We’re all Howard Hughes now

There’s plenty of reason for pessimism. We saw that the establishment was utterly unprepared for the 2008 banking crisis, and equally unprepared for Covid-19. Does anyone seriously think we’d be prepared for a massive solar flare that took out our electrical system? How about an accidental nuclear war, (which has already come close to happening)?

Isn’t it only a matter of time until a crazy scientist tries to save the animal kingdom by creating a virus as easily transmittable as Covid-19 but 100 times more deadly for humans? I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the 21st century is going to be horrible.

And I’m completely done with politics—for the rest of my life. During the 1980s and 1990s, I found politics to be interesting. But now I see that I completely missed the big picture. I thought it was about the Reagan vision vs. the Clinton vision, whereas now it’s obvious that both were on the same team—advancing global liberty. Today, both sides are on the other team, advancing socialism and nationalism. There are no good guys left.

[please skip the next four paragraphs]

To be sure, Trump is much worse than Biden and I hope he loses. But even in the unlikely event that Biden wins it won’t actually solve the problem. In the late 20th century, people like Trump could only be elected in countries like Guatemala. Now we know that America’s the sort of country that will elect a Trump. Once you’ve lost your virginity, it cannot be reclaimed.

Biden’s something of a buffoon, but at least he’s a good man (at least according to his campaign commercials.) Bill Clinton was good at pretending that “he felt your pain”. Trump’s good at pretending he hates the people that you hate. Actually, he does truly hate those people, which is probably why his supporters view him as an unusually honest politician, despite evidence to the contrary.

Here in Orange County, the people that actually do the work must commute 40 miles because of NIMBY laws (supported by rich people in both parties). The rest of us sit at our computers, pretending to “work” while writing stupid blog posts. Now the GOP says they want things to stay that way; they don’t want working people to live close to the affluent, as they did for much of American history. That’s the last straw for me—I’m done with conservatism. (I’m sure that conservatives are saying “good riddance”.)

In the unlikely event that Biden wins, I’ll give him a chance. But I have little hope for the future. Things will get even worse.

Even with the end of the political world as I knew it, I’ll be fine. I’ve just signed up for Criterion Channel, which is the greatest human invention ever. It costs $100/year, but I’d gladly pay $10,000/year.

In his later years, billionaire Howard Hughes holed up on the top floor of that Vegas casino hotel and watched Ice Station Zebra over and over again. On the Criterion Channel, I can watch films by Ozu, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Naruse, Imamura, Suzuki and Oshima, and those are just the Japanese directors.

When I was young we’d take trips to a nearby lake. Stopping at Dairy Queen on the way home was the highlight of my boyhood. I dreamed of when I would grow up and be able to eat ice cream whenever I wished.

Adulthood proved even more blissful than I anticipated, as Talenti Caribbean Coconut gelato is much better than Dairy Queen soft serve. Early adulthood brought the end of ice cream scarcity, and now at age 65 I’m at the end of classic film scarcity. We know from our economics textbooks that the end of scarcity portends near infinite utility, which I look forward to with great relish.

So don’t worry about the looming apocalypse; get your 77 inch OLED and stream a 4k version of Apocalypse Now. Like Howard Hughes, you can have food delivered to your house—no need to ever leave home. When I was young, Howard Hughes was one of America’s only three billionaires. But I’m far richer than he ever was.

Have a nice 2020!

PS. And it’s not just Criterion Channel, via the internet you can now enjoy the Prado’s magnificent Titians on your 77 inch OLED in all their glorious color:

Sometimes I just sit in my living room with the lights off and stare at Velasquez’s gorgeous painting of the spinners on my TV. Life just doesn’t get any better.

Borges thought a comprehensive library was heaven. How about a comprehensive book, film, and painting library, all at your fingertips?

And music.



50 Responses to “We’re all Howard Hughes now”

  1. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    30. September 2020 at 11:07

    Sounds like you watched the debate. Lol

  2. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatics Cartesian Theatics
    30. September 2020 at 11:28

    Societal failure is so strange and dark and signifying of nothing. I almost wish I was retirement age. Never heard of Criterion Channel, thanks for the tip.

  3. Gravatar of Nathan Nathan
    30. September 2020 at 11:28

    There is a new kind of unemployment.

    Hello Scott, I have an article that explains why since 2000: business investment has been weak; the fall in the U.S net labor share; the decline in the prime age U.S labor participation rate vs large gains elsewhere; the rise in deaths of despair. The article is called Skill Stalagmites, Technology Stalactites and can be found here https://seekingalpha.com/article/4361570-skill-stalagmites-technology-stalactites. I have split the piece into two parts: a 1500 word article for the general reader and a longer piece for the more sophisticated reader. There is a link to the latter at the end of the first piece.

    The punchline to the article is that the 4-5% gap in the lfpr between the U.S and peer economies is a form of disguised unemployment. And this is a novel kind of unemployment, which is not caused by a fall in aggregate demand.

    The actual cause is that firms are imposing higher effort levels on workers. I can summarize the argument you will find in the main article; it goes like this:

    1. Firms impose higher effort demands on workers; workers have to complete more tasks (for a higher wage) or be fired.
    2. The higher wage does not compensate workers for their lost work leisure; thus workers look for less demanding job positions (or refuse to move up to more senior roles).
    3. If one imagines a skill ladder, then all workers attempt to drop down a rung. This is easy for higher skilled workers, but what happens to workers at the bottom?
    4. The lowest skilled workers compete for job openings with somewhat more skilled workers. Firms prefer to hire the more skilled worker, resulting in the lowest skilled workers being pushed out of employment altogether.
    5. This assumes that employers can always identify the highest skilled worker from their pool of applicants. This won’t always be the case; if the higher skilled worker has a bad interview or the weaker candidate has positive chemistry with the interviewer, then the objectively weaker candidate can win a job offer.
    6. Thus provided the lowest skill workers are willing to keep searching for jobs they will eventually obtain a job offer and regain employment.
    7. This means though that workers on the second lowest skill rung will be unable to drop down to the lowest rung unless they also increase their job search activity. And in turn this forces the workers above them to increase their job search.
    8. Any person wanting a job now has to apply to many more job positions before they can get their first job offer. But after a string of failures, job seekers become discouraged and temporarily withdraw from the search process. It is this temporary withdrawal that is responsible for the drop in lfpr. For those who are the main breadwinners, the period of withdrawal will be short – perhaps only a few months. But for workers who are more marginally attached to the labor force, it could be years or forever.
    9. Evidence for higher effort in the U.S can be found in the higher U.S productivity growth since 2000 vs peer economies.
    10. Evidence of higher job search can be found in the elevated duration of unemployment, which in 2019 was still equal to recessionary levels. The American Time Use Survey also shows higher than normal time spent on job search.

    The questions of why this is happening post 2000 and not before, and why only in the U.S and not elsewhere, are taken up in the full article.

    Hope you enjoy reading and please do spread word of the article around.
    P.S The article is published on Seeking Alpha, but don’t let that put you off. Though I don’t have a formal background in economics, I do keep up with the relevant literature.

  4. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    30. September 2020 at 11:30

    Unfortunately, this is one of the best short essays I have ever read, not just by you but by anyone. Which is not a good thing—but so be it.

    You made me laugh, and for now, at least, I could hardly agree more. Your Clinton Reagan comparison is hilarious because it is shockingly accurate.

    But its a laughter of soldiers in a trench who realize with sudden clarity how absurd their condition is.

    Is history an analogy of an arrow in flight or leaves blowing in the wind? Hopefully the latter.

  5. Gravatar of John Hall John Hall
    30. September 2020 at 11:45

    “And I’m completely done with politics—for the rest of my life. ” Seems a little vague. Does this mean no more political posts? Do you think you can commit to that?

  6. Gravatar of sty.silver sty.silver
    30. September 2020 at 12:07

    At the risk of taking the post more seriously than it was meant, I think you’re being unreasonably pessimistic. The primary reason is that the big story of our time isn’t American politics, and the future is allowed to be awesome even if most people right now are stupid — but even more mundanely, a few months ago it seemed like Trump was probably going to win re-election, and if not, Sanders would probably win. At the time, Biden was your favorite candidate (I believe) among everyone who had a chance.

    Now, it looks like Biden is not only the nominee but likely to win election based on the polls (and the markets). This seems like a drastic improvement over where things were a few months ago.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. September 2020 at 12:11

    Tom, I haven’t watched a debate (or a presidential speech) since I was young.

    From the media reports, it sounds like they had a banana republic debate.

    (I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, BTW.)

    Michael, You asked:

    “Is history an analogy of an arrow in flight or leaves blowing in the wind?”

    The answer, my friend . . .

    John, I meant taking politics seriously. I won’t deny myself the pleasures afforded by ridicule.

  8. Gravatar of Kevin A Kevin A
    30. September 2020 at 12:12

    The best path forward is to acknowledge that this isn’t working, dissolve the governmental and political structure we just been using to poison each other and come up with something new and more appropriate for modern times

    I think we would be happier if we split the usa into two different countries at least. We go on our side of the line, you go on yours.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. September 2020 at 12:17

    Silver, The future may be awesome in the original meaning of “awesome”, but it won’t be pleasurable.

    Kevin. Never happen, as there are purple states all over the country.

  10. Gravatar of Kevin A Kevin A
    30. September 2020 at 12:45

    You mean winding things down, country splitting or both?

    No one thinks the federal government is doing a passable job. The country faces real issues, like long term liabilities, that it our government operating as is cannot resolve.

    Given the current trajectory, the federal government will continue to become increasingly dysfunctional. As problems appear, it will accumulate failure. Even the timid will recognize we need not just change but a complete makeover.

    Our politicians, or perhaps a new breed like AOC, might come in fix things within the existing framework. I’m skeptical.

    As for country splitting, if radical change occurs, I think it’s in the cards.

  11. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    30. September 2020 at 13:06


    I think you’re exaggerating things, at least for the moment. But, I am concerned that you could be right, eventually. I continue to be concerned that the Democratic Party will continue to head in a more populist direction, with the truly ignorant taking over the party and pushing really, really dumb, big bills like the Green New Deal.

    The current Democratic leadership is bad enough, with few good policy ideas, lots of corruption, and being very out of touch with most voters, but it could get much worse.

  12. Gravatar of Todd K Todd K
    30. September 2020 at 13:06

    As a luddite, maybe even you can appreciate some advances that have taken place over the past 65 years. Some things are lost as well but…onward!

    1965 10 years old: color television with 3 channels and UHF.

    1975 20 years old: Starsky & Hutch and Charlies Angels a year later make full potential of the television medium.

    1985 30 years old: The Amiga ushers in the home computer age with multitasking graphic chips for only $1,295.

    1995 40 years old: The internet/email take off.

    2005 50 years old: Blogs and EconTalk have eradicated boredom.

    2015 60 years old: Watch movies on a smartphone or giant TV screen.

    2020 65 years old: Technology culminates in the Criterion Channel.

    2030 75 years old: Watch Perry Mason reruns in virtual reality. You are *in* the courtroom.

    2040 85 years old: Ray Kurzweil sends you a free sample of his nano-pills that make you 10,000 times smarter so that you can understand those Perry Mason plots that lost you.

    (And that’s not even the second half of the twenty first century.)

  13. Gravatar of Beckett Beckett
    30. September 2020 at 13:08

    Great essay Scott. Glad you discovered Criterion as well.


  14. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    30. September 2020 at 15:34

    Isn’t it only a matter of time until a crazy scientist tries to save the animal kingdom by creating a virus as easily transmittable as Covid-19 but 100 times more deadly for humans?

    In any case, we have seen that a pandemic of this kind is much more likely than most people have thought so far. We don’t even need a mad scientist, a deadly virus like that can simply develop in nature at any time.

    What shocks me most at the moment is that most Westerners don’t even talk about this new situation. We must prepare ourselves well for such a calamity, because it can occur, and not in 1000 years, but in 10, 20, 30 years. But nothing like that is being discussed.

    Instead, a great many Westerners complain that they should wear a mask. Eighty years ago, millions of people died for our future in an extreme war. Many fought for a good cause and they were willing to die for it. Today, their descendants don’t even want to wear a simple mask.

  15. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    30. September 2020 at 16:29

    Sumner: “In the unlikely event that Biden wins, I’ll give him a chance.”… unlikely event?? Sumner wrote this a few weeks ago he says in the comments, and we must assume he wrote it before the Atlantic article on Trump calling US vets “losers” and also before the first debate, since the Trump chances of winning have dramatically decreased since those two events, as you can see for yourself here: https://www.bonus.com/election/

    Bonus trivia: as a protest vote, and apparently like Michael Ruelle, I might just vote for Trump for fun (he has no chance of winning in VA but I like to make the Democrats think their majority is not so absolute)

  16. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    30. September 2020 at 16:45

    A classic “get off my lawn” post, much appreciated.

    Don’t despair, things never go as badly as feared (like you fear) or as well as hoped (like Todd K hopes). We always seem to muddle through.

    You can find screeds of a similar vein written be everyone from Socrates to the present day, bemoaning the future. It’s kind of a cliche.

  17. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. September 2020 at 16:48

    Michael, Suppose that a year ago I had said that America would be completely unprepared for a pandemic, even with two months warning. Would anyone have believed me?

    The 21st century will suck.

    Todd, Clever. But watch movies on a smart phone?

    Ray, Can’t you read? I told you to skip those 4 paragraphs.

  18. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    30. September 2020 at 17:01

    “Todd, Clever. But watch movies on a smart phone?”

    It’s an option that wasn’t available in 1987!

    I watched the Korean comedy “My Sassy Girlfriend” with my friend in Tokyo via Skype (sound as we joked about certain scenes), who only has a smart phone and a large TV. My friend said she will rent the DVD in winter and watch on her large screen TV.

  19. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    30. September 2020 at 17:15

    (My friend in Tokyo watched on a smartphone, and we watch many youtube clips together that she watches on her smartphone since she says she doesn’t need a laptop now.)

  20. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    30. September 2020 at 18:08

    Scott, would you say the 20th century sucked? By 1920, they’d already seen civilization nearly collapse amidst the deadliest war in human history followed by the deadliest epidemic since the Black Death. The 19th century, not much better opened with a decade and a half of nonstop war – the deadliest in 200 years. And there’s a pretty solid argument that those were the two best centuries in human history. The bottom line being that the quality of politics (whatever that means) isn’t the primary determinant in the quality of the times.

    Granted, I’m probably disagreeing more for contrarian reasons than optimistic reasons, but the point still stands.

  21. Gravatar of Skeptical Skeptical
    30. September 2020 at 18:42

    You can find screeds of a similar vein written be everyone from Socrates to the present day, bemoaning the future. It’s kind of a cliche.

    Yes, and those civilizations collapsed. I suppose you could skip to “civilization decay and collapse is a human cliche”, and while you would be correct I’m not sure that’s helpful.

    Society is an ultimately futile but valiant effort to keep the universe’s Entropy Gods at the gate. Eventually you lose.

  22. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    30. September 2020 at 18:50


    And then the game starts over with new societies. Each of us has our time on Earth, future generations will take care of themselves.

    If you want to get real dark, in the end is the heat death of the universe. Cheers!

  23. Gravatar of bb bb
    30. September 2020 at 19:04

    If you are already at the prado, check out the statue of Isabella 2 in a veil.
    The whole collection is amazing.

  24. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    30. September 2020 at 19:53

    Things don’t always go from bad to worse. Who would have thought in 1945 that Nagasaki would be the last atomic bomb dropped until at least 2020, that the US would survive as an independent republic for hundreds of years after the Revolutionary War, that China would go from the lows of the Cultural Revolution to where it is today, that Japan and Germany would become free and prosperous democracies after World War II and so on? Sometimes things get better.

  25. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    30. September 2020 at 20:18


    “I’ll be fine. I’ve just signed up for Criterion Channel”

    Sadly this option is not available to me ‘coz it’s not available in Singapore. And both Netflix and Amazon have drastically curtailed catalogues outside the US. My suspicion is that the paranoid Hollywood mafia is hysterical that evil Asians surely will illegally distribute their wares, so they don’t offer anything good. Whenever we have movie nights at home, we have that dreaded 30 minutes desperate search, where none of us 3 in the house can find ANY movie they would like to see, that’s actually available on Netflix. It’s all “Hangover 3” with a smitten of really ancient classics, by that I mean, a Kubrick or two. But typically: I search for 10, 20 movies I’d like to watch, old or new, and NONE of them are available “in my region” as they euphemistically say. And before streaming, it was the same with DVDs. Thanks to region coding, your local player could only play the handful of trash that Hollywood wanted you to see “in your region” and even having it mailed from overseas by friends wouldn’t help. Actually I’m lying because here they swiftly disabled the region coding chips. So you could play your friends’ DVDs. Now with streaming it’s genuinely worse, unless you want to go illegal to torrent sites, the only option to see decent or recent movies. No, VPN doesn’t help. Netflix et al.recognizes if your server is from a known VPN provider and rejects you. Don’t ask me how I know.

    tl;dr Technology alone is not enough, one must also have access to it and that often depends on politics.


    I was having similar thoughts about masks when I heard that even in Europe it’s hotly debated. Basically 1914-1945 sucked monumentally worldwide, and even 1945-198x sucked majorly in China and Eastern Europe. Not to mention Africa. Now all we have to do is do Zoom meetings from home and wear a mask when in the store but that’s apparently outrage enough for some. The same people being the ones stocking up on weapons and supplies and imagining heroic bloodbaths against the unwashed masses cycling their wagons of social benefits.

  26. Gravatar of Gene Frenkle Gene Frenkle
    30. September 2020 at 21:15

    Well-off Americans continue to pretend to work and receive paychecks while staying safe…while a certain demographic risks their health working fast food jobs and keeping everyone fed…if only we had a tool to get the Americans risking their health money?? Apparently Trump figured out a way to funnel money to farmers hurt by his trade war…but having the Fed print more dollars to help other Americans is just asking too much.

  27. Gravatar of Jason Jason
    30. September 2020 at 23:23

    “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.” — Winston Churchill

  28. Gravatar of Rick Wagner Rick Wagner
    1. October 2020 at 03:50

    It’s not so bleak, especially outside the urban areas.

    Hang in there. Turn off the news. It’ll be better, just wait and see.

  29. Gravatar of rayward rayward
    1. October 2020 at 04:13

    Biden is a buffoon, but a likeable buffoon. I’m a little older than Sumner, so the Vietnam War loomed large. While the draft was in effect, I had the student deferment. Then when the draft was replaced with a lottery, my lottery number meant I dodged a bullet. Literally. The lottery seemed so arbitrary (which was the point). My brother had a low lottery number, and immediately dropped out of college and joined the Air Force. He avoided the rice paddies but lost four years – not a long time at my age now, but back then four years seemed an eternity. Of course, it was the lottery that ended the war, when conscripted children of wealthy parents started coming home in body bags. Will history repeat when the well-meaning children of wealthy parents become casualties of Trump’s militia? What saddens me the most about this time are my dear friends who are ardent Trump supporters. This isn’t a divide between conservative and liberal, or Republican and Democrat, this is a divide between good and evil. I mean, I supported Obama but if McCain or Romney had been elected I would have been disappointed but either was acceptable and I would not have suffered the grief caused by Trump. He is a monster and it saddens me immensely that my friends refuse to see what is obvious.

  30. Gravatar of Kevin A Kevin A
    1. October 2020 at 05:34

    “this is a divide between good and evil.”

    It’s really not. It’s establishment vs. non-establishment. There are actually plenty of liberals frowning at establishment democrats, as there are many establishment Republicans buttressing the walls against political outsiders.

  31. Gravatar of Todd Ramsey Todd Ramsey
    1. October 2020 at 05:48

    Apparently peak libertarianism was in the 80s and 90s.* It didn’t feel that way at the time.

    *notwithstanding four years of GHW Bush.

  32. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    1. October 2020 at 06:02

    Sure, the American situation is dire, and no matter whether Trump goes away or not, the Republican party looks like a horror show: The pro-freedom currents of the party have lost every battle, unless it’s the freedom to pollute.

    The Democratic party has its share of anti-freedom undercurrents, but I don’t see how they are winning right now. Their major complaints are pretty fair: Government is way too friendly with big polluters, the US healthcare system is thoroughly suboptimal for all but the very rich and those extracting their income from it, and the current American political system’s median voter is not all that well represented: When we compare the median voter and a weighted median for senate representation, the difference is stark. So there are many things they want that, IMO, would be helpful, as we have the most industry captured government this side of Russia.

    If the white supremacy party dies the death it deserves, we might have a proper argument where, maybe, freedom can go somewhere. But if we don’t respect democracy, how can we even aim for freedom?

  33. Gravatar of Kevin A Kevin A
    1. October 2020 at 06:19

    White supremacy is such a boogeyman. I can’t think of a single public institution that identifies as “white supremacist.” It exists as an idea, an actual idea, not an “idea” like antifa that sets fire in oakland.

    Meanwhile, the opposite side, identified as anti-racist, holds high positions and has an active censorship brigade. Even articulating a contrary position brings material ire and scorn along with cries of blue-checks that fact checking joe biden “endangers black lives.”

    To present one side as nice and rational, and the other as malevolent and crazy, is to caricature reality. There is tons of crazy going around, and everyone has snorted a line.

  34. Gravatar of John John
    1. October 2020 at 07:49

    You think it’s UNLIKELY Biden will win? It appears Biden will win EASILY. I’m predicting he wins 35 states and by AT LEAST 6 million votes and the Senate turns blue.

  35. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    1. October 2020 at 08:30


    I have no idea how many people would have believed we’d have been so unprepared for the pandemic. The degree of market shock seems to support your point.

    And I do agree that US state capacity seems to be falling over time, but I’m not yet convinced that trend will continue for the next generation. I acknowledge the danger, however.

    There is a non-trivial chance that Trump gets blown out in the electoral college, and even loses states like Texas and Georgia. If so, it could lead to a permanent advantage for non-fascists. I don’t think the outcome is likely, but it’s certainly not entirely implausible.

    That said, would Democrats, joined by moderate former Republicans govern well? Probably not, but we could at least perhaps see some improvements over time.

  36. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. October 2020 at 08:55

    Mark Z. I was born in 1955, and thus experienced the better half of the 20th century. This period did not “suck”.

    bb, Yes, it’s always been my favorite art museum.

    Rick, How can I “turn off the news” when I never watch the news? I suppose I could stop reading.

    mbka, That’s too bad. But there are always books to read.

    Kevin, Trump is an evil non-establishment person.

    You said:

    “White supremacy is such a boogeyman.”



  37. Gravatar of Kevin A Kevin A
    1. October 2020 at 09:05


    Good and evil are how children look at the world. Joe biden vs Trump is not good vs. evil. There is nuance in everything.

    As to your other point… Non sequiter. Trump says x, ergo white supremacy.

  38. Gravatar of sean sean
    1. October 2020 at 13:34

    I know zero people who think the current political environment is appropriate. Society will move on.

    Maybe this was the year for a true 3rd party middle candidate. If this continues I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen.

  39. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    1. October 2020 at 13:51


    That’s the problem, this year is exactly the kind of year you’d expect a not-lame 3rd party candidate to be in the mix. But the system is simply geared totally towards the two parties in the US system.

  40. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    1. October 2020 at 14:17

    To support my point about Texas, I just came across this news:


    Would the Texas governor be doing this if he was confident Republicans would win the state?

    The fact that this is a census year makes the stakes extra high.

  41. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    1. October 2020 at 16:04

    “Mark Z. I was born in 1955, and thus experienced the better half of the 20th century. This period did not “suck”.”

    I wouldn’t say it sucked either but you did experience a rise in crime including murder from when you were about 13 years old to 40 when the tide started to turn.

    When you were in your late 20s you got the early 80s version of the Cold War and heightened fear about a nuclear war.

    When you were in your 30s, you got the way overblown AIDS scare for those having penile-vaginal sex. Even to this day many don’t realize what a small risk that was.

  42. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    1. October 2020 at 17:45


    yes, greatly enjoying reading the Three Body Problem trilogy right now. Which is also a really subtle commentary on China and the world of course.

  43. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    1. October 2020 at 20:47

    To my surprise, Bing informs me that the MV high temp today was 102.

  44. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    2. October 2020 at 05:24

    More good news for those of sanity and good will:


    Also, some former Republicans like Mike Murphy say that some internal Republican polling in states like Ohio look even worse than the lower quality public polls and that some running the Trump campaign there already think he’s lost the state.

    Texas is competitive enough that the governor is openly expanding voter suppression efforts…

    And Trump’s diagnosis will greatly curtail his campaigning, if he respects the quarantine.

    Never say never, but looks bad for Trump right now. Debate performance and his own recklessness regarding this virus may be the final straws.

  45. Gravatar of Paul Cunningham Paul Cunningham
    2. October 2020 at 06:44

    Hughes became a morphine addict (from his injuries) and succumbed to paranoia and delusions. He kept himself in a suite , helped by his Morman handlers. Read “Citizen Hughes” for the facts, No we are NOT Hughes.

    I would like to hear the Biden supporters explain why they are voting for him WITHOUT mentioning Trump.

    Principles before personalities

  46. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. October 2020 at 07:28

    Todd, You said:

    “Even to this day many don’t realize what a small risk that was.”

    I understood that fact from the beginning, but you are right that many people did not.

    anon/portly, I was out playing basketball yesterday.

    Paul, You said:

    “I would like to hear the Biden supporters explain why they are voting for him WITHOUT mentioning Trump.

    Principles before personalities”

    Yes, it’s pretty clear that Biden has a few principles while Trump has absolutely none.

    I’m not voting for Biden, but if I were I could easily cite his views on a wide range of issues, from Iran to immigration.

  47. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    2. October 2020 at 08:18

    If Trump doesn’t even care about his biggest donors, who he knowingly exposed without telling them, who does he care about?


  48. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    2. October 2020 at 08:45

    @Paul C:

    Just as many (most?) votes for Trump were actually votes against Hillary, many votes for Biden are votes against Trump. Nothing wrong with that.

    Just as Hillary was terrible and Trump was worse, Biden is terrible and Trump is worse.

    These have been the two worst choices ever for president, the last two elections. One person was on the ballot in both.

    It’s hard to know why the parties have failed to nominate good candidates lately, but it’s a fact.

  49. Gravatar of Keenan Keenan
    2. October 2020 at 10:23


    Any thoughts on 8 1/2 by Fellini? I’m 28 and loved it. This post reminded me of it.

    I think you should figure out a way to write more about books, paintings, and movies. Rather than “more of that on here”, maybe another blog for just those thoughts? I could read these all day.

    Criterion Channel I have had for 1 year now. Worth easily 50x the price.

  50. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. October 2020 at 14:05

    Keenan, Thanks for the support.

    It’s been almost 40 years; I need to see it again. I let you know when I do.

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