Good News Friday

** tap tap tap ** This thing on?

Oh, hello, dear readers. Bet you thought I’d forgotten about you! Well, no. First, an explanation: my workload literally doubled as of September 14. This was completely self-inflicted: they said, “do you wanna?” and I said, “yeah, sure! Sounds fun!” And it is fun and challenging and everything else, except it has left very little time for me to blog, for which I apologize. I’ve even thought about putting the blog on hiatus again.

This week was especially bad for me and I was basically a giant stress ball. I still managed to compile some good news but until I get a better handle on things I’m afraid blogging is going to be erratic. Totes sorrz, guyz.

Without further ado, your Good Friday roundup:

• Here’s a welcome headline:


• Germany hits a new renewable energy milestone, getting 27.7% of its electricity from renewable sources so far this year. That’s a 3% increase over last year.

• Not so much good news as No Shit, Sherlock news but, it appears access to birth control prevents pregnancy and abortion in high-risk teens.

• The U.S. will pay $554 million to the Navajo Nation to settle claims about mismanagement of reservation funds and resources. It’s the largest-ever settlement between the U.S. and a single Native American tribe.

• This is intriguing: an insect-based livestock feed that could save us all.

• Democrats finally find their spine on culture war issues.

• A federal appeals court has struck down two of North Carolina’s most horrendous voting restrictions.

• California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that allows family members to ask a judge to remove guns from a relative believed to be a risk to themselves or others.

• Related: California becomes the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags. Over 100 cities in the state have already enacted bans. This is such great news I can’t even tell you. What this means for litter and wildlife is tremendous.

• Old news by now but congrats to Bill & Hill and Chelsea and Marc on the birth of a future president!

• The Montana teacher who was given just 30 days for raping a 14-year-old student has been re-sentenced for 10 years. This is a horrendous story. The victim, who has since committed suicide, was blamed by the original judge.

• Florida actually convicted a white man of killing a black kid for the first time in, like, ever.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Brown’s Grocery & Hardware, an old-time country store in Carter County, has installed solar panels on its roof that will generate 44 kilowatts of electricity.

This week’s cool video: If you missed John Oliver’s truly excellent expose on the bullshit known as the Miss America “scholarship” program, do yourself a favor and watch it here. It’s the best 15 minute investment you’ll have made in quite a while.

I’ve always thought a “scholarship” that requires you to parade around in a bikini is not one that’s interested in scholarly pursuits.


Filed under Good News

Clinton Derangement Syndrome

It just never stops:


Eagerly await the next round of hand-wringing from other NewsCorp outlets about the lack of civility in today’s discourse.


Filed under Media, NewsCorp

AFP’s Bag Of Dirty Tricks

Americans For Prosperity, the Koch Bros.-group supported by Nashville moneybags Lee Beaman which is bankrolling the anti-AMP movement, has been caught perpetrating a voter suppression campaign in North Carolina.

Showing it’s nothing more than a Lee Atwater-style band of dirty tricksters, AFP was busted sending confusing, error-riddled “official” voter application forms to hundreds of North Carolina voters … and a cat. They were busted when complaints started flooding into the State Board of Elections:

The form includes incorrect or conflicting information, as outlined below, according to the State Board of Elections.

• At the top, the form states voter registrations are due 30 days before an election to the State Board of Elections’ office. Below, in smaller type, it states the deadline is 25 days before the election.

The deadline to register to vote is actually 25 days before the general election, but people should send information to their county elections board, not the state board, Lawson said. If voters do send their information to the state board, it will be forwarded to the appropriate county board, Lawson said.

• The first page also states people should return the registration to the N.C. Secretary of State’s office, though the envelope is addressed to the State Board of Elections.

• It states the Secretary of State’s office has an elections division and can answer questions about registration.

The Secretary of State’s office does not handle elections, Lawson said, though other states do house their elections division within their secretary of state’s office. The form also gives the wrong phone number for the Secretary of State’s office – the number is actually for the State Board of Elections.

• The form states that after voters mail in their information, they will be notified of their precinct by their local county clerk.

“There’s no county clerk that would do these things,” said Lawson. “It would come from the county board of elections or the elections director, under their signature.”

• The registration form also includes the wrong ZIP code for the State Board of Elections. The ZIP code associated with the board’s post office box is 27611, and the board’s office ZIP code is 27603.

Alison Beal of Wake Forest received one of the forms at her home, but it was addressed to her brother-in-law, who lives in Caldwell County. Beal is not a member of Americans for Prosperity and says her brother-in-law would not be a member either.

Beal said she quickly noticed the inaccuracies because she has been involved in past voter registration drives. She knew there was no elections division within the Secretary of State’s office, Beal said.

“I went to the Board of Elections website so I could make sure about what my suspicions were,” she said. “I’ve always been a big proponent of voting. I was like, ‘You know, this is really irritating.’ ”

Honest mistakes? Doubtful. Seems like this was sent to likely Democrats, for one thing. The idea being to spread confusion and misinformation, so people are given the idea that it’s just easier not to bother to vote.

It’s a neat trick. It’s a felony to deliberately misinform voters. AFP has plausible deniability here, “oh our woopsies, sorry!” Meanwhile, they’ve confused hundreds of people in left-leaning Raleigh. Nice try, assholes. Does anyone think this works?

Here’s where groups like Americans For Prosperity always stumble. They assume voters are stupid. They assume people don’t know better. They assume people aren’t interested and don’t care. In other words, they believe their own bullshit. What they miss is that the more you try to prevent people from voting, the more those same people are going to go the extra mile to vote, just to prove you wrong.

And these are the dishonest players who Lee Beaman has brought to Nashville to fight against mass transit and take over our school board. Watch your mailboxes, Nashville. If they’re playing dirty in North Carolina you can be damn sure they’re going to play dirty here.


Filed under Americans For Prosperity, conservatives, Lee Beaman, voter fraud, voter turnout, voting

Good News Friday

It’s good news time!

• President Obama has added nearly 500,000 square miles to the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument, making it the world’s largest marine sanctuary.

• April-June economic growth is the best in two years. Obama is the worst. Socialist. EVER.

• The billionaire vulture capitalist/Sun Microsystems co-founder who blocked public access to California’s Martin’s Beach did so illegally and he must reopen the gate to allow public access, a judge has ruled.

One of the many wonderful things about California — something which people who have never been there just don’t get — is that public access to the beaches is sacrosanct. Unlike Florida and other coastal areas, in California it was decided that the beach belongs to everyone. This has been the longstanding rule of some 40 years, and it’s what makes the Golden State such a wonderful tourist draw. You can drive from the Mexican border all the way to the Oregon state line and access the beaches nearly the entire way. It’s what makes the Pacific Coast Highway one of this country’s great treasures. So I’m glad to see an asshole billionaire like Vinod Khosla get schooled on this very basic principle of California life. If you want your own private sandbox, move to Florida along with the flying cockroaches.

• Sorry, Sarah Palin: you can’t kill wolves in Wyoming, thanks to a judge’s recent ruling.

• The Rockefellers are divesting their charity of fossil fuel stocks.

• Google dumps ALEC over climate denialism, says climate deniers “are just literally lying.” Update: Facebook follows suit.

• A heart-shaped solar farm? Why not?

• A compound found in the spice turmeric may help the brain self-heal, according to researchers at the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany.

• Five ways beer is a health food.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A Knoxville, Tennessee birther organization who sued over Obama’s presidency can be sanctioned, according to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

• The Shelby County Corrections Center is installing solar-powered hot water heaters.

• Tennessee native Barry Wilmore is headed for the International Space Station.

• Bush Administration Attorney General Alberto “waterboarding” Gonzalez was met with student protestors when he visited MTSU this week. To its great shame, Gonzalez heads Belmont University’s College of Law in Nashville.

This week’s cool video: Okay, I know it’s a cat food ad, but this Justin Moore video just cracked me up:


Filed under Good News

Congratulations, Daniel Larson! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Still not safer!

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – Bloomington police say it is a miracle that a 10-month-old boy was not killed after a round from a high-powered rifle hit his crib, missing his head by inches.

Ten-month-old Charlie Sewell was asleep when a man visiting the home next door accidentally discharged a semi-automatic rifle.

The round went through the neighbor’s home, through the walls of the Sewell’s home, through Charlie’s stuffed animals, hit his crib and landed in the carpet.

“It didn’t dawn on us that it penetrated the house,” Erik Sewell said.

The Sewell family woke at midnight to find Daniel Larson at their front door telling them he had accidentally fired a high-powered rifle into their house.

“My finger slipped down and discharged the weapon,” Larson said.

He feels really bad about it, though, so, it’s okay! I don’t know why it “didn’t dawn” on them that the bullet might have traveled inside the house next door. That’s what fucking high-powered weapons do, you moron.

“I came in here [the nursery] and the cops were in here. And I said, ‘What is all this white stuff?’ And they said that the bunny had been hit,” Carin Sewell said.

The round hit Charlie’s basket of stuffed animals and then hit his crib, just inches from his head.
An officer found the bullet buried in the carpet.

“He [the officer] looked at me and said this is nothing short of a miracle that he is alive,” Carin Sewell said.

The story goes on to say that the Sewell family does not believe high-powered weapons should be allowed in residential neighborhoods. I’m sure they’ll get flamed by the gun loons for their trouble.

Thank you, NRA! We’re still not safer.

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Filed under gun control

This Should Be Fun

“The Ray Rice video for the financial sector has arrived.” You can hear it on This American Life starting today.

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Filed under Wall Street

Tennessee Gun Report

I’ve been way too busy this week to do my usual perusal of local news reports. Still, we have one accidental shooting this week — this one a fatality.

• September 22, 2014:

The only thing that can stop a bad guy with stolen guns is a woman with a couple of vases, apparently:

Authorities said a woman in East Brainerd slugged a man with two vases after he had walked in their house and attacked her husband.

The sheriff’s office said Joshua Aaron Mills had a short time earlier in the Wednesday incident walked into another house on the same street. They said he walked upstairs and stole $5,700 worth of guns.

Mills, 22, of 2421 Quail Nest Circle, is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, theft and assault.

Walter Pryor Jr., another resident of Quail Nest Circle, said he had two construction workers inside his residence when a man wearing a gray shirt and brown shirts walked in and asked them about a job. They said the man, who identified himself as Josh Mills, proceeded to walk upstairs.

The workers a few minutes later saw the man jump down with several plastic gun cases and begin running toward some woods.

The guy proceeded to walk into another house in the street where a woman conked him on the head with a vase.

By the way, who leaves gun cases lying around when you’re having construction done on your house? Also, doesn’t the fact that guns are so often stolen from private residences negate the right-wing belief that criminals stay away from homes with guns? So much fail.

• September 20, 2014:

A 20-year-old Cordova man playing with a gun accidentally shot himself in the eye. UPDATE: he died.

• September 19, 2014:

Today in armed society/polite society: An argument between a man and his girlfriend led to the girlfriend’s sister being shot:

Investigators say the man, who lived at the home, got into an argument with his girlfriend. The girlfriend called her sister who came to the house.

When she arrived, police say Cook and the man got into an argument. Cook pulled a gun, the man armed himself and both of them fired shots.

The man was injured, the girlfriend’s sister was killed. Brilliant.

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Filed under gun control, Tennessee