2:00PM Water Cooler 8/13/2020

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 four United States regions, plus US data.

This chart also includes positivity, starting with the highest (worst): The South, the US as a whole, the West, Midwest, and the Northeast. Only the Northeast, at 1.85%, beats the WHO standard of 5%, although the Midwest, at 5.58%, approaches it. The United States as a whole is at 7.53%.

CA: “How a rush to reopen drove Los Angeles County into a health crisis” [Los Angeles Times]. “[S]uccess is often the enemy of public health. When the infection curve flattened in early May, elected officials believed it was safe to rapidly reopen the economy. Then it all went wrong. Los Angeles Times reporters reviewed months of public statements and documents from L.A. officials to understand the factors that set the stage for a resurgence of the coronavirus in June that ultimately killed more than 1,600 people. This timeline shows that after originally talking about beginning to reopen the economy as late as July, officials allowed thousands of businesses to unlock their doors in May. Local leaders seized the opportunity when California Gov. Gavin Newsom loosened reopening criteria. It appears to have happened too fast. Officials initially discussed opening businesses in waves, allowing a few weeks to pass between each round of reopenings. This plan was abandoned for a faster reopening.” • To be fair, given the givens, this is inevitable. When commerce stops, tax revenue collapses for the states and localities (who are not currency issuers). Moreover, capital accumulation halts for business. All the pressures of the system are to open ASAP, regardless of public health implications, which are easily (and sometimes lucratively) rationalized away. There’s no point blaming the poor schlubs on the beaches. They are not the drivers!


“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!


Biden (D)(1): Biden announces Harris. It’s only 1:26:

I was sent this by a level-headed person who commented: “Biden looks bad. I mean he looks terrible. everyone around him has to know he is not fit.” I watched it first with the sound down, and it didn’t seem any different from the usual Biden. Then I watched it with the sound up, and I have to say Biden seemed a little flat — nothing like his Corvette ad — but not too far below baseline. So my reaction was not so strong. But perhaps I’m too jaded; there’s a lot of jading being done right now. Readers, what do you think?

Biden (D)(2): “Why Kamala Harris Matters to Me” [Manisha Sinha, New York Times]. “Her Indian background will also appeal to many Indian-American immigrants like me, if not to those who tend to be conservative and even racist in their views.” • This drives me crazy, not because I have any objection to “background” of any kind, and not (heaven forfend) because I’m birther-adjacent and don’t think Harris is ineligible to run, or isn’t a “real American.” Rather, I don’t think that liberal Democrats, including those at the Times, can sell Harris as Black to the Blacks and Indian to the (subcontinental) Indians at the same time. Sinha alludes to a “cosmopolitan, interracial democracy” (presumably exemplified in Harris’s person). Well and good; I’m with her. But that’s not how the Democrat Party is set up, and that’s not how they think. They conceive of identities as vertically siloed and mutually exclusive. That’s how NGOs are set up. That’s Democrat strategists talk. And that’s how their assets in the press report the race. So, institutionally, intersectionality me no intersectionality; it’s not happening. Why? Well, the dirty little secret of identity politics is that if you want a truly multiracial, multicultural, multinational, multigendered, multi-whatever, you go to the working class. You do not go to the PMC (the Democrat’s present base) or to suburban Republicans (the base they seek to add).

Biden (D)(3): “Think Joe Biden Will Be the Next FDR? His Wall Street Donors Don’t Seem To” [Jacobin]. “[Even discounting] Biden’s entire political history, there’s a much more basic reason to think that faddish comparisons to FDR won’t be borne out in the form of anything transformative should he actually be elected president. As new reporting from the New York Times details, the former vice president is blowing Donald Trump out of the water when it comes to donations from the financial industry — financial interests have already chipped in some $44 million compared to Trump’s $9 million. The contributions have been so vast that the Biden campaign is now reportedly demanding at least $1 million in donations from anyone who expects the candidate to appear at an event.”

Biden (D)(4): “Low-income Americans could help oust Trump — if they show up” [Jonathan Capehart, WaPo]. “Poverty rarely, if ever, gets discussed on the presidential campaign trail. Barber notes this every chance he gets. But given the misery enveloping large swaths of the U.S.electorate, Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will have no choice but to address it. A report released Tuesday from Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign, Repairers of the Breach and the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice shows that the candidate who does could release an untapped well of votes. According to the report, of the 63 million poor and low-income Americans who are eligible to vote, 34 million did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. ‘An increase of at least 1 percent of the non-voting, low-income electorate would equal the margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election in Michigan or a 4 percent to 7 percent increase in states such as Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin,’ the study notes.” • Let me know how that works out.

UPDATE Biden (D)(7): “Behind closed doors: How Biden’s team weighed the VP candidates” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘[Biden and Harris] had the right heart-to-hearts,’ the senior official said. ‘They came back to a place they always had, of affinity for one another, even a love.'” • Lordie.

UPDATE Biden (D)(6): “Kamala, Joe, And The Fissures In The Base” [NPR]. “Black women are the Democratic party; wherever Black women go, so goes the party.”

Trump (R)(1): Another that requires sound:

I think Biden’s Corvette ad was better. But this is a taste of what is to come, “golden hairs” and all.

Trump (R)(2): “Approve or Not, Trump Is Setting Unfavorable Downballot Conditions” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. Lots of good polling data. But the bottom line is right at the end: “perhaps 70 percent of voters are likely to cast their ballots before Election Day, either by mail or in-person early voting. Automobile side-view mirrors have the disclaimer, ‘Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.’ That could also be said about this election: It’s closer than it appears.” • Trump’s gonna need a September surprise. That is extremely early for a (colorable claim of) a vaccine.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “Trump Is Hobbling the Mail the Old-Fashioned Way” [The Atlantic]. “If Republicans wanted to limit voter turnout and raise doubts about the election’s integrity, creating chaos within the Postal Service and undermining its independence would be an efficient way to pursue that goal. Past efforts to politicize the mail service were overt. According to the ‘spoils system’ that President Andrew Jackson—whom Trump admires most among his predecessors—established soon after his election in 1828, the party that won the White House gained the right to award tens of thousands of postal jobs to its supporters, thus securing their loyalty and zeal. The postmaster general—inevitably a political crony and fixer eager to do the president’s bidding—became a Cabinet member who oversaw this immense patronage scheme…. In 1970, President Richard Nixon finally ended the spoils system by signing the Postal Reorganization Act. The law turned what had been the Post Office Department into the modern USPS…. The financial crisis now threatening the Postal Service has deep roots. The trouble began after 2001, as email shrank the volume of first-class letter mail, and was compounded by the disastrous Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. … The growing demand for voting by mail should be a reason to shore up the Postal Service and shield it from political interference, not force it to a halt.”

* * *

Krystal Ball unloads on the Virginia Democrats:

Virginia readers, what do you think?

“QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia Republican primary” [BBC]. “Ms [Marjorie Taylor Greene], a businesswoman who owns a construction company with her husband, beat neurosurgeon John Cowan for the Republican nomination on Tuesday. She will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal in November but is widely expected to win in the conservative district. The controversial candidate has previously expressed support for QAnon – a wide-ranging, unfounded conspiracy theory that says that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media. In a YouTube video, she praised ‘Q’ – the pseudonymous figure who started the conspiracy theory – as a ‘patriot.'” • Interesting to picture QAnon supporters and the Squad (say) interacting on the House floor:

“What is QAnon? How the conspiracy theory gained traction in 2020 campaign” [PBS]. “The QAnon conspiracy theory originated on 4chan in October of 2017, though it has its origin in Pizzagate. The basic premise is that a group of high-level military intelligence officials close to President Trump, QAnon followers believe, are sending out secret coded messages on these image boards about this great grand battle of good vs. evil, in which Trump and what they call the Q Team are working to destroy a global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles, which the QAnon community believes is controlling everything. And that includes politician, entertainment and the media.” • I don’t want to be so open-minded that my brains fall out here, but first, we’ve had plenty of major pedophile scandals — the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and the BBC come to mind, along with the extremely gregarious Jeffrey Epstein plus Speaker of the House Denny Hastert — and it’s not all that cray cray to imagine pedophilia as an elite pastime (although a Satan-worshipping cabal is another matter). More centrally, I file QAnon as a form of symbol manipulation available to the relatively disempowered, very much unlike RussiaGate (another cray cray yarn diagram, but one propagated by the powerful that threatens war with a nuclear power) or mainstream economics (more cray cray than anything, and responsible for a lot of deaths through austerity, among other pathways). QAnon does remind one of, well, COINTELPRO. I wonder if any textual analysis has been done on Q’s messages. It would be interesting to discover they were created by a committee, instead of an individual, for example). Oh well. Il faut cultiver notre jardin, where the squash create their own yarn diagrams, and cray cray is held at bay.


UPDATE “A hard path for Susan Collins and 5 other takeaways from the BDN’s Maine poll” [Bangor Daily News]. “House Speaker Sara Gideon held a 5-point lead over Sen. Susan Collins among likely voters in the closely watched U.S. Senate race. Freshman Rep. Jared Golden and former Vice President Joe Biden were up by even larger margins among registered voters in the poll, though Biden and President Donald Trump were virtually tied in the 2nd District….. Voters are far more favorable about the state of affairs in Maine than in the U.S. at large, with 58 percent saying things are on the right track here versus only 27 percent nationally. ” • I don’t know what to make of that! Maine’s excellent response to Covid?

UPDATE College Democrat Morse smear continues to unravel:

UPDATE “College Democrat Chats Reveal Year-Old Plan to Engineer and Leak Alex Morse Accusations” [The Intercept]. “The leadership of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College Democrats began discussing an operation they believed could sink the campaign of Alex Morse for Congress as far back as last October, a plan they then helped engineer and which came to fruition on Friday… Timothy Ennis, the chief strategist for the UMass Amherst College Democrats, admitted in the chats that he was a ‘Neal Stan’ and said he felt conflicted about involving the chapter of the College Democrats in a future attack on Morse. ‘But I need a job,’ concluded Ennis. “Neal will give me an internship.” At the time, Ennis was president of the chapter, a post he held from April 2019 to April 2020, when he was term-limited out. Leaders of the College Democrats group went beyond merely plans to leak. They also explicitly discussed how they could find Morse’s dating profiles and then lead him into saying something incriminating that would then damage his campaign.”

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.

Unemployment: “08 August 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Decline To 963,000 This Week” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 1,100 K to 1,220 K (consensus 1,160 K), and the Department of Labor reported 963,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 1,339,000 (reported last week as 1,337,750) to 1,252,750…. Of the 963,000 jobs lost this week, the BLS says 488,622 were due to the coronavirus (versus 655,999 last week).”

Imports: “July 2020 Import Year-over-Year Inflation Now -3.3%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year import price indices inflation remained in contraction and moved from -3.9% to -3.3%. Fuel prices and agricultural exports increased this month.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 08 August 2020 – Good Recovery in Intermodal” [Econintersect]. “Week 32 of 2020 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) contracted according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is recovering from a coronavirus pandemic…. Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. declined and remains deep in contraction. This week intermodal was in expansion year-over-year. However, carloads remain deep in contraction.”

* * *

Tech: “Google to buy stake in ADT in home security push for $450 million” [Reuters]. “Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google is picking up a 6.6% stake in ADT Inc (ADT.N) for $450 million, betting on the home security company’s strong customer base and an army of technicians to drive sales of its Nest devices…. The investment gives ADT the backing of a high-profile technology partner and broadens its services business. In return, Google gets access to about 6.5 million customers, strengthening its presence as it competes with Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) Ring and Boston-based SimpliSafe, among others.” • That’s nice.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73 Greed (previous close: 73 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 73 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 13 at 12:21pm Falling back to mere Greed from Extreme Greed. Disappointing!

The Biosphere

“Air pollution is much worse than we thought” [Vox]. “The evidence is now clear enough that it can be stated unequivocally: It would be worth freeing ourselves from fossil fuels even if global warming didn’t exist. Especially now that clean energy has gotten so cheap, the air quality benefits alone are enough to pay for the energy transition. This conclusion has been reaffirmed by the latest air quality research, presented at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform by Drew Shindell, Nicholas professor of earth science at Duke University (and a lead author on both recent IPCC reports)… Shindell’s testimony reveals that the effects of air pollution are roughly twice as bad as previously estimated…. Importantly, many of the benefits can be accessed in the near term. Right now, air pollution leads to almost 250,000 premature deaths a year in the US. Within a decade, aggressive decarbonization could reduce that toll by 40 percent; over 20 years, it could save around 1.4 million American lives that would otherwise be lost to air quality.” • Important and well worth a read.

UPDATE “The Effect of Leaded Gasoline on Elderly Mortality: Evidence from Regulatory Exemptions” [American Economic Review]. The abstract: “Leaded gasoline is still used globally for aviation and automotive racing. Exploiting regulatory exemptions and a novel quasi-experiment, we find that leaded gasoline use in racing increases ambient lead, elevated blood lead rates, and elderly mortality. The mortality estimates indicate that each gram of lead added to gasoline exceeds $1,100 in damages. Our setting allows us to rule out potential confounders, such as correlated pollutants or socioeconomic status. We provide the first causal estimates linking adult mortality to leaded gasoline, highlight the value of banning on-road leaded gasoline, and present policy-relevant cost estimates at the lowest ambient levels to date.” • Only the abstract is available, so I don’t know what the “novel quasi-experiment” is.

“‘This land is all we have left’: tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon” [Guardian]. “Phoenix-based Pumped Hydro Storage LLC has received a preliminary permit from federal regulators for its Big Canyon Pumped Storage Project – a string of four huge dams near the Little Colorado River, along with reservoirs and a power-generation facility…. The project is the third Pumped Hydro has proposed in the Big Canyon region – the two previous ones received major pushback from tribes and environmentalists. If built, it would function as both a battery and station for generating up to 7,900 gigawatt-hours of electricity. It would pump groundwater up into four reservoirs, one of which would flood Big Canyon. That water would be stored as potential power, ready to be unleashed down canyons, through generators and toward the Little Colorado River when electricity is needed…. The Big Canyon project won’t move forward without the Navajo government’s approval and non-tribal entities are joining the chorus of criticisms. Even the US Department of the Interior has filed a comment, arguing the project could have adverse effects on the environment and cultural lands.”

“With Biden-Harris Ticket Set, Climate Groups Demand ‘Transformative Action From Day One’ If Elected” [Common Dreams]. “Sunrise’s Prakash vowed that ‘our movement remains committed to defeating Trump and Pence this November and hope to hold her accountable in office—just like we will with Joe Biden.’ ‘Let’s do our part to end this era of chaos and defeat Republicans up and down the ballot,’ she said. ‘Then, let’s turn up to make a Biden-Harris administration lay the groundwork for a Green New Deal.'” • But above all, let’s leave Richard Neal in place at Ways and Means!

“Mauritius seeks compensation after vessel blackens beaches with oil spill” [Straits Times]. “Mauritius is seeking compensation from the owners of the cargo carrier that run aground and spilled oil off its coast, causing the island nation’s worst ecological disaster…. Mauritius now faces widespread pollution, threatening the livelihoods of communities that depend on the ocean. The island economy, which relies on tourists who flock to its white sand beaches, is already reeling from the coronavirus fallout and may be further affected by the spill.”

Health Care

“A negative COVID-19 test does not mean recovery” [Nature]. “Eight months into the global pandemic, we’re still measuring its effects only in deaths. Non-hospitalized cases are loosely termed ‘mild’ and are not followed up. Recovery is implied by discharge from hospital or testing negative for the virus. Ill health in those classed as ‘recovered’ is going largely unmeasured. And, worldwide, millions of those still alive who got ill without being tested or hospitalized are simply not being counted. Previously healthy people with persistent symptoms such as chest heaviness, breathlessness, muscle pains, palpitations and fatigue, which prevent them from resuming work or physical or caring activities, are still classed under the umbrella of ‘mild COVID’. Data from a UK smartphone app for tracking symptoms suggests that at least one in ten of those reporting are ill for more than three weeks. Symptoms lasting several weeks and impairing a person’s usual function should not be called mild. Defining and measuring recovery from COVID-19 should be more sophisticated than checking for hospital discharge, or testing negative for active infection or positive for antibodies. Once recovery is defined, we can differentiate COVID that quickly goes away from the prolonged form.”

I should react to this in horror:

But I would kinda like a mask like that. (In fact, I’m imagining a clear plastic, astronaut-style helmet!)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How early U.S. newspapers brokered slavery” [Journalist’s Resource (TH)]. “Slave owners paid newspapers to publish advertisements that described the physical traits of slaves who had run away, offering rewards for their return. Those ads ‘were a lucrative and consistent source of revenue’ for newspaper printers, writes Jordan Taylor, visiting assistant history professor at Smith College, in a new paper published in the journal Early American Studies. But colonial newspapers weren’t mere messengers for slavers. Taylor chronicles more than 2,100 unique ads from 1704 to 1807 that show newspaper publishers also acted as brokers, facilitating the buying and selling of up to 3,400 men, women and children as chattel. For most of that century or so, slave brokerage ads appeared primarily in Northern newspapers, Taylor finds in his paper, ‘Enquire of the Printer: Newspaper Advertising and the Moral Economy of the North American Slave Trade.’ ‘Newspaper editors and printers jumped enthusiastically into brokering the slave trade,’ he says. ‘Journalists and members of the news media today should be reckoning with that.'”

Groves of Academe

“Math Problems for Faculty on Their University’s Reopening Plan” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “1. Your University requires all students to wear masks while in class, and faculty — not the administration — are expected to enforce this mandate. On the first day of the semester, three students in your class refuse to wear masks because “this is America.” One student shows up in a Confederate flag mask, and another shows up in a “defund the police” mask. You ask them to leave and they refuse, reminding you that they are paying customers. Calculate the number of students who will be infected with COVID-19 after being involved in the ensuing multi-student fistfight.”

Class Warfare

More from r/unemployment:

Not seeing either major party speaking to this population.

News of the Wired

“Community gardens are cropping up at public libraries everywhere” [Shareable]. “My own research — including a survey of library gardens in the United States and Canada, and a collection of resources on the food-justice movement in public libraries — shows that community gardens are popping up across the country…. Most remarkable is that all this activity developed organically. No one at the state or national level told these librarians they should start doing this work. They just did it. And it may get easier still to just do it. Last summer the American Library Association published Libraries and Gardens: Growing Together, a book that validates the efforts of librarians gardening in their communities at the grassroots over the years. So if your library doesn’t have a community garden, reach out to them. They may be more receptive than you think.” • And to note the obvious, gardens are outside. The article also includes lots and lots of examples, and a potted history of community gardens. News you can use!

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

JU writes: “Here’s a Manzanita tree loaded with ladybugs. Sometimes when we hike up here, we have to stop and turn around, because you’d kill 50 of them with each step forward, they’re so thick.” That seems… odd. Readers, have you noticed anything similar?

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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. Lunker Walleye

    After 3 days without power after Derecho hit, I’m so glad to read NC again! Thanks for being there.

        1. Lunker Walleye

          Thanks Lambert. The Third World is better than whatever that other world level was — kind of like a forced alliance with the power company who was bringing in pros and ringers from across the country to remove the trees and repair the lines and the citizens who wanted electricity. I would have aligned with almost whomever could get the juice on the fastest in that world. No cells in this household but was happy to have a landline. Best wishes, Ken.

          1. Late Introvert

            I actually rode my bike over two downed power lines today that were still lying in the street. Iowa City got smoked by that thing.

  2. farragut

    Re: the Biden clip introducing Harris. Biden looks tired, uninspired & simply going through the motions. But, to be fair, he has looked like that to me for the past ~12 months. To continue the discussion from this morning, I’ll vote down ballot, but will vote 3rd party or write-in on the national level, but it seems the choices get worse each cycle.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Maybe it’s because I had to watch with the sound off, but I’d go so far to say he looks more life-like than I’ve seen in a while. But playing the amateur body language reader game, sans sound, that clip looks like dad explaining to the kids that they’re not going to Disneyland this year, not someone who is excited about his VP selection.

      1. L

        I have to say so far I’ve seen no proof he is somehow unfit. I know I look awful on a webcam too.

        But the bottom line is that even on his good days Biden is not a foreceful salesman for himself or his cause. He does not inpire with high flowing rhetoric, staight up folksiness or Trump’s Wallace-like ability to “let the crowd turn him on” as Hunter S. Thompson put it. That does not make him bad, or necessarily wrong. After all LBJ, according to many, couldn’t emote his way out of a wet paper bag but he was still an effective politician chiefly by his ability to work one on one. Right now Biden can’t do that.

        At the end of the day Biden spent years waiting his turn but he was noone’s first choice. The neoliberals, neocons, and never Trumpers tried on everyone else for size (except Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard of course) and none of them had the magic. Harris finished lower than she started despite massive fundraising connections. Beto and Buttegeg were so alike as to be forgettable and so vague as to be both unthreatening and uninteresting, and they had no record to run on. Klobuchar had a record, and under the circumstances it was all anchor no rocket. And Booker, never was clear about what he wanted to didn’t want except love. There is no place for that on the Campaign trail.

        Which left Biden, the only choice that neolib/neocon/neodems would take and the only one with a chance to get the support of older minority voters. On some level he has to know that, and that has to hurt. What he does with that is up to him.

        To reference another article above though on the Biden/FDR connection, I think that is not ever going to make sense. FDR campaigned on the New Deal. He fought for it from Day one. He didn’t have it pushed on him.

        But LBJ…

        LBJ was an old politician, picked as the sidekick of a young up and comer, who came out of his shadow late and who did not, by any indication, have strong convictions about the issues he is most known for. Others pushed him into the The Civil Rights act, and Vietnam (which to be fair he inherited). I don’t know enough of the history of the Great Society to be as sure of that.

        I think at best Biden will be LBJ, the only question is, who will be pushing, and where will he give?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          LBJ only inherited a smallish “police action and CIA intervention” in Vietnam. LBJ made his own free choice to escalate it into a big real war. And he couldn’t do that till Kennedy was safely out of the way.

          So, no. LBJ did not “inherit” Vietnam. He inherited a narrow opportunity which he moved heaven, earth and the Big Lie at the Gulf of Tonkin to deliberately on purpose turn it into the War he WANTED it to be.

        2. hunkerdown

          > He fought for it from Day one. He didn’t have it pushed on him.

          Debunked. Walter Karp, Indispensable Enemies, pp. 109-129, should disabuse one of the FDR myth. He was an oligarch doing the bare minimum to keep himself and his class off the gallows and in power.

          1. Darthbobber

            Karo fights his corner well, but I don’t think he really proves his case in Indispensable Enemies. Bare minimum isn’t really accurate, and most of Roosevelt’s class had in mind doing a helluva lot less. I think Karp found the whole party system aesthetically distasteful (though from a different perspective than Sorel, who had a different aesthetic.

            Karp sort of idealized his own image of Jeffersonian democracy (not the actually historical version), and I believe one of his last works portrayed Jimmy Carter of all people as the country’s last, best, hope, betrayed by a secret cabal of Democrats and Republicans to turn the country over to a tyrant (aka Ronald Reagan). As soap opera it works.

        3. voteforno6

          LBJ was stronger on civil rights than Kennedy was…as Senate majority leader, he pushed through a civil rights bill during the late ’50s. It didn’t have much bite to it, but it was a start. His efforts were key to passing both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

        4. Phil in KC

          LBJ wasn’t an “old” politician, even by the standards of his day. In 1960, he was 52 years old, but looked older and more weathered, perhaps because he ate, smoked, and drank to excess. JFK was 9 years younger, Nixon only 5. If you look at photos of LBJ in 1960 and 1969, you can see how the office aged him even more. He died several months shy of his 65th birthday.

          Johnson was not JFK’s top pick for VP. JFK offered him the position with the expectation he would refuse, not wanting to give up his position as Majority Leader. The JFK people were shocked when he accepted.

          Johnson was able to wheel and deal in the Senate because he had Texas oil money to spread around, and he was physically intimidating. Biden has none of that. What he has–and what Harris has–is the backing of the Clinton donor class, along with Obama’s imprimatur. we will see what that is worth.

        5. Darius

          Listen to FDR’s fireside chat on banking, in which he prevented a nationwide run on the banks. He called cash hoarding, “an exceedingly unfashionable pastime.” It worked. I don’t see Biden having one hundredth of that leadership ability. FDR’s fireside chat of February 1942 reassured a nation severely rattled by a series of setbacks in the wake of Pearl Harbor. I don’t see Biden having that ability, either.

    2. Chris

      I’m with Matt Taibbi and others when it comes to Biden. I think in that clip he’s coming down from whatever stimulants they gave him.

    3. Darthbobber

      Well, I’d be tired, uninspired and going through the motions, too, if I was introducing a running mate I didn’t trust and hadn’t wanted.

    4. Phil in KC

      It was average Biden I saw–not pooped, but not jazzed up, either. It’ll do for now. I think KH will do the heavy lifting in this campaign. All Joe has to do is be a decent guy and allow Trump the space to be an ogre. What the Dems will need is a great ground game–getting the voters to vote. If B and H aren’t inspiring, at least you can get out the anti-Trump vote, yes?

      As for tired–looking, look no farther than Trump in his late afternoon pandemic briefings. He’s not so peppy-looking, either.

  3. ambrit

    Re. ladybugs.
    Here in the NADS, the ladybugs are scarce just now. We do see them inside the house during periods of heavy rainfall. Now is an example. I have seen several of the dark red with little black spots variety of ladybug yesterday and today on the bedroom ceiling. There are transient heavy thunderstorms happening here now.
    That degree of population density, as in the antidote, is not something we see around here.
    Yesterday’s plantidote is a sign of just how big America is geographically. Her elderberries are flowering while ours have already flowered, fruited, and are being eaten by the birds. (We have several elderberry plants outside the kitchen window and have been watching the avian feeding frenzy for weeks already.)

    1. sierra7

      Re: Lady Bugs:
      Years ago hiking in Spring on the fire road opposite the Carlon Falls Trail off Evergreen Rd. (CA 120 mile or so before the northern entrance to Yosemite) we would encounter a gazillion lady bugs……it was awesome and scary that you really had to be very careful where you stepped!
      There was also a particular time of the year when under the Evergreen Rd. bridge there accumulated thousands upon thousands of the Monarch Butterfly. A couple of nature’s wonderful creatures!

    2. Darius

      I think those are Asian lady beetles. They were brought here as some kind of superior form of ladybug, but now they are a pest and drive out native ladybugs. They also can form massive swarms inside the walls of houses in the fall, where they congregate seeking warmth. Another good thing made bad by human stupidity.

  4. TBellT

    : “Low-income Americans could help oust Trump — if they show up”

    I’m going to guess the article doesn’t address Bernie’s primary strategy at all? If he couldn’t do it how could either of these two knuckleheads.

    Maybe I’m just in a foul mood lately but I’ve lost all faith in the American people to rise up and overthrow their masters. How bad does it have to get? I guess at this point everything is so internalized and that we’ll just see more deaths of despair. Completely freaking depressing.

      1. hunkerdown

        A London-based “disrutpive capitalist” PMC blaming the victims of a system explicitly and deliberately designed to exclude them from power, how unexpected!

        1. Avi Dreader

          I suspect you didn’t read it all the way through, if that is the conclusion you came to.

          The writer blames the problem in “Anglo nations” on their long standing culture of “aggression, exploitation, and abuse” and their history of “Brutality and enslavement”.

          1. JBird4049

            Too many refuse to see that the brutality and enslavement by the ruling classes of the Anglo nations was started with their own people. It’s like the PMC blaming the Deplorables of their own robbery.

      2. dougie

        I don’t usually go to links left in comments, but I am really glad that I did this time! Thanks!

    1. km

      According to Robert Michel, oligarchy is the default state of human society.

      He would probably say that what we are seeing now is simply reversion to the mean.

      That doesn’t make oligarchy a good thing.

    2. hunkerdown

      TV and, to a lesser extent, Internet are lines of communication for the counter-revolutionary forces (including the ca. 60% of American voters and their families who believe in the two-party system). Those lines have to be cut first to stop the noise and allow people time to find the conditions.

      To the existing self-declared management chain of the human species, $600 a week is good enough until they can get their weapons ready. That they stopped paying $600 a week suggests that they’re ready for us if we try something.

    3. Grant

      Most people don’t vote. So, the zombies that vote in the two rotten major parties don’t represent the American people. Clinton won the popular vote and only had about a quarter of the voting age population. I would guess that maybe 10% of the voting age population takes part in primaries in these two parties, and you can see the manufactured train wreck that was the Democratic primary from Iowa on. Far more people don’t belong to either party than those that do, and the percentage of those that don’t vote is often larger than the ones that do. It is not at all impossible that these people continue to give us horrible choices and there is massive social unrest, because a large share of the country doesn’t see any solutions within the political system.

      1. edmondo

        Now they are vote shaming the poors? I find the vote shaming for Joe Biden very telling. That “10% lead in the polls” must not be translating into a Electoral College landslide because the Dems are way, way too vocal on this.

        Keep an eye on this. Ten weeks to go and Biden has already peaked.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          The voter shaming in general feels much more intense lately. And I don’t remember it ever being this bad in 2016. I seem to recall a more belligerent tone of “we don’t need your vote” until the end.

          I agree. Something seems up.

      2. TBellT

        Yea I know there’s nothing on offer from voting here.

        But how do people not get so enraged to the point of general strikes or further actions of revolution. Instead people just turn their frustration with this system inward on themselves. We need Rob Williams from Good will hunting to tell people “it’s not your fault”

  5. Louis Fyne

    So i watched a bit of Tucker Carlson (i know) to see what his reaction was to kamala…

    Lo and behold the first 4 min. of his monologue sounded straight from the mouth of an Occupy Wall St vet.

    Just saying and i won’t mind being shamed/take it personally for sharing the link

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6180722551001/ (if you want to hear for yourself. )

    1. anon in so cal

      Tucker Carlson is the only pundit who denounced the US regime change attempt in Syria and who repeatedly debunks the Russiagate psy ops. He has stressed the importance of peace and diplomacy with Russia. In many clips, he’s articulated progressive policies along the lines of Bernie Sanders’ platform back in 2016 (before Sanders went full Woke)

    1. TBellT

      Moore’s skill is propaganda. Sometimes it’s good class consciousness propaganda, but he’s also willing to sell his skills to team Blue.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter


        He’s also never been as radical as his detractors (and some of his supporters) would like to believe. He’s one of the only Dems to understand why Trump won, but he can’t being himself to accept that the Dems aren’t the solution either.

    2. hunkerdown

      A lot of liberals have been using the term “progressive”sentimentally, i.e. narcissistically. In practice, “progressive” means letting the underclass have just enough to function as s–t-eaters in a class society without revolting (cf. Pradhan and Pandit’s class system model) . Like “liberty”, the ability to submit others to your personal will, these storied concepts and affinities, many of which have been more or less pushed on us as code words, are weapons that serve the working class far better when spiked, denying the manipulator class the ability to operate them.

      I’m pretty convinced the ROI of sabotage beats almost every other stratagem when facing gross overmatch on a booby-trapped playing field. As in season two of South Park Officer Barbrady once educated an eager young police cadet smacking criminals in the knees, “No, Eric, that’s not how you enforce the law. You hit ’em in the head so they go down quicker!”

    3. hunkerdown

      As veep, perhaps, but as President, she has a long history of being a sadist of negotiable affection.

    4. pjay

      Shaun King, Bernie, Michael Moore. Gosh, maybe I was wrong about Biden and Harris. Maybe they really are progressive, but because of my fragile ideological purity standards I just can’t recognize it. Maybe I should really be more realistic and reconsider my feelings about voting Blue this year. Or…

      Maybe they are full of s**t!! Yeah, I’ll go with that one. I think 45 years of this crap is enough.

    5. Dan

      Perhaps Moore is giving KH the fealty she expects while also putting her on notice. I’m not a fan of Moore – he inserts himself into everything way beyond what I can stand – but he’s a bright guy, and he’s been around these politicos long enough to know how they operate, what they require to function. There’s no way he believes that “she’s sincere, she has heart, she’s on our side.” But if he makes her believe that he – and by extension his followers, progressives, lefties, etc. – believes that, then she’ll feel the proper fawning attentiveness has been given her. He can then go on to claim that “No, she’s not you or me. But we’re not on the ballot. WE are the movement, which in the long run is what is going to get us what we need. We keep building that movement, we will succeed.”

      And maybe, just maybe, she’ll listen, at least a little, cause, ya know, we all love her so much, just as she so desperately needs.

    6. rowlf

      Moore is beyond sell by date. I personally saw him fly on an airline that was going through a labor strike and being picketed by striking union members. As he was from Michigan he should have known better.

      Another example of media figures being less useful than cow pats.

  6. Mike

    RE: Krystal Ball unloads on the Virginia Democrats

    Krystal and Saagar forget to mention several things related to the vote — 1) Gerrymandering of districts, 2) voter disenfranchisement and closure of locations to vote, 3) election machine fraud, tampering, and total domination by right-wing firms.

    Seems all the issues are lining up to allow for polls to reflect a big Democratic win while stomping on any margin of victory, especially in those swing states that are marginally ready to vote “Blue”.

    Is the fix a sure lock? No, but we seem to forget that Obama’s victories guaranteed an ultimate victory for the right-wingers anyway. He was a “known unknown”, or, better yet, a “bought unbought” signalling a will to take big money and change nothing fundamental. There was no gamble for the financial sector, big health, pharma, the Israeli lobby, or silicon valley. Who else runs the nation and its media???

    1. Skip Intro

      #2 and #3 were the primary weapons the Dem. establishment used to beat Sanders. Live by the voter suppression, die by the voter suppression.

  7. anon

    What does Biden link learning about “roaches” and kids sitting on his lap, which he apparently likes?

  8. Crazy Train

    You got to give it to the Trumps, that Biden-train was hysterically fun. I have not laughed so hard for a loooong time. Wouldn’t say that Trump really signify a powerload train, but Biden on a draisine rambling is spot on on every level.

      1. Crazy Train

        Sure, Absolutely stupid and maybe ineffective, I don’t know and I don’t care. Between Trump and Biden I see very little difference.
        However watching the movie the fifth time I still laugh out loud. It is congenial in overall and specifics.
        It plays on so many levels:
        – Biden definitely has the vitality and relevance of a draisine. He offers zero novelty. On the contrary his Wall Street donors seem really happy
        – of all things Biden has said choosing when Biden is rambling about hairy legs and kids is just hilarious and puts him so near to the Epstein stuff
        – Trump is doing his comedy stick and he does that better than others. He could smack down the professional political clowns in 2016 and apprently still can
        – USA the greatest nation on earth, the global empire has come to this – a political bum fight. It is really tragically comic that the choice is between Trump and Biden/Harris. The country has sunk so low now it is really just so sad you cannot but laugh at it.

  9. Krystyn Podgajski

    “Air pollution is much worse than we thought”

    Air pollution on the East Coast is the worst, anywhere east of the Mississippi for that matter. I could feel the difference the first time I lived out west. Night and day, and I can’t wait to go back.

    And I really noticed it when I lived in an area of Hawaii with the lowest air pollution in the U.S., it was wonderful.

    But people live in this junk 24×7 and just think it is normal. A slow creep of a new normal everyday. Don’t look to your leaders for help, just like with COVID. Look out for those who will listen.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Right now, I know of someone who is spending the summer in the LA area. Santa Monica, to be exact. She’s staying just four blocks from the beach. And, get this, she’s really enjoying the air.

      Yup. You read that right. Someone saying nice things about LA area air quality.

      1. Ed Miller

        Four blocks from the beach in Santa Monica says it all. I lived in LA for 18 years, about 3 miles from the beach (Westchester). Air quality was not bad at all there, except for during Santa Ana winds, in spite of LAX being just to the south of me.

        The rest of LA metro was mostly an air quality disaster. Ocean breezes are the difference.

    2. Dan

      Anecdotally, the air quality seems noticeably better to me here in NJ the past few months. But I’d say the best thing by far is the lack of air travel. Practically the entire state of NJ is flight path central. The gargantuan reduction in airplane noise has been a godsend to me.

    3. Copeland

      >I can’t wait to go back

      KP, I for one have been wondering why you’ve been on the east coast for the last few months after having been in the PNW last summer and the SW in early winter, as I recall. What is you medium to long term plan?

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Krystal Ball and Virginia

    I didn’t watch the whole thing just a couple of minutes, but yeah, the Virginia Democratic Party is really just trash. There are a handful of good ones. Deeds, Edwards, Howell, Barker (I was astonished by this, he really threw himself into it when he retired) are decent enough in the State Senate. Deeds and Edwards might be limited in their vision by their districts and time invested. They do a lot of actual legislative work. Virginia legislatures have the budget for one or two staffers and an intern when in session. Guys like Saslaw and Peterson are just utter trash. Also Virginia has a part time legislature, so everyone is either retired, rich, or working full time. I think Deeds is still the country lawyer for his side of the mountain.

    The House of Delegates has a few good ones who do ALL THE WORK. A few trashy ones who throw tantrums over Dominion not making enough in profit for selling electricity. Most of the rest are recruited to be not offend the local Chamber of Commerce and self fund. Dave Marsden is still a state senator. Trust me, the guy is a doofus and lazy.

    After all, this is a state party that actually let Terry MacAuliffe become the nominee.

    The other problem is Dillon’s law is particularly strong in Virginia, so a surprising amount of work is effectively what other places would consider to be local government because everything has to be approved. When Roem ran, I couldn’t believe she would waste her time, but I saw her platform. It was all stuff that her district has to get approved by the state and one wacky promise which isn’t happening regardless of what the locals of Prince William County fantasize about. She beat Bob Marshall, a world class nasty guy, but Bob use to take care of those items. The scuttlebutt is he stopped doing that work and did his anti-human decency campaign full time. To a large extent, her legislative work is just local issues that reflect the place of Dillon’s law. I assume she has a real job that funds things like rent and food.

    As for next years governor’s race, its Foy or McClellan for me in the primary. The other candidates are just…

    Full disclosure: I’ve thought the focus of the legislature on local issues and its part time nature does fill up time. The relative commerce from Keynesian multipliers in Nova distracts from problems too.

    1. Fred1

      What underlies Ball’s comparison, while true as far as it goes, obscures more than it explains. The state wide election map looks similar to the national election map – a sea of sparsely populated red surrounding islands of heavily populated blue. Describing Virginia as blue is very optimistic. Purple is more like it. I have lived in a very red part for 30 years. The Rs here fully intend to regain control of the General Assembly in the next election in 2021. All predictions will be based on tribal loyalty and are not worth the paper they’re written on. It will be close.

      1. voteforno6

        The Republicans there may want to retake the assembly, but it will be difficult. Trump is not very popular in NoVa, and that part of the state seems to be pushing its influence further out with each passing year.

      2. southern appalachian

        Agree, and Northern Va has dramatically increased their influence over the last few decades; SW Virgina lost a bit with the decline of coal. Ms. Ball is very accurate in my opinion. Don’t know if that’s the future or not, due to my priors- a period of changes, not small. Think it’s more a description of the hope of the elite.

        Trillbillie territory west of Charlottesville, Southside. Income disparity is marked, but not unusual, I think. Useful lense before wandering about the commonwealth, imho, John Jackson, A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time.

        And again like the nation, blue cities and towns and red rural areas. Lots of college towns, interesting to see the profs going for Warren, people maintaining the quads Bernie or CSA.

        Complete disconnect there, both socially and professionally, working v. elite.
        Oh, and yes, Deeds, very good. He’s a D. Hanger, an R, also.

  11. allan

    The Disproportionate Effects of COVID-19 on Households with Children [NY Fed]

    A growing body of evidence points to large negative economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income, Black, and Hispanic Americans (see this LSE post and reports by Pew Research and Harvard). Beyond the consequences of school cancellations and lost social interactions, there exists considerable concern about the long-lasting effects of economic hardship on children. …

    We find evidence of disproportionate hardship: households with children have been more likely to suffer job and income losses, contributing to a greater need to dig into savings, a higher rate of missed rent and debt payments, and food insufficiency. …

    We find economic hardship to be considerably higher among single-parent households, 71.8 percent of which are headed by a female and 64.7 percent headed by someone who is non-Hispanic white. …

    An ugly read.

  12. Synoia

    Here’s a Manzanita tree loaded with ladybugs. Sometimes when we hike up here, we have to stop and turn around, because you’d kill 50 of them with each step forward, they’re so thick.” That seems… odd. Readers, have you noticed anything similar?

    Absolutely. The halls of Congress are filled with similar swarms of lobbyists.

  13. dcblogger

    Krystal Ball is way off in my never was humble opinion. Now I have not lived in Virginia since 2007, but what she says does not match my observations. Unless you include tech workers as PMC (and I don’t think so) NoVa is NOT all PMC. The population of NoVa is heavily immigrant, with a very large Muslim population. After 9/11 Republicans went full scale racist. Muslims were frightened that they would wind up in camps like the Japanese. That vote, which had been Republican, overnight become Democratic.

    Also the Democratic take over of the legislature includes Lee Carter who is as white working class as it gets. Class analysis is useful, but you just can’t ignore the racial question. The Republicans have doubled down on Barry Goldwater’s win the white vote by racial demagoguery every year, but that only works where whites are a clear majority and vote like a monolith.

    Also NoVa is educated and pro-science. Voters want Darwin taught in their schools. It does not pay to belittle cultural issues.

    Also Krystal Ball’s job is to continuously attack Democrats. The Hill is very conservative. Now I think that Democrats NEED to be attacked from the left, but lets not kid ourselves what her script says.

    1. Oh

      I think you missed her point entirely. Her main message was that the DIms with control of the legislature and the govenorship still failed to increase the minimum wage or help the working class in any meaningful way. They have continued to pass things that their rich donors would not object to.

    2. Adam

      I’m fairly new to NOVA, but my roommate (who has lived here for a while and is a life-long Virginian) has noted that it’s gone pretty PMC in the last couple of years. It had already been trending that direction, but Trump hyper-accelerated that trend (and as someone who could be called a tech worker, tech workers are great candidates for PMCs as their financial needs are often taken care of and often have advanced degrees. That has been strongly reinforced in conversations I have with colleagues, even ones who consider themselves “progressive”).

      The Democratic party as an institution in VA deserves the scorn. They swept in the power and basically ignored anything they could do that would financially improve the lives of the workers even when it would be widely popular (repeal right to work) but engineered massive giveaways to Amazon.

    3. Chris

      Are you sure?

      My friends and colleagues in NoVA are pro-Afghan war, pro-Syria war, anti-breaking up FB/Google/Amazon, love their Ubers, and are classic front row kids who believe they earned all their good stuff because they were good in school. They hate deplorables and are genuflecting before the shambolic campaign beast Jo-mala as it carves its bloody path through social media. They can’t be convinced that anything bad happened prior to January 20, 2017. They’re currently filling my social media streams with talking points which state that Kamala didn’t imprison anyone or force hardships on black people, she was simply the AG who had to work with a racist system.

      I think if you talk to folks who work at BAH, Bechtel, Leidos, Lockheed-Martin, Battelle, anywhere on K street, all the busy people shopping in Tysons or commuting in from Alexandria, you’ll find similar beliefs. NoVA and DC are ground zero for the PMC. Always have been.

      1. JBird4049

        They are saying Harris didn’t do any of the bad things, but because it was the systemic racism?

        Oh. Well, I see that the free gifts of white wash and of Lethe brand bottled water has already started.

        As a native Californian, let me say that while the state is fairly (covertly) racist, her policies and actions were not that popular with perhaps the majority of the non-PMC population. Certainly not her hiding exculpatory evidence, knowing convicting an innocent man, or her office literally complaining to the judge that relieving prison overcrowding would reduce the availability of cheap labor. Then there was letting Mnuchin and his company getting away with destroying hundreds of thousands of homeowners with illegal foreclosures. Among other horrible actions.

        There are some things you should just not do. But that ruthless, insanely ambitious, power hungry, brown noser was happy to do so.

        Those dudes are drinking their Kool-Aid from a poisoned chalice. Of course, since they are members of the PMC, unlike me, they have little to fear from her as she prefers her victims to be the poor, the weak, or the vulnerable. For now.

    1. hunkerdown

      Cute and fancy! It does require the BTS to broadcast a reference signal, which could potentially be hacked, interfered with, or simply turned off, so infrastructure might be hard to use hostilely. But if Verizon can find your phone to within a centimeter and drop a pin on Google Maps or whatever when you lose it, they won’t.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Nothing new, just Differential GPS. Basically, since they have fixed location cell towers everywhere, each tower can broadcast its surveyed location. And, yes, differential GPS is useful in drones and tractors.

  14. jsn

    “Same people who were “you’re not even a real democrat” in March are unitonically retweeting “republicans for Biden” and donating to the Lincoln project.”

    Well duh!

    Everyone knows the Generals work for the Globetrotters! You can’t be letting any real players onto the court!

  15. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Kamala Harris, having been shot down in flames by Gabbard during the primaries probably thinks she’s done an end-run around the nomination process and is on a short cut to the presidency when Biden bows out due to obvious ‘health reasons’. Then she can influence peddle all the livelong day. Perhaps Joe will cut her in on the Ukraine grift. Maybe the deal is Hunter will get to be her VP. Zero to Hero- just scream about Trump and you’re on side.

  16. Pavel

    Christ that Trump train tracks anti-Biden advert is brutal. They didn’t wait a minute to take the gloves off.

    Separately, I think it was Saagar pointing out this morning that Kamala’s anti-gun stance won’t play well in some battleground states, especially with all the recent urban rioting and looting.

    Buckle your seatbelts, this is going to be the craziest election in history… and it won’t end 3rd November!

    1. Keith

      Add to that that the biggest surge in gun owners are black. It should be an interesting to see how it plays out, especially with the NRA fighting for its life in NY. There are other gun rights orgs waiting in the wings that take a harder line in defending those rights. Not sure if there is time for these issues to work themselves out in this cycle, but it could make things interesting in the future.

    2. a different chris


      As dcblogger said above, it was…. terrible.

      The guy is supposed to be POTUS. He (well his team) comes up with a commercial that basically the high school nerd/geek would come up with – and show only to his closest friends because he doesn’t want to be hung up by his shorts on the nearest mailbox- about the starting quarterback that happens to be banging the girl the geek has a crush on.

      And I’m being generous with the “high school” part.

  17. DJG

    “They came back to a place they always had, of affinity for one another, even a love.’”

    This is typical of the Democratic Fan Club, in which, to become a member, one must have an emotional reaction, revelation, and/or/plus Hallmark movie script >> I was a lonely organic candlemaker and vegan fudge purveyor, running an on-line business till that fabulous day when I discovered the true depth of my emotions…

    Joe and Kamala and Me and Avocado Fudge: A Love Story

    Sign up now for 2020’s heart-warming holiday movie.

    [Also, too, on my FB feed, I am noticing typical Democratic pre-surrender in which the Democratic Fan Club members announce that they have placed themselves in the hands of a higher power: First we must defeat Trump, and then we’ll make Joe into the new FDR! Noam tells me to do so. Nancy Pelosi has ice cream.]

    {Yeah, sure, kids. Meanwhile, Sleepy FDR hasn’t asked for my vote in the form of ending the endless wars, a true Green New Deal, Medicare for All with Mental/Dental, reform of labor laws so that our fellow citizens won’t be thrown into unemployment at will, an end to defined-contribution pension-plan alphabet soup, and, oh, a functioning Post Office and Department of Justice. But I’m unreasonable.}

    1. a different chris

      >n the form of ending the endless wars, a true Green New Deal, Medicare for All with Mental/Dental, reform of labor laws so that our fellow citizens won’t be thrown into unemployment at will, an end to defined-contribution pension-plan alphabet soup, and, oh, a functioning Post Office and Department of Justice.

      Neither Clinton nor Trump offered this stuff and almost 130 million people voted for them.

      You and I, I’m afraid, are a minority.

    2. Donald

      A liberal group blog I sometimes read just did a post on Kamala, spending almost all of it on her ethnicity with a few lines blowing off the criticism of her as a neoliberal.

      Policy doesn’t matter with the PMC types. Or rather, they don’t act like it matters because, I am guessing, they are secure enough not to be too concerned about it. But the culture war crap matters to them just as much as it does to the rightwing culture warriors. In fact it’s all they seem to care about.

  18. Anonymous

    “Slave owners paid newspapers to publish advertisements that described the physical traits of slaves who had run away, offering rewards for their return. Those ads ‘were a lucrative and consistent source of revenue’ for newspaper printers, writes Jordan Taylor, visiting assistant history professor at Smith College, in a new paper published in the journal Early American Studies.

    Reminds me of:

    “You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him. Deuteronomy 23:15-16

  19. Toshiro_Mifune

    But I would kinda like a mask like that. (In fact, I’m imagining a clear plastic, astronaut-style helmet!)

    Where in the world does someone find a Gorn mask in 2020? ,,, Ok, there’s an obvious answer, but there are enough people still around who A) Know who/what the Gorn were and B) Want a mask of it to generate demand?

    1. Keith

      Now I am thinking of a Darth Vador suit to wear this winter. I would also like to attach a radio that plays the Imperial March on a loop as I walk around.

      Who says a COVID winter will be dreary, it may become a festive Halloween season.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          You’ll create quite the buzz with your Ralph Macchio imitation.

          Carl: “Wax on, wax off.”
          Cashier: “Ah, honey, you’re trying too hard.”

    2. hunkerdown

      “If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s never underestimate a Klingon licensing deal” -James T. Kirk. Or, for that matter, the ardor or budgets of the fandoms of the geekoisie.

      Was the obvious answer supposed to be 3D printing? Elastomers and post-painting being no big deal to the advanced operator, among which I am most certainly not.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Alex Jones is still an idiot as he is supposed to still wear a mask under that Gorn mask. But as the purpose of that is to protect other people, he would not care. In any case a coupla months ago there was a video clip here of a Chinese guy doing his shopping in a full dinosaur costume. Now that was style that – and he wore a mask under it.

      Where is a length of Bamboo, a diamond, saltpeter, carbon and sulphur when you need it?

  20. Elizabeth

    I watched the Biden clip first with the sound off, and then on – he certainly does sound flat – and like he doesn’t give two family blogs about anything.

  21. Chris


    My God. What an awful term. It’s hard to know whether there will be much of a country to preside over regardless of who wins in November. My kids are all talking about what other countries they’d like to live in because even the 10 year old doesn’t think they want to stay here. I hope we find some solution for this massive amount of suffering we’ve created in the last few years.

    On a selfish level, I also hope we figure stuff out before we get hordes of city people wondering if us rural dwellers have the food and money they need :(

    1. LawnDart

      I feel that “toaster bath” is a pretty good euphemism, more direct than “opting for self-checkout at St. Peters Gate” or the overused “kicked the bucket.”

      Grim times call for grim humor.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Euphemism? I think it was a pretty clear and direct statement — though I also hope things don’t go that far.

  22. LawnDart

    Toaster Bath

    Be far better taking that last $200, driving to the Statehouse in Sacramento, and torching that soon-to-be repo-ed car while enjoying some Girl Scout Cookies or OG Kush . But that’s me– I kinda have a twisted tendency to respect that sort of thing.

    I’m not a fan of self-harm, but I think that suicide does have its rare place (terminal illness, mostly); penury can be escaped, but the reaper is difficult to cheat.

    1. Late Introvert

      One my favorite jokes of the last decade, and sorry I don’t recall the comedian’s name, it was a black woman. Paraphrasing badly:

      I hear some white people have committed suicide because they owe money. Black people would never do that! Kill themselves over a BILL.

  23. Sheldon

    “Rather, I don’t think that liberal Democrats, including those at the Times, can sell Harris as Black to the Blacks and Indian to the (subcontinental) Indians at the same time.”

    Kamaleon to the rescue. Maybe more like an octaroonpus
    that can change color depending on her surroundings.

    1. Greg Taylor

      Dems can sell her to both audiences. She’s AKA from Howard (HBCU.) All you need to know.

  24. Sheldon

    “Rather, I don’t think that liberal Democrats, including those at the Times, can sell Harris as Black to the Blacks and Indian to the (subcontinental) Indians at the same time.”

    Kamaleon to the rescue. Maybe more like an octaroonpus
    that can change color depending on her surroundings?

  25. Tom Stone

    A September surprise?
    Two possibilities come to mind, The Durham investigation and the possibility that HRC will finally be deposed under oath in regard to her Email system.

    The second is less likely, it largely depends on how resentful Mrs Clinton feels about being once again cheated out of her rightful place…

    1. voteforno6

      How many people will take the Durham investigation seriously? Even if it were totally above board, very few people would take seriously anything come from a department headed by William Barr. The only ones who would are already for Trump.

  26. occasional anonymous

    I can’t help but feel that we’re finally reaching the critical mass on identity politics. Both because idpol is itself reaching a level of cynical stupidity never seen before, and because it’s coming into contact with material reality (you can’t eat idpol, nor does it pay the rent).

    Or maybe I’m just being too hopeful.

    1. Dermot M O Connor

      Occasional, that’s what I thought when Covid kicked off. A collision with material reality will crush the idpol delusion into its constituents, but instead look at what’s happened. If anything it’s grown worse. People obsessing about statues of dead 19th century slavers and racists, ignoring the actual slavery and wage-slavery by people alive today. Point this out and they’ll all but call you a nazi, while recording their latest ‘protest’ (performance) on their bloody smartphones (blissfully unaware of the working conditions and the child labour abuses inflicted on the miners in Africa).

      Like you, I live in hope, but I fear it’ll be a false one.

    1. Tom Doak

      I tried this link and Twitter warned me it was dangerous and spammy – because, of course, it provides real data on corporate contributions to candidates. We proles must be protected from that!

      1. shtove

        Out of interest, I tried it (tracker.healthcare-now.org) through the Twitter link on a well set up firefox browser in the UK through an EU server – no problems.

    2. hunkerdown

      Interesting to ponder what the five or six $200-$1000 donors to Rashida Tlaib were thinking. Insurance company employees? For or against the business, and with those names public, will the business or the industry retaliate in some typically opaque, deniable fashion?

      Interesting that Twitter labels it spammy. Maybe it’s time to report all neoliberal ideology on Twitter as a danger to self or others.

  27. Stanley Dundee

    Lambert wins rant-of-the-day with this one:

    This drives me crazy…Well, the dirty little secret of identity politics is that if you want a truly multiracial, multicultural, multinational, multigendered, multi-whatever, you go to the working class. You do not go to the PMC (the Democrat’s present base) or to suburban Republicans (the base they seek to add).

    The other dirty secret is that identity politics has nurtured racism for at least a generation or two beyond when it was last dangerously threatened, in the 1960s, e.g. Bayard Rustin. Identity politics serves to preclude the possibility of effective working class unity. But Jane McAlevey has shown us some answers to that!

    1. Anonymous

      Identity politics is based on the notion that as long as anyone may become an oppressor that the system is fair; i.e. adequate opportunity oppression?

      E.g. black overseers justify black slavery?

      It’s also a clever way to co-opt would-be reformers?

    2. HotFlash

      Been biting my tongue, but perhaps this is the place to drop my observation (from a foreign country) that the Biden campaign deciding *in advance* that the VPpick would be “a woman of color” is, by definition, racist and sexist.

      1. ambrit

        Canada is just an assemblage of not yet incorporated American “States.” The Power Brokers are cool with the trade off of the Southern Tier of American States in exchange for the Great White North. (If there is anything to this climate change story, it’s a clear winning bet.)

  28. Tomonthebeach

    Lambert’s QAnon theory makes oodles of sense. Everybody feels morally superior to pedophile sex-slavers.

    Thus the GOP’s QAnon support is essentially telling impoverished voters not to vote for rich Democrat elites because they are pedophiles. Worse; not voting for Trump, God’s anointed crusader, will disrupt his campaign to imprison them all and free the abused children.

  29. Annus Horribilis

    Leitmotif: sex and paranoia.
    A.) D-grade off-the-shelf animation of Trump’s desire to display a faux Big Red One to the American people.
    B.) Kamala Harris’s parents and the historical Jamaican cultural heterotopia. The Jamaican dialect is a legacy of the bonded West African and Welsh servants’ exchange. Jamaica’s counter-cultural association with cannabis is an import from the South Asian diaspora.
    C.) Qanon. The Freudian disinformation stream as modern folklore generated by the Trump campaign as a substitute for the ability to mythologize. Titling the adolescent gibberish “The X-Files” probably presented the campaign with Murdoch-now-Disney IP issues.
    D.) Extending adolescence to the grave as a long-term political strategy. Novel idea personified by the President; however, lack of self-control is the defining characteristic of primate adolescence. Encouraging your supporters to not work well with others is self-defeating.

    1. hunkerdown

      Extending adolescence to the grave is the very essence of Libertarianism aka neoliberalism, at least, if you’re not part of the Market™ and His™ servants. Philip Mirowski’s “Hell is Truth Seen Too Late” details a lot of this. But anyone who’s cracked an Ayn Rand screed and grew out of it knows this intuitively.

  30. Expat2Uruguay

    Lambert, yesterday you posted about the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors giving a great majority of their CARES funding to the salaries and overtime of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. This was covered very well in the last week by this podcast out of Sacramento. Given that you like the Trillbillies so much, I really recommend that you check out Voices: River City


  31. XXYY

    Now that Corn Pop and the Cop ™ is the Democratic ticket, it’s interesting to reflect on the complete and total immolation of Senator Elizabeth Warren.

    Twice now she has debased herself and betrayed her supposed BFF Bernie Sanders in a desperate and increasingly pathetic quest to get some kind of a gig in a presidential administration, and twice now she has come away completely empty handed. The Dem establishment seems to have been able to play her like a violin without breaking a sweat: First, in 2016, Hillary spent months during the campaign having talks with Warren about a possible job in her administration during which she was convinced not to run. Then in 2020, Warren back-stabbed Sanders on the eve of the Super Tuesday vote with unlikely-sounding revelations of a supposed conversation the two had had a year earlier. She then hastily dropped out and endorsed Biden.

    As the 2020 DNC convention approaches, Warren seems to have little or nothing to show for her efforts and there are rumors of a primary challenge in MA in 2022.

    Quite remarkable.

  32. PKMKII

    Legal showdown brewing in the intersection of video games and smart devices: Epic Games recently added a “direct to Epic” method of making in-app purchases for the iOS version of Fortnite that are both cheaper, and circumvent the purchase going through Apple (and thus avoiding the 30% cut to Apple). Apple, in response, took Fortnite down from the App Store. Epic has now countered with a lawsuit against Apple. Big takeaway is that they’re not seeking financial damages, just challenging the legality, and they’re going directly on anti-monopoly grounds:

    This case concerns Apple’s use of a series of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices in markets for (i) the distribution of software applications (“apps”) to users of mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets, and (ii) the processing of consumers’ payments for digital content used within iOS mobile apps (“in-app content”). Apple imposes unreasonable and unlawful restraints to completely monopolize both markets and prevent software developers from reaching the over one billion users of its mobile devices (e.g., iPhone and iPad) unless they go through a single store controlled by Apple, the App Store, where Apple exacts an oppressive 30% tax on the sale of every app. Apple also requires software developers who wish to sell digital in-app content to those consumers to use a single payment processing option offered by Apple, In-App Purchase, which likewise carries a 30% tax.

    Which, ironically, sounds a lot like the grounds for the successful anti-trust case against Microsoft for the way IE was bundled into Windows. If Epic’s successful, it would mean a major hit to Apple profits practically overnight.

    1. Late Introvert

      I like that they are based in the Midwest Go get um Epic. Apple needs its legs cut off above the knee.

      BTW, I read tech and video blogs, and the insider tip for Apple is sell now, sell big. The WeChat thing alone, but also the ongoing crapification. Engineering staff in revolt.

  33. ambrit

    Zeitgeist watch, local edition.
    A Hattiesburg couple, the man 40 and the woman 36, were arrested Tuesday and charged with murder. They supposedly killed a 30 year old man in his apartment. The two were arrested around midnight at the wooded area homeless campsite off of Fourth Street.
    The Homeless Plague is already beginning to bear fruit.

  34. landline

    I’m calling it for Trump now. Harris is the half black Hillary Clinton whose appeal will be limited to the well to do. Working class Blacks decimated by the drug war, whose relatives are in jail for non-violent offenses because of people like Biden, Clinton and Harris, will rightfully judge Harris harshly and sit it out again in November.

    You can see the Dems approach and disconnection with common people when the first edict Biden and Harris announced is mandatory masks outside. Most people know that masks outside while away from other people are just a nuisance. Rather than address poverty, crowded living situations, little income support, a failed public health system….the real drivers of the failure to curb Covid spread, they give us mandatory masks. More rules, more reason for the cops to bug us, more fuel for unnecessary tension among those of us who can’t shelter in place. And basically useless.

    Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.” Biden/Harris said, “Make them wear masks.” Can the tumbrils be far behind?

    1. voteforno6

      Trump’s malicious incompetence has killed how many Americans? Yet, that can be ignored while Biden calls for something that will actually help fight the pandemic, apparently.

      As much as I dislike Biden & Harris, I’m not really sure that this country could survive four more years of Trump. There’s a large part of this country that would never accept that he could win an honest election. To be frank, he’s sure acting like someone who doesn’t exactly intend to allow an honest election to happen. How do you think both Trump and Barr would act, if given another four years to run roughshod over the tattered remnants of our democracy?

      The right wing nuts have been grumbling about accepting nothing less than a crushing Trump victory. Those aren’t the people to be worried about, though. There are a lot more people who don’t like Trump, and I don’t see them accepting that he could win a legitimate election. If anything, they’re getting more radicalized.

    2. Darthbobber

      I think Harris is almost irrelevant. Hell, Biden’s almost irrelevant.

      Trump will either succeed in losing this or he will not.

      Harris may bring in some shekels they otherwise wouldn’t have collected, but I’d guess her vote-getting impact among blacks or the Desi will be very incremental. Maybe some gain among white pmc feminists, but they were coming out and voting anyway. No expansion of the base at all.

  35. rivercry

    Instead of taking a toaster bath, you could have possibly spent the last six months at 1500 per week free money cutting your expenses. Further, you could have actually saved a bit for a rainy day.

    Lots of places in this country you could go and make half what you used to make and live better than you used to live. I know a place that will hire you now and net you 3400 per month and provide you a great retirement. Realize that 1000 per month will buy you a 2000 sf home in a nice neighborhood there.

    You work for the union?If you work in construction, of any type, and are skilled at it, you could probably make close to what you were making before, at least for now.

    1. TBellT

      Jesus what has happened to the comment section here?!

      Most people can’t reduce their spend because it’s all essentials. Also you ignore the poster is making almost a third less in unemployment.

      The “just move” argument ignores all the connections people make when they live somewhere. Leaving behind family/friends because of unemployment would be considered a travesty anywhere else.

      Also hiring for the trades out there is completely drying up. What are people supposed to just abandon everything to go looking for “jobs” out there in the unwelcoming hinterlands?

      1. Late Introvert

        Post that job listing Rivercry, please.

        TBellT, I think NC is getting negative attention because of it’s ongoing kicking of PMC booty.

        1. ambrit

          Agreed about the ‘troll’ explosion recently.
          One thing ‘rivercry’ doesn’t understand about the unions is that a large part of their “job” is to act as gatekeepers to decent jobs. One way of keeping said jobs ‘decent’ today is to limit availability of said jobs. This works both ways of course, but a real union will require several years of working at low wages and harsher conditions to move on up. A real union is based on not just wage bargaining but also skills building in the trade.
          As for unemployment, around here in the NADS, unemployment payments for lower wage jobs are below the poverty level. (I speak from personal experience.)
          So, that extra $600 was probably tasked with drawing down debt. Title loans, personal credit cards, payday loans, legal fees for the unfortunates who had dealings with the Lawfare Scam; all were overhanging debt loads that were generally “kicked down the road” from month to month.
          Being poor in America is hard work, and doesn’t pay s—!

  36. zagonostra

    >Alex Jone’s Reptilian COVID mask

    Wow! that line alone is enough to entertain me for the night. Thanks for posting…I don’t know how many folks here watch AJ, but I for one, having family and friends who watch him nightly, thought that was brilliant.

    The Ancient Greek’s view of the soul contained multiple parts, kind of like Dylan’s “I contain multitudes.” So if Alex can jab a finger into the eye at the establishment/elites using comedy and humor, kudos to him.

    If you have watched his show it is interesting to say the least, if you haven’t then you’re somewhat myopic as to how a significant swath of your fellow citizens view the world.

    1. Basil Pesto

      “if you have read Enron’s prospectus, it is interesting to say the least. If you haven’t then you’re somewhat myopic as to how a significant swath of your fellow citizens view the world.“

    2. ambrit

      What was fascinating was that the Target Corporation allowed him to film inside their premises and use some of their workers as speaking extras. That tells us a lot about the company.
      Like him or loath him, Alex Jones does express a legitimate point of view. The more he is demonized by the “respectable” elements in the media, the more he will be viewed positively by a large segment of the population. Everyone knows, for some definition of knowing, that things as depicted by the Main Stream Media are ‘not quite right.’ Jones might be off in some alternative universe somewhere, but he does express that disquiet and disbelief in the “Official Story” that many observant people experience.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Whatever else Alex Jones may be saying, if I were Target Corp. management I might think, “Hey, unlike his detractors, at least this guy isn’t acting like trashing and looting our stores is no big deal, or even ‘reparations’ and a glorious thing, as long as it’s in the name of some social justice issue.”

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think much of Alex Jones. But I thought the masking was brilliant. I think our milieux would be greatly enhanced if there were more animal masks, Nixon masks, space helmets, etc. I also think that with proper engineering they would not be too heavy and would be easier to breath through that close masks. Also, a critical mass of masks might induce revelry, as in Venice; surely something our society needs!

      1. polecat

        I would choose to go with the full KHAN!!! Alpha Ceti 6 outerware .. from head to toe, complete with a few of those ‘pets’, of course … to help ward off the craycrays from both the unenchanted spaced-out aisles on this ‘hopefully-to-NOT-become’ lifeless rock.

        So .. to expound from my nonsuperior intellect .. a question for the class : Is anyone up for a new political, ah .. ‘Genesis’?

        Anyone? Anyone at all??….
        How about you in the far right corner .. uhh, mr. …. Jones?

        Ah, Excellent!

  37. zagonostra


    Does anyone find it curious that Biden’s VP, who is probably gonna be President was responsible for letting Trump’s Treasury Secretary off the hooks in the last crash. It’s certainly not lost on those who have come to the conclusion that Wall Street and the Bankers are really the ones controlling the machinery of gov’t and all the rest is but shadows – entertaining granted -dancing on the wall of the fire lite cave.But then maybe it’s the same as it every was…same as it every was…same as …

    Steven Terner Mnuchin is an American investment banker, movie producer, and public official who is serving as the 77th United States secretary of the treasury… Previously, Mnuchin had been a hedge fund manager and investor. Wikipedia

    In 1990, Harris was hired as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, where she was noted as being “an able prosecutor on the way up“.[29] In 1994, California Assembly speaker Willie Brown (with whom Harris was in a relationship)[29] appointed Harris to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and later the California Medical Assistance Commission. Harris took a leave of absence from her prosecutor job to serve in the positions.Wikipedia

  38. anon in so cal

    >More California:

    “California’s second surge of the coronavirus has resulted in a near doubling of weekly deaths since the spring — with almost 1,000 fatalities in the last week alone — and radically shifted the geography of the outbreak, a Times data analysis found.

    Suburban and agricultural areas that had been relatively spared during California’s first surge of the virus are now being ravaged. And urban areas such as Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area are reporting fatality numbers just as high, if not higher, than in the spring.

    The Central Valley has become home to one of the worst coronavirus hot spots in the country. In eight southern Central Valley counties, weekly COVID-19 deaths have jumped from about 20 a week in April to nearly 200 a week in the last two weeks, a Times analysis found. San Joaquin Valley residents make up 20% of recent deaths statewide, even though they account for about 10% of the state’s population.”


  39. allan

    Amazon’s Cloud Unit to Offer Quantum Computing From 3 Tech Companies [WSJ]

    Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud division said Thursday it has launched a commercial service that allows millions of customers to experiment with quantum computing platforms produced by three technology companies. …

    Amazon Braket, part of Amazon Web Services, lets existing AWS customers experiment with early-stage quantum computing machines from D-Wave Systems Inc., IonQ Inc. and Rigetti Computing over its cloud. …

    In a recent test, Fidelity’s researchers used quantum computers running over Amazon’s cloud to build securities and generate price options for those securities. On conventional computers, those calculations can take hours. The experiment was completed “orders of magnitude faster” compared with a typical computer, Mr. Schouela said.

    Financial weapons of mass destruction, now with spooky action at a distance for more fun and profit.

  40. allan

    Some interesting developments in the Morse story tonight.
    It looks like the College Dems and Neal are joined at the AHIP.

  41. bob

    You have been informed. Now stop all of the complaining and get ready for the cop to take over when the crazy old man dies trying to molest his toaster.

    Kenneth P. Vogel
    THE LEFT HAS FALLEN IN LINE: I spent the day reaching out to progressives who had publicly criticized @KamalaHarris
    on a particular issue.

    Very few were willing to be as critical as they had been previously, & many were unwilling to say anything critical at all on the record.

  42. Darthbobber

    Where is our breathless flogger of Alex Morse “scandal”? Has the operation been aborted? Is Team Neal cutting it’s losses?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Reading the interview, I discover that Chomsky thinks the 1619 Project is truthful, fact-founded, reality-based history. If it isn’t, if the “Jamestown 20” were brought over as indentured servants who were set free after a term of service. . . for example . . . then what is the quality of Chomsky’s devotion to reality-based truthfulness?

      1. Basil Pesto

        I think labouring under misapprehensions and erroneous beliefs happens to the best of us at one point or another – I’m not sure I’d be willing to draw conclusions about one’s devotion to ‘reality-based truthfulness’ when I seem them labouring under such a misapprehension.

        I suspect Chomsky isn’t particularly interested in the 1619 project qua history, and I doubt he’s familiar with the historiographic debate about it. He seems to be more interested in it – and this is the context in which he brought it up – as an example of a shift in the so-called Overton window, and his point there is hard to quibble with, even though in my opinion it has troubling implications precisely because if the historiographical debate and the dubious foundations of the project.

        A shame that he’s not as well-versed – not ‘woke’ enough, if you will – as those of us who are familiar with the historiographic debate, and so doesn’t
        speak to that*, but questioning the ‘quality of his devotion to reality-based truthfulness’ on that basis strikes me as sententious. Just seems like a well-intentioned intellectual cock-up to me. We’ve all been there.

        * I am making assumptions here; it’s possible he knows all about it and disagrees with it/chooses to ignore it. I prefer to be more charitable in my assumptions.

  43. Kurt Sperry

    “we find that leaded gasoline use in racing increases ambient lead, elevated blood lead rates, and elderly mortality.”

    This is odd. No modern racing engine would be race reliable with leaded fuel, it fouls the O2 sensors, which provide information the engine ECU very much needs for optimal performance. How big is vintage racing? Even they even could run unleaded with new valve seats (and race engines are apart a lot anyway) and maybe two head gaskets or a spacer.

  44. VietnamVet

    The PBS NewsHour expose on QAnon was amazingly condescending and frightening at the same time. It said that reality, Russia had no meaningful interference in the 2016 election, there are well known Elite who are pedophiles, and the western intelligence community tried to remove Donald Trump are treasonous conspiracy theories. It proves that terrible things happen when the establishment believes its own propaganda. For example, a once in a century pandemic and 170,415 Americans dying to date.

    1. ambrit

      I hear you. The infrastructure for an Inquisition has been laid. Now the ideological framework is being worked out. The recent demonstrations showed the forces of the State to be trying out different tactics of crowd control and, basically, oppression.
      All the signs are there.

  45. ChrisAtRU

    Biden (D)(2)

    It’s infuriating …

    ” … if you want a truly multiracial, multicultural, multinational, multigendered, multi-whatever, you go to the working class.”

    Ohhhh noooo, Lambert, we wouldn’t want that, would we? Or at the very least, if we did, we would utter words like these:

    “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Biden (D)(1)

      Actually, over the course of the 1:26, Biden didn’t look as bad as he did when he had to travel for debates and campaigning. Perhaps the rest has done him good. Back when he was addressing crowds, he looked far more disjointed. But then again, speaking for less than five minutes at a time is probably better for him.

  46. ChrisAtRU

    Biden (D)(4)

    #EyeRoll … does Capehart even read the publication that employs him?

    “1.7 million people in 33 states and D.C. cast a ballot without voting in the presidential race”
    #WaPo – 12/14/16 {Oooooooh, interesting date, that!}

    Data from the article:
    Arizona. Margin, 91,234. Undervote, 88,332 — 96.8 percent of margin.
    Maine. Margin, 22,142. Undervote, 23,965 — 108.2 percent of margin.
    Florida. Margin, 112,911. Undervote, 160,450 — 142.1 percent of margin.
    Michigan. Margin, 10,704. Undervote, 75,335 — 703.8 percent of margin.

    Capehart: “But given the misery enveloping large swaths of the U.S.electorate, Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will have no choice but to address it.”

    LOL – Joe Biden repeatedly said he’d veto M4A during a pandemic. If they show up, you say? Even if they do …


    1. The Rev Kev

      This was also in a Jimmy Dore video and when I saw it, began to wonder about her stability as a person. And agreed it was like Hillary’s cackle over a successful murder.

    2. Basil Pesto

      A word of caution (with the proviso that I think Harris is wretched and her policy was odious) there are some jump cuts in that clip that are entitled to make one suspicious: it could’ve just been edited for brevity, or it could’ve been edited to dishonestly recontextualise her laughter. I don’t know and I don’t care enough to dive deeper into the matter but it’s something to be mindful of.

        1. anon in so cal

          Thanks, Basil Pesto and Lambert Strether! Didn’t realize that. There’s enough fully vetted material to sink KH. The dodgy material can undermine the validity of the legitimate criticism.

          1. ambrit

            That is an old counter espionage tactic. Releasing some “dodgy” attack info in your own candidate and then ‘debunking’ the oppo while blaming it all on the opposition!
            It not only makes the opposition look bad, it also inoculates your own candidate from any subsequent real ‘dirt’ that shows up.
            It’s a version of the trick of planting “hecklers” in a crowd your candidate is speaking before so as to feed straight lines to your candidate. It works! I have seen it done at the local level.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Well, the background says “Commonwealth Club”, so I did a quick DuckDuckGo search on that name and Kamala Harris (each in quotes) and found two videos of her appearance on 1/14/2010 — both the same 1:05:49 in length.




        The second of the two gives her speech title as “Smart on Crime: Elevating the Discussion in Our City, State and Nation” as well as the date. I searched on that title hoping to find a transcript; what I’ve found so far is this GritPost page:


        which links to this Twitter chain:


        NOTE: This may be a better origin point for the chain:


        In this thread are links to what appear to be two excerpts from the Commonwealth Club speech. The first looks to be the source for all of the jump-cut clips in the “cackling” video (except Harris’s first sentence about not being where she was without the education she’d received).

        I say “appear to be” because I haven’t yet watched the full speech or hunted through it to fond the clip(s). I may not get to that immediately, and I welcome others taking that step first.

        (BTW, when I tried to save and post this comment via my phone, I was prompted for the first time to do a Captcha — and I couldn’t, because I don’t know how to tell the phone to accept cookies. I had to save the comment, text it to my PC, re-do the comment here, and do a Captcha here. I hope this is only because of the number of links included in this comment; if it’s a new general policy, it will likely mean fewer comments from me, since I can read nc more often and more easily on the phone.)

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        I’ve got a longer post in moderation detailing the not-terribly-hard work I did to get here, but suffice it in this post to say I think I’ve verified the source of all the jump-cuts.

        The original video I worked from is this one of Harris’s speech at the Commonwealth Club (identified in the background of the “jump-cut video”) on January 14, 2010:


        Start at about 15:45 in, and watch until about 18:05, and I think you’ll be safe enough in covering the whole range of the jump-cut video. You can also see the first clip included here:


        which includes everything but Harris’s first sentence about not being where she was without the education she’d received — and adds some context discussion.

Comments are closed.