Archive of Articles for April, 2020

Program Note

[ Posted Thursday, April 30th, 2020 – 15:20 UTC ]

There will be no column today, sorry. I've been trying to get the website's problems (which resulted in the site going dark on Monday morning) fully fixed, which is more complicated than it originally seemed. Hopefully, this will all be resolved soon. So far, it hasn't meant any further interruption in service [...]

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Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics

[ Posted Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 – 17:23 UTC ]

No matter how you measure it, America has failed to meet the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic even half as well as other countries around the world. Consider the fact that we only have five percent -- one-twentieth -- of the world's population, but we now have a full third of all the coronavirus cases worldwide. That one fact alone shows how badly we've done when compared to just about everybody else on the planet.

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Tara Reade Accusation Puts Democratic Voters In A Tough Spot

[ Posted Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 – 17:01 UTC ]

I find myself somewhat at a loss, when faced with the emerging scandal over Tara Reade's allegations of a sexual assault made against her in the 1990s by Joe Biden, then a sitting United States senator. The reason I have a problem with addressing the scandal is that my own personal knee-jerk reaction simply does not apply.

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Allan Lichtman's 13 Keys To The White House

[ Posted Monday, April 27th, 2020 – 17:11 UTC ]

When it comes to predicting presidential elections before the fact, however, there is one clear leader in the prediction business -- Allan Lichtman, a professor of political history at American University. He's got a system (which he outlines in "The Keys To The White House") which has an unbelievable track record, because by using his 13 "keys," he has successfully predicted the last nine presidential elections (including Trump's win). So his system is certainly worth a look, in presidential election years.

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Friday Talking Points -- Our President's Crazy, Did You Hear What He Said?

[ Posted Friday, April 24th, 2020 – 16:22 UTC ]

We have shown what we consider to be a massive amount of restraint during Donald Trump's term as president, in that we've only used that headline once previously. The line comes from a Talking Heads song ("Making Flippy Floppy") which was referencing Ronald Reagan, at the time it was written. We did consider two other headlines today: "Our National Nightmare Continues: Trump Suggests Injecting Bleach. Or Sunshine," as well as: "Stable Genius Offers Lethal Suggestions: Injecting Bleach Or Sunshine," but upon reflection we decided that the Talking Heads line was more deserved this week than ever before. Because the president is now giving people advice which, if followed, will kill them. In other words: our president's crazy, did you hear what he said?

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Trump Throws GOP Governors Under The Bus

[ Posted Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 – 17:17 UTC ]

What's a good Republican governor to do, these days? It's hard not to feel at least a little sorry for them as they try to navigate the minefield that is Donald Trump's ego. They think they're doing exactly what Trump has told them to do and then -- BOOM! -- they step on a landmine of blowback, because Trump has either changed his mind or decided to hedge his bets by taking every possible side of an issue (in the hopes that he won't be held responsible, no matter what happens). It's gotten to the point where calling Trump "mercurial" is now actually insulting to the element mercury.

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Nail Salons? Tattoo Parlors? Really?

[ Posted Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 – 16:48 UTC ]

So the grand experiment begins... with nail salons and tattoo parlors? The state of Georgia has announced that all of these establishments can reopen on Friday, part of the Republican "Damn the consequences, reopen the economy!" strategy. And you can bet all the other states will be watching to see what happens with great interest.

It all seems somewhat insane, of course. Why in the world would anyone want to put tattoo parlors at the front of the line, when getting a tattoo involves bleeding? That seems inherently risky, even riskier than hair and nail salons, which will also involve close physical contact with customers -- but at least no bloodletting.

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The Politics Of Reopening

[ Posted Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 – 17:08 UTC ]

I really can't quite believe I'm writing about this, but in the Trump era I've certainly written about a lot of other strange things I never thought would become big political issues, so just add this column to the pile, I suppose. So here we go: President Donald Trump has needlessly interjected domestic politics into a worldwide pandemic crisis, because at this point he thinks it is the only way to save his re-election effort. Republicans as a whole are going along with this cynical plan, although they're mostly doing so very quietly in the background, in the hopes the voters won't notice if it all goes spectacularly wrong. But politicizing disaster response certainly has its risks, the biggest being a huge backlash if things don't work out as hunky-dory as Trump is now predicting. But we are where we are, so let's examine the politics of reopening states too soon versus too late, because it is extremely likely that this will be a major issue come November, no matter where we happen to be as a country by that point.

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The Very Little, Very Late President

[ Posted Monday, April 20th, 2020 – 17:26 UTC ]

President Donald Trump, after week upon week of inaction, was finally convinced to make use of the Defense Production Act to coordinate the distribution of medical swabs. This will hopefully alleviate one of the bottlenecks the states have had to deal with as they attempt to ramp up testing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this step could have been taken a month earlier, which would have solved the problem when it actually developed, but for some reason Trump refused to do so until now.

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Friday Talking Points -- Testing... Testing...

[ Posted Friday, April 17th, 2020 – 17:48 UTC ]

Testing... testing... One... two... three... Is this thing on?... Hello??

We can think of no better metaphor today than a booming amplified voice addressing a dark and empty space. For reasons that should be obvious, really.

President Donald Trump is an absolute genius -- at wasting time, that is. He just essentially wasted another entire week, which can be added on to all the previous weeks he wasted, since the dawn of the coronavirus. Which definitely includes the entire month of February, by the way.

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