• The national unemployment rate has fallen to a three-year low at 8.5%. Still a long way to go but things are moving in the right direction.
• Archeologists have discovered the lost city of Cahokia while building a bridge in Missouri.
• The FDA is limiting the use of Cephalosporins in livestock. The concern is that agricultural use of the important antibiotic has led to resistance in humans, creating a public health threat.
• Manufacturing in Ohio surged in 2011 and is poised to remain strong in 2012. Auto manudcaturing and solar led the way …
• Congratulations to these first four couples who entered into civil unions in Hawaii on Jan. 1. Under a state law which came into effect in the New Year, Hawaii recognizes not only civil unions performed in this state but those performed elsewhere, as well. It’s a start.
• Washington’s Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to introduce a bill that would legalize gay marriage in Washington State.
• Montana’s State Supreme Court has ruled that Citizens United does not apply to Montana campaign finance law, upholding the state’s Corrupt Practices Act which has been on the books since 1912. Bwaaahaaa take that Koch Bros., states rights and all.
• On a related note, the New York City Council has also just voted against corporate personhood. Umm … maybe a constitutional amendment is in order? This seems to be one of those issues on which the grassroots right and left both agree.
• Also related, a dozen California companies lined up to take advantage of a new “benefit corporation” legal designation, which:
… allows corporations to officially adopt policies “that create a material positive impact on society and the environment” as part of their legal charter. It also redefines the fiduciary duty of executives and board members to look out for the interests of workers, the community and the environment in addition to meeting their duty to make a profit for shareholders.
The law provides corporate officers with a legal “safe haven” from being successfully sued by shareholders who contend that company’s environmental or social policies diluted the value of their stock.
This is huge; let’s hope other states follow suit.
Good News, Local Edition
• The Tennessee Tea Party, last in the news for calling Rep. Barney Frank a “perverted sodomite,” has closed its doors. All together now: awwwwww.
• Nashville’s murder rate fell to its lowest level in 45 years.
• Also in statistical news: 2011 marked Tennessee’s fewest number of traffic fatalities in almost 50 years.