We’re off to the races:
• Lookie here, BP will pay in a big way for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
• Seems Ireland has one of those “no abortion unless the life of the mother is at risk” laws Republicans are trying to foist on women here in the U.S. Surprisingly, they don’t always work! After the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, neither Catholic nor Irish, who miscarried at 17 weeks and later died of blood poisoning, the government has vowed to “clarify” its abortion rules. This story is 20 levels of tragic; I just hope we can keep it from happening here.
• Results are still dribbling in from Red States like Arizona which are too incompetent to run an election because hey, we all know government doesn’t function, amiright?! Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies, y’all. Anyway, Democrats picked up yet another seat in the House and this one is notable because it gives us the first openly bisexual member of Congress. Congratulations, Kyrsten Sinema.
• Okay, that “Red States can’t do elections” dig was a low blow; California is still counting its ballots, too. But lookie here, the House of Representatives got another Democrat on Thursday. Congratulations, Ami Bera.
• [UPDATE]: Another one bites the dust in California. Congratulations, Scott Peters! I found this of interest:
Peters was able to overcome a roughly 2-point Republican registration advantage in the redrawn district, which stretches from Poway though La Jolla, Clairemont, downtown San Diego and Coronado.
Apparently this was a redistricting fail for the Republicans. I wonder how many other redistricting fails the GOP is looking at?
• This is neither good nor news but it’s awesome snark. I give you The Haters Guide To The Williams Sonoma Catalog.
• Cap-and-trade officially became a thing in California this week. So far, the wrath of God has been avoided.
• UPS announced it will no longer donate to the Boy Scouts of America due to that organization’s anti-gay stance.
• The global balance of power is set to make a major shift as the U.S. is poised to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. Also, the IEA report says that the world’s largest untapped energy resource is, as always, energy efficiency:
Growth in demand over the years to 2035 would be halved and oil demand would peak just before 2020, if governments took action to remove barriers preventing the implementation of energy efficiency measures that are already economically viable, the global organization said.
• Salman Rushdie and John Le Carre have ended their 15-year feud. There’s hope for us all.
• Hilarious. Liberal kid trolls his staunch Republican parents with mini-Obamas.
• MotorTrend magazine named the Tesla Model S its car of the year. Even better, the magazine says the all-electric car is “proof positive that America can still make great things.” I actually saw one of these in the wild last summer while out in California. They are very cool.
• In related news, Nissan unveiled this really awesome 4-wheel-drive off-road hydrogen fuel cell concept car at the Paris Auto Show. Check it out:
I can totally see some Williamson County soccer moms trying to maneuver their way through the Kroger parking lot in this.
• Is Grover Norquist’s star on the wane? Some say yes.
• Access to contraception is called a “universal human right” in the UN Population Fund’s annual report.
• A message to that Papa John’s douchebag, filed under Awesome:
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• The ABC series “Nashville” got picked up for an entire season. I cannot tell you how thrilled everyone here is about our eponymous night-time soap. We all love this show and what it’s done for our town. Its portrayal of the city and the music business here, glammed up and soapisized for TV, of course, still rings true. Which is okay. The show is written and produced by people who live here, they get us and know what we’re about.
• Tennesseeans appear to be cruisin’ for a boozin': of 32 local referendums allowing package stores, liquor by the drink, or both, 25 passed — some overwhelmingly. Wine in grocery stores, here we come!
• The Chattanooga Zoo has two baby snow leopards and they are adorable.
• Thanks to a federal grant (ahem), the Tennessee State Library & Archives will now be able to digitize state newspapers from the 1880s to 1920s and make them available to the public online. Gosh I’m just shocked private enterprise hasn’t already done this for us, aren’t you? Thank you, Uncle Sam.
This week’s video features skydiving cats. (Via Gawker, which tells us it’s a Swedish ad for pet insurance):