Progressives should worry more about the odds that Joe Biden will win

Progressives assume Biden will fail on his own. But Biden is doing strong in the polls, and it’s not just name recognition.

Most Democrats are not Progressives. They aren’t paying close attention to the primaries yet. And they like Biden. They think of him as a likable Vice President to a President they liked, says Matthew Yglesias in this article.

For what it’s worth, reading my own Facebook feed, I agree. My middle-aged (like me), moderate Democrat and even conservative friends loathe and despise Trump every bit as much as I do. And yet they are disgusted by what they see as a dangerous move to the far left by the Democratic Party. They’d love to see a BIden candidacy.

The problem for progressives is that Biden is conservative. Or, as his supporters — and those rank-and-file Democrats who aren’t paying close attention — would say, Biden is moderate. More conservative than Obama, who has said he hopes his successor would be more progressive than he was. As Yglesias notes, Obama has said if he head healthcare reform to do over again, he’d go for the single payer option.

As for me: Biden is not my first choice, and I have misgivings about his conservative record, and I’ll probably volunteer for one of his opponents in the primary. But if I wake up one morning in Jan. 2021 and Biden is taking the oath of office, I’m OK with that. I’ll be grinning ear to ear.

Lisa Ling & Awkwafina: Shut Up, Let Me Shine

Awkwafina grew up Nora Lum in Queens, and was raised by her father and grandmother after her mother died when she was four years old. Guest host Lisa Ling talks with Awkwafina about how she coped with that loss by developing a sense of humor early on, and about why—despite feeling a lot of money anxiety—she isn’t afraid to turn down high-paying gigs.…

New Heinlein

A new Robert A. Heinlein novel is in the pipeline, based on a previously undiscovered edition of “The Number of the Beast.”…

I have misgivings. Some Heinlein enthusiasts believe “The Number of the Beast,” published 1980-ish after a long hiatus from writing, was written while Heinlein was cognitively impaired due to circulatory problems in his brain, and rush-edited by Virginia Heinlein, his wife, and sent to publishers because the Heinleins needed the bucks.

Heinlein biographer William Paterson is skeptical about that theory. “Number” is certainly of a piece with the later Heinlein.

“Number” is one of my least favorite Heinleins. If it didn’t have his name on the cover, I don’t know that I would have even gotten through it.

One Heinlein fan — not present here — recently said that when reading Heinlein you should read his early and middle works and stop at “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” except for maybe you can read “Friday” too.

And stay away from “Stranger in a Strange Land;” it’s crap.

I agree with that, though I’d also add “Job: a Comedy of Justice” to the “maybe” list.

And I’d also say the first third of “Stranger” has its charms if you’re a retro-future fan like me. On the one hand, Heinlein circa 1960 predicts an early 21st Century with self-lighting cigarettes! Flying cars! Mars missions! 3D TV! and picturephones! But no Internet or smartphones, and though there is something like a fax machine it’s rare and expensive and a sign of main character Ben Caxton’s clout as a journalist that he has one for his own private use.)


Of course I will! The day it comes out!

Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad. Hiro used to feel that way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this is liberating. He no longer has to worry about trying to be the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken.”

A Few More Words from Roger Zelazny: On Ellison, Delany, and Brust

Roger Zelazny, one of my favorite writers, shares funny and interesting anecdotes about Steven Brust and Harlan Ellison — two other favorites — and Samuel Delany, for whom I have enormous respect.

Zelazny and Delany were often confused for each other by fans, because the names are somewhat similar, and they eventually authorized the other to sign each others’ books,.

A Few More Words from Roger Zelazny: On Ellison, Delany, and Brust