WITH A KNITTING NEEDLE! JO-ANN DOESN’T PLAY WHEN IT COMES TO ADVERTISING AND CIRCULATION, FOLKS: “Jo-Ann Stores has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the Tampa Tribune that alleges the newspaper fraudulently inflated its circulation figures. In its 10-page complaint filed Tuesday in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Jo-Ann accused the Tribune of two counts of fraud and one count of unjust enrichment for stating that its circulation exceeded 200,000 in ZIP codes where the retailer advertised. Citing an ‘inadvertent disclosure by an employee of the Tampa Tribune’ in late 2013, Jo-Ann said the newspaper's circulation figures were ‘fraudulently and grossly exaggerated and inflated by tens of thousands of customers per week.’ John A. Boudet, a lawyer for Jo-Ann Stores, declined to comment about what other evidence the retailer might have, stating that ‘we're not going to comment on litigation.’” (via Tampa Bay Times)
FURTHER EROSION UPON THE SANCTITY OF YOUR PRECIOUS CHURCH MARRIAGE, BIGOTS! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: “A federal judge on Thursday evening declared that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, in the strongest legal reversal yet of restrictive marriage amendments that exist throughout the South. ‘Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal,’ wrote Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Norfolk. ‘Surely this means all of us.’ The ruling, which overturned a constitutional amendment adopted by Virginia voters in 2006 as well as previous laws, also said that Virginia must respect same-sex marriages that were carried out legally in other states. But opponents of same-sex marriage have vowed to appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, and Judge Wright Allen stayed the execution of Thursday’s ruling pending the appeal. This week, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled that the state must honor same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, but the ruling did not address Kentucky’s own ban on such marriages. (via New York Times)
WHILE OUR ATTENTION WAS DIVERTED TO BENT WHALE FINS, THE DOLPHINS KEEP DYING FROM THE BP SPILL, SIGH: Missing teeth. Lung disease. Extreme hormone levels. Four years after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, gushing some 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the region is rife with death and disease, according to a major U.S. study. The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first of its kind since the devastating spill. ‘I've never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals,’ lead author Lori Schwacke of the Medical University of South Carolina noted. ‘There is disease in any wild population. We just haven't seen animals that were in such bad shape as what we saw in Barataria Bay.’ Researchers captured 32 dolphins from the bay, a 24-km stretch near southeastern Louisiana, and deemed half of them to be seriously ill or dying. (via Huffington Post)
WE BUILD THEM UP JUST TO TEAR THEM DOWN? OR IS TEXAS JUST WEIRD LIKE THAT?: “For the past year, state Sen. Wendy Davis looked like Texas' great Democratic hope: a talented, driven woman standing up to conservative creeps in the inner sanctum of red-state red meat. She vaulted to fame—and became the object of furious right-wing sexism—after singlehandedly filibustering several draconian anti-abortion measures, which passed anyway, but parts of which were subsequently judged unconstitutional. But her run for governor has led her to jettison progressive values over the side of her slow-moving campaign ship with every new incoming wave. The nadir of this downward opportunistic lurch appeared to have occurred last week, when Davis came out in favor of permitting Texans to openly pack heat, bringing her in line with the Lone Star State's gun-nuttery caucus. What could be lower than that triangulation? How about selling out your No. 1 issue? Such is the apparent gist of her most recent interview with the Dallas Morning News—whose headline, ‘Wendy Davis backs 20-week abortion ban that defers to women,’ pretty much sums up the increasing cognitive hollowness of Davis' approach to campaigning for public office: OK, let's limit women's reproductive rights, but let's do it in a way that ‘defers’ to them!” (via Gawker)
THE SUPER RICH ARE GETTING SUPER RICHER!!! YAY FOR THEM!: As Tim Noah explained, they're mostly executives and bankers. A 2010 study of the top 0.1 percent found that 61 percent of this group is either a banker or an executive/manager another big corporation. The rest are mostly lawyers (7 percent), doctors (6 percent), and real estate people (4 percent). How'd they all get so rich? It wasn't the way the rest of us get rich. It wasn't their wages. It was something else. The richer you are, the more likely your riches come from stocks, not salary. For the three groups graphed above—1 percent, 0.1 percent, and 0.01 percent—capital gains account for 22, 33 and 42 percent (respectively) of their average income. At the very tippy-top of the economy, the 400 richest tax returns analyzed by the IRS take home about 50 percent of their income from capital gains. Practically all the growth in average income at the top comes from stocks. Between 1992 and 2007, the average salary of a top-400 tax return doubled, but average capital gains haul increased 13X. Wages are for normal people. The richest get richer from their investments. (via The Atlantic)
A COUPLE OF SILVER SPOONS!