Aggregating and archiving news from both sides of the aisle.

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Trump says the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago home

Preview: The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump's resort home in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said.

The market's biggest winners and losers in the Inflation Reduction Act

Preview: Autos and utilities are among market winners from climate incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, but big firms from Amazon to Ford will pay more in taxes.

Google outage reported by thousands of users around the world

Preview: Users around the world are reporting outages on search engine Google, according to

Nearly half of Singaporeans want to travel to one place – and it’s not Malaysia

Preview: Japan is the top choice for Singaporean travelers this year, but many are confused about how to get in. A Singaporean travel agent living in Japan explains.

Tornado Cash crackdown by Treasury puts honest crypto investors at risk of criminal exposure

Preview: The U.S. Treasury's blacklisting of Tornado Cash on Monday will do more than just take down criminals.

Nvidia resets expectations with warning of quarterly miss due to gaming weakness

Preview: Investors can now approach the stock with a bit more certainty about what to expect in coming quarters.

Your iPhone may finally show the battery percentage on the home screen again

Preview: Apple adds battery percentage icon to status bar with iOS 16 beta 5.

Bed Bath & Beyond closes nearly 40% higher, AMC surges as meme chatter on message boards increases

Preview: Bed Bath & Beyond and AMC Entertainment surged Monday as meme traders seemed to be betting on the stock despite the lack of any apparent catalyst for the move.

Novavax cuts 2022 revenue guidance in half, stock tanks in after-hours trading

Preview: The Maryland biotech company cut its 2022 sales outlook by about 50% and now expects to generate $2 billion to $2.3 billion in revenue.

Consumers expect inflation to slow down, a big win for the Fed

Preview: The consumer outlook for inflation tumbled in July amid a sharp drop in gas prices and a belief that the surges in food and housing also would ebb.

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The search was related to handling of presidential documents, including classified ones, that may have been brought to Mar-a-Lago, three sources tell CNN

Preview: The FBI executed a search warrant today at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the former President confirms to CNN.

'They even broke into my safe': Trump responds to search of his Mar-a-Lago home

Preview: The FBI has executed a search warrant at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the former President confirms to CNN.

Assessing Trump's risk if he mishandled White House documents

Preview: Reports of former President Donald Trump's possible mishandling of federal documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort have prompted legal experts to handicap: Could Trump be charged with a crime?

Former FBI official shares what struck him about FBI search

Preview: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reacts to the FBI executing a search warrant at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought to Florida, three people familiar with the situation say.

Analysis: The vise is tightening around Donald Trump as 2024 decision looms

Preview: The FBI's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday makes one thing crystal clear: The legal vice is tightening around the former President even as he weighs whether to run for president again in 2024.

She helped Trump win Florida twice. Now she could lead his expected 2024 campaign

Preview: Susie Wiles was searching for her next act when Donald Trump came knocking last spring.

Injured by war, the scars on Ukraine's wounded children are more than skin deep

Preview: • Pentagon acknowledges sending previously undisclosed anti-radar missiles to Ukraine • Judge authorizes warrant for US to seize Russian oligarch's $90 million private plane

Olivia Newton-John, singer and actress, dead at 73

Preview: • John Travolta pays tribute to Olivia Newton-John • Olivia Newton-John's life in pictures • Video: Looking back at Olivia Newton-John's iconic moments

Anne Heche is in a coma in critical condition after a fiery car crash on Friday

Preview: Actress Anne Heche is being investigated for misdemeanor DUI and hit and run after crashing her vehicle into a Los Angeles residence on Friday, according to LAPD Officer Annie Hernandez.

CNN reporter witnesses Haitian gang violence from inside an armored car

Preview: Surging gang violence in Haiti's capital has left hundreds dead and thousands forced to flee. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh gives an inside look into the country's harrowing situation.

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Scandal-Plagued ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Actor Charged With Felony Burglary

Preview: “Fantastic Beasts” actor Ezra Miller has been charged with felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont, over several bottles of alcohol that were allegedly taken from a home that was unoccupied at the time. According to a report from the Vermont State Police, the alleged burglary was reported just before 6 p.m. on May 1, 2022, and ...

DeSantis Blasts Biden’s ‘Banana Republic’ After Feds Raid Trump’s Mar-A-Lago

Preview: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blasted the FBI’s raid Monday night on former President Donald Trump‘s home at Mar-a-Lago, saying the Biden administration has turned the nation into a ‘Banana Republic.’ The investigation is centered around classified material that Trump brought with him to Mar-a-Lago from the White House. But the shocking specter of federal agents swarming ...

Dershowitz Reacts To FBI Raid At Mar-A-Lago: Biden Administration Has Weaponized Justice System

Preview: Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz weighed in on the reported FBI raid on former President Trump’s Florida home at Mar-A-Lago on Monday and slammed the Biden administration for weaponizing the justice system. “A raid is supposed to be a last resort,” Dershowitz pointed out. “But this administration has used the weaponization of the justice system against ...

‘Inflation Has Gone Nuts’: ‘Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison Says More Young People Are Selling Their Belongings

Preview: “Pawn Stars” legend Rick Harrison said that more young people have been coming into his Las Vegas pawn shop selling their belongings than ever before and slammed the economy under President Joe Biden. The reality TV star — who is the owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop famously seen on the popular History ...

Dan Bongino Explodes Over FBI Raid On Mar-A-Lago, Offers ‘Solution’ To Fix The Problem

Preview: Fox News contributor Dan Bongino erupted Monday afternoon after the FBI executed a search warrant at the Florida home of former President Donald Trump. The investigation is centered around classified material that Trump brought with him to Mar-a-Lago from the White House. “Yeah, I mean, you think this is some third world bulls**t right here. ...

Eric Trump: FBI Found Nothing In My Father’s Safe

Preview: FBI agents who raided former President Trump’s Florida home Mar-A-Lago broke into his safe only to find it empty, Trump’s son Eric told Fox News Channel‘s Brian Kilmeade. Eric Trump told the newsman 30 members of the FBI were involved in the raid, and that it was to find documents that should have gone to the ...

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Sends Blistering Message To Biden’s Attorney General Over FBI Raid

Preview: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told President Joe Biden‘s (D) attorney general, Merrick Garland, that he needs to preserve all documents and clear his calendar for when Republicans win back control of the House of Representatives because Garland is going to be getting dragged before Congress to testify about the FBI executing a search ...

‘The Left Can’t Meme’: White House Staffer Tweets Biden Meme With Symbol Resembling Nazi Germany Imperial Eagle

Preview: President Joe Biden‘s staffer tweeted a meme Sunday of a super-imposed picture of the president standing in front of what resembles the Reichsadler Eagle symbol used by Germany’s Nazi Party. Andrew Bates, deputy press secretary for the White House, tweeted on Sunday a meme that altered the movie poster of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight ...

Punk Rock Guitarist Found Dead, His Son Charged With Murder

Preview: Canadian punk rocker Gord Lewis has reportedly been found dead in his apartment in Hamilton, Ontario — the victim of an apparent homicide — and his son Jonathan, 41, has been charged with second-degree murder. Lewis, a guitarist and founding member of the punk rock band Teenage Head, was found on Sunday in his apartment ...

Twitter Explodes After FBI Raids Trump’s Home At Mar-A-Lago

Preview: Notable public figures lashed out online Monday afternoon after news broke that the FBI had executed a search warrant at Trump’s Florida home at Mar-a-Lago. The investigation is centered around classified material that Trump brought with him to Mar-a-Lago from the White House. “Biden’s out of control DOJ is ripping this country apart with how ...

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Agent With Machine Gun Photographed Outside Of Compound...

Preview: Agent With Machine Gun Photographed Outside Of Compound... (Top headline, 1st story, link) Related stories: Disqualified from holding office ever again? US Code on records could bar him... Bernie Kerik Predicts Assassination... Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron

Disqualified from holding office ever again? US Code on records could bar him...

Preview: Disqualified from holding office ever again? US Code on records could bar him... (Top headline, 2nd story, link) Related stories: Agent With Machine Gun Photographed Outside Of Compound... Bernie Kerik Predicts Assassination...

Bernie Kerik Predicts Assassination...

Preview: Bernie Kerik Predicts Assassination... (Top headline, 3rd story, link) Related stories: Agent With Machine Gun Photographed Outside Of Compound... Disqualified from holding office ever again? US Code on records could bar him...


Preview: FBI RAIDS TRUMP (Main headline, 1st story, link) Related stories: MAR-A-LAGO 'UNDER SIEGE, OCCUPIED' MORE HEAT ON THE DON AGENTS CRACK SAFE Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron


Preview: MAR-A-LAGO 'UNDER SIEGE, OCCUPIED' (Main headline, 2nd story, link) Related stories: FBI RAIDS TRUMP MORE HEAT ON THE DON AGENTS CRACK SAFE


Preview: MORE HEAT ON THE DON (Main headline, 3rd story, link) Related stories: FBI RAIDS TRUMP MAR-A-LAGO 'UNDER SIEGE, OCCUPIED' AGENTS CRACK SAFE


Preview: AGENTS CRACK SAFE (Main headline, 4th story, link) Related stories: FBI RAIDS TRUMP MAR-A-LAGO 'UNDER SIEGE, OCCUPIED' MORE HEAT ON THE DON Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron

Hollywood Powerhouse Bert Fields Dead...

Preview: Hollywood Powerhouse Bert Fields Dead... (First column, 1st story, link) Related stories: Lawyer larger-than-life... Litigator to the Stars...

Lawyer larger-than-life...

Preview: Lawyer larger-than-life... (First column, 2nd story, link) Related stories: Hollywood Powerhouse Bert Fields Dead... Litigator to the Stars...

Litigator to the Stars...

Preview: Litigator to the Stars... (First column, 3rd story, link) Related stories: Hollywood Powerhouse Bert Fields Dead... Lawyer larger-than-life... Drudge Report Feed needs your support!   Become a Patron

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Georgia suspect allegedly involved in 2 separate shootings with police; officer, suspect shot

Preview: A suspect in Georgia was allegedly involved in shootings with two different police departments overnight that left an officer and the suspect hospitalized.

Car slams into Chicago-area home leaving 2 seriously injured

Preview: Two people were seriously injured after an SUV slammed into a garage of a home and ended up wedged inside a home in Crystal Lake, Illinois just outside Chicago on Wednesday.

Chicago Democrats tight-lipped on plan to address lowest number of arrests in 20 years amid surging crime

Preview: Three prominent Chicago Democrats remained silent when asked by Fox News Digital how they plan to deal with the lowest number of arrests in the city in 20 years.

As China gains footholds in America, Congress is ‘sleeping at the wheel,' former Pentagon official says

Preview: The former Air Force chief software officer criticized U.S. leaders for failing to stop Chinese entities from purchasing strategically located farmland on U.S. soil.

Maryland man, woman shot at after crashing SUV near Baltimore

Preview: Police in Maryland are investigating a double shooting that injured a man and woman and that police said might have been a targeted event.

Texas schools in Uvalde, other towns struggling with rise of migrant 'bailouts' in border communities

Preview: A rise in migrant "bailouts" may have contributed to the "diminished sense of vigilance" at Robb Elementary School, according to a Texas House committee report.

Uvalde shooting: Texas House report, Robb Elementary School principal clash over security 'complacency'

Preview: Mandy Gutierrez, the principal of Robb Elementary, defended herself in a letter on Wednesday, about two months after 19 children and two adults were killed.

Massive humpback whale body slams boat in Massachusetts

Preview: An incredible video shows the moment when a massive humpback whale leaps onto a fishing boat in Massachusetts.

Tennessee men arrested, charged for stolen vehicles, guns and drugs, police say

Preview: Five Tennessee men were caught with stolen weapons, a stolen car and drugs when they were arrested Monday by Memphis police, authorities said.

North Carolina man charged in killing of Fort Bragg soldier

Preview: A North Carolina man allegedly killed an Army soldier, who was stationed at Fort Bragg, and is charged with murder, authorities said Tuesday.

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FBI executes search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago in document investigation - CNN

Preview: FBI executes search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago in document investigation  CNN Trump Claims FBI Agents 'Raided' Mar-A-Lago  NBC News Trump says Mar-a-Lago home in Florida 'under siege' by FBI agents  Fox News FBI raid will either make Donald Trump a criminal or a martyr  The Arizona Republic FBI executes search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, former President says  CNN View Full Coverage on Google News

Windsor Hills crash: Nurse Nicole Linton faces 6 counts of murder, DA George Gascón says - KABC-TV

Preview: Windsor Hills crash: Nurse Nicole Linton faces 6 counts of murder, DA George Gascón says  KABC-TV ICU nurse, 37, is charged with six counts of murder after fiery 100mph LA crash  Daily Mail Los Angeles DA George Gascon announces charges for driver in fiery crash that killed 6  Fox News Mercedes driver charged with murder in crash that killed 5 in Windsor Hills  Yahoo! Voices View Full Coverage on Google News

Senate Democrats pass sweeping healthcare, tax and climate bill - Los Angeles Times

Preview: Senate Democrats pass sweeping healthcare, tax and climate bill  Los Angeles Times How Biden's big win in the Senate could change America and reshape his fortunes  CNN Sen. Schumer boasts big wins for the nation, New York in just-passed climate and spending package  New York Daily News View Full Coverage on Google News

Ahmaud Arbery killers' sentencing for federal hate crimes: Live updates - The Associated Press

Preview: Ahmaud Arbery killers' sentencing for federal hate crimes: Live updates  The Associated Press Father, son get life for hate crime in Ahmaud Arbery's death, neighbor sentenced to 35 years  11Alive McMichaels sentenced to life terms, William 'Roddie' Bryan gets 35 years for federal hate crime convictions in Ahmaud Arbery's killing  CNN Judge Denies Greg, Travis McMichael's Request To Serve Life Sentence In Federal Prison  NBC News View Full Coverage on Google News

'A long time coming': Al Gore, other climate activists celebrate Senate passage of IRA - Yahoo News

Preview: 'A long time coming': Al Gore, other climate activists celebrate Senate passage of IRA  Yahoo News How the Inflation Reduction Act would address the climate crisis  CBS News Inflation Reduction Act puts our oldest climate-fighting technology to work  The Hill The Democrats' New Climate Bill Abandons Green Zealotry—For Reason | Opinion  Newsweek Senate Climate Change IRA Bill Will Largely Benefit Republican Districts  Bloomberg View Full Coverage on Google News

Michigan attorney general alleges conspiracy by Trump backers to break into voting equipment -

Preview: Michigan attorney general alleges conspiracy by Trump backers to break into voting equipment 9 could face charges for taking voting machines  WOOD TV8 Trump-backed GOP candidate for Michigan AG under criminal investigation for possibly tampering with voting machines, docs say  CNN Editorial: GOP should pass on compromised DePerno  Detroit News Senate 'audit' leaders Doug Logan and Ben Cotton are facing a Michigan criminal probe  Arizona Mirror View Full Coverage on Google News

Olivia Newton-John, star of 'Grease' and Grammy winner, dead at age 73 - Yahoo Entertainment

Preview: Olivia Newton-John, star of 'Grease' and Grammy winner, dead at age 73  Yahoo Entertainment Olivia Newton-John was that rare thing: a wonderfully unselfconscious star  The Guardian That time Olivia Newton-John gifted us with a totally gay music video for “Physical”  Queerty Olivia Newton-John, singer and actress, dead at 73  CNN View Full Coverage on Google News

Biden says 'inflation' bill funds healthcare, 'God knows what else' in bizarre speech - New York Post

Preview: Biden says 'inflation' bill funds healthcare, 'God knows what else' in bizarre speech  New York Post LIVE: Biden Speaks After Meeting with Families Impacted by Flooding in Kentucky | NBC News  NBC News Biden skewered for admitting ‘God knows what else’ is in Inflation Reduction Act  Fox News Senate passes Inflation Reduction Act, Biden visits Kentucky, Gaza cease-fire: 5 things to know Monday  USA TODAY Senate Democrats pass budget package; demand for grocery delivery cools as costs rise | Hot off the Wire podcast  Buffalo News View Full Coverage on Google News

Maryland Towns to Pay $5 Million in Black Teen’s Death in Police Encounter - The New York Times

Preview: Maryland Towns to Pay $5 Million in Black Teen’s Death in Police Encounter  The New York Times Family Of Black Teen Killed In Police Struggle Receives $5 Million In Settlement  NBC News Family of Anton Black, 19-year-old who died at the hands of police on Eastern Shore, reaches $5 million settlement in federal lawsuit  Baltimore Sun Man's death during police encounter leads to $5M settlement  Yahoo News Family of US Black man killed by MD police reaches $5m settlement  Al Jazeera English View Full Coverage on Google News

New Yorker: Milley was set to excoriate Trump in unreleased resignation letter drafted after Lafayette Square photo-op - CNN

Preview: New Yorker: Milley was set to excoriate Trump in unreleased resignation letter drafted after Lafayette Square photo-op  CNN Inside the War Between Trump and His Generals  The New Yorker Trump Asked Aide Why His Generals Couldn’t Be Like Hitler’s, Book Says  The New York Times A top US general said Trump idea for military parade was 'what dictators do'  Business Insider Trump didn’t want ‘wounded’ soldiers in military parade spectacle: ‘Doesn’t look good for me’  The Independent View Full Coverage on Google News

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Sanctions squeeze has Russia stripping planes for spare parts: report

Preview: A group of Russian airlines is stripping planes of spare parts as sanctions implemented due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine impact the country. Sources told Reuters on Monday that major Russian airlines such as Aeroflot have grounded their planes so they can be disassembled for spare parts, adding that airlines are taking parts from their...

McCarthy threatens to probe Garland after Trump FBI raid

Preview: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised on Monday that if Republicans take back the chamber after November’s midterm elections, they will investigate the Department of Justice, telling Attorney General Merrick Garland to “clear your calendar.” “I’ve seen enough. The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy said. “When Republicans...

Republicans erupt over FBI's Mar-a-Lago raid

Preview: A growing number of Republicans are erupting over news of an FBI raid of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, accusing federal agents of unfairly targeting the ex-president for political purposes, with some suggesting that the law enforcement agency be "defunded." Many Republicans also echoed sentiments from Trump's Monday statement in which he said his home...

Biden on his own low approval ratings: ‘I think you’re going to see a lot change’

Preview: President Biden on Monday, when asked about his low approval ratings and for a response to the notion that his polls were "terrible," said he foresees a change. “It’s a long way home. The fact is that we’ve been divided for so long, and it’s only recently that we have any kind of movement, and...

Amidst inflation, President Biden should refocus his efforts on expanding flexible work careers for Americans

Preview: With skyrocketing inflation outpacing wages and tens of millions of jobs remaining unfilled, Americans are still adjusting to disruptions of the last two years while fearing what the future holds as well. Despite the public’s primary focus on finding solid economic footing in these turbulent times, the Biden administration has continued driving a broader agenda that runs counter to...

FTC fines apparel company for replacing 'Made in China' labels with 'Made in USA' ones

Preview: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it has fined Utah-based apparel company Lions Not Sheep for replacing “Made in China” labels with inaccurate “Made in USA” ones on its products. In a news release last month, the agency said that it has fined Lions Not Sheep and owner Sean Whalen $211,335 for the false labeling...

Energy & Environment — Senate passes biggest climate package in history 

Preview: After nearly two years of negotiations and stalemates, the Senate passed pivotal climate and energy legislation. This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.  Senate passes sweeping tax,...

Defense & National Security — Ukraine getting another $1 billion in weapons

Preview: The United States has greenlighted the largest military assistance package to Ukraine thus far, preparing to send $1 billion in ammunition for advanced rocket systems, vehicles and explosives to help the country beat back the Russian invasion. We’ll detail what’s in the latest package and how it’s helping Kyiv, plus more on new Russian casualty...

FBI raids Trump's Mar-a-Lago

Preview: The FBI executed a search warrant on former President Trump’s home in Florida on Monday, the ex-president said, lashing out at law enforcement for what he called “political persecution.” "My beautiful home Mar A Lago in Palm Beach, Florida is currently under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said...

Nebraska governor scraps special session for 12-week abortion ban due to lack of support

Preview: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) on Monday reversed his plan to call a special session of the state legislature to pass a 12-week abortion ban after an insufficient number of lawmakers indicated they would support such a measure. Ricketts had vowed to call the special session after the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v....

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Viral Video Of Black Man's Violent Arrest In Mississippi Sparks Investigation

Preview: A white Mississippi Highway Patrol officer was seen on video putting a handcuffed Black man into a chokehold and wrestling him into a ditch.

Anne Heche In Coma, 'Extreme Critical Condition' Following Car Crash

Preview: The actor's health condition is worse than previously reported.

Ashton Kutcher Reveals He's 'Lucky To Be Alive' After Battling Rare Disease

Preview: The actor said the illness left him unable to see or hear for an extended period of time.

Ezra Miller Facing Felony Burglary Charge In Vermont

Preview: "The Flash" star is accused of stealing bottles of alcohol from a Stamford home in May.

FBI Raided Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Resort, Former President Says

Preview: “Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," Trump said in a statement.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney Expresses 'Regret' For Past Vaccine Skepticism

Preview: The New York lawmaker is locked in a contentious primary against Rep. Jerry Nadler and challenger Suraj Patel.

Kanye West Posts Then Deletes Fake Death Announcement Of 'Skete Davidson'

Preview: West posted a fake newspaper front page on Instagram declaring “Skete Davidson Dead At Age 28.”

John Travolta On Olivia Newton-John's Death: ‘You Made All Of Our Lives So Much Better’

Preview: The actor wrote a tribute to his "Grease" co-star, Olivia Newton-John, 73, after her death was reported on Monday.

22-Month-Old Twin Dies In ‘Horrible, Freak Accident’ Involving Cement Truck

Preview: The toddler’s mom, Jennifer Resendiz, described her late son as "a happy, smart, and nice little boy."

Gabby Petito's Family Suing Police For Failing To Help Her During 911 Call

Preview: “Watching it is very painful, and I wanted to jump to the screen and rescue her,” her mother said of the video showing her interaction with police before her death.

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: Google Search suffers rare but brief outage Monday night

Preview: Google Search inquiries generated an error message for many people around the world, from the U.S. to the U.K. to Singapore, according to data from DownDetector.

Dow Jones Newswires: China car sales keep rebounding as production revs up

Preview: Car sales in the world's biggest auto market continued to recover in July as production was ramped up following earlier disruptions caused by COVID-19 lockdowns and Chinese authorities offered incentives to boost consumption.

Earnings Results: GoodRx stock rockets after earnings as company says snag with large grocer has been resolved

Preview: Shares of GoodRx Holdings Inc. popped nearly 50% in after-hours trading Monday after the company, which offers services for people looking to compare prescription drug prices, topped expectations with its latest results and indicated that a previously disclosed issue with a major grocer has since been "addressed."

Earnings Results: Novavax slashes sales guidance in half, stock plunges 34%

Preview: Novavax Inc. executives slashed their annual sales guidance in half on Monday while wildly missing financial expectations, sending shares down more than 30% in after-hours trading.

Earnings Results: Upstart stock drops after earnings, but CEO says he’s ‘confident’ in value of AI lending

Preview: Upstart Holdings Inc. delivered a lower-than-expected revenue forecast for the current quarter, but its chief executive expressed confidence in the performance and value of artificial-intelligence-driven lending.

Earnings Results: Take-Two revises outlook lower to account for Zynga, shifts in release schedule

Preview: Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. shares declined in extended trading Monday after the videogame publisher revised its outlook lower, to not only account for its recent acquisition of Zynga but for shifts in the release dates of some titles.

Dow Jones Newswires: Australia’s consumer confidence tumbles as rates soar

Preview: Australian consumer confidence sank 4.5% last week to the lowest level since April 2022 after the Reserve Bank of Australia raised official interest rates by a further 50 basis points.

Earnings Results: Nvidia stock tumbles after company says revenue fell way shy of expectations

Preview: Shares of Nvidia Corp. fell 6.3% in Monday trading after the semiconductor company disclosed that it expects to fall well short of revenue expectations for its latest quarter, largely due to gaming weakness.

: Malcolm Gladwell’s work-from-home comments spark backlash and accusations of hypocrisy

Preview: “It’s not in your best interests to work at home,” said Gladwell, during a recent podcast appearance.

Earnings Results: Carvana rivals’ stocks plunge after earnings

Preview: While Carvana Inc. shares soared despite weaker-than-expected financial results last week, two of the online car-seller's smaller rivals were not as fortunate Monday.

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Trump's unprecedented behavior in office yields unprecedented legal scrutiny

Preview: Rachel Maddow remarks on Donald Trump's unprecedented time in office and the now-unfolding, historic, unprecedented legal actions and investigations that have followed him to ends Americans cannot predict.

What the FBI needed to have on Trump to obtain a search warrant to raid Mar-a-Lago

Preview: Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliguzzi details what the FBI needed to prove to obtain a search warrant to raid Mar-a-Lago, what the search may mean, and the next steps in the investigation.

Classified documents at heart of FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago

Preview: Jackie Alemany, political reporter for the Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow about the FBI executing a search warrant on Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, reportedly in connection with an investigation of classified material Donald Trump removed from the White House.

The Senate's dark, inexcusable history of obstructing climate progress

Preview: America’s wealth will be of little help if it isn’t spent on necessary programs before disaster strikes.

GOP missteps help Democrats deliver their biggest win to date

Preview: The Inflation Reduction Act represents the biggest legislative accomplishment of either party since the Affordable Care Act passed more than a decade ago.

The Inflation Reduction Act is good for young people — and that's good for Biden

Preview: The Inflation Reduction Act is a win for young people with its climate and health initiatives. That's good news for young people, which is good news for Biden.

Pro-Trump Republicans play the victim with anti-cop rhetoric

Preview: Donald Trump and his congressional allies, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, haven't hidden their disdain for law enforcement with their comments about Jan. 6.

Why the Alex Jones-Donald Trump connection is so dangerous

Preview: The worlds of mainstream politics, MAGA fanaticism and fringe conspiracy theory have collided. And Trump is right there in the middle of it all.

GOP engages in literal food fight over LGBTQ protections

Preview: The Biden administration said states could lose federal funding for school lunch assistance if Title IX protections aren't adhered to. Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in response.

Alex Jones' problems are just beginning

Preview: A jury ordered Alex Jones to pay $50 million in damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook victim. The revelation that his legal team inadvertently shared Jones' cell phone data with the opposing counsel makes matters even worse for him.

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Mark Canha ‘used to’ part-time role amid Mets’ new additions

Preview: Mark Canha spent the past two years playing every day for Oakland and began this season with the same kind of work schedule for the Mets.

Adam Ottavino believes Mets have a ‘top-five bullpen’ in MLB

Preview: Beyond Adam Ottavino, who has solidified the eighth inning, the bridge from starting pitcher to Edwin Diaz lacks reliable options. Ottavino disagrees.

Nassau police unions endorsing five Republicans for state Senate

Preview: Progressive policies, including the "defund the police" movement, have Nassau police unions backing Republicans in upcoming state Senate elections this November.

Jalen Brunson, Knicks stars give NYC fans taste of what’s to come at Nike Pro City

Preview: Jalen Brunson received a standing ovation from the New York home crowd as he trotted onto the court alongside teammates Julius Randle and Obi Toppin.

Starling Marte gets back to All-Star form with all-around Mets day

Preview: Marte’s blast provided both the keynote and the only run support that Chris Bassitt would need.

Embattled actor Ezra Miller charged with felony burglary in Vermont

Preview: Embattled actor Ezra Miller is in legal trouble again -- this time for allegedly stealing booze from a home in Vermont.

‘Below Deck Med’ Star Dave White Is “Absolutely Gutted” By His Behavior Towards Natasha Webb

Preview: Chef Dave White might be the only Bravolebrity to have climbed Mount Everest.

Big Ten on verge of $1 billion in TV deals that will exclude ESPN

Preview: The Big Ten is on the cusp of television deals that are expected to pay it in excess of $1 billion and create a college football triple-header featuring Fox, CBS and NBC, The Post has confirmed.

Massapequa Coast one win away from Little League World Series

Preview: In what has been a promising season for New York baseball, even the kids are approaching a World Series.

Matt Carpenter exits with foot fracture in Yankees injury blow

Preview: Matt Carpenter left Monday night’s game against the Mariners after fouling a ball off his left foot in the first inning.

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Two in Arbery Case Sentenced Again to Life in Prison; Third Man Gets 35 Years

Preview: The men were convicted of federal hate crimes after state murder convictions in 2021. Their lawyers tried without success to have part of their sentences served in federal prison.

Michigan Officials Push to Investigate Matthew DePerno in 2020 Election Scheme

Preview: Revelations of possible meddling have set off a political tsunami in a critical battleground state, as the attorney general seeks an independent inquiry into her likely rival on the ballot this fall.

Maps in Four States Were Ruled Illegal Gerrymanders. They’re Being Used Anyway.

Preview: A Supreme Court shift, frowning on changes close to elections, gives House Republicans a big advantage in November.

Olivia Newton-John, Pop Singer and ‘Grease’ Star, Dies at 73

Preview: She amassed No. 1 hits, chart-topping albums and four records that sold more than two million copies each. More than anything else, she was likable, even beloved.

David McCullough, Best-Selling Explorer of America’s Past, Dies at 89

Preview: His research — on Adams, Truman and so much more — was deep, his writing was lively, and his narrator’s voice in documentary films was familiar to millions.

In a Summer of Feints, Russia and Ukraine Try to Predict Enemy’s Next Move

Preview: Ukraine says that announcing a planned offensive on the southern front has paid off in the eastern Donbas region, as both sides deploy forces based on guessing each other’s next moves.

For Ukrainians Abroad, War Has Also Meant a Flowering of Identity

Preview: Italy already had the biggest Ukrainian community in Western Europe before the war, but in recent months the diaspora has taken on new prominence and visibility.

Another Gaza Conflict, but With a Difference: Hamas Sat It Out.

Preview: In the weekend battle with Israel, Hamas left the fighting to Islamic Jihad, another militant group, highlighting differences between them over how best to combat Israel.

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What We Know About the Mar-a-Lago FBI Raid

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Trump Mar-a-Lago home in Florida searched by FBI in probe into handling of classified documents

Preview: The FBI Monday raideed Donald Trump's residence in Florida in a probe on the former president's handling of classified documents from the White House.

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What we know, and what we don’t know, about the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump

Preview: A New York City police car sits in front of Trump Tower on August 8, 2022 in New York, New York. The FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida home earlier today to retrieve classified White House documents. | Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images Trump is possibly in legal jeopardy, but we don’t know yet what charges he could face, if any at all. On Monday, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s Florida home. Trump confirmed in a statement published online that his residence was “occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” although Trump himself was reportedly in New York when the search warrant was executed. Little is known about the raid — or what, if any further steps the Department of Justice might take — but even this moment is politically and historically significant. There are constitutional rules regarding what law enforcement must do to justify searching private property, and the Justice Department has institutional norms on top of those about treatment of political figures that could influence elections. It’s unlikely the decision to search Mar-a-Lago was taken lightly. It’s not yet clear what specifically these agents were looking for during the raid, but CNN reports a few details about it. Among other things, the search “included examining where documents were kept” in Trump’s personal residence and office, and “boxes of items were taken.” Currently, the Justice Department is conducting two known investigations into Trump: one on his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and on the ensuing January 6 attack on the US Capitol, and the other regarding Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. According to the New York Times, the search focused on material Trump brought from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after he left office — material that included classified documents and other documents subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires official presidential documents to be turned over to the National Archives at the end of a presidency. Trump’s son Eric told Fox News something similar on Monday night. Beyond this reporting, however, little is known about the raid, how it ties into the broader investigations into Trump, whether federal charges are imminent or even if they will be forthcoming, and whether those charges would ultimately be filed against Trump. Even the White House reportedly says it’s in the dark — President Joe Biden’s inner circle reportedly learned about the raid from Twitter around the same time that the rest of the nation did. Trump’s fellow Republicans, meanwhile, responded to the raid with intimidation. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) promised to “conduct immediate oversight” of the Justice Department if his party takes control of the House, and instructed Attorney General Merrick Garland to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar.” Other Republicans responded with more unhinged — and even transparently unconstitutional — threats. It’s time for us in the Florida Legislature to call an emergency legislative session & amend our laws regarding federal agencies Sever all ties with DOJ immediately Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight — Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) August 9, 2022 So, while we do not know yet how this investigation will play out, or if anyone in Trump’s orbit will even face criminal charges, the stakes are obviously quite high. A former president could face a criminal trial, and Republicans are already signaling that they will retaliate against Democrats and law enforcement if they regain power in Washington. Just how much evidence does the FBI have against Trump? Trump’s statement confirming that the search occurred is written with typical Trumpian bluster. He claims that such a raid can only happen in “broken, Third-World Countries,” and asks “what is the difference between this and Watergate?” To answer Trump’s question, the difference between this FBI raid and Watergate is that the Watergate break-in was an illegal burglary committed by five individuals tied to then-President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign. When the FBI obtains and executes a search warrant, by contrast, it must comply with a laundry list of requirements laid out in the Constitution itself. The Fourth Amendment provides that no search warrant may issue except “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “probable cause” exists when law enforcement has “a reasonable ground to suspect that . . . a place contains specific items connected with a crime.” Although law enforcement may obtain a search warrant based on “less than evidence that would justify a conviction,” the probable cause requirement means that federal agents may not simply search a home based on a hunch, a vendetta, or a quizzical plan to boost Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign. Because the Fourth Amendment requires federal agents to describe both the place they intend to search and the “persons or things to be seized” before a warrant may issue, the FBI agents who searched Trump’s home would have needed to have a fairly good idea what they were looking for, and they would have needed probable cause to believe that they would find it within Mar-a-Lago. Additionally, they would need to seek such a warrant from a federal magistrate judge — thus ensuring that a judicial officer who, at least in theory, is neutral and impartial would decide whether the warrant should issue. It’s worth noting, moreover, that probable cause is the bare minimum to obtain a search warrant under the Constitution. As I’ll explain in more detail below, the Justice Department’s rules and norms counsel extraordinary caution when investigating “politically sensitive individuals and entities,” and DOJ also must have known that an FBI raid targeting the GOP’s most prominent figure would trigger threats of retaliation from Republican officials. Given these sensitivities, it is unlikely that the FBI would have moved forward with this raid unless it was very confident that it would find evidence of a crime in Mar-a-Lago. What charges could Trump face? Again, we do not yet know what specific evidence FBI agents sought during the raid, whether they turned up any such evidence, or which specific statutes they believe Trump or someone in his orbit may have violated. If the reports that this raid focused on Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified information are accurate, however, Trump may have violated a federal law that applies to anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away” certain federal documents. If Trump is convicted under this statute, he may be fined and imprisoned for up to three years. Trump may also be charged with violating other criminal statutes because of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his alleged incitement of the January 6 attack — although, again, it is unclear whether this FBI raid sought evidence that he violated those statutes. Last March, for example, a federal judge determined that Trump most likely violated statutes making it a crime to obstruct Congress’s official business or to conspire to defraud the United States. The former statute carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, while the later has a maximum sentence of five years. Could Trump run for president again if he is charged or even possibly convicted? As a general rule, someone charged with a crime or even someone convicted of most crimes may run for federal office. On Twitter, however, Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias noted that the statute governing mishandling of federal documents carries an additional penalty — someone who violates it can be “disqualified from holding any office under the United States.” The media is missing the really, really big reason why the raid today is a potential blockbuster in American politics. — Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) August 9, 2022 That said, even if Trump is convicted of violating this law and declared to be ineligible for the presidency, it is unclear whether the Constitution permits him to be disqualified from elected federal office absent his impeachment by the US House, conviction by the Senate, and a decision by the Senate to declare him ineligible for federal office. The closest thing to a Supreme Court case on this point is Powell v. McCormack (1969), which involved the House’s refusal to seat Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY) due to allegations that Powell “had deceived the House authorities as to travel expenses” and made illegal payments to his wife while he chaired a congressional committee. The Court, however, ruled that Congress had only limited power to exclude a duly elected member that it deems ineligible for office. The Constitution lays out certain minimum qualifications for a member of the House — they must “have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States,” and they must “be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.” Under Powell, a Congress that wishes to exclude a member “is limited to the standing qualifications prescribed in the Constitution” — that is, they can only exclude a member who is deemed to be too young, not an inhabitant of their state, or a too recently naturalized citizen. Although Powell concerned members of the House and not presidents, its logic could also apply to the presidency. The Constitution also lists the minimum qualifications of a president — they must be a “natural born citizen;” they must “have attained to the age of thirty five years;” and they must have been a US resident for 14 years (they also must not have been disqualified through an impeachment proceeding). If a court deemed Trump ineligible for the presidency because he violated a federal statute, Trump would have a strong legal argument under Powell that he nonetheless remained eligible — although it would ultimately be up to the Supreme Court to decide if Powell’s reasoning applies to the presidency. The Justice Department is extraordinarily cautious about targeting major political figures Last May, Attorney General Garland issued a memorandum to all DOJ personnel, warning them that “law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of public statements (attributed or not), investigative steps, criminal charges, or any other action in any matter or case for the purpose of affecting any election,” nor should they take any action that may create “the appearance of such a purpose.” Garland’s memo also adopted a similar memorandum issued in 2020 by then-Attorney General Bill Barr. Barr’s memo was itself substantially similar to one issued by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in 2016, which is itself similar to a memo issued in 2012 by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, which is itself similar to a 2008 memo by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey. DOJ, in other words, has for a long time been hyper-cautious about taking any action that could change the result of an election or even appear to be intended to — which is why then-FBI Director James Comey’s decision to repeatedly disparage Democratic President candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 was such a betrayal of the Justice Department and of the United States of America. As former deputy attorneys general Jamie Gorelick and Larry Thompson explained in a 2016 op-ed, DOJ even has a rule that “in the 60-day period before an election, the balance should be struck against even returning indictments involving individuals running for office, as well as against the disclosure of any investigative steps.” The reason for such strict rules, Gorelick and Thompson explained, is that “such allegations could not be adjudicated” before the election takes place, so the public has no way of knowing with any degree of certainty whether DOJ’s allegations against a political candidate are truthful before the election happens. An August raid against a former president in a midterm election year is not the kind of unforgivable betrayal that Comey committed in 2016 — among other things, Trump is not currently a candidate for elected office — but it is very serious business. Such a raid obviously could influence voters who are trying to decide whether to vote for a party very much still tied to Trump in November. And the raid also brings other very serious risks. As Minority Leader McCarthy’s statement reveals, Republicans are likely to turn much of their resources — including its allied media organizations and propaganda outlets — towards the task of discrediting the Justice Department and the FBI. A darker possibility is that, if Republicans regain control of the Justice Department, the increasingly authoritarian GOP could cite the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago as a casus belli justifying using law enforcement to target prominent Democrats. So, while we don’t yet know what evidence the Justice Department has against Trump, or what it hoped to accomplish with Monday’s raid, there can be little doubt that DOJ understood it took a tremendous risk when it greenlighted that raid. It is unlikely that it would have done so unless its highest officials were convinced that this raid would uncover evidence that would justify such a risk.

A record number of abortion measures are on the ballot in 2022

Preview: A voter marks her ballot in the 2018 midterm elections in Redlands, California. | Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Digital First Media/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images Ballot measures could shore up — or obliterate — abortion rights. Abortion rights are literally on the ballot in both red and blue states this year following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In early August, Kansas rejected a measure that would have clarified that its state constitution does not establish a right to an abortion; Kentucky is set to weigh a similar measure in November. Voters in California and Vermont will consider ballot measures that would enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions (and voters in Michigan are likely to as well). Meanwhile, Montana is considering whether to provide personhood protections to infants born alive after attempted abortions. It’s the highest number of abortion-related ballot measures that have been considered in a single year to date. There have been 47 abortion-related ballot measures since 1970. Here’s a rundown of what states are considering. States voting to codify abortion rights Vermont and California, both heavily Democratic states that have sought to become abortion safe havens, are voting this November on constitutional amendments to even further secure abortion access. Vermont — which allows abortions at any stage of pregnancy and has already enacted a state law codifying abortion rights — has certified a ballot measure, Proposal 5, that recognizes that the “right to reproductive liberty is central to the exercise of personal autonomy and involves decisions people should be able to make free from compulsion of the State.” It says that codifying that right in the state constitution is “critical to ensuring equal protection and treatment under the law and upholding the right of all people to health, dignity, independence, and freedom.” It’s likely to pass, given that about 70 percent of voters in the state support legal abortion in all or most cases. In California, where abortion is legal up to the point of fetal viability, the state legislature voted on June 27 with overwhelming support in both chambers to put a similar proposal, Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 10, on the ballot. It would “prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.” It is designed to protect the state constitutional right to privacy and equal protection under the laws, it reads. It’s also likely to pass, given that a poll last year by the Public Policy Institute of California found that roughly four out of five voters in the state oppose the overturning of Roe. Though Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval isn’t needed for it to go into effect, he has vowed to “fight like hell” to protect abortion access. Abortion advocates in Michigan spent the last few months gathering a record number of signatures — over 750,000, nearly double what they needed — to put a state constitutional amendment affirming abortion rights on the ballot in November. A vote on the amendment isn’t official yet, since the signatures have to be verified by the Bureau of Elections and validated by the Board of State Canvassers, but it’s expected to be cleared. The stakes are high: Michigan has a pre-Roe abortion ban that was first enacted in 1931 and has no exceptions for rape or incest. The GOP-controlled state legislature isn’t likely to overturn that ban, so Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, asked the Michigan Supreme Court to strike it down and affirm that the state constitution includes the right to access an abortion. That legal battle is still playing out, and the ban has been blocked by other courts for now. If the amendment passes — and it likely will, given that 58 percent of Michigan voters opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe — that would invalidate the ban. States voting to curb abortion rights Kansas was the first state to consider a post-Roe ballot measure on abortion. Roughly 47 percent of eligible voters — more than 900,000 Kansans — cast ballots on the issue during their August 2 primaries, and soundly rejected it, 59 percent to 41 percent, with turnout well exceeding expectations. The measure, known as the “Value Them Both Amendment,” would have “affirm[ed] there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion.” It would have also codified the state legislature’s power to pass laws that regulate abortion, including in cases of rape or incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother. Kentucky will consider a similar measure on November 8 that would amend the state constitution to say, “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Kentucky is one of 13 states that enacted a “trigger law” in anticipation of the end of Roe that allowed abortions only to save the life of the pregnant person or to prevent disabling injury, with no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or disabling fetal anomalies. That law briefly went into effect following the Supreme Court’s ruling but has been temporarily blocked by a state court for now, allowing abortions until 15 weeks of pregnancy to resume. In a near-party-line vote last year, Montana legislators referred a measure known as the “Medical Care Requirements for Born-Alive Infants Measure” to go on the ballot in November. It would declare that infants born alive at any stage of development are “legal persons” and would require that medical care be provided to them following induced labor, cesarean section, and attempted abortion. It would also set a $50,000 fine and a maximum 20-year prison sentence for violators. Of the measures that have yet to be decided, the one that is most likely to pass is Kentucky’s, given that a majority of voters in the state say that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. It’s less clear whether the Montana measure will pass given that a majority of voters in the state say it should be legal in all or most cases. Other states could still certify additional abortion-related ballot measures Other states besides Michigan have yet to certify abortion-related measures to go on the ballot, but some are still attempting to do so this year or in future election cycles. Both chambers of the New York state legislature voted in July in support of an “Equal Rights Amendment” to the state constitution. It would affirm in the state constitution the right to an abortion and to access contraception, as well as bar the government from discriminating against anyone based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and pregnancy. It would have to pass the newly elected state legislature next year before it would go on the ballot, which could happen as early as 2023, but more likely in 2024. Abortion advocates in Arizona failed to meet a July 7 deadline to gather enough signatures to put a state constitutional amendment affirming abortion rights on the ballot this year. They needed at least 356,467 signatures, but only collected about 175,000 signatures over the course of a two-month campaign. They’re still hoping to get it on the ballot in 2024. Update, August 8, 4:50 pm ET: This story has been updated with information on Kansas’s vote to preserve abortion rights and on how other ballot measures have progressed.

What happens when the Supreme Court is this unpopular?

Preview: Protesters rally in front of the US Supreme Court on June 24, when the court overruled Roe v. Wade. | Brandon Bell/Getty Images Historically, the Court has tended to align with popular sentiment. But what happens when US elections do not produce democratic results? If Supreme Court justices were accountable to the people they govern, much of the Court would be freaking out right now. A Gallup poll taken shortly before the Court overruled Roe v. Wade found that only a quarter of US adults have either a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Court — the lowest ever measured by Gallup. A Marquette poll, which most recently looked at public approval of the Court a few weeks after Roe was overruled, found that public approval of the Court has fallen an astonishing 28 points since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation gave Republican appointees a 6-3 supermajority. Shortly before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in September 2020 allowed former President Donald Trump to elevate Barrett, the Court’s approval rating stood at 66 percent in the Marquette poll. As of mid-July, it is at 38 percent. While a new Gallup poll released last week shows the Court with a somewhat healthier 43 percent approval rating, it also shows that public perception of the justices has almost completely polarized along partisan lines. Republican approval of the Court spiked to 74 percent since the Court abolished the constitutional right to an abortion, and Democratic approval collapsed to 13 percent. Gallup Scholarly research confirms that the Court is wildly out of step with the median American. Political researchers Stephen Jessee, Neil Malhotra, and Maya Sen conducted surveys in 2010, 2020, and 2021 of how members of the public believed the most politically salient cases heard by the Court in those years should have come down. They found that the Court’s views largely aligned with the public’s during the two surveys conducted before President Donald Trump appointed Barrett. After Barrett’s confirmation gave Republican appointees a supermajority, however, the picture changed dramatically. The three scholars found that “the court is now near the typical Republican and to the ideological right of roughly three quarters of all Americans.” Notably, they reached this conclusion even before the Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled Roe. Most of this data precedes the Court’s decision in Dobbs, but there is also early evidence that the Court’s anti-abortion decision triggered a significant political backlash — one that could potentially change the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections. In Kansas, which Trump won by nearly 15 points in 2020, a ballot initiative that would have overturned the state constitution’s right to an abortion failed by almost 18 percentage points, according to the most recent vote tallies. For most of 2022, polls predicted a crushing defeat for Democrats in the upcoming midterms. In the wake of Dobbs, however, Democrats now have a slight lead over the GOP in the generic ballot. The election forecasting site FiveThirtyEight now finds that Democrats are slightly favored to hold on to the Senate, despite the fact that the Senate is malapportioned to favor Republicans. And this shift toward the pro-abortion-rights Democratic Party appears to have begun right after Dobbs was handed down. It’s obviously too soon for Democrats to declare victory and start itemizing the bills they will pass in the latter half of President Joe Biden’s first term — plenty could happen between now and November to shift the electorate back to the party of Dobbs. But if the Court’s polls remain in the toilet, and if Democrats do overperform in the upcoming midterms, a great deal hinges on whether the Court continues to act as though it has a mandate to govern. Three questions raised by the Court’s dismal polls All of this data raises three important questions. One is whether the Court’s unpopular decision in Dobbs will affect the outcome of the midterms and potentially give Democrats large enough majorities in Congress to re-legalize abortion nationwide. At least some members of the Democratic caucus predict that they can pass such legislation if they gain two more Senate seats. If we expand our Democratic majority in the Senate by two votes, and if we hold onto the House, we can protect the right to an abortion nationwide through federal law as soon as January. — Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 3, 2022 At the moment, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the only Democrat who publicly opposes the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), the primary bill Democrats are pushing to codify a national right to an abortion. But Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) both oppose changing the Senate’s filibuster rule, which allows a minority of only 41 senators to block most legislation. The Senate can change its rules to abolish the filibuster by a simple majority vote, but that means Democrats need at least two more votes to accomplish this goal, assuming that all 48 Democrats who’ve supported filibuster reform in the past vote to prevent the WHPA from being filibustered. Picking up at least two seats is far from guaranteed — FiveThirtyEight currently gives it less than a 30 percent chance of happening. But if they do, that raises a second question: whether the Court will react to its grim poll numbers and quickly moderate. Democrats could pass the WHPA, but the Supreme Court still has an anti-abortion majority that could strike that law down. So, absent Supreme Court reforms that either strip the Court of much of its power or change its membership, there is a high risk that this Court would sabotage any effort by Congress to protect abortion rights — unless it chooses to rein itself in. In his Dobbs opinion, Justice Samuel Alito declared that his Court would defiantly ignore whether it is hated by the people it governs — “we cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work” — but there is at least one very famous example of a key justice retreating from an unpopular policy agenda after it was repudiated by voters. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Supreme Court started reading the Constitution to permit it to veto economic legislation that it disapproved of on ideological grounds. And the Court used this self-given power fairly aggressively to strike down New Deal policies favored by President Franklin Roosevelt. Then Roosevelt won the 1936 presidential election in one of the most overwhelming landslides in American history, a result that appears to have spooked conservative Justice Owen Roberts into flipping his vote and giving liberals the majority they needed to overrule many of the Court’s decisions that hampered the New Deal. Many observers attribute Roberts’s flip to Roosevelt’s proposal to add additional seats to the Court, in order to dilute the votes of its anti-New Deal majority. But it is unlikely that the court-packing proposal swayed Roberts’s vote. Roosevelt announced that plan in February 1937, weeks after Roberts would have voted during the justices’ private conference to overrule a seminal conservative decision in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937). In any event, I wouldn’t bet that one of the five justices who’ve formed much of their political identity around opposition to Roe will back away simply because their political party loses an election. It’s possible that a surprising victory for Democratic abortion rights supporters could spook some of the justices in much the same way that Roberts was spooked in 1937 — especially if Democrats celebrate such a victory with a credible threat to add seats to the Court. But these five justices have already signed on to an opinion claiming to be unmoved by the “public’s reaction to our work.” And that brings us to the third question posed by the Court’s unpopularity: whether sustained opposition to the Court and its political stances could shift the Court back to the middle — not by the justices changing their opinions, but by Americans changing the justices. The Court’s present majority is entrenched by an anti-democratic constitution In a seminal 1957 article, political scientist Robert Dahl argued that the Supreme Court will tend to align itself with the nation’s dominant political coalition. Dahl’s argument is fairly straightforward. From the Court’s creation in 1789, until when his article was published in the 1950s, Dahl found that “on the average one new justice has been appointed every twenty-two months.” This meant that a president would typically get to replace two justices for every term they spent in office, and so a president who was determined to remake the Court’s ideology “is almost certain to succeed in two terms.” Thus, even if incumbent justices insist on pushing an agenda that is wildly out of step with the public, Dahl argued that they won’t be able to maintain that resistance for long if their political coalition falls out of favor. “Except for short-lived transitional periods when the old alliance is disintegrating and the new one is struggling to take control of political institutions,” he wrote, “the Supreme Court is inevitably a part of the dominant national alliance.” There are two reasons, however, to doubt whether Dahl’s analysis means that the Supreme Court will have a pro-abortion rights majority anytime soon, even if a majority of the electorate consistently votes for Democrats over Republicans. The first reason is very basic: A majority of the electorate already votes consistently for Democrats over Republicans in national elections, and has done so for about three decades. Democratic presidential candidates won the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. The only reason why Republicans have held the White House so often in recent decades is that the Electoral College effectively gives them extra, unearned power. In fairness, the Democratic Party’s run of bad luck in recent presidential elections may be just that — bad luck. Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump would have never seen the inner workings of the White House if their coalitions were not optimized for the Electoral College (Bush also got a big boost from the Supreme Court). But President Barack Obama at least arguably built a Democratic coalition that gave him an advantage in the Electoral College — although if Obama did build a “blue wall” it crumbled very quickly after he was no longer on the ballot. The problem, however, is even worse in the Senate, where federal judges are confirmed. In the current Senate, the 50 Democratic senators represent about 43 million more people than the 50 Republican senators. Republicans owe their parity with Democrats to the fact that the Senate is malapportioned to effectively give them extra seats. The 25 most populous states contain about 84 percent of the population, and Democratic senators have a 29-21 majority in these states. Meanwhile, Republicans have an identical 29-21 majority in the 25 least populous states — the ones that make up only about 16 percent of the nation. That advantage stems from the persistent fact that voters in less populous states tend to prefer conservative candidates and have done so for several decades. If senators were chosen in a system where every vote counts equally — rather than one that effectively gives extra Senate seats to sparsely populated states — Democrats would have controlled the Senate since the late 1990s. The Republican advantage in the Senate was not a factor when Dahl published his paper in 1957. One reason why is that, in the Jim Crow era, the South only had one major party — the Democratic Party — and that gave Democrats a structural advantage in the fight to control the Senate. But the Republican Party’s structural advantage in the Senate is one of the central features of modern-day American politics. As Stanford political scientist Jonathan Rodden explains, “as you go from the center of cities out through the suburbs and into rural areas, you traverse in a linear fashion from Democratic to Republican places.” So long as this urban/rural divide endures, Republicans will remain favored to control the Senate. And, without control of the Senate, Democrats cannot confirm a justice unless at least some Republicans consent. All of which is a long way of saying that Democrats cannot regain control of the Court by continuing to win the popular vote by the same margins that they have won by it in the last several decades. To take back the Court, they will need to grow their majority — although the Kansas abortion result suggests that such an outcome is, at least, possible. The second problem facing Democrats, and pro-abortion-rights Americans more generally, is that justices are now replaced much less often than they were during the period studied by Dahl. The longest-serving member of the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined the Court in 1991. Since then, 10 justices have left the Court and been replaced. That means that justices are now being replaced less often than once every three years, rather than every 22 months, as Dahl found. An unexpected vacancy could arrive at any time. But if this pattern holds, it would mean Democrats could have to win several presidential races in a row in order to remake the Court — and that’s assuming that they also control the malapportioned Senate. The bottom line, in other words, is that — barring a solution such as adding additional seats to the Supreme Court — the Court’s current majority can probably hold out for a fairly long time, regardless of what the voters prefer.

The Inflation Reduction Act

Preview: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images The bill provides “game changer” funding for clean energy investments and measures to reduce prescription drug costs. The Inflation Reduction Act, one of the central policy achievements of President Joe Biden’s time in office, is a major climate bill with some health care and tax policies attached. It contains $369 billion in funding for clean energy and electric vehicle tax breaks, domestic manufacturing of batteries and solar panels, and pollution reduction. If the bill’s clean energy policies work as intended, it would push American consumers and industry away from reliance on fossil fuels, penalize fossil fuel companies for excess emissions of methane, and inject needed funds into pollution cleanup. Although it’s far smaller than the Build Back Better social spending and climate legislation Democrats once hoped to pass, the measure still includes new spending on other issues. It takes some significant steps on health care, including shoring up an expansion to the Affordable Care Act that was set to expire. The bill also enables Medicare to negotiate on prescription drugs — a major change that could lead to significant cost reductions for a small subset of drugs. The agreement includes a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations with profits over $1 billion. There is also a 1 percent excise tax on corporations’ stock buybacks, which are currently not subject to any taxes. The passage of this legislation is a much-needed accomplishment for Democrats and could help boost votes ahead of the midterm elections in November. Follow here for all of Vox’s coverage of the Inflation Reduction Act: politics, policy, reactions to the bill, and more.

Four ways of looking at The Rehearsal

Preview: Nathan Fielder, the mastermind of The Rehearsal. | HBO Nathan Fielder’s wild HBO show is reality TV at its most bizarre. Or is it a documentary? Or memoir? Or something else? Imagine a TV show so profoundly strange that the more you thought about it, the less you knew what it ... was. The more you dug into the straightforward parts, the less straightforward they got. The further down the rabbit hole you strayed, the more trap doors and dead ends seemed to be scattered along the passageway. That’s The Rehearsal, from Nathan Fielder, of Nathan For You fame. In his previous show, which ran from 2013 to 2018 on Comedy Central, Nathan “helped” struggling small businesses to “solve” their problems with increasingly byzantine and elaborate and always totally useless schemes. An alcohol store where minors can preorder, for pickup when they reach legal drinking age. A loophole that lets a bar allow customers to smoke inside, provided they are in a theatrical production (to which the resourceful Nathan sells tickets). Throughout, he plays a character that is obviously somewhat related to his “real” self but is, we have to believe, kind of a bit. Nathan For You could be strange and hilarious; The Rehearsal is in a whole different stratosphere. As the show’s name suggests, it starts out as a kind of social experiment slash therapy innovation: Nathan locates people (on Craigslist, apparently) who need to have difficult conversations or otherwise emotionally fraught scenarios. Then he meticulously recreates the conditions under which they will have this interaction, hires an actor to play other people in the “scene,” and rigorously rehearses the encounter, trying to anticipate possible outcomes and prepare the “real” person for the conversation. Warning: Details from episodes 1-4 of The Rehearsal are discussed below. In the pilot episode, Nathan helps a man named Kor — a good-natured Brooklyn public school teacher — tell one of his bar trivia teammates that he doesn’t have a master’s degree, though for many years he’s led the team to believe he has. Nathan is ready to help him handle his lie, including building, on a sound stage, a perfect recreation of the bar where Kor’s encounter would occur. (That bar? Brooklyn’s Alligator Lounge, famous among New Yorkers of my vintage for giving out a free pizza with every beer.) It feels like something straight out of Charlie Kaufman’s existentially trippy Synecdoche, New York. This pilot episode generated immediate buzz, for obvious reasons. It is clear almost from the start that what we’re seeing in The Rehearsal is not as straightforward as the comedy of Nathan For You. Two of the major story beats in The Rehearsal’s pilot episode rely on the fact that Nathan has also rehearsed his encounters with Kor, building a replica of Kor’s house, practicing their first encounter, and later revealing a secret of his own to Kor — all of which happens with the aid of an actor (K. Todd Freeman). HBO The fake Alligator Lounge on the sound stage. The longer you watch The Rehearsal, though, the less obvious it is what you’re actually watching. And that’s not a bug — it’s a feature. The Rehearsal is at least in part designed to activate a connection that’s rarely alive in the largely passive medium of TV: the link between audience and creator. (TV tends to make us feel connected to characters, not to the people behind the camera.) To put it another way, if it makes you feel weird, that’s the point. In general, savvy 21st-century watchers that we are, we expect everything on TV — from scripted dramas to the screamiest reality show — to be, in a sense, fiction. Most of us know by now that what we see on TV is crafted reality, not the real thing. Yet. Yet. The Rehearsal repeatedly defies this. Are people like Kor and Angela (the middle-aged Christian woman with whom Nathan “raises” a “child”) and Robbin (the man she dates, who turns out to be kind of a numerologist) and Patrick (whose brother thinks his girlfriend is a “gold digger”) ... “real”? Are they victims? Are they in on it? What about the crew? The actors? Does turning the mechanics of Nathan’s contrived worlds inside out make them more authentic, or are there more layers to uncover? All of this means that what you see in The Rehearsal — which honestly I cannot believe HBO greenlit, it’s so wild — may not be what your friend sees or someone on Twitter sees. There are a lot of ways of looking at The Rehearsal. Here are a few. I The Rehearsal is an exploitative reality show And Nathan Fielder is a monster. Not every one of the “real” people who come on The Rehearsal is made to look bad. Kor in particular seems great. The participants in the Nathan Fielder Acting Method classes that form the backbone of Episode 4 — who, no matter how deep they’re in on the joke, are definitely actors — seem talented, serious, and hard-working. When the teenage version of Angela and Nathan’s “son,” Adam, breaks character and lets himself be an actor named Joshua, he’s startlingly insightful, and his performance is great. On the other hand, there’s Robbin, who dates Angela and almost moves into the house. He starts out seeming kind of laid-back and cool and ends looking like someone who needs some help. He starts to say things that he later characterized to Vice (after the second episode aired) as “douchey,” but complained didn’t show the full picture of his personality. Or there’s Patrick, who seems like a pretty ordinary guy, helpful to a man he thinks is his scene partner’s grandpa (he, of course, is also an actor) — except for those glib and shockingly anti-Semitic comments. HBO Nathan watching a rehearsal with Patrick (on the left). And of course, there is Angela. Angela! What to say about Angela? On the one hand, she seems exceptionally calm and collected about this whole weird thing, which was admittedly created in part for her benefit but is also just a really odd way to spend a few months of your life. There are moments on the show where you know you’re meant to laugh or at least gawk, when she tells Nathan to “keyword search” Google to find out about Satanic rituals that take place on Halloween, then says that Google is run by Satan. Sometimes she seems like the voice of surprising reason, but often her activities seem harebrained, like your vaguely conspiratorial aunt who posts about essential oil MLMs on Facebook. Nathan even goes so far, at the end of episode 3, to imply that he wishes he could be like her as she “deceives” herself and “gathers only what [she] needs to know and ignores the rest.” Presumably all of these “real people” knew, on some level, what they were getting into; it’s not like nobody’s heard of TV editing before. But without knowing what their contracts or preparation looked like, or what got left on the cutting room floor, we don’t know how or to what level they are in on the joke or a victim of it — though it seems reasonable to say nobody could have predicted what The Rehearsal would turn out to be. (Maybe not even Nathan Fielder.) Of course, this happens all the time. It is quite literally impossible to portray the full essence, in all its complexity, of a human being on a TV show. The ethical wickets here are sticky, and always have been. For some people, the question this raises is whether watching The Rehearsal is somehow different from watching The Bachelor or The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City or Love Island. Or, for that matter, if it’s different from watching a documentary that shows people at protests or a true crime series that allows odd characters to appear as talking heads. If the answer is yes, why? If it’s no, what does that mean about our reactions? Is that the point? II The Rehearsal is an exceptionally weird documentary And Nathan Fielder is an artist. The filmmaker Robert Greene is fond of saying, as he recently tweeted, that “pretty much every great documentary is on some level about how it maybe shouldn’t exist.” (He should know; he makes them.) The difference between documentary (or as I prefer, “nonfiction cinema”) and scripted (or “fiction”) films is that in the first category, you expect that what you’re watching has happened in the real world. In the second, you expect it was staged, on some level, for you to watch, and that you can’t just bump into these actual characters on the street. That line, though, is far blurrier than awards categories and critics like to make it out to be. When I wrote about this last summer, I noted some of the reasons why: The context in which we encounter videos and images has also shifted, especially in a streaming age. News, entertainment, and verité footage uploaded to the internet by any random person can and often is all accessed through the same screen or device. If you’ve ever watched a TV show where actors play out a scene that looks similar to what you’re seeing in a YouTube clip, and you’re watching both the show and the YouTube clip on similar screens, it’s even more difficult to resist having the fiction frame how you understand the nonfiction. The Rehearsal doesn’t just blur the line; it erases it. It tries to make you question not just whether what you’re watching is real, but if anything is real. HBO What is real? Can we even know anymore? Take the just-aired episode 4, for instance, in which Fielder leaves his “family” behind in Oregon and travels to Los Angeles, where he plans to teach the “Fielder method” to a group of actors. The method: shadow a real person and try to understand them from the inside out — their choices, their occupation, their home, their mannerisms — and then essentially become that person in order to “play” them in one of Fielder’s rehearsals. Then, and only then, can they achieve “the level of realism I needed for this project,” as he puts it. But Nathan gets swallowed by that same dang rabbit hole. He’s not sure how the first day actually landed with the actors, who he finds intimidating. (“They have a way of channeling someone else’s emotions that I don’t fully understand,” he remarks. We’ll come back to that.) So he re-stages the first day, this time while “playing” a randomly chosen member of the acting class named Thomas and populating the room with a new set of actors, who wear the clothes and repeat the same lines as the original class a day before. There’s even a fake Nathan up at the front. This already feels contrived, because it is. But the more I think about it, the weirder it gets because of the mechanics. Were the students in the first class actually students who thought they were learning something in a class? How did what they said get communicated to the second class, who I guess are all actors, in time for them to learn their “lines”? How did they get the same clothes as the first group? How much time elapsed between the first and second days? Did HBO pay various LA-area establishments to allow acting students to work there, or did they pay the açaí bowl place where Thomas and Nathan work, or did they just pay the açaí bowl place enough to shoot a four-minute scene? Did they really rent all these apartments? Does Thomas actually have a giant Pikachu in his bedroom? (It’s at least a little funny that Thomas has a Hamlet poster on his wall on which the large text, which we see Nathan reading, is “To be or not to be / That is the question.” Or, wait — did HBO put the poster there?!) The best documentaries aren’t really about communicating information in a clear fashion (that’s journalism). They’re about making us reevaluate the very act of seeing, the way we encounter and understand the world, the assumptions we make and the ways we mess up. They let us film the world and play it back — which, when I say it that way, sounds a lot like The Rehearsal — and encounter it differently. And in so doing, encounter ourselves differently. III The Rehearsal is a mea culpa memoir And Nathan Fielder is a wounded man. It’s not an accident that in what’s supposed to be their most emotionally vulnerable conversation in the show’s pilot, Nathan brings up to Kor that he’s been divorced. (That happened in 2014.) But as Kor starts to share the pain of his own divorce, they’re interrupted by an old man entering the pool. “I didn’t want to go too deep into my private life, so I had pre-planned for an elderly swimming to interrupt us,” Nathan intones in voiceover. When talking to New York magazine’s Lila Shapiro about the divorce in a 2022 profile, Fielder told Shapiro that this scene accurately depicted his own proclivities. “You’re seeing me control and not wanting to share,” he said, adding that he’s “aware I’m like that, and so it’s in the show.” Later, he catches himself wanting to lie to Shapiro about when he sought therapy following the divorce. He told her that he once lost control of his emotions in a meeting, and it was “a very jarring experience.” He says it was physically painful to talk to a therapist about his emotions. All of which is right on the surface of the show and a useful lens to look at what’s going on. The first episode is a peek into Nathan’s need for control, and the second one continues that theme, to the point where he decides to just join Angela’s rehearsal — that is, raise her fake kid with her — rather than cast someone in that role. In the third episode, he finds himself stymied by Patrick’s “strategy” in the rehearsal, by which he means Patrick’s somewhat easy display of emotion when talking about grieving the death of his own grandfather. Later, in voiceover, Nathan says, “I was starting to wonder how I could so easily recreate feelings inside other people’s rehearsals when I couldn’t do it for myself.” By the end of the episode, watching Angela wash vegetables from the “garden,” he’s trying to figure out how to “engineer” emotions. HBO Nathan contemplates. On the “porch” of his “house.” In the fourth episode, Nathan finds himself acting as one of his own acting students, surrounded by actors who are playing other acting students. It’s so many degrees removed from reality that I confess my brain kind of broke. He is watching the people around him, wondering in essence what they’re all doing there, even though he brought them there. On his second go-round playing Thomas on the first day of class (did you get that?), he reflects on the experience: I felt a rush of excitement come over me when I remembered there were cameras filming me. HBO cameras. I love being on camera, but I wanted to play it cool, like I didn’t care that much ... Wait, what is this show? Is it a show about an acting class? Am I supposed to be acting? Something doesn’t make sense. If you’re training actors for a show, why would you be filming the training? I wanted to ask, but I was worried it would seem rude. I didn’t want to stand out. I wanted to impress “Nathan.” This whole episode causes him to question — or at least “question,” for the show — his own methods, from his actual teaching strategy to seemingly mundane things like asking actors to sign contracts they couldn’t possibly read carefully before they agree. Thomas, the real acting student he tries to more or less become, tells Nathan that he doesn’t like lying to people; Nathan realizes that he’s never really understood Thomas. That ... oh dear ... we never really know what’s going on inside people’s heads. So there’s a way of looking at The Rehearsal as Nathan Fielder’s giant and very expensive therapy session for himself, one that implements all kinds of techniques to get around hangups and emotional challenges that he’s always had. That he is still processing the pain that comes with going through a divorce, as well as some of his assumptions about the world and the people he brings into his shows, and he’s doing it on those same HBO cameras because, well, he likes being on camera. With most people, this would be interminable, impossible to watch. The genius on display here is that all I want to do is keep watching. IV The Rehearsal is ... well, we don’t know yet And Nathan Fielder is a trickster. Actually, this is where I land. HBO gave critics the first five episodes of the show but not the sixth, which suggests some subterfuge. Each episode has a moment (or moments!) where you can feel the rug pulled out from under you, and something you assumed was true suddenly becomes a fabrication. (Next week’s episode has such a moment, and it took my breath away.) That’s why I think it’s nearly impossible to say what we’re really watching until it’s over. (I sort of expect it will still be impossible when the first season ends, but I guess we’ll see.) I have deep suspicions about how “real” Angela is, for instance. I was raised among people who share most of her beliefs. I was not allowed to celebrate Halloween for the reasons she raises. I’m familiar with her teaching methods (having been homeschooled myself). And when Nathan and “Adam” watch a show together featuring a talking caterpillar discussing lying (another clue?), I knew it was based on a book by mega-bestselling evangelical author Max Lucado. But some of what she says — not just the things that could scan as “crazy” — seem a little too coincidental, to me. After all, at the start of the third episode, she lectures Nathan (who’s clad in a Batman costume), reminding him that “Not everything is make-believe. Some things are real. You have to open your eyes to reality.” And maybe this is just the plight of the film critic, but I think most good art can’t be evaluated in pieces; you have to see the shape of the whole to know what you’ve just experienced. It’s like chopping a Picasso in half and then thinking you know what the painting is. You sort of get it, but to really see it, you need to have the whole thing in front of you. HBO Nathan Fielder, the god of the machinery. That said, one interpretive framework that made me go “huh” comes from PJ Grisar in the Forward, who uses the Kabbalistic concept of tzimtzum to explore Fielder’s methods. It triggered the memory of a Jewish midrash about prior worlds, which I (as a Gentile) encountered first during Darren Aronofsky’s discussions of his films Noah and Mother!; in brief, God created and destroyed many worlds until he finally got this one right. Which is exactly what Nathan does at the end of this episode: he ditches the teenager and rewinds to age 6, thus creating a new world to get right this time. It’s not the first time he’s done it, and it speaks to the vast impossibility, the grasping despair, of being a mere mortal and not an infinite being or energy that can make and un-make at will. And there are some other, at minimum, clever Biblically inflected coincidences throughout. That Nathan’s “kid” is named Adam — a name he shares with the first man that God created in the Biblical account of Genesis? That the second episode is about not being able to find a suitable “mate” for Angela? That episode 3 prominently features a contentious relationship between two brothers? That the doubting Fielder method “disciple” in Nathan’s acting class is named ... Thomas? (In case you were wondering, there are only 11 students by the end of the class, but as an eagle-eyed reader pointed out to me, there are 12 at the beginning. A Judas in their midst?) On the one hand, I don’t really think Nathan Fielder is invoking ancient scriptures or Midrash Rabbah in making The Rehearsal. On the other hand ... maybe? Check back with me when it’s all over. In any case, speculations about what Fielder is “doing,” in a pedantic way, with The Rehearsal may be less important than what it does to us. If you find yourself wondering what exactly you’re watching, then you’re at least on the right track. “It’s easy to assume that others think the worst of you,” Nathan says at the end of the fourth episode. “But when you assume what others think, maybe all you’re doing is turning them into a character that only exists in your mind.” “The nice thing,” he concludes, “is sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective to make the world feel brand-new.” The Rehearsal airs at 11 pm ET on Fridays and streams on HBO Max. Update, August 8, 11:20 am: This article has been edited to reflect the number of students initially taking part in the Fielder Method acting class.

School vaccine mandates for Covid-19 are not happening

Preview: Most US school districts are going mask-optional this coming school year. | Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images The enthusiasm for requiring kids to get their shots has mostly evaporated. For the third summer in a row, school leaders are facing the question of what — if anything — they’re going to do to stop the spread of Covid-19 when students return to classrooms. One thing is clear: Almost none of them will be requiring vaccines. Just 31 percent of children between 5 and 11 in the US have been fully vaccinated, and 61 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have been. (Only about 3 percent of children under 5 had received a first dose by July 20.) Still, no state in the country is planning to require student vaccinations, a marked turnaround from where things seemed to be headed last winter, when multiple states and school districts suggested vaccine mandates were coming soon. Only Washington, DC, has announced a mandatory school vaccine policy this fall, for students 12 and older. Other mitigation measures — from masks to ventilation — may also be on their way out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely soon recommend easing school testing, quarantine, and social distancing requirements, CNN reported last week. (Many schools often disregarded CDC guidelines, but the update is a sign of how expectations have shifted.) Burbio, a company that specializes in aggregating school calendars, reported that so far, the vast majority of school districts it tracks nationwide will not be requiring masks this fall. And a June CDC study found just under 40 percent of American public schools had replaced or upgraded their HVAC systems to provide improved ventilation. For the last three years, school requirements — closed or open? masks on or off? — have been a battleground in the culture war over Covid-19. Fear of wading back into the polarized fights over vaccination is one reason school leaders have backed away from requiring the shots. So is the fact that vaccines for children under 12 are not yet fully approved by the FDA. But an even bigger factor might be mass indifference: American adults are more hesitant to vaccinate their kids, especially younger kids, than they were to get shots themselves. And no influential health group or federal agency is pushing states to require them to do so. How California backtracked on vaccine mandates In October 2021, California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first in the nation to announce a planned Covid-19 vaccine mandate for K-12 students once the FDA had fully approved the shots. He said at the time that it could take effect as early as January. Some school districts in the state tried to impose vaccine mandates that would take effect even earlier. Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, announced in September 2021 that students 12 and older must be fully vaccinated by December 19, or switch to online schooling. In Oakland, California, the school board passed a similar vaccine requirement in late September for eligible students, with a deadline of January 1. The Pfizer vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds had been fully approved in August, while the shots for 12- to 15-year-olds were still under FDA’s emergency use authorization. By December 2021, facing both political and legal pressure, school leaders pushed back the vaccine mandates to the start of the 2022-23 school year. LAUSD board president Kelly Gonez has said their decision was “not about conceding to a vocal minority of anti-vaxxers,” although those who oppose mandatory Covid vaccines hailed the delay as a victory. But as 2022 continued, pressure for youth Covid-19 vaccines declined. A state lawmaker in California who had introduced a bill to require Covid-19 vaccines for K-12 students withdrew it in April, saying that focus needed to be on ensuring access to the vaccine. The same week, the California Department of Public Health announced it would no longer add the Covid-19 vaccine to its list of mandated childhood vaccines for public schools because they had not all yet received full FDA approval. The earliest the requirement would take effect, they said, was July 2023. Individual school districts like Los Angeles followed suit. A California health department spokesperson told Vox that the state was waiting “to ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements.” As of last month, the vaccines are now fully approved for ages 12 and up, but not yet for younger children. The California health agency also said even after all the shots receive full approval, officials would still take into consideration other health group recommendations before issuing a new mandate. Louisiana, likewise, retreated on a student vaccine mandate Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards announced last November. New Orleans Public Schools is the only district in the state to require students to be vaccinated against Covid-19, though policy enforcement has been mixed. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who said in January he was considering a student vaccine mandate for the fall, quietly dropped the idea, scaling it back to a requirement for students participating in certain sports and other “high-risk” extracurriculars like choir. Why districts have been loath to require Covid vaccines for students The California situation illustrates the several factors at play in schools’ reluctance to require vaccines. One issue is the lack of full FDA approval for vaccines for younger children. The US Supreme Court has endorsed states’ authority to require student vaccines, but many policymakers were wary of testing that legal authority for Covid-19 shots that had only received emergency use authorization. (The Justice Department issued a memo last summer saying schools could legally do this, but the threat of defending those decisions in court was both real and unappealing.) As a result, even once youth vaccines became available, leaders hesitated to require them without full FDA approval. But now the FDA has fully approved vaccines for teens and adolescents, and that still hasn’t led states or districts to require the shots for older kids. Policymakers are also wrestling with the fact that the virus is much less deadly for children compared to adults. (Approximately 1,180 of the more than 1 million Americans who have died of the virus were 17 or younger, though health experts stress vaccination can still help protect against these rare outcomes.) Kids can also catch the virus in school and spread it back at home to their more vulnerable parents and grandparents, but that risk became easier to tolerate once adult vaccines were approved. Most school districts were wary of igniting another public school culture war battle at a time when students were still struggling to regain academic and social skills lost during the pandemic. On the eve of the anniversary of the January 6 riot, former President Donald Trump blasted President Joe Biden for supposed “talk” that his administration might enforce a vaccine mandate for school children and urged “MAGA nation” to rise up against any such requirements. (The Biden administration has not publicly discussed any student vaccine mandate.) Conservative law firms were also helping to mount legal challenges against proposed Covid-19 vaccine requirements, and groups fighting mask and vaccine mandates have insisted there is no reason to vaccinate kids to protect more vulnerable populations. Polling also indicated that many parents were not eager to have their kids get the shots, and administrators felt hesitant to impose any rules that could keep vulnerable students — particularly Black and Latino students — out of in-person learning for even longer than they already endured. The Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor, run by the Kaiser Family Foundation, reported recently that parents’ intentions to vaccinate their older children have remained relatively steady since the start of the year: About six in 10 parents of those aged 12-17 say their child has been vaccinated (57 percent); about 30 percent say they will definitely not get their teen vaccinated. Eight percent said they will only vaccinate their child if required. Covid vaccination uptake is even lower among children ages 5-11, and nearly half of parents of that age group either say they will only get them vaccinated if required to do so (10 percent) or say they definitely won’t (37 percent). While all demographic groups in the KFF study expressed concerns about long-term effects and side effects, Black and Hispanic parents also voiced more concerns over the logistics of getting their kids vaccinated. Jeremy Singer, an education policy researcher who has been studying Covid-19 school reopenings, said it’s notable that resistance to youth Covid-19 vaccine requirements is present in nearly all school districts. One reason why, he said, may be what school districts are hearing from parents and community members. “District leaders may still be feeling risk-averse, but at this point the ‘riskier’ thing for them could be to impose an unpopular mandate,” he said. In January 2022, Singer and his colleagues surveyed Detroit parents on whether they supported or opposed various health measures. “Parents expressed overwhelming support for almost every measure ... except vaccine mandates for staff and especially students, for which there was a lot more ambivalence,” he said of their findings, which are not yet published. National groups and federal agencies aren’t pushing for vaccine mandates Back in February, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote in a letter to schools, “The #1 tool we have available right now to make sure our schools remain safe and open for all students is vaccination,” and encouraged schools to provide information and host clinics. But the department has stopped short of encouraging schools to require the shots. Elaine Quesinberry, a spokesperson for the Education Department, referred Vox’s questions about student Covid-19 vaccines to the CDC, and the CDC did not return a request for comment. The CDC’s last updated schools guidance, posted in late May, does not recommend schools require the shot, though encourages schools doing targeted outreach to promote it. A White House spokesperson declined earlier this year to say if Biden would support schools requiring Covid-19 vaccines for students if the vaccines had received full FDA approval. Susan Martin, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, referred Vox to their policy statement recommending Covid-19 vaccines for all eligible children, and their interim guidance on safe schools, which says Covid vaccination and boosters should be encouraged. Even teacher unions — which were influential in shaping school reopening decisions in the 2020-21 school year — have not staked out youth vaccination as a dealbreaker for safe in-person learning. An NEA spokesperson said, “Our position on vaccines have not been changed or updated at this point” and referred Vox to a position statement published in December 2020, which said parents should follow vaccine guidelines from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Back in October 2021, the last time the American Federation of Teachers released a formal statement on youth vaccines, president Randi Weingarten said “vaccine approval will be critical to keeping our kids safe and healthy, and making sure our schools stay open and remain safe and welcoming for all.” In a statement to Vox, Weingarten said the group is awaiting “full authorization by the FDA to inform requirements for kids — but in the meantime we must ensure the other guardrails, including revamped ventilation, are in place.” Washington, DC, is moving forward with its student vaccine requirement The big exception is in the nation’s capital. In late December, Washington, DC, councilmembers voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation requiring all eligible students to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The bill set a vaccination deadline for March 1, 2022, though enforcement was delayed until the start of the 2022-23 school year, a concession to help keep students in school. At the time, just over 60 percent of DC young people ages 12-17 had received their two shots. Last month the city announced it would move forward with its back-to-school vaccination policy, requiring Covid-19 vaccines for all students ages 12 and older within the first 20 school days. DC is also ramping up outreach and enforcement for its other required youth vaccinations — like measles and mumps — which the city didn’t enforce strictly last year, and students fell behind on. “I think one thing that is important to know in terms of how DC is moving forward is we’re not just talking about the Covid vaccination, we are having a conversation about routine child immunization, and the Covid vaccine just happens to be a part of the series where kids need to get caught up,” said Christina Henderson, a DC councilmember and the lead sponsor of the bill requiring Covid-19 vaccines for students. Henderson said their effort this year involves more concerted help from pediatricians, school leaders, and public health officials, to stress the importance of vaccination and to relay the evidence that millions of young people by now have safely received the shots. Henderson pointed to the recent case of an unvaccinated 20-year-old with polio, and stressed that this is not the time to waver on the importance of pediatric vaccination. “We also know mandates work,” she added, noting that while many teen athletes were initially ambivalent about getting vaccinated, following DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vaccination requirement to participate in sports last September, even hesitant students got their shots. The Washington Post reported in late July that about 85 percent of DC students ages 12-15 have been vaccinated against Covid-19, but just 60 percent of Black children in that age range have been. “If one school has a high unvaccinated rate of students, then we will bring a mobile vaccine clinic there,” Henderson said. “We are not going to assume that parents are purposely saying ‘I don’t want to get my child covered.’ It might just be they were away all summer and didn’t know about it, or didn’t have time.” Kathryn Lynch-Morin, a spokesperson for DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education, told Vox that city agencies have been coordinating closely with schools to support them with technical assistance, guidance, and outreach to families. “Our children belong in school with their friends and teachers who care about them,” she said. “But, we know if an outbreak of one of these serious or deadly diseases were to occur, it could have a harmful impact on our children, families, and staff. We also know that vaccinations save lives.”

7 of your most pressing monkeypox vaccine questions, answered

Preview: Detail of the serum being administered at a DC vaccine clinic for monkeypox in Washington, DC. | Bill O’Leary/Washington Post via Getty Images We have safe, effective options — but in short supply. The worldwide monkeypox outbreak that began in early May has so far led to more than 7,500 infections in 57 countries, with more than 600 of them in the US. Behavioral strategies are critical for preventing monkeypox transmission — check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) refreshingly straightforward advice about cleaning fetish gear! — but with case counts still rising, vaccination against the virus is more urgently emerging as an important tactic for stopping its spread. Monkeypox generally causes several days of flu-like illness and lymph node swelling followed by a blister- or pimple-like rash. While the version of the virus causing the current outbreak is rarely lethal, its lesions can be extremely painful and may leave scars. Public health authorities have been administering vaccines to close contacts of monkeypox cases since the early days of the outbreak. But in recent weeks, they’ve been taking a more expansive approach to vaccination, offering it to people at risk for monkeypox exposure — even if they haven’t had contact with a confirmed case. In June, community-based vaccination clinics began popping up in Canada, Europe, and the US. But demand has greatly outpaced supply, especially in American settings, leading to confusion and frustration among people seeking vaccination. On August 4, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency. The move, which comes after the World Health Organization declared an international emergency, is intended to increase vaccine access. As of August 4, the government had shipped states more than 602,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, the preferred vaccine for monkeypox in the US. That’s about half of the 1.1 million total doses that have been allocated to states, enough to provide about 550,000 people with the recommended two doses. However, approximately 1.6 million people are thought to be at high risk of infection. Another 150,000 Jynneos doses are expected to arrive in the US in September — ahead of their scheduled November delivery — and officials are exploring a method of administering the vaccine that would allow providers to use a single-dose vial to administer up to five separate doses. The emergency declaration also aims to improve access to testing and treatment nationwide. The monkeypox landscape is changing fast. Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine, whether you’re considering getting one yourself or just trying to make sense of it all. What vaccines are available to prevent monkeypox, and how do they work? There are currently two vaccines for use against monkeypox in the US, but it’s not because of monkeypox that we have them. Let’s back up: Until the late 1900s, smallpox was a global scourge. For at least 12,000 years, it decimated populations and felled entire empires, killing about a third of the people it infected. The virus was eradicated worldwide in 1980, but because it is such a potent killer, experts still considered the smallpox virus to be a serious threat for use as a weapon. “The only reason we have the smallpox vaccine is because it’s a bioterrorist threat,” said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases doctor at the University of Toronto. For that reason, many countries keep a modest quantity of smallpox vaccines in their national stockpiles, and for the same reason, they may be cagey about the exact size of their supplies. Smallpox was eradicated with the help of Dryvax, a live virus vaccine made using a smallpox relative called vaccinia. Although it was effective, Dryvax had some nasty side effects, and in 2007 it was replaced by a safer and equally effective alternative called ACAM2000, which had good protective effects not only against smallpox but also against monkeypox and other related viruses. Still, the live virus in ACAM2000 could reproduce inside human cells, and nearly 1 in 175 people who received the vaccine developed an inflammatory heart condition called myocarditis (treatable and not usually lethal, but still, not great to have). In 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine for both smallpox and monkeypox. This vaccine was made using a live virus — modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) — that elicited a potent protective response without being able to reproduce in human cells. Branded as Jynneos in the US, this MVA vaccine had far fewer side effects than ACAM2000. The US federal government has kept both vaccines in its strategic national stockpile for the last few years, but has far more of the older vaccine: In late June, the US had about 65,000 Jynneos doses and more than 100 million ACAM2000 doses. Many people born outside the US prior to 1980 — and many who lived in the US before 1972 — have been vaccinated against smallpox. Those vaccines also made them immune to monkeypox and other viruses related to smallpox, called orthopox viruses. For decades, that immunity kept viruses like monkeypox at bay. However, as immune people have aged or died and new, unvaccinated people have been added to the population, waning population immunity has recently opened the door to increasing numbers of monkeypox infections. That dynamic explains why Nigeria — and now the world — has been seeing more of these infections in recent times. When is monkeypox vaccination most protective? A helpful feature of both monkeypox vaccines is that they can prevent disease in people even if they receive it after being exposed — that is, as “post-exposure prophylaxis.” According to the CDC, receiving a vaccine up to four days after exposure can prevent disease onset altogether, but even getting it up to two weeks after exposure can reduce symptoms. (Several other vaccines also have this feature, among them vaccines for rabies and hepatitis A.) The complete regimen of both vaccines has generally included two doses given two or four weeks apart. And while experts suggest only one dose of an MVA vaccine may be adequate to prevent monkeypox in the current outbreak setting, the US is still using two-dose regimens because that’s what the US Food and Drug Administration has approved. It’s still best to get vaccinated before being exposed because levels of the protective antibodies we make in response to MVA vaccines like Jynneos peak about a month after starting the two-dose series. Although it would be ideal to get everyone at risk vaccinated before they’re exposed, “you need a lot of things to go right to roll that out,” said Bogoch. No part of the public health response is in isolation: For a vaccine program to work smoothly, communities and health care providers need to be aware of it, and barriers to vaccination need to be as low as possible. There’s still a lot of work to do before the people most at risk can easily get vaccines. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images People lined up outside of a Department of Health & Mental Hygiene clinic on June 23 in New York City as vaccines are made available to residents possibly exposed to monkeypox. Who should get vaccinated for monkeypox? Because the vaccine supply is relatively low in the US, there’s a big difference between who should get vaccinated and who can get vaccinated. Most people involved in the current outbreak have been gay and bisexual men, many of whom reported recently having multiple or anonymous sex partners. For that reason, vaccination strategies and other preventive activities have been focused on these groups. Generally, people eligible for vaccination fall into one of three categories: known contacts of people with monkeypox infections, people whose sex partners in the last 14 days were diagnosed with monkeypox, and people with multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days living in an area with known monkeypox cases. (Although these criteria are set by the jurisdictions administering the vaccine, they’re often similar because they’re based on guidance from the CDC.) The first group — known contacts of cases — have generally been able to access vaccines. Public health authorities often identify people in this group during contact tracing or similar activities, and offer vaccination to help prevent disease and transmission. However, people in the other two groups have had a harder time getting vaccinated, despite their elevated risk for exposure. The company that makes the Jynneos vaccine has expressed confidence it can scale up to meet demand, and as vaccine supply improves, so should vaccine access. People who were vaccinated against smallpox during eradication campaigns of the mid- and late-1900s — most of whom are over 40 — retain lifelong immunity against related viruses and do not need to be re-vaccinated to get protection from monkeypox. What’s the US supply of monkeypox vaccine? Vaccine supply to states and cities began as a trickle during the early days of the outbreak, mostly for people exposed to confirmed cases. By the end of June, only 9,000 vaccine doses in total had been distributed for this use. In mid-June, some states began getting bigger vaccine allocations for use in larger groups of people. On June 23, the New York City health department began offering vaccination to men with multiple or anonymous sex partners in the prior two weeks, and the Washington, DC, health department did the same on June 27. Both ran out of vaccine almost immediately, as did health departments in San Francisco and Atlanta. On June 28, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that a big vaccination push was coming, saying it would supply 296,000 more doses of vaccine to states throughout July. The agency appears to have delivered nearly twice that amount over the course of the month. The US government has also ordered another 2.5 million doses yet to be packaged. In early July, the agency said it expects 1.9 million of those doses to arrive in the US before the end of 2022, with the remainder expected in early 2023. What’s the best way for people who want a monkeypox vaccine to get one? For now, state and local health departments are in charge of vaccinating their communities. Most jurisdictions in the US do not currently have enough supply to meet demand. The people who stand to benefit the most from monkeypox vaccines are gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, especially if they have lots of sex partners or anonymous partners. And the health departments most likely to have or get vaccines are those in places that have had a lot of monkeypox cases (with the notable exception of Florida, which has reported about half as many cases as California but has received one-twentieth the number of vaccines). Currently, the best way to determine whether you can get a vaccine is to Google your nearest health department — it might include the name of your city or county — and reach out to them. Some, like the New York City and Washington, DC, health departments, have websites you can monitor, where you can sign up when appointments become available. But honestly, it’s a patchwork: While the Colorado health department offers residents a Google form, neither the Chicago city government site nor its Cook County health department offers any information about vaccine availability. As with Covid-19 vaccines, our federalized public health system leaves the distribution of monkeypox vaccines to depleted and underfunded state and local agencies, and the piecemeal availability reflects that. Why is it taking so long to get vaccines to the people who want them? Public health authorities and health advocates say limited resources and problems at US government agencies are at the root of the delays. David Holland, an infectious disease doctor and chief clinical officer at the Fulton County Board of Health in Atlanta, tweeted his frustration with the limited resources available to support a local vaccination program. “Not in our budget, and we don’t have the staff to do this,” he wrote. Monkeypox testing & PEP vaccines are increasing exponentially. Not in our budget, and we don’t have the staff to do this plus our regular sexual health stuff. Did anyone consider this when deciding to sit on vaccines for over a month? Do we still not understand exponents? — David Holland, MD, MHS (@DavidHollandMD) July 6, 2022 James Krellenstein, who directs strategy and policy at Prep4All, an organization that advocates for improved access to lifesaving medications, said the lag is a consequence of poor planning by US government agencies. In a June letter addressed to White House officials, Krellenstein and a co-author wrote that a million already-purchased Jynneos doses were stuck in a freezer in Denmark because the Food and Drug Administration neglected to inspect the production facility in a timely manner. “This should have been a hole in one,” Krellenstein said in an interview, because monkeypox is a disease for which we have stockpiles of FDA-approved vaccines and medications. “Despite all those advantages, we are fumbling in the dark.” What does an ideal monkeypox vaccination strategy look like? People might wonder why we don’t just go back to vaccinating everyone for smallpox again — after all, we never had to worry about monkeypox back when smallpox vaccination was routine. A global vaccine campaign aimed at reinstating widespread immunity to orthopox viruses (the family that includes smallpox and monkeypox) would certainly prevent monkeypox virus outbreaks, but most public health experts agree that kind of a campaign isn’t practical or cost-effective. “It’s premature,” said Bogoch. “The risk to the general public right now, at least in the United States, is negligible.” Instead, public health authorities favor monkeypox vaccination strategies that focus on either vaccinating close contacts of known cases (a strategy sometimes called “ring vaccination”) or by vaccinating all members of groups who likely have been or could be exposed to the virus. An ideal monkeypox vaccination program would have three important components, said Krellenstein. The first is a robust supply of the vaccine. “There is no better friend of structural inequities in the United States health care system than scarcity,” he said, and ensuring a plentiful vaccine supply would help avoid a situation where only those with access, power, and money get vaccinated. In the case of monkeypox, creating vaccine administration sites outside of traditional health care contexts is also critically important, said Krellenstein. “We need to get them into bathhouses, into community centers, into pharmacies, into physicians’ offices,” he said, “into places where people who are vulnerable actually are meeting and congregating.” Such strategies have in the past been instrumental in ending meningitis outbreaks among communities of gay and bisexual men. The third important pillar in a successful monkeypox vaccination program is funding, said Krellenstein. Vaccines don’t save lives without the programs and messaging that get them into the people who need them, he said. With HHS’ announcement of a public health emergency — and the funds that will accompany it — those resources are now likely to get a big boost. Correction, July 8, 3:25 pm ET: A previous version of this story said two monkeypox vaccines are approved. Only Jynneos is approved for monkeypox; ACAM2000 is approved for smallpox but can be used under an investigational protocol for monkeypox. Update, August 5: This story has been updated to reflect plans to improve vaccine access announced during a US public health emergency declaration on August 4.

Meanwhile, Congress is set to pass a huge wildlife conservation bill with bipartisan support

Preview: The black-footed ferret, an endangered species, is one of many animals and plants in the US that would benefit from the $1.4 billion Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. | Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post via Getty Image Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would funnel millions of dollars into saving overlooked species. The Biden administration is on the cusp of enacting the biggest piece of climate legislation ever, after the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act Sunday with a vote straight down party lines. But there’s actually another huge piece of environmental legislation that could soon become law — and it has bipartisan support. Known by the acronym RAWA, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide close to $1.4 billion a year for restoring wildlife populations across the country. At its core, RAWA addresses a big problem: More than a third of the nation’s plants and animals are threatened with extinction, from the monarch butterfly to the Florida panther, putting outdoor recreation and ecosystems that Americans depend on at risk. The bill isn’t just some animal-lover’s fantasy: It passed the House in June on a bipartisan vote, and it’s poised to clear the Senate, where it has 16 Republican co-sponsors, as soon as this fall. Unlike climate-focused legislation, RAWA has a broad base of support, in part because it appeals to hunters and fishers, many of whom tilt conservative. It also gives power to states to decide how to spend the money. Plus, wildlife-related recreation is a $140 billion industry, so protecting plants and animals comes with a strong economic incentive. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images A monarch butterfly caterpillar on a milkweed plant in Markham, Ontario, Canada. To put this bill in perspective: RAWA would be the biggest piece of legislation for wildlife since the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which is credited with saving grizzly bears, gray wolves, and dozens of other beloved American animals from extinction, said Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico. “It would be a real shame if we didn’t take advantage of this,” said Sen. Heinrich, who introduced the bill to the Senate last summer, along with Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. By funneling money into wildlife conservation, RAWA would protect thousands of plants and animals before they’re at imminent risk of extinction, according to Heinrich and environmental experts. Ultimately, that could save taxpayers money. Here’s how it would work — and why RAWA is an acronym worth knowing. Why the US has struggled to prevent wildlife declines Much of the work to protect animals falls on state wildlife agencies. They have a range of programs to monitor and manage plant and animal populations that include reintroducing locally extinct species and setting regulations for hunting and fishing. Yet these agencies have only been able to help a small sliver of the nation’s imperiled animals — more than 12,000 species in the US are still in need of protection, according to state wildlife agencies. The first problem is money. Roughly 80 percent of funding for state-led conservation comes from selling hunting and fishing licenses, in addition to federal excise taxes on related gear, such as guns and ammo. But these activities aren’t as popular as they once were. In the early 1980s, for example, hunters made up 7.2 percent of the US population; by 2020, that proportion had fallen to 4.2 percent, according to the environmental advocacy group Wildlife for All. State conservation is funded through a customer-based model, said Andrew Rypel, a professor of biology at the University of California Davis. And in the last few decades, “the customer base has been declining,” he said. “That results in less conservation work getting done.” Another problem is how state agencies spend those dwindling funds. Virtually all of the money for conservation is funneled into animals that people like to hunt or fish, such as elk and trout, said Daniel Rohlf, a law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School. That leaves out countless other species, many of which are threatened with extinction. “At the state level, there’s been almost zero focus on non-game fish and wildlife,” Rohlf said. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images A fisherman holds a small brown trout that he caught along a river in Vermont. Fish that have no commercial value are a good example, Rypel said. “There’s this whole group of fish species that nobody cares about, which people call rough fish,” he said. These are species like the freshwater drum and largescale sucker that have no commercial value yet typically serve a vital role in the ecosystem. “Many of them have been declining over time and they never get worked on because they don’t fall into this customer-driven model,” he said. That’s why researchers like Rypel are so excited about RAWA: The bill seeks to solve both of these problems by providing funding to protect all at-risk plants and animals. Each state will get millions of dollars more to spend on conservation The bill would disperse a total of more than $1.3 billion each year among state wildlife agencies, based on the state’s size, human population, and the number of federally threatened species. California, for example, could get more than $50 million a year, whereas Vermont or New Hampshire — where fewer animals are at risk — could receive closer to $10 million. The idea is that these funds would pay for 75 percent of each state’s Wildlife Action Plan. These are formal blueprints, drafted by each state in 2005, that detail which species are vulnerable and how the agency plans to keep them off the federal endangered species list. New York state’s plan, for example, includes 366 species in need of protection, such as the timber rattlesnake and the saltmarsh sparrow, and a wide range of actions to protect them. Those include things like minimizing pollution and protecting forests, wetlands, and other habitats. Historically these action plans have been vastly underfunded: States can only pay for about 5 percent or less of them. RAWA seeks to fix that. The bill will also require states to contribute 25 percent in matching funds from other sources, such as license plate sales (so a state that receives $10 million from the government would kick in an additional $2.5 million). Michael Pearce/Wichita Eagle/Tribune News Service via Getty Images Two male lesser prairie chickens, a vulnerable species, fight for territory in a grassland in Kansas. One feature of RAWA that makes it so important, experts say, is that it requires states to protect animals that are imperiled, whether or not they’re targeted by hunters and fishers. “That’s funding that doesn’t exist right now,” Rohlf said. The money could provide a lifeline for endangered salamanders, songbirds, and countless other non-game animals that are, as the bill states, “of greatest conservation need.” RAWA also aims to restore wildlife populations before they’re at risk of extinction, to avoid having to list animals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, which comes with all kinds of regulatory burdens and costs. “It’s often more expensive to take action once a species is imperiled than it is to take action when it’s doing okay,” said Brent Keith, a senior policy adviser at the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that has been promoting the new legislation. The act could help New York protect habitat for the vulnerable saltmarsh sparrow, for example, according to Amanda Rodewald, senior director of the Center for Avian Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. That could ensure the bird, which is in decline, isn’t listed as endangered, and it could also benefit coastal communities that rely on salt marshes to help dampen flooding during storms. “There are so many shared threats or stressors that are facing wildlife and human communities,” she said. “We just can’t separate out our needs.” That’s another reason why RAWA has drawn bipartisan support. It would help states avoid having the federal government step in to manage species, which conservative legislators tend to oppose. A “game changer” for tribes RAWA also includes nearly $100 million for the nation’s Native American tribes, which own or help manage nearly 140 million acres of land in the US (equal to about 7 percent of the continental US). “It truly is a game changer,” said Julie Thorstenson, executive director of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society and a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. The nation’s 574 tribes manage hundreds of threatened species, and some of their citizens depend closely on wildlife for food. Yet they don’t receive federal money for conservation from excise taxes, like states do, even though Native Americans pay those taxes themselves when they buy guns and other hunting gear, Thorstenson said. Courtesy of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society Wildlife biologist Don Reiter, a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, has studied the ecology of black bears for decades. “There’s no base funding for tribes,” she told Vox, referring to money for conservation. Instead, tribal governments have to cobble together funding from a variety of different sources and compete with each other for small federal grants. “The inequities of funding for tribal fish and wildlife is one of the most important and least-known issues in conservation,” Thorstenson said. Though RAWA’s $100 million provides tribes with far less money than states, it would chip away at those inequities. “It’s not enough,” Thorstenson said, but “it’s a start.” How likely is it that RAWA will pass? The biggest hurdle ahead is finding a way to offset RAWA’s large price tag. It would cost the government roughly $14 billion over the next decade, and the bill would make the funding permanent. In past negotiations, legislators proposed paying for RAWA by closing loopholes in charitable tax breaks for people who conserve undeveloped land, which some wealthy individuals have exploited. (ProPublica’s Peter Elkind has written a lot about what he calls “the tax scam that won’t die.”) But that strategy likely won’t generate enough money, Keith said. Sen. Heinrich, meanwhile, declined to share details about a potential pay-for. “We’re still in active conversations with both the Finance Committee and also leadership in the Senate,” he told Vox. “I don’t think that [the pay-for] will be an impediment to get this done.” Should legislators find a way to offset RAWA’s cost, it could come to a vote as soon as September. Environmental experts are confident that the bill will pass; with more than a dozen Republican co-sponsors in the Senate, it will likely have well over 60 votes. That’s something to celebrate, Rypel said. “You just don’t hear about a lot of bipartisan bills anymore,” he said. “It could be a very good thing for our country to have a functional and powerful piece of legislation pass in today’s polarized time.”

An end-of-life doula’s advice on how to make the most of your time on earth

Preview: Denis Novikov/Getty Images Life is short. Here’s how to cherish every day of it. “I want a party in the woods with an all-night campfire. I’ll be off to the side in a sleeping bag, nice and cozy. There will be s’mores and cocktails. My friends can come and go, saying goodbye however they want, or just sitting quietly with me and holding my hand. Nobody should touch my feet, though. I hate having my feet touched. A playlist of my favorite songs should be on repeat. I’d like to die as the fire burns out at dawn. Lights out and lights out, you know?” I’m on Zoom and a chaplain from Iowa is describing her ideal final hours of life. We’re training to become end-of-life doulas, and this morning’s assignment is to help each other talk through a final hours ritual. It’s one of many exercises designed to confront us with our own mortality, so we can leave our own feelings about death at the door before we step across someone else’s threshold to help with theirs. End-of-life (EOL) doulas are at the opposite end of the life cycle spectrum from birth doulas. They provide non-clinical care (emotional, logistical, and physical) and help with planning; engage with life reviews and legacy work; and provide support for family and friends so caretakers can bring their best, rested selves to support their dying loved one. I knew training to become a doula would change my relationship to death, but I didn’t anticipate how it would transform my day-to-day life. Like others, my smartphone use skyrocketed during the isolation of the pandemic. Even after those panic-inducing first months in NYC, I still found myself using my phone as a constant distraction — lurking on Instagram, clicking every New York Times alert, obsessively refreshing my email like it was a Vegas slot machine. I didn’t become an end-of-life doula to fix my fragmented focus. I did it because Covid-19 made death suddenly feel very real and very present. But I found that a deep dive into death work profoundly clarified my priorities, and has helped me spend time in ways more aligned with those priorities thanks to the soul-shaking understanding that our time here is truly limited. Here are three components of EOL doula training that have been useful in my never-ending quest to live a more present and focused life in this Age of Endless Distractions. Think of it as a looking-back-from-your-imagined-deathbed approach to living — which sounds morbid in theory but is empowering and enriching in reality. Imagine you have three months to live I’m not going to lie to you: This exercise isn’t going to feel great! Please do it only if you feel equipped to engage with feelings of grief and loss. I recommend having someone you trust read it to you, someone who also has the emotional bandwidth and who is not currently grieving. You’ll need a pen and paper. Choose a time when you’re not going to feel rushed and are in a comfortable space. Take some deep breaths. Settle in. Here we go. Write down your five most-prized possessions, your five favorite activities, your top five values, and the five people you love the most. Close your eyes. Imagine you’re at a doctor’s office. You’ve just been given a terminal diagnosis and told you have approximately three months to live. Sit with that news. Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross any four items off your list. Close your eyes. You’re back home with your spouse or friends or children or pet. You have to find a way to tell those you love: “I’m dying.” Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross another four items off your list. Close your eyes. You’ve started feeling the effects of your illness. You can’t get around as easily. Your sleep is restless. You’re nauseated from the medications you’re taking. Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross four more items off your list. Close your eyes. You’re mostly confined to your bed now. Your loved ones have gathered because they know they will soon have to say goodbye. They drift in and out of your bedroom, or wherever you have chosen to spend your final days, holding your hand, perhaps playing music you like or reading aloud your favorite book. Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross four more items off your list. Close your eyes. You’re in bed, eyes closed, unable to move much or to speak at all. You sense that you’re going to die soon, and you wonder what will happen when you go. What are you thinking about in these final moments? Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross the remaining four items off your list. Whew. You did it. Make sure to give yourself as much time as you need to regroup before you reenter the “real world.” Sit still. Focus on your breath. Drink lots of water. When I did a version of this exercise, I was amazed at how real loss and grief felt as I crossed items off my list. (There is nothing quite like imagining your kid’s life without you to bring on The Sobs.) I don’t want to overstate the impact of imagining loss versus actually experiencing it, nor minimize our individual, multi-faceted responses to real grief, but research has shown that stressful life events can change us, and that includes clarifying our values and priorities. Maybe you, like me, tapped into some of that clarity during this exercise. A few days after I tried this exercise, I rewrote my Top 20 list on a notecard. I keep that notecard by my laptop and look at it often. It has been an unexpectedly powerful reminder of what and who I love, of who I am and want to be. Each day I think about how to fit in as much as I can from this list, even if I only have a few free minutes to myself. It has become the framework that informs my daily to-dos and balance of urgent/important tasks. Practice deep, active listening A good deal of EOL doula work is listening work. The deep, active listening doulas are trained for involves holding back our own stories, comments, and feelings. Doulas don’t tell a dying person what to do. They don’t try to fix the situation. They ask open-ended questions and understand that how people move through the dying process is up to them. This kind of listening requires empathy and restraint. It insists on being free from distractions, external (cellphone notifications, I’m looking at you) and internal (like that voice inside your head that wants to judge or give advice). As the person at a party who makes approximately 30 seconds of obligatory small talk before diving into deeply personal conversations with strangers, I assumed I was custom-built for this part of being a doula. But it can be difficult to stick to open-ended questions, to sit comfortably in silence, or to resist giving well-meaning but unsolicited advice. So, I’ve been practicing. A lot. This kind of listening has altered what I can only think to call the texture of my time. It has made me more present, empathetic, and curious in conversations and relationships. The next time you’re having a conversation with someone who is sharing important information or struggling in some way, you might try it. Ask open-ended questions. “How are you feeling about X?” “Do you want to talk more about Y?” Give their answers space and silence to settle. Reflect back what you think you’ve heard. Be open to being wrong about what you think you’ve heard. Be supportive, but don’t try to fix the situation with advice or talk them out of what they are feeling. Avoid platitudes like “give it time” or “it wasn’t meant to be.” Even “I know how you feel,” well-intentioned though it is, often misses the mark because we mostly don’t know exactly how someone else feels or entirely understand their specific situation. Of course, not all our conversations require this therapist-like level of restraint, but challenge yourself to consider that plenty of them could benefit from a touch more deep listening. Legacy projects in the here and now Doulas often help with legacy projects: autobiographies, letters to loved ones, art projects, and more. These projects memorialize a person’s passions and creativity, values and contributions, and — spoiler alert! — you don’t have to wait until you or someone you love is dying to work on one. Say you’re an amateur musician. You might already know who you want to leave your beloved instruments to. However, another kind of legacy could be recording a few minutes of playing each week and saving that audio in a digital folder to be passed on down the road. To start thinking about a legacy project ask yourself questions like what life lessons have I learned so far? What brings me joy? How do I want to be remembered? What do I love to do outside of my paid work? Consider what form best fits your legacy project and spend a little time each week or month on it. Researchers have found that “mortality legacy awareness” can be a “highly creative force,” and that “focusing on what you would like to leave behind could help you turn something terrifying into a positive motivational tool.” I’m encouraged by recent shifts in our societal approaches to dying, like the death positive movement, empowering trends in end-of-life care, opportunities for exploration and discussion, a transition away from hospitals and back to dying at home when possible, and the increasing number of end-of-life doulas as a community resource. Still, proactively thinking about our own death isn’t always (ever?) easy. We live in a country that tends to overmedicalize death. We are currently facing unfathomable individual and collective grief over deaths from Covid-19, ever-increasing gun violence, a lack of accessible health care, and a horrifying real-time erosion of human rights. All this in a culture desperately in need of more space for individuals to rest and to mourn. It’s easier in the short term to distance ourselves from thinking about death. But engaging with our mortality when we have the bandwidth to do so can offer clarity that in the long term infuses our lives with more joy and meaning. You’ll be living life knowing what you want to have accomplished at the end of it. And that, I swear, is the ultimate productivity hack. Thanks to INELDA for their fantastic end-of-life doula training. The 20 favorites exercise is my abbreviated version of the loss exercise found here. Rachel Friedman is the author of And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood and The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost. Find her on Twitter @RachelFriedman.

How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force

Preview: Effective altruism has gone mainstream. Where does that leave it? Seven years ago, I was invited to my first EA Global, the flagship conference of the effective altruism movement. I was fascinated by effective altruism (EA), which defines itself as “using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible,” in large part because of the moral seriousness of its practitioners. My first piece on EA, from 2013, tracked three people who were “earning to give”: taking high-paying jobs in sectors like tech or finance for the express purpose of giving half or more of their earnings away to highly effective charities, where the money could save lives. I’d met other EAs who made much more modest salaries but still gave a huge share of their income away, or who donated their kidneys to strangers. These were people who were willing to give up a lot — even parts of their own bodies — to help others. So I agreed to speak at a panel at the conference. Along the way I asked if the organizers could pay for my flight and hotel, as is the norm for journalists invited to speak at events. They replied that they were short on cash — and I immediately felt like an asshole. I had asked the people at the “let’s all give our money to buy the world’s poor malaria bed nets” conference to buy me a plane ticket? Obviously the money should go to bed nets! Flash forward to 2021. The foundation of Sam Bankman-Fried, the crypto billionaire and dedicated effective altruist donor, announced a program meant to bring fellow EAs to the Bahamas, where his crypto exchange company FTX is headquartered for largely regulatory reasons. The 10-25 accepted applicants would receive funding for travel to and from the Bahamas, housing for “up to 6 months,” and a one-time stipend of $10,000 each. Pennies weren’t exactly being pinched anymore. It’s safe to say that effective altruism is no longer the small, eclectic club of philosophers, charity researchers, and do-gooders it was just a decade ago. It’s an idea, and group of people, with roughly $26.6 billion in resources behind them, real and growing political power, and an increasing ability to noticeably change the world. EA, as a subculture, has always been categorized by relentless, sometimes navel-gazing self-criticism and questioning of assumptions, so this development has prompted no small amount of internal consternation. A frequent lament in EA circles these days is that there’s just too much money, and not enough effective causes to spend it on. Bankman-Fried, who got interested in EA as an undergrad at MIT, “earned to give” through crypto trading so hard that he’s now worth about $12.8 billion as of this writing, almost all of which he has said he plans to give away to EA-aligned causes. (Disclosure: Future Perfect, which is partly supported through philanthropic giving, received a project grant from Building a Stronger Future, Bankman-Fried’s philanthropic arm.) Along with the size of its collective bank account, EA’s priorities have also changed. For a long time, much of the movement’s focus was on “near-termist” goals: reducing poverty or preventable death or factory farming abuses right now, so humans and animals can live better lives in the near-term. But as the movement has grown richer, it is also increasingly becoming “longtermist.” That means embracing an argument that because so many more humans and other intelligent beings could live in the future than live today, the most important thing for altruistic people to do in the present moment is to ensure that that future comes to be at all by preventing existential risks — and that it’s as good as possible. The impending release of What We Owe to the Future, an anticipated treatise on longtermism by Oxford philosopher and EA co-founder Will MacAskill, is indicative of the shift. The movement has also become more political — or, rather, its main benefactors have become more political. Bankman-Fried was one of the biggest donors to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, as were Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, the Facebook/Asana billionaires who before Bankman-Fried were by far the dominant financial contributors to EA causes. More recently, Bankman-Fried spent $10 million in an unsuccessful attempt to get Carrick Flynn, a longtime EA activist, elected to Congress from Oregon. Bankman-Fried has said he’ll spend “north of $100 million” on the 2024 elections, spread across a range of races; when asked in an interview with podcast host Jacob Goldstein if he would donate “a lot of money” to the candidate running against Trump, he replied, “That’s a pretty decent guess.” But his motivations aren’t those of an ordinary Democratic donor — Bankman-Fried told Goldstein that fighting Trump was less about promoting Democrats than ensuring “sane governance” in the US, which could have “massive, massive, ripple effects on what the future looks like.” Indeed, Bankman-Fried is somewhat bipartisan in his giving. While the vast majority of his political donations have gone to Democrats, 16 of the 39 candidates endorsed by the Bankman-Fried-funded Guarding Against Pandemics PAC are Republicans as of this writing. Effective altruism in 2022 is richer, weirder, and wields more political power than effective altruism 10, or even five years ago. It’s changing and gaining in importance at a rapid pace. The changes represent a huge opportunity — and also novel dangers that could threaten the sustainability and health of the movement. More importantly, the changes could either massively expand or massively undermine effective altruism’s ability to improve the broader world. The origins of effective altruism The term “effective altruism,” and the movement as a whole, can be traced to a small group of people based at Oxford University about 12 years ago. In November 2009, two philosophers at the university, Toby Ord and Will MacAskill, started a group called Giving What We Can, which promoted a pledge whose takers commit to donating 10 percent of their income to effective charities every year (several Voxxers, including me, have signed the pledge). In 2011, MacAskill and Oxford student Ben Todd co-founded a similar group called 80,000 Hours, which meant to complement Giving What We Can’s focus on how to give most effectively with a focus on how to choose careers where one can do a lot of good. Later in 2011, Giving What We Can and 80,000 Hours wanted to incorporate as a formal charity, and needed a name. About 17 people involved in the group, per MacAskill’s recollection, voted on various names, like the “Rational Altruist Community” or the “Evidence-based Charity Association.” The winner was “Centre for Effective Altruism.” This was the first time the term took on broad usage to refer to this constellation of ideas. The movement blended a few major intellectual sources. The first, unsurprisingly, came from philosophy. Over decades, Peter Singer and Peter Unger had developed an argument that people in rich countries are morally obligated to donate a large share of their income to help people in poorer countries. Singer memorably analogized declining to donate large shares of your income to charity to letting a child drowning in a pond die because you don’t want to muddy your clothes rescuing him. Hoarding wealth rather than donating it to the world’s poorest, as Unger put it, amounts to “living high and letting die.” Altruism, in other words, wasn’t an option for a good life — it was an obligation. Ord told me his path toward founding effective altruism began in 2005, when he was completing his BPhil, Oxford’s infamously demanding version of a philosophy master’s. The degree requires that students write six 5,000-word, publication-worthy philosophy papers on pre-assigned topics, each over the course of a few months. One of the topics listed Ord’s year was, “Ought I to forgo some luxury whenever I can thereby enable someone else’s life to be saved?” That led him to Singer and Unger’s work, and soon the question — ought I forgo luxuries? which ones? how much? — began to consume his thoughts. Then, Ord’s friend Jason Matheny (then a colleague at Oxford, today CEO of the Rand Corporation) pointed him to a project called DCP2. DCP stands for “Disease Control Priorities” and originated with a 1993 report published by the World Bank that sought to measure how many years of life could be saved by various public health projects. Ord was struck by just how vast the difference in cost-effectiveness between the interventions in the report was. “The best interventions studied were about 10,000 times better than the least good ones,” he notes. It occurred to him that if residents of rich countries are morally obligated to help residents of less wealthy ones, they might be equally obligated to find the most cost-effective ways to help. Spending $50,000 on the most efficient project saved 10 times as many life-years as spending $50 million on the least efficient project would. Directing resources toward the former, then, would vastly increase the amount of good that rich-world donors could do. It’s not enough merely for EAs to give — they must give effectively. Ord and his friends at Oxford weren’t the only ones obsessing over cost-effectiveness. Over in New York, an organization called GiveWell was taking shape. Founded in 2007 by Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld, both alums of the eccentric hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, the group sought to identify the most cost-effective giving opportunities for individual donors. At the time, such a service was unheard of — charity evaluators at that point, like Charity Navigator, focused more on ensuring that nonprofits were transparent and spent little on overhead. By making judgments about which nonprofits to give to — a dollar to the global poor was far better than, say, a museum — GiveWell ushered in a sea change in charity evaluation. Those opportunities were overwhelmingly found outside developed countries, primarily in global health. By 2011, the group had settled on recommending international global health charities focused on sub-Saharan Africa. “Even the lowest-income people in the U.S. have (generally speaking) far greater material wealth and living standards than the developing-world poor,” the group explains today. “We haven’t found any US poverty-targeting intervention that compares favorably to our international priority programs” in terms of quality of evidence or cost-effectiveness. If the First Commandment of EA is to give, and the Second Commandment is to do so effectively, the Third Commandment is to do so where the problem is tractable, meaning that it’s actually possible to change the underlying problem by devoting more time and resources to it. And as recent massive improvements in life expectancy suggest, global health is highly tractable. Before long, it was clear that Ord and his friends in Oxford were doing something very similar to what Hassenfeld and Karnofsky were doing in Brooklyn, and the two groups began talking (and, of course, digging into each other’s cost-effectiveness analyses, which in EA is often the same thing). That connection would prove immensely important to effective altruism’s first surge in funding. “YOLO #sendit” In 2011, the GiveWell team made two very important new friends: Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz. The latter was a co-founder of Facebook; today he runs the productivity software company Asana. He and his wife Tuna, a retired journalist, command some $13.8 billion as of this writing, and they intend to give almost all of it away to highly effective charities. As of July 2022, their foundation has given out over $1.7 billion in publicly listed grants. After connecting with GiveWell, they wound up using the organization as a home base to develop what is now Open Philanthropy, a spinoff group whose primary task is finding the most effective recipients for Tuna and Moskovitz’s fortune. Because of the vastness of that fortune, Open Phil’s comparatively long history (relative to, say, FTX Future Fund), and the detail and rigor of its research reports on areas it’s considering funding, the group has become by far the most powerful single entity in the EA world. Tuna and Moskovitz were the first tech fortune in EA, but they would not be the last. Bankman-Fried, the child of two “utilitarian leaning” Stanford Law professors, embraced EA ideas as an undergraduate at MIT, and decided to “earn to give.” After graduation in 2014, he went to a small firm called Jane Street Capital, then founded the trading firm Alameda Research and later FTX, an exchange for buying and selling crypto and crypto-related assets, like futures. By 2021, FTX was valued at $18 billion, making the then-29-year-old a billionaire many times over. He has promised multiple times to give almost that entire fortune away. It’s safe to say that effective altruism is no longer the small, eclectic club of philosophers, charity researchers, and do-gooders it was just a decade ago. The steady stream of billionaires embracing EA has left it in an odd situation: It has a lot of money, and substantial uncertainty about where to put it all, uncertainty which tends to grow rather than ebb with the movement’s fortunes. In July 2021, Ben Todd, who co-founded and runs 80,000 Hours, estimated that the movement had, very roughly, $46 billion at its disposal, an amount that had grown by 37 percent a year since 2015. And only 1 percent of that was being spent every year. Moreover, the sudden wealth altered the role longtime, but less wealthy, EAs play in the movement. Traditionally, a key role of many EAs was donating to maximize funding to effective causes. Jeff Kaufman, one of the EAs engaged in earning-to-give who I profiled back in 2013, until recently worked as a software engineer at Google. In 2021, he and his wife Julia Wise (an even bigger figure in EA as the full-time community liaison for the Center for Effective Altruism) earned $782,158 and donated $400,000 (they make all these numbers public for transparency). That’s hugely admirable, and much, much more than I donated last year. But that same year, Open Phil distributed over $440 million (actually over $480 million due to late grants, a spokesperson told me). Tuna and Moskovitz alone had the funding capacity of over a thousand less-wealthy EAs, even high-profile EAs dedicated to the movement who worked at competitive, six-figure jobs. Earlier this year, Kaufman announced he was leaving Google, and opting out of “earning to give” as a strategy, to do direct work for the Nucleic Acid Observatory, a group that seeks to use wastewater samples to detect future pandemics early. Part of his reasoning, he wrote on his blog, was that “There is substantially more funding available within effective altruism, and so the importance of earning to give has continued to decrease relative to doing things that aren’t mediated by donations.” That said, the new funding comes with a lot of uncertainty and risk attached. Given how exposed EA is to the financial fortunes of a handful of wealthy individuals, swings in the markets can greatly affect the movement’s short-term funding conditions. In June 2022, the crypto market crashed, and Bankman-Fried’s net worth, as estimated by Bloomberg, crashed with it. He peaked at $25.9 billion on March 29, and as of June 30 was down more than two-thirds to $8.1 billion; it’s since rebounded to $12.8 billion. That’s obviously nothing to sneeze at, and his standard of living isn’t affected at all. (Bankman-Fried is the kind of vegan billionaire known for eating frozen Beyond Burgers, driving a Corolla , and sleeping on a bean bag chair.) But you don’t need to have Bankman-Fried’s math skills to know that $25.9 billion can do a lot more good than $12.8 billion. Tuna and Moskovitz, for their part, still hold much of their wealth in Facebook stock, which has been sliding for months. Moskovitz’s Bloomberg-estimated net worth peaked at $29 billion last year. Today it stands at $13.8 billion. “I’ve discovered ways of losing money I never even know I had in me,” he jokingly tweeted on June 19. But markets change fast, crypto could surge again, and in any case Moskovitz and Bankman-Fried’s combined net worth of $26.5 billion is still a lot of money, especially in philanthropic terms. The Ford Foundation, one of America’s longest-running and most prominent philanthropies, is only worth $17.4 billion. EA now commands one of the largest financial arsenals in all of US philanthropy. And the sheer bounty of funding is leading to a frantic search for places to put it. One option for that bounty is to look to the future — the far future. In February 2022, the FTX Foundation, a philanthropic entity founded chiefly by Bankman-Fried, along with his FTX colleagues Gary Wang and Nishad Singh and his Alameda colleague Caroline Ellison, announced its “Future Fund”: a project meant to donate money to “improve humanity’s long-term prospects” through the “safe development of artificial intelligence, reducing catastrophic biorisk, improving institutions, economic growth,” and more. The fund announced it was looking to spend at least $100 million in 2022 alone, and it already has: On June 30, barely more than four months after the fund’s launch, it stated that had already given out $132 million. Giving money out that fast is hard. Doing so required giving in big quantities ($109 million was spent on grants over $500,000 each), as well as unusual methods like “regranting” — giving over 100 individuals trusted by the Future Fund budgets of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars each, and letting them distribute it as they like. The rush of money led to something of a gold-rush vibe in the EA world, enough so that Nick Beckstead, CEO of the FTX Foundation and a longtime grant-maker for Open Philanthropy, posted an update in May clarifying the group’s methods. “Some people seem to think that our procedure for approving grants is roughly ‘YOLO #sendit,’ he wrote. “This impression isn’t accurate.” But that impression nonetheless led to significant soul-searching in the EA community. The second most popular post ever on the EA Forum, the highly active message board where EAs share ideas in minute detail, is grimly titled, “Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics.” Author George Rosenfeld, a founder of the charitable fundraising group Raise, worried that the big surge in EA funding could lead to free-spending habits that alter the movement’s culture — and damage its reputation by making it look like EAs are using billionaires’ money to fund a cushy lifestyle for themselves, rather than sacrificing themselves to help others. Rosenfeld’s is the second most popular post on the EA Forum. The most popular post is a partial response to him on the same topic by Will MacAskill, one of EA’s founders. MacAskill is now deeply involved in helping decide where the funding goes. Not only is he the movement’s leading intellectual, he’s on staff at the FTX Future Fund and an advisor at the EA grant-maker Longview Philanthropy. He began, appropriately: “Well, things have gotten weird, haven’t they?” The shift to longtermism Comparing charities fighting global poverty is really hard. But it’s also, in a way, EA-on-easy-mode. You can actually run experiments and see if distributing bed nets saves lives (it does, by the way). The outcomes of interest are relatively short-term and the interventions evaluated can be rigorously tested, with little chance that giving will do more harm than good. Hard mode comes in when you expand the group of people you’re aiming to help from humans alive right now to include humans (and other animals) alive thousands or millions of years from now. From 2015 to the present, Open Philanthropy distributed over $480 million to causes it considers related to “longtermism.” All $132 million given to date by the FTX Future Fund is, at least in theory, meant to promote longtermist ideas and goals. Which raises an obvious question: What the fuck is longtermism? The basic idea is simple: We could be at the very, very start of human history. Homo sapiens emerged some 200,000-300,000 years ago. If we destroy ourselves now, through nuclear war or climate change or a mass pandemic or out-of-control AI, or fail to prevent a natural existential catastrophe, those 300,000 years could be it. He began, appropriately: “Well, things have gotten weird, haven’t they?” But if we don’t destroy ourselves, they could just be the beginning. Typical mammal species last 1 million years — and some last much longer. Economist Max Roser at Our World in Data has estimated that if (as the UN expects) the world population stabilizes at 11 billion, greater wealth and nutrition lead average life expectancy to rise to 88, and humanity lasts another 800,000 years (in line with other mammals), there could be 100 trillion potential people in humanity’s future. By contrast, only about 117 billion humans have ever lived, according to calculations by demographers Toshiko Kaneda and Carl Haub. In other words, if we stay alive for the duration of a typical mammalian species’ tenure on Earth, that means 99.9 percent of the humans who will ever live have yet to live. And those people, obviously, have virtually no voice in our current society, no vote for Congress or president, no union and no lobbyist. Effective altruists love finding causes that are important and neglected: What could be more important, and more neglected, than the trillions of intelligent beings in humanity’s future? In 1984, Oxford philosopher Derek Parfit published his classic book on ethics, Reasons and Persons, which ended with a meditation on nuclear war. He asked readers to consider three scenarios: Peace. A nuclear war that kills 99 percent of the world’s existing population. A nuclear war that kills 100 percent. Obviously 2 and 3 are worse than 1. But Parfit argued that the difference between 1 and 2 paled in comparison to the difference between 2 and 3. “Civilization began only a few thousand years ago,” he noted, “If we do not destroy mankind, these few thousand years may be only a tiny fraction of the whole of civilized human history.” Scenario 3 isn’t just worse than 2, it’s dramatically worse, because by killing off the final 1 percent of humanity, scenario 3 destroys humanity’s whole future. This line of thinking has led EAs to foreground existential threats as an especially consequential cause area. Even before Covid-19, EAs were early in being deeply concerned about the risk of a global pandemic, especially a human-made one coming about due to ever-cheaper biotech tools like CRISPR, which could be far worse than anything nature can cook up. Open Philanthropy spent over $65 million on the issue, including seven- and eight-figure grants to the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s biodefense team, before 2020. It’s added another $70 million since. More recently, Bankman-Fried has funded a group led by his brother, Gabe, called Guarding Against Pandemics, which lobbies Congress to fund future pandemic prevention more aggressively. Nuclear war has gotten some attention too: Longview Philanthropy, an EA-aligned grant-maker supported by both Open Philanthropy and FTX, recently hired Carl Robichaud, a longtime nuclear policy grant-maker, partly in reaction to more traditional donors like the MacArthur Foundation pulling back from trying to prevent nuclear war. But it is AI that has been a dominant focus in EA over the last decade. In part this reflects the very real belief among many AI researchers that human-level AI could be coming soon — and could be a threat to humanity. This is in no way a universal belief, but it’s a common enough one to be worrisome. A poll this year found that leading AI researchers put around 50-50 odds on AI surpassing humans “in all tasks” by 2059 — and that was before some of the biggest strides in recent AI research over the last five years. I will be 71 years old in 2061. It’s not even the long-term future; it’s within my expected lifetime. If you really believe superintelligent, perhaps impossible-to-control machines are coming in your lifetime, it makes sense to panic and spend big. That said, the AI argument strikes many outside EA as deeply wrong-headed, even offensive. If you care so much about the long term, why focus on this when climate change is actually happening right now? And why care so much about the long term when there is still desperate poverty around the world? The most vociferous critics see the longtermist argument as a con, an excuse to do interesting computer science research rather than work directly in the Global South to solve actual people’s problems. The more temperate see longtermism as dangerously alienating effective altruists from the day-to-day practice of helping others. I know this because I used to be one of these critics. I think, in retrospect, I was wrong, and I was wrong for a silly reason: I thought the idea of a super-intelligent AI was ridiculous, that these kind of nerdy charity folks had read too much sci-fi and were fantasizing wildly. I don’t think that anymore. The pace of improvement in AI has gotten too rapid to ignore, and the damage that even dumb AI systems can do, when given too much societal control, is extreme. But I empathize deeply with people who have the reaction I did in 2015: who look at EA and see people who talked themselves out of giving money to poor people and into giving money to software engineers. Moreover, while I buy the argument that AI safety is an urgent, important problem, I have much less faith that anyone has a tractable strategy for addressing it. (I’m not alone in that uncertainty — in a podcast interview with 80,000 Hours, Bankman-Fried said of AI risk, “I think it’s super important and I also don’t feel extremely confident on what the right thing to do is.”) That, on its own, might not be a reason for inaction: If you have no reliable way to address a problem you really want to address, it sometimes makes sense to experiment and fund a bunch of different approaches in hopes that one of them will work. This is what funders like Open Phil have done to date. But that approach doesn’t necessarily work when there’s huge “sign uncertainty” — when an intervention has a reasonable chance of making things better or worse. This is a particularly relevant concern for AI. One of Open Phil’s early investments was a $30 million grant in 2017 to OpenAI, which has since emerged as one of the world’s leading AI labs. It has created the popular GPT-3 language model and DALL-E visual model, both major steps forward for machine learning models. The grant was intended to help by “creating an environment in which people can effectively do technical research on AI safety.” It may have done that — but it also may have simply accelerated the pace of progress toward advanced AI in a way that amplifies the dangers such AI represents. We just don’t know. Partially for those reasons, I haven’t started giving to AI or longtermist causes just yet. When I donate to buy bed nets, I know for sure that I’m actually helping, not hurting. Our impact on the far future, though, is always less certain, no matter our intentions. The move to politics EA’s new wealth has also allowed it vastly more influence in an arena where the movement is bound to gain more attention and make new enemies: politics. EA has always been about getting the best bang for your buck, and one of the best ways for philanthropists to get what they want has always been through politics. A philanthropist can donate $5 million to start their own school … or they can donate $5 million to lobby for education reforms that mold existing schools more like their ideal. The latter almost certainly will affect more students than the former. So from at least the mid-2010s, EAs, and particularly EA donors, embraced political change as a lever, and they have some successes to show for it. The late 2010s shift of the Federal Reserve toward caring more about unemployment and less about inflation owes a substantial amount to advocacy from groups like Fed Up and Employ America — groups for which Open Philanthropy was the principal funder. Tuna and Moskovitz have been major Democratic donors since 2016, when they spent $20 million for the party in an attempt to beat Donald Trump. The two gave even more, nearly $50 million, in 2020, largely through the super-PAC Future Forward. Moskovitz was the group’s dominant donor, but former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and Bankman-Fried supported it too. The watchdog group OpenSecrets listed Tuna as the 7th biggest donor to outside spending groups involved in the 2020 election — below the likes of the late Sheldon Adelson or Michael Bloomberg, but far above big-name donors like George Soros or Reid Hoffman. Bankman-Fried took 47th place, above the likes of Illinois governor and billionaire J.B. Pritzker and Steven Spielberg. As in philanthropy, the EA political donor world has focused obsessively on maximizing impact per dollar. David Shor, the famous Democratic pollster, has consulted for Future Forward and similar groups for years; one of my first in-person interactions with him was at an EA Global conference in 2018, where he was trying to understand these people who were suddenly very interested in funding Democratic polling. He told me that Moskovitz’s team was the first he had ever seen who even asked how many votes-per-dollar a given ad buy or field operation would produce. Bankman-Fried has been, if anything, more enthusiastic about getting into politics than Tuna and Moskovitz. His mother, Stanford Law professor Barbara Fried, helps lead the multi-million dollar Democratic donor group Mind the Gap. The pandemic prevention lobbying effort led by his brother Gabe was one of his first big philanthropic projects. And his super-PAC, Protect Our Future, led by longtime Shor colleague and dedicated EA Michael Sadowsky, has spent big on the 2022 midterms already. That includes $10 million supporting Carrick Flynn, a longtime EA who co-founded the Center for the Governance of AI at Oxford, in his unsuccessful run for Congress in Oregon. That intervention made perfect sense if you’re immersed in the EA world. Flynn is a true believer; he’s obsessed with issues like AI safety and pandemic prevention. Getting someone like him in Congress would give the body a champion for those causes, which are largely orphaned within the House and Senate right now, and could go far with a member monomaniacally focused on them. But to Oregon voters, little of it made sense. Willamette Week, the state’s big alt-weekly, published a cover-story exposé portraying the bid as a Bahamas-based crypto baron’s attempt to buy a seat in Congress, presumably to further crypto interests. It didn’t help that Bankman-Fried had made several recent trips to testify before Congress and argue for his preferred model of crypto regulation in the US — or that he prominently appeared at an FTX-sponsored crypto event in the Bahamas with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, in a flex of his new wealth and influence. Bankman-Fried is lobbying Congress on crypto, he’s bankrolling some guy’s campaign for Congress — and he expects the world to believe that he isn’t doing that to get what he wants on crypto? It was a big optical blunder, one that threatened to make not just Bankman-Fried but all of EA look like a craven cover for crypto interests. The Flynn campaign was a reminder of just how much of a culture gap remains between EA and the wider world, and in particular the world of politics. And that gap could widen still more, and become more problematic as longtermism, with all its strangeness, becomes a bigger part of EA. “We should spend more to save people in poor countries from preventable diseases” is an intelligible, if not particularly widely held, position in American politics. “We should be representing the trillions of people who could be living millions of years from now” is not. Yet for all its intellectual gymnastics, longtermism relies more on politics than near-term causes do. If political action isn’t possible on malaria, charities can and do simply procure bed nets directly. But when it comes to preventing extinction from causes like AI or a pandemic or climate change, the solutions have to be political. All of which means that EA needs to get a lot better at politics, quite quickly, to achieve its biggest aims. If it fails, or lets its public image be that of just another special interest group, it might squander one of its biggest opportunities to do good. What EA has meant to me Things have indeed gotten weird in EA. The EA I know in 2022 is a more powerful and more idiosyncratic entity than the EA I met in 2013. And as it’s grown, it’s faced vocal backlash of a kind that didn’t exist in its early years. A small clique of philosophy nerds donating their modest incomes doesn’t seem like a big enough deal to spark much outside critique. A multi-billion-dollar complex with designs on influencing the course of American politics and indeed all of world history … is a different matter. I’ll admit it’s somewhat hard to write dispassionately about this movement. Not because it’s flawless (it has plenty of flaws) or because it’s too small and delicate to deserve the scrutiny (it has billions of dollars behind it). Rather, because it’s profoundly changed my own life, and overwhelmingly for the better. I encountered effective altruism while I was a journalist covering federal public policy in the US. I lived and breathed Senate committee schedules, think tank reports, polling averages, outrage cycles about whatever Barack Obama or Mitt Romney said most recently. I don’t know if you’ve immersed yourself in American politics like that … but it’s a horrible place to live. Arguments are more often than not made in extreme bad faith. People’s attention was never focused on issues that mattered most to the largest number of people. Progress for actual people in the actual world, when it did happen, was maddeningly slow. And it was getting worse. I started writing professionally in 2006, when the US was still occupying Iraq and a cataclysmic recession was around the corner. There were already dismal portents for our country’s institutions, but Donald Trump was still just a deranged game show host. One of the dominant parties was not yet attempting full coups with the help of armed mobs of supporters. The Senate’s huge geographic bias was not yet the enormous advantage for Republicans it has become today, rendering the body hugely unrepresentative in a way that offends basic democratic principles. All of that was still to come. Derek Parfit, one of the key philosophers inspiring effective altruism, once wrote that he used to believe his own personal identity was the key thing that mattered in his life. This view trapped him. “My life seemed like a glass tunnel, through which I was moving faster every year, and at the end of which there was darkness,” he wrote in Reasons and Persons. “When I changed my view, the walls of my glass tunnel disappeared. I now live in the open air. There is still a difference between my life and the lives of other people. But the difference is less. Other people are closer. I am less concerned about the rest of my own life, and more concerned about the lives of others.“ Progress for actual people in the actual world, when it did happen, was maddeningly slow. Finding EA was a similarly transformative experience for me. The major point for me was less that this group of people had found, once and for all, the most effective ways to spend money to help people. They didn’t, they won’t, though more than most movements, they will admit that, and cop to those limits to what they can learn about the world. What was different was that I now had a sense that there was more to the world than the small corner I had dug into in Washington, DC — so much so that I was inspired to co-found this very section of Vox, Future Perfect. This is, in retrospect, an obvious revelation. If I had spent this period as a microbiologist as CRISPR emerged, it would have been obvious that there was more to the world than US politics. If I had spent the period living in India and watching the world’s largest democracy emerge from extreme poverty, it would have been obvious too. But what’s distinctive about EA is that because its whole purpose is to shine light on important problems and solutions in the world that are being neglected, it’s a very efficient machine for broadening your world. And especially as a journalist, that’s an immensely liberating feeling. The most notable thing about gatherings of EAs is how deeply weird and fascinating they can be, when so much else about this job can be dully predictable. After you spend a weekend with a group where one person is researching how broadly deployed ultraviolet light could dramatically reduce viral illness; where another person is developing protein-rich foods that could be edible in the event of a nuclear or climate or AI disaster; where a third person is trying to determine if insects are capable of consciousness, it’s hard to go back to another DC panel where people rehearse the same arguments about whether taxes should be higher or lower. As EA changes and grows, this is the aspect I feel most protective of and most want to preserve: the curious, unusually rigorous and respectful and gracious, and always wonderfully bizarre spirit of inquiry, of going where the arguments lead you and not where it’s necessarily most fashionable to go. That felt like an escape from American politics to me — and it can be an escape from other rabbit holes for others too. Oh, yeah, and it could, if successful, save many people from disease, many animals from industrial torture, and many future people from ruin. The Against Malaria Foundation, MacAskill notes, has since its founding “raised $460 million, in large part because of GiveWell’s recommendation. Because of that funding, 400 million people have been protected against malaria for two years each; that’s a third of the population of sub-Saharan Africa. It’s saved on the order of 100,000 lives — the population of a small city. We did that.” That’s a somewhat boisterous statement. It’s also true, and if anything a lower bound on what EA has achieved to date. My anxieties about EA’s evolution, as it tends toward longtermism and gets more political, are bound up in pride at that achievement, in the intelligent environment that the movement has fostered, and fear that it could all come crashing down. That worry is particularly pronounced when the actions and fortunes of a handful of mega-donors weigh heavily on the whole movement’s future. Small, relatively insular movements can achieve a great deal, but they can also collapse in on themselves if mismanaged. My attitude toward EA is, of course, heavily personal. But even if you have no interest in the movement or its ideas, you should care about its destiny. It’s changed thousands of lives to date. Yours could be next. And if the movement is careful, it could be for the better. Clarification, 2 pm: Upated to clarify Sam Bankman-Fried’s motivations for giving to 2024 candidates.

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