EDITORS' BLOG
What On Earth Is Going On Here?

Over the course of July our long foretold ‘hot vax summer’ has either come to a screeching halt or at least hit a major speed bump. We’re in the midst of another wave of new cases if not, at least in most of the country, hospitalizations and deaths. The Delta variant has changed things. It’s significantly more infectious and to at least some extent it’s weakened the efficacy of the best vaccines. But just how much? And how much does that matter? There’s a fairly spirited debate about what we should even consider an infection (we’ll come back to this). On really every front we’re flooded with anecdotal information.

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Where Things Stand: DeSantis’ Balancing Act
Prime Membership Required

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) rise to Trumpy stardom is largely tied to his defiant stance against public health measures during most of the pandemic last year.

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What Is the Right?

This lovefest between Tucker Carlson and Viktor Orbán is fascinating on a number of levels.

One thing that a number of us have been saying for some time is that increasingly over the last decade-plus, the GOP has continued to present itself as a center-right party of government while increasingly operating as a rightist revanchist party on the European model. This intentionally conspicuous hobnobbing with Orbán is part of that story. Obviously, Carlson isn’t formally representing the GOP. But in practice he does. He’s far more influential in conservative politics than any elected official currently in office.

The Battle To Vaccinate

A few weeks ago in my off-air brainstorming I had thought about simply paying people $100 to get vaccinated. It’s almost certainly a good investment for government. I mean, we’ve paid many thousands of dollars to individuals to maintain the economy through the stresses of COVID and other outreach efforts cost significant amounts of money too. The idea had occurred to me when reading articles about how many people have not gotten vaccinated simply because it requires taking time off work or having the risk of a couple days downtime from side effects. So I was excited to see that people at the White House were thinking along the same lines.

It is a good reminder that the vaccine ‘hesitancy’ issue is really two different issues, and they’re not even both hesitancy.

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For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure

For your weekend reading pleasure ‘History’s Heroic Failures‘, stories of kings from the distant past who rescued their kingdoms in historic victories only to lose everything to new foes, leaving the earlier triumphs all but forgotten.

Where Things Stand: Mo Brooks Says He Wore Body Armor On Jan. 6. Because Of Antifa, Of Course
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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was one of the first Republicans to point the finger at the amorphous “antifa” as the true culprits behind the Jan. 6 insurrection.

His tone hasn’t changed much since.

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Yep, We Need More Blame

We’re now getting more information about what new data was behind the CDC’s revised guidance on COVID-era masking. An internal power-point presentation was shared with The Washington Post and the CDC will apparently be making a public presentation today. One key datapoint seems to be an apparent super-spreading event on July 4th in Provincetown, Massachusetts which suggests very efficient spread of COVID among vaccinated people. As you know, I have followed the emerging data very closely. There’s so much conflicting data on transmissibility and even what constitutes transmission and infection (more on that later) that it’s really, really hard to know what’s happening. I would say the more you dig into the data the more confusing it gets, not less. With all that said though it’s clear that Delta COVID is much more transmissible than earlier versions and that available vaccines, while still very effective, are not as effective as they appeared to be and likely were even a couple months ago.

That sucks. But here we are.

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Subpoena Jim Jordan

As the Jan 6th investigation committee gets down to work we are learning each day how many members of the House GOP caucus are at best witnesses to key events tied to Jan 6th and perhaps in some cases perps. Rep. Jim Jordan got asked again about what conversations he had with President Trump on January 6th. The questions were from Taylor Popielarz who covers the Ohio delegation for Spectrum News. You have to watch the video to appreciate how caught off guard Jordan seemed to be by the question and how flustered and tense he got when pressed on details.

Here’s the video.

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Where Things Stand: Turning Point USA Is Targeting Teens With Anti-Vax Propaganda
Prime Membership Required

Turning Point USA is pushing anti-vaccine talking points as part of its fundraising efforts.

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| Muckraker

It’s a short jump from one Big Lie to another.

The man who Trump sought to appoint as his pocket attorney general is now working for a non-profit that is fighting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health authorities issued during the pandemic.

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| Cafe

Hi my name is Jackie, and I think I am a (classics) book snob.

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| Muckraker

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is billed as a speaker at a far-right conference in Hungary on Saturday, according to a flier for the event. The appearance will come days after the Fox host met with the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

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| News

As the Jan. 6 committee holds its first hearing Tuesday, lawmakers’ primary focus will be the storming of the Capitol. Law enforcement witnesses will discuss how that day unfolded, and what they saw as they defended the building against the rioters who flooded in, seeking to confront members of Congress.

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Since President Joe Biden first ascended to office flanked by the barest effective Senate majority — an evenly split chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote — one Senate rule has earned more ink than any other: the filibuster. In its current form, the filibuster demands 60 votes to proceed to debate on most legislation.

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| Prime

Sometimes, in politics, an evocative piece of imagery sticks and becomes something of a meme. “Democrats in disarray.” “Shattering the glass ceiling.” “Drain the swamp.” 

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