Two very important updates:
• Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure blinked. They have apologized
and vowed to restore funding. (I may have been premature. They have not vowed to restore funding, just “continue to fund existing grants,” which they were already doing. But they’ve made a change which makes Planned Parenthood eligible to apply for future grants. La-ti-da. Who wants to bet there’s some bogus reason cooked up next year?)
But the damage has been done. The brand is ruined, and furthermore, all sorts of Komen dirty laundry — CEO Nancy Brinker’s high salary, her role as a Bush “Pioneer” and major Republican Party donor, the organization’s petty lawsuits over the words “for the cure” — have been revealed. I mean heck, I didn’t know any of that stuff. And this disaster will serve as a big warning to the righteous religionists trying to pressure other organizations in the same fashion.
This is a wake-up call. This isn’t about abortion. It’s about not playing politics with women’s healthcare. We won’t stand for it. Tennessee’s state legislature has some explaining to do.
• The unemployment rate has fallen for the fifth straight month to its lowest rate in almost three years.
Busy week, I think we could all use some good news.
• Despite the fringe right’s repeated jihad against women’s health provider Planned Parenthood and its funding sources, supporters have made up for the loss of funds:
Besides $400,000 in smaller donations from 6,000 people, Planned Parenthood is receiving $250,000 from a family foundation in Dallas and a $250,000 pledge announced Thursday by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to match future donations.
One message to the religious zealots leading this charge: you’re doing it wrong.
• The Senate approved a bill banning insider trading by lawmakers, 96-3. The three who voted against the bill are Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).
• Occupy Wall Street had some muscle: 5.6 million people changed their banks in the past 90 days, with 11% citing Occupy’s “Bank Transfer Day” as the reason.
• California’s clean-tech companies report soaring revenue, generating more than $1.5 billion in revenue last year, up from $650 million in 2008.
• The Washington State Senate approved a same-sex marriage bill Wednesday night, which the state House is expected to approve and the governor says she will sign. This would make Washington the seventh state to recognize same-sex unions.
• Some German dude modified a turntable so it reads tree rings as music, and it is so much awesome.
• Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has introduced the Outsourcing Accountability Act. It would require companies with revenues over $1 billion to…
…report how many employees they have in the United States and break them down by state; jobs abroad would have to be broken down by country. Firms would also have to track the percentage increase or decrease of these figures from the previous year.
Because many of these companies claim they are entitled to tax breaks because they’re “job creators,” this will help track the veracity of such claims. Naturally, I don’t expect this bill to go anywhere unless Democrats take back the House in November, but still: it’s a start.
• New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand’s Republican challenger has withdrawn from the race, after racy blog posts about sex and drugs surfaced — including one advocating a national steak and blow-job day. Honestly, I think that’s a pretty stupid reason to withdraw one’s name from Senate contention, but if you don’t have the stomach to weather a soon-to-be-forgotten scandal like this you probably shouldn’t run in the first place. So, good call.
• India is charging Monsanto with biopiracy over its genetically-modified eggplant.
• The California Air Resources Board has approved new rules requiring auto manufacturers to offer more “ultra clean” zero-emission vehicles in the state, and toughening emmissions standards for all new cars sold in the state. California is the country’s largest car market, so standards for the Golden State tend to become national.
• Antioch College, a private liberal arts college in Yellow Spring, Ohio, is waving tuition for all students who enroll in the next three years. Four years at Antioch costs $106,000.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, has sponsored the “Influence Disclosure Act,” a requirement that lawmakers must disclose if their proposals originate with national groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. Yes, yes and more yes! Call your state representatives and let them know you support House Bill 2301 and let’s get one of these in the state senate.