From Karen Hao at the MIT Technology Review we learn "How Facebook Got Addicted to Spreading Misinformation." Long story short, in the words of one UCal-Berkeley professor: "When you’re in the business of maximizing engagement, you’re not interested in truth. You’re not interested in harm, divisiveness, conspiracy. In fact, those are your friends." And apparently Facebook's efforts to rein in harmful algorithms since 2018 either failed or were set up to fail. Read the whole thing and you may find yourself convinced that "smart people" aren't all that smart. But I still think people are smarter than AI generally, and particularly once they stop letting their egos dominate them.
Sen. Roger Wicker takes credit for restaurant assistance he managed to get into the COVID relief bill, then gets swamped by Twitter users reminding everyone he voted against said COVID relief bill like every other Senate Republican. I said they'd try to take credit for something they tried their damnedest to kill -- and I was right! Roger Wicker's up in 2024; perhaps we can scuttle his re-election by reminding Mississippi Republicans that he worked with nominal Democrat Kyrsten Sinema on that restaurant initiative.
Senate confirms Merrick Garland to be our next Attorney General by a 70-30 vote. Yes, the same Merrick Garland who couldn't even get a confirmation hearing to be a Supreme Court Justice in 2016. And as much as I really don't want to hear Mitch McConnell (who refused to hold hearings on his nomination) praising him, I really don't want to hear anything Tom Cotton has to say about it. For Tom Cotton, you're "weak" if you're not shooting Black folks for brandishing a cellphone.
The state of Florida will get some good press for getting rid of the five- to seven-year waiting period for most felons to wait to have their voting rights restored, and for restoring more of their other rights, but they don't deserve it -- felons will still have to pay court costs and fines before getting their rights restored like rights should be subject to payment, plus the people of Florida spoke and still ain't been heeded, plus felons should never have lost their right to vote in the first place! Oh, and they still won't be able to own guns, which will certainly induce more folks to suspect that the 2nd Amendment crowd is really a 2nd-Amendment-For-Whites-Only crowd.
All of America's living ex-Presidents cut an ad encouraging everyone to get a vaccine when they can -- all of them except for one manchild, that is. Mr. Trump wouldn't help cut the ad, but has left a statement "reminding" us that he's "responsible" for creating the COVID vaccines, a "reminder" that'll come as a surprise to those scientists who actually created it. How can people who strut around about their own manliness support this whiny-ass baby? Oh, wait: that question answers itself.
Mississippi Governor signs bill preventing transgender girls from competing in girls' sports. I've said it before and I'll say it again: anyone who thinks a boy will become a girl just to get an advantage in sports doesn't understand boys or girls, and not just because all transgender folk face the distinct possibility that someone'll kick the crap out of them: what boy becomes a girl to beat girls at sports and still gets to hang out and talk trash about girls with her buddies?
Finally, some good news: Iowa jury acquits Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri of "failure to disperse" and "interference with official acts" charges stemming from her coverage of a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020. Give Ms. Sahouri props for refusing to take a guilty plea on one of the misdemeanor charges and instead seeing this thing through to the bitter end -- and winning. And n.b. that the arresting officer's failure (or perhaps "failure"?) to properly preserve body camera evidence wound up figuring heavily in the verdict.