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.
• 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: