Daily Nightly

In The Mood For A Vacation?

Seth Explains Quaran-Teen Slang: The Mail, Corona Bae

New Full Frontal Tonight: Too Many Trees Edition | Full Frontal on TBS

You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This | Full Frontal on TBS

Leftover Salmon “Aquatic Hitchhiker”

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Heather Digby Parton: Not an April Fool: This humiliating failure is actually our president during a national crisis

Turns out a second-rate celebrity whose only skill was in branding was not qualified for this. What a surprise

Donald Trump thought the job of being president was to “make deals” in the same way he made deals as president of the Trump Organization, his family business. The job does require negotiation skills, to be sure, but it turns out that Trump is very bad at those, which should have been obvious to anyone who gave a cursory look at his business career.

Trump had a lot of help from his father when it came to the real estate business, but his real talent was for turning celebrity into cash. It is literally the only thing he’s good at. He spent decades working the tabloid press in New York City, building his name as a Big Player with a Big Lifestyle, culminating in his very own reality TV show. He was a Kardashian before Kardashians had been invented — a person whose “job” is simply to live in the media.

The job of a president is just a bit more complicated than that. There is an element of celebrity, of course, especially in the modern era. Trump has indeed mastered that side of the job. In fact, it’s pretty much all he understands. He bragged about the ratings for his coronavirus campaign rallies and made this weird observation about them during Tuesday’s event:

He’s good at being the center of attention. You have to give him that. But aside from dealing with Congress and foreign leaders — which, as mentioned, he does very badly —the main job of a president is to manage the federal government and lead the nation in a time of crisis. And Donald Trump has absolutely no idea how to do either of those things.

Elinor Kaufman: Please, Stop Shooting. We Need the Beds.

Gunshot victims are fighting for space inside our overcrowded I.C.U.s.

My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now.

I get these pages almost every night at the trauma center where I work. I rush to put on my protective equipment to guard against blood and other bodily fluids. But for the first time, I’m saving clean masks to reuse them. Because of coronavirus, the parents of my patients need a special escort because visitors are not allowed in the waiting room. I can’t bring a family to a gunshot victim’s bedside in the intensive care unit. I can’t tell a frightened mother that she can stay as long as she wants.

Doctors like me are trying to keep the world safe from the coronavirus pandemic. But thousands of families in America are already caught in the country’s existing epidemic: gun violence.

Firearm injuries are calamitous for the more than 120,000 people shot each year in the United States and their families. But the consequences for our health system are even more dire as we fight the coronavirus.

We need I.C.U. beds, we need ventilators, we need personnel to care for the wave of Covid-19 patients. But gunshot victims are now fighting for space and resources inside America’s overcrowded I.C.U.s.

George T. Conway III: Impeachment didn’t distract from coronavirus preparations. Trump did.

There should have been shame enough in orchestrating the acquittal of an impeached president who, in order to extort help for his reelection campaign, unlawfully withheld security aid to an ally. Shame enough in turning the Senate impeachment trial into a sham by refusing to hear a single live witness.

But it turns out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was just getting started.

On Tuesday, he added to the disgrace by claiming that impeachment distracted officials from dealing with the coronavirus. Speaking to radio host (and Post columnist) Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said the virus “came up while we were, you know, tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day, was all about impeachment.”

This is gaslighting of the highest order. Leave aside that the president now claims that he presciently “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic” and that he “always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously.”

Look at the calendar. The impeachment trial ended on Feb. 5. In reality, it was over before it even started, thanks in large part to McConnell. The only drama was about whether there’d be any witnesses — and that ended on Jan. 31, when the Senate voted not to hear testimony. That left plenty of time to deal with the virus.

And while some lawyers in the executive branch and Congress were working on impeachment around the clock, impeachment didn’t consume the government. Trump managed to get to Mar-a-Lago at least four times in January and February, working in a few rounds of golf along the way. He held five campaign rallies around the country during the impeachment trial.

Robert Reich: Ignore the bankers – the Trump economy is not worth more coronavirus deaths

CEOs, billionaires and advisers have the president’s ear and want people back to work. They are callous – and wrong

Dick Kovacevich, former CEO of Wells Fargo bank, thinks most Americans should return to work in April, urging that we “gradually bring those people back and see what happens”.

Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, whose net worth is $1.1bn, recommends “those with a lower risk of the diseases return to work” within a “very few weeks”.

Tom Galisano, the founder of Paychex, whose net worth is $2.8bn, believes “the damages of keeping the economy closed could be worse than losing a few more people. You’re picking the better of two evils.” [..]

It may seem logical to weigh the threat to public health against the accumulating losses to the economy, and then at some point decide economic losses outweigh health risks. As Stephen Moore, who is advising the White House, warns: “You can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillions of dollars you’re talking about.”

But this leaves out one big thing. The “trillions of dollars” of economic losses don’t exist on any balance sheet that can be tallied against human lives. An “economy” is nothing but human beings. So it matters whose losses we’re talking about – whose losses of life, and whose losses of dollars.

Ross Barkin: There is no greater illustration of corporate America’s moral decay than Amazon

The company dismissed a worker who had been protesting conditions – someone who dared to raise the consciousnesses of those around him

n Monday, Amazon fired a warehouse worker who had been protesting about conditions at a New York City facility during the coronavirus outbreak. Chris Smalls, an assistant manager and organizer, had led a walkout demanding Amazon temporarily shut the facility for cleaning after multiple workers tested positive for Covid-19.

It was a move that spoke to the inherent inhumanity of the trillion-dollar corporation, one that will need to be brought to heel by a future presidential administration. The workers were seeking hazard pay and more protective gear as they labored during the pandemic. This, along with Smalls’ willingness to challenge the company, was apparently too much to take. [..]

There is no greater illustration of the moral decay of 21st-century corporate America than Amazon. Past behemoths trafficked in noblesse oblige, tolerating unions and even investing in their workforce. Automobile plants and steel mills accepted that the price of doing business was guaranteeing their workers more than a subsistence wage.

Cartnoon

Maxwell, because he’s really important if you want to understand modern Physics-

Joan was quizzical
Studied pataphysical
Science in the home
Late nights all alone with a test tube, oh, oh, oh, oh
Maxwell Edison
Majoring in medicine
Calls her on the phone
“Can I take you out to the pictures, Joan?”
But as she’s getting ready to go
A knock comes on the door

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead

Back in school again
Maxwell plays the fool again
Teacher gets annoyed
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene
She tells Max to stay
When the class has gone away
So he waits behind
Writing fifty times “I must not be so”, oh, oh, oh
But when she turns her back on the boy
He creeps up from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead

P.C. 31
Said “We’ve caught a dirty one”
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures, oh, oh, oh, oh
Rose and Valerie
Screaming from the gallery
Say “He must go free” (“Maxwell must go free”)
The judge does not agree
And he tells them so, oh, oh, oh
But as the words are leaving his lips
A noise comes from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon his head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that he was dead

So, it’s a song about a Serial Killer.

The Breakfast Club (Land Of Taxation)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Slobodan Milosevic arrested; American forces invade Okinawa; Nazi Germany begins persecuting Jews; Soul singer Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation.

Laurence J. Peter

Continue reading

Good Morning Campers!

I’m your Uncle Ernie and I welcome you to Tommy’s Holiday Camp! The Camp with a difference, never mind the weather. When you come to Tommy’s, the Holiday’s forever!

Hah, hah, hah, hah!

Down 410 yesterday, Limit Downs today.

Dow set to fall 700 points at the open after market posts worst first quarter on record
by Maggie Fitzgerald, CNBC
Tue, Mar 31 2020

U.S. stock futures dropped early Wednesday morning and pointed to sizable declines at the open, following the end of the worst first quarter on record for the Dow and S&P 500 spurred by the coronavirus sell-off.

At around 4:50 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 703 points, indicating an opening loss of about 741 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to losses at the open.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S.

“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “When you look at night the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”

On Tuesday, the Dow fell 410 points or 1.8% to 21,917.16, weighed down by American Express, which dropped more than 5%. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% to 2,584.59 and Nasdaq Composite dropped nearly 1% to 7,700.10. At its session high, the Dow was up more than 150 points.

The Dow secured its worst first-quarter performance ever, losing more than 23% of its value in the first three months of 2020. The 30-stock benchmark had its worst quarter since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20% in the first quarter, its worst first quarter ever and its biggest quarterly loss since 2008. The Nasdaq fell more than 14% in the first quarter.

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said that the coronavirus driven market rout will worsen again in April, taking out the March low.

“The low we hit in the middle of March … I would bet that low will get taken out,” Gundlach said in an investor webcast on Tuesday. “The market has really made it back to a resistance zone. … Take out the low of march and then we’ll get a more enduring low.”

Ok, I have to stop there and say, true! There is still no technical limit to how low it can go and historical P/Es indicate a valuation in the 10,000s.

But I repeat myself.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a nationwide shutdown of the economy, halting business production and leaving millions of American workers unemployed. The unprecedented societal disruption has caused financial distress and volatility never seen before, ultimately causing the wort first quarter in history for both the Dow and the S&P 500.

“The quarter will be remembered as the fastest and greatest drop in the stock Market for the start of any post-war bear market,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “This reflects the fact that this Bear is the only one cause by a recession which was simply ‘proclaimed’ as leaders announced they were essential shutting down the economy. Since a recession was ensured, the Bear skipped all its normal foreplay and simply went right to the end fully reflecting a recession almost immediately.”

U.S. oil experienced its worst month and quarter in history, losing more than 66% of its value in the first three months of the year. Demand has evaporated due to the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that he is starting to see “glimmers” that social distancing is helping to lessen the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, U.S. cases of the fast-spreading virus have topped 177,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death roll from the virus in America has surpassed 3,400.

So, like more than 9/11 which really, get over it.

Wall Street also posted sharp losses for the month. The Dow and S&P 500 fell 13.7% and 12.5%, respectively, in March for their worst one-month declines since the 2008 financial crisis.

Come, watch the Neoliberal Economy burn in flames with me. Toast a Wienie or a Marshmallow.

Oh, you just think I’m fooling.

BTW, happy anniversary to me. I’m 15 Years at this handle (You are not your Avatar) and I promise to continue being as obnoxious as possible and keep the Poet’s Pledge-

To be peculiar in the most unusual way I can cook up
To write excellently, or more especially to be known to write excellently
To master bards of old and bards anew, or at least never give on that I haven’t
To advance in gestures of my own and not in the stirrings of a majority, except where money is at stake
To be perceived as morally suspect, no matter what the truth
To sniff at adulation and pooh-pooh honors no matter how much I crave them
To obey whim and eschew duty, or at least appear to
To rove ruffian-like across continents of poems with ease, or at least make them think so
To engage in ridiculous arguments, all hot and sweaty for my own position
To be judicious only in the judging of my own merits and mean about the others
To die young, or if I linger, to be ignored and abused well
To write tons of crap for every good poem I do write, and obfuscate the difference with rhetoric
To suck up to important editors with honeyed words, and cuff the assistant editors often
To bemoan the sorry state of poetry in my country and do not one damn thing about it
To speak so incoherently that everyone thinks I am a genius

In the words of Trevor Noah, now you know, though I don’t disguise it. Why am I a Master Sergeant (equal in pay and superior in rank to a First Sergeant but with less Leadership responsibility)? Fifteen Years of undiscovered crime.

Daily Nightly

Stephen Colbert Returns With A Message: America, You Got This

Trump Claims Hospitals Are Hoarding Medical Supplies

Trump Brags About His Ratings During Coronavirus Pandemic: A Closer Look

Sen. Bernie Sanders Talks COVID-19, Medicare for All and Coronavirus Stimulus

Sen. Bernie Sanders Talks About the 2020 Race and Vice President Joe Biden

Donald Trump: “Tiger King” President | The Daily Social Distancing Show

Trump’s New Coronavrius Strategy | The Daily Show

CORONAVIRUS ROUNDTABLE WITH REP. DEFAZIO, DR. CORNEL WEST, REV. BARBER, & SONIA SHAH

What the Next Stimulus Package Must Include

Doomers

To begin with I’m 120+ Years old and have seen both halves of the Great War (1914 – 45) as well as people flying for the first time and then going on to walk on the Moon. And Civil Rights kinda sorta and some other positive developments but recently, as Marvin might say, I’ve sensed a decline.

I have frequently observed that young people feel this more keenly because their experience of time is altogether different-

“Different.”

Good, nice to know you’re paying attention because this is important- for young people each interval, second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year represents a greater portion of their total experience than it does to me. Things change, normally for the worse and I hate it but you have to earn your cynicism n00b!

But I’m utterly unsurprised by this phenomena-

You think it’ll last forever: people and cars and concrete. But it won’t. One day it’s all gone. Even the sky.

My planet’s gone. It’s dead. It burned, like the Earth. It’s just rocks and dust. Before its time.

What happened?

There was a war, and we lost.

A war with who? What about your people?

I’m a Time Lord. I’m the last of the Time Lords. They’re all gone. I’m the only survivor. I’m left traveling on my own, ‘cos there’s no one else.

There’s me.

You’ve seen how dangerous it is — do you want to go home?

I don’t know… I want… Oh, can you smell chips?

Yeah. Yeah!

I want chips.

Me too.

Right then, before you get me back in that box, chips it is. And you can pay.

No money.

What sort of date are you? Come on, then, tight wad, chips are on me… we’ve only got five billion years ’til the shops close!

You want fries with that?

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: This Land of Denial and Death

Covid-19 and the dark side of American exceptionalism.

Death comes at you fast. Just three weeks ago the official line at the White House and Fox News was that the coronavirus was no big deal, that claims to the contrary were a politically motivated hoax perpetrated by people out to get Donald Trump. Now we have a full-blown health crisis in New York, and all indications are that many other cities will soon find themselves in the same situation.

And it will almost certainly get much worse. The United States is on the worst trajectory of any advanced country — yes, worse than Italy at the same stage of the pandemic — with confirmed cases doubling every three days.

I’m not sure that people understand, even now, what that kind of exponential growth implies. But if cases kept growing at their current rate for a month, they would increase by a factor of a thousand, and almost half of Americans would be infected.

We hope that won’t happen. Many although not all states have gone into lockdown, and both epidemiological models and some early evidence suggest that this will “flatten the curve,” that is, substantially slow the virus’s spread. But as we wait to see just how bad our national nightmare will get, it’s worth stepping back for a few minutes to ask why America has handled this crisis so badly.

Eugene Robinson: Trump finally submits to reality

In any war, reality has a way of changing the battle plans of even the most stubborn and vainglorious of generals. Even, it seems, President Trump.

The president’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic was first to ignore it, then minimize it, then irresponsibly tout an unproven drug treatment, then try to construe it as something that could somehow be confined to urban hotspots. It was as if he had to go through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — to mourn the economic growth and stock market gains he believed could win him reelection.

Over the weekend, Trump appeared to surrender to the facts. A month ago, he had foolishly predicted that the number of cases of covid-19 in the United States would soon be “down to close to zero.” On Sunday, he argued that keeping the number of deaths in this country below 100,000 — not cases, which may soar into the millions, but fatalities — would mean having done “a very good job.”

I realize it’s always dangerous to be optimistic where Trump is concerned. Perhaps I’m going with hope over experience, but for the first time, I have the sense that the White House accepts the scientific consensus about the threat covid-19 poses. I heard Trump’s usual bluster and bombast at his Rose Garden performance this weekend, but I also heard realism.

Michelle Goldberg: Trump to Governors: I’d Like You to Do Us a Favor, Though

Once again, the president is using aid to extort re-election help.

Last December, during a congressional hearing on impeachment, the Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan tried to explain the gravity of Donald Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo by making a domestic analogy.

Members of Congress, she said, should imagine living in a state “prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding.” What would they think, she asked, if their governor requested a meeting with the president to talk about disaster assistance, and he replied, “I would like you to do us a favor”?

Karlan seemed to assume that the grotesquerie of this hypothetical would be obvious. Now, with American life upended by coronavirus, her flagrantly corrupt scenario has come close to reality.

True, Trump is not demanding that governors investigate Joe Biden in exchange for federal help. But he’s strongly suggested that if governors speak candidly about his monumental incompetence, he’ll penalize them and their states as they struggle to contain the coronavirus. Once again, he’s using his control of vital aid to extort assistance with his re-election.

Catherine Rampell: Saving lives in the pandemic will also save the economy in the long run

If you’ve listened to President Trump or his aides in recent weeks, you might think we have to choose between what’s optimal for public health and what’s optimal for the economy. We can save lives, or maximize gross domestic product.

But if you listen to economists, you’ll learn that this is a false choice. Prematurely reopening businesses, schools and public gatherings — as Trump has agitated to do — would be worse for long-run economic growth than requiring them to remain closed until the virus is contained.

Last week, Trump and his National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, complained that the “cure” to this pandemic — that is, our collective economic coma — might “be worse than the disease.” Right-wing news organizations echoed this complaint, sometimes appallingly implying that Grandpa should be sacrificed to juice GDP. [..]

In fact, there’s near-unanimity among economists that the best way to limit economic damage would be to listen to the public health experts’ advice about how to limit infections — including by continued dramatic social distancing measures.

This should make sense.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Can Andrew Cuomo become FDR?

Andrew M. Cuomo is having quite a moment. Using the bully pulpit that the first Gov. Roosevelt, Theodore, made famous, the current governor of the Empire State hopes to emerge as our era’s equivalent to the second Gov. Roosevelt, Franklin. It’s an astounding, complex transformation brought on by the coronavirus crucible, and the nation is transfixed.

The pandemic is Cuomo’s Great Depression. Unlike our juvenile president, Cuomo has been clear, compassionate and inspiring these past weeks. He has taken the words of Franklin Roosevelt to heart (and to Twitter): “The news is going to get worse and worse before it gets better and better, and the American people deserve to have it straight from the shoulder.”

In his daily news conferences, Cuomo doesn’t deflect responsibility, but rather accepts it: “If someone is unhappy, blame me.” Instead of making sweeping, silly statements, he’s hyper-specific on everything from the number of ventilators the state needs to the number of tests administered. And instead of scoring political points, or humoring free-market fundamentalists who argue that stabilizing the economy should be prioritized over saving lives, he is eloquent in his plain-spokenness. “My mother is not expendable and your mother is not expendable and our brothers and sisters are not expendable … we’re not going to put a dollar figure on human life.”

Cuomo has captured the nation’s attention. Millions of Democrats, and no doubt many independents, are asking why he is not the Democratic nominee for president. The answer lies in the contradictions that this remarkable politician has never been able to resolve.

2020 Presidential Primaries: A Brief Pause

Right now the nation is in the midst of a pandemic with the news looking grimmer each day. The crisis has effected everyone with closures of schools, restaurants, places of worship, parks, and gyms. Rules are in place on travel, staying home and keeping distance from others. Don’t forget to wash you hands for at least 20 seconds and don’t touch your face. These precautions are going to be the new normal for far longer than April, which has necessitated putting the 2020 primaries on pause.

The DNC has encouraged states with upcoming contests to expand their use of voting by mail, no-excuse absentee voting, curbside ballot drop-offs and early voting. With the pandemic threatening voter turnout in November, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggested vote-by-mail capabilities should be scaled up ahead of 2020’s remaining elections, shielding voters from the threats in-person voting could pose amid the coronavirus pandemic. The GOP, of course, is opposed to any move to increase access to voting since they would lose more elections.

So far 14 states have rescheduled voting to a later date.

April 7: Wisconsin

April 10: Alaska (now voting entirely by mail)

April 17: Wyoming (now voting entirely by mail)

April 26: Puerto Rico (postponed from March 29)

April 28: Ohio (postponed from March 17)

May 2: Guam (caucuses), Kansas

May 12: Nebraska, West Virginia

May 19: Georgia (new date), Oregon

May 22: Hawaii (now voting entirely by mail)

June 2: Connecticut (new date), Delaware (new date), D.C., Indiana (new date), Maryland (new date), Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania (new date), Rhode Island (new date), South Dakota
June 6: Virgin Islands (caucuses)

June 9: D.N.C. deadline

June 20: Louisiana (postponed from April 4)

June 23: Kentucky (new date), New York (new date)

As you can see, June 2 is going o be more super for the Democrats than any Super Tuesday to date with 668 delegates up for grabs. States who hold their primaries after the DNC deadline could lose half their delegates for the convention.

And the rules also say any candidate campaigning in a state with a contest outside of the DNC’s designated primary calendar will not be awarded any delegates from that state. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, the last two candidates in the primary race, aren’t physically campaigning in New York (or any other state), but the DNC defines “campaigning” broadly as being inclusive of but “not limited to”:

Purchasing print, internet, or electronic advertising that reaches a significant percentage of the voters in the aforementioned state; hiring campaign workers; opening an office; making public appearances; holding news conferences; coordinating volunteer activities; sending mail, other than fundraising requests that are also sent to potential donors in other states; using paid or volunteer phoners or automated calls to contact voters; sending emails or establishing a website specific to that state; holding events to which Democratic voters are invited; attending events sponsored by state or local Democratic organizations; or paying for campaign materials to be used in such a state.

The DNC further notes its Rules and Bylaws Committee can add to this list and has final say over whether a campaign’s activities are in violation of this rule. That means that although, for instance, podcasting isn’t included in this list, Biden’s new podcast could perhaps be seen as being in violation of this rule, given it is distributed nationwide, including to New York, Louisiana, and Kentucky — all states that now have post-June 9 primaries.

How the DNC will handle that under the circumstances isn’t known.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has decided he will stay in the race for the Democratic nomination, at least through June, even though he is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in both delegates won and the polling. The delays have not changed the course of the race, so far, Biden has been awarded 1217 delegates while Sanders has 914 which is a nearly impossible gap to close.

According to FiveThirtyEight, average polling shows Biden with 19% lead over all. Biden is also projected to sweep the remaining primaries and caucuses.

The November race for the oval office is still up in the air. With the administrations mishandling of the pandemic, Trump’s overall approval is still hovering in the mid 40’s which is where it has been since he was elected.

FiveThirtyEight has some good news about the Senate as new polls and new candidates give Democrats some hope of taking control that body.

New polls have shown Democratic challengers ahead of GOP incumbents, the party is recruiting strong candidates, and, perhaps most importantly given the tight correlation between presidential and Senate voting, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrat who has polled the best against President Trump, has become the party’s likely presidential nominee.

The most likely outcome is still that Republicans maintain control of the Senate, though perhaps with a reduced majority: The status quo favors them, and most of the states where the Senate will be decided lean red. (As a refresher, Republicans currently have 53 Senate seats to Democrats’ 47,1 meaning Democrats need to flip four seats, on net, to take control — or three if they also win the vice presidency.) But Democrats have expanded the map to the point where they have a lot more pick-up opportunities than Republicans do, so they have a lot of upside.

These are the pickup opportunities:

 

State Incumbent Incumbent Party Rating
Minnesota Tina Smith D Likely D
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen D Likely D
New Mexico OPEN D Likely D
Michigan Gary Peters D Lean D
Arizona* Martha McSally R Toss-up
Colorado Cory Gardner R Toss-up
North Carolina Thom Tillis R Toss-up
Maine Susan Collins R Toss-up/Lean R
Alabama Doug Jones D Lean R
Georgia* Kelly Loeffler R Lean R
Iowa Joni Ernst R Lean R
Kansas OPEN R Lean R
Montana Steve Daines R Lean R
Georgia David Perdue R Likely R
Kentucky Mitch McConnell R Likely R
Texas John Cornyn R Likely R

We still have seven months until election day. Hopefully, the pandemic will have slowed and we wil be rid of the virus in the Oval Office.

Cartnoon

Many people don’t realize Soap is a relatively recent fashion. In Rome for instance you’d coat yourself in oil and scrape it off, have a steam, take a swim, and have another steam.

Me? I like showers. In fact my ritual is so systematized I once used it in an Acting Class when we were assigned to Mime an activity from memory. Have a lot of practice and it’s always the same.

The Breakfast Club (Should’ve Known Better)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

President Lyndon Johnson announces that he isn’t running for re-election; Flag first unfurled on top of Eiffel Tower; Terry Schiavo dies; Oklahoma debuts on Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The American public is sick and tired of being lied to.

Patrick Leahy

Continue reading

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Covid-19 Brings Out All the Usual Zombies

Why virus denial resembles climate denial.

Let me summarize the Trump administration/right-wing media view on the coronavirus: It’s a hoax, or anyway no big deal. Besides, trying to do anything about it would destroy the economy. And it’s China’s fault, which is why we should call it the “Chinese virus.”

Oh, and epidemiologists who have been modeling the virus’s future spread have come under sustained attack, accused of being part of a “deep state” plot against Donald Trump, or maybe free markets.

Does all this give you a sense of déjà vu? It should. After all, it’s very similar to the Trump/right-wing line on climate change. Here’s what Trump tweeted back in 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” It’s all there: it’s a hoax, doing anything about it will destroy the economy, and let’s blame China.

And epidemiologists startled to find their best scientific efforts denounced as politically motivated fraud should have known what was coming. After all, exactly the same thing happened to climate scientists, who have faced constant harassment for decades.

So the right-wing response to Covid-19 has been almost identical to the right-wing response to climate change, albeit on a vastly accelerated time scale. But what lies behind this kind of denialism?

Charles M. Blow: The Politics of a Pandemic

Trump wants us to see him as defeating a foreign enemy.

The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a global public health crisis. But here in the United States — as is likely true in other countries — the response to it is heavily overlaid with political calculations. It is both obvious and inevitable. The crisis is unfolding in the lead-up to the election.

Viewed strictly in a political light, the consequences and rewards of responses to this virus — good responses as well as bad ones — suggest a new political dynamic that has few predecessors.

There was an election in the midst of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, but that was a midterm election year, not a presidential one.

I would submit that in general, a national crisis benefits the incumbent, if the nation is perceived to be at war against an outside actor. In such cases, there is a predictable nationalistic rallying. Fear becomes an adhesive; heroism becomes an antidepressant. And the president’s bully pulpit is amplified, as networks carry his news conferences and announcements live and the American public tunes in.

People need reassurance, stability and leadership, and changing the person in command in the middle of the process might not appeal to many.

Jennifer Senior: The Psychological Trauma That Awaits Our Doctors and Nurses

Don’t underestimate the moral anguish of deciding who gets a ventilator.

This is the moment to pray for the psychological welfare of our health care professionals. In the months ahead, many will witness unimaginable scenes of suffering and death, modern Pietàs without Marys, in which victims are escorted into hospitals by their loved ones and left to die alone.

I fear these doctors and nurses and other first responders will burn out. I fear they will suffer from post-traumatic stress. And with the prospect of triage on the horizon, I fear they will soon be handed a devil’s kit of choices no healer should ever have to make. It’s a recipe for moral injury.

Succinctly put, moral injury is the trauma of violating your own conscience. It is an experience known to many combat veterans — the term was in fact popularized by Jonathan Shay, a longtime psychiatrist at a Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Boston, in his book “Achilles in Vietnam.”

That this violation may be in the service of a larger, more defensible objective doesn’t matter — or rather, it does little to mitigate the guilt, self-reproach or spiritual crisis activated by making choices that feel so very wrong.

Rebecca Solnit: Who Will Win the Fight for a Post-Coronavirus America?

Every disaster shakes loose the old order. What replaces it is up to us.

The scramble has already begun. The possibilities for change, for the better or the worse, for a more egalitarian or more authoritarian society, burst out of the gate like racehorses at times like these.

Progressive and conservative politicians are pitching proposals to radically alter American society, to redistribute wealth, to change the rules, to redefine priorities. The pandemic has given the Trump administration an excuse to try to shut down borders and, reportedly, a pretext to try to secure the unconstitutional capacity to detain people indefinitely. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, among others, has made the case for reducing the prison population, whose crowding in poor conditions constitutes a health risk — for freeing people, rather than the opposite, in response to the crisis. Other progressives have sought to expand workers’ rights, sick leave and implement other policies that would improve lives even in ordinary times. Social programs long said to be impossible may well come to pass; so could authoritarian measures.

Every disaster shakes loose the old order: The sudden catastrophe changes the rules and demands new and different responses, but what those will be are the subject of a battle. These disruptions shift people’s sense of who they and their society are, what matters and what’s possible, and lead, often, to deeper and more lasting change, sometimes to regime change. Many disasters unfold like revolutions; the past gives us many examples of calamities that led to lasting national change.

Robert Reich: Coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to overcome oligarchy

The coronavirus has starkly revealed what most of us already knew: The concentration of wealth in America has created a a health care system in which the wealthy can buy care others can’t.

It’s also created an education system in which the super-rich can buy admission to college for their children, a political system in which they can buy Congress and the presidency, and a justice system in which they can buy their way out of jail.

Almost everyone else has been hurled into a dystopia of bureaucratic arbitrariness, corporate indifference, and the legal and financial sinkholes that have become hallmarks of modern American life.

The system is rigged. But we can fix it.

Today, the great divide in American politics isn’t between right and left. The underlying contest is between a small minority who have gained power over the system, and the vast majority who have little or none.

Forget politics as you’ve come to see it — as contests between Democrats and Republicans. The real divide is between democracy and oligarchy.

The market has been organized to serve the wealthy. Since 1980, the percentage of the nation’s wealth owned by the richest four hundred Americans has quadrupled (from less than 1 percent to 3.5 percent) while the share owned by the entire bottom half of America has dropped to 1.3 percent.

The three wealthiest Americans own as much as the entire bottom half of the population. Big corporations, CEOs, and a handful of extremely rich people have vastly more influence on public policy than the average American. Wealth and power have become one and the same.

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