2:00PM Water Cooler 9/22/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Reader response to the introduction of this feature was mostly positive, so I’ll keep on with it. A nightingale is possibly more musical than a loon…


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Here are the United States regions:


If current trends continue, we could be where we were August 1 in 30 days — the election now being 42 days out.

Here are the Swing States as I conceive them (see below):

Sorry for all the states jammed together at the bottom of the chart, but if one of those states is yours, that’s good news, right? (I tried the log version, but it just doesn’t convey the spikiness visually, and the spikiness is the point. I also did not include a separate positivity chart, because it was unreadable.)


“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. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. Biden still at 278, Trump increases to 187, 73 are tossups. 187 + 73 = 260, so…. MI, WI, MN looking pretty tempting! For all the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains remarkably static: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance. Of course, if Trump is still in striking distance on Election Day, that will count as a loss. Maybe.

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

The election countdown:

Here 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.

And here are mail-in voting ruies, which naturally differ state by state.

UPDATE Here are is an enormous spreadsheet on voting equipment, so you can check your own jurisdiction (hat tip, UserFriendly. I should really aggregate these onto a map…).

* * *


Here is my list of Swing States, with votes in the Electoral College in parentheticals):

  • Arizona (11)
  • Colorado (9)
  • Florida (29)
  • Georgia (16)
  • Iowa (6)
  • Maine-02 (1)
  • Michigan (16)
  • Minnesota (19)
  • Nebraska-02 (1)
  • Nevada (6)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10)

So for the rest of the election, I will try to focus on those states, and not on national moral panics, etc. (You may also help me by sending in links and tips, since this is a big change of direction, and nobody else seems to be doing it.) In keeping–

AZ: “Trump sets eyes on Arizona, now a crucial battleground state for 2020 election” [FOX10]. “Four years later, Arizona is no longer an ironclad GOP stalwart but a central battleground in the fight for the presidency. A fast-growing Latino population — politically activated over the past decade by anti-immigrant legislation and politicians like Sheriff Joe Arpaio — and explosive growth among Trump-skeptical suburbanites has lulled Republicans from complacency and energized Democrats. Trump’s re-election campaign pulled out all the stops this week in hopes of keeping Arizona’s 11 electoral votes. Nearly every day, someone with the last name Trump or Pence stumped for votes in Arizona beginning with Donald Trump himself on Sept. 14 and finishing with Vice President Mike Pence on Sept. 18. The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and the vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, also made appearances, and presidential son Donald Trump Jr., is expected in Chandler on Tuesday.”

UPDATE FL: “Bloomberg raises $16.1M to help Florida felons regain voting rights” [Axios]. “Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised over $16 million to help felons pay outstanding fines and fees to regain their voting rights in Florida… A 2018 state constitutional amendment in Florida allows for felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote — so long as they’ve also paid back any outstanding fines, fees or restitution. Bloomberg’s fundraising, in addition to $5 million from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, has now paid off monetary obligations for 32,000 felons in Florida just before Election Day.”

NC: “North Carolina National Guard cyber team on election duty” [National Guard]. From March, still germane: “The militia at the founding of the republic was ready in a minute to defend their homeland, but for this modern, hand-picked team of North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) cyber experts, that reaction time is way too slow. Eighteen NCNG cyber specialists reported for state active duty in Raleigh to defend the integrity of the North Carolina electoral system from cyberattack before and during “Super Tuesday” elections March 3. This critical mission is just one of the threats the NCNG is prepared to respond to with its Cyber Security Response Force (CSRF), a team of 10 full-time cyber professionals with a bench of over 400 drilling Army and Air Guard cyber specialists.”

OH: Ohio, by consensus of nine pundits aggregated at 270toWin, moves from Toss-up to Lean Republican; see the map above.

TX: Whole Paycheck:

WI: “Judge extends Wisconsin absentee cutoff 6 days post election” [Associated Press]. “A federal judge ruled Monday that absentee ballots in battleground Wisconsin can be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. The highly anticipated ruling, unless overturned, means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin might not be known for days after polls close. Under current law, the deadline for returning an absentee ballot to have it counted is 8 p.m. on Election Day. Democrats and their allies sued to extend the deadline in the key swing state after the April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election. U.S. District Judge William Conley granted a large portion of their requests, issuing a preliminary injunction that was expected to be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

* * *

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1):

I’m willing to cut Sanders some slack ’til we see how electoralism plays out in terms of tangible outcomes. But this is really unfortunate framing by Jane Sanders. The issue is not who “did their best.” The issue is that the Sanders campaign, uniquely among 2020 campaigns, and in fact among every election I can think of, took $200 million in working class money (Walmat workers and nurses, not lawyers). Was the best use made of it? It’s fine with me if squillionaire bucks are p*ssed away on sending Democrat strategist kids to college. Walmart worker bucks? Not so much.

Trump (R)(1): “Richard Nixon” on Lagoa v. Barrett as Supreme Court nominee:

We’ll see! (This is a great account that somehow manages to capture the timbre of Nixon’s voice perfectly.)

* * *

Liberal Democrats just l-o-o-o-o-v-e them thei complexity, don’t they?

A plan to vote… I mean, who doesn’t love plans?! Elizabeth Warren loves plans! The difficulty, as Mike the Mad Biologist points out:

“If you’ve taught – from preschool to grad school – you know that no matter how many times or how clearly you give instructions, some students won’t follow them…. One of the issues – not problems, but an issue to be aware of – with mail-in ballots is that the instructions create opportunities to reject ballots. To use the example of the recent Kentucky primary, ballots were rejected for failure to sign, failure to sign in the correct place, failure to enclose the ballot in an inner envelope before putting it in the outer envelope…on and on. Petty stuff, but stuff that is going to get your ballot tossed if you don’t read and follow directions correctly…. In an election in which a lot of ballots are going to be cast by mail and it is patently obvious that Trump will use every possible mechanism to try to question the legitimacy of the ballots cast, I worry about the potential for these minor, insignificant instructions will toss otherwise valid votes.”

Of course, with hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public — with the ability to scale out locations for social distancing as needed, which systems dependend on machines cannot do — you don’t have these issues, especially if Election Day were to become a national holiday. You shouldn’t have to plan to vote — that’s another way of putting barriers in the way of the working class!

UPDATE Oh, and make sure your “plan” includes a sample ballot, in jurisdictions that use ballot marking devices:

AOC’s chirpy “What’s your voting plan?” really frosts me. You shouldn’t need to have a plan to vote! (And the decisions that brought us to this pass were thoroughly bipartisan, so don’t @ me.)

“Poorly Protected Postal Workers Are Catching COVID-19 by the Thousands. It’s One More Threat to Voting by Mail.” [Pro Publica]. “The total number of postal workers testing positive has more than tripled from about 3,100 cases in June to 9,600 in September, and at least 83 postal workers have died from complications of COVID-19, according to USPS. Moreover, internal USPS data shows that about 52,700 of the agency’s 630,000 employees, or more than 8%, have taken time off at some point during the pandemic because they were sick, or had to quarantine or care for family members. High rates of absence could slow ballot delivery in key states, especially if there’s a second wave of the coronavirus, as some epidemiologists predict. Twenty-eight states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, require mail-in ballots to arrive by Election Day to be counted.”

2016 Post Mortem

From Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead, by Michelle Markel:

I remembered the union-busting page, but not this one.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Onion’s Guide To QAnon” [The Onion]. “Q: What is QAnon? A: A conspiracy theory that posits world leaders are secretly evil rather than openly so.”

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.

There are no statistics of note today.

* * *

Regulation: “Exclusive: U.S. regulator to relax proposed whistleblower caps, tighter tip deadlines – sources” [Reuters]. “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday will finalize changes to its whistleblower program, but will water down these proposed measures after whistleblower advocates, lawyers and lawmakers said the changes could deter insiders from flagging corporate fraud and misconduct.” • Hmm.

Mr. Market: “Short Sellers Are Rushing Back Into Stocks as Volatility Returns” [Bloomberg]. “The spike of short sales coincided with an equity rout that, at Monday’s worst point, took the S&P 500 to within points of entering a 10% correction. While contrarians may view the rise of skepticism as something healthy in a market that until now had defied any bad news — from plunging corporate profits to a lack of fiscal stimulus — JPMorgan strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou warned it may mark the start of an ominous trend for equities. ‘The recent rise in the short base at individual stock levels is a worrying development, especially for U.S. stocks where the short base still stands at rather low levels,’ [JPMorgan strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou] wrote in a note to clients.”

The Fed: “Fed’s Evans sees risks of ‘recessionary dynamics’ without more fiscal stimulus” [MarketWatch]. “”Every week and every month we go without renewing additional fiscal support…we risk a longer period of slower growth if not recessionary dynamics,” [Chicago Fed President Charles Evans] said during a discussion sponsored by OMFIF, an international forum for economic policy. Evans said he was surprised to see how strong the economy has rebounded from the lockdown in April and May. The economy is back about 90% even though the toll of deaths has been ‘horrific,’ Evans said. Manufacturing has ‘come way back’ led by the auto sector, he said. Evans said he expects the unemployment rate to end the year in a range of 7%-7.5%, and to improve to a 5.5% rate by the end of 2021. The jobless rate was 8.4% in August. The labor market ‘has really come back a lot better,’ he said. The Chicago Fed president, who has been in his post since 2007, said his forecast assumes more fiscal stimulus and a vaccine becoming available sometime in the middle of next year. ‘If those things don’t happen, it is going to be an obstacle,’ he said.” • So if Democrats are sure they’re gonna have another Blue Wave in November, why not do any kind of deal now, and then expand it when they take power? They have Hitler a whole new space force, so why not a decent stimulus package?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 22 at 12:13pm. Mr. Market is having a lie-down.

The Biosphere

“An objective Bayesian analysis of life’s early start and our late arrival” [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]. “For intelligence evolution, it is found that a rare-intelligence scenario is slightly favored at 3:2 betting odds. [I]f we reran Earth’s clock, one should statistically favor life to frequently reemerge, but intelligence may not be as inevitable.” • Yeah, so which scenario are we in now?

Health Care

“Vaccines — lessons from three centuries of protest” [Nature]. “The need to control outbreaks and pandemics has long created tensions between liberty and interdependence, similar to those playing out worldwide today. Anti-vaxxers is a book that reminds us of the historical precedents to the odd alliances — anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-5G, for instance — that are getting in the way of public health right now. Vaccination has always been a lightning rod for storms brewing over other problems, as physiologist and science writer Jonathan Berman shows. The people who protested against mandatory smallpox vaccination in nineteenth-century England had previously led opposition to the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, which proposed that unemployed people must labour in workhouses for food, often under conditions of exploitation, child labour and family separation. The protesters saw mandatory vaccination as a similar assault on poor people’s autonomy.”

Lessons learned from the 200,000-death milestone (“We’re #1! We’re #1!”). Thread:


Single payer #MedicareForAll would be useful in that regard; the largest possible market under autarchy.

This thread on FDA Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) will probably be useful to somebody who understands vaccine testing better than I do:

“‘Hygiene theater’: Disinfecting sprays and sanitizing robots alone won’t keep you safe from COVID-19” [ABC News]. “[Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital] said that one of his biggest concerns with hygiene theater is that ‘it’s just not sustainable.’ ‘We’re asking the population and industry to do a lot and at some point there is going to be pandemic fatigue,’ he added. He noted that the more experts attempt to enforce these sorts of efforts around a theoretical risk, ‘the more chance people are just going to, basically, not want to implement them.’ ‘We know that things like mask-wearing is so critical, let’s focus on the handful of issues that we know are driving those transmissions,’ he added.” • Speaking as a narrative constructor, and not from science — I’ve seen no studies on this — my view is that the aerosols ultimately have to land somewhere; for example, in the first hospital study (too lazy to find the link) that showed transmission of functioning viral material through the air, some of the virus ended up on the hospital windowsill. So if I put my hand on that windowsill… I don’t think fomites are the primary mode of transmission — except perhaps when children, themselves fomites, are involved — but I think it’s too soon to count them out entirely. So, I’m still washing my hands, taking a shower when I come back from the store, cleaning my computer, etc.

“Coronavirus: constantly surprising virus found to be heat tolerant, self-healing and very resilient in lab tests” [South China Morning Post]. “[The Hungarian team’s] experimental data suggested Sars-Cov-2 could be the most physically elastic virus ever known to humans so far, and repeated deformation did not seem to affect the overall structure and the content inside the virus, either…. How it managed to survive environmental disturbances remained unclear.”

* * *

“‘I Only Need To Stick Around 4 Or 5 More Years’: Doctor Shows How Horrific The US Healthcare System Is” [Bored Panda]. • The entire post is worth reading, but here’s where the headline comes from:

Because the medication is too expensive. We’re governed by Harkonnens.

Sports Desk

“Eagles QB booed during home game by fake crowd noise in Philadelphia” [The Hill]. • There’ll always be a Philly…

Our Famously Free Press

“NYT First Reinforces, Then Silently Debunks Its False Claims About Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine” [Moon of Alabama]. “The Times author reinforces his own lie that Russia had declared its vaccine ready for population wide application. It had never done that. The official registration of the vaccine by the relevant authorities was only a necessary precondition to start the large scale phase-3 testing of the vaccine. There never was a Russian intent to distribute the vaccine to a large population without phase-3 testing.” • The moral I draw, which is different from the moral MoA drew, is that the Times is rooting for the Russian vaccine to fail. Will they have the same rooting interest for the vaccines being produced under Project Warp Speed?

Groves of Academe

“Ig Nobel Prizes reward research on helium-huffing alligators and knives made of feces” [Science]. “Winners received a fake $10 trillion Zimbabwean bill, and were emailed a six-page PDF to print and assemble into a cube-shaped trophy.”

Class Warfare

UPDATE “U.S. Household Net Worth Soars to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Peak” [Bloomberg]. “Household net worth increased by $7.6 trillion, or 6.8%, to $119 trillion, while the level of federal government borrowing soared as lawmakers responded with massive fiscal relief, according to a Federal Reserve report out Monday. The gain was the largest in quarterly records back to 1952. The value of equities advanced $5.7 trillion from the prior quarter while real estate increased about $458 billion.” • The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.

“U.S. Is Falling Further Behind Rivals in Meat-Worker Safety” [Bloomberg]. “In Germany, the government is ready to upend a labor contracting system that left poorly paid immigrant workers vulnerable. Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, slashed slaughterhouse staffing capacity to enforce strict spacing requirements. In Brazil, the federal government has set safety rules, though unions have said they’re not strong enough. Meanwhile, the U.S. has yet to impose any mandatory safety measures on meatpackers to contain infections, issuing just voluntary guidelines. And the only federal citations against major meat processors resulted in fines of less than $16,000, decried as paltry by worker advocates. At the same time, an executive order from Donald Trump has kept plants running at full tilt since late April.”

“We Need a Radically Different Approach to the Pandemic and Our Economy as a Whole” [Jacobin]. “[Katherine Yih] Locking down society is a blunt instrument whose goal has been to keep the overall numbers down at all costs. Lockdowns have been vastly unfair in their impact and have exacerbated disparities in wealth and power. Millions of working-class people have lost their jobs and find it impossible to find new ones in the current shuttered economy. (It is remarkable that the media pay so little attention to the extreme economic hardship being endured by millions of people who were already struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic.) Millions of others must continue working in high-risk jobs. Many white-collar workers, on the other hand, have been able to work safely from home. Thus, workers on the front lines, like health care workers, mass transit drivers, grocery workers, meatpackers, and many, many other occupational groups, are contributing disproportionately to the herd immunity that will ultimately protect everyone.” [Martin Kulldorff] Yes, I think the lockdown is the worst assault on the working class in half a century, and especially on the urban working class. In effect, we are protecting low-risk college students and young professionals who can work from home at the expense of older, high-risk, working-class people that have no choice but to work, leading to more deaths overall. There have been studies, for example in Toronto, that show that lockdowns have primarily protected high-income, low-minority neighborhoods, but not low-income or high-minority neighborhoods.” • Worth reading, agree or disagree.

News of the Wired

Winter is coming:

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos. I work from the position that beautiful photographs can be taken anywhere — i.e., are not site-dependent — but Vasilyev certainly makes a powerful counter-argument.

“You Can Now Explore 103 ‘Lost’ Hokusai Drawings Online” [Smithsonian]. :Hokusai was an incredibly prolific artist, producing an estimated 30,000 images over his 70-year career. With the addition of these 103 drawings, the British Museum now houses a collection of more than 1,000 of his works. As [Frank Feltens, an assistant curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art] told Smithsonian magazine’s Roger Catlin last year, Hokusai was most prolific in the last decade of his life. In the artist’s own words, it was only at age 73 that he finally ‘understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants.'” • So even old codgers like me have more than a few years to go!

“New emojis are coming in 2021, including a heart on fire, a woman with a beard and over 200 mixed-skin-tone options for couples” [CNN]. “The Unicode Consortium, a non-profit that oversees emoji standards and is responsible for new releases, announced the release of more than 200 emojis that will hit cell phones throughout next year in a limited ‘Emoji 13.1’ release — which means even more ways to convey the pain of this year.”

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

WB writes: “Not sure what plant classification covers pond scum, but this is a colorful example.” Colorful it is. I should wander through the biosphere to pond and their scums one of these days. As if following the election wasn’t enough.

* * *

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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. UserFriendly

    Nebraska-02 (2) should be Nebraska-02 (1).
    Also CO isn’t really being contested anymore. Like VA, it has a large number of college whites and has gotten bluer every year for a while.

  2. allan

    Voters in Key States Support a Wealth Tax [Data for Progress]

    … From the end of July and through mid September, Data for Progress polled voters in 11 states including key battlegrounds, such as Arizona, North Carolina, Iowa, and Maine, that will help to determine which party controls the Senate in 2021. In these surveys we asked voters their opinion about wealth taxes, testing their support for such a tax and to see if they would be more likely to vote for a politician who supports a wealth tax.

    Among voters in all 11 of these states, 61 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a wealth tax, while only 19 percent said they’d be less likely to. In both Maine and Iowa, 69 percent of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a wealth tax, while only 16 and 17 percent, respectively, said they’d be less likely to do so. In Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas, meanwhile, attitudes are similar. In Texas, for example, 61 percent said they’d be more likely to support a Senate candidate who backs a wealth tax while 25 percent said they’d be less likely. Even in Mississippi, a majority of voters (51 percent) of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate that calls for implementing a tax on wealth. …

    Sounds like a plan, which surely any presidential campaign that wants to win would want to adopt.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have yet to see any anti-Proposition 207 signs here in Tucson. But the pro signs? Wowsers. Those things are BIG. As in, big enough to dwarf the other signs at major intersections.

      Methinks the wealth tax will pass here.

      1. josh

        Do you mean Prop 208 (income tax) instead of Prop 207 (weed decrim/tax), or is this a tongue in cheek commentary on weed wealth?

            1. ambrit

              If I have to chose between Trump or Biden, I’ll need a big hit of opiates and some Xanax to ease the pain and lessen the shame.

      2. hunkerdown

        The AZ initiative includes home grow! That’s the provision that makes all the difference in marijuana legalization. It’s not so great if you’re just buying from a different cartel.

        And, if I read it correctly, it allows employers etc. to ban marijuana on their premises, but not take action against people for using elsewhere. That’s a big gain over Michigan’s law, which allows employers to continue to fire people for off-premises off-duty consumption. Bigger signs!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The AZ initiative includes home grow! That’s the provision that makes all the difference in marijuana legalization. It’s not so great if you’re just buying from a different cartel.

          I wonder if this legislative initiative will have coat-tails for Biden.

          1. YvonneBB

            Unless Trump blanket pardons all federal marijuana for personal use convictions, as well as Julian Assange and Snowden. That would be a body blow to the Democrats at the last minute.

    2. Glen

      Voters also support Medicare For All. Voters generally are VERY smart and support common sense things that FIX America.

      Silly voters! What do you think this is? A country where your VOTE means anything?

      1. Carla

        Well, it must mean something, or the Republi-Crats wouldn’t spend so damned much time f*cking with every aspect of it.

        So just vote. At least at the local level, it might mean something…

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Here in Michigan, it meant a chance to vote for State Legal marijuana. So now we have State Legal marijuana. For example.

        2. Big River Bandido

          By the time a vote is taken, the “issues” are filtered and confined to a narrow range of choices deemed acceptable to the oligarchs. No, voting doesn’t mean much, other than farce.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Legalized marijuana is not nothing. It’s much more than nothing if an amnesty is granted, and more than that if you can grow your own. “Fundamentally, nothing will change” is not the same as “nothing will change.”

  3. UserFriendly

    A plan to vote… I mean, who doesn’t love plans?

    Yes, annoying but this comes from a research paper I’m too lazy to find that said people who were asked to make a plan to vote (e.g. I’ll go after work before I go to the dry cleaners) were much more likely to follow through and actually vote. All major campaigns use this kind of language for their get out the vote operations now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ll go after work before I go to the dry cleaners

      That’s not really a plan; it’s an item on a do-list. Read the detail on the Mike the Mad Biologist post and the Jenny Cohn tweet if you want to get a real sense of the obstacles.

      1. UserFriendly

        I’m not denying there are real obstacles, I’m not even saying I agree with this study or that it is applicable to general elections where negative partisanship is a much stronger motivation (it was based off of a D primary). That verbiage just hit a tripwire for me and I guarantee that this study got caught up in the election industrial complex and spit out in that tweet.

        Phone calls encouraging citizens to vote are staples of modern campaigns. Insights from psychological science can make these calls dramatically more potent while also generating opportunities to expand psychological theory. We present a field experiment conducted during the 2008 presidential election (N = 287,228) showing that facilitating the formation of a voting plan (i.e., implementation intentions) can increase turnout by 4.1 percentage points among those contacted, but a standard encouragement call and self-prediction have no significant impact. Among single-eligible-voter households, the formation of a voting plan increased turnout among persons contacted by 9.1 percentage points, whereas those in multiple-eligible voter households were unaffected by all scripts. Some situational factors may organically facilitate implementation-intentions formation more readily than others; we present data suggesting that this could explain the differential treatment effect that we found. We discuss implications for psychological and political science, and public interventions involving implementation intentions formation

        The implementation-intentions scripts were identical to the self-prediction scripts but also asked three follow-up questions designed to facilitate voting plan making: what time they would vote, where they would be coming from, and what they would be doing beforehand (Scripts E and F).

        1. Big River Bandido

          Phone calls encouraging citizens to vote are staples of modern campaigns.

          Phone calls are *so* 2000. For 20 years I’ve had nothing but a cell phone, and I haven’t answered a call on it in 5 years. Same with emails. And even if someone answers without hanging up, phone and digital media are no substitute for meeting people face-to-face. The power of “live” human interaction may prove especially potent in our current environment with all its social alienation and people starved of human bonding and interaction.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I guarantee that this study got caught up in the election industrial complex and spit out in that tweet.

          I don’t doubt it. I stand by my claim that the liberal Democrat fetish for complexity (see, e.g., ObamaCare or any one of their insane means-tested tax credit programs) and their self-image as planners (see, e.g., the Warren campaign) is driving the tone of these tweets, no matter what script the Biden campaign is working from. They’re making a fetish of planning for a process that should be simple and easy, but is in fact so complex you almost have to “learn to code” to navigate it! (To put this another way, I don’t thing “bring a folding chair” figures largely in the Biden campaign’s script.)

          1. SlayTheSmaugs

            I suggest you’re getting triggered by the word ‘plan’ a little (yes I’m kinda trolling) but really, would you be as irked if the words were:

            Decide when, where and how you are going to vote.

            Because that’s really what the ask is about, it’s about making the real decision, the commitment to action, that shifts things from a vague to do to an actually gets done.

            If you’re going to vote absentee, there’s several steps to take, so deciding to take them (when, how) is useful. If you’re going to vote in person, are you going early or on Election Day? On your way to work, at lunch, on your way home? Do you know where you vote? For regular voters, a lot of this is already habit. For new voters, or infrequent voters, it’s not. And it’s those last two groups the ‘plan’ thing is aimed at.

      2. CloverBee

        Every working parent has a checklist, every day, of things they need to do. Go to work, a list at work, after work errands, groceries, dinner, homework. If you are going to fit in person voting in somewhere, you have to add it to your schedule ahead of time, otherwise it won’t happen. Try to squeeze it in somewhere, and the lines are long? No vote.
        Colorado has been vote by mail for a long time, and it is fantastic. I can see my ballot’s status, verify the information, and if it is rejected I can go vote in person. When I fill out my ballot, I have a lot of time to make informed choices. I drop it in a ballot box instead of the mail.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, you know how to do it because you have done it, and the state as a whole is familiar with it. See Mike the Mad Biologist’s quote for what happens when that is not true. (Note that the “hand-counted in public” part of “hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public” is just as important as the “hand-marked” part, which vote-by-mail is, because central tabulation can be gamed. But that’s another issue.)

    2. Arizona Slim

      Why should voting be something that requires a plan? I mean, come on. It’s something you do.

      OTOH, I do agree with something that Bernie Sanders said while campaigning. In essence, he said that once we turn 18, we’re registered to vote. Period. End of discussion.

      1. Keith

        Registering is not that difficult. If a person is not willing to take that minimum step to vote, I suspect they probably are not well informed. Voting should have some obstacles to weed out low info and lazy types. I think universal suffrage is overrated. Get people to have some skin in the game rather than I just want free stuff or follow this fad or that.

          1. furies

            Eh, Keith is no doubt of the persuasion that those ‘losers’ should just get Covid from working their minimum wage parttime/on call jawbs and die already.

            After all; only the best and brightest work hard for all that money–why should they share?

            I love hearing “go die” from fellow commenters here.

        1. judy2shoes

          “Registering is not that difficult. If a person is not willing to take that minimum step to vote, I suspect they probably are not well informed.”

          Well, Keith, please tell me what the voting registration laws are in each of the states. Nah, never mind. The statement itself (registering is not that difficult) shows that you don’t know what the laws are. I suspect you probably are not well informed. But you knew that, right?

            1. judy2shoes

              Keith was generalizing his belief that voter registration is easy to the entire country which is what I am taking issue with, along with the condescending tone of the rest of his comment. I think his condescension was the entire point of his comment (and to stir things up, of course).

        2. lambert strether

          > weed out the low info and lazy

          Literacy tests and poll taxes will solve those problems. Who’s with me?

          1. ambrit

            “Who’s with me?”
            Come on now! True “rugged individualists” share nothing!
            I’d love to see how taxing a Monty Python literacy test would be.
            “Fiats, don’ fail me now!”

      2. Lee

        I don’t know. Once you get to a certain age it becomes wise to include toilet stops in your plans. Just sayin’.

        1. John

          Our only national election is for president and vice president. With all the sturm und drang perhaps its is time, if not past time, to have a national law that governs that election. All the others can be left to their respective states.

            1. Jomo

              I would like to see the US senate and representatives added to the national law that governs elections. In Florida, a felon who has served a prison sentence, but owes money as a part of their sentence, can’t vote, but this is not true in the rest of the country, a very unfair disenfranchisement.

          1. edmondo

            There can’t be a national law on elections because there are no “national elections”. The presidential election is 50 state elections for president. This was news to Hillary’s campaign four years ago.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      A problem with touch screen voting is that the touch-screen system can be programmed to show you on the screen the vote you made . . . . and give you a paper copy saying the same thing . . . . and then change your vote inside the machine after the screen goes dark and you leave with your “print-out”. And it will be.

      Also, the tabulation system can be programmed to flip and re-assign any vote the programmers want re-assigned during the tabulation and counting process itself. And it will be.

      If I lived in an electronic touch screen voting jurisdiction, I would keep staying registered to vote, would attend the election, and when I got cleared to vote, I would say in a real loud voice: ” touch-screen voting is engineered to be fraudulent by design. The fraud goes in before the label goes on.” And then walk out.

      Unless legal paper ballots could be cast absentee or for by-mail. Then I would do that instead. There will be less fraud and loss of legal paper absentee and mail-in ballots than there will be for touch-screen in person ballots.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > There will be less fraud and loss of legal paper absentee and mail-in ballots than there will be for touch-screen in person ballots.

        For a detailed discussion of unauditable ballot marking devices like Los Angeles’s VSAP system, see at NC here and here.

        I think its likely that there will be less fraud with vote-by-mail than with touch screens. (Votes thrown out because they were not properly mailed is another issue, though doubtless they will be conflated by partisans when the SHTF.) Two caveats: First, central tabulation is an issue. The chain of custody from ballot collection to counting needs to be watched carefully. Second, vote-by-mail proponents point with justifiable pride to successful state systems. However, the stakes in a Federal election are orders of magnitude higher than those in a state election. Accordingly, the incentives for election fraud — and the budgets to pay professionals to have the fraud done — become exponentially greater as well.

        I really wish we had UN observers, no lie.

  4. anon

    As an fyi, the Texas data are in part related to the release of a large number of back-logged cases from several weeks ago, so the true “new” cases are not so high.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i was fixin to ask about that sharp rise on the chart.

      i admit that my expectations for Texas in handling the pandemic are pretty low,lol.
      the rule of thumb for Texas political stuff: if there’s a stupid option, that’s the one we’ll go with….proudly and loudly.

      1. anon

        The hospitalizations, at least in the 9 counties served by the Texas Medical Center and UTMB hospitals, are down to April-early May numbers and the Rt is remaining below 1.0.

    2. Robert E Most, MD

      Also, “cases” are people who test positive by PCR. Most of them are not ill and very few are seriously ill or will ever be seriously ill. We are now measuring non-cases who are PCR+.

      There may be a small bump somewhere, but there is no “surge”.

      In February, we may see a true second wave. It will not be as bad as the first, and this time, doctors will treat it with HCQ and other drugs. Forget the vaccine. They have not worked for CoVs and any benefit will be short lived. Not worth it.

      ” It will not be as bad” assumes that some lab is not cooking up another chimeric virus.

      1. JBird4049

        Or like the 1918 Pandemic, have the later waves become more lethal than the first still bad one.

        It is still very possible that the virus could still do so.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Since the death of the host kills the virus, evolution would favor a virus that does *not* kill the host over one that *does*. Thus the mutation likely to succeed would be less virulent…would it not?

          1. BlakeFelix

            Usually eventually, which coupled with the vulnerable dying tends to moderate viruses to a degree, but there is no law. There can be mutations that are more lethal and spread just fine, or mutations with similar lethality and better spread, which I am afraid may have already happened. Lower lethality and better spread tend to dominate eventually, but as Keynes said, in the long run we all die.

  5. Noone from Nowheresville

    Since we got a positive bird songs, I’ll do this final plug for Birds in Art.

    I haven’t been able to get there for the last few years but if you love bird art and have the ability and willingness to do a road trip, this is a seriously good art show. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by how much there is to see including the outside sculpture garden and the multiple exhibits.

    Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Wausau, WI
    Saturday, September 12 through November 29, 2020

    This year’s National Tour (60 works)

    Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
    Southwest Harbor, Maine
    Stamford, Connecticut
    Fullerton, California

  6. urblintz

    Great photo indeed! It provokes many associations and interpretations and is just plain beautiful visually.

  7. a different chris

    “Radically Different Approach”

    >Martin Kulldorff is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

    Well there’s a shocker. What an over-credentialed idiot.

    >and there is no scientific or public health rationale to close day care centers, schools, or colleges.

    Because those kids will come home and kill Grandma since every family has both parents working so she’s all they got. Who does he think works at “day care centers”, anyway, only people under 30? That seems like a “public health” rationale even though the august Dr. Kulldorf was somehow not consulted on it.

    Maroon. God free us from the Ivy League somehow, please?

    I mean what are we supposed to do? If the older working class is allowed to go out there and work, said working class will die in droves. That worked out pretty well in the long run for the peasants under the Plague, but even at that I bet the individuals involved would have liked to try something else.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      >> those kids will come home and kill Grandma since every family has both parents working so she’s all they got.

      Oddly, for a magazine called Jacobin, there’s no proposal to adjust the system so that people don’t have to work for wages to survive. I perhaps was not pointed enough in my comment…

    2. Robert E Most, MD

      I like the “over-credentialed idiot” part of your comment.
      The last I checked, Iceland, which has police-state level surveillance with a national EMR, had identified NO cases of child to family transmission. This is a bit of a mystery since the kids can have high viral titers. But empiricism trumps theory. As an elder over-credentialed idiot myself, why do I get to ask children to make the sacrifices?
      We do not really know the daycare risks to Grandma – it is lower than you think.
      The risk to older adults under 65 is certainly less than you think. Have you looked at real statistics? This is like the flu in that age range.
      Younger adults should just go back to work while the actual cases – not the PCR count – is still low. Their immunity will provide protection for older workers when the seasonal peak comes in the winter.
      Meanwhile, kids under 12 should be in school and not wearing (nearly ineffective) masks. The rates of childhood depression are up. Suicides next.

      We can figure out something else for Grandma. I for one have had a 6-day Rx run of hydroxychloroquine since February. Don’t believe the lies from our famously free press. And what is that about, anyway?… not just money

      1. Basil Pesto

        it’s interesting that you post on a time delay

        for instance your post on the day before’s water
        cooler (21/9) where you compared making children wear masks to ‘child abuse’, was time-stamped after a different chris’ 22/9 comment above, which you then replied to almost 24 hours later.

        Which suggests to me that you don’t want your conspicuously citation-free posts subjected to any real scrutiny.

        Incidentally, as someone who was a child relatively recently, I’d like to think I would’ve been switched on enough at the time to recognise that “making children wear masks is child abuse” is, if you’ll excuse me, pretty fucking silly.

  8. jr

    The HRC hagiography is unbearable to look at. They are making a real push to rewrite the history; there is the fictional account of her sans Bill that came out a few months back. Such a sick waste of peoples lives and energy, all to promote the boundless ego of that warped thing, clawing and gouging at life like some utter abnormality from another place with different rules. Literally just consuming and excreting and constantly looking for the next dopamine rush triggered by being mean or telling someone what to do. Human absurdities, degenerate farces, glutted but always hungry.

    1. flora

      Would it be just too cynical to suggest the Clinton Foundation can afford a lot of PR? Advertising works. (Are they selling envy or fear?) /heh

      1. jr

        Yeah but children’s literature? It’s nauseating. Than again, when you’ve actually killed as many kids as HRC has I guess a hand drawn, folksy creator-myth is peanuts.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          They don’t have enough material for a proper “chapter book” without full blown fictions such as the one where Hillary dumps Bill decades ago and still manages to become a Senator out of Illinois no less despite a lack of charisma, family name, or machine politics in that scenario.

    2. farragut

      …all to promote the boundless ego of that warped thing, clawing and gouging at life like some utter abnormality from another place with different rules. Literally just consuming and excreting and constantly looking for the next dopamine rush triggered by being mean or telling someone what to do. Human absurdities, degenerate farces, glutted but always hungry.

      This description of Hillary would be right at home in a tale from HP Lovecraft. Kudos, jr.

    3. jr

      I can’t let it go. “Some girls are born to lead.” These people are the enemies of humanity, literally. But this isn’t only to set up that blood flecked monster for another run or for posterity: it’s for Chelsea. The Pout of Earnestness. To set up a divine bloodline. God, humanity continues to disappoint.

    4. chuck roast

      There is an urban legend that Bubba & Herself crossed a picket line on their first date. I’d love to believe it. Is there any proof of this?

  9. TroyIA

    Do we have to cross Eric Topol off the list of people who provide neutral and balanced information in regards to COVID-19?

    His tweet thread is about the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine but in tweet 6 he uses a study about the Moderna vaccine adverse effects. This is the study about the Pfizer vaccine – PFIZER AND BIONTECH SHARE POSITIVE EARLY DATA ON LEAD MRNA VACCINE CANDIDATE BNT162B2 AGAINST COVID-19

    Was that an honest mistake or is it because the Pfizer study showed less adverse effects therefore undermining his viewpoint. In fact Pfizer felt comfortable enough with their vaccine to seek approval to expand their trial by 14,000 people to include people 16-17 years old as well as those with underlying conditions such as HIV and Hepatitis.

    Another point is this is a joint effort by Pfizer and BioNTech. BioNTech is a German company and has been working with the European Medicines Agency at every step. When Pfizer applies to the FDA for approval BioNTech will apply to the EMA at the same time. When EMA evaluates the vaccine they will be looking at the same data as the FDA. If the FDA is smart they will recognize how politicized everything about COVID-19 has become and wait for the EMA to approve the vaccine first.

    It’s odd how Topol criticizes Pfizer and the FDA but doesn’t mention BioNTech or the EMA. Is he genuinely concerned about the safety of a vaccine or is he trying to undermine the credibility of the FDA?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s odd how Topol criticizes Pfizer and the FDA but doesn’t mention BioNTech or the EMA. Is he genuinely concerned about the safety of a vaccine or is he trying to undermine the credibility of the FDA?

      Oy, I hope we don’t have to cross Topol off the list, because he’s been good in the past. But of course there are political cross-currents among the Project Warp Speed participants. I’m stressed enough on the election without having to dope out the politics of vaccine makers. Is there a site that tracks this?

  10. Wukchumni

    “Ig Nobel Prizes reward research on helium-huffing alligators and knives made of feces” [Science]. “Winners received a fake $10 trillion Zimbabwean bill, and were emailed a six-page PDF to print and assemble into a cube-shaped trophy.”
    Why a fake $10 trillion Zimbabwe bill?

    You can buy perfectly real ones for around $5 to $10 on eBay…

    1. carl

      Was in Colombia a few times in the last couple of years and would regularly see Venezuelan refugees camped out on the street, with piles of Venezuelan currency that was going for the equivalent of about 25 cents.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps they didn’t have the $5 or $10 extra dollars it would have cost to buy a real $10 trillion Zimbuck bill.

  11. fresno dan

    Yard signs in Fresno report
    Going to the grocery store, saw 4 Biden signs, all associated with Phil Arballo, so I guess I am in congress district 22 or drive through it. Did not see any Trump signs.

    This is an area that I would describe as well off, but not wealthy

    1. marcyincny

      Were they “NOPE” signs? We finally figured out that the neighbor’s new sign with big letters spelling “NOPE” has “Biden 2020” below in much smaller letters.

      Does everyone recognize this as a Biden sign? Are we the last to know – again?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Take a drive around non-coastal district two and it’s very different. I’ve taken a few trips there in the last few months and Trump signs outnumber Biden’s bigly – hundreds to one. They are everywhere in the rural areas.

          I am seeing Biden signs popping up in my neighborhood in the Portland area recently. Definitely not an overabundance of them, but they do outnumber the Trump signs here.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Were they “NOPE” signs? We finally figured out that the neighbor’s new sign with big letters spelling “NOPE” has “Biden 2020” below in much smaller letters.

        That really does sum up the Democrat message. I think Thomas Frank just put out a book with a similar title….

  12. fresno dan

    “Eagles QB booed during home game by fake crowd noise in Philadelphia” [The Hill]. • There’ll always be a Philly…

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was booed during a home game Sunday despite no fans in attendance at Lincoln Financial Field.

    Booing is not uncommon in Philadelphia when the team or a player performs poorly, as was the case over the weekend during a 37-19 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Rams.

    Wentz, the team’s highest-paid player, was booed after throwing two interceptions.
    Uh, who did they get to throw stuff?

    1. CitizenSissy

      Just wait for Flyers games: a charming local custom is for the home crowd to chant “sucks” when each opposing team player is announced. Fake belligerent Flyers fan noise would be absolutely necessary for this season’s Potemkin Village hockey season.

  13. Billy

    Katsushika Hokusai 1829 Copyright, British Museum?

    Where do they get off copyrighting something over 190 years old? Did they copyright the Elgin Marbles that they stole?

    I have distant relatives who might have written the Bible.
    I demand royalty payments.

    And, it was not written in ball point pen as were some other controversial documents.

    1. rtah100

      The photograph or scan of the Hokusai print is what they copyrighted. Although if it is never displayed in public, then the supply of alternative images is choked off and it is tantamount to copyrighting the original….

  14. Wukchumni

    “Eagles QB booed during home game by fake crowd noise in Philadelphia” [The Hill]. • There’ll always be a Philly…
    The Eagle’s (bird song of the day) call greatly reminded me of this moment when the crew was stuck on a neo-Roman planet, run by a rogue starship captain…

    Star Trek – Fighting Roman Style


    1. ewmayer

      For some reason the empty stands and fake crowd noise don’t bother me so much in NFL games as MLB – I think it’s because the typicl football-game coverage uses a camera angle showing just the field and both sidelines, whereas in baseball you’re reminded of the empty-stands/cardboard-fans with every pitch. But yeah, I would expect the taped-crowd-noise tracks to include booing, just most teams figured those would be only for the visiting team. LOL@Philly. :)

      And hey, how about your belovehated Buffalo Bills? 2-0 start, Superspreader Bowl LVI, here we come!

      1. Wukchumni

        Josh Allen is a joy to watch throw his body around, I think he took a slide on a run on Sunday, but probably regretted it.

  15. dcblogger

    I’m willing to cut Sanders some slack ’til we see how electoralism plays out in terms of tangible outcomes. But this is really unfortunate framing by Jane Sanders. The issue is not who “did their best.” The issue is that the Sanders campaign, uniquely among 2020 campaigns, and in fact among every election I can think of, took $200 million in working class money (Walmat workers and nurses, not lawyers). Was the best use made of it? It’s fine with me if squillionaire bucks are p*ssed away on sending Democrat strategist kids to college. Walmart worker bucks? Not so much.

    Very unfair. For example, Amazon and Disney workers got raises as a direct result of Bernie’s campaign. In any case, there are no guarantees in politics. The is especially true when you are going up agains the oligarchs. In Poland Solidarity summer was put down with Christmas Martial Law, and 9 years later the Soviet tanks rolled out of Poland. The Bernie campaign fell short of putting Bernie in the White House, but down ballot plenty of victories. Also a revived left. I have NEVER seen so much actual left wing activism in my life.

    1. L

      I have to agree with you on this one. Sanders’ campaign didn’t win the primary. It did lead to raises for some and push the actual focus of the Democrats over. It also supported him in supporting other downballot progressive candidates who did win. Is it a guaranteed victory? No. But as part of a long-term movement I see it as money well spent. Certainly better spent than the DNC donations I keep getting asked for.

      To be sure I have a problem with any waste of lower income peoples’ money. But if his campaign continues to yield material gains even if done by others then it did not fail. Especially if you consider the longer term measure. How many people on this go on to run for city council?

      I see most of the energy for blame being simply wasted efforts by the Karens who want to blame Sanders for any outcome rather than fight for a good one.

      1. dcrane

        My last few donations to Sanders would not have happened had I imagined he would throw in the towel after Super Tuesday and simply endorse Biden, rather than taking his delegates and power to the convention to fight for concessions in exchange for that endorsement.

        Now I’m an R voter, probably for life. I’m just an anecdote, but so is everyone else fwiw.

    2. ckimball

      Thank you.
      Also, I know we all are disappointed but I believe Bernie has earned ‘the benefit of the doubt’.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Also a revived left. I have NEVER seen so much actual left wing activism in my life.

      That’s true. Nevertheless, the point is political power. Why the Sander campaign fell so short in that regard really does need to be addressed. It’s not a personal thing; Sanders isn’t running again.

  16. Wukchumni

    “The Onion’s Guide To QAnon” [The Onion]. “Q: What is QAnon? A: A conspiracy theory that posits world leaders are secretly evil rather than openly so.”
    I’ve seen numbers of QAnon activity openly consorting with al’ Gebra, and the only place I know of that doesn’t demand a ‘u’ after a Q is trrrrrrrstville, er middle east.

  17. Wukchumni

    Our guest that came in with knocking-the SQF wildfire, seems like an up and coming heavyweight that nearly went the distance with Ali, but in the end was a TKO in the 11th round, when it couldn’t find a neutral corner of unburned terra firma within the ropes and lost burning desire.

    There’s no time like a crisis to make hay while the Sun shines, and the current plan is to burn from the back-burn containment line on the left of the map, back into the nucleus of the wildfire through the green zone, which is overgrown with the usual too much of everything, and in the process do pretty much a ‘prescribed burn’ while a wildfire is ongoing, and hooray for that.


  18. Mikel

    “Q: What is QAnon? A: A conspiracy theory that posits world leaders are secretly evil rather than openly so.”

    This definition actually explains the purpose of QAnon…distract from the actual everyday evil going on. Wonder who benefits? hmmmm? Who could it be?

    1. hunkerdown

      I’m not foily (MR SUBLIMINAL: LOL), but 8chan’s owner (almost 20 years in the Army) was summoned to testify in closed session before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee, and Golden Sacks infosec people are alleged to have sat at the top of the dissemination pipeline. Now that’s a public-private partnership! A breezy little piece from Disney News, on the Men behind QAnon, whose new details have already been incorporated into Watkins pere‘s Wikipedia entry.

      What’s amusing to me is the revelation that Watkins owned a pig farm… and pig farms as evidence disposers were a minor but significant component of Pizzagate, with Instagram fakes and everything. Kinda makes you wonder just what else Watkins was running in the Philippines for the oligarchy.

    2. Jessica

      The initial function of QAnon was to get the Alex Jones folks on board with martial law and the like. Those folks have a strong authoritarian bent but aren’t so happy when that force is pointed at them. (Ruby Ridge, Waco, Timothy McVeigh)
      The current function of QAnon seems to be to get right-wing Christians on board with a more thorough dismantling of constitutional rights.
      Another view is that QAnon is a way of keeping folks on board with Trump even though he is failing on most of his promises to them. That would make it very similar to most Democratic Party propaganda.
      In other words, QAnon is the right-wing mirror image of children’s books about the heroic Hillary.

      1. hunkerdown

        Or one could view it as to get the Trump insurgency back into Establishment mindsets and concerns. In other words, the right-wing mirror image of the Democrat establishment.

      2. Robert E Most, MD

        Jessica, I agree with ” folks have a strong authoritarian bent” – actually overtrust of the military, not so much authoritarian because there is a large mix of right leaning libertarians. Also, its “a way of keeping folks on board with Trump.”

        But this keeping-on-board has largely happened because of the Russia Hoax, with its plausible “Deep State opposes Trump” explanation. And the obvious MSM and now GooglYtubeTwitFaceBorg censorship. I still know so many liberals, generally people I agree with, who have no idea that all the House Intelligence testimony directly contradicts public statements from the same people (as well as Ukraine; so Coup I, Coup II failures). So Trump battling these evil plotters is THE explanation for his failures.

        And while visible parts of “the Left” are busy with PC and censorship and a new left-authoritarianism, the right has emphasized constitutional rights (albeit in an originalist version). So I don’t agree with that part of your characterization. Again, there is a strong libertarian streak and Q may serve to reign that in at some point.

        With everyone getting woke or awakened these days, the Left has abandoned its traditional skepticism about the intelligence agencies – and war – and the right has taken it up and “awakened” half-way to the realities of our very corrupt late-capitalist-fascist economy and government. (My terms, not Q) At least they know about Building 7.

        The taste of awakening is very powerful. These silly MSM narratives about baby cannibals and such are picking up peripheral junk for ridicule, and do not come close to explaining the dynamics of the QAnon movement.

  19. ewmayer

    Last night came across what might be the perfect campaign slogan for Joe Biden – T-Mobile has a splashy new ad campaign centered around the Covid-19-caused work-from-home trend, something along the lines of “the biggest upgrade to our network [*cough* and pricing structure *cough*] in over a decade”. Anyhow they give a passing nod to social justice – though, oddly or not, I heard nothing about “discounted services for low-income customers” – with the following deathless slogan:

    “Because access to opportunity requires access™.”

    Is that perfect for Biden to borrow, or what? Nice-sounding but vapid “wha?” verbiage, with initimations of complex means-testing to follow. And Joe could inspire us with tales of how “access to opportunity” allowed him to escape a life in those coal mines of his youth.

    1. ewmayer

      Gah, “intimations”.

      While I’m here correcting the record, imagining goofy lovable ol’ avuncular JB using that in a phrase: “I never had intimations with that woman! And as far as these crazy charges of ‘harassment’ go, I never found her derrière particularly attractive, if you must know. All I said to her was ‘honey, your smile sure smells nice.’ Now what on Earth could be wrong with paying a yound woman a compliment like that? I tell you, all these crazy rumors are a bunch of malarkey spread by my right-wing opponents.”

      1. ewmayer

        It was the voiceover at the end of the TV ad – I happened to be working in the kitchen at the time and heard the ad playing on the nearby living room TV.

        This appears to be a webpage about the program in question, to be fair it is – or purports to be – about closing the digital divide by providing free gear and discounted service plans to poorer school districts. Based on the website the “means testing” seems not overly complex, but it would be interesting to hear from people in an actual school district using the program – above page specifically mentions the Palm Springs Unified School District, wonder if any NC readers living there might be able to provide some info.

        So it is possible T-Mobile is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, but you can bet coming from the Joe Bidens of the world there would be no such altruism at work. That’s why it struck me as a perfect empty-promise campaign slogan.

  20. Mikel

    “‘Hygiene theater’: Disinfecting sprays and sanitizing robots alone won’t keep you safe from COVID-19” [ABC News]. “[Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital] said that one of his biggest concerns with hygiene theater is that ‘it’s just not sustainable…”

    The push to return to office buildings will be a mess. It’s going to be the bathrooms, kitchens, and the office towers with windows that don’t open that will be the sticker.
    The re-circulated air and open office space model can’t be ended soon enough.
    But the extroverts can’t stand not being constantly seen. Sad.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      We’re going to spend the next four years pretending that this will all be over in a month or two.

  21. CarlH

    Alexey Vasilyev’s photographs remind me instantly of Simon Stålenhag’s digital paintings, minus the futuristic, alien machines.

  22. dougie

    So Mike Bloomberg paid off the fines of 32K Florida felons so they could vote? Where is the punch line? What’s the catch? Is this ” a stopped clock is right twice a day”, a blind hog occasionally finding an acorn? Surely, I am not going to have to challenge my belief that he needs to be hunted with dogs…….Help me out, here! Perhaps they had to donate an organ? Did he actually do some good in the world?

    1. Darthbobber

      Bloomberg actually does a number of unambiguously good things with his money, in addition to the influence buying political things.

      But none of that fixes any of the fundamental problems.

      + he’s of that school of philanthropists who try to use their philanthropy to shield themselves from all criticism.

      1. a different chris

        It is a good thing… but the fact that one guy can write a check and not even notice it to cover an expense 32000 other men couldn’t….is incredible. And wrong.

      2. Carolinian

        He gave a million dollars to sponsor temporary outdoor art in my town. The artists were mostly not local and picked by some committee. The art with a couple of exceptions was really bad and often annoying. For example an in town lake where lots of people hike and bike had poles with lights on them randomly scattered out in the water for night illumination. Think Christo on a bad day with trees cut down to improve views and an electrical installation mounted on the side of the lake (it’s still there, the lights not).

        Where are the old days when tycoons merely burned off their wads of cash by lighting cigars with them?

        1. ambrit

          Not to worry too much. The fact of “official” art being staid and soul less is traditional. Think, the official Salon de Paris versus the original Impressionist Exhibition of 1874 and later.
          “Picked by committee” is probably code for, political all the way down.
          I have observed this first hand when Phyllis would enter art shows. The curator is the one to pay attention to. Figure out that person’s tastes and submit works appropriately.

  23. Glen

    First Trump-Biden debate to focus on Supreme Court, coronavirus and race


    So, just a suggestion here, but maybe we can add these questions:

    Just how the {family blog} does picking a Supreme Court justice put food on the {family blog}ing table and keep a roof over my {family blog}ing head?
    What the {family blog} is the Senate doing about 30 million families that cannot afford FOOD?
    What the {family blog} is the Senate doing about keeping the states running?

    1. allan

      The official topics are

      •The Trump and Biden Records
      •The Supreme Court
      •The Economy
      •Race and Violence in our Cities, and
      •The Integrity of the Election.

      Linking Race and Violence in our Cities sure seems designed to drive a narrative.

  24. John k

    So if dems are sure they’re gonna win, why not do a deal now and a bigger one later?
    Bc the cupboard is bare – they said so – and don’t plan to do any deal later. So they complain about the stingy reps while the reps complain about the dems refusing to deal at all, and voila! no spending at all, which perfectly suits both sets of donors.
    Fed worries about the lack of stimulus… they know more about real intentions than most.

  25. Cuibono

    That Jacobin piece was filled with unscientific claptrap.
    Here is one:
    ” But I have been struck by how this emphasis on keeping the numbers down at all costs has not evolved with time. There is a kind of simplistic goal of keeping people from getting infected, period. Now this may seem like a worthy goal, but with a highly contagious respiratory virus to which most of the world’s population is probably still not immune, people are going to get infected. The virus will spread, quickly or less so, until herd immunity is reached.”
    Really? what of Canada, Korea, HK, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand etc etc etc

    Here is one more:
    “Children and young adults have minimal risk, and there is no scientific or public health rationale to close day care centers, schools, or colleges. ”
    Have these “experts” actually been following the research on this?

    They seem more like Trump supporters than Socialists

  26. farmboy

    “In other words, the elites had abandoned the idea of serving the public before the arrival of the digital tsunami. What that catastrophe did was to reverse the polarities of power: it was the public that was now technologically adept, politically restless, and in revolt against the perplexed elites. The vast gap remained, and the elites have no wish to cross it – to do so would mean breaking that wall that protects the pure soul of the Brahmin.” https://pullrequest.substack.com/p/the-prophet-of-the-revolt

    1. hunkerdown

      Interesting find. Pretty disgusting to see what goes through the minds of the centrist liberal servants of elitism in the national security state (which term becomes yet more ominous as it is literally the security of the elite to own the nation they are concerned about). I’m a bit heartened by the ex-glowie’s shamelessly bourgeois belief that “liberal democracy” (by which they mean bourgeois liberal aristocracy) “is the only game in town”.

      There seems to be a window open, possibly closing any moment, into which to seed the ideals of disrespect for social rank before it becomes difficult to communicate such things over a privatized, elite-managed communication space.

  27. TonyinSoCal

    I’m curious why you choose rosy economic outlooks as your go to and not data and statistics that show the absolutely brutalization of the bottom 60%. Citing a Fed Reserve bank head, who spouts out nothing but Wall Street and corporate propaganda isn’t exactly a reality-based assessment.

  28. Billy

    ‘Right-Wing Media Is Already Hurling Racist, Misogynist Fire At Kamala Harris’

    “In the same segment, [Tucker] Carlson brought up Harris’ dating history and suggested that an ex-boyfriend, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, “launched” her political career.”

    Suggested? Such speculative inuendo.

    “Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker,” Brown wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle op-ed. “I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco.”

    “When she was 30, Harris was dating 60 year old Willie Brown, at the time the Speaker of the California State Assembly. As well as gifting his young squeeze a BMW car, the relationship reaped even more tangible benefits when Brown handed Harris two influential positions.”

    “Brown, named attorney Kamala Harris to the California Medical Assistance Commission, a job that pays $72,000 a year. Brown also appointed Harris to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a lucrative position worth a further $97,088 a year, according to the same article.


    The Huffpost Khive hysteria for the Kamaleon is pretty blatant. It has been “suggested” that Kamala Harris is the biggest and best gift to Trump’s re-election campaign.

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