Gosh, it is so gorgeous here in Nashville this morning: lows in the 40s, high will just hit 70. I wish I could bottle this weather because we’ll need it come August.
It’s going to be a perfect Memorial Day Weekend. What’s happening in your world today?
• Good news, bad news: The Boy Scouts have lifted their ban on gay youth (they had a ban on gay youth?), but they’re keeping their ban on gay troop leaders. Honestly, I was talking to some friends about this last weekend, and they seemed to feel like scouting in general is losing steam in American culture — kids today have so many other opportunities, and there are so many other things to do. The idea of everyone wearing identical paramilitary outfits while pledging to be clean and courteous just seems so hopelessly quaint and irrelevant.
I know when I was in middle school, nothing got you branded as a big LOSER faster than wearing a scouting uniform to school. So I think this decision is just a reflection of the demise of scouting in general. People will raise a stink and make a big hoo-hah, I’m sure the right-wingers will want to enroll their kids in one of the many religious/conservative alternatives to the Boy Scouts but all in all, the decline of scouting will continue because it’s not 1950 anymore and kids would rather play on their XBox.
So yes, glad you’re not banning gay youth, something the Scouts never should have done to begin with. But you’re pretty culturally out of touch in general, and I see this as closing the barn door long after the horses escaped.
• New home sales rose 30% in April, reaching near record levels, and prices have risen to near-record levels as well, all signs of a strong economic recovery. Obama is the worst Socialist ever.
• The Ninth Circuit has struck down an Arizona law banning abortions after 20 weeks, calling it unconstitutional because it “deprives the women to whom it applies of the ultimate decision to terminate their pregnancies prior to fetal viability,” and therefore is unconstitutional “under a long line of invariant Supreme Court precedents.”
• Remember Kiera Wilmot, the Florida teen charged with felonies and expelled over a science project gone wrong? She’s been cleared of all charges and given a scholarship to the U.S. Space Academy’s “Space Camp” program, courtesy of a NASA veteran who in high school was accused of starting a forest fire when his science project went wrong.
• Women’s nipples will not be dubbed indecent in North Carolina, at least for now.
• Tesla says it has repaid its federal loan almost 10 years ahead of schedule.
• After just three years, the Great Crane Project has successfully produced the first crane egg in southern Britain in more than 400 years. Cranes are functionally extinct in Britain.
• Britain’s House Of Commons voted to approve same-sex marriage. The House of Lords needs to pass the bill for it to become law.
• The Peace Corps will allow same-sex couples to serve together starting next month.
• Delaware becomes the seventh state to ban shark fins.
• What hellish hairy beast is this?
It’s a “Strawscaper,” a skyscraper covered in “hair” (actually straws) which harness wind energy and turn your typical skyscraper into an urban power plant. This creepy vision brought to you by Swedish design firm Belatchew Labs.
• Another culture-war battle lost for conservatives: Illinois has banned abstinence-only sex ed.
• It’s not all burqas and backseats for Saudi women: meet Raha Mobarak, the first woman from Saudi Arabia to scale Mount Everest.
Good News, Tennesee Edition:
• Tennessee Congress Varmint Rep. Scott DesJarlais has been fined by the Tennessee Board Of Medical Examiners for having sexual affairs with two patients.
• One of the great things about being the next “it” city is that Nashville has become foodie central. I mean geez, I remember when I first moved here the most exotic food you could get was bad Thai. But innovative chefs have been flocking to our fair city over the past few years and now it seems like there’s an exciting new restaurant opening every week. One newcomer is Chef Sean Brock’s Husk, which opens Thursday. We’ll probably be able to get a reservation sometime around Christmas.
• Congratulations to 2012 Brentwood High grad Mark Daniel, recipient of a $100,000 Thiel Foundation fellowship. Daniel will spend two years launching his start-up, StatusHawk. Much is being said about the fellowship’s requirement that recipients leave school for two years to focus on their entrepreneurial ideas, but I don’t see what the big deal is. Mormon missionary kids leave school for two years to do their thing and no one cries bloody murder. Good luck, Mark.
• First Lady Michelle Obama visited our fair city last weekend to deliver the commencement address at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. It was a tremendous thrill for the kids, especially since this will be the only high school commencement address she will give this year. You can hear her speech at the link.
• On a related note, students at Knoxville’s Sarah Moore Greene Elementary School who helped Michelle Obama plant her White House vegetable garden have been invited back to see the results of that hard work and help with the summer harvest.
• Memphis’ infant mortality rate has dropped.
This week’s cool video comes from CNN: Wolf Blitzer was shocked to find an atheist in
a foxhole the Oklahoma tornado rubble. It’s hilarious. Blitzer is taking a lot of flak for his “you gotta thank the Lord” question, but really I think this just shows how trite and cliche American religiosity has become.