"Are people lying more since the rise of social media and smartphones?" asks David Markowitz at The Conversation. You're tempted to say F YEAH aren't you? You know, because of all the stupid crap you read on Facebook and Twitter? But this article deals with more mundane lies -- the ones you tell your boss to get out of work, the ones you tell your friends when you just don't feel like going out to dinner -- and references a 2004 study that found that, actually, folks will more readily lie with any technology deployed over the phone, and not so much over email (at least partly, I suspect, because it feels more like "putting something in writing"). Fast-forward 17 years and a much larger study finds more or less the same, and Mr. Markowitz also found a relatively low rate of lying, generally, except from people who lie a lot. There's a lesson in there, somewhere.
When I hear that right-wingers had a whinefest about the "government propaganda" of Big Bird telling kids he got the vaccine and it's OK, I am compelled to say that it sure would help if our "liberal" media would treat dramas like these as "really, you're whining about that now?" You know, instead of they must speak for a large number of people, so let's endlessly pander to their dumb opinions and enable their weakness. (Not to pile on, but Sesame Street isn't really a "big government TV show" anymore, since HBO provides most of its funding now.)
In a peripherally-related note, Sen. Josh Hawley (E-MO) doubles down on his "masculinity" pablum because of course he does. I've already patiently negotiated his nonsense, so I think the best thing to do at this point would be to create a cartoon or comic book -- the bolder and sillier the art, the better -- showing him marching around without a shirt off (and occasionally raising his fist like he did at the January 6 rioters) yelling at people who he thinks are "injuring" masculinity. When they act like fools, we should make sure everyone sees them as fools.
I thought Elon Musk wasn't going to get the answer he wanted when he asked Twitter if he should pay more in taxes, but I was taken aback, for a moment, that the score was only 58-42 in favor of him paying more in taxes, since usually the tax-the-rich-more answer in polls clears two-thirds. But two caveats: 1) we should suspect polls that people voluntarily join more than we suspect those that pollsters have designed to actually reflect the population, and 2) I would not be surprised to learn that Twitter users have a higher proportion of get-rich-quick-wannabes who don't want to part with any of their "hard-earned money" than the general population.
Linda So and Jason Szep at Reuters write an admirable report exposing nine individuals who have threatened election officials within the last year -- and also exposing how little law enforcement has done about any of them. We learn that there are at least two schools of thought over whether "We're going to fucking kill you all" or "“You are all going to fucking hang. I’m going to make sure of it" enjoy our First Amendment protections, but that's not the most appalling thing about all of this. The most appalling thing about all of this is that law enforcement either doesn't care about bringing these irredeemable assholes to justice or secretly cheers them on -- I'm not sure how else to read a sentence like "(r)eporters connected with him in September on the phone number police called untraceable.")
Finally, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D?-AZ) gives a wholly predictable assessment of Republican successes in the 2021 elections, pointing to "bickering among (Democrats)" as the cause, and further opining that Americans "just want you to work together and get stuff done." That's a big gamble, right there, that folks haven't seen her as the one who didn't want to "work together and get stuff done," since she scuttled Medicare drug price negotiation by herself and she scuttled raising corporate tax rates and tax rates on the rich by herself. I would be quite offended if she got away with taking a big dump on the popular will in front of everybody and then claiming that the problem is all these politicians taking a big dump on the popular will.