2:00PM Water Cooler 9/15/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID19

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 don’t like those upticks.

Here is positivity:

Here are the United States regions:

Again with the upticks.

* * *

FL: “A group of students knew they had covid-19. They hosted a party over Labor Day anyway” [WaPo]. “When a police officer pulled up to a house near the Miami University campus in Oxford, Ohio, last weekend, he found seven young men hanging around on the front porch, unmasked, drinking beer and listening to Southern rock music…. ‘I’ve never seen this before,” the officer said, waving the student over. ‘There’s an input on the computer that you tested positive for covid?’ ‘Yes,’ the student said. ‘This was, um, a week ago.’ The officer asked whether he was supposed to be quarantining, to which the student replied that he was at his house and that everyone who lives in the house also tested positive for covid-19. ‘But you have other people here, and you’re positive for covid? You see the problem?’ the officer said. The student said that some of the visitors had also tested positive. The officer sighed. ‘You’re not quarantining if you’re mixing with other people,’ he said.” • Much as I hate to see young men on porches drinking in college towns, “Southern Rock” does put a thumb on the scales, doesn’t it? Also, taken it as given that young people are stupid — I certainly was! — how is it that this fact is only gradually dawning on college administrators, who are paid excellent money to, well, administer things like quarantines?

IL: “It’s Hard to Keep a College Safe From Covid, Even With Mass Testing” [Bloomberg]. “On Sept. 2, the university sounded an alarm. Over the previous 10 days, 784 positive cases had emerged, and if the trend continued the count could rise to as many as 8,000 that semester. The school cracked down on parties, told undergrads to leave their homes or dorms only for essential activities such as going to class and buying food, set up a new team to isolate positive cases quicker, and created an online form to report risky behavior. There are early signs that the plan is working, with new case numbers dropping. Yet critics—including some of the university’s own faculty—say the school has relied too heavily on its impressive technology and predictive analytics, while miscalculating about its own students, young adults still learning how to live on their own and eager for social contact after months of isolation. ‘It’s not just about testing,’ says David Wilson, a longtime geography professor. ‘It’s about people, their daily rituals and habits. That was not really considered.'” • What, you mean the solutions aren’t primarily technical? “Young people party. Who knew?” [insert image of college administrator, aghast].

ND, SD: “North and South Dakota Lead in U.S. COVID-19 Growth as Both States Reject Mask Requirements” [Time]. “Neither governor appears ready to yield any ground [on masks]. ‘We will not be changing that approach,’ Noem spokesman Ian Fury said Thursday, citing a low hospitalization rate and the fact that only 3% of intensive-care beds are occupied by COVID patients. Doctors in both states warn that their health care systems remain vulnerable. Small hospitals in rural areas depend on just a handful of large hospitals to handle large inflows of patients or complex procedures, said Dr. Misty Anderson, president of the North Dakota Medical Association. Aaker, the president of the South Dakota physician’s group, said medical practices have seen patients delaying routine care during the pandemic, meaning that doctors could soon see an uptick in patients needing more serious attention.”

NH: “Dartmouth quarantines 23 Tuck students after party in dorm” [Valley News (PS)]. “At least 23 Tuck School of Business students are in quarantine after attending a party at a graduate school dormitory in an incident that Dartmouth College officials said was a “serious offense” against COVID-19 precautions…. [Meanwhile], Dean of the College Kathryn Lively, who is seen as a main enforcer of the COVID-19 rules, also told undergraduates this week that various drinking games, most notably ‘Pong,’ are now prohibited both on-campus or locally off-campus to “decrease the risk of the spread of COVID-19.” The game, which requires a player to chug a cup of beer if an opponent lands a ping pong ball into the cup, is a longstanding tradition on campus.” • Excellent. Pong is vile and degrading, and getting rid of it is good. So Covid has a bright side!

NY: “In Worst-Hit Covid State, New York’s Cuomo Called All the Shots” [Wall Street Journal]. “The federal government largely left the coronavirus response to states. While some governors ceded power to local officials, others centralized it. Mr. Cuomo, more than most state leaders, insisted that nearly every decision come from his office, including when to close office buildings, the size of weddings and the type of air filters required at shopping malls.”

Politics

“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. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. 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!

Time to restore the election countdown:

Here, however, is an early voting calendar. Maybe we’ll have a whole series of October surprises, since election day is gradually being devalued as an event.

* * *

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Biden Holds Slim Edge Over Trump in Minnesota Ahead of Visits ” [Morning Consult]. “Biden leads Trump by 9 points among women, 51 percent to 42 percent, a bloc that Clinton carried by 7 points. Among suburbanites and independents, groups that broke evenly between Clinton and Trump in 2016, Biden and the president are effectively tied. However, among white voters, who Trump won by 7 points four years ago, 50 percent to 43 percent, Biden leads Trump within the margin of error, 48 percent to 45 percent. That turning of the tables was driven by Biden’s overperformance among white voters with college degrees. The latest polling found Biden leading Trump by 27 points among college-educated whites, 61 percent to 34 percent, compared with Clinton’s 9-point lead four years ago.”

Biden (D)(2): No:

“Some laborers somewhere.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Democrats back away from quick reversal of Trump tax cuts” [The Hill]. • Lol.

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Joe Biden’s Hispanic voter problem is real” [CNN]. “Trump is doing better with Hispanics than he did four years ago. That improvement is helping Trump stay competitive in places he might not otherwise be…. Indeed, Biden can struggle with Hispanic voters and still win the election. It’s, in fact, something he’s doing right now. Biden is up by seven points nationally and has at least a trivial advantage in the six closest states Trump won four years ago: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden is able to do so because he has countered his relative weakness with Hispanic voters by doing extremely well with White voters. The result is a Biden lead nationally and in the swing states because White voters make up about seven times the percentage of the electorate Hispanics do nationally and at least three times (though in some cases many more times) in the closest swing states Trump won in 2016.” • So after all the hysteria about identity politics, Biden’s going to win on whites from the burbs? More–

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Biden campaign ratchets up courting of Black voters, specifically Black men” [The Hill]. “With 50 days until Election Day, the Biden campaign has kicked into high gear its efforts to reach Black voters, a bloc that had a 20-year low in voter participation in the last presidential election. In a virtual press call Monday, senior members of the former vice president’s campaign reiterated its commitment to reaching all voters of color but explained that certain blocs needed to be reached more efficiently. Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders highlighted Black men as a voting bloc that had ‘become more disillusioned and disaffected with the Democratic Party over the last couple of cycles.'” • That’s odd.

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “Down-ballot Dems split from Biden on door-knocking” [Politico]. “For months, down-ballot Democrats followed Joe Biden’s lead and stopped door-to-door campaigning in an effort to prevent people from catching Covid-19 and appear more socially responsible than Republicans. President Donald Trump’s campaign and other GOP candidates, by contrast, have downplayed the pandemic and been knocking on voters’ doors for months. But with anxiety growing in the final sprint before Election Day, an increasing number of Democrats up and down the ballot are making the call to stop ceding voters’ doors to the GOP — a decision that could increase pressure on Biden’s campaign to restart the traditional election-year practice. Democratic candidates who have returned to canvassing said they are adhering to strict safety protocols, as well as asking voters if they are comfortable with their presence.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(6): “Republicans Are Knocking On Doors. Democrats Aren’t. Biden’s Campaign Says That’s OK” [NPR]. “The Democrats’ strategy of mainly organizing from home via laptop or cellphone and forgoing traditional door-to-door canvassing is somewhat untested, but they’re banking on the assumption that it’s more effective in a pandemic. Democrats say they’re not door knocking because safety is their main priority, and they don’t want to put people at risk of contracting COVID-19.” • Plus, they don’t have to interact with the proles. Who wants that?

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1):

How much you want to bet reducing Medicare eligibility to 60 gets means-tested?

Trump (D)(1): “How the Trump Campaign’s Mobile App Is Collecting Huge Amounts of Voter Data” [Naomi Klein, The New Yorker]. “To access the Trump app, users must share their cell-phone numbers with the campaign. “The most important, golden thing in politics is a cellphone number,” [former campaign manager Brad] Parscale told Reuters. ‘When we receive cellphone numbers, it really allows us to identify them across the databases. Who are they, voting history, everything.’ Michael Marinaccio, the chief operating officer of Data Trust, a private Republican data company, said recently that ‘what’s new this year, or at least a sense of urgency, is getting as many cell-phone numbers as we can in the voter file data.’ An effective way to do that is to entice supporters to share not only their own cell-phone numbers with the campaign but those of their contacts as well….. As [Samuel] Woolley and his colleague Jacob Gursky wrote in MIT Technology Review, the Trump 2020 app is ‘a voter surveillance tool of extraordinary power.’ I learned this firsthand after downloading the Trump 2020 app on a burner phone I bought in order to examine it, using an alias and a new e-mail address. Two days later, the President sent me a note, thanking me for joining his team. Lara Trump invited me (for a small donation) to become a Presidential adviser. Eric Trump called me one of his father’s ‘FIERCEST supporters from the beginning.’ But the messages I began getting from the Trump campaign every couple of hours were sent not only to the name and address I’d used to access the app. They were also sent to the e-mail address and name associated with the credit card I’d used to buy the phone and its sim card, neither of which I had shared with the campaign. Despite my best efforts, they knew who I was and where to reach me.”

Trump (R)(2): “Minnesota Seemed Ripe for a Trump Breakout. It Has Not Arrived” [New York Times]. “If any state is positioned to go from blue to red in 2020, to embrace the fullness of Trumpology and provide the president some much-needed Electoral College insurance, it is Minnesota. The state’s northern and eastern regions have grown more conservative over the years, and Republicans won two House seats in the state during the 2018 midterm elections — a rare bright spot during an election characterized by an anti-Trump wave…. This year, after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, a wave of destruction gripped the city — exactly the type of urban unrest that Mr. Trump uses to stoke white fear…. At this moment, however, most evidence indicates that the president is in a worse position in 2020 than where he finished in 2016. New polling from The New York Times and Siena College shows that Joseph R. Biden Jr. leads Mr. Trump by nine percentage points in the state, more than five times the small margin Hillary Clinton won the state by four years ago.”

Trump (R)(3): “Frank Luntz: Can Donald Trump win?” (video) [BBC]. • Paraphrasing: In 11 key swing states, Trump is 2% closer to Biden than he is in the rest of the country. Race tightening in FL, NC, not PA. But Trump’s “law and order” message is off, and he has to adjust it, or he’ll lose. What keeps Luntz awake at night is the prospect of Trump ahead on election day after in-person voting, but before the mail-in votes are counted. I have to confess I have a soft spot for Luntz, as I do with Nooners, despite his childish fiscal views.

Trump (R)(4): “Trump Says He Wasn’t Personally At Risk in Indoor Vegas Rally” [Bloomberg]. Well, that’s reassuring. Trump: “‘We had five sites, all outside sites like last night, tremendous room, and a great gentleman who owns this building said, you know what what, what they’re doing is really unfair, you can use my building,’ Trump said. The Review-Journal said the warehouse is owned by a Trump friend, Don Ahern. Sisolak has denied his office directly intervened to cancel the outdoor rallies. But on Sunday he tweeted that the president ‘appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic.'” • I wish the Bloomberg reporter had gone on to find out how much work “directly intervened” is doing…

UPDATE Trump (R)(5): “I never considered voting for Trump in 2016. I may be forced to vote for him this year.” [Danielle Pletka, WaPo]. “I fear the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party even more. What is there to be afraid of? I fear that former vice president Joe Biden would be a figurehead president, incapable of focus or leadership, who would run a teleprompter presidency with the words drafted by his party’s hard-left ideologues. I fear that a Congress with Democrats controlling both houses — almost certainly ensured by a Biden victory in November — would begin an assault on the institutions of government that preserve the nation’s small ‘d’ democracy. That could include the abolition of the filibuster, creating an executive-legislative monolith of unlimited political power; an increase in the number of Supreme Court seats to ensure a liberal supermajority; passage of devastating economic measures such as the Green New Deal; nationalized health care; the dismantling of U.S. borders and the introduction of socialist-inspired measures that will wreck an economy still recovering from the pandemic shutdown.” • I wish! (Pletka is from AEI, supposed to be the saner sort of conservative institution — and the sort of Republican who ought to be slithering onto Biden’s bandwagon along with all the other war criminals from the Bush administration.

West (I)(1): “Inside Kanye’s Operation to Ratf*ck Biden in Iowa” [Daily Beast]. “The A-list rapper’s political team has brought on Nathan Sproul, a seasoned GOP operative who leads one of the party’s go-to grassroots strategy firms. Sproul, in turn, appears to be working with an obscure GOP operative with a sketchy history of work on Sproul’s behalf to build a get-out-the-vote operation for West in the swing state of Iowa. The previously unreported Iowa organizing operation doesn’t appear to be particularly large or sophisticated. But it shows how a small team of committed Republicans is trying to boost West’s candidacy—at the expense, critics say, of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.”

* * *

“The ways Democrats could retake the Senate majority, explained” [Vox]. “Democrats need to win back at least three seats to reclaim the Senate majority, but they are also defending Sen. Doug Jones in deep-red Alabama, where Trump has a 28-point net approval rating. If Jones loses, that means Democrats need to win four seats and the White House (where their party’s vice president could vote to break ties in the Senate), or net five seats without the White House advantage. Overall, Senate Republicans are defending more turf: 23 seats (mostly in red states), compared to the 12 Senate Democrats who are up for reelection. Before the coronavirus hit, four states looked highly competitive for Democrats: Colorado, Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina. Now several more seats are in play for Democrats — including Montana, Iowa, and Georgia, and Democratic candidates have even put other reach states like South Carolina in play. Republicans, meanwhile, are going on offense in just two states: Alabama and Michigan. ‘There remain multiple paths to the majority for Democrats,’ said Cook Political Report Senate editor Jessica Taylor. ‘I would give Democrats a slight edge, [but] there are plausible scenarios where Republicans can retain their majority.'”

SC: “Man accused of firing shots at South Carolina Trump backers” [WSPA]. “Authorities say a man has been arrested and accused of firing gunshots near a gathering of President Donald Trump’s supporters along a South Carolina road. Major Bryan Zachary of the Fort Mill Police Department said no one was injured in the incident Monday evening. Sgt. Bill Rhyne of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said about 30 people had gathered and were waving American flags and holding up ‘Trump’ signs. Witnesses told police three men drove by several times while making ‘derogatory remarks’ before the shots were fired.” • If I have this correctly, the Trump supporters were on an overpass, and the shots were fired from the road beneath. This happened on August 25, and onl crossed my Twitter feed yesterday. Needless to say, if Trump supporters had fired on a Biden gathering, you can imagine the hysteria. The story would have dominated the news cycle for at least a week, and we’d still be hearing about it.

RussiaGate

“Is Russian Meddling as Dangerous as We Think?” [The New Yorker]. “Since the 2016 election, the spectre of Russia’s online meddling has become amplified by our own anxiety.” • “Our”? “Been amplified,” in the passive voice? This is just a horrible article, and shows the complete degradation of the New Yorker factchecking department. Bellingcat is treated as a neutral party, instead of the natsec goons they are, for example. So I’d have to go through the entire article and check all the sources for their affiliations. No thanks.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democratic Party leads nationwide purge of Green Party candidates from November ballots” [WSWS]. “On Wednesday, three separate rulings in Texas courts blocked Green Party candidates from appearing on the November ballot, including US Senate candidate David Collins, 21st congressional district candidate Tom Wakely and candidate for railroad commissioner Katija Gruene…..In Montana, the Democratic Party engaged in a massive pressure campaign against people who had already given valid signatures on a petition for Green Party ballot access, according to Green Party representatives…. This past Thursday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission effectively banned the Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates from appearing on the ballot this November. The Democrats argued against ballot access due to the fact that Green Party vice presidential candidate Angela Walker, a Milwaukee native, moved during the petition drive….. The Greens are also spending thousands of dollars to pay attorneys as part of lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Nevada for ballot access.”

* * *

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.

Manufacturing: “September 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Index Significantly Improved” [Econintersect]. “The Empire State Manufacturing Survey index significantly improved and remained in expansion. Key elements improved. This is a better report than last month.”

Manufacturing: “August 2020 Headline Industrial Production Improves But Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) improved month-over-month – but remains deep in contraction year-over-year…. The best way to view this is the 3-month rolling averages which improved.”

Imports: “August 2020 Import Year-over-Year Inflation Now -1.4%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year import price indices inflation remained in contraction and moved from a revised -2.8 % to -1.4 %.”

Housing: “July 2020 CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index Rent Price Growth Stabilizes for the First Time Since the Pandemic Began” [Econintersect]. “The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas shows a national rent increase of 1.7% year over year, down from a 2.9% year-over-year increase in July 2019…. In February, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic set off a chain reaction in the rental market. Unemployment rates skyrocketed, leaving cash-strapped renters struggling to make ends meet and landlords lowering rates in the hopes of keeping their tenants, and local economies, afloat. Rent increases slowed sharply from an average of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2020 to 1.7% in May and 1.4% in June. However, in July, the national rent price growth rate stabilized for the first time since February, posting a 1.7% gain as local economies continued to reopen. Still, despite the positive signal on the national level, renters and landlords continued to work to accommodate shelter-in-place orders and added safety measures, which likely slowed rent price growth.”

* * *

Tech: “How Netflix film The Social Dilemma probes the dark side of tech” [Financial Times]. “Making [The Social Dilemma] was a steep learning curve for [director Jeff] Orlowski, who says the biggest revelation was how these platforms make money. ‘I spend thousands of dollars on Apple products so I understand why Apple is worth a lot of money, because I’m giving them a lot of money, right?’ he says. ‘But how are Facebook and Google worth so much? There’s this saying, ‘If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.’ They’re making their money off this manipulative advertising model that nobody understands. That’s why we did the narrative portion of the film to anthropomorphise the algorithms and to see the machine behind. Literally, there’s a model of every single one of us that’s being tested on all the time . . . to figure out what makes them more money and who they can sell us to. That was a real slap in the face for me.”

Tech: Whatever Facebook is good for, it’s not good enough to compensate for this:

And “shared widely” is a question of scale.

Manufacturing: “Scarcity of key material squeezes medical mask manufacturing” [Associated Press]. “Meltblown is spun out of plastic pellets made from oil, typically polypropylene or polyethylene. The pellets are fed into a heated metal extruder, and jets of hot air force the liquefied plastic through an array of extremely small holes, producing fine plastic fibers. As the fibers cool, they overlap and stick together, forming a dense mesh. This year, American meltblown makers have been ramping up supply. But some say they need more government support to meet the demand… Under the Defense Production Act, a mechanism that allows the U.S. government to compel companies to prioritize federal orders and help manufacturers increase production capacity, some mask and meltblown makers have gotten a boost…. But the administration has not specifically restricted exports of meltblown material, a power it can use under the act. In the face of shortages, U.S. meltblown makers have continued exporting their goods overseas.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 59 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Netural). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 15 at 12:26pm.

The Biosphere

“Astronomers find possible sign of life on Venus” [CBS]. “Traces of a rare molecule known as phosphine have been found in the hellish, heavily acidic atmosphere of Venus, astronomers announced Monday — providing a tantalizing clue about the possibility of life. Phosphine molecules found on Earth are primarily a result of human industry or the actions of microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. The researchers are not claiming life has been detected on the second planet from the sun. But the observations suggest at least the possibility of microbial activity in the upper layers of Venus’ atmosphere, well away from the planet’s inhospitable surface.” • So there’s hope?

“Dismay as huge chunk of Greenland’s ice cap breaks off” [NBC]. “The glacier section that broke off is 110 square kilometers (42.3 square miles). It came off of the fjord called Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide, the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said Monday. The glacier is at the end of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, where it flows off the land and into the ocean. … Last week, Ruth Mottram, an ice scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen, said, ‘again this year, the ice sheet has lost more ice than has been added in the form of snow.’… In August, a study showed that Greenland lost a record amount of ice during an extra-warm 2019, with the melt massive enough to cover California in more than 1.25 meters (4 feet) of water.”

Health Care

“More cities and states are opening bars and restaurants despite mounting evidence of potential danger” [Catherine Rampell, WaPo]. “States that have reopened bars experienced a doubling in the rate of coronavirus cases three weeks after the opening of doors, on average. The Post analysis — using data provided by SafeGraph, a company that aggregates cellphone location information — found a statistically significant national relationship between foot traffic to bars one week after they reopened and an increase in cases three weeks later…. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of nearly 300 adults who tested positive for the coronavirus found that they were more than twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant in the two weeks before getting sick than people who were uninfected. Those who tested positive and did not have close contact with anyone sick were also more likely to report going to a bar or coffee shop. The same effect was not seen in visits to salons, gyms and houses of worship, or in the use of public transportation.”

Screening Room

Michael Clayton:

Groves of Academe

“When Student Influencers Catch COVID-19” [Inside Higher Ed]. “Social media stars Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight shared an unusually serious message with their millions of fans on Instagram last month. Rather than modeling new outfits, promoting their YouTube content or posting wholesome snaps of themselves with family and friends, the identical twins announced that they had tested positive for COVID-19…. Baylor has had a marketing relationship with the twins since 2017, prior to their arrival on the university’s campus as freshmen, said Jason Cook, vice president of marketing and communications and chief marketing officer at Baylor University, in an email. The twins are paid to post once or twice per semester promoting the university, he said. After they shared their announcement on social media, speculation began online that Baylor had played a role in shaping the twins’ Instagram post. The twins sometimes post content sponsored by the university — a growing trend in higher ed marketing. The McKnights did not respond to a request for comment, but a Baylor University representative denied that the institution had influenced the influencers’ announcement in any way…. Cook added that the twins applied to the university through the normal admissions and financial aid processes.”

“Colleges Aren’t Doing Enough to Control Covid-19” [Bloomberg]. “The novel coronavirus is spreading at some schools so much, it’s driving up infection rates for whole counties. Too few schools have containment plans that reflect the basic threats: an already high Covid case rate in the U.S., and the tendency of young adults to socialize and underestimate the consequences of carelessness. The recipe for protecting a community from Covid-19 is no secret. Social distancing and masking are vital, and it’s essential to test broadly, isolate the infected and trace their contacts. These steps don’t work so well if they’re done half-heartedly, however, or if an outbreak is already out of control. Many schools that have acted too slowly need to pause in-person classes and other activities and rethink their strategies.” • Again, again, again, this is down to college administrators. There’s more to the job than replacing full professors with adjuncts and hawking naming rights to billionaires.

Guillotine Watch

For the home decor alone:

Class Warfare

“Blackstone to Boost Mobile-Home Bet With $550 Million Deal” [Bloomberg]. “Blackstone Group Inc. is pouring more cash into mobile-home parks, a corner of the commercial real estate market that is holding up in the pandemic. The alternative asset manager is in exclusive talks to acquire roughly 40 parks from Summit Communities for about $550 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The majority of the properties are located in Florida, said some of the people, who requested anonymity because the transaction isn’t public.” • Comment:

News of the Wired

“How to fairly share a watermelon” [arXiv]. “More precisely, we will show how using a mixture of geometry, calculus and integrals one can easily share a watermelon into regular slices with equal volume.” • As a motivational device to get students to learn these topics.

“Seven-foot robots are stacking shelves in Tokyo convenience stores” [CNN]. “Japan has the oldest population in the world, and that’s causing an acute labor shortage. With almost a third of the population aged 65 and above, finding workers can be a challenge. Increasingly, companies are turning to technology as a solution — including two of the biggest convenience store franchises in Japan, FamilyMart and Lawson…. Both chains are deploying a robot named Model-T, developed by Japanese startup Telexistence. Seven feet tall when extended to its full height, the robot moves around on a wheeled platform and is kitted out with cameras, microphones and sensors. Using the three “fingers” on each of its two hands it can stock shelves with products such as bottled drinks, cans and rice bowls.” • Kill it with fire. I think our overlords think we go to stores for things. This introvert also goes to stores for people, no matter how limited and transactional the contact is.

* * *

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 (TH):

TH writes: “Also seen on our walk around the Alamitos Bay neighborhood in Long Beach–I can never resist an Iris! (The complimentary yellow of the background wild sunflowers seems to add to the attraction.)” I can never resist Iris either…

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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.

181 comments

  1. L

    On the subject of college administrators, yes they can and should do more, but you have to remember that they have one level up above them, Trustees and Boards. While I have limited sympathy for the administrative class the fact is that for some of them well-defined plans for quarantines, mass testing, or simply closing to begin with, were overruled by others who have a political or commercial dog in the fight. Our own state board of regents, for example, forced the school campuses to open. The fact that many of them are aligned with the party that claims there is nothing to see here, or that others are heavily invested in campus-adjacent businesses like apartments was, I am sure, not at all a motivation.

    Reply
    1. Frank

      “There’s more to the job than replacing full professors with adjuncts and hawking naming rights to billionaires.”

      No. There isn’t.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Our own state board of regents, for example, forced the school campuses to open. The fact that many of them are aligned with the party that claims there is nothing to see here, or that others are heavily invested in campus-adjacent businesses like apartments was, I am sure, not at all a motivation.

      Good point. I tend to put boards and deans, etc., under the heading of Administration, but it would be better to break it down. Very good point on housing. (Also, a lot of college housing is private equity these days….)

      Reply
    3. Darius

      Can’t they send kids home who break the rules. Don’t expel them. Just send them home and cancel their registration for the period. Schools also could offer online classes for those who prefer that to having to social distance and wear masks. Make it clear they have a choice. This is what in-person studies look like. If they choose in-person classes and then don’t take pandemic measures seriously, their studies are over for that period or semester. I would think enough students are motivated to not act stupidly.

      Reply
    1. fwe'zy

      ! Wow ! Thank you for this. “We” truly have hyperabundance. Ice Cube was always my favorite, even though Ricky was objectively cuter than Doughboy.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      All fiat creation should be for the general welfare of all citizens so all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending should be via an equal Citizen’s Dividend.

      I don’t see how this is even debatable but let the defenders of our current, corrupt system try…

      Reply
    3. clarky90

      Kanye West “… I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved … I’m putting my life on the line for my people … The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships I’m the new Moses.”

      Reply
  2. Henry Moon Pie

    A Blackstone future–

    That does sound like fun, doesn’t it? Sitting in a trailer park in Florida waiting for the next hurricane?

    Those Blackstone folks, their money and all the power it accords them are sure looking out for us plebes. At least they’re very concerned about how they can slip the last dollar out of our pockets.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      What they are buying are in many cases mobile home parks where a second-order ‘gentrification’ has taken place. Rents raised, dispossessed further dispossessed.

      At what point will the militias, many of whose members live in trailer parks, turn their ire and their weapons on the Elite? I’m sure Blacstone’s security advisers have been pondering the question and taking measures to protect the filthy rich…

      Reply
      1. edmondo

        They are buying these parks because they are uber profitable to operate because the rents are ungodly. The Mafia wouldn’t charge what these parks get for a “mobile” home that is rarely cost effective to move. You’ve got hundreds of dollars of land rent combined with a class that can barely afford to live there and can’t afford to move. Think about a giant tick sucking blood.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      What they are buying are in many cases mobile home parks where a second-order ‘gentrification’ has taken place. Rents raised, dispossessed further dispossessed.

      At what point will the militias, many of whose members live in trailer parks, turn their ire and their weapons on the Elite? I’m sure Blacstone’s security advisers have been pondering the question and taking measures to protect the filthy rich…

      Of course the Generalissimos of militia units tend not to be the brightest bulbs, and are stuffed full of the propaganda that has them prepared to shoot at the wrong folks.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Who do we blame for all the Walter Mitty Sobchaks out there?

        Well, there’s before seeing The Big Lebowski and after. I’m not saying that John Goodman turned us into what we we’ve become, but there’s a resemblance.

        Reply
    3. Bill Smith

      A new mobile home in a trailer park would be a step up for a lot of people.

      Fondly remembering a year of off campus housing while in college… It was an education in itself.

      Reply
    4. Pelham

      Blackstone is on to something. The insidious thing about mobile homes is that, once they’re planted, they’re not mobile. So the park owner becomes a landlord with nearly infinite latitude to raise rent while being responsible for minimal upkeep. The tin cans are the owners’ responsibility.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Even planted mobile homes can get pretty mobile in hurricane winds though.

        But I’m sure Blackstone will be supplying adequate storm shelters for all potential residents of their park.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          But I’m sure Blackstone will be supplying adequate storm shelters for all potential residents of their park.

          They’re a bottomless wallet funded private equity type-not a magician.

          Reply
      2. polecat

        You’all are confused. They’re now referred to as .. ‘modular homes’.
        ..only mobile from point A – the ‘factory’.. to point B – the lot ‘slab’.

        I live in one, owning it, AND the city lot that it rests on.

        Reply
  3. FreeMarketApologist

    “it’s [college covid infections] driving up infection rates for whole counties. ”

    Interesting, because where I am (upstate NY), the county is not counting infections of college students because “they’re not residents”. So I wonder just how much undercounting may be going on in the official stats. (and if it’s legal for them to not include the numbers)

    Reply
  4. Deschain

    Pong is vile and degrading? It’s not perhaps the most refined or sanitary drinking game, but ‘vile and degrading’ seems like a bit of overkill.

    Reply
    1. ddt

      Maybe they could use stronger alcohol to kill any virus on the ping pong balls? Romans conquered the world by drinking wine instead of the local water thereby avoiding cholera;)

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        I don’t drink beer unless I’m trying to not get drunk. I almost always play with wine. Often we just fill the target cups with water and chug from our own beverage. Especially when playing outside, like on a beach.

        Reply
    2. polecat

      Oh C’mon Lambert .. Who doesn’t like knocking down a beer, or eight … especially when all your chums are party to a boring pandemic, ensconced withing the confines of a rather dead campus!

      Give the animals SOME credit … At least they’re not taking pot shots at any zombie administrators …

      Reply
  5. Swamp Yankee

    Beer pong, or as it was called on my campus, Beirut (evidently a 1980s-era reference to lots of stuff flying through the air, or at least that is the folk etymology I heard), is indeed vile, Lambert. I’ve never understood it. Maybe it’s demise will be a symbol of the Frat Class that rules us losing its power in the wake of the pandemic, the way the Black Death undid classic feudalism…. One can dream, at least….

    Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      No, not so much a 1980’s thing as a new england thing. Still called Root in CT and MA. I don’t understand what people have against it. No one is forcing you to play.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        If you accept the premise that fraternities and sororities are all about social networking, then, yes, “they” indeed are ‘forcing’ you to play. The alternative is to be to be viewed as an ‘oddball’ and not a “team player.” This negates the entire rationale for joining any social organization.
        The pressures towards conformity are myriad and complex.

        Reply
          1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

            Adulation for the ancient Greeks or Romans should always be prefixed with “slave-owning”.

            Every time you see those columns, think “marched into slavery”.

            Pip-Pip!

            Reply
        1. UserFriendly

          Well it’s not as though beer pong is either an unique or essential part of greek life, or even alcohol consumption. Banning it doesn’t change that dynamic at all, even if it were enforceable.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            In most societies, large and small, successful prohibitions have to be socially enforced. Merely promulgating a law does not the soul compel.

            Reply
        2. Basil Pesto

          if you’re in the frat/sorority for cynical networking then the game you’re playing is bigger than, and started before the round of beer pong.

          Also this argument can’t really apply when the game is exported to other countries or played outside a college context (don’t know how often that happens in the States, but it’s not uncommon at house parties here).

          I’ve only played it once, but it was pretty fun *shrug*

          Reply
  6. DJG

    Well, electoral chaos is already upon us, and it seems that the Russians aren’t involved.

    Krystal and Saagar:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw4sOLfeHng

    Nationally, the Democrats are trying to get the Greens kicked off the ballot. The first case described by Krystal Ball is remarkable–the Montana Greens were legitimately on the ballot. The Wisconsin case is outrageous–worthy of Scott Walker.

    As always on Rising, the two of them point out how authoritarian and anti-democratic tendencies stretch across both parties.

    And the quote from Rachel Maddow? “Republican-backed Green Party.”

    Wow. What is she huffing?

    Note, dear groundlings, that we haven’t even gotten to the vote-casting, vote-counting, and vote-stealing stage. My prediction, though, is that Democrats will blame all of their impending losses on….

    Andorra.

    Reply
    1. Jen

      And the best part is that team blue are holding up the printing and mailing of ballots while they litigate. They are also challenging the Green party in PA. There are 48 days left until the election, and no ballots can be printed and mailed, both of which take time, until the legal decision on whether the greens are on the ballot.

      If your already know that the vast majority of your voters plan to vote by mail, and the post office is already sending out postcards recommending that people mail in their ballot at least 1 week before election day, wouldn’t you want to get the ballots out to your voters as soon as possible?

      These are, quite possibly, the stupidest people on earth.

      I do highly recommend that segment on Rising.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Don’t forget; The Vatican, The City of London, San Marino, and The Duchy of Grand Fenwick. Just some of the Ball Bearings upon which rotates the Axis of Evil!

      Reply
      1. polecat

        I think those ‘bearings’ have corroded to the point of losing it ! .. don’t you?

        Life’s gyroscope, in the case of them … and those like them, leads straight into the Rings of Dante’ … not crystal-like and gossamer, but scaldingly hot, as in magma before pyroclast .. and pressurized.

        Say .. maybe THAT’S what those boffins are detecting on Venus – the vestigial remains of it’s fallen elite!

        Reply
  7. dcblogger

    I have been thinking a lot about Bob Somerby’s Daily Howler and how he documented how the media was dumbing down our political discourse. I think that the media bears and outsized blame for the destruction of American political culture.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Got an action item for that? If we cut the cord to MSDNC, Democrat partisans will complain and call us Republicans, and turn their flock against us in day-to-day public intercourse. Maybe it’s the Parties, jointly and severally, who are ultimately responsible for allowing such material to be generated.

      Reply
    2. Romancing The Loan

      I was just thinking about him this morning and his meticulous documentation of the War on Gore, which was followed by the contested election. 20 years later and history is repeating as farce.

      Reply
        1. Cas

          I think the 2000 election was the tragedy. I remember my father commenting at the time that it was a coup d’etat. As someone knowledgeable of Latin American politics, he knew his govt overthrows. Remember, when all votes were counted, Gore did win Florida. Also, the 2000 election led to the voting act of 2002 that privatized voting equipment. I used to tell people voting was important, the main (only?) tool we had to control politicians, so please use it. But after electronic voting, I couldn’t honestly say your vote counts.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Even twenty years ago during that Florida election, 20,000 votes for the Democrats in one area disappeared off the counters and re-appeared for either the Republican candidate or Republican-friendly candidates. A normal party would have wailed like a banshee and have fired up their legal team but………..

            Reply
      1. pjay

        He was also an early and vociferous critique of Rachel Maddow, back when she was still the darling of anti-Bush progressives. Because of his links to Gore, he was able to see early on how the MSM really works. I was not a Gore fan, but he was right about the media’s bias toward Gore, and certainly called it on Maddow.

        Reply
    3. km

      Remember, the people of influence and authority are just fine with the status quo. Delighted, even.

      Ask yourself why our MSM are stenographers to power and how this came to pass.

      Reply
  8. anon in so cal

    >College and Covid

    The California State University (not same as the University of California) will also conduct the Spring 2021 semester online.

    Reply
    1. flora

      College and Covid: Darwin wasn’t wrong. Politicians and ‘deep pundit thinkers’ using Darwin’s theory to support their own pet ideologies was wrong. Very much wrong. Yet in physical absolute meta, I don’t know. “Nature will have its way.” Do I like coming to this concussion? Of course not. “There are more things in heaven and earth….” etc. Nature hath its reason which reason knows not, to misquote someone-or-other. I hate saying this. /meh.

      Reply
  9. fwe'zy

    lez Culture Wars are on. Culture is just the stench of the system rot underneath. Every single thing comes back to economics. Never Forget: thrift is the ultimate bourgeois value, and solidarity is the ultimate working class value.

    Reply
  10. upstater

    Democrats disenfranchise Green Party voters in Wisconsin by removing Hawkins from the ballot due to technicalities.

    Angela Walker, Hawkins VP running mate moved in July. There were 2 addresses for her on the sets of petitions. The Ds voted to invalidate the petitions. Greens sued last month, but the Wisconsin Supreme court said they waited too long.

    “Election chaos averted,” the state’s Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, said in a statement. Kaul’s office had defended the elections commission in the case.

    Trump won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes. Jill Stein got 31,000 votes. And like Nader in 2000, the dementiacrats think all those votes will go to Biden.

    Democracy in action!

    Reply
  11. Tom Stone

    The “Rachel Maddow” show is all about “Speaking Truth to Power” and is hosted by MSNBC.
    Which is owned by Comcast.
    Rachel Maddow is being paid $10 Million a year to “Speak Truth to Power” by Comcast.
    Okey Dokey.

    Reply
        1. RMO

          I would even be happy with Richard Harris were it possible. Especially if it resulted in the US national anthem being changed to “Macarthur Park”

          Reply
  12. Mikel

    RE: “A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of nearly 300 adults who tested positive for the coronavirus found that they were more than twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant in the two weeks before getting sick than people who were uninfected.”

    This is why returning to offices will be an unmitigated disaster.

    Only ONE thing will be able to stop this: Covid needs to become deadly for a new demographic.
    Sorry, truth hurts.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I see where you are headed.
      Funny how a novel coronavirus pandemic mutates into an epidemic of lead poisonings.
      Some out “on the street” are agitating for “Braided Hemp Treatment” regimes.

      Reply
  13. L

    UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Democrats back away from quick reversal of Trump tax cuts” [The Hill]. • Lol.

    So “The Cupboard’s going to bare.” but we won’t do anything to fill it up again, even when that thing is widely popular. Then flash forward 6 months and the deficit hysteria rolls again.

    I wish I could file that under Lol but really it is too awful and predictable. The question is, what is anyone gonna do about it?

    Buried in the article is another nice little gem on this point:

    Progressive leaders such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are pushing for a wealth tax, but Schumer is more focused on lifting the cap on deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), a top priority in New York and other states with high costs of living.

    So when you say “Roll back the tax cuts” Warren and Sanders hear “Raise taxes on the rich” while Schumer hears “Lower taxes on New Yorkers. Funny that. At other points other dems talk about “Tax relief” in the form of cuts for targeted areas but to actually raise taxes? Nope.

    Reply
      1. eg

        It matters insofar as one of the purposes of taxation is to prevent plutocracy from distorting and damaging democracy.

        On the evidence, there’s nowhere near enough taxation right now …

        Reply
    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Eliminate the deduction cap on SALT plus I’m guessing they will be going after reversing the 2017 SALT tax plus rebates retroactively. If I remember the numbers they talked about end of April / May it is about what the people got out of the CARES Act. SALT would also impact State finances not just Federal rebates. If that comes to pass then no austerity for that class group.

      Reply
  14. jr

    Re: Bari Weiss’ Philosophy of Love

    What alternate reality have I fallen into where Bari Weiss is called upon to opine on the marriage of that meth addicted ventriloquists dummy Carville and the android next to him on the couch? Shouldn’t she be cheerleading a school bus being immolated or something? I don’t think running the “Connections” section of her local newspaper is a role she is cut out for. And the decor in the Carville-Stepford house would make the McCloskey’s gag. It’s like living inside a giant canteloupe.

    Reply
    1. Laputan

      Anybody else notice the similarity in the room’s color pallete with viscera? I doubt that’s by coincidence.

      Weiss is an emblem of what’s happened across the entire media landscape (most easily observed in sports) where those who are covered have achieved the kind of power where they now select who covers them. And they prefer those like themselves, dumb. It not only facilitates interaction but the limited perspective also obstructs any challenging coverage. That’s why Weiss characterizes Carville and Matalin as some sort of odd couple. She’s so dim that see can only see their few disagreements, not the completely lopsided number of shared interests.

      Reply
      1. Jr

        After reading NTG’s comment below I now realize that Carville’s marriage is some sort of symbol of something or other to morons like Weiss. I literally thought she was just offering commentary on their relationship. I’m proud of the fact that I’m that ignorant of all three of these despicable human beings.

        Reply
    1. RMO

      Damn that’s bad… my parents became members back in the late 70s and MEC has always been my go-to place for outdoor equipment of all sorts. Only rarely is there something I want that they don’t carry, and at good prices too.

      Reply
      1. Roberoo

        MEC management has been stacked with MBA management thingies for over 10 years and only made token gestures to cooperatives and the co-op movement. It was only a matter of time before it was sold to private owners. The membership was demobilized and management didn’t care to save it. This is a weakness of the coop model. Generations can build up a place like MEC only to see management sink the place under debt (and sold/asset stripped) or see them make a bid for demutualization that sees current members earn hefty buy out returns on assets that generations of cooperators contributed to.

        Reply
  15. Synoia

    Japan has the oldest population in the world, and that’s causing an acute labor shortage. With almost a third of the population aged 65 and above, finding workers can be a challenge.

    And the countries with the youngest populations are in Africa and possibly India and Latin America. How about a little bit of Immigration?

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes. I once worked on a house rehab for living quartwers for Japanese mid-level executives working in New Orleans. The houses were nice suburban ranchers in Mandeville, Louisiana. The man from the Japanese company overseeing the job told me when I asked how the executives, who came with families for two or three year stretches, all expenses taken care of, handled it, that the “Home Island Japanese” (the term he used,) executives considered an overseas posting as a punishment.
        that’s my anecdote. Would one of the commenteriat Nipponophiles enlighten me further?

        Reply
    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      Robot means “slave” as I recall. Personally I’d prefer robots to wipe my nasties (if I am unable). I recall that the Japanese as a whole are of the same opinion.

      Pip-Pip!

      Reply
  16. Samuel Conner

    This may be unkind, but lately I have been thinking that JB ought to take a page out of WJC’s book and take up saxophone.

    Music is good for mental function, and it would give him the opportunity to blow something that isn’t an election.

    Reply
  17. JWP

    “It’s Hard to Keep a College Safe From Covid, Even With Mass Testing”

    Just classic stuff here. “PMC journalism shocked when plan confronted with reality.” Could summarize close to 80% of all headlines in the MSM. Even if you test and quarantine people will go right back to partying once they are out of quarantine because they believe they’re immune. I feel for the people who live in college towns and would love to see a group of them sue administrators and the school for knowingly infecting the town. Some good means testing: make college administrators live on campus and eat at the dining halls if they believe their plans are good enough to keep people safe.

    Once the mono and flu get rolling through campus things could get messy.

    Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Here is an excellent Twitter thread/live commentary of that meeting by a UM grad student union member.
        https://twitter.com/jw_lockhart/status/1305934899182997507
        Just to repeat, what comes through so clearly is the utter cluelessness regarding normal life outside their tiny little insular world. They never would have guessed that a fair portion of the students would behave like college students because when they were college students, they didn’t behave that way and they didn’t hang out with the people who did – or at least that’s how they remember it in the BS fantasy world they have constructed to justify their position in the world. And unions for academics? Yuck. Too much yelling.

        Reply
  18. Lee

    A bit of today’s topics, and merely commenting on the obvious, but I was just watching Biden shuffling away from a podium. I recognize that shuffle. It’s how my mother started walking at one point and was considered medically indicative of her dementia. So, it has come to this: we are a nation that chooses its president from the ranks of the walking brain dead. In a sane world, this would be quite shocking.

    Reply
              1. Lee

                In my rich fantasy life I imagine that neoliberal capitalism will soon become so profoundly and obviously discredited that President Harris will nominate Sanders to the vice-presidency and both House and Senate will vote him in. Per the 25th amendment, section 2, unless I am mistaken in my understanding.

                Reply
          1. jen

            I’m thinking closer to the mid terms, but there is no doubt in my mind that Biden is merely a vessel for Harris to become president. She has always been the choice of the donor class.

            Reply
        1. Jr

          I don’t know how many innocents lost their lives and what horrid rites were conducted but “Doh!” Joe was sentient at the debates by all accounts. (I took a pass.) Perhaps it’s a race between getting him into office appearing to be mentally competent and his heart exploding from the daily cocktail of amphetamines and mood stabilizers he drinks with his coffee. Wokes-fuhrer Harris is undoubtably rehearsing expressions of concern and alarm followed by grief and a grim determination to carry on Joe’s vision.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            We’re being asked to switch from The One Who Can Never Do Anything Right to The One Who Can Never Do Anything Wrong.

            So Trump announces a new MidEast peace deal and it’s “a bad idea”. Biden meantime holds a fossil fuel fund raiser and then says “he didn’t know it was a fossil fuel fund raiser”, and that’s all cool, nothing wrong about that.

            Given the dynamics, which is worse? I happen to think it’s the latter, but that’s just me.

            Reply
            1. Jen

              Joe gets elected
              Kamala replaces Joe sometime around the midterms
              Kamala is now running as the incumbent rather that entering an open primary as the VP
              Anyone daring to challenge Her Historic Presidency in the primaries is both racist and sexist (although good luck with that if Nina Turner runs)
              Hawley/Carlson win by a landslide in 2024

              Nothing to be done about the 2020 election, but as I mull the repulsive options before me, voting against a future Harris presidency is rising in my list of priorities.

              Reply
    1. Big Tap

      It going to even more shocking. This addled old man Biden may be responsible for the nuclear football. Hope he doesn’t fumble it or boom! Biden is the real existential threat to humanity. We’re truly screwed.

      Reply
  19. Roger Dewy

    “How much you want to bet reducing Medicare eligibility to 60 gets means-tested?” As long as your not included – you lambert, although being a hypocrite is a mental illness – I’d try Medicaid.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      Gee… wonder why they didn’t do this when Biden was VP and the Dems had both houses? Oh, right. They don’t really want to any more than Lucy really wants to let Charlie Brown kick the football.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Next time, try a more comprehensible line of attack.
      Medicaid is a classic clusterf—, with enough hidden mines to make the most bellicose social warrior happy.

      Reply
    1. Janie

      Farley Mowatt in “West Viking” say that should be CroenLand, or Cronusland, as shown on ancient maps. After all, Eric was the new leader in the place, not a real estate salesman. How well would he fare after conning a bunch of Viking settlers?

      Reply
  20. Matthew Saroff

    Let me shed crocodile tears over the Greens.

    First, these are primarily comfortable people who are virtue signaling and playing to lose.

    I would also note that Ralph Nader remains a toxic figure, even 20 years after the 2020 election.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      I still regret that I didn’t vote for Nader in 2000.

      As Eugene Debs put it: “I would rather vote for something that I want and not get it than to vote for something I don’t want and get it.”

      Your crocodile tears are noted, and summarily ignored. Half the country does not vote because it is the legacy parties that always win while the people they purport to represent routinely lose. For me it is now the Greens or nothing.

      Expect more Naders in your future; there are a lot of us with similar regrets.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Absolutely correct. We are past the point of ‘reforming’ either legacy party. How about, for a slogan; “Greens and Bust!”
        My present favourite slogan is; “Share the Pain.”

        Reply
    2. km

      I shed no tears for the Greens because they do not want to win. Winning will require the winners to make hard choices, compromises and deals, sometimes with people that they may personally find to be icky.

      That doesn’t mean that I support Team D or Team R. For they have no principles whatsoever, other than winning.

      Reply
      1. vidimi

        before you can win you have to build a movement. americans want to win without doing all the hard work beforehand. you can build the greens up by voting for them: before they can be a big party they must be a medium-sized party.

        Reply
    3. Big River Bandido

      All true.

      Still, this behavior puts the Democrats’ real values on obvious display. What a despicable racket they are. That will be lost on no one.

      Reply
      1. judy2shoes

        “That will be lost on no one.”

        Sad to say, I know plenty of people it has been lost on, and I have my doubts they will ever see anything other than what they want to see.

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          Yep. It was obviously lost on the people whose tweets (shown above) are gushing over Harris wearing Converse Chuck Taylors. The shallowness of these people almost makes me hope Trump wins again, if only so we can have more videos of them screaming in anguish at the sky.

          Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Wukchumni
        September 15, 2020 at 6:44 pm

        thank you
        didn’t say it in the morning links, but enjoy Exeter…if that is possible.
        I have never been to Exeter, but google maps tells me they have a wine bar – whoo-hoo!
        Hopefully they have exterior imbibing….

        Reply
      2. fresno dan

        Wukchumni
        September 15, 2020 at 6:44 pm

        And, I unthinkingly forgot to say that I hope your abode is in no danger of burning down, and that your sojourn goes well. Vaya con Dios.

        Reply
    1. edmondo

      The list is even sadder. I think you can find that entire list in Bob Dole’s 1996 Republican convention platform. Bernie needs to quit the senate and get a job imitating Larry David on Saturday Night Live. I’m not sure that his dog even listens to him at this point.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Bernie thinks that Biden is going to up the minimum wage to $15/hr, lower the Medicare age to 60, create millions of jobs rebuilding America, make public colleges tuition-free for working families, enact 12 weeks of paid family leave and adopt equal pay. In spite of his decades long record of doing the total opposite of any of this stuff?

      I think that Bernie has been sipping whatever cocktail that they have been giving to old Joe. Either that or he is just gaslighting voters so that he gets to keeps his comfortable life.

      Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I don’t fault the man for trying to show there is a completely different business model for fund raising. And a relentless focus on one issue that can materially improve people’s lives.

          I do fault the man for being horribly politically naive, gullible, and un-Machiavellian.

          The Dems are like the stopped clock that doesn’t even show the right time twice a day. Right in front of them is a model that would win for a generation. Why don’t they do it? Because they (their current funders that is) win even when they lose

          Reply
  21. Glen

    I know we call this “income inequality”, but somehow that just doesn’t let you know we are witnessing the complete destruction of the American middle class:

    ‘We were shocked’: RAND study uncovers massive income shift to the top 1%

    The median worker should be making as much as $102,000 annually—if some $2.5 trillion wasn’t being “reverse distributed” every year away from the working class.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/90550015/we-were-shocked-rand-study-uncovers-massive-income-shift-to-the-top-1

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Imagine the economic boom times we would be in if median worker pay was $102,000. That boom would also lift the 1% beyond their wildest dreams.

      Instead they are like this little fellow, grasping at the fruit in the bottom of the gourd so tightly that it costs him his life. Kenosha is coming to their gated communities but all they can think of doing is tightening their grip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jBgo7UipqY

      Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    The closest I ever got to the immediate aftermath of a fire in the High Sierra was one that burned late last century (too soon to call it that yet?) on the Chagoopa Plateau deep in the Sequoia NP backcountry, and it’d been only out for a few weeks, and this one burned hot and the look was that of everything being varied degrees of black, and said fuego didn’t miss a thing, a clean sweep. I’ve walked by the same stretch of forest ten times since, and now incense cedars are staking a turf battle with far too many yearning for sunlight together in the 8-15 foot tall range, a bunch of these have got to go.

    The only remnant of the conflagration a score before is bleached blonde dead foxtail pine trunks, previously pitch black.

    Chagoopa is one of those Native American words such as Winnebago that we’ve adopted mainly because it just rolls off your tongue. They had names for everything here, but tended to be tongue twisters hyphenated 3 to 5 times and who has time for that?

    Beautiful place, by the way.

    Reply
  23. ChrisAtRU

    Biden (D) (1)

    Keeping an eye on that RCP average, but keenly aware that a popular-vote-presidency lurks as the ultimate (boobie) prize here. Battleground tightness must be addressed. At least unlike the most qualified candidate ever, Biden appears ready to actually go to the midwest.

    #WeShallSee

    Reply
    1. ChrisAtRU

      Biden (D) (2)

      Good Lawd … that tweet was so vapid …

      ::Commentariat, please:: How vapid was it?!!

      It was so vapid that … I’m surprised a singularity didn’t form upon the tweeter hitting send, sucking them immediately into its black, gravity-defying void forever.

      #Shucks #MaybeNextTime

      Reply
  24. Jeff W

    Jacobin just posted this video: “Strikes Give Working Class People Power — Interview with Jane McAlevey.” (It’s the interview portion of this past Saturday’s Weekends show with Ana Kasparian and Nando Vila).

    Jane McAlevey, a union organizer and author, is always worth listening to. As the title of the video indicates, she understands power and doesn’t tolerate any BS.

    Here’s a bit of McAlevey talking about the strikes of the 1930s:

    Let’s start with what led to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. The 1935 National Labor Relations Act which, flawed in many ways—and we can discuss what those flaws are—but it was still the most radical piece of sort of working-class labor legislation passed at that time, with all sorts of racist stuff tucked into it, like the entire history of the United States. But, for the moment, let’s just acknowledge that, when workers in this country received sort of the legal right—some workers—received the legal right to collective bargaining, it happened because of massive, sustained, illegal strikes in 1933 and 1934 that are generally sort of washed out of the history books. I mean, all of this stuff is washed out of the history books.

    But even among sort of like progressives or leftists—most people think, they point to 1936 as the beginning of the mass unionization which is the sit-down strikes in Detroit and in Flint and in the state of Michigan in the auto plants. The truth is it was the massive [earlier] strikes that forced FDR and Congress to pass the National Labor Relations Act that actually then got us to the later amazing strikes that happened that set the power for workers winning the kind of contracts, frankly, collective bargaining agreements, that were life-changing.

    I think it’s so important to talk about ’33, ’34, and ’35 and the strikes that forced the policymakers to make the policy that then enabled way more working class people to fight their way out of dire poverty, which we are experiencing right now.

    [my transcript, very lightly edited]

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Amazing they are having to start at the very beginning to get people to understand the very idea of what collective bargaining is and what strikes are.

      Pretty sure they are not having that kind of conversation in France, where they tried to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and general strikes caused them to walk it right back.

      Reply
  25. Tony Wikrent

    Regarding the American Enterprise Institute:
    from Twitter

    Benjamin Passikoff
    @benpassikoff
    The American Enterprise Institute? Daniel A. D’Aniello still chair of the board? He chairs the Carlyle Group too, no? Funny how it all comes together like that.

    Reply
  26. Jr

    Re: Biden 2

    What pathetic displays. How can anyone be proud of this election? Fine, go ahead and ignore the slime on Biden/Harris if you need to dump Trump at all costs but to slather on over cools shoes and how hip a candidate is is grotesque at a time like this. Team Blew’s running dogs are craven and petty. Desperate to hold onto their world as it fractures under the administration of Tangelo-saurus Rex. If Trump should win again, these fools are going to be wild eyed and frothing and looking for scapegoats

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      They need look no further than their own slavish adulation of Michelle Obama feeding W breath mints.

      Wasn’t it Truman who said (paraphrased) that in any contest between a real Republican and a Democrat running as one, the real thing will always win? Trump is truly awful, but I still get a real chuckle out of his using crayons to alter weather maps.

      That is worth something, right? Clowns should always be amusing, even the scary ones. It would appear that Biden has yet to figure that one out.

      Reply
    2. EGrise

      Sometimes I wonder if that’s why Bernie is doing what he is: he fears those idiots are going to lose, and he’s trying to inoculate himself against future scapegoating.

      Spoiler alert: it won’t work.

      Reply
      1. km

        No matter who wins, Team D will “gleefully and comprehensively trash” Sanders.

        I think those were Brad DeLong’s words?

        Whatever. Sanders will get no credit for any victory but he will be blamed for any defeats. For reasons discussed elsewhere, he brought much of this on himself.

        Reply
  27. pjay

    Re: “I never considered voting for Trump in 2016. I may be forced to vote for him this year.” – Danielle Pletka, WaPo.

    I know the entire NC community is absolutely devastated by such a statement. But just to ease the pain a little, here is the introduction to Danielle’s Wikipedia bio for those unfamiliar with her:

    “Danielle Pletka is an American conservative commentator. She is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank, and the former vice president for foreign and defense policy at AEI. She concurrently holds the Andrew H. Siegal Professorship in American Middle Eastern Foreign Policy at Georgetown University’s Center for Jewish Civilization. From 1992 to 2002, Pletka was a senior professional staff member at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, working for Republican Jesse Helms.

    “A neoconservative, Pletka staunchly supported the Iraq War, holds hawkish views on Iran, defends the use of torture, and rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.”

    So… I guess she voted for Hillary in 2016? Come on, Joe! You’re losing ’em. Gotta try harder.

    Reply
  28. Mikel

    All the rage is another cloud software IPO.

    So everybody’s data will be housed and everybody raves. The people behind the data…no guarantee you will be housed.

    How bat *&%$ is that?

    Reply
  29. The Rev Kev

    “That feeling when you realize the future Vice President of the United States owns the same pair of high top black leather @Converse Chuck Taylors as you.”

    Idjut! He doesn’t realize that those boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do. And that one of these day those boots are going to walk over him-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbyAZQ45uww

    Reply
  30. Daryl

    > “Democratic Party leads nationwide purge of Green Party candidates from November ballots”

    Was going to hold my nose and vote D for senate, but no longer. Will be voting for another third party or abstaining.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      Having been a registered Democrat for 30+ years, I am now considering what for me has always been unthinkable. It has often been noted here that liberals hate leftists more than they hate conservatives, and given a choice would prefer to see conservatives in power.

      It’s well past time for leftists to act in kind. I have come to the conclusion that the Democrats are a danger to the nation and must be stopped, even at the cost of a Republican victory, the fruits of which will rot very quickly after the election anyway.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        My only issue is that the possible victory of this particular republican incumbent may lead to the extermination of the ability of leftists in the United States to engage in action to create political change from said incumbent, e.g., encouragement of vigilante and federal police violence against the left, legal maneuvers against left organizers such as the RICO act to impoverish and imprison them, and the continued selection of hard right judges who will uphold voting suppressive measures and civil liberty clampdowns against their political opponents.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          The problem we face is that with Harris on the ticket, the Democrat Party will do exactly the same thing.
          The stage is being set for massive civil disturbance. The previous military exercises, like the much dreaded ‘Jade Helm,’ are tasked with preparing for dealing with “irregular warfare” inside the United States.
          Read: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/12272/we-may-finally-know-what-jade-helm-has-stood-for-all-along
          As far as I can tell, all of the major power players in Washington today are “chickenhawks.”

          Reply
  31. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Biden campaign ratchets up courting of Black voters, specifically Black men”

    Funny, because not that long ago Biden accepted the endorsement of Rick Snyder, the Republican ex-governor who presided over the poisoning of Flint. https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2020/09/04/democrats-are-way-too-excited-about-bidens-snyder-endorsement

    I was listening to a recent Michael Moore interview with Katie Halper and he said that when Biden visited Michigan recently, he avoided the black communities like Flint completely while taking the time to meet with Snyder. I guess Biden must be planning on courting black voters from a safe social distance.

    Here’s a link to the Moore interview, which is followed by Halper interviewing Adolph Reed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwPDTkKJVDk

    Reply

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