Good morning! Is it spring where you are? We are still in winter. I can’t believe we’re moving the clocks forward this weekend.
Here’s your weekly round-up of good news:
• Failed dirty trickster James O’Keefe must pay former ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera $100,000 — or, $35,000 more than O’Keefe received from Andrew Breitbart for his ACORN-smearing videos. Bwaahaa.
• Wow. Apparently even the NRA is too extreme for the country’s largest gun manufacturers’ trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The NSSF has split from the NRA over the issue of universal background checks, saying,
“That’s more the NRA’s issue,” Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said in an interview. “From the commercial side, we’re already there, and we’ve been there, and we were the ones that have been the strongest proponents of an effective, complete background check.”
• The Maryland Senate has voted to repeal that state’s death penalty.
• The stock market continues to reach record highs, further proving what a lousy Communist President Obama is. Seriously, I’m not entirely sure this is “good news,” since the surging market seems divorced from Main Street reality. But I do enjoy a certain amount of schadenfreude thinking about all of those Tea Partiers who pulled their money out of the market to prepare for the coming Obama economic apocalypse.
• The U.S. Dept. of Justice says violent attacks against women and girls age 12 and older have fallen 64% from 1995 to 2005, and have remained stable for the past five years.
• Workers in New Mexico just got a $1 an hour pay raise.
• The owner of Virginia’s 3D Sports raised her employee’s minimum wage to $9/hour as President Obama suggested. She says if she can do it, big companies can, too.
• Walmart appears to have thrown in the towel in its failed (and expensive) effort to open a store in New York City.
• Bradley Manning and Malala Yousafzai are among those nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Carly Rae Jepson and Train pulled put of performing at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree due to the group’s gay ban.
• Congratulations to Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the first woman tapped to command the Air Force Academy.
• The TSA will now allow small pocket knives and golf clubs on airplanes. I will withhold the celebrating until I can wear my shoes and carry a damn bottle of water through security.
• Chinese and Israeli scientists have developed a simple breath test that can detect stomach cancer with 90% accuracy.
• Texas Republicans decided cutting off family planning funding last year might not have been such a good idea after all.
• A Soviet war veteran missing for 33 years has been found in Afghanistan living a semi-nomadic life as an herbal medicine practitioner.
• Cornell researchers captured the first video of extremely endangered Spoon Bill Sandpiper chicks. The birds are on the brink of extinction and could be gone in 10 years.
• President Obama nominated a staunch environmentalist to be the new head of the EPA.
• The Swiss have issued limits on abusive executive pay.
• Big Tobacco looks to be losing its last, best hope for continued existence.
• Volvo released a cyclist detection device which can “detect threats including a cyclist suddenly swerving out into a car’s path.” The system sounds an alarm and deploys the brakes if a collision appears imminent. These things should be mandatory for every Nashville driver.
• Sephardic Jews have been welcomed back to Spain after 500 years.
• A baby born with HIV has been cured.
• The juvenile incarceration rate has dropped 41%.
• Arms buy-back events are on the increase, taking thousands of dangerous weapons off the streets:
The buy-backs are yielding thousands of firearms, including military rocket-propelled grenade devices and illegal automatic machine guns.
In Tampa, two rocket launchers and a number of sawed-off shotguns were rounded up at an event last month. Also turned in: a flute fashioned into a one-shot, .22-caliber gun, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Chad Chronister said.
Camden, N.J., Police Chief Scott Thomson said seven machine guns and a powerful “safari” rifle capable of taking down big-game were part of a weapons cache recovered there in December. “On the streets,” Thomson said, the game rifle could “cut a human in half.”
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Pro-choice Democrat and all-around good guy Andy Berke won his race to be mayor of Chattanooga. So now it looks like Democrats lead all of Tennessee’s major cities. And it bears remembering that Sen. Bob Corker’s last gig before going to Washington was mayor of Chattanooga.
• On a related note, Chattanooga got its first openly-gay city councilman when Chris Anderson beat two-time incumbent Manny Rico in his first race for public office.
• We may not have Rep. Scott DesJarlais to kick around any more, though that doesn’t mean his replacement will be any better.
• A Brentwood, TN investment firm has bought Segway, those funky looking personal transportation devices, and the new CEO says they will donate some units to the Nashville and Franklin police departments. Should be amusing, as this week’s video shows: