Lots of good news this week! And probably quite a lot that I missed, too. Enjoy!
• President Obama is the worst lame duck president ever: this week he announced plans to restore diplomatic ties to Cuba. Republicans are going apeshit but hey, they can always go out and make us some new enemies, right? It’s what they’re best at. On a related note, American Alan Gross was released after five years in a Cuban prison.
• Reversing a Bush Administration rule, transgender workers will now be protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
• Saying it’s “too precious for us to be putting out to the highest bidder,” President Obama has blocked oil and gas drilling in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
• New York state will pursue a ban on fracking.
• The Vatican has concluded its investigation of American nuns begun under Pope Benedict XVI and it seems they are in the clear. This was the weirdest story ever.
• The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision stating Arizona must give driver’s licenses to young immigrants. Another setback for Arizona’s immigrant-bashing governor.
• A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the gun Adam Lanza used to slaughter 26 innocent people at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
• Walmart owes workers $188 million in overtime pay, says the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
• Over objections of the NRA, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General.
• Tucked into the Cromnibus bill was an item which effectively eliminated the federal government’s longstanding ban on medical marijuana.
• Over a dozen people have been arrested in connection with the deadly meningitis outbreak from 2012 that started at a compounding pharmacy.
• A criminal complaint has been filed against Bush Administration officials in regards to the use of torture.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Nashville and Chattanooga have joined the Cities For Citizenship coalition, which seeks to increase citizenship among immigrant members of the population who are eligible.
• Gov. Haslam has agreed to expand Medicaid in the state. Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey are pretending their plan is something more principled and conservative than every other plan out there but I just don’t see it, and neither do Tea Partiers, who are apoplectic:
• The Beacon Center of Tennessee
“The Beacon Center of Tennessee firmly opposes Governor Haslam’s move to expand Medicaid and the reach of Obamacare’s tentacles into our state. As our recent study with State Budget Solutions and Federalism in Action exposed, President Obama’s Medicaid expansion would cost our state’s economy $3.6 billion, while causing more than 67,000 Tennesseans to lose their jobs.”
• Americans for Prosperity Tennessee
“We’re disappointed Governor Haslam has decided to try implementing more of ObamaCare in Tennessee, even as many of his colleagues in other states have held the line and protected their constituents from this disastrous law. Hybrid plans in other states have proven to be little more than expansion by another name, and our volunteers plan on engaging aggressively, as that is likely to be the case here in Tennessee.”
• Wingnut state Rep. Rick Womick’s not getting anywhere with his abortion ultrasound bill.
• There is bipartisan legislation to end racial profiling by state law enforcement.
• A Nashville singer won The Voice. Congratulations, Craig Wayne Boyd! Okay, I don’t watch that show so I have no idea what kind of singer Boyd is but I’m gonna guess he swings country.