Coming Home to Roost (Just Not on Your Dinner Plate)

Good morning. Yesterday’s quote was an Obama Administration memo announcing that funding will be pulled from gain-of-function research. Today JBS meatpacking was hacked; ZipRecruiter reports 3 openings for everyone unemployed; SCOTUS rules on asylum; and the Washington Post backtracks on the lab-leak hypothesis.

Some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them.


JBS is the globe’s largest meatpacker and the latest victim of cybersecurity attacks. The presumably Russian hackers forcibly shut down its North American and Australian computer networks, shocking supply chains and disrupting service areas. The company admitted as much on Sunday, later confirmed by an email sent out to JBS employees yesterday. It remains unclear whether they will give in to the hackers’ ransom demands or buck the path taken by Colonial Pipeline last month.


The labor market is failing to recover because people are not incentivized to work. Historically high jobless rates are no indication of unavailable work—there are currently 3 jobs for every unemployed person in the United States. In some areas, that number is as high as 5 jobs, according to an analysis by the job recruitment site ZipRecruiter. This is due, in large measure, to added federal unemployment benefits above-and-beyond what states already provide, making it more profitable to stay home than to work. Though added $300-per-week benefits are set to expire on September 6, 2021, fully 25 states announced an early end to such incentives in order to encourage folks to get back to work.

Law & The Courts

Though oral arguments have wrapped up at 1 First Street, Justices at the Supreme Court are working hard to issue remaining opinions through the end of their term (typically before the Fourth of July). Consequential cases tend to be announced towards the end, too, making this an especially fruitful time in Washington. A recent case raised the question of whether federal courts may accept an asylum seeker’s testimony under the Immigration and Nationality Act after the federal Board of Immigration ruled otherwise. In a unanimous 9-0 opinion, SCOTUS overturned the 9th Circuit’s independent review as violative of the INA.

Media Spotlight

Some call it “deceptive journalism,” CBS calls “editing for clarity.” They are referring to the process of news organizations making it look like they had the right answer all along, reducing the costs of publishing false stories. And that’s exactly what the democracy-dies-in-darkness Washington Post did to its February 17, 2020, headline, which used to read: Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked. His theory suggested that COVID-19 could have originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a hypothesis that looks increasingly credible. Now it reads that Cotton repeated a “fringe theory that scientists have disputed” because writers at the Daily Caller pressedWaPo editors on the issue, prompting this correction:

Earlier versions of this story and its headline inaccurately characterized comments by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) regarding the origins of the coronavirus. The term “debunked” and The Post’s use of “conspiracy theory” have been removed because, then as now, there was no determination about the origins of the virus.

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