Five Things: June 22, 2020

Hope your weekend was lovely. Let’s get to the five things today!

Trump’s performance anxiety: Since I am, to put it politely, no great fan of our current president, you may accurately surmise that I’m having a nice little schadenfreude moment about the underwhelming number of people at his Tulsa event, and the angst and pissiness it’s engendered in his crew of chucklefucks. However, I will also say that I found those numbers hopeful — not necessarily because they’re indicative of his lessening support (although they might be), but because even in deep red Oklahoma, people were all, “Yeaaaaaah, let’s not go into a heavily populated enclosed space where no one’s wearing masks.” Yes! Correct! Good! Sensible! Because, let’s face it, the KPop stans may or may not have overinflated expectations for the event, but ultimately the actual intended audience had to decide whether to show or not. All but 6,200 decided to stay home.

Hot times in the arctic circle: specifically, 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Verkhoyansk, apparently a new record for that usually permafrosted city. And not just there; temperatures are way, way up all over the extreme north. It’s weird to think that the arctic circle is currently hotter than Ohio, where it’s merely 81 degrees. But I guess if you’re gonna righteously fuck up the planet, this is what you’re going to get, sooner than later. Apparently much sooner than many climate forecasts thought, in this case. That’s nice.

Stock market and infection rates are up! Currently the Dow Jones is at about 26,000; still well below its highs but still climbing; meanwhile new records for Covid infection rates are being made in several states, with Florida climbing past the 100,000 total infection mark. Why are they both rising? There are many reasons, he said, reasonably, but honestly I think a major one is that after several months, the nation’s capital (not “capitol,” but, also that too) has gotten the data on who it is that’s actually getting sick, and bluntly, it’s not the part of the economy that has capital and invests in the markets. The money isn’t being (substantially) harmed by the outbreak, or at least, not in a way that it thinks matters. So, up go the stocks while up go the infections. We’ll see how that works out for everybody.

Joel Schumacher dead: Oh, this is sad news. Schumacher will be forever tied to the debacle of Batman & Robin, aka, Why On Earth Are There Nipples On the Batsuit, but his filmography is actually fairly diverse: anyone whose credits include The Lost Boys, The Client, Falling Down and The Phantom of the Opera is someone harder to pigeonhole than one might expect. I met him once when I interviewed him for Falling Down and found him to be a smart and engaging conversation partner; if nothing else he seemed to be enjoying his life. Rest in Peace, Mr. Schumacher.

Hamiltrailer: About 93% of my friend group is going sploogy for this. I’m looking forward to it too, but possibly not as much as they. But that’s just me. If this is your thing, dig it.

32 thoughts on “Five Things: June 22, 2020

  1. The best explanation I’ve heard for the stock market rising, from Krugman, is that there’s basically no other place for anyone to put their money if they want any chance at returns. Government bonds are near (or below!) zero, bank accounts are probably below inflation, so if you want to invest it’s the stock market.

  2. Four years ago, it was easy for some people to get excited about someone running against a corrupt Washington. People could respond with enthusiastic agreement. But that gets old, especially when your guy is the epitome of corrupt Washington. It’s hard to get excited by a trip to an arena where Obama and Clinton will be blamed for all of our problems during pandemic times.

    And it’s hard to get enthusiastic about fighting “Sleepy Joe”.

  3. “…bluntly, it’s not the part of the economy that has capital and invests in the markets.”

    Not sure about this statement. The older you get the higher the Case Fatality Rate, and generally the older you get the more capital you have invested. Statistics show the 65+ demographic is better off than other age cohorts. That’s certainly true in my life and the lives of those I know. As I’ve aged I moved through the expensive years (paying for my education, having kids, buying a house, paying for kids), rose in my profession with commensurate salary increases, and eventually reached the point where one day I suddenly had income that wasn’t earmarked for bills and was available for investment. Add in 401Ks and IRAs and the oleder demo is substantially invested in financial markets.

  4. The rally in the stock market rally is in a large part (though not 100%) attributable to the fact that the Trump administration and its Treasury department, along with the Federal Reserve bank, have pushed somewhat more than $4 trillion in new “liquidity” into the market, and has committed to continuing to provide more liquidity as they collectively deem fit.

    LOL so much for that modern “conservative” trope about hating socialism. They don’t hate socialism when it is used to prop up Wall Street banks and to fund random corporate bonds.

  5. Schumacher also wrote the screenplay for the movie The Wiz, a movie that has received a surprising (to me, anyway) amount of hate. I remember seeing it on a plane, doing a series of double takes as the opening credits rolled, and then being shocked when I learned about the public reaction to it. I’ll admit that some of the sets are a bit drab and Diana Ross is much too old to be playing Dorothy, but it has far too much charm and life for me to hate it.

  6. > even in deep red Oklahoma, people were all,
    > “Yeaaaaaah, let’s not go into a heavily populated
    > enclosed space where no one’s wearing masks.”

    Don’t forget “and sign away our right to sue if we get infected”

    I imagine Trump’s lawyers must be recommending setting aside a contingency fund for lawsuit liability.

  7. So IMPOTUS is all sulky about his tiny… turnout. I imagine Brad Parscale is on the target list, perhaps to be replaced by The Amazing Jared!

  8. I want to also recommend the Hamilton Mixtape. The musical flowed from an earlier project where Hamilton’s story was going to be told as a concept album instead of a broadway musical. Miranda released it after the musical was a hit and the album contains big name performers either performing variant versions of some of the songs as a well as a few songs that were cut. Since Broadway voices are so different that pop and hiphop voices, it is very nice to hear the songs sung with a bit more grit and less of that uncanny valley….

  9. ● Ehhh – in the universe of Designers turned Directors, William Cameron Menzies did it better with fewer chances than Joel Schumacher did. I’m glad he was a good interview, Scalzi — but I always found his movies obvious and cluttered, and when his films worked it was because they had strong scripts (Falling Down, Tigerland, Phone Booth ).

    ● Count me as one of those really looking forward to HAMILTON on Disney+! Tammy & Julie got me into it during long trips driving to and from cons, and I’ve seen clips from both the play (mostly done at the Tonys), and from it being performed acapella (mostly for Obama). Probably a personal favorite was when Lin-Manuel Miranda showed up at some White House ‘do while still working on it, and described it to the President and assembled guests as a “concept album about somebody who embodies Hip-Hop — Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.” (You can see it at https://youtu.be/E8_ARd4oKiI )

  10. @Theophylact “Performance anxiety” was the Lincoln Project’s angle on the Tulsa rally too.

    I give Parscale another three days or twelve hours after the next Twitter meltdown, whichever comes first.

  11. my career advice for Brad Parscale? ask Bolton for name of his literary agent and ghost writer and First Admt. lawyer….
    perhaps Mr. Scalzi could be ghost writer…. that’s for sure a fantasy novel worthy of a Hugo nod….

  12. Not that I’m squishy on climate change (I’m a physicist so, while not a climate scientist, I’m more inside the park than the average bear), but Verkhoyansk is recognized as having the widest temperature variation on Earth, and the upper 90’s are not unheard of. While it gets both stupid hot and stupid cold there, it isn’t stupid hot for very long so there is permafrost and it isn’t melting yet.

    I yield to no one in my fear of climate change. I’ve argued since the 80’s that it is really the only issue in elections, and I fully believe that it will lead to the extinction of the human species, along with a ton of others. I also strongly suspect, since evolution drives short term optimization in individuals so they can reproduce more, it is probably the reason why SETI has never detected anything.

    Intelligence is just not a long term survival trait for a species.

  13. 1) I am assuming that we will survive climate change – just not many of us, and not many consciences.

    2) Until Trump has lost, what things look like for him don’t matter. He’s looked stupid and mean before (it seems to be his look) and yet the people that want him want him no matter what. The only surprise is that Trump actually found a limit to what his people will do for him – even if it’s only self-preservation, it’s still a limit I wasn’t sure existed.

  14. @Mitchell hundred:

    Blackness superimposed over a film emblematic of white bred cultural norms and sensibilities?

    Sweet-faced American sweetheart Dorothy with an afro?

    A decidedly “ethnic” revamping of an American classic?

    Instant panning.

    And yeah, MS Ross got what she asked for when she stepped on Stephanie Mills’s head to get that role.

    @theophylact
    I see what you did there. 😊

    @ Just different:

    Nice! Needed that laugh.
    @ Hap:

    I’m perplexed, as I’d bet it all that these same people were either out in force protesting stay-at-home orders or leveling accusations of paranoia and cowardice at anyone in a mask.

    It’s bad when you can’t even get your base to buy the “it’ll disappear like magic,” “it’s a liberal hoax” narrative long enough to Basque in your presence.

    @John:

    Rip Joel Schumacher 💔 🕊

    I’m sure he was a lovely man.

    Anyone who could put up with Corey Feldman’s antics on the Lost Boys set has my undying respect.

  15. Wow, this is the first time I can recall seeing Whatever spammed by a scammer.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Coming of The Mallet….

  16. I’m excited to finally get the opportunity to see Hamilton and see if it’s worth the buzz. I am trying to temper my expectations, but they’re pretty hgiht.

  17. I imagine that smart well experienced major stock market players are making money hand – over – fist with these wild market gyrations over the past 6 months or so. They even likely trigger the gyrations to there benefit. Not me. I’m not that smart and would probably tend to buy high and sell low too often.

    Trump’s crowd of 8 to 10,000 compared to Biden’s recent ‘rally’ crowd of a handpicked 20 is a lopsided maybe 4 to 500:1 ratio. The reported rises in COVID19 infections no doubt held down Trump’s rally attendance. This may continue if the virus resurgence seems real. And this likely resurgence is probably thanks to the past month’s multi-city demonstrations and riots.

  18. Prediction for the proprietor of this fine website. You’ll write an impressive coda to the “Old Man’s War” series and get a Hugo for best series.

  19. So, I guess he wasn’t “kidding” about the whole “do less testing and you’ll have fewer positive tests” thing after all. I mean, he does get that they will (you know) still be just as sick, right? I know, does not give a sh!t. I get that. Tools like Ron (Yes, I Really Did Graduate From Harvard Law School, really) DeSantis are twisting themselves in knots to help him fix the numbers. Nice “leadership” in the Republican caucus we have there.

  20. –& to add to what Gary said, a lot of the stock market action is now being done by software at the rate of many trades per second. If the coronavirus had instead been a deadly new killer plague, specifically designed to destroy humanity, as in The Last Flight of Dr. Ayn, the stock market would be fine without us.

  21. Couple objective realities to remember:

    1. Trump’s “look how popular I am” Klan rally fell flat, spectacularly so.

    2. Biden is murdering Trump in the polls, the most surprising one being the Fox News poll that has Trump down by twelve points.

    3. Protests broke out in most of the country, yet it is primarily the covidiot run, covidiot dominated red states that are seeing spikes in infections. Funny, that.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8406735/Nine-states-COVID-19-hospitalizations-spiking-reopening.html

    4. White supremacist tantrums pushed for covid spreading reopening’s. BLM protestors and their heartbreakingly (well, heartbreaking for white supremacists, at least) white allies took to the streets and played a catalytic role in getting people to take up America’s sociopolitical fabric and help shake it free of the racists and lynch-happy cops that infest it.

    TL; DR: The natural consequences of throwing the country open during a pandemic are exactly what opposers said they would be. Meanwhile, the right’s attempt to shift blame for said consequences onto those opposing their racist goals are proving to be as big a failure as their dear leader and his supporters’ (I charge every single one of them with this) attempts to A, normalize white supremacy and lynching and B, show everyone how popular he still is after having murdered more than 130,000 people.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2020/06/19/so-far-george-floyd-protests-

    PS: Only one of the presidential candidates is deathly afraid of mail in voting. Wonder why?

    not-behind-surges-coronavirus/3226033001/

  22. Couple objective realities to remember:

    1. Trump’s “look how popular I am” Klan rally fell flat, spectacularly so.

    2. Biden is murdering Trump in the polls, the most surprising one being the Fox News poll that has Trump down by twelve points.

    3. Protests broke out in most of the country, yet it is primarily the covidiot run, covidiot dominated red states that are seeing spikes in infections. Funny, that.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8406735/Nine-states-COVID-19-hospitalizations-spiking-reopening.html

    4. White supremacist tantrums pushed for covid spreading reopening’s. BLM protestors and their heartbreakingly (well, heartbreaking for white supremacists, at least) white allies took to the streets and played a catalytic role in getting people to take up America’s sociopolitical fabric and help shake it free of the racists and lynch-happy cops that infest it.

    TL; DR: The natural consequences of throwing the country open during a pandemic are exactly what opposers said they would be. Meanwhile, the right’s attempt to shift blame for said consequences onto those opposing their racist goals are proving to be as big a failure as their dear leader and his supporters’ (I charge every single one of them with this) attempts to A, normalize white supremacy and lynching and B, show everyone how popular he still is after having murdered more than 130,000 people.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2020/06/19/so-far-george-floyd-protests- not-behind-surges-coronavirus/3226033001/

    PS: Only one of the presidential candidates is deathly afraid of mail in voting. I can’t imagine why

  23. “And this likely resurgence is probably thanks to the past month’s multi-city demonstrations and riots.”

    Aren’t cases surging mostly in covidiot-dominant states? I guess a double-whammy is not out of the question in a few weeks’ time.

    “I give Parscale another three days or twelve hours after the next Twitter meltdown, whichever comes first.”

    Could there be another tell-all book deal in the making? Market is getting a bit saturated, tho.

    “He’s so incompetent he couldn’t throw a Klan rally in Tulsa” might just be a new byword.

  24. I believe your addendum (‘That’s nice.’) to 100 degree+ temperatures in Permafrost City is missing a /s tag.

  25. Dear Gary,

    The data doesn’t support the notion that the protests have had any significant effect on the pandemic.

    It’s been three and a half weeks since the protests started. That means we’re into the fourth generation of infections and the second generation of hospitalizations since then. Hospitalizations are a good metric, because the reporting criteria are pretty consistent — you can easily compare data from week to week. Case reports are tougher to parse, because they are dependent on how much testing is being done and who’s being tested. You need a pretty big change in case reports to be able to sort that out from testing changes, or you need the kind of detailed information that is mostly not available.

    I look at the nationwide data, as well as the county data for the San Francisco Bay Area counties and Hennepin County (the Twin Cities area) because that’s where I and my sweeties live. Conveniently, for these purposes, those are also counties which are been major centers of protest.

    (For people who want to find out what’s happening in their own county, Google ” Covid-19 dashboard”. The dashboards don’t all report the same kinds of data, but they report a lot more than you’ll get any other way.)

    There’s no visible bump in the daily number of cases being reported that’s any different from the gradual rise we’ve been seeing as jurisdictions started to open up seven weeks ago. Hospitalizations for the past month are remaining for the most part constant. In Hennepin County, they’ve been steadily declining over the past month.

    This isn’t hugely surprising, statistically. It’s not like everyone’s been sheltering inside except for the protests. Nationwide, there are 50-100 times as many people out and about for other reasons as protesting. But it’s gratifying because, y’know, we could’ve been wrong about how covid-19 propagates. We don’t know it all.

    Yet one more social experiment and a little more data.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  26. @Sarah Marie

    It actually isn’t all that surprising that a Fox News poll had results unfavorable to Trump. The polling unit is one of the two subsections of Fox News that generally does honest work (the other being the group that calls races on election nights).

  27. @ Michael I:

    Point taken, but, like Shepard Smith’s and Chris Wallace’s critiques of the president and his policies, anything honest coming out of Fox News surprises the hell out of me.

    Still (I don’t know why), those two subsets give me a bit of hope.

  28. P.S. Oops, bad formatting — For your county’s dashboard, Google ” yourcountyname Covid-19 dashboard”.

Comments are closed.