March 18th, 2023|

Jamelle Bouie has it right on some conservatives blaming “wokeness” for the banking industry woes — that claim has no basis in reality, but is just another attempt to stoke the culture wars:

“It is unclear whether these conservatives are working from the same memo or just have the same narrow obsession. Regardless, there is no evidence that any diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives were responsible for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. It is nonsense. And while it shouldn’t be taken seriously on its own terms, this deflection is worth noting for what it represents: the relentless effort to mystify real questions of political economy in favor of endless culture war conflict.”

March 11th, 2023|

In the “the more they stay the same” category, Jamelle Bouie, writing in his March 11 NYT Opinion piece, quotes from de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America:

“It often happens in democratic countries that many men who have the desire or the need to associate cannot do it, because all being very small and lost in the crowd, they do not see each other and do not know where to find each other. Up comes a newspaper that exposes to their view the sentiment or the idea that had been presented to each of them simultaneously but separately. All are immediately directed toward that light, and those wandering spirits who had long sought each other in the shadows finally meet each other and unite.”

And now I’ll quote Bouie himself, as he decries the decline in local news coverage that he believes contributes further to the undermining of American democratic institutions:

“One of the most striking aspects of the modern information environment, as many people have observed, is the almost total collapse of local and even regional news outlets. Where once every town or city of even minor consequence had a newspaper — with reporters who helped the community understand itself through their work — now there are large parts of the country that exist in news deserts, where there is little coverage of anything, from local government to local events.

I think that this decline has played an important role in undermining America’s democratic institutions, as well as the public’s faith in democracy. It’s not just that the collapse of local news has made it harder to hold any number of public officials accountable — contributing to general cynicism about the ability of government to do anything constructive — but that Americans increasingly lack the information they need to participate in the political process in their communities.”


• Tomas Pueyo, writing in his Uncharted Territories  substack blog takes a good hard look at the Cochrane Library’s meta analysis of the “Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses” by Dooley et al. used by some (e.g. Bret Stephens in the NYT) to erroneously conclude that mask mandates are ineffective.  In reality, no such conclusion can be drawn from the Dooley review — the authors themselves state “The high risk of bias in the trials, variation in outcome measurement, and relatively low adherence with the interventions during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions.” and “We are uncertain whether wearing masks or N95/P2 respirators helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses based on the studies we assessed.”  Pueyo does a good job of analyzing why this review does not provide any substantive evidence that mask mandates are ineffective.

• Jeremy Faust writes in his Substack Inside Medicine blog about how more and more Americans are choosing to die at home; it’s worth a read. Some numbers from his post:

• Jeremy Peters and Katie Robertson write in the NY Times about some of the noisome evidence produced in the Dominion defamation case. For me, the most heinous indictment in their story comes in this quote from Rupert Murdoch:

“On one occasion, as Mr. Murdoch watched Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell on television, he told Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, “Terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear.””

Murdoch knew the damage he was doing to people and to this country and yet persisted, all in the interest of $$. Read the story, it says it all about the profit driven business plan of his media empire, one built on lies and fear-stoking.

Credit: Getty Images

   Molly White riffs on Web3:

    Let’s just say it’s not all rosy in Web3’s not-so-meta world; caveat emptor…