It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had a lot of time to collect this week’s good news. Still, we’ve got a healthy collection of good news this week. And you absolutely must scroll down to watch this week’s cool video. That’s an order.
• Ohio Senate GOP leadership killed its own “right to work” legislation, fearing it would only further mobilize Democrats.
• The rebuilt One World Trade Center is officially the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, standing at — you guessed it — 1,776 feet.
• Danish scientists believe they have found a cure for HIV.
• Scientists poking around in the brain’s hypothalamus have found the key to aging and have successfully tweaked it to shorten or lengthen the lives of lab mice. On further reflection, this actually might not be good news. I think we’ve all seen how this movie ends.
• Colorado expanded voting rights to include such things as same-day voter registration and mail-in ballots sent to every voter.
• Gov. Lincoln Chaffee signed Rhode Island’s Marriage Equality Act into law, becoming the 10th state to legalize same sex marriage.
• A lesbian couple in Kazakhstan made history by having Central Asia’s first same-sex wedding. The ceremony is being heralded as a big step forward for gay rights in Central Asia, despite the fact that the marriage is not legally recognized.
• An elementary school in Queens, N.Y. is the first public school in New York — and possibly the entire United States — to have an all-vegetarian menu.
• A jury awarded $240 million plus back pay to 32 mentally disabled men who suffered decades of abuse while working at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The men were treated as “virtual slaves,” paid as little as $65 a month and living in rodent-infested conditions.
• Seventeen colleges and universities terminated their sports apparel contracts with Adidas in protest over how the company handled worker’s rights in Indonesia.
• Imam Daayiee Abdullah welcomes gay couples to worship in his D.C. mosque and says he’ll even perform gay marriage ceremonies.
• Roxbury, MA, elementary school principle fires school security guards to hire art teachers, and test scores improve faster than anywhere else in the state.
• Georgia’s Wilcox County High School held its first-ever integrated prom. You know, I’m glad the kids got to go to prom with their friends regardless of their race but did the people of Wilcox County, Georgia really have to wait for Facebook to be invented to knock down that barrier? Really??
• NASA is exploring renewable biofuels to fuel commercial jets.
• There’s been some backlash against five senators who voted against gun background checks.
• NBA player Jason Collins, most recently of the Washington Wizards, came out as gay.
• An openly gay soccer player is training with the L.A. Galaxy.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• A Hendersonville teacher won the Country Music Marathon last week in Nashville! Wow. Hendersonville is a suburb of Nashville, and this marks the first time a local person has won the race. Let me add, it was cold and poured rain all morning — in fact, some streets near me flooded. This was one marathon which must have taken an extra amount of determination to finish.
• On a related note, the marathon route goes right past a local mosque, which opened its doors to runners and spectators who needed to get out of the rain. Volunteers from the congregation manned a nearby water station and cheered runners on.
• Tennessee teachers are grabbing all of the headlines! Congratulations to Kingsport teacher Stephen Woodward whose screenplay “Crush” won the WriteMovies International Screenwriting Competition.
• Keeping with the education theme, congrats to Volunteer State Community College’s student magazine The Pioneer, which won the College Media Assn.’s 2012 Apple Award for this marijuana-leaf themed cover design.
• A Hamilton County grand jury recommends that possession of small amounts of pot be legalized to reduce the number of criminal cases in court.
• Kenny Chesney started a fund to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. This is the kind of shit we have to do in a country without a functioning healthcare system: depend on the kindness and generosity of celebrities. Glad some are willing to step up.
• Nashville led the country in 2012 job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And without further ado, here is the best video on the internet EVER: