Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff
A Manhattan Project for AI Safety (Robert Wright & Samuel Hammond)
Sam’s Bloggingheads bona fides ... Is AI “interpretability” worth the trouble? ... Natural selection and artificial intelligence ... Are large language models absorbing human nature? ... What Sam thinks singularitarian AI doomers get wrong ... Is it time for an AI-safety Manhattan Project? ... Sam: Let a thousand GPT-4 (but not GPT-5) plug-ins bloom. ... Where are our AI safety blindspots? ...
DeSantis's and Ukraine's Incursions (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Bob quizzes Mickey on worrisome Ukraine war developments ... What could push Putin to go nuclear? ... How disastrous was the DeSantis launch really? ... DeSantis’s possible anti-Trump trump card ... Who’s losing the debt-ceiling fight? ... Parrot room preview: Soul and dual Dune reviews; the latest on Epstein-Gates; Bob’s 12 Monkeys howler; AI; simply the best of Tina Turner; Mickey delineates new immigration bills ...
Race, Reparations, and Jordan Neely (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)
John: “I love linguistics, but it no longer loves me” ... How Glenn and John are getting written out of their fields ... Jordan Neely didn’t deserve to die … ... … but the New York subway is getting scary ... Glenn: Reparations would be “impractical, unfair, and divisive in the extreme” ... A possible left-wing objection to reparations ... Glenn goes ham on reparations ...
It's Ron DeSantis Day! (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Maybe DeSantis should have skipped 2024 ... Is DeSantis all that competent? ... Should DeSantis be embracing Musk? ... Was Tim Scott's announcement any better? ...
In Defense of Crying (Robert Wright & Benjamin Perry)
The watershed moment that led Ben to write his new book, "Cry, Baby" ... Does meditation make you less emotional? ... How different socio-cultural groups feel about crying ... Why do we cry anyway? ... Transformative and performative weeping ... Putting Joel Osteen’s tears under a microscope ... How does the nature of crying change over a lifetime? ... Overtime preview: Bob’s most embarrassing adult crying experience, psychedelics and crying, and more! ... Ben delivers a benediction on crying ...
Dumping Biden, Saving DeSantis (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey’s risky quiz for Bob ... Biden, Feinstein, Fetterman: Compare and contrast ... Does DeSantis have a path to the presidency? ... Bob’s biggest takeaway from the AI hearings ... How the chip war with China makes real war more likely ... What senators should have asked OpenAI’s CEO ... Ukraine war update ... Parrot room preview: (Not much) debt deal talk; Robert Putnam essay assessed; the Thiel-Epstein and Botstein-Epstein and Chomsky-Epstein connections; an important note on inequality; examining 12 Monkeys; Tucker; new “woke-watch” items; more AI ...
Why Wokeness Is a Scam (Glenn Loury & Norman Finkelstein)
Has Norman been shut out of mainstream political debates? ... Norman’s conflict with Alan Dershowitz ... Is Israel an apartheid state? ... Identifying with Paul Robeson ... Norman’s new book, I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get to It! ... Norman: Wokeness is a “triple scam” ... What’s become of Angela Davis? ... Cornel West's chosen path ... Obama’s self-proclaimed “neat trick” ... The political intelligence of Carter, Clinton, and Obama ... South Carolina 2020: a case study in identity politics ... Would Bernie have won in 2016? ...
14th Amendment Remedy (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
How the Biden administration is fixing the immigration system ... Will Biden take the 14th? ... What's up with that Glenn Youngkin ad? ... Has Ron DeSantis gotten his groove back? ...
Is AI Anxiety Overblown? (Robert Wright & Timothy B. Lee)
Tim’s tech background and his new newsletter, Understanding AI ... Natural selection and artificial intelligence ... Why Tim is a singularity skeptic ... How exactly would AI take over? And will it even want to? ... The bad AI vs good AI arms race ... What exactly are "AI agents"? ... Why Tim is an AI job-pocalypse skeptic ... Has AI created the biggest tech hype wave ever? ... How Tim thinks AI will actually transform human life ...
Putin's prickly chef, Trump's town hall (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
The food fight within Russia’s military establishment ... Could Ukraine’s looming offensive succeed? ... The foreign policy Blob’s biggest blind spot ... Was Trump’s town hall performance a tactical blunder? ... Is DeSantis’s attack on Disney anti-democratic? ... Tucker moves to Twitter ...
The Verdict Is In (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
"Seltzer Talk" with Bill n Matt ... Why are Republicans *still* afraid of Trump? ... Don't overhype the ABC/Washington Post poll ... Why did Biden change tack on the debt limit? ... Should we take the Hunter Biden investigation seriously? ...
The Epic Failures of US Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Jeffrey Sachs)
America’s missed opportunity to create a peaceful post-Cold-War world ... The moment US foreign policy went off track ... Why didn’t the West invest in Russia’s post-Cold War recovery? ... The foreign policy Blob’s continuity across presidential administrations ... Has the American journalism gotten worse in recent decades? ...
Attack of the Drones (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Mickey deflates a DeSantis challenger ... Mickey’s ego-inflating podcast week ... Who was behind the Kremlin drone attack? ... Neocon propaganda outlet busted; Bob vindicated ... Who has the bigger beef with Neera Tanden? ... How bad was the leaked Tucker text about how “white men fight”? ... Parrot room preview: Gordon Lightfoot trivia lightning-round; adjudicating the Ed Sheeran case; new Epstein name-drops; Bob’s latest AI piece; DeSantis vs. Disney; the latest Twitter rival’s arrival; Elon’s subtle Tesla pricing strategy ...
RFK, Here to Stay? (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Matt reviews Dave Barry's new novel ... Bill argues against giving RFK Jr. serious media coverage ... Did Timothy McVeigh shape the modern Republican Party? ... Is Clarence Thomas eroding trust in the Supreme Court? ... Should you panic about the debt limit? ...
The Critical State of Israel (Robert Wright & Daniel Levy)
Israel’s many issues ... How ugly could Israel’s judicial reform crisis get? ... Are Palestinian citizens of Israel really under “apartheid”? ... The demographic and ideological sources of Israel’s instability ... If the two-state solution is dead, now what? ... How might an increasingly multipolar world affect Israel? ... Why climate change makes Israel-Palestine even more dire ...
Tucker in 2024? (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Is MSM giving cheat sheets to Biden? ... Trump says he might skip GOP debates ... Will Tucker make a run for the White House? ... Disney escalates its feud with DeSantis ... Bob: Ukraine’s looming offensive is a bad idea ...
I Feel, Therefore I Am (Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, and Mark Goldblatt)
Mark Goldblatt’s recent book, I Feel, Therefore I Am: The Triumph of Woke Subjectivism ... Wokeism’s roots in postmodern thought ... The “mysticism” of woke thinking ... Learning from Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations ... John breaks his silence on transgender issues ... The political consequences of subjectivism ... Why Mark thinks transgender people are mentally disordered ... What does the T have to do with the LGB? ... Mark: Transgender people deserve respect ... Distinguishing between strategy and reality ...
You're Fired! (Matt K. Lewis & Bill Scher)
Will Tucker Carlson's firing change Fox News, or the Republican Party? ... Does Kevin McCarthy deserve a victory lap in the media? ... Why some pro-lifers are mad at Matt ...
Russia Hawks and China Hawks (Robert Wright & John Mearsheimer)
John’s upcoming book, How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy ... Is the US to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? ... Is Putin less rational than John assumes? ... Why John is a Russia dove and a China hawk ... Does China pose a threat to freedom around the world? ... Why John thinks China’s rise threatens American security ... Has globalization made great-power peace possible? ... Should the US defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion? ...
AI Anxiety Goes Global (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
Is DeSantis done for? ... Ro Khanna for president! ... Why Cold War II makes AI scarier ... Is Twitter done for? ... How imminent is a recession, really? ... Ukraine war update ... The Blinken wrinkle in the Hunter Biden laptop story ... Parrot room preview: Mickey’s AI revelation; Can the GOP win over the college crowd?; Is Fetterman out of the woods?; Is a border crisis incoming?; The slow-burn of Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice; more on DeSantis ...