2:00PM Water Cooler 5/8/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories.

Once again, “Default view is now new cases/day” which changes the graph, more optimistically, and perhaps more accurately. I can change this back to “Total Confirmed Cases” if readers prefer. I thought I’d pick the “Top 10” states, which are the worst off.

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See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

Quantities that grow exponentially, when depicted on a linear scale, look like curves that bend sharply upward, with the curve getting constantly steeper. On a log scale, exponentially growing values can be depicted with straight diagonal lines.

That’s the beauty of plotting things on log scales. Plots are meant to make things easy to understand, and we humans are much more adept at understanding linear, straight-line behavior. Log plots enable us to grasp exponential behavior by transferring the complexity of constantly steepening curves into the simplicity of an exponentially increasing scale.

On a log scale, we want to constantly be making the line more and more horizontal. The general concept of “flattening” is still a good one, but it’s never going to curve down. And so what we should be looking, and hoping for is a trend toward horizontal.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

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Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden hosted a virtual campaign rally in Tampa. It didn’t go great.” [Tampa Bay Times]. Holy ****!

Weeks after all but clinching the Democratic nomination, Vice President Joe Biden returned to the presidential trail Thursday with a pair of virtual events in Florida, home to 29 crucial electoral votes.

There were internet issues.

The first event featured a discussion with African American leaders from Jacksonville. That one was not broadcast. Considering what happened next in Tampa, that might have been a smart move.

The 5:15 p.m. “virtual rally” ostensibly set in Tampa streamed live on YouTube. Sort of.

iden’s campaign tried to make the e-rally feel as close to a normal political celebration as possible. A Tampa DJ played warm-up music between speakers. A Jesuit High School student read the pledge of allegiance from what appeared to be his home.

But the livestream of the rally was beset by technological failures. Speakers, including U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, and State Sen. Janet Cruz, appeared pixelated. Their feeds were visibly delayed as if they were transmitting from Afghanistan, not Tampa Bay.

At one point, the stream cut to black with no audio for several minutes.

Finally, 40 minutes into the rally, Biden was introduced. And what an entrance.

A full-seven seconds after his introduction, Biden appeared, not moving. As he leaned against a wall, Biden sported his trademark aviators.

He then walked up the camera, still wearing the shades. It sounded like he said “Just me?” as he looked off camera. Next, he walked up closer. “Now?”

Every so often, I think that the Biden campaign is running a “Rose Garden” strategy. Very clever and strategic. Then something like this happens, and I think that the Biden campaign is like the Clinton campaign, but more stupid.

Biden (D)(2): “‘Clear warning signs’: Focus group shows lack of enthusiasm for Biden among the young” [NBC]. “Joe Biden is in no danger of losing young voters to President Donald Trump. But he faces a lack of enthusiasm among Millennials and Gen Z voters with the potential to decide his fate if they stay home or vote for a third-party candidate. Many of these voters preferred Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and perceive Biden as a blank slate. They aren’t sure that he’s a change agent or that his policies match the scale of their problems. Some worry about his age and fitness. Most seem open to supporting Biden to stop Trump but need to hear more from him. That’s the conclusion of new focus groups that delve into the mindset of Millennial and Gen Z voters who self-identify as Democrats or independents in 11 battleground states. They were conducted in late and mid-April by the political consulting firm Global Strategy Group on behalf of NextGen America, a youth-focused progressive advocacy group.” • Ugh. Some horrid NGO.

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Penn Students Toss Out Penn Dems For Endorsing Joe Biden In Light Of Assault Allegations” [Jonathan Turley]. “There is no reason that Biden would not waive access to any and all papers, including those at the University of Delaware, on any allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault by anyone. He has already denied any such prior allegations. If that it true, all that will happen is that an independent review will find that no one has made such allegations against him. Instead, Biden (after weeks of delay) first assured the public that any such material would be found at the National Archives, which the Archives said was untrue. He then called for release of any documents from the Senate, which the Senate said was not possible. The only consistent position is that Biden has steadfastly refused to open up his papers at the University of Delaware.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Biden should step aside. We can’t sacrifice another woman for political gain.” [Lyz Lenz, WaPo]. “Before Reade went public with her allegations, I had been committed to voting for the Democratic nominee, even if that person wasn’t my preferred candidate. And I intended to vote for Biden despite having had an unpleasant experience with him on the campaign trail. In September 2019, in my role as a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, I moderated a forum on LGBTQ issues with several presidential candidates. At the forum, I asked Biden about his history of voting for the military policy known as ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and he replied, sarcastically, “Well, aren’t you nice?” I replied, ‘Just asking what people want to know.’ The audience applauded. Later, as we walked off the stage, he walked by me and said, dryly, ‘Well, aren’t you a real sweetheart.’ I tweeted the exchange and it went viral. I spent that weekend hiding in my house from the harassment and death threats — people accusing me of making it up, of misunderstanding him, of attacking him. He never apologized. I bring this up not just for transparency, but because I know, in a very small way, what it’s like to be part of an inconvenient political narrative.” • Biden doesn’t seem to handle criticism well, at least from his social inferiors on the trail.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Biden’s VP Pick Charts the Future Course for the Democratic Party” [Cook Political Report]. “To put it another way, Biden’s pick matters more in terms of where the party is heading over the next few years than in terms of who wins this year. Five of the last 13 vice presidents (Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush) have gone on to become president. Two assumed the highest post after the death of a president (Truman and Johnson), one assumed office after a resignation (Ford), one was elected at the end of eight years as vice president (Bush), and another was elected eight years after leaving the No. 2 post (Nixon). As Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns pointed out in The New York Times on Sunday, ‘The ramifications of Mr. Biden’s choice will be profound. Even if he loses in November, his decision will all but anoint a woman as the party’s next front-runner, and potentially shape its agenda for the next decade, depending on if she is a centrist or someone more progressive.'” • Warren: 74 years old in 2024. Harris: 59 years old in 2024. Abrams: 50 years old in 2024. A fun game to play!

UPDATE Biden (D)(6): “Joe Biden is looking for a running mate. Many Democrats have strong ideas — and few agree.” [WaPo]. “‘Senator Sanders and his team are not advising the Biden campaign’s vice-presidential selection process in any way, shape or form,’ said Sanders spokesman Mike Casca, who said the senator’s priority remains the party platform.” • There are limits….

Obama Legacy


Realignment and Legitimacy

“The full-spectrum failure of the Trump revolution” [Damon Linker, The Week]. “Nearly three-and-a-half years into the Trump era, it’s possible to take stock of the populist revolution Trump promised to lead, and the fact is that it has been a full-spectrum failure. The 45th president has been an immigration hardliner and he started a series of trade wars that have accomplished little beyond raising prices for imported goods. But beyond that, what do we have? Flagrant corruption, conflicts of interest, nepotism, inconstancy, incompetence, and a complete incapacity to speak and act as head of state — combined with harsher and dumber versions of the same policies any Republican elected in 2016 would have pursued…. ”

“Knock, Knock, Who’s There? No Political Canvassers, for the First Time Maybe Ever” [New York Times]. “For decades, showing up on a voter’s doorstep has been one of the most reliable ways to get people to the polls. Now political parties and candidates that put tens of millions of dollars into training and deploying door knockers are grappling with costly, consequential and imminent decisions about whether they should even invest in traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure that powers such operations.” • Go long social distancing, in another context. Yglesias:

It’s not clear to me that Sanders could have California any other way.

DSA watch:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Employment Situation: “April 2020 BLS Jobs Situation – Worst Report Ever” [Econintersect]. “The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth showed the worst ever job loss ever with the U-6 unemployment rate at 22.8% (headline unemployment was 14.7 %)…. today’s job report has wiped out all the jobs gain this century.” • And those jobs weren’t that great. And whaddaya know:

Containers: “Port of Los Angeles Container Volume Falls Six Percent” [Maritime Executive]. “Container volume increased in The Port of Los Angeles during the month of April, but volume is down significantly year-over-year as the port and shipping lines operating from Los Angeles continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic…. Port Executive Director Gene Seroka announced that the Port of Los Angeles moved about 690,000 TEU in April 2020. This volume represents a 53 percent increase over March 2020, but is a decrease of about six percent compared to April 2019.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 02 May 2020 – Rail Contracted 21.2% In April” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is taking a hit from coronavirus. The carloads intuitive sector’s rolling average again worsened this week and now is historically low. Intermodal has a serious contraction due to the logistic headwinds of the coronavirus…. Intermodal and carloads are under 2013 levels. Whilst container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. continues to slow.”

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Bailouts: “Inside a 1099 contractor’s journey to coronavirus relief” [Banking Dive]. “The Small Business Administration (SBA) didn’t open its PPP loan portal to applications from 1099 filers until a week into the window. And by then, it was too late for many. ‘The SBA didn’t open up apps until April 10 for 1099 contractors, and didn’t give any lender guidance for how to process these applications until April 15, and then the funds ran out the next day,’ a spokesperson at online lender Kabbage said. ‘1099 contractors had very little opportunity across the board and across the country.'”

Finance: “Businesses, Consumer Groups Push To Keep Cash Alive” [PYMNTS.com]. “The Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition (CCPC), made up of numerous businesses and consumer representatives, aims to protect the use of cash against the encroaching tide of digital pay. The Coalition will first be pushing HR 2650, or the Payment Choice Act of 2019. That bill, introduced by Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ), would maintain cash as a valid method of payment nationwide, going against some places phasing it out as a source of payment. Preserving cash has proved popular among several states, including New Jersey and cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, which have all passed laws mandating that cash be accepted everywhere.” • Sanity?

Retail: “Dollar General is thriving. But workers say they pay the price” [NBC]. “Since the mid-1950s, Dollar General’s beaming yellow-and-black signs have flourished across the country in some of the most rural areas. The company operates 16,000 stores nationwide, selling brand names at steep discounts in predominantly low-income areas that are too small for Walmart or other large grocery stores…. Even in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, Dollar General is still growing. Its stock price reached a record high last month, as consumers lean on its stores to stock up on essential items. It announced it will hire 50,000 people to support the influx of shoppers…. Stores are open for business with rodent infestations, rotting food, exposed electrical wires and broken toilets, according to an NBC News review of health inspection reports and interviews with more than a dozen current and former Dollar General workers. Employees say they have been stabbed, shot, held at gunpoint, punched and pistol-whipped on the job. Some have been made to work by flashlight during regional electrical blackouts. Some are left alone in stores for hours, working under a payroll system so tightly controlled that managers say they work overtime stocking shelves, a cost-cutting measure that has led to multiple class-action lawsuits against Dollar General.”

Retail: “Sephora Makes Plans to Reopen” [Dissent]. Holy moley:

But the thing that made the employee reach out to a reporter was the store’s plan to reopen, which did not strike them as safe. They were told that they would be expected to return to work as soon as the city allowed them to reopen. “They’re claiming that there will be [PPE] available,” they said. “Our CEO’s communications that go out to all employees said that Sephora employees would be taken care of through the end of May or until stores opened, whichever comes sooner. If the stores don’t open, we all get fired. And if the stores do open, we have our health put on the line for people who want to return makeup.”

The workers, they said, have been told to expect a lot of returned products, as customers would be trying to save money.

They plan on taking returns from clients, but that physically puts workers, especially in cashier positions, in danger, because we know the virus can live on surfaces for x number of days or x number of hours, and it’s not like they’re going to scan a barcode and then throw it in the garbage outside. There’ll be multiple people in our operations team handling these and our cash wrap team handling these. Even with PPE, we just don’t have the resources for everyone to stay physically safe from harm.

Returns, the worker said, normally go in the trash if it cannot be verified that the product has not been opened. “In this case, they have said that everything will be thrown out. But they’ve also said that there will be testers made. And that when we go back to stores, a lot of our work will be making testers”—communal samples for customers to use in-store.

At the best of times, makeup testers are, the worker noted, “pretty gross. You can’t trust anything that anyone else has handled.” But in this situation, they noted, “For the safety of employees, for the safety of clients, it’s unconscionable.”

Shipping: “Deluge of medical cargo cripples Shanghai Pudong airport” [Freight Waves]. “Freight gridlock at Shanghai Pudong International Airport is so bad that some cargo planes are being forced to leave nearly empty and logistics companies are recommending ocean transportation as a faster option. Airfreight professionals describe an operational meltdown, with trucks stuck in queues for two to three days to drop off shipments and boxes piling up in warehouses unable to get put on aircraft because Chinese customs officials and ground handlers are overwhelmed by the surge in export demand for face masks and other medical supplies. The volume of hospital gear, resumption of e-commerce and other trade following China’s coronavirus quarantine and new export restrictions are blamed for the massive backlog, which was compounded by factories rushing out extra shipments before closing for the May Day holiday. ‘In my 20 years, I have never experienced this level of congestion at any airport. And there are no signs of this alleviating in the next week to 10 days,’ especially with factories reopening again, Neel Jones Shah, the global head of airfreight at San Francisco-based Flexport, said in an interview.”

Shipping: “The world’s main maritime regulator wants governments to help shipping companies unravel a logistics nightmare that has left thousands of seafarers stranded. The International Maritime Organization says the inability to change crews because of coronavirus travel restrictions has emerged as the biggest challenge facing ship operators” [Wall Street Journal]. “The problem worsened in recent days when the Philippines suspended international flights, a sharp blow in a country that provides about a quarter of the world’s 1.6 million seafarers. That has potential replacement crew members stranded, adding to problems that have arisen at ports that have barred ship crews from disembarking out of concerns over the spread of coronavirus. One crewing company says it has more than 11,000 sailors on ships who have gone three months beyond their service contracts.”

The Bezzle: “The Results Are In for the Sharing Economy. They Are Ugly.” [New York Times]. “The coronavirus pandemic has gutted the so-called sharing economy. Its most valuable companies, which started the year by promising that they would soon become profitable, now say consumer demand has all but vanished. It is not likely to return anytime soon. In earnings reports this week, Uber and Lyft disclosed the depth of the financial damage. The companies said their ride-hailing businesses all but collapsed in March, the last month of the first quarter, as shelter-in-place orders spread through Europe and the United States. The red ink extends beyond ride hailing. The home-sharing company Airbnb, which investors valued at $31 billion, had planned to go public this year. … The companies, founded on the notion that they should become as big as possible as quickly as possible and worry about making a profit somewhere down the line, now face an uncertain future. And their timelines for turning a profit appear — for now — to have been tossed aside.” • That’s a damn shame.

The Bezzle: “Rent The Runway Is Risking Workers’ Lives To Ship Designer Dresses In A Pandemic” [HuffPo]. “Rent the Runway’s warehouses are distributing shipments of high-end fashion apparel to be rented and worn in isolation. Although Rent the Runway has given its customers the option to pause their rental subscriptions during this time, many have rejoiced at the chance to take photos of themselves wearing items from luxury brands that would normally be unavailable, as Refinery29 noted in its April 15 essay, ‘I’m Still Using Rent the Runway — Here’s Why.’ The company told HuffPost that it is considered to be an essential business under the fulfillment center carve-out and that it is providing ‘continued employment opportunities while ensuring the short and long term future of our business.’ To make sure its operations are not disrupted, it has even drafted documentation for certain Secaucus warehouse employees to carry around in case police officers or government officials question them about the nature of their work: ‘Our operations are not covered by New Jersey Executive Order 107 and this employee is needed to provide on-site services,” those letters claim. ‘They found a loophole they could take advantage of,’ Randy, a 58-year-old clothing cleaner, said of his employer. ‘It was very sneaky of the company to remain open in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic so that women could order dresses and wear them for mirror selfies.'” • What a great warehouse job, cleaning used clothing during a pandemic.

Tech: “Surge in Zoom support requests was ‘unexpected’, says tool team as it turns taps down” [The Register]. “Video conferencing darling of the hour, Zoom, has tightened up support rules in order to ‘better serve’ users. Word came to Vulture Central from Register reader Michael, who had had a couple of support tickets abruptly closed without action. He received only a terse statement from the company that some users would need to roll their own solution with Zoom’s online resources. While boasting that the Zoom Support Center has maintained 24×7 operations, the company said in its new, updated Support Guidelines that: ‘Given increased usage from businesses small and large and exponentially growing demand from the education and healthcare sectors, we have experienced an unexpected surge in support requests.’ The consequence is that the taps have been turned off for free accounts, which is understandable. However, end users of any account (notably the ones that Zoom charges for) are also affected as the company deals with the ‘unprecedented period.'”

Manufacturing: “Makers of consumer staples like toilet paper and hand sanitizer are finally catching up with soaring demand during the coronavirus pandemic. … Clorox Co. and Lysol maker Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC are still far behind the consumer demand after sales of sanitizing wipes more than doubled in the past two months” [Wall Street Journal]. “The challenge is a lesson in the limits of flexibility in supply chains. While many companies have reset operations to meet demand for cleaning products, disinfectant wipes simply can’t be made as readily as hand sanitizer. Clorox is moving to increase production of disinfectant products that has already grown by 40% this year and it’s investing in expansion, with the expectation that demand for cleaning products will remain high for the foreseeable future.”

Honey for the Bears: “The U.S. Labor Market During the Beginning of the Pandemic Recession” (PDF) [Becker Friedman Institute]. Business failures:

While the majority of the employment decline occurred among continuing businesses, measured business exit—or temporary suspension of operations—plays a substantial role in the overall collapse, particularly among smaller businesses. This is an alarming pattern which may have relevance for the pace of recovery. One would hope that many of the businesses we observe suspending activities will resume operations in the near future. If not, the jobs destroyed by exiting businesses are permanently gone, requiring extra growth among surviving businesses or extra business entry to replace them. Jobs and the associated personal toll of unemployment are not the only costs of business failure. From the perspective of business owners, the failure of a business means the loss of income and probably a large share of household assets. From the perspective of the macroeconomy, business failures mean the destruction of intangible capital and even the loss of some physical capital, particularly in light of costly capital reallocation. From the perspective of communities and neighborhoods, business failure means dramatic, sometimes irreversible changes to the local physical economic landscape. While some recessions see elevated failure of low-productivity businesses (thereby enhancing aggregate productivity), we have no reason to expect exit selection to function constructively in the current environment, where business revenue losses are determined by the rapid onset of a health crisis.

So much for “reconstituting [our] communities of engineering practice“….

Mr. Market: “Why the stock market is up even with historic job losses” [CNBC]. “A record number of Americans just lost their job, and yet stocks are moving higher. This seems paradoxical given the economic toll — to say nothing of the emotional toll — on millions of people across the country without a job. While some say this is further indication that the stock market has become decoupled from reality, others say there are clear reasons why stocks have rebounded, and can continue to move higher. For one, the jobs data in and of itself is backward-looking. The April figures — which saw a record 20.5 million Americans lose their job — is from the height of the crisis. Since then, economies have begun to reopen. There is still a long way to go, of course, but the market is discounting what’s going to happen six months from now, when most states will be getting back to business. Strategists also point out that the losses have been somewhat concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sector, whose underperformance has overshadowed strength in other areas of the market. And with the government and federal reserve providing record stimulus measures, some argue that once businesses do get back up and running, the recovery will be swift.”

Mr. Market: “The Unemployment Rate Is 15 Percent. Here’s Why the Stock Market Doesn’t Mind.” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “The rally in equities over the past few weeks has had plenty of detractors. Bears insist that investors are deluding themselves about the plausibility of a “V-shaped recovery,” and/or the insulation of major firms from the consequences of mass bankruptcies. And yet, a growing number of Wall Street investors and analysts have made peace with the dissonance between the markets’ fortunes and their own. In their view, capitalists haven’t lost touch with reality — equity values simply no longer depend on the functioning of society. The bulls’ case goes roughly like this: For years now, America’s corporate sector has been preparing for an economy fueled by the consumption of white-collar shut-ins, the labor of disempowered service workers, and the human-proofing of various industrial processes — without quite realizing that it was doing so…. The market isn’t the economy. Capitalists don’t need it to be safe for you to leave your house — or possible for 30 million unemployed Americans to find jobs — in order to make healthy profits. The next industrial revolution will be livestreamed. Come on in, the S&P 500’s fine.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 40 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 8 at 12:47pm.

The Biosphere

“Pipeline loses permit, but construction continues” [Native Sun News Today]. “Even after a federal judge here revoked permission for the Keystone XL Pipeline construction across unceded 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory in mid-April, the Canadian builder of the private hazardous materials infrastructure was still proceeding with work in May all along the route across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska…. Pipeline watchdogs documented truckers and contractors working at construction sites, stockpiling apparently weathered pipe sections, in South Dakota and Nebraska.”

Health Care

“Structural Basis for Potent Neutralization of Betacoronaviruses by Single-Domain Camelid Antibodies” (PDF) [Cell]. “Using llamas immunized with prefusionstabilized betacoronavirus spike proteins, Wrapp et al. identify neutralizing cross-reactive single-domain camelid antibodies, which may serve not only as useful reagents for researchers studying the viruses causing MERS, SARS, and COVID-19, but also potential therapeutic candidates.” • Yay, llamas!

Virology is pleasingly contentious, it seems:

“This article has letters.” Those are the rebuttals, linked to below in the thread.

The 420

“Marijuana May Not Lower Your IQ” [Scientific American]. “With epidemiological twin studies, a researcher is able to look across an entire sample and summarize all the relevant effects. Two such researchers are Nicholas Jackson of the University of Southern California and William Iacono of the University of Minnesota, who worked with their colleagues to examine data from two longitudinal studies of adolescent twins in California and Minnesota. The researchers measured the twins’ intelligence between nine and 12 years of age, before any drug use, and did so again between ages 17 and 20. Exactly as in the Dunedin study, marijuana users had lower test scores and showed notable reductions in IQ over time. But in Jackson and Iacono’s analysis, marijuana use and IQ were completely uncorrelated, and IQ measures fell equally in both the users and abstainers. Subsequent twin studies, including one performed with U.K. data by the Dunedin team, corroborated these findings of no relationship between marijuana use and a falling IQ. How can we explain these discrepancies?” • To which the answer is: We haven’t.

Our Famously Free Press

“Are you there God, it’s me, Jed? w/Very Special Guest David Sirota” (podcast) [The West Wing]. • Yes, there is an entire podcast from two screenwriters devoted to demolishing critiquing “The West Wing.” For those who, like me, have never seen the television series, and yet keep hearing that The West Wing forms an essential part of the liberal Democrat weltanshauung, this could be useful. It is funny.

“The Leftist Podcast Strikes Back: Current Affairs Promotes True Ant Content” [Daily Ant]. “Just a few weeks ago, we penned an editorial taking alleged leftists Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi to task for the egregiously anti-ant content on their podcast. Today, we have much more uplifting news to share: A genuine leftist outlet, Current Affairs, hosted a live stream discussion among their editorial and writing staff, and chose to open their chat with an exciting story about ants! Unlike the charlantans Halper and Taibbi, the Current Affairs crew prove their myrmeco-friendly bona fides with an exemplary display of ant empathy.”


“Nintendo profits soar 41%, mainly from ‘Animal Crossing'” [CNN]. “Nintendo (NTDOF) said on Thursday that it made 352 billion yen ($3.3 billion) in operating profit for the fiscal year ended in March — a 41% surge from a year ago, and the highest in nine years. Profit in the three months to March more than tripled compared with the previous quarter. Sales were driven this spring in large part by the breakout success of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons,’ a game set on an island utopia. The company sold more than 13 million units of the game in its first six weeks of release. ‘Animal Crossing’ and the hardware it runs on, the Nintendo Switch game console, have been in high demand as people worldwide remain stuck indoors because of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The Switch, which was first released in 2017, has sold out on several websites.”

“Giant Leak Releases Nintendo Source Code Into the Wild” [Popular Mechanics]. “Insiders say two terabytes of legacy Nintendo secrets have leaked online. Nintendo guards its proprietary information with notoriously tight fists, but the leak is said to have come from a third-party company’s servers…. The leaked information presents a threat to one specific kind of Nintendo business: rereleases and ports of the company’s own old titles. With source code from the N64, GameCube, and Wii, people will be able to turn old games into emulation files, or ROMs, that users can download and play on computers and even specially rigged consoles. Because consoles are proprietary and have optimized hardware for graphics, the files get more complex and harder to crack and then emulate…. Nintendo has rereleased very few old games on the Switch, compared with the Virtual Console on the Wii. Now, with real N64 source code in hand, the world is our emulated oyster.”

Groves of Academe

“The Pandemic Is the Time to Resurrect the Public University” [Cory Robin, The New Yorker]. This is an excellent article, as one expects of Robin. Robin works at CUNY: “for all the talk of the poor and students of color at the Ivy League, the real institutions of mobility in the United States are underfunded public universities. Paxson may believe that ‘a university campus is a microcosm of any major city in the U.S.,’ as she told NPR, but cuny is no microcosm. With nearly two hundred and seventy-five thousand students and forty-five thousand staff—a population larger than that of many American cities—it is what the Latin root of the word “university” tells us higher education should be: the entire, the whole. ” I had no idea CUNY was so enormous. And here’s a telling detail: “At cuny, even in the best of times, we often don’t have soap in our bathrooms. We also still have push faucets. To wash one hand, I must use the other to twist and hold one of the sink’s two handles, hard and continuously. This produces water of a single temperature—cold—leaving me, always, with one hand that’s touched a surface and must remain unwashed. It’s hard to imagine coronavirus tests when washing both hands is nearly impossible.”

“The Anatomy of a Failing University” [Counterpunch]. “The reasons for failing are many.” • Here follows a long and accurate list. Concluding: “With Covid-19, [the university] is facing an existential threat that has accelerated the problems it has faced for years. Now the trustees, administrators, and faculty sit around in meetings and wonder why the university is failing. Perhaps they need to hire an expensive consultant to figure it out.”

Class Warfare

“The Makings of A Capitalist Dystopia” [Black Agenda Report]. “The uncritical and unquestionable belief of science as objective coupled with desperate hysteria has made it significantly easier for the state to use this crisis to criminalize everyday citizens, specifically colonized people. State officials have not gone through much of the same lengths to ensure proper protective gear, resources, and/or even testing for the people as they have locking-down the state. Instead, these last weeks have been met with “stay at home” (self-quarantine) orders coupled with curfews and mandatory masks orders (during a publicized mask shortage) that have been enacted in multiple states under the guise of flattening the curve.”

News of the Wired

“The Difference Between a ‘Karen’ and a ‘Becky,’ Explained” [The Root (MJS)]. “A ‘Karen’ is basically a graduated Becky who’s extremely aware of her privilege and weaponizes it. A Becky convinces herself—and attempts to convince others—that her whiteness doesn’t matter. A Karen doesn’t even bother to fake it. She knows it’s her Big Joker and plays it whenever necessary.” • Thanks to MJS for this clarifying link!

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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 and coral 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 (MG):

MG writes: “Taken a few years back, at our local public rose garden. It came up on my
PC’s wallpaper rotation after a number of snowy or more somber scenes, and
as it is a rainy, grey day today . .. well when it came up it hit my eyes
like a 100-watt lamp. Hope it at least brightens your day. And I hope you and all our much-appreciated NCers are well. Make a special hello to Jules who is mostly behind the scenes and obviously quite a trooper.”

* * *
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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. zagonostra


    I ventured over to the NYT and read an opinion piece by Krugman, In it he myopically focuses on the bad guys (Republicans) instead of the underlying structural issues that support the dysfunctional healthcare system and social safety net which is a result of policies enacted by both parties over the past decades. Incredibly he still views Obamacare as somehow a success.

    Because most working-age Americans receive health insurance through their employers, job losses will cause a huge rise in the number of uninsured. The only mitigating factor is the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, which will allow many though by no means all of the newly uninsured to find alternative coverage.


    1. Katiebird

      I don’t think people with no income qualify for ObamaCare? Has that changed? I think they qualify for COBRA (if they can afford it) or Medicaid (if their state expanded Medicaid) …

      Is that still true?

      1. sleepy

        Something I’ve seen before: Under medicaid/obamacare if you are over 55, medicaid is no longer means tested. In other words your house may be worth half a million, yet if your income falls below a certain figure, the exchanges will flip you over to medicaid. In the past, seniors had to pauperize themselves by selling off assets before they would qualify.

        Of course when someone dies the medicaid estate clawback rises up and takes everything you had left. Sounds like a reverse mortgage to me. Medicaid fronts you the premiums and then takes the house as payment when you die.

        1. Bsoder

          Sleepy, with regard to Medicaid one agrees that ones estate will reimburse Medicaid back 100% of all expenses not just nursing care, or as close to it as possible.

      2. Bsoder

        Obamacare (ACA) does provide for people with no income it’s called Medicaid and the feds pay 100% of it. That is for states that have agreed to expanded it. IIRC around 13 states all red have not.

        1. Pat

          No it doesn’t. First you still have to qualify for Medicaid. It is based on overall income. If you make more than about $17000/year you do not qualify. With expanded unemployment rates most will not qualify. And as others have pointed out certain non income assets may also trigger refusal. And you will be required to pay the system back.

          Oh and the states are now on tap for 10% of the cost and that grows based on time and what is included. Do you really think Saint Cuomo would be slashing into Medicaid if NY state didn’t have to pay a lot into it?

          Nope it is either Cobra or the ACA. And that will probably be a huge shock to those who didn’t have a clue about premiums and thought their insurance was getting crapified. They will long for it if they cannot afford the cobra payment.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Cuomo is so proud that he has cut taxes (on the wealthy) but of course that loss of revenue has to be made up SOMEhow…

            Even his brother is sick of peddling the filth called the Narrative…

        2. political.economist

          The US Gov does not pay for all of Medicaid. In fact it is a huge expense for every state. Obamacare only paid 100% of the expansion of Medicaid for a limited number of years.

    2. Cynthia

      Most of what ObamaCare was supposed to do never has been done, zagonostra. For instance, ObamaCare was supposed to incentivize providers for reducing their number of hospitalizations. It is based on the indisputable fact that hospitals have been hospitalizing patients unnecessarily so only because it’s been profitable to do so. Therefore, overall healthcare costs can be greatly reduced simply by providing care in outpatient clinics or even at home instead of in hospitals. Apparently, this never happened; otherwise, hospitals now wouldn’t be asking for a federal bailout for having steep declines in their inpatient census due in large part to the COVID pandemics. Obamacare, as a big backer of “managed care” plans, should have paid hospitals to keep patients out of the hospitals. Since it never did this as intended, hospitals are now having to over admit patients to the hospital in order to stem their losses from several months of significantly lower-than-average number of inpatient hospitalizations.

      ObamaCare was also supposed to lower reimbursements for surgeries and radiological procedures and increase reimbursement for medical care. Apparently, that didn’t happen either. For instance, medical divisions at most teaching hospitals, including my own, have been running at and near 100% capacity throughout the pandemic, most of which involve caring for non-COVID patients, but they are still reporting record financial losses.

      Think about it, if ObamaCare had done what it was supposed to do, which was increase reimbursement for medical care, the bulk of which benefits medical divisions of hospitals, hospitals wouldn’t be in the hole like they are today. By contrast, if ObamaCare had decreased reimbursement for surgeries and radiological procedures, the bulk of which benefits surgical divisions of hospitals, hospitals would be in such a mad dash right now to ramp up surgeries and radiological procedures in order to get themselves out of a financial hole.

      For this reason, and among many others, ObamaCare really is a perfect example of the old saying: the more things change, the more they stay the same!

  2. Tertium Squid

    But since Uber loses money on every ride, won’t evaporating demand help their cashflow?

    1. Billy

      “The Results Are In for the Sharing Economy. They Are Ugly.”

      “the Sheep Shearing Economy”

      1. Off The Street

        Sheep shearers all have a tell. That lanolin makes their hands soft. They are easy to spot.

    2. Geo

      I’m doing something wrong. I lose money on most my projects with the idea that one day, one of those projects might turn profitable, yet no one has ever given me billions to keep doing what I’m doing. :(

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ah, I see the problem. You should start up a new project. You should become a bundler for your local political party. Then you might find some of your other problems going away.

      2. ambrit

        Well, this is downright wyrd. I’ve had another comment “disappear” today after being up on the board.
        So, a second try.
        Geo should try to do a documentary about Theranos, as in how misunderstood it was. Something on the lines of “Tucker, The Man and His Dream,” but called “Holmes, the Woman and Her Dream.” He could raise a lot of money from Silicon Valley for this type of corporate hagiography.
        Let’s see if the Internet Dragons are still hungry.

  3. Cynthia

    What undoubtedly unnerves me to no end about the COVID pandemic is all the phony do-gooders that have emerged from it. I don’t think that I can hear one more story about some wealthy do-gooder individual or company handing out free food or free money to “our healthcare heroes” without getting violently sick at my stomach. Such acts of charity are so phony I literally want to throw up. It’s virtual signaling at its very worst!

    Perhaps even more so, I want to also throw up all over the media for overhyping these do-gooder, feel-good stories. Needless to say, nothing about these stories make me feel good, unless of course throwing up is somehow construed as some kinda feel-good feeling.

    At any rate, if the media were doing its job, it would be honest and forthright about these good-for-nothing-do-gooders. From FOX and CNN to MSNBC and NPR, they would be informing their viewers that all these do-gooders aren’t handing out freebies to “our heroes in scrubs” out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. No, not at all. Their reasons for doing such things are highly selfish and self-serving in fact. First, they are doing it for free airtime, which translates into free commercial time. They are also, and perhaps more importantly, doing it as a way to reduce their taxable income, particularly when it comes to capital gains taxes. Thus, it should be viewed as nothing more than a selfish and self-serving scheme to write-off a sizable share of their taxes. In other words, the more freebies they hand out to their particular charity of choice, in this case freebies for frontline healthcare workers, the less money the government has to pay for its own programs, including programs that aim to improve the working conditions for healthcare workers. Therefore, it’s quite conceivable that such acts of do-goodism are ultimately doing more harm than good to the very people they aim to care about and help.

    No doubt that this is an argument, and a very good one at that, for going an across-the-board flat tax as well. Having too many ways to deduct or write-off your taxes is not only making the act of doing your taxes much more complicated than it oughta be, it’s also causing government programs to be much more unfunded than they oughta be. Not to mention it’s making the federal deficit much bigger than it oughta be. So a few healthcare workers might get some free food from some wealthy do-gooder individual or company looking for a sizable yet easy tax write-off for him/herself, but healthcare workers as a whole will much poorer for it in terms of having less safe working conditions.

    Plus it’s an absolute slap in the face to refer to frontline healthcare workers as “heroes” implying that they are somehow doing military work, when they are clearly not! And if what they are doing is somewhat closely akin to doing military work, then why aren’t they at least getting hazard duty pay for doing such work? Frontline workers in the military are getting hazard duty pay for what they do, so why aren’t frontline healthcare workers getting it as well? That’s something that the media should also be addressing to its viewership, as well as mentioning to them that it is a clear violation of the “equal pay for equal work” act dating back to 1963, a precursor to The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The only sound you’ll ever hear about that is the sound of chirping crickets, no doubt.

    1. Geo

      Heroes are what we call people we put at risk and don’t pay them for it. Makes us feel better about treating them like sacrificial pawns. :)

      A vet of the Iraq War (early 2000’s) told me while in the hospital after being badly wounded in an IED attack he added up his hours of service and divided by his pay over the numerous tours of duty. Came out to less than $0.50 an hour. His disability pay is a couple hundred a month so that entirely makes up for the fact he’ll never walk right or go a day without pain again – not to mention the psychological wounds he deals with.

      Wonder how many of our Covid heroes who “survive” will have permanent physical and emotional damage from this? At least they get to be called heroes though. Heroes don’t have humanity, they’re idols. So, that will help them cope with it.

      1. Bob

        As a Physician and a Viet Nam veteran, a hero is not someone who does their job. A hero is someone who goes above and beyond with extreme sacrifice for the good of others.

        1. Balakirev

          This would seem to come close to Hemingway’s definition of courage, as grace under pressure. I note that, only because my wife was a heart floor RN (before she went into healthcare informatics). She’d tell me about holding the hands of various patients who were literally fading away but had no relatives on a deathwatch.

          Some heroes are active now on the job in ERs, without proper equipment or the means to protect themselves, while hospital systems cut their hours and fire those who complain about conditions. Heroes and villains enough for any time, I suppose.

        2. Carla

          Bob — You mean, like, someone without sufficient PPE who nevertheless who treats Covid-19 patients because they are human beings in pain and distress? Do you mean, like, a nurse? Do you mean a patient transport worker who without sufficient PPE, transports gravely ill Covid-19 patients, and then risks taking that contagion home to his/her family? You mean, like, that kind of person?

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I suppose that if military personnel were required to do their job without PPE, it would not go down very well.

          2. Bob

            Doing your job with no risk to yourself, not so much. Doing your job under difficult circumstances and putting your life at risk to help others, yes. I’m saying that just being a soldier or a healthcare worker does not automatically make you a hero.

        1. Wukchumni

          88 in Chinese numerology is double lucky, although 44 would’ve been quite apt, as it means ‘death-death’.

    2. Bsoder

      Well as a Doc, pulling shiftS in the ER rather than being in my lab, I’m just doing my job. What I want is not to be hassled in the process of doing it. As to the rest, I try really hard not to judge people or their motives, I don’t care. I do care that someone is kind. I do care about acts of kindness. Mostly people don’t know better, were never taught to be human, or suffer in some way causing them to act out. I follow the 8 fold path of truth. There are some people I wish I could avoid but it’s not always possible, so how does one not harm them? I work on it.

    3. dagan68

      I am a really nice guy – I really am.
      I am also a 30 year veteran of academic medicine. I was a professor of medicine at one of our leading institutions.
      I have literally thousands of former students, residents, and interns all over this country – at the bedside and at the bench.
      I have never been so put off with my profession as all the doctors on TV whining and crying about how hard they are working. It is really completely unbecoming. And it has the added problem of being used as scaremongering by our media.
      I grew up in the AIDS pandemic as a physician. I witnessed first hand the 2009 Influenza pandemic. This whole thing of all the crying and whining doctors and nurses is a shameful sham. It is a direct reflection of how far we have fallen as a nation. Our media and its scaremongering is an absolute and total humiliation.
      I would like to remind every American of one fact. Your grandparents and great-grandparents survived WWI, The Spanish Flu, The Great Depression and WWII. They underwent deprivation and sacrifice the likes of which we have never known. What is being asked of us right now is absurdly miniscule in comparison. To all the crying doctors, the screaming Karens, snowflakes, and hiding under the table crowd – GROW UP – GET YOUR BIG BOY PANTS ON. What is coming is going to completely overwhelm you – unless you start acting like an adult and right now.
      One thing is for sure – I have not seen one of my own students on TV – believe me – I would have called them up and kneecapped them faster than they can say – Thank you Rachel for having me on tonight.

    4. Wukchumni

      The pivot from every private first class dogface is a hero on tv commercials, to thanking a supermarket checker for her service…

      …went without a hitch

        1. Off The Street

          They were and didn’t even know about the stealth conscription clause.

  4. Billy

    “For decades, showing up on a voter’s doorstep has been one of the most reliable ways to get people to the polls.”

    We are too busy to go to the polls since we are fighting Coronavirus and its effects due to the Democrats not passing Medicare For All when they had congress and the white house. Whatever party passes the closest thing to Medicare For All will get us to go to the polls and vote for them.

    1. edmondo

      If knocking on doors is so effective, why isn’t everyone in the entire world a Jehovah’s Witness?

      1. Procopius

        That’s an interesting question. I’ve had a couple of JWs drop by my house in Thailand every so often for a couple, three months now. Turns out they’re quite interesting to talk to, and they speak English, although the two guys are from Sweden and the young woman is Estonian. They’re also pretty well informed about history, and not only ancient history, and philosophy. Pleasant couple of hours when they stop by. I dunno, the anecdotes I’ve heard from The States sound like very different people.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      I know a party eager to do that — if the undecideds decide they want it, and the discouraged take courage, and. . . .

  5. BoyDownTheLane

    Amtrak will require face masks for all passengers beginning next week | 08 May 2020 | Amtrak will require passengers to wear face coverings beginning next week. The national railroad service announced Thursday that the new rules will go into effect on Monday. Passengers will be required to provide their own facial covering and wear it over their nose and mouth while in stations and on trains and thruway buses. The coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas or are seated alone or with a travel companion.

  6. diptherio

    That anti-ant-bashing piece is great. Doesn’t look like Halper or Taibbi have responded yet. Sad to see yet more leftists falling for the anti-ant propaganda that we’re constantly inundated with.

    1. Donald

      Taibbi laughed about it on his Twitter account the other day— it shows I spend too much time on Twitter since I know that.

  7. Donald

    “ For those who, like me, have never seen the television series, and yet keep hearing that The West Wing forms an essential part of the liberal Democrat weltanshauung, this could be useful. “

    I recommend watching it for anthropological reasons. You need to understand the sacred texts of the PMC liberal class. It’s like reading Homer to understand Alexander the Great, who iirc kept a copy of the Iliad with him to read.

    I have a love-hate relationship with the series. I loved the characters ( some I loved to hate but I liked watching them). It works as a soap opera and that is meant as a compliment. Game of Thrones was the same way ( until it fell apart in the final seasons). You might not approve of the political ideologies of most of the characters, but you loved to watch them.

    But I also hated the politics with a fiery passion. Everything you hate about smug centrist PMC liberalism is incarnated in this show. That of course is what makes it useful viewing, They fetishize being pragmatic to the point where they barely accomplish anything at all. They despise people on the far left, unless it is one of their token identity episodes. Most of the time they worship Israel, though one episode poked gentle fun at a Israel supporters over a several century old map of the region that would offend them because it didn’t show Israel. They have an imaginary version of the war on terror where Muslims are killed by smart Democrats, not dumb Republicans. Toby Ziegler goes on a rant about the Mideast ( excluding Israel) where he says they will like us when we win. This was in the early 00’s, where in the real world “smart” Democrats were critical of Bush because he wasn’t fighting our wars correctly.

    And the show loves smartness. It doesn’t matter what the ideology is, so long as the character is smart. They put a liberal and a conservative on the. Supreme Court because they were both smart and would have great arguments. It was also pragmatic because Republicans in that universe have lots of reasonable members open to that sort of compromise.

    1. Ranger Rick

      The great argument of political dramas: the smug centrist liberalism of The West Wing versus the cynical ruthless pragmatism of House of Cards. Monsters stalk the halls of power, and frequently it’s only their own mistakes that end up bringing them down.

    2. fresno dan

      May 8, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      I agree with everything you say, although I have a quibble about “pragmatism.” First, I have never actually seen the show, but all the stuff I have read about it gives me an idea of how I imagine it proceeds.
      So, are they pragmatic because they accept market ideology, or are they market ideologues and disguise their ideology as pragmatism? If everything has to be within a “market” framework, well, you have already lost 95%.
      Perhaps a minor thing, but one has to ask how Roosevelt got social security, and Johnson got medicare (both programs that scream that the market FAILS). And the answer is, “duh – they had crushing majorities” But duh, HOW did they have crushing majorities?
      Maybe DOING SOMETHING for the majority has a little something to do with it…and that is how one pragmatically builds majorities.
      One can never get a rich business man to do anything without supplying an incentive. Apparently, nothing can happen without tax cuts if you have a certain high threshold income. And that is all that republicans run on – you can’t have enough or too many tax cuts, with absolutely no regard to the deficit. Yet somehow, democrats can only promise, maybe if your extra good, 6 jellybeans for Christmas. The repubs are getting millions if not tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from who they vote for, and the dems get 6 cents worth of goodies. Maybe you get what (the majorities) you pay for…

      1. Donald

        I was using the term “ pragmatic” somewhat ironically, but in the way centrist libs see themselves. There were episodes where our liberal heroes would come down hard on people to their left who attacked them for not doing enough. And when I try to remember President Bartlett’s great accomplishments, I draw a blank on domestic issues. There was a lot of drama— assassinations, scandals, kidnappings, wars which is all fine and necessary for TV drama, but they also tried to make politics itself interesting, though mainly by making it all about smart people having witty dialogue. But I really can’t think of any domestic program even comparable to the ACA that President Bartlett passes. There is an attempt at passing something that make college somewhat more affordable.

        On foreign policy they do a fictional version of Clinton’s Camp David meetings with Barak and Arafat except with fictitious Israeli and Palestinian leaders. In the West Wing universe, the talks succeed. So that is his big foreign policy achievement. There might have been an arms control agreement too, but I am not sure. Toby’s speech blasting the Arab world was in response to his wife ( who worked in the State Department) urging a diplomatic approach with our dictatorial Arab allies because we needed all the allies we could get. Toby responded with a prolonged Bill Maher style speech about how backwards they are. No hint that maybe our own hands might not be squeaky clean. It is meant to show that liberals are just as tough and morally righteous regarding the sins of dastardly foreigners as the Republicans.

        1. edmondo

          in response to his wife ( who worked in the State Department)

          This explains why the PMC identify with the series. This is their life in the DC suburbs. Two “high achievers” both pulling in $150K a year and have to be careful what they say to their spouses because of an inherent conflict of interest. It’s aint “Ozzie and Harriet.”

    3. Carolinian

      The West Wing forms an essential part of the liberal Democrat weltanshauung

      Is that because they are all so old? I was never much of a fan of the show but honestly who remembers 20 year old TV shows? If our Dem politicians are still living on Clinton era brand fumes it could be because some of them actually are Clintons–the things that wouldn’t leave.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        sadly, yes.
        at least in my portion of reality.
        mom makes reference to Jed Bartlett every now and then, and stepdad emerges briefly from his stupor to concur, so i know it’s still somewhere in their forebrains.
        my dad and stepmom, the same.
        they are all post-75.
        wife and i would catch parts of it at mom’s when it was still a new show because it was on when we would go over to feed the critters.

        i watched the whole thing on netflix, some years later, when i was still mostly stuck in the bed or an armchair while waiting for my hip(6.5 years I waited)…and the incrementalism and “pragmatism” and clintonesque bipartisan reaching out to the caricature gop baddies(but who have hearts, if you quote enough scripture!) were retch-inducing sometimes…like bad sword and sandal movies from the 70’s…too much suspension of disbelief required.
        but i stuck with it, due to boredom.
        my favorite episode was where Jed yelled at god in Latin in the cathedral after that old woman died.
        Like the Karen Thing…it ain’t fair (just like it ain’t fair to lump all boomers into the mom/pelosi/clinton boat,lol)…but it’s a decent enough jersey/symbol/shorthand for what all’s wrong with Team Blue.

        it’s pretty astonishing when you think about it, that we are led by various fantasists and cult members who appear so disconnected from objective reality…RW Xtians, Neolibs, Neocons, Teabillies, technocrats, Free Market Uber Alles nutters…
        no wonder it’s all so frelled.
        …and that they’ve managed to stay in charge for so long,in spite of the manifest failures of all they’ve done.
        the one triumph, would seem to be the Mindf^ck.
        That’s worked quite well.
        Hopefully, total collapse will cure that.

        1. Carolinian

          Like I say I didn’t watch the show much but it it does represent the Sorkin view of power–nice smart people versus not so nice dumb people. Clearly this fairy tale is comforting enough to still hold some sway.

          Personally I prefer the first couple of seasons of House of Cards or the already mentioned Game of Thrones or that sly metaphor for American society, the Godfather films. America may not have the soul of a killer, as D. H. Lawrence once said, but our elites?….

        2. occassional anonymous

          That episode with Bartlet yelling at God is the one discussed in this podcast with Sirota. They tear it to shreds.

          The whole scenario is Bartlet, angry at the death of his secretary, raging, partially in Latin (because Sorkin is pathologically obsessed with the idea of ‘smart people’, and Bartlet knowing Latin is a pretentious way to show how ‘smart’ the character is) at God for taking her from him. He proceeds to give a Bill Clinton style campaign stump speech, bragging about his accomplishments as president (which aren’t actually very impressive, but the show thinks they are), angry that apparently that wasn’t good enough to balance the scales and not have his secretary die.

          At no point is there any acknowledgement that a woman, a human being, has died and that that is, presumably, tragic first and foremost for the woman herself. She and her death only have value in relation to Bartlet and his needs and wishes. He is angry that his secretary died.

          Later, amid an improbably powerful windstorm within the White House, Bartlet has a conversation with the secretary’s ghost/his own self-delusion, where she bids him to spout some numbers and facts at her, because of course smart people know facts (and women are dumb and never know anything. This is a recurring thing on The West Wing). He them stumps for the ghost, listing all the problems with the country, which is why he needs to run for reelection (the fact that he has already had four years to address these problems and yet done nothing goes unsaid). He then holds a press conference where he announces he’s running for a second term.

          I have not made up or exaggerated anything in my summary. This all is literally what happens.

          The secretary’s death exists solely so he can find the resolve to run for reelection, and so he can practice a freaking campaign speech to a hallucination of her ghost.

          The West Wing is an utterly loathsome television show.

      2. occassional anonymous

        They mostly aren’t old is the thing. Most of them are in their early forties at most, some even younger.

        The reason The West Wing in particular is being subjected to an episode-by-episode dissection is because it was massively influential on people going into politics in a way no other show was. People watched it in college, or at an even younger age, and internalized that that was how politics actually worked. The ultimate result was the Obama administration, which was filled with people who genuinely thought TWW was a model to be emulated.

        More broadly, the show is the perfect encapsulation of the mixture of profound arrogance and utter ignorance, including complete obliviousness to that ignorance, and utter disdain for the left that makes up the Liberal worldview. It’s a completely insufferable show. Watching it is a bit like watching Versailles just before the Revolution; the Bartlet administration is made up of completely clueless idiots who think they’re the smartest people around.

        1. Lydia Maria Child

          Pete Buttigieg was in high school at that time, to prove your point perfectly.

    4. John Anthony La Pietra

      Okay, folks, are you ready now to look at another show about government — more popular and longer-lasting than “West Wing” and with a wistful of spin-offs — that screwed up its own premise every week before the story even got started?

      I’m talking “Law and Order”, friends . . . where before the DUN DUN tolled twice we would hear this:

      “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

      First of all, the people allegedly represented by those two groups are actually “the People” — all tidily State-capitalized. And second, even if we cut the police some slack and stipulate that some investigation of crime is going on (whose on whom?), how dare they try to drone it into our heads as truths rather than truisms that everyone prosecuted is an offender (and every offender is prosecuted)?!

  8. Louis Fyne

    —The full-spectrum failure of the Trump revolution—

    there’s this branch of government called the judiciary. just saying. oops sorry. I meant: Orange Man Bad!

    1. shinola

      Re. that Damon Linker fellow – The TDS is strong in this one. It is so bad that Linker tries to rehabilitate G.W. Bush! (The 2nd link in the descriptive paragraph above)

      So far, Trump has come nowhere near the murderous escapades of Bush & his puppet master Cheney. The lies that Trump casually spews on a daily basis are not on the same plane as Bush/Cheney’s lies about Iraqi WMD.

      But then again, Bush is sooo… statesman-like and Trump is just so crude & rude. I guess it’s better to be a polite war criminal than a crude grifter.

      1. John Wright

        The second Linker link has this:

        “Yet here we are, more than 11 years since he left office, and more than three years into the appalling presidency of Donald Trump, and Bush no longer seems quite so bad. Some of this is a function of the contrast with Trump. Instead of trying to eliminate the health insurance relied upon by millions, Bush oversaw the expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs.”

        No Bush still seems monumentally terrible.

        Bush did tax cuts for the wealthy, like Trump, Bush launched a never ending “pre-emptive” war in Iraq and Bush’s expansion of Medicare to handle prescription drugs was written to PROHIBIT Medicare from negotiating lower prices, in a handout to big Pharma

        In my mind, George W. Bush is the “Babe Ruth” of bad US Presidents, he grew up in one of the most politically connected US families, went to Ivy league schools (Yale, Harvard), had to have met many smart (and maybe wise) people and yet did tremendous harm to the USA and the world.

        Bush had little excuse to be as bad as he was.

        And Bush sought the office, while Trump appeared to run for President as a piece of performance art.

        To Bush’s discredit he brought “pre-emptive war” to the USA political sphere, which can be used to justify any military action.

        Trump has actually been willing, despite hostile reactions from the media, Democrats and some Republicans, to talk to foreign leaders who may be unfriendly to the USA

        One could believe that “crude grifter” Trump would telegraph his actions and the Democrats (led by Nancy P.) could counteract.

        But that doesn’t happen when it involves military actions or support for rescuing the wealthy.

    2. geoff

      Think I’ve said this here before, but I don’t understand how anyone could possibly see the Trump administration’s passage of a massive tax cut for corporations and wealthy individuals, packing the federal judiciary (including two Supreme Court seats) with Federalist Society faithful, dismantling the EPA, and most recently directing trillions of dollars to “bail out” Wall Street and private equity as anything but a giant success. Mission Accomplished!

    3. geoff

      Think I’ve said this here before, but I don’t understand how anyone could possibly see the Trump administration’s passage of a massive tax cut for corporations and wealthy individuals, packing the federal judiciary (including two Supreme Court seats) with Federalist Society faithful, dismantling the EPA, and most recently directing trillions of dollars to “bail out” Wall Street and private equity as anything but a great success. Mission Accomplished!

        1. geoff

          Sorry! These continual “Trump’s Failed Presidency” takes just make me crazy.

  9. John

    Do I read the two postings under “Mr. Market” correctly? The stock market can hum along without reference to the real economy. The stock market does not need people and goods, but is a self-contained entity consisting of computers and terminals and algorithms. Does it even need analysts and traders or could it do its thing all along and untended?

    I have been asking myself these sorts of questions as I have watched the ebb and flow day to day with, on the Dow, the same enormous volume,which seems possible only if mostly algorithmic trading.

    I guess my bottom line question is this, if the market has no connection to the world of things and blood and bone, do we need it at all?

    1. cnchal

      > . . . do we need it at all?

      Yes. Imagine how infinitely crappier the world would be if all there was, was Pirate Equity. At least there is entertainment value to watching, agonizing, crying, laughing, worrying, and on the rare occasion for the peasant, winning at the rigged stawk market casino.

      There is a lot of self serving baloney in those two articles too. The big one is “the market looks forward about six months and discounts that future”, as if it could discern anything when Jerome is pushing Mr. Market’s head into the punch bowl. Mr. Market is looking at the future through a rose colored fish bowl, drunk into a stupor.

      A couple of months ago, when Mr. Market came up for air, what happened? A 25% instantaneous crash. One has to ask themselves what was Mr. Market seeing six months before the crash. It was looking through a rose colored fish bowl, so it saw nothing, then came up for a breath of air and freaked out by what it saw, then Jerome pushed his head back into the fish bowl, refilled with rose colored punch.

      1. HotFlash

        Well, here is the problem. We don’t need it, they need it. Seems to me that the situation is similar to ‘who needs cocaine?’.

    2. Dirk77

      While there appear many things that prop it up, a big one this century is the federal gov and especially the Fed. I mean if you have an entity that will backstop you no matter what your action was, wouldn’t you continue to play the game no matter what apocalypse was outside your door? If I were a big player, I sure would. The surprising thing is how many more people are aware of how corrupt the system is as opposed to, say, ten years ago. Yet that increased awareness appears to be exceeded by the increased daring of the corrupt.

      Some interesting thoughts on elements of a way out by Yanis: What comes after capitalism.

  10. Tom Doak

    The Cook Political Report piece about the importance of Biden’s VP choice assumes that he will win.

    If he loses, the party will blame the VP choice for not having done more to help. [The last LOSING v.p. candidate to remain politically viable was . . . [checks notes] . . . Nixon.] Her political career will be finished, and between that and the hypocrisy of their handling of the Reade accusations, all female Democrats will likely suffer in their standing for years to come.

    (Except Nancy, of course.) /s

    1. Jessica

      Mondale was the (very) losing VP candidate in 1980 and the (very) losing presidential candidate in 1984. Wasn’t viable enough to win the election but was viable enough to win the nomination.

      1. Yet Another Chris

        As an aside, Mondale was kneecappped again, in his home state, in his bid for the Senate in 2002 [a seat he once held]. Paul Wellstone’s plane went down and the DFL drafted Fritz for a blitz campaign. Senior Senator, former Vice President, Ambassador to Japan. It didn’t matter. In the radio debate he sounded foggy against his aggressive GOP counterpart, Norm Coleman. A memorable phrase sums it up: “Mom, the greasy guy won.”

    2. Big River Bandido

      Nobody blames Geraldine Ferraro for Mondale’s loss, Lloyd Bentsen for Mike Dukakis’ loss, or Tim Kaine for Clinton’s loss, despite how uninspiringly poor those choices were. Those campaigns all died of cumulative injuries, mostly self-inflicted. As a late entry on the ticket and a sort of proxy endorsement, the VP nominee on a losing ticket generally escapes blame for the failure.

      But they also get no glory either. The elevated status in future contests for the party nomination (and stewardship of its direction) accrues only to those who actually get elected to and serve in the office. An unsuccessful nomination generally leads nowhere. Just ask Paul Ryan.

      1. HotFlash

        My dear Ms Bandido, well observed! And of course, they will still have Bernie to blame.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Eh. That old dog just won’t hunt. Not this time, with such an early endorsement.

          1. Procopius

            Dunno, I see commenters on another blog I will not name who are still furious that Bernie destroyed Hillary’s chances in 2016 and have a lot of bad names to call him and anybody who likes his policies. He absolutely undercut and sabotaged her in order to help Trump win. If not for Bernie there’s no doubt Hillary would be our President* right now. I’m not sure if those people believe in QAnon or not, but they sure believe in Russiagate. In fact, I see a lot of people around who simply accept the Russiagate narrative as fully proven with evidence and everything. I live in a world where the sky is pink.

      2. Lydia Maria Child

        Sarah Palin. And McGovern’s VP pick (forget this name), to name another.

  11. Lee

    Bezzle Supplement

    Uber and Lyft Officially Owe California Unemployment Money. Will The State Get It Back? KQED

    After nearly two months of applications and appeals, some Uber and Lyft drivers are getting unemployment insurance. But Lyft and Uber have not paid a cent into the state’s unemployment fund because the gig companies have continued to classify their drivers as contractors. That means California is going to pay the bill.

    Lyft and Uber have claimed to have over 500,000 drivers in California. Depending on how long the pandemic lasts, covering the tab on their unemployment could cost the state hundreds of millions or even more than a billion dollars.

    I’m assuming Betteridge’s law pertains.

    1. Off The Street

      Can’t fight City or State Hall. Imagine having super-liens placed on all those cars, preempting whatever tenuous claim U or L had on the drivers. Not saying it is viable, just to imagine it.

      Why not extend the misery through the DMV?

      1. Procopius

        Imagine having super-liens placed on all those cars, preempting whatever tenuous claim U or L had on the drivers.

        Wait… what? I thought the cars were owned by the independent contractors, and that they had to pay for the gas, oil, insurance, and maintenance themselves. Am I mistaken? That was why I always thought the idea of driverless cars was idiotic; they’d have to make an additional enormous capital investment and then ongoing operating expenses they’re spared now.

    2. wilroncanada

      500,000 drivers! What are they doing? Giving each other rides? Do they create their own inflation, like real estate speculators trading the same property back and forth?

  12. jsn

    “— combined with harsher and dumber versions of the same policies any Republican elected in 2016 would have pursued…. ”

    And the Democrats have funded with no questions or visible resistance.

  13. bassmule

    If this has been posted before, my apologies. It’s from Wednesday.

    “So the media likes to say we have the most cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn’t have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”

    Remarks by President Trump and Vice President Pence at a Meeting with Governor Reynolds of Iowa

    I’m curious: The President of the United States does not care if the citizens of his country die. Is this an impeachable offense? Every day this man is in office is a mortal threat. And the entire Congress is complicit for not moving immediately to get him out of office now, not in January.

    1. JBird4049

      Basically, yes to everything, but Vice President Pence is probably a worse threat then President Trump.

      Being monsterous could be said about all Presidents with a few exception although every “good” or “great” President I have studied has been a Janus with morality.

      Besides, even now a President is not a dictator. Congress always has had overrule him with a 2/3 majority vote and new legislation, which has been true for centuries, but they never, or almost never, do.

  14. jsn

    “It’s not clear to me that Sanders could have California any other way.”

    That’s precisely why it’s such a bad idea, you sound like you want elections to matter!

  15. Left in Wisconsin

    The tweet about DSA is right on – with regard to adults – but the article about high schoolers and socialism that the screen shot is taken from is excellent, I thought.

    For those of you without woke high schoolers or young adults, it does a good job of explaining why socialism is so popular among the middle class youth (even though they have no idea of the historical meaning of the word). TL;DR It’s because the self-identified socialists are the ones advocating for M4All, Green New Deal and student loan forgiveness.

    It’s also an interesting counterpoint to the “strasserism” piece from the other day. I have absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of self-identified young socialists are children of the PMC. And it is not at all clear how many would/will stick with socialism if confronted with the situation where being a socialist impairs their upward mobility. But for all the “serious” leftists declaring now is the time to clarify the contradictions and break from the PMC (a position I am mostly sympathetic to), it would be a mistake to also break from their children. They are still figuring out what they think and are there to be won. Lots of them anyway.

    1. Nancy Boyd

      Socialism is a movement of the working class. How is it that PMC children support a movement to elevate the class interests of a class they themselves disdain?

      1. ambrit

        Let’s wait a bit and see how much of that ‘support’ lasts past their first brush with the “PMC Career World.” I can well understand how “Virtue Signalling” can be inculcated in the PMC Youth Cadres.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I’ve been deeply impressed with the local high schoolers – predominantly children of the PMC. They’re not only paying attention but effective organizers.

      The kids are OK, I think. they better be, considering what they’re inheriting.

  16. Lark

    In re Sephora: It just feels like a dance of death to envision people doing any kind of “fun” shopping while everyone is masked and desperately sanitizing in fear of contagion. When you’re in a store, you know that civilian PPE is imperfect even if everyone is wearing it and you know people are going to get sick and maybe die. It’s horrible. You might as well be shopping in a morgue. One reason I like staying home is that everything at least looks normal here – everything is the same as it was six months ago. Venturing out into the new nightmare world is the opposite of fun or appealing.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Exactly this. I loved shopping for groceries, and never understood delivery service. Now it’s an awkward and disturbing experience. I used to go at least 3 times a week, with stores in easy walking distance; now I go once or twice a week for everything, come home, wash every plastic container in soap, and so on.

      Every shopping experience a dance with death!

      1. cnchal

        > . . . Every shopping experience a dance with death!

        Whether it comes to you or you go to it.

    2. periol

      Can’t help but wonder when the botox parties will start up again in the beach communities of Southern California…

  17. coats & linen

    Re: DSA Watch: I would love to see this tweeter give us one shred of evidence for these sweeping claims. I’m very involved in NYC-DSA, and these sentiments (not liking the economic, etc.) would be absolutely laughed out of a meeting. These are wild allegations. (More generally—though it’s too big of a topic to talk through here—I think it’s irresponsible to pit bread and butter economic issues against “woke” issues in a hard binary. It is in fact possible to organize around issues like race and immigration without being a Clintonite neolib, to organize around them from an explicitly socialist perspective attentive to the material foundations of everything.)

    1. Nancy Boyd

      When you say materialist foundations, do you include the possibility of a materialist understanding of gender identity, in which men cannot enter the class of women exploited for sexual, domestic, and reproductive labour?

      When you say materialist foundations, do you include allowing for a legitimate debate around the economic conundrum Open Borders pose?

      The problem with Woke issues is exactly that they put primacy on the subjective (which is always individualist and therefore wokeism devolves to neoliberalism) over and above materialist analysis — and modern leftism arose precisely as a materialist revolution against the primacy of the subjective.

      It is NOT possible to be a socialist (as in the word that’s used to describe the members of DSA) and privilege the subjective over the material. Might as well call yourself Young Hegelians.

  18. Pat

    You know we or at least some of us have posited that the pandemic is going to lead to a huge increase in support for M4A. (I will let you in on one of my wilder secret conspiracy thoughts – that it isn’t just the systemic problems and ineptitude of the Trump administration that have stopped a more competent federal response, but that Congress and most of our government officials need the federal government to fail as a deterrent for M4A.)

    But another populist policy that is going to see a boost IMO is student loan forgiveness. The closure of so many institutions of higher education with little or no tuition refunds leave students on the hook for a lost term and all the costs and interest connected to that. And since I am also betting that available jobs are going to be few and lower paid than they should be, not to mention an explosion of unpaid internships, for the next few years….well inability to pay is going to explode.

    Nope the system has stopped eating only the weakest and least powerful, the expansion into the bottom of the ten percent has not just started, it is likely at run away speed.

    We do live in interesting and enlightening times.

  19. fwe'zy

    “For years now, America’s corporate sector has been preparing for an economy fueled by the consumption of white-collar shut-ins …” That’s lavender-collar shut-ins to you, harrumph!
    That’s the reality of jobs and downward mobility now, and maybe not a bad thing if everybody gets to develop multiple faculties.(But 1 worker doing 3 different jobs is obviously problematic in the transition.) I know a lady who’s a potter and electrician, and with her hubby owns like 90 acres in NY. I sure would like a “real” skill. Vocational school is not a bad thing at all, decoupled from high stakes class society.

  20. JTMcPhee

    It’s from the Washington Examiner, based in part on a paywalled Business Insider story (https://www.businessinsider.com/biden-refuses-open-senate-papers-accusers-claims-2020-4?utmSource=twitter&utmContent=referral&utmTerm=topbar&referrer=twitter0, but it appears Honest Joe’s campaign sent “operatives’ to paw through Biden’s papers at the U of Delaware (do none of these arrogant politicians have shredders or incinerators) to likely locate and remove anything having to do with Tara Reade. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/biden-campaign-operatives-have-accessed-sealed-senate-archive-which-may-contain-tara-reade-file

    Recall she started trying to find a way to get her experience recognized and reported early in 2019, going to the #MeToo People and a law firm that specialized in such cases. Who no doubt alerted the Biden campaign that this might become an issue.

    So maybe the DNC has already swallowed up a lot of the paper trail that would further corroborate her related experience.

  21. John Beech

    Watch West Wing for the pleasure. Don’t overthink it, just enjoy the darned thing. We own a boxed set of DVDs, and vote Republican . . . go figure! And note, we’ve recently been watching the series once again; this time on Netflix because we’re too lazy to pluck the disks off the bookshelf. Anyway, at present we’re up to season four, I think. We watch one, or maybe two episodes each night. We watched when broadcast, and have watched the DVDs once or twice in the intervening years. And now again most recently, online. why? Darned good television, witty writing, and excellent acting. And if I may offer one piece of advice; do it for the pleasure, not for the purpose of picking it apart. Remember, the series is about 20 years old! And I will note one thing, many of the topics could be plucked from today’s headlines – I kid you not.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “many of the topics could be plucked from today’s headlines”

      That’s because we Americans don’t solve problems any more; we just organize fund-raising campaigns around them.

    2. mary jensen

      re West Wing, John Beech:

      “Remember, the series is about 20 years old! And I will note one thing, many of the topics could be plucked from today’s headlines – I kid you not.”

      ditto the series “ER” (don’t look away) which is much older and its topics (US health care) are still 100% valid which is really quite incredible, in fact it’s downright depressing. Ever watch “The Wire”? It requires learning a new language and it’s well worth it. What a masterpiece. As for “House of Cards”, I’ll take the UK original starring Ian Richardson any day over the US ‘copy’ with Kevin Spacey and Co.(.)

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        As a limey I had to make a big effort to learn the lingo, but for ” The Wire “, it was well worth it. I also enjoyed ” Treme ” & the Spike Lee documentary that followed it which covered the Katrina debacle, & foreshadowed the present to a certain extent.

    3. occassional anonymous

      You like it as a Republican because the political philosophy of the show, such as it is, is conservative. It despises and mocks the left, while treating Republicans as the honorable opponent that can be worked with.

      And the writing isn’t witty, it’s utterly asinine while also being completely smug.

  22. richard

    I’m sure someone else must have seen this, but I was checking out the J. Hopkins data uppage and noticed how flat the graph was in WA state for test averages over a week. The I looked at Cali, and a few other places, and yeah, flat as shit. Which can only indicate something we already know, that providers are using up all their tests every day, week month, hence the same data point and a flat graph, showing conclusively that we don’t have enough tests. That in itself was nothing new to me, but then it struck me that other countries can actually use this metric to track the progression of the disease, but for dumbass ‘mericans it’s only an alarm to our profound, pant-off incompetence.

    1. HotFlash

      Thank you, richard, well observed! Shouldn’t we have a category for tests performed? Hope that doesn’t sound like snark, it is completely not.

      1. Procopius

        Worldometers has a column for tests performed and another for tests per million population. I don’t trust them though, and I wish they had data in their columns for new cases and new deaths.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “The Anatonmy of a Failing University”

    Makes you wonder what the end game will be. This really shows, this article, how bad things have become but you wonder what will happen in the end. Maybe a few franchises will be formed for Universities to achieve economies of scale. Call it a MacUniversity chain where they will all have the same courses, the same curriculums, the same financing, the same incentives, etc. It could happen

    Great looking rose garden Lambert by the way.

  24. Tomonthebeach


    Today’s Tampa just amplified that Biden is a senile old man who must be led around like a puppy dog or he will get lost. Biden had repeatedly demonstrated on camera that he is no more mentally fit to fix our broken democracy and wounded economy than Trump who is also mentally dysfunctional in many ways, but he is not senile. In any TV debate, Biden would easily be provoked to rage (as we have seen many times) reacting to highlighting his many lies, absurd confabulations, and bad policy choices, not to mention casting Biden’s errant son as a grifter, doper, and all-around scoundrel.

    1. Off The Street

      The Biden candidacy has achieved escape velocity, or maybe just succumbed to gravity, into the preposterous. That takes some doing.

      From Dictionary.com
      completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish: a preposterous tale.

    2. John k

      But he has the two critical qualifications that he needed to get the nomination:
      1. He’s not trump.
      2. He’s not Bernie.
      (Shown in reverse order of importance to the dnc.)

    3. urblintz

      He stumbled through a live cable interview with Spectrum News 9 today…

      put the ‘phlegm’ in phlegmatic.

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Biden doesn’t seem to handle criticism well, at least from his social inferiors on the trail.”
    His offence reminds me of Oregon’s previous Sen. Packwood, who did things like chasing women around the desk. It seems to be a Senatorial Syndrome: they get so full of themselves that they can’t believe anyone would say no – or criticize them in any way. Biden is so far gone, and maybe now so mentally handicapped, that he lets it out in public.

  26. McWatt

    Matt and Katie showed the video of Hillary and Biden on split screen the other day during her endorsement and Biden appeared to be asleep during a portion of it.

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