I don’t know why but this week had very little good news from Tennessee. Maybe I missed the good stuff. Certainly there was plenty of good news from the rest of the world.
• Lots of good news from Tuesday’s elections, showing Democrats are competitive in local races as well as national ones:
1- New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment raising the state’s minimum wage.
2- Virginia voters rejected Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli in favor of former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, and Democrat Ralph Northam easily floated to victory over the certifiably insane GOP wacko E.W. Jackson. Pretty sure neither of them were conservative enough, amiright?
3- Bill DeBlasio becomes New York City’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years.
4- Democrats swept the ballot in Washington State’s Whatcom County, issuing a stunning defeat to Big Coal. The election was seen as a referendum over a coal export terminal proposed for Western Washington.
5- Pro-union Martin Walsh wins Boston’s mayoral race.
7- The billionaire Koch Brothers were thwarted in their attempt to unseat three incumbents in a local Iowa race.
9- In Colorado, fracking bans pass in Boulder, Ft. Collins and Lafayette counties.
CBS’ Lara Logan admits 60 Minutes screwed up in its Benghazi report:
• The 2009 bill regulating abusive credit card companies is working.
• The FDA has moved to ban trans fat, linked to heart disease.
• Marriage equality passes in the Illinois House.
• A treasure trove of masterpieces seized by the Nazis from their Jewish owners were discovered in a Munich apartment:
The 1,500 pieces include works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Klee. According to the German magazine, Focus, which broke the story, their total value is in the region of 1 billion Euros.
The works are believed to have belonged to Jewish collectors and considered “degenerate” before World War II and to have been confiscated by the Nazis. Many were considered lost until now. They were purchased during the 1930s and 1940s by the German art dealer Hildebrandt Gurlitt, who was an associate of the Nazi leadership.
• Cool: a helium-powered hard drive which boosts storage capacity 50% while using 23% less power. I kinda remember reading that the world was running out of helium. Maybe we need to stop wasting this stuff on birthday balloons.
• The U.S. Senate passed ENDA, the anti-GLBT discrimination bill. Now it’s on to the House, where the bill will probably die.
• States must provide benefits to same-sex partners of men and women serving in the National Guard, says the Dept. of Defense.
• Tanzania gets its first pediatric heart surgeon.
• The love and compassion displayed by Pope Francis continues to amaze me. Here he is kissing a seriously disfigured man he’d seen from his motorcade:
• Three Oklahoma inmates — one a convicted murderer, one a sex offender — wrote a program which might save the state $20 million by tracking inmate meals. It also revealed pricing irregularities by the prison’s food supplier, Sysco.
• Students of the California theater teacher who was wounded in last week’s LAX shooting rampage protested gun violence with walkout.
• Giant cruise ships are now banned from Venice, a victory for environmentalists.
• A Kansas judge won’t dismiss the harassment charge against an anti-choice protestor/pastor who has been stalking the woman who opened the state’s first abortion clinic since Dr. George Tiller was murdered.
• Union thug/gummint employee saves a woman from jumping off a bridge.
• EU regulators fine six banks a record $2 billion+ in Libor rate rigging scandal.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• An atheist congregation opens its doors in Nashville.
• This might be damning with faint praise, but Tennessee schools are the most improved in the nation.
This week’s cool video: Here’s what happens when you have rocket scientists carve pumpkins: