Good News Friday

Bumper crop of good news from Tennessee this week. Don’t know why … it’s just what crossed my radar. Enjoy your weekend!

• Set your alarms: tomorrow will be the best Pi Day ever!

• A jury has decided that “Blurred Lines” really is a rip-off of a Marvin Gaye song. Yes, fuck that song. By the way, this is also a piece of Tennessee good news as the lawyer representing the plaintiffs is based in Nashville.

• Body-shaming is no longer a thing on Facebook.

• Nationwide, gun ownership is actually declining. It’s actually fewer gun loons buying more guns. That explains so much about the push to mainstream that which should never be normalized — mainly, carrying your gun everywhere. Eagerly look forward to the day when these people are all put out of business.

• Related: gun carry permits dropping in Minnesota.

• Sorry, wingnuts: the best state for business is California:

Since January 2011, when Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr., became governor for the third time, the 63 publicly traded California companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 produced the best total return among the five states with the largest populations. California companies in the S&P 500 delivered returns of 134 percent; the closest big-state challenger was Florida, whose S&P companies had an 82 percent return, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Texas-based companies delivered 52 percent during the period.

Companies domiciled in California also outperformed the S&P 500 during the past four years by a margin of 23 percent. Among the California industries making the state No. 1 in business are health care, returning 267 percent, consumer staples (302 percent), specialty pharma (235 percent), energy (30 percent) and biotech (333 percent).

Maybe high taxes and strong regulations don’t daunt business leaders if well spent and well aimed. Places that prepare for big 21st-century challenges such as urbanization, climate change and globalization are likely to be the most successful. California companies lead the U.S. in confronting these risks with superior results for shareholders and bondholders. The corporate performance coincides with growing confidence in the state under Governor Brown, now in his fourth term. That’s shown by the biggest four-year drop in the cost of state credit default swaps, a kind of insurance against bondholders’ losses and a way to speculate on creditworthiness.

Sorry, Texas and Tennessee. You lose.

• The result of the recent media attention to police shootings? A nationwide change in how these incidents are being investigated.

• After 30 years in prison for murder, Cathy Woods has been exonerated by DNA evidence. This part really gets me:

The charges against Woods, originally brought in 1980, were based on a confession that prosecutors now evidently believe was false.

[…]

Woods made the confession that led to her imprisonment in 1979 while she was a patient at a psychiatric hospital in Louisiana, claiming that she killed “a girl named Michelle,” the Reno-Gazette journal reports. She later recanted, and now says she doesn’t remember making the confession, her public defender Maizie Pusich said.

“I’m told it was a product of wanting to get a private room,” Pusich told the AP. “She was being told she wasn’t sufficiently dangerous to qualify, and within a short period she was claiming she had killed a woman in Reno.”

Cheese and rice, people. How on earth is a “confession” made at a psychiatric hospital sufficient evidence for a conviction? Thank God she wasn’t executed.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• A bill working its way through the state legislature would require all Tennessee law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.

• Efforts to end gun background checks on some purchases and legalize open carry without a permit have failed.

• Go you chicken fat, go! MTSU agricultural science team drives cross country on used chicken fat and cooking oil from the university’s kitchen. All hail the “Southern Fried Fuel Expedition.”

• Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting gay marriage.

• Successive cold winters have been good news for East Tennessee’s hemlocks, which have suffered from a destructive Asian insect called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. The hard winters have taken a toll on the pests.

• Three Tennessee plants get Energy Star certification.

• Violent crime is down 14% in Jackson.

• A Hamilton County circuit court judge (who happens to be a former chair of the Hamilton County GOP) has ruled that the state’s cap on non-economic damages is unconstitutional. This was Gov. Haslam’s shining achievement which was supposed to spur economic activity, under the ridiculous notion that companies don’t operate here because of “frivolous lawsuits.” Umm … no.

This week’s cool video, courtesy of Snoop: He wants you to unload your investments from gun manufacturers:

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Good News Friday

  1. Jim in Memphis

    “Among the California industries making the state No. 1 in business are health care, returning 267 percent, consumer staples (302 percent), specialty pharma (235 percent), energy (30 percent) and biotech (333 percent).”

    Interesting that you are championing businesses that make their money from healthcare, medicine, and healthcare related products as three of the top five industries in California.

      • Jim in Memphis

        I thought you were against people profiting off of the healthcare industry. These returns indicate profits above and beyond the costs of providing for the healthcare expenses of the people.

      • Health insurance, yes. Not the healthcare industry as a whole. As a general rule, I’m against people profiting off the misery of others and exploiting people in need. I’m against a system that prevents the poor and vulnerable from accessing medical care. That means health insurance companies that take people’s premiums then deny them coverage or cap their coverage when catastrophic things happen, or sell them shitty plans that don’t cover anything, or deny them coverage at all because it’s not profitable for them. I’m against a political system that care more about the profits of pharmaceutical companies than the need to make drugs affordable, and therefore does stupid things like make it illegal for Medicare to bargain directly with pharmaceutical companies for drugs. Because that would lower the price for everybody and we can’t have that.

        I don’t think I’ve ever said I’m in favor of nationalizing pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, medical device manufacturers, etc. I’ve said, repeatedly, that we’d do better to have some kind of universal health insurance, be it Medicare For All or something along those lines. At the very least I felt we needed to have some kind of public option, because I said in forcing citizens to buy a product from private, for-profit companies without a public option, the ACA technically met the definition of fascism.

        However it’s interesting that you brought up healthcare because California was one of the states to embrace Obamacare with Cover California. And it seems Republican fearmongering about how Obamacare would decimate the healthcare industry seem to have been completely unfounded. The healthcare industry in California is doing very well indeed, as you point out.

      • ThresherK

        Not one of (even) your better attempts, Jim.

        SoBe, I’m curious how the escalating boom in elder-care, and the growth of its largely female workforce, can be pooh-poohed away when it comes to getting these workers better treatment.

        (For evidence I’m only going by the staff at various nursing homes, adult daycare, and assisted care living facilities provided for my inlaws, my time working at a senior rehab facility, and my wife’s work at a senior housing place. Correct me as needed.)

        Should this not happen, I for one welcome the “invisible hand of the marketplace” to reaffirm this as “woman’s work”, and am quite willing to pay visiting nurses and “companions and helpers” who care for me in my (decades-away) dotage the going rate: Car mileage reimbursement and meal money.

      • Same way it’s always been ignored. Low-wage jobs, often filled by immigrants, with little if any union representation. It’s easy to treat those kinds of workers like shit when they can’t have a collective voice. Same as it ever was.

        In-home healthcare workers as well. My sister worked in that field, briefly. It’s brutal work. Low pay, long hours. California once again led the way by passing a law giving overtime pay to these workers, basically expanding on a Dept. of Labor regulation to include even more workers. That act was effectively nullified by a recent court case brought by industry groups.

  2. I don’t know how much gas Jerry has in his tank but wouldn’t a Brown v Walker presaidential contest be a gas.

    • Gosh, how many times did he run for president back in the 70s? I can’t remember. Twice, maybe? I think he’s a little too old, he’s nearly 80 years old.

      I’d rather see Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Walker.

      But you know, California always does really well under Democratic governors. Remember how Ah-nuld was supposed to be the great hope? He left the state budget in a shambles. Pete Wilson deregulated the energy sector, that was a huge disaster. Republican ideas just don’t work in a huge, complex economy. Might be OK for a small town in East Dumbfuck somewhere but not good for the world’s 8th largest economy.

    • Brown has ruled out a run in 2016; he wants to concentrate on doing his job rather than looking for another one.

  3. democommie

    “East Dumbfuck”

    Jimbo(b)’s hometown.

  4. democommie

    Don’t know that it qualifies as “Good news” but charges have been filed in the shooting death of he Iraqi immigrant in Dallas:

    http://news.yahoo.com/dallas-police-arrest-suspect-killing-iraqi-man-snow-131805096.html

    As soon as I saw the name of the guy charged, I googled it.

    Strange, he’s not white, who’da thunk it!

    When I see a white person charged for the same crime, found guilty and given the same sentence, I’ll think that Justice is blind.