Category Archives: Good News

Good News Friday

I am running behind today, sorry kids. I thought July would be less busy but, sadly, no. Here’s some good news I compiled across the web. Enjoy!

• A judge has ruled California’s death penalty is unconstitutional.

• Insurance giant UnitedHealthcare announces plans to sell policies on the Obamacare exchanges next year:

Broad participation by UnitedHealthcare will increase competition and should help keep premiums down, according to theory and research. A recent paper by economists Leemore Dafny, Jonathan Gruber and Christopher Ody found that if UnitedHealthcare had sold policies through the exchanges this year in every state where it already does business, premiums would have been 5 percent lower.

• Our Awesome Hippie Pope says immigrant children should be “welcomed and protected” at America’s border. I’m sure this will be yet another Papal utterance American conservatives choose to ignore while they silently wish the Vatican would go back to talking about gays, abortion and birth control.

• In response to a class action lawsuit, Remington will redesign and replace the triggers on its most popular hunting rifle.

• Hey, gays! You can get married in the Florida Keys starting next week.

• Related: an appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling which overturned Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriages.

The Church of England has voted to allow female bishops.

• This isn’t so much good news as just .. I dunno, irony or whatever? But the idea of a bunch of charter school teachers trying to unionize is just so delicious.

• Washington & Lee University is removing the Confederate flag display which has stood on campus for over 80 years.

• Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a guns-in-schools bill.

• Volkswagen has named its top labor official to the board of directors of Volkswagen Group of America. Watch out, Chattanooga.

• A man in Southern California is retrofitting classic VW Beetles and transforming them from ICEs to EVs. That sounds like a sweet ride.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Three days after the UAW establishes its presence at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, VW announces Chattanooga will produce its new SUV Meanwhile, Gov. Haslam says the $160 million in state incentives offered to VW won’t be tied to any deal the car maker strikes with the UAW.

• A former police officer, gun advocate and lifetime NRA member speaks out against Tennessee’s new guns-in-cars law.

This week’s video: How not to clear your gun.


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Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week. Enjoy!

• The Polar Vortex is coming back, which means next week is going to be absolutely gorgeous across most of the country. Forgive me, West Coasters. I don’t often get to gloat about the weather here in July!

• Death of a right-wing Libertarian myth: Obamacare is working. Someone needs to track the success of the healthcare law with the media’s discontinued use of the moniker “Obamacare” in favor of the law’s real name, the Affordable Care Act. Would be an interesting thought experiment.

• Death of another conservative-Libertarian myth #2: raising the minimum wage is not a job killer. Oh noes.

• A judge has ruled that Florida’s legislature illegally drew new Congressional district maps to help the Republican Party.

• The country’s fastest-growing solar electricity program is located in … wait for it … Georgia? Really?

• Cattle ranchers, hunters, and treehuggers join forces to stop natural gas drilling in the Colorado wilderness.

• Do you think whales wear “Save The Humans” bumper stickers? Maybe they should: a new study indicates whale poop may save us from climate change. Yippee! Sorry about that whole Western-civilization-powered-by-whale-oil thing from the last century, guys.

• Another state gay marriage ban falls. Helloooo, Colorado.

• Detroit: it’s not dead yet.

• It’s probably dead thanks to the Great Orange Wall in the House, but Democrats have a bill that would preserve women’s access to contraception coverage no matter what their boss’ religion.

• Did you know Buzz Aldrin saw a UFO on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon?

I have a funny Buzz Aldrin story. I grew up in the same small New Jersey town as Aldrin. When he came back from the moon there was a huge parade for him down Main Street. He was going to be there waving to everyone. I was SO excited! So my sister and I went — I have no recollection of what my parents were doing that day — but as I was only 7 years old, all I saw that day was a sea of knee socks. I shit you not. I will never forget it. Just a forest of legs all in knee socks. I think I’ve hated parades ever since.

• The story of Raju the abused elephant who actually cried on experiencing freedom for the first time in 50 years will break your heart a thousand ways:

The owner, reported by The Times of India to be a drug addict, and the elephant’s handler attempted to thwart the rescue, blocking the road, shouting commands to Raju to try to provoke the animal into violence, and adding more chains around the animal’s legs.

But the rescue team stood its ground, and seized the animal. It was at this point that tears began rolling down Raju’s face. Raju, despite each painful step as the spikes cut into his flesh, calmly climbed into the truck, as if knowing he was being rescued.

Elephants are amazing creatures.

• Kansas City, Mo. journalist Esther Honig asked 25 countries to “make me beautiful.” The results were a fascinating window on individual and cultural beauty ideals.

• Love this idea! Individual activism goes a long, long way.

• Everytown For Gun Safety is issuing its first “Gun Sense Voter” questionnaire to all 2014 candidates for federal office.

• Solar energy will be cheaper than grid electricity across half of the U.S. by 2015, says a Texas utility head.

• The United Nations announced it will recognize staff members’ same-sex unions. Before this accouncement, a UN staff member’s marital status was determined by the laws applicable in their country of nationality.

• A fluffy white stray dog dubbed “Dolly” after it was found wandering the Glastonbury Music Festival grounds following Dolly Parton’s appearance there has found a new home with its namesake.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Motlow College is now tobacco-free.

• Cool! Astronaut and Middle Tennessee native Barry Wilmore is the next commander of the International Space Station.

Ooops almost forgot this week’s cool video: pit bull meets 10-week-old kitten. Adorableness ensues. I have to say, we have one cat that is absolutely in love with our pit bull. Will not leave him alone. If he could rub on the dog forever, he would. Love story.


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Good News Friday

I hope everyone enjoys their Fourth of July holiday. In Nashville we are experiencing an all-too rare dose of absolutely gorgeous weather: low humidity, sunny, with temperatures in the high 50s at night and low 80s during the day. This is not our norm here for July. Our norm here is sucky, swampy, heat and humidity. So Mr. Beale and I enjoyed our morning coffee and newspapers on the porch, then took the dogs for a long walk through the neighborhood. Everyone is out relishing in the September-like weather. As I always tell Mr. Beale, “If we lived in California, it would be like this every day!” He remains unconvinced.

On to other matters: Despite the bad news from America’s Caliphate Supreme Court, there was some good news this week. Enjoy!

• In honor of July Fourth: what a difference a period makes.

• The governor of Missouri vetoed a bill that required a 3-day waiting period for abortions.

• Is it Obama’s economy yet? Just asking because of the fifth month in a row with 200,000+ jobs added (the first since 1999!) and the stock market reaching new milestones. Obama really is the worst socialist ever.

• Congratulations, Admiral Michelle Howard, who became the highest-ranking woman in Naval history.

• Burger King celebrates gay pride.

• Fuck you, SCOTUS: more than half of privately-insured women get free birth control as part of the preventive care portion of their health insurance coverage. This is the new standard and that bell won’t be unrung:

Business groups and employee benefits consultants say they see little chance that employers will roll back contraceptive coverage as a result of the Supreme Court ruling. The court carved out a space for “closely held” companies whose owners object on religious grounds. Most companies don’t fit that niche.

“I don’t think you will see a broad impact,” said Neil Trautwein, the top employee benefits expert for the National Retail Federation. “It’s a commonly offered benefit for many employers, including retailers.”

Wingnutty companies who insist on putting their religion on women’s bodies will either draw from a smaller employee pool or eventually have to offer some kind of compensation to make up for the benefits inequity offered male vs female employees. Personally I eagerly anticipate Hobby Lobby’s bankruptcy filing, but that may be a few years away.

• Target would prefer you leave your guns at home, thank you very much.

• A straw gun purchaser has gone to jail. About damn time.

• The American Wood Stork is no longer endangered.

• The New York State Supreme Court ruled that towns can ban fracking.

• This Wisconsin Rottweiler coughed up its owner’s wedding ring five years after it went missing.

• Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down.

• Great story about how the Tolo River community in the Colombian rainforest is protecting over 32,000 acres of rainforest and watershed by selling carbon credits through the UN’s REDD initiative.

• Our glorious experiment in for-profit higher education has gone down a completely predictable path and appears to finally be ending.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Industrial hemp is now legal in Tennessee.

• The State of Tennessee officially renounced its role in the Trail of Tears.

Today’s cool video: Ginsburg’s blistering Hobby Lobby dissent, in song:


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Good News Friday

Whew, well, looks like I’m going to have some fun this summer after all. That’s my good news, what’s yours?

And from around the web, a collection of interesting items. Enjoy!

• British researchers find magnesium chloride can make a toxic part of solar cell manufacturing cleaner and more affordable.

• Texas broke its wind power production record back in March.

• Ag giant Cargill is marketing a non-GMO soybean oil, because,

” …. consumer interest in food and beverage products made from non-GM ingredients is growing, creating opportunities and challenges for food manufacturers and food service operators,” said Ethan Theis, food ingredients commercial manager, Cargill.

This really pisses me off, actually. When there’s money to be made, Big Food will be there to provide the product. Ok, fine, but I don’t recall anyone ever asking for GMO soybean oil. That was something foisted on us by biotech giants and corporate behemoths like, well, Cargill. Here’s a thought: instead of adding “non-GMO” to your “strategic product mix,” just stop selling the goddamn poison, people.

You know, last I heard, 90% of the soybeans produced in the US are GMO. So good luck stuffing that genie back in the bottle. That was the whole freaking point of the GMO opposition: seeds spread. Cross-contamination and cross-pollination. The entire food supply is now fucked up.

But whatever. At least our voices have been heard.

• A career police officer and lifetime NRA member has submitted his resignation from the pro-gun organization. His letter to the NRA is a thing of beauty.

• Death of another Republican anti-Obamacare talking point.

• Good news on the SCOTUS front: law enforcement will need a warrant to search your cell phone.

• The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. Meanwhile, a U.S. district judge has struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

• Related: oh, the irony. I can’t imagine this is true — considering the source is WingNut Daily I’m going to guess it’s not — but if it is, good riddance. Don’t let the door hit ya where the Lord split ya.

• Remember the story of the small town in South Carolina with the openly gay police chief? She was fired by the town’s homophobic mayor because, he said, he’d “much rather have somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children.” As well as a whole bunch of other anti-gay comments that pissed everyone off. Well, this week the voters of Latta, South Carolina overwhelmingly voted to strip the mayor of a lot of his power, a stunning rebuke to an intolerant old crank. Oh, and the police chief will get her job back.

• IKEA will now pay its U.S. workers a living wage.

• The California state Senate voted to approve a measure calling on Congress to call a Constitutional Convention to overturn Citizens United.

• The Methodist church has reinstated a pastor who had been defrocked for officiating at his gay son’s same-sex wedding.

• Contrary to NRA propaganda, Americans are buying fewer guns, and gun makers’ stock is tumbling:

For the fourth quarter, Smith & Wesson (SWHC) reported a decline in net sales of more than 4% to $170 million and a 13% drop in income from continuing operations to about $25 million.

Company executives preferred to emphasize record sales of $626 million for the fiscal year, up 6% from the prior year.

“We are very pleased with our record results for fiscal year 2014, which include the highest sales, gross margin and profits in the company’s history,” said Debney, in a press release. “Our successful performance was driven by robust consumer demand for our products, combined with carefully managed increases in our manufacturing capacity.”

Smith & Wesson projects that net sales for fiscal year 2015 will dip to a range of $585 million to $600 million.

Shares of rival gunmaker Sturm Ruger (RGR) also fell Friday, but its drop was less dramatic.

• Scientists implanted a chip in a paralyzed man’s brain allowing him to move his hand with the power of a thought. Amazing.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Congratulations to the Vanderbilt Commodores, winners of the 2014 College World Series.

• Chattanooga’s Unitarian church puts solar panels on its roof, as the “creation care” movement takes hold.

• I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but now it’s official: Nashville Mayor Karl Dean signed into law a bill that extends Metro employee benefits to same-sex partners.

Check out this hilarious gun safety PSA:


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Good News Friday

Your weekly dose of good news. Enjoy!

• The U.S. Department of Education has made several moves to address sexual assault on college campuses.

• Harley-Davidson will debut its electric motorcycle next week.

• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has dumped George Will after his offensive “you college ladies who were raped enjoy a privileged status” column. Good riddance, you senile old coot.

• The U.S. Patent Office has cancelled the Washington Redskins’ trademarks. In a related move, the Seattle Times is banning use of the “Redskins” name, outside stories dealing with the actual controversy. Apparently they are following in the steps of The Oregonian in Portland, The Kansas City Star and The Orange County Register, all of which previously banned use of the name.

• The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted at its 221st General Assembly to affirm same-sex marriage:

The Assembly voted 429 to 175 to update the language about marriage from a “man and a woman” to “two persons” in the PC(USA) constitution.

The change still needs to be approved by a majority of 172 presbyteries to become church law. However, while the presbyteries are working on this amendment, clergy can perform same-sex marriages in their churches. It was as recently as 2010 when the PC(USA) General Assembly voted to allow the ordination of openly gay and lesbian clergy and church elders.

• The soldier deployed to Afghanistan whose girlfriend sold his dog on Craigslist while he was deployed will get his dog back, thanks to social media.

• The Dallas County Commission unanimously — an unintentionally — voted for a resolution approving slavery reparations for African Americans.

• Germany broke three solar power output records in two weeks.

• The U.S. Senate voted 98-0 to approve the country’s first openly gay, African American judge to the federal bench. Welcome Darrin Gayles, Florida’s newest district court judge.

• SCOTUS rejected an appeal of a lower court’s decision stating that holding high school graduation ceremonies at churches adorned with religious symbols violates the separation of church and state.

• More SCOTUS good news: the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on straw purchases of firearms.

• After protests and public humiliation on social media, supermarket chain Tesco removed spike strips from outside one of its London stores that were meant to deter homeless people.

• Scientists have discovered why people with Alzheimer’s have memory failure.

• Thanks to a U.S. District Judge, LinkedIn members can sue the company for all that email SPAM.

• Confederate flag items will no longer be sold at California’s state-owned gift shops. Racists and KKKlowns can still get their stars-n-bars at privately-owned retail sites, however (despite what you’ve heard from RWNJs, who are telling everyone the state has banned the sale of the Confederate flag. Idiots.)

• Looks like Scott Walker is history.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The Metro Nashville Council approved domestic partner benefits for all government employees this week. How much do you want to bet the state legislature finds a way to overrule it when they get back into session?

This week’s cool video: guns kill children. Thank you, science.


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Good News Friday

My work schedule this summer has been brutal. Here’s what I’ve been able to pull together on the good news front. It’s not that it’s small pickins; I certainly heard plenty of good news stories this week, I just never had a chance to pull some links together for you guys. I’m sorry.

• Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., bans open carry to “avoid scaring off tourists.”

• Another state’s same sex marriage ban is declared unconstitutional, as Wisconsin clerks begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

• As already mentioned, Eric Cantor is out of a job. It’s really hard to see this as anything but a huge win for Democrats, regardless of what happens in November. Cantor was in the leadership; if that crackpot Brat wins over Democrat Jack Trammel, which is a very real possibility, he’ll be just another newbie nutter with no influence whatsoever — and another person liberals can hold up to the nation as an example of Republican extremism.

This is really the gift that keeps on giving. Now we’ve got dire warnings about the perils of gerrymandering, while the idea that Cantor lost over the issue of immigration has been thoroughly debunked as more Beltway bullshit. Instead, it’s becoming clear that Brat’s message was anti-Wall Street populism.

And the schadenfreude grows: check out Roll Call’s Dewey Defeats Truman moment:


• Tesla CEO Elon Musk is open-sourcing Tesla’s EV technology.

• This is weird: Ford Motor Co. and Heinz have joined forces to create a tomato-based car.

• Teen smoking is at its lowest levels in 22 years.

• Green bonds expected to exceed $40 billion this year, a surge over last year’s $14 billion.

This video will blow your mind:


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Good News Friday

Another busy week for me. Here are a few good news stories to start the weekend off. No video this week because I didn’t have time. SORRREEE.

• The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to stop same-sex marriage in Oregon, handing the National Organization for Marriage yet another defeat. Anyone remember the last time NOM won a court case?

• Those ads that run before the movie starts at the local multiplex? Hopefully, they’re about to get better.

• Meet the McLanahan Nutrient Separation System, what Grist called a “crazy contraption that turns cow poo into clean water, fertilizer, and natural gas.”

• NASA built a flying saucer and you can watch it fly here.

• Washington DC high school principal Pete Cahall came out as gay and at a school Pride Day event was greeted by cheers from his students. That’s a switch.

• The City of Chicago has filed a major lawsuit against five pharmaceutical manufacturers for deceptive marketing practices resulting in over-prescribing pain killers:

The lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court states the city has paid nearly $9.5 million for filling opioid prescriptions since 2007. It alleges the pharmaceutical companies’ marketing of opioids for long-term use to treat non-cancer pain was false, misleading and “unsupported by science.”

The suit also claims drugmakers attempted to expand the long-term use of opioids beyond the treatment of cancer pain to reap bigger profits. The damages would be determined at trial if the city were successful in its case.

The case is similar to one filed by two California counties last month, and the same law firm is involved in both actions. Sounds like a class action lawsuit in the making, if you ask me.

• Conservative gay group GOProud is going out of business, because there just aren’t enough gay conservatives who don’t believe in gay marriage but do believe in free market principles.

• New research on autism links the developmental disorder to exposure to male hormones. So you can start vaccinating your kids again, people.

• A computer programmer came up with an algorithm to redraw legislative districts after each census. Since it takes the politics out of redistricting, we probably won’t see it put into use in my lifetime.

• A dubious Texas woman is sold on Obamacare after she sliced her finger opening a bottle of hot sauce. Interesting how many people who don’t believe in the Affordable Care Act until they actually use it.

• Scientists discover a cavefish who is blind with an anus on its head.

Check out the heartwarming story of Pig the dog, who was born without … I dunno, a bunch of stuff, it appears, like a neck and half her torso.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Starting July 1, eligible school districts in Tennessee will be able to provide free school meals to students in high poverty areas, thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. One school taking part is Ketron Elementary School in Kingsport which will offer universal, no-charge lunches to all of its 700 students.

• SCOTUS has declined to hear the case over the Murfreesboro mosque. Good riddance to the bigots and Islamophobes who think “freedom of religion” just means freedom to be a right-wing fundie Christian. Wish one of our local investigative folks would find out who was funding all of these court challenges in the first place.

• The racist supervisor at a Memphis cotton warehouse who longed for the days of “whites only” water fountains has been fired.


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Good News Friday

Good news this week? Let’s see, we had another mass shooting and Maya Angelou died. That sucked. But it wasn’t all bad. Here are a few items I picked up from around the web.

No good news out of Tennessee. Sorry, it’s hot and miserable here and it’s not even June.

• Meet VW’s e-Golf, Volkswagen’s all-electric car, which comes to the U.S. in 2015. Cute little ride.

• Good news/bad news: NoX, So2 and Co2 emissions continue to fall as the U.S. power industry’s use of coal declines in favor of renewables and lower-carbon sources. Some of that is from natural gas, which is bad news. But overall, the report shows the Clean Air Act is having a positive impact on the air we breathe.

• That Idaho couple who invented the solar roads? They just crowdfunded $1.5 million to get their project going.

• SCOTUS just made it harder to execute the intellectually disabled.

• Indianapolis public schools will provide a free breakfast, lunch and snack to all students starting this fall.

• Winning the lottery is not, in fact, a curse. Good to know.

• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s attempts to fearmonger about the cost of climate change falls apart when you look past the scary-voiced announcer dude, says Nobel Prize winning economist.

• Related: China will launch a national carbon market by 2018. Pretty sad that the U.S. is taking a back seat here.

• Ancient humans traded brawn for brains, says science and evolution. That’s kinda the ultimate debunking of the NRA’s main talking point, IMHO.

• “Beam me up, Scotty” just got closer to being a real thing.

• A lost draft of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy” has been found, and it includes unpublished passages Adams had cut from the original. I’m sort of ambivalent about this. If the author cut pieces from his work, there was a reason, and maybe we should respect his artistic decision-making. On the other hand, he kept the passages for a reason, too — they didn’t end up in the trash. So, I dunno.

• The House voted to add $19.5 million in funding to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It’s a start.

• This week in our Awesome Hippie Pope: olive branches for Israel and Palestine.

This week’s cool video, thanks to the awesome Neil deGrasse Tyson:


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Good News Friday

As I mentioned, this week has been busy so I just have a few items. But hey, the best news of all is that it’s a three-day weekend! Yay!

• This week in Your Awesome Hippie Pope: Pope Francis says Christians should fight climate change, saying,

“Safeguard creation. Because if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! Never forget this! … [...] Creation is for us to use well, not exploit …”

• Be sure to check out the first-ever Camelopardalid meteor shower tonight.

• Tanzanian children naturally immune to malaria may be the key to an anti-malaria vaccine.

• Austin Energy has signed a 20-year agreement with Recurrent Energy to purchase 150 megawatts of solar energy at under 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. That price is less than the,

[...] estimates for natural gas at 7 cents, coal at 10 cents and nuclear at 13 cents. It has also been suggested that a developer could overbuild the solar project beyond the contracted capacity and sell into the spot market if the developer gained approval from ERCOT.

Yes, DO tell me how coal and natural gas are cheaper than solar, I’m ALL ears.

• Related: Georgia’s first wind purchase has received approval from the state’s Public Service Commission. The state will buy wind from Oklahoma.

• In a historic deal, a $215 million fund has been created to protect 150 million acres of Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

• Pennsylvania’s governor won’t fight a court ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage.

• Hey, guess what: NASA has a book on how to talk to extraterrestrials, and it’s free! I’ve gotta check this one out.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A Vanderbilt poll of registered voters found only 23% support a state constitutional amendment granting the state legislature additional powers to restrict abortion in the state. 71% disapprove of the amendment.

• Gov. Haslam vetoed an “anti-flash mob” bill that would have reduced criminal penalties to corporate polluters by amending the vandalism statute. Sounds like this is another one of those boiler-plate ALEC bills that didn’t quite translate to Tennessee law.

This week’s cool video: I’m always busting Williamson County’s chops, but this video from the City of Franklin was pretty cute, IMHO:


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Good News Friday

So much good news this week, y’all! And I’m starting a new gig next week, so forgive me if blogging is light for a while until I get the hang of my new schedule. Without further ado, your weekly Good News:

• Wal-Mart says it won’t fight a minimum wage increase.

• Related: the CEO of Dairy Queen joins the CEO of Subway in debunking the right-wing’s meme that a minimum wage increase will hurt business.

• A federal court has upheld the District of Columbia’s gun control laws. Another rare defeat for the NRA.

• This week in our Awesome Hippie Pope: a rabbi and a Muslim will join Pope Francis’ official papal delegation when he visits Jordan, the West Bank and Israel later this month. It is the first time members of other faiths have been included in a papal delegation.

• Scientists have spotted “Granny,” the world’s oldest-known killer whale, in her home waters off Washington state. Granny is believed to be 103 years old, but she’s still healthy and strong:

According to Discovery News, Granny was once caught in 1967 for use in a sea life park. Ultimately, she was deemed too old for captivity and released. Forty-seven years later, Granny continues to put on her own show each spring for the people of the Pacific Northwest.

You go, girl!

• Three college students bought a $20 sofa at a local thrift store, took it home, and found $40,000 cash stuffed in the cushions. Did they keep it? Spend it on hookers and blow? A trip to Thailand? Nah. They found the 91-year-old bank-fearing widow who stuffed the money in there to begin with, and returned it. Awww. She gave them a $1,000 reward.

• Solar roads and parking lots are here.

• In a Mayo Clinic trial, a woman with incurable blood cancer was treated with one ginormous dose of measles vaccine and her cancer went into remission. This is yet another reason why you want to vaccinate your kids, BTW. (Read the story, it explains it better than I could.)

• Rush Limbaugh’s ratings continue to plummet in large markets. Only a matter of time before he’s back on the far reaches of the AM dial in rural markets, where he started.

• Montana legislator Rep. Ellie Boldman Hill has taken on the NRA over the culture of “vigilante justice” it perpetrates through its endless fearmongering.

• Cool idea out of Oregon to address the need for a “Prius tax” as high-mileage vehicles make the gas tax increasingly ineffective.

• This security camera video of one bad-assed housecat saving a young boy from a vicious dog attack has gone viral, but in case you missed it, you can see it at John Aravosis’ place. The four-year-old tabby, named Tara, is now a national hero. The dog, apparently, will be euthanized. Aravosis also has the video in super slo-mo, you can see the cat just hurl her body into the dog’s at full speed, then chase him off. Really amazing.

• Gov. Brown hints UC may divest from coal, after California’s Stanford University and Pitzer College both announced they would do so earlier this month.

• Louisiana dropped its lawsuit against over a pro-Obamacare billboard.

• Pakistan, which suffers from chronic energy shortages, is building one of the world’s largest solar farms. When complete by the end of 2016 it will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

• They’ve found the wreck of Christopher Columbus’ ship the Santa Maria off the coast of Haiti.

• VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe has ordered a review of the state’s harsh anti-abortion laws.

• A cat named Suiko who had been missing since the Japanese tsunami of 2011 has been reunited with her grateful family. Nine lives, indeed!

• Thanks, Obama! American women saved $483 million last year thanks to the Obamacare birth control mandate.

• Michael Sam, the first openly-gay football player, has just been drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

• Congratulations, Kristen Seaton and Jennifer Rambo! You are the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Arkansas!

• Another same-sex marriage ban has been struck down, this time in Idaho.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Knoxville-based Aqua-Chem has developed a safety device to prevent offshore oil rig blowouts. (Subscription only, sorry guys).

• Congrats to artist Igor Babailov, newly-chosen to paint the official portrait of Pope Francis. The artist lives in Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville.

• Wilson County schools decided not to ban “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” after all. Last week school board members banned the book because of too many F-bombs.

• Hemlocks in the Great Smoky Mountains are thriving, thanks to the brutal winter, which wiped out an Asian hemlock pest called the woolly adelgid.

This week’s cool video: watch Sister Simone Campbell, who organized the “Nuns on the Bus,” school D’Nesh D’Souza on his bullshit rightwing talking points:


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