The current unpopularity of mask mandates in American school districts has not stopped mask advocates from promoting their return as a COVID-19 mitigation measure, but the research used to justify mandates is facing expanded scrutiny.Read More
Commentary: The Medical Industry’s Embrace of Woke Science
Just a few years ago, concepts such as “white supremacy,” “systemic racism,” and “structural intersectionality” were not the standard fare of prestigious medical journals. These are now the guiding ideas in a February special issue of “Health Affairs” that focuses on medicine and race.
Featuring nearly two dozen articles with titles such as “Racism Runs Through It” and “Sick and Tired of Being Excluded,” as well as a poem called “Identity,” the Washington, D.C.-based, peer-reviewed journal analyzes racial health disparities not through biology, behavior, or culture, but through the lens of “whiteness,” along with concepts such as power, systems of oppression, state-sanctioned violence, and critical race praxis – a sampling of terms that come up in the February issue.
Health Affairs, dubbed by a Washington Post columnist as “the bible of health policy,” represents something much more ambitious than woke virtue signaling. Its February issue reflects the effort of newly empowered “anti-racist” scholars to transform concepts that are still considered speculative and controversial – and some say unprovable – into scientific fact. This growing effort to document, measure, and quantify racism is being advanced by other high-profile publications, including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and Scientific American, which last year ran articles entitled “Modern Mathematics Confronts Its White, Patriarchal Past” and “Denial of Evolution Is a Form of White Supremacy.”Read More
Commentary: Scientists Discover Two New Translucent Glass Frogs in the Andes
A team of American and Ecuadorian scientists has discovered two new species of glassfrogs in the Tropical Andes of Ecuador. Glassfrogs are known for their translucent undersides which reveal their insides.
The Tropical Andes are considered the greatest of all biodiversity hotspots. Running along the western coast of South America, the region includes forests, grasslands, and mountainous terrains across altitudes from 1,600 to 16,000 feet! Many of the tens of thousands of plant and animal species that dwell there can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
It was undoubtedly this reputation that attracted the researchers to the area back in 2015, when they initially found the new species of glassfrogs. Juan Guayasamin, a Professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador, and his colleagues have spotted the amphibians numerous times since then, but still, they haven’t been easy to find. Hyalinobatrachium mashpi and H. nouns, as Guayasamin has dubbed the frogs, typically occupy lofty vegetation along steep streams and rivers in the high-elevation cloud forests. Both have beautiful yellow and green coloration on their backs with clear spots. Most individuals were found on the undersides of leaves, where females lay their eggs, and where both male and female partners remain to watch over them.Read More
Commentary: Weird Things Happen When People Are Blindfolded for 96 Hours
Vision is the primary way that humans sense the world, so what happens when you suddenly strip sight away? In 2004, researchers at Harvard Medical School found out.
Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a Professor of Neurology, led a team that blindfolded thirteen healthy young adults for 96 hours straight. During that time, as part of a broader study, participants were taught braille for four hours a day, engaged in tactile stimulation activities like puzzles and clay modeling, took daily brain scans, and otherwise lived their lives – they got dressed, they ate, they walked around, and they went to the gym, all in total, numbing darkness.
“A specially designed blindfold was worn that prevented all light perception,” the researchers described. “It was held in place by a Velcro strap and further secured by Ace bandages. The blindfold permitted full motion of the eyes as well as opening and closing of eyelids. Potential tampering with the blindfold by the subjects was controlled with the use of a piece of photographic paper attached to the inside of the blindfold.”Read More
Commentary: The Reasons the Night Sky Isn’t White
The night sky, in all its astral beauty, has ever been a source of wonder for the human race. But over a century ago, some astronomers looked up and saw a paradox.
Why, they wondered, if the Universe is infinite, with an infinite number of stars, is the night sky not white? Every direction we look, there should be a star whose light has traveled all the way to Earth. So the night sky should be a sea of sunlight!
This conundrum is commonly called Olbers’ paradox, named after the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, who wrote about it in the early 1800s, though he was not the first, nor the only, thinker to ponder it.Read More
New Jobless Claims Dip to 232,000
The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 232,000 in the week ending Feb. 19, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
The Labor Department’s figure showed a decrease of 17,000 compared to the week ending Feb. 12, when claims increased to 249,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated that new claims reported Thursday would total 235,000.
Last week’s jobless claim figure marked the first increase after three straight weeks of decline as the Omicron coronavirus variant caused workers to call in sick and businesses to temporarily close.Read More
‘Scientific Malfeasance’: Economists Point Out Flaws in Biden Nominee’s Signature Research
President Joe Biden’s latest nominee to the Fed has faced criticism for embellishing her resume, but recently some economists have raised the possibility that her most famous research contains fatal flaws.
Lisa Cook, a professor of international relations and economics at Michigan State University, was nominated to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on Jan 14. Three weeks later, on Feb. 5, an anonymous Twitter account pointed out a mistake in Cook’s 2014 paper, “Violence and economic activity: evidence from African-American patents, 1870-1940.”
The anonymous tweet sparked a flurry of blog posts criticizing Cook’s paper. Andrew Gelman, a statistics professor at Columbia University, compared Cook’s dataset with a more recent dataset from the Brookings Institution and said the results did not match. “Hey—this is a lot different!” wrote Gelman.Read More
New CDC Data Say Vaccine Booster Effectiveness Wanes Sharply in Months After Dose
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released data showing that effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine booster wanes markedly in the months following that shot, though the agency still said uptake of the booster is important for fighting against the virus.
The agency said in a press release that studies showed effectiveness against COVID-19 emergency department and urgent care incidents “was 87% and 91%, respectively, during the 2 months after a third dose [of the booster],” but that it “decreased to 66% and 78% by the fourth month after a third dose.”
The CDC said that “protection against hospitalizations exceeded that against ED/UC visits” with the shot.Read More
Commentary: Humans Lived in Europe Earlier Than Thought, in Neanderthal Territories
Perched about 325 feet (100 meters) up the slopes of the Prealps in southern France, a humble rock shelter looks out over the Rhône River Valley. It’s a strategic point on the landscape, as here the Rhône flows through a narrows between two mountain ranges. For millennia, inhabitants of the rock shelter would have had commanding views of herds of animals migrating between the Mediterranean region and the plains of northern Europe, today replaced by TGV trains and up to 180,000 vehicles per day on one of the busiest highways on the continent.
The site, recognized in the 1960s and named Grotte Mandrin after French folk hero Louis Mandrin, has been a valued location for over 100,000 years. The stone artifacts and animal bones left behind by ancient hunter-gatherers from the Paleolithic period were quickly covered by the glacial dust that blew from the north on the famous mistral winds, keeping the remains well preserved.
Since 1990, our research team has been carefully investigating the uppermost 10 feet (3 meters) of sediment on the cave floor. Based on artifacts and tooth fossils, we believe that Mandrin rewrites the consensus story about when modern humans first made their way to Europe.Read More
Commentary: Doctors Report Rare Cases of Swallowed Toothbrushes
Toothbrushing is a mindless activity that most of us have on autopilot, but in infinitesimally rare circumstances, it can result in a medical emergency.
Late last week, Drs. Gary G. Ghahremani and Katherine M. Richman, both radiologists at the University of California-San Diego Medical Center, published a paper in the journal Emergency Radiology detailing eight different accounts of adults ingesting toothbrushes. These cases join about fifty others previously reported in the medical literature.
All of the instances Ghahremani and Richman describe occurred at the UC-San Diego Medical Center between 2002 and 2015. Five of the patients, all of them with psychological disorders, intentionally swallowed toothbrushes, while the other three patients accidentally did so. In two of the accidental instances, the toothbrush’s head snapped off as a result of overly vigorous brushing.Read More
Commentary: $800 Billion Stimulus Program Failed Terribly and Mostly Benefited the Wealthy, MIT Economist Finds
The federal government has spent an astounding $42,000 per federal taxpayer on so-called “stimulus” efforts since the pandemic began. Where did all that money go? Well, as it turns out, one of the biggest stimulus programs, the Paycheck Protection Program, failed miserably.
At least, that’s the finding of a new study from MIT economist David Autor and nine coauthors. They examined the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gave “loans,” most of which won’t have to be paid back, to businesses. It was created by Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike in hopes of helping businesses preserve their employees’ jobs for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
The study tracks the money to see where it ended up and what it achieved. The results… aren’t pretty.Read More
Republicans Hold the Population Edge over Democrats in States with One-Party Majorities in the Gov and State House
At the start of 2022, 36.5% (120 million) of Americans lived in a state with a Democratic trifecta, while 41.8% (137 million) lived in a state with a Republican trifecta. The other 71 million Americans lived in a state with a divided government.
A state government trifecta is a term to describe single-party government, when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. At the start of 2022, there were 38 trifectas—15 Democratic and 23 Republican.
Virginia’s will change from a Democratic trifecta to a state with divided government when legislators and Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) are sworn into office on Jan. 12. In the 2021 elections, Republicans won control of the Virginia House of Delegates and the governor’s office, currently held by Democrat Ralph Northam. Democrats still control the Virginia State Senate.
When this happens, 33.9 percent of Americans (112 million) will live in a state with a Democratic trifecta, 41.8 percent (137 million) will live in a state with a Republican trifecta, and 24.3 percent (78 million) will live in a state with divided government.Read More
U.S. Economy Adds Just 199,000 Jobs in December, Far Below Expectations
The U.S. economy recorded an increase of 199,000 jobs in December and the unemployment dipped to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 199,000 in December, according to the BLS, and the number of unemployed Americans dipped to 6.3 million. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the economy to add 422,000 jobs in December and for unemployment to fall to 4.1%.
December’s jobs report leaves the U.S. economy with roughly 6.5 million more jobs than at the end of 2020 but still 3.5 million short of pre-pandemic levels.Read More
Commentary: Americans Believe Damaging Sleep Myths
A new survey suggests that at least half of Americans fall for a number of sleep myths, some of them quite damaging for sleep health.
Assistant Teaching Professor Elizabeth Pantesco and Associate Professor Irene Kan, both in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Villanova University, spearheaded the research, which was recently published to the journal Sleep Health.
The duo surveyed 1,120 adults residing in the United States via CloudResearch’s Prime Panels. Participants were queried about their demographics, then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with twenty statements about sleep, for example, “Watching television in bed is a good way to relax before sleep” and “For sleeping, it is better to have a warmer bedroom than a cooler bedroom.” Unbeknownst to them, the statements were all widely recognized as myths by sleep experts.Read More
Commentary: ‘Roots,’ ‘Dreams,’ and the Unequal Punishment of Fraud
A week before Christmas, on the occasion of Alex Haley’s centennial year, Michael Patrick Hearn penned a lengthy tribute to his one-time Hamilton College prof. The first 4,000 words of the New York Times article Hearn fulfilled the promise of its title, as Hearn recounted in loving detail how “Alex Haley Taught America About Race — and a Young Man How to Write.”
Only about 500 words before the article’s completion does the Times reader learn there were problems with Haley’s 1976 “magnum opus”— Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Writes Hearn, much too matter-of-factly, “Haley and Doubleday might have saved themselves a lot of trouble had they acknowledged from the first that their big best seller was based on a true story.” This is Hearn’s gentle way of saying the book is a fraud. If additional irony were needed, Hearn wrote his paean to Haley under the Times rubric, “Nonfiction.”
Haley, in fact, stands accused of three counts of literary fraud. He passed off fiction as fact. He passed off another’s work as his own. And he plagiarized. Only one popular writer in recent times has faced comparable accusations. That is Barack Obama, author of his own imagined family saga, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. More on Obama in a minute.Read More
Commentary: Falling Unemployment Rate Is Entirely Due to Minnesotans Leaving the Labor Force
‘Minnesota job growth outpaces US, unemployment at 3.3%‘– Duluth News Tribune
‘Jobless rate in Minn. hits pre-pandemic level‘ – MPR News
‘Minnesota jobless rate falls to 3.3%, lowest since pre-pandemic‘ – Fox 9
‘Minnesota Unemployment Rate Fell in November‘– Twin Cities Business
(Center of the American Experiment) — These were some of the headlines in Minnesota’s media covering the monthly jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They paint a pretty rosy picture. So what was the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reporting with this headline: ‘Minnesota unemployment rate continues to drop, but labor force concerns grow‘?Read More
Healthcare Activists Push for Policies to Hardwire Marxism in Medicine
The Biden administration proposed giving bonus payments to physicians who acknowledge systemic racism as the primary cause of health differences between racial groups and incorporate so-called “anti-racism” into their medical practices.
The move to pressure healthcare professionals to repeat the claim that racial health disparities are caused by racism and not lifestyle choices is part of a broader, years-long push to hardwire “race Marxism” into the medical field. The effort stretches from medical schools and research institutions to patient care and medical administration, with potentially devastating effects for patients and the healthcare system as a whole.
“Race Marxism,” analogous to “anti-racism” as popularized by Ibram X. Kendi, seeks to promote equal outcomes across racial groups, as opposed to a “colorblind” approach which favors equal opportunity and does not take race into account.Read More
Commentary: Medical Journals Pour Forth Hundreds of Articles on Race and Racism
The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association and its JAMA network of other periodicals have published about 950 articles on race, racism, and racial and ethnic disparities and inequities in the past five years – about a third appearing in just the past year.
A search for “health disparities” on the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed.gov search page shows an exponential “hockey stick” trend in recent years, with articles through October already surpassing last year’s total of 10,719. By comparison, “ovarian cancer” yields 7,134 search results last year, while “aortic aneurysm” yields fewer than 4,000.
These numbers attest to the fact that the academic study of racial justice, power and privilege is no longer the sole domain of non-scientific university departments, such as sociology, literature and education. The trendy topic has migrated to peer-reviewed medical journals, where editors now view systemic racism as a leading cause of disproportionate illness and premature mortality among black people.Read More
Commentary: The Navy’s New Emphasis on ‘Diversity’ Puts the Nation at Risk
After the 2020 summer of riots, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations stood up Task Force One Navy (TF1N) on July 1, 2020. After a six-month effort, the final 142-page report was submitted on January 28, 2021 Its two operating assumptions are, first, that the Navy, as an institution, is systemically racist, and, second, that “Mission readiness is stronger when diverse strengths are used and differing perspectives are applied.” Notwithstanding several key military principles—such as unit cohesion, strict discipline across the chain of command, and, well, uniforms—the Navy is now ideologically committed to the mantra that “diversity is strength.”
Not surprisingly, considering the key entering assumptions, the task force report identified problems with Navy systems, climate, and culture; and submitted almost 60 recommendations aligned with four lines of inquiry: Recruiting, Talent Management/Retention, Professional Development, and Innovation and STEM (as well as a fifth line for miscellaneous recommendations).
One should be skeptical, however, about the entire exercise and the recommendations that flow from it. It inaccurately depicts the proud institution of the United States Navy as systemically racist—a slander that has more potential to undermine morale, good order, discipline, and military effectiveness than any geostrategic adversary.Read More
Commentary: Americans Sour on Biden, But Like Harris Even Less
Market Research Foundation recently pointed out President Biden’s polling numbers are in jeopardy, but a new poll shows Americans have huge hesitations about Vice President Kamala Harris taking over as well.
As a refresher, President Biden referred to himself as “a bridge” to “a new generation of leaders” in the Democratic party when campaigning with Harris in 2020, and Harris is next in line if anything should prevent Biden from continuing to serve as president. At the time, it appeared Biden was implying Harris would replace him soon.
Unfortunately for Democrats, while Biden’s polling numbers are in serious jeopardy, Americans do not appear at all confident Harris is qualified to lead the country.Read More
Commentary: If Demography Is Destiny, So Are Suburbs and Small Towns
Policy and politics often collide at the intersection of geography and demographics. The non-urban, non-college-educated white voter causing concern among Democrats these days, the suburban voter of 2018, and the heartland voter of 2016 are all profiles built on the common interests of certain people in certain types of places.
After 18 months of domestic migration prompted by a pandemic, another interest in addition to where people live has emerged in this equation: where people wish they lived.
Americans of all stripes, including young people, have long preferred suburban to urban living despite the prevailing (mis)conception in the media, but the twin crises of Covid and urban unrest in 2020 have clearly accentuated Americans’ desire to leave denser places. Not only have Americans continued apace in their usual migration from cities to suburbs, they also now aspire to live in towns and hinterlands more than one might expect.Read More
Biden’s Approval Hits New Low in FiveThirtyEight Tracker
President Joe Biden’s approval rating hit a new low of just over 43% in FiveThirtyEight’s polling tracker as he confronts multiple economic and legislative headwinds.
Biden’s approval stood at 43.5%, and has steadily declined since July. His disapproval stood at 50.6%, the highest of his presidency.
Biden’s slide has coincided with another spike in coronavirus cases, a messy Afghanistan withdrawal and economic challenges ranging from supply chain issues to inflation. He has also pinned much of his domestic agenda on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his sweeping budget, but left-wing and moderate Democrats have yet to agree on a compromise that would give both the votes needed to pass the House, where they hold just a three-vote margin, and the 50-50 Senate.Read More
Poll: Majority of Americans Think COVID-19 Threat is Getting Less Serious
The majority of Americans believe the threat of the coronavirus is getting less serious, and a plurality believe President Joe Biden and government health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci don’t want lockdowns to end, according to a new poll conducted by the Convention of States Action in partnership with The Trafalgar Group.
“Despite the fact that Big Media and Big Tech are working tirelessly to suppress the truth, this poll reveals that most Americans aren’t fooled in the least,” Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, said. “They clearly see that the pandemic is on a downward trend, and they also understand that President Biden and Dr. Fauci have no intention of easing restrictions and mandates,””
According to the poll, 63.1% of likely voters believe the threat of the coronavirus is getting less serious, with 25.9% saying it’s much less serious, compared to 26.1% who say it’s getting more serious. Nearly 11% said they weren’t sure.Read More
Commentary: The FDA’s Power over Food and Drug Approval
Competition tends to bring about a better product or service, at a lower price, than does monopoly. This is a basic premise held by virtually all economists, disputed by pretty much no one in the profession. The entire antitrust edifice of the American system is built upon this foundational aspect of the dismal science.
And yet when push comes to shove, our society jettisons this insight, at least when it comes to assuring the quality of our food and drugs.
The Food and Drug Administration is a monopoly agency entrusted with this task. Its word is final concerning such matters. No competition is allowed. If a private agency set itself up as an alternative, it would first be subjected to raucous laughter, and then its creators jailed.
The FDA is a licensing agency. If it does not approve of a food or drug, it is illegal to offer it for sale. What is the non-monopolistic alternative to this sad state of affairs? This is called certification. How, pray tell, does this work? It is simple. Different firms set themselves up as evaluators of the quality of food and drugs, and each of them subjects these products to their examinations. They certify some as approved, and list others as not approved.Read More
Commentary: If Polls Are Right, Democrats Are Doomed But If They’re Wrong, It’s Worse
In less than three months, President Biden’s approval rating has tumbled from a remarkable position in a polarized nation to the lowest of all but two presidents since 1945. Democrats are panicked though refusing to course-correct, hoping the pandemic will retreat, the economy will rebound, and their agenda will pass through Congress and turn out to be popular down the line.
The standing of the party with voters, at this time, isn’t in doubt. It’s awful. Biden’s average job approval rating on July 20 was 52.4% in the RealClearPolitics average before tanking precipitously and taking the party’s fortunes with him as the delta variant surged and American troops withdrew from Afghanistan in a deadly and tragic exit. RCP currently has him at 43.3%. His approval in Gallup has dropped 13 points since June, six points in this last month. The latest Quinnipiac University poll had Biden’s approval/disapproval at 38/53, down four points in three weeks. Specific findings on leadership questions were dreadful, with Biden’s numbers falling since April by nine points on the question of whether he cares about average Americans, seven points on whether he is honest, and nine points on whether he has good leadership skills.
The latest Morning Consult/Politico findings from last week showed Biden’s approval underwater across the board, at 45% approval overall, at 40% on the economy, 44% on health care, 40% on national security, 33% on immigration and 36% on foreign policy. The only number not underwater was Biden’s COVID approval of 49%-46%, 30 points lower than it was last spring. Across all polling Biden’s approval on the questions of competence and accomplishment have suffered. And that Morning Consult/Politico survey stated, “The shares of independent and Democratic voters who say Biden has underperformed expectations have doubled over the past three months.”Read More
Commentary: Real Estate Scams Are on the Rise as the Housing Market Remains Hot
When Jeff, a retired marketing consultant from Chicago, was closing on his home sale, he received a new set of instructions at the last minute on where to send several thousand dollars in closing expenses. At first blush, the email looked legit with an official-looking logo and professional language specifying the amount owed and itemized expenses. But one thing caught his eye: The email address looked strange. Just to be safe, he called his mortgage broker.
“Don’t do that!” his broker told him in an alarmed voice. It was a scam. If he hit “send,” his closing fees would go to a thief who had been monitoring his emails. “I was a keystroke away from losing thousands of dollars,” Jeff recalled.
As the housing market sizzles across the country – with nearly 6 million homes bought last year – scammers have been finding new ways to tap into this once-secure market. Real estate transactions still demand reams of paperwork and regulations involving lawyers, brokers, title insurance companies and banks, but the fact that much of this work now takes place online gives thieves countless opportunities to exploit vulnerable buyers. Last year, more than 11,000 homeowners were scammed out of more than $220 million in closing funds alone, according to the American Land and Title Association, a trade group that represents professionals who perform property transactions.Read More
Commentary: Vaccine Hesitancy, the Medical Establishment, and the COVID Apocalypse
This month the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report. As with the previous five reports, it is bursting with dire “projections” about the future of the planet and civilization (they never say “predictions” because there is always some accountability and embarrassment when a prediction turns out to be wrong).
I’m no climate scientist, so I can’t claim to hold a research-based opinion on “global climate change,” as it is now known. But I remember exactly when I started taking the “projections” of bodies like the IPCC with a grain of salt. It was when the “Climategate” scandal came to light in 2009, in which a hacked server resulted in a leak of internal emails from climate scientists at the prestigious Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.
The leaked emails clearly showed that researchers were withholding important information from the public—information that would undermine the apocalyptic claims of climate scientists. For example, illustrious expert Kevin Trenberth acknowledged to his colleagues that “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty.” But rather than admit this uncertainty, researchers colluded to “hide the decline” from the public.Read More
Marijuana Use Soaring Among College Students While Alcohol Use Drops, Study Finds
Marijuana use among college students has surged while alcohol use dropped, according to a recent National Institute of Health and National Institute of Drug Abuse study.
The “Monitoring the Future” study found that 44% of college students said they used marijuana in 2020, an increase from 38% in 2015. More, “daily” or “near daily” marijuana use among college students increased from 5% to 8% over the last five years.
The number of college students who said they consumed alcohol, on the other hand, dipped from over 62% in 2019 to 56% in 2020, according to the report. Binge drinking among college students, defined as having five or more drinks in one outing, decreased from 32% in 2019 to 24% in 2020.Read More
An Analytical Review of the Central Scientific Facts About the Efficacy of Face Masks and Claims They Reduce the Transmission of COVID-19
In a terse essay titled “Science and Dictatorship,” Albert Einstein warned that “Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.” And on his deathbed, Einstein cautioned, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs.”
With reckless disregard for both of those principles, powerful government officials and big tech executives have corrupted or suppressed the central scientific facts about face masks. The impacts of this extend far beyond the issue of masks and have caused widespread harm and countless deaths.Read More
Poll: Republican Trust in Media Lower Than Ever as Partisan Divide Widens
The percentage of Republicans who say they trust the news has plummeted over the past five years despite Democrats’ faith in media remaining high, as the partisan gap in media trust continues to widen.
When asked “how much, if at all, do you trust the information that comes from national news organizations,” only 35% of Republicans said they have at least “some” trust, down from 70% in 2016, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Monday. Meanwhile, 78% of Democrats said they have “a lot” or “some trust” in the national news media, a slight drop from 86% in 2016.
The partisan divide in media trust is at its widest, and Republican trust in national news is at its lowest, since Pew Research Center began asking the question in 2016.Read More
Commentary: Christian Schools Vastly Outperforming Public Schools During COVID-19, According to New Survey of Parents
Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.
Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.
A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.Read More
Commentary: Climate Change Activists Misrepresent Extreme Weather Events
The Pacific Northwest was hit with a record-shattering heat wave in June, with temperatures over 35 degrees higher than normal in some places. On June 28, Portland, Ore., reached 116 degrees. Late last week the region suffered another blast of hot weather, with a high in Portland of 103 degrees. The New York Times didn’t hesitate to pronounce the region’s bouts of extreme weather proof that the climate wasn’t just changing, but catastrophically so.
To make that claim, the Times relied on a “consortium of climate experts” that calls itself World Weather Attribution, a group organized not just to attribute extreme weather events to climate change, but to do so quickly. Within days of the June heat wave, the researchers released an analysis, declaring that the torrid spell “was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.”
World Weather Attribution and its alarming report were trumpeted by Time magazine, touted by the NOAA website Climate.gov , and featured by CBS News, CNBC, Scientific American, CNN, the Washington Post, USAToday, and the New York Times, among others.Read More
The Number of White People in America Has Declined for the First Time Since 1790
The number of white people in the United States has dropped for the first time since 1790, according to new data from the 2020 Census.
Data from the 2020 count of people living in America shows that the country has become substantially more ethnically diverse, particularly in the under-18 category. Additionally, the country’s population grew 7.4% in the last ten years, a slower rate than any decade since the 1930s.
The numbers indicate that growth in the American population for the last decade has been driven by minority populations. While whites still make up a little less than 58% of the American population, that figure dropped below 60% for the first time since the census-taking began.Read More
U.S. Economy Added Whopping 943,000 Jobs in July as Recovery Accelerates
The U.S. economy reported an increase of 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons decreased to 8.7 million. Economists projected 845,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The jobs recovery is continuing, but it’s different in character to any we’ve seen before,” payroll software firm ADP economist Nela Richardson told the WSJ. “I had been looking at September as a point when we could gain momentum—with schools back in session and vaccines widely available. But with the delta variant, we need to rethink that.”Read More
Kids’ Suicide, Mental Health Hospitalizations Spiked Amid COVID Lockdowns, Research Finds
COVID-19 policies had disastrous results on children, especially in California, according to medical researchers at the University of California San Francisco.
Jeanne Noble, director of COVID response in the UCSF emergency department, is finishing an academic manuscript on the mental health toll on kids from lockdown policies. She shared a presentation on its major points with Just the News.
Suicides in the Golden State last year jumped by 24% for Californians under 18 but fell by 11% for adults, showing how children were uniquely affected by “profound social isolation and loss of essential social supports traditionally provided by in-person school,” the presentation says.Read More
Facebook Faces Lawsuit for Suspending User Who Cited Lack of Evidence for Masking Children
An influential COVID policy skeptic is threatening to sue Facebook for suspending his account based on a graphic he posted Tuesday, titled “Masking Children is Impractical and Not Backed by Research or Real World Data.”
Justin Hart was identified in a recent MIT paper as one of a handful of “anchors” for the anti-mask network on Twitter. He’s also chief data analyst for the COVID contrarian website Rational Ground.
A warning letter to Facebook from Hart’s lawyers at the Liberty Justice Center said the graphic was “science-based and contains footnotes to scientific evidence supporting its claims.” Facebook issued him a three-day suspension the next day, citing the post as misinformation. The page remains live but the post is no longer there.Read More
Newt Gingrich Commentary: The Mind of a Writer
The late Kurt Vonnegut had a simple yet profound approach to writing. “When I write,” he said, “I simply become what I seemingly must become.”
Stephen Hunter, another great American writer, has a similar approach to his craft today. His process isn’t so much about writing prose or creating plot or conducting research. What really matters, he says, is that the book becomes your life, always either on your mind or in your subconscious.
As Hunter explained to me this week on my podcast, “Newt’s World,” writing has become a part of his normal life, like brushing his teeth.Read More
Commentary: The Intelligence of Canines
Albert Einstein. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Marie Curie. Gaia. The first person came up with the general theory of relativity. The second is regarded as perhaps the greatest classical composer of all time. The third is the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. The fourth isn’t a person at all; it’s a dog.
All might be considered geniuses.
Some individuals are supremely gifted, with abilities that the vast majority of people cannot hope to replicate even after years of dedicated practice – the adolescents who are chess grandmasters, the musicians with perfect pitch, the professional athletes who make their colleagues look like amateurs. Scientists have been studying these people for decades, hoping to uncover genetic, environmental, or social underpinnings for their talents. Researchers have yet to find satisfactory answers.
Which brings us to dogs.Read More
Three Scientists Remove Their Names from Lancet Statement Denouncing Lab-Leak Theory
Although the magazine Lancet has doubled down on its efforts to defend China and claim that there is no evidence behind the lab-leak theory of the coronavirus origins, three prominent scientists who originally agreed with this assessment were absent from the magazine’s latest statement, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
On July 5th, the magazine published yet another statement, with numerous signatories, claiming that there is no “scientifically validated evidence” to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic originated at the suspicious Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Although many of the names signed onto the statement were the same as those who made a similar assertion back in February of 2020, at least three names are missing.
One of the names is William Karesh, who serves as the executive vice president for health policy at the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance. As has been widely documented, EcoHealth was a major benefactor of the WIV, providing gain-of-function research funding directly to the institute after the funds had been granted to the nonprofit by the United States government.Read More
Commentary: Researchers Urge Americans to Focus on Loneliness Epidemic
As the pandemic recedes and Americans re-enter public life, the surgeon general and other public health experts are urging the country to focus on another national crisis, one that has lingered for decades and worsened in recent years: loneliness.
For many, pandemic-related lockdowns, social distancing, and physical isolation resulted in their most severe experiences of loneliness. Studies have shown that an uptick in loneliness and other mental health issues coincided with the pandemic, and that lockdown requirements almost certainly exacerbated pre-existing mental conditions. But for researchers who have studied loneliness, the recent increase is only one notable event in an extensive history.
Loneliness is not just a crisis in America, but also in Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Australia and, increasingly, South America and Africa. Loneliness also occurs regardless of race, class, culture, and religion. Even before the lockdowns, tens of millions of people throughout the world felt isolated.Read More
Majority of Americans Want the Government to Fight Income Inequality, Poll Finds
A majority of respondents believe that the federal government should push policies that reduce income inequality in the United States, according to a poll released Friday by Axios.
The Axios poll shows 66% of respondents say the government should work to lower the level of income distributed unevenly, up 4% compared to 2019.
Republicans surveyed who agreed the government should tackle income inequality increased by 5%, and Independents who responded similarly increased by 2%, according to the poll. Democrats saw an increase of 7% in favor of such policies compared to 2019.Read More
Commentary: New Harvard Data (Accidentally) Reveal How Lockdowns Crushed the Working Class While Leaving Elites Unscathed
Founding father and the second president of the United States John Adams once said that “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” What he meant was that objective, raw numbers don’t lie—and this remains true hundreds of years later.
We just got yet another example. A new data analysis from Harvard University, Brown University, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation calculates how different employment levels have been impacted during the pandemic to date. The findings reveal that government lockdown orders devastated workers at the bottom of the financial food chain but left the upper-tier actually better off.
The analysis examined employment levels in January 2020, before the coronavirus spread widely and before lockdown orders and other restrictions on the economy were implemented. It compared them to employment figures from March 31, 2021.Read More
Commentary: Minimum Wage Hikes Led to Lower Worker Compensation, New Research Shows
Opponents of minimum wage laws tend to focus their criticism on one particular adverse consequence: by artificially raising the price of labor, they reduce employment, particularly for the most vulnerable in society.
“Minimum wage laws tragically generate unemployment, especially so among the poorest and least skilled or educated workers,” economist Murray Rothbard wrote in 1978. “Because a minimum wage, of course, does not guarantee any worker’s employment; it only prohibits, by force of law, anyone from being hired at the wage which would pay his employer to hire him.
Though some economists, such as Paul Krugman, reject Rothbard’s claim, a recent study found the overwhelming body of academic research supports the idea that minimum wage laws increase unemployment.Read More
Feds: Illegal Immigration Continued to Worsen in May
The surge in illegal immigration at the southern border continues to worsen, May numbers show, as the Biden administration takes more criticism for its handling of the issue.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released new data on the crisis at the southern border, showing the federal law enforcement agency encountered 180,034 people attempting to illegally enter the country last month.
May’s numbers were a 1% increase from the previous month, but illegal immigration since Biden took office has soared.Read More
Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools
A new poll shows that the majority of American voters are deeply opposed to having critical race theory (CRT) principles being taught in schools.
The survey, conducted by Competitive Edge Research for Parents Defending Education, also shows that people overwhelmingly prefer Capitalism to Socialism (61.8% to 31.4%), frown upon “cancel culture,” (62.7% to 10.6%) and believe the United States is headed “on the wrong track” (60.7% to 32.8%).
Additionally, more respondents had a negative opinion of Black Lives Matter, than had a positive opinion (48.1% to 44.4%).Read More
American Higher Education Has Deep Ties to EcoHealth Alliance, Wuhan Institute of Virology
Several American researchers have worked with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance on coronavirus-related research, including gain of function research, dating back more than a decade, and emails reveal that several professors were in contact with Dr. Anthony Fauci during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the intelligence community commences its investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, a series of scientific papers and studies belie a close relationship between American academia and the Wuhan lab, as well as EcoHealth Alliance, the multinational organization through which the NIH sent $600,000 to study the transmission of coronaviruses.
What follows is a brief timeline of research publications on which university researchers collaborated with partners from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance.Read More
Fauci Once Argued That Gain-of-Function Research Was Worth Risking a Pandemic
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci argued in 2012 that the benefits of gain-of-function research were worth the risk of causing a pandemic through a lab accident.
In a paper for the American Society for Microbiology, unearthed by the Australian, Fauci wrote, “the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks.” He also wrote, “it is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature.”
Gain-of-function research involves “juicing up” viruses to make them more infectious and deadly in humans.Read More
University Research Finds AOC, Bernie Sanders Highly Ineffective
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are some of the least effective members of Congress, according to a new study by researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia.
The researchers, who generated their data using computers and basing their scores on 15 criteria, say the proof is in the math.
Their equations factored how many of a congressman’s bills pass committee, make it to the other house, and eventually become law. They established a benchmark score of 1.5 and above as “Exceptional” and scores of .50 and below as “Below Expectations.”Read More
New Senate Legislation Targets Foreign Theft of US Research
A new bill looks to grant the government additional oversight on foreign access to U.S. research and intellectual property.
The legislation comes as a response to recent incidents of high-security concern which concern China’s relationship with the US, including Chinese programs that seek to recruit American scientists, and the widespread failure of U.S. universities to report foreign funding.Read More