Welcome back. Let’s do the news, but make it fun.
→ Biden popularity back in doldrums: Our president is back in the low popularity zone he’s found himself in a few times during his term—with 55 percent disapproving and 45 percent approving. He also showed up this week to a press event with deep strap marks across his face: He’s using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, his team explained. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris is now the least popular vice president in history, with 39 percent of Americans saying their view of her is “very negative.”
Not that the alternatives are faring much better. How about Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the gravelly-voiced scion, the 69-year-old who really can do an alarming number of pushups? He’s dominating news cycle after news cycle, but his numbers are dropping. A new 2024 New Hampshire Democratic primary poll shows Joe Biden at 68 percent; Robert Kennedy Jr. at 9 percent; and Marianne Williamson at 8 percent. (Hi, Marianne! I’d vote for you!) Earlier this month, Kennedy was polling at 17 percent.
And so it seems that Kennedy’s campaign isn’t quite hitting the right notes. As Semafor’s Dave Weigel explains, some people might be still annoyed about Covid but they’re not really focusing rage on the vax: “The term ‘silent majority’ gets thrown around a lot, but there’s definitely a silent majority of people who got vaccinated, said ‘okay it’s over,’ put the masks in a drawer, and never talked about it again.”
The rasping warble of RFK Jr.’s voice on podcast after podcast in my house (of horrors) has effectively weaseled its way into my mind enough that I’m in the anxious-avoidant stage with vaccines, where I tell the pediatrician don’t tell me what shots you’re giving, just do it fast. I myself just got the chickenpox vaccine and now keep asking people if my eyes are twitching. I’m not saying I’m necessarily against an RFK Jr. presidency, but I am saying that his impact on me (a conspiracy theorist) is so far very bad.
→ “I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father”: That’s what Hunter Biden texted a Chinese businessman, while demanding $10 million. A Maltese bank where one of his business enterprises had an account was shut down in 2018 after the government suspected it of money laundering. I was trying to understand that and came upon this hilariously cryptic PBS headline from a couple of months ago: “Republicans are using financial records to investigate Hunter Biden. Here’s how.” The story doesn’t explain what was found, instead focusing on the process, implying that it’s maybe shady to use financial records to investigate financial crimes. Thank God we fund this important work.
Meanwhile an IRS whistleblower, Gary Shapley, has come out to say that his work on the Hunter Biden case was obstructed and that he was blocked from pursuing leads into the person Hunter called “dad” or “the big guy.” They were right to pump the brakes on Gary’s rather nosy tendencies. “Dad”? That could be ANYONE. What’s next, going after the guy for locking in some defense contracts in exchange for some time with “Papa” or “Daddy Dearest” or “My dad the president, Joe Biden?” What are we, a banana republic?
Here is what Shapley said to CBS News: “We have to make sure as a special agent for IRS Criminal Investigation that we treat every single person exactly the same. And that just simply didn’t happen here.”
I just wish there was a single mainstream media outlet that could explain this all to me in a sophisticated fact-based way because it looks bad. But, also, addicts say all kinds of things. (Ed note: The Free Press is working on a breakdown of all the Hunter Biden allegations.)
Last note: Hunter was apparently kicked out of LA’s best sex club, according to the club’s founder (who himself has now been ousted for tattling on Hunter). Why anyone would believe the founder of a sex club wouldn’t sell you out for a headline is beyond me. That’s why I have to be monogamous.
→ Affirmative action has been struck down: The Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions on Thursday, ending a decades-long battle. If you’re upset about this, I wouldn’t worry. Schools will find a way (to ensure that Asian students don’t succeed too much). In the court’s decision you’ll find the line: “nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life.” In a response to the decision, Harvard cites that exact carve-out, while noting that they will “certainly comply with the court’s decision.” So there can’t literally be a big minus-10 for children of Indian descent. But all the Korean kids will just get very bad marks for their essays, you see. Harvard finds a way (to keep out Asians). For those applying to schools this upcoming college admissions cycle, make sure to include anecdotes about your lived experiences making pupusas with your abuela, regardless of your race.