Poway though La Jolla, Clairemont, downtown San Diego and Coronado.

Apparently this was a redistricting fail for the Republicans. I wonder how many other redistricting fails the GOP is looking at?

This is neither good nor news but it’s awesome snark. I give you The Haters Guide To The Williams Sonoma Catalog.

• Cap-and-trade officially became a thing in California this week. So far, the wrath of God has been avoided.

• UPS announced it will no longer donate to the Boy Scouts of America due to that organization’s anti-gay stance.

• The global balance of power is set to make a major shift as the U.S. is poised to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. Also, the IEA report says that the world’s largest untapped energy resource is, as always, energy efficiency:

Growth in demand over the years to 2035 would be halved and oil demand would peak just before 2020, if governments took action to remove barriers preventing the implementation of energy efficiency measures that are already economically viable, the global organization said.

• Salman Rushdie and John Le Carre have ended their 15-year feud. There’s hope for us all.

• Hilarious. Liberal kid trolls his staunch Republican parents with mini-Obamas.

• The plug-in Prius debuts.

• MotorTrend magazine named the Tesla Model S its car of the year. Even better, the magazine says the all-electric car is “proof positive that America can still make great things.” I actually saw one of these in the wild last summer while out in California. They are very cool.

• In related news, Nissan unveiled this really awesome 4-wheel-drive off-road hydrogen fuel cell concept car at the Paris Auto Show. Check it out:

I can totally see some Williamson County soccer moms trying to maneuver their way through the Kroger parking lot in this.

• Is Grover Norquist’s star on the wane? Some say yes.

• Access to contraception is called a “universal human right” in the UN Population Fund’s annual report.

• A message to that Papa John’s douchebag, filed under Awesome:

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The ABC series “Nashville” got picked up for an entire season. I cannot tell you how thrilled everyone here is about our eponymous night-time soap. We all love this show and what it’s done for our town. Its portrayal of the city and the music business here, glammed up and soapisized for TV, of course, still rings true. Which is okay. The show is written and produced by people who live here, they get us and know what we’re about.

• Tennesseeans appear to be cruisin’ for a boozin': of 32 local referendums allowing package stores, liquor by the drink, or both, 25 passed — some overwhelmingly. Wine in grocery stores, here we come!

• The Chattanooga Zoo has two baby snow leopards and they are adorable.

• Thanks to a federal grant (ahem), the Tennessee State Library & Archives will now be able to digitize state newspapers from the 1880s to 1920s and make them available to the public online. Gosh I’m just shocked private enterprise hasn’t already done this for us, aren’t you? Thank you, Uncle Sam.

This week’s video features skydiving cats. (Via Gawker, which tells us it’s a Swedish ad for pet insurance):

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Good News Friday

  1. deep

    Not to pee on the rug… but isn’t that settlement from BP something like 10% of the actual damage done?

    Why on earth did prosecutors agree to this??

    • It’s $4 billion, the largest ever in U.S. history. Doesn’t include all the other stuff they’ve paid and countless civil cases. I think it’s awesome. And people will go to jail. It’s better than I expected, considering the players involved.

      Now I’d like to know if they are going after Halliburton and TransWhatchamacallit, the other players in the case.

      • Forgot to add, also this is something BP agreed to so, unlike with the Exxon Valdez case, there won’t be decades and decades of legal battles and judges trimming back the $ involved.

  2. Joe

    SB, several thoughts. To amplify a bit on the Papa John’s matter (and other CEO’s whining too), I don’t think the numbers add up. I’ve seen some blurbs indicating that the cost is more likely less than 5 cents per pizza. Five stinkin’ cents!. As I mentioned in our back and forth on another venue, my wife & I noticed an extra charge on our restaurant bills while visiting San Francisco last year. Found it was a surcharge that they added to cover a requirement to provide health insurances to employees. I was cool with that, although now it seems that some owners were making a profit on the surcharge. I’m not surprised by that. I’ve seen the same in the freight business as trucking companies were charging Fuel Surcharges that at times were exceeding their total fuel costs, not just the added extra costs (something which my industry has not revisited and adjusted to the “new normal” of fuel prices ten years out).

    I’d love to see someone do some good analysis as to what the costs will be to provide coverage to employees. The pizza example is perhaps a good one – is the extra cost five cents a pie? So what? Tack it on! Papa John’s is a horrific example for their side as others have noted that he can afford to give away two million pizzas, but he can’t afford $5M for this coverage? Gimme a break! But if they’re such astute business owners, get the damned pencils out. I’ve long argued that the problem here is a capitalist question. When Oregon proposed universal health coverage at around 14% of payroll, I pined for that. At the time, my costs was running easily at 25% of mine. Lopping 10% or so from that figure is a nice piece of change back in my pocket. And that was with really shitty coverage. When my secretary finally took a part-time job with better coverage, she pared back her hours here and then I went on my wife’s health insurance. What did I do with the savings? I raised her pay and mine. If business owners can get more AFFORDABLE (hey, where’d I see that word before???), cutting their costs, think of the CAPITAL they can plow back into their business. Our fellow capitalist economies (you know, the ones Republicans keeping calling socialist) have figured this out and it makes them more competitive. Oy!

    And I’m superpsyched by more old newspapers being scanned and being available. Can’t wait to start seeing that. I may even start a blog or something.

    • deep

      I can’t stand Papa Johns anyway. Whenever I want Pizza, I go to my local place which hires local people and invests in my local community.

      You know what? Their pizza tastes AWESOME too.

    • ’d love to see someone do some good analysis as to what the costs will be to provide coverage to employees. The pizza example is perhaps a good one – is the extra cost five cents a pie? So what? Tack it on!

      America needs to go to a European-style VAT tax system, with the money going to healthcare. I know it’s considered horribly regressive but it works in Europe.

      • Jim from Memphis

        Interesting proposal SB. Sounds like you are moving towards support of the the Fair Tax. It is in essence one large VAT to cover all of the Federal government operations. So if this is a good way to cover healthcare expenses why wouldn’t it be a good way to cover everything else?

      • The VAT isn’t quite the same as a Fair Tax, at least not in my understanding of the Fair Tax, though it may look like it. My understanding of the “fair tax” is that it’s just a flat tax on every single thing you buy. A VAT is a tax only on manufactured goods. It increases along the manufacturing chain. Basically if you have a manufactured product, every time a human hand touches that product you “add value” to it, thus the tax goes up.

        The issue is that our other trading partners use a VAT in place of tariffs, which have been eliminated or gutted with all of these trade agreements. But for countries like Germany, their VAT is basically a tariff. The U.S., meanwhile, dumped its tariffs but has no VAT, so we’re at a trading disadvantage. The idea is to implement a VAT to level the playing field from a trade perspective. Thom Hartmann talks about it here with former Reagan White House staffer Tom Pauken. VAT stuff starts around the 4:40 mark.

  3. I don’t like papa john’s anyway. he just lost several customers. The Dems I know now vow the’ll never buy his pizza until he rectifies this and says something remorseful.

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  5. democommie

    Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Domino’s and Godfather’s. What is it with the GOP and shitty pizzas?

  6. Mary L. Wilson

    Thanks for this collage of great news today, SB.
    1) RE the BP ‘settlement’…it is ironic that this is such a big public deal …. since they committed a similar disaster in Alaska several years ago, when the Palin was Governor. It has yet to be setteled, the Native Americans are still displaced and jobs gone forever, and it has NOT been cleaned up. But since it is like the “Valdez” and in far-away North, it is a mess that will NEVER be cleaned up.
    2) Re the Irish ‘abortion’ law…it is such a crime that our U.S. Congress has decided to be more punitive and regressive than most ‘civilized countries’. And no matter HOW the Irish ‘change’ their law, the War on Women and girls in this country Will continue because of the old white Catholic bishops…apparently a group of Catholic non-profits IN Nashville have filed suit now because contraceptives are now being provided to their employees…IF THEY choose…because of the ACA provision.
    3) Re the Papa John’s billionaire, there is a growing list of scum-bags who are joining him…most restaurant workers barely make minimum wage, most have NO benefits or decent retirement. That is how all the owners of these francises became RICH. And there are other crooks…the owner of Murray Coal who fired workers because our President won, Applebees in NYC, and more. These hate filled fools do not deserve our business. Let’s shop at local businesses. The hell with the hatred.

  7. I never thought we’d get rid of Bilbray. La Jolla and Poway are fairly conservative. He’s been my favorite punching bag for years.

    Dig this excerpt from a tea party missive that Bilbray sent out as a public document, at tatxpayer expense!

    With nearly 1 in 9 San Diegans unemployed, it is painstakingly clear that we can no longer continue down an unsustainable path of deficit-fueled spending. The imminent debt crisis our nation faces is a serious threat to the American economy and each and every San Diegan. Recently, President Obama proposed an unrealistic Fiscal Year 2013 budget outline that would only continue failed economic policies of increasing taxes and spending too much money. Of further concern, the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in over 3 years, while still voting to spend trillions of U.S. taxpayer funds every year. In response to the failure of both the White House and the Senate to produce a viable budget, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) put forth the Path to Prosperity Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal, which would change the spending trajectory of our nation. The Path to Prosperity spends $5 trillion dollars less than the President’s proposal and returns government spending to below 20 percent of GDP, so that the federal budget doesn’t outgrow the federal government’s ability to pay for it. Through fundamental reform this budget will bring jobs and economic growth while preserving our health care and retirement programs for current and future seniors. For these reasons, I voted in favor of this budget resolution when it passed by a vote of 228-191. Thank you for your interest in this important matter.

    He sent out a lot of public documents these last six years.

    • Allen West is also losing every recount he’s demanded. He refuses to concede and when he demands a recount, it turns out Murphy gets even MORE votes than they’d originally given him.

      Republicans really haven’t come to grips with how severe the bloodbath was 2 weeks ago.

  8. democommie

    Southern Beale:

    It looks like your local Raperesentative, Scott DesJarlais is even more of a scumbag than previously thought:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/scott-desjarlais-approved_n_2140171.html

    And some people wonder why I refuse to debate teabaggist asshats on anything. Whining, lying, hypocrites–every fucking one of them.

    It appears that Mark Rogers position has been defunded; or is he just “in seclusion”?.

    • Yes we’ve had a lot of fun following the oh-so-“pro-life/family values” Rep.DesJarlais. Of course, abortion is ALWAYS okay for Republicans. It’s just you Slutty McSluts who don’t deserve one. The Slutty McSluts get an aspirin to hold between their knees.

      Just my hypocrisy from the party of IOKIYAR. Same as it ever was.