• News item: Recall drive against California Governor Gavin Newsom nears threshold to qualify for a special election.
• News item: Gov. Newsom abruptly lifts statewide lockdown order, even though the infection rate remains little changed from a month ago.
Gee—I wonder if these two stories might be related?
California has paid out a staggering $11 billion worth of fraudulent unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, California Labor Secretary Julie Su said Monday.
The fraudulent payments represent about 10% of all payments for pandemic era unemployment benefits, Su said. The percentage is likely to go higher. Another 17% of the dollars that have been paid out — more than $19 billion — are considered suspicious and “a large number of that could be confirmed fraud as well,” she said. “There is no sugarcoating the reality,” Su told a news conference. “California did not have enough security measures in place.”
California is in the very best of hands.
• Big surprise:
For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman’s annual trust barometer shared exclusively with Axios. Trust in social media has hit an all-time low of 27%.
Wise counsel from Jack Shafer, which the media is certain to ignore:
Washington’s public works department should have built an emergency system of drainage ditches, culverts and tunnels to divert into the Potomac River the torrents of praise, approval and adoration the press poured down on President Joe Biden on Inauguration Day. At one point in the early evening, citizens living in low-lying portions of the city were at risk of drowning in the flash flood of commendations that flowed during the day-long pageant. . .
True, the squeals of delight from the TV booths that greeted Biden were not unique to his inauguration or his political persuasion. Presidents like Ronald Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II have been the beneficiaries of honeymoon inaugural coverage. But such demonstrations arrive most reliably when Democrats take the White House, and never did a Republican get the sort of treatment Barack Obama did in his 2008 inaugural, when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews famously admitted to having “felt this thrill going up my leg” when Obama spoke.
• More likely, the media will start eating its own:
We’ve seen some of the nation’s largest liberal newspapers boil over in internal turmoil over race, so it’s only natural it would happen at National Public Radio. Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner cited a manifesto for an “antiracist future” and the “transformation of public media” published at Current, a website for public broadcasting employees and insiders.
Organizer Celeste Headlee boasted on Twitter on Friday that she has over 450 signatories to this “vision” statement, which declares, “White supremacist culture and anti-blackness shape the policies, norms, and standards of public radio.”
• WORST. IDEA. EVER:
As President Joe Biden rolls out his circle of close advisers, the notion is gaining momentum among leaders and advocates of nonprofit groups and for-profit companies: that someone should be named to coordinate arts funding, unite assorted agencies and underline the value of arts and entertainment to the nation’s financial, social and psychological well-being.
A national advocate. An Anthony Fauci — but at the Cabinet level — for the arts.
Oh please God, no.