188 thoughts on “Walking on a wire 2020

  1. By Hanif Abdurraqib

    How Gilian Welch and David Rawlings Held Onto Optimism

    How the pandemic gave them a sense of urgency to more of what they do the best

    Gillian Welch and David Rawlings in Nashville in September.Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

    When I met Welch and Rawlings in August, they were as warm as their shows have led me to expect, but there was a tentativeness, too, as we positioned ourselves more than six feet apart to talk. Welch and Rawlings, like myself and many others, hadn’t interacted with too many people during the spring and summer.

    We were standing in a giant room inside Woodland Studios, the duo’s home base in East Nashville, a neighborhood hit hard by a tornado that ripped through the city in March, right before the pandemic confined much of the country to our homes. “If you look up,” Welch said, indicating a ceiling haphazardly patched with what seemed to be wood, “you can see where we had no roof.” The building had once been the Woodland Theater, before becoming a studio where Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, among others, rolled out folk and country hits at a rapid pace. Rawlings and Welch, who are also a couple, bought the building about two decades ago after it was nearly destroyed by a different tornado and then condemned by the city.

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  2. Democrats Waste No Time Punching Left in the Wake of Biden’s Win

    But in Detroit, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia, organizing by progressives gave Biden a boost.

    Caleb Malchik, 27, holds pamphlets stating “Election Day is Tuesday Nov. 3” while canvassing for labor union Unite Here in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Nov. 1, 2020 in Landsdowne, Pa. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

    With Joe Biden having won the most votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the former vice president is on track to secure the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win the presidential election. Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, President Donald Trump held leads in all three states, but as votes from Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, and other urban areas were counted, Biden climbed ahead. On Friday morning, after Biden overtook Trump in the Pennsylvania vote count, Decision Desk HQ called the race for Biden.

    At the same moment that those votes from heavily progressive cities beset by protests were putting Biden over the top, House Democrats were locked in a tortured, three-hour conference call on Thursday. Centrist after centrist lambasted the party’s left for costing it seats in the lower chamber and threatening its ability to win the Senate. It created a surreal juxtaposition: Had progressive organizing on the ground around left-leaning issues driven registration and turnout for Biden where he needed it, or had it hurt the party more broadly? Or was it both?


    In Minneapolis and Detroit, Omar and Tlaib both rejected the advice of the Biden campaign and instead sent volunteers to persuade people not just to come out to vote for their member of Congress — after all, they had effectively no GOP competition in their general elections — but to do their part in ousting Trump by voting for Biden. In Philadelphia, where leftist candidates have romped over the past four years, thanks in part to a robust organizing community that saw two of their leaders elected to the state House on Tuesday, unions and organizers spent the final stretch of the campaign knocking doors in areas where voters felt ignored by the Democratic Party.

    It’s too early to know precisely what effect the progressive canvassing operations and organizing had on the vote, as that will require a deeper dive into the data to determine how many irregular or first-time voters were pushed to the polls. Turnout surged everywhere — Biden garnered more votes than any presidential candidate in history — but it’s clear, at minimum, that Trump’s high-profile attacks against Omar and Tlaib did not deliver him those states, and there is preliminary evidence that their operations were disproportionately beneficial to Biden.

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  3. The Politics of Everything

    Libertarian vs bear

    Illustration by Pete Ryan

    In the early 2000s, a group of libertarians moved to a small town in New Hampshire, where they set about slashing the municipal budget. The newcomers wanted to be free from taxes and government regulation, and they envisioned an experiment that would show the world the virtues of their political philosophy while allowing them to live as they liked. But before long, they found themselves fighting off packs of black bears. On Episode 19 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling, the author of A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (and Some Bears), about the ensuing chaos, and the political lessons to be drawn from it.

    Later in the episode, TNR contributor Colette Shade explores the unhelpfulness of self-help tips in a collapsing society.

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  4. Trump will no longer receive special Twitter treatment if he loses election

    Policy that protects ‘newsworthy individuals’ from having accounts banned for breaking rules wouldn’t apply to Trump

    Credit: techcrunch.com
    Donald Trump could lose more than just the presidency this January. Twitter has confirmed that, if Trump leaves office, he will no longer receive special treatment as a “newsworthy individual”.

    Twitter’s policy around newsworthiness protects certain people – such as elected officials with more than 250,000 followers – from having their accounts suspended or banned for rule infractions that would otherwise lead to severe penalties.

    That policy is what has led to the company muting, but not removing, at least 12 tweets from the US president over the past week that cast doubt on the democratic process.

    But, Twitter has confirmed, the policy does not apply to former elected officials. They have to follow the same rules as everyone else, and if a tweet breaks those rules, it gets removed. Were Trump to continue breaking Twitter’s rules regularly post-presidency, his account could be suspended.

    “Twitter’s approach to world leaders, candidates and public officials is based on the principle that people should be able to choose to see what their leaders are saying with clear context,” a spokesman told the Guardian. “This means that we may apply warnings and labels, and limit engagement to certain Tweets. This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions.”

    That will present Trump with a choice once he leaves office: either tone down the rhetoric or face the prospect of his hugely influential following being taken away from him.

    Meanwhile, lawmakers and human rights groups have renewed calls to suspend the president’s account even before a possible transition of power in January.

    On Wednesday, the Democratic representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia called on Twitter in a tweet to “suspend his account”.

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  5. …and the count goes on, the count goes on

    Trump trumped by a 17 y/o,

    Greta Thunberg fixes an icy stare on Donald Trump at the United Nations in New York. Photograph: Andrew Hofstetter/Reuters

    Chill Donald, Chill

    Greta Thunberg didn’t ask to be Time’s Person of the Year but it threw wannabe Donald Trump into a Twitter tantrum telling the winner to chill and go to a movie. Fast-forward 11 months and Thunberg recycled the insult to an apoplectic Trump facing defeat.

  6. Well, I’m really missing the old Majority Report blog, and ToniD’s and cent’s place now.
    And I’m loving the truth of Lily Tomlin’s observation:
    “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”

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