The holiday last week messed up my schedule and I totally forgot about Good News Friday. Sorry, y’all. Here’s this week’s round-up:
• The labor market showed its strongest hiring in nearly three years, with small businesses accounting for the most new job creation. Also:
Perhaps most encouraging is the monthly jump in worker pay. Average hourly wages rose a stronger-than-forecast 0.4 percent in November, according to the Labor Department. That is the sharpest rise in wage growth in more than a year. The number of hours employees work per week also rose, often a prelude to stronger hiring.
• The minimum wage in Chicago is now $13/hour.
• A Federal appeals court has halted the execution of a severely mentally ill Texas prisoner who, inexplicably (OK, Texas = explicably) was allowed to serve as his own lawyer at his trial. The man is batshit insane, for real:
“But he was deemed fit to stand trial, and he was allowed to defend himself, dressing in a cowboy costume in court, insisting he was a character from a John Wayne movie,” Wade reported.
This is the death penalty in Texas. What a joke.
• Related: A Republican criminal appeals judge in Texas has called for the state to abolish the death penalty.
• Congratulations to 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis, named Sports Illustrated’s SportsKid Of The Year.
• The City of San Francisco became the nation’s first to pass a retail worker’s Bill of Rights.
• Our Awesome Hippie Pope prayed in a mosque.
• You ever hear of the Olive Garden “Neverending Pasta Pass“? Utah’s Matt Tribe scored one and used it to feed random strangers and the homeless.
• Colorado’s Roane Plateau may be protected from oil and gas drilling.
• The Los Angeles City Council makes a stand for gun sense:
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday gave tentative approval for an ordinance that would require ammunition sellers to electronically report sales to police.
The city council also ordered the City Attorney’s Office to draft an ordinance that would require gun owners to store firearms in a locked container or disable them with trigger locks.
• The last remaining clinic providing abortion services to women in Cincinnati has obtained a variance and will be allowed to remain open. The clinic was threatened with shuttering after Ohio’s Republican governor slipped anti-choice legislation into the budget last year, which would require abortion clinics have transfer agreements with private hospitals. From the link:
The variance will allow the clinic to have agreements with doctors who have privileges at area hospitals in case of emergency. Most private hospitals are run by religious organizations that refuse to enter into a transfer agreement with abortion clinics based on their beliefs.
Assholes. I have a huge problem with religious hospitals. I’ll get to that in another post.
• Dale Scott became the first active male referee or umpire in pro sports to came out as gay.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Here’s a switch: they demolished a strip mall for a historic site. Usually, it’s the other way around here in Middle Tennessee.
• Lebanon’s Little Seed Farm, which makes organic herb and goat milk skin care products, won a $25,000 grant from retail giant West Elm as part of the latter’s “We love LOCAL” small business grant program.
This week’s cool video is from HBO’s The Newsroom, a show I’m actually not hugely fond of but this interview about climate change pretty much mirrors where I stand on the issue. Maybe not a “good news” item by any means but if you appreciate dark humor you may enjoy it. Have a good week!