I know I said there would be no Jackal on Monday, but I never said there wouldn’t be a Jackal on FRIDAY. There were just too many interesting reads to not share them with my babies.
There has been a big dustup lately over the media’s coverage of the “lab leak” theory. In the last Jackal, I shared a piece from the Wall Street Journal that basically said U.S. intelligence agencies had heard that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute for Virology got sick enough to be hospitalized in November of 2019, suggesting that maybe COVID-19 did indeed come from the lab. Jonathan Chait offered a good and fair critique of the media, in which he basically said that the experts were much more divided on the lab leak theory than the media portrayed.
I should say, that was my experience too. Because I do not have a good brain and it’s hard for me to process information about COVID-19, I went directly to an epidemiologist and asked her questions about the origins of the disease. The answer was generally the same as other experts at the time: COVID-19 is a naturally-occurring disease, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t being studied in a lab and somehow got out. We just don’t know exactly where it came from and it’s possible we will never know.
Additional discussion on this topic comes from Matt Yglesias and Jim Geraghty (you can get the gist of Geraghty’s piece by reading this thread). In addition, there is an amazing read from Olivia Troye on how the Trump Administration politicized the evidence surrounding the disease’s origins. And, of course, let’s not forget what Grandpa Joe said about this back in February of 2020:
I also have great reads on inflation. One from Noah Smith; one from Ramesh Ponnuru; and one from Dean Baker. The ones from Ramesh and Dean basically say that nowadays we have early indicators of hyperinflation, and we are currently seeing none of them.
POLITICS. Great read on how the GOP is preparing for a 2024 bid from Donald Freaking Trump.
A really fantastic read on how the culture war could break democracy.
And some miscellaneous fun: A totally insane story about a man who was rescued from a Colorado mountain pass in 1982. What was treated as an amazing rescue was actually him fleeing the scene where he allegedly murdered two women.
A great read on what A.I. advancements will do for our seniors.
Antonio Rüdiger used to play for my favorite soccer team, A.S. Roma. Roma’s city rivals are S.S. Lazio, and the bi-seasonal game between the two clubs (called the Derby Della Capitale) is probably the most infamous in all of European soccer. Lazio are a right-wing club with fascistic tendencies, and are well-known for their racism and anti-Semitism. Rüdiger documents how he dealt with the racist abuse from Lazio fans during the 2017 derby. An incredible read.
A final read for Memorial Day: War Stories from the New Yorker.
Happy Memorial Day to all my beautiful babies. Enjoy the long weekend and spend time with family and friends.