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.
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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.
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.👇
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.
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
(Found good news? Tweet at us @progressntwrk or email.)
Other good stuff in the news 🐷
- Biden waived tariffs on solar panels from four countries. Here’s why | Grist
- The US’s new record in renewables, explained in three charts | Inside Climate News
- AI can track a coral reef’s health by learning its ‘song’ | Anthropocene
- The Middle East’s first Miyawaki-style ‘baby’ forests take root in In Jordan | Mongabay
- Back from the brink of extinction: The Spix’s macaws are returning to the wild | Euronews
- Sales of internal combustion vehicles now in ‘permanent decline’ | CNN
- Early warning systems will protect everyone on Earth in 5 years, UN announces | Euronews
Science & Tech:
- New smartphone app identifying jaundice from babies ‘could save lives’ | STV News
- ‘Unheard-of’ survival rates reported in breast cancer drug trial | The New York Times
- US plans to put nuclear-powered spacecraft in orbit by 2026 | Freethink
- Phone app allows Gaza women to report domestic abuse anonymously | Reuters
- Supercomputer upgrade led to successful forecast of volcanic eruption | Illinois News Bureau
- Nanostructured fibers can impersonate human muscles | Cockrell School of Engineering
Politics & Policy:
- $5.8 billion in loans will be forgiven for Corinthian Colleges students | The New York Times
- Can I talk to a human? Spain presents customer service bill | AP
- Rhode Island Senate passes 100% renewable energy commitment | Environment America
- German lawmakers approve €12 minimum wage | DW
- US agrees to update critical habitat for Florida manatees | AP
- New York state passes first-ever ‘right to repair’ law for electronics | The Verge
- Finland becomes world’s first country to make legally binding carbon negativity pledge | EcoWatch
- Greece begins net-zero journey with new climate law | Renewables Now
- One plug and done: EU to require common way to charge phones | AP
Covid & Public Health:
- The first Covid shots for US kids under 5 may be available by June 21 | AP
- A new storage technique could vastly expand the number of livers available for transplant | MIT Technology Review
- Why at-home STI tests may (finally) be about to take off | Freethink
- Vietnam develops ‘world’s first’ African swine fever vaccine for commercial use | Reuters
- Togo eliminates trachoma as a public health problem | World Health Organization
- Can India finally eliminate rabies? A state-level study from Goa offers hopeful signs | Gavi
Society & Culture:
- Figure skating minimum age rises to 17 before 2026 Olympics | AP
- The Central African Republic becomes the abolishes the death penalty | Al Jazeera
- Happy moms show reality of adoption in Egypt | AllAfrica
- The people giving away fortunes from slavery and fossil fuels | The Guardian
- Over 45,000 Americans have applied to sponsor displaced Ukrainians | Reason
TPN Member originals 🧠
(Who are our Members? Get to know them.)
- The Ukraine war still holds surprises. The biggest may be for Putin | Thomas L. Friedman
- Russia’s war is the end of climate policy as we know it | Ted Nordhaus
- The F-word (the other one) | Andrew Bacevich
- Is everything falling apart? | Jonathan Haidt & Robert Wright
- Imagine a US political party built around faster economic growth and technological progress | James Pethokoukis
- Can the media fix its trust problem? | Nicholas Thompson
- Can we transcend race while fighting racism? | Thomas Chatterton Williams
- The perks of being a hot mess | Arthur C. Brooks
- Two cheers for American higher education | Matthew Yglesias
- America spends a lot more on schools than on police | Matthew Yglesias
- Ban nuclear weapons now | Anne-Marie Slaughter
- The cure for imposter syndrome? It’s learning about imposter syndrome | Jason Feifer
- Mónica Guzmán on how to build bridges in divided times | Andrew Yang
- Progressives push to cancel conservatives. Here’s how the right is fighting back | John Wood Jr.
- Are America’s institutions broken? | Yascha Mounk
- The case against social media | Jonathan Haidt
- The secret to finding great talent | Tyler Cowen
- The missing part of America’s pandemic response | Ezekiel J. Emanuel
- San Francisco schools are retiring ‘chief.’ That’s not as frivolous as it seems | John McWhorter
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
- Breakthrough Dialogue 2022: Progress Problems | Ted Nordhaus | June 22–24
Until Next Time
We all deserve a baby albino giant tortoise video once in awhile.