I know what I want, I know what I need

• I’ve seen this ad. I’ve seen a lot of this ad:

• Republican Rep. Randy Weber of Texas: Ignorant and really, really proud of it. This climate-change denying moron is supposed to be protecting the interests of Texas’ 14th District — that’s along the Gulf coast. Here’s a map of Weber’s district, and alongside that a map of Weber’s district with the kind of sea-level rise predicted within the next century or so:

That purple shading is the part that will be underwater, thanks to the hard work of denialists like Randy Weber. “What we don’t know can hurt us.”

• Parents send daughter to private Christian school in Virginia, then learn private Christian school is run by creepy, creepy, creepy control freak men.

• Re: The Blacklist, the non-Spader parts of the show are finally starting to get interesting. Here’s my theory: Reddington is Lizzie’s father, of course, but he’s also Magic Barreling her and Pressler.

• AIDS-denying, racist Christian spokesperson Bryan Fischer has apparently never seen a full episode of Modern Family: “And then we have the same-sex male family where we have a man and man in a loving, committed relationship that just doesn’t have any, any problems.” Is there some other gay couple on that show that I’ve missed, or does Fischer really think this is an apt description of Cam and Mitchell? I guess Fischer just can’t help himself — he even lies about fictional gay couples.

• Here is an odd measure of progress of a sort: Far-right fringe whackjob Jim Garrow is way, way out there — part of the Alex Jones orbit out past even Glenn Beck and Louie Gohmert. Garrow’s latest theory involves a stealth invasion by undercover Chinese soldiers, orchestrated by President Obama to launch a global Islamist Caliphate while distracting the world with a fake announcement about first contact with aliens.

But in the midst of explaining this theory, Garrow said this about President Obama: “He doesn’t present as an American.” What that means, of course, is that the president is black, black, blackety black. But even Jim Garrow knows enough to realize that he can’t just say that. Even the weirdest, fringiest far-right conspiracy theorists know that explicit racism has to be expressed euphemistically lest it potentially alienate even parts of the weirdest, fringiest, far-right conspiracy theory audience.

That could be seen as a kind of extremely modest progress. (Although, of course, the fact that I’m willing to latch onto something so flimsy as a hopeful sign is, itself, a kind of evidence of how extreme and intractable our culture of racism remains and of how very much progress is still required.)

Susan Pigott offers a smart response to the claim that progress is “inevitable.” Her specific subject is women’s equality in the church, but I think her general point applies to most kinds of progress:

Women in ministry are not inevitable just as no social cause is inevitable. The end of slavery wasn’t inevitable. African Americans and women winning the right to vote wasn’t inevitable. Civil rights wasn’t inevitable. These things happened because brave people took risks to make them happen.

I’d add that African Americans and women keeping the right to vote is not inevitable. Anyone keeping the right to vote is not inevitable. Especially not with a Supreme Court that says Congress may not act to protect voters from being disenfranchised, while also saying that it may not interfere with the “right” of the wealthy to purchase political influence.

Progress is always possible, but it is never inevitable. Regress is also always possible, but it is never acceptable.

• Speaking of progress, here is an another ad. This one is about graham crackers and the most excellent way:


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