Patterico's Pontifications


My Little Aloha Sweetie for Vice-President

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:58 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Don’t pretend like you didn’t see this one coming.

With putative Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden zeroing in on his Vice-Presidential pick — and believe me, the leaked names under consideration are indeed a bunch of zeros — it’s time to make the argument for a bold, refreshing, unconventional pick that would establish Slow Joe as something other than a dinosaur who has spent a half-century mucking around Washington, DC and who is in complete thrall to the power players and elite opinion makers which sadly dominate his party. Various names have been bandied about over the past few months: Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Duckworth, and now Karen Bass. They each have something to offer the elderly white male Establishment figure around whom party pooh-bahs rallied during that harrowing point last winter when a nutty old socialist nearly stormed the gates and threw out everyone who wore a tailored suit.

But none of them offer the advantages that Mr. Biden stands to reap if he takes the bold step of naming the fourth-term Congresswoman from the islands of Hawai’i to his ticket. She matches and/or surpasses any of the strengths of the other potential candidates, and at worst her liabilities are no more troublesome than those of the rest of the field. Don’t believe me? Let’s consider:

Stacey Abrams
Pros: Almost managed to get herself elected governor of Georgia.
Cons: Garden variety leftist of the Sanders stripe. It’s hard to see her winning over voters in the Rust Belt.

Karen Bass
Pros: Apparently she and Biden get along well together, though Biden might have mistaken her for his nurse.
Cons: As late as 2016 still thought Fidel Castro had done a bang-up job in Cuba. Her only major accomplishment as Speaker of the California Assembly, a budget deal with Governor Schwarzenegger, was overwhelmingly rejected by the state’s voters, hardly an endorsement of her ability to sell her fellow Democrats on compromise.

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Pros: Executive experience in government, I suppose.
Cons: Atlanta has hardly been a model for how to deal with civic unrest, and her dithering ended up in the senseless death of a young girl.

Tammy Duckworth
Pros: Inspiring life story about her service to our country and how she overcame devastating war wounds. Her politics generally align with those of one of her seat’s previous occupants, Barack Obama.
Cons: I consider Sen. Duckworth, whose mother was Thai-Chinese, to be a person of color, but will African-Americans? The recent prominence of BPIOC (Black & Indigenous People of Color) in woke leftist usage seems particularly designed to omit Asians from the intersectionality grievance matrix.

Kamala Harris
Pros: I pass.
Cons: Mr. Biden would look weak by choosing a woman who relentlessly demagogued him at the first Democrat debate. Her accomplishments in offices she has held have been scant, but the controversies she has stirred up have been formidable and will at last get full airing should she be chosen.

Susan Rice
Pros: I don’t know; maybe having worked with her in the past there will be a flicker of recognition in Mr. Biden’s mind when she walks into a meeting room.
Cons: It makes more sense to pick an elected official who is notable for brazenly lying to us than an appointed official who is notable for brazenly lying to us. And I don’t think the Biden team wants to give strong hints that they will merely be reassembling the Obama squad.

Elizabeth Warren
Pros: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
Cons: Where do I begin? Let’s just leave it at the fact that a party which fetishizes youth and diversity would have 150 years’ worth of white folks on their ticket.

Here’s a helpful tool I created so that you can all see how My Little Aloha Sweetie stacks up against all of these mediocrities:

Dem VP chart

By naming Tulsi Gabbard to the Vice-Presidential slot, Joe Biden could improve his candidacy in several ways. First, he keeps his promise to appoint a woman, and he gets a woman of color to boot (though, like Sen. Duckworth, Rep. Gabbard would have her BPIOC credentials challenged). Second, he gets an ally of Bernard Sanders to join him, and one who is far more personable and charming than the cranky old Marxist bastard. Third, he flanks the Trump/Pence ticket by appointing a generation other than the Baby Boomers who have ruled the roost for the past twenty-eight years. (Fun note: Joe Biden would be the first representative of the Silent Generation to be elected President; Dick Cheney is the only one to serve as VP.) Fourth, in our heavily divisive times he would be choosing someone who doesn’t seem to have much interest in scoring cheap partisan points, and who generally treats her ideological opponents as serious people with whom she should discuss ideas rather than as irascible racists who need to be silenced. Her weaknesses — impractical economics, a tolerance of murderous dictators, lack of high-level leadership — aren’t any different than the weaknesses of any of the other candidates, or for that matter her potential boss. And we have seen the Warrior Princess on the debate stage and we know that she has a toughness and a resiliency that are quite admirable.

Joe Biden could do a whole hell of a lot worse. And he probably will.


Pandemic Or Not, Famed Motorcycle Rally Is A Go

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:18 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This just doesn’t seem like a good idea. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is on:

More than 250,000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota, seeking the freedom of cruising the boundless landscapes in a state that has skipped lockdowns. The Aug. 7 to 16 event, which could be the biggest anywhere so far during the pandemic, will offer businesses that depend on the rally a chance to make up for losses caused by the coronavirus. But for many in Sturgis, a city of about 7,000, the brimming bars and bacchanalia will not be welcome during a pandemic.

In non-pandemic years, the famed rally at Sturgis usually sees around 500,000 people. But while this year’s numbers are estimated to be half that amount, we’re still talking about a quarter of a million people coming from any number of places throughout the country and descending on a small city during a ten-day period in the midst of a pandemic. Apparently, while a majority of residents were against hosting the event this year, local business leaders pushed for it, pointing to the incredible amount of money that is spent by rallygoers – especially the affluent riders with loads of cash burning a hole in their pockets:

Rallygoers have spent about $800 million in past years, according to the state Department of Tourism…

The attorney for a tourism souvenir wholesaler in Rapid City wrote to the City Council reminding that a judge found the city does not solely own rights to the rally and threatening to sue if the city tried to postpone it. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Chip, which is the largest campground and concert venue that lies outside the bounds of the city, made clear that it would hold some version of the rally.

Rod Woodruff, who operates the Buffalo Chip, said he felt he had little choice but to proceed with the rally. He employs hundreds of people in August and a smaller full-time staff.

“We spend money for 355 days of the year without any return on it, hoping people show up for nine days,” he said. “We’re a nine-day business.”

Woodruff felt he could pull off a safe event, allowing people to keep their distance from one another at the outdoor concerts at his campground. He said he was emboldened by the July 3 fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore, where 7,500 people gathered without any reported outbreaks after the event, according to health officials.

(For comparison: the July 3 fireworks celebration was a single-day event which saw 242,500 fewer people than are expected during the 10-day Sturgis rally, which will include poker tournaments, drag races, concerts, rides, etc.)

In spite of the event being greenlit, there can be no doubt that the city recognizes that this year is like no other:

When the rally is over, every year the city weighs all the trash generated to estimate how many people showed up. This year, they will also conduct mass coronavirus testing to see if all those people brought the pandemic to Sturgis.

The City of Sturgis rally website provides attendees with instructions regarding travel restrictions on tribal lands due to Covid-19, as well providing instructions for temporary vendor and liquor license holders.

South Dakota’s current Covid-19 numbers can be found here.


The Trump Interview with Axios: Lies Corrected on the Fly

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

You can watch the Trump interview by Jonathan Swan of Axios below. Trump looks and sounds dumber than ever, and in part I think it’s because Swan makes an attempt to correct and/or put in context every false and misleading thing Trump says, as it happens. It leads to a constant stream of small interruptions that will annoy you if you like Trump, but which I find refreshing as someone who dislikes watching him vomit out 50 lies per minute and never get corrected on anything.

I have cut for you one of my favorite clips, with Trump talking about mail-in voting. Trump calls it a new phenomena [sic]; Swan says it’s been around since the Civil War. Trump says it’s expanding; Swan says that’s because of the pandemic. Trump says, over and over, that states are mailing out ballots; Swan says (almost as repeatedly) that they are sending out applications, which you could download off the Internet.

I don’t have time to transcribe it for you — I usually do — but it’s worth the 80 seconds it takes to watch it.

This is how you do it:

Once you have watched the clip you can back up the interview to the beginning if you like, by moving the time slider all the way to the left.

Buffoon. I cannot wait until he’s gone.

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