2:00PM Water Cooler 8/31/2020

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:

Good news for Illinois, but the rest of the Midwest moving up in unison is a little concerning.

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.

* * *


“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): Whoops:

Biden (D)(2): “Cardi B In Conversation With Joe Biden” [Elle]. This exchange:

[CARDI B]: I have a whole list of things that I want our next president to do for us. But first, I just want Trump out. His mouth gets us in trouble so much. I don’t want to be lied to—we’re dealing with a pandemic right now, and I just want answers. I want to know when this will be over. I want to go back to my job. But I don’t want someone to lie to me and tell me that it’s okay not to wear a mask, that everything is going to be okay. I want a president to tell me what the steps are for us to get better, to tell me, “This is why it is taking so long, this is why other countries are doing better than ours.” Tell me the truth, the hard-core truth.

And also what I want is free Medicare. It’s important to have free [healthcare] because look what is happening right now. Of course, I think we need free college. And I want Black people to stop getting killed and no justice for it. I’m tired of it. I’m sick of it. I just want laws that are fair to Black citizens and that are fair for cops, too. If you kill somebody who doesn’t have a weapon on them, you go to jail. You know what? If I kill somebody, I’ve got to go to jail. You gotta go to jail, too. That’s what I want.

[JOE BIDEN]: There’s no reason why we can’t have all of that. Presidents have to take responsibility. I understand one of your favorite presidents is Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt said the American people can take anything if you tell them the truth. Sometimes the truth is hard. But right now, we’re in a position where we have an opportunity to make so much progress. The American public has had the blinders taken off.

“There’s no reason why we can’t have all of that.” Really? Did Biden check with The Lincoln Project on that? How about his donors?

Biden (D)(3): “Enemies, Foreign and Domestic w/Special Guest Ashley Stevens” (podcast) [The West Wing Thing]. • Hard to know where to file this, but this is a good overview of 2020, with some pointed commentary on Biden from Stevens (@The_Acumen).

Biden (D)(4): “Can Joe Biden make America decent like him? [Anand Giridharadas, The Ink]. • It’s like we’re having the “Is his heart in the right place?” conversation before the election, as opposed to what we did in January-March 2009.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump’s Gender Gap Risks Becoming Chasm, Adding to Campaign Woes” [Bloomberg]. “Polling shows that women, besides supporting Trump in much smaller numbers than men, also tend to rate Trump lower on key personal attributes. The biggest differences were on courage and on compassion for ordinary people, according to a Pew Research Center survey in June. The survey found that men are more likely to see those qualities in Trump, while women tend to see them in Biden.”

Trump (R)(2): Whoops:

Trump (R)(3): “Democratic-Led States Targeted in DOJ’s Review of Nursing Home Deaths” [Bloomberg]. “The Trump administration said orders by four states led by Democratic governors requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients may have caused the disease to spread, killing thousands of elderly residents.” • New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Don’t they want to win Florida?

* * *

“This is the widest presidential battleground in a very long time” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “With 64 days left before the 2020 presidential election, the number of swing states is far larger than we’ve seen in any recent election, a reflection of President Donald Trump’s asymmetrical politics and the rapidly changing demographics in the country. Former Vice President Joe Biden has reserved TV ad time in a whopping 15 states, according to Medium Buying, a Twitter handle that tracks where the campaigns are placing ad-time reservations. Trump has reserved ad spending in 11 states at this point — all states where Biden is also set to spend money on TV ads. The 11 states where both campaigns have ad reservations are: Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden has also reserved time in Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Virginia. ‘The presidential playing field at this point is massive,’ notes Medium Buying. Agreed! Now, before we go any further, it’s important to note that these are ad reservations, not ad buys. That is a critical difference. Reservations can be shifted or canceled entirely. Money used to reserve ads in one state can be moved to another state if the campaign sees a need. So, ad reservations shouldn’t be seen as a set-in-stone indicator of how the two campaigns view the map. Races evolve — and ad decisions evolve with them. But ad reservations are, generally speaking, a relatively reliable look at where the two campaigns believe their opportunities and vulnerabilities exist.”

MA: “Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary between Markey and Kennedy set for Tuesday” [NBC]. “A Suffolk University poll of likely Massachusetts Democratic voters released Wednesday showed Markey with a 51 percent to 41 percent lead, while a University of Massachusetts-Lowell poll of likely Democratic voters in the state released two days earlier showed him with a 12 percentage-point (52 percent to 40 percent) advantage.”

MA: Neal campaign’s ratfucking continues:

Neal’s shop said this ad was released by mistake. Neal’s campaign said they’d take it down. It’s still running. Naturally.

MA: “Alex Morse Has a Second Opponent: Local Media” [The Intercept]. “Chyrons in clips reviewed by The Intercept from local stations WWLP, Western Mass News, and CBS 3 emphasized Morse’s “sexual misconduct” and the existence of an “official investigation” into the mayor from both the Holyoke City Council and UMass. The conspiracy angle — the fact that the accusations were part of a long-running scheme by students, with the aid of the state party, to take down the Morse campaign — was barely mentioned. ”

* * *


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.

No stats of interest today.

* * *

Retail: “How ‘see now, buy now’ culture and superior social media apps put Chinese influencers way ahead of those in the West” [South China Morning Post]. “The winners and losers of the pandemic can be neatly divided along geographical lines – while the key opinion leaders (KOLs) of China are weathering the coronavirus storm quite well, influencers in Europe and America have seen their incomes fall drastically over the past five months. Is this just luck, or does it show a fundamental contrast in how influencers and KOLs operate that predates the pandemic?… That’s largely because the buying infrastructure on WeChat, Weibo and Little Red Book is superior to Western equivalents; in the West, driving sales through websites is the norm, but doing so through social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube is not. KOLs were therefore better placed to monetise their work at a time when brands were hesitant to spend on marketing.”

The Bezzle: “Blank Check IPOs, the Status Symbol of 2020, Have Raised $32 Billion This Year” [Bloomberg]. “The new big-money status symbol of 2020 is running your own blank check company. Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman has a new one. Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane, who was played by Brad Pitt in the film Moneyball, got into the game with an initial public offering in August. Even former U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is getting one going. So what’s a blank check? Formally known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, it’s an investment vehicle that goes public despite having no real business. The plan is to raise money from investors and use it to buy into another company, typically a private one that’s yet to be chosen. More than 40% of 2020’s IPOs by volume have been SPACs, raising $31.6 billion, more than double all of last year’s volume of $12.4 billion. And last year was a record breaker, too.” • A company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is…

Tech: “Anatomy of an AI system” (diagram) [Anatomy of AI]. • Enormous image; but see “Income Distribution” on the left.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 31 at 12:08pm. Still extreme Greed after everybody wanders home from the Nineteenth Hole.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Wild Weather. “A category 4 hurricane hits the U.S.:” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.)

The Biosphere

“Severe Cold Winter in North America Linked to Bering Sea Ice Loss” [American Meteorological Society]. “North America experienced an intense cold wave with record low temperatures during the winter of 2017/18, at the time reaching the smallest rank of sea ice area (SIA) in the Bering Sea over the past four decades. Using observations, ocean reanalysis, and atmospheric reanalysis data for 39 winters (1979/80–2017/18), both the Bering SIA loss and cold winters in North America are linked robustly via sea level pressure variations over Alaska detected as a dominant mode, the Alaska Oscillation (ALO)…. To explain severe cold winters in North America under global warming, it is necessary to get an understanding of climate systems with little or no sea ice.” • Here we go:

“The first snowfall of winter for Aspen most often arrives in October. At least one in four years also receive snow in September…. Aspen is normally free of snow every year during July and August.”

“They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?” [Pro Publica]. “The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up. At the same time, the climate grows hotter and drier. Then, boom: the inevitable…. Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres. The state passed a few new laws in 2018 designed to facilitate more intentional burning. But few are optimistic this, alone, will lead to significant change. We live with a deathly backlog. In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire.”

“Rampant destruction of forests ‘will unleash more pandemics'” [Guardian]. “A UN summit on biodiversity, scheduled to be held in New York next month, will be told by conservationists and biologists there is now clear evidence of a strong link between environmental destruction and the increased emergence of deadly new diseases such as Covid-19. Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of farming and the building of mines in remote regions – as well as the exploitation of wild animals as sources of food, traditional medicines and exotic pets – are creating a “perfect storm” for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people, delegates will be told. Almost a third of all emerging diseases have originated through the process of land use change, it is claimed. As a result, five or six new epidemics a year could soon affect Earth’s population.”

“Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets” [Current Biology]. “Humans have altered terrestrial ecosystems for millennia, yet wilderness areas still remain as vital refugia where natural ecological and evolutionary processes operate with minimal human disturbance, underpinning key regional- and planetary-scale functions. Despite the myriad values of wilderness areas—as critical strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for carbon storage and sequestration, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities—they are almost entirely ignored in multilateral environmental agreements. This is because they are assumed to be relatively free from threatening processes and therefore are not a priority for conservation efforts. Here we challenge this assertion using new comparable maps of global wilderness following methods established in the original “last of the wild” analysis to examine the change in extent since the early 1990s. We demonstrate alarming losses comprising one-tenth (3.3 million km2) of global wilderness areas over the last two decades, particularly in the Amazon (30%) and central Africa (14%). ”

Health Care

“Getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time: What are the risks?” [ABC]. “In all likelihood, being infected with both viruses at the same time would be more dangerous than just one. And experts warn that older Americans — already more vulnerable to both COVID-19 and the flu — may be particularly at risk. That’s why, especially this year, older adults are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot…. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 20% of patients were infected with another respiratory virus in addition to COVID-19, including one who had the flu — showing it is a possibility. ‘We could see rising COVID cases during flu season and some of that may depend on how effective we are at maintaining consistency in our prevention behaviors we know work,’ said [Dr. Jay Bhatt, former chief medical officer of the American Hospital Association]. ‘Increased indoor interaction and decreased humidity are potential factors that lead to a broad rise in respiratory illness,’ said [Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and Boston Children’s Hospital’s chief innovation officer]. ‘The concern is that we have these rising epidemics at the same time posing both increased individual risk and a deepening strain on health care capacity.’ However, limited evidence from Australia, which is in the midst of its own flu season, seems to indicate that social distancing for COVID-19 is helping curb the spread of the seasonal flu.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Paging General Sherman:

The 420

“Pot’s Short Squeeze Chance ‘Drastically’ Lower: Cannabis Weekly” [Bloomberg]. “The potential for a short squeeze in the cannabis sector has been ‘drastically reduced’ even as short interest has risen from this year’s lows, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners. Lower borrow fees and year-to-date profits for those who bet against the most-shorted stocks have reduced chances for a potential squeeze on the sector.”

“Pennsylvania Governor Calls for Marijuana Legalization to Cover Covid-19 Budget Shortfall” [The Appeal]. “[A]s businesses shuttered and thousands of people lost their jobs, [Pennsylvania] quickly ran through the roughly $250 million revenue surplus it had at the beginning of March. The state is now running a deficit, the unemployment rate has more than doubled since February, and more than 2 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since March. Though other state lawmakers are weighing marijuana legalization, Wolf appears to be the first state governor to call for legal pot sales to cover budget shortfalls from the pandemic. Marijuana legalization, Wolf said, in addition to money allocated to the state from the federal CARES Act, would allow the state to ‘actually do things that have to be done to help families and businesses that have been devastated by this pandemic.’ Wolf’s plan would allow people 21 years old or older to purchase marijuana from state-run stores, similar to the way wine and liquor are currently sold in the state.” • “State Ganja Stores!

“House set to vote on marijuana legalization” [Politico]. “The MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and erase some cannabis criminal records. The vote will come during the September work period, according to an email Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) office that was sent to members Friday.” And the final sentence: “The bill’s lead sponsor in the Senate is Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.,) the Democratic nominee for vice president.” • Oh.

Groves of Academe

“Colleges crack down on student behavior as virus threatens more closures” [Politico]. “The biggest threat to universities’ carefully drawn reopening plans? Their students. School leaders are dishing out suspensions, kicking students out of dorms and sanctioning Greek organizations over large gatherings during a budding semester that already has seen colleges close amid thousands of confirmed Covid-19 cases and dozens of deaths. In some cases students face the ultimate penalty of expulsion for disobeying mask rules while their schools set up tip lines and scour social media for any hint of parties or social distancing violations, both on and off campus.” • When are we going to crack down on administrators’ behavior–

“Nobody Could Have Predicted” [Eschaton]. “Because everyone loves to blame The Kids – and of course kids can be dipshits – the individual responsibility rhetoric is always emphasized…. That some number of students are dipshits was known by the responsible adults making these plans. That each student dipshit is going to infect some number of other ‘blameless’ students is regularly ignored. Contagions, how the fuck do they work?”

“Colleges With Covid Outbreaks Advised to Keep Students on Campus” [Bloomberg]. “A consensus is building among public health experts that it’s better to keep university students on campus after a Covid-19 outbreak rather than send them home as many are doing. It’s easier to isolate sick or exposed students and trace their contacts if they stay put, said Ravina Kullar, epidemiologist and spokesperson for Infectious Diseases Society of America. Sending students home risks exposing other people there as well as along the way, and makes contact tracing all but impossible. ‘There’s just inevitably going to be an outbreak,’ she said. ‘Colleges need to take on the burden of having these students kept at their campus and taking care of them.'”

“Commentary: Here is why every university should abandon standardized tests like the SAT and ACT” [San Diego Union-Tribune]. “Standardized tests like the SAT are biased, drive inequality, and force students to overcompensate and jeopardize their high school educations. SAT/ACT scores only predict grades earned in a student’s freshman year. They’re worse predictors for Black and Brown students, and are good proxies for the amount of wealth students are born into. The wealthier a family, the higher the SAT score. These tests weed out low-income students with potential instead of creating equitable access for all to attend and perform in college. This is why every university should abandon these standardized tests.” • My SAT scores were excellent….

Class Warfare

“The Art of Losing” [Harpers]. Re-upped from 8/25: “The city of Kenosha is a gray, exurban strip of Lake Michigan frontage with barely a hundred thousand residents. Until this magazine offered to send me there, I had never heard of it. But Kenosha was once an iconic union town—home to a massive United Auto Workers local, to say nothing of the Jockey, Snap-on, and American Brass plants that had, not too long ago, made it one the world’s great manufacturing centers. You can probably guess that most of this has passed into history. And you can also probably guess why this magazine might send me there: In 2016, after having supported Democrats in almost every election for almost every office for forty-four straight years, Kenosha County broke for Donald Trump. This was by a margin of only 238 votes, in a state that he won by only 22,748 votes, despite statewide polls days before the election that showed Hillary Clinton leading by at least five percentage points. Kenosha County and neighboring Racine County were among only a small fraction of counties in the country that voted for Trump after voting for Obama in both 2008 and 2012.” •

Identity politics, shot:


Another round:

News of the Wired

If today is a holiday for you, enjoy:

The MacMansions of suburbia are filled with padded rooms:

Good call:

* * *

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 (Jen):

Jen writes: “One thing I really like about working from home is having more time to enjoy my flower gardens, instead of just taking a quick peak to see what’s blooming before I race off in the morning, and hopefully a little more time in the evening before the day’s blossoms fade. It’s truly been a spectacular year for daylilies.” If film was still a thing, I’d say this was Fuji.

* * *

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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. Quanka

    Ski bums like JL could probably pick out the issue with your first snow in Aspen link and the preceding picture. “Snow in Aspen” means accumulating snow on the ground in the city. Snow on the surrounding peaks rising to 14,000 ft is not the same thing. My guess would be at least 1/2 of Augusts see at least a dusting of snow on at least some of the the highest peaks of the state of Colorado.

    The ALO link was fascinating tho – never heard of the Alaskan oscillation.

    1. Wukchumni

      It would be pretty shocking to see accumulations of new snow in the Sierra Nevada in August on the highest peaks, but it occurs rarely. Hail happens though in the summer on occasion.

      I used to think I could predict winters here, but it’s a fools errand.

    2. periol

      I agree the snow in the Rockies is probably correlation not causation here, although current long-range weather forecasts (GFS, GEM, ECMF) show the effects have arrived (with the caveat the long-range forecasts do not always materialize). The ice in the Bering Sea melts every summer without fail (at least in our new Arctic normal over the past few decades), so these ALO impacts would be felt more when ice is refreezing. Warming oceans everywhere mean the Bering Sea is anomalously warm, and that has been pushing the refreeze back later and later.

      If the study holds true, there will probably be weather impacts from low Bering Sea ice levels this year, but you never know. Like most stuff happening in the Arctic region, we only really know what’s happening after the fact, and there’s lots of regional variability year-to-year despite the steady overall systemic decline in sea ice.

      (for those interested, here is a link to a long-range forecast showing a deep cold pool forming over central North America in a little more than a week – red is warmer, blue is colder).


      1. polecat

        The hens are molting .. All three of them, simultaneously .. the bees (from swarms ..) are building comb rapidly .. and the shruberies/trees .. are as in the beginnings of fall color!
        Me thinks Winter is Coming, here in the PNW … soon like!

        Time to chop kindling …

    3. chuck roast

      Severe cold winters in North America? What planet are these people on? I’ll have a better chance of skating on a pond again when I get to hell.

  2. Billy

    “If film was still a thing, I’d say this was Fuji.”
    It is still a thing for real photogrpahers, maybe not for iDiots with their phone cameras however.

    “Fujifilm, on the other hand, is looking at another segment to grow its film business: instant photography. “It’s a huge market for us,” says Almeida. Fujifilm believes it sold more than 6.5 million instant cameras last year, up from 3.9 million in 2014 (a full accounting of those sales will be published at the end of the month.) And new products continue to come out of Fujifilm’s factories. Last year, it launched a black-and-white instant film, and in the coming months it will unveil a new film that will mimic Polaroid’s famous square format.”


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It is still a thing for real photogrpahers, maybe not for iDiots with their phone cameras however.

      Well, that’s reassuring! I admit I can’t do the film development thing so for me digital it a godsend!

  3. ChrisAtRU

    Oh my! What a treasure trove today! ;-) Let’s dive in …

    Biden (D) (1)

    LOL … the kids are calling this Activate Phase “Find Out”

    (In response, of course, to Dems activating Phase “FamilyBlog-Around”)

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Biden (D) (2)

      “Did Biden check with The Lincoln Project on that? How about his donors?”

      To borrow a phrase from her majesty Belcalis Almánzar, I so believe his donors have the WAP … So HMMMV.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden is going to an old play book and blaming the little people for not being ready. Its not his responsibility.

        As President, he wouldn’t deign to do interviews with Cardi B. Like Obama, he’s only going to sit down with the likes of Jonathan Chait.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Politicians with presidential aspirations are much like comets whose periods are equivalent to election cycles.

  4. Louis Fyne

    for any children books aficionados…Kenosha,s neighbor, Racine, used to be the HQ of Western Publishers aka Golden Books.

    I imagine after a series of M&A all those jobs are/were in NYC as a subsidiary of one of the media conglomerates

    1. Carolinian

      I luuuved Golden Books…have picked up a few vintage editions at our library used book store.

    2. Wukchumni

      Racine also used to be the home of Whitman Publishing, but no longer.

      Whitman Publishing is a book and game publisher that primarily produces coin and stamp collecting books and materials.The company is owned by Anderson Press.

      From the early 1900s to the late 1980s, Whitman was a popular children’s book publisher. For decades it was a subsidiary of Western Publishing Company. Its genres included westerns, mysteries, science fiction, adventure stories, and various others. Whitman also published Whitman Authorized Editions with stories featuring fictionalized versions of popular actresses of the 1940s (i.e. Judy Garland), and later similar books based upon popular television shows, such as The Munsters. Hawaii Five-O, The Roy Rogers Show, Lassie, and book adaptations of many Walt Disney films. One of its most popular mystery series was Trixie Belden. They also published illustrated card games including War, Hearts, Fish, Old Maid, and Crazy Eights.


    3. km

      The Little Golden Encyclopedia was the script to my childhood.

      Reading the list of authors, it is clear that Golden Books went out and got the best scientists, educators, historians, geographers, theologians, and other experts of the day to write those volumes.

      Of children’s books.

  5. Samuel Conner

    Listening to an NPR news segment about 2PM today, there was a brief clip of JB criticizing DT’s response to the civil unrest.

    I’m pretty sure I heard JB accuse the president of “stroking violence”.

    Perhaps I misheard, and if I didn’t (perhaps others can corroborate) perhaps it’s just a minor malapropism of the kind to be expected from JB. But IMO if he did say this, it’s a particularly unfortunate malapropism, given JB’s reputation with the ladies.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Breitbart and HotAir heard it that way too. Not too happy about the company I’m keeping today.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Standard Saul Alinsky play book, accuse the other side of what you are guilty of.

      Ukraine, lol, Obama CIA coup plus Hunter Biden $$$ plus Dad’s coverup…and what we got was TRUMP IS SO BAD IN UKRAINE!!!

      So now it’s the Dems “we didn’t incite people to go and stay in the streets and smash statues and shops…YOU DID!”

  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    If anyone here isn’t already reading Ian Welsh, I hope everyone here begins to do so.

    Here is a pair of back-to-back comments inspired by the BLM — Proud Antifa Boys standoff at Kenosha.
    * * * * * * * * * *
    Plague Species PERMALINK
    August 31, 2020
    Where is #BWLM (Black Women’s Lives Matter) when you need them? Oh, that’s right, no such organization exists. #BLM may as well be #BDMLM (Black Deadbeat Male’s Lives Matter).

    Jacob Blake was a deadbeat. A misogynist. A scumbag. He is a woman abuser. A thief. A bully. A deadbeat.

    Progressives can go f*ck themselves. They have so poisoned this important discussion about police abuse that there is no way to resolve it constructively. They have done so by choosing the wrong cases, or by following the lead of the liberal faction of the media as to which cases they choose to turn into a spectacle. This is not the right case. This case is about an abusive deadbeat man. No one should be defending him. Yes, the police didn’t have to shoot him eight times in the back. That’s ridiculous. But they did have a legal duty and an obligation to detain him and restrain him. He is a criminal. A criminal with an arrest warrant. The police were called to the scene because he was at it again. This is not some innocent bloke minding his own business. He is not a gentle giant. He’s a dirtbag, especially when you consider his parents appear to be fine people who have more than likely tried everything under the sun to keep their son out of trouble and he defied them thus spitting in their faces and taking advantage of their indulgence of his recalcitrance.


    According to the probable cause statement on May 3, 2020 a Kenosha police officer responded to the very same address where Blake was shot at on August 24, 2020 for a report that an ex-boyfriend had broken into the residence and stole vehicle keys, a vehicle debit card before fleeing.

    The complainant is listed in the report only by initials met with officers, crying, visible shaken and dressed only in a nightgown..

    The victim explained to police the previous evening she had left at approximately 8pm to attend a party in Milwaukee and had rented a vehicle for the weekend because she didn’t think her vehicle would make it up there and back because of mechanical issues.

    The victim said she had her sister spend the night and watch her kids when she was gone.

    She said she returned back home at about 4.11am, her sister was sleeping in the living room on the couch with numerous children. She said she took her son with her into the first bedroom down the hallway and went to sleep.

    The report states at about 6am the victim was woken up by Jacob Blake.

    Blake was standing over her saying, ‘I want my sh*t.’ As the victim laid on her back, Blake, ‘suddenly and without warning, reached his hand between her legs, penetrated her vaginally with a finger, pull it out and sniffed it, and said, ”Smells like you’ve been with other men.”

    The officer noted in the report the victim had a very difficult time telling him this and cried as she told how the defendant (Blake) assaulted her and then the defendant immediately left the bedroom.

    She told the police being penetrated digitally caused her pain and humiliation and was done without consent.

    Plague Species PERMALINK
    August 31, 2020
    Also, I am no Thomas Golloday. The teen Rittenhouse deserves no defense and apologia either. He traveled all the way from Illinois to Kenosha and “patrolled” the streets with a locked & loaded long gun strapped to his flabby, milky-white being. It was a beyond the pale provocation and he was encouraged and enabled by far right militia groups and the police in Kenosha who are one and the same apparently. If the protesters had actual brains instead of shit for brains, first, they wouldn’t be protesting this case of all cases and second, they would have immediately ripped the gun from this numb nuts and promptly destroyed it. Instead, in goon-like fashion, they kicked him in the head and punched him, showing them to be the cowardly morons they are. I cannot and will not ever stand with cowardly morons like this anymore than I would stand with cowardly morons like Rittenhouse and the goons/thugs who egged him on.

    How curious it is that the militias are tied at the hip with the police to the point they are apparently an extension of them. I was under impression the purpose of the militias was a resistance to the police state, amongst other things. We can clearly see now the militias’ purpose. It’s an extension of the police state, not a resistance to it.

    * * * * * * * *

    The points made above are reminiscent of points made several years ago in these threads by a commenter named Working Class Nero ( as I recall), who noted that the BLM movement seemed most fixated on those individual victims of police abuse who were themselves barely-human sacks of shit of one kind or another. Meanwhile, BLM maintains as much absolute silence as it possibly can over . . . Sarah Bland, for example. What is the political reason for this? Whose secret agenda is the Black Lives Matter, Incorporated so-called “movement” secretly paid and organized to secretly serve?

    Go read Ian Welsh and read all the comments. Every post. Every time.

    1. Phil in KC

      Already there, brother. Welsh is bookmarked and I look forward to his posts. He’s Canadian, and so he is like a USian but without the usual angers, vengeance, or biases. Commonsensical almost to a fault, and as this repost shows, even-handed and nuanced in his opinions. Why he isn’t more widely known and read is a mystery–or is it? He’s not as widely known as he should be precisely because he isn’t angry, vengeful or biased!

      1. neo-realist

        Anybody who criticizes the elites, no matter how insightful and smart they are, will not get much traction from the establishment mouthpieces and not get the notoriety he or she deserves, e.g., Caitlin Johnstone.

        Yes Welsh is usually an excellent read.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Sorry about that. But yes, Ian Welsh’s basic blog page is the place to start. I know our hosts here sometimes read Ian Welsh because they sometimes send us there. It only contains 1 post a day. At that rate of slow buildup, everyone here can afford to read it from a time-investment standpoint. And I hope everyone here does. Or starts to.

    2. polecat

      Yep! Every thug a Saint!

      …along with with the young ish white virtuers kicking it in the mix! .. because .. no skin in games.

    3. Annus Horribilis

      Rights are universal. Even the worst of us deserve rights, which is the essential quality of rights, distinguishing rights from privileges. No negotiation, no qualifiers, sliding spectrums, or judgment calls. If these flashpoints were black and white cases, instead of a grey moral toxic fog endemic to a frustration with reality, the flashpoints would not be flashpoints.

      Also, it is dubious that the officers would know the details of the warrant when the “10-99: wanted / stolen” came over the radio.

      1. zagonostra

        Rights are not universal. They are conferred to citizens of a political jurisdiction by laws.

        The universality of rights actually has it’s origins in Roman Law and Christian doctrine to a large measure, at least in Western history and tradition.

    4. Anonymouse

      > They have done so by choosing the wrong cases, or by following the lead of the liberal faction of the media as to which cases they choose to turn into a spectacle. This is not the right case.

      Seems to me the police brutality cases that are caught on video are the ones that catch afire. This convo brings to mind Rosa Parks school and the concept of respectability politics. (IIRC: prior to Parks, an unwed mother was passed up to be the face of the protest against the Montgomery bus company.)

    5. Kurt Sperry

      Perfect example of the “double murder”; first kill the body, then assassinate the character to get away with the first murder. Even if every word were true, it is irrelevant. The character of the murder victim isn’t exculpatory or even relevant.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, there you go! If the Bland case got the steady mediagenic protest attention that some other cases got/get, I would have heard her name often enough that I would know it correctly.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Jacob Blake

      The operative frame here is “he was no angel,” amiright? Still, seven shots in the back seems… disproportionate. While his kids were in the car, too (“I think we’ve learned an important lesson here today”).

  7. Wukchumni

    “They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?” [Pro Publica]. “The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up.

    Prescribed burns in the High Sierra and elsewhere in the state tend to generate a lot of angst down under in smoked out cities that have to endure it, but it’s time to put on our big boy pants and get over it and get down to business at hand, which as luck would have it, most of the preparation for such a burn is done by hand, hard physical labor in getting it just right. (not that the fires always go as planned, which is why they don’t call them ‘controlled burns’ anymore)

    This fire a couple years ago was the perfect template for letting a lightning strike caused conflagration run its course over a period of 6 weeks, eventually scorching nearly 2,000 acres nowhere near structures.

    Eden Fire was finally declared as 100% contained early in December 2018. By then, it has burned through an estimated 1,777 acres of brush, dead logs, snags, mixed conifer and some sequoia trees. Throughout the course of Eden Fire, no suppression efforts were made, which means that no firefighters were placed at risk. The park welcomed the Eden Fire incident as it created a modern fire history in the area, which in turn, will make management of significantly more dangerous fires in hotter months more manageable.

    Prior to Eden Fire, the area had over a century of extreme fuel loading. The burn eased the fuel load and significantly reduced the risks and costs that are associated with suppressing future fire incidents in the park. The fire ecologists in Sequoia National Park also believe that the Eden Fire made the area more resilient to climate change and more sustainable.


  8. Eureka Springs

    “I’m not showing up because Bernie’s not on the ticket.”

    Does anyone under the age of eighty naturally use the word “ticket” that way?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Does anyone under the age of eighty naturally use the word “ticket” that way?

      Hunter Thompson would be 82 today, so maybe a slogan of his I seem to remember — “Vote the Straight Freak Ticket!” — doesn’t count, and I can’t find it anywhere. Anyhow, poking around the Internet, I found this story in the Peorian (!) about Thompson’s 1969 run for Sheriff in Aspen on the Freak Party ticket:

      Here is an excerpt of from one of the Freak Power ads: “And now we are reaping the whirlwind-big-city problems too malignant for small-town solutions, Chicago-style traffic in a town without stoplights, Oakland-style drug busts continually bungled by simple cowboy cops who see nothing wrong with kicking handcuffed prisoners in the ribs while the sheriff stands by watching, seeing nothing wrong with it either.”

      The Freak Party campaign was unique and unsettling. The Party posters bore a red fist clutching a peyote button. Thompson shaved his head clean. He proposed changing the name of Aspen to Fat City to scare off investors. It’s hard to gauge if people actually believed this. On the question of drugs, as Thompson wrote, “We ran straight at the bastards with an out-front mescaline platform.” Thompson relented a bit before the election, saying he would refrain from taking mescaline while on duty.

      In analysis, the group that really cost the Freaks the election wasn’t the conservatives but the old-school liberals who supported the Democratic candidate. They were so scared of the possibility of a Freak Power mayor they cannibalized their own candidate and voted Republican.

      Seems familiar somehow…

  9. jo6pac

    This so true, it’s sad. Who was one joe bidens closest friend in the senate back in the dark past.

    Albert Lee for the People


    If modern Democrats were around in the 1800s their solution to slavery would be Black slave owners.
    4:18 PM · Aug 10, 2020

    1. RMO

      Taking the lead from one of the responses I would say it would be more like this “We intend to expand the conversation in order to facilitate the development of a well considered plan to fight for greater diversity in the slavery industry and to increase access to entrepreneurial opportunities in the slave-dealing and slave-owning fields for people of color.”

    2. Code Name D

      -quietly raises hand-
      Um, the democrats WERE around in the 1800s. And they DID back the slave owners.

      1. marym

        “Outraged at reports of black WWII vets being assaulted, Truman launched a presidential commission on civil rights in 1946-7. Then — to the nation’s shock — he pressed hard for all its recommendations, including protecting black voting rights and desegregating the military.

        Liberal Democrats rallied around Truman’s call, with then-Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey urging the 1948 DNC “to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”

        After Humphrey’s speech, the convention adopted a strong civil rights plank. It was a turning point for the party, the first major fight on civil rights in which northern liberals beat back southern conservatives and took control of the party on race relations.

        Famously, of course, Southern Democrats bolted the party in anger, forming the States Rights Democratic Party — “the Dixiecrats” — under the leadership of avowed segregationist Strom Thurmond, seen here railing against Truman’s civil rights proposals: https://youtube.com/watch?v=SG-clHmRqo


  10. XXYY

    “I’m not showing up because Bernie’s not on the ticket.”

    Looks like the Democratic media is teeing up their usual thing of blaming voters for not pulling the lever for their atrocious candidate, rather than blaming themselves for running candidates no one is excited about and who have pointedly rejected everything the population wants. “Entitled” doesn’t even express it. Evidently some voters still fail to realize it’s their one and only job to ratify the Democratic Party’s choices, whatever they are.

    We can imagine a car manufacturer marketing a crappy car and then blaming the idiotic consumers who are giving it bad reviews and aren’t buying it. “These Chevy Bros are costing us more than we can afford! We need to put our differences aside!”

    1. ChrisAtRU

      “Looks like the Democratic media is teeing up their usual thing of blaming voters for not pulling the lever for their atrocious candidate”

      #Correct – complete with #RussiaRussiaRussia v2.0 being given early release credibility by the likes of Susan Rice.

    2. Oh

      I tend to believe that a demrat candidate who stands for universal healthcare would be leading Drumfh by a wide margin at this point, unlike this dolt.

  11. The Historian

    Well, the Dems have my head spinning again today. Did Biden understand what CardiB was saying? I don’t think there is a person alive in this country who thinks Joe Biden wants free healthcare or free college, never mind the rest. He sounds either senile or a blatant liar. How’s that going to help him win?

    And then this morning on Rising, I heard Adam Schiff talk about Kenosha. It isn’t the fault of people who are sick and tired of what it is happening to them; it is….ta dah! …..the RUSSIANS!


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Sure. He’s blaming the voters. Oh no, we would have good stuff but rednecks arble garble.

    2. Acacia

      “There’s no reason why we can’t have all of that.”

      — No reason except Joe Biden, of course.

      1. John k

        I’m gonna blame the voters, not joe. He and Bernie are known commodities, the older dem voters showed up and voted for joe, the younger ones that did show voted bernie, but too many didn’t bother. Or never registered. Odd to me they take the time to fill stadiums and then don’t take the time to vote… or those that went did vote, there just weren’t enough of them?
        Granted in most cases indies couldn’t vote.
        And granted Bernie was doing fine until SC, stopped in the southern states that have no chance of voting dem. If you really want to know who has the best chance of winning, you’d put the swings first. Granted winning is just no. 2.

        1. HotFlash

          Odd to me they take the time to fill stadiums and then don’t take the time to vote…

          Well, odd, if true.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Thank you for this. It’s a nice response to the “We tried to warn you”/Trump is a fascist authoritarian and the US is about to slide into a dictatorship fear piece from this morning. Trump does not have the support of the military or the intelligence community and I do not see that changing.

      1. neo-realist

        The Pentagon and the Intelligence agencies may not love him, however, Trump does have the support of local police departments around the country, including the NYC police union and we’ve seen how they’ve wrecked havoc on progressive demonstrators on the ground. A second Trump term could potentially give the green light to cops to engage in greater amounts of unchecked brutality, particularly against POC and demonstrators (the progressive ones, no doubt). The cops know that a Trump Justice Department will look the other way, so it will be open season on those in the street battling for change. Not only that, but you will have the federal cops getting into the fun, at the behest of Trump, engaging in more police state style kidnapping of demonstrators. Hell, they arrested a bunch of out of town chefs in Kenosha (Riot Kitchen) for preparing to cook for the demonstrators. I believe Trump is holding back a bit since he’s trying the win the election, but if he’s re-elected, it will be a very rough four years for anybody engaging in lawful protest.

        Yes, Trump is a fascist authoritarian and the potential slide into severe authoritarianism is possible in a second term, and no I’m not a fan of Biden.

      2. sierra7

        Fr. John Carpenter (and others)
        F&*( the military (and all the “Warrior” bulls&^%) and the same for the “intelligence” communities!
        They are precisely what is wrong with this country!
        Wake up America!

  12. JTMcPhee

    Missing from the context of Kenosha is any mention of what was once a pretty big operation, the manufacturing plant of American Motors Corp. Employed thousands. Company died a horrid death from a number of factors, including leadership by George Romney, Mittens’ daddy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Motors_Corporation They built some interesting small cars, then tried to go head to head with the former Big 3 in the large behemoth vehicle area. Remember the AMC Pacer, “It’s too wide,” or Ricardo Montanan peddling the “Córdoba” between gigs on “Fantasy Island?“

    Actually, Romney was a pretty good guy for a Republican — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Romney

    And AMC was a bit of a conglomerate, with things to be learned about disindustrialization from its presence and disappearance from Detroit: http://www.dailydetroit.com/2016/08/09/bustling-factory-abandoned-eyesore-story-old-amc-headquarters-detroit/

    Lots of good labor history there too, with lessons that ought to be learned…

    1. km

      IIRC, Romney did a fairly good job managing AMC, and for a while, they sold cars as fast as they could stamp them out, even if William Kunstler described the Rambler as “a joke car for losers.”

      What killed AMC was what brought it together in the first place; it didn’t have enough resources to fight The Big Three, and eventually it was bought out by the weakest of The Big Three.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Fukk William Klunster. Several years ago I shared a train ride with someone from Vermont who told me about how he had once met two young hitchhikers who had shared an evening at Klunster’s house for some reason. Klunster had all kinds of nice wines and other nice things. They decided that Klunster was a “fabulous fake”.

        When I was young we owned a Rambler station wagon. It was a good car which gave us years of service. It was very big for its size. We may have been losers but that car was no joke.

        And fukk Klunster again for saying it was.

        1. Wukchumni

          ’61 Rambler here…

          Original headliner and only a few rips on the upholstery and light to moderate body damage. The speedometer broke long ago, but i’ll assure you it has a lot of miles on the chassis.

        2. edmondo

          My dad would ONLY buy Ramblers. I think his proudest moment was when he bought his 1966 Rambler Ambassador. He literally loved that car. It was a giant box – a tank on wheels. I once hit a car while driving it. I never noticed.

          1. polecat

            At one time, I was the proud second owner of a Rambler Classic, until it got totaled in a wreck.
            I really liked that ride!

            1. Democracy Working

              A musical offering celebrating a ’69 Rambler from the great Ben Vaughn Combo of Camden NJ:

              M-m-motor Vehicle

              “You’re gonna flip when you see that highway line rolling by through the hole in the floor/C’mon hop in the passenger side baby but be sure you really slam that door!”

        3. chuck roast

          I abandoned a Rambler in 1972 because I didn’t have the heart to sell the piece of $hit to anyone.

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, it looks like I sometimes get names wrong for purely memory-failure reasons. Just as I didn’t remember ( as noted above) that Ms. Bland’s first name was Sandra, not Sarah; so I clearly forgot that Mr. Klunster’s first name is James Howard, not William.

          So I stand corrected. Its James HOWard Klunster. NOT William Klunster.

          Well . . . fukk James HOWard Klunster. The Rambler was a serious car.

    2. RMO

      JTMMcPhee: The Cordoba (marketed with the help of the amazing Ricardo Montalban – go watch some of those ads on Youtube, when I do I find myself under his charismatic spell and I start thinking “yes… a Cordoba… if only I had a Cordoba all my problems would be solved..) was a Chrysler product not AMC. AMC started contract production for Chrysler in 1984 though and in 1987 Chrysler bought the 47% share of AMC that Renault had owned and by 1988 the only AMC brands still on the market were Eagle and Jeep. In 1998 Eagle went the way of all flesh leaving only Jeep – which is one of the few consistently profitable parts of the current company. I don’t think you can blame George Romney for the eventual downfall of AMC. He was in charge from 1954 to 1962 and he decided to have the company focus on economical compact cars, an area the big three weren’t too interested in. That worked out fairly well during that period.

  13. hunkerdown

    Finally, someone of even the relatively erstwhile stature of Peter Daou defines terms:

    The Democratic Party is not The Left.

    It’s an important distinction, and one that I’ve only recently fully understood.
    Similarly, ‘progressives’ are not necessarily ‘leftists.’
    This matters because conflating things that are actually different can lead to serious problems.

    Also, “liberal” does not mean progressive or leftist.

    Finally, we can shut that conceit way down.

    1. albrt

      But Joe Biden is the perfect guy to tell Donald Trump to get off America’s lawn. So the Democrats got that going for them, which is nice.

    1. Wukchumni

      Snakes on a blog!

      Saw a California Striped Racer briefly (they can really move-and a nightmare scenario involves one of them mating with a Rattlesnake) the other day @ 8,000 feet.

  14. Synoia

    “Can Joe Biden make America decent like him? [Anand Giridharadas, The Ink]

    I’d hoped for much better, than Biden and Harris who are a stunningly unattractive prospective governing pair.

    I’m thinking Biden is the evil ghost of Christmas past, and Harris the wicked witch of the west.

    To whom do I send a complementary broomstick?

    1. Pelham

      Occasionally, Trump utters something within shouting distance of the truth. And in response to the writer supposing that Biden is somehow decent, I’d offer up something Trump said in his acceptance speech last week. It was to the effect that Biden can be wonderful meeting one-on-one with working Americans and sympathizing with their plight. He gives them a hug. He even kisses some of them. But then when he returns to Washington, he votes to send their jobs to China.

      That’s about right. He also bars financially wrecked people from filing under bankruptcy law, he loves the carceral state, he’d like to cut Social Security, dismisses M4A in a pandemic and he’s historically always been on the lookout for nepotistic deals for relatives. That’s the man’s record. Biden may exude decency, but functionally there’s very little evidence of the stuff over his 47 years in DC. In other words, he’s just about the perfect Dem candidate.

        1. RMO

          Too many Americans in positions of power are already like Biden, that’s the whole problem. Imagine the hell that it would be if the majority of your citizens were like him!

      1. notabanker

        Excellent comment. And that record is best case scenario from someone who was in top mental form.

    2. Oh

      You can tell from the title (joe biden and decent can’t be used together in the same sentence) that Anand Giridharadas is just a shill for the Dim party. He tries to play both sides but his heart is with the Aspen Institute crowd that he hobnobs with. He’s the darling of the PMC.

  15. FreeMarketApologist

    Colleges crack down on student behavior as virus threatens more closures

    SUNY Oneonta (in upstate NY, a part of the NY state system) just implemented a 2-week suspension of in-person teaching, only a week after reopening, after the number of confirmed cases reached 105, “representing 3% of the faculty, staff and students who are on campus or using campus facilities”, according to university officials.

    Gov. Cuomo has stated guidelines that say colleges must shift to remote learning and suspend in-person campus activities for two weeks once they reach 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases or an outbreak equaling 5% of the population.

    So good for the guidelines, and good for the head of SUNY Oneonta for following them.

    1. ptb

      Good, better late than never.

      Overall it looks like colleges nationwide are less shy to repsond by going full-remote. Many examples [Inside Higher Ed].

      If university administrators nationwide are smart, they’ll just do remote semester as a precaution. Why wait until its 100 cases or 500 cases? If you detected 10 you’re going to have 100, its just a matter of time.

      Interestingly, a pre-emptive shutdown of live school, if successful, could actually have implications politically. IMO Biden’s campaign is de-facto dependent on Covid still appearing out of control in November.

      1. edmondo

        It may also be dependent upon all those college students being clustered in purple states. If they stay home, they vote from home. That hurts the “Champion of Gen X” Joe Biden. Why any fkn college student would ever vote for Joe Biden is a mystery.

  16. Wukchumni

    The $1-billion bet that people will return to downtown L.A. after COVID

    My dad was in the stock biz, and the Pacific Stock Exchange on Spring St was a lightweight competitor to the NYSE, and in the late 60’s-early 70’s a new building went up, just in time for stocks to lay an egg, and it ended up being the nicest building on skid row.

    Downtown LA was always a weird place, nobody lived there and half of it was kinda dangerous. And then came the developers in the 90’s.

  17. Phil in KC

    Regarding the Military Times/Syracuse U poll: Why is the military, and in particular the officer corps, trending toward Biden? One thing Trump can legitimately brag about is not starting any new wars overseas (he may be starting one here at home, though). Are they hoping that a Biden win will bring more deployments? Or are they simply fed up with the Commander-in-Chief?

    1. ptb

      Re: not starting any new wars overseas
      Not for lack of trying. Bolton and Pompeo’s programs essentially involve provoking Iran and China to get them to strike first. With China in particular, the military is starting going to go through some major changes in preparation, especially marines and navy. However I’m not sure if either the strategy of provocation, or the changes in preparation for war with China, are a source of dissatisfaction. Would be interesting if they asked that question, and also if they broke the data down further by service. Article didn’t say.

    2. anon in so cal

      >Military Times Poll

      Buried in the article it says the “poll “is a good sample of career-oriented military members’ views, which may be different from the junior enlisted view of things.”

      Perhaps the approval for Biden is from those w a stake in continued regime change wars? Very hard to resist 24/7 DNC-aligned MSM propaganda.

    3. VietnamVet

      After dozens of tours of duty overseas, another rotation to Syria would be unappealing. There already have been collisions with the Russians and the Syrians will never give up on getting their oil out of Donald Trump’s small hands. I keep thinking of the great John Ford movie “They Were Expendable”.

  18. John

    I would really like the pointless troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, to name but two of hundreds,to end. I would like to know why American policy must run in lock step with whatever Israel wants. I support Medicare for All. The idea of a Green New Deal does not deserve to be brushed aside like some noisome insect. I would like an explanation, not a Press release, an explanation, of why it was so easy to come up with two trillion in the spring and so impossible to do anything to relieve the distress of those unemployed, those becoming hungry, and those about to be evicted. I have directed these concerns to my purported representatives. Silence and/or press releases masquerading as replies follow.

    Government represents the rich, the donors, the corporations, the PMC. The rest of us are of no use save as cannon fodder and “essential workers”, which translates as do the dirty jobs that are beneath us and too bad about your crappy health care or no health care “because markets”.

    It is a sad state in which we find ourselves.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Saagar on The Rising points this out very well, with tens of millions newly unemployed they surveyed corporate CEOs and they are ecstatic. Mainstream meme is “look how delusional the CEOs are!” but as Saagar points out they are not delusional at all: business and prospects are brighter than ever for the big corps, their owners, and their customers: the top 20%.

      Q: how to keep a situation like that going? A: Set up an aristocracy and convince everyone else that you have a “divine right to rule”. In case you were wondering what The Man Who Would Be King, Bush’s 3rd and 4th Term, The Mellifluous Melanoderm (whatever you want to call him) is up to as he plays his kingmaker games from the tranquility of his Martha’s Vineyard mansion. Even better: play the race card, try to scythe the society in half, see how much destruction you can sow so people yearn for “unity”, meantime gather up all the barons (Zuckerberg, Dimon, Soros, Bloomberg, Bezos) and make them kiss the ring (which is now brightly painted in kente cloth colors). Unlimited Manna and The Biggest Of All Big Cons can continue unabated so long as Those Who Know They Are Right can exercise complete dominion, genuflection and Good BrownThink is what they demand from the dirty plebes, that’s all.

  19. ptb

    Re: Colleges / Covid / Advised to Keep Students on Campus
    Well yes, and that is another reason it was a mistake to take a chance on opening in the first place.

    scenario: Big-State-U opens with a minimal test policy (say 500 random tests/day on a 50000 head campus). 3-4 weeks in it blows up, 5-6 weeks in they detect it, spend a week making the decision, 7-8 weeks and everyone sent home all over the state, but most cases are asympt and thus still never tested…

    So I can kindof see why they’re proposing to lock em in the dorms but jeez. Might as well be cruise ships. Except you can’t really escape from a cruise ship, whereas its easy to sneak out of a college campus.

    1. polecat

      Colleges are now dead-reckoning, running .. not walking, onto the rocky scholes of wokedumb! They deserve to collaspe into a heap of bankrupted scorn.

      The Pan’s demic .. is showing all kinds of faults, thrusted thusly, hither to and fro!

  20. Pat

    Apparently the author of “Can Joe Biden make America decent like him” has a very different concept of decent than I do. So his convention appearance reassured them that Biden was not some monster like Donald Trump. Whoop de doo.

    Let me remind them that Jimmy Savile was a well known figure in Britain from 1958 until his death in 2012. He was loved and admired, considered an epitome of charity, he was knighted. He was also a sexual predator who had abused numerous children and was even protected by the police. Or closer to how about America’s Dad, Bill Crosby?

    Giving the appearance of decency is not always equivalent with being decent. I would prefer someone decent enough not to have plagiarized others work in a presidential run, someone who hasn’t referred to black males as “predators”, someone who doesn’t lie about someone who was hit by someone else in a deadly automobile accident as a drunk driver to gain political points. Oh hell let’s call it what it was – slander. Or how about not being offensive and condescending about women and invasive of their space. And so much more including not being for sale to the highest donor. That isn’t even considering the disgusting morass that is his legislative record. His entire record is that of someone who is NOT decent.

    Perhaps the real question is will America ever be allowed to vote for someone decent for President? Mind you the last time there was someone even moderately decent on the ballot for President as a Republican or Democrat it was well over a quarter of a century ago, and they lost resoundingly. I guess too many people were voting for the appearance of decency.

    1. sierra7

      Good post.
      This is what we get when we adhere to the stupidity of “…vote for the ‘lesser’ evil”!
      R.I.P. for America.

  21. voteforno6

    Re: Trump & Military Voters

    As odd as it may seem, I think that the military is less authoritarian than the police. As imperfect as the military is as an institution, there is certainly a lot more accountability for the misdeeds of their members than for police officers. It is very telling how much the generals pushed back against Trump when the protests started.

    Given the generally conservative nature of people in the military, those high disapproval ratings for him are telling, and not in a good way (at least, if you’re Donald Trump).

    1. anon in so cal

      >also from the article:

      “Only about 17 percent of those surveyed felt the White House has properly handled reports that Russian officials offered bounties for Afghan fighters to target and kill American troops, an issue Trump has dismissed as unreliable intelligence. Nearly 47 percent disagreed with his statements.”

      Propaganda works…..anything to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan another 19+ years….Dems teamed up with Liz Cheney to obstruct T’s planned drawdown

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      The military is “conservative” in the same manner that I(a libertarian socialist with antiauthoritarian issues) am “conservative”.
      Trump….as well as most of the Teabilly Wing of the gop…are not “conservative”…but “Conservative!”, with the requisite flags a’wavin’ and shots a’firin’.
      Our language is frelled.

      1. rowlf

        I joked with friends overseas that I like to use the English language “As Issued” and frowned upon customizing definitions. Then again, grandma was an English teacher and mom is a librarian.

        No, I don’t have a flinch.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      The political conservative stereotype of the military is not dominant in the officer ranks. The data in the graph are not surprising to me. Nearly all my Navy age peers were centrist or liberal – college will do that to ya. Recall, Jimmy Carter was a Navy officer once (of course so was conservative George Bush Sr.).

      I have always been a progressive and at 73, think Congress needs 50 more AOCs. Just a few weeks before I had to report to Navy flight school in June of 1970, I participated in an Anti-Vietnam War protest. It was a stupid war, but I was drafted and enlisted to finish college. Released in 1974 after two tours in Nam, I returned to school and got a doctorate. The Navy asked me to re-activate to run an amazing study for them so I took a leave of absence, and then another, and another, and I decided to retire after 32 years in uniform.

      I never felt isolated or shunned by peers for being liberal. Many of us were horrified at the obvious scam that led up to the Iraq invasion. Many of us knew the WMD story was false, but Cheney ensured experts were sidelined. My retired friends today are typically not registered party members and vote the lesser of two evils. The military culture is meritocracy after all. Some, like Major Danny Sjursen actively writes antiwar articles – Google him – he is very prolific.

      1. sierra7

        That famous excuse for military prisoners during Nuremberg:
        “Just following orders is not an excuse”
        The hangman’s noose.
        “Knowing the accusations of WMD were without proof and then continuing to “follow orders” for the invasion is equivalent. We always have an excuse.
        I’m so sick of this military crap (caveat: 5 year military service)

  22. Pelham

    Re the SAT and ACT: How about this? Keep the tests but make the results entirely private for the student. No college or anyone else would have access. That way, a kid could take the test and assess himself partly on that basis. And taking a prep course for the test would be worse than pointless.

    1. Wombat

      I think this is yet another ploy by the ruling class to reduce undesirables in their prestigious places. Standardized tests can be a ticket for the lower class.

      Of course the tests may have biases, but it is a knowable standard. You can go to a library or get on the internet and study for this relatively objective assessment. Without standardized tests, schools have one less objective criteria. Now the prestigious universities are free to accept the elite progeny with inflated grades from private schools and elite summer experiences only they can afford.

      I am extremely suspect of these efforts. I recall kids with 1600 SATs being rejected from the Ivys, because lack of social credit score, ahem I mean “extracurriculars”. Now the institutions don’t even need to explain themselves. They can proceed to line their halls with the elite, diverse progeny.

    2. HotFlash

      Re: the tests. SAT tests measure SAT, as IQ tests measure IQ*. There is no proof of relationship to any real-world metric, neither future academic performance, nor ability to solve problems, nor success in life. The only guaranteed thing about these tests is that the test-makers will get paid. QED. When I enrolled in an accounting program (I could do the work, was already doing it, but wanted credentials for the $$$), I chose one that was less prestigious but did not require a BA (which I did not have) as a starting point. The only ‘test’ was that my tuition cheque cleared — after that it was on the marks for assignments and exams. Seems fair.

      * what is IQ? The thing that IQ tests measure.

  23. pricklyone

    Re: Covid charts
    “Good news for Illinois” ??
    Cases tripled since mid-July is good news, or that tiny reversal past week?
    I am not sure what you meant. ??
    Not really a statistics guy, can you elaborate? Maybe I am reading something wrong?

  24. marym

    From IL Governor’s Office: IL status and general discussion of Trump’s $300 Lost Wage Assistance

    “While LWA has been promoted by the federal government as being available until December 27, 2020, the anticipated shelf-life of the program under the current FEMA funding mechanism is expected to last approximately three weeks, based upon economic projections for the demand of these funds.

    Most concerning, eligibility requirements for LWA leave behind the most vulnerable of Illinoisans. Unlike the FPUC program, in which claimants earning a minimum of a $1 WBA were entitled to the additional $600, LWA only allows claimants earning a minimum $100 WBA to receive the additional $300 to their benefit payments. This is projected to exclude approximately 55,000 low-income claimants from receiving this supplemental $300 unemployment benefit.”

    1. rowlf

      Have you ever heard of the Nuwaubian Nation and their 473 acres in Georgia?

      After moving to the middle of Georgia in 1993, the people who called themselves Nuwaubians caused a stir in rural Putnam County. The black supremacist sect known as the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors built two 40-foot-tall pyramids on their 473-acre property and talked about a spaceship that would take them away in 2003.


  25. The Rev Kev

    “For when you need an office inside your home office.”

    Some men see an office booth within a home, others see a prank just waiting to happen. Can you imagine somebody wrapping this booth up in straps while someone was inside?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I am no expert. But I get the feeling that Biden his self knows that something ain’t right with the linkages between certain think-modules in his brain and the speech center in his brain.

  26. Acacia

    So, I just read Blair Fix’s Why Isn’t Modern Monetary Theory Common Knowledge? (mentioned in the 8/30/2020 Links). Great article, but it left me wanting more.

    The example of the feudal king versus the landed aristocracy is helpful, but when Fix uses it as an analogy with modern governments I wanted to hear more.

    Like the king, governments can in principle create as much money as they want. But in practice they don’t, because there are limits to their power. When governments create money, they accumulate power, which implicitly means taking power away from other (powerful) people. The landed aristocracy didn’t want to cede control of their land to the king. And modern corporations don’t want to cede power to the government. And so these corporations act continuously to oppose government money creation.

    So, by analogy, modern corporations have taken the place of the landed aristocracy of the middle ages. I can see why corporations would push back against the creation of more money, but the specifics here are left vague. How is this actually happening in the present day? What are the limits being imposed on the Fed’s printing press, specifically by modern corporations? Also, it seems that what’s happening now is that the Fed is creating money which goes to the largest banks, and then rather than finding its way to support loans to individuals, home, and small businesses owners, instead it goes into exotic financial instruments they use to make money, or to mega-corporations to buy back their own stocks, etc. E.g., the disconnect between stocks and the ‘real economy” that seems now to be juiced by government money printing. In other words, Fix’s example doesn’t seem to really factor in the dynamics of contemporary finance capitalism. Or perhaps I’m missing something here?

    Next, the question of inflation also leaves me wanting more:

    It’s true that money creation can lead to inflation. But MMT proponents point out that this has an easy solution. Government can destroy money just as easily as it can create it. Government spending creates money. Government taxation destroys it. Again, this is trivially true. And yet few (if any) governments accept this truism.

    The issue I see here isn’t so much inflation, but rather tax policy. In principle, sure, the supply of money can be regulated via taxation and inflation can be avoided — Fix makes this point clear enough. But what this seems to imply is higher taxes to pay for regulating an increase of the money supply, and clearly there is extraordinary pushback whenever higher taxes are proposed, especially by corporations. We always hear how corporations will leave the country if their taxes are increased, and there are many other places in the world with lower corporate tax rates. So my feeling here is that the hurdle isn’t so much getting people to see that the money supply could be regulated via taxes, but coming up with counterarguments to pushback against higher taxes, and to the claim that corporations will simply move elsewhere (and take jobs with them), if taxes are increased.

    I’d be curious to read another, similar article (i.e., easily accessible) about MMT, that goes into a little more detail about these dimensions of the theory.

    Any suggestions?

  27. sierra7

    I really wish anyone writing about our decrepit healthcare system would refrain from using the word “free” for a future, decent, moral healthcare system. Nothing is “free” except the unconditional love of a parent.
    “Healthcare for all” will not be free.
    “Someone is going to pay and it ain’t gonna be me!” (Wall St. original movie)
    It’s not the amount of taxes we collect; it’s the priorities we assign to what is to be supported by our taxes and what is not.
    Re-arranging our national priorities and taking away the strangle hold of corporate health care power over our politics will give us “Medicare for all”.
    And, we will be glad to pay for it.

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