7 things @ 9 o’clock (11.26)

1. Today is the feast day of hymn writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748). The man died 265 years ago and millions of people are still singing his songs. He wrote “Joy to the World,” “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” and this one — which was also Gandhi’s favorite Christian hymn:

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2. Erin Matson took her almost-5-month-old daughter with her for a lobby day in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. That bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace. Without that legal protection, they may be forced to choose between keeping their pregnancy and keeping their paycheck — without which they may be unable to keep their pregnancy.

Gobble tov.

I’ve noted before that this bill is supported by the National Women’s Law Center and by just about every feminist or pro-choice group you’ve ever heard of. Oddly it is not supported by any of the “pro-life” groups. Or perhaps not so oddly. It’s tricky trying to interpret a silence, but theirs is a conspicuously loud silence on this issue. It’s a kind of silent scream, you might say. And what it says about the real priorities of those groups is not pretty.

3.‘Cause it’s weird … and wonderful.” That’s Pastor Phil Wyman explaining why he loves his adopted hometown of Salem, Mass. Benjamin Corey of Formerly Fundie has a long interview with Wyman that’s a fascinating read. I don’t know anything about Wyman or his church, but it seems like if any of us showed up there — evangelical, Pagan, atheist, liberal, right-wing, whatever — he’d cheerfully offer us a cup of cocoa on a cold day. I suspect his theology is, in many ways, very different from my own (“We do dream interpretation,” he says, nonchalantly), but I bet the cocoa is pretty good.

4. Thanks, Alex. I’ll take Religious Tribalism for $400.

“20 years ago, Eric Metaxas knew practically every born again believer in Manhattan. ‘It was like a spiritual ghost town,’ the cultural commentator, thought leader and author recalled.”

What is preening subcultural myopia?

“You’ve won $400!”

5. Speaking of Jeopardy! champions … the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has scored a hit, a palpable hit, against payday lenders. Sleazy Cash America will be paying $19 million in penalties — that’s a $5 million fine, and $14 million in refunds to the people they ripped off. (I’m really, really liking the CFPB, but it needs a better name or nickname.)

6. Julian Borger on “How Iran nuclear deal was clinched to Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire‘”:

When the negotiations inevitably spilled into the weekend, the Intercontinental was double-booked. On one wing of the first floor were the committee rooms set aside for the talks, but the rest was hired out for parties.

On the Saturday night a charity ball was held, the organisers of which decorated the hallway with a full-size hot-air balloon gondola, and hired a country-folk band who became more raucous as the evening wore on. As midnight passed and it was genuinely unclear whether the high-level political capital being spent would pay off or collapse under its own weight, the focus of the diplomats poring over heavy-water reactor designs was constantly assaulted by the strains of “Loch Lomond” and “Ring of Fire.”

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7. Regarding the agreement itself, here are some good summaries and evaluations:

Fred Kaplan: “The agreement makes it impossible for the Iranians to make any further progress toward making a nuclear weapon in the next six months — and, if the talks break down after that, and the Iranians decide at that point to start building a nuclear arsenal, it will take them much longer to do so.”

Juan Cole: “The decade-long Neoconservative plot to take the United States to war against Iran appears to have been foiled.”

Gershom Gorenberg: “The Syria agreement was the warm-up act for the interim accord with Iran. … No one can yet be sure that the interim deal will lead to a full agreement to keep Iran from getting a bomb. But the immediate steps promise an improvement in Israeli security.”

When fantasy role-playing replaces faith
Never abandoned in the flood lands
When fantasy role-playing replaces faith (cont’d.)
Sunday WTF?
  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’m more concerned with the effect that has on the mentality. It makes them responsible for things that are beyond their control. A huge, huge number of mental disorders stem from the feeling of having no control over your life…

  • Lori

    It’s just another way of saying that someone is influential, at least within his/her sphere. A “thought leader” is to ideas what that one really cool kid is to high school fashion.

  • tricksterson

    Which is why, in the long run, Obamacare will win.

  • Lori

    He read the headline, what more do you expect? That he would actually read the article before posting it? That he would get his news from sites where the headline and the story more or less match, rather than contradicting each other? How unreasonable can you be?

  • aunursa

    What boggles my mind is that aunursa is nice, and still a Republican. Like, seriously, aunursa, I love you to bits when we’re not talking politics.

    Since all conservatives are evil, stupid, or ignorant — because conservative policies don’t work and are immoral — it does present a conundrum. You’ve read enough of my writings to determine that that I’m not stupid. So either I am evil or ignorant. Or both. Hmmmmm…

  • aunursa

    Or perhaps it’s a principled stand that government in general, and the federal government in particular, has a specific and limited role. And perhaps I oppose government expanding beyond what I consider to be its proper role.

  • Lori

    True. At the same time a whole other set of problems arises from thinking that you have more control, and therefore responsibility, than you actually have. Internal vs external locus of control is a tricky thing and I tend to think the problems really start elsewhere and one’s locus of control determines how the problem is expressed, rather than being the actual source of the problem, if that makes sense.

  • aunursa

    I’m sorry about your mother. I hope she feels better and that your time with her is a blessing.

  • RickRS

    100% Correct. She was looking at rate increase with her business group policy and found her employees could get a better deal as individuals from the MarketPlace and set it up to allow them to do that, and then continued to provide healthcare support to her employees by letting them have in cash what she used to paid in premiums for a small group policy. Win-win for all, and a success story for ObamaCare.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Does that at least include AnonaMiss’s presupposition about the suffering aspect of it, or would you prefer the assumption be that you really don’t give a damn if people suffer as long as authority is properly respected?

  • Susan_G1

    Re. #2. They are silent because they want less government, not more, unless more government aligns with their ideas of preventing women from obtaining abortions. Even more paradoxically, they don’t want the govt. to mandate insurance coverage of contraceptives. Fewer pregnancies = fewer abortions, but try to discuss this with a rabid pro-lifer.

    I don’t think I’ll call them pro-lifers anymore. There has to be a more accurate descriptive for these anti-women folks.