• By a vote of 400-175 the British House of Commons voted in favour of marriage equality. (I’m so pleased with this vote that I’ll honour them by leaving that u in favour.)
• The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rolled out new rules for the mortgage servicing industry. I’m not sure I understand the twists and turns of all the shenanigans now forbidden, but I think that’s because they were confusing by design. When you say your prayers at night, remember to say thanks for the CFPB.
• “The number of underwater borrowers fell by almost 4 million last year to 7 million … and could drop to 4 million within 2 years.”
• “Military service members discharged under ban on homosexuality to receive full separation pay.”
• “The Transportation Security Administration has ended a contract with the Hawthorne-based manufacturer of a controversial full-body scanner used to screen passengers.”
It took me quite a while to realize that Rapiscan — with a short a — was actually the name of the manufacturer of these things and not a nickname assigned by travelers disturbed by their intrusiveness.
• “Under Chicago’s new law, companies convicted of wage theft could have their business licenses revoked.”
Employers have been ripping off low-wage workers on average about $51 a week. And yes, when powerful rich people take money from powerless poor people, it’s still stealing. This is how most stealing works. “Behind every great fortune …”
• “The US put in 13 gigawatts of new wind energy capacity in 2012.”
• “If the world delivers, then we will eradicate polio within six years.”
• Five religious denominations have endorsed the National Organization for Marriage’s efforts to stop marriage equality in Illinois. But Illinois has a lot more than five religious denominations:
… It reveals how few denominations have signed on to oppose civil marriage in the state. Our opponents are the Catholic hierarchy (lay Catholics support equality), Mormons, Muslims, and two Protestant denominations: the churches that left the Episcopal Church when she became pro-gay, and the smaller of the two major Lutheran churches (the other blesses same-sex unions).
It can no longer be said that the battle over civil marriage is between the gay community and people of faith. Far too many in the religious community have either disengaged or defected to our side.
• Malala Yousufzai: “I’m alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and today I can speak and I’m getting better day by day.”
For all of her adult life and much of her childhood, Megan Phelps-Roper picketed funerals, condemned gays, and said she earnestly believed that most Americans were destined for hell.
But on Wednesday, the 27-year-old granddaughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps publicly said goodbye to all that.
“We know that we’ve done and said things that hurt people,” Megan and her sister Grace wrote in a statement announcing their split from the church. “Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. We wish it weren’t so, and regret that hurt.”
Thankfully, [Michael] Garcia wasn’t fired. And as soon as his story gained national notoriety, well-meaning people began sending him donations and cards.
He could have easily held on to the money, but instead decided to donate the $1,145 he’d received to The Rise School of Houston, where the young boy from the restaurant goes to school.