Matt Taibbi’s story about Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story

Have folks tried to follow and understand the story about Twitter’s pre-election-2020 suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story and other material that politicians asked them to deep-six?

I think there is supposed to be a narrative in here, but it is so chopped up by the presentation as individual tweets that it is tough to follow.

Has Matt Taibbi mostly proved that Twitter needs a substantial re-thinking to be suitable for long-form text? (I think tweets should be allowed at any length up to the standard relational database CLOB (character large object) limit of 2 billion characters, but a reader sees only a short summary (that long-form authors are forced to craft) until he/she/ze/they clicks “more”)

Readers: Have you figured out whether there is anything of interest in this reveal of internal Twitter machinations?

Update: In the official NYT version of history, Twitter’s shaping of what viewpoints people could express (or send to each other in private messages) never happened. The front page of the NYT time has space to talk about “notable diversity” of the U.S. World Cup team, but there is nothing about the Twitter files reveal. (Separately, I dispute that the US team is diverse. There are no gender ID requirements for World Cup players and yet for some reason players of only one gender ID have been selected.)

(Joe Biden’s granddaughter also does not exist according to the NYT. A search for plaintiff “Lunden” Roberts or granddaughter “Navy Joan” yields no results on

Full post, including comments

The Illustrated History of Corn Pop as a Christmas Gift?

It’s December and therefore time to think about Christmas gifts. My vote for best all-around gift, suitable for friends and family of all ages… Joey: The Story of Joe Biden, by Dr. Jill Biden (who better to tell the story than a physician who wasn’t around at the time?).

The Vanquisher of Corn Pop who kept Americans safe from SARS-CoV-2 was an early safety advocate:

Sometimes the best way to avoid spreading a contagious virus is a communal bowl:

Readers: Any better ideas for Christmas gifts?


Full post, including comments

Why didn’t Joe Biden visit his granddaughter in Arkansas for Thanksgiving?

Joe Biden spent Thanksgiving connecting with the American working class and hearing about their struggles in an economy ravaged by inflation. “Biden, family hit Nantucket stores for some holiday shopping” (AP):

Biden, his wife, Jill, and daughter Ashley went from store to store on Main Street in downtown Nantucket, lingering at Polo Ralph Lauren, Murray’s Toggery Shop and The Black Dog, among other establishments.

The president’s son Hunter and his wife, Melissa, were also shopping with their 2-year-old son, Beau.

The real story is about the Second Wannsee Conference, chaired by a Mexican-American and a Black poet:

As Biden went from store to store, a reporter asked what he thought about a dinner meeting former President Donald Trump recently had at his Florida home with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist. Both of Trump’s dinner guests have expressed anti-semitic views. Trump has said he did not know anything about Fuentes’ background.

(the first Wannsee Conference happened in 1942, the year that the Vanquisher of Corn Pop was born)

I’m curious as to why President Biden didn’t go to Arkansas, home to the nation’s greatest American art museum, to visit his granddaughter Navy Joan, daughter of retired stripper Lunden Roberts, whose family court career gives men roughly 5 million good reasons to study Ye’s early work carefully:

Like Nantucket, Arkansas is home to some of our working class brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters.

Entering “lunden roberts” and “navy joan” in the New York Times search engine yields no results. So I am apparently the only person in the U.S. who wonders why Joe Biden’s granddaughter does not get to meet her famous grandfather.

Photos from a January 2019 visit to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas:

A 2SLGBTQQIA+ painting from 1885:

Bentonville’s Elizabeth Warren museum predicted the exodus from Twitter:

It would have been nice if this had been our rental car:

There’s also the Walmart Museum, in which we learn that Sam Walton’s twin passions were computers and flying light aircraft!

Ice cream was available at pre-Jimmy Carter prices:

Full post, including comments

Is Joe Biden the American Hugo Chavez?

A leader introduces bold Bigger Government policies. The economy deteriorates. Violent crime rates rise. Inflation rages. Even for those with money, there are shortages. Voters express their undiminished love for the leader under whom they’ve become poorer affirmed his leadership at the polls.

Who did this the best? Hugo Chavez! (see Hugo Chavez: Great politician; poor administrator for how the only thing that kept Hugo Chavez from winning more elections was his death from cancer in 2013)

If Hugo Chavez is the master, let’s check in regarding the apprentice. From the NYT:

“the best midterms of any president in 20 years” in what certainly is not the best economic environment or crime rate trend environment of the past 20 years. The article is also interesting because the purportedly neutral journalists characterize Biden’s borrow-and-spend schemes as “accomplishments”:

“I’m not going to change,” he said. While open to cooperation with Republicans, he defiantly said he would block any efforts by the opposition to unravel the accomplishments of his first two years. “I have a pen that can veto,” he said, making a signing motion with his hand.

Not “What he claims as his accomplishments” but verified-by-the-NYT accomplishments.

Full post, including comments

Despite privilege, a tall white man leads a “life of struggle”

The New York Times, which previously informed us how easy white men had everything, regarding our most noble citizen… “After a Life of Struggle, Biden Faces One More Inflection Point”:

Before heading into a community center for a campaign rally the other day, President Biden stopped to speak to the overflow crowd

Faith has been Mr. Biden’s calling card in his nearly two years in office — faith in the system in which he has been a fixture for more than half a century, faith that he could repair the fissures of a broken society, faith that he and he alone could beat former President Donald J. Trump if they face off again in 2024.

Biden is a man of faith and draws overflow crowds.

The presidency he envisioned, one where he presided over a moment of reconciliation, is not the presidency he has gotten.

Saying that anyone who votes for a Republican is traitorously ending our democracy did not work for reconciliation?

To whom can this greatest of living men be compared?

Like other presidents in stressful moments, he has turned to Abraham Lincoln for inspiration.

Abe Lincoln had only a battle to fight…

“One possible lesson for President Biden, who’s engaged in a profound battle to preserve the Constitution and the rule of law, is that moral commitment matters and can prevail, no matter how difficult the struggle,”

Noble Joe has a profound battle against the enemies of the Constitution and the rule of law (who might those be?).

But if he takes a licking on Tuesday, aides said, he will own it and move ahead. In a life of falling and getting back up, it would be one more stumble, not the end.

What would it mean for Joe Biden to “own” the Democrats’ defeat in some House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races? Surely he would not admit doubt in the Rainbow Flag religion. Would he unforgive everyone’s student loans? Would he say that some abortion care for pregnant people is not reproductive health care?

Circling back to the headline, does it make sense to characterized Joe Biden’s life as one of remarkable struggle? If so, why couldn’t he have used his white male privilege to avoid that struggle?

Full post, including comments

Stock market performance since Joe Biden took office

I wonder if the Democrats are going to lose even some of their elite support in this week’s election (or maybe we should say “last week’s election” because so many people voted early?). Elites own stock and the S&P 500 is down nearly 2% in nominal terms compared to January 20, 2021 (closed at 3,799; compare to 3,771 today). We don’t have official CPI numbers for October yet, but this is down more than 15% if adjusted by official CPI. If we adjust for inflation in the prices of goods and services that elites buy, e.g., houses, cars, travel, etc., the S&P 500 is down 20-25%.

Democrats have been running the White House, the House, and the Senate. Unless they can claim that a reduction in abortion care for pregnant people at reproductive health centers has resulted in the losses suffered by investors, it will be tough to blame those losses on Republicans.

Speaking of early voting, here’s an epic line in Austin, Texas:

The city of Austin and Travis County, which is essentially the same group of people, is overwhelmingly Democrat (72% Biden and 27% Trump in 2020). Every elected official in Travis County seems to be a Democrat (to the point that most run unopposed by any Republican). Democrats say that Republicans are guilty of voter suppression by making it difficult to vote, but how can Republicans be responsible for the long lines and inconvenience in Austin/Travis County?

(This is not to say that Democrats are incompetent everywhere. I early-voted by biking over to the Abacoa “honors” campus of Florida Atlantic University (next to Scripps and Max Planck) and, thanks to the Democrats who run Palm Beach County, was voting within about 2 minutes after parking the bike. Then it was time for a Cuban sandwich at an outdoor table at the nearby cluster of restaurants in our fake downtown (shops, restaurants, bars, mini golf, escape room; no trash, pit bulls, unhoused people, pit bull poop, sidewalk tents, and the rest of the features that make California cities so vibrant and exciting).)

Full post, including comments

What kind of economic advice is Joe Biden getting?

Joe Biden’s economic policy seems to follow the same logic as that used by my 88-year-old mom’s circle of friends. These women are generally innumerate, despite having enjoyed elite educations, because they took their last math class in high school and, as stay-at-home wives, could enjoy afternoons at the theater rather than reviewing accounting reports or doing the other tedious stuff with numbers that is required to earn money. They believe that the U.S. has an infinite supply of wealth, partly because Asians are inferior to Americans in creativity and, therefore, cannot truly compete with us. Due to the fact that our wealth is infinite, there shouldn’t be any limit to what the government can spend. Any spending program that might help at least one American, therefore, should be approved.

Joe Biden seems to hold similar beliefs, but what about the professional economists who have been advising him on his Inflationary Journey? Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, must be one of the world’s leading experts on macroeconomics, right? Wikipedia says that his/her/zir/their degrees are in “politics” and law. I.e., there was no formal training in economics behind “Fed’s Powell says high inflation temporary, will ‘wane’” (AP, June 2021).

The Chair of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors is Cecilia Rouse. In May 2021, she characterized inflation as “transitory” and “temporary” (Reuters). Here she is in June 2021 doubling down:

And then in December 2021… “Top Biden Economist: ‘I Really Do Believe’ Inflation Will Ease” (Bloomberg):

“As supply chains ease, as people get back to work, as we normalize our economy, the price pressures will start to ease,” said Rouse, who’s on leave from her post as a Princeton University economics and education professor.

Rouse called the coronavirus the biggest, ongoing threat to the U.S. economy — one that could upend Americans’ willingness to take jobs, travel and spend money on activities like dining out. It’s still too early to know the ways in which the new variant called omicron could affect the U.S. economy, she said.

(It is not politicians ordering lockdowns and school closures that are threats to the economy, but SARS-CoV-2 itself.)

She’s 58 years old so at least has the potential to not be senile. On the other hand, Cecilia Rouse seems to be a specialist in labor economics, a potentially irrelevant specialty given a country where the long-term trend is people preferring not to work:

Google Scholar shows this top advisor’s papers. A sampling:

  • “Orchestrating impartiality: The impact of blind auditions on female musicians” (possibly flawed; see also this critique)
  • “Diversity in the economics profession: A new attack on an old problem”
  • “Constrained after college: Student loans and early-career occupational choices”
  • “The Costs and Benefits of an Excellent Education for All of America’s Children” (Science says that the obvious answer is to close schools entirely for 12-18 months, particularly anywhere that Children of Color are to be found)

None of these seem to relate to the central questions of our day: Can the government borrow and/or print $31 trillion without causing hyperinflation? If everything that the government spends is indexed to inflation, can the government itself cause an inflation spiral?

Is it possible that the central planners are completely unqualified for the job that they’ve given themselves?

Full post, including comments

Joe Biden headlines a COVID Superspreader event in Florida

Joe Biden should be speaking soon at an indoor COVID Superspreader event that the Followers of Science have organized here in South Florida. From Florida Memorial University:

Note, especially, “this event is expected to reach attendance capacity.” In other words, by design there will be a packed gym of people spreading aerosol SARS-CoV-2 to each other.

What’s especially confusing about this is that there are so many outdoor venues in which as many or more people could be accommodated. It will be partly cloudy with temps in the low 80s this evening in Miami Gardens.

Remember that the headline speaker is the one whose order that Americans wear masks in airports would still be in effect if it had not been found unconstitutional. Mere months after the judge’s order he is encouraging people to crowd together with no masks?

Full post, including comments

Trump vs. Biden in the New York Times

According to my browser, the word “Trump” occurs 6 times on the front page of today’s New York Times. “Biden” occurs 3 times.

Biden is featured for expanding government (and, therefore, borrowing and the deficit) as well as for being a quarter century older than the mandatory retirement age for an FAA air traffic controller (gone before age 56, even at the sleepiest airports where there might be one operation every 10 minutes).

Some of the headlines mentioning Trump:

Excerpts from the Trump stories:

Liberal excitement is understandable. Mr. Trump faces potential legal jeopardy from the Jan. 6 investigation in Congress and the Mar-a-Lago search. They anticipate fulfilling a dream going back to the earliest days of the Trump administration: to see him frog-marched to jail before the country and the world.

But the nightmare wouldn’t stop there. What if Mr. Trump declares another run for the presidency just as he’s indicted and treats the trial as a circus illustrating the power of the Washington swamp and the need to put Republicans back in charge to drain it?

There is an obvious risk: If Mr. Trump runs again, he might win.

It’s impossible to understand the G.O.P. reaction to the raid, though, without accounting for the context of the Russia investigation of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign that consumed the first two years of his presidency. … investigations of prominent figures of one party carried out by officials of the other party aren’t going to be met by a relaxed attitude and sympathetic understanding.

The last time there was a significant investigation of a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, Democrats waged all-out war on the prosecutor. The independent counsel, Ken Starr, had a Republican background, but he wasn’t working for a G.O.P. administration. He was appointed by a three-judge panel after Mr. Clinton’s own attorney general, Janet Reno, triggered the investigation.

The Russia investigation was a national fiasco that brought discredit on the F.B.I. and everyone who participated in it. The probe prominently featured a transparently ridiculous dossier generated by the Clinton campaign, eventually spinning into a special-counsel investigation that became, to some significant extent, about itself and whether Mr. Trump was guilty of obstruction. People who should have known better got caught up in the feeding frenzy and speculated that the walls were closing in on Mr. Trump or that he might have been a Russian asset going back decades.

That experience guarantees that no Republican is going to take assurances about the Mar-a-Lago search, or any other Trump investigation, at face value.

Is it fair to say that Trump (our distant neighbor here in Palm Beach County, though there is a world of difference between the Palm Beach and Jupiter lifestyles!) has more mindshare, nearly two years after his last election, than any other former president with the same distance from being in office?

Full post, including comments

Should we not pay rent due to the COVID-19 public health emergency…

… or should we instead not pay rent due to “Biden administration declares the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency” (CNN):

The declaration follows the World Health Organization announcement last month that monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern. WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, as “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

Some cities and states, including New York City, San Francisco, California, Illinois and New York, have already declared monkeypox an emergency, allowing them to free up funding and resources for their responses to the outbreak.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden named Robert Fenton as the White House’s national monkeypox response coordinator. Fenton — a regional Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator who oversees Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada — will coordinate the federal government’s response to the outbreak.

Monkeypox can infect anyone, but the majority of cases in the US outbreak have been among men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men and people who identify as transgender. Close contact with an infected individual is required for the spread of the monkeypox virus, experts say.

Concentrating on that last paragraph, now that Science has declared an emergency, should we start wearing protective cloth masks on visits to the local bathhouse?

Separately, one of my most COVID-concerned Facebook friends has been posting images of himself and his wife, fully masked, at a 70,000-person indoor board game convention. Apparently, there was a one-hour process for scrutinizing vaccine papers (Science says that there is no way to transmit a SARS-CoV-2 infection if a person has been injected with proven-by-Science COVID-19 “vaccines”). The same guy posted some rage against convention attendees who did not Follow Science by attending a 70,000-person indoor event while wearing a mask of some sort:

This guy and similar are endlessly fascinating to me. He is concerned enough about COVID-19 to wear a mask and post about others’ mask-wearing. But he is not concerned enough about an aerosol respiratory virus to refrain from attending a 70,000-person indoor event that attracts diseased individuals from all around the world.

Finally, when will the CDC announce a hangar rent moratorium? That’s the kind of COVID-19/monkeypox relief that I feel would be most beneficial.


Full post, including comments