Loose Ends (113)

So the news out this morning is that Joe Biden won’t travel to Milwaukee to accept the Democratic nomination later this month. Because COVID. Question: If Biden wins the election, will he come to Washington to be inaugurated on January 20? Or will he be sworn in by a local justice of the peace and conduct his administration from his Delaware basement? I expect the Trump campaign can make hay out of the slogan that a basement in Delaware is no place to run the country. C’mon man!

I have a theory that Biden has actually settled on his running mate, but is holding off on the announcement while they prep whoever it is for the intense focus the person will receive. One of the many mistakes John McCain made in 2008 was picking Sarah Palin very suddenly, and then putting her out without any serious preparation and briefing (and ultimately ruining her political future). Given the heightened importance of Biden’s running mate, there will be a premium on that person’s campaign ability this year. Harris was a dud in the Democratic primaries. Anyone think Val Demmings, Keisha Lance-Bottoms, or Tammy Duckworth are ready for this? (Alternative possibility: Biden’s team know their list of prospective running mates is pathetic, and are trying to get Michelle Obama or Oprah to be the running mate.)

A reader sends along this speculation:

I remain convinced we will see a repeat of the “Eagleton Affair.” The Democrats will pull Biden off the ticket after he is formally nominated.  They will suddenly discover that he is in mental decline.  Or, maybe he will “have” a minor stroke or such Soviet-like invention.

They will not do this before he is formally nominated.  That would give rise to Bernie and Lizzie and others to reassert their claims.

Given how weird this year is, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Gee, this whole “no bail” thing is really working out great.

Gang member carries out three shootings after being freed without bail: prosecutors

A Brooklyn gang member, released without bail in May on an attempted murder charge, participated in at least three drive-by shootings after he was freed, federal prosecutors allege.

Darrius Sutton, 23, was initially arrested in connection with a May 16 shooting in the courtyard of an East New York building that left a man seriously injured.

Despite the attempted murder rap, Sutton was set free without bail the same day of his May 20 arrest.

I have no idea what caused the massive explosion in Beirut yesterday, but I am wondering if basic pattern recognition ought to raise the possibility that in fact a serious war has broken out in the Middle East between Iran and Israel. Consider some recent items:

—Explosions and disruptions of several Iranian nuclear facilities a few weeks ago. It is claimed that Israel was behind it, though there are hints of possible U.S. involvement, and after Trump’s targeted killing of Gen. Soleimani,  who knows. 

—Last week saw major Israeli air strikes on Hezbollah sites in Syria. 

—Why was there such a huge amount of ammonium nitrate stored in that facility in Beirut? The suggestion the site was a fireworks factory doesn’t really pass the smell test. Or perhaps making fireworks was a cover for making something else down in the basement, like Walter White’s subterranean meth lab below a commercial laundry.

There might be some urgency for Israel to settle accounts soon, given that Trump has their back, while Joe Biden has always been hostile to Israel.

Remind me never to swallow a beetle. From an article in Current Biology about what a study of digestion in frogs finds about the durability of beetles:

Although adult beetles were easily eaten by frogs, 90% of swallowed beetles were excreted within 6 hours after being eaten and, surprisingly, were still alive. When beetle legs were experimentally fixed with wax, all of the treated beetles were killed in the frogs’ digestive system and finally excreted >24 hours after consumption. Therefore, swallowed beetles likely used their legs to move through the digestive tract toward the frog vent, hastening their escape. This study is the first to document active prey escape from the vent of a predator and to show that prey may promote predator defecation to hasten escape from inside the predator’s body.

I’ll await the follow up study to find out if beetles also survive after the frog is boiled slowly. Either that or—given the last sentence—we can look forward to people like Gwyneth Paltrow recommending swallowing beetles as a laxative.

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