Here’s a smattering of good news for you … Enjoy!
• SCOTUS ROUND-UP: The court rejected an appeal on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin. SCOTUS also blocked Wisconsin’s Voter ID law. And the court rejected an appeal by an Ohio public school teacher who was fired for insubordination after teaching creationism in the science classroom and refusing to remove religious materials.
• This would be a shocker if it’s actually true: “Obama Might Unilaterally Close Guantanamo.”
• My old stomping grounds have been declared a National Monument: 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains, including Mt. Baldy and Wrightwood, are included in the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
• An intellectually disabled, functionally illiterate death row inmate in Texas was released from prison after evidence of his innocence was found. His original team of “attorneys” failed to uncover evidence that Manuel Velez was 1,000 miles away in Tennessee at the time of the crime. The ACLU represented Velez. And no, this is not proof that “the system works”:
Velez’s initial court-appointed attorneys failed to discover that evidence, and “after his conviction, Manuel received the death penalty, largely because a state prison expert presented false testimony to persuade the jury that Manuel would pose a danger to society if given life without parole instead,” the ACLU said.
Anyone who thinks America’s death penalty system is anything but unjust needs to have their head examined.
• U.S. cars and trucks are more fuel efficient than ever before.
• Could you pass this 8th grade exam from 1912? I aced the English, geography and history portions. I completely failed math. No surprise there.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• A hiker found an entire abandoned town in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
• End of an era: Oak Ridge’s K-31, a Cold War-era uranium enrichment plant, has been demolished.
This week’s cool video: from the aforementioned abandoned town in the Smokies, I bring you Tennessee Wonderland: