More good news for people who like good news

• 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.”

• “Granddaughters of Westboro Baptist Church founder quit church, apologize for ‘hurt’”

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.”

• “Waiter Who Wouldn’t Serve Family That Insulted Boy With Down Syndrome Didn’t Care If He Got Fired

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.

 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Speaking of women escaping from cults: Jenna Miscavige’s book, Beyond Belief, came out this week. 

  • Dan

    Thank you for this post. I was feeling kind of down today, and this put a smile on my face.

  • SisterCoyote

    This is helpfully distracting from the ~40″ of snow I should be shoveling right now.

    And it’s so, so incredibly awesome to see people walking away from Westboro. Thank God.

  • Fusina

    I hope that Megan and Grace get therapy. They will need it. But I also hope they never lose the free feeling of casting off their chains. Hallelujah and Amen.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    • 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.)

    Only took them ten years longer than us Canuck colonials. (^.^)

    :-P

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, on the housing thing?

    Even the SGS’s charts are showing a bottom-bounce on housing starts, which is good news. But it’s going to be a long road yet and I hope housing prices never get inflated back to pre-2006 levels, because that was just ridiculous.

  • Morilore

    I’ve been having a pretty crappy time these last couple of weeks, but that news about Megan and Grace brightened my day considerably when I first heard about it.

  • Lori

    Michael Garcia is a mensch. Good on his employer for supporting him.  

  • Lori

    Another nice thing—-the authors Armistead Maupin and Laura Lippman made a bet on the Super Bowl, the loser to write a poem paying tribute to the winner’s city. Maupin has now paid up by producing “The Virtues of Baltimore”.

    The Virtues of Baltimore (After Pondering Weak and Weary)
    Who makes Baltimore so fine?
    The Duchess of Windsor or Divine?
    Poe and his Raven or Mama Cass?
    The great John Waters or Ira Glass?
    Thurgood Marshall or Adrienne Rich
    Barry Levinson or – sonofabitch—
    That linebacker who took a stand
    For marriage equality in Maryland?
    I lift my glass with a way-to-go
    To Brendon Ayanbadejo.

    http://www.baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/pigtown-design-armistead-maupin-pens-the-virtues-of-baltimore-to-settle-bet-with-laura-lippman/

    My only quibble is that it seems wrong that he didn’t fit David Simon in somehow.

  • Jessica_R

    Speaking of Muslims, all six Muslim MPs voted for Marriage Equality in Britain.

  • ReverendRef

    The only “problem” with that British House of Commons vote is that now I’m going to have to hear all of the garbage from the right wing side of the Church of England how awful this is yada yada yada. 

    Maybe this will finally get those twits off their arses about equality in general.

  • Jessica_R

    I find it hilarious the CoE has the brass to whine about the “redefinition of marriage” being that, you know, the reason we even have a CoE in the first place is so some joker could redefine the definition of marriage. 

  • LoneWolf343
  • Tricksterson

    I’m wondering, what, if any, religious organizations in Illinois have endorsed marriage equality?  Or are most of them sitting on the fence?

  • MaryKaye

    Can a British reader perhaps explain what a “shadow justice minister” is?  (Last line of the article about the British vote for marriage equality.)

    Yeah, whining about the redefinition of marriage is silly.  Marriage is constantly being redefined, and just as well–older models of marriage are very badly suited to modern people.  My grandmother left me a book by someone who was a trial lawyer in the 1930′s in the US.  He litigated a couple of divorce cases, and my gosh, what an alien worldview.  In particular I remember one where the marriage had happened in a whirlwind and then it became very obvious that the husband had no intention of actually treating it as real.  He went to court to try to get it annulled, and the lawyer, who represented the woman, fought hard to keep this from happening–his client would, they both thought, be ruined if the man succeeded, because she would be damaged goods and have difficulty remarrying.  Imagine feeling it was a survival necessity to uphold a marriage to someone who didn’t want you or care about you–yuuch!

    Ways in which my marriage differs from my grandmother’s:  It doesn’t cost me my property rights.  It doesn’t require me to give up my name–I am *not* Mrs. Jon Yamato.  It doesn’t give my spouse the right to rape me or beat me.  The only things I need his legal permission for are actions affecting our joint property and child.  Yay redefinition of marriage!

  • EdinburghEye

    The Opposition party in the UK Parliament customarily forms a Shadow Cabinet. This may not include all of the ministerial roles in the actual Cabinet, but it usually includes all the big roles, who are referred to as Shadow Justice Secretary, and Shadow Health Minister, and so on.
    http://www.labour.org.uk/shadow-cabinet

    It’s only very recently that election dates were fixed in the UK. In theory, if the government of the day lost control of parliament, the leader of the Opposition might have to form a government on a month’s notice.

  • Darkrose

    I’m kind of interested in reading that after just finishing Going Clear.

  • Darkrose

    I would like this a zillion times if I could, because YES.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Thanks for explaining that. I was curious as well. 

  • AnonymousSam

    This is all very good news. My day is much improved, not that it was awful to begin with. ^^ I had my first experience with mole enchiladas today and got to strut around town in a new outfit for awhile before retiring home, dying my SO’s hair colors and enjoying a glass of rum (which I’m in the process of making gone). I feel half my age!

  • Darkrose

    Oooh, mole! So good…now you’re making me hungry.

  • AnonymousSam

    I liked it too; it wasn’t too sweet, more savory with hints of cinnamon and chilli. Trying to make a point to explore new restaurants and new types of cuisine again, like I did when I first moved to the west coast. So many new cultures to see and experience! Within walking distance, there’s Greek, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese… maybe others that I’m forgetting.

    Contrast that with my experiences in Michigan, where the only alternative to American within a reasonable distance was… very, very cheap Chinese buffet restaurants, with food left out under heating lamps all day.

  • Jurgan

    This story of Megan and Grace gives me hope, and should be remembered whenever we talk about reaching out to those who disagree with us.  I remember a few weeks back people here basically saying that anyone who was still opposed to marriage equality was an asshole, and anyone who was going to switch sides already has.  But if even members of WBC can convert to the side of love, then I believe no one is too far gone.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It’s only very recently that election dates were fixed in the UK. In theory, if the government of the day lost control of parliament, the leader of the Opposition  might have to form a government on a month’s notice.

    We (Aus) still have this at the federal level. The shadow cabinet could theoretically become the cabinet without an election (and did in 1975 *shakes fist maintain the rage*).

    More commonly, the shadow ministry gives you a hint at who might be the minister should the Opposition win the next election. So we all say WTF Joe Hockey as Treasurer? And consider that in our voting decision.

    Not sure if this is generally known in the US, but under the Westminster system ministers are all elected members of parliament or the senate, so you know the pool cabinet will come from leading up to each election. No “who the hell is that guy?”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    LOL–on first reading I thought you said your day was awful to begin with, so I was dreading where the anecdote about walking around town in a new outfit after trying enchiladas was heading…

  • Dash1

     I can’t find the original, but I recall when the idea of marriage equality was first broached that some wag commented, “Imagine how changing the traditional definition of marriage would distress the founder of our communion, Henry VIII, and his wife Katherine, and his wife Anne, and his wife Jane, and his wife Anne, and his wife Katherine, and his wife Jane!”

  • AnonymousSam

    I consider it beautiful irony. Here’s this perversion of the Christian faith, taking all the themes of love and redemption and twisting them around so that only some are loved and redeemed and the rest are hated and irredeemable. What happens? Megan asks how that could be, because the Bible very clearly says that God loves everyone, and that no one is beyond redemption. She was too good a Christian to blindly accept the WBC’s twisted interpretation.

    I badly want to give that girl a hug.

  • Dash1

    Sometimes one needs a list of “good news” events. Keeps the balance and helps provide the energy to go out there and keep things happening. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    3 Catherines, two Annes, 1 Jane.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Canadian wrinkle: We have had federal Ministers from our Senate, but as Senators are appointed, the practice is rare to begin with.

    I think the term “Shadow *” has not gained as much currency here as it has in the other Commonwealth nations though.

  • Lliira

    Where I lived in Michigan, there was Greek, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican…

    Now I live in Florida, in a very highly populated area near a very large state college, at that. There are chains. No Thai, some Indian, and the one Mexican place that isn’t incredibly expensive is incredibly bland.

    But what I really miss is New York City. Absolutely everything.

  • reynard61

    “The Opposition party in the UK Parliament customarily forms a Shadow Cabinet. This may not include all of the ministerial roles in the actual Cabinet, but it usually includes all the big roles, who are referred to as Shadow Justice Secretary, and Shadow Health Minister, and so on.”

    That’s something that we need here in the States. We need to put various congresscritters and Senators into various “Shadow” Cabinet roles for a set period (say, six months?) so that they can get a feel for just how the Executive branch works and how the laws that they pass are actually implemented so that they don’t try to write and pass some of the stupid shit that they’ve been foisting on us these past several years. (And, yes, I realize that some of them are batshit crazy and/or stupid enough not to learn anything from the experience. Their term would be shortened or eliminated accordingly.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Where are your senators appointed from?

    An elected senate is an idea we got from American politics that was an improvement on the traditional Westminster system. I can list a whole lot of things I’d like to see made better, but as far as it goes I think we’ve got one of the best electoral systems in the world.

  • AnonymousSam

    I think Darkrose did too, come to think of it. ^^ Sorry to have worded that badly. I meant my day was actually pretty good to begin with! I’ve been in a warm and squishy mood since last night, for some strange and totally inexplicable reason.

  • Tapetum

    Sort of opposite of AnonymousSam – our week has included having my husband’s undercarriage torn up by a large hunk of random  metal in the roadway, somebody buying tickets to Ghana on our dime (fortunately the bank is being good about it),  and having our younger child report bullying by kids he can’t identify shortly after being inadvertently humiliated in front of his entire school (his pants ripped, quite comprehensively, and then while I was still en route delivering a new pair, they had a fire drill).

    It good to be reminded that good things are happening elsewhere in the world.

  • AnonymousSam

    o.o Where were you living?! I suppose I should note that I was living in a rural area and the closest I usually got to a good-sized population center was when I’d visit Grand Rapids, which was a long enough car rid that I’d often get too sick to care about food. The next biggest place was Mount Pleasant, which (being a campus town) might have had more restaurants than I got to visit, but I never really got to explore it fully when I was there.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Canadian Senate was conceived in conscious imitation of the House of Lords, but as we have no hereditary peerage, Senators were appointed from the Provinces at large, except for Quebec where they do have designated districts. Originally they retired whenever, but now they must retire at the age of 75.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    That would really require a lot of restructuring though. Currently, the US executive and legislative branches are almost completely separate, whereas in the UK they are basically fused together. In fact, the Constitution explicitly forbids Cabinet officials from also holding a seat in Congress, and vice-versa because of that separation of powers issue (Congress is technically supposed to provide oversight over the actions of the executive, and it cannot do that if it is the executive). 

    It’s definitely an interesting idea but I can’t imagine anyone having the energy to champion a project like that, especially since it probably won’t accomplish anything since most Congresspeople know exactly how the federal government works and only pretend not to in order to score rhetorical points.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    It might just be me, but “Shadow Minister” makes me more think of: 

  • Foreigner

    And so did George Galloway. There are, however, a number of Labour MPs I’d like to give a Hard Stare to.

  • Anonymus

    I thought underwater homeowners were people who lived in homes under water, like sponge bob, or maybe because of climate change and rising seas. it made that article really confusing.

  • guest

    When I first moved here and started hearing the expression on the radio a lot, I thought it sounded extremely sinister.

  • Dash1

     You’re right, of course! I don’t know why I turned Katherine Parr into Jane Parr. [glances at time of posting, thinks of a reason why, but nonetheless continues beating head against wall because that is no excuse!]

  • http://www.facebook.com/jean.amann.165 Jean Amann

    “My only quibble is that it seems wrong that he didn’t fit David Simon in somehow.”

    He missed Ogden Nash, too, who lived in Baltimore much of his life, and once wrote:

    “I would not love New York so much
    Loved I not Baltimore.”

    Confound Facebook–I usually post as That Other Jean

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I lived in East Lansing. So, MSU — beautiful and quite a few things to do, lots of good restaurants and such. I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough back then.

    If I could live anywhere I wanted, I’d still choose the Upper Westside of Manhattan though. With a cabin near Mission Point. 

  • AnonymousSam

    Aww, that figures. I spent every other weekend in Lansing for at least a decade, but always with family dictating where we went and ate. The most exotic places I ever got to visit there were the capitol building and the Impression 5 science center. By the time I had autonomy, I was living further north near a handful of podunk towns where the closest brush we had to foreign culture was people changing “French fries” to “Freedom fries.”

    I feel cheated!

  • Randall M

    The Shadow Cabinet is a Canadian Supervillain team with a rotating membership.  The central members are NegaTory, TerrorTory, and Dirty Pierre.  Others are recruited as needed.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, further wrinkle: There is an imbalance of representation in the Canadian Senate, since British Columbia only gets six senators, for example, while Ontario gets 24.

    And yes, this has been a sore point for people in the western provinces and one reason why some people favor abolishing the Senate entirely.

  • Tricksterson

    And didn’t Edward VIII have to abdicate because whatsername was a divorcee?


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