Tag Archives: Good News

Good News Friday

Hey everyone! We survived another 9/11 without a terror attack. You can stop being scared now.

In other good and/or interesting news:

• Environmental regulators have blocked Western Australia’s truly atrocious shark cull.

• If you haven’t heard NFL Today host James Brown’s passionate plea for men to address domestic violence, do so now.

• The mid-’90s “tough on crime” legislative wave that swept the country that resulted in the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act is now revealed to have been a huge, budget-busting mistake:

“Here’s the federal government coming in and saying we’ll give you money if you punish people more severely, and 28 states and the District of Columbia followed the money and enacted stricter sentencing laws for violent offenses,” Travis says.

But as Travis now knows all too well, there’s a problem with that idea. Researchers including a National Academy of Sciences panel he led have since found only a modest relationship between incarceration and lower crime rates.

“We now know with the fullness of time that we made some terrible mistakes,” Travis said. “And those mistakes were to ramp up the use of prison. And that big mistake is the one that we now, 20 years later, come to grips with. We have to look in the mirror and say, ‘look what we have done.'”

Maybe this is the beginning of a shift away from the punitive, prison-for-profit moral cesspool this country has placed itself in.

Panera Bread’s CEO has asked patrons to leave their guns at home. This is a weak gesture — the stores won’t post “No Guns” signs and store employees won’t ask gun-toters to leave. But it’s a gesture nonetheless. I hope those of us who dine at Panera (guilty as charged!) leave as soon as we see a gun loon walk in the door.

• Acceptance of gays and lesbians in U.S. congregations is on the increase.

• On the grounds that it’s necessary to deter others, prosecutors are seeking 16 months in prison for right-wing narcissist/asshole Dinesh D’Souza, who pled guilty to campaign finance fraud in May:

In a Wednesday court filing, federal prosecutors rejected defense arguments that D’Souza was “ashamed and contrite” about his crime, had “unequivocally accepted responsibility,” and deserved a sentence of probation with community service.

[...]

The government said a 10- to 16-month prison sentence was appropriate for D’Souza, and necessary to deter others from abusing the election process, including “well-heeled individuals who are tempted to use their money to help other candidates.”

It also said D’Souza waited to “the last possible moment” prior to trial before admitting guilt, and then went on TV shows and the Internet to complain about being “selectively” targeted for prosecution, and having little choice but to plead guilty.

“Based on the defendant’s own post-plea statements, the court should reject the defendant’s claims of contrition on the eve of sentencing,” prosecutors led by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in the filing.

Bwaaahaaa. Guess those Fox Noise appearances didn’t help his case.

• Congratulations to Neil Patrick Harris, who wed his longtime fiancee David Birtka last weekend in Italy.

• Scientists find another Stonehenge buried beneath the Stonehenge we all know and love. And President Obama just visited there last week. Coincidence? I think not!

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A first-ever GLBT summer festival in the notoriously conservative Tri-Cities area received a warm welcome, showing signs of progress for East Tennessee:

Although it was their first festival, organizers said attendance was almost double what they expected. With a final turnout of more than 400 people, PCC Co-Executive Director John Baker said he was overwhelmed with the support he and his cause received.

[...]

“The simple fact that we can have it here in East Tennessee is a big plus,” Baker said. “The perceived notion is that East Tennessee is not accepting. But we find that, in East Tennessee, people are very accepting.”

The event was a fundraiser for a planned gay and lesbian center in East Tennessee.

This week’s video is a Key & Peele clip about, erm, “black ice.” Hilarious.

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Good News Friday

A day late on this one, sorry. Hope everyone had a good week. I’m back to work after a week’s vacation and a week to get caught up, so blogging may be light.

We were in Chicago and Wisconsin for Labor Day week. I absolutely adore Wisconsin. I can’t say enough nice things about it up there. Beautiful countryside and every person we met was awesome, just the nicest people anywhere. I love y’all.

We visited Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal home in Spring Green, then went to Chicago and enjoyed a few days there. I also absolutely adore Chicago. Cleanest city in America. If I had the slightest inkling that I’d be able to handle the winters up there I’d move in a heartbeat. But I’ve been to Chicago in January and it ain’t pretty.

So here are a few items of good news to start your weekend with. Enjoy!

• A Federal appeals court has ordered a review of Halbig v Burwell, a case which dealt a severe blow to Obamacare by eliminating federal subsidies to low-income people in some 36 states. The case will now go before the full D.C. Circuit Court.

• Texas’ last clinic providing abortion care in the Rio Grande Valley will reopen, following a district court’s ruling blocking key parts of Texas’ new abortion law.

• Related: For the first time in its history, Cosmopolitan magazine will make political endorsements — and it’s only choosing pro-choice candidates.

• Former VA Governor Bob McDonnell and wife are guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty.

• Chicago’s federal appeals court has ruled that the Wisconsin and Indiana gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.

• Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has a think tank and its next major initiative is tackling climate change and advocating for stronger environmental regulations.

• Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed a $13.25 minimum wage.

• A federal judge has found BP acted with “gross negligence” in relation to the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The fine could run as high as $18 billion.

• A car powered by salt water is coming soon to European roadways.

• Sweden’s Parken Zoo has welcomed a rare pygmy hippo and she’s keee-yoooooot:

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• The most complete fossil of a ginormous sauropod dinosaur has been found in Argentina. The vegetarian dinosaur species is supposedly the largest animal ever to walk the face of the earth.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• This story of an abused and neglected horse dropped off for “training” in East Tennessee normally wouldn’t make the good news column except it has a happy ending, thanks to the Humane Society of Washington County. These are good people, maybe send them a few bucks if you can spare it.

• Thank you, Obamacare! More than 336,000 Tennesseans will share in $10 million in insurance refunds thanks to the Affordable Care Act provision requiring insurance companies spend at least 80% of insurance premiums on patient care not, you know, marketing and lobbying.

This week’s cool video: I took this video of a Cross River Puffer at the Shedd Aquarium (sorry, I was too lazy to edit the sound). This little guy just cracked me up. Those eyes! That face! Hilarious. Enjoy.

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Good News Friday

I totally forgot about last week’s Good News Friday post. Sorry!

Before jumping into the good stuff I have a sad follow-up to a recent Good News Friday post. This adorable baby giraffe was born at Bright’s Zoo in East Tennessee Aug. 7 and made the Tennessee Good News but I am sad to report that the animal died very suddenly Wednesday evening. Cause of death is still unknown. Let’s all pay some respect to the short life of this sweet creature:

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RIP. Your life was too short. Condolences to the zoo staff, as well. I understand they had grown quite attached to the little fella.

On to the good news:

• A progressive candidate in Arizona has an awesome message for pro-lifers wanting him to come between women and their medical decisions:

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• A federal judge has struck down Florida’s ban on gay marriage.

• A North Carolina judge has ruled that the state’s school vouchers program is unconstitutional, and has ordered the state to retrieve the taxpayer funds it distributed. Said the judge:

“The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with public taxpayer money to private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything,” Hobgood said.

• Sarah Palin’s influence seems to have dissipated like a fart in the breeze.

• UK regulators have ruled the phrase “clean coal” is misleading, and have ordered U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy to remove it from their advertising.

• New York teenager Kenneth Shinozuka invented a wearable sensor device that alerts caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients when their patients are walking around. Shinozuka’s grandfather suffers from the disease.

• Tech billionaires Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are supporting a Washington State initiative requiring criminal background checks for all gun show and online firearms purchases. Stupidly, there’s a competing measure supported by gun loons that only requires background checks for licensed firearms dealers. However, they have not matched the fundraising power of the stronger measure.

• Bank of America will pay $16.65 billion to settle claims related to the mortgage meltdown.

• The largest conservation land purchase in Texas history is finally complete, thanks to the oil spill money: some 17,000 acres of coastal prairie, known as Powderhorn Ranch, has been preserved from development. It’s located near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, a place I visited some 30 years ago, and found to be absolutely spectacular.

• Images of a militarized police force coming out of Ferguson, MO have shocked the nation. Enter Georgia Democratic Congressman Rep. Hank Johnson, who is working on legislation that would change how the Pentagon sends its military surplus to local police forces. This should be a bipartisan no-brainer, seeing as how Republicans are as repulsed by the concept of a militarized police as Democrats. But …. this being our do-nothing Congress ….

• Kentucky candidate for U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes has picked up the endorsement of the United Mine Workers.

• A judge has ruled that Maryland’s gun control law banning military-style assault weapons is constitutional.

• Another gay football player has come out.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Murfreesboro’s city council voted not to allow guns on city greenways.

• Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced his support of same-sex marriage.

This week’s video: jazz guitar virtuoso Chris Standring. This not like any pool party I’ve ever attended:

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Good News Friday

This week’s round-up of good news awaits. Enjoy!

• Some good election news from around Tennessee: wackaloon Victoria Jackson lost her bid for the Williamson County Commission, a move by Koch Bros.-funded groups like Americans For Prosperity to oust the state’s Supreme Court justices failed, and homophobic ignoramus Stacy Campfield got stomped by his primary challenger.

Meanwhile, skeevy “abortion-for-me-but-not-for-thee” Congressvarmint Scott DesJarlais holds a narrow lead over primary challenger Jim Tracy in the race for the TN-04 Republican nomination. DesJarlais is the “pro-life” doctor who famously slept with patients and pressured both his wife and mistress to have abortions. Jim Tracy is a far-right wackadoodle, too; I guess the voters would rather stay with the wackadoodle they know, not the wackadoodle they don’t know. Maybe everyone in TN-04 is whacked out on meth.

• FICO is changing how it calculates credit scores, with things like medical debt no longer given so much weight:

“This underscores that medical obligations are very different than any other kind of obligations because consumers don’t choose to incur hospital debt — it’s a very different type of risk posed by a consumer when they default on that type of debt,” said John Ulzheimer, expert at CreditSesame.com.

• The owner of an Ohio drilling company who ordered employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of toxic fracking waste into a local river was sentenced to 28 months in prison.

• Astronomers have made some cool discoveries sifting through the Hubble telescope’s sofa cushions.

• Theodore Wafer was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Renisha McBride last November. An intoxicated McBride had crashed her car and was possibly seeking help when she knocked on Wafer’s door.

• Congratulations, Becky Hammon, new Assistant Coach of the San Antonio Spurs! You are the first female coach in NBA history!

• Self-folding robots! I think we’ve seen this movie ….

• After growing attention in the media to the practice of “corporate inversion” resulted in some negative publicity (and possible legislative action), Walgreen’s decided it would stay in the USA.

• Someone invented a cheap, easy to use water filter that attaches to ordinary plastic water bottles.

• A growing number of evangelical Christians are turned off by the misogynistic spew coming from Mars Hill megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll. A large group described as “several dozen” protested Driscoll’s Bellevue, WA church last weekend.

• Alabama’s abortion clinic law requiring doctors performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

• Amid the issues raised in the “Blackfish” documentary, Southwest Airlines has ended its long corporate sponsorship of the Sea World theme parks.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• The largest solar parking structure in Tennessee is under construction at Hendersonville’s City Square Shopping Center.

• This East Tennessee ER nurse performed CPR on a drowned puppy and brought him back to life.

• TVA continues to move away from coal for its power production.

• Get a load of this adorable baby giraffe born at Bright’s Zoo in Limestone, TN. Please do not feed it to the lions or smack its head on a bridge during transport in an open-top truck.

I love giraffes. They’ve had a hard time of it lately, too.

And here’s this week’s cool video: watch an entire train station full of people in Perth, Australia free a man trapped by a train. Amazing what we can do when we all pull together, eh?

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Good News Friday

Some good news to start the weekend.

• A court ruled that Uganda’s anti-gay law was passed illegally and struck it down.

• Bank of America has been ordered to pay nearly $1.3 billion in penalties over the “Hustle” mortgage fraud case.

• A Florida judge has ordered state lawmarkers redraw its Congressional map by August 15, after ruling the last one favored Republicans. Republicans wanted to wait until after the 2014 midterms. Of course they did.

• Kansas City, Mo., bans open carry.

• The only abortion clinic in Mississippi will remain open after an appeals court stays the state’s abortion law.

• Somewhat related: following SCOTUS’ ruling which repealed Massachusetts’ buffer zone around abortion clinics, the state has set new limits on abortion clinic protests:

The new law allows the police to disperse protesters who are substantially impeding access to a clinic. Protesters must stay at least 25 feet from the clinic’s entrances for up to eight hours or be subject to a misdemeanor charge.

• The UK’s green energy output is up 30% over last year.

• Outdoor clothing outfitter Patagonia is selling a line of wetsuits made of 60% plant-based rubber, 40% neoprene. Neoprene is petroleum-based, and they hope when costs of the plant-based material go down, they’ll eventually be able to make a 100% sustainable wetsuit.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Eight hundred victims of the 2008 Kingston coal ash spill share close to $28 million in a settlement by TVA.

• The state got its first bicycle traffic signal. It’s in Chattanooga.

• A group of Tennessee hospitals reduced surgical complications by 19.7% from 2009 to 2012 — an achievement estimated to have saved at least 533 lives.

• Locked-out Kellogg workers in Memphis may be back to work as early as next week.

And speaking of bicycling: a Dutch cycler’s opinion of trying to commute on a bike in the U.S.:

And an even better video that just crossed my path: who’s talking impeachment again? The White House staff?

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Good News Friday

Well, it appears we’re back in business at the Beale household! A technician came this morning, figured out something to do with serial numbers and handshakes and whatever, and we got our phone, TV and internet back. Keeping fingers crossed that this is the real deal. Now starts the fighting over our money. Sigh.

I know I owe you a Good News post, so here’s an abbreviated collection. Sorry for the rants and craziness this week.

• The town of Somerset, KY, opened its own no-frills municipal gas station, after years of complaints from citizens about price gouging from private retailers. Gas prices at nearby retailers immediately dropped, though the local gas station owners are whining about “socialism.” Competition will do that.

• Ted Nugent’s long history of being an asshole has cost him another gig, this time an August 4 concert at the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of American Indians’ North Idaho casino. Said Chief Allan, Chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, in a statement:

“We know what it’s like to be the target of hateful messages and we would never want perpetuate hate in any way.”

Nugent responded as only he can: by proving how right the tribe was to cancel his show. That cost Nugent yet another casino booking, this one in Washington. It’s about time these pieces of shit start paying a price for their racism.

• Death of another right-wing myth (this is getting to be a regular feature over here): high taxes don’t make rich people move. Guess we here in Tennessee shouldn’t expect Sean Hannity to arrive any time soon.

• If you want to see a place with robust economic growth fueled by a rapidly expanding middle class, take a look at Africa. Hey, it’s not all kids with swollen bellies and drought-ravaged landscapes. Who knew?

• A deeply unpopular Republican Party and a more-popular-than-expected Obamacare have dwindled Republican hopes for midterm landslide.

• I always thought billionaire Mark Cuban was a bit of a dick, bit this week he took to Twitter to attack corporate tax cheats:

“When companies move off shore to save on taxes, you and I make up the tax shortfall elsewhere sell those stocks and they won’t move,” he tweeted later.

* Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Nashville bookstore Parnassus Books, owned by author Ann Patchett, has been named one of the world’s coolest bookstores by CNN. I’ve been there many times and it is, indeed, very cool.

• Nashville held its first-ever GLBT wedding expo.

• Related: my local Gannett fishwrap actually printed a same-sex marriage announcement. Progress!

• More Nashvillians are recycling.

• Billie, one of the hundreds if not thousands of abused circus elephants worldwide, finds a new home at Tennessee’s Elephant Sanctuary.

This week’s cool video: watch this dog get so excited to see its owner for the first time in two years that it passed out! Kinda like how I feel about having my communication services back:

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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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