Tuesday Edition



Pro-Palestine activists are ramping up the pressure on President Biden as the rest of the country’s support for Israel starts to wane. (AP)

Biden is facing criticism from within his own party for backing Israel amid a rising death toll in Gaza, and protesters continue to interrupt his speeches and events. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., told supporters on Saturday to protest Biden’s pro-Israel policies by voting against him in Michigan’s upcoming presidential primary. Biden has been more critical of Israel’s military response lately and reportedly urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire.

Multiple recent polls have shown U.S. enthusiasm for Israel’s war on Hamas is fading. A new AP-NORC poll found half of Americans think Israel's 15-week military operation in Gaza has gone too far, with disapproval rising among independents and Republicans. A Morning Consult poll from January found nearly 60% of American voters are in favor of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, up from 53% in November.

Source: AP-NORC

On the other hand, 80% of Americans support Israel over Hamas. And only 26% of Americans want to reduce military aid to Israel, according to a Harvard-Harris X poll from January.


Laws aimed at limiting teachers’ classroom conversations about race and gender have had spillover effects into states where the restrictions haven’t been enacted, according to a new RAND Corporation survey. (EducationWeek)

Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act (also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law) and similar laws have led to two-thirds of teachers nationwide choosing not to talk about political and social issues in class.

  • 55% of teachers not facing state or local restrictions still choose to limit their discussions.

RAND Corp. researchers: [Teachers] said that they were afraid of upsetting parents and felt uncertain about whether their school or district leaders would support them if parents expressed concerns.”

A big debate has erupted between educators and parents who want more say over what their children are taught. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has led a charge against sexually explicit and ideological curriculums in public schools.

Here’s a pretty graphic excerpt from “This Book Is Gay,” which was stocked in a Florida middle school library before being banned: “Oral sex is popping another dude’s peen in your mouth or, indeed, popping yours in his. There is only hard and fast rule when it comes to blowjobs — WATCH THE TEETH. Lips and tongue, yes; teeth, NO.”

Critics worry laws like the Parental Rights in Education Act go too far. One Florida principal was fired last year after sixth-grade students in her school were shown a picture of Michelangelo’s David statue as part of an art history class.

Conservatives say artificial intelligence chatbots are being trained using “partisan media ratings firms,” reflecting broader concerns about liberal bias in the media. (Media Research Center)

The right-leaning Media Research Center on what happened after its researchers asked the latest version of the popular chatbot ChatGPT to list the five best and worst news sources in the U.S.: “The newest version of GPT-4 refused to list the five worst news sources, claiming such a task can be ‘highly’ subjective. Instead, the chatbot directed users to leftist so-called media ratings firms Ad Fontes and NewsGuard. … its directive for users to utilize Ad Fontes’s infamous Media Bias Chart and NewsGuard’s ratings system made it clear which outlets the large language model was programmed to consider unacceptable.”

Both Ad Fontes and Newsguard tend to rate conservative media sites as less credible than liberal ones. NewsGuard gives left-wing sites an average credibility rating of 91%, compared to 65% for right-leaning sites. Ad Fontes gives conservative outlets an average credibility score of 32%, while left-leaning media averages 64%.

Even chatbots designed to be friendlier to conservatives have shown liberal bias. Last year, Elon Musk created Grok, an “anti-woke” chatbot. But a 2023 study of Grok and ChatGPT’s responses found they share a similarly liberal political orientation. “I think both ChatGPT and Grok have probably been trained on similar Internet-derived corpora, so the similarity of responses should perhaps not be too surprising,” researcher David Rozado told the Washington Post in December.

A study published this month in the academic journal Management Science suggests political contributions and charitable giving “satisfy the same psychological needs.” (Management Science)

Researchers found Red Cross donations in the six weeks following a natural disaster increased by 35%. During the same time period, political donations dropped by nearly 19%. The results were similar when the research team looked at IRS and Catholic Relief Services data.

Researchers also investigated whether increases in political donations affect how much people give to charity. They found that for each 1% bump in political donations, there was a 0.59% drop in donations to the Red Cross.

It looks like Americans are slowly shifting their donations from charities to politics. The share of U.S. adults donating to politicians doubled between 1992 and 2016, going from 6% to 12%. Meanwhile, the percentage who donate to charity has declined.


While spending on defense, including aid to Ukraine and Israel, is grabbing most of the headlines and controversy these days, America spends much more on social programs. (Pew Research Center)

Manhattan Institute senior fellow Brian Riedl: “Why do people think most spending goes on defense & [international] aid? Because Congress is spending 6 months tearing itself apart over a $95 billion Ukraine/Israel bill. Meanwhile, Washington will spend $3,050 billion on [Social Security], Medicare, & Medicaid with zero votes and scant coverage.”

Based on 2022 data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, U.S. social spending is 22% of GDP. That’s slightly above the OECD average of 21%. U.S. spending on defense currently sits below 3%.

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