Some good news to kick off the weekend. Catch y’all later.
• Bank of America will refund customers $727 million and pay an additional $45 million in fines over illegal credit card practices, like deceiving customers into signing up for identity theft and credit monitoring services, going back to the year 2000.
• Private employers are not, in fact, dropping their employee insurance benefit as Republicans fearmongered they would. In fact, according to a Rand survey, the number of people getting employer-sponsored insurance has surged.
• Related: Well, well! Not everyone is running away from Obamacare. Check out this ad for U.S. Senator Mark Begich, D-Alaska:
• A San Antonio, Texas, district court has dismissed a complaint made by noted liar and assclown James O’Keefe against grassroots voter registration group Battlground Texas, with the special prosecutor saying this of O’Keefe’s “evidence”:
The special prosecutor’s report ultimately found the content of O’Keefe’s video to be “little more than a canard,” and “particularly unprofessional.”
This is standard for O’Keefe’s laughably-named “Project Veritas,” which has become little more than a credibility destroyer for anyone stupid enough to fall for their tricks. Also: has anyone traced who’s funding this lie factory?
• Students at Washington University in St. Louis have staged protests and sit-ins to pressure the university into cutting ties with Peabody Energy, the world’s top private coal corporation. Read about it here and here.
• A Federal judge has ruled that MoveOn.org’s billboard criticizing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for not expanding Medicaid can stay put.
• SCOTUS declined to hear an appeal from a wedding photographer who refused to shoot a same-sex wedding.
• President Obama signed two Executive Orders that will help female workers discover if they are victims of wage discrimination.
• Maryland lawmakers raised the minimum wage to $10.10/hour by 2018 and decriminalized possession of less than 10 grams of pot.
• The Mexican town of San Luis Rio gets its river back — albeit briefly.
• The U.S. Post Office will issue a Harvey Milk stamp in May.
• A Bay Area jogger who was nearly mowed down in a crosswalk by a motorist found a note of apology taped the utility pole by that crosswalk the next day. Y’all that is just so California.
• IKEA has made its first major investment in wind energy in the U.S. by purchasing the Hoopeston wind farm in Illinois. When the energy producer goes on-line in 2015 it is expected to generate 380 GWh of electricity annually, or 130% of the electricity used by IKEA’s U.S. stores and 10% of its global electricity usage.
• Talk about snail mail: a fisherman found a 100-year-old message in a bottle in the Baltic Sea.
• The FDA has issued labeling guidelines for honey. This is great news because I’m pretty sure I’ve bought some stuff that’s sweetened with corn syrup even though the label said honey. It just had that funky corn-syrupy taste and that I do not want!
• The Archbishop of Atlanta is selling his brand-new $2.2 million mansion after receiving criticism for his lavish spending.
• A Federal judge in Ohio ruled the state must recognize legal same-sex marriages performed out of state, saying failure to do so is unconstitutional.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis celebrated its grand reopening following a $28 million renovation.
• Zoey the pet goat can stay in Nashville’s Woodbine neighborhood, where she enjoyed “neighborhood mascot” status before running afoul (ahem) of Metro Animal Control officers.
• The Koch Bros.’ Americans For Prosperity got handed a rare defeat in the Tennessee House when their school board lobbying bill died.
• Bittersweet: the people of Elizabethton have rallied to support the newspaper carriers and newspaper employees who were laid off after the town’s newspaper, the Elizabethton Star, was purchased by an out of state chain and the inevitable layoffs began. The paper had been family-owned for 59 years.
This week’s cool video: It’s a hilarious campaign ad for Melissa Blackburn, a Democrat running for General Sessions Judge in Nashville. I confess, I’ve had a hard time getting past the “Blackburn” thing myself. But this had me cracking up: