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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

The great bacon shortage ahead and why it’s a good thing

My son with our herd of Black Angus

Beware, news stories are warning, this bacon-and-egg sandwich or these baby back ribs might be your last if you live in California. The reason? In 2018, California voters passed animal welfare laws that required chicken, veal, and pork sold in the state to be raised humanely by the beginning of 2022. Chicken and veal producers say that they’ve complied with the standards and will be allowed to continue selling in the state without interruption. …


THE NATION

AOC and Cori Bush are fighting for us to be a moral country

Photo by Jonathan Rados on Unsplash

It is really hard to hold the moral high ground when you refuse to even stand on it. All weekend, Representative Cori Bush from Missouri has been leading a protest on the Capitol steps to get the attention of her colleagues and that of the nation. Her goal: to get Congress to reconvene to extend the national eviction moratorium. As it expired on August 1, more than seven million people are now at risk of losing their homes, according to a video Bush and AOC posted this weekend on Instagram. It seems delays at the state-level mean monies meant to…


Unvaccinated people are at greater risk of getting sick, and of getting others sick as well. Why isn’t that risk reflected in their insurance premiums?

John Cameron for Unsplash

This was the month when Americans who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus lost their patience with the almost 100 million eligible Americans who have not been. Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising again — this time mostly in red states with large unvaccinated populations. And after a couple months that felt something like normal, restrictions, including mask requirements for indoor spaces and all schools, are being re-imposed. …


Americans must rise above confirmation bias, groupthink, and tribalism

Image: Free-Photos/Pixabay

Political polarization is nothing new in America, but recent studies show that a greater number of people are migrating further toward the extreme ends of the spectrum. Instead of a bell curve, the distribution of Americans along the political spectrum these days looks more like a dumbbell.

A key reason why we are shepherding ourselves to opposite poles lies in how we attain information. Psychologists have established that the brain is prone to confirmation bias, which is a subconscious tendency to summarily accept or reject evidence based on our beliefs. …


And now, he and his family must sleep in it. The rest of us have to.

This weekend, Fox News “personality” Tucker Carlson, on a family trip with his daughter, went to a fishing store called Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Company in Montana. There, a local fly fishing guide named Dan Bailey — amusingly, not the Dan Bailey of Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Company; he was somehow a different Dan Bailey entirely — saw Carlson and confronted him, telling the broadcaster:

“Dude, you are the worst human being known to mankind. I want you to know that. What you have done to this state, to the United States, to everything else in this world. I don’t care that…


Getting to racial justice is a long journey. Some folks are misreading the map

Image by Andreas Klein from Pixabay

You can sense it in some quarters of the burgeoning racial justice community — a feeling of dread that the movement has stalled a little over a year since the murder of George Floyd.

For most who express this concern, the evidence they point to is the fall-off of public protest since last summer.

“Why aren’t we in the streets every week?” many demand to know.

Naturally, they have their own answer. Most people they insist “weren’t serious” about change and were only performative activists — unlike them.

They, of course, are ready for the revolution.

Because sure they are.


Public persuasion campaigns can’t move the needle as much as the private sector requiring employees to be vaccinated

JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, the number of Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths has risen sharply in the United States, particularly in states with low vaccination rates. While the vaccines do not offer perfect protection against being infected with Covid , they significantly reduce your chances of getting infected and, more important, they shrink your chances of being hospitalized, let alone dying, from Covid to almost nothing. That’s why, in the U.S., more than 90% — and perhaps as many as 99% — of Covid deaths over the past few months have been among unvaccinated people.

Despite this, a surprisingly…


POLITICS

Our president is steady, sometimes vague, but earnest, honest, and wants you to know that he’s not kidding around

Well, that was a mildly interesting but overall uneventful evening. If you could get past the odd and constant reminders by the president that he was “not kidding, “not joking,” and “not being facetious” — we know, Joe, you’re not kidding! — there were some important takeaways from last night’s CNN Town Hall with President Biden. (If you missed it, you can watch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 online.) Immediately, there was a deluge of criticism from Trumpland, the right, and the Mean Girls on Twitter, who mostly lambasted CNN for the town hall being too softball and…


When Americans are born on third base and think they hit a triple.

I’m in line at the Target pharmacy watching a woman edge a baby stroller back and forth. Lena, the pharmacy tech, tilts her screen toward the woman and points. The information hits hard. The woman’s hands fly everywhere and nowhere, snapped masts with torn sails. I watch as she cycles the stages of grief: This is a mistake. Fix it! Is there a generic? A coupon? Please. She leaves empty-handed.

Lena tells me the baby’s medicine was too expensive, even with the woman’s insurance. …


As even our smartest friends fall to conspiracy fever, we have to accept it’s not about logic or politics, but addiction

Photo: Ludovic Toinel/Unsplash

It comes in waves. A friend here, a co-worker there, getting curious about one conspiracy theory or another until they follow one too many trailheads, and end up over the edge. It’s a casualty of living in disorienting times, we tell ourselves. It will eventually pass.

But the hardest part is when the people we’ve traditionally looked to for their brilliance and insights fall into this paranoid trap, as well. They leave us wondering how this could happen to people smarter than ourselves. …

GEN

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