Here’s your weekly progress report:
• A former aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has pled guilty to one count of felony misconduct in public office.
• The European Union has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Washington State is poised to become the nation’s first to legalize the sale of marijuana at state stores to adults over age 21. And in Tennessee we still can’t buy a bottle of wine at the damn grocery store.
• The number of new people filing first-time jobless claims continued to plummet this week.
• Auto sales in the U.S. post their strongest numbers in four and a half years.
• U.S. foreclosure filings fall to 5-year low.
• Norway, one of the world’s top oil producers, will double its carbon tax on the North Sea oil industry, with the funds earmarked for climate change mitigation.
• This is interesting: GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, has announced it will share its drug research data — said to be a first for the industry:
Glaxo is taking the step after experimenting with disclosure for treatments for tropical diseases like malaria and finding those efforts successful, according to company officials.
In addition, the company plans to release information about 200 of its experimental drug compounds that have shown signs of fighting tuberculosis.
“We’re increasingly realizing that the more you can make this an open enterprise, the more likely you are to be able to get an advance which allows you to make a medicine,” Dr. Patrick Vallance, president of pharmaceuticals research and development at GlaxoSmithKline, said in an interview. “I think we recognize that you learn as much about the medicine after it’s launched as you knew before.”
Wow, another blow to the whole “free hand of the market” concept. Working together it just sounds so … socialist, doesn’t it?
• The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated Montana’s campaign donation limits.
• The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Chevron’s appeal of a $19 billion judgment set by an Ecuadorian court for pollution in the Amazon.
• A laser scan of Stonehenge reveals there’s quite a bit more to the enormous stones than meets the eye. Way cool.
• PepsiCo and Coca-Cola will post the calorie content of their soft drinks on vending machines starting next year.
• The United Nations says “only” 870 million, not one billion, people are hungry:
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization blamed flawed methodology and poor data for the bum projection, and said it now uses a much more accurate set of parameters and statistics to calculate its annual estimate of the world’s hungry.
It’s with a great deal of cynicism that I list this as “good news.” I guess it’s good news for the 230 million who aren’t as hungry as we thought.
• The home of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez has become a national monument, and President Obama presided over the dedication ceremony.
• Vietnam Veteran and former Republican Senator from South Dakota Larry Presser has endorsed Barack Obama for president.
• WalMart workers in California are on strike, the first employee walkout in the company’s 50-year history.
• Cool. A hiker in the Sierra Nevada mountains has found a note left on a mountain peak by another hiker 40 years ago. The note reads: “Tim Taylor climbed to this peak, Thursday, August 17, 1972. Age 13 yrs. Anyone finding this note please write.”
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• The Southern, a Nashville restaurant that I haven’t eaten at yet, was named one of the country’s best new restaurants of 2012 by Esquire magazine.
• On a related note, Nashville restaurants are getting their own Zagat’s guide. Actually, we have to share with Memphis. But our little city has finally grown up enough to warrant at least some recognition from the arbiters of fine dining.
• Voting rights activists have another chance to overturn the state’s voter ID law. The Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Oct. 18 in a case filed by the City of Memphis and two voters. The bad news: Oct. 18 is the day after early voting starts here. Sheesh.
• “Nashville” is ready for prime-time. We’re all having a lot of fun being the toast of Hollywood these days.
This week’s cool video: A Romney-Ryan Thanksgiving: