MY OWN PREDICTION IS THAT THE DISEASE WILL HAVE FADED BEFORE WE HAVE A USEFUL VACCINE IN USEFUL DISTRIBUTION: A Covid-19 vaccine paradox and a few related speculations.
POWER LINE: Trump’s political masterstroke. “As a political matter, Trump’s move looks like a masterstroke. Since the days of FDR, the public has always seemed to approve of presidents who act to ameliorate suffering while Congress diddles. A flurry of activity, even of the futile or potentially counterproductive kind, makes a president look energetic and caring. In this instance, Trump’s move might well force congressional Democrats to reach a deal. That outcome, too, would be a political win for the president.” Plus: “The obvious displeasure of The Washington Post is further evidence that Trump has made a smart political move.”
Related, from Josh Blackman: The Mechanics of President Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Memorandum.
Flashback: Obama’s Pen and Phone.
OPEN THREAD: Long-haired preachers come out every night. Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right.
END OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING: NY Dems push for law mandating 500 hours of training for ‘shampoo assistants.’
DO THEY, NOW? Scientists say COVID-19 recovery plans should include climate change. They think this makes climate change sound more urgent, but actually it makes the pandemic seem less urgent, and more like an excuse.
TODAY IS INSTAPUNDIT’S 19TH BLOGGIVERSARY. Celebrate as seems appropriate.
HARSH, BUT FAIR:
I HAVE A PIECE ON LIBEL REFORM COMING OUT IN THE TENNESSEE LAW REVIEW THAT I THINK IS PRETTY INTERESTING. You can download it here. It was inspired by Clarence Thomas in the McKee v. Cosby case, and I expect the Supreme Court to revisit New York Times v. Sullivan in the not too distant future.
Download it early and often!
UPDATE: Is this some sort of academic coup-counting, people ask. Yes. I need about 300 more downloads to get me into the top 10 list on SSRN.
HARSHING THE NARRATIVE: NYC Councilman Paul Vallone credits Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 recovery.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE? Marijuana may harm heart, experts say.
YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: DHS Dispels Three Myths About the Riots in Portland.
WHAT NASA DOES NOW INSTEAD OF BUILDING MOON ROCKETS THAT WORK: NASA: ‘Certain Cosmic Nicknames’ Are ‘Actively Harmful,’ Will ‘Reexamine’ Their Use.
UPDATE (From Ed): America’s Newspaper of Record is already on the case:
I assume it’s only a matter of time before the increasingly “woke” NASA goes full O’Brien, and argues the stars don’t really exist.
(Updated and bumped.)
TRUMP ORDERS $400-PER-WEEK UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS AMID COVID CRISIS, HITS DEMS FOR STONEWALLING: “Acting unilaterally has its limits and could prompt legal challenges. Trump’s orders are narrower in scope than the trillions Congress is mulling for a massive stimulus to the virus-damaged economy. Congress controls new federal spending. Trump already predicted sidestepping lawmakers will have lawsuit consequences but dared opponents to deprive Americans of relief. ‘If we get sued, it’s [from] somebody that doesn’t want people to get money,’ Trump said. ‘And that’s not going to be a very popular thing.’”
WHAT’S FUNNY IS, BIDEN COULD HAVE WON THE PRIMARY AND SET HIMSELF UP STRONG FOR THE GENERAL BY RUNNING AS THE ANTI-WOKE TRADITIONAL DEMOCRAT: Joe Biden’s Capitulation To The Crazy Left Is Alienating Democrats Like Me.
But it’s not as if Biden is calling the shots here, any more than he would be as President.
I’m not saying that it’s aliens. But it’s aliens.
GOOD AND HARD:
Even the New York Times has figured out that the “new normal” isn’t sustainable: Abolish the Police? Those Who Survived the Chaos in Seattle Aren’t So Sure. What is it like when a city abandons a neighborhood and the police vanish? Business owners describe a harrowing experience of calling for help and being left all alone.
This week Governor Andrew Cuomo begged New York City residents to return to the city in the most shameless act of wheedling by a New Yorker since Mars famously importuned Nola, in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, “Please baby, please baby, please baby, baby, baby please.” Used to live in NYC but have lately found the suburbs, or points south, more congenial? Andrew Cuomo will cook you dinner if you come back.
“I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house, or in their Connecticut weekend house and I say, ‘You got to come back!’” Cuomo said Monday. “‘We’ll go to dinner! I’ll buy you a drink! Come over, I’ll cook!’”
“I’ll buy you a drink” is the cringiest of those promises since Cuomo has been closing dozens of bars for not complying with his arbitrary virus-related diktats, which include requiring tipplers to order food in accordance with some known-only-to-him provision of the coronavirus that confers immunity via purchase of a Caesar salad. But he’s probably right about one thing: All of the people who are eager to move back to New York City could indeed probably fit in his dining room right now. It has finally occurred to Andrew Cuomo that the months-long electronic tongue-bath he received from media outlets such as CNN, which in the midst of the carnage pushed forward his own brother to serve as his interlocutor/publicist/comedy sidekick, has not fooled New Yorkers of means. Scads of the wealthiest have fled, and they are in no rush to return.
WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-RUN CITIES SUCH CESSPITS OF RACISM? Seattle ‘Respects’ Black Voices by Slashing Black Police Chief’s Salary in Retaliation for Criticism. Racism, straight up.
TROLL LEVEL: POTUS DJT. Trump defends gathering at Bedminster golf club as ‘peaceful protest.’
President Trump defended a gathering of members of his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club as a “peaceful protest” against the media.
“To me they pretty much look like they all have, pretty much all have masks on,” Trump said, who said the Friday gathering was not in violation of Garden State social distancing regulations.
“You know you have an exclusion in the law. It says peaceful protest or political activity, right?” he added.
“I call it peaceful protest because they heard you were coming up and they know the news is fake, they know it better than anybody,” Trump continued.
As Andrea Widburg writes at the American Thinker, “Whether he’s studied them or not, President Trump is a master at cutting leftists down using the Rules for Radicals that Saul Alinsky drafted to help further a leftist agenda. At a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump showed his mastery of Rule 4 (‘Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules’), Rule 5 (‘Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon’), and Rule 6 (‘A good tactic is one your people enjoy’).”
NOT A WACKY CORONAVIRUS STORY: 5G Just Got Weird.
HARD TO BELIEVE WE’D LOOK BACK AT THE 1990s AS THE GOOD OLD DAYS. Memorable moment in an exceptional year: The Netscape IPO of 1995.
CROSS-IMMUNITY: Common Colds May Have ‘Primed’ Some People’s Immune Systems For COVID-19. “A cold you got years ago may prove helpful if your body has to fight the new coronavirus. According to a study published Tuesday, some people who’ve never been exposed to the new coronavirus may nonetheless have T cells that react to it. Scientists think that’s because those cells previously learned how to identify and fight coronaviruses that cause common colds. . . . Two other recent studies offer even more evidence for this conclusion. The first, published last month, found that among 68 healthy Germans who’d never had COVID-19, more than one-third had T cells that reacted to the virus. The second, published in the journal Nature, found that more than half of a group of 37 healthy people who had never gotten COVID-19 had memory T cells that could recognise the new coronavirus. The Nature study also examined 23 people who’d survived SARS – which is a coronavirus, too – and found that they still had SARS-specific memory T cells 17 years after getting sick. Those same T cells could recognise the new coronavirus as well.”
LIONEL SHRIVER: Never has a virus been so oversold.
I’m currently in New York, where the medical paranoia is sustained, and social life is nearly nonexistent. This week, a rarity, a couple came inside our house. They didn’t sit down, didn’t stay long, and were careful not to touch anything. When they left they were clearly relieved, and immediately doused themselves in hand sanitizer. I don’t think it’s going to be any different next summer. Google, for example, has already advised its employees to work from home for the next 12 months.
The graph of new cases in the UK roughly leveled off throughout July — but it has not plateaued at zero. The PM gives every indication that only zero will do. Thus as long as the coronavirus persists, the fearful prophylactic measures will continue. In trade for this valiant vigilance on our behalf, we merely have to sacrifice: our friends. Any new friends. All live performance — music, plays. Restaurants. All occasions, like proper weddings, funerals, birthdays and extended-family celebrations. Travel. Colleagues. Any search for love. Any moving communal experience, like festivals. Dentistry. A functional National Health Service. Oh, and the economy — and in case you need translation, that means the country, full stop.
Boris’s ‘nuclear option’ of another total national lockdown remains on the table. Why on earth? The one constructive conclusion to draw from this debacle is that long, indiscriminate national lockdowns to suppress infectious disease are a catastrophe. Yet the most horrifying consequence of COVID-19 could be that lockdown — which once applied only to prisons — becomes officialdom’s established knee-jerk response to any new contagion.
There will be a new contagion, too, and a new one after that. How many times can you send the national debt soaring, devastate small business, paralyze government services — including healthcare — and cancel for months on end the civil liberties of an erstwhile ‘free people’? In preference to this repeated carpet-bombing, a literal nuclear option might at least get the agony over with fast.
Hopefully that’s a Biden-style “literal” unless Shriver is going full Gen. Jack D. Ripper, which I doubt. Which is why, Virginia Postrel warns: Depressed Now? Just Wait for the Rest of 2020:
Last year, more than 55 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving. The most traditional Thanksgiving songs are “We Gather Together” and “Over the River and Through the Woods.” It is a holiday celebrated by coming together. Its meaning depends on gathering around a festive table.
Not this year. “This will be the first Thanksgiving in 20 years that we don’t fly to Maryland to see my family,” says an L.A. friend. “That’s particularly hard as this will be the first holiday season since my dad passed. It’s depressing, honestly.”
When Walmart and Target recently announced they’d keep stores closed on Thanksgiving, they weren’t signaling a more meaningful, less materialistic holiday season. They were anticipating the exact opposite: a lonely fall and winter, devoid of the rituals and gatherings that give the season its emotional resonance.
Black Friday is more than a retailing bonanza or consumerist frenzy. It’s a celebration. For many Americans, it’s a way to get into the seasonal mood — to go out in public with friends and family and anticipate Christmas.
Covid-19’s medical and economic impact is notoriously uneven. Its psychological toll is less so.
Even if you’re a healthy, highly paid online worker with a big house, a surging financial portfolio and no homeschooling duties, you can’t host a big dinner to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, visit your extended family for Thanksgiving, or attend a Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve or a performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” All that singing is dangerous.
No matter how insulated you are from the medical and economic effects of the pandemic, you feel its social repercussions.
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbles Jo in the opening line of “Little Women.” This year, Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presence.
It’s gloomy stuff, straight with no chaser, and was too much for at least one person: Postrel published a “Redacted version of the weirdest hate mail ever” on her Facebook page.
SO IT’S BASICALLY THREE OR FOUR TIMES AS BAD AS THE SEASONAL FLU: U.S. could see 300K COVID deaths by December, model shows. Assuming the model’s correct, which flies in the face of past models’ performance. . . .
TWEETED IN HASTE, REPENTED IN LEISURE: ‘Yikes!’ Was the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine 2016 ticket this forgettable? (NYT Opinion deleted the tweet, but here it is):
That’s a quote from the first published version of Maureen Dowd’s latest article: Wow! What a blunder in Maureen Dowd’s new column!
And Hillary (and/or the person who ghost-writes her tweets) is not happy. Maureen Dowd may be sleeping very lightly for some time to come:
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: New gonorrhea test identifies patients who will respond to oral antibiotic.
GERMAN MAN GIVING FLORIDA MAN A RUN FOR HIS MONEY THESE DAYS: German Nudist Chases Wild Boar That Stole His Laptop.
MOSTLY PEACEFUL WAR ZONE: Antifa Rioters With Shields, Body Armor Turn Residential Portland Into a War Zone.
THE TRUE STORY OF THE LEGENDARY SAM’S BAR-B-QUE: Tracing the history of the East Austin institution, which has survived two fires, a gentrification buyout offer, and Midland.
Lost forever in the fire, though, was memorabilia from the joint’s most famous customer. Autographed photos from legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan were destroyed in the blaze (although Mays has a few at home). [Business owner Brian Mays], who was a pallbearer at Vaughan’s funeral after the fatal 1990 helicopter crash, says that his mother, Erma Mays, had made Vaughan—a Dallas native—a part of their Austin family. “She adopted Stevie Ray as her son. Not by blood, but by love,” Mays recalls.
Vaughan chose Sam’s as a frequent backdrop for band photos and even had Sam’s barbecue delivered to a New York recording studio while he was working on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album in 1982. As Edi Johnson, who worked for Vaughan’s management company, remembers in the book Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Stevie called me and said, ‘We need some real barbecue here. Go over to Sam’s and send it up.’ They packed it in dry ice, and I drove it to the airport.” A few years later, Vaughan was interviewed at the Lone Star Cafe in New York. “Sam’s Bar-B-Que is the most incredible barbecue in the world,” he says to the camera before saying hello to Erma Mays. Vaughan’s advocacy for the place certainly helped raise the profile for Sam’s, which was the subject of a 1982 story in the Statesman and was given a two-and-a-half star review the same year by restaurant critic Mark Hanna. He wrote that Sam’s “is not a place to go before the symphony. It is simply a bit of Americana which offers no modern-day frills and a lot of old-time flavor.” Little has changed about Sam’s charm.
Vaughan’s connection to the place made the recent controversy between Sam’s and the band Midland even more of a head-scratcher. Musicians claiming allegiance to Texas should crave the association with the legendary barbecue joint, but in a band photo taken outside Sam’s, the label replaced “Sam’s” on the sign with the title of one of Midland’s songs. Mays said they’ve since come to an agreement. “We’re all right,” he said, referring to the payment he received from the band as part of Midland’s public apology.
Here’s the image that Midland Photoshopped out Sam’s name — and the Washington Post ran to accompany their profile of the band in their magazine section last month.
“WOKE” IS PRETTY MUCH A SYNONYM FOR “STUPID.”
Bryan’s article is just for our VIP members; please use the discount code LOYALTY if you’ve been thinking of becoming a supporter.
AMERICA’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD IS SAVAGE: Biden Tells Staffers To Pick Any Black Person For VP ‘Since They All Think The Same Anyway.’
KANYE WEST’S 2020 CAMPAIGN PLATFORM IS NOW ONLINE.
WORST. WHITE SUPREMACIST. PRESIDENT. EVER. Black Employment Rose Faster than White Employment in July, Black-White Jobless Gap at Historic Low.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Clemson prof: Trump and ‘anyone who still calls themselves a Republican’ is ‘racist.’ For an engineering school in South Carolina, Clemson has a surprising amount of PC idiocy.
AT AMAZON, Hot New Releases – Updated Every Hour.
‘MOST SOPHISTICATED’ IN US HISTORY: Underground tunnel connecting Mexico and Arizona discovered. “The tunnel had not yet been finished and did not have an opening on the U.S. side. However, the tunnel was equipped with a ventilation system, water lines, electric wiring, reinforcement of its walls, and shoring.”
HANNAH COX: Billionaires don’t deserve your hate.
THEY CANCELLED THE GUY WHO TRIED TO WARN THEM USING ACTUAL RESEARCH: Dems starting to panic that voters will blame them for riots.
TO BE FAIR, THE HATE IS REAL AND THE “ETHICS” ARE HIGHLY MOCKABLE: Ousted aide rips media’s ‘hate’ of Trump, mocks press ethics.
ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: The Revolution Comes for Portland’s ‘Wall of Moms.’
Related: Portland mayor pleads with vandals: Don’t you see that you’ve become a prop for Trump’s campaign? “Appealing to their decency is a nonstarter. But appealing to their hatred by claiming that someone whom they detest even more than the cops might be profiting from their rampage? Now you’re talking. America’s political culture is one of intense negative partisanship and Ted Wheeler is all in.”
VOTE-BY-MAIL: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Nevada Sent More Than 200K Mail-In Primary Ballots to Wrong Addresses.
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed back against President Donald Trump on Wednesday for pressing elected officials to open schools this fall arguing that the federal government does not have the authority to make such a decision.
On Tuesday, President Trump pushed state and city leaders to open schools for in-person classes this autumn stating that some schools were keeping their doors closed not because of the coronavirus but for political reasons.
“They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” said President Trump during a White House discussion on school plans for the fall, according to the Associated Press. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”
—AM New York, July 8th.
“Parents have to be included and believe the plan makes sense. Teachers have to be included and believe the plan makes sense. They are the ultimate determination,” Cuomo said this week. “If a teacher doesn’t show up, you can’t open the class. If a parent doesn’t send their child there’s no child to educate.”
—NBC4 New York, yesterday.
As Steven Crowder tweets, “Media insisted Trump was killing kids with talk of reopening schools. Now that Dems are actually doing it, watch the press suddenly do a 180!”
Speaking of 180s:
DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Jerry Falwell Jr. will take a leave of absence from Liberty University.
CLASS IN AMERICA: My Life Pouring Concrete. “This is how some men spend the majority of their lives. I say ‘men’ because, in my chosen subspecialty of concrete (whose ranks include those formally designated in the United States under the category of ‘cement masons, concrete finishers, and terrazzo workers’), the work force is 98.9 percent male.”
Plus: “In Orwell’s day, the privileged set had to get up close and personal to develop their disdain for the working class. These days, thanks to Twitter, they can do it without getting out of bed.”
At some point in the future people will look back at how the left made two contradictory arguments at the same time. When it comes to sexual identity, the word has gone forth to oppose “artificial” categories, “false binaries,” etc. People can define themselves sexually without any regard to medical science, never mind tradition or political or cultural orthodoxy. I’ve lost count of how many genders there are now. Just last week, CNN was so scared of using the word “women” it tweeted that “Individuals with a cervix are now recommended to start cervical cancers screening at 25 …”
Meanwhile, when it comes to race, it’s all about new artificial categories and enforced binaries. White people who pretend they’re black are committing theft. Heck, white people who cook non-white food or pay homage to non-white art forms are committing theft. Cultural appropriation is evil. But gender appropriation is something to be celebrated. Biological males can collect all the women’s track and field awards and that’s fine. But don’t you dare wear dreadlocks if you’re not black?
That’s just weird. But these are weird times.
Read the whole thing.
GOVERNANCE IN THE BLUE ZONES:
YES. NEXT QUESTION? Has the pushback against Democrat overreach begun? “One of the things that struck me today was how many stories involved people pushing back. They’re pushing back against the Black Lives Matter narrative, they’re pushing back against cancel culture, and they’re pushing back against the Wuhan virus lockdown. In other words, after being beaten around the head for a few months, Americans are beginning to remember that they’re a free people in a constitutionally run nation. They’re finally getting mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.”
AMERICA’S PAPER OF RECORD: Biden Tells Staffers To Pick Any Black Person For VP ‘Since They All Think The Same Anyway’.
IT’S A FAUX-AWAKENING: How the Media Led the Great Racial Awakening: Years before Trump’s election the media dramatically increased coverage of racism and embraced new theories of racial consciousness that set the stage for the latest unrest.
PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD, AS A FAMOUS MAN USED TO SAY: Tenured Law Prof Suspended For Use Of N-Word In Torts Class Sues Emory And Former Dean For Libel And Retaliation.
SAME AS IT EVER WAS: Obama’s Deviousness, Trump’s Reliability.
THERE’S A LOT OF RUIN IN THIS COUNTRY, BUT I BET THEY CAN SPEED IT UP: 90 Days for Biden to Ruin the Country? ‘C’mon, Man!’
FUNNY WAY OF SPELLING “PLANNING”: Are Democrats Pondering Civil War If Biden Loses?
HE’S NOT WRONG: Trump Suggest NRA Move Following Lawsuit.
LET’S BE HONEST, THEY TARGET EVERYONE: Portland Riots Now Target Older Women.
NO, NOT SIGNS OF LIFE, MERELY A WAY TO “SEE” OZONE – WHICH MIGHT BE A SIGN OF LIFE: Hubble just made a major breakthrough in the search for alien life.
NOBODY HAS, AS YET, DIED FROM THOSE TOXIC WRAPPERS: Fast-food wrappers at McDonald’s, Burger King may harbor toxic chemicals: report.
AND WITH BREXIT, TOO. WHEN THEY NEED HIM MOST. CIVIL SERVANTS THESE DAYS! Paws for reflection: British Foreign Office cat to retire.
BEHOLD MY SHOCKED FACE: Recently freed sex offender arrested in Boston on rape charges.
“SOPHISTICATED” APPARENTLY DOES NOT MEAN “COMPLETED”: Feds discover ‘sophisticated tunnel’ along US-Mexico border.
WHO COULD FORESEE SUCH A THING? (OTHER THAN EVERYONE?): Rape suspect released amid COVID-19 kills accuser: cops.
BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DID: KDHE doctored a COVID case chart to justify mask mandates.
THE PRESSURE IS STARTING TO TELL: Pelosi lashes out at PBS’ Judy Woodruff during interview, suggests anchor is a GOP ‘advocate.’
JOE BIDEN: CANDIDATE OF THE PRC. Russia working to boost Trump’s reelection and ‘denigrate’ Biden, as China undermines Trump: US intelligence.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, CORONAVIRUS EDITION: Princeton Scraps Plan to Return Undergraduates to Campus.
OPEN THREAD: In between ‘what I find is pleasing’ and ‘I’m feeling fine.’
WHEN YOU CAN’T TRUST THE NUMBERS: For the second time, Virginia erroneously reports coronavirus death of a child. “A similar incident happened in early May when data on the health department’s website showed that one child younger than 9 in the Fairfax Health District died — VDH later said it was a data entry error.”
WHEN THEY’RE TRYING TOO HARD TO MAINTAIN THE NARRATIVE: “Did that article answer the question why Biden keeps missing his own deadlines? Nonlinear decision-making processes?? Isn’t the answer really more about how he limited his range of choices by promising to pick a woman and then got overtaken by events that made it seems as though he had to pick a black woman and now he has no good choice? I wouldn’t call that nonlinear. I’d call that disastrously linear!”
PREDICTION: WE’LL WIND UP BRINGING THEM BACK TO GET RID OF THE MURDER HORNETS, BUT IT WON’T GO WELL. Amber fossil reveals hunting prowess of ancient ‘hell ant.’
THE NEVERTRUMP GRIFTERS PROVIDE AN ENDLESS AMOUNT OF COMIC RELIEF. SEEN ON FACEBOOK:
TO BE FAIR, BY ALL APPEARANCES THAT’S BEEN TRUE FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES: Aging baby boomers less sharp than their parents, study says.
LOVE TO CUT YOU DOWN TO SIZE. WE LOVE DIRTY LAUNDRY: ESPN Host Posts Poll: Is It ‘Funny’ That First NBA Player Not To Kneel, An Ordained Christian Minister, Suffered Season-Ending Injury.
WHY NOT TAKE A BREAK FROM THE SERIOUS NEWS FOR A FEW MINUTES? Florida Man Friday: Supercharged Truck Attacker Goes Full T.J. Hooker.
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Great News! New Hampshire Has Made Flying Cars Road-Legal.
BUT ORANGE MAN WANTS US ALL DEAD OR SOMETHING: There’s a Mountain of Evidence That Hydroxychloroquine Is an Effective Treatment for COVID-19.