September 19, 2019

Only 2% of global art auction spending is on work by women, study finds

Presidential race update

In turnaround, McConnell backs $250 million in election security funding

How Pete Buttigieg would expand health coverage;Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg today released his long-awaited health plan , pledging that his “Medicare for All Who Want It” proposal would lead to universal health coverage while cutting costs. The plan formalizes proposals the South Bend, Ind. mayor has touted in the campaign, like building on Obamacare and creating a new “public option” to compete with private insurers.

Alleged alarming Trump 'promise' to foreign leader raises new issue

Common Dreams -The formal whistleblower complaint by a U.S. official that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to turn over to Congress was reportedly sparked by an alarming "promise" President Donald Trump made to a foreign leader in recent weeks.

The Washington Post, citing two anonymous former U.S. officials familiar with the matter, reported late Wednesday that Trump's promise "was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community."

Newsweek -   A Supreme Court lawyer has predicted that the reported whistleblower complaint made in response to President Donald Trump's discussions with an unnamed foreign leader will likely produce evidence of "gross" abuse of power. Neal Katyal, who formerly served as acting solicitor general of the U.S., said on Twitter Tuesday that the nascent scandal could turn out to be "huge," given the apparent efforts of the Department of Justice and White House to squash the issue.

Trump sues Manhattan DA over tax return demand

CNBC - President Donald Trump on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and his longtime accounting firm Mazars. The suit came days after news broke that the prosecutor had subpoenaed years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns. Vance’s office had issued a subpoena last month to accounting firm Mazars.

Vance’s office had issued a subpoena last month to accounting firm Mazars. The firm said in a statement issued Monday that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

“In response to the subpoenas issued by the New York County District Attorney, we have filed a lawsuit this morning in Federal Court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case,” Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday morning.

Presidential polls: Trump favorability up four points

Most recent poll to the right
43, 39, 38, 39, 43, 43, 44, 44, 47, 43%  
Five poll average up four points

Most recent poll to right

Biden  2, 13, 8, 7, 8, 16, 12, 9, 15, 8% Five poll average up 4 points
Sanders 2, 5, 8, 5, 4, 14. 4, 4, 9, 5%  Five poll average up 2 points
Warren   0, 4, 2, 0, 0, 12, 3, 0, 7, 2%  Five poll average up 4 points
Harris 7, 0%
Clinton 2016 2%

As judged by Democratic voters. Most recent poll to right. Only candidates with at least 5% shown 

Biden   26, 32, 29, 33, 26, 24, 22, 31, 26, 33%   5 poll average down 2
Warren 22, 16, 18, 16, 26, 18, 18, 25, 21, 19 %  5 poll average no change
Sanders 14, 20, 19, 21,16, 17, 20. 14, 14, 17%  5 poll average down 2
Harris  5, 8, 7, 7, 6, 8, 6, 5, 6, 6,% 5 poll average down 1
Buttigieg 5, 5, 5, 4, 5, 6, 6, 5, 7, 9 . 5% 5 poll average up 2
Biden in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire
Sanders in Texas
Warren in Michigan\

Statistical tie
Biden in North Carolina
Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris in Florida


Biden leads in Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, South Carolina, New York, North Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia

Sanders leads in Vermont, Alabama, Wisconsin

Biden, Sanders tie in California, Nevada, New Hampshire

Biden, Warren tie in Massachusetts

Biden, Warren, Sanders tie in Iowa based on conflicting polls. Tie in Florida with Harris

Californians no longer have to join a posse

Lowering the Bar -Until August 30, adult Californians who refused to join a posse could be fined up to $1,000 under section 150 of the state’s penal code. But on that date, the governor signed SB 192, so that requirement is now a thing of the past.

Ideas that didn't catch on

Futility Closet -    In 1778, shortly after Benjamin Franklin introduced the lightning rod, Paris saw a fad for umbrellas and hats that made use of the new technology. A chain ran from the accessory down to the ground and would (in principle) carry the electricity from a lightning strike harmlessly into the ground. I can’t find any record that such a strike ever happened. Lightning rods didn’t become popular in the United States, even to protect structures, until the 19th century.