Thursday, July 30, 2020

Viral Video of Abuse

I watched this yesterday.

Story at WaPo, via Memeorandum, "He held a BLM sign in what he called 'America's most racist town.' The result? A viral video of abuse."

Minka Kelly

At Phun, "Minka Kelly Nude Scene in the TV-Show Titans."

And at the Fappening.

Demi Rose Showcases Her Assets

At Taxi Driver, "Demi Rose Showing Off ALL Her Cleavage in a Purple Jumpsuit."

And at Daily Mail:

Herman Cain Has Died

I met Herman Cain at CPAC in 2011, when he was running for president.

Rest in peace, brother.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

John C. McManus, Fire and Fortitude

John C. McManus, Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943.

BREAKING! Dodgers Pitcher Joe Kelly Suspended 8 Games by MLB

Following-up, "Benches Clear in First Astros-Dodgers Game After Cheating Scandal (VIDEO)."

Workers Denounce New York's 'Contact-Tracing' Program as 'Disaster'

This is front-page news at the Old Gray Lady.

See, "City Praises Contact-Tracing Program. Workers Call Rollout a ‘Disaster’":

It was only a few weeks into the rollout of New York City’s much-heralded contact-tracing program, a vital initiative in the effort to contain the coronavirus and to reopen the local economy. But in private messaging channels, the newly hired contact tracers were already expressing growing misgivings about their work.

One said the city was “putting out propaganda” about the program’s effectiveness.

Another wrote, “I don’t think this is the type of job we should just ‘wing it,’ and that’s the sense I’ve been getting sometimes.”

A third tracer said, “The lack of communication and organization is crazy.”

The authorities around the world — especially in East Asia and Western Europe — have rapidly enacted contact-tracing programs, which are used to identify and then isolate groups of people who may be infected with the coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared that the city’s new Test and Trace Corps, which has hired about 3,000 contact tracers, case monitors and others, will make a difference in curbing the virus now that the outbreak that devastated New York in the spring has waned.

But contact-tracing programs have presented an array of challenges to government officials everywhere, including difficulties hiring many workers, privacy issues and faulty technology, like apps. And New York City’s seems to have been especially plagued by problems.

The de Blasio administration acknowledged that the program, which began on June 1, had gotten off to a troubled start, but said that improvements had been made.

“All signs indicate that the program has been effective in helping the city avoid the resurgence we’re seeing in other states,” Avery Cohen, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said.

Still, some contact tracers described the program’s first six weeks as poorly run and disorganized, leaving them frustrated and fearful that their work would not have much of an impact.

They spoke of a confusing training regimen and priorities, and of newly hired supervisors who were unable to provide guidance. They said computer problems had sometimes caused patient records to disappear. And they said their performances were being tracked by call-center-style “adherence scores” that monitor the length of coffee breaks but did not account for how well tracers were building trust with clients.

Some also bristled at what they described as crackdowns on workers talking to one another.

The New York Times developed a portrait of the program through interviews with several current and former workers, as well as through an examination of internal documents. Further information was obtained from screenshots of Slack messaging channels used by tracers, which featured numerous conversations about workplace conditions.

“It reminds me of an Amazon warehouse or something, where we are judged more on call volume or case volume than the quality of conversations,” one newly hired contact tracer, a public health graduate student, said in an interview.

“To me, it seems like they hired all of us just to say we have 3,000 contact tracers so we can start opening up again, and they don’t really care about the program metrics or whether it’s a successful program,” she said.

Most of the current workers interviewed for this article spoke only on the condition of anonymity, saying that they feared losing their jobs if they spoke out publicly.

The complaints mounted so quickly that on July 9, Dr. Neil Vora, one of the leaders of the program, apologized during a virtual town-hall-style meeting with hundreds of workers...
It's bad.

Keep reading.

Benches Clear in First Astros-Dodgers Game After Cheating Scandal (VIDEO)

Joe Kelly tells Carlos Correa to fuck off. It's just right there, lol.

At LAT, "Joe Kelly doesn’t back down to Astros as benches clear in Dodgers’ win":

HOUSTON — The first clue underscoring the animosity between the Dodgers and the Houston Astros didn’t surface until the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night.

The Dodgers were up three runs en route to a 5-2 victory at Minute Maid Park. The bases were empty. Alex Bregman had worked a 3-and-0 count against Dodgers right-hander Joe Kelly. The scene didn’t scream tension. But Kelly abruptly reminded the Astros of his club’s feelings with a 96-mph fastball behind Bregman’s head. Bregman calmly looked away, bent over to remove his ankle guard, and took his base without a word. Kelly then yawned.

The next close call wasn’t disregarded. Three batters later, with runners on first and second and two outs, Kelly hurled an 87-mph curveball that narrowly missed Carlos Correa’s head. The ball bounced away and the runners advanced. It was ruled a wild pitch. Correa stared at Kelly.

The at-bat ended with Correa swinging through a curveball for strike three. He and Kelly exchanged words as Kelly walked off the field. Kelly stuck his tongue out at Correa. He mocked him with a pout. He sprinkled obscenities around the faces...
Keep reading.

More on Twitter:

TikTok Hoo Boy!


Seen on Twitter:

White Women in Pennyslvania Still All In for Trump


At Vanity Fair, "“You Might See People Digging In”: Can Joe Biden Actually Sway Obama–Trump Voters?":

In Pennsylvania, Joe Biden is hoping to peel off just enough white, working-class voters in crucial counties to edge out the president. But the women here—waitresses, churchgoers, bingo players, lifelong Democrats—show no signs of budging, pandemic be damned. “I am 110% Trump,” says one. “I love him.”

It was a Thursday night in January, before the coronavirus shut everything down, meaning it was time for bingo at St. Andrew Parish in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Three dozen regulars—almost all of them women—filed into the church basement. Some grabbed “cuts” of pizza from the front of the room; a few lingered in the cold for one last smoke. As the clock approached 6:00, they settled into metal folding chairs, spread out their game sheets, and focused on the numbers.

The entire political world, in turn, has been focused on these women and the numbers—and potential power—they represent. The bingo players are part of the white working class, a prized group that helped elect Donald Trump in 2016. Many are Democrats who supported Barack Obama in one or both of his races and had never pulled the GOP lever before. To Republicans they represent the path to the president’s reelection. To Democrats they personify opportunity, a chance to siphon off just enough Trump votes in swing states to remove him from office. “I don’t need to win them,” said Democratic pollster Jill Normington. “I need to lose by less.”

Ever since Trump pulled off upset victories in the former Democratic strongholds of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, both parties have viewed white women without college degrees as pivotal 2020 voters. White, working-class women and men are the nation’s largest bloc of voters, especially here in the Rust Belt, and women are considered more likely to reject Trump this time around. Polls bear this out, showing that the men in this group remain overwhelmingly behind the president, while many of the women are having second thoughts. Democrats hope that just as suburban women outside cities like Philadelphia, about two hours south of Wilkes-Barre, turned on Republicans in 2018, white, working-class women will follow suit this year.

But the bingo players at St. Andrew and their counterparts in their key region of Pennsylvania may be unexpectedly resistant. In this historically Democratic bastion, where coal once ruled and black-and-white photos of JFK still adorn walls, women who voted for Trump show few signs of wavering. They applaud his brusque demeanor, or they don’t. They support his right-wing policies, or they don’t. It doesn’t matter. They think Democrats have persecuted him without justification, believe he’s doing everything possible to combat COVID-19, and generally support his “law-and-order” response to what are likely the most pervasive protests in U.S. history. They have faith that he has the business acumen to reinvigorate the economy. Mainly, they have faith in him.

They support Trump because they like him. Actually, the word many of them use is “love.”

The reason is simple: He speaks to them, not down to them, eschewing words like “eschew.” While his life experience as a New York playboy-celebrity rich kid is wholly different from their own, they feel he’s one of them. “I am 110% Trump. I love him,” Barbara Bono said as she set up her bingo cards. “I love the way he talks. I understand him more than any other president. This whole place is Trump,” she said, sweeping her arm across the room as women around her nodded.

Bono, a 63-year-old retired Lord & Taylor warehouse worker, is precisely the kind of voter Joe Biden’s campaign hopes to win over: She’s a registered Democrat and former union member who never voted Republican before casting a ballot for Trump. She is Catholic, like so many in these parts, but supports abortion rights. She thought Bill Clinton was a “wonderful” president and didn’t care for George W. Bush. She voted for Obama in 2008, but sat out the election of 2012 because, she said, his Affordable Care Act drove up her health insurance costs. Still, she didn’t support Obama’s GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, another rich guy who, it must be noted, speaks nothing like her.

“I love the way he talks! Crazy Nancy!” Bono said, echoing the president’s nickname for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking elected woman officeholder in the history of the United States. “I love it. He is up early in the morning...He’s always talking to the American people. He’s all about our country.

“Pelooooski,” she continued, drawing laughs from the other bingo players. Then, in the spirit of Trump: “I can’t wait for her teeth to fall out!”

Bono is like a lot of the women I met during visits to Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, called “NEPA” by locals, in late 2019 and early 2020. She has lived in Wilkes-Barre, the county seat of Luzerne, her entire life, though she now spends part of her winters in Valdosta, Georgia. She is a high school graduate, one of the white women without college degrees whose support Trump can’t afford to lose.

During conversations spanning seven months, the women I spoke to made plain that there is little, if anything, that would make them abandon Trump. Not the emergence of Biden, who’s fond of invoking his early childhood in nearby Scranton. Not a quarantine that has cost some of them their wages. Not the ensuing economic fallout. And certainly not the Trump detractors who say he has mishandled life-and-death issues that have consumed the nation: the coronavirus, the police killing of George Floyd, and the systemic racism it brought to the fore.

“A lot of people hate him, but I don’t get it,” said Florence “Flo” Eldredge, a waitress who missed months of work because of the pandemic. “I think he’s doing the best he can under the circumstances.”

Added her next-door neighbor Linda Stetzar: “I would give him a crown.”

It’s hard for an outsider to distinguish between Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, which share a rolling landscape in the Appalachian Mountains and in the valleys along the Susquehanna River. Many of their towns flow smoothly into one another, their Americana displayed in street banners that celebrate their war heroes. But locals know the difference between Pittston and West Pittston, Old Forge and Forty Fort. They will tell you that the Irish settled this town, the Italians that town, the Poles moved here and the Germans there. They say it while acknowledging that influxes of immigrants weren’t always made to feel welcome. Their ancestors came from Europe to mine anthracite coal, which they did for generations until the mines closed in the middle of the last century. All these years later, they wear their heritage proudly.

Families remain close. I came across more than one pair of sisters, mothers and daughters, aunts and nieces dining or working or playing bingo together. Almost all were descendants of those early miners. But in recent years, after the mines closed and lace factories came and went, more and more residents have departed. Young people who attend college leave most frequently, unable to find white-collar jobs close to home. Those who stay are mostly white and older. They are often more conservative than their children. They still attend the churches, predominantly Catholic, that their forebears built. They are courteous and unhurried, the kind of people who call strangers like me “hon.” They work for state or local government or health care providers or a local university or, increasingly, one of the numerous warehouses and call centers that have popped up along the tangle of highways that crisscross here. They don’t expect something for nothing.

“There’s that dignity piece,” Scranton mayor Paige Cognetti told me. “If mom and dad worked in coal and lace, they worked their asses off. People don’t want programs or help. They want to earn it.”

Before the novel coronavirus, the economies in these two counties had improved considerably. Though they weren’t as strong as elsewhere in the state—the median income was lower, the unemployment rate higher—people didn’t despair. In fact, in Donald Trump, a lot of them saw hope.

Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a total of just 77,744 votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, states once considered Democrats’ “blue wall.” More than half of that vote margin—44,292—came from Pennsylvania. And more than one third came from Luzerne County, a place that hadn’t voted Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988 and that has voted for the presidential candidate who carried Pennsylvania since 1932. Trump carried Luzerne by 26,237 votes and had the biggest margin of victory there—19 points—since Richard Nixon in 1972. Next door, in Lackawanna County, Clinton won by a scant 3,599 votes even though she had personal ties to the area, having spent her childhood summers at a family cottage on Lake Winola, a short drive from her father’s hometown and final resting place, Scranton. Four years earlier Obama beat Romney there by 26,579 votes.

Theories abound as to why Trump did so well, particularly in Luzerne, which Pennsylvania pollster G. Terry Madonna told me was “a place where in my lifetime I never thought a Republican would win.” Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, said Trump stepped into a void created by Democrats, who essentially abandoned cultural conservatives. “As the Democrats became an urban-based party, they moved away from the working-class roots that had been a part of their constituency,” he said...
Still more.

It Ain't Over 'til It's Over

Heard just now while out for a newspaper run (I buy a daily copy of the New York Times at Gelson's market nearby).

At 93.1 Jack FM Los Angeles, Lenny Kravitz, "It Aint Over 'til Its Over."

It Aint Over Til Its Over
Lenny Kravitz

Danger Zone
Kenny Loggins


All Apologies

I Ran (So Far Away)
A Flock OF Seagulls

Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd

Get Lucky
Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams

No One Like You

Hungry Like The Wolf
Duran Duran

Self Esteem

Hey Hey What Can I Do
Led Zeppelin

Dont Stand So Close To Me

Just A Girl
NO Doubt

Walk This Way
Run D.M.C./Aerosmith

Missing Persons


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Robby Soave, Panic Attack

At Amazon, Robby Soave, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump.

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BONUS: Michael T. Osterholm, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.

Rally Car Driver Ken Block 'Hoons' the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (VIDEO)

Ken Block is the CEO of Hoonigan's.

This car supposedly pulls off 1,400 horsepower, all electric.

Listen to the discussion at the video about adding torque, etc. This is hardcore.

Bebe Rexha on Twitter

She's amazing!

At Drunken Stepfather, "BEBE REXHA TITS OF THE DAY."

One Nation Under Anarcho-Tyranny

It's Michelle Malkin:

The America you grew up in is not the America we live in now.

One nation under God? Ha.

Land of the free? Ha.

Domestic tranquility? Ha.

Equal protection under the law? Ha.

The right to bear arms? Ha.

Freedom of speech? Association? Peaceable assembly? Ha. Ha. Ha.

It’s not “socialism” or “communism” under which we suffer. Our dangerously chaotic, selectively oppressive predicament is more accurately described as “anarcho-tyranny.” The late conservative columnist Sam Francis first coined the term in 1992 to diagnose a condition of “both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny—the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes.”

The “criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent,” Francis expounded, is achieved in such a state through:

“exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation;
the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools;
the imposition of thought control through ‘sensitivity training’ and multiculturalist curricula;
‘hate crime’ laws;
gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally;
and a vast labyrinth of other measures.”

The toxic combination of Pandemic Panic and George Floyd Derangement Syndrome has thoroughly destroyed the home of the brave. It is a paradise for the depraved and dictatorial.

Anarcho-tyranny is how hoodlums can toss statues into rivers with impunity, while citizens disgusted by Black Lives Matter street grafitti are charged with “hate crimes” – as David Nelson and Nicole Anderson in Martinez, Calif., were by a George Soros-funded district attorney two weeks ago.

Anarcho-tyranny is how rioters can shut down highways and byways on a whim without fear of arrest, while commuters trying to escape the window-smashing barbarians obstructing traffic are charged with “assault”—as poor Jennifer Watson of Denver, Colo., was this week.

Anarcho-tyranny is how hordes of gay pride activists marching shoulder to shoulder can defy social distancing guidelines with gushing approbation from radical left-wing medical “experts,” while anti-lockdown and anti-mask mandate protesters are deemed public health menaces who now face snitch hotlines, fines, house arrest, or jail time.

Anarcho-tyranny is how 1,000 black militia members can take over the streets in Georgia and point their guns at motorists as they demand reparations, while white citizen militia members in Idaho, Utah, and New Mexico have been smeared publicly as racists and face injunctions for peacefully defending their neighborhoods.

Where do the police stand in this regime? It pains me to say it, but those of us who have backed the blue so loyally and vocally can no longer do so under the assumption that the blue will back us.

It’s rank and file cops who are issuing citations to citizens who want to breathe freely.

It’s rank and file cops who are standing by while our monuments and courthouses and landmarks are burned and obliterated.

It was rank and file cops in Denver who watched as my patriotic friends and I tried to hold a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day this past Sunday were besieged by Black Lives Matter and Antifa thugs who had declared that their sole intent in invading our permitted celebration was to “shut us down.” I livestreamed the chaos as pro-police attendees were beaten, including the organizer Ron MacLachlan, who was bloodied in the face and head just a few feet from me by black-masked animals. One Antifa actor wielded her collapsible baton just inches from me.

Maddy Maye


And, some naked nude babes here and here.

The Doyenne of the New Romantics

It's Perri Lister, of whom Billy Idol just posted. They had a 9-year romantic relationship.

From her Wiki page:
In 1978, she was a member of the dance troupe Hot Gossip, which performed on British television's The Kenny Everett Video Show. They were noted for their sexually suggestive costumes and risqué dance routines. Lister was one of the original Blitz Kids, a group of young, flamboyantly dressed people who patronised the elitist Covent Garden club night Blitz in the early 1980s, among whom were Boy George, Steve Strange, Spandau Ballet, and Marilyn. She appeared as a dancer in the 1980 film Can't Stop the Music and performed in the 1981 Visage music video for "Fade to Grey".

Lister began a relationship with rock singer Billy Idol in 1980, over whom she allegedly exerted a big influence. She sang the French lyrical backing vocal chorus, "Les yeux sans visage" on his 1984 hit single "Eyes Without a Face", and appeared in several of his music videos, including "White Wedding" in which she played the bride; "To Be a Lover", and she was the girl bound to a cross in the second video for his song "Hot in the City". Mademoiselle described Lister's sexy performance in the latter video as "sizzling".She danced topless in the 1982 Duran Duran video for the single release "The Chauffeur", and sang backing vocals for the band Visage, and August Darnell's band Kid Creole and The Coconuts.

She was a member of the short-lived pop music group Boomerang, which consisted of two former members of Kid Creole and The Coconuts: Adriana Kaegi and Cheryl Poirier. The group released an album titled Boomerang (1986) and a cover version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".

By 1982, Lister had linked up with Billy Idol who had just released his first solo album, Billy Idol. She appears as the starring role in the goth-adjacent “White Wedding Pt 1” music video as the pirouetting bride (and is one of the dancers that smacks her own butt at the end). Additionally, Lister contributed backing vocals to Idol’s songs, including the infamous phrase les yeux sans visage on “Eyes Without a Face.” This allowed her to appear onstage with Idol during his television performances for the song, including Top of the Pops. Despite her accomplishments, her career took a backseat to Idol’s worldwide stardom and she regressed to “the girlfriend,” oftentimes belittled to a groupie. In photos, Idol and Lister complement each other, her with an array of hair styles and colors, a chic fashion sense that was never overshadowed by Idol’s tough leather and layers of rosaries.

However, the couple’s time together would soon be rife with controversy and infidelity. Idol was arrested alongside another woman during a drug bust in 1987, which prompted Lister to call a press conference to confirm that she was, in fact, still Idol’s girlfriend. This drama eclipsed her career and, despite their attempts to repair the relationship (and having Idol’s child in 1988), Lister separated from Idol soon after.

Lister attempted to reinvigorate her star power with the short-lived band, Boomerang, in 1986. Consisting of former backup singers from Kid Creole and the Coconuts—in which Lister was a member of in 1983 for the album Don’t Take My Coconuts—the trio covered the song “These Boots Were Made for Walking.”

As an actress, Lister made minor appearances in television and movies such as an episode of the spinoff show Freddy’s Nightmare in 1988 and in the 1990 noir film Bad Influence alongside James Spader and Rob Lowe. And, even though her experience and talents were vast, she never quite made it back into popularity. But her influence and legacy lives on, especially in some of the greatest music videos ever made to date. Lister is much more than Billy Idol’s ex-girlfriend—she is a New Romantic icon.

Coronavirus Ravages California's Central Valley

At LAT, "Coronavirus ravages California’s Central Valley, following a cruel and familiar path":

SACRAMENTO —  The coronavirus is spreading at alarming rates in California’s Central Valley, following a cruel and increasingly familiar path.

The demographics of those getting sick in the rural hamlets of America’s famed agricultural zone are the same as those who have been hit hard in big cities and suburbs: Essential workers — many of them Latino — who cannot stay home for financial reasons when they fall ill on the job and also have a hard time isolating in housing that can be crowded and multigenerational.

Public health officials and medical experts say the pattern of spread underscores the deep inequities of the coronavirus in California, which has infected Black and Latino communities and poorer regions at much higher rates than more affluent and white ones.

The surge in Central Valley cases has taken a particular toll on farmworkers, in part because they often live in close quarters, share transportation to job sites and have little access to healthcare. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the rate of positive coronavirus tests in the Central Valley ranges from 10.7% to as high as 17.7%. The state’s average is about 7.8% over the last seven days.

Increased rates of coronavirus transmission have also been seen in dense urban areas such as the Eastside and South and Central Los Angeles and San Francisco’s Mission District, all home to communities with large numbers of Latino residents who perform essential jobs critical in keeping California running, such as in construction, manufacturing, cooking and food preparation.

“These aren’t all people who live on big ranch houses on the farms. These are people who live in ... dense apartments,” said Dr. George Rutherford, a UC San Francisco epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert. “I think it’s probably the same pattern that we see in the Mission District, of an essential workforce, which in this case is agricultural, who is densely housed, who gets exposed on their way to and from the work site or at the work site.”

Latino residents make up 39% of Californians but account for up to 56% of coronavirus cases statewide and 46% of deaths. Latino residents make up an even higher percentage of residents in the Central Valley than they do statewide.

Edward Flores, a sociology professor with the UC Merced Community and Labor Center, who has studied the impact of the pandemic on the Central Valley, said many of these laborers work in conditions that make true social distancing difficult and may be afraid to report safety problems for fear of losing their jobs.

“We hear about these huge outbreaks in meatpacking plants, in agriculture and these low-wage jobs, where people work side by side with other people in these very dense environments,” he said. “Stay-at-home orders do little for the low-wage essential workers that face the greatest risks.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that places like the Central Valley would be hit hard. Among California’s meatpacking plants, the Central Valley as a region has had poor compliance with health and safety standards even before the pandemic hit, with the region home to nearly half of inspections triggered by complaints, even though it is home to just 13% of the state’s meatpacking plants, according to research by Ana Padilla, executive director of the Community and Labor Center.

Hundreds of workers have been infected at Ruiz Foods, a frozen-food packager in Tulare County, and Central Valley Meat Co. in Kings County.

California counties with a greater share of low-wage and crowded households have been more likely to be hit hard by the pandemic, according to a study by authored by Flores and Padilla.

Epidemiologists also saw the disease spread in the agricultural Imperial Valley east of San Diego, “and it seems to have spread through the Coachella Valley and into the Central Valley,” Rutherford said. The highly contagious virus has continued to spread into the Salinas Valley and Northern California wine country counties of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Mendocino and Lake, Rutherford said.

Newsom announced Monday he would send “strike teams” to eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley — San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern — while asking the California Legislature to approve $52 million to improve testing, tracing and isolation protocols in those regions.

“This disease continues to grow in the state of California. It continues to spread, but not evenly,” Newsom said Monday while speaking at Diamond Nuts in Stockton. “It is disproportionately impacting certain communities and certain parts of the state.”

While L.A. County is reporting 400 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks, Kern County — home to Bakersfield — is now seeing a rate of 913 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents; a month ago, that number was 133, according to a Times analysis...
 Still more.

L.A. County Removes Homeless From Freeway Underpasses

Some of these folks lived under freeways for years. Mind-boggling.

At LAT, "They made a home under L.A.’s freeways. But soon they could be forced to move":

The 105 Freeway roared overhead as homeless outreach worker Daniel Ornelas knelt to speak with Genia Hope.

Hope’s home has been, for years, a sprawling complex of tents beside a tangle of freeways in southeast Los Angeles County. Like many homeless people, she has chosen to live under or near a freeway because it affords some measure of safety compared with other spots where homeless people bed down.

A rusted elephant trinket stood guard outside her tarps and tent, and inside she lounged on a black leather couch, smoking a cigarette alongside a rack of clothing.

Hope raised her now-grown children in Apple Valley and later followed a man to Bellflower. She lost her job at a rehab facility and then, after her partner died, grief, anxiety and struggles with addiction led her to the street.

Now, it looked as if Ornelas might just be able to help her. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up a wealth of resources to help get people off the streets, and a recent order from a federal judge will unlock even more. But efforts to aid people like Hope are going to be complicated by a shortage of available shelter and fighting among government entities about how best to carry out the judge’s wishes.

Hope told Ornelas that living beside this freeway underpass, just off a bike bath that snakes along the Los Angeles River, was optimal. Police rarely hassled her here, and she had plenty of space to be alone. An on-again, off-again love interest lived nearby, and her homeless neighbors formed a supportive community.

One neighbor brought her some lunch and a strawberry slushie as she spoke with the outreach worker.

She jumped at the offer, excited at the prospect of getting to take a bath and sleep in a bed. Her matted blond hair needed washing, she said. It would be ideal if her boyfriend could join her — at arm’s length.

“If we could be at the same hotel and in separate rooms, that would be great,” she said. “Sometimes we just need a break from each other.”

A government program known as Project Roomkey, which aims to rent motel and hotel rooms for homeless people, has fallen short of its goals locally but still has vastly expanded the number of rooms available to homeless people vulnerable to COVID-19. As a result, Ornelas was able to quickly whisk Hope off the street. Like many outreach workers who serve the county’s swelling homeless population, he pays special attention to the underpasses and embankments near freeways.

Those areas became a subject of great interest and conflict after U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered city and county officials to provide space in shelters or alternative housing for residents living near freeway overpasses, underpasses and ramps. Once there is enough shelter, the agreement could pave the way for law enforcement to enforce anti-camping ordinances.

The order came during proceedings for a lawsuit Carter has been presiding over since March, when the advocacy group L.A. Alliance for Human Rights sued public agencies across the county, accusing them of allowing unsafe and inhumane conditions in homeless camps. Carter’s focus on the areas around freeways took many homeless advocates and government officials by surprise.

Many who could be forced to move said they were leery of going into temporary shelters, tiny prefab houses or sanctioned camping sites, because they felt confined by rules that prevented them from leaving after certain hours and put them in shared spaces that they would otherwise avoid.

And those coordinating where people living near freeways go next — the homeless service providers and outreach workers— say that the order will lead to needless confrontation between law enforcement and people living on the streets. They also say politicians’ attempts to comply with the judge’s desires focus far too much on interim housing options and will come at the expense of more permanent solutions...
More, and don't miss the great photos.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Workers Resist the Return to Work

My son quit his job at a mall retail store for health reasons. The business is a cramped jewelry store, and despite my son's repeated inquiries, he never received a formal statement on the company's COVID guidelines. There was nothing about lining up customers outside, limiting the numbers of shoppers at a time, or what not, besides a mask requirement. Plus, the unemployment insurance has been generous and my son's heading off to college in a couple of weeks. (He's moving onto campus, but his classes will still be mostly online --- his decision, not mine, lol).

In any case, at LAT, "Workers fear returning to work. Many are resisting the call":

A Santa Monica hotel housekeeper who works for minimum wage.

A downtown Los Angeles lawyer with a six-figure salary.

A Disneyland parking attendant who supports four sons.

A rural schoolteacher in Northern California whose husband has lung disease.

What they have in common: fear.

Also anger, confusion and frustration with California’s roller-coaster coronavirus economy — in which workplaces close and open and close again, rules for those that remain open can change by the day, and enforcement often seems lax.

Amid soaring infections and hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom this month again shut down a large swath of businesses across the state, including dine-in restaurants, bars, movie theaters, card rooms, gyms, hair salons and some offices.

Nonetheless, thousands of employees who have been furloughed or able to work from home since March are being called back to physical workplaces.

Many, especially those backed by powerful labor unions, are resisting. They cite the failure of employers over the last four months to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, even in hospitals, nursing homes, fast-food outlets, grocery stores and warehouses where workers were deemed “essential” by the state.

“Workers who never left the workplace were often not sufficiently protected,” said Laura Stock, director of the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley. “Now a lot of people have been forced to go back to work in circumstances they don’t feel are safe.”

Since March, more than 17,800 workplace complaints about COVID-19 have poured into the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, had received some 3,800 complaints as of mid-July.

Businesses are often less than forthcoming with workers about whether they have been exposed to an infected colleague, Stock said, and jurisdiction between county health departments and Cal/OSHA, which has long been underfunded, is unclear.

Furloughed employees called back to the workplace usually lose unemployment benefits if they don’t return. “It’s a terrible situation,” Stock said. “People have to choose between a paycheck and their health — not only their own health, but their health of their family and their community.”

On a corner of Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles this month, dozens of masked housekeepers and dishwashers held a lunchtime rally, waving hand-lettered signs reading, “I don’t feel safe” and “Pause reopening of hotels.”

Tesla Utterly Dominates Electric Vehicle Market

It's seems blatantly obvious, but it's only when you get down to the data and history of the EV market do you see how dominant Tesla is.

At NYT, "In Electric Car Market, It’s Tesla and a Jumbled Field of Also-Rans":

Although it has develop into the world’s most beneficial automaker, Tesla nonetheless has to determine tips on how to develop into persistently worthwhile, cut back high quality issues in its luxurious vehicles and extra rapidly flip alluring prototypes into mass-produced autos.

One space the place it hasn’t had a lot to worry about: competitors.

Over the final 12 months or so, a number of automakers, together with Audi, Jaguar and Porsche, have added heralded new fashions supposed to chop into Tesla’s electrical dominance. But they’ve barely made a dent, at the least within the United States. Sales of the Jaguar I-Pace, an electrical sport utility car much like the Tesla Model Y, have totaled simply over 1,000 this 12 months. Porsche has reported related gross sales for its electrical sedan, the Taycan.

Audi, which has grown steadily within the United States over the past decade, launched an electrical S.U.V., the E-tron, final 12 months, and gross sales have sputtered. So far this 12 months, Audi has bought just below 2,900. In many states, the automotive is marketed at costs 13 % or extra under its record value — uncommon for an Audi.

“Obviously from the numbers we’re seeing, these cars aren’t setting the world on fire,” stated Karl Brauer, an unbiased auto analyst. “It was a mistake to think that just because these cars were on the market that people were going to buy them.”

General Motors has fared considerably higher with its Chevrolet Bolt, which the corporate launched in 2016. The firm has bought over 8,000 Bolts this 12 months. Sales of the Nissan Leaf have topped 3,000.

Tesla, which doesn’t escape gross sales by nation, is clearly working at a completely different degree. State information analyzed by Cross-Sell exhibits that 56,000 new Teslas have been registered this 12 months in 23 states, together with California, Florida, New York and Texas. Analysts stated Tesla’s 50-state gross sales whole most likely exceeded 70,000 vehicles. Globally, the corporate delivered about 180,000 vehicles within the first six months of the 12 months.

Of course, electrical autos, together with Tesla’s, characterize a tiny proportion of auto gross sales, which totaled greater than 17 million within the United States final 12 months. Electrics are a larger half of the new-car market in Europe, and Tesla faces extra competitors there than within the United States, however not a lot extra. China has many homegrown electrical carmakers, however they have a tendency to make cheaper autos that don’t immediately compete with Tesla’s choices. Regardless of the market, although, E.V.s are the fastest-growing section of the auto trade.

Tesla’s dominance could be defined partially by its head begin. It has been promoting electrical vehicles in important numbers since 2012. The firm and its chief government, Elon Musk, have additionally constructed a fervent fan base that few different automakers, save maybe high-end sports activities automotive manufacturers like Porsche or Ferrari, can declare. Tesla has lengthy supplied improvements different firms are solely now attempting to match, comparable to wi-fi software program updates that may add options or repair glitches with out journeys to dealerships.

One of the largest shortcomings of competing fashions is vary — the gap an electrical automotive can go earlier than needing to be recharged. The most for the E-tron and Taycan is about 200 miles. The I-Pace and Bolt go about 235 to 260 miles. The least costly Tesla Model Three has a vary of 250 miles, and most of the corporate’s vehicles go 300 miles or extra on a single cost.

Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights, stated that the Audi, Jaguar and Porsche autos had been superior to Teslas in some methods, comparable to look, really feel and end, however that their restricted vary had postpone many patrons.

“The difference is too great for a lot of consumers to ignore,” he stated.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been slower to introduce electrical autos within the United States, the place each firms plan to begin promoting new electrical S.U.V.s subsequent 12 months. Mercedes late final 12 months delayed the introduction of its mannequin, the EQC. And BMW, which launched its i3 in 2014, has not constructed on that early begin.

That has left the sector open for Tesla, and traders have taken observe. The firm’s inventory has soared this 12 months, climbing from $510 in early January to about $1,600. The opening of a second meeting plant in China and the introduction of the Model Y have lifted optimism that Tesla will lead a international transition from gasoline-powered vehicles and vehicles to zero-emission electrical autos.

Of course, Tesla’s success is just not assured. It hasn’t reported an annual revenue since its founding in 2003. The firm has struggled to match the standard ranges of conventional automakers, and it’s spending closely on Model Y manufacturing and creating a pickup truck, a semi truck and different autos. It can be constructing a third manufacturing facility in Germany, and planning a fourth.

Its Autopilot driver-assistance system has gained widespread consideration, however its shortcomings have come below scrutiny after deadly accidents throughout its use. This month, a German courtroom dominated that Tesla had exaggerated the system’s skills and created the misunderstanding that Tesla vehicles with Autopilot may drive themselves. The firm has lengthy claimed that the information collected by its vehicles exhibits that the system makes its vehicles safer than others on the street.

Officials at Tesla didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Moreover, a stronger aggressive push might come quickly. By the top of this 12 months, Ford Motor expects to begin promoting an electrical S.U.V., the Mustang Mach-E, that’s styled to appear to be the corporate’s well-known sports activities automotive. It is promising a model of the automotive with a vary of 300 miles or extra. G.M. has stated it would provide a new Bolt with longer vary by the top of this 12 months, adopted by greater than 20 different electrical fashions over the subsequent three years.

Volkswagen subsequent 12 months will start promoting an electrical S.U.V., the ID4, which may also have a vary of 300 miles. The firm on Monday began taking orders in Europe for the ID3, a hatchback that can promote for about 10,000 euros lower than the Model 3; the automotive is just not anticipated to be bought within the United States.

And varied start-ups are elevating billions of {dollars} to problem Tesla...
Here's the Polestar:

Saturday, July 18, 2020

This Clip of Tessa Fowler is to Die For


On Twitter.

She Can Model!


Hopes for Economic Recovery Fizzle Amid Coronavirus Resurgence

I called the second California lockdown weeks ago. My wife works retail, and I suspect her employer is going back to curbside business soon, although they haven't yet. Frankly, everything else is locked down again, just like back in March.

Next, I'm predicting California colleges and universities will announce their spring 2021 classes will be all online.

We'll see.

At NYT, "A Resurgence of the Virus, and Lockdowns, Threatens Economic Recovery":

WASHINGTON — The United States economy is headed for a tumultuous autumn, with the threat of closed schools, renewed government lockdowns, empty stadiums and an uncertain amount of federal support for businesses and unemployed workers all clouding hopes for a rapid rebound from recession.

For months, the prevailing wisdom among investors, Trump administration officials and many economic forecasters was that after plunging into recession this spring, the country’s recovery would accelerate in late summer and take off in the fall as the virus receded, restrictions on commerce loosened, and consumers reverted to more normal spending patterns. Job gains in May and June fueled those rosy predictions.

But failure to suppress a resurgence of confirmed infections is threatening to choke the recovery and push the country back into a recessionary spiral — one that could inflict long-term damage on workers and businesses large and small, unless Congress reconsiders the scale of federal aid that may be required in the months to come.

The looming economic pain was evident this week as big companies forecast gloomy months ahead and government data showed renewed struggles in the job market. A weekly census survey on Wednesday showed 1.3 million fewer Americans held jobs last week than the previous week. A new American Enterprise Institute analysis from of shopper traffic to stores showed business activity had plunged in the second week of July, in part from renewed virus fears.

Amazon on Wednesday extended a work-from-home order for eligible employees from October to January, and Delta Air Lines said on Tuesday it was cutting back plans to add flights in August and beyond, citing flagging consumer demand.

The nation’s biggest banks also warned this week that they are setting aside billions of dollars to cover anticipated losses as customers fail to pay their mortgages and other loans in the months to come.

May and June will prove to be “easy” in terms of recovery, Jennifer Piepszak, the chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase, said during an analyst call on Tuesday. “We’re really hitting the moment of truth, I think, in the months ahead,” she said.

Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief executive, said much of the economic pain had been blunted by federal spending, which was now running out. “You will see the effect of this recession,” he said.

Some companies that used small-business loans to retain or rehire workers are now beginning to lay off employees as those funds run out while business activity remains depressed. Expanded benefits for unemployed workers, which research shows have been propping up consumer spending throughout the spring and early summer, are scheduled to expire at the end of July, while more than 18 million Americans continue to claim unemployment.

Many states are already renewing lockdowns, including California, where officials have ordered indoor bars, restaurants, gyms and other establishments to close. College sports conferences are beginning to cancel fall sports, including the lucrative football season, and concert tours are out of the picture.

“The earlier-than-anticipated resumption in activity has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the virus spread in many areas,” Lael Brainard, a Federal Reserve governor, said on Tuesday. “Even if the virus spread flattens, the recovery is likely to face headwinds from diminished activity and costly adjustments in some sectors, along with impaired incomes among many consumers and businesses.”

Most economists abandoned hope for a “V-shaped” recovery long ago. Now they are warning of an outright reversal, with mounting job losses and business failures. And this time, much of the damage is likely to be permanent.

“Our assumption has to be that we’re going into re-lockdown in the fall,” said Karl Smith, the vice president of federal policy at the conservative Tax Foundation in Washington.

Until recently, Mr. Smith said, he had been pushing administration officials and members of Congress to begin phasing out an extra $600 per week for unemployed workers — perhaps replacing it with an incentive payment for Americans who return to work — and to shift spending toward tax incentives.

The last two weeks of coronavirus data changed his mind. He is now calling for another large economic rescue package from Washington, including extending the enhanced unemployment benefits, offering more aid to small businesses and perhaps sending another round of stimulus checks to American households.

When a Woman Strips Down for You That First Time

At Drunken Stepfather, "ON/OFF OF THE DAY":
One of the most glorious events when getting with a woman, not that you’d know, is when she strips down for the first time to let you know whether her padded bra has been lying to you, or if her padded bra has been hiding her epic tits….same goes for her ass and really everything else about her because the stripping down is the fastest way to the truth, or in this era the “near” truth because they all have fakes asses, tits, stomachs, etc….

Either way, the on/off is the big reveal…and for someone like me who like seeing every girl naked, it’s good…
Click for the photos.

Alex Biston's Saturday Forecast

Here's the lovely Ms. Alex, at CBS News 2 Los Angeles:

I Should've Posted This on Fourth of July

She'll get you shooting off your bottle rockets, lol.

Arielle Red-Pilled

She tweets about taking the red pill a lot.

And other stuff:

Latinos Now the Majority at the University of California

This seems, umm, anticlimactic.

And Michelle Malkin's got the rejoinder:

Democrats Encourage Race Hatred? Who Knew?

At the Other McCain, "White Lives Don’t Matter: Democrats Encourage Murderous Racial Hatred":
#BlackLivesMatter is a racial hate movement promoted by Democrats who believe that it will help them win elections. The essential message of the movement’s propaganda is that all white people are evil racist oppressors. If any white person dares object to this hateful message, his objection will be cited as proof that he is a racist. The wave of criminal violence inspired by #BlackLivesMatter is not an accidental consequence of this propaganda; violent crime is the desired result because Democrats have embraced a radical “worse is better” mentality. The worse conditions become in the black community, the more motivativation there will be for black voters to go to the polls in November, and (because Democrats always get about 95% of the black vote) this increase in turnout will mean that Democrats win more elections...
Still more.

Andrew Sullivan to Revive 'The Dish'

I wondered where he was going to wind up. The editors told him not to publish a few weeks back.

Sully had a piece up two Fridays ago, and this yesterday, "See You Next Friday: A Farewell Letter":

What has happened, I think, is relatively simple: A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me, and, in a time of ever tightening budgets, I’m a luxury item they don’t want to afford. And that’s entirely their prerogative. They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media. That, to the best of my understanding, is why I’m out of here...
RTWT and stay tuned!

Democrats Could Take Both Chambers of Congress

I suppose I should be picking it up with my own election analyses, but it's not been a normal election year, obviously. I've seen journalists dropping the "tsunami" word lately, suggesting the November elections will be a tidal wave washing all of the GOP incumbents out to sea.

You'd think so, actually. This is looking like the best year for Democrats I can remember, like ever.

In any case, at LAT, "As Trump sinks, he’s pulling down the Republican Senate, too":

CRANBERRY ISLES, Maine —  President Trump’s faltering reelection campaign increasingly is dragging on the Republican Senate, giving Democrats their best hope in more than a decade of winning control of both houses of Congress as well as the White House.

Democrats now threaten Republican Senate incumbents in Georgia, Iowa and Montana — states that had seemed reliably red — in addition to Colorado and Arizona, where Democrats have had the advantage for months, and Maine, where GOP Sen. Susan Collins is facing the toughest election in her long career.

The challengers have been swamping Republican rivals in fundraising and moving ahead in polls, leading independent analysts to dial up their assessment of the Democrats’ chances.

“After Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016, there’s a temptation to avoid making political projections,” wrote Nathan Gonzales, a nonpartisan analyst and editor of Inside Elections. “But one election result shouldn’t cause us to ignore the data. And right now, the preponderance of data points to a great election for Democrats, including taking control of the Senate.”

New campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week show that most Democratic Senate challengers out-raised their GOP rivals in the last three months — some by as much as 3 to 1.

In Georgia, where both Senate seats are up, polls have tightened so much that the Trump campaign and other GOP committees have begun advertising in a state that hasn’t backed a Democrat for president or Senate in more than 20 years.

Even worse for incumbent Republicans: Their fate is largely in the president’s hands. The Trump-dominated political environment, turned sour for his party by his handling of the coronavirus crisis and the nationwide protests over racism, has essentially made the Senate’s state-by-state contests a single, nationalized campaign.

Republicans currently control the Senate 53 to 47. Democrats need a net gain of four seats for a majority, or three if Joe Biden wins the presidency. When the Senate is split 50-50, the vice president is the tiebreaker.

But Democratic ambitions have grown larger: Biden said this week he could see his party winning 55 seats. Many Republicans fear that could happen.

“Panic is gripping the Senate races,” said Rob Stutzman, a California Republican political strategist who is a vocal Trump critic. “A lot of candidates are in a really, really tough spot.”

One sign of how nationalized the Senate races have become: An analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics finds that a record 69% of money contributed to Senate candidates now comes from outside their states. That’s up from 59% in 2018, as donors across the country are treating individual races as a referendum on Trump and GOP control of the Senate.

Nowhere is the national profile of a race as high as here in Maine. Sara Gideon, the speaker of the state House who won the Democratic primary Tuesday, stands to gain about $4 million raised in a national fundraising drive for the benefit of whichever Democrat won the nomination to challenge Collins.

The incumbent is a rare Republican with a record of supporting abortion rights, but her vote to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite his opposition to abortion rights has drawn donations and attention to her race from coast to coast.

“We are following all the campaigns where there is a chance of tipping a seat to Democrats,” said Sonia Cairns, an 80-year-old Minneapolis retiree who is planning to donate to Gideon. “Of course I need to know more about Sara Gideon, but I want a Democrat to win that Senate seat.”

A Center for Responsive Politics analysis by senior researcher Doug Weber found that both parties saw a surge in out-of-state giving, but it was more pronounced for Democrats. Republicans pulled in 64% of their contributions from out of state; for Democrats it was 72%.

A big money advantage built on out-of-state support can be a shaky political foundation, warned Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the center.

“It’s great to raise money, but only voters can cast ballots,” she said...

Thursday, July 16, 2020


She's gained weight. Not just recently, mind you. But she's bigger than she used to be.

Can the Republican Party Survive?

I've thought about this, especially in light of the "Never Trump" movement.

But nah. We have a two-party system. It's awfully hard for another party to come along and just bump off one of the two major parties we now have. Ross Perot has a chance, but made a huge a strategic mistake by pulling out of the race in early summer 1992. I mean, the dude still went on to win 20 percent of the national popular vote. Bill Clinton won that year with just 43 percent nationwide.

It's hard to knock off the top two. It take an enormous grassroots groundswell.

I suspect the current GOP will lose a few presidential elections and then try to reform into a liberal-progressive party, something along the lines of the old Rockefeller Republicans, or even the Republicans of the Bush Dynasty. Just writing this makes me cringe, since some Republicans have already tried that and got crushed (Jeb Bush, blech.)

In any case, at Yahoo, "Trump’s Party Cannot Survive in a Multiracial Democracy":

It was 15 years ago this week that the Republican Party almost took an exit ramp on the long, dark highway from Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy to Donald Trump’s white nationalism.

On July 14, 2005, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman stood before the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and issued a mea culpa. “By the ’70s and into the ’80s and ’90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African-American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out,” Mehlman said. “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”

Mehlman went on to make a case that Democrats were taking Black voters for granted and that Republicans offered policies, on school choice and more, that could help Black families. As President George W. Bush’s emissary, he had some credibility. Bush had won about 4 in 10 Hispanic votes and had recently appointed Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, succeeding Colin Powell. After Barack Obama, they remain the two highest-ranking Blacks in federal government history.

Weeks later, the exit ramp that Bush and Mehlman had envisioned was washed away by Hurricane Katrina. Government incompetence and inaction (sound familiar?) led to harrowing results for hundreds of thousands along the Gulf Coast. New Orleans was the epicenter of failure, neglect and suffering. The federal abandonment of a majority-Black city made a travesty of Republican political outreach.

Yet even that wasn’t the last chance. In 2008, the party nominated Senator John McCain for president. McCain, like Bush, represented a heavily Hispanic state in the Southwest. In a 2002 memoir, McCain had excoriated himself for pretending, while campaigning in South Carolina in 2000, that he didn’t consider the Confederate flag offensive.

Given the fallout from Bush’s cataclysmic failures, McCain didn’t have much of a chance. But he made things worse — subverting his campaign by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. By 2010, the Palinized GOP was waging a race-based culture war while its congressional leaders indulged racist tropes about the first Black president.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the Republican Party seemed eager to shed its racist baggage. By the second decade, it was adding to its stock.

John Pitney, a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College, has examples of Republican National Committee “outreach” to Blacks going back four decades. “When I was working at the RNC, Lee Atwater established an Outreach Division,” said Pitney, referring to the legendary South Carolina political operative who had helped George H.W. Bush win the White House. “It was an expensive flop. Among other things, African-American activists remembered the 1988 campaign and blamed him for exploiting racial fears over the crime issue.”

Despite decades of failure, the exit ramp seems always there for the taking. In 2013, the RNC produced an “autopsy” of the party’s loss in 2012, which called for the GOP to become more inclusive. “The pervasive mentality of writing off blocks of states or demographic votes for the Republican Party must be completely forgotten,” it stated. The Tea Party wing of the party rebelled; the report was denounced.

In 2016, Republican voters got yet another chance. They could’ve voted for Jeb Bush, John Kasich or Marco Rubio, each of whom offered a vision of a party capable of growing beyond its white nationalist base. Instead, they chose a candidate enthusiastically endorsed by former Klansman David Duke. “Smart GOP politicians have longed for the exit ramps, but GOP primary voters always insist that they stay on the road to perdition,” Pitney said.

How many more exit ramps do Republicans get? As Ronald Brownstein points out in a data-driven essay on Trump’s “neo-Nixonian” 2020 campaign: “Americans today are far more racially diverse, less Christian, better educated, more urbanized, and less likely to be married. In polls, they are more tolerant of interracial and same-sex relationships, more likely to acknowledge the existence of racial discrimination, and less concerned about crime.”

What Brownstein describes is an American enlightenment that viscerally rejects Republican resentment and chauvinism. The GOP embrace of Trump has further narrowed the party’s already restricted access to the growing segments of the American electorate. It is deeply unpopular among voters under 40 who will determine the future of the U.S. ...
Still more, FWIW.

Monday, July 13, 2020

California Braces for Hard Times

And we were doing so well too!

At NYT, "California, After Riding a Boom, Braces for Hard Times":

OAKLAND, Calif. — When California shut down its economy in March, it became a model for painful but aggressive action to counter the new coronavirus. The implicit trade-off was that a lot of upfront pain would help slow the spread, allowing the state to reopen sooner and more triumphantly than places that failed to act as decisively.

But the virus had other plans, and now the state’s economy is in retrenchment mode again. For the nation, this means that an important center of its output — a magnet of summer tourism and home to the technology and entertainment industries along with the world’s busiest port operation — is unlikely to regain momentum soon when growth is needed most

For the state, it means a progressive agenda predicated on the continuation of good times will be hampered as governments move from expansion to cuts. Voters had mostly been open to paying for expanding services and priorities like affordable housing, but they seem to be turning wary of new taxes.

California has always been a boom-and-bust economy, so while nobody was predicting a global pandemic that would tear through the service sector, the prospect of struggle was not unforeseen. Jerry Brown, the four-term governor, left office in 2018 with a multibillion-dollar state surplus and unemployment headed to a record low. But instead of departing on a triumphant high note, he said after his final budget presentation, “What’s out there is darkness, uncertainty, decline and recession.”

His more upbeat successor, Gov. Gavin Newsom, came in promising to expand health care and tackle the state’s homeless problem. Yet in his inaugural speech, Mr. Newsom warned, “Even in a booming economy, there is a sense that things are not as predictable as they once were.”

Indeed. Unemployment, which was 3.9 percent in February, the lowest on record, shot up to 16.3 percent by May, compared with 13.3 percent nationwide. Container traffic at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is down about a third from a year ago, while many beaches and attractions like Disneyland were closed on July Fourth and are delaying their reopening plans. Most dispiriting is the sense that even after politicians made tough calls that Californians largely supported, the economy seems no better off.

Andrew Snow was supposed to be ramping up by now. Mr. Snow, who owns the Golden Squirrel, a restaurant and bar in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, cut his staff of 28 people to two after the pandemic hit. But thanks to takeout orders, a new line of business selling groceries and the resumption of outdoor service, he recently brought two back, and was set to bump that figure to six or eight by the July Fourth weekend.

A few weeks ago, those plans seemed sound. Back then, on the sunny Friday afternoon when outdoor dining in Alameda County was allowed to resume, the Golden Squirrel’s patio tables, about eight feet apart, were full of patrons enjoying their first trip out for a drink since shelter-in-place orders took effect. That weekend the surrounding College Avenue retail strip was busy with masked, distanced, Purell-doused dining that to many felt borderline decadent after months of being cooped up.

Now business is slowing again, as California is averaging about 8,000 new cases a day, about triple the level a month ago. Mr. Snow’s plans to bring back workers over the holiday weekend didn’t come to pass, and he has put further hiring on hold.

“People are scared,” he said in an interview. “The math for having more people doesn’t work out anymore.”

Exactly how and how quickly the state should have reopened, and who is to blame for the backslide, are unlikely to ever be resolved. What the result means for the economy is more time in the dark, more need among the poorest citizens and more drain on the taxes required to support them.

The U.C.L.A. Anderson Forecast, which has been prognosticating California’s economic trajectory since 1952, expects that the state and national economies won’t fully recover until “well past 2022.” In the state as in the nation, the worst declines will be in the leisure and hospitality industries, while higher-wage areas like technology will be better off, a dynamic that will make financial inequality worse.

Even if the country avoids a second wave of infections in the fall, and a vaccine is made and distributed relatively quickly, that won’t keep many businesses from failing. Others will shift from investing in new equipment and employees to paying debt and shoring reserves. State and local budgets could take years to recover their pre-coronavirus levels of spending, even with federal help.

“The impacts will disproportionately affect lower-income Californians, while the more rapid growth will be happening in technology and construction, which are higher income,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, director of the U.C.L.A. Anderson Forecast.

The longer the pandemic’s disruption, the more likely it is that some jobs will never come back. For instance, a number of restaurants had already switched to counter service, even for fairly high-end meals, to avoid the need for servers who have a hard time affording housing in big cities. Now virtually every restaurant in California is operating around counter service or delivery, and some may not change back...
Still more.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Trump at Mount Rushmore

At WSJ, "Progressives deride his defense of America’s founding principles":

"At Mt. Rushmore, Trump uses Fourth of July celebration to stoke a culture war."

— Los Angeles Times

"Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message."

New York Times

"Trump pushes racial division, flouts virus rules at Rushmore."

Associated Press

"At Mount Rushmore, Trump exploits social divisions, warns of ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ in dark speech ahead of Independence Day."

— Washington Post
President Trump delivered one of the best speeches of his Presidency Friday evening at Mount Rushmore, and for evidence consider the echo-chamber headlines above. The chorus of independent media voices understands that Mr. Trump is trying to rally the country in defense of traditional American principles that are now under radical and unprecedented assault.

Dark? In most respects Mr. Trump’s speech was a familiar Fourth of July ode to liberty and U.S. achievement that any President might have delivered in front of an American landmark. “No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America. And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation,” he said.

Contrary to the media reporting, the America Mr. Trump described is one of genuine racial equality and diversity. He highlighted the central ideal of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” As he rightly put it, “these immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom” that included the abolition of slavery more than a half century later.

Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. also believed this to be true, and Mr. Trump cited them both, as he did other American notables black and white, historic and more recent. There was not a hint of racial division in his words except for those who want to distort their meaning for their own political purposes. In any other time this paean to American exceptionalism would have been unexceptional.

But this year even Mr. Trump’s speech backdrop, Mount Rushmore with its four presidential faces, is politically charged. Each of those Presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt—is under assault for ancient sins against modern values, as progressives seek to expunge their statues and even their names from American life. Mr. Trump’s great offense against the culturally ascendant progressives was to defend these presidential legacies.

Divisive? Mr. Trump’s speech was certainly direct, in his typical style. But it was only divisive if you haven’t been paying attention to the divisions now being stoked on the political left across American institutions. Mr. Trump had the temerity to point out that the last few weeks have seen an explosion of “cancel culture—driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.”

Describing this statement of fact as “divisive” proves his point. Newspaper editors are being fired over headlines and op-eds after millennial staff revolts. Boeing CEO David Calhoun last week welcomed the resignation of a communications executive for opposing—33 years ago when he was in the military—women in combat. The Washington Post ran an op-ed this weekend urging that the name of America’s first President be struck from Washington and Lee University.

Any one of these events would be remarkable, but together with literally thousands of others around the country they represent precisely what Mr. Trump describes—a left-wing cultural revolution against traditional American values of free speech and political tolerance. And he called for Americans not to cower but to oppose this assault...
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