Archive of Articles for July, 2020

Friday Talking Points -- One-Third Of U.S. Economy Disappears

[ Posted Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 17:57 UTC ]

Let's all keep our eyes on the ball, shall we? The ball, in this case, being the fact that we just suffered the worst economic quarter ever. The gross domestic product dropped by 32.9 percent, or just shy (0.4 points) of one-third. This loss is three times bigger than the worst quarter ever previously measured. New unemployment claims were up again for the second week in a row, perhaps foreshadowing a "double-dip" recession, or even an actual depression.

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A National Day Of Mourning

[ Posted Thursday, July 30th, 2020 – 14:20 UTC ]

This is going to be a very short column, because today is a national day of mourning the loss of a civil rights giant, John Lewis -- and I do not wish to detract from this at all.

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Rampant GOP Incompetence On Full Display

[ Posted Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 – 17:07 UTC ]

Rampant Republican incompetence is now on full display in Washington, once again taking center stage as multiple deadlines approach and measures meant to provide some sort of safety net during the most dire medical emergency in the past 100 years are running out. What's astonishing is that their very incompetence right now might just guarantee that the GOP loses control of the Senate in November -- the very chamber which cannot now get its legislative act together. In other words, it might be an entirely appropriate consequence.

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Trump's Fauci Envy

[ Posted Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 – 16:00 UTC ]

President Donald Trump just finished giving a press briefing, ostensibly about the coronavirus pandemic, and in the short question period that followed, gave the most pathetic "poor me" performance I've ever seen a president give. Why, Trump mused, is Dr. Anthony Fauci so gosh-darned popular, and why am I not? That sounds like an oversimplification or snarky version of what the president said, but it's really not. If anything, it's an understatement. I don't have the actual transcript yet, so I can't reproduce Trump's actual phrasing. But I will certainly be seeking it out later today, because it truly was the most whiny display of envy ever seen from a presidential podium.

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99 Days And Counting

[ Posted Monday, July 27th, 2020 – 16:03 UTC ]

In less than 100 days, America will vote. In other words, there is finally a light at the end of this long and dark tunnel we've all been going through. And unless things drastically change for the worse, that light might shine very bright indeed.

Pretty much every poll under the sun now shows Democrats with the upper hand in the campaign. Joe Biden is doing better -- at both the national level and the state level -- than either of Barack Obama's winning years, as well being better positioned than Hillary Clinton was the last time around. In fact, Biden's poll numbers across the Electoral College are now higher than Obama or Clinton ever reached at any point in their respective campaigns. Public opinion of the coronavirus and President Donald Trump's pitifully inadequate reaction to it has hardened like cement. No wonder he's trying a new tactic ("OK, I'll pretend like I care about it for a week, how's that?") and reversing course on his disastrously self-centered plan for his big convention speech. And it's now looking like he won't be able to hold any rallies at all for the foreseeable future, especially when you consider that the hardest-hit areas of the country right now are either solidly Republican or the battleground states Trump's going to need. No rallies means depriving Trump's massive ego of the attention it so desperately craves.

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Friday Talking Points -- Trump Forced To Reverse Course

[ Posted Friday, July 24th, 2020 – 18:10 UTC ]

President Donald Trump does not like being told what to do. To be fair, very few people ever do. But Trump usually goes his own way and blows off those telling him he must do this or mustn't do that, and things have generally worked out for him in the end anyway. This week, however, was markedly different.

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Republicans In Disarray

[ Posted Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 – 16:34 UTC ]

That's a fun headline to write, mostly because the flip side of: "Democrats In Disarray" has now become an actual cliché, due to its overuse by the media (especially when the facts don't actually justify its use). But at this point, even just calling what the Grand Old Party is going through "disarray" is being polite. "Meltdown" might come closer to the truth.

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Democrats Should Demand This Easy Fix

[ Posted Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 – 16:45 UTC ]

New York's recent primary election uncovered a problem with mail-in voting that (thankfully) has a very easy fix. Democrats in Congress who are now just beginning negotiations with Senate Republicans and the White House over the next coronavirus relief bill should take note of this problem and proactively fix it -- not just for New York, but for all the states. Thankfully, unlike a lot of voting problems, the fix for this one comes relatively cheap. In a bill whose total cost will likely be between $1 trillion and $3 trillion, fixing this problem is no more than the equivalent of finding some spare change in the couch cushions. So it really shouldn't even be all that hard to achieve.

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One Man Could Guarantee A Biden Win

[ Posted Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 – 16:44 UTC ]

It's a bit early for one of my "summer daydream" columns, as I usually wait until the silly season in August when Congress decamps for the entire month (and political pundits are left with some mighty thin gruel to report on), but since Trump took office the silly season has really expanded to 365 days a year, when you think about it. So I'm going to engage in some pure blue-sky speculation today, because this one thought has been bouncing around the back of my brain for a few weeks now.

There is one man who might just be able to guarantee that Joe Biden wins the November election. Because I really think all it would take would be if Dr. Anthony Fauci were either fired or got so fed up with the political smear job the White House has actively been pursuing against him that he handed in his resignation. If Fauci then publicly announced his full-throated endorsement of Joe Biden for president, I think the race would be all but over.

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Not The Hardest Test

[ Posted Monday, July 20th, 2020 – 16:46 UTC ]

Watching President Donald Trump get interviewed by Chris Wallace on yesterday's Fox News Sunday was certainly instructive (and that's being as polite as I possibly can be). Not only did Trump display a staggering ignorance of the basic facts of the coronavirus pandemic crisis currently unfolding right before everyone's eyes, he also exhibited the same staggering level of ignorance on any number of subjects. Amusingly, Wallace fact-checked the president right to his face on several of these, which didn't exactly put Trump in a good light. But the most laughable thing Wallace exposed was Trump's continuing insistence that a mental acuity test he took a few years back was some sort of measure of his great intelligence. Wallace, as politely as he could manage, begged to differ: "It's not the hardest test."

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