Good morning, everyone!
Michael Wolff writes for The New York Times that he is pretty sure that Donald Trump will run for President in 2024.
It is an existential predicament: He can’t be Donald Trump without a claim on the presidency. He can’t hold the attention and devotion of the Republican Party if he is not both once and future king — and why would he ever give that up? Indeed, it seemed to be that I was strategically seated in the lobby of Mar-a-Lago when I arrived precisely so I could overhear the efforts by a Republican delegation to court and grovel before Mr. Trump and to observe his dismissive dominance over them.
More than a bit of his subsequent conversation with me was about his contempt for any Republican who might be less than absolute in his or her devotion to him — after all, he had the power to make or break the people who have since disappointed him (like Senator Mitch McConnell and Justice Brett Kavanaugh). He seemed not so much paranoid about challenges to him but warlike, savoring his future retributions.
In the final part of the story, The Joker manages to steal The Philosopher’s Stone, which enables him to quite literally do anything that he thinks of (and considering that this is the Joker … well, you can imagine). The JLA and Lex Luthor are all standing there looking quite stupid for a second.
The Martian Manhunter uses telepathy and manages to make the Joker just sane enough just long enough to wrest the Philosopher’s Stone away from him.
Earlier in the storyline, the Martian Manhunter was able to navigate his way through The Joker’s mind to “the sane spot” (which turned out to be a trap). Superman literally cannot make any sense of what is going on in the Joker’s mind. The Martian Manhunter tells Superman that he’s trying to navigate The Joker’s mind with conventional logic while trying to retain his own sanity … and that simply will not work.
Michael Wolff reminds me, a bit, of the Martian Manhunter, in that he “shapeshifts” out of a conventional Beltway mindset and reporting style and as a result, renders the most realistic, maddening, and truthful portrait of the Trump “universe” of its many, many chroniclers … precisely because he knows how to navigate through the madness.
So if Wolff says that Trump is more likely than not to run for President in 2024, I believe him.
William Galston and Elaine Karmarck of the Brookings Institution assert that, while the Democratic Party has grown more liberal, Democratic primary voters recognize the need to include moderate and independent voters in “a winning Democratic coalition” and vote accordingly.
While most liberals are Democrats, many moderates are either Republicans or Independents. (In 2020, nearly half of Independents described themselves as moderate, compared to just 20% who think of themselves as liberal.) Biden did slightly better among liberals and Democrats in 2020 than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, but he did much better than she did among moderates and Independents. He increased the Democrats’ share of the moderate vote from 52 to 64%, expanding their margin from 12 percentage points to 30 points. And he increased Democrats’ share of Independents from 42 to 54%, turning a 4-point loss in 2016 into a 13-point advantage in 2020.
Thus, at the national level, a winning Democratic coalition relies on legions of voters who are neither Democrats nor liberals. Successful Democratic presidential candidates must win strong—not narrow—majorities of moderate voters, and they must at least keep it close among Independents.[…]
Democratic primary voters seem to recognize this reality. The last time Democrats nominated the contender who stood farthest to the left was in 1972, and the results of the general election did not encourage them to repeat this experiment. Despite the party’s steady shift to the left over the past quarter century, Democrats have been forced to take electoral reality into account when they select their presidential nominee.
As soon as I heard Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey “go off,” I had to know what Kyle Whitmire of AL.com thought of her performance.
Ivey’s stern words Thursday said one thing, but her actions have sent a different message.Two months ago, the Alabama Legislature passed a vaccine passport ban on the last day of its 2021 session. Lawmakers rammed the bill through so fast, not even the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Arthur Orr, seemed to know what was in it.That bill prohibited schools and universities from requiring students to be vaccinated.That bill forced private businesses to accept customers who have refused to get vaccinated.Ivey signed that bill into law.Two weeks ago, [The University of Alabama-Birmingham’s] leading infectious disease expert Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo warned that lagging vaccinations rates and rising COVID cases, mostly due to the Delta variant, could push Alabama back to government-mandated mitigation measures.
Andrew Joseph of STATnews answers some questions about the COVID-19 delta variant and the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m hearing a lot about breakthrough infections. Is Delta causing more of them? What does that mean about the vaccines?
We’ve never really had a good estimate for how frequently breakthrough infections occur. The carefully monitored clinical trials that gave us our best estimates for vaccine effectiveness were generally designed to measure how well the shots protect against symptomatic Covid-19 cases — not any infection. And in the real world, it’s presumed that a lot of mild and asymptomatic breakthrough infections go undetected. Without that baseline, it’s hard to say how the rate is changing over time. What is clear is that the vast majority are asymptomatic or mild.
There are a couple reasons why you might be hearing more about breakthrough infections now. One is that they make news — someone contracting the coronavirus even though they’re vaccinated makes for an easy headline, even though we’ve been told from the early days of the vaccine campaign that immunized people would still sometimes get Covid-19. Also, people are coming to realize that even if vaccines broadly limit disease to “mild” illness, that can still leave them feeling pretty crappy for a few days — even as it saves them from feeling worse for longer, and from getting much sicker.
Aaron Bolton of Kaiser Health News reports that the intense heat and smoke of the current wildfire season is forcing people indoors, increasing the threat of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Smoke from the wildfires burning through bone-dry forests and grasslands in the West has damaged air quality this week from California to the Eastern Seaboard. The polluting smoke has been thickest in the Northwest, including Montana, where over the past week Missoula, Helena, Great Falls and other cities ranked among the 10 places with the worst air quality, according to AirNow.
The smoke and unrelenting heat pummeling the state have driven people to seek refuge at libraries, movie theaters, museums and other indoor venues. In areas with low covid-19 vaccination rates where people have largely abandoned masks and physical distancing, health officials are concerned the result will be covid outbreaks.
Adding to that worry is the rise of the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, and research suggests that covid cases and deaths increase during periods of intense wildfire smoke.
Zachary B. Wolf of CNN speculates on the real-world ramifications of the Mississippi abortion case, and the implications for the Supreme Court.
What happens if the court overturns Roe v. Wade? Mississippi is one area where availability of legal abortion would decline precipitously if the ruling is overturned. Abortion access would not simply end nationwide, but rather state laws would take over.
A New York Times analysis published in May suggested access would be most affected in the American South and Midwest. Abortion could become illegal in 22 states and remain largely unchanged in 28.Ten states have passed laws that would trigger in the event Roe is overturned and automatically ban all abortions. They include both Dakotas, Idaho and Utah, and a band of states that stretches from Kentucky down to Louisiana. And some states still have laws on the books that ban abortion that would presumably revive if the case is overturned, according to the Guttmacher institute.
What brings us to this moment is not a mass movement of Americans, but rather two unexpected Supreme Court deaths, some extraordinary maneuvering by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a legal challenge by Mississippi.
Paul Waldman of The Washington Post also writes about the Mississippi abortion case, and sees the developing pattern.
We are at the front end of what may come to be known as the Great Rights Retraction. While liberal ideas are ascendant throughout American politics and culture, six conservative justices — five elevated by presidents who first took office despite losing the popular vote — are engineering a legal revolution intended to roll back and restrict rights held mostly by the less powerful.
Workers seeking dignity and fair treatment, women seeking reproductive autonomy, members of minority groups seeking an unrestricted ability to vote — all will find their rights growing more and more narrow.
I don’t doubt that Mississippi Republicans genuinely want Roe overturned in its entirety. But like anti-abortion conservatives everywhere, they know how far they’ve already come. Existing legal restrictions, harassment, and decades of violence and assassinations have made abortions harder and harder to get, to the point where there is only one abortion clinic left in the entire state of Mississippi.
And they know that with the right ruling, they can achieve just about the same end as overturning Roe even if the court doesn’t do so explicitly.
Ricky L. Jones, chair of the Pan-African Studies department at the University of Louisville, pens a defiant note about critical race theory opponents for the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Despite their self-praise, they are the ones hellbent on keeping this country from moving forward and healing by continuing to indoctrinate yet another generation of children with historical and contemporary falsehoods. They are the ones committing anti-intellectual and educationally backwards sins of commission and omission.
They are not saviors. They are not protectors of children. They are not patriots. They are not righteous. In fact, they don’t give a damn about critical race theory (CRT), which is their latest scare topic. Most of them don’t even know what CRT is. In fits of honesty (or ignorance), some have admitted CRT isn’t the issue. What they really despise are ANY “diversity and inclusion” efforts.
Even that isn’t completely accurate. What these types REALLY oppose are any efforts arguing for racial equality because they mandate the acknowledgement and dismantling of American white supremacy. It is said the devil’s greatest trick was convincing people he did not exist. Anti-CRT people are taking a page out of Beelzebub’s playbook. They are trying to convince you white supremacy and institutional racism have never and do not exist either. But alas, they do and they will never be defeated by ignoring them.
Ani Onibada of Buzzfeed writes about 21st-century “sundown towns.”
In recent years, the angst of being a Black motorist has been captured with the hashtag #DrivingWhileBlack. As Americans flock to the open roads in a bid to reclaim their summer after more than a year of restrictions, the freedom and excitement of the road trip isn’t without caveats for minorities looking to venture to less diverse destinations.
“En route, there were a bunch of Confederate flags, a lot of ‘Make America Great Again’ flags, there’s even a few Klan lounges in South Carolina that we came across,” said Williams. “It’s when you veer off to the back roads that don’t connect to the highway, that’s when you find yourself in trouble, and it sucks because the hiking spots [are] in these back wooded areas like West Virginia and Kentucky.”
Monica Pinna of Euronews has a disturbing investigative report about European arms sales fueling wars in other parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East.
Finally, I had no idea that Jackie Robinson’s widow was still living. Peter Dreier of Common Dreams profiles the remarkable and accomplished Rachel Robinson, who just celebrated her 99th birthday.
Two weeks after their marriage, Rachel and Jackie left for spring training in Daytona, Florida with the Montreal Royals. [Ken] Burns’ documentary portrays, through Rachel’s voice, the ordeal they faced dealing with the Southern Jim Crow system, including the segregated trains, buses, restaurants, and stadiums, and the hostility of many white Southerners.
To get to Daytona, they flew from LA to New Orleans. At the New Orleans airport, they were told they were being “bumped” from the plane to Florida. Jackie protested this obvious racist act to the airline attendant behind the counter.
Meanwhile, Rachel escaped to the Ladies Room. But there were two Ladies Rooms in the airport, right next to each other. One said “Colored Women.” The other said “White Women.” Rachel went into the one that said “White Women.” People stared at her, but nobody stopped her.
Nine years before Rosa Parks triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rachel Robinson had performed her first act of civil disobedience.
Everyone have a good day!