1. Yes, it’s Guy Fawkes Day, but it’s also Ida Tarbell’s birthday — a much better reason to remember, remember the fifth of November. Fawkes tried, and failed, to destroy the government using dynamite. Tarbell didn’t use dynamite — just a pen and a scrupulous, meticulous attention to detail. And she succeeded in blowing the Standard Oil monopoly to smithereens.
2. Just your stereotypical Jersey girl with the big hair and the Rutgers PhD and the awesome track-record of genetic research. Cool profile, cool person.
3. Heiner Bielefeldt is the special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief for the United Nations. Bielefeldt spoke recently about the misuse of claims of religious freedom as a justification for denying the rights of women and girls. That seems timely, if only because that seems perennial.
“Often you find the assumption that, you go either for religion or for gender emancipation and you can’t really combine the two, which I would find not only wrong but dangerous,” Bielefeldt said, seeming to imagine a possible universe in which women could be free to enjoy religious liberty as well as other basic civil rights. The special rapporteur condemned situations in which girls from minority religions may face “forced conversion in combination with forced marriage.”
It seems hard to believe that anyone could defend such things. But then, since Bielefeldt is both an advocate for gender equality and a part of the blue-helmeted OWG conspiracy of the U.N., some American teavangelicals will be compelled to oppose everything he says.
4. The U.S. Senate voted to invoke cloture for ENDA — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect LGBT people from getting fired because they’re LGBT. (“Cloture” is the weird Senate custom in which the body first votes on whether or not the minority will allow a majority to vote.) The bill is likely to pass in the Senate, but to be ignored by the House until such time as John Boehner is no longer speaker. Ed O’Keefe provides a quick explainer about ENDA and why it’s needed. O’Keefe thinks it has a shot of passing in the House if Boehner could be pressured into allowing a vote on it. That’s a long shot at a long shot, but it’s still a shot.
5. Liars for Jesus getting ready to kick the disabled (again) to preserve their fantasy role-playing game. These are very, very bad people. Very bad.
6. Insurance companies “trying to get in just one more abuse” of consumers before Obamacare protections put a stop to them. Terrific investigative piece by Talking Points Memo’s Dylan Scott on the way many insurers are trying to take advantage of confusion and transition to trick customers out of the savings the health care law offers them. Amanda Marcotte highlights a similar item from Nancy Metcalf of Consumer Reports. “That Florida woman’s canceled Blue Cross policy? It’s junk insurance.”
7. Conscience vs. clobber-texts (continued). What you’ll find at that link is an earnest, mainstream evangelical Christian writing to a mainstream evangelical theologian and begging for permission to do what she knows is right rather than the opposite, even though she’s been taught that the opposite is what the Bible demands of her. In my experience, by the time most people arrive at the point where they are asking for such permission, they no longer require it. The asking is just a part of the process whereby they inform themselves of having already come to a decision.