Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

Okay, This Is Worth Worrying About Prime Badge
 Member Newsletter

I’ve had various readers tell me that I’m saying people shouldn’t be worried about the presidential election. That’s not true at all. I want people to have a realistic sense of the situation and I want people, for lack of a better word, to worry productively. But along these lines, I wanted to mention something that legit worries me. I think we all know that there’s a high likelihood of post-election shenanigans and potentially things much worse than shenanigans, especially if Joe Biden wins but wins narrowly. But there’s one scenario that particularly has my attention.

Let me walk you through it.

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Cricket’s Poll Numbers Surge in South Dakota as Voters Give Noem Big Thumbs Down

Gov. Kristi Noem has reacted to most of the criticism she’s received for executing her dog Cricket and lying about a meeting with North Korea’s paramount leader Kim Jung Un by saying city folk just don’t know the rural folkways of South Dakota. But it turns out Noem’s dog murdering ways are taking a toll on her support in South Dakota too. A new poll shows her job approval has dipped significantly since the Cricket imbroglio, now only just over 50% (52.2%). That’s down from an April poll which had her at 59%. And her favorability rating — which looks at personal qualities rather than job performance — is clearly in negative territory. 48% unfavorable and only 38.6% favorable.

And then there’s the big question: Was Noem justified in shooting cricket in the face just because the dog was a bit of a spaz and didn’t turn in a good performance on her first hunting outing?

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Durbin Having a Caffeinated Beverage? Possibly?

Press release just out from Durbin’s office tonight …

DURBIN: JUSTICE ALITO MUST RECUSE HIMSELF FROM CASES RELATED TO THE 2020 ELECTION AFTER ‘APPEAL TO HEAVEN’ FLAG WAS FLOWN AT HIS HOME

Durbin also called for the passage of the SCERT Act, legislation that requires Supreme Court justices to adopt a binding code of ethics

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Will Google Eat Everything?

You may have noticed that we have a series of new controversies or set pieces in the ongoing public conversation about AI. One of them has to do with Google search. Google recently rolled out, or in some regions is in the process of rolling out, a new AI-enabled version of search. You may have seen it already without noticing it was something new. On some searches you’ll now see that the top of your search has text under a small rubric that says “AI Overview.” This is potentially a very big deal for search and the whole ecosystem of the web.

Search, which has been dominated by Google for more than 20 years, has long been ruled by a mutually beneficial exchange between Google and websites. Google makes huge profits by running ads against its search results. It also copies small portions of other sites’ text and photographs under its theory of fair use. The justification for the profit and its use of sites’ content is that Google makes the web navigable, and it can send massive audiences to the sites that make up the web. In the first years of this century, various rights holders contested aspects of Google’s fair use policies. But they tended to lose those challenges and it became largely accepted that search, very much part of the open web, was actually good for the indexed websites.

In principle, at least, this understanding came to undergird the successful fair use arguments. Broadly, fair use says you can reproduce limited portions of a rights holder’s content if you don’t damage their ability to make money from it.

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Clarifying Polls Prime Badge
 Member Newsletter

We have a new set of swing state polls out this morning from Bloomberg/Morning Consult. They show a number of things, which we’ll get to in a moment. But at a meta or media amplification level they also help us again see the massive megaphone tied to the NYT/Siena poll, notwithstanding the fact that its results were questionable in the 2022 cycle and have been big (Trump-favorable) outliers for much of this cycle. There are lots of polls. But the NYT-Siena poll’s outsized impact on news headlines extends even beyond the Times own brand and reach.

So let’s look at this new set of polls.

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Low Energy, Part 2 Prime Badge
 Member Newsletter

Let me follow up about the comment TPM Reader HS got when she called the office of her state’s senior senator, Alex Padilla. She called insisting there should be some kind of investigation into the Justice Alito flag controversy. When HS got through to Padilla’s office on the second try, a staffer told her they hadn’t yet been briefed yet on whether Padilla had a position on the issue. In response to that piece, another reader pointed me to this article from this morning in Politico.

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Low Energy

For all the endlessly merited outrage about Justice Alito being outed as the second pro-insurrection Justice (I mean, more evidence, no surprise), it seems like the response on Capitol Hill is truly low energy.

From TPM Reader HS

I’ve been a reader since the 2000 election and live in San Francisco.  When the story on Alito came out last week, I called Senator Padilla, a Judiciary committee member, and left a message about how outrageous it was and hoped that as a member of the committee, he would call for hearings and investigations (no one answered).  I also called Senator Durban’s office (picked up on first ring) and communicated the same. 

Today, I called my Senator again.  His staff person said “I haven’t been briefed on his position and I will be happy to pass on your message”   That’s it.  No response at all.  CALIFORNIA! 

Indeed, that’s the best a senator from California can do?

Your Primal Scream Is Good Therapy, Not Good Campaign Advice Prime Badge
 Member Newsletter

After a short bout of mea culpas and self-flagellating in response to Biden’s State of the Union speech in early March, Ezra Klein is back with a laundry list of complaints about the campaign. He starts by taking as gospel an Axios report about Biden campaign polling denial and proceeds to whine and perseverate about every possible aspect of the campaign.

This passage from the lead in to the piece offers some illustration …

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Benny Gantz is a Follower, Lacks Moral Courage Prime Badge
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Let me add a few thoughts on the issues we were discussing yesterday about Israel and Israel’s government. For several years, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has loomed over Israeli politics as a potential successor to Benjamin Netanyahu. This is an established dynamic in Israeli politics wherein the IDF is far and away the most respected institution. Former chiefs of staff almost always get discussed as potential prime ministers, though only two of them have actually done it, and many of them become government ministers. Gantz has run as the leader of a party he created which has existed under a few labels. He’s won more seats, then fewer seats. Through the war he’s been the public’s top choice in polls for the next prime minister.

What I say now is based on no inside information or even reporting and it may seem audacious to say about someone who’s had such a career of accomplishment. But it seems clear to me that the man is a follower and has some fundamental lack of moral courage.

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A Response to TPM Reader JB

TPM Reader JS responds to TPM Reader JB’s note from last night. As I said with JB, I don’t agree with all of the points. But the overall argument hits at what I do believe JB leaves out, which is that the U.S. is still the great power in the region. And the situation in Gaza is umbilically tied to three or four other major regional tension points. To my mind the real issue is that we cannot bring this episode to a close because of Netanyahu’s intransigence which is one part ideology and one part the need to keep his coalition intact which, in turn, keeps him out of jail. That’s a tough reason for a great power to be consumed by an issue.

JB is a classic dot disconnecter. His assertion that Israel is taking too much bandwidth from Ukraine, for example, completely misses the point. I’m going to pretend the assertion that Bibi was trying to suck us into a war with Iran was hyperbole, because it’s ridiculous, bordering on the conspiratorial (Bibi approved the killing of the Iranian general knowing they would shoot 300 drones at Israel and this bank shot would bring the US in against Iran? Lol, lmao even.)

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