2:00PM Water Cooler 8/27/2020

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 again is the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin:

I left out positivity, becaue the chart becomes unreadable if I include it. Interesting spike in Missouri; I wonder if it’s a reporting problem at the state level, since they seem to be cropping up all over.

I thought I’d revisit Southeast Asia: Here are China, Phillippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, and (all crammed together at the bottom) New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, and Thailand. (I didn’t do Laos and Cambodia because I don’t think their health care systems are adequate to do reporting.)

You see why South Korea is worried, but holy moley, Philippines! I thought that steep curve had to be a reporting artifact until I added China (a much larger country, needless to say).


“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 18: Still no changes. (Last change August 10.) Despite the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains the same: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance.

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): “Positivity on Biden hits high after the DNC takes center stage” [CNN]. • Two interesting word clouds, from data after the Democrat National Convention. Biden’s


Even if this does reflect liberal Democrat control of the commanding heights of the media, it still looks sketchy for Trump; I mean, it’s hard to imagine being tagged with “coronavirus” is good. On the other hand, the words associated with Biden are guazy and insubstantial, suggesting that it may still be possible for the Trump campaign to define him (and I can’t imagine calling Biden a “socialist” will do that; fire whoever had that idea immediately).

Biden (D)(2): “Bush, McCain and Romney presidential staffers unite behind effort to elect Joe Biden” [Politico]. “Several dozen former staffers from Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) presidential campaign, the George W. Bush administration and the campaign and Senate staff of former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have signed on to an effort to elect Joe Biden. For the Romney and McCain staffers, they’re working to elect the same man they tried to defeat in 2012 and 2008, respectively.” •. The Great Assimilation™ continues….

Biden (D)(3): “Pelosi: ‘I don’t think there should be any debates’ between Biden and Trump” [USA Today]. “‘I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,’ she said, though she acknowledged that the Biden campaign had a different view on the debates. Pelosi called Trumps’s conduct during his 2016 debates with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ‘disgraceful.’ … Asked later Thursday on MSNBC about Pelosi’s comments, Biden said ‘as long as the (Commission on Presidential Debates) continues down the straight and narrow as they have, I’m going to debate him.’ ‘I’m gonna be a fact-checker on the floor when I’m debating him,’ he said.” • “Fact-checker”… Anybody remember Biden’s debate withi Sanders?

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders Responds to RNC’s Attempts to Paint Biden as a Socialist: ‘If Only That Were True…'” [Mediaite]. “The Sanders team went on to list examples of government subsidies and tax breaks given to the Trump family, fossil fuel companies, and Amazon, as well as bailouts given to Wall Street following lobbying by White House economic adviser and ‘high priest of unfettered capitalism’ Larry Kudlow, before quoting Martin Luther King: ‘This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.'”

* * *

MA: “LGBTQ Victory Fund denounces digital ads, push poll attacking Alex Morse’s sexuality” [MetroWeekly]. “The LGBTQ Victory Fund has denounced campaign tactics directed at gay Massachusetts congressional candidate Alex Morse, including digital ads from a third-party group and a push poll referencing recent allegations from the College Democrats of Massachusetts that Morse had pursued sexual relationships with gay college students. Victory Fund slammed the ‘homophobic narrative’ surrounding the attacks, saying they were ‘orchestrated political attacks meant to weaponize’ Morse’s sexuality. According to the Victory Fund, multiple residents in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District received phone calls from interviewers conducting a ‘push poll’ in which respondents were asked if they would still support Morse if he had ‘sent sexually explicit emails to college-aged students.'” • Wait, what? Neal is a liberal Democrats, and I thought that [x] gay was an important identity to them, not merely pragmatically but because of deeply held social justice principles. Did I not get the memo?

MA: “Republican Gov. Baker Wades Into Democratic Primary To Endorse Rep. Neal” [WGBH]. “Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is stepping into a Democratic Party primary race to support Springfield Rep. Richard Neal, a powerful figure in D.C. politics facing a challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. ‘Congressman Neal has been a powerful voice for all in the 1st District and the Commonwealth is a better place because of his hard work. I’m looking forward to working with him now more than ever as we fight and come back from this pandemic,’ Baker tweeted ahead of an appearance in Springfield with Neal and Mayor Domenic Sarno, announcing redevelopment plans for the city. Baker, who has an 83 percent approval rating among Democrats according to a July poll from MassINC, described himself as a ‘pragmatic and practical’ Republican this week when asked how he felt about the Republican National Convention that’s nominated President Donald Trump for re-election. Baker has had participated in the party convention.” • The Great Assimilation™ once more!

KS: A final thread on the Coleman affair by Ryan Grim, whose reporting I have really appreciated lately, not least for its uniqueness:

* * *


Republican National Convention

“Even as president, Donald Trump takes a familiar stance: The political outsider” [USA Today]. “After nearly four years in the world’s most powerful post, Donald Trump will formally accept the Republican nomination for president at his convention Thursday, taking a familiar stance. As an outsider. He’ll do that despite speaking from the South Lawn of the White House and leveraging displays of presidential power unprecedented at any other modern political convention. During his tenure, he has appointed two justices to the Supreme Court and named more than 200 judges to the federal bench. He’s issued executive orders that stretch the powers of his office. But he still rails against what he believes is a ‘Deep State’ working against him at the Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies, even though they are headed by officials he appointed. He accuses political elites, especially Democrats, of ignoring the concerns of his core supporters. He says the news is fake and the polls showing him trailing Joe Biden are wrong. He derides the record of President Barack Obama, out of office for nearly four years. He downplays the crisis of COVID-19 and blames others for the nation’s stumbling response to it during his watch. Being an outsider is part of Trump’s appeal. It’s also part of his problem. Defiance is his brand, a trait that has hardened his support among his base. But a reelection campaign is typically a referendum on how the president has performed in office. Since 2016, Trump hasn’t expanded his standing; he has lost ground. His job approval rating, at 43.9% in the RealClearPolitics.com running average, is below the 46.1% of the vote he carried in 2016.” • I still think that if a (colorable) vaccine appears, the Covid “curves” are on the downturn in all regions, and the economy seems to have revived (manufacturing seems unexpectedly better), Trump has a real shot. There’s also the possibility of a foreign policy “October surprise,” although one effect of the pernicious practice of early voting may be to devalue that tactic. (Worth noting that if Obama had gotten the UAE to recognize Israel, the campaign for his second Nobel would be drowing out everything else.) And that’s leaving out the enormous wild card of the protests/riots.

Stats Watch

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

Employment Situation: “22 August 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Remain Over One Million” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 925 K to 1,100 K (consensus 987 K), and the Department of Labor reported 1,006,000 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 1,175,250 (reported last week as 1,175,750) to 1,068,000…. Job’s loss since the start of the pandemic is now 58,689,000. Many in this number are now employed or have dropped out of the workforce as the all programs continuing claims number is 27,017,232].” • A second round of hysterisis?

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 22 August 2020 – Intermodal Continues To Improve” [Econintersect]. “Week 34 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 again intermodal was in expansion year-over-year and continues to strengthen.”

GDP: “Second Estimate 2Q2020 GDP Growth Marginally Improves But Remained Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The second estimate of second-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ‘improved’ from the advance estimate’s negative 32.9% to negative -31.7%… The coronavirus lockdown is the reason for the decline – and pushed GDP into contraction. No doubt the U.S. economy is in a recession.”

* * *

Manufacturing: “It is hard to see an end to the bad news at Rolls-Royce” [Financial Times]. “The group, which relies to a large extent on pay-as-you-fly contracts, has been floored by the pandemic that has grounded long-haul air travel. Rolls-Royce’s net debt, excluding leasing liabilities, in the first half matched the underlying operating loss of £1.7bn and, by its own reckoning, will double by the year end. Cash will continue to drain out for at least the next 18 months. The outflow could top £4bn in 2020, the company says…. The company has plenty of liquidity — £8.3bn including £2bn in loans backed by the UK government. But its balance sheet looks messy. It plans to ditch businesses worth about £2bn, which will help. The group is also cutting about 9,000 jobs and plans to shrink its sites in Derby, Singapore and Germany. Ominously, it says it is also looking at additional measures and is continuously reviewing funding options. Note to shareholders: brace yourselves for a cash call.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 74 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 27 at 12:42pm. First transition into Extreme Greed in quite a while.

The Biosphere

“Hurricane Laura Brings ‘Catastrophic Storm Surge’ And Fearsome Winds To Gulf Coast” [NPR]. “The hurricane made landfall as a Category 4 storm, crossing over Cameron, La., roughly 35 miles east of the Texas border. Laura has since weakened, but the National Hurricane Center warns that ‘a life-threatening storm surge with large and destructive waves will continue within the Storm Surge Warning area this morning.’ The dangerous surge of water could reach communities up to 40 miles inland from the coast, and it’s expected to take days before floodwaters fully recede. Only one other storm is known to have hit Louisiana with as much raw power: Last Island in 1856, which also had 150 mph winds.”

“Hurricane Laura has weakened into a Category 1 storm” [CNN]. “Hurricane Laura is now a Category 1 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. Laura made landfall overnight in Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, but it has been weakening as it travels northward through Louisiana. However, earlier today, Ken Graham, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said that Laura is expected to remain a hurricane until it nearly reaches Arkansas. ‘We expect Hurricane Laura to still be a hurricane even when you get up to Shreveport, right on the Arkansas border,’ he said on CNN this morning.”

“Laura is Katrina on fossil fuel steroids” [Heated]. “Laura is also targeting areas populated by vulnerable communities. It’s heading for a city “largely home to Black and Latinx families, nearly 23 percent of whom are immigrants.” It’s happening during a pandemic, where families are already struggling financially, emotionally, and with their health. Many cannot afford to leave. Laura is also taking direct aim at America’s petrochemical hub, an area with more than 60 high-risk petrochemical plants and oil refineries, and 49 hazardous waste sites. This is the ultimate feedback loop. Our environmental crises now fuel themselves.” • And here’s a view of NOLA from a strategic point of view (which Scott, Lincoln, and Grant shared):

* * *

“Nature Is Intentionally Beautiful” [Post Carbon Institute]. “While it seems to start as a strategy for mate attraction, the production of beauty can persist when mating is not an issue. This is notable, for example, in the case of bird songs. Even though males ramp up their singing during mating season, birds of many species continue making their music throughout the year and appear to enjoy doing so; they even appear to enjoy the songs of their rivals. Moreover, investment in display can proceed to such extremes that it leads to “aesthetic decadence,” contributing to a species’ decline and even extinction. When the males and females of a given species come to agree that only a particularly extravagant display—one whose costs impair the species’ survival abilities—is a requirement for mate choice, then attraction can truly become fatal. The fossil record probably holds plenty of examples.” • Including fossil fuels? And the linked to in this article, this–

“Darwin’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful: What’s Musical about Biology and Why Does That Matter?” [Resilience]. This whole piece is excellent, but let me pull out this one metaphor: “[A murmuration of starlings], says [in Cecil Sharp’s classic 1905 study, English Folksong], is a faithful picture “of the way in which a folk song is evolved. Of the innumerable changes made by individual singers, only those that win general approval are perpetuated; the rest, being ignored, pass into oblivion.” Even more importantly, Sharp insists that the causes which lead to variation for the starling may be simply reflexive or accidental—for example, the result of “waywardness” or “a search for food.” Likewise, he says, “the changes which singers introduce into the words or melodies of their songs proceed from many causes—forgetfulness, chance, accident and what not; but very rarely, if ever, from a definite and conscious desire to improve.” Then in the next paragraph he gives us a pithy formulation. His view of folk song as a systemic interaction of individual and group and his emphasis on unconscious creation, leads to his summary with a distinctly Darwinian sound: “The individual, then, invents; the community selects.” This is how his “Evolution” chapter had begun, with a claim that music in general evolves in culture through continuity, variation and selection—more Darwin. (Sharp, 1905, 21-41)

Health Care

“COVID-19 Is Transmitted Through Aerosols. We Have Enough Evidence, Now It Is Time to Act” [Time]. “It is critical to have a clear physical description of the ways in which COVID-19 is transmitted, so that individuals and institutions are able to visualize it and will understand how to protect themselves. Contrary to public health messaging, I, together with many other scientists, believe that a substantial share of COVID-19 cases are the result of transmission through aerosols. The evidence in favor of aerosols is stronger than that for any other pathway, and officials need to be more aggressive in expressing this reality if we want to get the pandemic under control.” • This is a must-read, and a good summary of the aerosol controversy (which is a controversy because, well, CDC and WHO are, in my considered opinion, wrong. Showing the vacuity of “listen to the science.” Science, after all, advances through conflict. Quite the opposite of the “unity” mindset.)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

What did we expect (1):

What did we expect (2):

Sports Desk

“The NBA Had It Coming” [The Atlantic]. “The impenetrability of the NBA bubble appeared to provide a foolproof solution to the stops and starts (due to the coronavirus pandemic) that had shortened Major League Baseball’s season and forced several major college-football conferences to cancel their season…. But on Sunday, after police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake multiple times in the back, and a video of the incident taken by a witness went viral, the bubble’s relative peace was upended. In the protests that followed in Kenosha, a gunman killed two people and wounded a third. On Monday night, the Lakers’ LeBron James, the league’s highest-profile star, retweeted the news of Blake’s shooting and wrote, in part, “This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.” On Wednesday, shortly before James tweeted, “FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT,” the Milwaukee Bucks, the team favored to win the NBA title, didn’t take the floor for Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. Instead, they remained in the locker room as the Magic warmed up. When game time arrived, the Bucks, stirred by the violence in a city a short drive from their home arena, refused to play…. Despite language in the collective-bargaining agreement between the players’ association and the league that specifically prohibits strikes, NBA players had gone on strike. … Where the strike will ultimately lead, or how long it will last, no one seems to know.” • Maybe other people will start getting ideas…

News of the Wired

One of the refreshing things about Twitter is art bots:

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AB: “Our tomatoes taste as good as they look.” Tomato season!

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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. BoulderMike

    Lately I have been noticing that local or online, stores don’t have inventory anymore. And when they do, if you look at multiple sellers/vendors, they all seem to have the same inventory quantity. It seems that vendors don’t carry their own inventory anymore, but rather rely on a third party for handling inventory. Today I noticed that VM Express seems to be the fulfiller for most of the online vendors.
    So, I tried to search to see who owns them. Put another way, what Billionaire or Private Equity Firm owns them. Seems for the past few years you can’t find that type of information through Search. Search only returns results for selling things to you, not information. I always search putting -amazon at the end of the query. Even so, I always get an Amazon ad at the top of the results page. Anyway, does anyone know how to get actual information in search results, such as company ownership information, and/or does anyone know anything about VM Express?

    1. periol

      I did a little searching. I did three searches on Google: vm express, who owns vm express, and then who owns vm innovations. Most of the good info I found came on the third search.

      VM Express, VM Innovations, and Spreetail are all names they use.

      Based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Here’s an article from 2015 that goes into the history, the founder, the current CEO, plans for the future. Doesn’t mention who the funding is behind this group, but they are listed as private.


      “You’ve probably never heard of Spreetail — and that’s by design.

      The 9-year-old e-commerce company has purposely operated under the radar as it refined its business model several times and sought to keep a low profile in a very competitive industry.

      But the Lincoln-based company is having a coming-out party of sorts, wanting to let the community know of its ambitious plans, which include a new name, a new corporate headquarters, hundreds of jobs and, potentially, a billion dollars in revenue by 2022.

      “We’re getting to the point where we feel like we can get to the next level,” said Vitali Lapko, the company’s founder.”

      1. BoulderMike

        Thanks for finding this information. Did you notice that it was from 2015? And reading the article I am unclear as to exactly what they do. Are they a warehouse, a distribution center, do they own product or just hold it for other online and brick and morter retailers, etc.?
        I just don’t understand how the Intenet has become so corrupted that you literally can’t find out basic, demographic information about a company. And try to find out about their actual operations and financials; forget it.
        Just as an FYI, this morning Target.com had vm express all over their site. Most product search results there had some products as from Target, but most from vm express. I was searching for a fan for my exercise room like one I already have. “out of stock” of course, and not available for online shipping anyway.
        Our supply chain is so broken and I trace it all back to Walmart and Amazon. The MSM keeps telling us that everyone wants to shop online, but really what choice do people have? The online “tech” companies have made sure that there was no inventory or selection in brick and mortar. Now that that has happened they are making supply unavailable online also. In this post capitalist world it is clear that companies don’t even really need operations or products anymore, just stock certificates (digital of course). I think soon the stock exchanges will start trading stock that literally has no company behind it. Just a name.

        1. periol

          The other articles I found talked about them buying large warehouses, one near Dallas and one in Indiana. It seems they are both an online retailer and a distribution center for other retailers as well.

          I agree that things are harder to find on the internet than they used to be. I can still find most of what I need, but it’s definitely more work than it once was.

          1. BoulderMike

            I seem to mostly hit on the dreaded “Out of Stock” for most items I order. The only luck I have is with Vitacost. I do recommend them for the type of items they stock. I believe they are owned by Kroger, which is of course not a positive, but their customer service is very good.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Why is “owned by Kroger” not a positive? Doesn’t Kroger have a somewhat unionized workforce? Are there any other store-chains which have a more unionized workforce?

              Should we be happier if it were “owned by Walmart” or “owned by Amazon”?

          1. BoulderMike

            Wow, they look really, really bad. I really do wonder who is the real owner of the company. I still think it is someone like Bezos, or a Private Equity firm, which is of course the equivelant of Bezos and a cabal of other billionaires.
            VM Express had to work really hard to get literally all 1 star ratings.
            Thanks for the link, it is enlightening for sure.

  2. anon

    Biden (D)(2): “Bush, McCain and Romney presidential staffers unite behind effort to elect Joe Biden”

    Not surprising given that they all never met an opportunity they didn’t love to send young men and women into a foreign conflict to be wounded, maimed, and killed with little justification.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Let s also take a moment to remember the millions of brown and tan and olive skinned people and even marginalIced white folks who were not “Americans,” who have been killed, maimed, diseased and dispossessed by those same “staffers.” And the toll keeps growing, “Because Empire,“ with the second rule still being “Go Die!”

      Not looking like humans, especially Exceptional humans, are ever going to do anything different. Until the collective effects of all that greedy looting produce that Jackpot event…

      1. a different chris

        This is a weird tie-in to “Nature Is Intentionally Beautiful” methinks.

        No Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos aren’t dominating the actual reproduction of humans, but we have the same sort of problem: what they are doing with society’s awe and approval (and don’t kid yourselves, we are a real minority on here in our distaste) is pretty likely to eliminate the species.

        I guess what I’m saying is the “beautiful” ideas they have are reproducing, pushing out much better ones.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Jackpot won’t be a singular event. Jackpot will be a slow-rolling process. People up to their necks in a slowly rising sea may well be scanning the horizon for an incoming tsunami . . . a “Jackpot event” if one wills . . . . without even realizing that ” you’re soaking in it”.

    2. Eric Anderson

      Stand by for a coordinated, retired four-star crowd to endorse Biden in a loyalty move. After all the commander in chief is just an honorarium?

  3. zagonostra

    >“Pelosi: ‘I don’t think there should be any debates’ between Biden and Trump” [USA Today].

    President Donald Trump has sunk so low that former Vice President Joe Biden should not even “legitimize” him by debating him in the presidential election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

    What has sunk so low is the Speaker of the house preempting millions of citizens of getting to see the candidates for the office go before them. But then she might have a different notion of the function of citizens, she might be confusing them with serfs.

    1. Oh

      What’s the matter Nancy? Afraid that your boy’s gonna show to the country his real vapid self?

        1. hunkerdown

          I’m far, far more worried about their performance on the Hare psychopathy checklist than a drug screen.

        2. MK

          That’s the thing about Trump – he’s what we called Straight Edge back in the 90s. No alcohol, no drugs, no tobacco. Just high on life.

          I sometimes wonder if he did have a few cocktails regularly if it would change his personality. I know a few sober drunks and the difference is night and day between when they are sober and when they are on a bender.

          1. periol

            “No alcohol, no drugs, no tobacco. Just high on life.”

            If you say so. He has an odd way of showing it.

          2. Jonhoops

            I guess if you believe what Trump says about himself he’s “Straight Edge”. But it has long been reported that he has been on and off Adderall For years.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      So by your logic, I should vote for president based on which seems most skilled on the debate team? Why not arm wrestling or basketball free-throws?

      There is nothing voters do not know about Biden given his long very public life. I feel like I already know too much about TV celeb and mouthy tycoon Trump.

      For Biden to out-debate a congenital liar, he would have to out-lie the liar. How will that happen? Trump will lie. Biden will present facts. Trump will dismiss the facts as fake and tell a bigger lie.
      Biden will present more facts, and the audience will go make popcorn in disgust.

      1. Wukchumni

        To lose out on the spectacle of a couple of master debaters would be exposing the public to great unknowns.

        1. Tvc15

          Say it ain’t so Joe. You mean the lying dog-faced pony soldier boy plays loose with facts and his record. I thought Bernie would have him during the last DNC debate since there are so many videos of him repeatedly advocating to cut social security. Unfortunately, I naively forgot in politics you can always just bald face lie which is exactly what he did. Yes Lambert, I remember it well.

        2. Pelham

          And to the extent that relationship is different, it’s more subtle and therefore more sinister. One example: his denial during the debate with Sanders that he ever wanted to cut Social Security.

        3. sierra7

          Agree with most all of you on Biden/Trump.
          But, remember. It’s the past presidents and government that have given us the mess we have today.
          We have Trump for a reason: There is no “democracy” in America. It’s all fake.
          We are asked to validate every four years the mess that keeps getting deeper and deeper….until it fumes, roils, and then explodes in every ones’ faces/lives.
          We are in deep SH^% and there ain’t no one that is going to save us.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Wait, did you even watch the debate between Sanders and Biden? The latter can and does lie with the best of them.

      3. DJG

        You mean like the “fact” that Biden asserted during the debates that the outbreak of COVID in Italy was due to “socialized medicine”? I had to watch that video twice to see lying Biden at his best or worst–depending on one’s point of view.

        You mean like Biden’s professed discovery of a “right” to private health insurance? Either he’s lying or he’s brain-dead–most European countries have private health insurance–but as a supplement to the universal plan, in Italy, and in France (someone from France can advise us). But it isn’t considered a “right.”

      4. zagonostra

        Your misreading/reading into my statement. I never indicated that one should vote based on the results of the debate.

        You can go back to Plato’s Gorgias and see that rhetoric and the “good” or “justice” are not the same. The point is that it’s a long standing tradition in this country to have debates and Pelosi’s hubris is on full display when she flippantly suggest we can do without because Trump is the bad orange man.

      5. Medbh

        “There is nothing voters do not know about Biden given his long very public life.”

        I do not know if he has dementia. Being able to think and respond quickly to questions is an essential function of a presidential candidate. I’m not a Trump supporter, but it does seem like they’re trying to hide Biden in the basement. I’ve seen clips of Biden’s recent interviews, and some of his responses are inappropriate or disjointed. I understand why they’re trying to avoid debating, but it’s not a good look for Biden.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Raising just did a report on some Dem strategists coming to the realization that hiding Joe in the basement is starting to backfire on them. It seems to be avoiding debates would tip the race past “tightening”. TDS folks may buy Pelosi’s line but it seems like they’re hiding something to me.

        2. Andrew Thomas

          Is there a law somewhere, enforceable by some entity with ‘standing’, that says there has to be a debate? No? Then, there doesn’t have to be one. Period. Biden can spend the rest of what passes in this shithole country for a political campaign lying in bed and staring at the ceiling. Not a good look? Compared to what? And who is looking? Who needs to look at the pathetic spectacle of a Biden/ Trump ‘debate’? Until 40 years ago, there was nothing else on TV. If your addiction to the tube is that severe, you must have some station that will have something- anything-else on. If you need to see either of these alleged mammalian biped life forms one more time EVER, you need to be locked in solitary permanently for the protection of your family members who haven’t already ghosted you, or gotten protective orders against your coming within 1,000 feet of their residences

      6. anon in so cal

        Every word out of Biden’s mouth is a lie. He’s a way more skilled liar than HRC, which is saying a lot. Biden’s record is racism, corruption, gutting the middle and working class. Biden helped launch 7 regime change wars in 8 years (plus advocated for the Iraq war), and is already bashing Trump from the right, arguing T should have toppled Venezuela’s president. Only regime change wars and austerity in a Biden admin, plus lots of looting (like Hunter’s $83,000 per month as head of Burisma…

      7. vidimi

        Trump will lie. Biden will present platitudes. Trump will dismiss the platitudes as fake and tell a bigger lie.
        Biden will present more platitudes, and the audience will go make popcorn in disgust.

        there. fixed it for you

      8. vidimi

        For Biden to out-debate a congenital liar, he would have to out-lie the liar. How will that happen? Trump will lie. Biden will present platitudes. Trump will dismiss the platitudes as fake and tell a bigger lie.
        Biden will present more platitudes, and the audience will go make popcorn in disgust.

        there, fixed it for you.

    3. Kevin DeNardo

      on the other hand, considering the last debate was more about emails, lewd remarks,posturing, foundations birtherism and run by completely incompetent moderation – does one really expect in the current political environment to learn anything meaningful about real issues?

      1. hunkerdown

        They were perfectly competent at achieving the result they wanted: trading power back and forth, two full terms at a time; and talking about everything but the meaningful, real issue of oligarchy and how they are all it.

    4. The Historian

      I don’t think there should be any debates either, but not for the reasons stated by Nancy Pelosi.

      Seems to me that those so-called debates aren’t debates. They are just an opportunity for sound bites and zingers, and he/she who throws the most zingers wins. We don’t learn a thing about either candidate or their policies or even why we should vote for one or the other. We could learn more by having them get into a mud pit and duke it out.

      1. Alex Cox

        Yes! The mud pit would be great. But in its absence the debates are the election’s main/only attraction.

    5. Darthbobber

      I don’t think an incumbent president’s legitimacy hinges on whether his challenger is willing to debate him.

    6. Geo

      The debates are the only thing about this election I’m looking forward to. Two addle-minded egomaniacs trying to be alpha males from a 1950’s John Wayne movie while struggling to remember where they are and what they’re talking about. I half expect at least one debate to erupt into frail fisticuffs. Fun for the whole family!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Isn’t that what Nancy said about the CARES Act? That she had to vote for it to discover what was in it? If you gave her a blank sheet of paper and asked her to put her signature at the bottom of it, would she do it?

    7. John Anthony La Pietra

      No, there shouldn’t be any debates between Biden and Trump.

      There should be debates among Biden, Howie Hawkins, Jo Jorgensen, and Trump at a minimum. With the other Don (Blankenship) included (for example) if enough of the state Constitution Parties put him on the ballot to make him eligible to win at least 135 electoral votes (enough to guarantee third place and consideration if the race goes to the House).

      And I’d like to see Harris and Pence try to keep up with Angela Walker and Jeremy (Spike) Cohen . . . if not also William Mohr and others.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Imagine a debate between Trump and the (now late) Stephen Hawking. Who do you suppose would carry the day – in the US, anyway. And which would you rather have as President?

        I would argue that Pelosi is right for the wrong reasons. Debates are like having a beauty contest to choose the best mother for your children.

        Give each candidate an hour on TV sans script to tell us about themselves and what they believe in.

    8. chaco

      The notion that Trump is done, that Biden’s lead is strong and that the Dems are in great shape in the Presidential sweepstakes is defied by weak polling numbers by Biden, his lack of ideas and the support coming from all sources liberal that Biden not debate. The latter point is purely a political position arising from the realization that the guy has lost a step and is likely to be embarrassed in a debate at some point(Remember Poland is Free. Expect that type of gaffe). The Covid mess gets balanced out by the mutual race hatred and the government failure to maintain the economy and the Durham report and the dirt the Dems have heaved mercilessly and ineffectively against Trump for the full 3 1/2 years he’s been in office. In other words, no one is free from blame, no one has taken a leadership position and everyone is tired of the constant crisis mode BOTH sides have foisted upon the American public by either incompetence or connivance. In the end, Trump has the bully pulpit, Biden has no credibility after years of vapid political posturing and the public will look for a leader. Trump at least acts decisively, if erratically, while the Dems pontificate, remonstrate and prostrate themselves before the emotional issues of our time without providing any direction. Expect Trump to take the Electoral College and the popular vote.

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      She’s afraid Biden would lose such a debate and she’s afraid to come out and say so.

      But if she actually has the power within the Catfood Democrat party to cancel any Trump-Biden debate, she will have provided a strong reason to many more people to vote for Trump. Even some people who would tolerate a President Biden are not prepared to tolerate a Shadow President Pelosi.

  4. Wukchumni

    I heard that the ‘Forever’ designation on U.S. stamps is now more indicative of how long it will take for it to be delivered.

      1. Wukchumni

        Comedy is all about timing, and who would’ve thought we’d go third world first on the post office?

  5. JTMcPhee

    Morse, Neal, Party and gaydom: What did Vince Lombardi say? “Winning isn’t everything — it’s the ONLY thing.”

    Not that the Dems haven’t mastered the art of losing the fight, but getting well paid to do so… Dems did not play the gay card against Barney Frank, but recall which fraction of the political economy he represented…

    And it’s clear what they are “fighting for:” personal gain and protection of the interests of the propertied classes.

    There’s no “I” in “team,” and no “shame “ in “Imperial Capital.”

  6. Judith

    Regarding Charlie Baker’s endorsement of Richie Neal. Keep in mind that Baker was CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for 10 years. As much as I appreciate Baker’s efforts addressing the coronavirus in MA, I have to wonder about his support for Neal.

  7. Angie Neer

    I appreciate that insight about New Orleans and the importance of transit on the Mississippi. Just remember that the devastation of New Orleans in 2005 was not because Katrina was particularly severe, but because the flood protection system failed under stress that it should have easily survived (see Harry Shearer’s The Big Uneasy)

    1. BobWhite

      Yes, a very good account of the failure of the Army Corps Of Engineers…

      Another one of their projects is yet another potential major failure – Mississippi River’s Old River Control Structure – read this 3 part story here:

      If (or when) this failure occurs, there would likely be the need for a new port in Morgan City to replace the one in New Orleans… if that would even work…

      1. Janie

        Yes, good series. It’s beyond imagining how that area would change if (or when) the Mississippi flows down the Atchafalaya. If you look at a map of the river basin, it’s full of ox-bow lakes that were cut off when the river changed course

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Another episode in the recently-recommended-here The Control of Nature by John McPhee.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That account did not mention the Union slamming the door shut on New Orleans and the Confederacy with the Anaconda Plan during the Civil War. When the Union took Vicksburg and cut the Mississippi river itself it was game, set and match.

  8. Billy

    Boulder, whose post just disappeared?

    Many online retailers only order goods from a Chinese factory when enough backorders have piled up to start a production run. Expensive stuff gets airfreighted over to distribution centers. By ship, a long delay.

    More useful is -.com for common subjects where you would be overwhelmed with commercial sites, but you are just seeking information.

    Supply lines are not guaranteed to last forever. You want to be buttoned down with all you need, short of perishables, for the duration of the Depression. Look at what’s happening with building material sales and prices, garden supplies, up 500%,~, plus guns and ammo.

    Remember the old Prepper’s motto: “Beat the rush, panic now?”

    Lambert, stop-watering-your-tomato plants once they get full size and flower. When they struggle, you get better fruit.

    1. Wukchumni

      I loaded up on Izod shirts in every color, 6 pairs of khaki Dockers, and a couple different kinds of Sperry Top Sider deck shoes.

      Is my prep satisfactory?

      1. ambrit

        My Stars good sir! Do you favour the look of Gentleman’s Quarterly, circa 1935?
        I would hope that, after decades of practice, you will have graduated from Incrementalist Haberdashery to Catastrophist Haberdashery.

    2. General Jinjur

      “Lambert, stop-watering-your-tomato plants once they get full size and flower. When they struggle, you get better fruit.”

      On behalf of tomato plants, Ouch!

          1. hunkerdown

            I wasn’t even going there, just nodding to the arrogance of conservative ideology’s fetishization of adversity that surely has nothing to do with the free stuff they’re getting by being on the long end of it.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              That’s what I meant. They have to define struggle to frame precisely their struggles, however detached from reality their struggles may be. Oh, and Job.

      1. STEPHEN

        He’s not necessarily wrong though. You’ll meet more than a few viticulturalists who consider irrigation to be a foul error. Dry vines are forced to push roots deep into the subsoil in search of water. The best Cassis in the world comes from dryland plantations. The blackcurrants must suffer; the relative lack of moisture is said to concentrate the flavors.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It may not be about forcing the plants to “struggle”. It may just be about not flooding the plants with excess water in order to not force the plants to inflate the fruit with excess water.

      2. Billy

        Spare the rod, spoil the child!

        “Swathes of land across Gastouni are now dotted with tensiometers, and the improvements haven’t just been in water conservation. Tomato yields have increased from 76 to 83 tonnes per hectare since introducing the new approach to irrigation.”

        “Another welcome benefit is that Gastouni’s tomatoes are sweeter than ever. With the perfect amount of irrigation, they have a chance to ripen in just the right way, and that’s been reflected by an increase in their brix level – the official measure of tomato sweetness….”

        1. General Jinjur

          Thanks for the link. My reading of the info was that the tensiometers placed widely throughout the crop saved water and improved yield by determining the ideal minimum amount of water needed to produce healthy tomatoes. I didn’t pick up that the tomatoes were being underwatered for their own good. Although “With the perfect amount of irrigation, they have a chance to ripen in just the right way…” could be gardener code for the tomatoes need to pick themselves up by their vines.
          ; )

          But, it’s late, my periwinkle isn’t spreading in my garden despite my best efforts, soil, and vocal encouragement, and I haven’t had much sleep.

    3. upstater

      I recall JLS has tomato expertise, maybe she can weigh in.

      My tomatoes in Central NY are a bumper crop! It had been largely a dry summer.

      1. carl

        We had a bumper crop for July and part of August. South Texas heat is relentless, and our production is a fraction of what it was at the peak. Normal here, though.

  9. TB

    here’s a view of NOLA from a strategic point of view (which Scott, Lincoln, and Grant shared):

    Notably also (otherwise firm Francophile) Thomas Jefferson, who sent what seems to me an extraordinary letter of pure threat to France about it:

    ” there is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural & habitual enemy. it is New Orleans, through which the produce of three eighths of our territory must pass to market, and from it’s fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce and contain more than half our inhabitants. France placing herself in that door assumes to us the attitude of defiance. . . these circumstances render it impossible that France and the US. can continue long friends when they meet in so irritable a position. they as well as we must be blind if they do not see this; and we must be very improvident if we do not begin to make arrangements on that hypothesis. the day that France takes possession of N. Orleans fixes the sentence which is to restrain her forever within her low water mark. it seals the union of two nations who in conjunction can maintain exclusive possession of the ocean. from that moment we must marry ourselves to the British fleet & nation. we must turn all our attentions to a maritime force, for which our resources place us on very high ground: and having formed and cemented together a power which may render reinforcement of her settlements here impossible to France, make the first cannon which shall be fired in Europe the signal for tearing up any settlement she may have made, and for holding the two continents of America in sequestration for the common purposes of the United British & American nations. this is not a state of things we seek or desire. it is one which this measure, if adopted by France, forces on us, as necessarily as any other cause, by the laws of nature, brings on it’s necessary effect. it is not from a fear of France that we deprecate this measure proposed by her. for however greater her force is than ours compared in the abstract, it is nothing in comparison of ours when to be exerted on our soil.”

    1. DJG

      Another thing that we forget about New Orleans is that is was the metropolis of the South. It has been a center for education for hundreds of years (back when Richmond was tiny and Atlanta didn’t exist).

      I picked up this info at Wikipedia: It’s a reminder that New Orleans was shaped by geography, by its mix of peoples, and by its natural wealth:

      New Orleans has the highest concentration of colleges and universities in Louisiana and one of the highest in the Southern United States. New Orleans also has the third highest concentration of historically black collegiate institutions in the nation.

  10. CanChemist

    Not sure I saw this covered yet,

    “Florida mosquitoes: 750 million genetically modified insects to be released”

    “Only female mosquitoes bite humans because they need blood to produce eggs. So the plan is to release the male, modified mosquitoes who will then hopefully breed with wild female mosquitoes.

    However the males carry a protein that will kill off any female offspring before they reach mature biting age. Males, which only feed on nectar, will survive and pass on the genes.

    Over time, the aim is to reduce the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area and thereby reduce the spread of disease to humans.

    On Tuesday, officials in the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) gave final approval to release 750 million of the modified mosquitoes over a two-year period.

    The plan has many critics, including nearly 240,000 people who signed a petition on Change.org slamming Oxitec’s plan to use US states “as a testing ground for these mutant bugs”.”

  11. Louis Fyne

    interesting set of facts related to the Kenosha riot shooting out.

    Buckle up as the (alleged) perp. has a reasonable grounds for self-defense given the footage that’s been collated—‘pretty much the entire encounter has been documented by a plethora of phones.

    don’t flame me. the kid was an idiot for even being there, I am just the messenger

    1. periol

      I saw that video, but my understanding is that footage only begins after he had already shot one person in the head. I have not found footage of that incident, but there was footage of him walking away from the first incident and saying that he had just shot someone – it was grainy but looked like he was on the phone.

      1. Louis Fyne

        the entire encounter starting well before the death of victim #1 (a registered sex offender) were recorded by various bystanders and are online….first on youtube, facebook, instagram…but copies have gone viral

        if a set of facts ever broke for Trump, it happened that night. (all three victims convicted criminals, all white)

        again, i am just the messenger. double check the facts for yourself if curious.

        my only commentary is that if people respected the curfew 4 lives would not have been permanently ruined that night. a mob is only as civil as its most uncivil person

        1. hunkerdown

          “a registered sex offender” was also commentary, and because you are the person trying to garner sympathy for a pro-oligarch viewpoint, you need to own it.

          1. LawnDart

            It also really has nothing to do with the shooting, unless the first shot fired was the shooter getting revenge for getting buggered by the shootee, a personal grievance if you will, taking advantage of the unrest to settle a personal score.

            So Louis, by chance do you have a link to video or to an account of when the shooting began and perhaps why?

            1. Lost in OR

              This morning’s Rising had an interview with the reporter that interviewed the shooter prior to the shooting, tried saving the first victim, and more.

              It seems that he was chased and attacked multiple times. Don’t know if shooting was justified. But, as a cop is want to say “I feared for my life”.

            2. vidimi

              revenge wouldn’t be self-defence but first-degree murder since revenge requires premeditation

          2. Oh

            I know at least in one instance that a person who was convicted of streaking was put on the “registered sex offender” list. Who makes up the list of these offenses anyway. If someone was sun bathing in the nude, he would be put on the same list I suppose.

          3. Fiery Hunt

            Since when are facts now considered “commentary”?
            Either the victim was, or was not, a registered sex offender.

            If yes, it would suggest disregard for others.

            I certainly didn’t see anything in Louis Fyne’s post that could be described as
            “trying to garner sympathy for a pro-oligarch viewpoint ”

            Just like pointing out George Floyd was high on meth.
            Not “commentary” and not “pro-oligarch”. Just facts.

            Can’t we even agree that facts matter?

            1. occasional anonymous

              You’re just playing a different version of the game the cops do whenever they kill someone and immediately try to dig up dirt on the victim.

            2. integer

              Forget it, everyone has a point where their emotional response trumps their objectivity, and once that threshold is crossed facts no longer matter. Anyway, Rosenbaum was convicted of “sexual conduct with a minor” in 2017, which would make him around 33 years old at the time. Doesn’t mean he deserved to die, but it is a fact.

              1. Aumua

                I’ve seen several contradictory stories floating around, the most common of which says in 2002 he was convicted which would make him 18 at the time. Not to justify whatever he did, but be aware that there is a HUGE push right now to justify the shooter’s behavior and a lot of the people doing the pushing are not at all concerned with being factual or the truth in general. So I’m reserving judgement for now, and I advise others to do the same.

              1. Lynne

                Thank you for pointing us to that masterful example of misogyny, making it clear that sexual assaults are not noteworthy unless the victim is a child.

        2. jo6pac

          I have question, how did the shooter get to the site? Drove himself, bus, or caught a ride with a friend?

          1. Louis Fyne

            no info (that i know of) yet.

            i imagine that Q (and origin of perp’s gun) has been answered and will be made public soon

            1. periol

              He was given a ticket last week in Kenosha for speeding and driving without a license. Doesn’t guarantee he drove there, but…

        3. Sad Times

          What a horribly dark place some Americans have found themselves in. A very large group of them have experienced an irresistible urge to let the world they approve of summary execution by vigilante!

          Why brag about it?

        4. periol

          The first shooting was clearly the kid, running through the parking lot of the car dealership, being chased by one person. He shot that person. It does not look like self defense to me. He does not look to actually be in danger for his life. There is not a mob following him – it’s one person. The mob forms after that incident, when he tries to leave the scene.

          Another video seems to show that he wasn’t alone for the first shooting, there was another guy with him who takes off his shirt to help the guy who was shot.

          Neither of these clips backs your narrative of the first shooting AT ALL!

          Here is a link to a compilation of videos in the public right now. WARNING: it is graphic.

          https://files.catbox.moe/fnupjo.mp4 (start at 40 seconds for scene described above, 1:15 for second)

          1. Louis Fyne

            sigh. like i said, i am just the messenger.
            it is not my version of events.

            the entire chain of events was filmed via multiple angles. and more than you have mentioned.

            I was just giving people a heads up—-don’t be surprised if that kid only gets convicted on weapons violations…or if Tucker Carlson goes on air asking if BLM embraces registered sxx offenders


            1. periol

              The messenger for what? Feel free to post these other views that show him acting in self-defense against a mob in that first shooting.

              1. Louis Fyne

                a messenger for what that perp. can be convicted for under Wisconsin law.

                like i said that kid is an idiot, whoever left that gun is an idiot. convcting that kid on 1st degree homicide won’t be bblack or white. i am sorry that the world is full of gray.

                the chain of events of that night would only be found in hypothetical Criminal Law class discussions before 2020.

                1. periol

                  Am I correct in assuming you do not have video that backs up your narrative of the events, while contradicting the one depicted in videos I have posted, of that fateful evening when this boy shot three people?

                  1. TroyIA

                    For what it’s worth here is The New York Times description of the first shooting.

                    About 15 minutes before the first shooting, police officers drive past Mr. Rittenhouse, and the other armed civilians who claim to be protecting the dealership, and offer water out of appreciation.

                    Mr. Rittenhouse walks up to a police vehicle carrying his rifle and talks with the officers.

                    He eventually leaves the dealership and is barred by the police from returning. Six minutes later footage shows Mr. Rittenhouse being chased by an unknown group of people into the parking lot of another dealership several blocks away.

                    First shooting

                    While Mr. Rittenhouse is being pursued by the group, an unknown gunman fires into the air, though it’s unclear why. The weapon’s muzzle flash appears in footage filmed at the scene.

                    Mr. Rittenhouse turns toward the sound of gunfire as another pursuer lunges toward him from the same direction. Mr. Rittenhouse then fires four times, and appears to shoot the man in the head.

                    Tracking the Suspect in the Fatal Kenosha Shootings

                2. Aumua

                  You’re a messenger for the alt-right, 4chan and possibly other far right enclaves, because that’s where they have bending over backwards the past couple days to come up with all of this justification for said kid’s behavior. That is what you should be owning here: the agenda behind the “message” you are delivering.

            2. voteforno6

              Funny, apparently someone’s past actions are only relevant when it comes to the protesters.

              You’re trying to dissect these videos like you can logically explain everyone’s actions, as if they all had perfect knowledge of what was going on. It was dark, very chaotic, and its entirely possible that the people that chased the kid thought that he was shooting (apparently there were other gunshots fired). He in turn panicked and shot back at whoever was chasing him.

              Whatever happened, that kid was clearly in over his head. He shouldn’t have been there, and he certainly shouldn’t have been there with a gun. What did he think was going to happen when he showed up with a firearm? This is the kind of thing happens when people decide to play vigilante.

              1. Billy

                Nobody should have guns! Except government officials. We have the police to protect us.

                When seconds count in a riot and looting,
                the police are minutes away, or, have been defunded and aren’t working.

                Besides, the police are not there to protect you, only “order” and public, not private, property.

                “The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.”


                If BLM didn’t exist, the Trump reelection committee would have invented them. Good job “protestors”, you just re-elected him.


                Remember, like the ten and twelve year old armed carjackers in Chicago, he is “just a child.”

            3. marym

              An armed teen-ager who shows up at a protest is a provocateur. People trying to chase him away, and people trying to disarm him after he’s killed someone are the ones entitled to defend themselves.

              I’m not at all surprised that the right is already defending this kids actions, and blaming the victims, just as they do for cops.

                1. marym

                  Thank you for the information about the Illinois Justice Project, one of many organizations working to address crime, policing, and justice. I don’t know if they have a presence in Antioch, where the kid who shot people in Kenosha lives.

                  My audio isn’t great and the picture is blurred, but at least I think the people in the video are black and are the alleged carjackers. If that’s the case, and if the cops had been there when they allegedly abandoned the car, one can’t help but wonder what would have happened (Tamir Rice was 12 and holding a toy).

              1. Wukchumni

                I was surprised Rittenhouse didn’t get an invite to be a guest speaker @ the RNC convention.

              2. integer

                Protest or riot? Where do you draw the line? That’s not a rhetorical question btw, I’d really like to know where you draw the line. Personally, I’d say protests become riots once shops are being looted and buildings are being burned down.

        5. Kurtismayfield

          #1. Wisconsin is not a Stand your ground state.

          #2. The gun was there illegally, and it is rumored that he was driven there by his mother. He may be able to claim that he had no knowledge of the gun laws, but can his mother?

          #3. From the videos it appears that the guy was charging and screaming at him. Did he touch him? Did he have a weapon? Does a 17 yr old have the capacity to judge appropriate force to use in that situation?

          #4. The second shooting occurred because of the first. The protesters were trying to apprehend/attack/subdue/use whatever word you think they were doing. Did the protesters know that there was a shooting AND it was self defense? Can you claim self defense from citizens who are trying to apprehend you from committing a crime?

          #5. The police met up with the militia beforehand. Look at about 1:30 into the video. The cops see this 17 year old walking around with the rifle. None of them thought he was too young?? None thought to ask these people if everything is legal?

          This whole thing is an utter mess, and I do hope it will be the last time we see militia around in this capacity.

        6. Laputan

          Has it been reported by anyone other than Andy Ngo that the victims had a criminal history? Not that that particular detail would be at all relevant. From the extant footage, it doesn’t appear that “victim #1” referenced above was trying to molest Rittenhouse when he was shot.

          It’s just odd how often I’m seeing this pop up in comments sections and how quickly some people, so-called messengers included, regurgitate information without bothering to see if any of it’s true. As Swift said, “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”

    2. vidimi

      a 17 year-old who travelled across state lines with a gun he had no right to carry will have a tough time pleading self-defence, but nothing would surprise me about america.

  12. Pavel

    Just read this on the (excellent) Automatic Earth blog:

    Buoyed by blacks and independent voters, as well as urban dwellers shocked by the Black Lives Matter protest violence raging in some cities, President Trump’s approval rating has hit a new high, according to a survey heavy with minority voters. The latest Zogby Analytics poll just shared with Secrets had Trump’s approval at 52%. “The president has recorded his best job approval rating on record,” said pollster Jonathan Zogby.

    What’s more, his approval rating among minorities was solid and, in the case of African Americans, shockingly high. Zogby said 36% of blacks approve of the president, as do 37% of Hispanics and 35% of Asians. Approval among independent voters is also up, to 44%. And “intriguingly,” said Zogby, 23% of Democrats approve of Trump.

    —Are the Tables Starting to Turn?

    Anyone else stunned by this numbers, especially the minority ones?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Not the least bit surprised.

      Why? Because of where I live in Tucson, and also where I lived in Pittsburgh. Both places are historically black neighborhoods.

      And, let me tell you something. When it comes to law and order, a lot of my AA neighbors are real hard@sses. We’ve had problems with one house — it’s boarded up and fenced off now — that stretch back decades. To put it mildly, this house was a magnet for criminals and criminal activity.

      You want to know who the most vocal complainers were? Those AA neighbors I mentioned previously.

      1. JBird4049

        Blacks as a group tend to be the most hardline because as a group they suffer the most from crime, but in areas with violent police, as a group, they also tend to not call or cooperate with the police. The more violent the police are the more the cooperation decreases.

        When crime does go up, often a broken windows, ultra hard on crime approach is used by the police. Strangely, it is minorities who get the disproportionate attention as for example in New York’s Stop-and-Frisk (the every Black and Brown person without cause) program. As one writer said, black neighborhoods tend to over-policed and under-served. Police units that focus only on guns or drugs tend to be particularly violent and corrupt with the Black population in particular to suffer from illegal searches, evidence planting, and false arrests.

        If you’re poor, this also applies to you regardless of race. Being White just means that the police are more likely to give you a break than a Black or Brown person, but you are still more likely to get their loving attention. I’ve noticed a rather large increase in poor people recently.

        So who will be driving the narrative? I suspect that the Woken PMC will the means to dictate the conversation over the “lawbreakers,” and will want to have the police suppress control “deal” with the protestor general population rioters using any means perceived as necessary.

    2. Pelham

      Yes, stunned. My guess is that the riot/protest spectacle is beginning to crowd out the mind-numbing pandemic. The Dem convention didn’t help matters on this front, and to the extent the GOP convention plays on law and order, Trump may benefit.

      Still, if the violence dies down soon, those numbers may swing back to Biden’s favor.

      1. Aumua

        If the violence dies down soon…

        So maybe the police have a motive for continuing to respond with excessive force and the outright murder of black men, to keep those fires stoked. I mean lets not forget where the violence starts. How many cops do you think want Biden to win?

        1. Pat

          They have as little reason to fear Biden and Harris as they do Trump. Biden’s long history is of not just voting for oppressive “crime bills” but of actively pushing them. He spent years trying to increase police surveillance powers. And of militarizing them.

          The meme Kamala is a Kop didn’t come from about from her attempts to end inequality in California’s arrests and convictions.

          The crackdown on Occupy was subtler but was no less organized.

          No the police aren’t afraid of Biden Harris, they may not like them but this isn’t about the election. This is about money. These revolts threaten their funds.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter


            Biden has already proposed more funding for police and his “shoot them in the legs” comment shows where he lands on this issue. Were it not politically inconvenient for the Dems to say so at the moment, I guarantee Biden/Harris would be all about the “law and order” platforms both of them have run on in the past.

            As almost always, it’s all about the money. Wouldn’t want the public to think the police are less necessary than they believe they are.

      1. Pavel

        Thanks for that, Chris.

        I hadn’t realised Zogby is (apparently) so biased.

        Though I definitely think these BLM-related protests and riots are going to work against Biden. The whole dynamic could change quickly, and not in his favour. A shame the Dems didn’t annoint someone who could and would seize the chance to display real leadership. Instead we have Pelosi suggesting that he not show up for the debates! How will that impress any wavering voters?

        1. hunkerdown

          No, the Dem establishment just hates him for polling the questions they don’t want asked. Rasmussen does have a definite, consistent, and seemingly permanent “house effect” though.

      2. pjay

        Not defending Zogby, or most polling in general. But the source for this story is Vox. So…

        My internal “poll” (based on being born and raised, and living in Trump country much of my life), is that Biden will continue to fall. I don’t even know whether to say “I hope I’m wrong”; that’s how f***ed up things are these days.

      3. Big River Bandido

        James Zogby was a prominent Bernie Sanders surrogate in both 2016 and 2020, and a founder of the Arab-American Institute. Of course the Democrat establishment hates him. Natch. Vox is one of their favorite mouthpieces. (Autocorrect kept trying to replace that with “Fox”, appropriately.)

    3. pjay

      Yes. Zogby, and also Rasmussen. I’m not stunned in the least (well, maybe a bit on the minority numbers). Apparently no bump for Biden at all from the DNC — probably helped Trump’s numbers. Does everyone realize that Biden is already behind Hillary’s numbers from August 2016?

      The unrest will help Trump, whether we like it or not. And the idiotic Democrats will continue to help him every time they open their mouths. Yesterday it was Clinton telling Biden not to concede if he loses; today it’s Pelosi saying Trump is not legitimate enough to warrant a debate. I’m sure it makes liberal hearts flutter to hear this stuff — because they’re too oblivious to realize it plays right into Trump’s hands.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      Not at all. The Democrats took a gamble that they could just hang back and watch everything fall apart while offering nothing and cruise to the win. Overall, Biden is running on the same “Trump bad” platform that was a loser for Hillary.

      Biden has the added issue of running an even lower effort campaign than Hillary. Because he’s hiding in the basement, Trump gets to control the narrative about anything he cares to address. Yes, it’s all smoke and mirrors, but like with Hillary making an empty promise is still better than refusing to say anything.

      And that’s just it. I think Biden would win handily if he would just make a single concession to what the voters want. Offer M4A. Offer UBI. Offer a real plan for Covid. Even if he was lying, I think the bar is so low people wouldn’t care.

      But the flip side is true too. If Trump mumbled something vague “I’m considering” statement about any of those issues, I think he could wrap it up.

      But to get back to the question, I realize November is still a way away, but I think the story again will be you have to run on something, not just against the other guy. If Biden got no bounce from the convention, these people should be rethinking their approach very quickly.

      1. Procopius

        Even if he was lying, I think the bar is so low people wouldn’t care.

        That’s what I said to my Facebook friends last week. The complete refusal to address people’s real concerns by both sides is really puzzling. I would think whichever side just acknowledged that there are something like 25 million people with ongoing unemployment claims — just said it — would immediately gain ten points in the polls.

    5. Henry Moon Pie

      Not just the Zogby numbers. CNBC’s battleground state polls show Trump within a point or two in almost all of those states.

      Another data point: Harris’s speech yesterday. It began with her looking a little over her head with her eyes darting back and forth between the camera and the teleprompter and her stuttering. Eventually, she improved before she got to her “Trump will end Social Security” punch line, a Democratic mainstay for 50 years when they get in deep electoral manure.

  13. Laputan

    RE: A final thread on the Coleman affair by Ryan Grim…

    Sure are lots of blue checks in that thread playing the result and congratulating themselves on their wild guess that Coleman was incorrigible based on what he did as a 12-year old. I wonder if any of them detect the irony that it looks like it was Grim’s own reporting that first broke the story that Coleman is in fact still an abusive misogynist

    However it turned out, Greenwald and Grim were right not to use one event to inform their entire judgement and condemn him outright without any further investigation. I’d bet dollars to donuts that a lot of those who are slapping themselves on the back over this one were on the wrong side of the Morse story.

    1. vidimi

      the whole debate was a shambles. it was the first issue in a long time, maybe ever, that i completely disagreed with greenwald on. yes, grown up adults should not be haunted by mistakes they did when they were 12, but at 19, he is not yet a grown adult. despite being of legal age to own a gun and enroll in the military, his age still ends with the word ‘teen’. besides, nobody said he should be punished for something he already paid his dues, but that doesn’t mean he should be elevated to public office. overlooking this fact just because his politics appear good makes us hyppocrites, and we should leave that to republicans and liberals.

      on the other hand, the people gloating over being right are worse since, as you point out, it was Grimm’s own reporting that proved them right. not being graceful when someone changes their mind is one reason why there can’t be reasonable debate online.

  14. DJG

    The article from Time about aerosols is surprisingly easy to read. But then Jimenez is a chemist, and I have found in my work as an editor that chemists are good explainers. They like making the invisible visible. Also, Jimenez, being a chemist, is attuned to phases of matter. In a way, he’s saying: Don’t worry so much about fomites (solids). Don’t worry so much about droplets (liquids). But it’s gases (smoke in his metaphor) that carrying along the tiny virus into your system for processing gases–the lungs.

    And he give a handy mnemonic, which will be somewhat familiar given discussions (months-long discussions) here at Naked Capitalism.

    To quote Jimenez:
    A new, consistent and logical set of recommendations must emerge to reduce aerosol transmission. I propose the following: Avoid Crowding, Indoors, low Ventilation, Close proximity, long Duration, Unmasked, Talking/singing/Yelling (“A CIViC DUTY”). These are the important factors in mathematical models of aerosol transmission, and can also be simply understood as factors that impact how much “smoke” we would inhale.

    1. a different chris

      >Avoid Crowding, Indoors, low Ventilation, Close proximity, long Duration

      Oh perfect advice for everybody in range of the California fires!!! (not dunning Dr. Jimenez, that is actually quality stuff but it shows how family blogged 2020 is).

    2. ChrisPacific

      Avoid Crowding, Indoors, low Ventilation, Close proximity, long Duration, Unmasked, Talking/singing/Yelling

      I don’t think there can be any debate that most super-spreader events meet most or all of these criteria. Certainly it describes the primary transmission event for all the clusters here almost perfectly (for a while there appeared to be one exception, a school cluster, but it eventually came out that they had hosted a large indoor cultural festival just before the outbreak).

      I like the smoke analogy. Go back to how things used to be in bars, clubs etc. before smoking indoors was banned, and imagine there are a small percentage of smokers at your event. Would you expect to come home with your clothes smelling of smoke? If so, it’s a high risk situation for Covid and should be avoided.

  15. Daryl

    > On the other hand, the words associated with Biden are guazy and insubstantial, suggesting that it may still be possible for the Trump campaign to define him (and I can’t imagine calling Biden a “socialist” will do that; fire whoever had that idea immediately).

    Stoller on Twitter pointed out that Trump’s campaign messaging has changed a lot after the mind meld with the R party. In 2016, he was running against the system, a very popular platform. In 2020, he’s running against the “radical left,” a platform that seems to mainly be popular with people who are already going to vote Republican and of course DNC leadership, but otherwise doesn’t really matter to the average voter.

    1. vidimi

      his re-election slogan is “keep america great” which, outside his rabid base, will resonate as well with voters as HRC’s remark that america was already great in 2016. luckily for him, biden is giving him a sporting chance by not proposing a single meaningful policy difference.

  16. rl

    Re. Alex Morse: In current progressive/woke discourse, homophobia = cool and normal when directed at “cis” gay men (and “cis” lesbians); “white gays” are a particularly popular 3 minutes’/140 characters’ hate.

      1. rl

        Efficacy and success are nothing compared to the bacchanalian pleasures of identifying and purging the unworthy (the problematic, if you will) from one’s own ranks. /s

      2. Mistake not . . .

        He’d be tremendously efficient on one key metric: his very arrival would mean Richie Neal could no longer occupy his spot as chair of Ways & Means, doing things like blowing up deals to fix surprise medical billing. Every likely replacement is better on critical issues.

        He is very smart, and he’d likely be a good legislator. And he’d be one more vote for the newly-forming left-insurgent bloc. So, effective enough to be worth the gamble, I’d say.

    1. The Rev Kev

      In wartime if some of those guys were shot, would they be just hanging in the air? Macabre.

      1. jr

        Yeah, circling their intended target on auto pilot, limbs dangling, corpses pirouetting hither and thither like strange insects until the fuel runs out and they plunge into the dying seas…

  17. Michael Hudson

    Re Kenosha turning into a race war, I don’t see the situation dying down. My guess is that some black leader will step up and say, “The new name for the KKK is “Police Department.” We need our own protection.
    How long will that take?

    From the WSJ just now
    On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and the national ACLU called for the immediate resignation of Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis and Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth over their handling of the shooting of Jacob Blake and Tuesday night’s shooting.

    Mr. Miskinis has been criticized by protesters and civil-rights groups over comments he has made at news conferences, including a remark that armed civilians were out to “exercise their constitutional right and to potentially protect property,” and that he wouldn’t comment on the video of Mr. Blake’s shooting because it was just a “snippet of a very large situation.”

    Activists have also condemned the police department over videos released on social media that showed Kenosha police officers offering water to a group of white men, some of who were armed, and thanking them. “We appreciate you guys, we really do,” one person can be heard saying.

    In response, Mr. Miskinis said at a news conference that his officers “would toss a water to anybody.”

    Another point of contention: the fact that videos from Tuesday’s shooting showed an armed man approaching officers with his hands up, only to be allowed to walk away freely.

    “There’s screaming, there’s hollering, there’s chanting, there’s a squad car running…and there are people running all over the place, so that absolutely…I can picture all kinds of reasons I wouldn’t be focusing on someone doing that,” Mr. Beth said, adding that he wasn’t personally there at the time of the shooting.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      He really wants to run on “We let the perpetrator who walked right up to us and was trying to give himself up go because we are too busy”. I mean might as well resign right now.

    2. Carolinian

      Kenosha is seven percent black. Will it be a rather one sided war? Also note that those involved in the recent shooting were not from Kenosha. The shooter was from Illinois and one of the dead had lived in Arizona where he had a felony record. Meanwhile Biden’s only response is to say that violence and looting are all Trump’s fault.

      Being mere rhetoric this is a weak argument and makes it seem as though this is the only argument the Dems have–that everything, Covid, riots, the economy, is Trump’s fault. Probably the only thing that really is Trump’s fault is our terrible foreign policy which Biden mostly backs. Given so little choice when it comes to real policies the voters may well decide to reject the candidate who won’t denounce burning and looting.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Slim lives near the UA.

      Here’s what worries me: The students living off campus. In my walks around the neighborhood, I’ve already seen a couple of parties — loud music, no masks, and no social distancing.

      One of those parties was at this house:


      The student quoted in the above story moved out over the summer. However, his successors seem to be perpetuating the house’s reputation.

      I can’t wait for this weekend. (Sarcasm off.)

  18. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    I am not a snob about anything. Except tomatoes. I absolutely love fresh tomatoes picked from the vine. I usually won’t buy a tomato in the off season at a store and when I do it’s because somebody else wants one.

    1. BobW

      Home-grown tomato slices alongside scrambled eggs, one my best memories of visiting the South as a child.

      1. jr

        Thinly sliced on sourdough with genoa salami, yellow mustard, and a pinch of salt.

        If you want to get serious, fry the salami like bacon. It gets sooo crispy your toes will wiggle.

        You can fry any luncheon meat by the way, delicious.

  19. flora

    re: “Even as president, Donald Trump takes a familiar stance: The political outsider”

    And how not, considering both major policital parties immediately, on election results in 2016, declared his election an “invalid result”. /meh

    1. flora

      adding: what this shows is the real hunger for New Deal Dems, even in KS\; New Deal Dems could win in many many places but we’re left with young people unafraid to say the obvious to win primaries even when the young candidates are saddled with horribly sinking baggage.

      Please get a clue, you older and more socially decent candidates. Waiting for better times to run is no longer an option.

    1. Pat

      In a sane world, not only would United have to pay back not only the monies they got, but double the amount with the people who made that decision having to pony up everything paid them for 2020 towards that penalty.

      Mind you in a truly sane world it wouldn’t even have been a consideration because there would be standing draconian penalties for outsourcing jobs all the time

      But we do not win in a sane world. And haven’t for a long time.

  20. Jessica

    Lambert “The Great Assimilation™ continues…”
    Worth remembering that the way the original Populist movement was defeated was that it was assimilated into the Democratic Party. The usual history is that the Populists took over the Democrats, but Lawrence Goodwyn’s excellent book* makes clear what really happened.
    William Jennings Bryant of the Cross of Gold speech was funded by silver mining interests. Silver coinage was the public option of its day. What the pre-assimilation Populists wanted was basically Modern Monetary Theory.
    Eventually, the Populist’s rural base in the prairie was wiped out by the transformation of US agriculture from small farms to huge, extremely capital intensive farms, with much land transferred to absentee owners. That transformation was much delayed in the South, so racist violence was used there to suppress the Populists, racist violence led by Democrats.
    The other vulnerability of the Populists was the cultural gap between their native-born, largely Protestant rural base and the immigrant Catholic urban working class. In those days, African Americans were largely violently excluded from the political process, so it was the question of religion that the elites used to keep everyone else divided and confused.

    *Best book I know about what a real social movement looks like. Can’t recommend highly enough.

    1. Wukchumni


      To give you an idea of money in the west in particular, U.S. Army Indian Soldiers were paid in Federal banknotes circa 1860’s-70’s, which to exchange into specie that merchants wanted had said soldiers incurring a 30-40% loss from stated face value, which gives you an idea just how unpopular paper money was on the frontier.

  21. Wukchumni

    William Jennings Bryant of the Cross of Gold speech was funded by silver mining interests. Silver coinage was the public option of its day. What the pre-assimilation Populists wanted was basically Modern Monetary Theory.

    Actually more like ‘Modern Mining Theory’ as so much silver came out of the Comstock Lode in particular, that the biblical standard of 16 ounces of silver equaling 1 ounce of gold that had stood for a few thousand years had jumped the shark, to presently where the ratio is 71-1.

    We were practically swimming in silver in 1896…

    1. Jessica

      Wukchumni, you are saying that if they had mined all that silver at the 16:1 price ratio, that would have been de facto Modern Monetary Theory?

      1. Wukchumni

        MMT is creating money out of nothing, a lot of effort went into mining all that silver.

        Probably a closer variant would be the Bland-Allison Act in 1878 (also known as ‘The Crime of 73’) that authorized the US Treasury to buy silver and coin it into silver Dollars, for which there was scant need, and the majority of them just sat in the US Treasury building in Washington DC. As late as the early 1960’s, you could go there and buy brand new never used bags of 1,000 siliver Dollars dating from the 1880’s onwards for merely the face value.



  22. rowlf

    Father Ted stamps.

    Someone has the appropriate sense of humor:

    Written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, Father Ted was made by Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4. It won multiple awards including Baftas and rivals Fawlty Towers and Seinfeld for funniest comedy in viewer polls.

    In a survey commissioned by An Post, more than a third of respondents said they cited lines from the show on a weekly basis. Best-loved episodes included Hell, Speed 3, Kicking Bishop Brennan up the Arse and A Song For Europe.

    Pandemic lockdowns and restrictions had increased appreciation for letters and postcards, said McLynn. “Weirdly now is an excellent time to launch the stamps.”

    The actor experienced a Ted-esque moment on Thursday when an RTÉ radio interviewer said the nation looked forward to licking her and putting her on an envelope. She looked forward to it too, she replied.

    “I can’t believe he went there,” she said later. The stamps were self-adhesive but McLynn wondered if An Post could issue some lickable ones. “Maybe collectors’ items.”

    ‘That’s mad, Ted’: stamps launched for Father Ted’s 25th anniversary

    Father Ted star Pauline McLynn wants to pop her clogs on same date as Dermot Morgan and Frank Kelly

  23. vidimi

    the covid graphs are, unfortunately, almost meaningless if you want to do a comparison between states: you would need the number of new daily cases per 100,000 for that. It’s interesting only if you want to track the trend for a particular state.

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