More good news for people who like good news

More good news for people who like good news March 7, 2013

Here are a dozen more pieces of good news — a dozen more reasons to celebrate.

1. Take a look as Hans Rosling shows you what 50 years of incredible progress on child mortality looks like.

2. The CFPB has got your back.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday unveiled a new initiative to help the nation’s 37 million former college students who are struggling to pay off a combined $1 trillion in student loans. … CFPB Director Richard Cordray said he is instructing his agency to begin drafting possible proposals aimed at lowering monthly loan payments through refinancing and income-based payment models.

“It is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village — the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying that the way is up.” — E.B. White, “This Is New York”

3. Everybody is filling amicus briefs in support of marriage equality, including:

At least 75 prominent Republicans

Half of Congress

Hundreds of publicly traded companies

NFL players

• the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and a host of others.

4. The Violence Against Women Act has been resurrected, fortified and expanded, and will soon again be law.

5. David Bowie is making music again. And it’s good.

6. Calculated Risk, not always a glass-half-full kind of blog, says it is “clear the housing recovery is ongoing.” And adds: “Housing is historically the best leading indicator for the economy, and this is one of the reasons I think The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

7. Bullies are now up against both Ben Cohen and Emily Bazelton. That’s a formidable duo, and they’re not alone.

8.‘Girls Gone Wild’ video company files for bankruptcy

9. Small-town Mississippi newspaper owner tells homophobes to get bent.

10. Muslims rally to defend free speech rights of anti-Islamic polemicist (NYT link).

As Mr. Hedegaard’s own opinions, a stew of anti-Muslim bile and conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war, came into focus, Denmark’s unity in the face of violence began to dissolve into familiar squabbles over immigration, hate speech and the causes of extremism.

But then something unusual happened. Muslim groups in the country, which were often criticized during the cartoon furor for not speaking out against violence and even deliberately fanning the flames, raised their voices to condemn the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and support his right to express his views, no matter how odious.

… “We Muslims have to find a new way of reacting,” said Qaiser Najeeb, a 38-year-old second-generation Dane whose father immigrated from Afghanistan. “Instead of focusing on the real point, we always get aggressive and emotional. This should change. We don’t defend Hedegaard’s views but do defend his right to speak. He can say what he wants.”

11. Infant born with HIV reported “functionally cured.”

Andrew Sullivan advises caution, noting the import of that qualifier “functionally.” And Jill Filipovic provides some necessary broader context. But still, I’m with The Onion: “Headline With Words ‘HIV Baby’ in It Somehow Turns Out OK.”

12. Look up. Comet Pan-STARRS is doing it’s one-time fly-by starting Friday.

Phil Plait tells us what to look for (or, for those in the southern hemisphere, what you’ll be missing):

It’ll just start to appear over the western hemisphere after sunset around March 8, but it’ll be so low you’ll need a flat horizon, clear skies, a decent pair of binoculars or a telescope, and a bit of good luck to spot it. But over the next few days it’ll get higher and easier to spot. But be ye fairly warned, says I: It will set very rapidly, so if you want to see it you’ll need to be ready at sunset! Due to the geometry of its orbit, it’ll never get more than about 10°-15° degrees above the horizon, about the width of your outstretched hand.

Any time after about March 10 will be good for spotting it, but the best date is Mar. 12, when the very thin crescent new Moon will be close by. That will make the comet easier to find, since the Moon is bigger and more obvious. But even then, binoculars are your friend.

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  • Am I wrong in thinking “Pan-STARRS” sounds like both:

    A) A saturday morning cartoon evildoer from a show I grew up with

    and also

    B) A monster that steals pants

    ? >.< Because that's totally what it sounds like to me.


    Am I wrong in thinking “Pan-STARRS” sounds like both:

    A) A saturday morning cartoon evildoer from a show I grew up with

    Pants-Star of Limbo / Give me the pleats / The inseam / The button-fly / Of PAN-STARR!

  • DorothyD

    The time-lapse data in Rosling’s video shows clearly that decrease in
    child mortality in developing coutries consistently precedes a decrease
    in number of births per woman over the last few decades. That’s a
    well-established fact but it’s interesting to see it play out in a very
    neat graphic. 

    He also has a TED talk here.

  • Lori

    I’m feeling a tiny bit left out of the amicus brief filing. We should file one. All the cool kids are doing it and FSM knows this community supported marriage equality before a whole bunch of the folks that have already filed briefs.

    Just kidding. That’s mostly my way of saying that I once again find myself sort of stunned by the way the tide has turned. I literally didn’t think I’d live to see the day. Obviously SCOTUS may still do the wrong thing, but even if they do it really is just a matter of time.  

  • The thing that absolutely amazes me is the last part, where he breaks out the data on Ethopia; for all intents and purposes, the capital is a developed nation, while the Ogaden region near Somalia is still a developing nation.

    The other really impressive thing is the shifts in South Asia, as China and India were able to reduce infant mortality while also reducing birth rates.

  • banancat

    I actually teared up a little at the first video.  Something about babies not dying just really hits me more than I would expect from some impersonal statistics.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Everybody is filling amicus briefs in support of marriage equality

    This typo makes me smile.

  • SisterCoyote

    This is awesome! Good news is good news, dancing on the ashes of Girls Gone Wild, celebrating beautifully ethical journalism, and reading this all aloud to my news-junkie older sister, much to her and her girlfriend’s delight. This is an awesome post, and despite (or perhaps because of) the ages of backlog of post-and-comment, I am excited about the world.

  • konrad_arflane

    From the NYT article:

    Qaiser Najeeb, a 38-year-old second-generation Dane whose father immigrated from Afghanistan.

    To give an idea of just how bad the immigration debate is in Denmark, Mr. Najeeb would never be called a “second-generation Dane” here. Even in “enlightened” circles, the term is “second-generation immigrant”.

  • Jim Roberts

    We lost a child – every time I see those numbers going up, I think, “Well, that’s at least one less parent who went through what I did,” and that’s an unqualified good.

  • Kirala

     To be fair… Denmark has less incentive than New York to recognize descendants of immigrants as natives. In Denmark, the hegemony is run by natives or those indistinguishable from natives; in America, the hegemony is run by descendants of immigrants.

    “We’re real Americans! Our ancestors have been here for decades Maybe even a few centuries! Come on, it’s not like anyone lives where their ancestors were millennia ago!”

  • Kirala

     Days I am tempted to join Disqus in order to gain the ability to edit my html fails…

  • Muslims rally to defend free speech rights of anti-Islamic polemicist (NYT link).

    This seems to be reflective of two trends:

    First, the Western media taking more notice of the fact that surprise, Muslims can be reasonable people!

    Second, Muslims seem to be genuinely realizing that the fact that the West regards a lot of things as being generally of little consequence (such as the ability to say whatever you want and not have someone crash down on you over it) actually works both ways; the same laws that let some anti-immigrant boob fulminate over whatever also let Muslim advocacy groups state their case in the same forum of public opinion.

  • AnonymousSam

    Any reason why you don’t?

  • Kirala

     Editing is the only benefit I’d gain, as far as I’m concerned, and I tend to prefer to avoid joining systems. I don’t have the energy to fight the number of cookies/info gathering/tracking systems I passively acquire, but at least I can limit the number of places I actively join.

  • AnonymousSam

    There’s always using a throwaway e-mail address and a false name for the sign-up. I’m fond of myself.

  • P J Evans

     I signed up, but I don’t normally bother to log in. (If I’m logged in, I have an avatar.)

  •  Like this, an avatar.

  • Kirala

     I’ll bear that in mind if I ever get sick of the inability to edit. At the moment, the editing issue is less of an irritation than keeping track of another throwaway identity. (I tend to keep a few in rotation for sites like Pandora where a consistent identity is needed, but that identity need have no connection to me. Those are unusual sites. Sites where I’m involved in any social aspect, I prefer to keep linked to either Kirala or my RL name for consistency’s sake.)

  • AnonymousSam

    Half-good, half-curious news: Support for gay marriage rights among Catholics in the United States has increased to 54% approval.

    Apparently American Catholics just don’t give a fig for what the Vatican thinks, huh?

  • AnonymousSam

    This one isn’t “good news” per se, but it gave me squishy feelings.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh is THAT why my Sinfest feed stopped updating. Where’s the new feed, do you know?

  • AnonymousSam

     RSS feed? I only see

    I just read it through the main site pages though. The RSS feed doesn’t work in Chrome (for me anyway).

  • EllieMurasaki

    Victoly. I had the cartoonlabs feed. Thanks!

  • AnonymousSam

    Huh, I didn’t know Sinfest was hosted anywhere else. I prodded at the link for the cartoonlabs version and neither of my browsers will even recognize it as an HTML document — they try to download the index page like a file. That’s probably a bad sign.

  •  Chrome needs a plugin to view RSS feeds. It’s probably easier to use Google Reader (Especially since I at least never found an rss reader plugin for chrome that I particularly liked)

  • AnonymousSam

    Figures. I switched to Chrome because I wanted something more secure than Internet Explorer, but it sure hasn’t done me many favors in terms of utility.

  • And now, they’ve just announced that Google Reader will be going bye-bye. Start looking again.

  • EllieMurasaki

    They wait WHAT? No more Google Reader? Why?

  • (I really, really hate Disqus’s new e-mail thing.)

    “Declining usage.”

  • Fuck. It turns out that there is literally no replacement for Google Reader anywhere on the web. The closest I can find is a pay service that offers most but not all of the features I want. There is one that some people say is a good replacement, but it’s tagged as a social networking site, and therefore throws up the big scary “The IT Department is watching you try to go to blocked sites” screen at work.