“In 2018, 38 bills were introduced at the state level that targeted LGBTQ+ rights in one way or another. So far this year,2 411 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced, representing an almost 11-fold increase in just five years.
The majority (53 percent) of the 2018 bills were religious exemptions, which are bills that allow people or businesses to discriminate against others based on sexual orientation or gender identity if those characteristics violate their religious beliefs. For example, a bill in Oklahoma would have allowed individuals to deny services or goods that would have been used to “promote, advertise, endorse or advocate for a specific marriage, lifestyle or behavior,” if that marriage/lifestyle/behavior went against their religious beliefs.
In recent years, though, state lawmakers have expanded their ambitions, introducing a wider variety of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. There have been bills to ban books, bills to repeal bans on conversion therapy and bills to create a religious-based legal category of marriage that excludes same-sex couples. The most common types of legislation this year have been school restrictions (which include things like limiting classroom discussions of sexuality and gender), which account for 33 percent of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 2023, and health care restrictions (such as prohibiting trans kids from receiving gender-affirming care), which account for 27 percent. By contrast, religious exemptions were down to 8 percent of the bills introduced this year.”
“The vast majority of these bills don’t become law. Between 2018 and today, 88 to 97 percent of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced did not become law. And of those that did, many have been challenged in and even overturned by the courts. But as the raw number of these bills has increased, so too has the number becoming law: In 2018, just two anti-LGBTQ+ bills were ultimately signed into law. So far this year, 51 have become law.”
“Trump has come to define who and what Republican Party activists — that is, people who volunteer for political campaigns, donate money, work for politicians, etc. — think of as conservative. Their research, for instance, found that GOP activists viewed Trump critics like former Sens. Ben Sasse and Patrick Toomey as much less conservative than their voting records in Congress indicated. Meanwhile, GOP activists viewed Trump boosters as the most reliably conservative politicians.
But Trump has also powerfully redefined what constitutes conservatism for rank-and-file Republican voters, according to my analyses of data from the Cooperative Election Survey — a massive academic survey administered by YouGov that asks over 50,000 respondents every two years to, among other things, rate politicians’ ideologies on a seven-point scale from “very liberal” to “very conservative.”
According to CES data, Republicans nationwide now view Trump as more conservative than they did immediately before the 2016 general election. On the other hand, Utah Republicans perceived Sen. Mitt Romney as a lot less conservative after his February 2020 vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial. But that decline pales in comparison to the utter evaporation of former Rep. Liz Cheney’s conservative credentials. Wyoming Republicans repeatedly rated Cheney as a solid conservative in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Yet her reputation as a stalwart conservative vanished entirely after she voted to impeach Trump in January 2021 and subsequently became one of the former president’s most vocal critics in Congress as vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — so much so, that Wyoming Republicans placed her all the way on the liberal side of the ideological spectrum in the 2022 CES.”
“The seven Republican senators who voted to convict the former president during his second impeachment trial were all rated as much less conservative than we would otherwise expect from their Senate voting records”
“in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2021, city voters passed a ballot initiative that imposed a 3 percent annual cap on rent increases without exemptions for new construction or allowances for inflation.
The result? Developers fled town en masse, walking away from already in-progress projects and canceling permit applications. The city hurriedly worked to weaken the voter-passed law.”
“Since 2013, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana have all passed legislation mandating that teachers be trained in the “science of reading”—methods that typically center around phonics, an approach in which children are taught to read words by decoding the sounds that different letters or groups of letters make. Since these policies’ implementation, reading performance in these states has dramatically improved, even though reading scores there have historically been among the lowest in the nation.”
“DeSantis wants us to believe that preventing a dietician, a property manager, or a professor from buying property in Florida, based purely on their national origin and non-immigrant status, somehow strikes a blow against “the Chinese Communist Party” and “crack[s] down on Communist China.” But it is hard to see why innocent people should suffer for the crimes of an oppressive regime they left behind.”
“If your net wealth is approximately $135,000 or more and you live in Norway, you’ve long been subject to a 0.85 percent wealth tax. That rate has, as of this year, been hiked to 1.1 percent by the center-left government, and even more gobs of cash will be taken from rich people worth roughly $1.8 million, who will be taxed at a rate of 1.3 percent.
Unfortunately for the Norwegian lefties—and their American counterparts who argue for similar taxes to be instituted here—this wealth tax hasn’t really generated the revenue they’d expected. It has instead resulted in rich people boarding their superyachts and leaving those fjords behind forevermore.
Per the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, 30 of the country’s multimillionaires and billionaires left the country last year in advance of the wealth tax hike. “This was more than the total number of super-rich people who left the country during the previous 13 years, it added,” noted The Guardian. “Even more super-rich individuals are expected to leave this year because of the increase in wealth tax in November, costing the government tens of millions in lost tax receipts.””
“The report—authored by independent journalists Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, and Alex Gutentag, and published on Substack—names Ben Hu, Yu Ping, and Yan Zhu as “three of the earliest people to become infected with SARS-CoV-2” in fall 2019. Not only did these three scientists work at the WIV, but they worked specifically on gain-of-function research; Hu in particular was considered a “star pupil” of Shi Zhengli, dubbed the “bat woman” for her work studying coronaviruses in bats.”
“The report’s authors spoke with multiple sources inside the U.S. government who provided the information. These sources, whose names were withheld to protect their anonymity, said there is little doubt that the laboratory is where the pandemic started.”
“Like a good neighbor, State Farm Insurance is warning Californians to stop living and building in high wildfire-risk zones. That is the upshot of a press release in which the insurer states that the company, as a “provider of homeowners insurance in California, will cease accepting new applications including all business and personal lines property and casualty insurance, effective May 27, 2023.” State Farm is taking this step largely because the California Department of Insurance’s system of price controls does not allow it and other insurance companies to charge premiums commensurate with the potential losses they face.
Consequently, State Farm is no longer willing to sell new homeowner insurance policies because the company calculates that it cannot cover potential losses in the face of increasing wildfire risks, fast-rising rebuilding costs, and steep increases in reinsurance rates. Higher rebuilding costs boost the values of the houses and businesses that companies currently insure.”