Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: One step closer to passage

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Where the White House economic plan stands: From taxes to health to climate to immigration

Biden, for instance, said on Thursday night that his plan to create universal free community college had fallen out of the bill. The president acknowledged his new clean energy plan to incentivize utility firms to move away from fossil fuels is in danger of being jettisoned. By contrast, universal prekindergarten and a national child care program are widely seen as all but guaranteed to be included, enjoying the backing of the Democratic caucus.

The bill is also likely to retain significantly smaller versions of a wide range of Biden’s proposals, such as initial plans to provide roughly $300 billion for housing and homelessness, $400 billion on eldercare for seniors, and $450 billion for the child tax credit. Each initiative stands to be cut from anywhere from a third to a half of their initial proposed amounts, though estimates on how much vary by significant margins.

New from the Facebook leaks, by @BrandyZadrozny: Facebook staffers created a Trump-loving, Fox News-watching fake identity. The account went wherever the algorithm told it to go. It went full-on QAnon in two days. Facebook told nobody about this.

— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) October 22, 2021

Eric Alterman/American Prospect:

‘Both Sides’ Journalism Versus the Truth on Climate Change

It’s not just the Post that is offering its precious space to those who deny reputable science on behalf of conspiracy theories that serve the needs of Republican party funders. Both Daniels’s and Thiessen’s columns were of a piece with the sophisticated denialism that regularly appears on the Times op-ed page under the byline of Bret Stephens. You may recall that the paper’s previous publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chose to sully his more than two decades as publisher of the paper of record in 2017 by lifting Stephens from the swamps of the editorial pages of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal—where climate denial is as intensely determined a diktat as collectivism was of Stalin’s Communist Party—and give him the most prestigious perch from which to opine in all American journalism. There, in his first column (as I wrote in The Nation at the time), “ignoring the consensus opinion of virtually all qualified climatologists, Stephens wondered about the ‘ideological intentions’ of those who demand that we act before it’s too late. Offering no specific examples, he accused ‘the climate-advocacy community’ of ‘convey[ing] the impression’ that the steps required to avoid catastrophe are ‘not just necessary, but relatively straightforward and affordable.’” Typical of climate deniers, Stephens was dishonest about the numbers. As I wrote back then, “In fact, as a 2011 International Energy Agency report explained, ‘for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.’”

The 95% protection of 3 dose regiment was versus those who received two doses. Compared to unvaccinated, the 3 dose regiment could demonstrate 98 or 99% efficacy depending on how you modeled the protection still offered by two doses (at 50% it could be ~98%, 60% it could be ~99%)

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) October 22, 2021

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

In Town Hall, Biden Returns to Normalcy

Yes, he strayed off message and got things wrong. But unlike his predecessor, he understands what the job entails.

Biden has taken some heat from the press for mostly avoiding in-depth, one-on-one interviews. He’s done a fairly normal number of press conferences, and takes questions from White House reporters on plenty of other brief occasions. This is the third CNN town hall he’s done. Overall, I’d say it’s healthy for presidents to use a variety of different formats, but in reality most of them wind up giving the press less than they want, and like Biden they wind up specializing in the formats that play to their strengths.
So: This town hall won’t change much for Biden, but all of these events are part of the normal responsibilities of the presidency — and it is important that presidents carry such things out.

One productive way to respond to this truism is to talk about ways to reform the system to make a future effort harder. Instead of engaging in Shame Theater all the time, let’s talk more about fixing the Electoral Count Act and other democracy reforms.

— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) October 22, 2021

Ashton Pittman/Mississippi Free Press:

Organizers Plan For Post-Roe Mississippi With Self-Managed Abortion Education

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Mississippi’s challenge to Roe v. Wade for more than a month, but leading abortion-rights organizers say they are not holding out hope for a favorable ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Instead, they are preparing for a post-Roe Mississippi.

Most abortions, they expect, will soon become illegal across the South, and people will either have to travel far out of state to obtain abortions or else learn to safely perform their own.

“I am upset, of course, but being upset is not going to stop anything,” Mississippi In Action Executive Director Valencia Robinson told the Mississippi Free Press following an abortion-rights rally that she helped lead in Jackson on Oct. 2. “What we have to do is educate our community on what happens when Roe v. Wade is overturned.”

Eastman helped incite the attack on the Capitol with his nonsense lies about the Georgia election result. His new lies about his memo are what comes when you realize you haven’t quite saved enough to retire just yet and no decent place will hire you.

— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) October 22, 2021


Pranksters have already defaced Trump’s new social network

Truth Social has some unusual rules for a Trump-run site: It reserves the right to ban users and safeguard itself from lawsuits with Section 230 protections. It also prohibits ‘excessive use of capital letters.’

The site, called Truth Social, has since been pulled offline, evidence that Trump is likely to face a daunting challenge in building an Internet business that can stand on its own.

Banned by all major social networks after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump has for months agitated to regain the online megaphone that once blasted his voice around the world. In a presentation released Wednesday by his new media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, his team hailed the new social network as the first tentpole for a Trump-led media, news and Internet empire that would one day compete with CNN, Disney and Facebook.

Gallup: Joe Biden’s approval rating dips one more point in early October, falling to 42-52. Check out the divide in education status for approval: High School or less: 34% Some college: 36% College grad: 47% Post-graduate: 63% All non-college grads: 35% All college grads: 54%

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 22, 2021

Michael Hobbes/Substack:

The Methods of Moral Panic Journalism

Scare stories on “left-wing illiberalism” display a familiar pattern.

And so, because I don’t have time to debunk all of these articles, I’m going to pick on two of them. Last month, The Economist and The Atlantic published long features purporting to explore the phenomena of “Left-Wing Illiberalism” and “New Puritanism,” respectively. While both stories display the superficial features of investigative journalism, a deep dive reveals the same motivated reasoning, nonexistent evidence and indefensible editorial standards that misinformed the public about frivolous lawsuits.

It’s happening again. And here’s how to spot it.

President Biden: “The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion.”

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 22, 2021

Katherine J Wu/Atlantic:

No One Will Stop You From Getting Whatever Booster You Want

The CDC indicated that it would move toward a hands-off stance: Booster-eligible people should stick with one brand, but may mix and match at will.

The CDC’s stance on mixing and matching, then, could end up being a relatively soft one, neither extolment nor excoriation. That might also be the most practical course of action for the agency, given the variables involved and the lack of clear-cut evidence that could untangle them. But the wishy-washiness of Pick whatever is confusing as hell.

Every combo works, so don’t sweat it.

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