Lots of good news this week! Without further ado:
• Republican governors embrace the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
• Texas Republican Lance Gooden has a bill that would restrict the use of drones in that state. Drones are used increasingly by domestic law enforcement for such things as patroling the border, and apparently civilians are using them now, too. Gawd, what a country.
• On a similar note, Seattle’s mayor agreed to shut down its city’s police drones.
• A bipartisan gun trafficking bill has gained more support from House Republicans. Keep calling your Congress Critters, folks. It’s working. Here’s a great campaign, and if you have kids it’s one they can participate in as well.
• Say hello to the Sahara Forest Project, a sustainable energy/agriculture project which could transform deserts into energy, water and food producing hubs.
• A mobile app that can diagnose STDs like HIV with just a finger prick appears to be reality.
• Battery recycling in North America increased 16% in 2012 over 2011. California and Canada were the primary drivers of this improvement, with these regions notching 11% and 56% increases, respectively.
• Archaic law banning women from wearing trousers in France has finally been stricken from the books.
• A Massachusetts state legislator has filed a bill requiring gun owners to purchase liability insurance. Honestly, this makes so much sense. And if Tennessee’s guns-in-parking-lots bill passes, then we absolutely need one of those here. Let’s hope some sensible person proposes it. Oh wait, I was talking about the Tennessee state legislature; there are no sensible people there. Never mind.
• Dick Morris joined Sarah Palin in the Fox News trash heap.
• Finally, the reason for existence has been found.
• Michigan’s House speaker shut that whole mandatory transvaginal ultrasound thing down.
• The U.S. military will extend some benefits to gay partners and families.
• The EU has banned animal testing for cosmetics.
• Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell has come out in favor of commercial hemp production.
• A decommissioned San Diego-area power plant was demolished to make way for “a 24-acre park, a 14-acre RV park, and a mixed-use business development.” Cue Joni Mitchell song, backwards.
• There’s a big fat rumor sparked by this item from Joss Whedon’s Facebook page (which might be a hoax) that Firefly is coming back. That, coupled with some other glimmers compiled here, have given geeks some hope. We’ll see.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Hey, it’s not all wingnuts and wackadoodle at the state capitol these days; apparently a bottle bill has bipartisan support.
• Two hundred people showed up at a Tennessee Valley Authority public hearing to demand the utility move “beyond coal.”
• It’s all hugs and kisses at the Tennessee State House these days! Sen. Jim Summerville officially apologized to Rep. Barbara Cooper and the Legislative Black Caucus for a nasty e-mail he sent last year saying he “didn’t give a rat’s ass what the Black Caucus thinks.” Bygones!
• According to the Tennessee Equality Project’s Facebook page, Nashville’s Metro Human Relations Commission, which is an arm of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, passed a resolution opposing SB234, the Don’t Say Gay bill. Also, both Gov. Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ramsey are trying to distance themselves from the bill; one gets the sense that they’d like Stacey Campfield to have a steaming cup of STFU.
• A bill in the state senate which would bar Tennessee from expanding Medicaid as part of Obamacare got parked.
• The Memphis City Council voted to rename three city parks which had been named for Confederate figures. I wrote about this last month, for some background. One hears that the KKK is pissed off and planning a “huge” rally, but I’ll believe it when I see it. People who wear sheets to hide their identity tend to not show up for rallies.
This week’s cool video: in case you missed it, Stephen Colbert takes on Stacey Campfield — and try not to laugh at the “future President Campfield” sign-off. Perish the thought. I can’t get WordPress to embed Comedy Central videos, so you’ll have to make do with a link.
Instead, check this one out: first world problems read by Third World people. Kinda made me feel like an asshole after I watched it.