I’m really busy today. Some of the good news from around the interwebs:
• Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, a co-sponsor of the 1996 Defense Of Marriage Act, says he now supports marriage equality, after his son told him he’s gay.
• Keep telling your stories, folks: a 19-year-old undocumented immigrant convinced a Utah legislator to oppose his own anti-immigrant law.
• Renewing the assault weapons ban has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.
• Joe Ely was reunited with his stolen guitar after 27 years.
• McDonald’s is adding a healthy McMuffin to its menus. It’s supposedly made of egg whites, Canadian bacon, and white cheddar cheese on a whole-grain muffin.
• Scientists used a converted iPhone 4S to diagnose intestinal worm infections in Tanzanian children.
• A pseudo-science group that claimed it can cure gays has lost its tax-exempt status.
• Whole Foods Market became the first major grocery chain in the United States to require labeling of genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry.
• A California inventor has developed a $400 device that “promises to increase car performance, reduce emissions and save gas.” Sound too good to be true? Maybe … or maybe not.
• Gucci and other high fashion houses are developing a “marsh to market” tracking system that would end the black market in python skins.
• On a related note, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has added dozens of plant and animal species, including five species of shark, to its protected list.
• This app lets you bypass international roaming charges by giving you virtual phone numbers.
• Colorado legalized civil unions. I predict this will create a whole mess of legal wrangling as everyone realizes that civil unions are not legally the same as marriages, and Colorado is forced to rethink its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Just a prediction. But it will pave the way for other states with the same idiotic notion that Colorado had regarding marriage equality bans. Places like, well, Tennessee.
• The Queen of England signed a Commonwealth charter opposing “all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds,” including sexual orientation.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• German solar panel maker Wacker Chemie is investing another $200 million in its Tennessee polysilicon plant. This contrasts with a recent downsizing of the Hemlock Semiconductor plant in Clarksville:
Berry said the difference in the Wacker and Hemlock outlooks may have to do with contrasts in American and German companies.
“My sense it’s a fundamental difference in the German and American business perspective,” he said.
U.S. companies tend to have a more short-term view while the German business model has a longer horizon, Berry said.
Yep. When you’re just in it for short-term gain and shareholder profits, you’re not building anything except your own bank account. We used to know that in this country.
• The University of Tennessee’s economics club won $12,000 and a free trip to Washington, D.C., where they will present their ideas to members of Congress.
• The state senate passed a bill allowing students to use their college IDs to vote.
This week’s cool video is courtesy of the Calorie Detective. I had no idea nobody was really checking to make sure all of those calorie counts on food and menu labels were really accurate!