2:00PM Water Cooler 10/29/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

So that is a thrush!


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:

No sign of relief, sadly. (I don’t know what other strongly regional countries look like, but the first of our three stairsteps was in the Northeast, the second in the South, and to a lesser extent the West, and the third… everywhere. This pattern merits explanation, and I’m not sure I’ve seen it. Readers? Whatever our problems may be, we’re great at natural experiments!

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

No changes.

“Trump’s path to victory narrows as Covid cases surge in Midwest” [Financial Times].

Here are positivity and mortality laid against confirmed cases:

“Trump’s path to victory narrows as Covid cases surge in Midwest” [Financial Times]. “But the president’s hopes of winning the upper Midwestern states that propelled him to victory in 2016 — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — have taken a blow in recent weeks as a third surge of Covid-19 cases ravages the region and focuses voters’ attention on his administration’s handling of the pandemic…. FT analysis shows that in battlegrounds where the number of Covid-19 cases has risen more than 7 per cent in the past week, Mr Biden has an average polling lead of 4.3 points. Conversely, Mr Biden’s lead in states where the rise in cases is 6 per cent or less is just 1.4 points.” Here is the FT chart:

The FT prose confirms my priors. But I’m not sure the chart confirms either. It has occured to me that an area that has already undergone the opioid epidemic and falling life expectancy might take Covid in stride. (This doesn’t explain the nationwide rise, of course.)

“Here are all the reasons COVID-19 cases are surging again” [MarketWatch]. The article is worth reading in full, but let me quote the reasons:

1. Falling temperatures mean more people are socializing indoors

2. People are dealing with “pandemic fatigue”

3. This translates to more social gatherings with extended family and friends

4. The return of college students in September is a likely culprit behind this wave of infections


Thanksgiving, however, is going to be a critical holiday and one that is already stressing public health experts. (“The traditional Thanksgiving Day festivities have all the characteristics of the superspreader events,” [said Malia Jones, an epidemiologist and associate scientist in health geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison] said.) It’s commonly spent indoors, with extended family that one doesn’t see on a daily basis and features a chatty meal that may stretch over several hours. “It’s one thing to say, I’m not going to get together with my family for Labor Day,” [Chris Meekins, director of health-care policy at Raymond James] said. “It’s a completely different level for a lot of folks to say, I’m not going to get together for Thanksgiving, or I’m not going to get together for Christmas.”

Worth noting that China scrapped New Years’ celebrations in January, and imposed a travel lockdown,


“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!

This is totally not a prediction, but like everyone else is doing I played with the 270toWin map (it’s easy and interactive; you click on a state to change its color, and the count changes.) But herewith:

I gave Trump both Pennsylvania and Michigan (pale blue in the expert consensus) on the idea there’d be extraordinary Republican turnout on election day. Totally anecdotal! Then I gave Trump the following toss-ups: Florida (local Dems can’t get out of their own way), Georgia (feral Republican machine), North Carolina (ditto), and Ohio (Covid won’t phase you if you’ve been abandoned to the opioid epidemic.) Now, if Biden wins Florida (they count fast) and Texas on election night, it’s all over, and that’s possible, too. (Another map I should make, maybe tomorrow, is a map where neither candidate gets to 270. Since that’s the stupidest and most damaging outcome, it’s probably a lot more likely than we think.) You can go to 270toWin and make your own maps. If you’re deep enough in, send me your map + your theory of the case. Maybe somebody will make the right call!

* * *

“Early voting trends show Democrats falling short in 3 of 4 battlegrounds” [The Hill]. “[I]f people are simply scared to give their opinion to pollsters [or game the system by lying], another option is to look at the breakdown of who has actually voted. Forbes polling indicates that roughly half of all voters plan to vote early, with 62 percent of Democrats planning to vote early while 72 percent of Republicans plan to wait and vote on Election Day. If that happened and independents split evenly (last time Trump won them), then Democrats would need to win early voting at least 70 percent to 30 percent to be on pace to barely overcome a 31 percent to 69 percent disadvantage in partisan Election Day votes. The Elect Project indicates Democrats are only hitting that mark in one of four battleground states where data on the partisan breakdown of early voters is available…. A strong ground game is crucial to Democrats, normally including collecting ballots everywhere from college campuses to nursing homes, and on Election Day driving thousands of vans filled with likely supporters to the polls. None of that is happening because of COVID-19, and the first time they tried to win an election with no ground game resulted in a double-digit loss. The fact that Republicans were knocking on a million doors a week compared to none for Biden until the final weeks will result in Republicans winning Election Day by millions of votes. So far the Democrats have not built the 70 percent to 30 percent edge they need in early voting to wrap up a win.” • Well, it’s an interesting argument, but I think the autjhor over-eggs the pudding at the end. I think the best Trump can hope for is a squeaker. Just like last time. And I’m extremely dubious he can pull it out.

PA: “Some Pennsylvania counties will count mail-in ballots last” [CNN]. “Pennsylvania’s counties have starkly different plans for when they will begin processing their pre-Election Day ballots, with Democratic strongholds moving to get them counted as quickly as possible while other areas plan to tally in-person votes first. Unlike most states, Pennsylvania law does not allow officials to start processing early ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. Philadelphia and other areas plan to start work on their mail-in votes at 7 a.m. sharp, officials said, but swing counties like Erie and red ones like Cumberland are intending to wait until after the polls close or even until the next morning to begin.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “How Joe Biden Is Positioning Himself as a Modern FDR” [Time]. “With just a week before the election, Biden traveled to Warm Springs, Ga., Tuesday to deliver a speech on national healing and economic redemption—and to wrap himself in FDR’s mantle. The venue was laden with significance. Not only because Biden is making a late push for victory in Georgia, but also because Warm Springs was where Roosevelt went to convalesce from the paralysis that followed a polio diagnosis in his 30s. Roosevelt had a little white house there, and the place became both a second home to him and a symbol of his fortitude in the face of illness. ‘This place, Warm Springs, is a reminder that though broken, each of us can be healed,’ Biden said. ‘That as a people and a country, we can overcome a devastating virus. That we can heal a suffering world. That yes, we can restore our soul and save our country.'” • Which all sounds great, ’til you look at the record. If you look again at Ornstein’s piece on Biden’s first 100 days, it’s nothing like FDR’s first 100 days, which were not marked by cautious incrementalism.

Trump (R)(1): “College-Educated Women Are Fleeing Donald Trump. It Could Cost Him North Carolina” [Time]. “Trump lost [college-educated women] by just 6 percentage points in 2016 nationally. Now? He’s down by 37 percentage points coast to coast.”

Trump (R)(2): From police scanner Twitter, a play-by-play of the Trump rally debacle in Nebraska:

Looks like the root cause was more attendance than planned for, interestingly. Wretched advance work, however.

* * *

“Court declines to reinstate COVID-19 accommodations for elections in Wisconsin” [SCOTUSBlog]. Better, I think, than Bloomberg’s coverage, and worth reading in full. “The 5-3 ruling means that the the election will go forward without the accommodations, which included extending the deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots and making it easier for local election officials to work in areas where they do not live.” • If there’s a common thread to this season’s spate of election rulings, it’s that the Court is being deferential — perhaps too deferential? — to State legislatures. Making this footnote from Kavanaugh all the more mind-boggling:

Bush v. Gore contained the famous sentence “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities,” mocked in 2000 as “good for one time only”; not precedential, in other words (although that hasn’t stopped other courts from citing it). But here is Kavanaugh citing to it, multiple times, in a footnote. The RBG riots didn’t come to anything — brunch awaited — but if anything could cause a Bluebourgeois riot,” it would be a Bush v. Gore replay.

“How to make an election crisis” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “Fun fact: With the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court now contains as many Republican campaign lawyers who worked for George W. Bush on Bush v. Gore — the decision that amounted to election theft, and was so ridiculously partisan that it said itself it should not be cited as precedent — as it does Democrats…. A big tell in the Kavanaugh screed is found in this aside: “States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after Election Day and potentially flip the results of an election.” In fact, as Justice Elena Kagan pointed out in a blistering dissent, until all the votes are counted, there is no result to flip.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Filing this here, for reasons that will become obvious:

“An Oral History of the Day Everything Changed” [Garrett Graff, Wired]. “On March 11, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic seemed to crystallize in the national consciousness. Americans look back on the turning point.” • Interviews with Mark Cuban, Carolyn Maloney, Elise Stefanik, Douglas Brinkley, Scott Van Pelt, Dan Pfeiffer, Claudia Sahm, Peter Tuz. Gabriella Orr, Philip Rucker, Liz Cheney, and Royce Young, among others; PMCs and upwards. However, Our elites obviously don’t read Naked Capitalism:

So, arguably, for the truly alert, March 11 was not the day everything changed, but January 23. (And our elites don’t read Taleb either; Joseph Norman, Yaneer Bar-Yam, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb published Systemic risk of pandemic via novel pathogens – Coronavirus: A note on January 26, 2020.) So the question becomes: Why were our elites so oblivious? Were they waiting for Trump to legitimize the crisis? Really?

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.

GDP: “Advance Estimate 3Q2020 GDP Shows Record Improvement” [Econintersect]. “The advance estimate for third-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a positive 31.4%. This growth is a significant improvement from the previous quarter’s decline of 31.4 % if one looks at quarter-over-quarter headline growth. The year-over-year rate of growth also significantly improved but remains in contraction….. I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but the recovery from the pandemic is not over as the year-over-year GDP growth remains in contraction.”

Employment Situation: “24 October 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Improve” [Econintersect]. “The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 812,250 (reported last week as 811,250) to 787,750… The four-week rolling average of initial claims is 266 % higher than one year ago (versus the 277 % higher last week).” • Modified rapture….

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 24 October 2020 – Modest Improvement Continues” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic…. Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. remains deep in contraction. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline. However, carloads remain in contraction. But overall, rail is on an improving trendline.”

* * *

Mr. Market: “Dow swings over 100 points higher Thursday as investors parse U.S. GDP’s record third-quarter rise” [MarketWatch]. “U.S. stock gauges on Thursday were trying to claw back at least a portion of yesterday’s rout for the broader market, as investors digested a preliminary reading of the health of the U.S. economy that indicated a massive rebound in growth from the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, albeit off an economic base that had shrunk considerably….. Investors fear a tight race that could produce a contested election outcome, potentially leading to weeks of uncertainty and acrimony, while a more clear-cut outcome is seen paving the way for near-term spending to aid the economy.” • I remember in 2000, during Bush v. Gore, the word was “closure,” and I assume everybody was craved that because our famously entrepreneural and steel-nerved investment community hates uncertainty…

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: Blank again [CNN]. I find this a little disturbing, today too. I’ll keep putting this up for a bit in the hope of stimulating CNN to fix it, somehow. Especially since Mr. Market is having mood swings.

I went into the HTML, and indeed there is the URL to a file with a *.PNG extension there, but when I put that URL into the browser bar, I get a “Cache retrieval failed” message. I sent email to comments@cnn.com, informing them. Perhaps other readers could contact them in other media, like the Twitter. UPDATE CNN bounced it. Dang.

The Biosphere

“A Scientist Who Delights in the Mundane” (interview) [Quanta Magazine]. L. Mahadevan: “While visiting an agricultural college in Bangalore [India] in 2009, I saw a termite mound for the first time during a stroll through campus. I knew little about them but decided it would be a cool thing to study. Termites are considered among the greatest architects on Earth. A couple of years ago, a network of termite mounds in Brazil was discovered that is as large as Great Britain. Inside each mound, which is a few meters tall, millions of millimeter-sized termites live. That’s comparable to humans living in buildings a few kilometers high. The mounds are built to harness the environment — places where temperature, humidity and gas concentrations are well controlled. We have studied the function of termite mounds in both India and Namibia, and most recently have begun to understand the principles of how they are built. Our experiments showed that the mound operates like a lung, breathing once a day in response to external temperature changes. And we have a mathematical model that shows how the mound geometry, environmental conditions and termite behavior are all interrelated.”

Health Care

“Integrated Single-Cell Atlases Reveal an Oral SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Transmission Axis” (preprint) [medRxiv]. This is super-interesting, looks really good to me, and is well worth a read by our epidemiologists; I really can’t excerpt it properly. From the abstract: “Despite signs of infection, the involvement of the oral cavity in COVID-19 is poorly understood….. COVID-19 autopsy tissues confirmed in vivo SARS CoV-2 infection in the salivary glands and mucosa…. Matched nasopharyngeal and saliva samples found distinct viral shedding dynamics and viral burden in saliva correlated with COVID-19 symptoms including taste loss. Upon recovery, this cohort exhibited salivary antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 proteins. Collectively, the oral cavity represents a robust site for COVID-19 infection andimplicates saliva in viral transmission.”

Here is the three stair-step pattern again:

“It may be time to reset expectations on when we’ll get a Covid-19 vaccine” [STAT]. “he ambitious drive to produce Covid-19 vaccine at warp speed seems to be running up against reality. We all probably need to reset our expectations about how quickly we’re going to be able to be vaccinated. Pauses in clinical trials to investigate potential safety issues, a slower-than-expected rate of infections among participants in at least one of the trials, and signals that an expert panel advising the Food and Drug Administration may not be comfortable recommending use of vaccines on very limited safety and efficacy data appear to be adding up to a slippage in the estimates of when vaccine will be ready to be deployed. Asked Wednesday about when he expects the FDA will greenlight use of the first vaccines, Anthony Fauci moved the administration’s stated goalpost. ‘Could be January, could be later. We don’t know,’ Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an online interview with JAMA editor Howard Bauchner.”

“Ethacridine inhibits SARS-CoV-2 by inactivating viral particles in cellular models” (preprint) [bioRxiv]. These dudes put a patent on this. Nevertheless, from the Abstract: “Here we report that ethacridine, a safe and potent antiseptic use in humans, effectively inhibits SARS-CoV-2, at very low concentrations (EC50 ~ 0.08 μM). Ethacridine was identified through a high-throughput screening of an FDA-approved drug library in living cells using a fluorescent assay. Interestingly, the main mode of action of ethacridine is to inactivate virus particles, preventing binding to the host cells. Thus, our work has identified a potent drug with a distinct mode of action against SARS-CoV-2.” • Readers know I like repurposing existing, proven drugs.

Class Warfare

“Men Build Up Placid Surfaces That Women Puncture” (reprint) [David Graeber, Delancey Place]. “Women may have regularly deferred to men as the authoritative voices for representing the community, but as often as not, they would push the men on stage only to subvert their message as soon as they were done with it. Even the old woman who took me to her son to narrate vil­lage history ended up interrupting him, as soon as he was drawing to a close, to tell the story of a notorious local witch — completely shattering the image of solidarity he had just done his best to convey, and causing much consterna­tion among the assembled menfolk. Things like this happened again and again. At times it seemed to take on an almost ritualized cast. In the end, I came to conclusion that it was this very process — men building up the placid surfaces that women would then mischievously puncture and expose — that history and moral discourse really consisted of. The object only existed when it had been halfway ripped apart. … Many argue that all societies distinguish between a public sphere identified especially with men, and domestic sphere, identified especially with women; and that one way that women are suppressed is by being denied full access to the public arena. Bloch argues [Madagascar] is no exception. But one extension of the ritualized nature of public discourse in [Madagascar] is that — as I have already pointed out at some length — authoritative men tend to avoid displays or references to conflict, so that it is especially women who voice it, just as it is especially women who are publicly critical of established verities.”

News of the Wired

“The Incredible Story of the Great Cannonball Boom” [GQ]. “On the outside, his Mustang looked pretty much like any other car on the road. Inside was another story. Splayed across Ashmore’s dashboard was an array of devices, including a CB radio, a mounted tablet operating Waze and Google Maps, and an iPhone running a timer. Stuck to the inside of the windshield was a radar detector; on the front grille and back bumper were the sensors for a laser jammer. Even more conspicuously, strapped beside and behind Ashmore, where the front and rear passenger seats should have been, huge fuel tanks sloshed with gasoline. A series of hoses connected them—along with another enormous tank, this one in the trunk—to the car’s main fuel tank. An officer inspecting Ashmore’s rig could have been forgiven for concluding that he was driving a giant gasoline bomb.” • This was a rented Mustang. A terrific story that reminds us how enormous this country is.

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

CK writes: “In case you’re in the mood to feature another shot of delightful Japanese anemones, here is a photo from this summer.”

* * *

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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. ChrisAtRU


    Ha! Finally flipped over your cards, eh Lambert!

    My official take (via Twitter)!

    Biden in a squeaker wherein he does not need FL or PA, but he wins MI, and gets the tossup CD’s in ME and NE.

    … and now we wait!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Nope. I said “this is totally not a prediction” and I meant it. I think the polling and the reporting is so corrupted that it’s too difficult to reverse engineer facts on the ground from it (due to the “airtight consensus” referred to by Thomas Frank). I’m speculating on what a path to victory for Trump would look like, that’s all.

      To be more clear, I think a Biden victory is more likely than not. First, Covid — regardless of systemic issues that should be, but will not be, raised — happened on Trump’s watch. Voters will punish him for that. Second, Trump’s messaging has been scattered and undisciplined (no doubt due to lack of the A/B testing he did with crowds in 2016). Third, we are seeing what looks like the birth of class consciousness in the PMC, and the suburban vote + Never Trump Republicans giving the country club permission to vote for Biden will help. Fourth, none of the potential Trump October surprises panned out: No (colorable claim of) a vaccine, economy not good enough, no foreign policy deal (e.g., North Korea). Hunter Biden’s issues wouldn’t have made the grade even without liberal Democrat censorship.

      I expect the Republican party apparatus to suppress as many votes as they can (which they do in the general; Democrats only suppress votes in the primaries), and I expect, from anecdotes, surprisingly big turnout by Trump voters on election day, but I expect Biden to escape that pincer movement.

      1. L

        How much stock do you place in the potential for (engineered or encouraged) election day chaos to be used by Republicans to justify slating electors by the legislatures?

        1. Odysseus

          That probably depends on what exactly that chaos is. I don’t think that legislatures themselves are any too eager to perform that kind of questionable move.

      2. ChrisPacific

        One of the local media organizations (I think the Sydney Morning Herald) went through the same exercise recently. Their path to a Trump victory had a lot of similarities to yours, which suggests that it’s a pretty narrow one for him, and they reached the same conclusion you did (a Trump victory is unlikely but by no means impossible, even on current polling). They also gamed out the additional case you mentioned with a 269 to 269 tie, and discussed the tiebreakers that would apply in that case (I wonder how many Americans know about those).

        1. chris

          Fellow Chrises, I too think Trump can win. Based on traveling a lot these past 7 months, I’d give Biden a 2/3 chance of being elected on November 3. But Trump’s odds of being re-elected are far higher than many want to acknowledge.

          On the topic of Trump and the left and who will win what…what do you all think is the reason for so much Left voter shaming these days by all the established establishment types? I get that they enjoy punching hippies but seriously, what do they think repeated voter shaming is doing for their cause? The latest tweets I’ve seen compare what’s going on to the NBA playoffs and how stoopid lefties were voting for more than one team to make it to the final game there too. These people already control the mainstream media. Their point of view is universally accepted in most conversation. So why do they continue to $hit post on social media and kick lefties who won’t back their choice? I feel like Pelosi treats the situation appropriately – she acts like a neoliberal with power whenever the subject of the left comes up. So why do all the other people continue to engage in voter shaming?

          1. ChrisAtRU

            – Fellow Chrises, I too think Trump can win.

            As Lambert has also opined above, he’s got a shot!

            – But Trump’s odds of being re-elected are far higher than many want to acknowledge.

            Also concur here. Krystal Ball tweeted “Holy shit. CNN poll has Biden up 16” three weeks ago, and I had to chime in to say that this was largely meaningless #becauseElectoralCollege. I took a little heat for it on that hell-verse that is #Twitter too. I think some CTR (Correct The Record) alts (sock puppet accounts created to troll discourse) managed to “find me”. Here was one response:
            “If Biden is at 7+ nationally he’s a lock for 270 EVs. At 10+ he’s looking at 400EVs easy.”

            See what I mean?

            – … what do you all think is the reason for so much Left voter shaming these days by all the established establishment types?

            I think Lambert’s “the voter’s are like children” metaphor pretty much nails it here. The establishment are the adults, and the voters are like children who don’t know what’s good and right for them. Now #VoteForJoe or there’ll be no internet after supper! ;-)

            1. Procopius

              Adam Smith was a Professor of Moral Philosophy. He didn’t think he was studying Economics, he thought he was studying human nature. In Book III of Wealth of Nations he was examining how wages were determined, and made this observation:
              “The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors.”
              He went on to say that proprietors preferred slave labor when they could get away with it, but it applies to many activities. The neolibs love to insult lefties because they are mortified by having to deal with us. Insulting us is a form of domination.

          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            IMHO, I think the shaming is a weird manifestation of the shamer’s own guilt at what they are supporting with a vote for Harris/Biden and a need for Frank’s airtight consensus. I think it’s all about wanting validation for their own decision and those of us who won’t play only remind them of their own failings here.
            As for Pelosi, she doesn’t need to shame because she honestly doesn’t care. Obviously she feels no guilt for supporting what H/B stand for and she, like Harris and Biden themselves, knows they don’t need the left in any meaningful way. I’m sure if Biden loses, she’ll blame the left, but that’s just plain old business as usual politics.

          3. Watt4Bob

            …what do you all think is the reason for so much Left voter shaming these days by all the established establishment types?

            They’re in on the joke, ‘er scam?

            They know Biden’s lead is not as solid as they are reporting, and that their ‘duty’ is to join the full-court-press so to speak.

            As Lambert says above;

            “…I think the polling and the reporting is so corrupted that it’s too difficult to reverse engineer facts on the ground”

            How can anyone navigate the ocean of lies and propaganda?

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            Sanders/Gabbard/etc. supporters have seen themselves and the object of their support so openly betrayed so often so over and over again that their electoral loyalty to the Pink KKK ( Kitty Kap Klintonite) Democrats is so very much in doubt that the Pink KKK Democrats and the Catfood Sh*tobamacrats think they have to shame the “left” into voting for the PKKK Catfood Sh*tobamacrat ticket or the “left” might not come out to vote for it unless heavily shamed enough.

          5. ChrisAtRU

            Remember, these are the people who believe that they can change intent by policing tone – manufactured consent, essentially. So they deploy their army of online trolls – futile as that is – in a completely ridiculous attempt to change people’s minds about Biden. If Biden loses, they’re going to blame the left anyway, so a lot of lefties have been voting Green based on my #Twitter follows. Hoping the Greens make it to 5%, but not optimistic they will. We’ll see!

    2. ChrisAtRU

      Class Warfare

      “Men Build Up Placid Surfaces That Women Puncture”

      Well, along the lines of … “and now for something completely different”:

      “Meet the Dominatrix Forcing Trump Supporters to Vote Biden

      Cannot lie … having a fair amount of chuckles reading through this … but the domme in question seems to have found a path to success for herself and a path to redemption for her subs.

      #NSFW #NSFZoomEither (in case your second screen is visible) LOL

      1. Rock Hard

        I’m not even going to read that, but 100% see this happening.

        Fetishes are an amazing and fascinating psychological phenomenon.

      1. jo6pac

        I vote for Judith miller;-)

        It took GG a long time but he finally woke up. I wonder if he’ll release the rest of the Snowden papers?

    1. pjay

      It’s about time! I was wondering how long he could ignore or defend the many offenses of this “outlet.”

      The comments on this thread were mixed. Some strong support, but also some of the expected liberal derangement.

    2. anon in so cal

      Kudos to Glenn Greenwald!

      The Intercept is funded / run by Omidyar, who helped fund the Ukraine regime change op.

      1. flora

        +1. I worry about less famous reporters self-censoring their own reporting for fear of being de-platformed or FB/Twitter banned otherwise.

        1. ambrit

          That sounds suspiciously like the old Soviet newshounds. Samizdat weren’t hand cranked out by eccentric hobbyists!
          Assange is not a Saint by any measure, but his treatment at the hands of the Organs of State Security is definitely making a Martyr of him. Let’s make Assange the patron Saint of journalists!

      2. flora

        Glenn and Matt and Andrew can make the move to substack (until it gets rumbled). I worry about young reporters starting out and bloggers feeling the pressure to conform to the “official narrative”.

        1. Carolinian

          Matt is an Omidyar refugee as well. He was brought on to run a satirical online magazine but left before it got going.

      1. Pavel

        I have been following politics and political corruption and scandals for ~40 years, usually from afar, in the UK (Thatcher [Maggie, Denis, Mark, Westland], Tony Bliar, Peter Mandelson, D Blunkett et al ad nauseum); Canada (Harper, Doug Ford, Justin “Blackface” Trudeau); France (Mitterrand, Jospin, Sarko, Macron) and of course the USA (too many to mention).

        But the MSM’s complicity in covering up this very obvious Biden family corruption is the greatest scandal of all. WaPo says “Democracy dies in darkness” whilst refusing to cover this huge story. The rest of the “journalists” fall in line.

        WaPo, NYT, MSNBC*, CNN* — they have now lost any credibility they once had. For three years it was all Russia Russia Russia without one percent of the physical evidence there is on Joe and Hunter Biden.


        And I thought the Clintons were corrupt.

        Separately, I suspect Kamala Harris is already choosing the drapes in the Oval Office.

        1. The Rev Kev

          As Jimmy Dore says, “Democracy dies in darkness” is not a motto – it’s a mission statement.

        2. ambrit

          I suspect that Harris is forging alliances with the big “movers and shakers” behind the scenes in Washington, DC aka. “Da Swamp!” I do not know how “in” she is with the Obama clique. That would be instructional information to possess. haris comes out of California state politics. Does anyone here know how influential the Obama camp is compared to the Clinton camp in California?

          1. polecat

            She’s ‘black like ME!’ … sorta, kinda .. NOT!

            A mamba perhaps. Stay outta striking distance ..

        3. Brunches with Cats

          Ah, the Oval Office drapes … Does anyone else recall the snark when Obama’s muted red drapes were replaced during Trump’s swearing-in, so that his first Oval Office photo op a few hours later was against a floor-to-ceiling backdrop of flashy gold? CNN’s inaugural commentators went nuts — he was bringing Trump Tower to the White House, his ego couldn’t stand any sign of Obama. One of the co-hosts, Erin Burnett (or maybe the blonde) was going on and on about how “he measured the drapes himself.”

          Well, turns out they were the drapes Hillary had commissioned for Bill, which she demanded be installed during WJC’s swearing-in. Trump got them from the WH storage facility where furnishings from previous administrations are held (he’s also reusing Reagan’s rug), and from what I can tell, he never bothered to commission his own. That’s got to be a symptom of narcissism or BPD or something…

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Just read the correspondence Greenwald provided with his editors. One is claiming he won’t publish the article because while the emails suggest a deal with Joe Biden, there is no actual proof any deal was consumated.

        Funny, didn’t the Democrat party recently impeach a president for discussing a deal that wasn’t actually consumated, claiming even the mere hit of a suggestion was tantamount to treason?

      1. Carolinian

        In the article he suggests he and others may start a new website. Guess it won’t be on Twitter.

        Greenwald is the only thing I read on Intercept and may they now sink beneath the waves where they belong. Needless to say his free speech beat is swimming against the tide and had never been more needed.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Greenwald did a marvellous 3 hour interview yesterday with Joe Rogan, it should be on Spotify and Youtube.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Here’s a link. Listened to it yesterday and it was truly excellent. Greenwald warns Rogan about the dangers of self-censorship near the end and now it’s clear why.

        The rest of the media could learn a lot about journalistic integrity not only from Greenwald, but from Joe Rogan. His previous guest was Alex Jones. I’d never heard anything but short clips from Jones before so decided to give it a listen. Rogan treated him pretty respectfully, let him talk about his theories, gave him credit for things he had correct and didn’t shy away from calling him on his BS. And there was a lot of BS. I only made it through 30-45 mins of that one and tuned out once Jones started getting on the climate change denial nonsense (which he was called out for).

        In the Greenwald interview, they discuss the responsibilities of having a platform that reaches millions of viewers, something Rogan never actively tried to do. Rogan said when he first started podcasting, when he had a crazier guest on he’d just get high and laugh at them and have a good time, but now realizes he needs to be more critical if people are talking nonsense. He didn’t refer to the Jones’ interview specifically, but I think he had it in mind and he handled it well IMO, at least during the part I listed to.

        If Rogan decides he doesn’t like any restrictions Spotify tries to put on him, I’m sure he and Greenwald could make a pretty popular media company all on their own.

      2. polecat

        Notice how all the ricebowl clutching Washington Consensus whiners have come out of the rotten woodwork to try to cowtow Spotify into canning Rogan …. because… Reason! ….

    4. grayslady

      Thanks for the link. In his writeup, Greenwald makes the following claim:

      its(The Intercept) refusal to report on the daily proceedings of the Assange extradition hearing because the freelance reporter doing an outstanding job was politically distasteful;

      Does anyone know who he was referring to? The only three sources I knew doing independent reporting on the Assange extradition hearing were Craig Murray, Joe Lauria at Consortium News and Kevin Gosztola at Shadowproof. All three are independent thinkers, but “politically distasteful”?

      1. Person

        Anyone who is pro-Assange these days is immediately labeled as a “Russian agent”, including the three you mentioned. I don’t know who he was referring to specifically.

  2. zagonostra

    >Carlos Maria Vigano

    On October 24th Vigano gave an extraordinary speech at the Catholic Identity Conference in Pittsburgh. Catholics, that is those whose religion goes deeper than answering a questionnaire on what religion they self-identify have been following very closely what the Archbishop has to say. I just finished reading the transcript as well as listening to Vigano give the speech on Y-Tube. It is not only the U.S. election that has divided the country, there is a raging battle going on within the Vatican and her representatives in the U.S. If all you are viewing is MSM or limiting your browsing diet to what a google algorithm feeds you, you probably have missed this.

    I know that many commentators here reject religion off-hand. And, that NC’s mission is “fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” however this is worth at least being cognizant of. Anyone who doesn’t understand the role that Christianity and the Catholic Church has, and continues to have, in the development of Western Civilization, just doesn’t have a good grasp on history.

    Here is just a small snippet to give a sense of what and how Vigano is describing what he sees as the forces moving social and political events.

    In the civil sphere, the deep state has managed political and social dissent by using organizations and movements that are only apparently opposition, but which are actually instrumental to maintaining power. Similarly, in the ecclesial sphere, the deep church uses the moderate “conservatives” to give an appearance of offering freedom to the faithful…The deep state needs to secure low-cost labor through immigration, which at the same time contributes to the cancellation of the religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the nations involved. The deep church lends an ideological and pseudo-theological basis to this invasion plan, and at the same time guarantees a share in the lucrative business of hospitality.


    1. L

      Speaking as a Catholic I found this very hard to parse. He seems to be taking a global new world order conspiracy as a baseline and then tying it back to Vatican II and a claim also that Pope Francis’ appointment was a plot. In the end it is hard to find a clear thread here other than a beef that Vatican II, now 60 years old, is the downfall of all things.

      Ok fine, but this has been a fight within the church for that entire time, and even Benedict, for all that he was a hero of the conservatives did not seek to roll it back. Moreover, he found himself unable or unwilling to deal with the very real stain on the Church in the form of the pedophelia scandals, a crime that is literally multinational and which involved some of the top figures of the conservative Church. One that has done more damage to the church and its role in the world than any risk of “modernism”.

      For that reason I must say I find it hard to get worked up about this.

    2. psv

      Thank you zagonostra, very interesting. Hadn’t heard of this archbishop, and agree that a speech like this is relevant here.

    3. Darius

      Vigano is an ultra-reactionary. He is working with people like Steve Bannon to make the Catholic Church an overtly fascistic force and weapon of global reaction. Bergoglio/Francis may be a shaky obstacle to them, but, compared to the centrist neoliberals who stand as the nominal opposition to global reaction, he is quite forceful. The model of the ideal Catholic to these people is someone like Francisco Franco in Spain. These sede vacantists are analogous to and allied with the sadistically violent reactionary coup makers in Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and the rightists who rule in Brazil, and who just suffered a defeat in Chile.

      Francis, however inconsistently, makes efforts to advocate for solidarity and is trying to make Vatican institutions resistant to takeover by reactionaries like Vigano and others of the Bannon tendency. Reaction is devotion to hierarchy and intolerance of solidarity, which is based in love.

    4. Judith

      The Opus Dei connection is worth exploring. Too complicated to try to explain here. But see Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, for example and his influence.

    5. DJG

      zagonostra: As Darius mentions, Viganò is a rightwinger. He also is a devotee of melodrama (especially when it comes to himself) and certainly can hold a grudge.

      Pulling from the entry at Wikipedia: “Viganò remains a fierce critic of Pope Francis. In June 2019, he said in a long exchange with The Washington Post that Francis was a blatant liar,[118] and in July 2020 he accused Francis of following the ‘homosexual agenda of the New World Order’.[119]”

      Ahh, that explains it.

      What is most preoccupying, even for someone as lapsed a Catholic as I am, is that the target here seems to be the rich and conservative U.S. Catholic church, which is now being enlisted to present itself as the home of such Tartuffian luminaries as Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas, and Newt Gingrich (the Poverello of Georgia).

      Throw in Opus Dei, as mentioned by Judith, and you are seeing an outline of a group that hopes to insist on a Catholic Church with the power of the Spanish Church under Franco. Too bad that the result of the politicization of the Spanish Church is that almost no one bothers with Catholicism in Spain anymore. It is a spent force. In the meantime, there is grandstanding and pillaging by all of these Pro-Life Miracles.

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    On March 11, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic seemed to crystallize in the national consciousness
    I had already had our NYC office shut down for almost a month by that point

    Were they waiting for Trump to legitimize the crisis? Really?

    Maybe they were hoping to use the crisis against him.

  4. Jane

    This Ottawa analytics company has a wildly different view, one that favours Biden. They did get 2016 right, as well as Brexit. I haven’t seen any electoral maps showing anywhere near their outcomes.

    They poll social media, identifying communities and individuals to build profiles that match the constituency metrics. They explain their method a bit more in this interview on TVO’s Agenda.

    1. BobW

      Couldn’t help but notice that their error range was -/+ 80. Keeps it in the area of probable Biden win, but not certain.

  5. Toshiro_Mifune

    The Incredible Story of the Great Cannonball Boom

    If you’re interested Brock Yates, the auto writer who started the Cannon Ball run in the 70s, wrote a fun book about it; Cannonball!: World’s Greatest Outlaw Road Race.

    1. LawnDart

      Got into endurance riding a while back, due to an urge to be anywhere other than I was and a lack of available vacation time. I did a 2000-mile leg in 30-hours, which I considered “respectable.”

      There’s a biennial coast-to-coast competition sponsored by the IBA that looks like a lot of fun, as well as a whole host of other challenges and competitions. It could be of interest to those among us who enjoy two-wheeled means of conveyance and are dangerously addicted to adrenaline.


      (I kinda wonder if this will get past the mods…)

        1. LawnDart

          I was heading South through Chicago some years back on a BMW K75S when a long, tall and very feminine blonde pulled alongside on a KRS (my dream girl on my dream bike). She looked over and nodded, popped the throttle on looked over again, quizzically and flirtatiously, a slight smile on her lips. I don’t normally do this but…

          Oh hell yes.

          Traffic was heavy as usual on 90/94 as we passed into the South Loop just before rush-hour. With a twist she opened up, I dropped to third and red-lined in pursuit, quickly working my way into fourth and fifth neck-to-neck splitting lanes at 100+ passing 35st– goddamn could she ride!

          She whipped that bike between cars and past semis, working the right side of the road as I tore alongside on the left, still accelerating.

          Traffic thinned at Garfield and she was able to fully enjoy the advantages of her machine, it’s extra horsepower and her lighter weight. I was losing sight of her and by 67th or 71st, gave up the chase (though certainly wishing she’d drop back and maybe toy with me some more).

          That was one of the happier 2-minutes of my life, though I doubt that she was as satisfied. But I don’t care!

    2. johnherbiehancock

      Reading about Cannonball Run and other such races is kind of a guilty pleasure for me, knowing what I know now about climate change, and the role our car-dependent society plays in it.

      Brock Yates is kinda like Major Kong riding the bomb down on the USSR… sowing the seed of doom.

      1. johnherbiehancock

        Speaking of the USSR… I wonder if the Russians have their own version of Cannonball Run?

        Now THAT would be something…

        Google maps gives the mileage from Manhattan to Anaheim using the I-40 route as 2,774 miles… St. Petersburg to Vladivostok is more than twice that… 5,970 miles (it doesn’t appear possible to drive to Kamchatka, which would be further).

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Obi Wan did that sorta

          it was an interesting watch in the winter time, when i first got netflix( i was still waiting for a hip replacement, at the time….thus, was pretty much sedentary and bored out of my mind).
          first time i’d seen film of all those Stan countries(and Mongolia)

      1. LawnDart

        Yeah, something like that is for the purebreds and not for the mutts that I bump elbows with: the price of entry is too damn high for any of us to have a shot at competing at much more than bum fights.

        The $3k-tops car would level the playing field quite a bit, perhaps with a “go-fund-me” to raise bail money for any competitor winning the silver-braclet award– that race would be egalitarian!

  6. Carolinian

    Re Biden at Warm Springs–up next Biden visits Lincoln Memorial to position himself as Lincoln. Warm Springs is very much worth a visit and they have a small museum showing FDR’s various braces and the car configured so he could drive it with his hands only. The tiny house has bedroom, parlor and kitchen with a wood stove for cooking. A balcony off the parlor (where he died) was arranged to remind him of the bridge of a ship since Roosevelt always considered himself a Navy man.

    While Gore Vidal–whose father worked for FDR–claimed Roosevelt was sneaky it’s doubtful that he and Joe have much in common. Warm Springs is a monument to simplicity and lack of pretense. Biden has four luxurious houses.

    1. rowlf

      Warm Springs is about a half hour from me and I highly recommend visiting the Little White House Historic Site, the Roosevelt Pools and the picnic spot near Pine Mountain. The staff at the two museums are really nice to talk with. I still get a chuckle remembering one of the staff saying he was a Tea Party supporter and he has come to admire FDR.

      Too bad Biden couldn’t have spoken at a Superfund site instead.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s encouraging that a would-be President hung out in warm-ish springs (it’s only 88 degrees) but why not some hot springs?

        Don’t worry though, Biden will turn into yet another useless golfer once ensconced in the White House.

        Was soaking @ Miracle hot springs this past weekend, and one of the pools was about 117, which is nature’s way of telling you to stay away. 108 is my sweet spot, temperature wise.

        1. edmondo

          “How Joe Biden Is Positioning Himself as a Modern FDR”

          Cerebral hemorrhage after three months, a crappy vice president and then a nuclear exchange?

          1. ambrit

            D—! That’s going to be one H— of a first hundred days!
            Or, perhaps, Biden goes for a ride on Air Force One Thirty-second and has an “unfortunate accident.”

          2. flora

            “Modern FDR”? What is Time smoking. Wall St’s given Biden $74 million for this run. They know what they’re getting.

        2. rowlf

          Biden couldn’t even be a zit on FDR’s… let’s agree on past record for family blog reasons.

          I am not a fan of FDR as I view him from George Marshall’s viewpoint but FDR did make some tough decisions in a contentious environment. What stand has Biden ever taken? Even LBJ makes Biden look like a piker.

      2. Dalepues

        That is a very pretty area in Georgia. I used to drive a good bit from Atlanta to Columbus and would leave early so I could drive state route 85 through Gay and Woodbury, and on through Meriwether county.

      3. Procopius

        I suspect the Tea Partiers support the New Deal more than the Democratic Leadership Council members, and empathize with the working class much more, too.

  7. Howard Beale IV

    According to Wikipedia, Ethacridine is used as an abortifecant in China, with its primary use as an antiseptic.

  8. anon in so cal

    >Covid and the Election:

    Yesterday, Biden basically admitted he has no plan to combat Covid. He made some kind of statement along the lines of “not wanting to give anyone “false promises,”” which is exactly what he’s been doing……

    Separately, “Europe is now battling a second surge of COVID-19 cases, and many worry it could be worse than the first.

    The continent now accounts for 46% of global coronavirus cases, and nearly a third of total related deaths…”


    So, the surge in cases is widespread. It’s also occurring here in Los Angeles County, where case numbers and fatalities are on the upswing.

    1. Another Scott

      Do you have a link to Biden’s statement? I’d like to share it with PMC friends who seem to think that as soon as Trump leave, everything will be alright.

      1. km

        Everything probably will be okay, at least according to the PMC and its mouthpieces, because the crisis is now Biden’s and therefore must be downplayed.

        For that matter, if Biden or any other Team D politician were to say “we gotta keep the economy open because stock market” (which doesn’t take much imagination to do) the same PMC types who are shrieking that Trump is killing us would instead be praising Biden for his hardheaded realism and telling us how this is really a gesture of compassion to the poor schlub of a minimum wage worker who has to make payments on his car note.

        At the same time, Team R and its mouthpieces would be howling about a “culture of death”.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yesterday, Biden basically admitted he has no plan

      Ah, an evergreen headline for the Biden era.

      1. Marty

        I grew up in Allentown (eastern PA), moved to
        Pittsburgh in 1967 and have been here ever since.
        Eastern PA is definitely East Coast, western PA is definitely something different. It may not be Midwest, but in my experience, most people here feel “not eastern”.
        All of western PA (& WV) seems alienated from the East Coast. The sharp change from solid Democrat to Republican, outside of the urban centers, happened over my 50 years here.
        People were enthusiastic over Bernie. Now—????

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since western PA has Pittsburgh and other industrial-heritage towns and cities and fronts onto Lake Erie, I should think that west PA is somewhat within the MidWestern cultural-orbit at any rate. It is probably somewhat MidWesternish.

    1. Calypso Facto

      don’t worry, many Americans do not have a firm geographical definition of the Midwest either :) it’s not a very good descriptor.

      The unofficial definition I have always worked with is that it is north of the Mason-Dxon and between the Appalachians and Rockies, but many Great Lakes states – like Pennsylvania, or Indiana, or Michigan – will likely take umbrage with that!

      1. HotFlash

        As a Micigan native, I wouldn’t count PA or IN as Great Lakes states — 50 miles of beach and a canal does not a Great Lakes make! Michigan, of course, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, maybe Ohio.

      2. chuck roast

        In the 70’s I had a black friend who had just gotten his masters in Sociology. He was thus well positioned for a job and almost immediately got a teaching gig in Virginia. When he told me about it I said, “But Tom, that’s below the Mason-Dixon Line.” He responded, “I got news for you. The Mason-Dixon Line begins in Maine.”

    2. TMoney

      As a non-American living in the next state over (Ohio), which is the Hollywood “generic” mid-western state, it’s a tough call. In my opinion, the East coast of Pennsylvania is “East Coast” for sure, but by the time you reach the Western border, it certainly has more in common with Ohio. Pennsylvania I think is more like New York State, big cities in the East and with some western industrial concerns after a rural interlude.

      I tend to imagine the midwest typically starts with the old Northwest Territories, which makes Ohio the most Eastern “Midwest” State.

      As a side note, when TV shows or Hollywood needs the stock everyman/ flyover rube they are ALWAYS from Ohio. If they are important to the plot, they are almost always from a more “interesting” state. Ohioans are the Star Trek “Red Shirts” of American TV. Feel free to count them watching American TV after reading this.

    3. LawnDart

      Is Pennsylvania really “mid-Western” or is the FT confused?

      Pennsylvania is considered East Coast, from a geographical standpoint.

      Not really sure why it is somewhat regularly referred to as “mid-Western,” although a few hundred years ago it was the Western frontier.

      Behaviors and mannerisms typical in Pennsylvania seem quite distinct from what you might find in Indiana or Wisconsin– East Coast edgy vs. Midwest chill, being one example, although in farm country you could swap farms between Portersville, PA and Portage, WI and not much would change but the faces, farmers being pretty much the same across this country.

      1. edmondo

        Philadelphia and other areas plan to start work on their mail-in votes at 7 a.m. sharp, officials said, but swing counties like Erie and red ones like Cumberland are intending to wait until after the polls close or even until the next morning to begin.

        What that means is that PA will do a “reverse California.” All the blue votes will be counted first and then the red ones as they are counted later, will eat into Biden’s margin. When I was a kid, we would watch the Dems win Philly by 300-400,000 votes and get wiped out in the middle of the state.

    4. Socal Rhino

      I’ve often heard Pennsylvania described as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between. By Pennsylvania residents that is. So not geographically or culturally, no.

      On the other hand, entering Pennsylvania from NJ there were signs posted (maybe still are) saying “America starts here.” So midwest aspirational.

      1. Carla

        I always heard it as Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, with Appalachia in between.

        Here in NE Ohio, we were part of the “Western Reserve” of Connecticut and have some fine examples of residential architecture from the early 1800’s that would fit right in in New England.

        1. jr

          There is “Pennsyltucky” and then there is the joke:

          Q.How do you get from Philly to Pittsburgh?

          A. Drive across Arkansas.

      2. edmondo

        “America starts here.”

        Declaration of Independence, first US capital, constitutional convention. It’s an historical reference, not a geographic one.

        If you want a geographic reference, assume Joe Biden gets fewer and fewer votes the farther he you get away from Philly. Go 60 miles west or north and you are in TrumpLand.

      3. MT_Bill

        “Midwest” is a historical geographic term in of itself. So they started referring to PA as a midwestern state when the edge of the frontier was near the Mississippi River. The label, and geography of “Midwest” stuck even as the country expanded westward.

        Similarly akward is Mexico not being considered “North America” from a cultural and political geography standpoint, while physical geography clearly shows otherwise.

    5. JohnHerbieHancock

      Being from a “Great Lakes State,” I certainly do take umbrage with being lumped in with states like Nebraska or Kansas. Iowa is okay, but only because they have a Big Ten school.

    6. Big River Bandido

      Geographically, PA is not Midwestern, but there are small portions (mainly along Lake Erie) that are culturally indistinguishable from the Midwest. That same belt extends all well into New York State.

    7. The Rev Kev

      ‘Is Pennsylvania really “mid-Western” or is the FT confused?’

      FT should try looking at a map. Pennsylvania borders the Delaware river with is an outlet to the North Atlantic ocean.

  9. grayslady

    Regarding ethacridine, it appears that the drug has a history of being used as an abortifacient. I didn’t notice that being mentioned in the article. Although the amount used to induce abortions is higher than the amount used in the study, ethacridine may not be the safest treatment for everyone.

    Interestingly, the article mentions how the author group screened for drugs that they thought might be effective against the virus. The authors came up with four other drugs that met their criteria, one of which was hydroxyprogesterone, a synthetic form of progesterone. Several reports have mentioned that there is a higher death rate among men with Covid 19 than among women. It occurs to me that female hormones may have a role to play that hasn’t been examined. Regardless, it seems there is still a great deal we don’t know about this virus in order to bring it under control.

    1. Judith

      I think the quieter repeating tremolo from Macaulays is a wood thrush call. The youtube recording is the wood thrush song and is lovely.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        The song is mellifluous and poignant, another class of thing altogether from the call.

  10. marcyincny

    the reasons COVID-19 cases are surging again

    From what I’m seeing here in central NY it comes down to more people doing a lot more socializing in general as things (including schools) have opened up in the past month.

    I myself still find it alarmingly easy to let my guard down when I’m talking to someone for more than a minute.

    1. Medbh

      I’m in Wisconsin, and I suspect schools really started things on fire. Granted, the universities started back up at the same time, but the increase in cases was not confined to just the counties with colleges. Some of the worst outbreaks were in the rural parts of the state, and in more conservative counties were mask wearing is politized.

      From what I’ve read, the two largest districts (Madison and Milwaukee) went online, but almost everywhere else in the state (and even some of the suburbs) had in-person school. Cases in Wisconsin really start rising mid-September, about 2 weeks after school starts. They are constant headlines about classrooms being quarantined or schools closing and reopening following cases.

      I’ve read articles claiming that schools aren’t super spreaders, but I don’t know how they could determine that unless they’re actually testing everyone. If most kids don’t show symptoms, they would be passing it along and we’d never know it.

      Also, a lot of the sports continued as well. My daughter plays on a traveling state team, and was supposed to be doing socially distanced practices. There is a huge disconnect between what organizations have on paper versus what actually happens in-practice. Because of the lack of safety we pulled her from practices. I’ve heard that most of the teams that continued practices and games have had outbreaks.

    2. upstater

      Supporting marcyincny:

      Record coronavirus cases puts Onondaga County ‘at a very concerning place’ (Onondaga County includes Syracuse)

      We had been under 1% positives since June, then started creeping up as businesses were allowed to reopen, colleges started and school began. If your drive around Syracuse University hill on a nice afternoon, frat boys and the like are partying hard with beer pong. One can only imagine life inside the animal houses.

      Got a supply of KN95s, which are being put to good use.

    3. Milton

      Well, we finally did it: U S A, U S A. According to the Worldmeters Covid count, the US has more new cases today than China has for the entire pandemic. 90k vs 85k. Hillary or Trump. It wouldn’t have mattered who was prez.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If Hillary had been there to get us into a thermonuclear exchange with Russia, the Covid would not be an issue.

  11. L

    Here is a contribution for the “Big if True” column:

    Lawsuit claims census supervisors pressured workers to falsify data

    The article goes on to cite claims that the magic 99% number was reached by skipping homes, falsely declaring areas unsafe to visit or relying on secondhand testimony to guess residency. If true this means that the push to collect the census veered sharply from, not taking the extra time, to simply making up the numbers and it sets up legal challenges for years.

  12. Stewart Andreason

    I am seeing FedEx drivers leave packages on the ground, a mile or two from the correct address, and I was expecting a package 2 days ago that they say was delivered to my front door (it was not My front door).

    I’ve also seen a package beside the road for 21 days before the recipient finally got it (she had to ask me where to look, after the postal worker passed on to her that I was trying to contact her about it.)

    I’ve written a web page with pictures and a lot more detail about it, here in rural NE Washington: http://seahorsecorral.org/fedex.html

    Is this becoming a common problem?

  13. Annieb

    Thanks to NC I was able to warn my children about the Coronavirus early on. Thanks also to Chris Martensen’s Coronavirus update on Jan 24 on YouTube, I was able to prepare for the pandemic. Our government, the CDC,and the mainstream news totally squashed this news. Why?

  14. edmondo

    I think the best Trump can hope for is a squeaker. Just like last time. And I’m extremely dubious he can pull it out.

    This is just one data point but here in Southern Arizona – which is not TrumpLand at all – the uncommitteds have spoken. I mentioned earlier that there were beaucoup (“Beaucoup? Did you know I have a dead son named Beau?) Biden-Harris signs. Well overnight – and I literally mean overnight – a slew of TRUMP-pence signs appeared out of nowhere. A lot of houses that were “agnostics” (no sign) have suddenly found their religion. This election may not be as over as everyone thinks.

  15. Lost in OR

    Dropped my ballot off today at the local supermarket. In this small city there are about 5 stores as well as other sites with drop off boxes. Easy peasy.

    I voted obstructionist every chance I had. Progressive or Green whenever possible. I even voted Libertarian once. Maybe somebody somewhere will get over the 5% threshold.

  16. bob

    Glenn Greenwald resigns from The Intercept after they refuse to pubilsh story on Biden–


    “Here’s the article that I wrote about Joe Biden’s conduct in Ukraine & China, based on Hunter’s emails and other witness testimony, along with a critique of media lies designed to protect the Democratic candidate, which The Intercept refused to publish:”

  17. jr

    Jimmy Dore ripping apart a recent Wokes-fuhrer Harris interview. That woman is completely insane. Even the drone interviewing her looks nonplussed at her responses. I would pay solid money to have a shrink analyze her. If she ain’t a psychopath, she’s gotta be a sociopath:


    Oh god the IDpol blather foaming out of her lips. “Lived experience!” As opposed to what? Unlived experience? Unexperienced experience? Do these people hear themselves? I get that IDpol-speak is intentionally divisive and confusing but what’s the angle on dumb?

    1. ambrit

      “Unlived experience” is perfect for Halloween. It sounds like something from a vampyre’s CV.

  18. jeremyharrison

    First guest on Tucker Carlson tonight? Yeah, you guessed it – Glenn Greenwald.

    Any other major media letting him talk? Not that I can see….

  19. Stephen C

    I think the phrase “lived experience” is silly and have always said so. But now I’m seeing it even in Harvard PhD dissertations. When trying to open my mind to it, I can imagine it sort of refers to living history or folk history, rather than academic history. Lived experience is something different than what you read in a scholar’s book, even if that book goes to great lengths to be factual and cites interviews with participants. It tries to rise up the subjective experience of powerless people over the doubted objective overview, or an outsider’s view. Well, that’s my take on it, anyway.

    But even if I’m close, it’s still laughable that Kamala or anyone else can report on anyone else’s “lived experience.” They think they can get inside my head, and speak for me? Really? No thanks, I’ll speak for myself.

    1. jr

      Agreed, that’s where they seem to be headed with the notion but it’s just such clumsy language, a literal redundancy as an intellectual cornerstone. No one at Hunter caught this? This is the best they could come up with? Then again, given what I have seen of the “literature”, I shouldn’t be surprised at all. I came across a small collection of Identitarian poetry recently. Instantly forgettable, like eating dried leaves.

    2. LifelongLib

      Yeah, I don’t have a problem with people telling me what they think. It’s when they start telling me what I think.

  20. VietnamVet

    In the last weekend before the 2020 election, two clans are vying for control in the USA and by extension in the Anglo-Saxon heritage nations (The Five-Eyes). The problem is the inhabitants have been heavily propagandized and the truth omitted. The actual rulers are still undefined and amorphous.

    Plutocrats starting in the 1980s bought government and non-government organizations which now follow their dictates. Democracy is a façade. Elections were a means to distribute campaign funds to the connected. Donald Trump broke the oligarchs’ compact, making this election special. The “Blob” are fighting back to regain control of the transfer of government funds to the connected. (None actually give a damn for working Americans.)

    The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 turned the world upside down by documenting that Western governments had so atrophied that the nations are incapable of handling the illness. In the USA the for-profit health system operates near 100% in a normal flu season is being overwhelmed once again in hot spots even before the third peak peaks and before winter arrives. The death of 234,177 Americans is not nothing. If it was Mexico, not a virus, that killed that many US citizens; the US Marines would already be in Chihuahua, headed south.

    If you are exclusionary, exceptional, magical thinking and believe in tribal myths, you’re a Donald Trump Supporter.

    If you are a globalist, Ivy League graduate, neo-liberal and believe money defines one’s worth, you’re a Joe Biden Supporter.

    If you are not one them, they will be isolate and exclude you (Tulsi Gabbard). Only the restoration of Democracy, the Public Health System, and Rule of Law will avoid it. This is certain especially if the vaccines fizzle and the Pandemic Depression overwhelms the Western economy. American life-expectancy will nose dive.

  21. MT_Bill

    “Midwest” is a historical geographic term in of itself. So they started referring to PA as a midwestern state when the edge of the frontier was near the Mississippi River. The label, and geography of “Midwest” stuck even as the country expanded westward.

    Similarly akward is Mexico not being considered “North America” from a cultural and political geography standpoint, while physical geography clearly shows otherwise.

  22. jr

    Boy howdy I’m going through it right now. My GF just accused me of being an unwitting Trump supporter because I told her I posted a comment here critical of Harris. I told her of all the horrible things Harris has done but nope, the head just starts shaking. Cue MSM soundbites. She told me I hide in philosophy and political theory because I can’t face reality. Then she turned back to Instagram.

    I’m so fV(k!n& sick of this political charade, this carnival of human grotesques, this pantheon of degenerates. This farce. I’ve taken to “othering” with real vigor recently. It’s energizing. And fun. It’s not the first time in my life but man this is different; I can feel it spurting through my veins like molten glass. Thought’s like “hairless chimps” and “trousered apes” run across the marquee in my mind when I see crowds of people on the streets. Filthy, screeching hominids wrapped in pathetic status symbols, primitives covered in beads and bits of mirror, hooting and yammering about this or that, trapped flies buzzing and bumping against a sealed window while the sun bakes them alive. Out of their minds and no where to go.

    I have always lived on the outside looking in. I have always been bathed in the sterile, cold blue light of the outsider. It has shaped me and therefore guarantees I never will not be the outsider. It started the day I was born. I come from a family of monsters. Psychological abusers and enablers. I haven’t talked to either of my parents in over a decade and my sister tells me they miss me terribly. I savor that fact. Long, thick white lines of Schadenfreude across a mirror I can look into to see myself laughing at their pain, their loss. Clock’s ticking!

    There is a point where hatred becomes a kind of love, an un-love, an anti-love that fills your heart with a sweet, fiery, lifeless vitality and sends out gravitational waves of the choicest cruelties. My pick? Absence.

    How do you know
    When an Absence ain’t there?
    Long lost photos
    And a lone empty chair
    How do you know
    When an Absence don’t care?
    You’ll know when the burden
    Is too much to bear

    My bipolar wasn’t treated until about 5 years ago. I spent the majority of my life babbling too much, dropping into deep depressions, skipping a night of sleep every week and a half or so, and sometimes just raving. Those who were supposed to love me either used it against me or wiped their hands. People whispered behind my back and laughed in my face. Everyone single person who I thought had my back growing up has failed me, with the exception of my sister. Years of losing job after job. Years of laying in bed night after night literally punching the side of my head to make the voices stop. Years of watching newly made friends suddenly stop calling, stop coming by, with no idea I was driving them off with my antics. The shrink who diagnosed me told me that I was a statistical anomaly: most of my kind are homeless or in jail, given where I had started from.

    I have had to construct myself nearly from the ground up. I had almost no guidance other than the lashes dealt out by society telling me which way not to go. I had to learn that over because I was always taught that was the way to go. I had to become my own homunculus, taking the tiniest version of me from the fragments laying scattered about and growing it into myself. Then I had to do it two more times.

    And now the world is tearing itself apart and I’m supposed to care because nappy-time is over? Because the rotting skeleton in the red, white, and blue top hat has tumbled off it’s blood slicked throne and the mob has only just realized it? I’m supposed to get riled up because civilization hangs in the balance and the world is dying and everyone is delusional and no one is going to actually do anything anyway? That one troupe of clowns will exit and another troupe with come tumbling and farting and giggling onto the stage?

    No. My place is outside and here I will remain. I have a perspective now that envelopes all of this and so much more and further that offers me a chance at a thing I’ve never had: balance. Or at least the chance to try. I’ll watch this ill conceived and poorly acted comedy from the sidelines, knowing it is only one act amongst many.

    1. jeremyg

      Thanks for this. Your image of the flies in the airless car is good. I too feel besmirched by the foulness of the clowns and their discourse. I’m not so sure about the joy of othering – I’ve spent my life alienating friends and family, and rarely found it worthwhile…so far…

      But I haven’t been under the cosh of bipolar. Well done in your search for balance. I spent yesterday afternoon in town with a friend who was mouthing obscenities in the rain at shop windows.
      But he met a friend who loves him and gave him a cigarette which was a nice one up on me, so it was a good day for both of us. (I got my ingrowing toenails cut.)

      Attention is important. Your attention is meat and drink to vermin. If you are not going to do anything – if you literally cannot do anything about this can of worms apart from delivering a vote which legitimates murder – then there is not much point attending to it.

      A few years ago I spent an election night making a dance track with a friend who has no interest in politics whatever. It was lovely. The next day we slept through, stayed media-free, made sure we didn’t speak to anyone except about music – two days before I found out the result. And when I found out – the information had lost its power to hurt me.

      1. jr

        Thank you for your comments. Please let me hasten to add I am not in favor of othering, it’s just an easy and satisfying rabbit hole to fall down into in these deranged times. Your focus on “attention” is spot on, I can’t waste any more of it on these inane burlesques…

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