Month: April 2020

Your Feel Good Story of the Day

It’s an old story, Hamilton County Sheriff fires an officer because she is gay, and she beats him like a rented mule in the primary:

In a heated race in Ohio, Democrat Charmaine McGuffey ran to be both the county’s first female and first out LGBTQ person elected sheriff. She also ran against the man she alleges fired her because she’s a lesbian – current Sheriff Jim Neil, a Trump-supporting Democrat.

And she stomped him at the ballot box, winning approximately 70 percent of the vote.

Jim Neil should never have been the Democratic Party for anything in the first place.

He’s a teabagger who appeared on stage with Donald Trump in 2016.

3.8 Million Initial Jobless Claims

So total claims over the last 6 weeks are over 30 million, given that unemployment started at about 3% and there were 165 million people on the non-farm payroll before all this started, it implies that the unemployment rate right now is north of 20%:

Another 3.8 million people lost their jobs in the US last week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to batter the economy. The pace of layoffs appears to be slowing, but in just six weeks an unprecedented 30 million Americans have now sought unemployment benefits and the numbers are still growing.

The latest figures from the labor department released on Thursday showed a fourth consecutive week of declining claims. While the trend is encouraging, the rate of losses means US unemployment is still on course to reach levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

It already has, particularly when one notes that there are likely hundreds of thousands, if not millions of claims that have not entered the system yet because of overwhelmed unemployment offices.

Unemployment peaked during the Great Depression at 24.9%.

We are likely to hit that number around mid May.

Even more concerning is that the bipartisan support of looting by the banksters and the monopolists, which will likely slow recovery.

Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria

This is a scary

We now have the first GDP numbers for the first quarter of 2020, and it is down 4.8%.

When one considers the trend of 2% annualized, and the fact that the shutdowns, and hence the economic contraction, did not begin until March, it means that the month of March fell at something approaching a 60% annual rate.

Obviously, this won’t continue at this rate, but predictions are looking at a 30% contraction:

The longest economic expansion in US history officially came to an end on Wednesday when the commerce department announced the economy shrank 4.8% in the first three months of the year.

The economic slump, the steepest since the last recession in 2008, is just an early indicator of how severely the coronavirus pandemic has affected the US economy.

Much of the US economy shut down in March in an effort to contain the virus, triggering 26 million people to file for unemployment benefits and wiping out a decade of jobs gains, at the end of the first quarter. The next set of figures from the commerce department will more accurately reflect the true scale of its impact.

Kevin Hassett, senior economic adviser to the White House, has predicted gross domestic product (GDP) – the widest measure of the economy – could fall at an annualized rate of 30% in the next quarter. Goldman Sachs expects a 15% unemployment rate in the US by mid-year, up from 4.4% at present.

The fall is the sharpest quarterly decline in GDP since the end of 2008 when the economy contracted by an annualized rate of 8.4%. But on current forecasts the drop-off could soon rival the economic collapse of the Great Depression. In 1932 the US economy shrank 13% over the year.

 When one considers that pending home sales fell 25% month over month in March, this is going to get a LOT uglier before things turn up.

Also, with an additional 28 million people out of work, and a strong recovery, say 500K growth in non farm payrolls a month, something that has happened in only 15 months over the past 60 years, it would still take over a year for complete recovery.

They Should Have Blown up Her Damn Yacht

Have have you heard of Betsy Devos’ latest action as Secretary of the Department of “Education”?

She overruled the experts at her department, and forced through a massive grant to a corrupt charter school chain:

A U.S. congressman is demanding answers from the U.S. Education Department, alleging department employees complained to his office about political interference in the awarding of a multimillion-dollar federal grant to the controversial IDEA charter school network.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) sent a letter to the department Monday asking for details and records related to the awarding of the grant. In an interview, Pocan said “three whistleblowers” told his office that professional staff evaluating applications for 2020 grants from the federal Charter School Program had rejected IDEA for new funding, deeming the network “high risk” because of how IDEA leaders previously spent federal funds.

But according to these whistleblowers, Pocan said, professional staff was overruled by political appointees who ordered the funding be awarded to IDEA. The identities of the whistleblowers were not revealed to The Post, nor were the names of the political appointees.


Earlier this month, the Education Department announced it was awarding millions of dollars in new grants to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated. IDEA was the top recipient, receiving $72 million over five years. IDEA had previously received more than $200 million in funding over the past decade through the program.

But the network has been dogged by controversy. This month, IDEA chief executive Tom Torkelson resigned after publicly apologizing for “really dumb and unhelpful” plans that included leasing a private jet for millions of dollars and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on San Antonio Spurs tickets. The Texas Monitor reported last month that Torkelson had flown on a private jet to Tampa to meet with DeVos to discuss “education philanthropy,” records show. The Monitor reported he was the only passenger on a jet that can hold nine people.

Last November, the Education Department’s inspector general criticized IDEA in an audit of data IDEA included in annual performance reviews it submitted to the federal government, required as part of the grants received from the federal Charter Schools Program.

Betsy DeVos goal is the defunding public schools, and that means shoveling money out to the charter schools, no matter how incompetent or corrupt.

He Is Turning into a Bond Villain

It’s increasingly clear that Elon Musk is a few bricks short of a load.

Between smoking weed on camera, tweeting out false buyout rumors, the whole submarine pedo libel thing, it’s clear that a guy who made his money by skirting a bank regulations it’s clear that he’s not what one would call a “Very Stable Genius.”

In the latest case Elon Musk launched into a diatribe against Covid-19 isolation measures at an Earnings Call.

This guy has been surrounded by toadies reassuring him of his special genius for years:

Elon Musk unleashed a diatribe against shelter-in-place orders, describing the public health measures intended to stem the spread of coronavirus as “fascist”, during an earnings call on Wednesday.

“This is not democratic,” he said of the orders, which he falsely characterized as stipulating that anyone who leaves home would be arrested. “This is not freedom – give people back their goddamn freedom.”

Musk’s rant came despite a relatively good earnings report for Tesla, in which the company beat analysts’ estimates for first-quarter revenue on Wednesday. It posted its third straight quarterly profit after recording a solid number of deliveries during the period, despite disruptions due to the pandemic.

Earlier on the call, Musk specifically cited the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order, which has prevented his factory in Fremont, California, from opening, as a concern.

He thinks that he’s a genius because he got rich through connections and luck.

This guy is a nut.


There is something strangely satisfying about setting fire to a Corona Virus replica:

Conservative Psycho-Pathology

If Justice Samuel Alito is any indication of movement conservatism, and his life is largely a creation of the movement, then his opinion on the Louisiana non-unanimous jury law indicates why Republicans will never win the minority vote.

For him, any mention of of white people being racist is the real racism.

It is important to understand that this means that you can never find common cause with these people with issues of race, because they believe that non only is there no racism now, but that there was no racism ever:

Justice Sam Alito just delivered a dissent that could be described as blistering if it wasn’t so cringe-worthy. For six paragraphs, Alito rails against the majority opinion, written by Justice Gorsuch, as a breach of “rational and civil discourse” because it includes a recounting of the history of the laws at issue in the case. But that history requires delving into Ku Klux Klan influence and a public record of racist motivations for the specific laws, and if there’s one thing Justice Alito hates, it’s using ouchy words like “racism” to describe… well, racism.


But in Louisiana and Oregon, 12 Angry Men would have ended with a conviction in about 10 minutes. For years, the two states allowed criminal convictions on the basis of non-unanimous verdicts, a justice system curiosity developed to prevent the occasional black or immigrant juror from interfering with the government’s interest in throwing the book at minority defendants. States that outright refused to seat minority jurors would run afoul of the Constitution, but if those jurors could be seated but ignored… well, the Supreme Court just threw up its hands at a solution so clever!

In any event, the Supreme Court just closed this loophole permanently, holding that the Sixth Amendment by incorporation requires states to convict people unanimously. Justice Gorsuch wrote a fractured opinion that won’t necessarily satisfy scholars but gets the result right.

Justice Sam Alito isn’t pleased to be closing the door on the right of states to perform end-runs around the Constitution. He opens, as previewed at oral argument, with an unironic admonishment of the majority for overturning a precedent from the 1970s. Apparently, precedents that make a mockery of Sixth Amendment rights are sacrosanct while those that impinge on no rights other than a janky First Amendment claim concocted from whole cloth must be overturned with abandon. But it’s his next section aimed directly at Justice Gorsuch where Justice Alito decides to get his inner Justice Taney on.

Too much public discourse today is sullied by ad hominem rhetoric, that is, attempts to discredit an argument not by proving that it is unsound but by attacking the character or motives of the argument’s proponents. The majority regrettably succumbs to this trend. At the start of its opinion, the majority asks this rhetorical question: “Why do Louisiana and Oregon allow nonunanimous convictions?” And the answer it suggests? Racism, white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan. Non-unanimous verdicts, the Court implies, are of a piece with Jim Crow laws, the poll tax, and other devices once used to disfranchise African Americans.

Now, it’s not clear why Justice Gorsuch suggested that a legacy of racism motivated these laws, but it’s probably because this is entirely and indisputably accurate. Louisiana is, of course, one of those deep South states with a well-known history of institutionalized racial prejudice — at least until Chief Justice Roberts declared racism cured in Shelby County — and the history of this law is no exception with lawmakers going on record to call it critical for “the supremacy of the white race.” Oregon’s a little harder to envision as a state steeped in racist policymaking until you learn that it was founded as a white supremacist haven and actually had a law banning black people until 1926. So, it’s not all craft brews and shrooms over there. With its jury provision, lawmakers called out immigrants as the reason white people needed to be able to convict people without unanimous consent. It’s all around a disturbing legacy.


Make no mistake, Justice Alito’s ill-advised outburst is all about his (along with Chief Justice Roberts, who joined the dissent) desire to purge jurisprudence of a vocabulary to discuss racial animus. It’s why their ideological brethren refuse to admit that segregation was unconstitutional — they balk at the idea that racism can even be a subject in legal discourse. If the committee chair who passed this law saying that it was done to “establish the supremacy of the white race,” — one of the quotes Justice Gorsuch cites that so egregiously rankles Alito — cannot be raised in an opinion, then really what’s left?

This, for Alito, is not “rational or civil discourse” because it offends him. Everyone should really wonder why he’s so offended by calling Jim Crow racist.

Alito and his ilk not only believe that personal racism is a constitutional right, but that racism from the state is a fundamental right as well.

The party of Abraham Lincoln has become the party of Jefferson Davis.

There Needs to be an Independent and Aggressive Investigation of the Biden Allegations

First, Tara Reade alleged that Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her.

Then we had reports from her brother and a fellow Congressional staffer (still anonymous) saying that she had related the alleged incident to them contemporaneously in 1993.

THEN we have what appears to be a call from her mother to Larry King in 1993 referring to this incident.

Now, we have a neighbor, one who says that she is voting for Joe Biden anyway, has announced that she was told about the alleged incident to them in 1993.

This allegation, while not definitive, is clearly credible, and bears an independent and aggressive investigation:

In March, when a former aide to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused the candidate of sexually assaulting her in 1993, two people came forward to say that the woman, Tara Reade, had told them of the incident shortly after it allegedly occurred — her brother, Collin Moulton, and a friend who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Now two more sources have come forward to corroborate certain details about Reade’s claims. One of them — a former neighbor of Reade’s — has told Insider for the first time, on the record, that Reade disclosed details about the alleged assault to her in the mid-1990s.

“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” Lynda LaCasse, who lived next door to Reade in the mid-’90s, told Insider.

The other source, Lorraine Sanchez, who worked with Reade in the office of a California state senator in the mid-’90s, told Insider that she recalls Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington, DC, had sexually harassed her, and that she had been fired after raising concerns.

 These allegations are now unequivocally credible.

Good News in Copyright

It was a 5-4 decision, with the votes nearly evenly distributed between the liberal and the conservative wings of the court, which shows that IP maximalism is a bipartisan endeavor:

A narrowly divided US Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right to freely share the official law code of Georgia. The state claimed to own the copyright for the Official Code of Georgia, Annotated, and sued a nonprofit called Public.Resource.Org for publishing it online. Monday’s ruling is not only a victory for the open-government group, it’s an important precedent that will help secure the right to publish other legally significant public documents.

“Officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of—and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official duties,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in an opinion that was joined by four other justices on the nine-member court.

Everyone involved in the case agreed that the text of state statutes could not be copyrighted. But the state of Georgia argued that it could copyright annotations that are distributed with the official code. These annotations provide supplemental information about the law, including summaries of judicial opinions, information about legislative history, and citations to relevant law review articles. The annotations are produced by a division of legal publishing giant LexisNexis under a work-for-hire contract with the state.

The copyright status of the annotated code matters because the state doesn’t publish any other official version. You can get an unofficial version of state law for free from LexisNexis’ website, but LexisNexis’ terms of service explicitly warned users that it might be inaccurate. The company also prohibits users from scraping the site’s content or using it commercially. If you need the official, up-to-date version of Georgia state law, you have to pay LexisNexis hundreds of dollars for a copy of the official version—which includes annotations.

Public.Resource.Org defied Georgia’s rules and published the entire code, including annotations, on its website. The group argued that as an official document of the state legislature, it couldn’t be protected by copyright. The state sued and won at the trial court level. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling and sided with the non-profit. In an unorthodox move, the people at PRO urged the Supreme Court to review the case, even though doing so could reverse their appellate win, because they wanted to set a nationwide precedent.

The group’s gamble paid off—but just barely. Five justices bought PRO’s argument that Georgia’s official code was in the public domain. Four justices dissented and would have allowed the Peach State to copyright portions of its official legal code.

IP, both copyright and patent, are a cancer on our economic system, encouraging and extending rent-seeking behaviors (The Sonny Bono Copyright Act*) which interfere with economic efficiency and exacerbates inequality.

When vetting the next SCOTUS nominee, their record on IP needs to be under a microscope.

*It’s literally Mickey Mouse legislation.

There is No Place for Progressives in the Democratic Party

One of the reasons that Bernie Sanders has suspended, rather then ended, his campaign, is because, as he has explicitly stated, he wants a sufficient number of delegates to be able to submit motions on Democratic Party rules.

It appears that the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) is unwilling to even deal with concessions as minor as keeping “super-delegates” out of the first ballot, which is honestly is about the only thing that Sanders would get passed, so they canceled the New York State Democratic Presidential primary to ensure that Sanders will have insufficient votes to submit motions on party rules and the platform.

It is patently clear that the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) sees Donald Trump as their opponent, and progressives as the enemy.

It’s the Iron Law of Institutions, “The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.”

There is no single action more calculated to drive people who are undecided about whether to vote 3rd party or write in Stephen Colbert (I’m leaning toward Colbert) at this moment, but they have to do it, because hippy punching is an absolute priority of the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment).

Frack You

It also gives the lie to the claim that fracked gas is going to release greenhouse gas emissions:

Findings published today in the journal Science Advances show that oil and gas operations in America’s sprawling Permian Basin are releasing methane at twice the average rate found in previous studies of 11 other major U.S. oil and gas regions. The new study was authored by scientists from Environmental Defense Fund, Harvard University, Georgia Tech and the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

“These are the highest emissions ever measured from a major U.S. oil and gas basin. There’s so much methane escaping from Permian oil and gas operations that it nearly triples the 20-year climate impact of burning the gas they’re producing,” said co-author Dr. Steven Hamburg, chief scientist at EDF. “These findings demonstrate the rapidly growing ability of satellite technology to track emissions like these and to provide the data needed by both companies and regulators to know where emissions reductions are needed.”

Based on 11 months of satellite data encompassing 200,000 individual readings taken across the 160,000 square-kilometer basin by the European Space Agency’s TROPOMI instrument from May 2018 to March 2019, Permian oil and gas operations are losing methane at a rate equal to 3.7% of their gas production. The wasted methane—which is the main component in natural gas—is enough to supply 2 million U.S. households.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, anthropogenic emissions of which cause over a quarter of today’s warming. Reducing methane from oil and gas operations is the fastest, most cost-effective way to slow the rate of warming, even as the necessary transition to a net-zero carbon economy continues.

Fracking is not the future, or even a transition path, it’s a clear and present danger to the world.

More Mistake Jet Follies

It appears that the Pentagon’s solution to problems with the F-35 is to declare that it’s not really a problem, or at least not a serious problem.

Cases in point, the F-35 will literally melt the back of the plane if it spends more than about a minute at supersonic speed, and the response is to remove this as a requirement:

An issue that risks damage to the F-35’s tail section if the aircraft needs to maintain supersonic speeds is not worth fixing and will instead be addressed by changing the operating parameters, the F-35 Joint Program Office told Defense News in a statement Friday.

The deficiency, first reported by Defense News in 2019, means that at extremely high altitudes, the U.S. Navy’s and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 jet can only fly at supersonic speeds for short bursts of time before there is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth capability.

The problem may make it impossible for the Navy’s F-35C to conduct supersonic intercepts.

“This issue was closed on December 17, 2019 with no further actions and concurrence from the U.S. services,” the F-35 JPO statement read. “The [deficiency report] was closed under the category of ‘no plan to correct,’ which is used by the F-35 team when the operator value provided by a complete fix does not justify the estimated cost of that fix.

This is what happens when you have a deeply corrupt and completely dysfunctional acquisition process.

But wait, there’s more:

The F-35 Joint Program Office has put in place stopgap fixes for five key technical flaws plaguing America’s top-end fighter jet, but the problems have not been completely eliminated.

Last June, Defense News reported exclusive details about 13 major technical issues, known as category 1 deficiencies, impacting the F-35. The JPO has since quietly downgraded five of those issues to the lesser category 2.

A category 1 deficiency is defined as a shortfall that could cause death, severe injury or illness; could cause loss or damage to the aircraft or its equipment; critically restricts the operator’s ability to be ready for combat; prevents the jet from performing well enough to accomplish primary or secondary missions; results in a work stoppage at the production line; or blocks mission-critical test points.

In comparison, a category 2 deficiency is of lesser concern — something that requires monitoring, but not something that should impact operations.

But downgrading the category doesn’t mean the problems are solved, said Dan Grazier, who tracks military issues for the Project on Government Oversight.


The ALIS sovereign data transfer solution does not meet information assurance requirements.


Incorrect inventory data for complex assemblies continues to result in grounding conditions.


The F-35B and F-35C experienced incongruous lateral and longitudinal control response above a 20-degree angle of attack.

One of the most eye-opening issues identified in the initial report was that the F-35B and F-35C models used by the Marine Corps and Navy become difficult to control when operating above a 20-degree angle of attack — which would be seen in the extreme maneuvers a pilot might use in a dogfight or while avoiding a missile.

Pilots reported the aircraft experiencing unpredictable changes in pitch, as well as erratic yaw and rolling motions when coming in at that angle of attack


There were unanticipated thrust limits in jetborne flight on hot days.

That last one could cause the lost of an aircraft executing a vertical landing.

You can get a good summary from POGO, but the bottom line is that the aircraft is not combat ready.

Drip, Drip, Drip………

It appears that Tara Reade’s late mother called into Larry King about her alleged assault in 1993, roughly contemporaneously with the alleged facts.

I am still not convinced of the veracity of Ms. Reade’s claims, but I am far more credulous of her accusations following the emergence of this call into king’s show.

Anyone in the #MeToo community who is not demanding a rigorous and independent investigation at this time is a hypocrite, period, full stop:

A new piece of evidence has emerged buttressing the credibility of Tara Reade’s claim that she told her mother about allegations of sexual harassment and assault related to her former boss, then-Sen. Joe Biden. Biden, through a spokesperson, has denied the allegations. Reade has claimed to various media outlets, including The Intercept, that she told her mother, a close friend, and her brother about both the harassment and, to varying degrees of detail, the assault at the time. Her brother, Collin Moulton, and her friend, who has asked to remain anonymous, both confirmed that they heard about the allegations from Reade at the time. Reade’s mother died in 2016, but both her brother and friend also confirmed Reade had told her mother, and that her mother, a longtime feminist and activist, urged her to go to the police.

In interviews with The Intercept, Reade also mentioned that her mother had made a phone call to “Larry King Live” on CNN, during which she made reference to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill. Reade told The Intercept that her mother called in asking for advice after Reade, then in her 20s, left Biden’s office. “I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade told me.

Reade couldn’t remember the date or the year of the phone call, and King didn’t include the names of callers on his show. I was unable to find the call, but mentioned it in an interview with Katie Halper, the podcast host who first aired Reade’s allegation. After the podcast aired, a listener managed to find the call and sent it to The Intercept.

On August 11, 1993, King aired a program titled, “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth?” Toward the end of the program, he introduces a caller dialing in from San Luis Obispo, California. Congressional records list August 1993 as Reade’s last month of employment with Biden’s Senate office, and, according to property records, Reade’s mother, Jeanette Altimus, was living in San Luis Obispo County. Here is the transcript of the beginning of the call:

KING: San Luis Obispo, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.

KING: In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?

CALLER: That’s true.

King’s panel of guests offered no suggestions, and instead the conversation veered into a discussion of whether any of the men on set would leak damaging personal information about a rival to the press.

The Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) wanted Joe Biden in the worst possible way, and now it appears that the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) got Joe Biden in the worse possible way.

Small Acts of Heroism

The Wages of Evil are Pretty Good

Some publicly minded hero just removed the moorings from Betsy DeVos’ $40 million yacht in an act of well-justified retribution for the evil that she is doing.

There wasn’t a whole bunch of damage, only $5-10,000.00, but I wholeheartedly approve:

A boat owned by the family of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was vandalized over the weekend while moored at a Huron dock, according to the Huron Police Department.

The Seaquest was moored at the Huron Boat Basin, 330 Main St., according to a police report. The captain of the 163-foot yacht, worth a reported $40 million, called police at about 6 a.m. Sunday, telling them that he and the crew realized at sunrise that someone had untied Seaquest from the dock, setting it adrift.

The crew eventually got control of the yacht, but not before it struck the dock, causing an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 in damage from large scratches and scrapes, according to the police report.

Normally, I am opposed to acts of vandalism as political protest, but normally vandalism as an act of protest tends to hit innocent bystanders.

This didn’t.