Category Archives: Good News

Good News Friday

Some good news to kick off the weekend. Catch y’all later.

• Bank of America will refund customers $727 million and pay an additional $45 million in fines over illegal credit card practices, like deceiving customers into signing up for identity theft and credit monitoring services, going back to the year 2000.

Assholes.

• Private employers are not, in fact, dropping their employee insurance benefit as Republicans fearmongered they would. In fact, according to a Rand survey, the number of people getting employer-sponsored insurance has surged.

• Related: Well, well! Not everyone is running away from Obamacare. Check out this ad for U.S. Senator Mark Begich, D-Alaska:

• A San Antonio, Texas, district court has dismissed a complaint made by noted liar and assclown James O’Keefe against grassroots voter registration group Battlground Texas, with the special prosecutor saying this of O’Keefe’s “evidence”:

The special prosecutor’s report ultimately found the content of O’Keefe’s video to be “little more than a canard,” and “particularly unprofessional.”

This is standard for O’Keefe’s laughably-named “Project Veritas,” which has become little more than a credibility destroyer for anyone stupid enough to fall for their tricks. Also: has anyone traced who’s funding this lie factory?

• Students at Washington University in St. Louis have staged protests and sit-ins to pressure the university into cutting ties with Peabody Energy, the world’s top private coal corporation. Read about it here and here.

• A Federal judge has ruled that MoveOn.org’s billboard criticizing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for not expanding Medicaid can stay put.

• SCOTUS declined to hear an appeal from a wedding photographer who refused to shoot a same-sex wedding.

• President Obama signed two Executive Orders that will help female workers discover if they are victims of wage discrimination.

• Maryland lawmakers raised the minimum wage to $10.10/hour by 2018 and decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams of pot.

• The Mexican town of San Luis Rio gets its river back — albeit briefly.

• The U.S. Post Office will issue a Harvey Milk stamp in May.

• A Bay Area jogger who was nearly mowed down in a crosswalk by a motorist found a note of apology taped the utility pole by that crosswalk the next day. Y’all that is just so California.

• IKEA has made its first major investment in wind energy in the U.S. by purchasing the Hoopeston wind farm in Illinois. When the energy producer goes on-line in 2015 it is expected to generate 380 GWh of electricity annually, or 130% of the electricity used by IKEA’s U.S. stores and 10% of its global electricity usage.

• Talk about snail mail: a fisherman found a 100-year-old message in a bottle in the Baltic Sea.

• The FDA has issued labeling guidelines for honey. This is great news because I’m pretty sure I’ve bought some stuff that’s sweetened with corn syrup even though the label said honey. It just had that funky corn-syrupy taste and that I do not want!

• The Archbishop of Atlanta is selling his brand-new $2.2 million mansion after receiving criticism for his lavish spending.

• A Federal judge in Ohio ruled the state must recognize legal same-sex marriages performed out of state, saying failure to do so is unconstitutional.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis celebrated its grand reopening following a $28 million renovation.

• Zoey the pet goat can stay in Nashville’s Woodbine neighborhood, where she enjoyed “neighborhood mascot” status before running afoul (ahem) of Metro Animal Control officers.

• The Koch Bros.’ Americans For Prosperity got handed a rare defeat in the Tennessee House when their school board lobbying bill died.

• Bittersweet: the people of Elizabethton have rallied to support the newspaper carriers and newspaper employees who were laid off after the town’s newspaper, the Elizabethton Star, was purchased by an out of state chain and the inevitable layoffs began. The paper had been family-owned for 59 years.

This week’s cool video: It’s a hilarious campaign ad for Melissa Blackburn, a Democrat running for General Sessions Judge in Nashville. I confess, I’ve had a hard time getting past the “Blackburn” thing myself. But this had me cracking up:

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Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week and I’m going to be out of pocket most of the day so enjoy and behave yourselves!

• Married same-sex couples now qualify for Medicare benefits.

• A UN court has halted Japan’s annual whale hunt, saying it’s “not done for scientific purposes.”

• After their daughter’s wedding was called off at the last minute, Atlanta’s Carol and Willie Fowler donated the reception to the homeless:

Fowler had this message for other families:

“Events are canceled, and sometimes for unknown reasons. Do no allow that opportunity to go to waste. Call up your favorite charity. Give them an opportunity to use that for people that will not have an opportunity, perhaps in life.”

Awesome. Apparently this happened last fall but it’s just now hit my radar.

• A Saudi Arabian college student injured in the Boston marathon bombings has sued Glenn Beck for defamation. Beck repeatedly claimed on the air that Abdulrahman Alharbi was linked to the bombings, even criticizing federal authorities for not pursuing this false lead.

It’s about damn time people started suing these assholes for the lies they spread.

• Archaeologists in Egypt have found a 3,3000-year-old tomb that once had a 23-foot-high pyramid.

• New dwarf planets were discovered in Pluto’s neighborhood, and astronomers named one Joe Biden for some weird reason.

• They’ve found water on one of Saturn’s moons.

• A 10-year-old California girl traveled to the Vatican to beg our hippie pope to save her dad from being deported and amazingly it worked.

• The new CEO of software giant Mozilla resigned after his anti-gay views and support for California’s Prop 8 sparked backlash from dating sites like OKCupid and web developers.

• While still below its peak levels, membership in the UAW grew slightly last year.

• West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed the legislature’s 20-week abortion ban, calling it unconstitutional.

• Willie Nelson got his armadillo back.

• For the first time in 10 years, an entire month passed with zero U.S. troops dying in combat.

• Paris elected its first-ever female mayor. And she’s a socialist, too — a real one, not a made-up one.

• The mayor of Kansas City, Mo., has launched a Women’s Empowerment initiative called WE, designed not just to help women-owned businesses get city contracts but more importantly to increase the number of women on city commissions and boards.

• A federal appeals court has backed two San Francisco gun ordinances, one banning hollow-point bullets and one requiring firearms to be stored in a locked container or use trigger locks.

• Obamacare has led to the largest expansion in health coverage for Americans in the past 50 years, with more than 9.5 million previously uninsured people getting coverage.

• Congratulations to Gabrielle Turnquist, a Florida 18-year-old who is the youngest person to pass the UK’s bar exam.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The Kingsport Police Dept. is using a Nissan Leaf for its codes enforcement vehicle.

• Tennessee death row inmate Nickolus Johnson has been granted a stay of execution.

• A bill that would have allowed for-profit entities to operate charter schools in Tennessee was killed.

This week’s video: Check out this pistol-packing hockey player. I ask you: who the fuck is so stupid they are actually wearing a dang gun while they’re playing hockey? Either this guy took one too many pucks to the head, or the whole thing is a hoax.

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Good News Friday

Lots of good news today, and I’m gonna be busy, so enjoy and catch you on the other side.

• The Philippine government signed a landmark peace deal with a major Muslim rebel group, putting to rest a four decade-long deadly conflict.

• The World Health Organization says polio has been eradicated from India, which just five years ago accounted for almost half the world’s polio cases.

• The first synthetic yeast chromosome has been created.

• Obamacare enrollment tops 6 million just shy of the deadline — and the actual number is likely higher, as the 6 million figure doesn’t include those who signed up off the exchanges. Considering the obstruction, misinformation, and outright lies the right has thrown up trying to make this program a big failure, I’d say that’s pretty good.

• New Medicare rules will pay for physical therapy and nursing care for people with chronic diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

• Australia says no to crocodile safari hunts.

• This one should have been a no-brainer, but I’ll take it: SCOTUS ruled in United States v. Castleman that misdemeanor domestic abuse convictions can legally prevent people from having guns.

• A U.S. District Court has upheld California’s shark fin ban.

• Despite an odious state law clearly designed to shut down clinics offering abortion services, Planned Parenthood of San Antonio has raised $3.5 million towards a new facility that will offer all women’s healthcare services, including abortion, that meets the state’s restrictive requirements. Take that, Texas anti-choicers.

• Hyundai unveils its 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered car for $499/month.

• Love it:

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• A new study shows autism begins long before birth, in the womb. But by all means, continue to bring back long-ago controlled diseases by refusing to vaccinate your kids. Stupid people.

• Our awesome hippie Pope has replaced the “Bling Bishop,” making his temporary expulsion permanent.

• An appeals court has ruled that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie broke the law when he pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine state cap-and-trade system launched in 2008.

• Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban is struck down and Glenna DeJong and Marsha Caspar, who have been together 27 years, were first to get legally married. You crazy kids!

• A “sweetheart” pollution deal proposed last summer that would have allowed Duke Energy to pay a nominal fine for polluting North Carolina’s environment without being cleaning its messes up — privatize the gains! Socialize the losses!has been withdrawn following Duke’s massive coal ash spill which fouled the Dan River in February of this year. By the way, the Dan River coal ash spill has received zero attention in the national news media. I wonder why?

• Minnesota neighbors who noticed two injured Bald Eagles entangled in each others’ talons took to social media and were able to save the majestic birds.

• A chocolate lab named Buddy survived the horrific mudslide in Washington State.

• Westboro Baptist Church protested a Lorde concert in Kansas City, the group’s first protest since the passing of church leader Fred Phelps. But it’s the message of counterprotestors which grabbed the headlines.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Congratulations to Nashville high school senior Jack Rayson, one of just eight students in the U.S. to receive the Portfolio Gold Medal from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. You can read his short story at the link.

• Someone has been performing random acts of kindness at Dyersburg fast food restaurants.

• Memphis is moving forward with “green lanes” — bike lanes protected from car traffic.

This week’s cool video is one you’ve probably already seen but I just could not stop watching firefighters rescue a construction worker from a burning building in Houston. Also heads’ up, the video is amateur, caught by workers across the street and the commentary is maybe best turned off. Or not, you be the judge:

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Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week! Enjoy!

• Former Newsweek journalist Jonathan Alter publicly admits he was completely wrong about the Iraq War:

Newsweek asked Alter, who spent nearly 30 years working for this magazine before moving to Bloomberg, if there’s anything he’d change about the column with 11 years of hindsight. He was unequivocal. “I strongly regret writing that the war was ‘inevitable and necessary,’ ” he said. “I was totally wrong about that, as were scores of other liberal pundits, not to mention conservative ones, and almost every major politician except Barack Obama, who was a state senator at the time. It was a product of essentially believing Colin Powell that there were weapons of mass destruction.” As for that master narrative? Now it’s apparent, he says: “It was a complete fiasco.”

“It was one of the greatest disasters in American history,” he added.

Let’s hope this is a trend.

I’m also eagerly awaiting the day when every one of these assholes who helped drag the nation into war humbly asks the world’s apology.

• A clueless Midwestern scrap metal dealer, frustrated that he couldn’t find anyone to buy a tiny gold egg he expected to sell for scrap, turned to the internet and discovered he’d nearly melted down the Third Imperial Easter Egg, made by Faberge for Tsar Alexander III, and worth around $33 million. He was hoping to get $500 for it.

• The Moral Monday movement spreads across the South.

• Virginia Gov. McAuliffe vetoes a guns-in-cars bill.

• The Durango (Colo.) Gun Club has dropped its requirement that members join the NRA or lose their memberships. The move came after the City of Durango threatened to evict the club, which has leased its property from the city for over 50 years. Last week the club amended its by-laws to become “a 100% NRA club,” meaning club members who refuse to join the NRA will lose their memberships. Said City Attorney David Smith:

“The problem arises when the leadership of the Durango Gun Club, operating on public property, determines that membership within this conservative political organization should be a condition of membership in the Durango Gun Club or a condition of the right to use the leased facility located on City-owned land,” Smith wrote in the letter.

The gun club backed down and reversed the change. This brings to mind all of the many and sundry ways the NRA has coerced and inflated its membership numbers. Forcing all gun club members to join the NRA seems like another tactic the bully organization is using to try overstate its influence.

• Scientists make a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research.

• U.S. scientists have uncovered the remains of a dinosaur they’ve dubbed the “chicken from hell.”

• After insurers in several states refused to enroll same-sex spouses in family plans, the Dept. of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines requiring insurance companies to cover same-sex families.

• Astronomers have found “smoking gun” evidence of the Big Bang. For more on this, see this week’s cool video at the end of the post.

• A Louisiana judge ruled in favor of a Buddhist family in their lawsuit against a creationist teacher who called their faith “stupid” in the classroom.

When his parents complained to Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb, they were told that “this is the Bible belt,” so they should expect to find the Christian God in the classroom. Ebarb advised them that if they wanted an ungodly classroom, they should transfer C.C. to a school where “there are more Asians.”

Judge Elizabeth Foote of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana sided with C.C. and his parents, citing that Roark’s behavior — and the school’s decision to defend it — clearly violated “the Free Exercise and Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

• Starting in fall 2014, smoking and tobacco products will be banned on all public university campuses in Georgia.

You young kids won’t believe this but when I was growing up in the ’70s, people smoked in movie theaters and even grocery stores. That’s right, it was not at all uncommon for people to light up in the produce aisle of your local supermarket. Amazing.

• The U.S. is expected to install nearly six gigabytes of solar electricity in 2014. And Tennessee ranks 14th out of the “sweet 16″ states leading the way.

• The European Parliament has moved forward with a plan to severely reduce plastic bag use.

• Colon cancer rates and deaths have dropped 30% in the past 10 years — all without a damn ribbon or “race for the cure.”

• This AP photo by Jens Meyer of a gorilla holding her newborn at a zoo in Germany will melt your heart:

APTOPIX Germany Zoo

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A recent Good News post mentioned a federal judge’s ruling that the state must immediately recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states. Tennessee’s Attorney General announced the state would appeal that decision and requested a stay while the appeal works its way through the courts. The same federal judge said no.

• Google Fiber’s Nashville expansion may bring high-speed internet to Nashville’s low-income neighborhoods.

• Clarksville’s Heath Calhoun, a former squad leader with the 101st Airborne, has won his first Paralympics medal in sit-skiing.

• Not really good news, necessarily, but definitely interesting: A Middle Tennessee woman is leading the Navy’s search for the missing Malaysian airliner. You know what I always say, if you want to find something that’s missing, ask a woman.

• Gov. Haslam signed the wine-in-grocery-stores bill, however we still have quite a few hurdles before we can pick up a bottle of wine along with the evening meal.

• UT-Knoxville got a $4.9 million obesity prevention grant.

This week’s cool video: the moment Stanford professor/physicist Andrei Linde and his wife learn that astronomers have confirmed his inflation theory of the Big Bang:

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Good News Friday

[UPDATE]:

Major good news! A federal judge has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal for some Tennessee couples.

Super busy this week so I’m light on the good news. Feel free to add your own contributions in comments.

• An anti-union bill has failed in Kentucky.

• The London Zoo welcomed three endangered Sumatran tigers. Awwww.

• Three EU countries — Sweden, Estonia and Bulgaria — have met their 2020 renewable energy benchmarks early. However, all three trail Norway, which is not an EU member, according to the report. Despite being an oil-producing country, Norway gets over 64% of its energy from renewable sources.

• Speaking of Norway, the Scandinavian country has embraced EV vehicles and by April is expected to become the first country in which one out of every 100 cars is fully electric.

• A bill keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers passed in Washington state.

• A bill to repeal South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground law has been filed by Rep. Harold Mitchell, chair of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus.

• The Methodist church has dropped its case against Rev. Thomas Ogletree, 80, former dean of the Yale Divinity School, who officiated his son’t same-sex wedding.

• One month’s worth of pot taxes in Colorado? A cool $2 million.

• President Obama used an executive order to expand overtime pay for millions of American workers.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Zeke the zebra has finally been returned to his Cleveland, TN farm after escaping more than five months ago.

• It took a public shaming campaign to get them to do it but North Carolina-based drug maker Chimerix finally agreed to give an experimental drug to 7-year-old hospitalized in Memphis. The company blamed the FDA, but the FDA does allow drug companies to make experimental drugs available under a “compassion” clause.

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Good News Friday

Hope y’all had a good week. Looks like we’re getting spring temperatures next week: 70 degrees is on its way! Can’t wait.

• The Arkansas state House voted to approve the expansion of Medicaid.

• A Federal appeals court judge has ruled that BP must abide by the terms of the $9.2 billion settlement agreement it made with victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Predictably, the oil corporation was trying to weasel out of the deal once the cameras stopped rolling.

• The first mass-produced hydrogen powered car is here.

• California’s Kings Canyon Unified School District will become one of the nation’s first to transport kids to school in an all-electric school bus.

• Calling Arizona’s gay discrimination law a “game changer,” Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo, a Democrat, announced he is gay. He is also running for Congress. So c’mon, Arizona: you get to send a gay, Latino Democrat to Washington? That’s like the liberal jackpot!

• Kentucky’s Attorney General Jack Conway announced he won’t defend the state’s anti-gay law, saying he would be “defending discrimination.” He said:

“I thought long and hard. I thought about the arc of history,” he said. “I thought about the fact that at one time in this country we discriminated against women. At one time we discriminated against African-Americans and people of color. At one time we discriminated against those with disabilities. This is the last minority group in this country that a significant portion of our population thinks it’s OK to still discriminate against in any way. And I didn’t think that was right.”

• Twenty Republicans signed a friend of the court brief supporting same-sex marriage in Oklahoma and Utah, including former Senators Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and former RNC chair Kenneth Mehlman.

• Big damn hero alert: a Texas man risked his life to save an injured dog on the freeway.

• Related: a Detroit, Michigan-based U.S. Coast Guard cutter traveled four miles out into icy Lake St. Clair to rescued a stranded dog.

• Our new commie hippie Pope Francis announced he’s opening the gardens of his summer house outside Rome to the public.

• The EPA announced new sulfur emission limits which will prevent 2,000 respiratory deaths per year.

• Raising the minimum wage would save taxpayers billions on food stamps, says CAP.

• Two powerful rich guys in Los Angeles back effort to raise city’s minimum wage to $15/hour.

• Kroger and Safeway tell Friends of the Earth they will no longer sell GMO salmon.

• Apple CEO Tim Cook told right-wing shareholder The National Center For Public Policy Research to go fuck themselves after they tried to pressure Apple into dumping their green initiatives. Or as Cook put it:

We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive. We want to leave the world better than we found it.

Amen.

• After pressure from Moms Demand Action, Facebook and Instagram announced a policy change regarding the sale of firearms on the social networking sites.

• Here’s something you don’t see too often: someone in a position of authority willingly giving away their power. Saying the power was too great and the potential for abuse too serious, Utah’s Attorney General gave away some of his office’s subpoena power.

• I love this story about “Menstrual Man” Arunachalam Muruganathan, who is bringing affordable hygiene and economic empowerment to India’s rural women. You don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist.

• Crazy Texas Republican Congresscritter/Friend of Nuge (I realize I’m being redundant here) Steve Stockman lost his primary bid to unseat Senator John Cornyn and will be leaving the U.S. House of Representatives. Awww.

Good News, Tennessee Edition

• Nashville-based healthcare executive/entrepreneur Michael Burcham tells the Tennessee legislature it’s hurting business by focusing on issues that …

[…] sure makes it seem like we are trying to create a society that’s more bigoted and closed and we don’t want anybody here. It’s not good for business.

It’s a good read. And hey, it’s not like Tennessee Republicans will listen to me. Maybe they’ll listen to a Big Business Man. (BTW, Tennessee made The Daily Show again last night and in case you missed it, check out “Third World Healthcare: Knoxville, Tennessee.”

• A six-member panel of the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conducthas censured the former magistrate in the baby Messiah naming case.

• Free two-year college tuition moves forward in the state legislature. Let me add, I’m dying to know why Tennessee Republicans think this is a great idea coming from Gov. Haslam, but killed it when a nearly identical proposal came from Democratic Governor Bredesen. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion this is a big sop to those for-profit diploma mills, because Gov. Haslam has a huge jones for everything and anything that’s “privatized.” Still …

And for this week’s cool video, this totally cracked me up. Funnier with the sound off, I think. Have a great weekend!

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Good News Friday

Sorry this is late, it’s been a busy morning here. On a completely unrelated note, does anyone know whatever happened to Baghdad’s bizarre Virgin Mary-worshipping Imam? I’m dying to know if he ended up in a ditch somewhere.

And now on to our regularly scheduled programming. Without further ado:

• Walt Disney World ends its support of the Boy Scouts of America over its continued ban on gay troop leaders.

• Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the state’s anti-gay law.

• The White House is hosting the very first student film festival.

• A federal judge has ruled Texas’ ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

• Related: Kentucky now recognizes same-sex marriages performed out of state.

• The Southern Poverty Law Center notes a decline in the number of hate groups.

• IKEA and the UN Refugee Agency have launched a program called Brighter Lives For Refugees which will raise money to install solar-powered street lights and renewable energy in refugee camps around the world.

• New research shows the obesity rate for young children has dropped 43% over the past 10 years, a decline so steep even researchers were stunned.

• Awesome New Pope says to stop hating on divorced people.

• NBA player Jason Collins, who came out last spring, has apparently signed with the Brooklyn Nets, making him the NBA’s first openly gay active player.

• Amtrak is offering “writer’s residencies.” What a cool idea.

• South Carolina’s state senate shot down an open-carry bill, despite the “constitutional carry” effort having the support of Gov. Nikki Haley.

• A bill recognizing 20 Native Alaska languages as official advances in the Alaska state legislature.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A local Johnson City pizza restaurant owner is starting a community organic farming project. Very cool. I’m really impressed at how food production is being transformed in this country, one household at a time. Just the idea that people in Nashville are raising their own eggs is impressive. Lots of ground still to be covered, so to speak, but Big Food has lost the argument.

• The Tennessee Environmental Council plans to plant 10,000 trees this weekend.

This week’s cool video: I wanted to post this one about Comcast (language NSFW, so pop the earbuds in before blasting it to your boss, folks). However, FYWP won’t embed the video so I’ll have to make do with this one: Fake, or Florida? Follow the link, though. The other one is funnier.

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Good News Friday

A few tidbits to brighten the weekend…. Enjoy!

• Gap Inc. announced it will raise its minimum wage to $10/hour by next year, saying it’s a move that will “deliver a return many times over.”

• A Nebraska judge struck a big blow to the Keystone pipeline this week, ruling that the state violated its constitution when the legislature approved the pipeline’s route. That authority rests solely with the Public Service Commission, the judge ruled.

• Looks like Gov. Scott Walker’s political career is swirling the drain.

• A Charlotte, N.C. cook who was fired after a confrontation with the state’s thin-skinned Republican governor has received job offers and an offer of help from Charlotte’s mayor.

• Solar-powered water cleaning technology desalinates California’s agricultural runoff and makes it usable for irrigation at half the cost of traditional desalination operations.

• This year’s New York Fashion Week featured the first-ever disabled runway model, who “walked” the runway in a wheelchair.

• The Kansas Senate killed the state house’s anti-gay bill.

• Hemp production returns to Kentucky with five pilot projects.

• A 2,500-year-old life-sized statue of Apollo was found in Gaza by a fisherman. The bad news is that the statue is deteriorating quickly and needs to be protected. This may be the only picture of this statue we’ll ever see.

Gun sales are falling after a “Scary Moooslim Black Commie Socialist Is Gonna Steal Yer Gunz” high of two years ago.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Suck on this, Bob Corker/Bill Haslam: Volkswagen officials in Germany say they plan to come to the U.S. to find a new way to bring a works council to their Chattanooga plant.

• Tennessee’s latest anti-gay legislation has been shelved — for now.

• Nashville is on the list for Google Fiber expansion, which would give residents access to super-fast internet. We need this yesterday.

• Tennessee’s state house has passed the wine-in-grocery-stores bill. Governor is expected to sign. Wheee.

This week’s cool video is a long one, but very educational. It’s the kind of conversation we really need to be having when we talk about poverty and welfare, but in this day and age where everything has to be condensed into 140 characters or a seven-second Vine loop, we never get there. So please do America a favor and watch it. Remember: “The rich have state-help, the poor have self-help.”

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Good News Friday

What’s on the agenda for Valentine’s Day? We’ve got dinner and theater planned! Here’s some good news from around the web to kick things off:

[UPDATE]:

• Had to share this one. This is my Congress Critter:

CooperH8

• Obamacare enrollment continues to surge, and enrollment in Tennessee exceeds the national average.

• Anti-choice activists are outraged because the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the charity which received a $992 million donation from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, funds Planned Parenthood. Good.

• The Virginia state senate voted to repeal its fetal ultrasound bill. And guess what: a couple days later a Virginia judge did the same thing.

• Gov. Jay Inslee (D) suspends the death penalty in Washington state, citing “too many flaws” in the system.

• A federal judge struck down Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in states where it’s legal.

• Seventenn-year-old Pascal Tessier is apparently the country’s first openly gay Eagle Scout under the BSA’s new policy of accepting gay scouts.

• Two things about this: 1) Welcome to the Democratic Party, Ana Rivas Logan! And 2) How’s that minority/women’s outreach working for ya, GOP?

• Migrant workers helping Qatar prepare for the 2022 World Cup may have finally received some much-needed protection with the crafting of a “Worker’s Charter.”

• The Idaho State Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal for same-sex partners to adopt children.

• Kraft is ditching the artificial ingredient sorbic acide from its American Singles wrapped cheese slices.

• Related: Publix is banning azodicarbonamide, a food additive also used in yoga mats and shoes, from its breads. Subway announced the same last week.

• Nevada withdraws its arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

• The DoJ announces new policies recognizing same-sex marriages in the courtroom, giving same-sex spouses the same legal protections as opposite-sex spouses.

• I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for FreedomWorks’ SuperPac. Bwaahaa. Hey Matt Kibbe: ACORN called to offer you a Kleenex.

• Missouri All-American Michael Sam has come out, and he could become the NFL’s first openly-gay actively-playing athlete.

• Funny:

Internet pranksters have flooded Yelp with reviews lauding an Enid, Okla., diner as the best gay bar in town. The campaign is designed to taunt the diner’s right-wing owner Gary James, an anti-gay, white supremacist who refuses to serve gays and other minorities.

James, who has owned and run Gary’s Chicaros for 44 years, told local news channel KFOR-TV: “I think I can spot a freak or a faggot.”

“I really don’t want gays around,” he added. “Any man that would compromise his own body would compromise anything.”

In protest, pranksters have left reviews on Yelp describing Gary’s Chicaros as “the best gay bar in Enid.” One review states that Gary plans to host a live viewing of “RuPaul’s Drag Race Season.”

“Gary himself sports assless chaps, a choker chain and some pink nipple tassels daily,” one reviewer said.

James, whose business tagline is “where the great whites gather,” sells T-shirts emblazoned with racial and homophobic slurs. In addition to refusing services for gays, James also declines serving African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, people with disabilities or people on welfare.

• These photos of dogs were supposedly taken after the animals were adopted from a Chicago shelter and in the car on their way to their forever homes. Very sweet.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Progressive candidate for the Tennessee State Senate Mary Mancini has picked up a key endorsement from the SEIU. Mary is a friend of the blog and the kind of strong, populist voice our state senate badly needs. If you want to throw her some turkee, you can do so here.

• Solar industry jobs in the state more than doubled last year.

• The story of Lazarus the Cat, who was found on the streets of Johnson City, is a real heart-warmer.

• Lane College student Stephanie Phillips in Jackson has been honored by the White House for her academic achievements and has been named to the HBCU (Historicall Black Colleges & Univerisites) All-Stars.

• A straight, married Memphis chef was so outraged by State Sen. Brian Kelksey’s “turn away the gays” bill that he’s volunteered to host a fundraiser for anyone willing to run against him, and eventually got Kelsey to withdraw his support of the legislation.

This week’s cool video: “The games have always been a little gay.” Bwaaha!

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Good News Friday

I’m sure there’s more good news out there, so if something has crossed your radar, put it in comments. In the meantime, here are a few items I’ve managed to pick up. Enjoy!

• The two Koreas agree to hold family reunions for the first time since 2010.

• Several Caribbean nations agree to swap diesel-generating power stations for renewable sources.

• CVS will stop selling all tobacco products by fall.

• A substantial increase in Kentucky’s minimum wage has passed the state House.

• Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill overwhelmingly passes.

• I don’t eat at Subway, but I suppose we should be happy they’ve announced they will no longer put azodicarbonamide, a chemical used to make shoe rubber and yoga mats, in their bread. This brings American Subway restaurants up to the standard already in place in Europe and Australia. Looks like socialism banned that crap already. America is grateful.

• Milwaukee police have recovered a $5 million Stradivarius violin stolen from Concertmaster Frank Almond after a concert last month. Three arrests have been made.

• An attempt to repeal Colorado’s gun control law failed.

• American patients can now have access to their lab reports without a doctor’s permission.

• The minnow-like Oregon chub is the first fish to ever make it off the endangered species list.

• A judge refuses to drop public nuisance charges against Wisconsin gun shop.

• A teeny tiny pill-sized camera you swallow to detect colon polyps? Thank you, science!

• “The Republican Party Is A Corpse.” Find out why here.

• Life expectancy in post-Taliban Afghanistan rises from 42 to 65 years, thanks the accessibility of basic health services.

• It will be hard for creationists to debunk this.

• Unhackable software? Thank you, math geeks!

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Workers at a Volkswagon plant in Chattanooga will vote on whether to join the UAW next week. Anti-union elements had been trying to prevent a vote for months. The vote was called by VW, not the UAW.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has written a letter to Kellogg’s CEO John Bryant urging him to end the four-month-long labor lockout which has been going on at their Memphis plant. Boycott Kellogg’s.

• Remember the E. TN magistrate who ordered a baby’s name be changed from Messiah to Martin? She’s gone.

• Someone named Nashville on their top 10 list of places to be an artist.

This week’s cool video is for all of the creative types out there:

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