2:00PM Water Cooler 8/29/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this is a genuinely open thread; I had to finish my post on the Times, which made me so angry I could hardly think straight. And then I must go run errands, and so this will remain short. –lambert UPDATE Since today’s errands were a debacle, tomorrow’s Water Cooler will be thin, too. Sorry!

Today’s big story is Andrew Gillum’s come from behind victory in the Democrat gubernatorial primary in Florida. The Times:

On Tuesday, Mr. Gillum, 39, became the first black nominee for Florida governor, achieving a stunning and improbable come-from-behind win over four wealthy Democratic challengers whose personal fortunes proved no match for Mr. Gillum’s compelling life story and progressive message.

Mr. Gillum’s upset victory mirrors neighboring Georgia, where Stacey Abrams defied expectations by easily securing the Democratic nomination in a bid to become the nation’s first black female governor. The November governor’s race in Florida will pit Mr. Gillum, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and with Bernie Sanders this month, against Representative Ron DeSantis, who dominated the Republican primary by embracing the policies and style of President Trump.

Gillum does promise to “fight for” “Senator Sanders’ Medicare for All plan,” which is good. And I prefer Gillum to the hackish and dynastic Gwen Graham, and the squillionaire running, too. However, this concerns me. From Politico:

Gillum lacked the resources of his primary opponents, which also included former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, both of whom used tens of millions of dollars of their personal wealth to fuel their campaigns. Gillum often quipped that he was the only person in the Democratic primary who was not a millionaire.

But he has consistently been the most charismatic and dynamic speaker in the Democratic primary. He captured the hearts of grassroots activists, young people and voters of color, but his campaign was also buoyed by national Democratic donors like Tom Steyer and George Soros. Those two and entities directly tied to them accounted for nearly half of the $4.3 million Gillum raised through his political community.

Ugh. I don’t like campaigns that “capture the hearts of grassroots activists” (whatever that means, and whoever they are) and are at the same time funded by squillionaires. With enough funding, you can simulate anything, even (given a compliant press) a grassroots campaign. (Well, Clinton couldn’t, but her campaign was a thousand-year-flood of incompetence and malign neglect.)

Off to run errands. Talk amongst yourselves.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Timotheus):

Timotheus writes: “Heavy and constant rains have led to the appearance of these giant fungi in our local park.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. ambrit

      Fungi being honourary plants, those in the antidote are, shall I say, of a reality distorting nature. (Some of the more ‘experienced’ among us will say that the fungi in question, not being from Yuggoth, alas, actually return the ingester to the “real” ‘reality.)
      There must be some cow manure in that soil.

  1. John k

    Don’t like hearing Sorus funded Gillum, but seems he was far outspent, so either smarter or really manages to energize voters. More encouraging if he is getting multi ethnic votes a la Obama otherwise won’t win the general, and in spite of Soros this is desirable, with Putnam out the trump backed rep is really repugnant. Wonder if some Putnam supporters in central Fl sit this one out…
    Also good for Bernie to get credit helping a Black win in the south, will help him win the primary… not least if Gillum is gov.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Policy should override Soros funding.

      Is he for taxing billionaires like Soros with a wealth tax?

      Will he be for breaking up corporations that are too big?

      Perhaps more federal level issues, instead of state level, but still interesting to know if he will support and help.

        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Policy should override…

          And therein lies the paradox of democracy. We live in a time where the systems of life support we demand and depend on require technocrats, with constancy of approach and implementation, and who are immune to ideologies.

          However the way democracies operates currently, the last thing the average political leader wants to talk about is policy detail, let alone about how it could or should be implemented.

          Voters as a whole have have no idea of the complexity of the technology and government functions that support their current lifestyle*, so how can they make informed political decisions?


          *The educated elite have problems keeping up too. – Did Truman know of the atomic bomb before the grim reaper ensured his propulsion into a position of real power? – A glaring example of ignorance indeed, but who has the mental capacity to take it all in?

          1. Donna

            Living in Florida I have been following the story of Gillum for some time now. Although the establishment tried to tar and feather him with an FBI investigation, for now he has escaped being linked criminally. I sent him a few dollars early on then heard he had taken money from Soros so I dropped him like a hot potato. But, then last week Bernie came to town and my husband and I were able to attend the rally. Gillum is aligned with some good people who were on stage with him. An extremely progressive LGBTQ man who was elected to the Florida House after the Pulse Murders. Carlos Quillermo Smith was enthusiastically progressive. Aramis Ayalla, the new DA from Orlando who pushed back against the death penalty, also spoke. Gillum didn’t run on Medicare lite or on $15 an hour lite. He absolutely spelled it out just the way Bernie did. So, then I was back on his bandwagon. I voted for him and managed to get several others to sign on too. It remains to be seen how he would govern. But, he certainly sounds like one of the good ones. I hope he gets the chance to show us what he is made of. I also think his coattails might actually help the Republican-lite Bill Nelson hold onto his seat.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I forget which corporate magnate it was from the 19th century, but the guy said something that went like this: I know half my advertising dollars are wasted. I just don’t know what half.

      The Clinton machine is terrible at spending money. The few times during the 2016 election I even glanced at MSDNC I was inundated with mindless Clinton ads between the non-stop Clinton infomercial. This money spent to make the MSDNC crowd feel good meant money that wasn’t spent on organizers in urban Ohio where HRC really mucked up compared to Obama.

      For most campaigns, the biggest problem is name ID, awareness of the election, and having the resources to support the early staff one needs to begin the organizing efforts. Blasting television ads a month before the election to claim someone who has never been in the communities where the votes are has a nice family simply won’t work.

      1. DJG

        Supposedly John Wanamaker of the Philadelphia department-store empire: As his Wikipedia entry puts it:

        A popular saying illustrating how difficult it was to qualify the response to advertising is attributed to Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”[27]

    3. Tomonthebeach

      Like the song “Charlie Brown” Soros must wonder; “Whyiz everybody alwayz picken on me?” when all he wants to do is encourage a civil society.

        1. Jean

          His “Open Society” is open to parasitic plunderers like him who made a fortune betting against the Pound.

          Anything or anyone he touches or funds is suspect.

  2. dcblogger

    In the unlikely event that Kerris Harris and Cynthia Nixon win their primaries Biden will be finished (he is already finished, but even Biden will have to acknowledge it) and the Democratic establishment will be shaken to its core.

    Yves, how do you see the NY Gubernatorial primary? What about the other New Yorkers here? Anyone from Delaware?

    1. John k

      Friend from Ny says Cynthia doesn’t have a chance, hope he’s wrong. Would certainly shake up the neolibs.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The New Yorker on DSA and Nixon. This leaped out:

        During the Sanders campaign, a set of cultural notions about young socialists, and political millennials in general, set in. Consciously or not, the D.S.A.’s electoral committees seem intent on rebuking* them. If socialists were supposed to be white men—Bernie bros—then the candidates would be young women of color. If some young socialists were supposed to be airy and idealistic, then the D.S.A. would be cold-eyed and tactical. If others, like Sanders, were understood to be dyspeptic and rigid, then the candidates would be expressive and hopeful. If young socialists were supposed to be nihilistic, then they would try hard to win.

        I’ve helpfully underlined the lack of agency for a narrative the liberal goodthinkers at the New Yorker did so much to construct.

        I should link to The Howler more. He’s still pounding away at the coal-face.

        NOTE * “Rebuke” is an extremely Beltway word.

    2. PKMKII

      Nixon’s a long shot. Cuomo simply has too much leverage over too much of the Democratic party politics, and Nixon hasn’t done enough focusing on upstate voters.

      The more likely progressive victory in NY would be Zephyr Teachout winning the AG race. She just picked up endorsements from the NY Times and Daily News, her resume is more relevant to the job than James’ and she has more of an upstate appeal.

      1. bob

        “Nixon hasn’t done enough focusing on upstate voters”

        When has upstate ever decided anything in NYS? It never has. Look at the primary maps from 2016-


        The dem primary for gov will be decided where it always is decided — inside NYC dem machine

        The dem machine does seem to be changing, from my vantage point, but maybe not enough to rebuff the Cuomo/Clinton aristocracy.

          1. bob

            Cuomo opens eulogizing McCain. “NY will lower flags, whatever DC does.”

            Trainwreck already. Nixon going after Putin

            1. Pat

              Cuomo cut the state budget for the MTA right after the last fare increase. Of course he does…

              Not sure either of them came out of that ahead. But I despise Cuomo so I can’t say that I’m not biased.

              And the commercial that follows it and was repeated at least twice with Nixon stumping for Cuomo has got to hurt.

              I do think Nixon should start asking how much New Yorkers want to pay for a Governor to spend his time campaigning for President since Cuomo clearly thinks he is running against Trump. (Unfortunately I’m pretty sure there are still people who haven’t figured it out and should begin to understand what Cuomo is really interested in.)

              1. bob

                They both want some version of “congestion pricing”.

                Who WANTS congestion pricing? Neoliberal claptrap. Insurgent pols must resist the urge to wonk around at this technocratic level. Loosing playing field. Advantage to the incumbent because they are able to monopolize time from a standpoint of “reality” and “experience”.

                Nixon also missed a big opportunity early to link Cuomo to Trump and NYC RE with the “LLC loophole”.

                Instead- Russia!

          2. bob

            Moderator had Nixon on her back feet more than Cuomo did, funny that

            She settled in, did better than I thought she would. Got a few very good jabs in.

            Cuomo looked like the bully he is.

            1. bob

              The most telling part of the debate is the final question in which the moderator asked if Nixon, being supportive of DSA, would forgo taking a salary as gov. She said yes.

              Very odd timing to the wrap up and lends a lot of credence to the moderator and questions being favorable to Cuomo. No question about if Cuomo would be gov without a salary.

              Will try to find a clip of it

              1. Pat

                Did Maurice choose not to ask it OR was it lost because of Cuomo choosing to attack her corporate tax entity again?

                For me, the tell that the moderators were told to allow Cuomo all the leeway was in that he was continually allowed to revisit previous topics rather than answering the question at hand.

                1. bob

                  And the moderator didn’t admonish Cuomo for seeking input from the crowd. “labor”

                  Why is “labor” behind someone who is against their ability to strike?

            2. Pat

              I did like the line about a real progressive state rather than a faux one. Especially since that came after Dubrow threw her under that labor/union truck. She largely bounced back for the end.
              (I also think that Cuomo harping on the taxes was not as effective as he obviously thought it was.)

            3. david lamy

              Yes, that cheap shot about how can a parent discourage drug use if marijuana is legal?
              Nixon missed a chance to say simply, just as a parent would discourage drinking despite Johnny Walker scotch adds on the TV.
              I thought that (I wish Future Governor) Nixon picked up steam as the debate progressed and hammered Cuomo about single payer health care, the MTA, education and housing, the Democrat deserters in the State Senate, the Tappan Zee bridge and the misallocation of State Police and the overspending on ‘law and order’.
              Cuomo came off as a bully and a typical ‘fighting for _’ and ‘find a way to pay for _’ and ‘we should study _’ neoliberal democrat.

              1. bob

                Maurice “won’t anyone think of the children?!?” DuBois

                The children of House Cuomo and House Kennedy are safe. They are “older now”.

    3. G

      Been working the phones for KEH in Delaware and I’m optimistic. I don’t know if she’s captured enough of the state to beat Carper but there are lots of people excited about her.

      1. dcblogger

        THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that phone banking is the most difficult work in politics.

    4. timotheus

      Teachout has a better shot, but nothing is set in stone these days. Big debate tonight. Cuomo is hated upstate. Did I mention corrupt? And the subway sucks.

      OTOH Nixon is not great on the stump; AOC tore up her district with a hefty platoon of volunteers, but NYS is a lot bigger.

      The good news is that a lot of the IDC state senators (Dem turncoats who caucus with the Republicans to give them control of the upper chamber) are likely to be ousted.

    5. david lamy

      According to Cuomo campaign literature in my daily mail, he is running against Donald Trump.
      I do not know if these mailers are uniform throughout the state. For me, my home is considered a NYC suburb for census statistics, election demographics and polling as well as a legal residence for NYC fire fighters and police, but long time New York residents would consider that I live upstate.
      One thing I do notice is an utter lack of yard signs indicating support for either Nixon or Cuomo. I am probably going to make my own Nixon sign and put it in my yard which is on a residential street that has a lot of traffic.
      My expectation is that she does a little better than Teachout did 4 years prior due to the woeful state of the NY Metro which will get her a higher percentage in the city.

    6. BobWhite

      I vote in Delaware, and already voted for KEH by absentee ballot.
      There was a debate on Monday night between Carper and Harris. I did not see it, but it sounds like she did well.
      She also has the support of AOC and her team, as well as some Sanders campaign people.
      Will have to see if that translates to a victory…

      Link to debate video here:

      Link to some debate quotes here:

  3. edmondo

    Quick question: If Trump is such a great negotiator, why did he pay $150,000 for a roll in the hay that anyone with the inclination and a bankroll could get for $500?

    Also, isn’t it fitting that the Democrats now think a lawyer who represents prostitutes is a stepping stone for the Democratic nomination for president? Not sure if I am talking about Michael Avannatti or Eric Holder and definitely not sure which is the whore and which is the lawyer. Politics is so confusing sometimes.

    1. Beniamino

      The payment wasn’t for the sex, it was for the agreement not to disclose the sex, but yeah, wasted money in any event.

    2. RobertCvn

      The $150k was to buy exclusive rights to the story, which was then killed.. I know of no one, other than you, who thinks that was payment for sex!

      And she is an “Adult Entertainment” actress, not a prostitute. Huuuge difference.

      1. ambrit

        Oscar Wilde demolished the ‘difference’ between licit and illicit cohabitations in the famous exchange with the Society Matron. Whenever money is introduced into a relationship, ethics goes to the wall.
        I assume, a danger fraught enterprise, that you are being ironic in your ultimate sentence.

    1. sleepy

      What? The media’s demanding both candidates move to the middle to capture the independents. Guess DeSantis didn’t get the memo. Hopefully Gillum doesn’t get it either.

    2. ambrit

      All in the long storied manner of the late lamented Florida Representative Claude Pepper.
      Expect this one to go very nasty. Something along the lines of: “Gillum reported to slather yak butter on naughty nubile newts!” Campaign aide Fink-Nottle reveals all!


    Gillum getting funding from the squillionaires is cause for concern, although it may, ultimately, be a good sign. Perhaps they’re realizing that they’re better off with their capital getting restrained in a SocDem/DemSoc system like in Western Europe, than with the stagnancy of the neoliberal agenda or the chaotic conservative one.

    Speaking of which, not more than 24 hours into the race for the general election and already his republican opponent, Ron DeSantis, has gone full chud:

    The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. That’s not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.


    1. neo-realist

      As potentially good a candidate as Andrew Gillum may be, I’m concerned that the Florida electorate will eventually fall prey to GOP 101 playbook race shenanigans, i.e., the Jesse Helms v. Harvey Gantt campaign, and go with the safe, though racist and dumb, white guy, over a black governor with power over white lives. That being said, I hope the Gillum wages a ferocious ground game with a strong emphasis on the districts that may not necessarily vote for a democratic candidate; wage a strong voter registration campaign; plus watch the state government for how they handle registered black people and the vote count in November.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Too soon to say. If he fails when Obama carried Florida in 2008 and 2012, I still believe the wrong conclusion to make is that Gillum is not neoliberal enough, or it’s his race.

        1. neo-realist

          Keep in mind that since the Obama victories, that the republicans have dramatically upped their disenfranchisement game with respect to black voters and other potential democratic constituencies, e.g., students, new immigrants. Obama was also a uniquely charismatic politician who charmed a wide swath of people outside of democratic constituencies. It is a little too soon at this time, but looking at past electoral history besides Obama, blacks, unfortunately, have mostly struggled in winning statewide office in this country.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are all apes, taxonomically speaking.

      That it is an insult, a degrading stereotype, agreed by all sides, is evidence of our self-hate, no?

      The claim, “I’m proud to be an atheist,” for example, implies certain assumptions. One of which is that not all believe being one is a negative, whereas, if being an atheistic is shameful, the one being called would retort, ‘you’re insulting me. I’m not.’

      Would one way to fight the dark history associated with that term be to say, ‘Apes are not as murderous or destructive as humans?’

  5. JacobiteInTraining

    I inoculated shiitake spores into a ton of piled 6′-lengthed alder logs up at my mountain compound early in spring….2 weeks after the alders were felled, such that any native anti-fungal properties of the trees were hopefully gone.

    Then, after pounding in the shiitake plugs and waxing them shut, I did my best to spray water on ’em thru the hot parts of the summer….although I have a limit to how often I can hang out up there, and how much water I can spray, so I’m sure moisture wasn’t optimum.

    The variety I chose was a cold-hardy variety that supposedly takes a longer to finally ‘fruit’ then other shiitakes, so the notes say they probably wont do anything thru this wet fall, prob not til spring.

    *crosses fingers*

    Its my first time though, so I’ll probably be dissapointed. I’ll get some more alders down, though, and get the next set ready to go – maybe some oyster mushrooms, and/or portobellos next….

    1. tomk

      It took mine, in oak logs, a good year and a half before significant production. When they’re ready, a 24 hr soak in a kid’s pool or similar will get them going. Well worth it, I just picked some young wild puffballs, about to fry them up.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Mmmmm, yum yum! :)

        I gotlazy and haven’t gotten the kids pool, but thats a good reminder….I could still do that (or else, have ready when the time is right) since that helps minimize the water required. I have rainwater tank for drinking water, and several bigger tanks for drip irrigation pulled from the seasonal creek….but that only goes so far when sprayed through a hose….

        Other then that, I just depend on the vagaries of the clouds and weather.

      2. ChrisPacific

        I hadn’t realized puffballs were edible. They pop up all over the place here after rain.

        Wikipedia informs me that they are easily confused with immature Amanitas, so I’m guessing it’s an activity for the expert.

    2. taunger

      Any reason alders? I missed my chance at innoculating at the optimal time this year, and put if off till spring 2019. I was planning on using maple logs, but I have plenty of alder I could use too.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Well, they are the only hardwoods I have are alders….so by default I guess! :) (barring a single maple thats big and I wouldn’t want to cut down of course)

        Other then that all I have are western hemlocks, cedars, and doug firs…none of which are good for shrooms, or so I was led to believe. The local experts told me alder and maple were both good.

        1. blennylips

          Pardon, but this is the perfect place to drop a book reference, seemingly never mentioned on NC before, I give you

          The Mushroom at the End of the World
          On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins
          Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

          A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction.



  6. L

    I must say I will take someone who energizes the base on the cheap over someone who buys their way to a “meh” victory. At least by arguing for the things we want in the general he can move the Overton Window rather than cower desperately in the assumed crosshairs.

    1. Carolinian

      I don’t have an Iphone but airplane mode is supposed to turn off the cell radio entirely sez Google. Perhaps that is wrong?

      The story does say that T mobile refunded the money after news reports. The charges occurred during an airplane ride from Vietnam.

        1. pretzelattack

          i dunno, i see it as a struggle between giant swamp creatures, invasive pythons and domestic red and blue alligators. i simply wouldn’t bet because i don’t know enough to handicap it.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Not great. Even worse on Brexit, but they are in illustrious company on both counts. It’s not the picture, but it’s part of the picture. Setting odds via betting is emotional but no less so than polling data I’d reckon.

  7. boz


    This may have already been linked earlier in the year, but is essentially a five-part series of thoughts on where geopolitics is going. Key standouts for me:

    – Part 3: helped me understand more about how USD is used as a weapon, I guess “hostile economics”?

    – Part 4: got me thinking about new political paradigms. My thinking is essentially down the line of crowd-sourced legislation, aided by legaltech AI, question is how does it get executed? Party political democracy now obsolete…

    Any NC readers able to suggest further reading on either hostile economics or post-party political paradigm?

    1. JohnnyGL

      I took a quick look. There were some interesting points on geopolitics, but the case for USD ceasing to be the reserve currency was lackluster. The author bothered to waste electrons on the idea that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could play a role. Crypto is about as important to currency markets as collecting stamps or baseball cards.

    1. ambrit

      But will the Detroit Public Schools put filters on the water supplies to the cafeteria kitchens? This is just as important. Or have the schools there given up on student nutrition? I ask this because the school cafeterias supply the only reliable meals a lot of the poorer students have access to. Around here, the “poor kid’s breakfast” is a staple in the public schools.

  8. DonCoyote

    Here’s a race you (rightly) don’t care much about: The Arizona Republican primary for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    I bring it up only because I like close races, and this one, as of this morning (can’t find anything more recent) is a doozy:

    Superintendent of Public Instruction – R — 1,166 of 1,489 precincts reporting (78%)
    Frank Riggs [R] 94,599 22%
    Diane Douglas [R] 92,802 22%
    Bob Branch [R] 93,684 22%
    Tracy Livingston [R] 85,701 20%
    Jonathan Gelbart [R] 63,023 15%

    Yes, three candidates tied at 22%, with the incumbent (Diane Douglas) running 3rd but less than 1800 votes behind the leader.

    OK, I lied when I said “only because I like close races”. I think this race is symbolic. Symbolic of what, I’m still pretty confused about. But symbolic of something.

    Diane Douglas, despite running as a Tea party anti-Common Core wingnut, actually won her Republican primary over the incumbent, John Huppenthal. Now a lot of this had to do with how bad of a person Huppenthal turned out to be (Short version: It came out he was using multiple aliases on blogs to support himself and bash his opponents while being openly racist). In the general, she pretty much refused to campaign or garner publicity. A lot of local Republicans endorsed her Democratic opponent, David Garcia (because neo-libs of whatever political stripe love them some Common Core). Nevertheless, she won by less than a percent {note similarities to Trump/HRC two years later}.

    The Daily Kos (the last link above) had this to say about here win:

    What happens when a state elects a superintendent of public instruction who opposes public education?

    Most states would prefer to avoid finding out, but Arizona voters — ever intrepid when it comes to self-destruction — just can’t stand the idea that our schools don’t quite rank 50th out of the 50 states, so let’s finish our sprint to the bottom!

    I.e., they thought she was the first coming of Betsy DeVos (two years before Betsy Devos). There was even a petition to recall her started the day after she won. But the petition failed, and Diane Douglas turned out to be not as crazy as expected (which I think would be a good slogan for her in the general if she prevails in this contested primary: “Diane Douglas: Not As Crazy As Expected”).

    Anyway, I’ve rambled too long already, so let me try to wrap it up with a few conclusions (that may or may not be symbolic):

    1) Five Republicans in that race. Five! So Team-D is not the only willing to primary incumbents. If Trump makes it that far, look for serious(?) primary challenges in 2020.
    2) The current leader, Riggs, is a big charter school guy. (Because, besides Common Core, neoliberals hate public and love charter schools).
    3) The candidate that Diane Douglas beat in the general despite not campaigning was David Garcia. The same David Garcia, whoas of of yesterday, is the Arizona Democratic candidate for governor in 2018. Because, you know, for Democrats winning isn’t important (as long as you resist), and second place is almost as good as first.
    4) As goes Arizona, so goes the nation two years later. So watch this obscure race, watch the Arizona general election in a couple of months, and ponder the implications for 2020: (“Kanye West: Not As Crazy As Expected”?)

  9. Summer

    “Ugh. I don’t like campaigns that “capture the hearts of grassroots activists”

    Expect more candidates that seem like they were computer generated during an ad agency’s marketing meeting.

      1. Lee

        This comment was not meant to be posted as a reply to the comment above but in a universe in which all things are ultimately connected to all other things, I suppose they can both be filed under reckless combative exploits.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder what McCain’s call sign was as a pilot. All pilots get given one (http://www.f-16.net/callsigns.html) by their fellow flyers and the more tasteless and embarrassing the better. One of the first female pilots that came through the Navy system was awarded the name “Juggs” which at first glance sounds bad. But when you stopped and thought about it, it was perfect. It was tasteless, it was embarrassing and it made plain that she was, well, one of the boys.
      And in passing, McCain lost five US Navy aircraft in his career which made him an American ace but there is no truth to the rumour that the North Vietnamese Air Force was going to give him an Air Medal for this feat. If he had not been the son of an admiral they would have busted him to bridge watch officer. More info at-


  10. False Solace

    Item 1: African swine fever spreading through China

    From Science:

    A nightmare is unfolding for animal health experts: African swine fever (ASF), a highly contagious, often fatal disease of domestic pigs and wild boars, has appeared in China, the world’s largest pork producer. … Containing the disease in a population of more than 430 million hogs, many raised in smallholder farmyards with minimal biosecurity, could be a monumental challenge. (link)

    Bloomberg adds: “China’s African Swine Fever Outbreak Could Spread to Korea, SE Asia” (link)

    Item 2: Looks like Elon Musk is stirring up trouble again, asking why that expat in Thailand didn’t sue Musk for defamation. Another “let them eat cake” moment from a clueless billionaire who doesn’t get that us peons don’t have thousands to waste on frivolous lawsuits? The bizarre behavior makes one wonder if Musk is under the influence of some serious pharmaceuticals. I saw a recent picture. To me he looks strung out and twenty pounds heavier. Bloomberg link with some discussion

  11. marym

    And then they came for the citizens…


    U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question

    The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown on their citizenship.

    In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings.

    Twitter thread Link (source of above quotes)

    Article (pay-wall) Link

    Additional comments from D. Lind of Vox Link
    Includes screen shot of WaPo article saying people who can afford lawyers are suing and “typically win” their cases. Includes comment that Obama tried this, and pulled back after an ACLU suit.

    1. John k

      Trump is horrible. But most of the bad stuff started with bush and big O.
      Bipartisan. Though to be fair, i think it’s only big O that put cutting ss on the table.

      1. marym

        Update: Apparently this particular bad stuff started with Bush, stopped with Obama (in response to Bush era ACLU lawsuit), and has been re-started by Trump. Additional info posted in 8/30 Water Cooler.

  12. Andrew Watts

    I mentioned awhile back that Trump reminded me of a certain historical figure but never mentioned who I thought it was. I didn’t have any good primary sources that would support my comparison immediately available. It wasn’t until I read British military historian Mark Urban’s book Generals that I found what I needed. Urban recounts a few entries from the diary of General Sir Alan Brooke that sounds exactly like the Trumplissimo.

    “He knows no details, has only got half the picture in his mind, talks absurdities and makes my blood boil to listen to his nonsense.”

    Kinda sounds like Trump, huh? I’ve never been a big believer in the so-called “Great Men of History” and made that opinion known in the past when I denounced most contemporary biographies as being little more than a hagiography and/or a hatchet job on the individual who serves as the subject matter.

    “And the wonderful thing is that 3/4 of the population of the world imagine that Winston Churchill is one of the Strategists of History, a second Marlborough, and the other 1/4 have no conception what a public menace he is and has been throughout the war!”

    When his diary was being edited for publication, which wasn’t the original purpose of his keeping a diary, he apparently “discovered” his mixed feelings over Churchill’s personage and leadership. Of course, this was long after the war and Churchill had already published his self-aggrandizing accounts. It somehow managed to preserve a figment of the feelings that Brooke probably felt in the moment.

    “Never have I admired and despised a man simultaneously to the same extent. Never have such opposite extremes been combined in the same human being.”

    Like Churchill, Trump will preside over the dissolution of an empire. Seems to be working out that way so far. These are the things I think about when I’m bored and have a lot of free time on my hands.

    1. pretzelattack

      glad to hear it. musk will try to nickel and dime him to death, and hopefully will continue to smear him so the eventual verdict is that much larger.

  13. perpetualWAR

    I want to know why we, as voters, ignore the judicial corruption regarding executive appointments of judges. Because once judges get into office, they run un-opposed for the rest of their career. That is undo influence by the executive branch of government onto the judicial. I’ve heard a rumor that judges are quietly suggested to retire before their term is up, so the executive branch can appoint their replacement. In fact, I did some figuring and it appears that in King County, the judges are appointed by a 65% margin. That’s some corruption that has gone virtually unnoticed.

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