By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
Dark wings, dark Words?
Here are the United States regions:
Still going up…
And here are the Swing States, for the last time:
Interestingly, there seems to be no correlation between Covid and Red/Blue at all. TX has a terrible experience, goes Red; Wisconsin is on an upward curve with identical slope and goes Blue. (There may well be lingering infrastructural and cultural effects, especially depending on the populations hit, that show up politically in future years. We just don’t know.)
Here is the United States v. select European countries:
This is not adjusted for population; it’s interesting to see France challenging the US in sheer numbers, for a few days.
Here is the United States vs. the same European countries, adjusted for population:
So, if the world were only made up of Western capitalist countries, the United States, right now, would be in the middle of the pack, which gives the lie to the concept that our only problem is leadership (as opposed to, say, political economy). The right comparison is not between Biden’s plan and Trump’s, well, approach, but between Biden’s plan and Europe. What will Biden do that those governments, which one assumes have more State operational capability than we do, have not done?
“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
2020 Hot Takes
Readers, the 2020 election is an overly dynamic situation, so I’m going to collect the best hot takes I can find immediately. Then I can backfill with analysis, and the latest numbers, if I can get to them (possibly in UPDATEs). Please add comments! More to come. –lambert UPDATE All done!
Ive got multiple computers running on high speed internet but sixty years on, the vibe is very much this:
"Citizens gathered around the TV set to follow the tense JFK-Nixon returns in 1960″https://t.co/eM7vlVPNxs pic.twitter.com/Vg086LJQBE
— Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) November 4, 2020
Still at it:
#BREAKING Joint statement from Canadian and Mexican foreign ministers calls on the UN to urgently intervene to stabilize the "rapidly deteriorating political and humanitarian situation in the US" and demands that any refugee camps be established on the US side of the border.
— gathara (@gathara) November 4, 2020
Its going to be impossible to get a table for brunch tomorrow.
— Astronaut 🦺🏴🏴☠️ (@AATAstronaut) November 4, 2020
I’m starting to think “nothing would fundamentally change” wasn’t the best message
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) November 4, 2020
Maybe there are a lot of liberals who are closet Trump voters. This dark, secret passion they can never admit to publicly, like how all conservatives secretly love gay sex.
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) November 4, 2020
Matty isn’t wrong:
Lotta plywood for nothing.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) November 4, 2020
UPDATE The binaries, they b-u-r-r-r-n-n-n!!!
Whether they are base and despicable red states or evolved blue states
— Dismember November (@bombsfall) November 4, 2020
This is frankly a good outcome. Joe Biden will probably win power but the arrogant Dem establishment is humiliated.
Biden needs to do a good job, and he can realign the country.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) November 4, 2020
For the Democrat establishment to be humiliated, they have to feel humiliation. I’m not sure that’s possible for them, since being humiliated requires the ability to self-reflect. Also, Narrator: “He didn’t realign the country.”
So Democrats lost to dead guy? https://t.co/StzvkmGhPx
— Esha (@eshaLegal) November 4, 2020
Wish I’d thought of this:
And this is the way it ends.
Not with a bang but with a WI/MI/PA.
— Will Roscoe (@Goodish_Will) November 4, 2020
2020 Democrats in Disarray
Why did Democrats lose this county? (1)
Zapata County, Texas is the second most Hispanic county in America.
In 2012, Obama won it by 43 points.
In 2016, Hillary won it by 33 points.
In 2020, Biden lost it by 5 points.
What a disaster.
— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) November 4, 2020
Why did Democrats lose this county? (2)
Robeson County is the second-poorest in North Carolina and the most diverse—38% Lumbee, 32% white, 25% Black, 5% Latino—and it swung 14 points towards Trump. https://t.co/9dW7pOulV6
— Paul Blest (@pblest) November 4, 2020
* * *
“Six Takeaways From Election Night” [David Sirota, Daily Poster]. “Trump won 81 percent of the vote among the third of the electorate that listed the economy as its top priority. Even more amazing — Trump and Biden equally split the vote among those whose priority is a president who ‘cares about people like me.'” Also: “Democrats raised roughly a quarter billion dollars for senate races in Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas and Alabama — and their candidates all appear to have gone down to defeat by 10 points or more.” • Sirota characteritizes that as “setting money on fire,” but I don’t think that’s fair. Amy McGrath will surely get a book deal and a shot at being an MSNBC analyst. So “nothing is lost save honor,” as Gilded Age railroad baron Jim Fisk once said.
“25 Lessons Democrats Will Take From Their Horrible 2020 Performance” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “Democrats have shocked the world by managing to spectacularly under-perform against a president who has failed the nation by virtually every metric after years of mass media stories claiming he is literally a secret agent for a hostile foreign government… So with that in mind, here are the key lessons we can expect Democrats to take away from their terrible 2020 performance…” The first six:
3. Should have run a more right wing candidate.
5. Should have given more money to the Lincoln Project.
6. This is still Susan Sarandon’s fault.
Actually, Putin was quiet. Too quiet. Perhaps he didn’t want to interrupt his enemies while they were making a mistake.
Thread from Branko Marcetic worth reading in full:
2. Biden, who is mentally well past his prime, has neither the kind of loyal base and grass roots fervor, nor the reserves of charisma and inspiration that, say Obama did, to try overcome divided government. Not sure what follows a failed or conservative Biden administration.
— Branko Marcetic (@BMarchetich) November 4, 2020
13. The election is over and people can stop pretending. Faced with a 1932-style scenario, the party this time, succeeded in stopping FDR and picked Al Smith instead. Faced with a crossroads in history, people don't always make the right choice.
— Branko Marcetic (@BMarchetich) November 4, 2020
Another victory like this….
“Hey, Democrats . . . How Is All of This Working Out for You?” [National Review]. “At this hour, we don’t know how the presidential race will shake out, but we know that this will not be the sweeping rebuke of President Trump that Democrats wanted, and, in many cases, confidently expected.” • Well, you can’t begrudge conservatives their little happy dance. And I confess to considerable schadenfreude that the Republican War criminals who slithered onto The Good Ship Biden are experiencing some discomfiture, hopefully financial.
Sitrep: “What you need to know about the undecided swing states” [Politico]. “The three Rust Belt states that unexpectedly vaulted Donald Trump into the White House in 2016 — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — now represent the difference between his reelection and a one-term presidency. Together, they represent 46 electoral votes. If they were to fall in line for Joe Biden — as the trio did for the Democratic presidential nominee in seven consecutive elections before 2016 — they would make him the 46th president.” • States in play are: Wisconsin (Biden 49.6, Trump 48.9 [95% counted]), Michigan (Biden 49.7, Trump 48.8 [94%]), Pennsylvania (Trump 53.5, Biden 45.4 [74%]), Georgia (Trump 50.5, Biden 48.3 [92%]), North Carolina (Trump 50.1, Biden 48.7 [95%]), Nevada (Biden 49.2, Trump 48.6 [86%]).
* * *
Biden (D)(1): “‘This is my son, Beau, who a lot of you helped elect to the Senate’: Joe confuses his two granddaughters and then introduces one of them as his dead son – and he could be US President in HOURS…” [Daily Mail]. • Don’t worry. They loved President-in-Waiting Harris in the Hamptons.
man… he called it WORD for WORD. pic.twitter.com/9uBn1Sm8xa
— hector (@onikasgivenchy) November 4, 2020
Trump (R)(1): “Election Night 2020: Trump Figures He’ll Go To Bed Early And Check Election Results Tomorrow” (podcast) [The Topical].
* * *
“The Squad’s Here To Stay: Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar And Tlaib Win Reelection” [Yahoo News!]. “On Tuesday, the Democratic women of color, who are frequent targets of President Donald Trump, resolidified their standing in Congress by winning reelection in New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Michigan.” • Stupid idpol framing, since ideologically Pressley is in “one of these four is not like the others” mode. Nevertheless, happy for Omar, Tlaib, and AOC (pretty much in that order). $10 million down the tubes trying to defeat AOC, though.
“Cori Bush to Become Newest Member of ‘The Squad’ After Winning Historic Mo. Congressional Race” [People]. Bush on Ferguson: “The hair salon was on one side of the street, the nail salon on the other. But in the middle of that, I’m seeing thousands of people in the street, police in riot gear, police with dogs — it was just … something I never thought that I would see.” • This is really good, respectful treatment by People.
“GOP Climate Denier Prevails In Critical Texas Energy Regulator Race” [HuffPo]. “Jim Wright, a hardcore climate change denier and owner of an oil-field services company, is projected to win the race to be Texas’ next energy regulator, preserving the Republicans’ quarter-century hold on the Texas Railroad Commission and defeating a better-funded Democrat. The race for the open slot on the three-seat commission ― which, despite its name, oversees the Lone Star State’s vast oil, gas and mining industries ― had been widely seen as Democrats’ best chance to win a statewide election there in nearly three decades…. ‘Today, I don’t think the technology truly exists. It was an idea. It caught on and hey, we’re going to save the planet because our icebergs aren’t going to melt anymore. You haven’t convinced me at all of that,’ Wright said on the podcast ‘Digital Wildcatters.’ ‘I don’t see the research that proves that. Again, my own theory is, I think the Earth continues to evolve just like we have for millions of years, and we’re gonna go through different times.'”
“Mike Bloomberg takes big losses after spending over $100 million in Florida, Ohio and Texas” [NBC]. • That’s a damn shame. The strategists really took Bloomberg, didn’t they?
* * *
“California Gig Worker, Massachusetts Car Repair Measures Win” [Bloomberg]. “Big-money campaigns led to a victory for rideshare companies in California and a defeat for car companies in Massachusetts, where some of the most high-spending ballot initiative efforts of the 2020 general election prevailed. About $200 million was spent California to urge voters to permanently classify app-based rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors. That campaign was backed by Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., DoorDash Inc., and other gig economy platforms. Across the country, national car parts chains AutoZone Inc. and Advance Auto Parts Inc. succeeded in passing a Massachusetts measure that allows any car repair shop—rather than just dealerships—access to an automobile’s diagnostic platform.” • It seems here, a campaign dollar has value. In the Presidential campaigns, the value-for-a-dollar equation seems a little confused.
“Voters approve amendment supporting Florida minimum wage increase” [Tampa Bay Times]. “With all precincts reporting, Floridians have approved an amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. With 10.48 million votes counted, 60.8 percent of Floridians voted ‘yes’ on the measure, just barely crossing the 60 percent threshold that constitutional amendments need for approval. Orlando lawyer John Morgan, who spent millions trying to get the amendment passed, said ‘God answered my prayers.’ ‘Tonight the people of Florida gave the working poor a forever raise,’ Morgan said in a text message. ‘This was not a political issue, it was a moral issue.'”
* * *
“Tight US election reveals Trump’s resilience and flaws in Biden campaign” [Financial Times]. “But as election results trickled in, it was clear that many voters had not cast their ballots with Covid-19 in mind. According to a CNN exit poll, the economy — the one issue where Mr Trump consistently polled better than Mr Biden — was the most important issue for voters, followed by racial inequality and coronavirus.” • That’s remarkable to me.
“A bitter US election that resolves little” [Edward Luce, Financial Times]. “Elections are meant to resolve differences. But whichever of Donald Trump or Joe Biden prevails in the presidential race — at this point too close to call — will inherit a country in which roughly half the electorate rejects his legitimacy. It could get worse than that. As in 2016, a US presidential count looks like it will boil down to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The one wild card is that Georgia may also be in play for the first time since 1992. The race is far closer than any of the models predicted, including the Trump campaign’s internal numbers. The most cited forecaster, Nate Silver, gave Mr Biden an 89 per cent chance of winning (against 70 per cent for Mrs Clinton last time). Moreover, this was after pollsters made considerable adjustments to correct the undercounting of blue-collar white voters in the Midwest and elsewhere and take into account the way education affects voting patterns.” • Why don’t we just outlaw polling after, say, two months before election day? Maybe then the press would actually have to report stuff. Let’s outlaw digital advertising too, and subside local print media with political advertising.
Red shift, blue shift:
Seems very clear we basically got the margin of error shift to Trump a lot of us expected and, also like a lot of us expected, Biden's lead was big enough to survive it. Also clear Biden would have lost without the pandemic which should lead to soul-searching among dems.
— Nathan Tankus (@NathanTankus) November 4, 2020
I agree with Tankus that this is a factor. However, if liberal Democrat soul-searching is one of those things that, if it were going to happen, it would have already happened. The blame cannons are already being wheeled into position…
“Major incidents of voter intimidation and disruption largely fail to materialize” [Boston Globe]. “Much of America was on edge going into Election Day due to warnings of widespread disruption and voter intimidation amid an unorthodox and heated campaign that had already led to violent clashes and plots to kidnap politicians. But those fears did not appear to materialize as the polls closed and the votes were being counted Tuesday night…. Still, as the fate of the election remained unknown into Wednesday morning, concern lingered that unrest might erupt once the results became clear. Cities across the nation remained boarded up in anticipation of raucous celebrations, protests, or clashes between extremists.” • I’m cynical enough to have searched Open Secrets for Plywood Industry donations, but didn’t come up with anything…
“National Exit Polls: How Different Groups Voted” [New York Times]. “The numbers on this page are preliminary estimates from exit polls conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool. These surveys interviewed voters outside of polling places or early voting sites, or by phone.” • I’m not sure if that compensates for vote-by-mail, or not. The word “mail” does not appear on the page.
“Why the Post Office’s Last-Minute Ballot Crisis Isn’t as Dire as It Seems” [Vice]. “Indeed, the USPS has been intentionally making its performance look worse than it is by removing ballots from the normal sorting and delivery process to deliver ballots faster. What this means is the stats might look worse than they actually are, because in some cases postal workers have, for example, been manually postmarking the ballots and then passing them off for local same-or-next-day delivery, resulting in the ballots never being scanned into the system in the first place. Other measures, like sending ballots to the sorting facility but then removing them from the mail stream after they’ve been scanned and postmarked, means they are manually bypassing the rest of the process for expedited delivery and are thus scanned in and never scanned out. The suggestion that there are thousands of ballots sitting in sorting facilities around the country doesn’t pass the smell test….. Per standard operating procedure, USPS personnel sweep every facility, including the ones in question here, for ballots at least once a day during election cycles and report “all clear” certifications after they’re complete. The latest sweeps occurred this morning at 10 a.m. To order and coordinate a sweep by independent observers—of which there is often only one in entire sorting facilities which are often massive warehouses—in a matter of hours is no easy feat. It is likely the USPS was unable to comply with the court order due to the same bureaucratic inefficiencies that make the USPS unable to do anything differently on a rapid time scale. At any rate, those same independent observers were already scheduled to be on hand at the facilities from 4 to 8 p.m. to ensure no ballots were left behind, and Judge Sullivan decided that was good enough.” • So, yammering liberal Democrats screwing the actual postal workers, who were only trying to do the right thing. I’m shocked.
Our Famously Free Press
Can we just talk about how the NY Times needle was an unhelpful disaster last night? It literally learned none of the lessons that the news media side of the organization had been telling us or knew. It gave us no new info, it gave bad info, it updated in the middle of the night
— Kombiz Lavasany (@kombiz) November 4, 2020
Whoever’s running the needle must have Nikole Hannah-Jones-level clout in the Times newsroom….
Realignment and Legitimacy
So how’s that workin’ out for ya?
Remember back in 2004 when Kerry actually raised money for lawyers to fight election theft, and then when Bush actually stole Ohio, rolled over — and kept the money? Good times….
* * *
“We Don’t Live in a World of Cartoon Villains” [Strong Towns]. “No matter the outcome, tens of millions of Americans are going to feel betrayed, cheated, and frightened. It’s difficult right now to see a way back from polarization. One thing is certain: there is no way back whatsoever that involves ostracizing 30 or 40 percent of the country and permanently excluding them from power, in 2022 and 2024 and 2026 and so on. The idea that that is possible is pure fantasy. The people you think are too propagandized and deluded to reason with aren’t going anywhere. And so we have work to do in learning to hear and understand each other, the better to be heard and understood…. The reality is that politics can be life or death: for many people, basic questions of safety, well being, liberty and autonomy are at stake. It is profoundly condescending and unreasonable to tell people, “You shouldn’t harbor any hard feelings toward someone who voted for a policy that does measurable harm to you.” You’re human. Of course you will. Demonization, though, is where we need to draw the line. The other side can be wrong, but if you believe they are categorically evil, it is you who are mistaken. I’m asking you to do the difficult, uncomfortable, but ultimately far more gratifying work of understanding how basically decent people end up supporting, enabling, or voting for things that you find self-evidently bad.”
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.
Trade: “September 2020 Trade Data Shows Some Recovery” [Econintersect]. “Trade data headlines show the trade balance modestly improved with both imports and exports increasing…. The data in this series wobbles and the 3-month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3-month average rate of growth improved for imports and exports – but remains in contraction.”
Employment Situation: “October 2020 ADP Employment Gains 365,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth at 365,000 which was within expectations. A quote from the ADP authors: ‘;The labor market continues to add jobs, yet at a slower pace.’ … Last month’s employment gain was revised upward. It will be interesting to see what the BLS says is jobs growth.”
I know all eyes are either glazed or glued on the presidential, but the situation of state-level budgets and public services is going to be key whoever comes next. A WH-Congress stand-off will be disastrous. https://t.co/hFAduXK6K6 pic.twitter.com/Pk1o2qhB54
— Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) November 4, 2020
I remember similar curves during the last Crash. Nobody seems to be noticing this, the same way they’re not noticing the exploding homeless encampments…..
The Bezzle: “Nearly $1 billion worth of bitcoin linked to Silk Road black market is on the move, analysis shows” [CNBC]. “Nearly $1 billion worth of bitcoin with potential ties to the Silk Road online black market is on the move, according to London-based blockchain analysis firm Elliptic…. Elliptic, a firm that tracks the movement of dirty money in the cryptocurrency sphere, said Wednesday that it picked up on a transaction of funds believed to have originated from the site…. The company said that 69,369 bitcoins — worth about $950 million today, according to CoinDesk — had been moved out of a wallet that had the fourth-highest balance of any globally.”
Manufacturing: “Bumpaa Face Masks Gain ISO Certification For SARS-COV-2” (press release) [Sourcing City News]. “Screenworks, which launched the Bumpaa™ brand in Summer 2020, is proud to announce that its face masks have passed the ISO method1 test on the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19). Since the garment screen print, embroidery and digital print service provider undertook a business pivot at the start of lockdown, the company has witnessed huge demand for the new range of products from its trade clients and beyond. – ViralOff. ViralOff technology effectively reduces viruses and bacteria on the product by over 99 per cent over two hours1. Having recently become the first in the world to pass the ISO method1 test on the Covid-19 virus, the Bumpaa face masks were directly tested immediately after and are now also ISO method certified against SARS-Cov-2. The treatment is designed to protect the mask fabric from harbouring viruses or bacteria. It does not interfere with the skin’s natural bacterial flora and lasts for the product’s lifetime. When the face covering is safely removed, if any virus or bacteria is present on the surface, 99 per cent will be safely deactivated within a maximum of two hours. . For best performance and sustainability, the products should be washed less, only when needed.” • Fascinating data point, to me at least, since I believe masks and other forms of protection need to become fashionable apparel to really get traction. Go long this tech!
UPDATE Mr. Market: “A divided electorate spells trouble for the US economy” [Mohamed El-Erian, Financial Times].
Mr. Market: “U.S. stocks roar higher even as Trump-Biden race goes into extra innings” [MarketWatch]. “For all the angst over the possibility of a dragged-out contest, markets may wind up being comfortable with the outcome, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. ‘Familiarity is what Wall Street likes. Wall Street likes to be able to understand what’s going on. It’s uncertainty Wall Street doesn’t like.’ Legal challenges and extended uncertainty may even be priced in to the market, Stovall thinks, and the surge higher in the tech-heavy Nasdaq may point to investor relief that a solidly Democratic government won’t be able to regulate big technology giants like Amazon.com Inc.”
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 30 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 35 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 4 at 11:27am. • Greed and Fear on. NOTE For those who wonder if we should keep running it, readers asked for it back after I took it away. Also, I like having a quick insight, however shallow, into Mr. Market’s psyche.
“Once again, new Antarctic reserves fail to win backing” [Science]. “Delegates attending an international meeting meant to protect Antarctic ocean life dashed conservationists’ hopes for new marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) concluded Friday after a week of virtual negotiations among its 26 member nations. It declined to approve three proposals for marine protected areas near Antarctica. The commission, established in 1982 as part of the Antarctic Treaty System, is charged with conserving marine life around the southern continent and sustainably managing the region’s fish stocks.” • The article blames Russia and China. But now, because Science has gone into the politics business, I have to wonder if that’s true, or whether Democrat Russophobia and warmongering has infected their editorial coverage.
“A person hospitalized for COVID-19 was more than three times as likely to die in March vs. August — here’s why” [MarketWatch]. “The main reason researchers think coronavirus patients are doing better is simply that there are now effective treatments for the virus that didn’t exist in March. I am a practicing infectious disease doctor at the University of California, San Francisco, and I have witnessed these improvements firsthand. Early on, my colleagues and I had no idea how to treat this brand-new virus that burst onto the scene in late 2019. But over the spring, large studies tested different treatments for COVID-19 and we now use an antiviral called remdesivir and a steroid called dexamethasone to treat our hospitalized coronavirus patients. Along with these new treatments, physicians gained experience and learned simple techniques that improved outcomes over time, such as positioning a patient with low oxygen in a prone position to help distribute oxygen more evenly throughout the lungs. And as time has gone on, hospitals have become better prepared to handle the increased need for oxygen and other specialized care for patients with the coronavirus…. My own research proposes that social distancing and face coverings may reduce how much virus people are exposed to, overall leading to less severe cases of COVID–19. It is important to continue to follow public health measures to help us get through the pandemic. This will slow the spread of the virus and help keep people healthier until a safe and effective vaccine is widely available.”
“Repeated cross-sectional sero-monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City” [Nature]. From the Abstract: “The first COVID-19 case in New York City (NYC) was officially confirmed on March 1st 2020 followed by a severe local epidemic…Our data suggest an earlier than previously documented introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into NYC and describe the dynamics of seroconversion over the full course of the first pandemic wave in a major metropolitan area.” • Doesn’t have a lot to do with scary beardos in Sturgis, does it?
Low tech is good:
— COVIDPoops19 (@COVIDPoops19) November 4, 2020
Creative! (And there’s been a lot of creativity around testing and diagnosis lately, from sewage through medical dogs and coughing, etc. This is good, akin to the progress through experience in treatment that has been decreasing the death rate.)
UPDATE “2020 elections: 5 states pass legal marijuana measures, potentially growing industry by $9 billion” [Yahoo Finance]. “The once widely controversial issue of marijuana legalization has been decidedly eclipsed by this year’s divisive presidential race, though voters in five states broadly adopted legalization measures Tuesday. Recreational or medical use, or both, were on the ballot in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Marijuana legalization in the additional U.S. states is estimated to grow the industry’s size by $9 billion, according to cannabis market firm New Frontier Data.” • Opium is the opium of the people?
“DC votes to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms by wide margin” [The Hill]. “Voters in Washington, D.C., moved by a wide margin to decriminalize the growing, possession and noncommercial distribution of hallucinogenic mushrooms on Tuesday. More than 76 percent of voters supported Initiative 81 with just over 40 percent of precincts reporting, according to the district’s Board of Elections. The ballot measure would direct D.C. Metropolitan Police to shift the “non-commercial planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, possessing, and/or engaging in practices with entheogenic plants and fungi” to among its lowest law enforcement priorities.” • Good news, finally.
Our Famously Free Press
“Four ways Trump has meddled in pandemic science — and why it matters” [Nature]. • Nature, Science, I’m begging you: Please don’t go here. It’s most likely the case that you believe that “this is the most important election of our lifetime” — i.e., you’re not going the New York Times route and selling your editorial integrity for clicks — but I don’t want to have to put respected science publications in the same bucket as every other publication with a political axe to grind. Please, please, please keep electoral politics at arms length, or I’ll have to start factoring politics into how I view what you print (and, more importantly, what you don’t print). You’re not going to be able to unring the bell.
“‘I wanted to meet a mate and have a baby without wasting time’: the rise of platonic co-parenting” [Guardian]. “In a world where biological science and equal rights have diversified ways to start a family, platonic co-parenting – the decision to have a child with someone you are not romantically involved with and, in most cases, choose not to live with – remains a relatively new phenomenon. Well established in gay communities, along with egg and sperm donation, it is on the rise among heterosexual singles…. Now aged four, [one co-parents’] son spends every other weekend and one night a week at his dad’s; the pair live within an hour’s drive of each other. They go on family days out, and spend Christmas and birthdays together. Both describe their relationship now as one akin to best mates…. It is impossible to calculate how many children have been born this way; bigger websites unscientifically guess that they have been responsible for about 1,000 births each.” • Interestingly, the couples seem to describe each other as “allies.”
News of the Wired
On-Point Art Bots (1):
— Jean-Michel Basquiat (@artistbasquiat) November 4, 2020
On-Point Art Bots (2):
— Andy Warhol (@artistwarhol) November 4, 2020
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 (CM):
CM writes: “The attached was taken 2 days ago of a pond at Maybury State Park in Metro Detroit. The land used to house one of two state TB sanatoriums for this area and is about 400 acres. We had an unexpectedly pretty day and the park was full of people – big kids, little kids, families and couples. Many of whom were wearing masks around others and finding a spot in the leaves and trees to take photos. A large number of volunteers were busy repainting the stables and fences for a horse-riding concession. A very big-smile day.” What still water can do for a photographer (and even the jet contrail is perfectly placed). For NC on ponds (!), see here.
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