Tools
Change country:

Seven Puppies Dying in Hot Weather Sees California Animal Shelter Staff Charged

The animals allegedly died after being transported in temperatures between 90 and 100 F. The shelter described it as a "tragic incident."
Read full article on: newsweek.com
Body language expert says Alec Baldwin was truthful in TV interview
A body language expert says Baldwin exhibited “explosive” behavior and was telling the truth when he insisted during his TV interview that he did not pull the trigger on the set of “Rust.”
4 m
nypost.com
Brian Kelly’s Notre Dame exit further exposes how college athletes get screwed
The Fighting Irish did nothing wrong. They just played for a coach who did what was best for him — the same thing players have been fighting for all along.
6 m
nypost.com
Gunmakers not liable for Las Vegas massacre deaths, court rules
The parents of Carrie Parsons, one of the 60 people killed in the 2017 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival, filed a lawsuit two years ago,
6 m
cbsnews.com
LSU's Brian Kelly accused of faking Southern accent when talking to Tigers fans at basketball game
LSU football coach Brian Kelly was accused of faking a Southern accent when he appeared at the Tigers’ men’s basketball game on Wednesday
foxnews.com
Test drive: The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is a cheap little truck ... in a good way
The 2022 Ford Maverick hybrid is Ford's lowest-priced model and a new type of truck for the brand.
foxnews.com
Congress passes short-term funding bill to avert shutdown
The bill funds the government through February 18, and includes $7 billion to help resettle Afghan refugees.
cbsnews.com
Alec Baldwin describes "Rust" shooting in emotional interview
"Someone is responsible for what happened and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me," Baldwin said.
cbsnews.com
Omicron COVID-19 variant detected in 5 states
New York, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Colorado have now all reported cases.
cbsnews.com
Peng Shuai: Human rights activist Peter Dahlin says IOC is putting Chinese tennis star at 'greater risk'
Human rights activist Peter Dahlin says the International Olympic Committee's calls with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai are putting her at "greater risk" and that they are "obviously staged."
edition.cnn.com
Military and FAA investigating NFL game flyover
The US military and the Federal Aviation Administration are reviewing a flyover of a Tennessee Titans NFL game last month to determine if the military helicopters flew too low over civilians in violation of aviation regulations.
edition.cnn.com
Pope Francis speaks out on healing the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox churches
Pope Francis lamented centuries of hostility and prejudice that have divided Catholics and Orthodox as he met Friday with the leader of Cyprus’ Greek Orthodox Church and pointed to works of charity as a means to help heal the rift between the Catholic West and Orthodox East.
foxnews.com
Rail and air have new cyber requirements -- but they're minor
DHS is taking an incremental approach to cybersecurity mandates.
washingtonpost.com
Brianna Keilar breaks down over tragedy of school shootings
CNN's Brianna Keilar becomes emotional during an interview with a mother who lost her 6-year-old son in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
edition.cnn.com
Elon Musk unloads Tesla shares for over $10 billion
The world’s wealthiest man sold 934,000 Tesla shares worth more than $1 billion on Thursday, according to securities filings.
nypost.com
The baby dragons of Slovenia
Deep in vast caverns of the Postojna cave network, a blind salamander found nowhere else on Earth is one of the star attractions both for visitors and the scientists unraveling its secrets.
edition.cnn.com
Making COVID-19 vaccinations a family affair can protect against omicron: Analysis
COVID-19 cases in children rose 16% over the last week and 32% over the last two weeks.
abcnews.go.com
As Temptations announce 60th anniversary album, Otis Williams is energized, nostalgic
The Temptations founder is marking the group's 60th anniversary with a video series and album covering all the musical bases from the Tempts' career.       
usatoday.com
Alec Baldwin honors wife, ignores cinematographer in Instagram post after TV interview
The actor took to Instagram after his tearful TV interview aired — in which he denied responsibility for the fatal shooting on the "Rust" set — to honor his wife.
nypost.com
Jeanne Shaheen Fires Back at Tom Cotton Over Putin—'He Didn't Deny You a Visa'
The Arkansas Republican and New Hampshire Democrat argued over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
newsweek.com
Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Betting lines, odds, start time and how to watch
The Cincinnati Bengals are favorites at home against the Chargers, who really need a statement win after losing to the Denver Broncos last week.
latimes.com
Taliban ban forced marriages of women in Afghanistan
The Taliban have decreed that they are banning the forced marriage of women in the war-torn country, in what appears to be a move to address criteria that developed nations consider a precondition to recognize their government and restore aid
abcnews.go.com
Man Reckons He Found a 'Mummy' Inside a Tree in L.A.'s Oldest Graveyard
The discovery was made at the Evergreen Memorial Park and Cemetery, which was established in 1877.
newsweek.com
Why Companies Might Learn to Love Unions
All those painful concessions made during labor negotiations could help employers retain workers as quit rates soar.
washingtonpost.com
Alec Baldwin blames the victim in sickening interview
Just when you think Alec Baldwin can’t go any lower, he blames Halyna Hutchins, the woman he shot to death, for getting shot to death.
nypost.com
Colleges with high vaccination rates must now decide if they'll require boosters
Wesleyan University is among a small group of colleges requiring COVID-19 boosters for spring semester. Will other institutions follow?
npr.org
These days, forgetting these important travel items could cost you thousands of dollars
Assume nothing when you're making your travel plans. And that means re-checking entry requirements like vaccination cards and health insurance.      
usatoday.com
Chase Elliott named NASCAR's most popular driver, but what's up with that hat?
Chase Elliott won NASCAR's most popular driver award for the fourth time in a row in 2021, while Justin Allgaier and Hailie Deegan won in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series.
foxnews.com
Inspired by TikTok, brothers start website for teens struggling with mental health
Carter Kroeger and his brother Ashton, a former Arizona high school tennis champion, launched their website, PersevereProject.org, this summer.      
usatoday.com
Trump's White House doctor facing fresh scrutiny over Covid test timeline
Former President Donald Trump's positive Covid test in September 2020, three days before the first presidential debate, is raising new questions about whether Trump's physician at the time, Dr. Sean Conley, had a duty to inform the public -- and Joe Biden -- about Trump's positive result.
edition.cnn.com
Plenty of people are taking melatonin as a sleep aid. What you should know before you do.
"Will taking melatonin cause my brain to stop making it?" "Is it safe to give to kids?" "Does it cancel out birth control?" "Is melatonin a sedative?"     
usatoday.com
Leonard is the brightest comet all year. Here's how to see it
The comet was discovered less than a year ago near the orbit of Jupiter. Now, observers in North America can see it in the northeastern sky around sunrise.
npr.org
L.A. voters back a right to shelter, but are wary of taxes to pay for it, new poll finds
Los Angeles County voters support a legal right to shelter for all, but are less enthusiastic about enacting new taxes to build housing for the homeless, a new poll finds.
latimes.com
Overdraft fees are a menace
Capital One announced it's eliminating overdraft fees. Other financial institutions should follow suit.
washingtonpost.com
‘Flash mob’ robberies roiling U.S. retailers, traumatizing workers
Experts say the brazen crimes, which can involve dozens of thieves carrying weapons and breaking glass, are likely being coordinated on social media apps
washingtonpost.com
Emily Compagno shares her dad's recipe for a delicious holiday pasta dish
Fox News cohost shares a delicious Christmas meal and other family traditions at holiday time in this story and recipe featured in the new book, 'All American Christmas.'
foxnews.com
WTA stands up to China over Peng Shuai, demonstrates moral leadership desperately needed in West
Steve Simon, the Chairman and CEO of the WTA, announced the organization would suspend all of its tournaments in mainland China and Hong Kong in response to Beijing's treatment of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.
foxnews.com
Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Betting odds, lines, start time and how to watch
The Rams sorely need a win after three consecutive losses, and the Jacksonville Jaguars present the perfect opportunity for them to turn things around.
latimes.com
The 10 Best TV Shows of 2021
From the nonsensical sketches of ‘I Think You Should Leave’ to the breathtaking achievement of ‘The Underground Railroad’
time.com
Why the Right Needs a More 'Muscular' and 'Masculine' Conservatism | Opinion
Any conservatism worthy of the name in 2021 must "know what time it is."
newsweek.com
Why Is 'Money Heist' Ending?
The final five episodes of "Money Heist" will be released on Netflix on Friday, December 3 and will see the conclusion of the Bank of Spain heist.
newsweek.com
It's Time to Stand up to Progressive Prosecutors | Opinion
Waukesha has already paid the most extreme price, but other parts of America feel the pain daily as progressive prosecutors reshape the justice system.
newsweek.com
The good and the not as good in Biden’s winter Covid-19 plan
The Biden White House is trying to get out ahead of the omicron variant threat, detailing a new plan to accelerate vaccinations, increase testing, and make treatments widely available. | Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images The pandemic refuses to quit. What can the White House do about it? Experts were already a little worried about another winter surge of Covid-19. Now the omicron variant has amplified those concerns, though we still don’t know to what extent it will alter the course of the pandemic. The Biden administration is trying to get ahead of the threat, detailing a new plan to accelerate vaccinations, increase testing, make treatments widely available, and deploy teams of public health experts to any hot spots that emerge in the coming months. Taken together, the plan reads like the consensus you would probably find if you asked a few hundred public health experts what we should be doing; in fact, some experts are annoyed some of these things weren’t already being done. Even so, a few provisions — such as promising insurance reimbursement for tests rather than providing them for free — raise eyebrows. But overall, experts seem to think the plan hits the important points. The real question is how much of an impact any program from the federal government can have at this point. Some state governments are resistant to even the most basic measures, such as masks in schools; 16 percent of adults said in October they will definitely not get the Covid-19 vaccine, the highest share recorded by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in its vaccine surveys. People have dug in. The administration knows it can’t stop Covid-19, omicron variant or otherwise. But this is its attempt to lower the barriers for people to coexist with Covid-19: by making it easier to get a vaccine, to get tested, and to get meds if you are sick. Biden’s winter Covid-19 plan, briefly explained The plan announced Thursday by the Biden administration covers the full spectrum of the federal response. It starts with booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already revised its recommendations, urging all adults over 18 to get an additional dose of a Covid-19 vaccine six months after their second Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech shot (or two months after their first shot if they received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Many experts are cautiously optimistic that boosters received now will also be protective against omicron if the variant starts to spread widely in the US, though how much protection the current vaccines provide remains to be seen. The Biden administration is partnering with the AARP for an education campaign to get seniors boosted and plans outreach from Medicare as well. While there is still some debate about the value of boosters for young and healthy adults, almost every expert agrees that older Americans and people who have a compromised immune system should receive another shot. AARP also pledged to coordinate ride-hailing programs to get people to their booster appointments, and the White House is calling on employers to give workers paid time off to get their shots. However, 30 percent of Americans remain unvaccinated — including a lot of kids between 5 and 12, who are currently eligible for the vaccines. (Shots for kids younger than 5 are expected to be approved sometime early next year.) Community health centers are going to hold family vaccination days and FEMA is going to set up mobile vaccination clinics. Medicaid will also reimburse doctors for talking with families about getting children vaccinated. This will be an uphill battle: According to the KFF October survey, 30 percent of parents say they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated and another 33 percent plan to wait and see. And many adults who are currently unvaccinated insist they will never get a shot. Testing remains essential to tracking and stemming the virus’s spread, letting people know if they need to isolate or seek medical attention. The Biden administration plans to issue new regulations to permit patients to seek reimbursement from their health insurer if they purchase an over-the-counter test; they also plan to distribute more tests for free through community health centers and other providers including pharmacies. Another component of the plan is “strike” teams that can be deployed to support hospitals strained because of staffing shortages, to provide monoclonal antibody treatments in areas with high spread, and disease investigators to assist with tracking the virus. There are also stricter rules for international travelers, requiring a negative Covid-19 test within a day before boarding a plane. And as part of the plan, the federal government will take responsibility for doling out the new antiviral medications if and when they are authorized by the FDA. It’s a pretty comprehensive plan, though experts still see some shortcomings. “What other partners could they employ other than AARP to reach others who are not of retirement age?” Tara Smith, a public health professor at Kent State University, told me. “I like that partnership and the things they are doing there — but we need that for other age groups too. I like their family vaccination clinics, but why wasn’t this started in January?” Should the tests just be free? One part of the plan, though, drew particular scrutiny: It calls for patients to seek reimbursement from their health insurer if they purchase an over-the-counter test. Some people are getting billed for Covid-19 tests currently, which might discourage them from taking a test at all; and expanded insurance coverage could help ameliorate that problem. But there will likely still be an obstacle between purchasing the test yourself and getting your money back. It has been well documented in US health care that even small financial obligations can have a sizable effect on people’s actions. The so-called “shoebox effect” — when people who are asked to submit reimbursements on their own never end up doing so because it’s a hassle — could also kick in. “Insurance reimbursement for at-home tests will increase access and mean more people will use the tests, but it’s not a panacea,” Larry Levitt, executive vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me. “Having to pay upfront will discourage some people, and the hassles of having to file for reimbursement from your insurer will mean that many receipts will just end up sitting in shoeboxes.” Why isn’t the federal government just buying hundreds of millions of tests and giving them away? It’s a matter of funding. Even 500 million rapid at-home tests would barely be enough for one for every person in the US. Abbott’s rapid testing kits currently retail for $24 for two tests at CVS. It could all add up quickly and, while we can debate whether the government should buy and give away the tests anyway, that much money would likely require creative accounting by federal agencies or else new funding approved by Congress. From the government’s perspective, having patients submit bills directly to the insurer is certainly easier. But it’s more difficult for the patient. The US government also does not typically pay, for all its citizens, the kind of routine medical services that Covid-19 tests will likely become, though most other wealthy countries do so in one way or another. A more conventional American market is expected to emerge, with insurers covering Covid-19 tests as they do other routine tests. “This is our fragmented health care system at work,” Levitt said. The Biden plan looks like a path from an epidemic to a new normal The plan provides a playbook of sorts for how we start to live with Covid-19. Because eradication is out of the question, experts are thinking about how to reduce risk and harm as much as possible, while also allowing life to return to normal as much as possible. “Because Covid-19 is becoming an endemic infection, teaching people how to risk-calculate with an everyday threat is very important,” Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told me. “To that end, home testing, antivirals, monoclonal antibodies, and boosting of the high-risk are really important.” Nobody wants to go back into lockdown, and in the US, there isn’t the political will or public buy-in to do it anyway. The Biden administration is trying to create a plan while facing a big dilemma: Millions of people are still vulnerable to the virus — and that number could grow depending on how effective omicron is at overcoming prior immunity, which we don’t know — but many of them don’t have any interest in getting vaccinated or even getting tested. “Many people are just done. They won’t get boosters, at least right now,” Smith said. “They won’t wear masks short of a serious mandate. They certainly won’t be buying tests.” The federal government has already run into some of the limits of its power: The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers is tied up in court. The threat of a mandate did appear to have motivated a lot of businesses to require vaccines and a lot of people to get them; research shows mandates could be effective and new vaccinations did spike after the White House had finalized its regulations. Sometimes, sending the signal can be the next best thing to concrete policy. So they came up with this all-of-the-above approach. Boosters and tests for people who want them. For those who end up getting sick, we have more treatment options than before, with the new antivirals expected to come on the market any day, and the Biden winter plan includes measures for getting the medications out into the country. A new normal isn’t a world without any Covid-19, but a world in which we can live with it. Nature itself will have something to say about that, as omicron reminds us. But this is what the Biden administration says it is doing to prepare.
vox.com
Chris Cuomo saga: MSNBC continues avoiding CNN anchor's suspension after downplaying bombshell revelations
The Peacock network continues avoiding the scandal plaguing its liberal rival
foxnews.com
The Biblical Clash at the Core of The Power of the Dog
The banjo may seem like an innocent instrument, but in The Power of the Dog, it’s downright menacing. The swaggering rancher Phil Burbank (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) at the center of Jane Campion’s new film is introduced as a thin-skinned bully who’s quick to insult those around him. But I didn’t realize what a frightening character he was going to be until Phil retired to his bed, pulled out a banjo, and started angrily plucking at it; that humble string instrument hasn’t been played so malevolently on-screen since the notorious “dueling banjos” of Deliverance.Campion’s first feature film in 12 years, based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, is set on a 1925 Montana ranch that’s surrounded by spiky mountains and acres of barren landscape filled with both promise and hostility. There, Phil has proudly carved out a lonely existence for himself as a cattle herder, while his full-hearted brother, George (Jesse Plemons), is dissatisfied with their spartan life and seeking companionship. Into this dynamic wanders local widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). George marries Rose, seeing the newcomers as the beginning of a real family, but Phil derides them as too weak for life on the range.[Read: Escape from quarantine with a Western movie]Westerns almost always wrestle with masculinity in some way, whether through a simple yarn about heroes and villains in the open country, or through a darker reckoning with Americans’ desire to conquer land that is not their own. In The Power of the Dog, Campion embraces the genre’s many possibilities. Each member of her wounded foursome reflects a different aspect of the tainted promise of the West. But Phil, played magnificently by Cumberbatch in a role that’s completely against type, is the furious engine of the film’s heartbreak.Phil sees himself as the ultimate cowboy. He constantly invokes a now-dead mentor named Bronco Henry who taught him how to survive on the frontier and lashes out at anyone else who dares to try to forge a connection with him. He castrates bulls by hand, binds twine together to make his own ropes, and rarely bathes; whenever he’s inside the drafty mansion his brother has constructed, he feels out of place, like some grimy poltergeist disrupting George’s facade of civility. George may not be spoiling for a fight in the same way that Phil is, but the symbolic fracture between the brothers is undeniable: George desires domesticity, moving grand pianos into the house and hosting dinner parties with politicians, while Phil craves eternal wilderness—the kind of world he can prove his own toughness in. The clash feels almost biblical in nature, a face-off between a harsh, unjust world and a gentle, modern one.An entire movie about Phil’s cruelty to everyone around him might be unwatchable. But Campion is an empathetic director, and she’s long been drawn to characters whose emotions are buried deep, such as the electively mute Ada of The Piano, the squirrelly older sister Kay of Sweetie, or the introverted academic Frannie of In the Cut. Phil is one of the most layered, enthralling protagonists in her filmography. He has erected impenetrable force fields around his anxieties about manliness, but Peter, whom he initially dismisses as an effeminate mama’s boy, forces him to begin to confront hidden neuroses about his own sexuality. Every twitch on Cumberbatch’s face feels like an earthquake for the viewers, as he draws out the drama in the barest hint of feeling.[Read: Another unpretentious, melancholy farewell from Clint Eastwood]The Power of the Dog is structured in chapters, and each new one veers in a surprising direction. George and Rose’s romance is tender at first, but eventually crumbles under external pressures. Dunst’s performance is achingly nervy, some of the best work she’s done in years; Plemons registers his adoration and his apprehensions quietly, keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of Phil’s abuse and Rose’s inner demons. Smit-McPhee initially plays Peter as a sensitive teen making paper-flower arrangements to keep his mother happy, but he gradually reveals the character’s brutal side. Campion builds his antagonistic yet fraternal dynamic with Phil into a fascinating puzzle for audiences to try to solve.But the film offers no definitive judgments on its anguished ensemble. The cinematographer Ari Wegner’s camera will occasionally zoom out for massive aerial shots that underline the insignificance of the people milling among the mountains, trying to make something of themselves. Campion never takes a side in the ongoing conflict between George and Phil, instead brilliantly capturing the purpose, and the futility, in each brother’s approach, making The Power of the Dog an inimitable viewing experience.
theatlantic.com
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema comes to Washington, D.C. — at long last
The Texas-based movie theater chain’s latest outpost opens Dec. 10 in Northeast DC.
washingtonpost.com
What to watch with your kids: ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid,’ ‘Wolf’ and more
Here’s what parents need to know.
washingtonpost.com
What Roe Could Take Down With It
The consensus of Supreme Court watchers after Wednesday’s oral argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is that the demise of Roe v. Wade, or at least its dilution to a point that virtually any government-imposed “burden” on abortion would be constitutionally acceptable, is coming. After all, this Court allowed a Texas law effectively banning most abortions after six weeks to stand pending litigation, rejecting multiple pleas for a temporary stay—as clear a signal as any that at least five justices on the current Court have no problem with women’s constitutional rights (as currently recognized) being violated in the interim.Many of the dangers of overruling Roe have been long discussed. If women lose the right to an abortion, pregnancy-related deaths are estimated to rise substantially and suddenly. (Currently, 26 states have so-called trigger laws on the books that would outlaw most abortions the moment the Court reverses Roe.) The impact of Roe’s fall would hit low-income women especially hard, as they’re five times as likely as affluent women to experience unplanned childbearing and twice as likely to face sexual violence.Those are the dangers of restricting access to abortion. The thing is, the dangers of dispensing with Roe go far beyond abortion, because the legal logic that threatens this particular right could quite easily extend to others, inviting states to try out new laws that regulate choices about whom to marry, whom to be intimate with, what contraception to use, and how to rear one’s own children.The contention that Roe is uniquely built on a foundation of sand ignores the inconvenient fact that lots of other rights are not expressly articulated in the Constitution. The question that a reversal of Roe accordingly poses is whether the “textualists” and “originalists” on this conservative-heavy Court would allow those implied rights to go by the wayside as well.[David H. Gans: No, really, the right to an abortion is supported by the text and history of the Constitution]Most people tether Roe’s legal foundations to the right to privacy identified in Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision striking down state laws rendering illegal the use of contraceptives by married couples. The Court ultimately identified a constitutional “right to privacy” within protective “penumbras” that emanate from the Bill of Rights—in particular the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments—and reasoned that these penumbras operate to shield “an intimate relation of husband and wife and their physician’s role in one aspect of that relation” from government intrusion. Picking up on Griswold in 1973, the Court in Roe acknowledged that “the Constitution does not explicitly mention any right to privacy,” but seized on the earlier case’s recognition of “a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy” to strike down a Texas law criminalizing abortion.Bemoaning the analytical shortcomings of Roe, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality under the Constitution, noted that critics were “charging the Court with reading its own values into the due process clause.” (In her view, “the Court presented an incomplete justification for its decision” and should have added “a distinct sex discrimination theme” to its balancing of fetal versus maternal interests.) Those charges have endured, culminating in the Dobbs case, which tees up a reversal of Roe, despite the fact that a majority of Americans across the political spectrum favor some measure of safe and legal abortion access.But Griswold was not the Court’s first word on the scope of “liberty” under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due-process clause, which protects individuals from arbitrary governmental deprivations of “life, liberty or property” without articulating with any precision what the word liberty actually means. In a series of cases beginning in the early 1920s, the Court carved out a protected space for family, marriage, and children that the government is constrained from regulating. A rollback of Roe could split this sphere open if the conservative theory that implied rights are constitutionally invalid takes hold, and states begin passing draconian laws that creep into other areas of intimate personal life.Consider the 1923 case Meyer v. Nebraska, in which the Court struck down a law criminalizing the teaching of German in private schools. “The obvious purpose of this statute,” the Court wrote, “was that the English language should be and become the mother tongue of all children reared in this state.” Although its enactment “comes reasonably within the police power of the state,” the Court found that the law ”unreasonably infringes the liberty guaranteed to the plaintiff in error by the Fourteenth Amendment”—the precise grounding of the now-precarious individual right to decide whether to carry a fetus to term. Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary, the Court struck down an Oregon criminal law forcing parents to send their children to public school. “The manifest purpose” of the law, the Court noted, “is to compel general attendance at public schools by normal children, between eight and sixteen, who have not completed the eighth grade.” Citing Meyer, the Court ruled, “We think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children.”[Mary Ziegler: The end of Roe]The Court has construed liberty to safeguard numerous other personal safe spaces: the right to marry regardless of race (1967’s Loving v. Virginia) and sex (2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges). The right to use contraception (Griswold). The right to be free from compulsory sterilization by the state (1942’s Skinner v. Oklahoma). The right to be free of government-mandated surgery involving “a virtually total divestment of respondent’s ordinary control over surgical probing beneath his skin” (1985’s Winston v. Lee). And the right to engage in intimate sexual conduct with a partner of one’s choice without fear of criminal prosecution (2003’s Lawrence v. Texas).In Dobbs, the state of Mississippi’s answer to this line of cases is to suggest that the life of an unborn fetus is especially sacred under the Constitution: “Nowhere else in the law does a right of privacy or right to make personal decisions provide a right to destroy a human life,” it claims. But saying so does not mean that critics of other privacy-based rights could not find their own reasons why those rights, too, must be balanced against some other competing interest.Thus, to say that Roe is a one-off constitutional blunder, built on a flimsy foundation, while other rights are grounded in concrete, is a myth—and a dangerous one. Nothing in the Constitution says anything to specifically protect couples’ ability to choose to have sex, use contraception, get married, decide how to educate their children, refuse bodily inspection or medical treatments, and, yes, terminate a pregnancy. From a legal perspective, if Roe falls, it’s hard to see what else will still stand.
theatlantic.com
The Tech Moguls Are Looking for a New Playground
Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter’s CEO this week, holds the dubious distinction of being one of Silicon Valley’s most important woolgathering sages. Speaking with him can be incredibly disorienting, the journalist Ashley Feinberg once remarked, “not because he’s particularly clever or thought-provoking, but because he sounds like he should be.” That echoes my own experience: Dorsey is quiet and reserved in interviews—a departure from the usual chief-executive bravado—and he seems genuinely interested in giving thoughtful answers, also rare. Yet however earnest his engagement, he almost never gives a straight or satisfying response. Press him to account for specific problems on his platform, and he’ll launch into a game of tech-founder Mad Libs that takes the conversation nowhere.I don’t think Dorsey means to stonewall by meandering; rather, he’s expressing, in his elliptical way, the disconnect between his lofty ideals for social media and the toxic discourse it creates. It’s as if he has a perfect version of Twitter in his head but lacks the language to describe it. Now, with his departure from the company, that tension can at last be swept aside. Like other Big Tech leaders, he’s pivoting away from his teenage, problem-ridden platform in the hopes of getting to a better, different kind of place. Imagine a version of the distracted-boyfriend meme in which the guy in the middle is a CEO, and he’s ogling a decentralized metaverse.Dorsey has always had a reputation as an ideas guy. After Twitter’s storybook launch, in 2006, he set to work on another company, one to help democratize mobile payments, which became Square. His tech “visionary” status meant that Dorsey could be eccentric, which he capitalized on by fasting, drinking a concoction of suspect nutritional value called “salt juice,” walking five miles to work, and sporting a trademark beard and nose ring. Visionary status also allowed him to juggle two part-time CEO jobs, and it provided cover when, a few years ago, he began tweeting intensely about cryptocurrency. In August, Dorsey claimed that bitcoin would eventually “unite the world.” This could well be the context for his next big idea in tech, and his next multibillion-dollar company. But also, it was @jack being @jack.Being at the helm of Twitter in 2021 is hard. In early 2020, Elliott Management, the activist investor, took a sizable stake in the company and pressured Dorsey to hit growth targets. And although Twitter is working on some new products, the platform is, to a large degree, mature. Leading a mature company—especially one that has an outsize influence on politics and culture—involves a lot of maintenance work. It’s also kind of a nightmare. In the past 18 months, Dorsey has had to navigate a flood of COVID misinformation across his platform, multiple testimonies before Congress, and a deeply contentious election season, which culminated in his executive decision to ban the sitting president of the United States. I’m not suggesting that we shed a tear for this billionaire, but I’ve been tagged in enough of Dorsey’s mentions to know that part of his management experience is absorbing justified criticism from, well, basically everyone. Not exactly what a visionary wants to do all day.[Read: It’s impossible to follow a conversation on Twitter]Legacy tech platforms make plenty of money from their hundreds of millions, if not billions, of users, but they’re also riddled with problems. Those problems must feel quotidian to the people who dreamed the platforms up. Rolling out new products, updates, and rules is a logistical challenge, and users are cranky and resistant to change. The successes of Web 2.0—the social internet—are no longer playgrounds of possibility; they’re not the future. That’s why many venture capitalists, programmers, and Silicon Valley CEOs such as Dorsey are eyeing Web3.To put it in simple terms, Web3 refers to a third generation of the internet where online services and platforms have been transitioned to a model based on blockchains and cryptographic tokens. In theory, that means they are decentralized, and anyone who owns tokens has some amount of ownership or voting control over them. This model of the web represents a financialized vision of the internet, backed heavily by investors and speculative currencies. It is also the kind of chaotic space to which developers and creatives instinctively flock. Blockchain-based projects are sometimes confusing, they can have barriers to entry (like requiring a crypto wallet), and they seem to generate their own, varied countercultures. There is an immense amount of money to be made. It’s exciting—a new playground.Dorsey is among the crypto world’s best-known evangelists. At a conference in Miami this summer, he remarked on bitcoin’s supposedly unlimited potential for good. “For me, bitcoin changes absolutely everything,” he said, extolling its ability to be a universal asset and a utility for unbanked people in the developing world. He described having spent November 2019 in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Ghana with entrepreneurs, and said he’d learned that the technology is transformative, even beautiful. In an act of foreshadowing, Dorsey added that he would be working fully on bitcoin if he weren’t the CEO of Twitter and Square.Dorsey’s bitcoin musings hit familiar notes for him: They are full of hope and possibility, but they are also extremely vague. “What I’m drawn to the most about it,” Dorsey said of cryptocurrency, “is the ethos, is what it represents, the conditions that created it, which are so rare and so special and so precious. I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on, and I don’t think there’s anything more enabling for people around the world.”Dorsey’s vision for bitcoin, much like his vision for Twitter, is confidently idealistic. In 2019, when he was confronted about Twitter’s harassment features, he offered mumbly, circuitous responses. And now, when he is confronted with bitcoin’s problems —such as the environmental impacts from “mining” cryptocurrencies—his answers are just as opaque and unsatisfying. “I believe fully that bitcoin, over time and today, does incentivize more renewable energy,” he told the crowd in Miami. “And I think it does incentivize more awareness around how we’re getting that power and gives people more freedom to convert unused, wasted power into something that provides value for billions of people around the world.”I believe that Dorsey believes what he says. Of all the major tech CEOs, Dorsey has always been the most responsive to criticism and has pushed Twitter to tackle important harassment problems. But his visions for bitcoin, like his past hopes for Twitter, take for granted that somebody will eventually solve the biggest problems facing a piece of technology. It’s a nice idea, the kind you might expect from an “ideas guy.” But the parallels are clear between his vision for Web3 and, say, the free-speech idealism he espoused before a sitting president used his platform to deny the results of an election. Web3 is, in theory, more egalitarian and inclusive than our current, messy internet. The way we get there, according to the Web3 prophets, is to trust the process and follow their lead. The logistics will work themselves out.[Read: Twitter’s least-bad option for dealing with Donald Trump]In that respect, Jack Dorsey’s departure from Twitter and embrace of crypto resembles Mark Zuckerberg’s rebrand of Facebook in favor of the metaverse. Big Tech’s founders have jettisoned the escape pod from their bloated, boring second incarnations of the internet and set off for a new frontier. Their ambitions would be admirable if not for the harms that their platforms have already wrought. Dorsey and company may, in fact, be visionaries—city planners who can deftly sketch the thoroughfares and public spaces we will eventually traverse. But city plans don’t make a city, nor does a collection of parks and avenues. Cities are the result of a meticulously managed infrastructure. They need a sanitation department to make sure that garbage doesn’t pile up in the streets, and transit authorities to keep the trains on time. They need bureaucrats, not visionaries.It makes sense that Dorsey, a man with a vision so grand that he could barely articulate it, would find bureaucratic work to be stifling. If anything signals the end of the second iteration of the internet, it’s the dreamers moving on.
theatlantic.com