Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TPM.
Natural vs Vax Immunity Comes to the Fore With Omicron Prime Badge

In recent months there’s been a lively debate and a number of contending studies over whether ‘natural’ or vaccinated immunity provides superior protection against COVID. This is important information to know for a number of reasons. But in the public conversation it’s largely become a cudgel in arguments about vaccine mandates – people insisting vaccine mandates shouldn’t apply to them because of the immunity they got from being sick with COVID is just as good. There are many problems with that argument – the most important of which is that every expert I’ve heard from seems to agree that getting vaccinated gives you added protection regardless of whether you’ve had COVID. Meanwhile, in public health terms, it’s nearly impossible to litigate at scale who has had COVID and who hasn’t. But setting that debate aside, the advent of Omicron may be pushing this issue to center stage in a new way.

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Shouldn’t We Have Learned This About the BLS Numbers? Prime Badge

We have a mere 210,000 new jobs created in November, according to statistics released this morning by the Bureau of Labor statistics. It’s another “disappointing” number, well below Wall Street estimates. But as we noted a couple weeks ago and Philip Bump reminds us this morning, we should expect that the number is actually much higher, probably dramatically higher. So far this year every month but one has been revised higher after the fact, often by magnitudes far greater than in the history of counting this number. September was initially 194,000. Now it’s revised to 379,000. August was initially 235,000. Now it’s revised to 483,000. A number of other months have been upward revised by 100,000 or more.

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Emerging Data on Omicron Prime Badge

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.

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Abortion Could Be Illegal in Wisconsin, Michigan and AZ as Soon As Next Summer Prime Badge

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.

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Abortion Will Be Outlawed in Purple States Too Prime Badge

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.

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Kevin McCarthy’s Never-Ending Dignity Loss Derby Prime Badge
The would-be Speaker is leaving no dignity on the field.

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.

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COVID Miscellany #5

Not a terribly surprising stat but still noteworthy. Yale New Haven Hospital reports that 90% of their hospitalized COVID patients in recent months have been unvaccinated. What makes this so striking is that Connecticut is a super-highly vaccinated state. Among Connecticut residents over the age of 12, 83% are fully vaccinated and 94% have had at least one shot. In other words, there aren’t that many unvaccinated people in Connecticut to make up the 90%.

COVID Miscellany #4 Prime Badge

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.

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Are You a Student?

We’re kicking off a major new project that is part of bringing new readers into the TPM community. It’s very important to the future of the site. I think you’ll find it interesting. It builds on something we’ve done for a while but takes it to a new level.

If you’re a student we want to give you a free TPM membership. This isn’t a free trial or an upsell. It’s a full membership for one year, renewable as long as you’re a student, at no charge. No strings attached. You just have to be a registered student. You can be full-time or part-time.

Do you know a student – probably a young person but they come in all ages – who might enjoy a TPM membership? Well, let them know about our offer. Are you a teacher and have students who might enjoy and be enriched by getting a free TPM membership? You can either let them know about our program or contact us to help you with signing up a whole class or whatever group of students for TPM memberships. Whichever of these categories you’re interested in, you can start right now by clicking at this link.

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Time Flies

It’s already November 30th. And that means it’s the day for the oral arguments in ex-President Trump’s executive privilege suit contesting the powers of the January 6th Committee. We’re live blogging the hearing here.

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