The Nation Wanted to Eat Out Again. Everyone Has Paid the Price. – The New York Times

“Across the United States this summer, restaurants and bars, reeling from mandatory lockdowns and steep financial declines, opened their doors to customers, thousands of whom had been craving deep bowls of farro, frothy margaritas and juicy burgers smothered in glistening onions.

But the short-term gains have led to broader losses. Data from states and cities show that many community outbreaks of the coronavirus this summer have centered on restaurants and bars, often the largest settings to infect Americans.

In Louisiana, roughly a quarter of the state’s 2,360 cases since March that were outside of places like nursing homes and prisons have stemmed from bars and restaurants, according to state data. In Maryland, 12 percent of new cases last month were traced to restaurants, contact tracers there found, and in Colorado, 9 percent overall have been traced to bars and restaurants.

It is unclear what percentage of workers transmitted the virus among themselves, or to patrons or whether customers brought in the virus. But the clusters are worrisome to health officials because many restaurant and bar employees across the country are in their 20s and can carry the virus home and possibly seed household transmissions, which have soared in recent weeks through the Sun Belt and the West.”

Kamala Harris on the Issues: Race, Policing, Health Care and Education – The New York Times

“In selecting Senator Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate, Joseph R. Biden Jr. opted for a partner who has occupied a similar space in the center-left of the ideological spectrum — someone with whom he can most likely agree on many matters of policy.

Amid a field of more than 20 candidates in the Democratic primary, Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris were seen as relative moderates. During her own unsuccessful presidential campaign, Ms. Harris often resisted litmus tests posed within Democratic circles and at times struggled to clearly define her stance on fundamental issues like whether she would endorse a “Medicare for all” style of health insurance.

“I’m not trying to restructure society,” Ms. Harris said last summer in an interview with The New York Times. “I’m just trying to take care of the issues that wake people up in the middle of the night.”

In more recent months, since Mr. Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee, the country has been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic as well as widespread unrest over police brutality and racial inequities. Both Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris have appeared to move further to the left — Mr. Biden seeking to bring together the Democratic Party and appeal to its progressive wing, and Ms. Harris emerging as a strong voice on racism and police misconduct.”

David Lindsay:

Above is some very good news about Kamala Harris, and how she has moved towards restraining bad cops in the last year.

‘Top Cop’ Kamala Harris’s Record of Policing the Police – The New York Times

“During this summer of tear gas and turmoil, Kamala Harris has not been quiet.

On “The View,” the California senator spoke about “reimagining how we do public safety in America.”

On the Senate floor, she sparred with Rand Paul after the Kentucky Republican blocked a bill to make lynching a federal crime, and she is among the Democrats sponsoring policing legislation that would ban choke holds, racial profiling and no-knock warrants.

On Twitter, she expressed frustration that police officers who killed a Black Kentucky woman, Breonna Taylor, during a drug raid gone wrong, “still have not been charged.”

As a leading contender to be Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s running mate in the final days before his decision, Ms. Harris has emerged as a strong voice on issues of police misconduct that seem certain to be central to the campaign. Yet in her own, unsuccessful presidential run, she struggled to reconcile her calls for reform with her record on these same issues during a long career in law enforcement.”

David Lindsay: We admired the report the other day of a hard core Republican, who said, if the Democrats ran a can of soup against Donald Trump, he would still vote for the can of soup.
I am not an admirer of Kamala Harris. I will try and find the Nicholas Kristof muck raking report that turned me off – from 2018.05.17.
But as the Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris supported the police unions about 99% of the time, because it was then popular with the majority of voters. I was pleased, on the other hand, to see a report on her on the PBS News Hour last night, that showed a far more nuanced and favorable set of facts. She did push for improvements, but oh so gently. When a police officer killed a person, she always deferred to the local district attorney, to decide whether to investigate the police to respect the current process. And investigations almost never happened. Many many killings went uninvestigated.

Opinion | Trump Sends In the Economic Quacks – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

“As the U.S. economy careens toward disaster, congressional talks about what to do appear to have ground to a halt. So on Saturday President Trump — speaking at one of his golf courses, of course — announced four executive measures that, he claimed, would rescue the recovery.

Unfortunately, one of the measures was vacuous, one trivial and one unworkable. And the fourth may do substantial harm.

The vacuous measure simply calls on government agencies to “consider” helping renters facing eviction. The trivial measure waives interest and defers principal repayment on student loans.

The unworkable measure supposedly provides new aid to the unemployed, who have lost pandemic benefits because Senate Republicans don’t want to provide them; but the announced program would be an administrative nightmare that might take a long time to put into effect and would require partial matching funds that strapped states don’t have. Remember, states had a very hard time implementing the first round of aid to the unemployed, leaving millions in the cold for many weeks. This would be worse.”

Opinion | Vote Counts Change. Please Don’t Panic. – By Jesse Wegman – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Wegman is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

“Imagine a parallel universe in which the sitting president cares about holding a free and democratic election in the midst of a pandemic. Imagine that his administration is staffed with competent, incorruptible officials who devote every waking hour to stopping the virus, saving lives, rebuilding the economy and preserving democracy. Imagine that the Postal Service hires tens of thousands of extra workers to process the surge of mail-in ballots.

We don’t live anywhere near that universe. But even if we did, we’d still have to worry about the “blue shift.”

It’s a harmless-sounding term, but it describes a very real phenomenon that could trigger major disputes in vote counts across the country after Election Day, lead to weeks of litigation and, most ominously, give President Trump an excuse to challenge the legitimacy of the vote if he loses it.

The blue shift refers to the tendency of votes counted after Election Day — mostly absentee and provisional ballots — to skew in favor of the Democratic presidential candidate. This has happened in each of the past four elections, according to Edward Foley, an election law scholar at Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. Mr. Foley coined the term after the 2012 election, when he was trying to predict which closely contested states might become the focus of legal challenges by one or the other political party.”

The Decline of Historical Thinking – By Eric Alterman | The New Yorker

” “Yes, we have a responsibility to train for the world of employment, but are we educating for life, and without historical knowledge you are not ready for life,” Blight told me. As our political discourse is increasingly dominated by sources who care nothing for truth or credibility, we come closer and closer to the situation that Walter Lippmann warned about a century ago, in his seminal “Liberty and the News.” “Men who have lost their grip upon the relevant facts of their environment are the inevitable victims of agitation and propaganda. The quack, the charlatan, the jingo . . . can flourish only where the audience is deprived of independent access to information,” he wrote. A nation whose citizens have no knowledge of history is asking to be led by quacks, charlatans, and jingos. As he has proved ever since he rode to political prominence on the lie of Barack Obama’s birthplace, Trump is all three. And, without more history majors, we are doomed to repeat him.”

Source: The Decline of Historical Thinking | The New Yorker

Nicole Tersigni Explains ‘Mansplaining’ With Help From 17th-Century Art – The New York Times

“This story begins, as so many do these days, on Twitter.

Last May, Nicole Tersigni, a Detroit-based writer, logged onto the social media platform at the end of a long day. She was tired and frazzled from looking after her 8-year-old daughter, who was home sick at the time.

“So I go online just to kind of scroll through Twitter and zone out for a little bit,” she said, “and I see a dude explaining to a woman her own joke back to her — something that has happened to me many times.”

In the past, Tersigni had let those kinds of irritating conversations go, but this one sparked something in her. She Googled “woman surrounded by men” (“because that is what that moment feels like when you’re online,” she said) and stumbled upon a 17th-century oil painting by Jobst Harrich of a woman baring one breast in the middle of a scrum of bald men.

She combined that image with the caption: “Maybe if I take my tit out they will stop explaining my own joke back to me.” “

Opinion | How to Foil Trump’s Election Night Strategy – By Jamelle Bouie – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

“There’s no mystery about what President Trump intends to do if he holds a lead on election night in November. He’s practically broadcasting it.

First, he’ll claim victory. Then, having spent most of the year denouncing vote-by-mail as corrupt, fraudulent and prone to abuse, he’ll demand that authorities stop counting mail-in and absentee ballots. He’ll have teams of lawyers challenging counts and ballots across the country.

He also seems to be counting on having the advantage of mail slowdowns, engineered by the recently installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Fewer pickups and deliveries could mean more late-arriving ballots and a better shot at dismissing votes before they’re even opened, especially if the campaign has successfully sued to block states from extending deadlines. We might even see a Brooks Brothers riot or two, where well-heeled Republican operatives stage angry and voluble protests against ballot counts and recounts.

If Trump is leading on election night, in other words, there’s a good chance he’ll try to disrupt and delegitimize the counting process. That way, if Joe Biden pulls ahead in the days (or weeks) after voting ends — if we experience a “blue shift” like the one in 2018, in which the Democratic majority in the House grew as votes came in — the president will have given himself grounds to reject the outcome as “fake news.” “

Forget Spas and Bars. Hotels Tout Housekeeping to Lure Back Travelers. – The New York Times

“When Beau Phillips checked into a hotel near Toledo recently, a table in front of the counter barricaded him from getting too close to the clerk, who wore a mask and stood behind a plastic window.

“The key is gently tossed at you from three feet away,” said Mr. Phillips, a public affairs executive who was staying at a Radisson Country Inn & Suites while visiting family.

The hotel’s breakfast buffet was gone, the fitness center closed, elevators limited to two riders. And to reduce the risk of an in-person visit, after Mr. Phillips left his room each day, no housekeeper came in to make the bed.

The pandemic has plunged the hotel industry into a historic downturn. Average hotel occupancy dipped as low as 22 percent in late March, and had risen to a still miserable 48.1 percent the week ending July 25, according to STR, a market research firm. So hotels nationwide have embarked on a transformation of the most basic ways they run their business, aimed at showing would-be travelers they understand where they’re at: terrified.

Opinion | Vote for Trump’s Worst! – By Gail Collins – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“OK, people, I know you’re feeling a little wan and helpless these days. Sure does seem like a long time until November.

So let’s take an early vote and pick Donald Trump’s Worst Cabinet Member. The competition is intense this year. Some days it feels as if everybody in the administration is trying to grab the grand prize. That they’re running around with a list in their pocket titled Things to Screw Up.

Vice President Mike Pence has been a faithful hanger-on from Day 1. He’s now doing double duty as Trump’s coronavirus czar. In which capacity he predicted on April 24 that the epidemic would be “behind us” by Memorial Day weekend.

Last season’s winnerAttorney General William Barr, certainly hasn’t been resting on his laurels. At a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, he had to be prodded twice before acknowledging that presidential candidates aren’t supposed to accept foreign assistance. When asked if he agreed with Trump’s shocking suggestion that a president could move Election Day, Barr said, “I’ve never looked into it.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Gee Gail, this is a hard one to figure out. You didn’t offer the choice of — All of the Above. So I vote for Mike Pompeo as the worst cabinet member of the year.
I just re-read Tom Friedman’s excellent condemnation, which included: “Pompeo’s two most notable accomplishments as secretary of state are, metaphorically speaking, shooting two of his senior State Department officials in the back. One was the distinguished U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Pompeo removed on the orders of Trump and Trump’s nut-job lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The other was the department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, whom Pompeo got Trump to fire, reportedly because he was investigating — wait for it now — Pompeo’s own efforts to evade a congressional ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and for improperly asking a State Department employee to run errands for him and his wife. Hell, if that were me — if the first foreign-planned terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 developed on my watch and if I had just gotten rid of the State Department inspector general without explanation — I’d also be trying to distract attention.
I mean, if it were me, I might even claim that China concocted the coronavirus in a lab in Wuhan. Wait — that’s what Pompeo did!”
DL:    He also oversaw our rapid retreat from northern Syria. We left our allies their to be butchered by the our enemies in the region, when just the presence of our troops kept them in place to fight for us. So I vote for Mike Pompeo.