I thought I would put this out there. Some good and some does have me scratching my head. These are the views of those who at times try to stop the rest of the story. The article is from MedPage Today.
Note that some links may require subscriptions.
The Supreme Court let a ruling stand which allows the Transportation Security Administration to mandate mask-wearing on planes, trains and other forms of transportation. (The Hill)
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, developed COVID rebound after being treated with Paxlovid, the agency announced.
The FDA said that clinicians providing abortion pills to patients before they are pregnant — a prescribing method known as advance provision — are acting without the agency’s authorization, and that they could be putting patients at risk. (Politico)
A judge in North Dakota stopped the state’s abortion ban from going into effect, saying it’s likely the law will face constitutional challenges once it’s implemented. (AP)
Missouri’s health department is investigating whether a hospital violated federal law by denying a woman an abortion in a medical emergency. (ABC News)
Ob/gyn residency programs in states that restrict abortion face a difficult choice when it comes to educating their trainees on abortion: risk prosecution or losing their accreditation. (New York Times)
Pfizer said its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant women was 81.8% effective in preventing severe infection in infants, stating it will submit an application for approval to the FDA by the end of this year.
Scientists are exploring therapies that target human proteins for the treatment of COVID-19. (Washington Post)
Abiomed announced that the FDA granted pre-market approval to its Impella RP Flex with SmartAssist, an implanted device to treat acute heart failure for up to 2 weeks.
The CDC issued a Health Alert Network advisory emphasizing the importance of cleaning and monitoring dental waterlines, following multiple nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) infections in children who were exposed to water with high levels of bacteria at pediatric dental clinics.
Voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota — four of which are among the most conservative states in the nation — will decide whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana in the upcoming election. (NPR)
You think MSM is hostile now towards Republicans and Conservatives ? Watch what happens when the House or Senate or both change from Democrat control to Republican.You haven’t seen nothing.
If the polls are right and we see change, you will see all types of attacks from the left. Plus Joey boy will go off on wild tangents like we’ve never seen. MSM will do numerous articles daily. You’ll see weekly Progressive media become dailies. And I for one love it.
The Seattle Times is threatening Tiffany Smiley for using an image from their report on Starbucks closing its doors. This same leftist paper allowed Murray to use their logo and headlines for her 2016 campaign.
Chairman of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission ‘pretty convinced’ pandemic’s origin from ‘US lab biotechnology,’ suggests governments aren’t investigating because even more ‘dangerous research underway right now’
The chairman of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission has come forward to say that he is “pretty convinced” that the pandemic’s origin is from “U.S. lab biotechnology.” He also warns that even more dangerous research is happening right now – which could be why governments don’t seem to be interested in investigating the origins of COVID-19.
Jeffrey Sachs is the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, the president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, winner of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, a best-selling author, and a Chairman of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission.
In November 2020, Sachs assembled a task force for the prestigious medical journal to determine the origins of COVID-19. He hand-selected Dr. Peter Daszak – the president of EcoHealth Alliance – to be the chairman of the task force. However, Daszak recused himself from the investigation in June 2021, following accusations of a conflict of interest.
Daszak had deep ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of National Institutes of Health funding to the Chinese lab. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Daszak has vehemently argued that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease that jumped from animals to humans. Furthermore, he vociferously argued that suggesting that COVID-19 originated from a lab leak is a baseless conspiracy theory.
Sachs said at the time, “I just didn’t want a task force that was so clearly involved with one of the main issues of this whole search for the origins, which was EcoHealth Alliance.”
Last week, Sachs told Current Affairs that he appointed Daszak to the task force dedicated to discovering the origins of COVID-19 because he said to himself, “Well, here’s a guy who is so connected, he would know.”
Sachs added, “And then I realized he was not telling me the truth. And it took me some months, but the more I saw it, the more I resented it.”
Sachs revealed that he disbanded the task force because other members were “part of this thing.”
He noted that the NIH had been hiding documents from the public – which were later revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request. Emails exposed by a FOIA request revealed that officials with the NIH and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were concerned that EcoHealth could be conducting gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan lab.
Sachs noted that Daszak should have informed him that EcoHealth Alliance was “manipulating the viruses.”
Sachs said that he requested a research proposal from Daszak, but the EcoHealth head allegedly balked, “No, my lawyer says I can’t give it to you.”
A video went viral last month featuring Sachs proclaiming that “after two years of intensive work,” he is “pretty convinced” that COVID-19 originated from “U.S. lab biotechnology, not out of nature.”
“So it’s a blunder in my view of biotech, not an accident of a natural spillover,” he said. “We don’t know for sure, I should be absolutely clear.”
Sachs noted, “But there’s enough evidence that it should be looked into. And it’s not being investigated, not in the United States, not anywhere.
“And I think for real reasons that they don’t want to look underneath the rug.”
Wow😯Prof. Jeffrey Sachs:
"I chaired the commission for the Lancet for 2 years on Covid. I'm pretty convinced it came out of a US lab of biotechnology […] We don't know for sure but there is enough evidence. [However] it's not being investigated, not in the US, not anywhere." pic.twitter.com/IYvSJnlv1q
In the interview with Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson, Sachs suggested that scientists were “creating a narrative” of COVID’s origins early in the pandemic by collectively claiming that COVID-19 naturally originated from the Wuhan wet market without definitive evidence.
Sachs asked, “Did we find an animal? No. Do we have an explanation of where that furin cleavage site came in? No. We don’t have an explanation of the timing, which doesn’t quite look right.”
He accused health officials and the media of pulling a “kind of misdirection” since February 2020.
Sachs believes the laboratory hypothesis is “very plausible.”
“The alternative that is the right one to look at is part of a very extensive research program that was underway from 2015 onward, funded by the NIH, by Tony Fauci, in particular NIAID, and it was to examine the spillover potential of SARS-like viruses,” Sachs told Robinson.
Sachs suggested that COVID-19 may have come from gain-of-function research, “There was a lot of research underway in the United States and China on taking SARS-like viruses, manipulating them in the laboratory, and creating potentially far more dangerous viruses.”
Governments could be saying, “Don’t poke your nose into that.”
“We know that at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the scientists there had been trained by American scientists to use advanced bioengineering methodologies,” Sachs explained. “And in particular, we have scientists in North Carolina, Texas, and so forth who do this kind of research, believe in it, argue for it, and say that they don’t want any regulations on it and so on. And they were in close contact with Wuhan Institute of Virology, and they were part of a joint research group that was stitched together by something called EcoHealth Alliance.”
Sachs described EcoHealth Alliance as a “vehicle for funding from the U.S. government, especially from the National Institutes of Health, and especially from Tony Fauci’s unit, the NIAID.”
Sachs said Dr. Anthony Fauci and the NIH “haven’t shown us anything” about possible research at the Wuhan lab.
“So you saw a narrative being created,” he continued. “And the scientists are not acting like scientists. Because when you’re acting like a scientist, you’re pursuing alternative hypotheses.”
Robinson asked Sachs why governments aren’t vigorously investigating the origins of a disease that has killed more than 6.4 million people in less than three years.
Sachs responded, “There are at least two reasons why they might be doing what they’re doing. One is, as you say, the implications are huge. Imagine if this came out of a lab. And we have, by some estimates, about 18 million dead worldwide from this. That’s not the official count. But that’s the estimated excess mortality from COVID. Well, the implications of that—the ethical, the moral, the geopolitical—everything is enormous.”
The chairman of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission added, “But there’s a second matter that is really important, too. One thing that is rather clear to me is that there is so much dangerous research underway right now under the umbrella of biodefense or other things that we don’t know about, that is not being properly controlled.”
He suggested that governments could be saying, “Don’t poke your nose into that.”
On Saturday, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said, “The fact that virtually no one in Washington DC wants to investigate the origins of COVID-19 should tell you all you need to know about the origins of COVID-19.”
Hmm. Guess all those “conspiracy theory nuts” weren’t so nuts after all.
Note: This story has been reported by multiple outlets. including: NY POST, Fox News, Western Journal, MSN, bixpacreview, and others. She has been active in West Chester, PA as a current school board member and previous Mayoral candidate. Previous news accounts describe her as a Libertarian.
A Pennsylvania woman registered as a Democrat for 34 years is making a party switch, citing many of the objections that are fueling middle-class voters to turn against the party.
Beth Ann Rosica broke down her transformation in a Thursday Fox News interview.
“As a former Democrat for 34 years prior to the pandemic, I too thought that the Democratic Party was really focused on the people that they pretend to support,” the Pennsylvania mother told “Fox & Friends” host Carley Shimkus.
“What I saw through the pandemic was that the Democratic Party basically abandoned all of those people.”
Rosica cited the Democratic Party’s mismanagement of the economy and sky-high inflation. The mother also cited big government’s failure to meet the educational needs of students, closing schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think the economy is huge, and I also think a lot of the school issues for parents across the state of Pennsylvania, it’s just been horrific watching what’s happened to our kids academically, socially, emotionally.”
“What I saw through the pandemic was that the Democratic Party basically abandoned all of those people,” Rosica explained.
“And so that was why I left the party, or as I like to say, the party really left me, and I think that a lot more people are really starting to see that.”
More than 8,000 registered Democrats in six western Pennsylvania counties have changed their party affiliation this year alone, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while fewer than a third as many ex-Republicans have signed up as Democrats in the same counties.
Democrats have lost even more voters on a statewide basis, with 38,000 ex-Democrats joining the GOP.
In 2016, Donald Trump became the first Republican candidate to win the Keystone State since George H.W. Bush’s 1988 victory.
Republicans eye victories in Rust Belt states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan as key to potential “red waves” in 2022 and 2024.
The Democratic Party has historically painted itself as affiliated with the American middle class, but now longtime residents of Rust Belt states are questioning whether the party has abandoned that constituency in favor of large corporations and left-leaning billionaires on the coasts. [The answer to that is obvious — TPR]
Pennsylvania is slated to host hotly contested U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections in November.
Republican Surgeon and television personality Mehmet Oz will face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, and Army veteran Doug Mastriano will face the state’s Democratic Attorney General, Josh Shapiro.
Pennsylvania has been one of the most stubbornly purple states in the union for the better part of a century: Since the close of World War II, Republican governors have served 10 terms in office in the state; Democrats have also held that office for 10 terms
Crew members from a Seattle-based fishing boat that experienced an explosive outbreak of the novel coronavirus have serendipitously provided what could be the first direct evidence that antibodies can protect people from reinfection.
Blood samples collected before the vessel sailed in May showed that three of the 122 people aboard had robust levels of neutralizing antibodies — the type that block the virus from entering human cells — indicating they had been previously infected and recovered. All three were spared during the shipboard outbreak, which quickly spread to more than 85% of the crew.
“It’s a strong indication that the presence of neutralizing antibodies is associated with protection from the virus,” said Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant director of the UW Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory and co-author of a report posted on the preprint server MedRxiv that has not yet been peer-reviewed. “It’s hopeful news.”
However, it’s not really surprising, Greninger added. Researchers are generally confident that prior infection will provide some level of immunity. But what constitutes a protective immune response and how long immunity lasts is still unknown and of vital importance to the race for vaccines and other treatments.
Early vaccine trials, including one in Seattle, have induced strong antibody responses in volunteers. But the only direct evidence so far that neutralizing antibodies can protect against infection has come from monkeys and other laboratory animals.
It wouldn’t be ethical to deliberately expose humans to the virus — even people who have recovered from infection. But in this case, researchers from the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center were able to analyze results from a natural experiment that played out in the close quarters and isolation of a vessel at sea.
“While this is a small study, it offers a remarkable, real-life, human experiment,” Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, wrote in a commentary on the report. “Who knew immunology research on fishing boats could be so informative?”
The report does not identify the vessel, but Greninger confirmed it is the factory trawler FV American Dynasty, which was fishing for hake off the Washington coast when the outbreak struck. A statement from American Seafoods, which owns the ship and several others, says the company has partnered with the UW on its testing program and shares the data.
“We hope that their study will be beneficial to the broader scientific community in learning more about COVID-19,” said Valentina Zackrone, chief human resources officer at American Seafoods.
Mark Slifka, an immunologist and vaccine developer at Oregon Health & Science University who was not involved in the work, described it as “very, very interesting.”
The keys were the pre-departure blood testing of nearly the entire crew
The keys were the pre-departure blood testing of nearly the entire crew, and the stunning rate of infection — which means it’s unlikely that the three crew members with neutralizing antibodies were simply not exposed to the virus during the outbreak, Slifka said.
As part of ongoing efforts to protect fishing fleets, 120 of the 122 crew members were tested both for active infection, via nasal swabs, and previous exposure, via antibody blood testing, in the two days before the ship left port.
None of the nasal swabs was positive. But 18 days into its voyage, the ship returned to shore after a crew member became sick and needed hospitalization. Monitoring over the next 50 days showed that 104 crew members had been infected.
After learning of the outbreak, Greninger and his colleagues reexamined the results from the earlier blood tests and conducted additional tests on leftover specimens. Before departing, six crew members tested positive for antibodies that bind to the capsule of the novel coronavirus, but only three of those also had neutralizing antibodies.
While none of the crew members with neutralizing antibodies reported symptoms or became infected, the other three all got the virus — suggesting their initial results might have been false positives, Greninger said.
That adds to growing concern about the accuracy of many antibody tests and their ability to indicate immunity, Slifka pointed out.
Statistical analysis suggests it’s highly unlikely to be a random coincidence that all three people with neutralizing antibodies escaped infection. But the study doesn’t offer an explanation for the 15 other crew members who also apparently never became infected. It’s possible their jobs or actions on the boat shielded them from exposure, Greninger said.
Genomic analysis of virus from 39 crew members suggests that all the strains are closely related, but it doesn’t prove they all originated from a single infection, Greninger said.
The analysis doesn’t rule out the possibility that people can catch COVID-19 more than once, Slifka said, though it strongly suggests those who develop neutralizing antibodies may be protected. But the number of cases is too small to draw sweeping conclusions, he added.
Not the first insight to come from studying ships
This isn’t the first insight about the novel coronavirus to come from studying ships. Analysis of the outbreak early in the pandemic on the Diamond Princess cruise ship helped establish the importance of asymptomatic people in spreading the virus. Federal researchers who examined sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, where nearly 1,000 people were infected, documented a robust, neutralizing antibody response in more than half of those tested.
‘They’re Just Trying to Hide Him’: Greg Gutfeld Suspects Something Wrong with Timing of Biden’s COVID Diagnosis
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld on Friday trained his skepticism on the subject of President Joe Biden’s health and diagnosed a possible sympathy ploy.
“I don’t question the diagnosis at all. I just questioned the timing of it,” he said on the Fox News show “The Five.”
Biden announced Thursday he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I mean, first you had that wacko cancer gaffe from two days ago, right? In which the media rushed to the defense: ‘Oh, no, he had skin cancer.’ That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the fact that he said he got cancer from oil, and it made no sense,” Gutfeld said.
“But now you have polling that shows that he’s less popular than getting punched in the face. So there could be a reason for a lot of this, “ he said.
Speaking of Biden’s handlers, he added, “They’re just trying to hide him, because that’s the only thing that works and perhaps maybe to generate some sympathy.”
He said if the ploy works, another could follow.
“Next week, they’re going to say you know, ‘he has fibroids,’ because, as you know, men can get pregnant.”
A report on The Hill framed Biden’s enforced isolation as a possible loss for a president who was seeking to hit the road to support Democrats in the midterm elections. But one commentator said that’s no loss.
“Based on his persistently falling polling, there’s no evidence the president has been especially effective on the road selling his accomplishments or breaking through,” Bruce Mehlman, an assistant secretary at the Commerce Department in the administration of former President George W. Bush, said.
Mehlman said there is a negative, though, because it renews debate over Biden’s competence at age 79.
“The bigger risk of his testing positive is reinforcement of the ‘he’s old and weak’ narrative that critics regularly assert,” Mehlman said.
On Sunday, Dr. Kevin O’Connor said Biden’s health is improving.
“His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature all remain normal,” the physician said in a memo released on Sunday. His predominant symptom now is a sore throat …. His voice remains a bit deep,” he said, according to Reuters.
What a surprise: Rebekah Jones, once hailed as a “whistleblower” for claiming Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis had fudged the state’s COVID-19 numbers, has been revealed as a complete fraud.
A report released last week by the Florida Department of Health Office of Inspector General exonerated DeSantis on the allegations and found nothing to back up Jones’ allegations that she’d been pressured to alter COVID-19 case and death counts. In fact, the people the inspector general’s office talked to couldn’t even make sense out of the allegations, considering Jones didn’t have access to the raw coronavirus data.
(In spite of this, the mainstream media is hardly handling the report with the same breathlessness they handled the accusations against DeSantis — and for obvious reasons.
According to an editorial published Friday by The Wall Street Journal, (!) the inspector general found no evidence to support Jones’ claims.
“Based upon an analysis of the available evidence, there is insufficient evidence to clearly support a violation of a law, rule, or policy, as described by the complainant,” the report stated.
The governor’s office argued that Jones was fired from her job for “insubordination” and “unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.”
Jones’ original allegations were that she had been ordered to tidy up COVID numbers to support the state’s reopening in the spring of 2020. In addition, she claimed the governor had retaliated against her by having the Florida Department of Law Enforcement execute a search warrant against her in December 2020, arguing DeSantis had “sent the Gestapo” to keep her quiet.
Police say the raid involved a data breach that was traced back to Jones’ home IP address. She’s been hit with a felony charge for downloading confidential health department data. She has pleaded innocent.
According to the Journal, the inspector general’s office talked to over a dozen individuals who worked with Jones as part of its investigation, including her superiors — and not a single one supported her allegations of fudged data.
While she told some of her co-workers that she was told to alter COVID data in the system, the report said they didn’t buy her allegations. That wasn’t just because of her inherent unreliability but because of the fact she didn’t have access to the pertinent data. Instead, she was in charge of handling the state’s online dashboard, not the raw data.
“If the complainant or other DOH staff were to have falsified COVID-19 data on the dashboard, the dashboard would then not have matched the data in the corresponding final daily report,” the report said.
“Such a discrepancy would have been detectable by [Bureau of Epidemiology] staff conducting data quality assurance, as well as other parties, both within and outside the DOH, including but not limited to [county health departments], local governments, researchers, the press/media, and the general public.”
Instead, the report stated the inspector general’s office “found no evidence that the DOH misrepresented or otherwise misled the public regarding how positivity rates were calculated,” according to the report.
“The definitions for overall and new case positivity were provided on the Data Definition sheet and Health Metrics Overview, which were both linked to the dashboard, and were consistent with testimonial evidence obtained by the OIG.”
The report appeared last week to nary a peep in the same media outlets that loved her back in the febrile days of the early pandemic.
As The Daily Caller noted, Jones was a frequent guest on Joy Reid’s MSNBC’s show and made at least five appearances on former CNN host Chris Cuomo’s old show. (No lack of sad irony there; Cuomo’s brother Andrew, the erstwhile governor of New York, was forced out of office over sexual harassment allegations, but also faced accusations of covering up COVID deaths in the state’s nursing homes.)
The headlines in liberal media outlets were similarly effusive — calling Jones a “scientist” to buttress her standing, like Jones was filling test tubes with potential coronavirus vaccines when she wasn’t trying to expose fraud in the Florida government. But even CNN has been honest enough to qualify that as “data scientist.”
NPR, May 19, 2020: “Florida Dismisses A Scientist For Her Refusal To Manipulate State’s Coronavirus Data.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Dec. 10, 2020: “FDLE raid dramatizes Florida’s COVID-19 coverup.” HuffPo, Dec. 17, 2020: “Florida Scientist Vows To Speak COVID-19 ‘Truth To Power’ Despite Police Raid.” Cosmopolitan, March 11, 2021: “Rebekah Jones Tried To Warn Us About COVID-19. How Her Freedom Is On The Line.”
No evidence for any of it. None. Goose egg. Zero-point-zero.
Rebekah Jones was a darling of the mainstream media if just because her wild-eyed conspiracy theories about covering up COVID data could be wielded as a cudgel against Ron DeSantis and others considered a threat to progressives.
As always, the allegations appear on page one; the truth on page 17 — if it appears at all. She’s served her purpose.
The baby formula plant whose February shutdown exacerbated a nationwide formula shortage resumed production over the weekend. “We will ramp production as quickly as we can while meeting all requirements,” Abbott Nutrition said in a Saturday statement.
Dr. Mehmet Oz secured his victory in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary Friday after former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who trailed Oz by less than 1,000 votes in the initial vote count, conceded that an in-progress recount would not eliminate that margin.
John Fetterman—Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and Oz’s November opponent—is facing new questions about his health going into the general election, following a stroke last month that required hospitalization and the installation of a pacemaker. In a Friday statement, Fetterman, a Democrat, revealed he suffered from a heart condition and had “avoided going to the doctor,” and as a result he “almost died.”
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate say they’re making progress on gun legislation following a rash of mass shootings in recent weeks, although Sen. Pat Toomey said on Face the Nation Sunday that the discussions do not “guarantee any outcome.” The Washington Post reports that such legislation would potentially include encouraging states to implement red-flag laws that would allow courts to bar people thought to be a threat to themselves or others from accessing firearms.
Three people were killed and 11 more injured in a shooting in Philadelphia’s South Street nightlife corridor Saturday night. Police said two men got into a fight, then both produced guns and began firing at each other on the crowded street. One of the two shooters was killed in the initial confrontation; the other was wounded and fled the scene.
Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro was arrested on two misdemeanor charges of contempt of Congress Friday after Navarro refused to testify before or supply documents to the committee investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Another former Trump associate, Steve Bannon, is scheduled to go on trial for comparable charges next month.
An attack on a Catholic church in southwest Nigeria has left more than 50 people feared dead, including many children, authorities said Sunday. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, which involved both firearms and explosives.
A Jobs Report from the Goldilocks Zone
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks who really should’ve been booked for home invasion. Instead, she wound up granting her name to anything that’s “just right”—such as May’s job report.
We know that joke’s a stretch, but we’re running out of new ways to introduce solid jobs reports like the one the Labor Department released Friday. After nearly a year of the pandemic rebound with at least 400,000 new jobs per month, in May employers added 390,000 jobs—hardly cold, but not quite white-hot. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a slower uptick of 318,000 new jobs.
We’re still about 822,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, but the gap could close by the end of summer. Meanwhile, labor force participation edged up 0.1 percent to 62.3 percent in May, still 1.1 percent below February 2020.
Unemployment stayed at its near fifty-year low of 3.6 percent, and there are still nearly two open jobs for every one job-seeker. Coupled with high inflation, that ridiculously tight labor market has driven strong wage growth in recent months, causing economists to fret rising wages would in turn force businesses to increase prices, creating a wage-price spiral.
But average hourly wages for private, non-farm employees rose 0.3 percent in May from the previous month, a smidge shy of the 0.4 percent economists expected. And the three-month average of year-over-year wage growth hit 4.6 percent—about 1.7 percent above the pre-pandemic average but well below the peak of 7 percent in mid-2021, according to the nonpartisan Peterson Institute for International Economics.
That’s a lot of numbers just to say: Employers are still raising pay to attract workers, but they’ve chilled out a bit. “Firms seem to be less willing to raise wages sharply in order to fill openings than they were last winter,” as Peterson analysts put it. That’s not pleasant for the individual worker looking for a boost to the old paycheck, but it’s a good sign that the economy overall remains robust but not berserk. Meanwhile, as we’ve written previously, inflation seems to have peaked, at least for now.
All in all, a solid jobs report—but the markets reacted like they’d been served a bowl of chilly, lumpy porridge. The S&P 500 dropped 1.7 percent Friday after the report’s release, while the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite outdid them both by losing 2.6 percent. Meanwhile, Tesla owner and maybe someday Twitter owner Elon Musk declared he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needs to cut 10 percent of Tesla’s staff, Reutersreported.
We’re not sure what to tell you about Musk’s super bad feeling, but the market’s overall reaction is a perverse sign of the job report’s strength. “The economy’s doing quite well,” Brendan Walsh, co-founder of Markets Policy Partners, told The Dispatch. “The worry is that because the economy is doing well, the [Federal Reserve] will over-tighten and drive us into recession.”
In a bid to bring down inflation by taking its foot off the economy’s gas pedal, the central bank has already hiked interest rates twice this year, making loans to buy homes or expand businesses more expensive, discouraging demand. It’s signaling it plans a couple more hikes before September, and Fed vice chair Lael Brainard said Thursday the central bank would check its plan against the jobs report (among other markers). “We’ll be looking closely to the data to see that kind of cooling in demand, and moderation—better balance—in the labor market,” Brainard toldCNBC. “With our number one challenge being the need to get inflation down, we do expect to see some cooling of a very, very strong economy over time.” The solid jobs report is another indicator that the economy can handle the Fed’s cooling measures.
In remarks trumpeting the report, President Joe Biden said it was an indicator that the economy can handle the Fed’s cooling measures. “As we move to a new period of stable, steady growth, we should expect to see more moderation,” Biden told reporters Friday. “We aren’t likely to see the kind of blockbuster job reports month after month like we had over this past year, but that’s a good thing. … That stability puts us in a strong position to tackle what is clearly a problem: inflation.”
Which returns us to the market worry that after letting inflation shoot up the Fed will overcorrect and strangle U.S. economic growth into a recession. “Right now, it’s kind of sunny, things are doing fine,” JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon warned Tuesday at an investors’ conference, arguing that the combination of pandemic stimulus, Fed policy, and the war in Ukraine are bearing down on the economy. “Everyone thinks the Fed can handle this. That hurricane is right out there, down the road, coming our way. We just don’t know if it’s a minor one or superstorm Sandy.”
But at least for the next few months, Walsh is sanguine. “The economy is too strong,” he said. “The risk is much more [for] 2023, that the Fed does over-tighten, we come off of this COVID rebound.” But, he predicted, “It’s a bit of a lull. It’s not like a crisis.”
So… a lukewarm economic porridge? We’ll see ourselves out.
Worth Your Time
So-called red-flag laws have emerged as a rare point of possible bipartisan agreement on gun issues in recent years, particularly following the crush of shootings this Spring. But they’ve also been criticized as a potentially spotty countermeasure, with several prominent mass shooters in states with red-flag laws having been able to obtain firearms despite making public threats of violence ahead of time. A New York Times feature over the weekend examines one county that has taken its red-flag ordinance seriously: Suffolk County in New York, where more than 160 guns have been removed by court order since 2019. “The filings are filled with people threatening to shoot up courthouses or schoolhouses, amped-up men in cars with weapons and ammunition, people behaving erratically at a gun shop or military-base checkpoint or firing randomly into a neighbor’s yard,” the reporters write. “People who text friends and loved ones ‘Goodbye forever’ or ‘I have a gun next to my bed bro’ or post, ‘When I kill everyone know it’s my dad’s fault.’”
Speaking of the Times, Maggie Haberman’s latest contains remarkable new reporting about former Vice President Mike Pence’s experience of the January 6 riot: “The day before a mob of President Donald J. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol … Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff called Mr. Pence’s lead Secret Service agent to his West Wing office. The chief of staff, Marc Short, had a message for the agent, Tim Giebels: The president was going to turn publicly against the vice president, and there could be a security risk to Mr. Pence because of it.” Haberman goes on to detail the remarkable pressure Pence was put under by a rogue’s gallery of Trump supporters in the days leading up to his Jan. 6 decision not to obey Trump’s command to interfere with the counting of the electoral vote: “At the end of December, Mr. Pence traveled to Vail, Colo., for a family vacation. While he was there, his aides received a request for him to meet with Sidney Powell, a lawyer who promoted some of the more far-fetched conspiracy theories about flaws in voting machines, and whom Mr. Trump wanted to bring into the White House, ostensibly to investigate his false claims of widespread voter fraud.”
In his Sunday French Press, David draws a distinction between the healthy safety- and rights-focused gun culture that America has long enjoyed and the reactionary gun fetishism that has grown more ubiquitous in recent years. “The gun fetish rears its head when politicians pose with AR-15s in their campaign posters, or when a powerful senator makes ‘machine-gun bacon’ to demonstrate just how much he loves the Second Amendment,” he writes. “Spend much time at gun shows or at gun shops, and you’ll quickly become familiar with something called the ‘tactical’ or ‘black gun’ lifestyle, where civilians intentionally equip themselves in gear designed for the ‘daily gunfight.’ It’s often a form of elaborate special forces cosplay, except the weapons (and sometimes the body armor) are very real.”
In his Friday G-File, Jonah took aim at “the most fatal flaw of Democrats”: “that they take it as a given that government can do the normal stuff well.” “If progressives really wanted to restore faith in government, they’d concentrate all of their energies on tackling the stuff already on the government’s plate,” he writes. “Execute the job you’ve been given well, and then we’ll talk about giving you more responsibility. Walk, then run, and then we’ll get into a fun argument about whether it’s stupid you think you can fly.”
Don’t forget the podcasts: In Friday’s Remnant, Jonah dove solo into topics ranging from the somber to the downright bizarre: television, republicanism, superstition, and the like. In this week’s Good Faith, David and Curtis discuss the tensions between gun rights and gun control and the hyper-polarization that engulfs the issue. And on the Dispatch Podcast, the gang discusses the first 100 days of war in Ukraine, the gun question, and next week’s January 6 hearings on Capitol Hill.
Let Us Know
When you read the sentence “Republicans and Democrats in the Senate say they’re making progress on gun legislation following a rash of mass shootings in recent weeks,” what color did your mood ring turn?