Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Official U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Is A Huge Undercount


The 117th Congress Will Have A Record Number Of Women

 From CNN:

With races still to be called, at least 141 women will serve in Congress next year, breaking the record of 127 set in 2019, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. That includes at least 116 women in the House — smashing the record of 102 also set in 2019 — and 25 in the Senate, although that number could shrink with California Sen. Kamala Harris' ascendancy to the vice presidency. The total in the House includes a woman from Iowa's 2nd District, where two women are running against each other, but because CNN has yet to call the race, it's not known which party will represent the district.

A Big Broom Is Needed

 Political Cartoon is by Mike Smith in the Las Vegas Sun.

COVID-19 Growth In Each State In The Last Week

The numbers show the growth of COVID-19 in each state in the last week -- from 11/14 through 11/21.

These numbers are from The COVID Tracking Project.

Alabama..........215843 -- 230708
Alaska..........22405 -- 26044
Arizona..........273053 -- 295334
Arkansas..........130318 -- 143821
California.........1008377 -- 1087714
Colorado..........154038 -- 194769
Connecticut.........88645 -- 101469
Delaware..........28395 -- 31321
District of Columbia..........18814 -- 19961
Florida..........862990 -- 918240
Georgia..........384997 -- 402435
Hawaii..........16652 -- 17361
Idaho..........79798 -- 89764
Illinois..........562985 -- 646286
Indiana..........244887 -- 289183
Iowa..........163728 -- 184968
Kansas..........115507 -- 134533
Kentucky..........136137 -- 155908
Louisiana..........201981 -- 216709
Maine..........8791 -- 10123
Maryland..........164090 -- 179971
Massachusetts..........186142 -- 204155
Michigan..........275792 -- 329021
Minnesota..........216028 -- 262952
Mississippi..........133340 -- 142401
Missouri..........235722 -- 267312
Montana..........45886 -- 54542
Nebraska..........94922 -- 111661
Nevada..........119006 -- 131733
New Hampshire..........14311 -- 17281
New Jersey..........274736 -- 302039
New Mexico..........62006 -- 79440
New York..........556551 -- 590822
North Carolina..........309118 -- 332261
North Dakota..........62872 -- 71540
Ohio..........290243 -- 343286
Oklahoma..........150205 -- 170924
Oregon..........56018 -- 63668
Pennsylvania..........259938 -- 302564
Rhode Island..........41529 -- 48001
South Carolina..........194014 -- 205018
South Dakota..........64182 -- 72214
Tennessee..........305120 -- 335887
Texas..........1014160 -- 1085524
Utah..........151141 -- 173979
Vermont..........2843 -- 3546
Virginia..........200799 -- 215679
Washington..........125498 -- 139543
West Virginia..........32792 -- 39598
Wisconsin..........323604 -- 372219
Wyoming..........21881 -- 27410

Virgin Islands..........1434 -- 1491
Puerto Rico..........41772 -- 46434
Guam..........5965 -- 6476

Kicked Out

 Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

Biden's First Cabinet-Level Picks Are Announced

 Joe Biden is wasting no time in choosing his cabinet, even though Trump is trying to delay the transition process as long as possible. On Monday, Biden announced his first six picks for cabinet-level posts.

They are (clockwise from the upper left) -- Anthony Blinken (Secretary of State), Alejandro Mayorkas (Secretary of Homeland Security), Linda Thomas-Greenfield (U.N. Ambassador), Jake Sullivan (National Security Advisor), Avril Haines (National Intelligence Director), and John Kerry (Climate Czar).

Unlike Trump, who chose his rich corporate buddies, Biden is choosing competent and professional people to be in his cabinet.


Later in the day, it was announced that Janet Yellen would be Biden's choice to be Treasury Secretary. Once again, Biden has chosen a competent professional who can hit the ground running.

The Loser

Political Cartoon is by Keith Knight at keef@kchronicles.com.

Trump Has Been Disastrous For The Environment


Monday, November 23, 2020

The Riskiest Areas For A Large Thanksgiving Gathering


For 3rd Straight Year Hate Crimes Topped 7,000 In U.S.


The charts above are from the FBI website. They show the hate crimes committed in the United States in 2019. Those hate crimes topped 7,000 for the third year in a row (7,314 incidents with 8,812 victims -- with 51 fatalities). It was also the third year of the Trump administration. Considering how soft Trump has been of hate groups, I think there is a definite connection.

Desperate Turkey

 Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in The Boston Globe.

Trump To End Birthright Citizenship By Executive Order

Donald Trump has wanted to end birthright citizenship for years -- the idea that anyone born in the United States is automatically a citizen of the U.S., regardless of whether their parents are citizens or not. The idea is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

There is a belief among some on the extreme right that the 14th Amendment was just intended to recognize the citizenship of freed slaves, and does not extend to the children of non-citizen immigrants. Trump is one of those who believe this.

Aides say he is going to issue an executive order before leaving office that will end birthright citizenship. Most in the legal community agree that the order would be unconstitutional, and would be quickly overturned by our courts. But it looks like Trump will try it anyway, hoping that the right-wingers on the court will back him.

Here is part of how Brett Samuels reports this in The Hill:

The Trump administration has revived discussions around taking executive action targeting birthright citizenship in its final weeks before leaving office, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

President Trump has spoken throughout his first term about ending birthright citizenship. Drafts of a possible order have been circulating for some time, and there is now internal discussion about finalizing it before the Biden administration takes over in January, sources said.

The administration is aware the order would be promptly challenged in court, but officials would hope to get a ruling on whether birthright citizenship is protected under the 14th Amendment, according to one source familiar with the plans. Many lawmakers and experts have argued it is protected, but the courts have not definitively ruled on the issue. . . .

The president first proposed ending the practice that grants citizenship to those born in the United States during his 2016 presidential campaign. He revived the idea in 2018 during an Axios interview, saying he would sign an executive order to enact the change.

Trump in August 2019 again said his administration was “very seriously” considering a measure to end birthright citizenship.

In each instance, lawmakers and legal experts have pushed back on the idea and cast doubt on Trump's ability to unilaterally end birthright citizenship. They have asserted that birthright citizenship is protected under the 14th Amendment, which states, in part, that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”. . .

Even if an order targeting birthright citizenship fails on legal grounds as some of his other immigration measures have, or if it is quickly undone by the Biden administration, experts cautioned that it could still have a chilling effect on those seeking to come to the United States.

The Best Offer Trump Will Get

 Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

Governor Cuomo Will Get An Emmy


Sunday, November 22, 2020

GOP Is Making A Mockery Of Free Elections


Average Yearly Unemployment Under Presidents Since 1947


I just thought some of you might find this interesting. The charts (from the Labor Department) show the average official unemployment rate for each year of a president's term in office.

NOTE -- Trump's rate for 2020 is based on numbers through only October, and when November and December numbers come in could rise or fall.

Trump's Claim Of Fraud Could Hurt GOP's Electoral Chances

 Donald Trump continues to rant that the election was rigged and rife with fraud -- and most elected Republican officials are remaining silent. They are afraid that Trump supporters will punish them in a future election if they tell the truth -- that the election was not rigged, voting machines did not malfunction, and there was no widespread fraud.

I think their silence is a huge mistake, and it's one that could hurt them in future elections. Note in the chart above that nearly 3 out of 4 Republicans (73%) believe what Trump is telling them. They do not think the election was fair.

If you thought elections were not held and counted fairly in this country, wouldn't that affect your choice of whether to vote or not? What's the point of voting if you think an election is rigged and has widespread fraud?

And it wouldn't take many Republicans staying at home on Election Day to make a big difference, especially in swing states. If only 5% or 10% decided their vote didn't matter since the election is rigged, that could help elect more Democrats in those swing states (and maybe even in some red states).

The chart above reflects the results of a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 15th and 17th of a national sample of 1,500 registered voters, and has a 3.2 point margin of error.

World Is Already Moving Past This Lame Duck Presidency

(This cartoon image is by Dan McConnell).

Donald Trump is refusing to concede the election. He continues to whine, lie, file lawsuits, and try to pressure election officials. But it is over, and everyone but Trump and his closest aides know that. They are already turning to Biden and making plans for his presidency.

Here is part of how writers at The New York Times describe it:

Inside the wrought-iron fences that surround the 18-acre White House complex, the 2020 election rages on, with President Trump angrily refusing to concede. But the rest of the world — and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. — is moving on.

The leaders of Western Europe have called Mr. Biden, as has the president of the world’s rising superpower, Xi Jinping of China. PayPal’s chief executive extended his “warmest congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden, who will become the 46th president of the U.S.A.” The Boeing Corporation, which benefited from Mr. Trump’s demands for big-ticket defense items, issued a statement on Friday saying, “We look forward to working with the Biden administration.”

It is as if the vast machinery of diplomacy, business and lobbying has suddenly been recalibrated for the Biden era. Mr. Trump, by far the dominant world figure for the past four years, is increasingly treated as irrelevant.

Bank trade groups have begun meeting with Biden aides in anticipation of new fights over regulation. Foreign diplomats assuming a sharp turn in American foreign policy are retooling their agendas. Corporate executives, who are usually allergic to political statements, are saying out loud what most of Mr. Trump’s supporters have so far refused to acknowledge.

Trump Shows Contempt For His Own Supporters


Saturday, November 21, 2020

It Would Have Terrified Our Founding Fathers


Trump Caused Fox News Favorability To Drop Among GOP

 The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. They questioned 18,574 Republicans between December 30, 2019 and November 16th, 2020. The results are interesting, and show Trump has been a fair-weather friend for the network -- supporting them only when they say what he wants them to say.

Note that for most of that time period, the favorable ratings for Fox among Republicans has remained high, and right before the election (November 2nd), Republicans gave the network a favorable rating of about 67% (very favorable and somewhat favorable combined).

But on election night, Fox was one of the first networks to declare Biden had won in Arizona. That angered Trump, and he has repeatedly let his supporters know of his displeasure. It has had an effect. By November 16th, the favorable rating for Fox among Republicans had dropped to 54% -- a 13 point drop in about two weeks.

Fox depends on Republican viewers for its ratings. Will Trump keep up his war on the network? Will that start to hurt the network's ratings? Or will the network cave in and apologize to Trump to keep their viewers? It will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks.

The Lame Duck Chicken Little

 Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

The Most Irresponsible Performance By Presidential Lawyers

(The image of Trump's election attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was painted by Jim Carrey.)

Donald Trump is the biggest sore loser in this nation's history. Instead of conceding defeat and helping the incoming administration (as all presidents in the past have done), he has whined, lied, and even gone to court numerous times to have the election results overturned.

All of those efforts have failed, and many of his election attorneys have resigned. Trump has replaced them with the clownish and incompetent Rudy Giuliani -- a man who seems determined to completely destroy his already besmirched reputation and image.

On Thursday, Giuliani held a news conference, spewing lies and making outrageous claims for which he has no proof. Calling that "news" conference ludicrous would be a vast understatement.

The Republicans in Congress won't speak up to stop this ridiculous charade. But that is not true of everyone on the right-wing. The following is part of an editorial from the National Review -- the prestigious conservative magazine started by William Buckley.

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States.

If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country wasn’t far-fetched enough, attorney Sidney Powell ratcheted it up with the allegation that Communist-designed election machinery was used to change the vote from a Trump landslide to a narrow Biden victory. An obvious question is why, if you can manipulate the vote count via machine, you’d need to bother with old-fashioned fraudulent ballots. Powell’s story is that the surprisingly strong Trump turnout “broke the algorithm” of the corrupted machines, and then the fraudulent ballots were desperately hauled in to make up the difference.

This is lawyering worthy of the comments section of Breitbart News.

If there’s serious evidence for any of this, Giuliani and co. need to produce it immediately. Waving around affidavits at a press conference without allowing anyone to examine them doesn’t count. . . .

This magazine has always taken voter fraud seriously, and we hope that any that occurred in this election is exposed and prosecuted. But it’s important to recognize that the broad contours of the 2020 presidential vote make sense. At the RNC press conference, Giuliani made much of how the count switched against Trump after he established initial leads on Election Night in key states. Yet this was expected and a function of the fact that same-day ballots strongly favoring Republicans were counted first, and early votes strongly favoring Democrats were counted last.

Across the country, the basic picture is the same, without any notable anomalies — Trump excelled in rural areas, got wiped out in urban areas but often by slightly smaller margins than in 2016, and lost soundly in suburban counties, which proved decisive. . . .

Getting nowhere in court, the White House appears to be shifting to a political strategy based on blocking the certification of results and getting state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in states Trump lost. This is a profoundly undemocratic gambit that, if it were to enjoy any success, would precipitate a major constitutional crisis. The Constitution gives state legislatures the power to appoint electors, but it has been the norm for legislatures to appoint those electors on the basis of state elections for about 200 years. For any legislature to turn around now — solely because its party’s candidate lost and refuses to accept the result — and appoint electors in defiance of the public will would lack all legitimacy. It’d also be legally dubious, at best, to bypass state laws establishing elections as the mechanism for selecting presidential electors.

The most obvious way to prevent this travesty is for Republican state legislators to continue to reject it, the way almost all have done to this point. But they haven’t yet experienced a potential full-court press from Trump and his supporters (the Republican leaders of the Michigan state senate and house have been summoned to a White House meeting today). It’s also important for Republican senators to speak out against this effort and make it clear that they won’t stand for it when it comes time for Congress to consider electors. Finally, it’d be best of all if the president reconsidered going down this route.

He’s turning a narrow election defeat into a bid for infamy.

Rudy The Clown

 Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

An Undemocratic Action By A Sitting President


Friday, November 20, 2020

States That Didn't Require Masks Are Hit The Worst By Virus


COVID-19 - The Bad News And The Good News

The two charts above (from Axios.com) show both the bad and the good news about the pandemic in the United States. 

The bad news is that the virus is not decreasing in any state. It remained steady last week in three states, but is increasing in the other 47 states and the District of Columbia. And there is no reason to think it will subside anytime soon. It's going to be a tough winter.

The good news is that it looks like at least two vaccines will be ready soon, and may even be ready for mass consumption by early spring. And they seem to be very good vaccines -- over 90% effective. That would make them among the most effective vaccines available for any disease.

Should Have Worn The Mask


Political Cartoon is by Benjamin Slyngstad at slyngstad.com.

About 742,000 Workers Filed For Unemployment Last Week


The Labor Department has released its unemployment statistics for the last week. In the week ending on November 14th, another 742,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits. That is 32,000 more than filed in the previous week, probably because the coronavirus is getting worse in every state now. It's too about three times the number that was filing each week before the Trump recession.

Here is the Labor Department's official statement:

In the week ending November 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 709,000 to 711,000. The 4-week moving average was 742,000, a decrease of 13,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 755,250 to 755,750.

The GOP Doesn't Accept Reality

 Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

This Candidate Might Beat Abbott For Governor In Texas

Governor Abbott has not been an effective governor for Texas, but he is still popular with Republicans in the state. And the early prediction for the governor's race in 2022 is that Abbott will coast to another win.

The Democrats need someone popular who can shake up the race if they are to have a chance. And there just might be someone. Actor Matthew McConaughey says he might run for governor.

Here's how the Austin American-Statesman covers that possibility:

Oscar-winning Texas actor Matthew McConaughey says he might run for governor, but it would be “up to the people” to make it so.

“I would say this: Look, politics seems to be a broken business to me right now,” McConaughey told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday. “And when politics redefines its purpose, I could be a hell of a lot more interested.”

The 51-year-old actor who makes Austin his home did not say whether he’s a Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated. In past interviews, the actor said he’s politically “in the middle.” The next gubernatorial election is in 2022 and incumbent Republican Greg Abbott says he plans to seek a third term.

In the radio interview, McConaughey lamented the political polarization that marked the recently ended presidential election.

“I want to get behind personal values to rebind our social contracts with each other as Americans, as people again,” McConaughey told Hewitt .

“I mean, that (a run for office) wouldn’t be up to me. It would be up to the people more than it would me.”

McConaughey, who is a film professor at the University of Texas and holds the ceremonial tile of Texas’ minister of culture, went on Hewitt’s show to promote his memoir, “Greenlight.”

McConaughey’s break out performance was as Wooderson in the 1993 coming-of-age movie “Dazed and Confused,” which was set in Austin. He won the Oscar for best actor the 2013 film “Dallas Buyers Club.” 

Texas Idiot Makes Fun Of Virtue

 Political Cartoon is by Matt Wuerker at Politico.com.