Patterico's Pontifications


Debate (Mostly) Open Thread

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:33 pm

[guest post by JVW]

I didn’t take the time to try and make some cutting remarks about last night’s candidates, so I’ll bypass that opportunity for tonight. But let’s set the stage with a few questions to ponder:

Does Joe Biden need to hit Kamala Harris with a zingy one-liner tonight, even if it isn’t quite a haymaker of a blow?

Will Kamala Harris say something tonight that her campaign will immediately be forced to “clarify” once the debate ends?

How in the world does Cory Booker get his campaign untracked without telling an embellished story which casts himself as selfless and heroic?

Who among the rest of the crowd — Michael Bennett, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard (ta-thump! ta-thump! goes my heart!), Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang — will be making his or her final appearance on the debate stage tonight?


Black Moon Tonight

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 3:58 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

There will be a Black Moon tonight in the Western Hemisphere. explains What It Is (and Why You Can’t See It):

While a full moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by sunlight, a new moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully in shadow. (Unfortunately, that means the Black Moon will be more or less invisible, even if the moon is high in the sky).

The lunar calendar almost lines up with Earth’s calendar year, so there is typically one full moon and one new moon each month. A second full moon in a single calendar month is sometimes called a “Blue Moon.” A Black Moon is supposedly the flip side of a Blue Moon: the second new moon in a single calendar month. The next Black Moon takes place on July 31 (in the Western Hemisphere).

The Black Moon is a somewhat unusual celestial event — they occur about once every 32 months, and they sometimes only occur in certain time zones. From most of the Western Hemisphere, the new moon occurring on Wednesday, July 31 is a Black Moon. Officially, it occurs at 11:13 p.m. EDT (0313 GMT on Aug. 1).

This has nothing to do with the Democratic debate, which is also tonight. Or does it?

H/T mg.


Fed cuts Interest Rate; Trump responds

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 3:34 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Fed cuts key rate for first time in more than a decade:

The Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate Wednesday for the first time in a decade to try to counter the impact of President Donald Trump’s trade wars, stubbornly low inflation and global weakness.

It left open the possibility of future rate cuts, but perhaps not as many as Wall Street had been hoping for. During a news conference, Chairman Jerome Powell struggled to find just the right words to articulate the Fed’s strategy and what might prompt future rate cuts at a time when the risk of a recession in the United States seems relatively low.


The central bank reduced its benchmark rate — which affects many loans for households and businesses — by a quarter-point to a range of 2% to 2.25%. It’s the first rate cut since December 2008 during the depths of the Great Recession, when the Fed slashed its rate to a record low near zero and kept it there until 2015. The economy is far healthier now despite risks to what’s become the longest expansion on record.

Trump responded that Fed Chief Powell ‘let us down’ by not clearly signaling more rate cuts.


Speaking of Superlatives

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 3:14 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Following up on last night’s Democratic debate (Part 1 of infinity), President Trump attacked CNN’s Don Lemon for a debate question. The question was: “Senator Klobuchar, what do you say to those Trump voters who prioritize the economy over the President’s bigotry?”:

President Trump took aim at Don Lemon Wednesday, calling him “the dumbest man on television” over a question the CNN host asked during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

“CNN’s Don Lemon, the dumbest man on television, insinuated last night while asking a debate ‘question’ that I was a racist, when in fact I am ‘the least racist person in the world.’ Perhaps someone should explain to Don that he is supposed to be neutral, unbiased & fair or is he too dumb (stupid} to understand that,” Trump tweeted.

“No wonder CNN’s ratings (MSNBC’s also) have gone down the tubes – and will stay there until they bring credibility back to the newsroom,” he added. “Don’t hold your breath!”

Trump aka “the least racist person there is anywhere in the world” said he looked forward to two nights of Democratic debates “at which his tweets on Baltimore and minority members of Congress will probably be addressed.”

If there is one thing we’ve learned from Trump, the art of Presidential campaigning is making everything about him.


Dem Candidate Ends His Campaign by Opposing Impossible Promises and Fairy-Tale Economics

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 am

This sums up our horrible politics, media, and culture all in one nice short clip. John Delaney was thought to have had a strong night until this supposed gaffe, where he decried “impossible promises” and “fairy tale economics.” Elizabeth Warren scolded him for this and the crowd went wild:

Most of what Delaney says there is garbage, but the one sensible thing he said — that his party should be more realistic and less pie-in-the-sky — is what Warren seized on. She issued a superficial retort that basically said “yes” to impossible promises and fairy-tale economics.

As you can see, the reaction of the chattering class was “yay Warren!”:

No discussion of whether he’s right. Just a statement that Warren’s support of fairy tales was a “roundhouse punch.” And why not conclude that? After all, a crowd of hyperpartisans (who I assume, per usual practice, had been handed tickets to the debate by the campaigns) cheered Warren loudly.

Stupid Delaney, trying to get sensible for a brief moment in that environment. You see what happens when you try to move away from superficiality for even a second.

You get eaten alive.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Hot Air: Babylon Bee may Sue Snopes

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:26 am

[Headline from DRJ]

No Joke: Babylon Bee Sics Lawyers On Snopes Over “Fact Checks”

Even the satirists at the Babylon Bee have a limit to jokes — and the attempts by Snopes to “fact check” their humor doesn’t qualify. In a message to subscribers yesterday, the Bee declared that Snopes was attempting to exploit its position as a Facebook partner to “deplatform” the conservative satire site. In response, the Babylon Bee has decided to sic their very real and non-humorous attorneys against the urban-legend site to put an end to their harassment.

NOTE: I edited the title to add “may” since there doesn’t appear to be a lawsuit filed. My thanks to Davethulhu for pointing this out.


California Law requires Presidential Primary Candidates to release Tax Returns

Filed under: Government,Law,Politics — DRJ @ 7:19 am

[Headline from DRJ]

California Requires Trump to Release Tax Returns for Spot on Primary Ballot

President’s lawyer threatens court challenge, calling new law unconstitutional

California will require presidential candidates to hand over their tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary-election ballot, setting up a likely legal conflict with President Trump over his continued refusal to disclose any tax documents.

Under a law signed Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, candidates must turn over five years of tax returns at least 98 days before the March 3 primary. The state would then release a redacted version of the documents.

The Constitution sets forth the requirements to be President that are based on age, citizenship and residency but laws do allow states to establish rules to limit ballot access, such as requiring filing fees and gathering signatures. In addition, this law only applies to the primary election, not the general election.


US to Allow Prescription Drugs from Canada

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 7:08 am

[Headline from DRJ]

US to set up plan allowing prescription drugs from Canada:

The Trump administration said Wednesday it will set up a system to allow Americans to legally import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, weakening a longstanding ban that had stood as a top priority for the politically powerful pharmaceutical industry.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made the announcement Wednesday morning. Previous administrations had sided with the industry on importation, echoing its concerns that it could expose patients to risks from counterfeit or substandard medications.

Azar, a former drug industry executive, said U.S. patients will be able to import medications safely and effectively, with oversight from the Food and Drug Administration. The administration’s proposal would allow states, wholesalers and pharmacists to get FDA approval to import certain medications that are also available here.

This likely won’t impact those who take generic drugs but the article says it could help cancer and Hepatitis C patients and diabetes patients who take insulin.

Secretary Azar “credited President Donald Trump for pushing the idea.”



2020 Democratic Debates!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Oh boy!

This is so representative of our 2020 politics where everything is theater, and everyone is determined to out-pander the competition, no matter how outlandish and absurd:

It took over 100 people eight days to build the set for CNN’s Democratic debates. Nine 53-foot semi-trucks were needed to haul in all the equipment. There are more than 500 lights, and 25 cameras at the debate location.

Watch it here.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump: “No Strategy” Behind My Attacks On Elijah Cummings

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here’s what President Trump said when asked by a reporter about his attacks on Elijah Cummings:

“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy,” Trump said upon returning to the White House from a trip to Jamestown, Va.

“All it is is I’m pointing out facts,” he added. “The most unsafe city in our country is Baltimore.”

He repeated his assertion that Cummings, who represents parts of Baltimore, should use his power as House Oversight and Reform chairman to investigate the city’s use of federal funds.

Asked why he has focused his rage on Cummings instead of local leaders over the plight of Baltimore, Trump initially denied he was angry but later chastised the lawmaker for his fierce criticism of conditions at the southern border.

“I’m just telling you the facts,” Trump said. “I’m not angry at anybody. I’m just saying Elijah Cummings has been there for 26 years … he’s seen these mayors get thrown out, thrown out, thrown out. They’re all friends of his.”

And while an official in the administration echoed the president in saying that his attacks on Cummings aren’t part of a larger strategy, one wonders. Maybe it isn’t yet, but it’s easy to see it becoming just that:

Trump has said in the past day that he thinks his messaging about inner-cities is resonating and doesn’t appear swayed by the concerns of his advisers.

Trump claimed Tuesday morning while speaking to reporters that he was “helping himself” with voters when whether he feels he is alienating moderates with his tweets.

“No, I think I’m helping myself because I’m pointing out the tremendous corruption,” he said before departing the White House.

In spite of his attacks on Elijah Cummings, Trump insisted that he has received phone calls from a lot of African-Americans praising him for his comments on Baltimore:

“I’ve received more phone calls than I think on any other subject of people from Baltimore and other cities corruptly run by Democrats, thanking me for getting involved,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.

“Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They’re largely African American,” he said. “You have a large African American population, and they really appreciate what I’m doing. And they’ve let me know it. They really appreciate it.”The president asserted again on Tuesday afternoon that he’d heard from “many” African Americans who called to thank him for bringing attention to Baltimore, but did not elaborate further.

Additionally, the president blamed “fake news” for a new Quinnipiac University poll that found 80 percent of black voters believe he is racist:

If the news reported it properly of all of the things I’ve done for African Americans… I think I’d do very well with the African Americans,” Trump said. “And I think I’m doing very well right now.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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