Lots of good news today, and I’m gonna be busy, so enjoy and catch you on the other side.
• The Philippine government signed a landmark peace deal with a major Muslim rebel group, putting to rest a four decade-long deadly conflict.
• The World Health Organization says polio has been eradicated from India, which just five years ago accounted for almost half the world’s polio cases.
• Obamacare enrollment tops 6 million just shy of the deadline — and the actual number is likely higher, as the 6 million figure doesn’t include those who signed up off the exchanges. Considering the obstruction, misinformation, and outright lies the right has thrown up trying to make this program a big failure, I’d say that’s pretty good.
• New Medicare rules will pay for physical therapy and nursing care for people with chronic diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
• This one should have been a no-brainer, but I’ll take it: SCOTUS ruled in United States v. Castleman that misdemeanor domestic abuse convictions can legally prevent people from having guns.
• A U.S. District Court has upheld California’s shark fin ban.
• Despite an odious state law clearly designed to shut down clinics offering abortion services, Planned Parenthood of San Antonio has raised $3.5 million towards a new facility that will offer all women’s healthcare services, including abortion, that meets the state’s restrictive requirements. Take that, Texas anti-choicers.
• Hyundai unveils its 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered car for $499/month.
• Love it:
• A new study shows autism begins long before birth, in the womb. But by all means, continue to bring back long-ago controlled diseases by refusing to vaccinate your kids. Stupid people.
• Our awesome hippie Pope has replaced the “Bling Bishop,” making his temporary expulsion permanent.
• An appeals court has ruled that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie broke the law when he pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine state cap-and-trade system launched in 2008.
• A “sweetheart” pollution deal proposed last summer that would have allowed Duke Energy to pay a nominal fine for polluting North Carolina’s environment without being cleaning its messes up — privatize the gains! Socialize the losses! — has been withdrawn following Duke’s massive coal ash spill which fouled the Dan River in February of this year. By the way, the Dan River coal ash spill has received zero attention in the national news media. I wonder why?
• Minnesota neighbors who noticed two injured Bald Eagles entangled in each others’ talons took to social media and were able to save the majestic birds.
• A chocolate lab named Buddy survived the horrific mudslide in Washington State.
• Westboro Baptist Church protested a Lorde concert in Kansas City, the group’s first protest since the passing of church leader Fred Phelps. But it’s the message of counterprotestors which grabbed the headlines.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Congratulations to Nashville high school senior Jack Rayson, one of just eight students in the U.S. to receive the Portfolio Gold Medal from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. You can read his short story at the link.
• Someone has been performing random acts of kindness at Dyersburg fast food restaurants.
• Memphis is moving forward with “green lanes” — bike lanes protected from car traffic.
This week’s cool video is one you’ve probably already seen but I just could not stop watching firefighters rescue a construction worker from a burning building in Houston. Also heads’ up, the video is amateur, caught by workers across the street and the commentary is maybe best turned off. Or not, you be the judge: