Category Archives: Good News

Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week! And probably quite a lot that I missed, too. Enjoy!

• President Obama is the worst lame duck president ever: this week he announced plans to restore diplomatic ties to Cuba. Republicans are going apeshit but hey, they can always go out and make us some new enemies, right? It’s what they’re best at. On a related note, American Alan Gross was released after five years in a Cuban prison.

• Reversing a Bush Administration rule, transgender workers will now be protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

• Saying it’s “too precious for us to be putting out to the highest bidder,” President Obama has blocked oil and gas drilling in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

• New York state will pursue a ban on fracking.

• The Vatican has concluded its investigation of American nuns begun under Pope Benedict XVI and it seems they are in the clear. This was the weirdest story ever.

• The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision stating Arizona must give driver’s licenses to young immigrants. Another setback for Arizona’s immigrant-bashing governor.

• A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the gun Adam Lanza used to slaughter 26 innocent people at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

• Walmart owes workers $188 million in overtime pay, says the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

• A fetal heartbeat bill died in Ohio’s House.

• Over objections of the NRA, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General.

• Tucked into the Cromnibus bill was an item which effectively eliminated the federal government’s longstanding ban on medical marijuana.

• Over a dozen people have been arrested in connection with the deadly meningitis outbreak from 2012 that started at a compounding pharmacy.

• A criminal complaint has been filed against Bush Administration officials in regards to the use of torture.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Nashville and Chattanooga have joined the Cities For Citizenship coalition, which seeks to increase citizenship among immigrant members of the population who are eligible.

• Gov. Haslam has agreed to expand Medicaid in the state. Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey are pretending their plan is something more principled and conservative than every other plan out there but I just don’t see it, and neither do Tea Partiers, who are apoplectic:

• The Beacon Center of Tennessee

“The Beacon Center of Tennessee firmly opposes Governor Haslam’s move to expand Medicaid and the reach of Obamacare’s tentacles into our state. As our recent study with State Budget Solutions and Federalism in Action exposed, President Obama’s Medicaid expansion would cost our state’s economy $3.6 billion, while causing more than 67,000 Tennesseans to lose their jobs.”‎

and …

• Americans for Prosperity Tennessee

“We’re disappointed Governor Haslam has decided to try implementing more of ObamaCare in Tennessee, even as many of his colleagues in other states have held the line and protected their constituents from this disastrous law. Hybrid plans in other states have proven to be little more than expansion by another name, and our volunteers plan on engaging aggressively, as that is likely to be the case here in Tennessee.”

• Two Tennessee teachers survived 73 days under water.

• Wingnut state Rep. Rick Womick’s not getting anywhere with his abortion ultrasound bill.

• There is bipartisan legislation to end racial profiling by state law enforcement.

• A Nashville singer won The Voice. Congratulations, Craig Wayne Boyd! Okay, I don’t watch that show so I have no idea what kind of singer Boyd is but I’m gonna guess he swings country.

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Good News Friday

I’ve got a couple of loose ends to tie up on Monday and Tuesday and then I’m off until mid-January. Wheeee!!! Don’t know what I’m going to do with all of that free time … maybe take some long walks with the new puppy, clean the house for the first time in a few months, try some new recipes and have that ankle surgery I’ve been putting off so I can run another half marathon in April.

Here’s some other good news which I gleaned from the internet. Enjoy.

• Movement to divest from fossil fuel companies gains momentum. Good.

• The shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer last month has officially been ruled a homicide.

• A new poll shows majority support for carbon limits — including half of all Republicans.

• Country music parties like it’s 2014: a roundup.

• A third Ohio man wrongly accused of murder has been exonerated after spending 27 years in jail.

• All dogs (and cats, and everything else) go to heaven, says Our Awesome Hippie Pope.

• Facebook may soon add a “dislike” button.

• The Urban School Food Alliance agreed to remove antibiotics and animal by-products from the chicken served to some three million children in six urban school districts:

Under the plan, agreed upon Tuesday, all chicken purchased by the six member school districts of the Urban School Food Alliance must be produced without antibiotics or animal byproducts in the feed. The diet must be all vegetarian and the chickens must be treated humanely.

[…]

The Urban School Food Alliance, a collective representing school districts in Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, and New York, joined forces in 2012 to adopt eco-friendly practices and leverage the collective purchasing power of some of the biggest school districts in the nation.

• The CEO of SeaWorld has resigned amid backlash over animal care practices at the chain.

• Nancy Pelosi kept conservatives from gutting Obamacare contraceptive rules in the new spending bill. Plenty of horrible things still in the bill, though.

• An EV Harley Davidson? Cool!

• Hope for kids with peanut allergies. A dear friend of mine has a kid with a severe peanut allergy. Y’all have no idea how much this impacts an entire family’s life until you have to deal with it.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• In response to the shooting of Michael Brown, a bill to ban racial profiling in the state of Tennessee is a real thing that actually exists.

Don’t have a video. Sorry.

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Good News Friday

The holiday last week messed up my schedule and I totally forgot about Good News Friday. Sorry, y’all. Here’s this week’s round-up:

• The labor market showed its strongest hiring in nearly three years, with small businesses accounting for the most new job creation. Also:

Perhaps most encouraging is the monthly jump in worker pay. Average hourly wages rose a stronger-than-forecast 0.4 percent in November, according to the Labor Department. That is the sharpest rise in wage growth in more than a year. The number of hours employees work per week also rose, often a prelude to stronger hiring.

• A Federal court struck down Indiana’s anti-abortion TRAP law.

• The minimum wage in Chicago is now $13/hour.

• A Federal appeals court has halted the execution of a severely mentally ill Texas prisoner who, inexplicably (OK, Texas = explicably) was allowed to serve as his own lawyer at his trial. The man is batshit insane, for real:

“But he was deemed fit to stand trial, and he was allowed to defend himself, dressing in a cowboy costume in court, insisting he was a character from a John Wayne movie,” Wade reported.

This is the death penalty in Texas. What a joke.

• Related: A Republican criminal appeals judge in Texas has called for the state to abolish the death penalty.

• Congratulations to 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis, named Sports Illustrated’s SportsKid Of The Year.

• The City of San Francisco became the nation’s first to pass a retail worker’s Bill of Rights.

• Our Awesome Hippie Pope prayed in a mosque.

• You ever hear of the Olive Garden “Neverending Pasta Pass“? Utah’s Matt Tribe scored one and used it to feed random strangers and the homeless.

• Colorado’s Roane Plateau may be protected from oil and gas drilling.

• The Los Angeles City Council makes a stand for gun sense:

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday gave tentative approval for an ordinance that would require ammunition sellers to electronically report sales to police.

The city council also ordered the City Attorney’s Office to draft an ordinance that would require gun owners to store firearms in a locked container or disable them with trigger locks.

• The last remaining clinic providing abortion services to women in Cincinnati has obtained a variance and will be allowed to remain open. The clinic was threatened with shuttering after Ohio’s Republican governor slipped anti-choice legislation into the budget last year, which would require abortion clinics have transfer agreements with private hospitals. From the link:

The variance will allow the clinic to have agreements with doctors who have privileges at area hospitals in case of emergency. Most private hospitals are run by religious organizations that refuse to enter into a transfer agreement with abortion clinics based on their beliefs.

Assholes. I have a huge problem with religious hospitals. I’ll get to that in another post.

• Dale Scott became the first active male referee or umpire in pro sports to came out as gay.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Here’s a switch: they demolished a strip mall for a historic site. Usually, it’s the other way around here in Middle Tennessee.

• Lebanon’s Little Seed Farm, which makes organic herb and goat milk skin care products, won a $25,000 grant from retail giant West Elm as part of the latter’s “We love LOCAL” small business grant program.

• President Obama will visit Nashville next week to discuss immigration at Casa Azafran.

This week’s cool video is from HBO’s The Newsroom, a show I’m actually not hugely fond of but this interview about climate change pretty much mirrors where I stand on the issue. Maybe not a “good news” item by any means but if you appreciate dark humor you may enjoy it. Have a good week!

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Good News Friday

Your weekly round-up. Enjoy!

More good news from election day:

• Tallahassee, FL made history for passing the country’s first-ever anti-corruption act.

• Gina Raimondo became the first Democrat elected governor of Rhode Island since 1992 — and its first-ever female governor.

• In Wisconsin, 12 metropolitan areas passed referenda amending the U.S. Constitution and overturning Citizens United.

• Despite that right-wing talking point, Democrats actually gained significant support among women voters in the 2014 midterms.

In other news:

• New York firefighters rescued workers trapped over 60 stories in the air at the World Trade Center. Amazing. So much respect for FDNY.

• Suckit, Koch Bros.: Wall Street is bullish on solar power. Here’s why.

• We landed a dang space probe on a freaking COMET, everybody. Holy cow.

• China and the U.S. forge a ground-breaking climate deal.

• AOL is ending its membership in ALEC, the latest in a flurry of tech firms to do so.

• Craig Spencer, the New York doctor, is Ebola-free. So, America is also Ebola-free, no Americans have died of Ebola, and yet right-wing media managed to scare Amygdala America to the voting both over Ebola. Impressive.

I wonder why all of those Americans were cured of this supposedly lethal disease while all of those poor Africans were not? Thinking ….

• The Netherlands opens the world’s first solar road to bicyclists. The 70-meter road will generate electricity as well as serve as a public bicycle roadway.

• A potential Ebola outbreak in Mali was thwarted thanks to quick action.

• As anticipated, our awesome hippie pope demoted Cardinal Raymond Burke, the highest-ranking American at the Vatican, to a position with no responsibilities. Burke is a homophobe and wingnut who once denied John Kerry communion over abortion. Enjoy your time in irrelevancy, douchebag.

• Horrible person Don Blankenship — ex-CEO of Massey Energy of Upper Big Branch mine disaster fame — has been indicted for violating and conspiring to cover up mine safety violations.

• Denmark is ditching coal in favor of wind energy. Coal currently accounts for 30% of Denmark’s electricity production, but the Danes plan to ban coal by 2025.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The UAW says it’s close to getting recognition at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant.

• Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery has donated $100,000 to help enlisted military and their families be together over the holidays.

This week’s video is from last week’s Colbert Report:

Oops sorry, saw the video has been removed. Will have to find you another one.

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Good News Friday

I’m a day late and a dollar short on this week’s Good News roundup. Sorry, I’m sure y’all need some cheering-up from the eternal optimist wing of the Democratic Party, too. Here ya go!

We start with some more election night good news that didn’t make my first round-up:

• Chevron tried to buy the election in Richmond, CA and got resoundingly thwacked for its trouble.

• A soda tax passed in Berkeley.

• Voters in 78 Tennessee cities approved referendums (referenda?) allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores. Let me add: while I am in favor of wine sales in grocery stores, this was the most fucked-up, protectionist piece of legislation I’ve ever seen come out of a Republican legislature since forever. In particular, it mandates grocery stores markup their wine 20% — that’s big gummint sticking its nose in the pricing business. Gee, I thought the free hand of the market was supposed to do that! How is that not government overreach? Republicans don’t seem to mind when big corporations use their muscle to put the little guy out of business in any other area of trade. Does anyone remember Republicans demanding Walmart require a 20% markup on all of their products to keep the retail giant from undercutting mom-and-pop stores in small town America? Me, neither.

• Biology-textbook-censoring Tea Party wackaloons on the Gilbert, AZ school board got ousted.

• Voters in towns in California, Ohio and Texas banned fracking.

• Tribal elections in North Dakota could mean tighter restrictions on oil companies drilling on tribal lands.

• Californians voted against mass incarceration with a ballot initiative that reclassified six nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors.

• Voters approved paid sick days in Massachusetts; Oakland, CA; and Trenton and Montclair, N.J.

In other news:

• I was never a fan of the concept but you young kids might enjoy this trip down nostalgia lane: ’50s restaurant chain Johnny Rockets plans to open 200 drive-in theaters by 2018.

• Two more Americans were freed from North Korean labor camps. First off, let me say: welcome home. Now, let me say to Jeffrey Fowles, arrested for leaving a Bible in a night club bathroom; Matthew Miller, who (allegedly) destroyed his tourist visa and demanded asylum; and Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary with YWAM:

You fucking idiots. You go to a place like North Korea and do stupid shit like leave Bibles lying around, what the fuck did you think would happen? You are fucking lucky that the supposedly “anti-Christian” Moooslim Usurper-in-Chief moved heaven and earth to get you religious crackpots out of that hellhole. Did an angel of the lord bust you out of jail, like Paul from Acts 12:3? No, it was power and might of the American government led by a man so many of you religious fanatics despise. Suck on that and stop doing stupid shit. I feel about you the same way I felt about those idiots from Arizona, the Gastonguays. I am tired of all of you. Your religion doesn’t make you bulletproof and it sure hasn’t made you any smarter.

You know what? If you want to be Super Christians and help people in foreign lands, go to fucking Sierra Leone and help the people dying of Ebola. Then the only people trying to keep you from coming home will be the Republicans in America.

• Atheists scored a major win in federal court, which ruled that Secular Humanism is a religion.

• Gay marriage is legal in Kansas. So much rich irony in that.

• Read this Christian ethicist’s argument for why he is is pro-gay.

• A Malaysian appeals court overturned an Islamic law against cross-dressing.

• The U.S. Army Command Policy has removed “Negro” as an acceptable term for black soldiers after it was discovered last Thursday in the manual’s race and ethnic code definition section. No one knows how long it’s been there.

• Bittersweet: a dying British woman who once worked at the racetrack was granted her last wish, to say goodbye to her favorite horse. Apparently they shared a goodbye kiss. So sweet and sad:

_78837646_horse1

This week’s video:

A woman’s life captured in a 3:40 minute animated short. Cool.

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Good News Friday

It’s been a super busy week for your humble scribe. I’ve scraped together a few items of good news, however.

• A judge rejects the quarantine order for nurse Kaci Hickox.

• He’s out and proud: Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out. Amazing culture shift: I really am so old, I remember when top business executives went to great lengths to hide their sexual orientation.

• There’s a new soda can called the “evercan,” made from 90% recycled aluminum. Now if we could only get Coca Cola and PepsiCo to use it.

• Best news ever: New Alzheimer’s research indicates chocolate keeps the brain young and healthy.

• A federal court dismissed Tea Party-affiliated group True The Vote’s two lawsuits against the IRS.

• The U.S. economy continues to improve, with growth at 3.5% for the third quarter.

• Everyone’s excited that our Awesome Hippie Pope is saying that evolution and the Big Bang Theory are not at odds with religion. I’m pretty sure that this has been Catholic doctrine for at least the last two Popes but whatever, it’s fun to see the Vatican remind American flat-earthers that they’re still getting it wrong.

• They’ve discovered a new species of leopard frog that lives on New Jersey’s I-95 corridor. Pretty sure Gov. Chris Christie will tell it to “sit down and shut up.”

• Researchers find there’s a genetic component to the different responses to the Ebola virus.

• Not good news per se but interesting: Did you know there’s a copyright infringement suit over the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams song “Blurred Lines”? And the plaintiff is the family of Marvin Gaye, who say Thicke and Pharrell borrowed from Gaye’s hit “Got To Give It Up”? There is, they are, and the suit has cleared its first major hurdle.

Copyright law is an interesting, convoluted thing. I was always amazed that Kenny Loggins never sued Garth Brooks over Brooks’ “Standing Outside The Fire,” which is basically Loggins’ “Conviction Of The Heart” set in a different key with some twang added. It was a blatant, obvious rip-off, in my book.

The “Blurred Lines” thing is a little less obvious to me. Here’s Got To Give It Up and here’s “Blurred Lines.” What do you think?

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Maybe the beginning of the end of negative campaigning? Probably not, but it’s good to see Bo Mitchell fighting back against an outright lie spread through a negative campaign ad.

• Former Marine Eric Malloy of Nashville can now afford to get his canine buddy Cash, who was his partner in Afghanistan, needed surgery, thanks to a GoFundMe campaign which raised over $3,000 in less than an hour. Read the full story here.

• Taylor Swift, whose new album contains the song “Welcome To New York,” says she is donating all of the song’s proceeds to New York public schools.

• Vanderbilt University received a $15 million federal grant to develop a national training center for special ed teachers.

This week’s cool video: I can’t remember the last time anyone had the cojones to openly mock an advertiser the way The Daily Show just went after Koch Industries. Absolutely hilarious.

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Good News Friday

Some good news to start off the weekend … Ebola-free!

• Honey Boo-Boo has been cancelled and our long, national slide into Redneckistan is finally (hopefully) coming to an end.

• Three major chains announced that they will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day to allow workers to spend time with their families.

I honestly do not understand the national “shopping on Thanksgiving” disease. The very last place you will find me on Thanksgiving weekend is the damn mall. But that’s just me.

• This is sorta interesting:

A photographic notebook from Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition has been discovered after a century trapped in ice.

Conservation specialists from New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust found the notebook outside Scott’s Terra Nova base during last summer’s ice melt.

The notebook belonged to British scientist George Murray Levick, who was part of Scott’s 1910-1913 expedition and a member of the Northern Party.

• U.S. citizen Jeffrey Fowle is on his way home, after being detained in North Korea since April.

• Four Blackwater security guards have been convicted in the Sept. 16, 2007 shootings of over 30 Iraqis, an incident which sparked an international outcry and focused world attention on the U.S.’s privatized military arm.

• Polish and British surgeons used a first-of-its-kind nerve transplant to enable a man whose spinal cord had been severed to walk again. By the way, remember during the healthcare debate when Republicans like Sen. Bob Corker said there had been no great medical innovations outside of the U.S.? To bolster their argument that America’s for-profit healthcare system was the best evah and socialism stifled innovation? I wonder how they can live with themselves, being perpetually proven wrong time and time again?

• Car batteries that last 1,000 years? The Swedes think they’ve found a way.

• Our Awesome Hippie Pope demoted the conservative ex-Archibishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Raymond Burke. He’s the asshole who denied John Kerry communion because of all those bay-beeez and ‘bortion.

• When it comes to Ebola, there’s actually some good news. Update: Now that Americans are in a panic they’re finally testing an Ebola vaccine that is 100% effective on monkeys. Also: Dallas nurses Amber Vinson and Nina Pham have been declard Ebola-free — and Pham’s dog, Bentley, too. Ditto NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo.

So the only U.S. patient who died of Ebola is the guy the hospital in Texas sent home with a bottle of antibiotics.

• It’s not much but it’s something: Social Security benefits will go up a smidge.

• How Portugal switched from using fossil fuels to generate electricity to using renewable, in 7 short years.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Bittersweet: A Tennessee-born World War II soldier who died in combat in 1945 but whose remains were only found last year by French hikers was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

This week’s video: Watch these kids get hysterical when their 13-year-old cat Maddy, who had been missing for two months, returns home:

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