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.
• 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.