For the last few days the world has been waiting for scientists to make sense of Omicron. Today we appear to have some new information and it’s not encouraging. I’m no scientist. So I’m going to do as little characterizing as I can. I am recommending this Twitter thread and this one, both from trustworthy people, one a journalist following COVID and another a computational biologist at the KU Leuven in Belgium.Read More
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) sounded the already scream-worthy alarm this week.
It was a stark warning about something TPM has been covering with our hair-on-fire for some time: that the Jan. 6 attempt to steal an election was the culmination of months of President Trump’s stoking of the Big Lie, and not an isolated incident. What’s more, the attempted heist never ended.
Griswold outlined the various threats to our current democracy — like a slew of new state level restrictive voting laws and ongoing threats of violence against election workers — and observed that the election-stealing crusade is continuing as we speak. Just, perhaps, in slow motion.Read More
Earlier I noted that a number of purple and even blueish states will likely end up banning abortion in a post-Roe world. People assume it’s just red states. But many of these states are so effectively gerrymandered that Republicans have a lock on state legislatures. But I just realized I greatly understated the situation. TPM alum Eric Kleefeld mentioned that Wisconsin never repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban. So the moment Roe is overturned, which will likely happen next June or July, abortion will be banned in Wisconsin, except in cases where necessary to protect the life of the mother.Read More
Conservatives are trying to get ahead of the impending bad optics that will come with obstructing their way into a government shutdown. And, it appears, they have a plan: Placing the blame squarely on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.Read More
The only mild saving grace to today’s SCOTUS arguments is that the pretenses are removed. These are ideologues and politicians. Their entire political movement has been propelled by the goal of overturning Roe v Wade and outlawing abortion. The conservative legal movement which birthed and swirls around The Federalist Society has many legal fish to fry. But its political potency, the engine that transformed the federal judiciary and made it more than a genteel debating society, was abortion. Of course they’re going to overturn Roe. It’s good to have that be crystal clear to anyone who wasn’t paying attention.
It’s a corrupt Court. It’s good to understand that.Read More
With all the rush of new news and information I wanted to flag something for your attention that is at least slightly under the media radar. All signs point to a strong Republican midterm election in 2022, with the House the better prospect for Republican control. That means Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker. Or actually maybe it doesn’t. A bunch of Republicans have started making clear that’s not at all a sure thing.Read More
A Texas man who has been charged for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection was just approved by the state Republican Party to run for a state House seat during the Republican primaries this spring. He is not alone in this endeavor.Read More
Governments, financial markets and … oh yeah, ordinary people are trying to make sense of what new risks are posed by the Omicron variant. It’s the classic dynamic of intense hunger for information meeting far too little data to satisfy the need. Today executives from Pfizer and Moderna gave interviews which respectively reassured and spooked. Most notable however is that both said essentially the same thing. Or at least they said things which are very compatible with the same set of facts.Read More
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), the physician and rear admiral who successfully rode the coattails of MAGA world to land a seat in the House, is spinning up a new Big Lie for the 2022 midterms – and it’s a doozy.Read More
A reader pointed me to this article that appeared in this morning’s Washington Post. It makes the case against vaccine boosters for the whole population, as opposed to targeting to particularly vulnerable populations. Two of the authors were until very recently heads of the FDA’s vaccine research unit and the third is a member of one of the outside panels that gives the expert recommendations I referenced in the post below. Given those backgrounds, this is a good case of the expert opinion which has generally been more cautious in approving boosters for the whole population. It’s also an example that there’s a lot of expert opinion that remains against universal boosting, even as the weight of opinion has swung in the opposite direction.Read More
Today we’re seeing a host of experts, public health officials and more saying that we need to speed up giving everyone booster shots, with or without Omicron. Now apparently we’re behind on boosters. We lost time. But let’s slow down a second here: The Biden White House has been full speed ahead on boosters since the late summer. Indeed, they’ve gotten a lot of grief for jumping the gun and being ‘ahead of the science’. The push for boosters from the White House got slowed down at the CDC and FDA.Read More
A small point. But, as we batten down the hatches on the COVID front, it’s worth remembering that as it does in politics, looking at America’s COVID epidemiology through the prism of states is as frequently misleading as not. Here in Manhattan (New York County), where I’m writing this morning, 87.2% of the population has had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Over the age of 18 that percentage jumps to 94.3%. But in Allegany County, far to the west, that one dose number drops to 45.3%. Might as well be different country, let alone a different state.
That’s Allegany County. But in almost bordering Erie County (the home of Buffalo) the one dose number is 70.1%.Read More
His recent remarks of disdain, aimed at Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, left no room for interpretation.Read More
I’m not sure whether I agree with this. But TPM Reader JB knows the ins and outs of government and follows things closely …
While I’m thinking of it….I’ve observed the Biden administration doesn’t maneuver quickly in response to changed circumstances, often waiting until an issue became controversial in the national press. It’s had this problem since the beginning of the year.
Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan threw himself into the small chorus of GOP governors willing to distance themselves from former President Trump this week.Read More
It’s all Matt Shuham’s fault.
Back in May, Matt interviewed the lawyer for the most high-profile Jan. 6 defendant of them all: Jacob Chansley, the QAnon shaman. The quotes from the lawyer were enough to peel your hair back.
Now they may*** be the basis for an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal from Chansley, who has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced.Read More
Behind inflation and supply-chain driven supply shortages one of the biggest topics in 2021 economics discussions is the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. This is a phrase increasingly used to describe the historically high levels of people quitting their jobs. Most often this is treated as one of the many ills facing the COVID and post-COVID economy. It’s also blamed what are frequently described as labor shortages. And it’s even blamed for inflation.
In fact, virtually everything we know about the Great Resignation is a good thing. And we should embrace it. It’s not knowledge workers reevaluating work life balance. It’s low wage workers in grueling and thankless jobs finally telling their bosses to go F themselves, quitting and finding better paying work.Read More
Public life – which is to say, politics – is an interplay between society’s foundational realities and the stories we tell about them – the facts and the messaging. Democrats have been in a collective funk since late summer and a central part of that funkish freakout has centered on their belief that they lost the plot on the messaging front. In fact, we stumbled on our path to national recovery – both on the economic and COVID fronts. And just as that happened Democrats fell into an escalating argument with themselves. There wasn’t really a message or any clear messaging at all. It was an intensifying Groundhog Day-like “keep having the same argument each day but getting nothing done” while the country went off course. That did send a very clear message. And we’ve seen the results in the President’s and his party’s poll numbers for the last five months.
So what happens now?Read More
The DOJ announced in October that it would launch a task force aimed at helping local law enforcement track and investigate threats against teachers and school staff. We knew this.
But this week House Republicans released information about a new FBI tracking program reportedly designed to help the DOJ field these threats. The GOP campaign was, seemingly, part of a broader attempt to push a bad faith narrative: that the Biden administration is seeking to intimidate and silence parents and community members who disagree with local school policies.
That framing is, of course, not true or fair.Read More
I’ve mentioned a few times recently both Merck and Pfizer have new COVID-targeted anti-viral medications which dramatically reduce the chances of severe disease and death if taken early in the course of illness. Merck’s pill (molnupiravir) reduced the risk of hospitalization by 50% if taken within 5 days of symptom onset; Pfizer’s pill (paxlovid) reduced the risk of hospitalization by 85% if taken with 5 days onset and 89% if taken within three days.
Both treatments showed 100% efficacy against death.Read More
Remember the last time Republicans took credit for legislation they actively opposed?
We reported earlier today that anti-BIF Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) lauded the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after President Biden signed it into law this week, praising at least one element of the package that will provide crucial funding to complete construction work on one of his “top priorities” as a lawmaker — the Birmingham Northern Beltline, a six-lane bypass route around Birmingham, Alabama.Read More
The far-right’s push to make America the Wild West again continues.Read More
Over the last half dozen years the rightist-populist (shorthand: Trumpist) war on expertise has created a highly polarized conversation about the role of expertise in democratic public life. But the debate about booster shots shows how those of us who are on Team Expertise have perhaps slightly overshot in this contentious public conversation. Or perhaps ‘overshot’ isn’t the right word. It shows how once we set aside conversations with idiots and bullshit artists there are real nuances, as there always has been, in the balance between expertise and democratic self-governance.
Let’s start by making a few points clear. Especially in the hard sciences we really should defer to people with professional expertise. Not sign off all decision-making, mind you, but really show great deference to the organized and systematic accumulation of knowledge which is a centerpiece – perhaps the centerpiece – of our civilization. The question is often on what questions specifically is the expertise relevant?
Here’s where you get to the booster question.Read More
There’s little question that a COVID booster shot increases your immunity to COVID infection. Data out of Israel from the late summer and early fall leaves little question about that. The public debate – setting aside questions of global vaccine equity – has been about how long that increased protection lasts and whether it matters. Let’s take the second part first. The most important protection you get from COVID vaccination is protection against severe illness and death. A year’s worth of data shows that protection against bad outcomes remains robust even though protection against infection declines substantially after about 6 months. For healthy people under 65 is it worth another round of vaccination, especially if that top off of increased protection only lasts a few months?Read More
President Donald Trump and his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the earliest days of the virus’ spread in the U.S., was an unmitigated disaster. We covered this as it unfolded for months and months.
But new media reports and documents released by a congressional committee probing the prior administration’s steering during 2020 confirm jarring new details about just how far the Trump White House went to interfere with the release of crucial public health-related information to the American people.Read More
Court observers appear divided on whether the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is headed to a hung jury or an outright acquittal. Very few seem to think the case is headed toward a conviction. That’s very jarring because many of us see it as obvious that Rittenhouse is unquestionably the guilty party, even if precisely what he is guilty of may be open to interpretation and despite the fact that the nature of self-defense laws in many states give the defense plenty of room to work with even in a case like this. Setting aside the technical components of first degree murder charges where this trial seems deeply unjust. Rittenhouse traveled to Wisconsin loaded for bear looking for trouble, found it and the law says that’s okay. That is compounded by the way the right in the US has made Rittenhouse into a folk hero.
But I’ve tried to distill down just what gets to me about this case. And here’s what I’ve come up with.Read More
Domestic extremists are still capitalizing on the spread of disinfo to encourage violence in online forums, according to a new anti-terrorism bulletin from the Department Of Homeland Security set to be released today.
And in promoting online violence, domestic extremists are targeting entities we’re all a bit too familiar with: members of Congress, public health officials and school board members.Read More