Lots of good news this week, folks. Really!
• It wasn’t all bad news out of Wisconsin. Democrats regained control of the Wisconsin State Senate, as Democrat John Lehman of Racine appears to have bested incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard.
• Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has fallen to historically low levels. I’m going to guess the global economic collapse has something to do with it.
• Archaeologists have found the remains of the Curtain Theatre, William Shakespeare’s first theater, in East London.
• Macy’s New Jersey distribution center has gone solar.
• The internet is no longer running out of IP addresses. Long live IPv6!
• Hey Catholic Church: you’re doing it wrong. After the Vatican condemned Sister Margaret Farley’s book on sexuality, it jumped from #142,982 on Amazon to #16.
• The Bellingham WA city council unanimously approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that bans corporate personhood.
• The Walt Disney Co. announced it will ban junk food advertising on its child-focused TV, radio and Web programming. When they stop promoting their movies with Happy Meals I’ll be completely satisifed.
• NATO’s exit from Afghanistan has taken a big leap forward, thanks to exit deals signed with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
• This is way cool: an idea which began at Harvard Business School has won the President’s Challenge for social entrepreneurship, and $70,000 in start-up money. The idea “uses silk to stabilize vaccines and eliminate the need for refrigeration in transport and delivery.”
• The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in the case against four Blackwater contractors accused of killing 17 Iraqi civillians in 2007. This means prosecutors can move forward with the case.
• The Great Wall of China is longer than they had originally thought.
• Kroger stores and McDonald’s announced they will only sell pork raised in more humane crate-free conditions.
• Around 300 Mormons marched in Salt Lake City’s gay pride parade.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Former Tennessee Death Row inmate Ndume Olatushani has been released from prison after 27 years — 19 of them on death row. He was released on an Alford Plea, which allows him to plead guilty while at the same time maintaining his innocence. Justice is …. weird.
• Metro Nashville Council approved a property tax increase, our first in seven years, on second reading Tuesday night. It won’t be official until a third and final reading next month, however.
The vote followed a lengthy public debate, which included input from Nashville Tea Party leader Ben Cunningham, who doesn’t even live in Davidson County and therefore will be unaffected by the increase. What a limelight chaser.
I haven’t written about this issue because I’ve been busy but here’s the deal. No one likes paying taxes, I sure don’t enjoy it, just as I don’t enjoy going to the dentist, eating my vegetables, and stopping after the second margarita. But I do it because I’m fucking grown-up, not a WATB who thinks she can live in la-la land and have everything be popsicles and rainbows without me doing my share. Last year the grass in our park was knee high because the public works budget was cut and they couldn’t mow. I’m tried of dodging giant brushpiles because chipper service has been cut back, etc. etc. So grow up already, you big babies. And Ben Cunningham, who doesn’t even live here but is desperate to see his name in the papers: I’ve got a steaming cup of STFU with your name on it.
• On a related note, the president of Lipscomb University, a conservative, Church of Christ affiliated private school in Nashville, has endorsed the tax increase.
• The CMA Music Fest, the largest tourism event in Nashville each year, sold out for the third consecutive year. And let me say: Nashville has had some beeeee-yoootiful weather for the tourists this year. I can’t remember a more gorgeous CMA Fest. Back in the day, when it was called “Fan Fair,” there would be stories about fans passing out in autograph lines because of the heat. But it’s just been incredible this week.
This week’s cool video from Greenpeace Israel: