Tag Archives: Good News

Good News Friday

Some good news for the weekend. Enjoy!

• The British parliament voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine alongside Israel.

• Michael Dunn was sentenced to life in prison for the first degree murder of a Florida teenager over loud music.

• Lockheed Martin says it has made a major breakthrough in fusion technology.

• I love this story: A parrot with a British accent disappeared for four years, then returned home fluent in Spanish and asking for a guy named Larry. Hilarious.

• The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked Texas from shutting down its abortion clinics.

• A N.C. judge upheld a ban on concealed firearms at the North Carolina State Fair.

• A new report from the Vatican says the church should welcome gays and lesbians.

• Queens, New York is poised to get a super-cool greenway project. We’ve been to the High Line in Manhattan and it’s absolutely incredible.

• Harvard scientists say a cure for Type 1 diabetes is imminent.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

Nashville is hosting the 2016 NHL All-Star Game! WOOT! Wonder how much seats on the glass will cost?

• The “Vote No On 1″ side of the constitutional amendment that would give the Tennessee state legislature (as in, scary government) more power over abortion in Tennessee has outraised the pro-Yes On One side this quarter.

I’ve been deeply amused to see several of my known Tea Party-supporting, big-government-hating neighbors sporting “Yes on 1″ signs in their yards. Proving once again how phony their ideology is. Don’t they just love big government when Republicans are in charge! But guess what, folks: the Tennessee legislature will turn left some day. Pendulums swing, ‘cuz that’s what they do. And your handing the abortion issue over to the legislature now will come back to bite y’all on your butts when that inevitable day comes. Idiots.

This week’s cool video: Putting the goober in “gubernatorial debate,” this week Florida Gov. Rick Scott had a huge hissy fit over a battery-operated fan under Charlie Crist’s podium and ended up looking like a ginormous fool:

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Good News Friday

Here’s a smattering of good news for you … Enjoy!

• All universities in Germany are now free of charge.

• SCOTUS ROUND-UP: The court rejected an appeal on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin. SCOTUS also blocked Wisconsin’s Voter ID law. And the court rejected an appeal by an Ohio public school teacher who was fired for insubordination after teaching creationism in the science classroom and refusing to remove religious materials.

• This would be a shocker if it’s actually true: “Obama Might Unilaterally Close Guantanamo.”

• My old stomping grounds have been declared a National Monument: 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains, including Mt. Baldy and Wrightwood, are included in the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

• An intellectually disabled, functionally illiterate death row inmate in Texas was released from prison after evidence of his innocence was found. His original team of “attorneys” failed to uncover evidence that Manuel Velez was 1,000 miles away in Tennessee at the time of the crime. The ACLU represented Velez. And no, this is not proof that “the system works”:

Velez’s initial court-appointed attorneys failed to discover that evidence, and “after his conviction, Manuel received the death penalty, largely because a state prison expert presented false testimony to persuade the jury that Manuel would pose a danger to society if given life without parole instead,” the ACLU said.

Anyone who thinks America’s death penalty system is anything but unjust needs to have their head examined.

• U.S. cars and trucks are more fuel efficient than ever before.

• Could you pass this 8th grade exam from 1912? I aced the English, geography and history portions. I completely failed math. No surprise there.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Nashville’s historic Studio A was saved from the wrecking ball.

• A hiker found an entire abandoned town in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

• End of an era: Oak Ridge’s K-31, a Cold War-era uranium enrichment plant, has been demolished.

This week’s cool video: from the aforementioned abandoned town in the Smokies, I bring you Tennessee Wonderland:

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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:

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• 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.

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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:

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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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