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. 

Sept rambling: extreme heat

backyard train

ALA Releases Preliminary 2023 Book Ban Data. Look for more info here.

Extreme Heat Is Threatening Entire Marine Ecosystems in Florida

Summer Heat Is Killing Incarcerated People — It’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment

US sets record for billion-dollar disasters in a single year, with  months to go

If there’s no federal budget on October 1, blame the House Republicans

Don’t just connect the dots

About the polls (JRB vs. djt)

Legal Experts Have A Field Day With djt’s Megyn Kelly Interview

Colorado Lawsuit’s Strategy for Keeping djt Off Ballot Is Starting to Spread – The lawsuits cite the 14th Amendment, which says former officials who engage in insurrection may not serve as president. But it may not work.

How GOP pressured Texas senators over Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial

Arthur: The fourth horrible anniversary

Travis: Screw Cancer!

FDA OKs Updated COVID Shots — New single-strain vaccines will exclusively target the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant

John Green attends the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis and gets to give a speech. 

Actor David McCallum died at age 90.  I noted here that my sister Marcia and used to play The Man from U.N.C.L.E. together.  My daughter watched NCIS regularly for a few years.

Brooks Robinson, Hall of Fame third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, died at the age of 86

El Monte Thai garment workers were inducted into the Labor Hall of Honor. They helped expose their employer’s abusive labor practices and spurred changes in legal protections for the nation’s workers.

US senators can wear workout clothes to work under new rules. In response, pearls will be clutched.

In TV’s Wild West, Which Channels Will Be Dropped Next?

Oakland vs. the A’s: The inside story of how it all went south (to Las Vegas)

Jann Wenner [weakly] Apologizes for Saying Black and Female Musicians Aren’t “Articulate” Enough for His New Book

A metamorphosis, completed

NASA: the lunar south pole

Life Expectancy of Pets

Someone’s nice backyard train

Artist Imagines What Would Happen If Disney Princesses Visited A Psychotherapist (10 Pics)


Now I Know: When Being From France Isn’t French Enough and The Fugitive Who Was Put Out to Pasture and The Counterintuitive Problem of Dry Counties and  The Town That Fled a Fake Earthquake and The Mystery of the Exploding Toads and How to Sell* a Lot of Carrots


Perfect Day– Al Green

When You Wish Upon A Star – Sara Bareilles

So You Are Tired – Sufjan Stevens

Ballad Of A Homeschooled Girl – Olivio Rodrigo

I remember everything – Zach Bryan, feat. Kacey Musgraves

Shiny Happy People – Micky Dolenz (Sept. 2023)

Voiceplay, giving the a cappella treatment to a collection of TV theme songs

Start Me Up – The Folksmen (Sept. 2003)

Volcano Girls – Vercuna Salt

Coverville 1457: The Tommy Shaw & Styx Cover Story

I’ll Follow You – The Empty Pockets

Mickey– Toni Basil

Elegy by Mark Camphouse

Romanian Rhapsody #1 by Georges Enescu

Reject All American – Bikini Kill 

The Beatles Stowe School Concert Is Unlike Any Other Show in History

Temptation’s About To Get Me

Bruce Springsteen Postponing All 2023 Concerts to Next Year as He Recovers From Peptic Ulcer Disease

The Big Myth: climate change; djt

djt should want a speedy trial, right?

Hank Green said, I Can’t Stop Thinking that People Who Deny Climate Change are Lying.

It’s more insidious than that, I believe. Last week, I attended a book review of The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government & Love the Free Market by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.

The description: “In the early 20th century, business elites, trade associations, wealthy powerbrokers, and media allies set out to build a new American orthodoxy: down with “big government” and up with unfettered markets. With startling archival evidence, Oreskes and Conway document campaigns to rewrite textbooks, combat unions, and defend child labor. “

On ABC News’ This Week for September 3, 2023, meteorologist Ginger Zee describes “how rhetoric around climate change science became so polarizing.” George HW Bush (41) went to Rio de Janeiro to support the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. His son, George W. Bush (43), waffled, listening to voices such as talk show giant Rush Limbaugh, who claimed he could find as many scientists on each side of the global warming “debate.”

Yes, but

While running for President in 2000, W said, “Global warming needs to be taken very seriously… But science, there’s a lot of — there’s differing opinions.” His Vice-President suggested, “there does not appear to be a consensus… as the extent to which as part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man.”

Pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans in a memo that climate change was “not a winning issue for the party in the early 2000s” and that they lean into the “lack of scientific certainty.” It’s advice he’s now backed away from.

Were W and Cheney telling the truth about their beliefs?

I think it’s weird that Vivek Ramaswamy, the youngest of the candidates at the first Republican debate of 2023, said, “The climate change is a hoax… Drill, frack, burn coal, and brace nuclear.” Most younger adults accept human-created global warming as settled science.

Was Ramaswamy telling the truth about his beliefs?

The Big Lie

Similarly, most of the sycophants running against djt for President committed to voting for him even if he is convicted in one of these felony trials. Some would even pardon him.

As a poli sci guy, I’m fascinated that “two conservative law professors [are]  suggesting that President Trump should be disqualified under Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone from office who participated in insurrection or gave aid and comfort to enemies of the Constitution from being on the ballot.”  It’s something that will be hashed out in the courts, of course.

The Weekly Sift guy indicates What an innocent Trump should do. “Trump’s people are saying the charges against him are bogus, that it’s all politics waged by overzealous partisan prosecutors. It’s election interference whose purpose is to promote slanders against Trump during the campaign…

“But if that’s what’s going on, then Trump’s lawyers should be chomping at the bit to get into a courtroom, where they can tell the real story, introduce the “complete” and “irrefutable” evidence that clears Trump…”


“So if all Trump’s indictments are nothing but weaponization of the justice system, that’s what he should want: Bring in 12 ordinary Americans who are not part of the vast Biden conspiracy, let them examine all the evidence, and then see what they think. In particular, Trump should want to get as many vindicating verdicts as possible on the record before the election so that voters could put aside all doubts about his guilt…

“But if you look at what Trump, his lawyers, and his cultists are doing, they seem scared to death of him facing a jury. His legal strategy revolves around endless delay…”

So, the defense of the major player in the government for four years is leaning into the Loathe the Government sentiment. It’s brilliant, if bizarre.

August rambling: it does matter

Roger Green reviews John Green (no relation)

392 “Educational Intimidation” Bills Have Been Introduced in the US Since 2021

How the Myth of Colorblindness Endangers France’s Future: The refusal to gather data on race and ethnicity is exacerbating inequality, increasing social segregation, and preventing badly needed reforms.

How did Frederick Douglass become a conservative spokesman?

A New Monument to Emmett Till Doesn’t Measure Progress, But It Does Matter?

A raid on a Kansas newspaper likely broke the law, experts say. But which one?

Is Mental Health a Workplace Issue?

Ingenious librarians: A group of 1970s campus librarians foresaw our world of distributed knowledge and research, and designed search tools for it

The little search engine that couldn’t. A couple of ex-Googlers set out to create the search engine of the future. They built something faster, simpler, and ad-free. So how come you’ve never heard of Neeva?

India lands a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole, a first for the world as it joins an elite club. WAY cool.

Brain-reading devices allow paralysed people to talk using their thoughts. Two studies report considerable improvements in technologies designed to help people with facial paralysis communicate. But the devices must be tested on many more people to prove their reliability.

Why do upstate New Yorkers call it city chicken when it isn’t even made of chicken?

Now I Know: The Translator That Sucked The Life Out of Dracula and  Ulysses Subtracting (Land) Grant? and You Can’t Eat Here (And Don’t Really Want to Anyway) and The Man Who Lives on Cruise Ships and The Fans Who Saved The Day (For the Bad Guys) and The River Race that Doesn’t Like Water


Jerry Moss, A&M Records Co-Founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 88

Clarence Avant, ‘Godfather of Black Music,’ and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 92

Bob Barker, Famed Game Show Host, Dies at 99

Plus, people I’ve known IRL:

Billie Anderson, 93, a pillar at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY, the church I grew up in, died July 23. Then  her daughter Penny Sanders, a contemporary of mine, passed c. August 17

Dwight Smith, 93, a longtime member of my current church, choir, and Bible study, among other things, died August 7

Marilyn Cannoll, 93, who was the head of the Schenectady Arts Council when I worked there in 1978, died on August 9

John Wolcott, 90, a “rebel with a cause, a purveyor of justice and the truth,” died on August 17

Jacqui Williams, who I knew from Filling in the Gaps in American History, died on August 22. She spoke at my church in 2015; though the website is defunct, the Facebook page has lots of information

Matthew 5 is too “woke”

From Newsweek: Evangelical leader Russell Moore said that he saw Christianity in “crisis” because the teachings of Jesus were being viewed by a growing number of people as “subversive” to their right-wing ideology. The idea of “turning the other cheek” and other teachings of Jesus are being rejected as “liberal talking points.” Theologians described it as a rift within the conservative Christian faith that had come to be defined by support for djt.

It’s a dichotomy between theological evangelicals concerned primarily with Christian character and “political” evangelicals intent on winning the culture war, experts told Newsweek. See also: Daily Kos.

The Georgia indictments

djt has a “plan” for America called Agenda 47, and it’s a helluva thing.

Albany Public Library

Proceeds from the event benefit library programs and services. Purchase tickets here.

Tuesday noon book reviews at Washington Avenue large auditorium: I suppose I should plug September 12 | The Anthropocene Reviewed:  Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green.  Reviewer:  Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.


September 5 | Two Photography books:  Uncommon Places by Stephen Shore & Empire by Martin Hyers & William Mebane.  Reviewer:  David Brickman, exhibiting photographer, art critic, & FFAPL treasurer.

September 19 | The Heat Will Kill You First:  Life and Death on a Scorched Planet by Jeff Goodell.  Reviewer:  Richard King, retired attorney.

September 26 | A Conspiracy of Mothers, a novel by Colleen Van Niekerk.  Reviewer:  Miki Conn, author, poet, artist, storyteller.


Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door– the PFC Band, in memory of Robbie Robertson

Coverville 1453: The Gamble & Huff Cover Story and 1454: The Robbie Robertson Tribute 

Peter Sprague Plays Coltrane’s Giant Steps

My Home by Antonin Dvorak

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture (Solti, CSO)

Peter Sprague Plays Badge featuring Leonard Patton

The Boy From… – Linda Lavin, written by Esteban Río Nido

August rambling: unchallenged

new Red Cross guidelines

Voters in Ohio reject GOP-backed proposal that would have made it tougher to protect abortion rights. Poor Mike Huckabee complains that “the secular progressive left.. got one step closer to bypassing the legislative process and overturning pro-life, pro-family, and pro-God policies passed by duly elected representatives of the people.”

The Evidence Against djt is Unchallenged. Here are the  latest indictments (well latest before Georgia…)

The Heritage Foundation’s scary Mandate for Leadership 2025 will likely be a handbook for the next Republican administration.

Barbados, American Slavery, and Racism

How a Grad Student Uncovered the Largest Known Slave Auction in the U.S

The Black History of the Montgomery Brawl Folding Chair

Fishing While Black

White Mom Accused of Trafficking Biracial Daughter Sues Southwest: Based on a ‘Racist Assumption’

Global child sexual abuse probe that was launched after two FBI agents were killed led to almost 100 arrests

A Hollywood Insurrectionist’s Path to Extremism

A Pathogen Too Far: How the 1918 Pandemic Revolutionized Virology

On August 7, 2023, the American Red Cross implemented the FDA’s updated final guidance regarding an individual donor assessment for all blood donors regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This change eliminated previous FDA eligibility criteria based on sexual orientation. Here’s a Blood Donation Map.

New Buffalo Bills stadium cost overruns approaching $300M, AP sources say

The Biggest Weirdest Telescope We’ve Ever Built – Hank Green

I Would Rather See My Books Get Pirated Than This (Or: Why Goodreads and Amazon Are Becoming Dumpster Fires)

There Will Never Be Another Second Life

Library staff closes the book on the missing money mystery after a patron leaves $1,200 in a novel she returned.

William Friedkin, Acclaimed Director of ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Exorcist,’ Dies at 87. I’m pretty sure I saw The French Connection in Poughkeepsie.

Arthur Schmidt Oscar-Winning Film Editor on ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and ‘Forrest Gump,’ [and a bunch of other noted films],  Dies at 86

Paul Reubens, Comic Behind the Madcap Pee-wee Herman, Dies at 70

Robbie Robertson, 80, Dies; Canadian Songwriter Captured American Spirit

Rodriguez, Musician, and Subject of ‘Searching for Sugar Man,’ Dies at 81

A review of emo songs

Now I Know:  The Woman Who Found Herself and An Odd Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day and Christmas in August, Wisconsin Edition and How Atomic Bombs Blew Up the Counterfeit Art World and  How Photography Stopped Disney’s Rollercoaster In Its Tracks and The Triple-X Law Firm

The blog was down

My blog was down for a couple of hours on the evening of August 3. I have this program called Jetpack that lets me know. This wasn’t very pleasant, but whatever. What made me someone crazy is that it went down at least four more times in the next three hours, anywhere between three and twenty minutes.

Then it was down for seven hours on the morning of August 12. Though I have the info backed up, it made me cranky. Should I be looking at other companies, and if so, which ones? 


Somewhere Down The Crazy River – Robbie Robertson 

The Weight – Featuring Ringo Starr and Robbie Robertson | Playing For Change

Gambia – Sona Jobarteh 

Rock N Roll Heart – Lucinda Williams

In Your Love – Tyler Childers

Coverville 1452: Cover Stories for Robert Cray, Rush and A Flock of Seagulls and 1453: The Gamble & Huff Cover Story

Overture to a suite of incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn

The Wizard and I – Ariana DeBose

Overture to The Magic Flute by Mozart

She Loves You – MonaLisa Twins

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