We dream a beautiful dream, we lose a beautiful thing

We dream a beautiful dream, we lose a beautiful thing July 11, 2014

• The current upheaval in Mississippi Republican politics recalls the statement from that state’s white supremacist governor and senator, Theodore Bilbo in a final interview with a prominent black newspaper. “I hold nothing personal against the Negroes as a race,” Bilbo said. “I believe Negroes should have the right [to indiscriminate use of the ballot], and in Mississippi too —when their main purpose is not to put me out of office.”

It seems that tea-party candidate Chris McDaniel is trying to find a way to say just that without sounding like he’s saying just that.

• “You’re damn right I believe another gospel.”

Republican Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho “for years has objected to EPA rules on arsenic in drinking water, arguing that it creates a burden on rural communities that are ill equipped to upgrade their water-filtering systems.”

Simpson is not wrong about the cost and the difficulty involved for small rural communities. Getting arsenic out of drinking water costs money, after all.

Simpson, as a Republican, therefore says that EPA shouldn’t regulate the amount of arsenic — arsenic! — in drinking water because low taxes. I, on the other hand, am a flaming liberal, so I’m a big fan of paying the monthly civilization bill and have no qualms about the taxes it would take to fund a program to keep rural water sources poison-free. Your choice: How much civilization are you willing to do without in return for a slightly lower monthly bill? Roads? Sewer systems? An educated populace? Arsenic-free drinking water?

• Two of the funniest people on the Interwebs address the awful reality of awful blog ads: Mallory Ortberg and Rebecca Schoenkopf.

• Bob Frey, a Republican running for the state legislature in Minnesota, has some interesting theories about how sex works and how AIDS is caused. And by “interesting” I mean untrue, bonkers, dangerous and hatefully evil. Frey’s website says he graduated from the University of Minnesota, but he sounds like he studied biology under Wheaton College president Philip Ryken.

• Paul Davidson has a fascinating post about the 18 tribes of Israel. (Yes, 18. Because Davidson has actually read the actual Bible.)

I’m intrigued by this. It’s a potentially funny reworking of the Elmer Gantry story, with four college bros conning their way into the lucrative Christian fundraising circuit by posing as sincere spiritual seekers touring America. It’s by Will Bakke, whose first two films were documentaries that followed … four college bros on a spiritual quest that looks a lot like a road-trip vacation (across America in the first film and hopscotching around Europe in the second). So I don’t know if this new film will be a satire, or a confession, or more of the same. …

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