Author Archives: John Lusk

The Religious Landscape is Undergoing Massive Change. It Could Decide the 2024 Election. – POLITICO

«The other shift in American religion that may be working against the Democrats is in the state of Texas. While pundits have long believed that Texas would turn blue in the next decade — the Religion Census throws cold water on such a conjecture.

In many counties that are close to the border with Mexico, religion saw big gains between 2010 and 2020. The one that grabbed national headlines in 2020 was heavily Hispanic Zapata County. Clinton took it by 44 points in 2016, while Biden only bested Trump by 11 points in 2020. The Religion Census indicates that the share of Zapata County that was part of a congregation was 31 percent in 2010. Just 10 years later, it had risen to 65 percent


the shifts in the religious landscape make it more likely that the GOP can hold off Democratic advances in important states like Texas and Florida. As more Hispanic immigrants come to those areas who are deeply religious and culturally conservative, Democratic messaging on social issues will not appeal to these types of votes.»

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Mastodon — Crooked Timber

Via, who I knew would be a good follow. The parts I liked are here:

Or you can just go straight to

«Mastodon (or at least the bit of Mastodon that I’m familiar with) has the strengths and weaknesses of strong community. Those with the community ethos and identity fit right in, and find it not only welcoming but downright comforting. If you don’t fit in though, all that Gemeinschaftery is a whole other story. Strong communities tend to be really parochial, far more homogenous than they like to acknowledge (minor internal differences loom larger than they ought, because the internal discourse is organized around them) highly sensitive to outside criticism, and wary or hostile towards people who don’t look right.


Community is great up to a point – you want to hang out with people like you. But it also has a tendency to get insufferably narrow minded over time: the same people, rehearsing the same old arguments, and vigorously pushing to exclude outsiders who might disrupt the status quo. Exposure to different people with different viewpoints is fantastic – but all exposure all the time gets you jaded very quickly.

So what I want is moderately cohesive communities, with enough weak ties between them that ideas, arguments, memes can be generated by people very different to you, and spread to you, and that you can spread back. That itself is going to have its difficulties – the idyllic notion of communities happily engaged in mutual discovery and happy broader comity does not reflect the actual networked behavior of actual human beings.»

Wall Street is running away from the housing market. But why? | Fortune

I wonder if we’ll hear as much about this as we heard about the increase in institutional home-buying a year or two ago.

Just like we hear as much about gas price decreases as we do increases.

«The reason: The financial return on each additional home added just isn’t that great right now after factoring in interest rates, house prices, and rents. Plus, some big investors think that national house prices, despite jumping a bit this spring, are poised for another step down.»

State-controlled media engagement rising on Twitter as NPR and PBS exit

(That’s Russian, Chinese, and Iranian state media.) 🔗 – RT Musk Twitter’s removal of “state-controlled” labels has given a marked boost to the reach of RT and other propaganda channels. Look at how the trend reversed! Great work by Alyssa Kann/@DFRLab. 🐦🔗: