It’s never wrong to hop a fence

It’s never wrong to hop a fence April 18, 2019

• The terrible awfulness of UnitedHealth somehow did not prevent my wife’s employer from deciding to switch her benefits to them and so I have spent today on the terrible, awful benefits website for Big Box employees just trying to figure out whether it would be better or worse for us to add her to the somewhat less t/a benefits plan I have there.

And so, no, I have not had time to read the Mueller report. Or to do anything else. I have instead spent my day doing the unpaid labor that we Americans are required to do — unpaid labor that no Canadian or Brit or European has to do. The cost of this — the cost of hours of tedious homework, wrestling with perhaps-deliberately user-hostile benefits websites, parsing and decoding the foreign language of insurance-speak — should be a much larger part of any discussion of the “cost” of Medicare-for-All or single-payer or whatever else you want to call it.

Employers and insurance companies are all assigning us a ton of homework that we shouldn’t have to do. We are all required and expected to become fluent experts in arcana that we shouldn’t be required to know anything about. It is tedious and burdensome and expensive and time-consuming — often by design.

We are fools to continue putting ourselves through this marathon obstacle course just so we have access to medical care that won’t bankrupt our households.

• I don’t usually look to TPM for discussions of biblical studies, but I enjoyed this timely riff from Josh Marshall on the very different meanings of the term “redaction.”

• Jacob Lupfer uses the removal of two stained-glass windows from a Southern Baptist seminary as the hook for a brief history and evaluation of the 30-year-old fundamentalist takeover of the SBC: “Shadows in the stained glass: Patterson and Pressler chapel windows come down.”

For the takeover’s victors, the 1990 … celebration never ended. Pressler and Patterson were ceaselessly lionized. As the years passed, this continued in ever more vain and obnoxious ways. Admirers heaped superlative praise on them in countless interviews and public appearances. In 2013, a seminary professor called Patterson a “modern-day Martin Luther” while presenting him a plaque and festschrift celebrating his and Pressler’s role in the conservative resurgence.

Pressler and Patterson eventually went from a metaphorical pedestal to actual stained glass. At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where Patterson was president, donors raised funds to immortalize leading figures of the conservative resurgence in the school’s chapel windows. …

Throughout Christian history, churches and cathedrals have used the medium of stained glass to tell the stories of prophets, apostles, saints and the Lord himself. The controversial Southwestern chapel window project, overseen by Dorothy Patterson, Paige’s wife, nicely illustrates the post-takeover SBC’s ahistorical infatuation with itself.

The windows themselves illustrate why “fundamentalist artwork” isn’t usually a thing. They’re kind of  hideous:

RIP Zura Karuhimbi. She was not a witch, but the génocidaires who approached her small home didn’t know that, and this courageous, quick-witted woman saved dozens of lives by frightening off armed men with little more than improv and poison ivy. What an amazing person.

• Stephen Miller wants to punish liberals and critics of the anti-immigration agenda he carries out for his boss. So he wants to threaten them with what he considers the worst thing he can imagine: forcing them to welcome refugees.

As Michael O’Hare puts it, this is “Brers Fox and Bear throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch”:

The way this scheme is supposed to work is that we (I live in one of those places) will be terrified at the prospect and crime will soar when it happens, so we will vote against all our Democratic officials and, I guess, form vigilante gangs and go after the refugees violently. Boy, that’ll show those luftmensch liberals and the refugees both, right?

But every assumption behind this is completely wrong. These are people who don’t want to be raped and killed, and have the courage to trek two thousand miles to protect their kids, and who trust US decency and law, and being immigrants will have lower crime rates than the native population. The idea that they are going to scare the pants off us is completely and obviously nuts. Sanctuary cities declared themselves such having lots of experience with immigrants; we know exactly what to expect, and it’s OK with us.

Yes, it’s more than OK with us. No, we’re not sitting around saying “Please, please, whatever you do, don’t make us help resettle even more refugees here in the wealthiest nation in the world!”

But Stephen Miller doesn’t understand normal human behavior, and thus we normal humans have a hard time understanding him. As Libby Watson writes:

Did Stephen think that releasing busloads of migrants in San Francisco or New York would instantly cause the city to collapse into a dystopian, crime-ridden hellscape? Did he think that they would eat all the famous New York pizza?

A premise like “busing migrants to San Francisco will punish Nancy Pelosi” is not self-explanatory. I do not immediately understand the mechanism by which releasing a tired, huddled mass of immigrants in cities with massive populations — and cities where asylum approval rates are much higher — would punish their representatives.

• The title of this post comes from Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright),” which is actually a love song and not a quote from that Iran-Contra Guy’s press conference this morning.

I love this video and would love to see it expanded on in several ways:

  • A full-length grindhouse rockabilly musical with a plot somehow crossing West Side Story and “Goodbye Earl.”
  • A Passion Play with the same cast, costumes, and setting.
  • A Christopher Guest-style mockumentary on the reckless youth of Progressive Insurance spokesperson Flo.
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