TGIF ReadsPosted: July 10, 2020
Today’s art is from Charles Burchfield whose ethereal water colors of nature have always had a calming effect on me. Water color is my favorite medium and I love painting landscapes and old buildings. I always find his play of light to be fascinating. That’s hard to do with water color. You get one chance at it.
According to Burchfield’s friend and colleague Edward Hopper, “The work of Charles Burchfield is most decidedly founded, not on art, but on life, and the life that he knows and loves best.”
Those times were not simpler for most folks. There are always plagues and famines and wars. However, this is the first time we look at Americana from the viewpoint of living through a nightmare of a leader who is not the least bit suited for the job a minority of the population shove him into. I cannot wait to be rid of him one way or another and whatever gets him out of our lives quickly.
Polls continue to show the displeasure is not limited to us. This is from Politico: “Poll shows Trump’s coronavirus approval at all-time low. The president remains reluctant to acknowledge the disease’s threat as he keeps pushing to restart the U.S. economy.”
Support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has hit an all-time low, according to a new survey, with a similarly substantial majority of Americans also disapproving of his response to widespread racial unrest.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that a record 67 percent of respondents now disapprove of “the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus,” while only 33 percent approve — the widest gulf in public sentiment since ABC News and Ipsos started surveying on the pandemic in March.
It’s still disheartening that fully 1/3 of those respondents appear to be adherents to the kind of white christian nationalism that brands the Trumpist regime and supporters into the KKK corner of life. What’s also disheartening is that the kind of blatantly fictional conspiracy theories and fairy tales embraced by these people seems to be still selling in some corners that send representatives to Congress. This is from Media Matters: “QAnon may be coming to Congress, and journalists need to be ready”. This article describes the odd views of ““Gun-toting” restaurateur Lauren Boebert who beat an incumbent Republican in the Colorado primary.
In many ways, Boebert and other QAnon-following candidates have been normalized in the press. FiveThirtyEight published an article about the likelihood that Republican women will increase their representation in Congress with the November elections, and used a photo of Boebert. Her fringe beliefs are not mentioned anywhere in the article or accompanying tweet.
When The New York Times wrote about Boebert’s victory, it made a passing reference to her support of QAnon, saying in the lead that she’d “spoken approvingly of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon.” It wasn’t until the 11th paragraph that the movement got mentioned again, and even that was framed in the context of how “Democrats immediately went on the attack” for her support of QAnon.
Media Matters’ Alex Kaplan has reported extensively on the QAnon movement, and he has identified two concepts that journalists need to understand when reporting on this movement. The first has to do with QAnon-supporting candidates and the need to probe their actual beliefs. “Some of these candidates seem to see QAnon and its supporters as an explicit political constituency to appeal to for support, and are trying to use existing QAnon infrastructure to do so, such as using QAnon hashtags (particularly #WWG1WGA) and going on QAnon YouTube channels,” he says. “So they seem to be treating a far-right conspiracy theory group tied to violence and flagged by the FBI as some normal voting block when it’s clearly not.”
The second issue is that reporters often seem unaware of, or aren’t reporting on, the actual number of QAnon-supporting candidates who are progressing in their races. Kaplan says, “I keep seeing just a few specific candidates mentioned over and over regarding those who made it out of primaries or to primary runoffs (Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jo Rae Perkins), when it’s way more than that; it’s at least 14 candidates that made it out of primaries to the ballot in November or to primary runoffs (and that’s leaving out independent/write-in candidates).”
This shows you exactly how far Trump thinks he can go unchecked. Via CNN: “Trump implies he’s ready to grant clemency to Roger Stone”.
Trump is widely expected to pardon or commute Stone’s sentence, according to at least half a dozen sources close to the President.
>Asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity whether he’s considered a pardon or commutation for Stone, Trump said during a phone interview, “I am always thinking.”
“You’ll be watching like everyone else in this case,” he said.
In another interview, with radio host Howie Carr, Trump decried Stone’s treatment at the hands of law enforcement and said he may grant his clemency plea.
“He was framed. He was treated horrible. He was treated so badly,” Trump said.
Probably the most heinous thing Trump is doing right now is turning America’s school children into political props for his culture war. This is an Op Ed by Michelle Goldberg writing at the NYT: “Trump Threatens to Turn Pandemic Schooling Into a Culture War. The president might sabotage parents’ best hopes for getting their kids back to school.”
Instead, Donald Trump has approached the extraordinarily complex challenge of educating children during a pandemic just as he’s approached most other matters of governing: with bullying, bluster and propaganda.
While doing nothing to curb the wildfire spread of the coronavirus, he has demanded that schools reopen and threatened to cut off funding for those that don’t. On Wednesday, he tweeted that the guidelines for reopening schools from his own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were “very tough & expensive,” adding, “I will be meeting with them!!!” Mike Pence then suggested that the guidelines would be revised. On Thursday the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said they wouldn’t be, but later, seeming to give into pressure, said the guidelines should be seen as recommendations, not requirements.
Also on Thursday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gestured toward a plan of coronavirus-inspired school choice that would punish public schools that don’t fully reopen. Without offering details, she said families could take the federal money spent at these schools and use it elsewhere. She’s long wanted to give public money to private schools; perhaps she thinks this coronavirus has given her the chance.
Check out New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi’s piece “The Unburdened Believer”. There’s a lot of creepy here.
Trump’s central case for reelection — the strong economy — has evaporated faster than the tear gas the administration sprayed on peaceful demonstrators outside the White House in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 130,000 Americans and counting, and the shutdowns have left millions out of work. Trump publicly worked through his grief in phases: denial, semi-acceptance, promotion of bad medical advice, denial once again, then promotion of overly rosy recovery projections. Meanwhile, he has responded to the nationwide civil unrest that erupted after Floyd’s killing by circulating far-right conspiracies, calling for more violence, defending iconic losers of the Confederacy, sharing a video in which one of his supporters shouted “White power!,” and attempting halfheartedly to cast Biden as a far-left extremist.
Trump has struggled to offer his campaign a message behind which to organize. For Trump, this would never mean formulating a case to prove that voters are better off now than they were four years ago or something similarly normal. It would mean coming up with an effective way to bully his opponent. In the 2016 Republican primary, this meant Lyin’ Ted and Little Marco and Low Energy Jeb(!). In the general, it meant Crooked Hillary and the Fake News media vs. the Deplorables. In 2020, “Sleepy Joe” hasn’t quite caught on. Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary who now hosts some kind of low-rent faux Fox News program on a D-list far-right cable channel, recently talked about this with Dick Morris. The issue with Trump’s “sleepy” message is that sleepy might sound pretty appealing to some voters right now, fatigued by the chaos of the Trump years. On Fox News, Ari Fleischer, a White House spokesman under George W. Bush, and Matt Schlapp, a Trump-campaign surrogate, had a conversation about the issue, too. They agreed that “sleepy” wasn’t working, that the president needed to go back to the drawing board and focus on something else. Kellyanne Conway has suggested that the campaign’s focus on Biden as senile and losing it might put off older voters. These allies of the president are offering campaign-strategy notes in public, on television, because that’s how you get through to him.
And so in walks Hogan Gidley, the new spokesman for the reelection effort — a job that recently belonged to Kayleigh McEnany, who in April became Gidley’s boss when she was named White House press secretary. In a normal White House, the position would’ve gone to Gidley. The ambition of any deputy, after all, is to replace the principal under which the deputy serves. Gidley has served under three press secretaries: Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Stephanie Grisham, and now McEnany. (So much for the patriarchy!)
Gidley, now 43, arrived at the White House as a supporting character in the volatile second season. A onetime broadcast-journalism major at Ole Miss and a student of political media, he ended up reporting on Mike Huckabee for a TV station in Little Rock, Arkansas, before defecting to the dark side to join the then-governor’s staff. “He’s got professional integrity. He will never do something that is wrong or immoral,” Huckabee told New York. “But, at the same time, he’s a person that, if he takes a check from someone in a job, he’s gonna be loyal to that person.” In the next breath, Huckabee addressed the question that hangs over any human shield for this president. “If it ever gets to where he can’t, then maybe he’ll find something else. But he’s not gonna go out and burn his bridges.”
When Mike’s daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, replaced Sean Spicer as press secretary, she brought along her “big brother” Hogan as a special assistant to the president. In the very West Wing that inspired a tell-all book called Team of Vipers, he’s distinguished himself as “a golden retriever,” “a great teammate,” and “a really sweet person,” in terms that were repeated by more than half a dozen current and former White House staffers who spoke to New York. Across the board, but never on the record, Gidley’s colleagues described him as a nonthreatening force for good, for making things run a tiny bit smoother in what can charitably be described as the very definition of a hostile work environment — a happy-to-be-here functionary who keeps things light and in perspective. However, these qualities can sometimes read more like haplessness than virtue.
I would really like a nice quiet weekend but I imagine I’m going to start hearing the sound of perpetual sirens. Any one who knows me heard me say I am not going anywhere until at least two weeks after 4th of July because I want to see what Memorial Day and the 4th drag into town with all this reopening stupidity. Well, it reignited our Covid -19 upward trend. So, ask me again when we get a few weeks after Labor Day. I’m staying my fat ass home.
Louisiana is now one of the leading states in the nation for most new coronavirus cases.
It ranks third in the U.S. this week for most new cases per capita on a rolling seven-day average, according to new data from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s a trajectory that could spark another shutdown.
Louisiana’s jump to the top of the list for most new coronavirus cases cannot be explained by increased testing. Hospitalizations grew by more than 50 percent over the last two weeks, and the percentage of positive tests in the state has also been rising. On Thursday the latter rate hit 12 percent positive — over the 10 percent threshold set by the state for safe opening in Phase 2. The 7-day rolling average is 8.7 percent, according to AH Datalyitcs.
But that could already be too high. The World Health Organization’s recommended goal is 5 percent. A high positivity rate indicates that the virus’s spread is too great for contact tracing to work — and that’s assuming contact tracing is actually being broadly embraced by the public, which hasn’t been the case in Louisiana.
Dr. Vin Gupta, an assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington, is among the medical experts warning that contact tracing is now useless across much of the U.S. because the virus has already spread too widely.
On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state has “lost all the gains made in June” and is “now seeing some numbers that rival our peak back in April.”
And while Texas, Florida and Arizona are seeing higher increases in hospitalizations, Dr. Thomas Tsai, a surgeon and assistant professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, said it could be a matter of time.
“My worry is that Louisiana may just be a few weeks behind Texas and Arizona and Florida, unless more concerted efforts are taken,” he said.
It’s unclear whether there’s public appetite for that — or even to abide by the guidelines already in place. Health officials say that as the state reopened — too many people have ignored public health guidelines, particularly around wearing masks and keeping distance. Bars in particular have become a key source of outbreaks.
“Frankly, it’s been really, really frustrating. Because just a few weeks ago, we were in a really, pretty good place,” said Suan Hassig, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Tulane University.
“The curve is going to bounce back up if we don’t keep jumping on it and stomping it down.”
I’m no epidemiologist but frankly, I knew opening the damned bars would send us into a spike. The mayor backed off a little and put some size limits but we still have indoor eating, Short term Rentals, and open bars although you can’t drink at the bar. They’ve put them outside which is highly unpleasant in a neighbor even at the best of times.
And we have this too look forward to! Climate change hoax again … right?
So, I hope it’s going better where you are. Keep letting us know you’re safe! If you’d like to see the Whitney Showing of Burchfield: Heat Waves in a Swamp please go to this page and enjoy a teaching led tour!.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?