Good News Friday

Most of our good news is international this week, for no reason other than that’s the media I’ve been consuming lately. Without further ado:

• Liam Holden, the last man in the United Kingdom to be given the death penalty, had his conviction quashed after 40 years. Of note:

Mr Holden says he confessed under duress after being held by members of the Parachute Regiment for nearly six hours who subjected him to water torture, hooded him and had a gun put to his head.

Yes, what have we been saying, people. Torture someone and you can get them to say anything.

• SCOTUS has overruled the FCC’s indecency fines against several broadcasters, though they stopped short of banning future such fines altogether.

• Arkansas’ Supreme Court ruled the state’s execution law is unconstitutional.

• An archaeologist has dated Australian aboriginal rock paintings at 28,000 years — the oldest in Australia and among the oldest in the world.

• Michigan’s “pro-life” Gov. Rick Snyder made a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks just go away — hours before the Michigan House was to vote on it. Maybe he should tell our chickenshit Gov. Haslam how he did that.

• A Bloomberg poll shows President Obama with a 13 point lead over Mitt Romney. I don’t put much stock in polls, but I thought I’d share this one.

• New Zealand’s bizarre “night parrot” is coming back from the brink of extinction.

• Two new planets have been discovered.

• I heard this story on Radio Sweden (Channel 120 on XM/Sirius) and thought, wowzah:

Fifty employees at a metal factory in Värnamo got the surprise of their lives this week, when it was announced that the company’s elderly owners had decided to pay out US$ 16 million to the staff in bonuses. The first instalment arrive into their bank accounts on Thursday morning.

All staff members, metal workers as well as administration staff, including those who have retired, are included in the plan. Depending on how long they have worked for Nominit, they will receive between one million and two million Swedish kroner – or US$ 144,000 – US$ 287,000. Half of it paid into individual pension funds and half of it in cash, paid out now – just before midsummer – and in December – just before Christmas.

Nominit, a small family run business, making small metal components and fasteners for the automotive, aerospace, electronics, construction and engineering industries. It was founded by the mother of Inger and Sixten Norhed in the 1930s. Her son and daughter later took over the company, Sixten becoming the CEO, and Inger taking charge of the economy.

Trying to think how this scenario would play out here in America. First of all, the idea of a small-family run company still existing after 80 years? Slim. Probably would have been taken over by some vulture capitalists and shredded, its employees sent to the unemployment lines. Or else it would have been bought out by a corporate giant like Acme Manufacturing, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of some Chinese company.

Good News, Local Edition:

• Nashville’s Metro Council overwhelmingly approved a 53-cent property tax increase, our first in seven years, rather than implement steep cuts in city services. Instead we get to invest in our growing city. I think that’s a smart move. It was also a giant “fuck off” to Nashville Tea Party leader Ben Cunningham, who doesn’t even live in Nashville.

• A federal grand jury has indicted a Texas man for threatening the Murfreesboro Islamic Center in a profanity-laden cell phone call.

This week’s video is a TED Talk from last year that I found wonderful on so many levels. One of my pet peeves is our media’s love of reporting every new scientific study as if it were the definitive word on this or that thing. Hey kids, Vitamin D makes you live longer! Maybe not! Fish oil was the latest miracle supplement we were all supposed to take — even my eye doctor told me to take them — and now studies are saying it’s a waste. This stuff makes me nuts, and don’t even get me started on the crackpot New Age-y stuff some of my yogi friends spew, like Ujjayi breath cleansing toxins from your system. What a crock of shit.

Anyway, this guy is hilarious.

12 Comments

Filed under Good News

12 responses to “Good News Friday

  1. Joe

    In my work, I still have some clients who are longstanding businesses still owned by the original people (or family) who started them. One just sold this year, which had been started in the 1930’s by the last owner’s grandfather and a business partner, then owned by his father, finally him. They did sell to another small locally based company. Another is one I’ve done business with since the mid-70’s, not long after they started in one of the 3 owners’ garages and is now a $300M business with about 8 or 9 plants in the U.S. & Canada, and another location in Australia. But they are rare.

    On another matter, how does Nashville calculate property taxes? What does a “53 cent” increase mean? Here, we still use the antiquated “mills” that always has to be translated into the proverbial cost to an owner with $100K value. Cents sounds fairly straight up. What means you?

    • That is indeed good news ….

      Re: our property tax increase, I should have clarified, it’s 53-cents per $100 of assessed value.

      • Joe

        Is it actual per $100 valuation? It’s possible that’s what it is, but that would be a $530 increase on a house valued at $100K. That seems like an extraordinary increase for voters to approve. Most of our changes, even in “mills” are generally $40 or $50, maybe $100 on such an example. Looking at the article again, it’s about a 13% increase of the present rate (.53 of 4.13) and presumably that’s just the NAS portion, not the county’s – I’d be surprised if it’s that large an increase. Did you mean “per $1000 valuation”? That’s still a decent raise. I’d love the clarification because our city council is considering a nominal increase and the majority seem cowed by the anti-tax zealots. I’d like to show Nashville’s shining example, but would like to know I’m working with the correct data.

  2. Thanks, SB…all this good news made my day…especially the part about the citizens of Nashville deciding they could afford a tiny bit more in taxes to pay for critical services for their neighbors and the poor and suffering. That vote should also say…’F’ you to those TEAs in our dipstick Legislature that the poor, and our unemployed, and disabled are NOT sitting around on their couches and asses and taking “drugs” and some of Tennessee’s volunteers do care.

  3. Chris V

    The Republicans controlled the House, Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court from 2001-2007. If the Republican leadership really wanted to make abortions illegal, then they would be illegal today.

    The fact is that the Republicans will NEVER make abortion illegal. Why? They win money and support from naive Bible thumpers as long as abortion is kept legal.

    • ThresherK

      Some lefties call that the “Amtrak gambit”: Ever so much more useful to be hobbled and hollowed out.

      And of course, since our media uberlords see Amtrak stations, and their daughters can be sent to Norway for a “semester abroad”, it’s over their heads.

  4. From the Reuters article on snake, er, I mean, fish oil:

    “Dangour said despite the shaky evidence on the role of fish oil, there are things older adults can do to ward off memory loss.

    “Keeping cognitively active in later life and keeping physically active in later life are extremely important for the maintenance of cognitive function,” he said.’

    He prolly should have added, “staying away from SKKKrotalMurKKKanPatriotiKKK Front politics.”.

  5. Joe

    Interesting. Looks like residential property is only taxed at about 25% of its appraised value, so on a $100K house, taxes would go up about $132 per year. I think the Tea Party anti-tax zealots underestimate the will of people to pay some small amount extra to fund the sort of things governments should be providing. I think I’ll use Nashville as an example to give our council members some spine.

    • Yes, that’s right. And one of the local papers said the average Nashville home is appraised at $145,000 so it’s a modest increase considering it’s our first in 7 years.

      • Joe

        If you’re like us, we pay our property taxes twice a year. For the average taxpayer, it’s roughly an extra $200 or about $3.75 a week. For the cost of a fancy schmancy coffee once a week and we continue to have top flight services.

      • Well, we get our bill in October and you have until February of the following year to pay it, so sometimes I’ve parsed it out over 5 months, don’t think we’ve ever paid the lump sum all at once as it’s a big chunk and there aren’t any fees or interest levied for spreading it out.