2:00PM Water Cooler 8/12/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Here are the top five of the top ten problem states, with New York for comparison: California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona.

This chart also includes positivity, starting with the highest (worst): Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, California. Only California, at 7.05%, approaches the WHO standard of 5%. Also, Arizona is falling out of the top five, being lapped by Tennessee, North Carolina, and Illiinois, but I’m leaving them in to say “Good job, Arizona!”

If you look at the chart you will see three things at least: First, there’s a big fall, followed by a rapid rise, in California’s confirmed cases; this matches recent news of their data gathering debacle, and the subsequent fix. Second, there’s an enormous rise in testing positivity in Texas. This also matches recent news (and they don’t know why it’s happening). These two artifacts should give us some confidence that moving the data flow from CDC directly to HHS did not corrupt the data (despite the hysteria at the time). Third, since the chart uses absolute numbers on a linear scale, we have four New Yorks: New York proper, followed by California, Texas, and Florida. In my view, this argues strongly against a Red/Blue, Republican/Democrat dichotomy, since all failed alike; evidently the causes for the debacle are to be sought in the political economy of the United States as a whole. (I believe the death rate was higher in New York, but I don’t know how we compensate for the increase in practitioner skill over time; New York, as the main origin/propagator of the virus, had to cope with the least amount of knowledge.)

CA: “Sacramento County’s Use Of COVID-19 CARES Funds Questioned” [Sacramento Observer]. “Sacramento County officials have found themselves in defense mode after it appears they have used the bulk of the federal money they have received to respond to the coronavirus pandemic for Corrections expenses. The Sacramento OBSERVER has obtained documents that point to County officials spending more than 90 percent of its to-date allocations from the $181 million it received from the federal government through its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to cover Corrections costs. According to the documents, nearly $133 million was used for costs including salaries and benefits for the Sheriff’s and probation departments, and only 2.4 percent of CARES Act funding has gone to human services — including $777,761.96 to ‘public health,’ and $1.1 million to ‘primary health.'” • Everything is like CalPERS. Give these intrepid reporters a click!


“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

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 10: Still no changes.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!


Patient readers, I had to wade through a ton of Harris hagiography today, so I may be a little more acerbic than usual. –lambert

Festival of Harris. I picked out one single sentence from each:

Biden (D)(1): “What The Kamala Harris Pick Means To The Black Women Who Lead The Democratic Party” [Buzzfeed]. “Brazile, Daughtry, Caraway, and Moore entered Democratic politics in the 1980s, a time that ushered in Rev. Jesse Jackson’s two presidential campaigns and Ron Brown’s tenure as the first Black chair of the DNC, and helped cement Black women both the party’s longest-serving stewards and most loyal voting bloc every four years.” • Yeah. Jesse Jackson. Whatever happened to him?

Biden (D)(2): “Harris pick creates an emotional moment for Black women” [WaPo]. “Kamala D. Harris’s leap onto the Democratic ticket Tuesday sparked a surge of emotion across the nation as Americans for the first time witnessed a woman of color ascend to the country’s highest political levels.” • Nothing more important than a liberalgasm deeply sincere surge of emotion, especially among the political class. And I still want to know what Willie Brown was thinking.

Biden (D)(3): “Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate [ABC]. “If elected, Harris would not only be the first woman to serve as vice president, but would also be the first person of color to be second in command and the highest-elected Asian American in history.” • We seem to be getting our ascriptive identities a little confused, here.

Biden (D)(4): “Wall Street executives are glad Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris to be his VP running mate” [CNBC]. “Financial advisory firm Signum Global is already telling its clients that the choice of Harris reinforces the notion that the Democratic ticket is more moderate than progressive.” • Ka-ching.

UPDATE (D)(5): “Kamala Harris is the choice Joe Biden needed to win over Silicon Valley” [Recode]. “Biden’s selection of Harris — who has glad-handed with San Francisco elites for decades — as his choice for vice president is likely to usher in Silicon Valley excitement and money galore in a way that other running mates would not.” • Ka-ching.

UPDATE (D)(6): “Kamala Harris, a Political Fighter Shaped by Life in Two Worlds” [New York Times]. “Caustic when she needs to be but cautious on substantive issues more often than many liberals would like, Ms. Harris has spent her public life negotiating disparate orbits, fluent in both activist and establishment circles without ever feeling entirely anchored to either.” • If the orbits are disparate, they’re not orbiting about anything.

UPDATE (D)(7): “The reason Kamala Harris was a bad presidential candidate is the reason she could be a good vice presidential candidate” [Boston Globe]. “[W]hat Biden requires in his running mate is someone who is politically flexible.” • Not to say… nimble.

UPDATE (D)(8): “‘Historic’ — Biden chooses Kamala Harris, and all sides respond” [Los Angeles Times]. “Obama chimed in as well with his own statement, saying Biden ‘nailed this decision’ in choosing Harris.” • A decision that I am sure Obama had no hand in whatever.

UPDATE (D)(9): “Kamala Harris was the safest, most experienced and most tested choice Biden could make” [E.J. Dionne, WaPo]. “An emotive person who values personal ties, Biden chose a running mate who was close to his dear departed son Beau, from the days when Harris and the younger Biden were state attorneys general.” • I haven’t read “dear departed” in serious prose for quite some time.

UPDATE (D)(10): “‘She May Very Well Hold the Key to Biden’s Win'” [Politico]. Anne-Marie Slaughter: “I strongly suspect that we will see lots of cosmetic changes without probing or changing the deeper underlying biases.” • They’d never say “cosmetic changes” about a male candidate!

Biden (D)(11): “How Biden decided on Harris” [The Hill]. “‘I think he wanted to consider every qualified woman out there,’ the confidant said. ‘Whitmer definitely was having a moment with COVID, Keisha Lance Bottoms also caught his attention, Val Demings also looked good for a while there, he liked Elizabeth Warren’s ideas. He basically wanted to try all of that on for size and see how it added up.” • Oh. (OK, more than one sentence.)

Biden (D)(12): “Sarah Palin offers Harris advice: ‘Don’t get muzzled'” [The Hill]. “Palin, the second and most recent woman to be a major-ticket vice presidential nominee, urged Harris to ‘trust no one new’ and ‘fight mightily to keep your own team with you.'” • Too late. As we saw yesterday, Biden already picked her staff. (And if we can rehabilitate George W. Bush, why can’t we rehabilitate Sarah Palin?)

UPDATE Biden (D)(13): Bombs away:

Biden (D)(14). Bill of particulars on Harris. Thread:

* * *

“Omar easily wins primary challenge as ‘the Squad’ continues unbeaten streak” [Yahoo News]. “Omar easily overcame a challenge from Black lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux, winning by nearly 20 points in the Minneapolis-area Fifth District. Melton-Meaux who had received heavy donations from the pro-Israel lobby that allowed him to dominate local television advertising and was endorsed by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Omar was targeted for comments she had made about Israel and criticisms that she was putting a national profile over the needs of her Minneapolis district.” • She didn’t just beat her opponent; she stomped them (as did AOC and Tlaib in their races). Ayanna Pressley, a “Squad” member solely by virtue of her ascriptive identity, is, oddly, or not, running unopposed. Star-Tribune headline: “Rep. Ilhan Omar wins contentious Fifth District DFL primary.” To be contentious, you’ve got to have contenders; a twenty-point margin means the race was never serious, contrary to all the reporting about it. Also, [family blog] you, AIPAC.

“College Democrat at Center of Attack on Alex Morse Hoped yo Launch Career Through Richard Neal” [The Intercept]. “With the allegations short of details or any student claiming to be a victim, the focus has shifted to the origin of the letter. The man serving as chief strategist for the UMass Amherst College Democrats, Timothy Ennis, recently completed a class with Neal, who teaches a journalism course. Ennis, according to two members of the College Democrats chapter, was open about his hopes of working for Neal in the future. Meanwhile, an aide with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, in which the journalism program sits, alerted the school’s administration of evidence that the recently surfaced allegations against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse “are politically motivated,” according to communication reviewed by The Intercept. Spokespersons for the administration did not respond to requests for comment.” • Called it (though for something so obvious one deserves little credit). I said it was College Democrat oppo, and it was. Zephyr Teachout:

That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

“SCOOP: Hospitals Bankroll The Democrat Who Lets Them Send Patients Surprise Bills” [David Sirota, Too Much Information]. “The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) political action committee has spent more than $200,000 on digital ads to boost [Democratic Rep. Richard Neal’s] reelection campaign as he faces a spirited primary challenge, according to campaign finance records. AHA is one of the most powerful forces in Washington D.C. working to keep health care costs outrageously high. The trade group, which represents more than 5,000 hospitals and brings in more than $130 million annually, has lobbied against reforms to end surprise medical billing, against plans requiring hospitals to make their prices public, and against the single-payer Medicare for All proposal to eliminate for-profit health insurance. AHA’s political action committee, AHAPAC, spends millions each election cycle to support federal candidates, but this cycle it has shelled out far more to support Neal than it has spent in any other race. The $200,000 worth of pro-Neal ads the group has sponsored are the only independent expenditures AHAPAC has made in the 2019-20 election cycle. As chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Neal controls all legislation that has a tax component, including most major health care bills.” • Ya know, if I got a surprise medical bill, I might be… “uncomfortable.”

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.

Inflation: “July 2020 CPI: Year-over-Year Inflation Rate Grows to 1.0%” [Econintersect]. “According to the BLS, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) year-over-year inflation rate was 1.0 % year-over-year (up from the reported 0.6 % last month). The year-over-year core inflation (excludes energy and food) rate worsened from 1.2 % to 1.6 %…. The index for energy was the reason for the month-over-month increase of the CPI-U. Medical care services cost inflation marginally changed from 6.0 % to 5.9 % year-over-year.”

Employment Situation: “The Recent COVID-19 Spike and the U.S. Employment Slowdown” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. “[S]ince the week of June 12, the recovery in employment has slowed down and slightly reverted. Can we link this recent deterioration in labor market conditions to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases since June?… The recent evolution in our coincident employment index suggests that the recent recovery in employment has halted and that the increase in Covid-19 may be the main cause for this. Thus, a strong economic recovery may need a healthy recovery from the pandemic.” • Dunno about their methodology (which I have omitted) but this seems like common sense.

* * *

Savings: “Americans are sitting on record cash savings amid pandemic and uncertain economy” [USA Today]. “The savings rate – the portion of monthly income that households are socking away – hit a record 33.5% in April before edging down to a still outsized 19% in June, Commerce Department figures show. Before the pandemic, Americans were squirreling away an average 7.5% of income. ‘We’ve never had this much savings,’ says Tom Porcelli, chief economist of RBC Capital Markets. ‘It’s uncharted territory.’ From March through June, the latest data available, U.S. households banked an additional $916 billion of their income above pre-COVID levels, according to Moody’s Analytics, a stash that will top $1 trillion when July figures are included. Some of the reserves already have been spent: Consumer spending rose a record 8.5% in May and a healthy 5.6% in June. But with the economy largely shut down, little has been spent on travel, dining out, movies and other services. At the same time, households have benefited from stimulus checks of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples.”

Commodities: “U.S. farmers leave fields fallow as COVID-19 wrecks crop prospects” [Reuters]. “Farmers routinely make changes to their acreage intentions as the calendar advances, substituting in different crops if the weather mucks up their original plans. But leaving the ground bare is new territory for U.S. farmers who typically plant fencerow to fencerow, trying to squeeze profit out of every available acre. The most recent acreage data from the government showed corn and cotton plantings in particular were far below initial expectations, with corn seedings in June dropping the most from March in 37 years. The coronavirus pandemic caused many farmers to give up on their corn crop before it was even in the ground.”

The Bezzle: “Former Wirecard Manager Died of Blood Poisoning in Manila: Bild” [Bloomberg]. “A former manager of Germany’s disgraced Wirecard AG died of blood poisoning in a hospital in Manila, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing the dead man’s mother.” • His mother?

Tech: “Twitter users can now control who replies to their tweet” [Reuters]. “Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) on Tuesday rolled out a moderation feature that would allow its users to limit how many people can reply to their tweets, giving account-holders more control over conversations on their page. All accounts, including those of elected officials, can now select the people who will be allowed to reply while composing a new tweet, Twitter said.” • So, the Blue Checks set up a gated community. Swell.

Tech: “Google’s Search Monopoly Complicates a Mental Health Crisis” [Bloomberg]. • This is an excellent article, well worth a read; in essence, Google is facilitating the destruction of individal mental health practices by facilitating mental health chains backed by venture capital. Quote: “I think Google’s ultimate goal is that you give them your credit card and that’s the only thing you do.”

Small Business: “Small Businesses Are Dying by the Thousands — And No One Is Tracking the Carnage” [Bloomberg]. “Big companies are going bankrupt at a record pace, but that’s only part of the carnage. By some accounts, small businesses are disappearing by the thousands amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the drag on the economy from these failures could be huge. This wave of silent failures goes uncounted in part because real-time data on small business is notoriously scarce, and because owners of small firms often have no debt, and thus no need for bankruptcy court. Yelp Inc., the online reviewer, has data showing more than 80,000 permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses, or firms with fewer than five locations.” • Readers, I suppose this is true where you are?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 Greed (previous close: 71 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 12 at 12:24pm. Falling back to mere Greed from Extreme Greed. Disappointing!

The Biosphere

“Global Response to Mauritius Oil Spill Continues” [Maritime Executive]. “Reports from Mauritius are that the weather conditions remained stable to permit the pumping operations to continue. Both the ship’s owners, Nagashiki Shipping Co., and the charterer, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, issued updates reporting that over 1,000 metric tons of the fuel had been pumped off the ship with an estimated 1,600 tons of Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil and 200 tons of diesel oil still onboard. Reports say that approximately 500 metric tons were pumped from the ship on August 10…. While it is believes that little or no additional oil is leaking from the ship currently, it continues to show signs of worsening distress. The current fear is if the ships breaks apart the two undamaged fuel tanks could rupture. The owners confirmed that their experts on site are reporting that the cracks are widening. A line from a tug remains secured in hopes of preventing the ship from drifting in high seas.” • If we leave it in the ground, this sort of thing doesn’t happen.

Health Care

“Viable SARS-CoV-2 in the air of a hospital room with COVID-19 patients” (preprint) [medRxiv]. “Air samples were collected in the room of two COVID-19 patients… The genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 collected from the air and of virus isolated in cell culture from air sampling and from a NP swab from a newly admitted patient in the room were sequenced. Findings – Viable virus was isolated from air samples collected 2 to 4.8m away from the patients. The genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 strain isolated from the material collected by the air samplers was identical to that isolated from the NP swab from the patient with an active infection.” • This is important; the preprint we linked to on July 22 (later published in Nature) showed “replication competent virus.” This study shows infectious virus:

The Times link is worth reading too; the methodology is ingenious.

“Management of post-acute covid-19 in primary care” [Trisha Greenhalgh, British Medical Journal]. “Around 10% of patients who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus remain unwell beyond three weeks, and a smaller proportion for months (see box 1). This is based on the UK COVID Symptom Study, in which people enter their ongoing symptoms on a smartphone app. This percentage is lower than that cited in many published observational studies, whose denominator populations were those admitted to hospital or attending specialist clinics. A recent US study found that only 65% of people had returned to their previous level of health 14-21 days after a positive test…. It is not known why some people’s recovery is prolonged. …. Post-acute covid-19 symptoms vary widely.” • All about “long Covid.” It’s those [family blogging] tentacles, I swear. Once you get bindweed in your garden….

“New Zealand considers freight as possible source of new coronavirus cluster” [Reuters]. “The source of the outbreak has baffled health officials, who said they were confident there was no local transmission of the virus in New Zealand for 102 days… Investigations were zeroing in on the potential the virus was imported by freight. Bloomfield said surface testing was underway at an Auckland cool store where a man from the infected family worked. ‘We know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time,’ Bloomfield said during a televised media conference.” • Whenever I bring home anything from the cooler at the store, I wash off the container.

“For All We Know, Gaiter Masks Are Fine” [Salon]. • n = 1 (!!!!).

* * *

Sports Desk

“Big Ten, Pac-12 pull plug on fall football amid pandemic” [Associated Press]. “A crumbling college football season took a massive hit Tuesday when the Big Ten and Pac-12, two historic and powerful conferences, succumbed to the pandemic and canceled their fall football seasons. Five months almost to the day after the first spikes in coronavirus cases in the U.S. led to the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments, the still raging pandemic is tearing down another American sports institution: fall Saturdays filled with college football. ‘This was an extremely difficult and painful decision that we know will have important impacts on our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our fans,’ Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. ”We know nothing will ease that.’ Despite pleas from players, coaches and President Donald Trump in recent days to play on, 40% of major college football teams have now decided to punt on a fall season, a decision that will cost schools tens of millions of dollars and upends traditions dating back a century.” • Despite happy memories of watching football on the black-and-white TV (rabbit ears; three channels) with my father, I think upending this particular tradition is a good thing, and I don’t care if college football ever starts up again. Less brain damage, no more grotesque displays of militarism, no more “student athletes” as indentured servants, and an end to a function universities and colleges should not be performing anyhow (at least not at the hypertrophied, cancerous level college sports

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Ghislaine Maxwell Claims Mistreatment By Jail Working To Avoid Jeffrey Epstein Suicide Repeat” [Forbes]. • Wait, what?

Class Warfare


News of the Wired

“The dark side of wellness: behind a Netflix series on a murky industry” [Guardian]. “‘Wellness’, like its signature vague branding, has a loose, unfixed meaning. It can describe the pursuit of greater stability. It can mean a $4.2tn, high-growth industry of products and services from goat yoga to health boutiques to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop jade vaginal eggs. It can indicate a never-ending burden for women – the rebranding of “having it all” for 2010s consumer feminism. The gauzy, overused umbrella of wellness now encompasses a vast universe of practices, products and refashioned belief systems, with varying risks and scientific grounding, which have surged in popularity over the last decade on social media and internet forums…. [The Netflix series] (Un)well breaks down wellness through six specific trends: essential oils, tantric sex, consumption of human breast milk, fasting, ayahuasca and bee-sting therapy.” • I knew it was a scam as soon as ObamaCare covered it. I mean, vaginal eggs are all very well, if you can afford them, but I suspect most Americans would prefer dental.

* * *

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 (Re Silc):

Re Silc writes: “Vermont elderberries rockin’. Planted 2 years ago.” There’s something about the contours of New England hills and fields that uniquely satisfying. This is true even in Maine, which has a Big Sky.

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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. Roland Chrisjohn

    “If elected, Harris would not only be the first woman to serve as vice president, but would also be the first person of color to be second in command and the highest-elected Asian American in history.”

    Charles Curtis? 3/8ths?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Charles Curtis. Gee, I would have thought that WaPo, the Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Politico, ABC, not to mention Buzzfeed, CNBC, and the Hill, would have known about Curtis; they are, after all, professionals. Guess not.

      Truly, the NC commentariat is the best commentariat.

      1. DJG

        Curtis wasn’t exactly a fine advocate for his own people, the Kaw: Lifting a paragraph from Wikipedia >>

        The Curtis act of 1898 expanded the powers of the federal government over Indian affairs. The author of the act was Charles Curtis, now a Congressman. Curtis believed that the Indians should be assimilated and he supported the break-up of tribal governments and the allotment of tribal lands to their members. In 1902, at Curtis’s urging, Congress abolished the Kaw tribal government and reservation and divided tribal lands among members. Each of 247 Kaw tribal members received 405 acres (1.6 km2), of which 160 acres (0.6 km2) were for a personal homestead. Curtis and his son and two daughters thus received 1,620 acres (6.6 km2) of land.[27] Most Kaws sold or lost their land. By 1945, only 13 percent of the land of the former Kaw Reservation was owned by Kaws.[28]

    2. Krystyn Podgajski

      You know, she was picked for this position by an old white guy. I do not know why I have to remind people about that fact.

      1. Phillip Allen

        This assumes the animate corpse that is The Biden™ has any agency whatsoever, a fact not in evidence. She was most certainly picked, by a claque that doubtless includes a good many old white men, and a good many old white women as well. There may even be a few POC involved, to check all the necessary IdPol boxes, like President-for-Life-In-My-Heart Obama. Biden is nothing but a stooge for his handlers, and an avenue to ascend to the presidency for the cop.

        1. Burns

          You’re absolutely right on ascending to the presidency. My prediction is one of two things: either Sleepy makes it through one term and retires, leaving Harris as the heir-apparent, or he resigns sometime during the first term and Harris ascends. Either way, this is a Harris backdoor to POTUS.

      2. Pavel

        If Kamala is the second coming of Christ in terms of VP picks and such a brilliant choice, why the hell didn’t Biden (cough… Biden’s handlers) announce her on 1st of August as planned?

        I have been following US presidential politics since 1968 as a wee child and this is the worst Dem ticket in history… worse still than HRC. I challenge anyone to list five *good* things Biden and Harris have done. Biden in politics for fifty years and I can think of five *dreadful* things he has done.

        Snark and cynicism aside, what does KH bring to the table apart from checking a few demographic checkboxes? She pisses off the progressive Dems and the Rethugs will hate her.

        1. Tvc15

          100% agree Pavel. She brings absolutely nothing except for four more years of trump…burn it all down.

          1. Pavel

            I am at the point where I hope DT is re-elected. He at least is less neocon than the Dems at this point. More crucially after an HRC and Biden debacle the DNC would presumably be destroyed.

            Key to this is the Dems retaking the Senate for the SCOTUS. But they are so singularly useless they would screw that up as well.

            And hey, remember Joe Biden and Clarence Thomas, anyone?

            Bah BLOODY humbug.

          2. Synoia

            Biden and Harris are about the most right wing democrats one could find.

            Which explains why they were sleeted.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > what does KH bring to the table apart from

          See Biden (D)(3) and (D)(4). What Harris brings to the table — hold onto your hats, here, folks — is money. Specifically, Wall Street and Silicon Valley money. Remember: They loved her in the Hamptons!

          1. Pat

            My personal crystal ball reading on this.

            Biden really did want Klobuchar.
            The Obamaites wanted Buttigieg. He bowed to them, and brings money.
            The Clintonites wanted Harris. She bowed to them, and brings money.
            The party power is pretty equal between the Obama/Clinton factions.

            Everyone but the Clinton folk were praying the BLM protests would fade and they could shift to Covid and the economy. If that had happened there would have been a pivot from the Black and Female job requirements. That it didn’t threw Klobuchar completely out of the running. The only person the Obamas could float to replace Buttigieg, Rice, clearly brought no excitement to the table. Voters disliked her, donors went NEXT.

            Harris, acceptable to the Obama donor camp and enthusiastic choice of the Clinton donor class, wins by virtue of melanin, gender and rolladex just in time for the convention. If the convention was three weeks away we would still be waiting for a name.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Because the Fakestream Media try to make us forget, or lose track of, that fact.

  2. Duke DeGuise

    Regarding the Alex Morse campaign: I’m psyched to be forced to choose the candidates of s#*theel College Democrats, rather than those dastardly s#*theel College Republicans, and you should be, too!

    If not, you’re a bad person!

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    and I don’t care if college football ever starts up again.

    I’m moderately hopeful. This is my suspicion why the ACC is still holding out. I could see:

    Duke, Wake definitely dropping. I would add UVA and BC, but I saw a bit on how much their stadiums actually cost and they aren’t that awful. Neither team is use to fans showing up, so in a way, they don’t even need stadiums.

    Miami is only good when its basically a pro-team. So why not just start an NFL team in Miami? I don’t know about NC State. They never live up to their expectations. VPISU is a team for hill billies, but the alum support isn’t great. And with the decline of rural high school programs in Virginia, their recruiting has taken a hit. There is nothing else in cow town, so its not like people care about Cowtown when there is no football. UNC’s football program has to be looked at like UVA but with a more expensive to maintain stadium. Is there will to save it? Its not basketball or a wine and cheese event. Syracuse has never turned itself into a northern football school despite not having much competition beyond BC and UConn. Pitt hasn’t done the same in decades despite having once been a powerhouse. They share a stadium with the Steelers, so they might be in the BC/UVA category.

    FSU and Clemson would probably come back.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i wouldn’t miss it at all either(well..maybe having the river all to myself on a friday evening…)
        but it would be seen as pearl harbor, 911, and this covid hoax(sic) and the great depression and satan coming forth in his glory to rule the earth by fiat…all rolled into one.
        rending of garments, gnashing of teeth…maybe ashes in the hair, even.
        the people out here would go crazy.

        1. pjay

          Needless to say, the Big 12 is planning to play on! The citizens of Texas (and Oklahoma) can “breath easier.”

        2. Janie

          Had a friend on west coast who was from Friday Night Lights country. Her parents lived back home and followed the team. She had to reschedule her wedding because it was an away game weekend. She had to explain to west coasters what “follow the team” means (go to away games).

      2. Darthbobber

        Football’s there. Saw Rangers play St Mirren Sunday. As to this dead ball set-piece game played by padded refrigerators it should really be called something else. FFS the kicking game is the only foot part.

    1. farragut

      As a graduate of VPISU (also goes by the sobriquet Virginia Tech to those who’ve actually walked one of the most charming big school campuses in the US) and a long-time resident of Cowtown (us local rubes call it ‘Blacksburg VA’), I feel compelled to apologize for the clean air, undeveloped spaces, natural beauty, low crime, fantastic school system, top-tier research & educational opportunities, and low cost of living to be found surrounding the town and university. These simply don’t measure up to the big city, despite our untiring efforts to join the modern era.

      1. dougie

        But their cheerleaders do the hokey pokey at basketball games:-) I do LOVE the fact that they refer to UVA as Thomas Jefferson Community College! I spend a lot of time in Carroll Co. Va. Five minutes from the Beamer family cemetery.

      2. a different chris

        Undeveloped? Are you serious?

        You used to be able to bike out 422, buildings would already be getting sparse and nothing behind what was there, turn onto 603 and pass a few old houses… then a big drop into the valley where there was freakin’ nothing but loveliness and a “Bikecentenial” sign.

        Hammer out 785, come back on Mt Tabor Rd. Nothing to see, again.

        Now, Jesus.

        This is the problem we can’t solve. Every new generation only sees what they can see, they have no basis for comparison. Not your fault you just don’t know. Us oldies whine but we can’t communicate what we lost. Rinse and repeat.

        The problem is the other oldies with money and termite brains that keep plowing things over.

        1. farragut

          I came to VT in 1987 for grad school. I have fond memories of biking the Catawba-311-Mt Tabor circuit, as well as riding to McCoy via Glade Rd. I may be one of those ‘oldies w/ termite brains’ of which you’re not so fond…. :-)

          While there certainly has been development over the years, it seems most of the heavy development (and that was my poorly articulated contention above) has occurred in the space along the B’burg & C’burg corridor (an area IMO which was no great loss, as it already had 460 running thru it). Yes, there has been development in Ellett valley and in the areas bordering US460, but nothing like that seen in NOVA, RIC, or Tidewater. I’d wager if you drove most NC readers along the bike routes mentioned above, they’d call it ‘sparse’. West of town you still have the undeveloped Pandapas Pond & valley.

          It’s a slight exaggeration, but you can still say that 5 minutes out of town and you can feel as though you’re in the middle of nowhere.

          PS: if you’re up for it, let’s you & all the Chris’s grab a coffee or beer. I had no idea so many Hokies read NC.

          1. Chris

            I’m a long drive away from Blacksburg now but I have many fond memories of that school and the town. Next time I’m in town I’ll look you up :)

            Hoki hoki hi :D

    2. urblintz

      DeSantis is already poaching… mixing no words in trying to coax players to come down and play in Florida… scumguy…

      I don’t think the Schools that still plan to play have any idea how bad an idea that is… and I fear the stats that might make them finally realize the malign gravity of their ignorance.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I honestly can’t believe the schools. With CTE, it was around before it was out there, so I expect inertia. This is an immediate, get out of the way of the train, crisis. Though I wonder if this is related to move in day for the first years. Having students on campus with no where to go could be sobering.

    3. eg

      I don’t know whether I ought to be grateful or suspicious that you left Georgia Tech off your otherwise fairly comprehensive list of scorn and derision for the ACC Football “Circle of Suck?”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m torn on GT. I don’t think it has the current cachet to be what it would want to be. And urban schools aren’t as attractive as self contained schools to poorer recruits. Much of student life can be unavailable. Then GT isnt servicing debt on a new stadium.

        They have a better game day atmosphere than every ACC school outside of fsu, cowschool, and Wake (the place is civilized; it really is). Then they aren’t UGA. What is the demand if they disappear? My questions about VT stem from its relative lack of alumni support, but I suspect GT has more people on top of GT.

  4. Lambert Strether Post author

    It’s a true Festival of Harris in Politics today; I added more, more, more! (I will have more to say about the institutional implications of the Harris selection, but for now, let’s revel in the hot takes.)

    Please refresh your browsers.

    1. ambrit

      I’m afraid that the Harris “fertilizer” has affected the ‘grassroots’ enough to turn the browsers milk sour.

  5. Sheldon

    “Harris…the first person of color to be second in command and the highest-elected Asian American in history.” • We seem to be getting our ascriptive identities a little confused, here.”

    Why she’s nicknamed The Kamaleon:
    “Poor little Black” girl”~ PhD parents, “Indian”, “Jamaican”, Canadian youth, “African-American”, Brown adulterer, Hip-hopper, Performative “Oaklander”, Cop, Prison labor pimp, Beverly Hill$chiksa, self-indulgent, Wall Street licking, ice queen con job.”

    A.K.A. “How Trump wins again” :-(

    1. pjay

      Thanks for filling out the rest of Harris’ identity card. A network news story can only squeeze in so much.

    2. The Historian

      Ever since Biden’s campaign said it was going to choose a woman of color, Kamala Harris was a given. There is nothing new about her that we haven’t already known. This won’t sink Biden.

      But what is giving me real concern right now is the list of those speaking at the virtual Convention. Who picked these people? And where are there representatives from the people who won over a third of the vote in the primaries?

      John Kasich? Really? Why? Wasn’t Dick Cheney available?

      I have said that I would vote for Biden as a place holder, but GAWD, I am really NOT so sure I will be able to stomach these people. Every time I think they can’t get any worse, they do something like this.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’d just like someone to list a *single* thing that The Biden or The Harris honestly believes in. Just one.

        If people fall for Buttigig-level word salad platitudes and pure (totally insincere) idpol then I’m afraid they get what they deserve.

        To me the most important existential mission right now is the need for an actual opposition party. Post 2016 we did the Living Dead walk with the Dems casting around for *every* reason they lost, except for the obvious ones in front of their eyes. Installing The Biden and The Harris sets back that reform process by at least 8 years. The man with 40% of the primary delegates sold them for nothing. But we win for a generation if we just allow the overwhelming forces of obviousness to take their course. We can’t do that with a neo-con neolib party, that many still think supports Labor, standing in the way.

        1. Acacia

          Agree on the need for an actual opposition party. Not sure how to punch through the current groupthink, though. I haven’t found lines of argument that seem effective with Democrat voters, at least not the ones around me.

          I’ve been opining to people for years now that the duoparty’s stranglehold on the electoral process needs to be broken up, to clear the way for a third party that more clearly represents working USians, but this is generally met with exasperation that we have to act now against the rising tide of fascism (e.g., Trump). Their rhetoric is always pitched to outflank any questioning of the Dem party, by invoking the emergency of putting out a fire, regardless of any compromises along the way (e.g., destroying the building).

          Dems like to vote shame and say that voting Green is some sort of betrayal or “wasted vote”. My view now is that it is precisely the opposite: anybody voting lesser evil Democrat party is trying — wittingly or un- — to turn back the clock, keep the oligarchs in power, and prevent real change from happening.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > IMO Biden was pushed hard to pick Kamala.

        That’s what I think. Biden is arrogant, petulant, and thin-skinned, and he probably thinks he’s actually in charge. Harris stung him in debate, and he wouldn’t want her around (granted, the choices were all bad, except for Bass, and her boomlet wasn’t inflated by the Biden campaign). Plus, now he’ll have to hire a food-taster.

        So it took a week for Obama to “make him see reason.” Not a good augury.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Good grief. Kamala could have her own theme song-

      ‘There’s a loving in your eyes all the way
      If I listen to your lies, would you say
      I’m a woman without conviction
      I’m a woman who doesn’t know
      How to sell a contradiction
      You come and go, you come and go’


      And if you look at that video, there are so many themes that reflect Kamala.

  6. Another Scott

    The left’s defense of Alex Morse seems to have taken a page out of the Bill Clinton playbook. The entire point of the response from Morse and his media allies has been to obfuscate his actions and shift the attention to the accusers. He avoids addressing the accusations, attacks people who think his actions were immoral, and then claims the attacks were politically motivated.

    I have read multiple statements from him and his campaign and none of them have addressed the core accusations made in the letter: that he had “sexual contact with college students, including at UMass Amherst, where he teaches, and the greater Five College Consortium,” and that he used the College Democrats “to meet college students and add them on Instagram, adding them to his ‘Close Friends’ story and DMing them, both of which have made young college students uncomfortable.” Are either of these accusations true? Why hasn’t Morse responded to them directly?

    Instead, he immediately shifted the conversation away from these issues towards a statement about consent and immediately accused his accusers of being bigots. This shift immediately dodges the issue and tries to discredit people who think his actions were wrong, and moreover, starts calling such people derogatory names. That the college students referenced in the accusations were male rather than female doesn’t matter, it’s their age and the power dynamics. There’s a vast difference between a college professor (even an adjunct) and an 18-year-old college freshman. I don’t want to be called names by Morse or Greenwald knowing this.

    I think the best statement comes from this article:
    “Bluntly (and apologies if further revelations complicate this read), the Alex Morse case comes down to: Some gay men—in power and not in power—sometimes, just like heterosexuals, behave questionably. They abuse their positions without thinking, and then claim they are the victims. That’s immature, stupid, and in Alex Morse’s case, not a great advertisement for him as a politician.”

    People can acknowledge that what Morse did is wrong while still believing that he’d be a better congressman than Richard Neal.

    As for the complaints about it being connected to the Neal campaign, they’re probably true, but so what? Should the IRS not conduct a tax audit because a man’s ex-wife is the source that he cheats on his taxes? Shifting the attention away from the actions and towards the character or motives of the accuser is a classic defense attorney move.

    1. Geo

      “it’s their age and the power dynamics.”

      It’s been fascinating to learn I was a victim so much in my late teens and twenties. When I performed a simulated sex scene on video at age 19 for an older gay man in exchange for repairs on my car, I wasn’t a broke guy offering an exchange of services but I was a victim. When a nightclub manager would grope my leg and whisper suggestive words to me in exchange for free drinks and access to some top NYc clubs I was a victim. When I was just 24 and sleeping with a 49 year old woman who was a big shot radio and Tv producer she was using her status and power to victimize me, I guess. Same goes for the 45 year old movie producer who often talked about helping make my films or the girlfriend I had who worked for a major ad agency and got me a few commercial gigs. I thought I was just attracted to successful and ambitious women, I didn’t realize I was a victim.

      I could go on and on with the stories of successful people who tried (and often succeeded to hook up with my (at the time) young aspiring artist self. All this time I thought I just had a fun and adventurous life full of consensual sexual exploration that shunned the puritanical values of my conservative catholic childhood. Didn’t know I was such a victim of so many predators or that I was supposed to be made uncomfortable by successful people.

      From now on I’ll only hook up with broke deadbeats like myself. It’s good to know that dating and flirting outside my social caste is forbidden and shameful.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’d hate to be 20 right now.
        occasional epic debauchery (consenting) is a right, isn’t it?
        Puritans are boring and make unpleasant neighbors.

      2. jr

        I salute you.

        Scummier, I myself have:

        Traded videos of myself masturbating with an English professor in exchange for Chinese food delivery.

        Made out with a gay bartender buddy say once a month and paid nothing at the bar for almost two years. Gallons of Mccallan and smooching the hot lesbians who like a pretty boy once and again.

        Would allow gay men to touch and nuzzle me at a local bar then set them up and steal their cocaine. I had an accomplice working the bar with me as well as the bartender. We were constantly blitzed, leaving the bar at 8 AM sometimes, staggering into the searing sunlight. I would see my accomplice an hour later walking with his wife and children, studiously ignoring me as we had arranged for such occasions.

        God I love NYC when it’s raging and crazy and fun and damn near anything can happen on a Tuesday night. Empty bars that suddenly fill up with a hooting and hollering band of Pakistani lesbian medical students wearing pinatas and the party is on. Leaving for a beer and ending up at a sex party. Dancing to house music at an art exhibit in SoHo you wandered into, blowing joints with your cab driver, laughing Gwenyth Paltrow right back out the door when she tries to take over the dance floor, screaming aloud that Keanu Reeves never made a movie worth a damn and then being told he is right behind you and he clips you as he leaves

        As for the ladies, well all I’ll say is OkCupid was as much an apartment finder as a dating site for me…to think it was free back then!

        1. Geo

          All those mornings emerging from a stranger’s place (or hotel room) into the searing morning light doing our so-called “walk of shame” after a night of debauchery. Who knew we were supposed to actually feel real shame for having been victims of those from a higher class taking advantage of our youthful ignorance and fragile will weakened by our lower professional and economic status?

          Hopefully young people now days will be sure to compare resumes, tax records, and birth certificates before consorting so they do not accidentally mix with those from different castes. To be safe, since race, gender and religion are systemically unequal in America, we should refrain from dating those of differing races, gender identities, and creeds too. All cultural and social variables must be prohibited from personal relations otherwise one party may be made uncomfortable by the status of the other. In fact, all relations should be arranged by a committee which will approve of the pairing based on socio-economic status. Only then will we achieve a truly equal society where no person shall ever be burdened by discomfort.

          1. jr

            Yeah, I still wake up at night remembering how badly I was “exploited.” Expensive dinners, making out with two butches simultaneously on the MTA while the car looks on, having your sweat pants yanked down by a Mindy Kaling clone ostensibly seeking to book her daughters birthday ice cream party, waking up in a bedroom the size of a small hangar in a bed the size of a small bedroom. The shower had 6 heads.

            The worst was when I was being used and abused by a Vietnamese woman, a Jewish woman, an Israeli woman, and another Jewish woman and her AfAm wife all around the same time. Oh yes, and my now current GF, who promptly dropped the hammer on that crap when I moved in. Terrible exploitation.

            Sometimes the class/power differential was held over my head but I didn’t care. Tip o’ the hat and so long. If they tried to hold a degree over my head, I verbally vaporized them and then bounced.

            When people ask me how I can live in NYC, how do you put up with all the crap, I just smile.

            As for these Puritans and their goodly war on behalf of anyone they deem a victim, I want to know what they make of Biden’s petting children. Or Ghislaine Maxwell, linked to Epsteins pedophilia from 2013, at Chelsea’s wedding laughing and smiling. Or Slick Willy’s travel logs. Let me know when the College Democrats are up in arms about those actual children, not 18 year old horn dogs having fun with their first twenty something…

            1. Sheldon

              ” a Vietnamese woman, a Jewish woman, an Israeli woman, and another Jewish woman and her AfAm wife all around the same time.” Sounds like there’s a punch line missing….

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          screaming aloud that Keanu Reeves never made a movie worth a damn

          Wow, I’m so sorry you have never seen the Bill and Ted movies.

    2. JohnnySacks

      I don’t get it, apologize for what? Dating adults (none which were his students), hooking up with other consenting adults on dating sites, adding social media links and follows. Hell, the guy’s not even married. Massachusetts can be every bit as puritanical as it was hundreds of years ago when the narrative suits the desired outcome.

      I’m with Krystal and Saagar on this one: Krystal Ball: Alex Morse And How Personal Victimhood Will Doom The Left

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and remember Krystal was a target for the same kind of nonsense from the Right, when she ran for congress…leaked pics of her(clothed) with a dildo hat or something… with her then Husband…omgomgomgomg,lol.

        and all of it so we can’t get a word in edgewise about policy or power relations or class analysis or how terrible both parties are.
        i honestly don’t care about politicians sex lives…so long as it’s consensual.
        similarly to how i really don’t care how much melanin they possess, what color their eyes are, what’s between their legs, or whether or not they have 12 toes…I care about what they can be reasonably expected to do to make things better for the People, and whether they have the stones enough to actually fight the moneymen for those things.
        we already had a bunch of puritans peering into bedrooms and back seats…and i frelling hated those people…and was happy to see them fade.

      2. Darthbobber

        As a graduate student in history, I spent a very nice portion of late spring and summer one year going out with and occasionally falling into bed/other furniture with a lovely freshly minted associate professor. A predominantly commuter university, where the average age of the student body was 26 and the average age of the junior faculty wasn’t that different. She was actually a few months younger than me, a side effect of my interrupting my college career for a 4 year stint worth Uncle Sam’s wayward boys.

        She was there to do medieval history and her turn at the intro research and writing class. I was a grad student in American history, so that had f-all to do with me and she wasn’t on my thesis committee. There was no problem. Such relationships were rather common.

        I remain determinedly unhorrified by such things.

    3. hunkerdown

      You want us to investigate everything the Establishment craps out, whether or not there is a clear ulterior motive. Why? It’s there to distract, and we choose not to be distracted. Neoliberals and the PMC are still the enemies of literally everyone else.

    4. TBellT

      No he has addressed the allegations.

      “sexual contact with college students, including at UMass Amherst, where he teaches, and the greater Five College Consortium,”

      Morse : “I’ve been very clear that I have had personal relationships with students in the region that have been consensual over the years” – https://www.wamc.org/post/wamc-interview-morse-addresses-misconduct-allegations-congressional-primary

      “and that he used the College Democrats “to meet college students”

      Morse : “I want to be very clear: This assertion that I used College Democrats’ events to meet college students is completely false,” Morse said. “In fact, I’ve never hooked up with anyone I met at a College Democrats event.”

      adding them to his ‘Close Friends’ story and DMing them, both of which have made young college students uncomfortable

      Morse said that since his campaign launched in June 2019, he had been to just one College Democrats event, held in October at a local community college, where Neal and Sen. Ed Markey also appeared. After the event, he messaged the student who’d been on a panel with him to say it had been a pleasure to meet. After a brief and uneventful back and forth, Morse said, there was no further contact, and the two never met in person. After Alex Thompson, a reporter at Politico, reached out to the campaign in June about a potential story involving the College Democrats and DM communications with students, Morse reached back out to say that he was sorry if his message had made the student uncomfortable


      1. Another Scott

        Here’s a tweet from the College Dems about his response stating that he did not deny the allegations.


        Your quotes include the exact sort of weasel words that I expect from Bill Clinton.

        “I’ve been very clear that I have had personal relationships with students in the region that have been consensual over the years.”
        – His statement does not address whether said college students attended UMass, while he was a lecturer there, and he immediately shifted the conversation to his sexuality, which isn’t the issue.

        “Since his campaign launched in June 2019, he had been to just one College Democrats event, held in October at a local community college.”
        – This does not address whether he pursued similar activities before his candidacy launched and he was an elected official in a nearby community.

        He was a visiting professor at a university, do you really think that having romantic or sexual relationships with students there was appropriate? When I was in college, I heard rumors of professors who had similar relationships with students (some their own and some not) and always found them more than a little unsettlingly, at one point dropping a class after I heard them.

        Maybe you should look at the statement from Jamaal Bowman, “As a school principal, I believe it’s important to listen to students and to be sensitive to the unequal power dynamics in these relationships. That’s why I’ve decided to put a pause on my endorsement and any campaign activity for Alex Morse while we learn more about the situation.”

        And he isn’t the only one on the left who’s taking a similar view

        I’ve like Morse since I first heard about him challenging Neal at the end of last year, but his actions led me to take a similar view, which doesn’t seem uncommon within Massachusetts.

        1. Grant

          Bowman holding his endorsement is exactly why people like you are doing this. It is horrible, and you are doing this for Neal. Pathetic. There were similarly pathetic people in the old USSR. Gotta do something, outside of having ideas and intelligence that can make the world a better place, to move up the corrupt party bureaucracy.

          He has nothing to be apologizing for, you on the other hand do, and so does Neal for sending out people like you to do this because he has nothing to offer most on policy.

        2. TBellT

          Well I have a bridge to sell Bowman and the rest of them.

          But I am pretty sure you’re just disingenuous as everyone here rightly sees.

          This does not address whether he pursued similar activities before his candidacy launched and he was an elected official in a nearby community.

          Literally the next sentence in the quote – “In fact, I’ve never hooked up with anyone I met at a College Democrats event.”

          He was a visiting professor at a university, do you really think that having romantic or sexual relationships with students there was appropriate?

          Outside of being able to hold a grade/academic success over someone’s head, it’s fine. And he already denies any action with his own students.

          Also keep in mind he’s at most 31 in any of these interactions. Do you really think the only reason a 20 year old would date a 30 year old is because they’re the visiting lecturer? If so I have to question your emotional intelligence.

        3. Laputan

          I see how you’ve drawn the Morse -Clinton comparison, you simply refuse to consider the facts. Again, he was a guy in his 20s, making a few grand to teach a course a semester. He was seeing people around his age who weren’t his students and none of them seemed to know he was a mayor in a nearby town – if that’s at all relevant.

          Not all who happen to have a faculty title occupy similar positions of power, kind of like how the mayors of Wasilla and NYC aren’t comparable. You people act like he was some sort of Dean or something. If he were to see some student at a community college or Amherst, would you judge him differently?

      2. a different chris

        >that I used College Democrats’ events to meet college students

        Which is actually rather weird, you know it’s pretty normal to hook up with people with similar interests whether you went to the mime show or Kansas State Fair with no actual intention of getting laid.

        He sounds like he was more careful than he should have needed to be.

    5. Laputan

      I hate to keep pounding this deceased equine but the two situations couldn’t be more different. Morse was an adjunct in his early to mid 20s, seeing people who were around his age and who weren’t his students. Hence, no power dynamic. Also, how could the mayor of an adjacent (and what looks to be kind of a podunk) town possibly be conceived as a powerful politician?

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        “Podunk town?”

        C’mon, man, it’s the 37th largest city in the state!

        That’s power, baby!

      2. Darthbobber

        One of the partners who was retroactively uncomfortable said they became so after the fact when they learned he was mayor of Holyoke. Which gives you an idea of how much leverage he was trying to get from that bit of power if he hadn’t mentioned it before.

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Met Husband on a Dating App: ‘I Could Just Tell He Was Somebody Special’

      Pete Buttigieg, then the first-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was years away from declaring himself a Democratic candidate for president when he matched on the dating app Hinge with Chasten Glezman, then a master’s student in education living in Chicago.
      As Buttigieg remembers it, according to his husband, he was not shy about his political ambitions on that first date.

      “He [Chasten] was a little skeptical about getting mixed up with a politician, and he asked, you know, ‘What does your future look like?’ And I told him,” Buttigieg says on LGBTQ&A.

      I guess the two situations are different. A mckinsey consultant could prolly explain it in two words–richie neal.


      1. ChrisPacific

        …and he asked, you know, ‘What does your future look like?’ And I told him,” Buttigieg says…

        I’m going to guess that he used lots of words, and that Chasten was enormously impressed by them, despite somehow coming away none the wiser as to the answer.

    7. Grant

      I am so sick of people like you in politics. Of all the horrible things politicians are doing, with the utter corruption of Neal, a soulless hack, you want to attack Morse on this? And you compare this to Clinton?! I really hope you aren’t doing this pro bono and are at least an intern at the CAP, with a chance to at least sell your soul for some money. Or a friend of the grifter that took a class with Neal, was a source for this homophobic attack and wants to work for or with Neal. Did you attend Neal’s celebration of AIG’s birthday?

      Thanks to your post, gonna throw a few bucks towards Morse’s campaign. We need people like you out of politics. Enough with empty parasites. Use whatever skills you have to make the world a better place.

      1. Jeff W


        I wrote a brief reply that coolly rebutted this guy’s points but abandoned it when I realized your response was all his comment warranted.

      2. Michael McK

        I gave him some money too. Let’s hope he gets a flood of small donations from the whole nation. My hope is that this malarkey draws attention to the race and to Neal’s odiousness and Morse is put over the top (if he was not headed there anyway).

        1. Dirk77

          I sent some too. Though it was at least partly for the entertaining commentary here than wholly for helping to right a wrong. Whatever works.

    8. Darthbobber

      Given that the guy became mayor at age 22, and is now all of 31, his age and that of his partners was presumably about the same. And there is no “accusation” at all that any of the partners were his students or employees or that he stood in any tangible position of power via a vis any of them.

      They may want to expand the field of problematic activity so that any student at an 8500 student campus where you teach a single class as an adjunct ( as well as any of the 4 nearby colleges where you don’t even work) is a no-no even if they are perfectly willing, but a lot of people don’t accept that bit of goalpost moving.

    9. flora

      So college Dem club pres makes a play to win favor from Richard Neal in hopes of winning an entry into real D.C. politics. As Lambert correctly called this yesterday.

      With the allegations short of details or any student claiming to be a victim, the focus has shifted to the origin of the letter. The man serving as chief strategist for the UMass Amherst College Democrats, Timothy Ennis, recently completed a class with Neal, who teaches a journalism course. Ennis, according to two members of the College Democrats chapter, was open about his hopes of working for Neal in the future.

      Meanwhile, an aide with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, in which the journalism program sits, alerted the school’s administration of evidence that the recently surfaced allegations against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse “are politically motivated,” according to communication reviewed by The Intercept. Spokespersons for the administration did not respond to requests for comment.


      The Mass DSA and several woke progressives groups got themselves played on this, instantly jumping away from the progressive candidate without any investigation of the claims.

      1. pjay


        And since our local TV stations are out of Albany, we have to see the political ads of Andy Taylor of Mayberry — I mean “Ritchie” Neal of Western Massachusetts — multiple times a day. I hope this backfires badly, but that’s probably just my fantasy.

      2. Grant

        Yes they did, and shame on the DSA for falling for it. They go all in for a shadowy propaganda campaign, weeks before an election, against a horrible, and back away from a good candidate taking on a corrupt politician like Neal based on that? What type of socialists fall for such drivel? Gonna fight a class war with a hand tied behind their collective back I guess. At least in that area, the capitalists have nothing to fear. If someone is a socialist, class should be front and center. Neal isn’t in or a friend of the working class or the middle class, and has nothing to offer most anyone in the DSA. I would fully understand if he was accused of something actually serious. But this is just absurd. I am sure that the horrible people around Neal that are pushing this (including the poster above) are even surprised at how successful it has been, and how bad does the DSA now look as a result? Two for the price of one. If this helps Neal get elected, then the DSA should maybe sit out the next round against him. Maybe the DSA in that area can focus on non-electoral things and let groups on the left with a little more common sense (and guts frankly) deal with electoral matters.

        See what the Democratic Party has turned into, that young people trying to work their way up the party machinery think this is the means to do so? Not policies focused on helping people, or solving society’s problems. Nope, do propaganda for a soulless corrupt politician, and hope that he showers some of that donor money on them. I am sure the Party in the USSR was no different, especially when the system started to come undone.

        Someone has got to reach out to Bowman and explain this to him. This isn’t a small matter. If he is serious about change, the knives are coming for him too.

        1. Acacia

          Maybe the Sunrise Dems could simply rename themselves the Democratic Identitarians of America (DIA). That would help clear things up. ;)

    10. Lambert Strether Post author

      I would go so far to assert that there is multiple “power imbalances” in all relationships, and only a very malleable person, possibly under the influence of an identity politics-added Dean, could possibly believe otherwise.

      For example, no woman can legitimately consent to a relationship with a man who’s taller and heavier than seh is. Because that’s a power imbalance right there. No man can legitimately consent to any relationship with a woman who’s smarter than he is. The entire paradigm is a recipe for modeling all relationships on litigation, which is probably very wise if you intend to go into the corporate, academic, or PMC worlds and achieve a measure of authority — because who knows who could blackmail or extort you ten years down the line — but for the rest of us dull normals, I don’t think the paradigm applies.

      Also, there’s a distinct paucity of evidence; see Zephyr Teachout above.

      NOTE Also, I love the idea that anybody can be the victim of an Instagram link.

  7. Glen

    I would love the see hard data on “Americans are sitting on record cash savings amid pandemic and uncertain economy” . Seems strange that would be a head line right next to record unemployment, record evictions, and record unpaid bills. But then again, if Wall St finds a pile of money anywhere, they immediately begin gaming the system to get their hands on it.

    I suppose Bill Gates could make a mistake with the zero key while online banking, and put a billion dollars in his checking account and probably move the numbers for the whole country.

    1. marku52

      The problem with the savings rate is that only really only the very rich can afford to save, and right now they are spending very little. So yeah, as an aggregate number it is big but meaningless as far as the bottom 95% of the country is concerned.

      1. hunkerdown

        Some of us have been fortunate enough to sock away some of that PUA money. We’ll see what happens when that little windfall runs out.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Time to review the three Ms of introductory statistics — mean, median, and MODE.

        The mean is the average of a bunch of numbers; the median is the midpoint in a least-to-greatest list of those numbers. But here, the mode is relevant, too — it’s the number that appears most often in the list.

        If a bunch of 100 numbers has 40 zeroes, 30 ones, 20 twos, and 10 threes, the mean is (0 + 30 + 40 + 30) ÷ 100 = 1. The median is the average of the two middle numbers (ranks #50 and #51) and they’re both ones, so that works out to 1 as well. But the mode is 0.

        If one of the 3s suddenly gets 1000 bigger, that would boost the mean by 1000 ÷100 = 10, and turn it up to 11. But the median would still be 1, and the mode would still be 0.

  8. allan


    Carrie Johnson @johnson_carrie

    @fedjudges reports the White House is nominating Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an associate at Jones Day, and former clerk to Justice Thomas, to a lifetime-tenured judgeship in Florida. She graduated college in 2009, earned her law degree in 2012, apparently Trump’s youngest nominee.

    No problem – Lindsey’s race is close and he’ll like the opportunity to supply the base with red judicial meat.

    So, who’s next? 1L’s at Liberty, George Mason and and Pepperdine?

    1. allan

      If that last name rings a bell, it’s because her husband is acting (of course) General Counsel of DHS:

      Trump Campaign Attorney Volunteer to Fill Top DHS Lawyer Role 7 Years Removed from Law School

      The White House on Wednesday [Feb. 12, 2020] appointed Chad Mizelle as the acting General Counsel
      for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to CNN.

      Mizelle, who had been serving as DHS Chief of Staff since 2019, is regarded as an ally to senior presidential advisor Stephen Miller with whom he shares a similarly hardline approach to immigration policy. Attorneys and legal experts were quick to deride the personnel move, pointing out that Mizelle
      has substantially less legal and managerial experience than is generally sought for a role in one of the administration’s most senior legal positions. …

      Mizelle, who graduated from Cornell Law School in 2013 and has less than 7 years of experience as an attorney, will become DHS’s “chief legal officer.” Mizelle’s also résumé shows that he worked as a “Republican Party/Trump for President Campaign” attorney volunteer in Nov. 2016.

      His description of that activity: “Monitored election-day activities to reduce voter fraud; reported incidents of illegal voting procedure to Philadelphia district attorney.” …

      They seem nice. Time for an appropriate video palate cleanser.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      First they plan to mistreat her into a state of reportable unhappiness.

      Then they plan to say she is unhappy and claim she may be suicidal.

      Finally, they plan to kill her just as they killed Epstein and call it a suicide . . . along with the FSM ( Fake Stream Media).

      With all the trouble they took to kill Epstein, why would they let Maxwell live? Unless she has the whole story written down somewhere in such deep safe keeping that no Intelligence Agency will ever find it . . . . and every relevant person knows that it will all be released if she becomes ” unwell” or “un-alive”.
      THAT . . . would keep her alive.

  9. McWatt

    Businesses closing up everywhere in my area. Even long term businesses that have been around 127 years (two separate ones). Small business is a crap shoot and often times a vanity business run by someone whose partner or family has substantial income and can afford a loss each month. Drop in a 30% decline in income and suddenly it’s not a vanity biz anymore it’s a catastrophe. With the old line stores that have years of earnings etc. it’s a matter of the owner saying “I’m not going to expose myself publicly to this virus, I’d rather my family be safe”and then just retiring. The results are the same; the loss of lots of 15.00 to 20.00 per hour city jobs.

    I honestly can’t see how any restaurant is surviving. Right now all the surrounding communities have commandeered the streets to put tables for outside dining but what happens when the snows come?
    If these businesses aren’t paying rent, how is the landlord going to pay taxes and insurance and mortgage?

    Our town was already dead broke and starving but now the loss of sales tax revenue and property tax income is going to put them over the edge but no one is talking about it, no local newspaper asking the tough questions and no public acknowledgement of the fiscal cliff they are facing. It is truly the mass crapification of all local taxing bodies and a total unwillingness to face the problem.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I honestly can’t see how any restaurant is surviving.

      All I can think:

      -relatively new equipment that is paid for.
      -decent leases. Probably month to month with more clear headed landlords.
      -high markups coming through.
      -suppliers dealing with gluts, helping on the price, though if the supplier fails
      -a menu conducive to take out.
      -entry way set up that isn’t terrifying in our modern world.
      -expectations a culling is going to happen and local branding will carry it through, making it so the owner stays open.
      -its been scorching in parts of the country. Outdoor seating isn’t all its cracked up to be when its 90 and humid. What happens in the winter? We kind of know.

      One key would be where the owner is. If they are nearer to retirement, why would they want to bother? The other problem is personal guarantees.

      1. Janie

        Outdoor dining in winter: in central and northern Europe outdoor dining continues, at least through December to my knowledge. Outdoor ice skating and Christmas markets have food stalls and seating. Restaurants provide fleece blankets neatly folded on each outdoor seat, propane heaters, temporary windscreens.

        1. John A

          Many bars in Europe already have outdoor heaters to cater for smokers since the ban on smoking indoors at public places was introduced.
          I remember when I first saw them and asked ‘why would anyone want to be outside at this tiime of year?’, to which the reply was ‘for smokers’.

      2. Sheldon

        You forgot one;

        -Lots of illegals working 60 hours a week for sub minimum-wage and no overtime.

        With the glut of unemployed now, before I ever patronize a restaurant again, whenever that is, I’m going to walk through the kitchen to see if Americans are working there, you know, people that can speak English as a first language, and inquire if they are earning a liveable wage.

        If not, F* the place, I will go somewhere else, tell all my friends and neighbors to do the same and pan the place on Yelp and other review sites.

        1. hunkerdown

          Far too many self-identified conservatives want an excuse to kick down to medicate the pain of oligarchy (divide-et-impera being explicit in the design of the American system, and a fiercely subjugated working class being implicit). Kudos to you for holding the guilty actor responsible.

    2. notabanker

      Local businesses have been being eliminated for decades. NAFTA took away industry and machining, banking consolidated, walmart, home depot and amazon have destroyed retail and chains dominate the restaurant skyline. The neolib answer has been let them do dot com start ups, develop an app or drive this nice Uber gig.

      That answer isn’t going to change. In fact, I bet we get some good ole fashioned Greece austerity. In this together ya know.

  10. Fiery Hunt

    In my business district (in an East Bay $1,000,000-median home community), there are 5 vacant storefronts (3 from pre-Covid, 2 from Covid), a dozen small restaurants and 2 bars (2 restaurants remain boarded up, the rest BLEEDING cash on rent as take-out has wiped out staff and cut business by 70% or more; the bars are completely closed albeit “temporarily”), and 6 retail/service stores that remain closed (the big ones are the local arthouse theater that shows indie movies and drives the evening restaurant/bar scene and the 2 judo dojos that brought families with kids into the district).
    All small businesses with less than 20 people staffs normally. Now none carrying more than 3. Lots and lots of people unemployed.

    Worse by far than 2008-2012.
    And it’s only going to get worse.
    Depression with a capital D.

    1. Chris

      Checking in since a number of us seem to be posting about what our local area is like right now.

      Here in the suburbs of the outer Beltway in MD/DC/NoVA, business seems OK. NEW Restaurants are even opening if you can believe that. It feels strange that I know more people who have been infected with COVID-19 than those who have lost their jobs. The ones who have lost their jobs report that their companies were largely looking to downsize before the shutdowns and used the pandemic as an excuse. I would like to say that everyone is waiting for this to hit us but I think they’re all just keeping that wolf out of sight and out of mind as long as possible.

      What is likely to affect the place where I live is the schooling situation. Local teachers unions have said they will not return to the classroom. Which is good. They have also said that they won’t allow their members to be recorded while teaching. Which is deeply troubling. Most people where I live work. Most families are two income families. The plans for school this fall prioritizes synchronous remote learning. How can working parent support their kids in this situation? No one knows. The last meeting I was able to watch with our local board of education and school district staff included the recommendation that parents who couldn’t work with what the school district was proposing should home school their kids. I don’t know how that works for two income families either. I’m also seeing a surge of support for private and charter schools in areas that have traditionally eschewed both. It feels like I’m watching the death of some great public school systems in real time.

      My family is doing fine. My local extended family is also doing well. But we do know people who are watching the water rise around their families so to speak. I’m afraid of what the winter will bring.

      1. farragut

        I see a similar story here. As mentioned above, I live in a town (of approx 45,000) which is home to a fairly large state university, home to approx 35,000 students. The uni brings in tons of money, no doubt. There are no fewer than four large development projects ongoing; two are mixed residential/retail, one is purely retail, and the fourth is unknown to me as it only began a few weeks ago. In two of these cases, the developers *demolished* perfectly good (albeit older) apartment complexes of several acres, in order to build their new projects. Clearly, someone is optimistic about this town’s future. The town itself has seen some cuts, but to my casual eye, they don’t appear severe, as its tax base is–for the moment–thought to be relatively secure. To drive thru town is to see and feel a vibrant landscape.

        Two nearby towns appear to be in much worse shape, both lacking the financial footprint of a large university. I don’t spend much time in either, but I happen to drive thru one of the towns on a regular basis to get to a favorite weekend destination. This town’s west end, formerly full of factories or smelters, is now gutted. It has one of the highest rates in the state of child poverty and high rates of drug abuse in the general population. The town has made attempts to attract new businesses, but the jury is still out. To drive thru this town is to feel a sense of slow strangulation and decay.

    2. Glen

      Just what is a $1M median home community in the East Bay now-a-days? I used to picture a pristine historic bungalow in the Berkeley Hills, but I think that’s out of date.

        1. kate

          No, that’s a $2 million neighborhood. I live in a modest, very diverse suburb abutting East Oakland and basic 3/2 midcentury ranch houses on the nicest streets seem to be bidding into the 900K’s.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Nah, they’re going for 1.2 million.
            Remember, it’s median price:
            anything less than a teardown is going for over $1,000,000, mostly closer to $1.3 for 2 bed, 1 bath with full remodel expected. Teardowas start at $800,000..

            I do custom windows (restoration /recreation ). The money spent on housing is truly hard to accept.

            1. eg

              As Michael Hudson will tell you, your house is worth whatever the bank will lend somebody to buy it …

    1. Geo

      Love that!

      Even though Colbert is a shell of his former satirical self, he had a good bit the other night about the Connecticut Primaries where he hyped up the incoming votes then found out no one in the news was covering it because their votes don’t matter at all.

    2. Keith

      On the plus side of the forgotten majority, at least no robo-calls, flyers, door knockers, tv and radio ads, etc. I used to live that misery when I lived in FL. Now, Biden gets to take my state for granted due to being the popular choice of Seattle and Olympia.

  11. ptb

    Re: US Covid testing
    Article [Chemical & Engineering News] on various technologies in the pipeline under NIH’s RADx program

    In this article, NIH’s Bruce Tromberg estimates the ramp-up of existing technologies as ~ 2.6 million / day test capacity by end of 2020. (caveat- I think estimates of test capacity used in this kind of context typically measure manufacturing of the test consumables. As deployed in the field they might not all be distributed optimally due to bursts of demand, geographic hot spots, mismatched supply of the “handle” vs the “razor blade”, and other details)

    With the RADx programs, the article quotes him as estimating a boost of capacity to 6 million/day, although somewhat unclear as to what point in time that would be reached, as a typical manufacturing ramp up is 18+ months under normal circumstances, and from what I’ve seen around 3-4 months as currently expedited in the US.

    Currently US is doing around 0.75 million tests per day [Johns Hopkins], again with a bump due to come on line shortly after the back-to-school rush. I am slightly concerned about the dip in that graph by the way.

  12. Plague Species

    Nice. #BLM. Except when they don’t.

    How’s this for justice reform? Just one of many of Harris’s stepping stones.


    Back in 2007, when Harris was San Francisco’s D.A., the city’s homicide rate hit a 14-year-high. Seventy-five percent of the time, no suspect was ever arrested. Though she faced no serious opposition and was easily reelected that year, Harris arguably wasn’t making enough cases to win over the more conservative voters she might need to make a play for statewide or national office in 2010.

    That may have served to make winning murder cases like the one against Trulove all the more urgent.

    According to Trulove, Harris was present at the hearings announcing both the verdict and the sentencing in his case. She even briefly locked eyes with him at one of the proceedings, offering what seemed like a “smirk,” he said.

    “She wanted to be present for a celebration of a conviction,” Trulove said. “That’s what it felt like—a celebration.”

      1. Elizabeth

        I remember that case very well – I was in the jury pool and listened to the prosecutor Linda Allan say that all the evidence the DA’s office had was one eyewitness who risked her life in testifying. When it came my turn to be questioned by Allen, I said that I would really like to have more evidence presented, since eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Of course, I wasn’t chosen to be on the jury, but I’ve followed the case over the years, and I’m glad Jamal got justice for what was done to him. I hope this incident raises its ugly head during the campaign.

    1. Sheldon

      “Though she faced no serious opposition and was easily reelected that year, ”

      Uh, She was the only candidate on the ballot and she still won 98% of the vote!


      Here’s a measure of her tenure as SF district attorney:

      #7 of 266. Illegal alien Edwin Ramos was convicted of assaulting a pregnant woman with a gun, beating a man on a city bus and then as part of Kamala’s redistributive justice program, he was sent not to jail, but to a summer camp, since he was a minor. Next, this “child” runs someone off the road, pulls an AK-47 and guns down an innocent family of three in a case of “mistaken identity”. No death penalty charges,nor deportation order for the murderer.

      I can see Trump’s negative campaign ads showcasing MS-13 gang member Edwin Ramos and his kid gloves treatment by D.A. Harris.

      #8. “As California Attorney General Kamala Harris had evidence in her hands that she could have used to bring corrupt former Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, architect of the secret San Onofre nuclear plant deal, to justice. And she had plenty of time, three years, to file criminal charges before the statute of limitations ran out on obstruction of justice–the easiest charge to prove.”

      “She had all she needed from a search warrant executed at Peevey’s home in September 2015. That’s where a California Justice Department criminal investigator working on her behalf turned up damning evidence of an under-the-table deal to put $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion needed to close the defective nuclear plant onto ratepayers. Hand-written notes, scrawled in Warsaw on Hotel Bristol stationary in March 2013–where Peevey met with a Southern Califoria Edison executive–laid out the numbers. The notes also showed that Southern California Edison would donate $25 million to a UCLA research institute as part of the deal.”


  13. Alex morfesis

    Oh joy…a new “official” category of 5th Varna for ados men with miss tell any story one heartbeat from the football…and her stance on Sri Lanka will be an interesting twist on geopolitical scenarios…or will she become the chameleon she has always been and throw a wild card and insist on making Bangladesh a major political player to really muck up the indopacific theatre…dog save us from this conga line of incompetents, impotents, ignorants, and incontinents….

  14. fresno dan

    A Florida sheriff barred deputies from wearing facial coverings in most work settings, authorities said Wednesday, even as the state continues to struggle with record-breaking coronavirus numbers.

    Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods insisted there’s no conclusive evidence that wearing masks curbs the spread of the virus — despite explicit CDC guidelines saying just that.

    “Now, I can already hear the whining and just so you know I did not make this decision easily and I have weighed it out for the past 2 weeks,” according to a memo Woods wrote to staff and was provided to NBC News by the sheriff’s office.

    “We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t.”
    My own view is that corona virus makes you live longer /s

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      A Florida sheriff barred deputies from wearing facial coverings in most work settings, authorities said Wednesday, even as the state continues to struggle with record-breaking coronavirus numbers.

      Finally, an elected official is standing up to cops.

    2. occasional anonymous

      It’s fascinating and horrifying to watch a nation collectively commit suicide.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If any of the deputies get covid, let us hope they make very sure to give it to the sheriff. I know I would.

      1. anon in so cal

        Quite a few police and sheriffs departments, highway patrol offices, etc. have outbreaks of Covid, in Los Angeles County.

        As just one example:

        LA County Sheriff’s Department – Stars Center Whittier, CA, 90604 has 67 confirmed cases and 9 symptomatic but not yet confirmed.

        “Los Angeles County Non-Residential Settings Meeting the Criteria of Three or More Laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 Cases”


        1. Late Introvert

          How much are law enforcement agents acting as vectors of infection? We will never know until there is comprehensive testing and contact tracing.

          LOL, Sorry! I forgot this is Err… merika.

  15. Milton

    Americans are sitting on record cash savings amid pandemic and uncertain economy
    I thought I read somewhere that paying down dept was considered to be savings of some sort. Perhaps someone can set me straight on the matter.

  16. jr

    Re: Small businesses in the West Village.

    The fat is mostly trimmed along with a lot of flesh. You see favorite restaurants, favorite coffee shops, grocery stores that are busy but other places are mostly empty. I think most of the high end clothing stores are gone. Vape stores and wine stores are solid, no doubt.

    I walked by a high falutin Italian-Japanese fusion that still acts as if your walk in party is a bother although the place is nearly always empty. The owner-chef was standing in the window and I caught him looking at he empty tables wistfully before he saw me and turned away. He is across the street from ine of the most (overrated) pasta houses in NYC and they fill up most nights. Fall and winter are going to massacre them though.

    I’m stocking up my freezer with meats and prepared veggies this week and buying a couple of pounds of flour, sugar, salt for baking. I have a wild levain in the fridge. Hurricane season is coming and I want to be ready.

    In that vein, I wanted to share a few items I bought when COVID hit:


    Fits in most bathtubs and stores weeks worth of water.


    Great for garden variety outages as well.


    Saved me a lot of money on laundry. Probably going to need them more this fall.

  17. Quentin

    My heart skipped a beat this morning when I read that Kamela Harris is the Democratic vice-presidential candidate. If a heart can skip a beat, that is. My next experience was the visceral realization that Trump had won his second term today, August 12, 2020. Congratulations Donald, ‘I wish you well’. What a colossal cock-up.

  18. ChrisAtRU

    Oh Dear Lordt … #KamalaHagiographyDay means careful food choices for dinner!

    Biden (D) (11): “How Biden decided on Harris”

    Was it a conference call with #HamptonsMoney on one line and #TooTallJones on the other? Enquiring minds want to know.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Biden (D) (14)

      That thread is a must read for today. Alternative title: If this is the best that the Dems can do, then we will never have nice things.

      1. ChrisAtRU


        “Ayanna Pressley, a “Squad” member solely by virtue of her ascriptive identity, is, oddly, or not, running unopposed.

        Well, she threw her weight behind Warren, not Bernie … so #Natch, as in not odd at all. #WAI

        “To be contentious, you’ve got to have contenders; a twenty-point margin means the race was never serious, contrary to all the reporting about it. Also, [family blog] you, AIPAC.”

        LOL … I sense some umbrage akin to the kind one feels when sports reporters call Serena vs Sharapova a “rivalry”. Is it too late to cruise down H St. NW with the top down crankin’ some tunes? Asking for a friend …

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        I should have stopped reading before the replies
        s. The “why are you helping Trump?” troops are out in full force backed by the “we have to vote for them and push them left” reinforcements.

        1. LawnDart

          Agree. Too damn depressing that people are giving that ticket (let alone the process) validation.

        2. Synoia

          Q: “Why are you helping Trump?”

          A: Because Trump’s only got one term left.

          Given the choices, a Republican for one term, or a Right Wing pair of democrats for two terms, possibly to the right of Trump, one has to choose the least worst option.

          1. neo-realist

            They’re bad dems, but nowhere near as bad as Trump. Repeat, I don’t think the dems on the ballot are good, but Trump is way more right wing than they are.

            Trump can do a lot more damage than a bunch of blue dog dems – Radical reductions in social security and medicare, a neutered to eviscerated post office, more hard right federalist society judges on the supreme court and federal bench, and I suspect a second term of Trump would give you more ferocious police action against any opponents of the administration.

            The stuff he’s pulling now with the post office, ss, medicare is a warmup for what he would do if he steals a second term I believe.

            1. Pat

              First, he didn’t steal the first term, Clinton’s incompetence and arrogance handed it to him.
              Second, you do realize that Biden has bragged that he has spent years trying to cut Social Security. That Obama’s adoption of the Heritage Healthcare Plan included massive cuts to Medicare. And that Democrats have spent years helping to kneecap the Post Office and NEVER doing anything to make an easy correction that would have put it on an even keel. Although that would have meant Feinstein’s husband couldn’t have profited from its pain. And so on…
              As to the judges you have a point, although I feel the need to remind people that while in power the Dems tied themselves to procedures that hamstrung Obama from appointing labor and climate friendly judges. Not that he wanted to do that.
              Three have you examined Harris record as a prosecutor and AG? It is a record of actions that have helped lead to people marching in the street.

              Which leads us to Four. Obama whacked American citizens without benefit of trial, some of us remember the coordinated efforts against Occupy. Trump has only expanded that legacy of the the use of military type force against opponents of the administration…

              Look you can believe that there is a lesser evil in this equation. You will not convince me. We the People are screwed either way. I saw a possibility of some relief in the primary, instead they managed to destroy that to nominate a man that has been on the wrong side of every major issue of the last four decades. The naming of a woman with a career riddled with riding the exploitation of the very people who she is now supposed to iconically represent to an easy entree to being President is an incredibly bad cosmic joke. I see some glimmers of hope in the primary victories of candidates that give the DNC leaders like Schumer and Pelosi agita. But no Biden and Harris are that bad.

              1. neo-realist

                I never said Trump stole it in 2016. Just that he and the republicans would attempt to do so in 2020.
                My read on this is if Biden/Harris get elected, they will find it difficult to go back to neolib as per usual because the broader economic and social conditions will make it difficult to do so. Obama fooled the base and conditioned them to go along with neoliberalism. The unemployed and and an activist progressive wing remember that act and may work to forestall a secondary one. We may well go down the drain, but hopefully they will fight anyway. It’s all we can do.

                1. anon in so cal

                  Body count as a criterion of badness:

                  Obama and Biden : 7 regime change wars in 8 years. 2 million innocent lives lost (conservative estimate).

                  T is 1st pres to *not* start a war in 1st term since Reagan? Unforgivable to the MIC.

                  It’s not just that Biden-Harris are Neolibs, they’re virulent NeoCons.

              2. John Anthony La Pietra

                And if the DNC wanted to play the judges card, maybe they shouldn’t have picked the chairman of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing for the top of their ticket.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        well, there’s things like this, at least:

        “Oh. I thought it was a fashion thing. You know, drape yourself in a vulva, prance about looking cross. ”

        i rarely pay any mind at all to “fashion”, but sometimes it seeps past my filters and scares me.
        of course, i have no problem going to town in things like this:
        so who am i to judge…it made my wife laugh pretty loudly.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Re #FurHat:
          LOL … looks like someone raided the extras closet from the set of “The Revenant”!

          Re #VulvaScarf:

          Well, to borrow a phrase from #ProjectRunway: “Too literal …”

  19. flora

    From Foreign Policy:

    Deindustrialization Means Disarmament

    In 2011, then-President Barack Obama attended an intimate dinner in Silicon Valley. At one point, he turned to the man on his left. What would it take, Obama asked Steve Jobs, for Apple to manufacture its iPhones in the United States instead of China? Jobs was unequivocal: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.” Jobs’s prognostication has become almost an article of faith among policymakers and corporate leaders throughout the United States. Yet China’s recent weaponization of supply chains and information networks exposes the grave dangers of the American deindustrialization that Jobs accepted as inevitable.


    an aside: destroying the USPS is disarmament, too. The USPS is part of national security. And… Wall St. has been on its own long march to disarm the US in the name of private profits, imo.

    1. Adam Eran

      Worth remembering: Not even the formidable Meg Whitman could make ebay work in Russia. Why…?

      Answer: the postal service was too bad.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Indeed, there was this time from latter half of 1990’s when the Russian post lost it’s monopoly and then was “reformed” and, lo and behold, went to shit. They had bankers running the thing and it didn’t work out.
        2013 Medvedev signed a degree to fix the postal services, and government investments started coming in, diletants were gotten rid of and postal serviced were again treated like a startegic part of national infrastructure. Prosecutors also opened investigations on the top level salaries and, I think, indicted directors for embezzlement.
        Two month delivery time for international parcel is now down to a week or so, and post offices also offer banking services in remote areas.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Kamala Harris, a Political Fighter Shaped by Life in Two Worlds”

    And she has a face for each of them!

    That Rania Khalek has a wicked wit by the way in her video.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      There is a theory out there, held by a few paranoids on the fringe, that the Democrats are planning to throw the election to Trump. They hope 4 more years of Trump will make things so bad for so many that the Catfood Democrat for 2024 will win by some kind of near-unanimous acclamation.

      1. Late Introvert

        They aren’t that smart and TDS. They are just fine losing if it keeps them on the gravy train. They are fine voting for every losing war if it keeps them on the gravy train. They enjoy kissing right and punching left because it keeps them on the gravy train.

        1. Hepativore

          It is basically the same Bill Clinton strategy…move to the right and pack your administration with as many corporatists as possible, because where else is the “left” going to go? They feel that they have the left over a barrel, After all…this is a “heads they win, tails we loose” situation. They do not think that they need the progressive/social left to win and even if they lose their donors still come out on top. As we speak, they are already preparing the blame cannons to aim squarely at Sanders and Russia in the event that Trump wins.

          Besides, they can hedge their bets to make sure that they will salt the White House fields against progressive/social liberals for years to come with Harris if or when Biden croaks/resigns from the presidency. This way they can prevent another progressive insurrection in the party trying to seize the chance to use such an opening to their advantage.

          So, I think that Trump is still the better option as at least he would be gone in four years. Any notion that you are going to push people as tone-deaf/willfully uncooperative as Biden and Harris is a complete pipe dream and by electing them into office you would only be vindicating the Obama/Clinton wing even more. There is also no way that the party establishment would allow a primary challenge for Biden/Harris in 2024.

          1. Anonylisa

            The only thing holding me back from this is the pandemic. I can convince myself that the Dems will do a better job managing that. Not the economic fallout of mitigation. We know what they do. Shock doctrine. But actual management of disease spread and testing supplies. I think they would do better. Am I naive? Dems are not anti-science (as long as they can profit off it). The pandemic has so many profit opportunities.

  21. John k

    Did the donors pick Kamala to help the ticket or to help them?
    Assumption seems to be Biden’s got it in the bag. Just like in aug 2016.
    How can Biden lose? Pandemic, 32 mil unemployed… but trumpers gonna vote. And suppress poor areas.
    Nobody’s ever gonna pick Warren for anything. Her only chance was to back Bernie. Hope the voters eject her from the senate next opportunity.

    1. neo-realist

      I think the donors picked Kamala to help them (protect them, e.g., Mnuchin). I don’t think Biden has it guaranteed, but independents and moderate republicans don’t dislike him as they did Clinton in 2016. Trump isn’t the outsider preaching faux populism and promising to clean up the swamp; He’s the establishment who reneged on populism and brought his own crony swamp with him. The people who aren’t hard core Trump have got to be disaffected considering the aforementioned problems, plus some of them have gotten sick from covid-19 and or have lost their jobs.

      If the Hard core Trumpies vote, as they will in all likelihood, Harris poops the swing states bad, and the republicans succeed in their suppression and fraud games, Trump’s got a shot.

      1. Pat

        IOW, the important people are covered either way, and the plebes are screwed no matter what.

        All is right with the world.

  22. John k

    Reps and dems might both worry about being blamed for current impasse, but after the election they’ll stop worrying about that and start worrying about their donors wanting to stop all that wasteful spending… military, bailouts and tax cuts alone justify deficits.
    Gotta tighten belts. IMO austerity after the first no matter who takes the oath. 10 mil evictions?

  23. Cuibono

    New Zealand cases”
    am i to believe that NO One gets out of 14 day quarantine? No one? Military. Senior govt officials?

    I doubt it. no matter what they say.

    also, this virus could easily have been circulating at low levels the WHOLE TIME asymptomatically

    1. RMO

      I’ve just heard from my friend in New Zealand and she relayed some local news stories about people who had broken out of quarantine recently for various reasons – visiting a liquor store being one.

  24. Cuibono

    Un)well breaks down wellness through six specific trends: essential oils, tantric sex, consumption of human breast milk, fasting, ayahuasca and bee-sting therapy.”

    wait ,what did you say about tantric sex?

        1. ambrit

          No, no. The Tantric part is that ‘they’ keep you in suspense but never deliver. (What a wonderfully accurate description of the American political party’s modus opperandii.)

  25. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    re: Kamala – I see a huge amount of skepticism amongst people with an african heritage that having ancestry from the ‘subcontinent’ makes you ‘POC’.

    1. Synoia

      Kamela, as did Obama, did not have the common Black Experience when growing up.

      The locals in Africa, in my youth had an expression which appears to fit: “Black white men.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember decades ago in college, an American Black American fellow student once told me that he had a Lakota roommate his first year and his Lakota roommate told him that many American Indians think of American Black Americans as ” the Black White man”.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    “Harris pick creates an emotional moment for Black women.”

    Really? It does?

    For Black women in general? Or strictly for Black Ladies Who Lunch?

  27. JBird4049

    Sacramento County officials have found themselves in defense mode after it appears they have used the bulk of the federal money they have received to respond to the coronavirus pandemic for Corrections expenses.

    Sacramento County’s decided to allocate only 2.4% of the 131 million dollars federal aid meant help the county’s public health department deal with the pandemic to that department. The health department has been denied the funding needed to control CORVID-19. It’s only highly contagious, often crippling, and sometimes lethal disease, but I guess that’s not important right now.

    Yes, I know that individual counties’ police unions have an inordinate amount of political power, not to mention the California state prison guards’ union itself which is a political monster, but one would think that wanting to live might cause them to fund public health.

    I’m thinking that maybe I should check on the local counties’ funding for public health including my own. And Sacto is only a few hours north of me.

  28. Big River Bandido

    Re: Willie Brown. Having no evidence at all and thus being reduced to mere speculation…here’s mine:

    The signal requirement in any VP nominee is discretion, and the big test is whether they can keep their nomination secret until the announcement is made. In case of a leak, the prospective choice is quietly axed. Harris has repeatedly demonstrated poor judgement, poor discretion, lack of brilliance or depth, and the tendency to place these qualities on frequent display. Ironically, Biden possesses exactly the same qualities, which must make guarding the secret of the choice that much more difficult. With such candidates I can readily imagine that either one or both of them let the cat out of the bag too soon and that a reporter called Brown to probe for information. One false move in that conversation and Brown could have killed Harris’ nomination outright.

    Such a practiced politician’s instinct might be to simply muddy the waters with a diversion. Rather than respond to the reporter’s questions, he says something completely bizarre that makes the world think he’s trying to sabotage his protegé or that he’s gone mad or both, baffling everyone and sending hack pack journalists on a 24-hour wild goose chase. By the time everyone recovers their breath, the announcement is made and the nomination is a fait accompli.

    Mere speculation. But perhaps others will see different pieces that fit a puzzle.

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