Will Joe Biden be prez on 20 Jan 25?

America’s “moral net”

joebidenIt’s Joe Biden’s 81st birthday. The occasion got me wondering whether he’ll be President on the afternoon of 20 Jan 25.

Specifically, can he pull together a coalition of voters who’ll pull the lever for him on 5 Nov 24? For many Democrats in 2020, he wasn’t our first pick in the primary. I voted for Elizabeth Warren, even though the primary race was over by the time New Yorkers had a chance to cast a ballot.

Still, I voted for him in November 2020, not only because I thought he’d be mildly competent but because the other guy scared me half to death.

Old-fashioned politics

He has had success. Last week, I heard Franklin Foer, the author of The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future, make a convincing case for the incumbent’s accomplishments. 

The problem is that progress tends to be necessarily incremental. Lowering prescription costs has been enacted, but it’s only ten drugs, not until 2026. The tax incentives to fight climate change in the Inflation Reduction Act will take time many don’t think we have. His gun safety act, necessarily a legislative half-loaf, can’t prevent mass shootings in the short term. 

In July 2023, David Brooks of the New York Times asked, “Why is Biden not getting the credit he deserves?” He points to the Misery Index, a “crude but effective way to measure the economy” by adding the inflation and unemployment rates.

The Fed controls the increased interest rates. Biden has in the past released gasoline from the strategic reserve, but the supply chain determines the prices. 

North by northwest?

Brooks notes the rates when Reagan (11.4), W (9), and Obama (9.5) won reelection. Biden’s was at 7.7 then; in October, 7.5 (unemployment rate –  3.8 plus Inflation rate 3.7). “Household net worth is surging.” Yet then and now, about 3/4 of the population in Gallup polls think that the country is heading in “the wrong direction.”

I always thought that was a peculiar question. Certainly, I think the country is going in the wrong direction with the book banners, election deniers, and the like. But I wouldn’t put that on JRB. Immigration is a serious problem that the White House and Congress should address, but the House has proved that its priority doesn’t involve governing. The Supreme Court rolls back issues of justice regularly.

Brooks cites the anthropologist Raoul Naroll, “who argued that every society has a ‘moral net,’ a cultural infrastructure that exists, mostly unconsciously, in the minds of its members. America’s is in tatters. This manifests a loss of national self-esteem…”

Brooks states that “during the Trump era, Americans… lost faith in one another,” with those supporting 45 “converted to the gospel of American carnage” and those opposing him “appalled” that their fellow Americans could support him.

Of course, there is a lot of existential stress in society, a post-COVID malaise, and hearing about the successes of Bidenomics cannot cut through.

Moreover, per Newsweek: “Americans are running out of savings as stimulus checks end across the country and the economy stares down a potential recession. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Americans had a 22.7% savings rate in 2020, which fell to 3.4% in September 2023. The average American family may have more than $40,000 in household savings, according to job platform Zippia, but the median household savings is just $5,300.”

The old age issue

For decades, Joe Biden was prone to verbal gaffes, including when he was Vice-President. I have noticed that he will likely devolve into a word salad, mainly when tired. That would explain the rambling comments when he arrived in Hawaii after the Maui fires. My daughter had no idea what he was talking about. Being versed in Bidenese, I explained he was comparing the pain the folks were feeling with the loss of his daughter and first wife; it was weird.

When the polling shows that Biden is currently losing to djt in the swing states – if you can believe the polls –  some folks, such as former Obama advisor David Axelrod, suggest Biden step aside in favor of another candidate. But who? Certainly not Kamala Harris, whose negatives are similar to Biden’s.

A challenge from a Democrat

I wouldn’t mind someone challenging Biden in the 2024 primaries, though. And I don’t mean RFK, Jr., who was Steve Bannon’s Trojan horse and is now presumably running independently. The contest may focus his message better.

Oh, wait, there’s… what’s his name again? Oh, yeah, Dean Phillips, a Minnesota congressman I had never heard of. Andrew Yang, who ran for prez back in 2020, touts Phillips: “Dean is what most Americans want: a sane, moderate 54-year old presidential candidate who will work to make things better.  I joke that Dean should change his name to Generic Democrat, because polls show that Trump loses to a generic Democrat by 8 points.”

And Marianne Williamson is running again. The pundits dismissed her as a flake last time, but punditry is highly overrated, as President Hillary Clinton could tell you.


Of course, there are the Republicans, the five on the debate stage on November 8, and the guy who has been in court a lot. No, I didn’t watch the debate or djt’s counterprogramming.

The nominee isn’t going to be Chris Christie, who endorsed Trump in 2016 after he dropped out of the race, thinking djt would become more presidential with CC’s advice, and then blasted the Big Lie in 2020.

Tim Scott was such a nonentity that the big news was that after the event, he said he had a girlfriend, Mindy Noce. Then, he “suspended” his campaign. Do people ever “unsuspend” their campaign?

I read from multiple sources that Vivek Ramaswamy was the person others wanted to punch in the face. Or maybe Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis could step on him with their three- or five-inch heels.

Speaking of Haley, the Boston Globe noted: “There’s been a spate of recent commentary arguing that former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is emerging as the top rival to former president Donald Trump in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. Our Scot Lehigh noticed it in New Hampshire. But other commentators have been keen on Haley of late, including in The New York TimesPolitico, and National Review.” I feel that she’d fare better against Biden than djt would. 

The same old song

But barring divine intervention, djt will be the GOP guy . Now, some of his potential voters indicated that they might not vote for him if he’s convicted of severe crimes. But by Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024, djt may have enough delegates to seal the nomination. If Republican voters were strategic, they’d vote for someone else, but…

And a third-party candidate could cloud things. No one following Joe Manchin’s career believes he’s leaving the Senate to go fishing.

If 2024 is, in fact, a rerun of 2020, I’ll vote for Joe Biden – or whichever Democrat is on the ballot – because the other guy is even scarier. Heck, the GOP is terrifying. The national Republican party is filled with AINOs—Americans in name only.

Worse, a former U.S. Attorney and noted legal analyst, Joyce Vance, urges Democrats to “have a serious conversation with the American people about what Donald Trump intends to do if he wins again.”She warns: “If Trump wins in 2024, we lose the Republic. That’s not drama, and that’s not overstatement. That’s what Trump is promising.”

James D. Zirin, a former federal prosecutor in New York’s Southern District, agrees. The final paragraph: “Trump says he wants to ‘terminate the Constitution.’ To do this would require more than an executive order. But if the unthinkable happens and he regains power, we can say a fond farewell to the rule of law and to John Adams’s statement that we are a ‘government of laws, not of men.'”

Yet, ABC News’s Jonathan Karl believes Americans Seem Alarmingly Open to djt’s “Campaign of Revenge and Retribution.” That’s scarier than the guy himself.

Ultimately, I think Biden, or more likely some of his surrogates, will lean into the abortion issue, noting that djt appointed the three Supreme Court justices that helped to overturn Roe. They’ll note that in every state where voters spoke on the issue, they’ve rejected the radical restrictions. 

Protect civil rights or Mr. Potato Head?

Hippocratic oath, ignored

potato headThe Weekly Sift guy posits: If there’s a theme in recent political news, it’s that Republicans and Democrats seem to be living in different worlds.

“I live in the Democratic world, so the issues Democrats talk about — Covid; the economic effect of Covid on ordinary people; protecting the right to vote; repairing crumbling 20th-century infrastructure and building for the current century; climate change; racism, sexism, and various other forms of bigotry; mass shootings; and letting DREAMers stay in the country — look real to me.

“Meanwhile Republican priorities — making it harder to vote; keeping transgirls out of school sports; changing discrimination laws to increase conservative Christians’ opportunities to express their disapproval of other people’s lifestyles; encouraging more people to carry guns in more situations; more tightly regulating which bathrooms people use; not letting cities require masks; and protecting Mr. Potato Head from cancel culture — are all weirdly divorced from any problems I can see.”

He describes this in much greater detail. And it wasn’t always so, as he explains.

Anyway, while trying not to pay too much attention to a murder trial in Minnesota, some other things that caught my attention.

ITEM: A story about my home county:
Research reveals gaping racial disparities in suburban arrests
“A review of data by the Times Union provided by the Capital Region’s largest suburban police departments revealed Black people are arrested and ticketed at rates that far exceed their percentage of the population in the mostly white communities.

This should surprise no one around here. Of course, the black folks in Albany knew this. But some of the white people in my church have been telling me this for years, how they had received what they perceived to be preferential treatment.

The Talk, redux

ITEM: Asian Americans, many for the first time, are giving children and elderly parents ‘The Talk’ on how to protect themselves from hate
“Some parents have been putting off these uncomfortable discussions, but they’re now unavoidable after the targeted murders of six Asian American women in the Atlanta area.” The conversations with their children are about how to gird themselves against a wave of anti-Asian sentiment, violence, and bullying.

ITEM:  Arkansas Governor Signs Pro-Religious Discrimination Bill Allowing Doctors to Refuse to Treat LGBTQ Patients.
And here I thought doctors followed a Hippocratic oath to recognize their “special obligations to all my fellow human beings.” This is contemptible legislation.

ITEM: Lindsey Graham Accuses President Of ‘Playing Race Card’ On HR 1
There was a time, right after John McCain died, that I thought maybe this guy could become something better. Nope.

ITEM: From The Lancet, no less. Public policy and health in the Trump era
“Trump exploited low and middle-income white people’s anger over their deteriorating life prospects to mobilise racial animus and xenophobia and enlist their support for policies that benefit high-income people and corporations and threaten health.

“His signature legislative achievement, a trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and high-income individuals, opened a budget hole that he used to justify cutting food subsidies and health care. His appeals to racism, nativism, and religious bigotry have emboldened white nationalists and vigilantes, and encouraged police violence and, at the end of his term in office, insurrection.” (49 pp, free with registration)

ITEM: SATIRE –  Georgia Governor Declares Water a Gateway Drug That Leads to Voting

On the other hand

ITEM:  Louisiana, Activists May Be Winning a Battle Against Environmental Racism
Analysts say the massive petrochemical complex proposed by Formosa Plastics is “financially unviable.”

ITEM: Brown University students vote to support reparations for descendants of enslaved people connected to the school
“Studying the issue doesn’t put money in Black folks’ pockets,” the student body president said. “It’s lovely and all, but how does that rectify what happened?”
Of course, the question is always, “How?”

August rambling: bots botch puns

“Today I find the mask useful”

XKCD. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
I woke up from a dream earlier this month. The only thing I remember is someone saying Bots botch puns. Please leave your psychological analyses in the comments.

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What Makes Trump an Autocrat?

Maryanne Trump Barry says He has no principles.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US is making a mockery of the phrase a jury of your peers and Border Wall II.

Steve Bannon needs to watch The Inspectors.

Mnuchin paved way for postal service shake-up.

Trans Women Who Report Abuse in Prison Are Targets of Retaliation.

Aging memories may not be ‘worse’, just ‘different’.

CDC: Social Determinants of Health.

Harriette Cole: Have I been blind to my white friends’ true feelings?

Movies Misled the Masses. Can They Lead Us Into a More Equal Future?

Inside the Courthouse Break-In Spree That Landed Two White-Hat Hackers in Jail.

Placebos prove powerful even when people know they’re taking one.

Family of a young NYS Corrections Officer killed in a drunk-driving accident had some blunt advice for those reading his obituary.

Arthur writes about toxic positivity.

Brain waves can be used to predict future pain sensitivity.

How to Learn Everything: The MasterClass Diaries.

The American Scientists Who Saved London From Nazi Drones.

Pentagon’s UFO Group Is Officially Active, After Years of Secrecy.

The untold story of Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress.

Countdown – the game show of spelling, math, and whoopsies.

What is SEO

What is a 2nd cousin once removed?

Chuck is fifty-seven.

Audio link, almost ten minutes of a 1959 Stan Laurel interview.


The Trump Pandemic: A blow-by-blow account.

“Immune to Evidence”: How Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracies Spread. To wit:

Dangerous Oleander Extract Not a Cure, despite What He Said.

CDC Details Its Massive Mental Health Impact.

Today I find the mask useful
along with sunglasses
to hide my tear streaked face,
not wanting to scare the barista
who has enough to deal with
behind his own mask.
-Transitions” by Tammi Truax, poet laureate of Portsmouth, NH.

Mississippi School Opening Disaster.

Email Phishing Scams – Bad Actors Seeking to Take Advantage through “SBA Loan Application”.

Navajo Nation residents face coronavirus without running water.

How rocket scientists would approach planning to reopen schools.

Think it kills the centuries-old practice of sharing business cards? Think again.

COVID language.

XKCD. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Joe Biden in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for US President; Fact-checking him. (He does quite well, unlike his opponent’s Monday speech at the RNC.)

Hidden messages in Elizabeth Warren’s video.

Bernie Sanders speech, and link to others.

Now I Know

Why the Zebra Got its Stripes and The Stranger Things About a Scientific Constant and You Don’t Have To Be A Big Shot and The Turtle With Bricks for Wheels and The Aliens in the Cupboard and From Facebook to Mug Shot.

New blog

Alison Stonbely’s blog, Secrets of the Forest, looking at art and racism.

For the record

I really don’t care about Jerry Falwell Jr.’s sex life. Consenting adults and all that. What was loathsome has been his sanctimonious hypocrisy and his golden parachute.


Lyric Quartette by William Grant Still.

Outerspace – Zbonics and Rebecca Jade. Plus Sobrina Taylor interviews Rebecca Jade!

Pop Psalms: (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding – Nick Lowe.

Solace: A Mexican Serenade by Scott Joplin.

Coverville 1321: The Sparks Cover Story and This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us – The Sparks.

K-Chuck Radio: The World of the Black MIDI.

The Curse of Ham – Buggy Jive.

Christopher Cuomo – Randy Rainbow.

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas.

DOLLY PARTON Steers Her Empire Through the Pandemic— and Keeps It Growing.

Dems lying about Trump’s racism?

“bound together in love and loyalty, friendship and affection.”

Trump.racist..Newsweek coverHey, I said you can Ask Roger Anything. Someone I know IRL sent me this link from Fox News – “Deroy Murdock: Dem presidential candidates lie when they claim Trump is a racist.” The subtitle: “Democrats love to call President Trump a ‘racist.’ It’s a lie fanned by the Old Guard media that contributes to the poison of division choking America.” I’m not connecting to it, but you can find it if you want.

“These and other Democrats deliberately ignore the 25 or more instances in which Trump condemned racism, denounced white nationalism, attacked anti-Semitism, applauded Jews, embraced blacks, praised Muslims, and preached national unity and love among Americans, from coast to coast.” These include calls against white supremacy after the El Paso shootings, and generic good wishes during Black History Month or Ramadan.

This is a lot to unpack. First off, I reject the notion that the candidates are “lying.” They are expressing opinions. I mean, “What IS racist anyway?”, which I tried to address.

Next, the notion that the MSM is “fanning” the flames suggests something that isn’t accurate. I’ve watched the evening news on two networks (CBS, NBC) at least five days a week for several years. Many people, and I am among them, had been exasperated by the media saying he said something “racially tinged.” It’s been only fairly recently when a report noted when a “racist” comment had been made.

I have said I believe he is racist. This does not reflect a few events or policies but rather a systemic pattern of behavior.

An Example

One of the positive examples Murdock, citing a National Review article, mentions is this: “All Americans, whether first-generation or tenth generation, are bound together in love and loyalty, friendship and affection.” This was at a swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office on January 19, 2019.

“We are all equal. We are one team, and one people, proudly saluting one great American flag. We believe in a safe and lawful system of immigration, one that upholds our laws, our traditions, and our most cherished values.” Yet his policy on LEGAL immigration belies his rhetoric.

In other words, his words are often not to be believed. In other words – yes, I’m going to use the same L-word here, so brace yourselves – he lies. He prevaricates about issues consequential and irrelevant. He states mistruths about foreign policy and weather maps.

On Full Frontal, there is The Well-Documented Case of Trump’s Undocumented Employees. One of them called him “a hypocrite, a liar, racist.”

“My African-American”

The man he once called ‘my African American’ leaves the Republican Party, with harsh words on his way out. “My African-American,” BTW, is, at best, cringeworthy.

His “attacks on the congresswomen of color in The Squad were the breaking point for… Gregory Cheadle. [He] has not only broken with the Republican Party, he’s running for Congress as an independent.

“President Trump is a rich guy who is mired in white privilege to the extreme,” Cheadle told PBS Newshour. “Republicans are too sheepish to call him out on anything and they are afraid of losing their positions and losing any power themselves.”

“Cheadle is calling out the ‘pro-white’ agenda of Republicans, and he’s come to have second thoughts about his initial response to [Trump’s characterization] ‘I wonder to what extent he said that for political gain or for attention.’ Don’t wonder!”

Still, if you are uncomfortable with labeling him “racist,” that’s fine by me. Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile recently said that she often has trouble from people angry because she will not label [him] as a racist… She thinks it is time for citizens to have a ‘conversation’ without resorting to name-calling.

“Brazile said, as a woman of color, people, and not only Democrats, expect to hear she thinks [he] is a racist, but racism, ‘America’s original sin, slavery,’ is something that everyone has to deal with.” This is no doubt true.

Democrats debate: so MANY of them

Clorox the White House

2020 Democratic presidential candidates
Democrats debate. I don’t watch, either in June or July. This is a terrible admission for a political science major to make. As I said six months ago, I’m not ready to commit to a candidate until the list of candidates has been winnowed down.

Some of my friends are grousing, “We’ve got to cut this roster NOW!” I’m thinking, “All in good time, grasshopper.” The Republicans had their 17 candidates – and THAT’S the best they could come up with?

You will remember that LOTS of folks believed, not without cause, that the 2016 democratic party process favored one candidate (Hillary) over another (Bernie), and some of the latter either stayed home or incredibly, voted for the other guy. This tedious process is the result.

Of course, I read ABOUT the debates I’m not thrilled with the format of these things. When NBC wanted a “show of hands” about complex issues, I cringed. CNN sought conflict, even when there was none.

The candidates

I was GOING to write about each of the candidates, but – and this is true -I see a few of them on the screen and say aloud, “Which one is he, again?” And I was going to redo this online poll, which I did in February, but it reflected only about half the candidates. Still, the percentages listed reflect how much I purportedly agreed with each.

Elizabeth Warren (93%) always seems prepared. Her answer about the aspirational nature of running for President resonated. The bluster of Bernie Sanders (92%) has been fodder for the late-night comedians, but I don’t doubt his sincerity.

Kirsten Gillibrand (92%) is my US Senator. I voted for her more than once for that job. But she will not win and is only still in this race because she got money early. But she can come by and, in her words, “Clorox the White House.”

I’m glad Julian Castro (92%) is faring OK. I liked his answer about the economy: “There are a lot of Americans that are hurting. Just go and ask the folks that received notice they’re getting laid off by General Motors, or ask the folks sleeping on the street in big cities and small towns across the United States.” I’d like him for the Cabinet.

I expected the prosecutorial background of Kamala Harris (92%) to come back to bite her, and, apparently, it did. With Beto O’Rourke (91%), I’m STILL not convinced there is substance there. I gather Pete Buttigieg (91%) overhyped his youth, and the last debate-style did not play to his strength. Tulsi Gabbard (90%) scored points at Harris’ expense.

Amy Klobuchar (90%), er… she also wore a red jacket, like Warren? Andrew Yang (89%) may have ideas other than his one-note giveaway. Cory Booker (87%) was trying to be so nice the first time, he almost disappeared; I gather he fared better in round two.

Joe Biden (83%): beyond being the guy with a target on his back, he’s got to figure out how to say, essentially, “We did the best we could, based on what we knew then.” LOTS of people supported the crime bill that led to mass incarceration. Some seemed peeved at his mentions of personal loss and his Obama connection.

Marianne Williamson (83%) had been so portrayed as a dangerous flake, I was shocked about her cogent comments on race. She was correct that the Flint, MI water crisis would not have taken place in well-to-do Grosse Pointe, where she had lived.

“If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.” In other words, those MAGA hats won’t go away on January 20, 2021, even if the donkeys win.

John Delaney (69%) -meh. Jay Inslee has made his environmental pitch; someone should pick him to run the EPA. Bill DeBlasio and Tom Steyer: I’m annoyed they’re running.
And there are others.

My friends ARE correct that whatever these candidates say about each other, or Obama, the incumbent (15%) will use against the eventual winner. The process will be sorted out soon, with only seven to ten candidates likely to be on stage in Houston in September.

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