Today's Liberal News

Mark Sumner

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris address the nation after being declared winners of 2020 election

After an exhausting week, in which half the nation seemed to be working out the muscles in their mouse-clicking finger in the endless quest for new numbers, Saturday was a glorious day.

In just a few minutes, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are finally going to get to deliver the victory speeches they’ve been keeping on ice since Tuesday night. It’s hard to express how great this night feels. It’s unlike the satisfaction of just winning an election.

America is celebrating like a cloud has left the skies and a weight is off our hearts

There may be nothing more emblematic about the 2020 election than this: The call came while Donald Trump was out golfing. Because of course he was. In the spirit of new transparency, America deserves to see that score card.

This isn’t just about the character of the president. It’s about the character of America. 

Right now, a pandemic is raging. Right now, the economy is in recession.

Joe Biden addresses the nation as networks resist making the final call

Though networks are still milking this moment of heightened attention for all the ratings points and ad dollars they can rake in, it’s clear tonight that the real drama is over. With that in mind, Joe Biden is going to address the nation. Kamala Harris is also at the Chase, and may also speak, though without a clear call from the networks, that’s not certain.

It will likely be brief, and don’t expect Biden to directly say what AP will not.

Trump is hospitalized, COVID-19 is exploding across the GOP, and the experts have been sidelined

It’s now clear that Donald Trump lied to the nation about when he received a positive test for COVID-19. Trump was known to be ill, showing symptoms, and receiving treatment over a day before publicity around Hope Hicks’ diagnosis forced Trump to admit even a sliver of the truth. But if Trump trotting off to Minnesota and New Jersey to get his infectious face up close with supporters seems bad, what’s going on at the White House since then seems even worse.

Participants in Amy Coney Barrett’s introduction were encouraged to take off their masks and mingle

A day after Donald Trump admitted to testing positive for COVID-19, the Rose Garden ceremony formally introducing Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court has emerged as a super-spreader event. In addition to Trump, at least 11 others — including former White House press secretary Kellyanne Conway, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican Senator Mike Lee, and Republican Senator Thom Tillis have tested positive following Barrett’s introduction.

Trump’s doctors try to downplay his condition, but blow up the timeline of Trump’s illness

Donald Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday evening. At the time, he was apparently suffering from coughing, fever, lethargy, and some difficulty in breathing. The decision to send him to the hospital at that point appears to have been made not just out of an abundance of caution, but because, as The Washington Post reports, with Trump’s condition worsening, they wanted to move while Trump was “still able to walk to Marine One on his own.

Hope Hicks was not the vector for bringing COVID-19 into the White House, it was Donald Trump

Though early concerns about the availability of protective gear for hospital workers caused medical advisers to caution against ordinary people buying up the few available masks, by late March the CDC had already informed the White House that routine wearing of masks by everyone was necessary to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. At his very next public appearance, Donald Trump talked about masks … and immediately said that he was not going to wear one.

Outbreak at the White House: Positive, Negative, and TBD

When White House adviser Hope Hicks received positive COVID-19 test results on Thursday, Donald Trump’s team tried to cover up those results and keep them “private.” But once the news leaked out, Trump was forced to admit that he also had tested positive. Since then, there has been an anxious scramble to test everyone who has been in contact with the Trump team over the past week.

Put down that dystopia: Let two short films challenge you with visions of a hopeful future

In 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) teamed with illustrator Molly Crabapple to create a short film called A Message from the Future. That film presented something extraordinarily rare when it comes to looking ahead these days: optimism.

After what seems like an endless parade of dystopias in literature and film, the short film, in which Crabapple illustrates scenes to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s narration, seems almost shocking in its optimism.

Millions in U.S. could still die from COVID-19 if we keep opening up in the face of rising disease

On Friday, the United States topped 55,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since the beginning of August. It may be incorrect to say that there has been multiple waves of disease in the United States, because in a very real sense, the failure to ever institute any national policy means we never got past the first wave—we just passed it from state to state. But in a nationwide sense, there have definitely been phases to the development of the epidemic in this country.

Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into John Bolton over his anti-Trump book

Donald Trump is good for literature. Actually … that’s overstating it. A lot. But Trump is certainly good for publishers, and for dramatic titles. In one-word titles alone, it’s possible to build a pretty decent description of Trump using Rage, Unhinged, Disloyal, Fear, Hoax. You certainly don’t have to go to Insane Clown President, but … that’s also not a bad description.

Trump has promised a COVID-19 vaccine ‘soon’ since February, so you know he’ll do the wrong thing

Before getting to the latest in the concern over Donald Trump’s attempt to turn everything about a public health crisis into a political football, it seems appropriate to give out a state-level special achievement award. Because Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has managed something very, very … special.

The rate of testing in Alabama was down this week. The rate of testing in Alabama was down the week before. The rate of testing in Alabama was down the week before that.

As sparring continues between the FDA and HHS, the only people losing their jobs are the messengers

Ask Donald Trump about any issue, and he’ll tell you his TV ratings. Trump is far more concerned about the way something plays in the media than he is about the reality on the ground. Which is why, in the latest compound screw-up over the approval of the use of convalescent plasma over the unanimous advice of a panel of medical experts, the only two people to lose their jobs are a pair of PR experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What does it mean that someone has caught COVID-19 for a second time?

Going back to the early weeks of the infection in China, there were reports that some people had been reinfected with the virus behind COVID-19 after apparently recovering from the disease. Some of the early numbers suggested that the reinfection rate was as high as 15%, but that was, and remains, pretty definitely untrue. These early results came from people who had received a series of tests and at some point tested negative before testing positive again.

Hurricane Laura now a ‘catastrophic’ storm driving an ‘unsurvivable’ storm surge

As of the 700PM CT update from the National Weather Service, Hurricane Laura was carrying sustained winds over 150mph. That puts it close to the border for Category 5, but even if it doesn’t cross that line, this is an extremely dangerous storm. Predictions now call for a 15’ storm surge over 100 miles of coastline, with a surge as high as 20’ near the point of impact.

Two hurricanes could hit the Gulf Coast next week within a 24-hour window

Earlier this month, the National Weather Service made it clear that this was going to be an “extremely active” hurricane season, with a projected 19-25 hurricanes. The average season only brings a dozen, meaning that 2020 could easily be—on top of everything else—among the biggest hurricane seasons on record.

But even for an extremely active season, the possible event that could hit the north Gulf Coast next week seems extraordinary.

Joe Biden delivers the speech of his lifetime, at exactly the right time

Joe Biden appeared on a stage, not in Milwaukee, but in Wilmington, Delaware to accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. But if the convention was constrained by the disaster that’s resulted from Donald Trump’s malignant neglect of the COVID-19 crisis, there was nothing small about Biden’s speech.

In a long career, Joe Biden has delivered many speeches, but none of them were a match for what he did on Thursday evening.

The Postal Service scandal doesn’t belong only to Donald Trump. Mitch McConnell played a big role

Once upon a time, most Americans would have been hard-pressed to name the postmaster general. That fabled time was any time before May of this year, when Donald Trump replaced Postmaster General Megan Brennan with Louis DeJoy. And yes, I had to look up Megan Brennan.

What position of power did Brennan occupy before taking over the Postal Service under Barack Obama? None.

Go thank a llama: Teams develop synthetic ‘nanobodies’ to fight COVID-19

There are a number of organisms that have come up with some genuinely unique adaptations over the 4+ billion years that life has been a going concern on planet Earth, and several of those relate to how organisms fight off diseases. When it comes to immune systems, human beings are actually blessed with a robust and active system with a multitiered approach to fighting off parasites, bacteria, and viruses.

After federal forces leave Portland, peace returns—but white nationalists don’t want it to remain

Every night that federal forces were deployed in Portland, the crowds grew larger. And every time those federal forces showed their lack of experience with law enforcement—and willingness to use violence even if that meant shooting peaceful protesters in the face—more people came forward to show that they wouldn’t be intimidated. There was a wall of moms. A wall of dads. A wall of veterans.

A group of Harvard and MIT scientists are snorting an untested COVID-19 vaccine

Science, as it is done in in most laboratories around the world, advances by careful steps. Medical science in particular can involve months or years of theoretical models, in-vitro testing, and animal trials before first first pill, procedure, or needle approaches a human being. But there’s another kind of science. The kind practiced by people who maybe empathized a little too closely with Robert Heinlein characters a little too closely in their youth.

Masks and lockdowns are both effective, but the best government action is consistent information

On Tuesday, the United States reported 1,119 deaths from COVID-19, the highest number since back on July 2. The early numbers on Wednesday aren’t looking any better, with Florida already logging 140 deaths even though information is incomplete. All of this coming just a couple of weeks after governors in several of the most affected states were bragging about how, sure, there had been a surge in cases, but they hadn’t brought along an increase in deaths.