Thursday Edition



As the White House moves to accommodate pro-Palestine advocates in the U.S., new polling shows American voters overwhelmingly stand with Israel. (The Jerusalem Post)

A new Harvard-Harris survey found support for Israel has increased slightly (2%) from January, despite widespread media scrutiny about the Palestinian death toll.

  • 68% of respondents said Israel is actively trying to avoid civilian casualties in its war against Hamas.

  • Only 33% of voters favor an unconditional cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, while 2 in 3 voters support a cease-fire only after Hamas is fully removed from power and releases all hostages.

In the wake of pressure from progressive activists, President Biden (who has been outspoken in backing Israel) has intensified his calls for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine. Earlier this week, Biden said he hoped to see a deal reached by Monday. Hamas officials said Tuesday they weren’t interested in the proposal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responding to Biden’s cease-fire calls: “Since the beginning of the war, I have been leading a political campaign aimed at counteracting pressures intended to end the war prematurely, and on the other hand, to gain support for Israel.”

The pro-Palestine faction in the U.S. might be small, but it could have an outsized impact in a close 2024 presidential election. More than 100,000 “uncommitted” votes were cast in protest of Biden’s pro-Israel stance during Tuesday’s Michigan Democratic primary. Some polls show Donald Trump leading in Michigan, which Biden won by less than a 3% margin in 2020.


A majority of Americans disagree with a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that treats frozen embryos from in vitro fertilization as children, meaning people could face legal consequences for destroying them. (Axios)

66% somewhat or strongly oppose the idea that frozen embryos should be considered people and that those who destroy them should be held legally responsible, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

  • 82% of Democrats disagree with the court’s ruling, compared to less than half (49%) of Republicans.

  • 35% of Americans have personal experience with IVF.

Already reeling from post-Roe backlash, the all-GOP Alabama court’s ruling puts Republicans in a tougher spot when it comes to messaging on reproductive rights. Support for abortion access has approached record-highs following Roe v. Wade being overturned in 2022. GOP strategists fear the issue could motivate turnout among Democrats.

The GOP is arguably sending mixed signals. Donald Trump, the likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee, forcefully expressed his support for IVF following the Alabama Supreme Court decision. Speaker Mike Johnson has also come out in support of IVF, despite backing legislation declaring that life begins at conception.

Technology, especially phones, have contributed to the decline of the American attention span. (New York Post)

According to research conducted by the University of California at Irvine, the average time we’re able to stay focused on one digital screen before switching to the next has steadily decreased.

  • 2004: 2.5 minutes

  • 2012: 75 seconds

  • Today: 47 seconds

Media consumption habits reflect our reduced attention spans. TikTok, the world’s most downloaded app in 2023, has accelerated a trend toward short-form video. One of X/Twitter’s big innovations was to limit posts to 140 characters (that restriction’s since been removed). Average movie and TV shot lengths have been getting shorter for decades.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Daniel Glazer: “Some key aspects of popular apps seem uniquely suited to scatter focus — like variable reward schedules, micro-dosing of dopamine, and purposefully addictive designs optimized to maximize engagement over well-being.”

A comprehensive analysis of public education resources in all 50 states found school spending on staff other than teachers is significantly outpacing student enrollment. (Reason Foundation)

Chart: Reason Foundation

From 2002 to 2020, school funding per student rose 25%, from $12,852 to $16,065, adjusted for inflation. In large part, that extra money is being used for employee benefits and administrators.

  • Non-teaching staff jumped 20%, while student enrollment went up just 6.6%.

  • Spending on employee benefits increased by 78.6%, which is about $1,499 per student.

One place that money isn’t going is teacher salaries, which have decreased slightly (0.6%) over the past two decades.

The study found no conclusive evidence that more funding leads to better educational outcomes. The U.S. spends more per pupil than the vast majority of wealthy nations.

Reason Foundation researchers: “Comparing real funding growth between 2003 and 2019 and NAEP score results did not reveal a clear or consistent relationship. For instance, New York had the largest increase in per-student funding but its scores were largely flat, including declines in both 4th and 8th grade reading. In comparison, Arizona ranked near the bottom in per-student funding growth but saw NAEP score gains across all subjects, including large improvements for its low-income students.”


The amount of wealth you need to be considered a part of the 1% in America is now $5.8 million, 15% higher than it was a year ago. (Bloomberg)

Source: Knight Frank, Wealth Report 2024

Monaco has the highest entry for the top 1% at $12.8 million. The wealth gap between rich and poor countries is growing, with Monaco's GDP per person roughly 900 times higher than Burundi's. The 500 wealthiest people in the world increased their net worth by $1.5 trillion in 2023.

At least part of the story has been the “K-shaped” nature of economic recovery following the pandemic. Both within the U.S. and globally, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

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