Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Rhode Island is getting used to its top TV station being owned by right-wing broadcast conglomerate Sinclair Broadcasting. That means WJAR must run regular segments from Trumper Boris Epshteyn, now rebranded as Sinclair’s chief political analyst in addition to a daily Terrorism Alert Desk, “advertised as a daily news update about terrorist activity” even when there’s no terrorism happening.

I strongly recommend you read this reply from George Packer to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essay in The Atlantic. There’s an undeniable personal edge to this reply since Coates took Packer to task by name and called him to account for infidelity toward ideals which are central to any progressive and humane vision of America’s future. But I think he captures key things that are missing in Coates’ recent writing.

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TPM Reader PB reads some tea leaves about Google …

Recently I was at an industry round table which included many of the tech players. We are all being affected by certain decisions made by Google and more importantly so are Internet users.

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It now seems clear that the massive data breach at Equifax was caused not simply by aggressive hackers but by clear and potentially negligent security errors by Equifax itself. But fundamentally, this isn’t a security problem. It’s a market failure and a legal and regulatory failure.

There are many businesses in which the cost and assumed liability of taking possession of certain goods – real or intellectual – is quite high. Indeed, that is often a major part of the business model itself – they are paid to take on that liability. Some extreme examples are transporting dangerous or volatile chemicals. This may be the biggest personal data security breach yet. But breaches that are nonetheless quite large happen basically all the time and the costs to the company are usually negligible. Yes, there’s a big PR hit and there’s usually some fine. But the costs in fraud and disruption in the lives of affected consumers totally dwarfs the financial cost to the company. On the most basic measure, the costs are not great enough to prevent companies like Equifax from making really basic mistakes like failing to install new security patches in a timely manner. It’s a cost of doing business. 

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It hasn’t been the best 24 hours for Harvard University. You’ve probably heard that Harvard managed to piss almost everyone off by first extending and then rescinding a fellowship appointment to Chelsea Manning. But you may or may not have seen this article in the Times about a woman named Michelle Jones.

It is a fascinating and powerful story on many levels. Jones, now 45, just finished a 20 year stint in prison for killing her 4-year old son. It’s not entirely clear to me from the story – and I sense it was never entirely clear – whether Jones intentionally killed her son in a discreet act of violence or whether he died from some combination of physical beatings and neglect. Regardless, the ghastliness of the crime is not in dispute. Jones was originally sentenced to 50 years in prison and was released after 20 years for good behavior.

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On Air Force One a short time ago, President Trump doubled down on his ‘many sides’ talk about Charlottesville. The exchange was specifically about Trump’s meeting yesterday with Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only African-American Republican in Senate.

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This may go without saying for some. But I do not think that Democrats are giving Trump some help or throwing him a lifeline at the price of accomplishing something really critical in policy terms – protecting the Dreamers. I think that gets this exactly wrong. I think pressing Trump for this deal is doing immense damage to Trump. Indeed, the more successful it is, the greater the damage. 

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