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With the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the presidential election talking points take a hard shift.

If the president announces his choice to replace her, it will motivate Democrats to come out to vote. It won't change many votes, but it will generate enough outrage to persuade some undecided (or lazy) voters to return their ballots.

On the other hand, this appointment is a large source of support for Donald Trump, and that's the problem. Some Trump supporters might decide that this appointment fulfills their wishes, and they are no longer motivated to hold their collective unmasked noses and vote for Trump.

It also removes Senators Lee, Cotton, and Cruz from the list -- McConnell will need their votes in the Senate to wedge this turd through the door. They were never serious names anyway, just there to get out the vote, though that could change if the Republicans retain power in January.

The odds that McConnell won't get away with this are dismal. The only hope for 2021 is that a conservative slot opens up for Biden to appoint someone (unlikely) or that the new Congress adds two additional justices -- this is also unlikely, only because it seems too bold for someone like Biden. But it will come up.

Last night's news also means that all Trump-related Supreme Court battles will either be quickly resolved or entirely dismissed, unless John Roberts has more integrity than suspected. But he just might.

Van Morrison has written new songs about how he does not believe in virology and personally resents being blocked from performing in front of a huge audience in multiple cities because of the coronavirus pandemic. In an announcement on his official website, "Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out, and No More Lockdown are songs of protest which question the measures the Government has put in place. Morrison makes it clear in his new songs how unhappy he is with the way the Government has taken away personal freedoms."

To be fair, Morrison, long the Oscar the Grouch of mellow grating, is referring to the confusing and ineffective policies of the British government, which are a train wreck, but he hints that every nation on earth is in on the conspiracy.

As his statement says, "The singer-songwriter, who is campaigning for performance venues to open at full capacity again, feels strongly that lockdown is in danger of killing live music. Without a date for reopening fully in 2020, many venues will shut down for good." While this is certainly a danger and a serious issue, many physicians, researchers, and humans counter-argue that without a treatment or vaccine for the virus, many humans will shut down for good.

He will be performing his songs live later this month at the London Palladium, proving that he embraces contradictions.

For a brief primer on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chaotic approach to the pandemic, which has resulted in one of the highest infection rates in Europe:

Not only are people stuck at home, instead of making a mess at the workplace or school, but people are using the time to clean out the basement.

In Philadelphia, as in most other major American cities right now, trash collection has become a problem during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only are people stuck at home, instead of making a mess at the workplace or school, but people are using the time to clean out the basement or do yardwork, or both. In addition, there are delivery boxes and even cities that have banned plastic bags have allowed them for public health reasons. Then there's the problem of the safety of the trash collectors. Not all heroes wear capes. Or a pretend cape made from a Hefty bag.

Why are Philly’s streets full of trash during Covid-19? City’s former Zero Waste and Litter Director weighs in. [Grid Philly, July 21, 2020]

Philly asks residents to put trash out a day later as it catches up on garbage pickup [Philadelphia Inquirer, July 19, 2020]

Not a day goes by I do not think about this article.

Not a day goes by I do not think about this article...

French writers' coronavirus getaways prompt backlash

Accounts of bucolic isolation by Leïla Slimani and Marie Darrieussecq prompt charges of elitism and comparisons to Marie Antoinette

By Alison Flood, the Guardian

Leïla Slimani in 2017.
 ‘A bit like Sleeping Beauty’ … Leïla Slimani in 2017. Photograph: Alamy

Leïla Slimani and Marie Darrieussecq may be two of France’s most acclaimed writers – but their accounts of life in lockdown in their second homes in the countryside have unleashed an outpouring of resentment among French readers, with one fellow writer even comparing Slimani to Marie Antoinette. More...