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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,796

Journal Archives

Jaime Harrison is chasing Lindsey Graham like a cheetah running down an impala

In American politics, some candidates give their opponents a real run for their money. And then there are those candidates who lay chase like a cheetah running down an impala on the Serengeti. Two polls out of South Carolina show that Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) is the impala to the cheetah that is Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison.

An internal poll from the Harrison campaign released Monday shows that Harrison, the former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, within two percentage points of Graham, who garners 43 percent support to 41 percent for Harrison. That poll comes as a super PAC with the not-at-all-subtle title “Lindsey Must Go” revealed a survey of likely voters that shows Harrison (45 percent) within four percentage points of Graham (49 percent).

The money race isn’t even close. Harrison raised nearly $14 million in the second quarter, which is nearly double what he raised in the first quarter. Both were record hauls for the state. By comparison, Graham raised just $8.4 million in the second quarter. The incumbent senator does have a money advantage, though. Graham has $5 million more on hand than his challenger — and he’s going to need every dime of it.

Harrison shouldn’t even be competitive in South Carolina. President Trump won the Palmetto State by 14 percentage points in 2016. The last Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from South Carolina was the late Ernest F. Hollings in 1998. Yet, data from the Lindsey Must Go poll show why Harrison is seriously in the hunt against Trump’s two-faced golfing buddy. It all boils down to character.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/28/jaime-harrison-is-chasing-lindsey-graham-like-cheetah-running-down-an-impala/

I sure hope this cheetah catches this impala and does what cheetahs do.

The message behind gold's rally: The world economy is in trouble

It’s easy to forget now, but there was a time early in the pandemic when the price of gold was in free fall.

It was a curious thing, what with the coronavirus sparking a collapse in the global economy, and it would prove in time to be one of the great head-fakes in the recent history of financial markets, for the pandemic of 2020 would soon show itself to be the driving force behind one of the most ferocious rallies the gold market has ever seen. At the close of trading in New York on Friday, bullion had risen to $1,902.02 an ounce, some 30% higher than the low it hit in March and just 1% off a record high set in 2011.

The pandemic has unleashed a torrent of forces that are conspiring to fuel relentless demand for the perceived safety from turmoil that gold provides. There’s the fear of further government-ordered lockdowns, politicians’ decision to push through unprecedented stimulus packages, central bankers’ decision to print money faster than they ever have before to finance that spending, the plunge in inflation-adjusted bond yields into negative territory in the U.S., the dollar’s sudden decline against the euro and yen, and rising U.S.-China tensions.

All these things, when taken together, have even triggered concern in some financial circles that stagflation — a rare combination of sluggish growth and rising inflation that erodes the value of fixed-income investments — could take hold across parts of the developed world.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-07-26/gold-rally-global-economy

The more smack California sheriffs talk, the more they're asking to be handcuffed

There seems to be no low to which sheriffs in California won’t stoop to fight off even a modicum of oversight.

The latest example, of course, comes from L.A. County’s very own Alex Villanueva. Apparently irked by Supervisor Hilda Solis, who recently dared to point out the obvious, saying that law enforcement engages in clear patterns of race-based brutality, the sheriff questioned whether she was trying to create distrust between his department and the community.

Never mind that one of his deputies shot a Latino teenager, Andres Guardado, five times in the back last month and the sheriff is refusing to release any information.

“I don’t know,” Villanueva said of Solis, streaming live on Facebook. “Are you trying to earn the title of a La Malinche? Is that what it is?”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-27/sheriff-villanueva-andres-guardado-california-ab1185-oversight

A new tropical storm is likely to form in the Atlantic as hyperactive hurricane season continues

Source: Washington Post

There is a high chance that Isaias will form in the coming days.

Just a day after Tropical Storm Hanna dumped a foot and a half of rainfall in Texas and parts of Mexico, the tropics are roaring to life once again. A wave of low pressure meandering westward, located about halfway between Cabo Verde and the Windward Islands, is likely to develop into Tropical Storm Isaias in the coming days, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

However, forecast uncertainty regarding this storm is increasing, with a range of scenarios on the table.

The tropical North Atlantic Ocean basin has cooked up eight tropical cyclones this year, a feat ordinarily not achieved until the end of September. The season has also yielded the earliest “C,” “E,” “F,” “G,” and “H” storms on record — Cristobal, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo and Hanna. Assuming Isaias forms, it would obliterate the previous record for the earliest “I” storm, which is held by Irene, which was named Aug. 7, 2005.

Forecasts have called for this season to be unusually busy. Cooperating atmospheric circulations could help generate an increased number of storms, while anomalously warm ocean waters ― driven in part by human-induced climate change — may act to encourage those that form to become more intense.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/07/27/new-tropical-storm-is-likely-form-atlantic-hyperactive-hurricane-season-continues/

Trump wanted his Roy Cohn. In William Barr, he found his John Mitchell instead.

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” That was President Trump’s famous lament after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. But in Sessions’s eventual replacement, William P. Barr, Trump may have done even better — by his standards — than Cohn, the notoriously unscrupulous defense lawyer.

As Barr prepares to testify before the House Judiciary Committee for the first time as Trump’s attorney general, he has instead come to resemble another disgraced lawyer of the past: former attorney general John Mitchell, whose misplaced loyalty to President Richard M. Nixon outweighed the duty he owed to the Justice Department and the country.

Mitchell lied incessantly about Nixon’s role in Watergate and other misconduct, no matter the consequences — which in Mitchell’s case eventually included disbarment and prison. Barr’s long series of distorted, dishonest and false statements in defense of the president may not land him in criminal jeopardy, but they are familiar steps on that same crooked path — steps that the Judiciary Committee should press Barr to explain.

They begin with Barr’s misleading declarations about the report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in the interregnum before its release, including minimizing powerful evidence of obstruction of justice. A Republican-appointed federal judge ruled that Barr’s statements were “distorted” and showed a “lack of candor.”

I was preparing to serve as an impeachment counsel to the House Judiciary Committee at the time. As I write in a new book, my colleagues and I were astonished that Barr would sacrifice his reputation to protect Trump. Yet that episode turned out to be just the start of Barr’s service in defense of the president.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/27/trump-wanted-his-roy-cohn-william-barr-he-found-his-john-mitchell-instead/

New York has flattened its curve. The Sun Belt has been flattened by it.

The state of New York has now mandated that travelers from 22 states — including California, Florida and Texas — quarantine themselves for two weeks upon arrival. That’s quite a turnaround from late March when other states, such as Florida and Rhode Island, were the ones trying to keep New Yorkers out. Over the past three months, the Empire State has flattened the curve, while Sun Belt states have been flattened by it.

On Sunday, New York had 605 new coronavirus cases. Florida had 9,344 new cases — more than 15 times as many. California had 6,074 new cases — 10 times as many. Both Florida and California have now overtaken New York for total number of cases, although New York still leads, by far, in the total number of deaths. Its grim death toll — 32,689 and counting — should serve as a caution against celebration. New York is hardly a model; the real models are countries such as South Korea (299 total deaths) and Australia (161 total deaths).

But our misfortune was primarily not of our own devising. New York City paid a heavy price for being the most dynamic and densely populated city in the country — the No. 1 travel destination for foreign travelers in North America. Covid-19 spread far and wide before anyone knew what was really happening. As of late June, about 1 in 4 of those tested for covid-19 antibodies in New York City tested positive. To add to our misfortune, we are located in the United States of Trump rather than in a rational place such as Canada or Europe. There has been no national lockdown, no national mask mandate, no national testing-and-tracing program. States such as New York have been on their own.

Given those constraints, I’d say New York has done a laudable job of dealing with the worst public health emergency in a century. We have emulated the example of developed countries, such as Italy, France and Spain, that managed to get their pandemics under control — while the rest of the country is emulating developing countries such as Brazil, South Africa and India, where the disease continues to rampage out of control.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/27/new-york-has-flattened-its-curve-sun-belt-has-been-flattened-by-it/

A stingy new GOP plan for unemployment benefits reflects Trump's twisted vision

When Republicans broke with President Trump on mask-wearing, it was treated as a major story. Much hullabaloo ensued when Sen. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) tweeted out a picture of her father wearing a mask, and when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared: “Put on a mask — it’s not complicated.”

In so doing, Republicans appeared to be rejecting Trump’s ongoing depiction of the coronavirus crisis as something that has largely been put behind us.

But in another, equally fundamental sense, Republicans really aren’t breaking with Trump’s reading of the coronavirus crisis at all. And the consequences could be truly dire.

Senate Republicans are set to roll out their plan for the next economic rescue package. The Post team reports:
Senate Republicans will propose cutting weekly emergency unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 until states can bring a more complicated program online, according to two people familiar with the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity about details that had not yet been released.

The proposal will come as part of a broader $1 trillion relief bill aimed at stemming the economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus. Republicans plan to release the legislation later on Monday and start negotiations with Democrats. The $600 weekly jobless benefit expires in a few days, and House Democrats have proposed extending it until January because the unemployment rate remains very high.

Senate Republicans want to reduce the $600 payment to $200 until states can implement a new approach that would pay the unemployed 70 percent of the income they collected before they lost their jobs.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/27/stingy-new-gop-plan-unemployment-benefits-reflects-trumps-political-needs/

The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America

The right has made irresponsible behavior a key principle.

America’s response to the coronavirus has been a lose-lose proposition.

The Trump administration and governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis insisted that there was no trade-off between economic growth and controlling the disease, and they were right — but not in the way they expected.

Premature reopening led to a surge in infections: Adjusted for population, Americans are currently dying from Covid-19 at around 15 times the rate in the European Union or Canada. Yet the “rocket ship” recovery Donald Trump promised has crashed and burned: Job growth appears to have stalled or reversed, especially in states that were most aggressive about lifting social distancing mandates, and early indications are that the U.S. economy is lagging behind the economies of major European nations.

So we’re failing dismally on both the epidemiological and the economic fronts. But why?

On the face of it, the answer is that Trump and allies were so eager to see big jobs numbers that they ignored both infection risks and the way a resurgent pandemic would undermine the economy. As I and others have said, they failed the marshmallow test, sacrificing the future because they weren’t willing to show a little patience.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/opinion/us-republicans-coronavirus.html

Joe Biden's Vice-Presidential Pick: Who's in the Running?

Here are 13 women who have been under consideration by Mr. Biden, and why each might be chosen — and might not be.



Joseph R. Biden Jr. is nearing his rough deadline of Aug. 1 — this Saturday — for announcing a vice-presidential candidate, but there is little expectation at this point that he will stick to that timetable. His search committee has completed thorough vetting reports on several candidates and Mr. Biden said he intended to conduct personal interviews with all of the most serious contenders. That could take a while, and Mr. Biden is not exactly known for his quick decision-making process.

There is no particular sense of impatience within Mr. Biden’s campaign or the Democratic Party at large, since the current state of the presidential race is so favorable for Mr. Biden. He and his advisers see no urgent need for him to shake up the race, and few Democrats are prodding him to rush toward a vice-presidential announcement.

Still, many voters — and not only Democrats — are eager to see whom Mr. Biden selects as his chief political and governing partner in a moment of national crisis.

A few of the women have been widely recognized as formidable candidates since the start of the search, like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, while others have emerged in the public eye as serious contenders, like Senator Tammy Duckworth, Representative Karen Bass and Susan Rice, the former national security adviser.

But it is tricky to game out the prospects of each candidate when the decision is ultimately expected to be made by just one person, guided by a distinctive sense of the vice presidency and a hunger for personal chemistry with his running mate — Mr. Biden.

https://www.nytimes.com/article/biden-vice-president-2020.html

Nice summary.

How Fox News may be destroying Trump's reelection hopes

It would be a peculiarly apt form of poetic justice if the entity that has done so much to help President Trump run this country into the ground — Fox News — ends up playing an outsize role in helping destroy his chances at reelection.

Yet that may be exactly what’s happening.

This possibility is thrust upon us by two remarkable new reports: one in The Post illuminating Trump’s unsettled mental universe as he grapples with the new coronavirus surge, and one in the New York Times reporting that his law enforcement crackdowns are only accelerating more protests in response.

For Trump, Fox News has two functions: With some exceptions, it largely functions as his “shameless propaganda outlet,” as Margaret Sullivan put it, aggressively inflating his successes and faithfully pushing his messages. When Fox occasionally departs from this role, Trump rages at it as a form of deep betrayal.

Yet for precisely this reason, Fox also functions as a kind of security blanket: It persuades Trump that he’s succeeding, which provides an effective reality distortion field against outside criticism.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/27/how-fox-news-may-be-destroying-trumps-reelection-hopes/
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