Busy, busy week. Halloween was a mess here, lots of wind and rain — power lines down all over town, trees down, etc. It was a big ol’ trick from Mother Nature this year.
Hope everyone else fared better. Here’s some good news:
• The U.S. posted its smallest budget deficit in five years. I blame Obama.
• Scientists discover a new species of dolphin in Australia.
• A member of the 1% gives his peers a much-needed lecture on income inequality:
Instead of approaching the tax reform argument from the standpoint of what an enormous percentage of the overall income taxes the top 1% pay, consider how much of the national income you’ve been privileged to make. In the United States, the share of total pre-tax income accruing to the top 1% has more than doubled from 10% in the 1970s to 20% today. Admit that you, and I and others in the magnificent “1%” grew up in a gilded age of credit, where those who borrowed money or charged fees on expanding financial assets had a much better chance of making it to the big tent than those who used their hands for a living. Yes I know many of you money people worked hard as did I, and you survived and prospered where others did not. A fair economic system should always allow for an opportunity to succeed. Congratulations. Smoke that cigar, enjoy that Chateau Lafite 1989. But (mostly you guys) acknowledge your good fortune at having been born in the ‘40s, ‘50s or ‘60s, entering the male-dominated workforce 25 years later, and having had the privilege of riding a credit wave and a credit boom for the past three decades. You did not, as President Obama averred, “build that,” you did not create that wave. You rode it. And now it’s time to kick out and share some of your good fortune by paying higher taxes or reforming them to favor economic growth and labor, as opposed to corporate profits and individual gazillions.
Don’t hear that from the billionaire class too often.
• Kraft says it will remove the yellow dye from some of its macaroni & cheese.
This is somewhat good news for people who eat that crap but I have to say: macaroni and cheese is the easiest thing in the world to make yourself, and it tastes a gazillion times better than the mess of toxic goop Kraft packages as “macaroni and cheese.” I’ve got my mom’s recipe and it’s freaking awesome. I wouldn’t go near that Kraft crap even during the zombie apocalypse. That shit is evil.
• You can now use personal electornic devices on your entire flight, as long as it’s set to “airplane mode.” See, I always knew a Kindle wouldn’t crash an airplane!
• Boston’s proposed new zoning regulations would require builders adapt to climate change.
• What a dog’s tail-wagging really means. Thank you, science!
• Eight states have formed a coalition to foster the growth of the EV market:
Measures on the table include developing charging stations with streamlined payments, simplifying rules for installing chargers (in public places and homes), and setting building codes that would require the installation of charging stations. The states are also hoping to include traffic incentives for electric car drivers, such as permission to drive in high occupancy lanes, reduced tolls, and preferential parking. Some states are also considering leading by example, by buying electric cars for their public service fleets.
Tennessee was an early EV pilot state and a few years in, the Leaf is everywhere. It doesn’t even raise an eyebrow any more.
• The president of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute says it’s time to stop declaring war on the social safety net.
• Related: conservative author/campaign finance reform advocate Peter Schweizer has published an expose of the political grift machine.
• Justice Sandra Day O’Connor presided over a same-sex marriage in the lawyers lounge of the U.S. Supreme Court.
• A rare pink hippo has been spotted in Zambia.
• This seems like a good idea: the ability to pump gas, even when there’s no electricity. If you’ve ever been through a major disaster like an earthquake or hurricane, this can alleviate a lot of the post-event panic.
• Ellis Island has reopened a year after Hurricane Sandy, though it still shows some storm damage.
• Germany becomes Europe’s first country to allow parents of “intersex” babies to leave the gender blank on birth certificates. The idea is to prevent parents from feeling pressured to assign a gender to babies born with characteristics of both sexes.
• Feminists in Israel announce plan to implement the UN Security Council’s Rule 1325, which calls for women to be included in all decision-making bodies, especially those related to peace and security. Israel joined 43 other countries in implementing the landmark resolution.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• The judge in that infamous “Messiah” baby name case was cited for “inappropriate religious bias.”
• Cherokee descendents in Nashville have discovered the remains of a 190-year-old toll bridge which once crossed the Cumberland River.
• Pretty sad when this is the headline, but it made me laugh anyway:
“Nashville woman: Obamacare 800-number worked immediately”
Well alrighty then.
This week’s cool video comes courtesy of the Ohio State University marching band: