Busy week! Best news of all: I finished this certification program thingie I’ve been doing since the beginning of April. Sailed through and got an A- for my final grade. I’m very proud of myself! Onward to gainful employment….
But enough about me. Some good news that’s not about me follows:
ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT (AP) — Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.
• Related: Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he wouldn’t worship “a homophobic God.”
• The Mexican state of Colima allows same-sex civil unions.
• A deal has been reached on student loan rates and a bill has been sent to President Obama.
• The U.S. Senate approved Byron Todd Jones to head the ATF, the agency’s first permanent director in seven years and the first-ever nominee to receive Senate confirmation.
• The number of jobless claims reaches its lowest level since January 2008. Imagine what our unemployment would be if we weren’t laying off public sector workers right and left? Boggles the mind.
• The Institute For Supply Management reports continued expansion in the manufacturing sector for the second straight month. U.S. manufacturing has reached its highest levels since July 2011:
• Cumulus Radio reportedly will dump Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity by the end of the year.
• Trial run for groundbreaking energy storage technology gets underway in the UK.
• A “Pastafarian” in the Czech Republic won the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his official government ID.
• North Carolina’s state legislature has been a bastion of prehistoric, recidivist, right-wing reactionary legislation lately. But a miracle happened and the state House actually passed a bill allowing emergency responders to break dogs out of hot cars.
• A jury has awarded an Oregon woman $18.6 million after she found massive errors in her Equifax report and couldn’t get the credit reporting company to fix them. If that sounds excessive to you, you’ve never tried to deal with these assholes.
The bad information included incorrect name and Social Security number information on her record, as well as debts that didn’t belong to her. She was unable to obtain credit while trying to help her disabled brother, and learned about the errors when she was turned down for a loan in 2009. Her legal complaint details the eight times she tried to straighten the problems out, and Equifax just sort of shrugged.
Honestly, I despise the whole credit reporting/credit score scam. Waaay too many people have access to this information and use it for nefarious purposes. For example, why should a prospective employer access a person’s credit report? If people didn’t need money they wouldn’t be applying for your crappy job in the first place.
• A four-year-old African-American girl in New Orleans has become a member of Mensa.
• Montana tries socialized medicine, likes it.
• Apparently I’ve been pronouncing “Futura” and “Helvetica” wrong all these years. It’s too late for me, but you can save yourselves here.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Tennessee school kids will be getting fresh fruits and vegetables in their school lunches.
• Engineers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working on a new, “smart” smoke detector. It’s also supposedly more efficient, so expect local loon Rep. Marsha Blackburn to come out against it, the way she has more efficient light bulbs and ceiling fans.
• Students attending classes at Holston Elementary School in Bristol, TN this fall will be greeted with a new, 200-panel solar pavilion which will both generate electricity and serve as a resource for science classes.
• Workers at the Bank of Nashville downtown threw a retirement party for Anthony “Snow” Boston, the Contributor vendor who was stationed at the street corner near their office. The Contributor is an award-winning newspaper run and distributed by the city’s homeless and formerly homeless as a way to earn money. From the story:
When workers at the Bank of Nashville heard he was retiring, they said they had to do something, so they decided to throw a party for Snow.
They printed invitations for him to hand out to his regular customers, and after his shift ended Friday, there was a steady stream of people who came to see him off.
“We’re here five days a week, coming in and out, and Snow is on that corner, rain or shine, with a great big smile, a wave. He just always has something good to say. He just absolutely sets the tone for having a great day, and he’s just been a part of our lives for three years,” said Anne Livingston, with the Bank of Nashville.
That story gave me the warm-fuzzies because a lot of local businesses view the Contributor vendors as a nuisance. Good on the folks at the Bank of Nashville for seeing the person behind the vendor’s apron.
This week’s cool video is courtesy of the Alberta Parks Dept. I love that deer at the end, he’s like, “ewww … smells like bear …”