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    • Here was my neighborhood last night
      Because the family of a mentally ill Philadelphia man holding a knife called for an ambulance, and the cops showed up. They claim he “charged” them and they shot and killed him. The mental health unit is a pilot program and isn’t paid to work on the weekends. Protesters didn’t do this, looters did. (Maybe … Continue reading Here was my neighborhood last nigh […]
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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
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So I’m home. The antibiotics had no effect. It looks like I have a hypersensitivity reaction. That’s what they tested yesterday while I was writing the last post with a massive dose of Benadryl. So many unforced errors. Oh well, it’s out there and my noggin is too fuzzy to edit it now.

So, what is everyone up to?

The best reason to not for Trump

Now that the reality distortion field of the RNC convention is over, let’s put together a list of the best reasons to not vote for Trump.

My best reason is all about the pandemic. Coronavirus has confirmed what many of us suspected about Donald. He’s not capable of assessing a serious problem like this because he doesn’t know enough science and he doesn’t trust the experts. Many Americans also don’t know enough science and don’t trust the experts but most people are not president. The job of the president is to understand and to lead.

I could go on for days on his his massive screw up of the pandemic has affected everyone’s lives. I’ve been WFH since March and consider myself lucky. I know people who have been laid off and whose businesses have been damaged. The economy is not that healthy. The STOCK MARKET looks healthy but it’s most likely being propped up my the billions Steve Mnuchin grabbed from the stimulus bill. That will give people the illusion of safety but it can’t last because when your economy is this damaged and people stop spending money, as they soon will, the market is going to feel it.

As a former researcher with more than the average bear’s knowledge of the immune system, the way this administration has handled infection control should be considered a crime against humanity. The way he treated the first infected blue states was unconscionable. How he failed to see that the virus couldn’t be confined to Acelaland, Cascadia and Michigan defies comprehension. It speaks volumes about how the White House is run. No one dares to tell him straight to his face that he’s wrong or not thinking things through.

His interference with the CDC and now the FDA is alarming. I have decided not to get a vaccine until the Biden administration’s FDA approves one. That’s not because I’m anti-vaccine. It’s that I don’t trust Trump to not rush something to approval before it’s completely ready. It’s really important that we test it as thorough you as possible even if that means taking a little extra time.

He’s not leading by example. Last night, he had 1500 people crowded onto the WH lawn for his Nuremberg speech. They were not tested and even though this was an open air venue, they were sitting too close for too long a time for safety. His recklessness is going to encourage others to let down their guard as well. And here I am in the third day of my IV antibiotics and the third day I’ve been wearing a mask 24/7. I figure if the staff is wearing their masks, I’m going to wear mine.

But it’s really difficult for me to reason with people who see a president and his droogies going to campaign events without their masks. There will be cases in their wake. Lots of illnesses that didn’t have to happen.

I’m lucky to live in a state where the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and Health Commissioner have kept the infection rates on a downward swing. It hasn’t been easy. In July, Allegheny county got a spike that took over a month to bend the curve back down to less than 20 cases per day. This is a swing state with two major metropolitan centers on our “coasts” and a whole swath of belligerent lunkheads in between.

I have no patience with people who say, “It’s all so confusing”, “People aren’t really getting that sick”, “not all of those deaths are from Covid, they died because they were already sick” or the ubiquitous “I don’t know who to believe. All the media say different things”. That last one is utter bullshit. Fox News was out of the gate spreading misinformation that seemed to stick. But the rest of the media was remarkably consistent. It is a new virus so our understanding is evolving. But the information from everywhere except Fox, Limbaugh, OAN, has converged on a unified field theory of infection control. Not only that but it is consistent with international reporting.

Here’s the bottom line: this pandemic is out of control. The access to deaths and other data reporting has been high jacked by the administration. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not out there and as time goes on, more and more of us will know people who were very sick or died from this virus. We have millions of people out of work, millions of children learning from home or from a parking lot with access to a WiFi, millions of people on the brink of losing their housing, the prospect of more crime caused by desperate people and a Congress that is not working to resolve this problem because Mitch McConnell is tied at the hip to Donald Trump. I suspect they will put the country in a thumbscrew until they get what they want. I think that thing is your social security and Medicare.

I’d love to be wrong but I’ve learned by now to never underestimate the incompetence, ruthlessness, callousness and duplicity of this administration and its Republican enablers. How ANY Republican base voter can still vote for these people is complete mystery to me. There has been a lot of emphasis in the past 4 days at the RMC about safety and security. That’s for the suburban security moms. Pretty ballsy to try to blame your opponent for something that happened on your watch but that’s a different reason to not vote for Donald.

When it comes right down to it, Trump’s mishandling of the virus, getting us banned from Europe and having others are ping the world watching in with horror, and putting our livelihoods at risk are is the best reasons I can think of to get Trump out. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Almost anyone could do a better job

Oh Laura

Lucinda Williams:

A quick word on where I’ll be

Hi guys,

I had surgery a few weeks ago. It went well except for one little thing. I’ll be back in the hospital for a couple days for some IV antibiotics. Hopefully, this will be just a minor setback.

The cuisine here doesn’t get a star. It’s pretty tasteless, which BiFF says may make me think I have Covid. (I don’t.)

Anyway, send good food thoughts if you can’t send food.

Later taters.

The food here really sucks is suboptimal.

And there’s no pool.


If I know what a person is thinking, and I don’t like what they’re thinking, I’d be nutz to vote for them for an office as important as this one.

That is doubly important if what they’re thinking is dangerous, unjust or unlikely to benefit most of the people I know. Maybe Republicans have lower standards.

Just sayin’.

PSA: Have a vote plan. Here are the options in Pennsylvania

In PA, starting this year, voters have the option to vote by mail. You do not need an excuse or a witness to do this. All you need to do is register for a mail ballot at pavoterservices.

To vote in the general election, you have until October 19, 2020 to register. In order to receive your ballot by mail, you must request a mail in ballot by October 27, 2020.

Voting by mail begins on September 14, 2020. Voters are advised to return their ballots as early as possible by mail or by dropping off the completed ballot at your local county Board of Elections. In Pittsburgh, that’s located downtown (or dahntahn) at:

542 Forbes Ave #601, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

The state has allowed for ballots to be accepted up to 3 days after Election Day due to the current postal service slowdowns.

So, what if you get your mail in ballot but you don’t trust the postal system? You have the option to go to your regular polling place and ask to cast your ballot on the machines. The poll worker will take your mail in ballot and destroy it. Then you can vote by machine.

What if your ballot never came in the mail or you lost it? You can still vote in the election at your polling place by filling out a provisional ballot.

In both cases, the integrity of the ballots is preserved. No one can vote more than once.

Do not collect ballots for other people.

My plan:

This year, I plan to fill out my ballot early and will hand deliver it to the board of elections. There’s a parking crater not too far from my destination and it’s a nice walk. If my ballot doesn’t arrive, I will cast a provisional ballot at my regular polling place on November 3. Since I work from home, I can do this during lunch. The polling place is just down the hill.

Do you have a plan?

The RNC Boggart

The reviews of the first night of the RNC convention are in and they’re not pretty, friends, not pretty at all.

Yes, the Republicans have had a grip on our junk for the last four years and yet it’s the Democrats who are at fault for all the bad things that are happening. You’ve got to wonder why the party that claims to be full of tough guys and projects strength as the most important virtue could be so lame at running a country.

The best review I’ve read so far is Robin Givhan’s at WaPo. Her review focused on the style elements of the RNC convention presentations and speakers. She starts with a critique of both parties’ role calls that looked like this:

It was Trumpian politics as television. And it was dismal.

Each state’s chairman or representative appeared in front of the same bland backdrop decorated with the hashtag #RNC2020. The camera’s framing trapped each speaker in an uninspiring rectangle. The only reminder that the Republicans were live from a Charlotte ballroom were the disembodied cheers that would periodically erupt in the background — perfunctory, desperate noise from a greatly reduced throng.

The view of each speaker’s face was so uncomfortably intimate that you could see the perspiration shining on one forehead after another. You could tell how close people shave and how diligently they floss. And frankly, it just seemed to be a cruel and unnecessary act to put these civics die-hards under such a high-definition microscope.

But then, the longer the roll call ticked on, the more you realized that the Republicans had no interest in putting a gloss on their proceedings. They were reveling in the sweaty urgency of their law-and-order, build-a-wall, liberty-and-justice-for-me message. It was just fine that man after man after man after man felt very comfortable expounding on the sanctity of a fetus without mentioning the well-being and autonomy of the woman who carries it.

Other than that, it was American Carnage, the Sequel and the dawning realization that they’ve done nothing to make things better in four years. If anything, the protests, unemployment, growing desperation, and persistent plague they have allowed to flourish on their watch have only made things worse. It’s hard to believe any organization would take pride in screwing things up this badly and then offer nothing but barricading Americans in their homes with guns and prayers as the remedy.

That’s all you got??

It’s like the boggart scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The boggart emerges from its wardrobe but instead of making the fear and panic ridiculous, Republicans turn it into the creature from Alien, complete with oozing socialism and black skin armor.

This was the chaos and dark that Biden referred to last week. It’s a cacophony of fear, confusion, lies, projection and anxiety. If it’s so bad out there, why didn’t Republicans do something about it? They’ve had the time and money. Lots of money.

Oh, also, black people and forward thinking people who want to get s}#% done are the enemies.

Yeah, “Ridiculous!”


Here’s a curiosity:

I listen to news on the TuneIn app on my iPhone. For about a month, there was a constant barrage of Trump ads. The most played one was the voice mailbox of the local police station. If you haven’t heard it, it’s all about YOUR emergency and the police department getting back to you in a week.

But in the last two weeks , they’ve all disappeared and I’ve heard nothing but Biden ads. I don’t know what to attribute that to. Does TuneIn target ads to listeners based on locale? If so, is Trump giving up on Western PA? Or PA in general? Is it a national phenomenon? Do they just not have enough money? Are they saving it for more annoying ads as we get closer to the election?

Anybody know? I’m not complaining. The Trump ads were irritating AF and the TuneIn streaming app is the only place I’ve been subjected to political ads from either side. I’d like to keep it that way. (No, I’m not going premium. I don’t have endless money for a zillion sunscriptions)

But the complete absence of Trump ads after weeks and weeks of that annoying Police ad is … weird.

The root cause motivating Republican voters.

This tweet of what Trump said today is very revealing:

Yes, the goal is to drive the rest of us, particularly Democrats, crazy.

It explains the whole reason for sticking with Trump to the oh so bitter end.

The base has been conditioned to hate and fear Democrats. I’ve heard that Brian Stelter goes over this in his new book about Fox News. Fox is dedicated to being the anti-Democrat channel. It won’t matter which Democrat is elected to what office, Fox will be against them.

The two parties at this point in time couldn’t be more different. If you are properly conditioned, you will automatically support anything Trump does. There’s no limit. We could explore why the values of the two parties have diverged so much at a later time. Let’s just say that Rupert Murdoch represents some pretty powerful and entrenched interests and the values of the Democrats are not their cup of tea.

I think many in the base have lost touch with their own values and have adopted the values of the Murdoch cohort without expecting any benefit to themselves. But that’s only because they think Democrats would be ineffective or so much worse. I can’t imagine how that could be knowing the Democratic Party platform. It actually spells out what they’re for.

The Republican Party platform adopted today makes for much easier reading. The party is behind Trump and his America First agenda. I’m serious. They aren’t writing a new platform. They’re 150% behind Trump and whatever he wants to do is fine with the Republican Party.

That’s not Democracy if you’re not willing to explicitly state what you’re for and defend it. That’s more like acquiescence to a dictator. I hate to throw that word around carelessly so it is with care that I say it here. If you accept the will of your party’s leader and don’t put forth any policies for the nation to vote on, that’s a promise of dictatorship if he’s re-elected. If you can think of a different interpretation, I’m all ears.

Now we can see why we can insert any negative attribute in the poster below and the Republican Base’s response makes sense

They will accept absolutely anything as long as it’s not a Democrat. Nothing short of murder, and they can probably justify that in context, will stop them from supporting Trump. This state of mind has been 40 years in the making and it is now come to fruition. The only deal breaker is a Democrat.

I wish there was a magic spell to fix this problem but even the one I think might work is going to take more time than we have.

We must simply out vote them.

What is wrong with these cops???

Here is the video of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin yesterday.

Note that they already had their guns pointed at him as he was walking around his car. Not running, not brandishing a weapon. Just walking. Before he walked around the front of his car, they were poised and ready to kill him.

The backstory is that Blake was called to a house where two women were fighting. He had no weapon. His three children were in the car when he was shot.

Let me repeat that: his three children were in the car when he was shot.

Ok, back to the shooting. He was shot at least 6 times in the back at very close range. Why was it necessary to shoot this man in the back 6 times? Wouldn’t once have been enough?

I don’t get it. I really don’t. It’s not like we need any more protests but we’re going to get them.

Meanwhile, Blake is in the hospital in serious condition. It’s hard to believe he survived at all. His kids are probably traumatized for life.

This was stupid and cruel and unnecessary. The Kenosha police department is going to have a very hard time living this down.

They don’t have to discuss it

This should be considered when trying to pull answers from the Postmaster General:

Did this organization really have to discuss the plan with the postmaster?

They could see that the states were going with mail in voting even before the pandemic. Pennsylvania voted on it last year and Republican legislators were all for it back then. I guess their older base voters would have fewer excuses to not vote. The other possibility is there is that 2016 was a wake up call with respect to voting security. There are all kinds of reasons to distrust that outcome. With mail in voting, there were fewer opportunities for foreign actors to tinker with flipping a few votes per precinct. Hypothetically, of course. 🙄

Then the pandemic hit and there were even more good reasons to go mail in. Oregon and Washington have been doing it for years without issues. Why not try it? PA got to see the logistical problems it might encounter with the primaries. Nothing major and they got a head start in fixing it. The rest of the states can learn by example. So this should have been a no-brainer. Just get as many people, of both parties, to vote by mail.

That’s when the Trump campaign saw that they couldn’t suppress the vote this year like they intended and they needed to do something about it.

That’s probably when Mnuchin had his meeting with DeJoy about taking over the post office. The place needs an overhaul. See what you can do. There didn’t have to be any discussion of the politics. Ok, maybe they had those discussions informally, speculating, between friends. But I doubt that crime organizations are that explicit about giving orders. No one was going to say, “we want you to f{}% up the mail enough that the mail in ballots won’t get back to the board of elections in time.” Because that would be wrong.

So, DeJoy didn’t need marching orders. All he had to do was read the papers. More mail in balloting meant less voter suppression. Therefore, it needed to be logistically messed with.

How will we know if DeJoy’s appointment was made in good faith or whether there was an agenda? Well, the Senator from Nevada (I was listening so I don’t know which one) got right to the point. DeJoy’s big claim to fame is he’s a logistics expert. So did he collect data about how seniors or veterans were going to be impacted by his changes? Did he study the data at all before he started slowing things down? The answer so far appears to be “No”.

We have to ask ourselves what efficiencies we were to expect and at what cost. Because if there were no studies, then destroying the service and reputation of a public service makes no sense and that means more hearings to find out who benefitted from that.

I think we all know the answer to that without a lot of discussion.