Chicken little forecast

Still Chugging Along

Volcanoes are erupting in The Philippines, but on-fire Australia received some welcome rain. The Iran war cries have been called off and The Donald’s military powers are about to be hamstrung by the Senate. Meanwhile, his impeachment trial is starting, and we’re all on Twitter for a front-row seat.


What Could Go Right? Good news for Pride Month 🏳️‍🌈

From Scotland to Estonia to Thailand, LGBTQ+ rights are advancing.

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas

This is our weekly newsletter, What Could Go Right? Sign up here to receive it in your inbox every Thursday at 6am ET. You can read past issues here.

Good news for Pride Month

It’s Pride Month! Instead of rainbow filtering our profile pic, we’re going to tell you all the LGBTQ+ good news we’ve seen this week. We’ve talked quite a few times in this newsletter before about how much American public opinion has changed, and how quickly, around same-sex marriage. The trend continues this month, with a new poll from Gallup showing, once again, record-high support. It’s not a huge change from last year—71 percent, up from 70 percent—but considering we started at 27 percent in 1996, we’re still giving it a thumbs up.

The holdouts, as Gallup puts it, are “weekly churchgoers.” So it’s nice to see, on the other side of the pond, the Church of Scotland take a turn to allow its clergy to conduct same-sex marriages for the first time. In Thailand, the government is advancing a bill that would allow “same-sex couples to register their partnership,” as long as one of the couple is a Thai national. This would grant them the “same legal rights as married people” around such things as property, inheritance, and adoption of children. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is in support of the bill, and it is now awaiting a vote from the Thai House of Representatives. 

Parliaments in Lithuania and Latvia are also currently considering civil partnership bills. NBC’s writeup on how things are—slowly—moving forward for LGBTQ+ rights in the Baltics, helped along by the younger generations, is great. In 2010, the second year the Baltic Pride march, which gathers together people from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, was hosted, only 400 people showed up. This year, 10,000 did. (Estonia has already passed civil union legislation.) 

In the conservative world of football cheerleading, she’s bald, black, and transgender. Justine Lindsay, joining the Carolina Panthers’ cheerleading team, just became the first National Football League trans cheerleader. And natch: the coach says she can keep her bald look.

“Cats Out the Bag you are looking at the newest member of the Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader’s @topcats as the first Transgender female,” Justine Lindsay announced in an Instagram post.

Hot topics right now: guns, abortion, and $$$

While we haven’t seen any quick action at the federal level, at least yet, the state of New York has wasted no time. You now need to be over 21 to buy a semi-automatic rifle, the type of gun the 18-year-old Buffalo shooter used in May. More legislation is coming, including banning civilians from buying body armor vests and more stringent recordkeeping requirements so those who aren’t supposed to get their hands on a gun, won’t.

The discourse does seem to be shifting a little toward bipartisan cooperation. Celebrity gun owners like Matthew McConaughey, who is from Uvalde, Texas, is putting his voice and influence to good use. McConaughey penned a recent op-ed and dropped into a White House press briefing on Tuesday, saying that “Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. . . . These regulations are not a step back, they’re a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment.” In Texas, 250 GOP donors signed on to an open letter “supporting congressional action to increase gun restrictions,” which ran as a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News. There are even some gun groups that are open to compromise.

One thing Justice Alito may not have fully thought through is that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, we’ve not only reintroduced states into the game, but cities, too. In states where abortion is likely to be banned, like in Texas, cities like Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston are seeing if they can decriminalize it locally. And prosecutors in “liberal enclaves” from New Orleans to Nashville have stated that regardless of the law, they won’t enforce state bans. Meanwhile, Democrats are rallying, according to another Gallup poll. The percentage of people identifying as pro-choice has jumped six points from last year, to 55. It’s the highest it has been in years.

On the money front, paradoxes galore: while 78 percent of Americans feel confident in their personal financial well-being, reports Axios, only 24 percent are confident in the US’. That’s despite some “stunning stats,” as Axios details: 

  • The share of people who say they expect to work past their early 60s has dropped below 50 percent for the first time.
  • 68 percent of Americans say they have cash for a rainy day.
  • The bottom 50 percent of the population now has more than $3 trillion in household wealth—up 55 percent from before the pandemic.👇
Heck yeah! Note, though, that we checked Axios’ math, and wealth for the bottom 50 percent of the population is up closer to 50 percent than 55. Still, it’s great. Just look at that rising mountain of money. 💸

Bloomberg has a more in-depth piece on the newfound gains of the US working class here. “For the first time since the late 1990s, low-wage workers are gaining ground compared to other workers,” Columbia University economics professor Suresh Naidu told Bloomberg. “If we’re able to have tight labor markets for another year or so, you can imagine a lot of low-wage workers in previously dead-end jobs are going to be able to break into something new—saving, relocating, going to school, and opening up a path into the middle class.”

Before we go

A bunch of island nations at risk of disappearing underwater due to rising sea levels have actually expanded their land area in recent years. The Maldives, for instance, grew in size by constructing an entirely new island where 50,000 people now live by “pumping sand from the sea floor.” Cool.

Black Mirror come to life or useful police reform? You tell us. Citizens in a small Virginia town can anonymously rate interactions with police using a QR code.

CNN has decided everyone has had enough and will use the “breaking news” banner less often. Better late than never, but man, what took you guys so long? Despite what CNN and many others have been telling you for years, not everything is breaking news. While we’re at it, not everything is a crisis, either.

Below in the links section, at-home STI tests are coming, internal combustion-powered vehicles are leaving, and more.

☝️ Retro charting software: a thread.

Taking the Bold Step Out

Civic organizations in gang-riddled Cape Town are helping female gangsters exit gangs and build a better life for themselves. | Read more 

The Interfaith Imperative | S2 Ep. 11

How can we live with people who are different from us? Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith America and former faith adviser to President Barack Obama, believes that interfaith living is essential to our collective well-being in an ethnically, racially, and ideologically diverse democracy. And in the United States, we actually do it quite well already. | Listen to the episode

Progress, Please

(Found good news? Tweet at us @progressntwrk or email.)

Other good stuff in the news 🐷


Science & Tech:

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TPN Member originals 🧠

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Department of Ideas 💡
(A staff recommendation guaranteed to give your brain some food for thought.)

Hard to see | Real Life
How trauma became synonymous with authenticity.

Why we picked it: Trauma has become a buzzword, a filter through which we see the world, and even a marketing ploy. The end result is distraction from that which caused the trauma in the first place. By reasserting one question onto our consumption of trauma—“What is the point?”—we can reclaim action in the face of real suffering. —Emma Varvaloucas

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We all deserve a baby albino giant tortoise video once in awhile.

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Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas is the Executive Director of The Progress Network. An editor and writer specializing in nonprofit media, she was formerly Executive Editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and is the editor of two books from Wisdom Publications.