2:00PM Water Cooler 10/27/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Here is a Lesser Goldfinch, from alert reader Bryan SAMUEL.


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:

Still rising….

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

Unmistakable rise everywhere.

And a look at mortality and the death count, against the case count:

To me, it’s good news that deaths and mortality don’t correlate directly to confirmed cases; either medicine is getting better, or more resilient populations are being attacked, or both.

“Third wave of COVID-19 officially worse than the first two” [The Hill]. “With the U.S. recording an average of 68,954 new cases per day over a seven-day as of Sunday, it has surpassed the same figures recorded in April, during the first wave, and July, during the second wave…. ‘What worries me is that in those areas of the country, which is a large country, heterogeneous in many ways, if you don’t have the control now as we get towards the end of September, of getting such a low percentage that it is entirely manageable … when things change that work against you — and what works against you now is we’re getting into a weather season where people will be spending more time indoors,’ he stated. ‘Those are things I get concerned about as we get into October and November and December.'”


“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. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. October 8: NE-2 moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. October 13: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. October 16: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican. October 19: No changes. October 21: NE-1 moves from Likely to Safe Republican. October 24: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican.

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.

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Elections Project (SlayTheSmaugs)].

“How to Vote in 2020: Everything You Need to Know” [Bloomberg]. “Casting a ballot in the U.S. isn’t always easy, with a complex web of varying state rules governing how and when you can vote. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced even more complexity in 2020, as many states have made significant changes to allow for more early voting or voting by mail. More changes could come as lawsuits in several states wind their way through the courts. That’s why Bloomberg News is answering these critical questions so you’ll know what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted in the 2020 election.”

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…).

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Election Project].

“California Ballots Mailed and Returned Tracker” [Political Data]. • California only, sadly.

“Where’s My Ballot?” [Alex Padilla]. “Tracking your vote-by-mail ballot—when it is mailed, received, and counted—has never been easier. The California Secretary of State is now offering Where’s My Ballot?—a new way for voters to track and receive notifications on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Powered by BallotTrax, Where’s My Ballot? lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.” • Ballottrax. Shoulda gone long….

“State Fact Sheets” [Georgetown Universitty]. “[F]act sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.”

All the deadlines, rules, and voting hours to know when casting your ballot in the 2020 presidential election” [Business Insider]. “Here are 12 interactive graphics, charts, and maps Insider created to answer your most common questions about voting in 2020.”


Swing States

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

  • Arizona (11) (marijuana; taxes(=)
  • Colorado (9) (taxes, lottery, abortion, paid medical leave)
  • Florida (29) (minimum wage)
  • Georgia (16) (declaratory relief)
  • Iowa (6) (Constitional convention)
  • Maine-02 (1) (vax)
  • Michigan (16) (oil and gas royalties; privacy)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nebraska-02 (1) (payday lending; gambling)
  • Nevada (6) (marriage)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10)

Inspired by the thread starting with Arizona Slim’s comment here, I went to Ballotpedia and added selected, hopefully hot button, ballot initiatives, because sometimes they affect turnout. If you live in a swing state, please comment if I got the hot buttons wrong!

* * *

AZ: “President Trump to return to the Valley Wednesday, days ahead of Election Day” [ABC15]. “Officials with the Trump campaign announced that the President will be in Goodyear and Bullhead City on Wednesday for a Make America Great Again rally.” • Not Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania…..

FL: “Spanish-language disinformation intensifies among Florida Latinos, worrying Democrats” [NBC]. “A month ago, a caravan of angry protesters, honking their horns, rallied in front of Univision’s headquarters, calling it ‘mentiravision,’ or ‘lie-vision.’ In a widely circulated video recorded by a protester, a Univision photographer is shouted at and asked why they don’t air the truth. In a video from July with over half a million views on Facebook, a local Telemundo reporter in Miami is told, ‘If it weren’t for Facebook, if it weren’t for social media, we would not be able to spread our message. We Hispanics feel we don’t have a news source that tells the truth.'” • With a smooth segue into Russiaphobia around two-thirds of the way down….

FL: “Here’s where the election stands in Florida: Biden cuts into Trump coalition, Trump strengthens base, dirty tricks” [Miami Herald]. “The makeup of who is voting is different this year in fascinating ways. Former Vice President Joe Biden is doing better among older Florida voters and with white suburban women, two groups that helped President Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton four years ago. Biden also holds a lead among younger voters who, although they are among the least reliable voters, are showing up in bigger numbers than ever. There are 1.1 million new Florida voters registered between the ages of 18-34 this year, and turnout among that age group is up a stunning 44%. Offsetting the Democrat’s advantage is the number of new Republican voter registrations that have outnumbered new Democrats, bringing the parties numerically closer than any time in recent years. (The share of voters who have registered with neither party has shrunk.)” • Hardlly surprising; as I have remarked an inordinate number of times, liberal Democrats don’t regard voter registration as a core party function.

IA: “Joe Biden will travel to Iowa Friday, underscoring close presidential race” [Des Moines Register]. “Further details were not yet available, but the last-minute visit underscores how competitive the race for president has become in Iowa.” • And not Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania…..

MN: “How Minnesota has stepped into the presidential election center-stage” [London School of Economics USCentre]. “Trump’s alternative paths to victory crisscross the state’s rural counties where large majorities of white, non-college educated voters are ardent Trump supporters. Of Minnesota’s 87 counties, nineteen gave advantages to Obama in 2008 and 2012 but flipped to hand Trump winning margins in 2016 that varied from 2 percent to 28.7 percent. These pivotal counties now push the state toward the Republican column and together serve as the tipping point for the electoral college tally. The question is whether they can deliver up the additional votes Trump needs to surpass Biden’s total from the densely Democrat Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. All things being equal, Trump needs 46,000 additional votes to take Minnesota’s ten electoral college votes…. Trump’s decisive challenge is to expand his electoral base in the counties adjacent to the Twin Cities. This task explains his sustained social media focus on the suburbs and claims that Biden would usher in an era of mounting social unrest and anarchy. Suburban voters threw majority support to Democratic congressional candidates in 2018, but the Trump campaign hopes that the unruly protests against the police killing of George Floyd can push the political pendulum toward a winning majority in Minnesota.” • 

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe, Jill Biden, make closing argument to voters one week from election” [Florida Politics]. “In the ad, Biden implores voters to ‘choose hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction.'” • Hope and (fundamentally, nothing will) change….

Biden (D)(2): Harris campaigns at a polling station:

Illegal in most states, certainly in Ohio.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Suburban women have had their lives upended by Covid-19. They blame Trump” [Vox]. “[Katie Mazzocco] is part of a relatively small group of Covid-19 patients with long-term complications. But she’s one of millions of women across the United States whose working and personal lives have been upended by the pandemic. Vox interviewed several such women around the country and found them organizing from their kitchens and living rooms — deciding the time for complacency is over. Many of them have stories similar to Mazzocco’s. They were previously engaged voters who paid attention to politics, but Trump’s win made them realize voting alone wasn’t enough. A grassroots army powered by women is developing through their networks of PTA moms, neighbors, and friends.” • We saw another such unheralded network yesterday, with Trump supporters organizing large rallies spontaneously, independent of the campaign. I wonder, after the gusher of enthusiasm when the election is over, and we begin tease all the results apart, whether we will call this “the networked election.” (Pragmatically, the article doesn’t mention Indivisible, the Clinton-adjacent (front?) group that appeals to this demographic.)

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “One Last Funny Feeling About 2020” [Politico]. “The good news for Trump supporters is that his position today is similar enough to the one he was in four years ago: trailing badly in the polls, largely left for dead, needing some sort of electoral miracle to win the election. They saw him defy the odds once; because of that, they believe he will do it again. The bad news for Trump supporters: 2020 is nothing like 2016.” • This is very good. I would put my feelings far more subjectively: Trump isn’t cranking out the hits this year, he knows it, and he shows it. For all the ups and downs of the 2016, there was never any doubt that Trump was a Big Beast, feral, who could, being pursued, turn on his pursuer at any moment and maul them. There’s no such feeling this year. Trump isn’t acting like it, and his opponents aren’t, either.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “The Rust Belt boom that wasn’t: Heartland job growth lagged under Trump” [Reuters]. “With the U.S. election just a week away, recently released government data and new analysis show just how little progress Trump made in changing the trajectory of the Rust Belt region that propelled his improbable rise to the White House. While job and wage growth continued nationally under Trump, extending trends that took root under President Obama, the country’s economic weight also continued shifting south and west, according to data from the U.S. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages that was recently updated to include the first three months of 2020.” • If Trump had governed as he ran….

* * *

Democrat fundraising (1):

Democrat fundraising (2):

This is Mothership Strategies-style, I believe; the absolute dregs.

Obama Legacy

“A President Looks Back on His Toughest Fight” [Barack Obama, The New Yorker]. • I can’t even. One comment:

Smug, incapable of self-reflection, West Wing-brained until the end.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How I Became a Heretic to My Liberal Friends” [Tom Couser, Antiwar.com]. “How did I come to reject beliefs my liberal friends hold sacred? Well, to paraphrase an old commercial, I came by my heretical views the old-fashioned way: I earned them. I looked beyond the MSM to independent sources of news and commentary, reading widely and open-mindedly and thinking critically. Some of these sources publish reporting, others opinion; many are left-leaning; most oppose American foreign policy. I weighed them against one another, and the MSM, to assess their reliability. In short, I investigated American journalism – and found corporate media woefully misleading. I would say I found it unprofessional but, as a friend reminded me, the job of corporate journalism is to maximize profit; doing so is not conducive, to say the least, to challenging the dominant power structure and its ideology. My current morning routine is this….” • He’s missing a source…

* * *

Missing the point:

The point: Plenty of people without college degrees could run the country better than the Obama Alumni Association.

* * *

Democrats and power (1):

I believe that Dowd, a Republican, is falling for the liberal Democrats’ self-deception self-image. Democrats are, in fact, very effective; but their effectiveness has little to do with what voters want, or public service.

Democrats and power (2):

They’re just figuring this out? And they think we’re little children?

Democrats and power (3):

“These people” need treatment; and we’re the ones to give it to them!

* * *

“Scoop: The Lincoln Project is becoming a media business” [Axios]. “Lincoln’s plan is part of the new trend of activists developing massive audiences for political influence that they are then able to spin into commercial media success. After the 2016 campaign, former Obama staffers launched Crooked Media, which now boasts a sprawling network of podcasts, streaming video, live tours and events.” • Ka-ching.

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.

* * *

Commodities: “Nickel is starting to get the attention of commodities investors focused on the electric-car market. Prices for the metal are pushing higher this fall as sales of alternative-fuel vehicles turn upward again, but…. speculation about a possible run on supplies of the metal is unrealistic” [Wall Street Journal]. “Nickel is the latest metal to draw notice for its role in production of the lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars. Procurement worries over potential shortages have mostly centered on lithium and cobalt. But a big change in demand is unlikely to come for several years, and in the meantime the nickel market has become oversupplied as demand in China has slowed. A shortage could arise once batteries are cheaper than engines.”

Shipping: “A top global logistics operator says the rush to distribute potential Covid-19 vaccines shouldn’t break global shipping networks. Kuehne + Nagel International Chief Executive Detlef Trefzger says governments, logistics providers and pharmaceutical companies will have to coordinate their efforts, but… the transport capacity and cold-chain infrastructure should be in place to handle the surge in demand” [Wall Street Journal]. “Coronavirus vaccines remain in development, and operators including Kuehne + Nagel have been bracing their operations to handle doses that could stem the global pandemic. Some analysts say the rush once vaccines are authorized may challenge capacity-strained transport channels, but Mr. Trefzger expects the doses to move quickly. That’s partly because the enormous numbers of doses needed would be shipped over several months, with priorities set for initial populations to be vaccinated as supply chain form for the long haul.” • Assuming they work…

Tech: “Amazon has created fertile ground for bribery schemes, sellers say” [Vox]. “Last month, US federal authorities indicted six e-commerce consultants and former Amazon employees in a $100 million bribery scheme in which insiders allegedly accepted payments to help certain Amazon merchants on the platform and hurt others. …. [Top sellers] argued that the problem is much bigger than a few bad apples and that Amazon deserves scrutiny for creating the fertile ground for bribery schemes to blossom. The reason? Amazon’s inability or refusal to consistently offer adequate support to its 1.7 million sellers when they have issues, especially when it comes to suspensions that Amazon hands down with little explanation and sometimes no warning… ‘With Amazon, you are guilty until proven innocent,’ said Eytan Wiener, the co-founder and chief operating officer of the large Amazon seller Quantum Networks, who was once suspended by Amazon in the UK and has helped other suspended sellers in the US. This reality — that Amazon sellers can have their livelihood snatched from them at any time — can benefit Amazon, too. The company introduced a premium seller program in 2018 that charges thousands of dollars a month to assign a dedicated Amazon representative that a seller can easily contact. While these reps do not oversee account suspensions and can’t directly reinstate a merchant, some large Amazon sellers pay the fee mainly so they have a person they can get on the phone in the event of a suspension or other severe penalty.” • Thousands of dollars a month for customer supprt…. Quite a protection racket business model.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Blank again [CNN]. I find this a little disturbing.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 26 at 11:36am. Whoopsie!

Health Care

“Crucial Covid vaccine data expected from Pfizer this week now unlikely to come before U.S. election” [CNBC]. “Crucial coronavirus vaccine data expected from Pfizer this week now appears unlikely to come before the U.S. election on Nov. 3. On a call with investors Tuesday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that the company doesn’t anticipate making any announcement on its trial until about a week after the data and safety monitoring board conducts its review of the company’s phase three vaccine trial. The board, which will assess whether its trial with German drugmaker BioNTech has been successful, has not conducted an interim efficacy analysis yet, Pfizer said.”

“Medicare and Medicaid to cover early Covid vaccine” [Politico]. “The Trump administration this week will announce a plan to cover the out-of-pocket costs of Covid-19 vaccines for millions of Americans who receive Medicare or Medicaid, said four people with knowledge of the pending announcement. Under the planned rule, Medicare and Medicaid will now cover vaccines that receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, the people said, which is a change from current policy. The regulations, which have been under development for weeks, are likely to be announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday or Wednesday.” • Liberal reaction (Spiro is Vice President for Health Policy, Center for American Progress)

Re, #2: So, #MedicareForAll — for this one disease! (It’s rather like Bush v. Gore: Good for one time only, not a precedent.)

“A large national outbreak of COVID-19 linked to air travel, Ireland, summer 2020 separator commenting unavailable” [Eurosurveillance]. From the abstract: “Air travel has accelerated the global pandemic, contributing to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) throughout the world. We describe an outbreak that demonstrates in-flight transmission, providing further evidence to add to the small number of published studies in this area. This study depicts the nature of transmission on board, despite implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. We demonstrate widespread in-country transmission as a result of imported infection and give recommendations to reduce the risk of importation, and to curtail onwards spread.” Here is the spread diagram, and a seating chart of the aircraft:

On the seating chart, unoccupied seats are blue. I’m not sure how whether this is an aircraft transmission case, or a close contact transmission case, or both. Perhaps epidemiologists in the readership can comment.

“Preventing the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 With Masks and Other “Low-tech” Interventions” [JAMA]. Authors include Fauci. “”low-tech” tools to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are essential, and it must be emphasized that these interventions will still be needed after a vaccine is initially available. Even if one or more vaccines have high efficacy and uptake in the population, it will take at least several months for enough people to be vaccinated to confer herd immunity on a population basis. Modalities in the combination prevention “toolbox” against the spread of SARS-CoV-2 include wearing masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, prompt testing (along with isolation and contact tracing), and limits on crowds and gatherings. If a vaccine has only moderate efficacy, or if vaccine uptake is low, these other modalities will be even more critical. Wearing face coverings—masks—in the community setting to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is a key component of this combination approach.” • Still straddling the — politicized among the scientists! — divide between droplets (“primarily transmitted”) and aerosols (“also have been involved”). As readers know, I stan for aerosols. I have seen several observational studies on aerosols. I have seen some observational studies on fomites, transmitted by touch. I do not recall an observational study on droplets. Here again, perhaps epidemologists in the readership can set me straight.

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Maybe Masks Really Are a Socialist Plot” [Jacobin]. “Resistance to the mask is wholly syntonic with American libertarian right-wing ideology. That’s because epidemiologically, your decision to wear a mask protects others more than it protects you. As well, it is a societal project of the kind that doesn’t resonate with such people: if you were the only person in America wearing a mask, your mask wouldn’t help anyone enough to be worth the bother — its effectiveness depends on mass participation. This other-directed, collective project is against everything the far right stands for, and they are correct to identify mask-wearing as a kind of proto-socialism in spirit. …. Despite this bizarre performance, the mask resistors are in the minority, and this is profoundly encouraging. It suggests that we are, even in the global capital of rugged individualist nonsense, capable of thinking and acting collectively. It suggests we might even be able to embrace the changes in consciousness that a socialist society will require.” • Maybe….

News of the Wired

“Tom Lehrer Releases His All of Catchy and Savage Musical Satire Into the Public Domain” [Open Culture]. “Despite having retired from public life, Lehrer too lives on, and at 92 has taken action to assure his work a longer existence by releasing it into the public domain.” • For those who came in late:

* * *
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AM writes: “From the grounds of Culzean Castle, near Maidens, Scotland, these trees are ready for Halloween. Cue the scary music!:

* * *

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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. a different chris

      And here it is…

      The Hill cited an economic study by Kevin Hassett a

      You know, if I was half as bad as my job as Hassett is at his I would have to find a different vocation.

    2. nick

      lol are you aware of what the Boston Herald is? Not a subscriber or reader that wasn’t a Trump voter before.

      Trump’s got 0% shot to win Massachusetts but that doesn’t mean a good 35% of the state isn’t a Trump block.

    3. Big Tap

      I doubt it. The Boston Herald is the conservative paper. The Boston Globe the Democratic one. The shock would be if the Globe indorced Trump.

  1. Clem

    The Kamaleon is illegally electioneering at a line of voters?
    Didn’t she have to pass the bar, at least on her second try? She has never been reelected to any office, except the one time she ran unopposed-in San Francisco.

    Like Eric “Place” Holder, another shape-shifting corporate interest attorney of “color”–masquerading for change, while perpetuating the old regime.

    Climbing that ladder, waving her self promotion banner, will enough American people be fooled to push her up the next rung?

    1. L

      Is it illegal though? The video shows here talking to people outside the polling place in line to get in. IANAL but the code linked talks about proximity to the flags and to people in the line. But she is clearly 10 feet from the line so that would seem to be within the letter of the law.

        1. L

          That would be an interesting rule to enforce but it would run counter to the way distance has always been interpreted in every jurisdiction where I have voted.

          Not that I would complain about quiet.

          1. Clem

            So she can drive down the street–proper distance of course, in front of your polling place with advertising loudspeakers on the roof of her car?

            Vote for The Kamaleon, whatever color I or you want me to be. Vote for Change!

              1. JBird4049

                Loudspeaker trucks? Barf. The endless junk mail of both snail and email varieties as well as the phone calls are bad enough.

              2. ObjectiveFunction

                Speaker trucks, and before them trucks handing/dumping out leaflets, are still traditional broadcasting tools of political machines in much of the world. They just aren’t a thing in the Anglo-Saxon world

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          loudspeakers are not contemplated in the relevant Texas law…at least to my knowledge(meaning, unless they changed in in the last 10 years).
          where i live, the 100′ exclusion zone is clearly marked…but the entire lawn/park that the courthouse sits on is historically and habitually considered off limits to electioneering during polling. you are welcome, however, to wander that lawn/park and pick up pecans.
          too, i’d allege that any such behaviour…from ordinary electioneering, to voter intimidation of any kind…would not be tolerated in this place. it’s considered rude to wave a sign around at the courthouse(outside the line) on election day.
          we’ll see later this week or next if that still holds(wife has chemo on election day, so my usual and celebrated appearance when they first open polls(25 years running) has been necessarily modified to afternoon. i guarantee that the county judge will say that they missed me, next time i see him)

          1. Daryl

            Sounds a little more reserved than over here in E. Tx. I have never been loudspeakered, but usually am offered various food items, sandwiches, sausages and etc if I will only go over there and chat about whatever widget they want me to vote for. When I voted two weeks ago, a large sign for the local congresscritter proudly exclaiming how he was best buds with Trump blocked my view of oncoming traffic as I left the polling place.

            1. ambrit

              The Trump adjacent sign was blocking your view as you left??? After you voted? This looks like a big time propaganda fail. (Seasoned political propagandists get offensive with the signs at the entrances to the polling places, not the exits.)
              Medical marijuana legalization is on the ballot again in Mississippi. I have yet to see supporters of that issue offer “treats” for potential voter heads. Some Alice B Toklas brownies would be nice.
              See, and enjoy: https://lithub.com/here-it-is-alice-b-toklass-recipe-for-hash-brownies/

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              i attribute that reservedness…that sort of autonomic resistance to public strife…to the lingering effects of the Hoodoo War(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mason_County_War)
              …which was the very local iteration of the Civil War…brother against brother, etc…such that they changed the spellings of their names and won’t speak to each other today, almost 150 years later.
              like the whipping of the sheriff in High Plains Drifter, it left a deep scar in the local historical memory.

              there are a few times i’ve seen this taboo broken…namely, the former Walking Tall style sheriff and his buddies hissing and booing at the democratic float in the 2004 Roundup parade.
              i heard about his shunning secondhand, since i don’t run in his circles….but it must have had an effect, because he pretty much vanished from public life after that.
              The Turning of the Back is how this is enforced…no committees, or written rules.

    2. carycat

      In North Carolina election law, there is a (usually) 50 feet exclusion zone outside the entrance to the polling place. I don’t know what the Ohio laws are like, but given how far away she is from the line of voters, I doubt that she is afoul of the law there.

        1. LawnDart

          3501.35 No loitering or congregating near polling places.
          (A) During an election and the counting of the ballots, no person shall do any of the following:

          (1) Loiter, congregate, or engage in any kind of election campaigning within the area between the polling place and the small flags of the United States placed on the thoroughfares and walkways leading to the polling place, and if the line of electors waiting to vote extends beyond those small flags, within ten feet of any elector in that line;

          (2) In any manner hinder or delay an elector in reaching or leaving the place fixed for casting the elector’s ballot;

          (3) Give, tender, or exhibit any ballot or ticket to any person other than the elector’s own ballot to the precinct election officials within the area between the polling place and the small flags of the United States placed on the thoroughfares and walkways leading to the polling place, and if the line of electors waiting to vote extends beyond those small flags, within ten feet of any elector in that line;

          (4) Exhibit any ticket or ballot which the elector intends to cast;

          (5) Solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any elector in casting the elector’s vote.


          (1) Except as otherwise provided in division (B)(2) of this section and division (C) of section 3503.23 of the Revised Code, no person who is not an election official, employee, observer, or police officer shall be allowed to enter the polling place during the election, except for the purpose of voting or assisting another person to vote as provided in section 3505.24 of the Revised Code.

          (2) Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, a journalist shall be allowed reasonable access to a polling place during an election. As used in this division, “journalist” has the same meaning as in division (B)(2) of section 2923.129 of the Revised Code.

          (C) No more electors shall be allowed to approach the voting shelves at any time than there are voting shelves provided.

          (D) The precinct election officials and the police officer shall strictly enforce the observance of this section.

          Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 47, SB 109, §1, eff. 2/25/2014.

          1. LawnDart

            (5) Solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any elector in casting the elector’s vote.

            Could be the hook?

            1. L

              But all she is doing is standard campaigning not offering them bribes. If this counts as solicitation or influence based solely on her being there than all out of polling place activities would be banned. So again the issue turns on her proximity to the line and whether the line outside counts the same as the one inside. I have not lived in Ohio but in every other jurisdiction I have been the line outside is not treated as the same for electioneering purposes.

              1. km

                The statute doesn’t refer to solicitation of bribes, but mere solicitation, that is asking a voter for something. This is made clear by the rest of the sentence “or in any manner attempt to influence any elector in casting the elector’s vote.”

                1. L

                  That may vary in intent. The last time I looked at elections law applications (in PA not Ohio), the relevant use of the word meant bribes, (i.e. vote for me and you can have a pot brownie). So telling people they should vote for you for the general good (i.e. basic electioneering) is not counted. That is why I read solicitation that way. The latter part I will grant you is much more broad but it still seems to turn on location.

                1. ambrit

                  Willie Brown, while he maintained a ‘legitimate’ marriage to another, who, evidently, was cognizant of the entire thing and remained sanguine about the ‘affair.’

            1. LawnDart

              If I were a Trumpanzie, I’d be looking for anything that I could throw at her– hell, even the bucket itself!

              If not the letter of law, the spirit’s sure got a sore behind after this photo-op.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          No clue nowadays but in the ’70s it was 100 feet in Iowa and I always measured that distance and then took down any offending yard signs within that radius. On one occasion I had to intimidate a protester into moving outside that line (intimidate = being way bigger and insistent).

          When Democrats had a real party, you tried to have every polling place staffed by at least one person who was physically competent. Relying on law enforcement or someone from the party to come down is time-consuming and anything that lets the voting process be slowed is a win for the person obstructing the vote.

          And good luck anywhere finding a judge who’ll side with a protester over someone working an election. There is no downside to having your own enforcers. Assuming you’re working for one of the two ‘real’ parties, of course. I have no idea how Greens do these things.

          1. LawnDart


            Not long ago, in my role for the campaign, I rode with a ski mask in the sideboard and a loaded shotgun behind the seat. So I know where you’re coming from: 911 can’t be bothered more often than most people would like to believe.

            When you know that the other side is gonna get stupid, you can’t assume how stupid they’re gonna get, so you gotta be a good boy scout.

            As a side note, “our opponent” got convicted by the feds not long after the election on a number of charges. This might give you an idea of what we were up against.

            I’m not red or blue, I was just closing an obligation to a friend– with that, I am done with that game and a whole bunch more. And it wasn’t long ago: 2016. What was the quote about“the more that things change…”

            Most people don’t know the taste of dirt.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              2016 was also my last rodeo, also one more than I’d planned on.

              In small amounts dirt is good for you, but only if you know sh*t when you see it.

              1. Procopius

                I’ve always thought the old saying, “You’ll eat a ton of dirt before you die,” was using ‘dirt’ as a euphemism. There might be something to it. I’ve been in pretty clean environments most of my life and I’m a lot older than I should be, so I guess I haven’t eaten enough ‘dirt’ yet.

          2. bob

            I bet they have an app for that!

            It would have be certified Secure® by all 137 intelligence agencies. Almost unanimous!

          3. John Anthony La Pietra

            At least here in Michigan, we Greens do the best we can with the laws and rules our state imposes (since we have little or no influence over them) . . . and with the fewer members who are able to (or can afford to) volunteer to serve as election challengers or poll-watchers.

            Another thing. Michigan law (MCL 168.730(2)) bars candidates from serving as challengers — and rightly so. But in a smaller party, a bigger share of the most active members may well be candidates — another mild discouraging factor. The same thing was taken to another level in our new supposedly non-partisan redistricting commission. Not only current or recent candidates but also party officers at any level — and close family members of either — were banned from applying . . . which again makes a greater share of alternative party activists ineligible.

            Actually, the Libertarians got hit from both ends on that one: Gary Johnson’s 2016 vote total got them into the 2018 primaries, but it also meant they had to elect “precinct delegates” all over the state in those primaries (disqualified!) to populate upwards to county and then state conventions . . . or else scramble to bomb-proof their by-laws or risk letting some other party fill up empty ballot slots with write-in candidates and take over the state party’s nominating process.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the incident during the 2016 election when the Clintons and their circus showed up at a major polling station causing it to shut down as voters could not get past the crowd. Not sure but I think that that station was one where there would have been a lot of Republican voters attending.

        1. ambrit

          Yes indeedy! My takeaway from this is that “inner directedness” is counter to the tenets of neoliberalism.
          Therapy is so d—-d expensive. So is ‘sweet leaf,’ and decent distilled spirits and good beer.
          Neoliberalism has striven mightily to monetize human self improvement in all it’s aspects.

          1. Anonymous

            Well, where do “sin” taxes come from if not from Progressives? They sure aren’t from the Bible.

            1. hunkerdown

              Temperance movements are reactionary, not progressive. They think they’re progressive and much of their rhetoric caters to the women and children, but their object, the reason they are a movement instead of a few hen parties, is to create sober, obedient, cheap workers for capital and for the society in which capital is supreme.

              1. Massinissa

                History doesn’t necessarily show that. Lenin made production of alcohol entirely illegal, with the belief that it was cheaply available alcohol in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that made workers more content with living under a hierarchy and unwilling to strike or fight for their rights.

                Stalin later restarted the creation of Vodka, mostly I think because Stalin liked some from time to time. This version was called ‘The People’s Vodka’ rather than having a Romanov symbol on the label (during Russia’s imperial period, making vodka was only legal for the factories of the royal family), but otherwise it did for Stalin what Lenin believed it had done for the Romanovs.

                So I’m really not sure I agree with your thesis. Personally I believe being pro- or anti- temperance has no direct relation to a persons place on the political spectrum.

    1. ambrit

      I once went to a therapist for a year or so and eventually learned that the experience did me more harm than good. I’m firmly in the camp that views the domains of psychiatry as more of a “witchdoctor” exercise than a pure science. Remember Orgone?
      So, therapy as a PMC ‘rite of passage’ sounds about right.

      1. JBird4049

        Depends on both the need and the therapist. Some people really need a good therapist to survive, but like the rest of the medical industrial complex, it has been monetized so it can be used to maintain you and not to cure you.

        1. LawnDart

          Everyone needs an ear so that they could be listened to.

          Sometimes it’s offloading of baggage, other times it’s to help process the raw material of thought. Therapists are like the donkeys of the human psyche in the wastelands of social abyss.

          Yeah, more profiteering off of human suffering: ain’t capitalism grand?

  2. Calypso Facto

    re: Amazon bribery and pay-for support: This is the actual, real business model that almost all cloud/as-a-service tech providers use for their support divisions (which are now almost universally called ‘Customer Success’). Here’s how it works:

    – each tech company is comprised of ‘units’: Engineering, Product, Finance/Legal, Operations (sometimes merged or partially-merged with Engineering as DevOps), Sales, and Customer Success. Engineering ships the code, Product handles the roadmaps for what Engineering is coding, DevOps/Operations keeps the cloud running and manages the infrastructure, Sales sells to the customers, and Customer Success handles all post-sales customer interaction, from service renewal to support
    – each separate unit rolls up into/reports ultimately to their unit/org VP. Each VP has a dedicated finance/legal exec to handle their biz numbers for their unit. How much does each employee (headcount) ‘cost’, how much open headcount to hire more, projections for growth, and how much ‘value’ each product, worker, etc provides to the unit. Each VP then will assess their unit in terms of perceived value; this is how much my unit brings in each year in the form of value add (code, product roadmap items, sales, renewals).
    – Engineering is cost-justified because they ship the code.
    – Product is cost-justified because they determine which features go into the code. Good Product Managers speak directly with Big Customers and assess which features go into the roadmap to keep the customer longer.
    – Sales is cost-justified because they bring in money.
    – Operations/Devops is grudgingly cost-justified because they keep the lights on – but it is a constant struggle to assess accurately ‘how much’ value each individual worker brings. Thus Devops/Operations is consistently understaffed everywhere.
    – Customer Success is cost-justified ONLY because they handle customer renewals, but in many orgs renewals are part of the Sales org. That means Support is usually not cost-justified.

    This is why support is a paid model now almost universally in the cloud/SaaS era.

    source: until May of this year I was a senior engineer at one of the better known successful cloud startups, and for 4 years prior to that I was a matrix manager at a very large tech company that everyone recognizes, and I had to provide that headcount/value data to senior management every quarter to allocate bonuses for my direct reports. I am changing careers out of tech right now. I am done with this industry.

      1. Calypso Facto

        Thank you, Lambert. Hopefully I will be able to chime in on botany and soil-related matters over the coming years; I am back in school (absolutely despise online learning), I was heartbroken to discover state universities now have Customer Student Success teams. That is where student advisors are now situated within the university administration bloat. They all use the same software (Salesforce/Gainsight) behind the scenes as the tech companies.

  3. Darius

    Could the 7-hour duration of the flight to Ireland be another factor? Long-duration exposure is a factor in contracting the disease in my understanding.

    1. Pelham

      Good point. I’ll add two others on the subject:

      1) If, as Lambert says, the virus spreads in aerosol form like cigarette smoke, airliners would be prime places. I’m old enough to remember “smoking sections” on planes that really amounted to turning the entire plane into a smoking section.

      2) If it were definitively proved that airline flight was a prime source of covid transmission around the planet, would or should we be willing to give up on this mode of travel? Somehow I think we’d choose to keep flying regardless of the cost in human life, permanent impairment from covid and, as well, air travel’s major contribution to climate change. As for me, I prefer to imagine a world in which we get from point A to a distant point B at a more leisurely pace without being crammed into pestiferous metal tubes.

      1. Big Tap

        Same as casinos today. A ‘smoking section’ engulfs the entire casino (and probably helps shorten the lifespan of it’s employees).

      2. rowlf

        How many cabin crew members got infected on airliners? Wouldn’t that be an interesting number to study?

        Like the number of airport security staff, customs/immigration agents and gate/counter agents infected I haven’t been able to find a number. One would expect that all of these folks had high exposure.

      3. BlakeFelix

        I think that planes aren’t as bad as you might think, and COVID-19 isn’t as contagious as you might imagine either. There were some normal flu or whatever “superspreader” events way back in the day, so, back in the good old days, Boeing paid some engineers to solve the problem. They did some circular airflow and filtration magic and the problem was mostly solved. Mostly.
        I agree that planes are bad for a lot of other reasons, but they were designed to be safe, and they are pretty safe. I’d still wear PPE but it’s unlikely one person would infect the whole plane, like would have happened before the airflow redesign.

      4. Clark T

        This is all very interesting, but what could substitute for air travel? Before commercial aviation, people went “across the pond” by boat. You can get more fresh air on a passenger ship—which is good!–although you’re still around people in narrow passageways and standing on line for meals, which are served by the staff who are in crowded conditions in “steerage.” Seems to me that a seven-hour flight is much less risky that the alternative. (Of course, the Very Very Rich can avoid all this and fly on their small little jets.)

    2. The Rev Kev

      How about the toilets aboard that plane? That could be how the virus spread to so many passengers. You would have to find out from the passengers if they used the toilets and if so, which ones.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It seems to me that fomite transmission via fecal matter must logically be considered in many cases of where aerosol transmission — which has been proven to exist, in humans, in real life, not just in vitro or through models. For example, buses, gyms, and aircraft all have public restrooms. However, I don’t see how you do it epidemiologically, since the toilets are likely to have been cleaned before infection is detected. I don’t know how to square this circle — but then I am not a professional.

    3. VietnamVet

      The seating chart of the flight to Ireland doesn’t give any confidence to take off on the next cross-country flight.

      Individuals who were infected came from three different continents and were infected with an identical strain of coronavirus indicating the super-spreader site was on the airplane not before. The two groups of three sitting together from the same continent were most likely a family and infected each other during or after the flight. Anyone could have been patient(s) zero. There is one cluster in the front right of the plane and a second one in the back but from different continents. Two aisle seats across from each other and window aisle seats in the same row were from the same continent and were likely traveling together.

      Thirteen of the forty-nine passengers became infected (one in four). The filtered air flows from the top of the airplane to the floor. It is clear that the infections were due to the horizontal flow of aerosols from conversing and fomites from touching each other and surfaces when getting in and out of the seats, holding on for balance when passing by or standing in the aisle and using the rest rooms – totaling 15 minutes.

      These are not very good odds although no deaths nor long haul symptoms were reported.

      1. LawnDart


        My job entails travel, though means has been up in the air (pun?) since March.

        I take this as a “head’s up” and thanks for that.

        (To VV, not our intrusive host)

  4. L

    On Spiro vs. Trump, if the angry Brunch liberals start supporting even some part of M4A to one up Trump that is still something.

  5. cocomaan

    Could it be that death rates and confirmed cases aren’t lining up anymore because there’s more testing hence the denominator is higher?

    1. marku52

      Since we are testing a lot more now, I don’t think the “cases” number means what it did back in phase 1. Early on, you had to be quite sick to get tested at all, so huge numbers of asymptomatics had to be missed in the case count.

      So I don’t think the case/death graphs for the 2 waves will be at all comparable. In fact, maybe if you just imagined the first wave case graph to be about 5X higher, you might have something comparable to the case/death graph now.

    2. Gc54

      There are plausible extreme forced air attachments to the personal ventilators above each seat bring trialed by a few airlines. They tape over the existing port and claim to produce an air curtain around each seat, take a couple of mins/3 seats to install. I don’t know how they account for seat recline or work for airflow fore and aft. So a porous column probably more to reactivate middle seats in steerage

  6. ObjectiveFunction

    I still have a dozen Tom Lehrer songs embedded in my memory banks from childhood, while vastly more useful information has long vanished.*

    When they see us coming, the birdies all try and hide / But they still go for peanuts when coated with cyan-hide / The sun’s shining bright, everything seems all right / When we’re poisoning pigeons in the park, la….

    * although his Gilbert and Sullivan ‘Periodic Table of the Elements’ recitation did help me through high school chemistry, in that ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ way. Funny thing, the human brain…

    1. Jos Oskam

      Even I have fond memories, and I’m Dutch!

      “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.
      Here I am at Camp Granada.
      Camp is very entertaining,
      And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining…”


      1. mle durham

        Ah, but that was Allan Sherman (“I’m moving to Shaker Heights where I’ve got some connections in dry goods”).

    2. ChrisPacific

      I just played that one to my son this weekend. It came with a video that popped up each element and plugged it into the appropriate spot as it came up in the song. I hadn’t realized that he included all of them (at least that were known at the time of writing). By the time it was finished the table was complete. My son expressed admiration that he had included every single one and made them all fit the meter and rhyme.

      He also wrote ‘Fight Fiercely, Harvard’ as a parody of school fight songs in general and Harvard in particular, which was subsequently embraced by the student body and became a real fight song. It was a source of much perplexity to a friend of mine who had a project to research the history of school fight songs (this was in the days before Google, so it wasn’t always easy to determine provenance). Like all the best parodies, you thought it was probably a joke but it was just plausible enough to leave some doubt.

      (Now I am thinking of others, so I’ll stop there and encourage anyone that doesn’t know his work to do some exploring).

      1. chuck roast

        When somebody on the football field fumbles…and I have heard them…they yell, “encompass the oblate spheroid.” Painful but true.

              1. Anonymous


                “Coach, I’m not even sure I can swallow it!”

                My apologies for mangling a great joke.

    3. rowlf

      Mad Magazine had several illustrated versions of Tom Lehrer songs, which I used to read from my dad’s collection while listening to my parent’s collection of Lehrer albums.

    4. urblintz

      “So long Mom, I’m off to drop a bomb
      so don’t wait up for me.
      And though you may smelter down there in your shelter
      you can see me
      on your tv.
      While we’re attacking frontally
      watch Brin-ka-ley and Hun-ta-ley
      describing contrapuntally
      the cities we have lost.
      No need for you to miss a minute
      of the agonizing holocaust!”

      … pure genius

    5. Procopius

      LOL. As soon as I saw the name Tom Lehrer I thought of “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park,” although, really, I prefer “We’ll All Go Together When We Go.”

  7. ambrit

    Zeitgeist watch, Halloween edition.
    Cruising the thrift shops this morning, I noticed a homeless encampment literally “in the woods” adjacent to one of the shops. No big deal nowadays. This one has tents under blue tarps, some chairs, an old grill, etc. The entranceway to this place is through a short ‘corridor’ of trees, so, semi-hidden. (The NIMBY brigades are vigilant, but not omnipotent around here.) But I digress.
    The entrance ‘corridor’ to this encampment has been decorated for Halloween! Hanging rubber bats and flimsy white sheeted ghosties with a big plastic spider in a string web to guard the premises. This is the sort of place where one could more rationally leave treats, not take them from.
    Also, we are suddenly seeing a lot more people wandering the streets. Evictions?

    1. L

      Evictions and unemployment. The real GDP in most states has fallen into the double digits since most employment is actually “inefficiencies”. So I am not at all surprised by rising homelessness. And once the limited moratoriums end I expect there will be a lot more. Just in time for the next mid-term elections.

      Firing is quicker than hiring unfortunately.

      1. JBird4049

        From what I understand the various moratoriums, both state and federal, as well as the extensions and expanded unemployment pay will all have ended by the January 1st. Joy.

        I can see the effective unemployment rising because of the reduced spending. So, from roughly 25% to what? The only thing that might keep things from getting violent is heavy winter weather. I also wonder just how some will spin this as “those people’s” fault for being homeless.

    2. cocomaan

      I saw a homeless person crossing a busy road right near the upscale part of a local town. He looked like a long timer.

      Local game warden told me he’s finding encampments too. A town in the neighboring county has a closed K Mart that has been all but taken over by homeless people.

      1. JBird4049

        And just walking into traffic is a new thing? Why in San Francisco that has been a problem for years. Decades? I am not sure what is worse. Is it those who deliberately run into traffic into the front of the cars for entertainment, or those who are traveling in another universe and just sorta… wander onto the street? It can make driving all sorts of fun. It is certainly a good way to get the old heart pumping on the way to work! ;-)

        1. cocomaan

          Hah, well, indeed SF has had this for a long time, but where I live the winters are sometimes tough and you don’t see a lot of people stick around into the fall.

    3. Wukchumni

      Haven’t been anywhere near El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles since January, and in talking with friends from LA over the weekend, they all agreed that there are a lot more homeless since Covid, and think how difficult it must be now, scant dumpster diving ala cart meals on account of restaurants mostly doing to-go meals and who wants to get close enough to a homeless person to give them a few bucks these days when pandemic handling?

      1. LawnDart


        My job entails travel, though means has been up in the air (pun?) since March.

        I take this as a “head’s up” and thanks for that.

  8. Adam1

    “…Those are things I get concerned about as we get into October and November and December.’”

    I wished more people had been more foresighted as these will likely be very very true words although our falls have been much more pleasant these past few years’ compliment of global warming that it’s probably more likely November, December & January. Cold driving people indoors (even by December most native Floridians will be inside), falling vitamin D levels, heating systems driving down humidity to allow aerosolized droplets to linger longer, poor choices for how millions will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas assuming it’s not them who has covid, colds and the flu to complicate lives and covid infections. Sadly, I suspect the infection fatality rate will likely retrace itself at least some this winter.

  9. zagonostra

    >“How I Became a Heretic to My Liberal Friends” [Tom Couser, Antiwar.com].

    I find myself in the same situation. My sisters and daughters are piling up on me for not voting for Biden and “throwing my vote away.” Friends are trying to “shame” me as enabling Trump, etc., etc…I come here to NC for my morning news update and in the afternoon for cooler break. I’ve sent links to NC for them but like a horse to water you can’t make them drink. The problem with NC (or rather the problem for them) is that this site doesn’t have an overall “narrative” that they are used to so it doesn’t appeal or speak to them like it does me.

    I came by my heretical views the old-fashioned way: I earned them. I looked beyond the MSM to independent sources of news and commentary, reading widely and open-mindedly and thinking critically.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “… My sisters and daughters are piling up on me for not voting for Biden and “throwing my vote away.” Friends are trying to “shame” me as enabling Trump, etc., etc”

      me, too…i avoid my mother’s house when the national news is on, and stepdad has football on these days(rather than msdnc) the rest of the time.
      neither of them like my view of biden or obama or hillary, and get upset when i recite the historical record.
      at the very least, they seem to have arrived at the conclusion that I’m actually not a trumper,lol.

      I came by my heretical views the old-fashioned way: I earned them
      and that is how i developed as a human,lol…and sincerely wish that many more of my fellow humans had developed in the same manner.
      i don’t take anybody’s word for it, but try to get all around an issue as best i can and then filter it through my gray matter, which is what i’ve always thought is what it’s for.

      1. Janie

        You’re atypical (that’s a compliment). More typical is this, I think. An acquaintance through a local organization was a kind and giving person, yet she said this back about 2000: the national news is all so biased – we get all our news from Rush Limbaugh niow.

      2. marcyincny

        I came by my heretical views the old-fashioned way: bumper stickers!


        …and my granny…

    2. Laputan

      Same here. My effective in-laws are mostly apolitical, living in poverty tends to deny people the time for frivolous and ultimately despairing pursuits.

      There is an uncle, on the other hand, deeply embedded in the Dem establishment. He’s spent decades as a consultant and policy analyst for several reps in TX. Really good guy, not the gritting, larger than life personality one would associate with a guy who’s made his career in public policy, and mostly too busy making the sausage to stand back and take inventory on how it’s made. But whenever we get real deep his loyalties to how his bread is buttered invariably tells, and I’m left to sound like the crank since political discourse that is both factual and constructive is impossible under present circumstances.

      People like him who have been steeped in the neoliberal tradition view policy as some kind of technocratic social engineering, almost like ops research, and not a simple power struggle. That’s the problem with the political industrial complex; they’re always trying to square the circle of the corporate and public interests. Never acknowledging that they can rarely coexist and that the former almost always cancels the latter.

  10. Adam1

    Lambert – Not Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania….

    I agree! My wife and I are convinced he is just done and does not want to win. He’s said extremely crazy things recently. Somethings he’s said seemed to be geared towards dropping votes from key voter groups like those over 65 which will be a critical group in Florida (and Arizona, but Florida is where the electoral votes are). All we can chalk it up to… all the rigged election and mail in voting fraud… is that these are bargaining chips to NOT investigate him and his family after the election.

    1. dagan68

      Adam1 – I guess you did not notice that our fearless moderator put the same comment on articles about both Biden and Trump….

      My question to you – is to whom is your comment directed – Biden or Trump – from where I am sitting it could be about either one.

      Have a great afternoon.

  11. anon in so cal

    >Covid California

    “Recent Lakers, Dodgers celebrations keep coronavirus infections in L.A. County high, officials say”

    “55% of people who knew of a possible exposure to the virus also attended a gathering where two or more people were sick…based on interviews with newly infected or people who were in contact with them over last three weeks”



  12. elissa3

    Good old Tom Lehrer, glad he’s still kicking.

    “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.”

  13. RockHard

    Re: the trillbillies tweet. I’ve gone on record before about Hickenlooper’s campaign strategy in the CO Senate race, which seems to be inspired by talking to a few homeless people in downtown Denver: if you beg for money long enough, change up your sign every few hours (“Homeless vet!”, “Single mother, anything helps!”, “Just being honest, I want beer money!”), and at least once a day claim the sky is falling, you can win a Senate race. He’s going against Colorado’s answer to Ted Cruz, whose strategy is to tout his sponsoring some conservation bill nobody’s heard of (committing political necrophilia on JFK in the process), and then alternate that with dark money ads trashing Hick’s ethics record. I can’t say I’ve seen many Hick ads. Maybe he’s right, he doesn’t have the money to run ads. Maybe the DNC doesn’t actually want to win the Senate race in what’s supposed to be one of the most winnable states. Maybe Hick really has a terrible ethics record and no amount of advertising can defend him.

    OR… maybe if Hick tried to run an actual campaign where he talked about issues, talked about policy, differentiated himself from his opponent, maybe people would want to vote for him. The Dem candidates in the CO 3rd and 5th house districts are actually doing something like that. Right now, the negative, losing tone Hick has set on his own campaign makes me think that he’s going to screw this up and lose anyway.

    1. Ranger Rick

      I dunno. Polis gave up a safe seat in a blue district to run for governor, and his success paved the way for another at-large democratic candidate. Hickenlooper’s horrendous track record on fracking should have been a gigantic wedge issue but I haven’t heard a word about it.

      1. RockHard

        Agree with all the replies, especially Flora. Point is, he’s just running against Trump. If he blows it on Tuesday, I will be Jack’s total lack of surprise.

  14. Wukchumni

    Big prize fright in Vegas… Adelson is looking to sell his casinos there, but who would buy them in the middle of a pandemic one wonders, as punters stay away in droves.

  15. hunkerdown

    Here’s the closest thing I’ve seen so far to an October Surprise. Earth is farting in our general direction. (The Guardian)

    “At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered. This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing,” said the Swedish scientist Örjan Gustafsson, of Stockholm University, in a satellite call from the vessel.

  16. Amfortas the hippie

    just gets weirder and weirder:

    literally declaring victory.
    from the “White House Science office”, no less.

    and this:https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/522945-in-partisan-slugfest-can-chip-roy-overcome-trump-troubles
    we drove through the western portion of Chip Roy’s district today, going and coming for wife’s scan in san antone.
    prolly 5 Chip signs for every one Wendy sign…not counting the enormous billboards for her and Biden that have appeared along I-10.
    I guess Comfort, Texas has a few unafraid Democrats.
    I’ve still just got my 2016 Bernie sticker on my tailgate(along with a Bob Marley quote and a few other things in paint)
    further away from I-10 you get, coming North, the fewer Demparty signage you see.
    Trump flags, banners and full sheet plywood signs abound.
    …as well as those road hazard one truck Trump Parades that continue to proliferate.
    great big, 4 sheet homemade plywood trump sign in front of a run down trailerhouse with a taco truck parked out front.
    My eyes hurt from the rollin’.

  17. The Rev Kev

    In that Alex Yablon there is a quoted tweet from Dave Weigel, a reporter for newspapers like the Washington Post. Well serendipity reared its ugly head here as I just heard his name for the first time yesterday – in a Jimmy Dore video. What is Dave Weigel like? Well, when he went to Northwestern University he organized a group to counter an anti-war protest on campus as “anti-American” which established to certain people his priorities. He makes a long appearance in the following clip at about the 5:30 mark for the rest of the 13:37 video-


  18. Basil Pesto

    I wonder if Lambert will dare to slip on his yellow waders for Obama’s book when the time comes. Might require heretofore unknown reserves of intestinal fortitude.

    1. edmondo

      Waders? Reading that toxic dreck will be the equivalent to donning a trash bag and being sent into Chernobyl to “turn the valve a few times”. Don’t do it, Lambert!

      1. chuck roast

        I’ll write him a NESHAPs permit if can guarantee high level remediation by installing a bull$hit precipitator.

  19. LawnDart

    I also just wonder how some will spin this as “these people’s” fault for being homeless.

    Be-bop right on over to ZeroHedge for your answer (check out the comments).

    A lot of it is libertarian/prosperity gospel, and Mike Pence type “shun the suffering, because God wants them to suffer. To alleviate their suffering is to act against God.”

    Christians of such kind make me want to be a head-chopper.

  20. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Suburban women

    “You have a record number of non-college-educated married white women married to Trump voters,” [Democratic pollster Celinda] Lake said.

    Those poor deplorable women, too stupid to go to college, trapped in abusive marriages with knuckle-dragging MAGA men. Yet all of them might not be a hopeless case. Take Martha, who desperately wants to phone-bank for Biden but fears retribution from a husband so cruel that he sits in stony silence when she asks whether he loves Trump more than her. Martha obviously needs to get woke and walk out on the SOB, but that won’t happen under four more years of Trump. HELP MARTHA FIND THE LOVE WE ALL DESERVE. VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN! /s

  21. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Harris campaigns at a polling station

    Meanwhile, volunteers distributing masks near a polling site in Brooklyn on Sunday had all their materials confiscated by NYPD.

    ‘[S]everal people on the scene described it as the type of voter intimidation officials are bracing for during this election season … NYPD said they removed the table after complaints from elections officials.”

    In other words, they were just doing their job. To be continued (cat says it’s dinner time) …

  22. Brunches with Cats

    401 anti-Trump demonstrations scheduled nationwide (as of 11:45 p.m. EDT)

    That’s the event count for one umbrella group, Protect the Results. Certainly there are others. I just haven’t had the time to do a search.

    Depending on whom you believe, these are either “progressive grassroots” activists defending freedom and democracy against Trump’s planned coup to remain in power after the people have spoken, or an insurrection by Democrats who tried — and failed — to rig the election and won’t accept that Biden lost anyway.

    You’ve probably noticed the proliferation of “Trump’s planning a coup” articles over the past three months, warning that Trump will use various dirty tricks to stay in power, while inciting violence against protesters by White Supremacist Militias. If the articles read oddly like they were all written from the same press release, it’s because they sort of were. The scary Trump scenarios emerged from a “project” allied with the Clintons. Top priorities in their strategy for defeating Trump include controlling the narrative by “educating” media” — thus the rash of similar-sounding stories in print, broadcast digital, and social media — and mobilizing mass demonstrations against Trump starting on election night and potentially continuing to Inauguration Day. Nationwide demonstrations not being cheap, a network of billionaire donors has stepped up to the plate, calling themselves “progressive” and apparently fooling enough of the people enough of the time.

    Mobilization of grassroots volunteers has been taking place all summer, but really got going in June with the formation of an umbrella group, Protect the Results — the very definition of progressive grassroots activism. /s Event organizers are provided with training in non-violent political protest.

    Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies nationwide have been beefing up their ranks and providing training for large-crowd control. NYPD began training in July and put the entire police force on notice to prepare for deployment starting October 25, the first day of early voting in New York State.

    So, there you have it. The demonstrations will be peaceful, and law enforcement throughout the country will act with restraint out of respect for the First Amendment guarantee of free assembly. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. fwe'zy

      Yes, I definitely have seen the TDS go up a notch where I really didn’t think there was room to go. :/

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Astroturfed volunteers will do what they do, and no doubt will be covered as contributing significantly to whatever the outcome is (which will be determined by negotiations between party elites, as in any other Third World country).

      Adding, that operation will also be useful in decapitating any independent NGOs foolish enough to join it, if any did.

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