Republican Avoids Apocalyptic 666

Phew. That was close.

Rep. Joe Barton (Texas) isn’t about to have his prized legislation get tagged with a 666 — the number of the beast.

Barton on Wednesday successfully changed the bill number for his legislation repealing a decades-old ban on crude oil exports from 666, a figure frequently tied to the antichrist and Satanism, to the more anodyne 702.

“It quickly became clear that the original bill number carried many different negative connotations,” Barton spokesman Sean Brown said in an email. “We decided it was best to change it so people will focus on the content of the legislation, not the bill number.”

Every bill in Congress is assigned a bill number, and several pieces of legislation have taken the number 666 in the past.

H. Res. 666 in the 112th Congress expressed the House’s sense that Medicare should not be changed for any citizens over the age of 55. In the 113th Congress, H.R. 666 reaffirmed the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes.

Pope Endorses Referendum Denying Marriage And Adoption Rights To Same-Sex Couples

Can we stop calling him “the good pope” now? He’s the head of an organization that cowers to a superstition and does nothing for the betterment of mankind.

Pope Francis gave his blessing on Wednesday to a referendum that would ban marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in Slovakia, which will be voted on this Saturday.

“I greet the pilgrims from Slovakia and, through them, I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society,” Francis said during Wednesday’s general audience in Rome.

Slovakia is the latest battleground over LGBT family rights in Europe, which is increasingly divided between east and west. Slovakia’s parliament actually added language denying marriage recognition to same-sex couples to the country’s constitution in June, making it one of four countries in Eastern Europe to do so since 2012. The first of three questions before voters on Saturday’s ballot, which asks if marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, won’t change the legal status quo in Slovakia. But the second question would also ban adoption for same-sex couples, and the third allows parents to withdraw their children from sexual education classes.

Boston Olympic Committee Drops Plan for Housing Spectators

Having the Olympics in Boston is such a bad idea on so many levels.

Organizers of Boston’s Olympic bid are scrapping plans to house thousands of international spectators in the city’s notoriously shoddy off-campus student apartments after the proposal provoked an outcry from landlord and tenant groups.

While officials from Boston 2024, the local Olympic organizing group, have said all aspects of their plan are open to change, their reversal marks the first time they have publicly axed a portion of the proposal.

Boston 2024 initially told the United States Olympic Committee that off-campus student apartments in Allston, Brighton, and the Fenway would make for ideal accommodations for spectators coming from around the world to watch the 2024 Summer Games.

Boston 2024’s bid documents called for shortening leases from 12 to nine months for those apartments, freeing them up for the summer for international visitors.

College students typically leave during the summer anyway, the documents said, and “regulations would then be in place to support reasonable rates” for foreign spectators in those units. As envisioned, a private company would manage the rental operation, connecting local landlords with spectators overseas.

But after Boston 2024 publicized its plans on its website late last month, tenant and landlord advocates were alarmed. Atlanta had enlisted homeowners to rent their houses to spectators during the 1996 Summer Olympics, but activists in Boston expressed concern that the committee’s proposal to use rental units for spectators could encourage landlords to clear out families and older residents during the Olympics, not just college students.