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 MoveOn.org 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: