Legal Input Matters

* Lets’ hear it for the Lawyers March For Social Justice rally downtown. These weren’t the usual activists trying to form a much less imperfect union. These were key elements of our legal infrastructure, including State Attorney Andrew Warren, who are in a position to make a societal difference.                                            

* It would help if Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister were totally on board with the (mandatory indoor) mask order. But he was one of the no votes against the rule created by the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group. No, it can’t be a “personal choice” to be, in effect, a de facto enabler of a pandemic.

* Police Chief Brian Dugan, understandably, has a lot to juggle. Protect the public. Safeguard constitutional rights. Defend equal justice. Battle racism. Stand up for his officers. Maintain morale. Weed out bad cops. He wears a lot of hats and carries a weighty agenda. Too bad he chose “Fox & Friends” as a forum to make his points–and have them cherry-picked by the usual suspects.

Dem Notes

* Recent polls continue to show Joe Biden holding a strong lead among registered voters in six battleground states carried by Trump in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida.

* Biden doesn’t leave Delaware too often these days as his campaign continues to benefit from his unprecedented virtual status. But when he does pivot out–most recently to Lancaster, Pa.–he makes the most of it. No gratuitous gaffes–just an on-point message that effectively juxtaposes the former vice president to the buffoonish narcissist winging it to rally his delusional, cult-figure-channeling base.

The Lancaster sortie focused attention on the expansion of the Affordable Care Act. He put it in terms that the average American can relate to during a pandemic. “If Donald Trump has his way,” noted Biden, “complications from COVID-19 could become a new pre-existing condition.” That resonates a lot more with the non-Trumpster majority than sophomoric nicknames and demeaning tweets coming from the lounge actor in the Oval Orifice.

* The United Farm Workers union has announced its “elections matter” endorsement of Joe Biden.

* September 29 is the first Trump-Biden debate; it will be held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. The other two will be Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. The Oct. 15 debate (aka “town meeting”) will be at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Biden’s female vice presidential choice will debate VP Mike Pence on Oct. 7.

* “President Trump may soon need a new nickname for “Sleepy Joe” Biden. How does president-elect sound?”–From a Wall Street Journal editorial.

* The House recently moved to approve D.C. statehood. The District of Columbia, with a population of 700,000, has more people than Wyoming and Vermont. Its budget is larger than a dozen states. Its bond rating, Triple-A, is higher than that of 35 states. And it has a “representative,” Eleanor Holmes Norton, who cannot vote.

The Republicans are, unsurprisingly, fine with the sovereignty-challenged status quo, however much it marginalizes and shortchanges D.C. residents. Taxation without representation:  Remember that? What would our selectively-prescient Founding Fathers say? Would they care that D.C. would become a blue state?

Media Matters

* “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” That’s the less-than-subtle title of another Trump-related book. This one by Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, that will be out later this month. Interesting that we haven’t seen any obvious-agenda books from Don Jr., Ivanka, Jared or Kellyanne yet. Yet.

* So the Dixie Chicks, the Grammy-winning country group, have dropped “Dixie” from their name because of the Confederacy connotation. So who’s next, Winn?

* Symbiotic HBO exchange we didn’t see: Bill Maher: “So, Mr. Ambassador, would you be on my show if you didn’t have a book to promote?” John Bolton: “Hmm. Would you have invited me under any other circumstances?”

Statue Of Limitations

Not all statues ordered taken down have a Confederacy connection. Exhibit A for me: Philadelphia’s removal of the statue of Frank Rizzo, former police chief and mayor. It still surprises me, a native Philadelphian with family members who were cops, that it ever went up, which was in the late 1990s. Rizzo could be insensitive–as well as abusive–toward blacks and gays. It’s a major part of his loathsome legacy. So also is the terminology he enabled as police chief. Night sticks weren’t called “billy clubs.” They were known as “n—– knockers.”

Sports Shorts

* Looks like baseball, however truncated, will be back. Among the changes: some on-field rules. One that is an actual improvement: The universal DH. It never made sense to be otherwise. Too bad it took a blindsiding pandemic to prompt the change.

* Other changes: No tobacco, no sunflower seeds, no spitting of any kind, which also improves optics. But, yes, cup adjustments are still allowed.

* One thing about watching (classic) Rays games that I will miss. Whatever the score, whatever the inning when you tune in, you know the Rays will eventually win. I will miss that.

* ESPN’s Buster Olney has dubbed the Rays his World Series favorite.

* “We want the Rays to stay in the Tampa Bay area.”–Mayor Jane Castor.

Quoteworthy

* “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”–Founding Father–and author of “Common Sense”–Thomas Paine.

* “Right now, white America is in the middle of a work-in-progress moment, and black America is, like, yeah, we’re going to keep checking on your progress.”–Comedian W. Kamau Bell.

* “I always try to find hope in every situation. Hope, I think, is not just naiveté and rose-colored glasses. I think hope is a strategy too.”–John Legend.

* “You can’t end racism without also challenging white supremacy, colonization and empire. One remarkable thing about the uprisings over the past month is that they’ve readily connected those dots.”–Delilah Friedler, Mother Jones.

* “(Many young blacks) feel that they’ve been ignored by the Party … . The vice president can’t call them out; he has to call them in.” Florida State Rep. Shevrin Jones, one of the first black lawmakers in Florida to endorse Joe Biden.

* “In 2016, the mood was against the status quo, represented by Hillary Clinton. But now the mood is against chaos, cruelty, deception and incompetence, represented by Trump. In light of our tempestuous, vertiginous times, Joe Biden’s status quo seems comforting.”–Maureen Dowd, New York Times.

* “A sense that things have gone out of control on your watch does not help incumbents.”–Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal.

* “Trump’s problem is that he needs the votes from people who don’t like him.”–Jonah Goldberg, The Dispatch.

* “Bolton’s plan was to expose the buffoon in The Room (Where It Happened), but in the end, it is Bolton who stands exposed, not only as a warmonger par excellence but as someone who may have witnessed criminal actions by the president and did nothing.”–James Carden, The Nation.

* “Studies still show that the (facial recognition) technology performs differently–and may be more prone to error–on darker faces.”–Clare Garvie, senior associate at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology.

* “(Confederate statues) often erected during the Jim Crow era are not part of the official record of the Civil War. They are more like commemorative dinner plates or TV commercials produced long after the fact.”–Guy P. Harrison, author of “Race and Reality.”

* “(A) Rorschach test. All sorts of  people can go there and see it in different ways.”–John Taliaferro, author of “Great White Fathers,” on Americans’ takeaways from Mount Rushmore.

* “America’s goal must be 100 percent clean energy as soon as possible.”–U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, chairwoman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

* “I want the good people who support the police to start stepping up.”–Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan.

* “We know that some folks are still facing hardships. We ask those customers to call us. We will work with you to make payment arrangements so you can avoid any disconnection.”–Tampa Electric spokeswoman Cheri Jacobs.

* “We don’t want to simply abandon all face-to-face classes. It’s difficult to teach piano … or do labs on line.”–USF Provost Ralph Wilcox.

* “Venture philanthropy: A dollar invested in kids when they’re 3 or 4 has a very high ROI (return on investment).”–Jeff Vinik, whose Vinik Family Foundation has committed $3 million to improving early-childhood education.

COVID Bits

#AloneTogether

* “What we’re seeing in the Southern Hemisphere will be happening here.”–Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington. Deaths are on the rise in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s winter.

* Pandemic plus protests: The number of Floridians seeking background checks for the purchase of guns surged in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The state processed more than 30,000 background checks in the week after Floyd’s killing. That was more than twice the number processed over the same period last year.

* 63 million: The federal government’s surplus doses of hydroxychloroquine now that the FDA has deemed the antimalarial medication ineffective in treating the coronavirus.

* “What we are seeing at this rally is a very overt denial. How bizarre has this gotten?”–Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, on the conspicuous absence of face covers worn by attendees of the recent Trump Tulsa indoor rally.

* More than 100,000 people have been infected throughout Florida–about 1 in every 206 people.

* Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has tested positive for the coronavirus.

* “Our cases are shifting in a radical direction younger.”–Gov. Ron DeSantis.

* 86,298: The number of Florida workers who applied for unemployment benefits last week. That’s the first time since mid-March that the number has been under 100,000. The pre-pandemic record of weekly claims is 40,403 in 2009–during the Great Recession.

* Florida added 182,900 jobs in May. In April, Florida lost 1.1 million jobs.

* “If we wear masks, we can put an end to this spread. That’s the bottom line.”–Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

* “We have a choice, St. Pete. … We can wear a mask, protect ourselves and others, or we can contribute to someone’s death. Maybe even our own.”–St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, in unequivocally announcing that businesses must require their employees to wear masks.

Dem Notes

* It’s been a given that Trump enjoys a significant fund-raising advantage over Joe Biden. But the most recent update gives a big lift to Biden. His campaign outraised Trump in May–setting a record high one-month total of $80.8 million. The incumbent still hauled in $74 million.

* “If I have the honor of being your First Lady, I promise you this: I will dedicate myself to ensuring that you have a place at the table alongside me.” That was Jill Biden, in an online “charla” with Latina workers from Florida, Arizona, Idaho and Washington.

* “Biden won’t give him much. (Trump) doesn’t have the economy to brag about. So what’s he against? Joe Scarborough and looters?”–That was Mike Murphy, a prominent GOP consultant when he’s not advising pro-Biden Republicans.

Media Matters

* Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” brings nearly 5 million viewers a week. It also accounts for about 20 percent of Fox News’ ad revenue. But those latter numbers could change, as some prominent advertisers, notably Papa John’s, Poshmark, Walt Disney Company and T-Mobile, have been backing away from the show. A key factor: Carlson’s high-profile criticism of the unrest resulting from the police killing of George Floyd and his urging of a more severe crackdown on protests. It hardly helped when he said: “This may be a lot of things, this moment we are living through. But it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will.”

* Trump, as we know, has been raging about news that he trails Biden in most head-to-head polls. What has to be especially infuriating is that a recent national Fox News survey had Biden up by 12 points.

* “Without Twitter, I think we’d be lost. We wouldn’t be able to get the truth out.”–What Trump told Rush Limbaugh.

* “Stunningly uninformed.” That was John Bolton’s assessment of Trump as commander-in-chief.

* Message signing. “Defund the Police” requires context. “Demilitarize the Police” doesn’t.

* Florida recently hit another record for most single-day coronavirus cases: 9,585. Locally, record highs in both Hillsborough County (1,112) and Pinellas County (614) have been recorded. It prompted CNN to come calling, specifically Chris Cuomo of Prime Time Cuomo. He had put out requests for COVID comments to myriad Florida officials, starting with Gov. Ron DeSantis. No one responded–except Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch–who attributed “mixed messaging”–at both the federal and state levels–to an environment of carelessness and cluelessness resulting in rising rates of coronavirus cases.

Reflections

To this day, and for various reasons, these are still some of my favorite lyrics.

* “She’s so fine, there’s no telling where the money went.”–Robert Palmer.

* “We are the champions, my friends. And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.”–Queen.

* “My name is Sue, how do you do?”–Johnny Cash.

* “I’m a man of means by no means, king of the road.”–Roger Miller.

* “And it’s 1, 2, 3 what are we fightin for? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn, the next stop is Vietnam.”–Country Joe and The Fish.

* “When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name. No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same.”–Ricky Nelson.

* “I get by with a little help from my friends.”–The Beatles.

* “How does it feel? To be on your own, with no direction home. Like a complete unknown. Like a rolling stone?”–Bob Dylan.

* “But something touched me deep inside, the day the music died.”–Don McLean.

* “Anybody here seen my old friend, Bobby? Can you tell me where he’s gone? I thought I saw him walking up over the hill, with Abraham, Martin and John.”–Dion.

* “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”–Simon & Garfunkel.