Thursday, October 22nd, 2020


Curb Your Enthusiasm

I'm gonna walk down to Election Avenue, and then I'm gonna wait, and wait, and wait. Recently, there's been no shortage of attacks on democratic values, and perhaps none is more core and more visible than the relentless efforts to make it harder for people to vote. Voters have been kicked to the curb, and in the case of the latest Supreme Court decision, kicked off the curb too. The Court "has sided with Alabama state officials who banned curbside voting intended to accommodate individuals with disabilities and those at risk from the COVID-19 virus." And you've undoubtedly noticed the ridiculously long lines people have been forced to wait in. What gives? Well, let's look at the numbers. From Vice: The US Eliminated Nearly 21,000 Election Day Polling Locations for 2020. The cuts are "driven by a heavy shift to mail voting, coronavirus-related consolidations, cost-cutting measures, and voter suppression."

+ WaPo: "Long before Election Day, voters across the country have been lining up to cast their ballots. We sent teams of reporters and photographers to six cities — Houston, Albuquerque, Chattanooga, Sarasota, Atlanta and Columbus — to capture how people feel as they wait for their chance to be heard."

+ If you can overcome the wait, or the concerns related to the relentless attacks on the safety of voting by mail, you enter the new sweepstakes: Hoping your vote gets counted. NYT: "Early data shows three key voting blocs that overwhelmingly support Joe Biden are most likely to have their ballots flagged and rejected. Here's who they are."


I Just Spit Out My Covfefe

"The common view of American politics today is of a clamorous divide between Democrats and Republicans, an unyielding, inevitable clash of harsh partisan polarization. But that focus obscures another, enormous gulf — the gap between those who follow politics closely and those who don't. Call it the 'attention divide.' What we found is that most Americans — upward of 80 percent to 85 percent — follow politics casually or not at all. Just 15 percent to 20 percent follow it closely (the people we call deeply involved). NYT: The Real Divide in America Is Between Political Junkies and Everyone Else. (I could use their mute button...)


Ratcliffe Hanger

"We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump. You may have seen some reporting on this ... or you may have been one of the recipients." So said John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, during a news conference on the efforts of foreign actors such as Iran and Russia to spread voter disinformation. (He didn't mention the related domestic threat.)

+ WaPo: Trump weighs firing FBI director after election as frustration with Wray, Barr grows. (He doesn't think Barr hasn't been supportive enough? Why because the bullets fired at protesters in Lafayette Park were only rubber?)


Boycott in the Crossfire

"Democrats did not attend Thursday's committee vote, calling it 'illegitimate.' They've objected to Trump and Republicans racing to fill a vacancy so close to a presidential election, after the party blocked former president Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland because it was an election year." That said, the process just keeps on keeping on, with the committee's approval and the full Senate vote expected Monday.

+ Ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse.

+ Biden says he will appoint commission on Supreme Court reform.


Immutable Points

Notice that stirring in the quiet distance? The rustling along the orange horizon? The calm before the Thursday night storm? You can feel it as sure as you could hear the Obama speech touching a match to the fuse. A tantrum is a comin'... and when it does, you can link it back to Barack Obama's comments as he hit the campaign trail. "That's not normal presidential behavior. We wouldn't tolerate it from a high school principal. We wouldn't tolerate it from a coach. We wouldn't tolerate it from a co-worker. We wouldn't tolerate it in our family, except for maybe crazy uncle somewhere. I mean, why would we expect and accept this from the President of the United States? And why are folks making excuses for that? 'Oh, well, that's just him.' No. There are consequences to these actions. They embolden other people to be cruel and divisive and racist, and it frays the fabric of our society, and it affects how our children see things. And it affects the ways that our families get along. It affects how the world looks at America. That behavior matters. Character matters."

+ Trump has released an unedited "60 Minutes" interview days before it was scheduled to air. It's pretty clear that he released the interview early so his awful performance in it will be overshadowed by his awful performance in tonight's debate. (Elvis just preemptively shot his TV.)


Quibi or Not Quibi

"We feel that we've exhausted all our options. As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace." Quibi is shutting down. (In part because more people read this blurb than used Quibi.)


15 Minutes of Familiarity

"It will have implications for authorities carrying out contact tracing of those potentially infected by contagious individuals, and could lead to many more people being required to go into quarantine. Under the old definition, 'close contact' was defined as being within 6ft of an infected person over a solid block of 15 minutes or more. That has now been amended to cover a cumulative 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period." CDC rewrites definition for coronavirus 'close contact.'


Job Lot

"A person who is looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage — but who can't find one — is unemployed. If you accept that definition, the true unemployment rate in the U.S. is a stunning 26.1%, according to an important new dataset shared."


Rhimes Marches On

"Rhimes was beside herself. She thanked him for his time, then hung up and called her lawyer: Figure out a way to get her over to Netflix, or she'd find new representatives." How did Disney ultimately lose Shonda Rhimes? It came down to a request for an extra pass to Disneyland. Shit, extras from the Tiger King can score passes to Disneyland. The Hollywood Reporter: Shonda Rhimes Is Ready to "Own Her S***": The Game-Changing Showrunner on Leaving ABC, "Culture Shock" at Netflix and Overcoming Her Fears.


Bottom of the News

"The Hummer — symbol of pre-2008-recession, gas-guzzling excess — has been resurrected as a 350-mile range 'electric supertruck' with three electric motors, 1,000 horsepower adjustable air suspension, and a diagonal driving feature called 'Crab Mode.' The electric truck is set to go into production in late 2021" (A huge, battery-powered truck is one way to compensate for a short extension cord...)

+ I Miss Restaurants, So I Opened My Own…for a Chipmunk.