How Many COVID-19 Deaths Is Ron DeSantis Hiding?

I had been told a couple of days ago, either here in comments or on Twitter, that Ron DeSantis had put his cronies in charge of the Florida database for COVID-19 cases and deaths. I hadn’t followed up on that, but then on Twitter last night i learned that the scientist who had been in charge of the site was fired back on May 1.  She spoke last night with a West Palm Beach TV station which broke the blockbuster story of why she was fired:

Rebekah Jones said in an email to CBS12 News that her removal was “not voluntary” and that she was removed from her position because she was ordered to censor some data, but refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.”

Jones made the announcement May 5 in a farewell email to researchers and other members of the public who had signed up to receive updates on the data portal, according to Florida Today. She said that for “reasons beyond my division’s control,” her office is no longer managing the dashboard, involved in its publication, fixing errors or answering any questions.

Wow. Note that DeSantis “reopened” Florida on May 4. So the timing here, coupled with Jones saying she was ordered to change or censor data, shows a clear intent by DeSantis to game the numbers and create the false impression that the reopening would be a success. Just how stupid can a governor be?

Well, in his case, pretty stupid. He can’t even figure out how to wear a mask:

So who would trust this clown, compared to the scientist he fired? Here she is in a photo she supplied to Florida Today:

Near the end of the story filed last night, Jones notes that the Florida database still hasn’t been repaired. Here’s what I got when I checked at 1:40 this afternoon (refreshing 15 minutes later gave a plot for cases but not deaths, so there may be some “repair” work underway as I write this; and both plots were visible at 2:50):

There are big holes where the plots of new cases by day and deaths by date of death for the last 30 days would show up. Back on May 5, when Jones talked to Florida Today about her firing (but without mentioning the orders to censor data), Jones noted that near the end of her time in the job, the database suddenly started to malfunction:

Late last Friday, the architect and manager of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard — praised by White House officials for its accessibility — announced that she had been removed from her post, causing outcry from independent researchers now worried about government censorship.

The dashboard has been a one-stop shop for researchers, the media and the public to access and download tables of COVID-19 cases, testing and death data to analyze freely. It had been widely hailed as a shining example of transparency and accessibility.

But over the last few weeks it had “crashed” and gone offline; data has gone missing without explanation and access to the underlying data sheets has become increasingly difficult.

The site was created by a team of Florida Department of Health data scientists and public health officers headed by Rebekah Jones. She announced last week her removal as of May 5 in a heartfelt farewell note emailed to researchers and other members of the public who had signed up to receive updates on the data portal.

Citing “reasons beyond my division’s control,” Jones said her office is no longer managing the dashboard, is no longer involved in publication, fixing errors or answering questions “in any shape or form.”

Note that the story from the West Palm Beach TV station says Jones announced her firing on May 5, but this Florida Today story makes it clear she informed people on May 1 that she was being removed May 5. Since she speaks of the database malfunctioning at the time of her firing, for the purposes of discussion here I consider May 1 the firing date and the time when fuckstickery of the database began.  With today being May 19, it’s clear that the database has been malfunctioning for nearly three weeks at a minimum.

The big problem, though, is that the plot for deaths magically starts dropping right after Jones was fired. I captured this version of the death plot around 9 this morning and noted the date Jones was fired (did she insert a parting shot of a bit more reality on her last day of May 4?):

There should be one partial note of caution here even though it’s really hard not to get the impression death numbers are being artificially reduced. There is a note on the death graph that I’m pretty sure popped up fairly recently and may well have been added around the time of Jones’ departure. The note says that deaths are now counted on the day of death rather than on the day the report is entered into the database. Since it can take a while for deaths to be reported depending on the county involved, the last few days in the plot can be expected to show increases as more death reports get entered into the system. But it has been long enough now since Jones was removed for it to be clear that there is a discontinuity in the plot that coincides precisely with her removal.

I haven’t included a plot of cases by day, but I also find the current data there (site is here) not believable. With the partial reopening of the state on May 4, it’s simply incomprehensible that the number of new cases per day is holding steady rather than increasing.

Will DeSantis ever face consequences for this egregious breach of public trust? Odds aren’t good. The Republican Party in Florida has a long tradition of doing whatever it pleases, rules and laws be damned. Just look at how they over-ruled the will of the people on the initiative overwhelmingly passed in 2018 to restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences. It would seem that firing a scientist because she refused to censor data and mislead the public on a life or death matter would be the end of a normal political career. But in Florida, there is no limit to how criminal Republican officeholders can be.

The Fabulous Emptywheel Music Blog: Setting The Scene

Okay, alright, enough of that live music stuff. This weekend, off another suggestion by Emptywheel Roving Reporter Rosalind, let’s do music documentaries! These are her remarks:

Music Documentaries (NOT films of live concerts). In 2019 there were several docs I watched that hit the music EW demographic sweet spot, including:

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
David Crosby: Remember My Name
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Boy Howdy: The CREEM Magazine Story
Mr. Jimmy – story of a Japanese guitar player who takes his Jimmy Page hero-worship to a whole nother level
Echo In The Canyon – Laurel Canyon music scene, 1/2 OK interviews w/various musicians, 1/2 self-indulgent concert featuring Jakob Dylan performing boring versions of the originals.

The Gordon Lightfoot and Miles Davis docs are ones I would never have thought to seek out and sparked a whole new level of appreciation for the two. The footage of their early musical lives is really something.

Rock on.

The Linda Ronstadt one is truly fabulous. I’ll have to look for the Gordon Lightfoot one, but have always loved him. Heard Carefree Highway long ago, and that sits awfully special to people here that actually drive on the Carefree Highway (yes, it really exists).

I’d like to add one music documentary to Rosalind’s list: Super Duper Alice Cooper. It is truly fantastic. You may think “eh, I dunno, that’s crazy”, but it is really good and, I think, available streaming online. And, yes all crazy, but those were the times back then, it “was” crazy.

Also, because this will invariably morph into the greatest music documentaries ever, let me throw in a couple of Scorsese classics: The Last Waltz and Shine The Light.

So have at it, whether music, the NFL draft or whatever. This weekend’s scene setting music is…..You Set The Scene by the incomparable Arthur Lee and Love.

US “Job Creators” Negate The Humanity Of Workers

Yesterday, I retweeted this list of stimulus packages from around the world and added a rant on how it means that when the US economy reopens (see Marcy here on why it’s not Trump’s call to make, despite his claims), the US will be left in the dust because so many workers who were laid off during the shutdown will have lost everything and likely will face a long delay in finding re-employment.

As you can see from the list, much of the world is taking care of workers to see that they are able to meet their basic needs of shelter and food until social distancing begins to be lifted. (I won’t even go into the fact that the rest of the world also assures universal health coverage as well, so as not to upset my blood pressure even further).

The sad reality of these numbers is that in the US, workers simply aren’t acknowledged as human. They are merely tools the “job creators” use to enrich themselves. This Washington Post article from yesterday drives that point home in disgusting detail. Here’s a screencap of the headline and subhead:

That subhead, coupled with the comparison of different countries’ approaches for stimulus packages, perfectly sums up the complete negation of humanity for US workers. In the civilized portions of the world, governments are stepping in directly to make sure workers continue getting paid at a rate that is fairly close to their usual wages. In the US, direct payments to the public at large are essentially taboo, so token $1200 payments have been approved and we can rest assured that the Trump administration will drag their feet and fuck this up enough to make sure most workers won’t see this money for a very long time if ever. So, enter the plan to funnel money to workers through the SBA and the “job creators” who are so sacred to the distorted US view of how to structure the economy. But even here, “job creators” just can’t grasp the idea that workers are humans who need food and shelter during the time that, through no fault of their own, they can’t work. The idea of paying workers to do nothing simply never can be entertained, even if it literally means life or death.

Here’s how the Post article opens:

Bob Giaimo, founder of the Silver Diner restaurant chain, is hoping to receive emergency funding in the coming days through a federal loan program. But he doesn’t want to spend the money right away.

Small-business owners are supposed to use the loans immediately to keep employees on their payrolls during the coronavirus crisis, but at the moment there is little for Giaimo’s workers to do. His restaurants in Virginia, Maryland and the District will be closed for sit-down service until local officials allow them to reopen.

“Getting the loan is hard enough. Using it is harder,” said Giaimo, who is lobbying his members of Congress for more flexible loan terms.

No, Bob, using those SBA funds is not hard. The whole fucking point of this program, right there as the Post says, is “to keep employees on their payrolls during the coronavirus crisis”. It doesn’t matter that they have nothing to do. What matters is that they need to buy groceries and pay rent.

Let’s get back to Bob, because he’s such a gem of a “job creator”.

For Giaimo, part owner of Silver Diner, which runs 19 restaurants, the mandated timing of the spending is a problem.

In his 30 years in business, he says he’s never laid off an employee, until now. After the coronavirus hit, local authorities ordered restaurants to close for sit-down service, forcing Giaimo to temporarily lay off 1,600 of 1,800 workers, he said. Most of them are now collecting unemployment, he said. (Some regional restaurant chains qualify for the loans even if they employ more than 500 people.)

/snip/

He applied through a local bank for a $9.5 million emergency loan and is awaiting approval. But rehiring his workers immediately would be impractical, he said.

“There’s no job for them,” he said. “We would use all the loan proceeds while we’re closed, and we’d be out of funds to reopen.”

But poor Bob. Even though his business doesn’t really fit the definition for small, he’s found a loophole to still apply for a $9.5 million forgivable loan that is specifically designed to keep employees of actual small businesses on the payroll. But, you see, he cut 89% of his employees off the payroll to join the flood of those seeking paltry state unemployment benefits. And Bob has needs now:

Giaimo wants the rules to change so that the companies can qualify for loan forgiveness if they wait to rehire workers until they are legally allowed to reopen. Meanwhile, he’d like to use part of the loan to pay the workers he has retained and to pay suppliers of food and other goods, but he says paying suppliers isn’t an allowed use of the funds under current regulations.

You see, Bob has bills. He needs to pay those bills, like the ones from his suppliers. As for all those workers he laid off? Fuck their bills.

It should be noted, although this point will be totally lost on Bob, that this loan program is already under discussion for expansion, presumably to extend the amount of time workers could continue to be paid as we await the chance to restart activities like dining in restaurants. But it just never enters Bob’s little mind that he could take these funds, which he wouldn’t have to repay, and use them to pay those workers he laid off, even if they can’t work right now.

Is It Russian Or Is It Real?

Is It Russian Or Is It Real?

This is a question only humans with a sentient brain can answer. An equation that clearly leaves out Matt Taibbi, Senators Graham and Kennedy (not to be confused with the good Senator Kennedys). This Kennedy is an assclown.

So, when you decide what the Russians are doing, constantly, to our elections and democracy, and you should be doing exactly that, ponder this: The Russians and their former bloc can mimic and project almost everything. As the United States heads into 2020, there needs to be an awareness as to exactly how good countries that wish to damage the very basis, i.e. Constitutional, basis that the US is founded on.

Oceans and borders protect the “Homeland”. That long ago became a falsehood that is dangerous to hold on to. And when one particular political party is doing so, in the face of every ounce of their past beliefs, you have to wonder why.

For the record, the musicians on the title cut are Leonid & Friends. If you think that only American music is being taken this competently (and Leonid and Friends is every bit as good as post Terry Kath Chicago), you are fooling yourself. It is about the elections, not the music. Leonid et. al have HiWatts, Marshalls and whatnot. That is not important, how they have American democracy in the balance is what is important.

Alex Mooney’s Hilarious Self-Own

Jim here.

Yesterday, I watched with fascination as Matt Gaetz whipped his stormtroopers into a frenzy and stormed the ramparts of the SCIF facility where Laura Cooper was scheduled to be deposed. This tweet by Scott Thuman especially caught my eye, with the video he provided:


What really stood out to me was that one of Gaetz’s stormtroopers had his cellphone out and appeared to have his camera active as he approached the door. Based on Thuman’s “entered the secure hearing room” and the way Thuman pointed his camera down as he panned to the door, I initially had the impression that this doorway the Congressmen were going through was the entry to the SCIF itself, and so I tweeted this:

I had no idea that this would become my most viral tweet ever. At the time of this writing, the tweet has just under 95,000 impressions.

I did not yet know who this was with the phone. It has since become clear that it was Representative Alex Mooney of West Virginia. He even put up a tweet with an audio recording from inside the SCIF that he claimed came from a “secure phone”.

Needless to say, I had lots of pushback and I got to see the amazing array of bots and MAGAts that swarm whenever their world view is threatened. One theme that kept coming up, though, was that this was not the SCIF itself. It turns out that is somewhat true. After 6 pm, Mooney put up this tweet, which clearly has the video he was recording as Thuman captured him going through the door:


Okay, this confirmed what I was beginning to suspect, that the doorway in Thuman’s video is not the entrance to the actual SCIF. When a person at the entrance to the SCIF announces that cameras are not allowed, his first response is “What camera?”. But upon being informed again, Mooney shrugs and turns off the phone, presumably to surrender it .Note that multiple media reports make it clear though, that not all of Gaetz’s stormtroopers surrendered their devices, causing quite a serious security breach.

But Thuman’s reluctance to capture video from inside the door (we see only a red carpet and a few feet) and his failure to follow Gaetz’s stormtroopers made me wonder if the doorway was still in some way restricted. In fact, given the extreme security measures taken for a SCIF, it seemed reasonable to wonder if there was signage restricting electronics even beyond this point, so that detailed information of the building layout leading to the SCIF entrance would not be disseminated.

So I began searching Google images for pictures of Gaetz’s stormtroopers going through the door. I hit paydirt in what turns out to be an entire New York Times article on the event. This is the banner on the front of a video the Times did:

This is clearly a photo taken as stormtrooper Mooney goes through the door with cell phone blazing. Ah, but look at the sign on the other half of the double door: “Restricted Area No public or media access. Cameras and recording devices prohibited without proper authorization.”

Oh my, so when stormtrooper Mooney barged through the first door, he failed to read the sign informing him that he was not to be filming his own heroic action.

As if the Times photo alone is not enough to disgrace Mooney, he had to pile on. Here is a tweet an exhausted stormtrooper Mooney put up just after 7:30, after his siege of the SCIF had ended (never mind that the deposition itself actually took place anyhow, but with a five hour delay):


Mooney actually came back out the door and had a staffer film him while explaining that “this is not the SCIF” and, once they entered, “nobody was using a cell phone”. The problem is that he’s using as a backdrop for this explanation the sign showing that electronics were not to be used even going through this outer door, and his entry through that door, with his cell phone going, has been documented by Scott Thuman, Alex Mooney, the New York Times and hopefully, law enforcement:

The [Andrew] Luck Of The Draw

It seems as if both Marcy and Jim White (where has that guy been lately?) are harshing on me for some Trash Talk. So, off we go!

The Florida Gators seem to have won a football game. Over other Florida men, the crossfire Hurricanes. Of Miami. That was Mr. White’s concern.

Marcy wants me to talk about the Patrick Chung case. I will likely come back to that later, when there is more information available. Like departmental reports and search warrant affidavits (if there are any!). For the meantime, there are serious questions as to the propriety of the actions of the Belknap County, of New Hampshire, officials in entering Chung’s house, not to mention searching it without belief there was a suspect inside and ongoing crime being committed. It is, for now at least, hard to see how they could have thought that. We shall see, but there are some serious questions needing to be asked and answered on this one.

And, then, the Luck ran out. Of Indy. From the great Gregg Doyell of the IndyStar:

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced Saturday night he was retiring, and for a moment he couldn’t breathe. He was crying. He was catching his breath and apologizing.

Luck was booed off the field Saturday night when the Colts played the Chicago Bears in the third preseason game, the news of his retirement breaking on Twitter during the second half. The fans who stuck around, they booed Luck off the field. And he heard it.

Even so, Luck sounded like a man at peace, a man who has stared into the abyss and turned away. Football, once his favorite hobby, the source of such childlike joy, had become his dark place. He said he had been thinking about retiring for about 10 days, calling it “a moment of clarity” when the idea finally started to take shape. He said he’d been tired.

“I feel exhausted,” he said, sounding very much that, “and quite tired.”

This is stunning. And it changes the AFC calculus dramatically. Good for Andrew Luck. He has always seemed like a cerebral chap, and if he thinks it is time to move on, then it is time to move on. That is truly gutsy though.

So, there are two musical selections today. The first is, in honor of Andrew Luck, The Luck Of The Draw by the incomparable Bonnie Raitt. Along with early (think Derek And The Dominoes era) Eric Clapton, and Lowell George of Little Feat, Bonnie is as kick ass of a slide guitar player as I have ever seen in my life. She is so good.

And, the second is the Stones. They are still Rolling.

And in just over 24 hours from now, Mrs. bmaz and I are going to be visiting with the Glimmer Twins, and the other Stones. Because if the Stones are in town, you go. And they are not some over the hill geriatric second level casino act, they still absolutely kill. The attached video is from 2006. A tour I saw, though here as opposed to at Copacabana Beach with half a million people in Rio. I wish I had flown down to Rio. Because, damn, that looked like some serious fun.

Jeff Flake’s “Investigation” Is A Predicable Trumpian Sham

This was about the easiest thing in the world to predict. Jeff Flake issues some hollow self indulgent bullshit to make himself look like the last great reasonable man, and it is all garbage being run as cover for a complicit Trump White House and weak Senate Republicans (and at least one faux Democrat) desperately and cowardly seeking any fig leaf possible to allow them to put a craven, partisan, angry and drunkard historical sex offender on the United States Supreme Court for the next three to four decades.

If you thought that was just hyperbole previously, read this from NBC News and chew on it:

Instead of investigating Swetnick’s claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity. They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.

The limited scope seems to be at odds with what some members of the Senate judiciary seemed to expect when they agreed to give the FBI as much as a week to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh, a federal judge who grew up in the Washington DC area and attended an elite all-boys high school before going on to Yale.

Yes, of course Trump and McGahn are limiting the scope and time of this “investigation”. It was always going to be a sham, and that is why it was always so absurd that the SJC Minority, and other Dems, not to mention the ridiculously ever gullible national press, bought off on this idiocy. It was an own goal that they set themselves up for and are now being collared by.

This is a fraud being perpetrated on the American public. The media needs to take the time and do their own investigation, the “FBI” one is a sham being manipulated by the sex criminal led and protecting, White House.

I honestly don’t know who is more clueless in what was up with this ruse….the national media as to the forever sucker play of “the last honest Republican, Jeff Flake”….or the Democratic cheerleaders that thought this was anything other than a sham fig leaf cover play. Both are pathetic. This was obvious from the first second Flake uttered the words “limited” and “one week or less”.

PT Barnum said that a sucker is born even minute. A LOT of them were born yesterday. Didn’t have to be that way, but that is the stupidity of DC politics, and press coverage thereof.

About That Styx Thing, A Re-Thinking

Had a busy day yesterday and then came to the stark understanding that a significant contributor to this blog had included a Styx Grand Illusion video in a post. I am hoping you can imagine my dismay! I still have not recovered.

I just….I cannot….even. Despite the ill video, the post was great and spot on. But, damn, that video. And placing that earwig junk in the minds of not just me, but countless others. Unforgivable.

Here is the real deal, from the time when Styx actually was more than bubblegum cheese. Midnight Ride. Currently WordPress is not allowing me to post it at the top where I want it, and normally would, but will do so at the bottom of this post.

There was a Styx period where they were okay, if not very decent. It was LONG before Grand Illusion, which is simply, and truly, horrible. The attached song Midnight Ride was from the James Young era, this is a live version off of the original on Equinox, before the pop rock crap of Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw took control of a decent band. That was a long time ago. And if you want some more off of Equinox, go UTube Lonely Child and Suite Madame Blue.

Wilbur Ross Lets His Inner Trumpian George Wallace Bigot Freak Flag Fly

The real Mr. Magoo of the Trump Administration, Wilbur Ross, this morning went on a full court press, with the press, to promote the latest push from the Trump Administration. When did the US seek out pointed bigotry and otherism on the official census? 1950. Magoo Ross and his Commerce Department issued a racist manifesto:

“The reinstatement of a citizenship question will not decrease the response rate of residents who already decided not to respond. And no one provided evidence that there are residents who would respond accurately to a decennial census that did not contain a citizenship question but would not respond if it did (although many believed that such residents had to exist). While it is possible this belief is true, there is no information available to determine the number of people who would in fact not respond due to a citizenship question being added, and no one has identified any mechanism for making such a determination.”

Actually, that is exactly what it is going to do, and what will occur. Facts and intelligence no longer matter.

From Hansi Lo Wang at NPR:

“A lot of census watchers, former census bureau directors, other census experts have said that they are very, very concerned that there already is a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment, that already folks are very concerned about giving personal information to the federal government, that now if there is a citizenship question added as the Commerce Department is announcing that … a lot of immigrants, not only those who are undocumented, but anyone who maybe has ties to folks who are undocumented, may not want to … participate in the census and therefore they would not be counted, and that has direct impacts on how people are represented in this country.

“All census numbers are used to reapportion seats in Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, and also these numbers have an impact on how billions of dollars are distributed around the country … from the federal level all the way down to the local level of how school districts figure out how to divide up resources. So this could have a really big impact if immigrants are not participating in the census in 2020.”

And thank you Vanita Gupta, in the New York Times (also reinforced in an interview with MSNBC):

“Adding this question will result in a bad census — deeply flawed population data that will skew public and private sector decisions to ensure equal representation, allocate government resources and anticipate economic growth opportunities — for the next 10 years,” Vanita Gupta, the chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a deputy attorney general in the Obama administration, said in a statement Monday night. “The stakes are too high to allow this. We urge Congress to overturn this error in judgment.”

Dianne Feinstein issued a, for once, spot on press release:

“An accurate count of everyone living in the United States is vital to our democracy. Adding a question designed to depress participation in certain communities is an assault on the foundations of this country.

“Given President Trump’s toxic rhetoric and aggressive policies toward immigrants, it’s clear his administration wants to include this question to discourage participation in immigrant communities. Individuals living in mixed-status households may be afraid to participate, fearing their responses would be used to target them or their families.

“This is particularly troubling in states like California with high immigrant populations. Without an accurate census, our state will lose federal funding for infrastructure, schools and social welfare programs we are rightly owed. Even more troubling, an undercount of our population could lead to California losing seats in Congress, disenfranchising millions of California voters.

“The administration’s claim that this question is needed to ‘permit more effective enforcement’ of the Voting Rights Act is simply not true. A citizenship question has not been included on the census since 1950, 15 years before the Voting Rights Act was passed. Instead, that data is already collected on the American Community Survey, a longer set of questions sent to more than 3.5 million American households every year.

“The census should not be a political football, used to depress responses from immigrant communities and target states like California. I’m committed to ensuring an accurate census in 2020 and will work with California’s leaders to have this citizenship question removed from the census.”

Yes. And it is a real issue. Not since George Wallace tried to block the schools from the minorities he hated, has there been such an immoral and unmitigated assault, for craven political purposes, as Trump and his merry band of bigot henchmen are putting forth now. It is the sickness that is killing America, not that which will make us great.

Can’t wait for the “Constitutional scholars” of the Federalist Society to weigh in with their full throated support of yet more rank Trump Administration bigotry and hatred. And some more “Liberal Media” stories about racist hicks in diners that support this revanchism. This is Trump’s America. And, yes, Vlad Putin must be chomping on popcorn and loving it.

Spaced In Time Trash Talk

Welp, moving from KIller Trash Talk to the things that are this weekend takes a lot. Insanity abounds, and is all around. Your healthcare? Yes, that is getting screwed hard. JCPOA (the Iran anti-nuke deal) yes, that too. If it affects the world in at least semi-positive way, the current President is blowing it all up. The fact that a black man might have even touched on any subject seems to infuriate the dementia ridden sundowning asshole in the West Wing even more.

It is who and what we life forms are now. And it is sickness in every regard, domestically and internationally. Trash Talk was designed to be a refuge from such things. I just cannot anymore. So, if that is a problem, I am sorry. Hopefully we will not stand by, and will not back down, while assclowns like Donald Trump cravenly politicize even common sports entertainment to soothe the 30% base they so cherish.

Nope.

Puerto Rico is dying in their own streets. Northern California is burning. People are trying to ride out the fire in swimming pools as their houses burn around them. While the Trump Administration and GOP sit on their hands, when they are not actively trying to make the entire situation worse. The fuckers are flying on jets, flying flags and making coins in their own image.

But, hey, the NCAA is moving on. Not sure anybody thought anything different would happen in Chapel Hill. Begging the question as to what happens to Louisville, another legacy NCAA basketball program. The NCAA under the terminally lame leadership of Mark Emmert will never change.

In the pros, it is getting hard to figure who is the bigger asshole. Is it Goodell and the NFL, or is it the, at this point, ignorant scorched earth strategy of Jeff Kessler and the NFLPA? The NFLPA is making an ass of itself in trying the everything and the kitchen sink theory as to Zeke Elliot. The NFLPA had a sympathetic plaintiff, Brady, and a supremely tenuous case by the NFL based on simple physics and chemistry. But then the NFL won in the 2nd Circuit. Zeke Elliot is not an all American kid with multiple championships. He is an abusive punk from Ohio State that is lucky the NFL did not find an aggravating act from when he pulled down a woman’s blouse in public during a parade. If you think Elliot has the better case here, you don’t try cases in real courts.

The thing is, whether under federal or state law, and in this case collectively bargained law, the arbitration rules….and the rules ARE “relaxed”….and control. It is about the process, not the facts. I, and a lot of others, tried to argue in the face of this in both Brady and Peterson. Same in Bountygate prior to those two cases. Those arguments were all made in cases with far more appealing clients than a repetitive malefactor like Zeke Elliot. He will serve the suspension, it is only a question of whether he and Jeff Kessler are smart enough to do so soon, or make it later, when it will really hurt a likely playoff team. We shall see whether the NFLPA scorched earth insanity prevails over the inters of Homer Simpson, er Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.

The games go on. The Natinals really ought to still be around, but the Cubs put them to rest. The Yankees somehow overcame Cleveland. Hard to not think the Tribe was the better team, but they didn’t close the deal, and the Yankees did. That said, the conference championships look truly awesome. I think the Astros are not only a better team, but have some juice right now as opposed to the Yanks. Not betting a lot of real money on that, but I think so. The Dodgers are what the Yankees used to be. The best team that all the money in the world can buy. But Chris Hayes made a Trump for Cubs deal with the devil last year, and I hope it still holds, and the Cubs win. If we “have” to have Trump, let the Cubbies win again.

Syracuse obliterated Number 2 Clemson already. Man, that was ugly. So was the job an average Cal did on Pirate Mike Leach and Washington State. Utah at USC should be interesting. Washington at ASU here might be as well, but Chris Peterson is a light years better coach than ASU’s Todd Graham, so ASU likely to get blown out, even at home.

Back to the pros: Philly already topped the Panthers, thanks to a good game by Wentz and a horrible one by Newton. Won’t always be that way, Panthers are dangerous if they get in the playoffs. Skins host the Niners. Will Kirk Cousins be playing on the other team next year? The Pack at Vikings looked really interesting when it looked like Sam Bradford was returning. Less so now, but Case Keenum can produce and they are in Minneapolise with that damn horn they blow. I’ll take Rodgers and the Cheese, but may be a great game.

My game of the week is the Buccos at Cardinals right here in the Big Toaster. Debut of Anthony Peterson at RB for Phoenix. Carson Palmer has quietly played superb QB so far this year for the Cards….when he is not getting murdered from bad, nee atrocious, O-Line play. If Arizona’s constantly remade O-Line can gel and protect the old man, it will be a hell of a game. Not going to bet on that, but just saying. Rams at Jags might actually be interesting. Glad that matchup is, for once, not in London. Other game of the week is unquestionably Scribe’s Steelers at Arrowhead to see the Chefs. I don’t for one second think Big Ben has lost a step, even if he may finally be maturing. But I am not sure that other forces in that locker room are unified the way past Steeler teams are. This will be a HUGE game for Pittsburgh, and less so for KC. I’ll take the upset on this one.

Okay, that is that. Another week. Another dime. Another dollar. Thank you for being here, and send some love to Puerto Rico and Napa.

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