2:00PM Water Cooler 3/11/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

More politics shortly. Got wrapped around the axle with the WHO announcement (see Health). –lambert UPDATE All done!


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

I removed the mysterious “MP” from next week’s primaries.

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We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Today we have one national poll from YouGov as of 3/11/2020, 12:00 PM EDT. The empire strikes back:

(Note the miserably small sample size.) And the numbers:

Biden’s ups and downs have been of much greater amplitude than other candidates.

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden needs to say now who’ll be in his White House. It’s the only way he beats Trump | Will Bunch” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The other Biden problem was dramatized by the freak-out over the unsourced Axios story that he might staff his administration with Wall Street hacks: Young voters under 30 simply don’t trust him…. The simple fix? Biden shouldn’t wait until December — when we might be out in the streets wondering how the hell Trump won by 78,000 votes again — or even until the Democratic convention in Milwaukee in early July, when the party needs to be more unified than it is now, to reveal some of the key players in his administration.” • And the players mentioned — wait for it — Jay Inslee (climate czar), Sally Yates. Marie Yovanovitch, and Fiona Hill (high-level jobs), Pete Buttigieg (commerce), Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum (“re-certified as Cabinet members”). • Yes, that is totally the Cabinet to set the youth vote on fire. (“Fiona Hill’s gonna be a National Security advisor!” “Dude!”) There is also not a single Sanders supporter mentioned. Why not Jayapal at HHS, to pick an obvious example? Gabbard for the UN, to pick an outsider? Bunch is not a bad person. But oh, the Establishment stench…

Biden (D)(2): If Joe Biden Wins The Nomination But Suffers Cognitive Decline, The DNC Could Get Their Coronation After All” [Medium (antidlc)]. “As Vice President Biden seems to be struggling with memory and speech tasks, is he also being used by a Party he supported for decades? Perhaps Biden does have early stages of dementia, or perhaps he is just stressed. Regardless, I believe that if Biden wins the nomination, they will find a way to remove him from the ticket ‘due to a decline in health.’ After this vacancy is established, the Democrats are free to arbitrarily replace Biden with whomever they want.”

Biden (D)(3): “‘Never Trump’ Republicans Will Support Biden, Not Sanders” [Sarah Longwell, New York Times]. “As more data emerge to explain former Vice President Joe Biden’s stunning victory on Super Tuesday, there are two clear demographics that propelled him: African-American voters and suburban voters with college degrees….It’s a coalition that helped moderate Democrats flip seven governorships, two Senate seats and about 40 House districts… African-Americans have long made up a core of the Democratic voting base, but many of Mr. Biden’s college-educated, suburban supporters are right-leaning independents or moderate Republicans who supported candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney. They don’t want to re-elect Donald Trump. And they’re willing to cross over to vote for a Democrat — a moderate and mainstream Democrat.” • Ruy Teixeira must be rolling in his Aeron chair at CAP. So much for the coalition of the ascendant! Coalitions are supposed to have staying power, and a party built on a foundation of reactionary party establishments in Southern states the Democrats will never win plus Democrat-curious Republicans is hardly built for the long haul. To be fair, Republicans have already cheerfully voted for one President who was losing his mind in cognitive decline. So there’s that.

Sanders (D)(1): Debate goals:

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “This Is Not the Moment for Progressives to Despair” [Jamelle Bouie, New York Times]. “If Biden goes on to win the White House, there’s real space for the pro-Sanders left to work its will on policy. It can use its influence to steer Biden toward its preferred outcomes. It can fulfill some of its goals under the cover of Biden’s moderation, from raising the minimum wage nationally to pushing the American health care system closer to single-payer. This may sound a lot like wishful thinking. And if Biden were a different politician — if, like Sanders, he was strongly ideological — I might also doubt his malleability. But Biden, like Northam, is a creature of the party. He doesn’t buck the mainstream, he accommodates it.” • I understand the argument, but (1) this was tried with Obama. Obama, quoting FDR, said “Go out and make me do it.” And on Gitmo, withdrawal from Afghanistan, torture, foreclosures, nationalizing the banks, prosecuting banksters, and health care, “holding Obama’s feet to the fire” failed, all along the line. I certainly don’t despair, because the Left told the oligarchy in the fifth largest economy in the world to get [familu blogged], and proved it could self-fund a campaign of national scale, but then I’m not a tepid centrist like Bouie.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Biden Prevails, Even Though Voters Prefer Bernie’s Ideas” [The Nation]. • Personnel is policy.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Supporters, No Surrender” [Jacobin]. “Too many react to the present situation with self-pity when, after five decades of political marginalization, awe is more appropriate…. We should fight to the end for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, on the off chance that we might win a new beginning. And then, win or lose, we should be prepared to fight some more. As the great reformer Tony Benn put it, ‘There is no final victory, as there is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought, over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up.'”

UPDATE “Exclusive: White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations – sources” [Reuters (Keith Howard)]. “The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion, according to four Trump administration officials…. A fifth source familiar with the meetings said HHS staffers often weren’t informed about coronavirus developments because they didn’t have adequate clearance. He said he was told that the matters were classified ‘because it had to do with China.’… ‘It seemed to be a tool for the White House – for the NSC – to keep participation in these meetings low,’ the official said.” • Reuters. Not from the Beltway! Hence the diversion: “Trump’s national security adviser says China ‘covered up’ coronavirus” [The Hill]. • Guess we won’t be needing any masks from them soon. Or pharmaceuticals!

* * *

CA: “Bernie lost 553,000 Votes to California Dem Party Rules” [Greg Palast]. The rules are as arcane as, say, a Jim Crow literacy test. Suffice to say that the ingenious Democrat Establisment has devised a complex scheme to prevent Independents from voting on Presidential ballots. “What’s the impact of this labyrinthine ballot dance? A lot, according to the statistician Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc, a private firm employed by both the Republican and Democratic parties. Mitchell recently completed a poll of 700 independent voters and found that while 61% wanted to vote in the Democratic primary, nearly half (45%) were clueless about how to get a Democratic ballot. Another third of NPP voters believed that they could not exchange their no-candidate ballots — though the law says they may… Mitchell’s pollsters also asked 300 NPP voters whom they’d vote for if they had obtained the correct ballot. About 26% preferred Sanders, which translates to 553,000 potential lost votes, by Mitchell’s estimates. Mike Bloomberg, meanwhile, could come up 383,000 votes short.” • If anybody’s ever wondered why I always write “Democrat Party” instead of “Democratic Party,” shenanigans like this are why. I don’t care if loyalists who think the Democrat Party is something other than what it is get upset.

CA: “Long lines, voting problems prompt an investigation, grilling of L.A.’s elections chief” [Los Angeles Times]. “The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday ordered an investigation into complaints about long waits and equipment malfunctions that hampered voting at many poll centers during last week’s primary election.” • There certainly does seem to be a lot of totally coincendental voter suppression and ballot shenanigains going on this year.

* * *

“A New Conservative Think Tank Challenges ‘Market Fundamentalism'” [National Review]. “I would disagree with two things that you just said there. First, your characterization of the financial well-being and material living standards of the working class is not entirely fair. If you think it is, I encourage you to read Oren Cass’s cost-of-thriving index report. Second, aggregate measures of well-being are problematic. Problems such as deaths of despair and the fallout from the China shock, which David Autor and his colleagues have documented — these are geographically concentrated problems, but these don’t necessarily characterize the entire country. We need to acknowledge that the aggregate economic statistics do not map neatly onto social reality.” • Wasn’t the phrase “deaths of despair” invented by Putin? To divide us? That must be why you never hear it from Establishment Democrats.

“How Do You Properly Clean a Voting Machine?” [Wall Street Journal]. • I know! I know! By throwing it into a dumpster, and replacing it with hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

Electronic pollbooks are another digital fraud:

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE At least he’s trying:

UPDATE Hardy perennial:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Surveys taken before #COVID-19 really hit:

Inflation: “February 2020 CPI: Year-over-Year Inflation Rate Slows to 2.3%” [Econintersect]. “The index for energy was the reason for the decline of the CPI-U. Medical care services cost inflation increased from 5.1 % to 5.3 % year-over-year.”

Shipping: “February 2020 Export Sea Container Counts Significantly Improve” [Econintersect]. “Simply looking at this month versus last month – this month was an improvement over last month for exports – but imports significantly declined. The three-month rolling averages for imports slipped deeper in contraction but exports is now in expansion…. Imports container counts give an indication of the U.S. economy’s state and the soft data continues to indicate a weakening U.S. economy. Container data is consistent with other transport data indicating a weak economy.”

* * *

Tech: “Smart Devices Will Eventually Die, and the Internet Is to Blame” [Vice (RH)]. “You can sell a 30-year-old car and it maintains some semblance of value, especially if it’s been well-maintained. Products like baseball cards and books still remain things people want to buy many years after they were first produced. But if a smart speaker company can’t promise that your internet-enabled device will be able to hook up to the internet eight years after you bought it, it’s useless. Because, remember, a loss of updates doesn’t just mean you’ll get the fanciest new features—but it means you won’t get access to security updates that will keep the device alive for decades to come…. Many consumer products have far higher standards for longevity than 15 years. By allowing computers to infiltrate everything else—by adding things to our internet—we’ve decimated the long-term value of these products unnecessarily, all for someone else’s short-term gain.” • You say “someone else’s short-term gain” like that’s a bad thing.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 4 Extreme Fear (previous close: 6 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 15 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 11 at 12:12pm.

The Biosphere

“Ride-hailing has a climate problem” [Anthropocene]. “Ride-hailing trips on services such as Uber and Lyft create about 70 percent more pollution on average than the trips they replace, according to the analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists. ‘In communities across the country, ride-hailing is increasing vehicle travel, climate pollution, and congestion,’ the authors write. Since Uber’s debut a decade ago, the ride-hailing and sharing industry has grown explosively around the world. These services are making it easier than ever to keep your car at home or not buy one in the first place. But they are a climate problem for two reasons, the report states. One is that they increase the number of car trips overall, by steering people away from walking, biking, taking public transport, or just skipping the trip. The other reason is that ride-hailing increases the number of miles a car travels to get from place to place between passengers.” • Thank you, Silicon Valley, and especially the VCs. We couldn’t have done it without you!

“Why Alaskans Are Trying to Recall Their Governor” [The New Yorker]. The lead: “Alaska does not levy taxes on sales, income, or personal property. In 1968, the largest oil field in North America was discovered on state land in Prudhoe Bay, a windfall that began Alaska’s transformation into a petrostate. For decades, oil revenues supplied not only the majority of its budget but helped establish the Permanent Fund Dividend, or P.F.D., a yearly check given to each Alaskan, based on returns from a sovereign-wealth fund. But four years ago, after a precipitous decline in oil prices, the previous governor, an independent named Bill Walker, reduced the P.F.D. as part of an effort to close the growing budget deficit. It was an unprecedented—and deeply unpopular—move, which doomed his chances for a second term.”

“Philly refinery shutdown pitted workers against climate activists. Did it have to be that way?” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “Marsden, 30, was one of the hundreds of union workers who lost their jobs — good jobs, six-figure-salary jobs — when the East Coast’s largest oil refinery abruptly shut down after an explosion ripped through the South Philly facility last summer. She’ll have to leave Philadelphia, where she’s lived all her life, if she wants to stay in the industry. ‘They say they support us — the workers — but there’s no plan for us,’ Marsden said last month at the Erin Pub, the bar next to her union hall in Norwood, Delaware County. To some in her union, it was a group of climate activists called Philly Thrive who were among the biggest hypocrites. Philly Thrive — an alliance of young progressive organizers, or ‘elites,’ as Marsden’s former union president called them, and poor black people who said their families were suffering health issues from living near the refinery — claimed to support the workers. Still, they declared victory and celebrated when the refinery was shut down for good. ‘There is no ‘just transition,’ ” Marsden said, referring to the term advocates use to describe how workers like her should be supported in the move away from fossil fuels. ‘It’s shutting us down, putting us out of work, and that’s it.'”

“” [The Conversation]. “Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and the richest man alive, recently made headlines after pledging to donate $10 billion to a new “Bezos Earth Fund” to help combat climate change. It’s one of the largest charitable gifts in history. Though details regarding the exact kind of work that will be funded are scarce, Bezos noted in his announcement on Instagram that the new global initiative will ‘fund scientists, activists, NGOs – any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.’…. Bezos’ contribution highlights the dangers of relying on billionaire philanthropy at the expense of the democratic social transformation that is needed to adequately address the climate and ecological crisis. By contributing such significant sums, the wealthy elite exert ever greater influence over the organisations they control, media platforms and public policy discussions.”

“Canada’s LNG dreams fade as blockades add new costs to industry” [WorldOil]. • That’s a damn shame.

Health Care

“Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic: What does that mean and what took so long?” [USA Today]. “Is a pandemic different than an epidemic? Yes. While an epidemic describes an illness affecting a defined region, a pandemic has a global impact. In February, Fauci explained why coronavirus hadn’t yet met the definition of a pandemic. At that time the virus’ spread in other countries has not yet been sustained for a significant amount of time. And since many of the cases outside China were related to travel, the virus’ global impact wasn’t yet considered widespread….That situation has evolved in recent weeks.”

“WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020” [World Health Organization]. From Tedros Adhanom, Director general of the World Health Organization”]:

WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.

We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.

And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time.

True. Certainly, South Korea has flattened the curve. More:

Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.

The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same – it’s whether they will.

Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity.

Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources.

Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.

We are grateful for the measures being taken in Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea to slow the virus and control their epidemics.

We know that these measures are taking a heavy toll on societies and economies, just as they did in China.

Pointedly, the United States is nowhere mentioned.

* * *

“Government coronavirus response updates: Fauci warns Congress ‘it’s going to get worse'” [ABC]. “Maloney leveled harsh criticism of the administration’s response. ‘My question is if the Trump administration is exacerbating the crisis by downplaying it,’ she said. ‘My constituents are telling me they can’t get tested.’ ‘South Korea can test more people in one day than we have in the last two months,’ Maloney noted, asking why the U.S. hasn’t tested more people. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testifies in front of the House Oversight committee on the coronavirus response, March 11, 2020, in Washington, D.C.CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testifies in front of the House Oversight committee on the coronavirus response, March 11, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Redfield defended the CDC, saying tests were always available at the CDC in Atlanta suggested some responsibility lay with the private sector. But he said he’s ‘not confident’ that U.S. labs have an adequate stock of supplies used to extract genetic material from a virus in a patient’s sample — a critical step in coronavirus testing. The hearing turned especially testy when Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., confronted the witnesses with misleading statements made by President Trump, repeating his claims that the tests were available to anybody who wanted one and are ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful.'” “Not confident.” Maybe we could ask China for help.

“Coronavirus map: Track COVID-19′s spread in your state, around the world in real-time” [Syracuse.com]. “UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: The Johns Hopkins University map no longer contains county level data. A statement from the university said that in order to maintain timeliness and accuracy of the data in light of the “increasing rate of cases being reported domestically in the U.S. and worldwide,” the map had to focus on reporting only at the state and country level. A different map, this one maintained by the University of Washington, is still reporting county-level data, however that map is not updated as frequently as the Johns Hopkins University map.” • That’s very unfortunate. People who are flying need to know what airports are hot spots, not what states. And people who are driving need to know what cities. And people with relatives in nursing homes (or schools (or jails)) need county-level data, too. If the goal is social distancing, so people don’t travel at all, just gate the site for scientists. State-level data is pretty much useless except as decoration.

“New Study on COVID-19 Estimates 5.1 Days for Incubation Period” [Johns Hopkins]. “An analysis of publicly available data on infections from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19 yielded an estimate of 5.1 days for the median disease incubation period, according to a new study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This median time from exposure to onset of symptoms suggests that the 14-day quarantine period used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for individuals with likely exposure to the coronavirus is reasonable. The analysis suggests that about 97.5 percent of people who develop symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection will do so within 11.5 days of exposure. The researchers estimated that for every 10,000 individuals quarantined for 14 days, only about 101 would develop symptoms after being released from quarantine.” • n=181 (from China).

“How the Biogen leadership conference in Boston spread the coronavirus” [Boston Globe]. “They greeted each other enthusiastically, with handshakes and hugs, and then caught up over breakfast, picking from plates of pastries and the self-serve hot food bar. They were there for two days of discussions and presentations about the future of the Cambridge-based, multinational biotech firm, which develops therapies for neurological diseases. It was the kind of under-the-radar gathering that happens in this region just about every week. Within days, though, the Biogen conference would be infamous, identified as an epicenter of the Massachusetts outbreak of Covid-19, with 70 of 92 coronavirus infections in the state linked to the conference as of Tuesday night, including employees and those who came into contact with them.” • The sequence of events seems positively Wuhan-like, although not on the scale of a banquet for 40,000 with shared food.

UPDATE I would like to thank both parties for building a health care system where we are fighting a pandemic with GoFundMe:

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Assortative Matching at the top of the distribution: Evidence from the World’s Most Exclusive Marriage Market” (PDF) [Marc Goñi, Department of Economics, University of Vienna]. The abstract:

Using novel data on peerage marriages in Britain, I find that low search costs and segregation in the marriage market can generate sorting. Peers typically courted in the London Season, a matching technology introducing aristocratic bachelors to eligible debutantes. When Queen Victoria went into mourning for her husband, the Season was interrupted (1861–63), exogenously raising search costs, and reducing market segregation. I find a 24% increase in peer-commoner intermarriage and a 36% decrease in sorting along landed wealth. My second contribution is to show empirically that assortative matching affected peers’ political power and distorted public goods’ provision.”

So, we have a natural experiment in social distancing.

News of the Wired

Not feeling particulary wired today. Sorry!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JN):

This photo has a lovely rhythm to it.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Samuel Conner

      The insurance costs spiked because of a single accident.

      One wonders what the cost of care for the COVID-19 epidemic is going to do to ACA Marketplace insurance rates. It’s not hard to guess that they will rise a lot, and that might trigger the long-predicted death spiral. That might be what finally does in the ACA, which I suppose might be considered, if one views the world through GOP-tinted glasses, to be a silver lining to the epidemic.

      Here are the latest CDC recommendations for elevated risk persons:


      They are not yet advising at risk groups to hunker down at home, but one can see hints of that possible future guidance — have a plan for what to do if you have to isolate to avoid contact with infected persons.

      We may discover how badly community bonds have frayed in recent decades.

    2. Wyoming

      Up until a couple of years ago one of my brothers owned a small trucking company and I am familiar with these types of issues. I tried to google the accident referred to and failed to find it, but from my knowledge of what my brother went through I think it fair to speculate that this accident which resulted in a big jump in rates was very likely the fault of the driver for the Wisconsin company and that it was bad enough it resulted in 7 figure insurance payouts. When these types of things happen there are going to be consequences.

      Rerpairs of Class 8 vehicles are very expensive but they have been for decades. A full engine overhaul is going to be $15,000 and occur about every 500,000 miles – and that is if it is a routine rebuild – if you broke the engine then it is more. A full transmission and drive train rebuild is about the same and happens about every 750,000 miles. You can see that at about 1.5 million miles there is a big money issue – you normally get rid of the truck before this point. But in today’s trucking world there is difficult rolling over your fleet as it depreciates – can you recoup any residual value and can you cover the new loans. It is a very tough business.

      Additionally small companies like the one in the article have more difficulties hiring the better drivers – those who have good driving records and can pass various kinds of checks.

    1. Wukchumni

      It isn’t a plant, it’s one of the new virtual n95 masks being developed by Silicon Valley.

    2. Hana M

      It’s that perfect plastic succulent that a woman cared for for two years before discovering it was fake. The ‘plant’ has been eaten by a newly emergent pathogen that will devour our plastic society.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s really odd. I resized it, uploaded it, put it in the post, and wrote the tagline for it.

      I think I must have insensibly moved from one Gibson stub to another.

      1. ambrit

        Now, if you have figured out how to sensibly move things from one stub to another, then I want to hang out with you and learn.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      The whole photo is full of plants. Its a whole landscape of plants. A plantscape.

    1. Ignacio

      Stunning. How can we call an epidemic? Public Ultra-Secret Interest? Something that just happens but better if people is kept as much ignorant as possible?
      Trump… I feel short on words to describe the degradation of this government.

      1. jsn

        Banana Republic.

        Authoritarian, incompetent, bombastic, sub-third world autocolonial kakistocracy.

        It won’t take long to collapse from here, so much could be mitigated or ameliorated, but not with this anti-leadership.

    2. anon in so cal

      Re: Coronavirus:

      New study released by Cedars Sinai Los Angeles researchers and researchers from China estimates upwards of 9000+ in the US were already infected as of March 1, from travelers from China. The report does not even factor in travelers from Italy or other very affected countries, which would surely bring the numbers higher. This aligns with my own personal belief: that there are 1000s of people walking around with this, potentially spreading it. My campus has still not switched over to online but our union reps are pleading.

      (yes, from the Daily Mail, but still)


      1. MLTPB

        Dailymail or not, I think we have to watch fdiligently if it shows up in people leaving the US.

        1. The Rev Kev

          One turned up in Australia a few days ago. He was detected with Coronavirus and had just returned from the US. Can’t remember the details offhand but I think that he was an academic.

          1. MLTPB

            Around the 31st of Jan, China had about 11,000 cases, roughly.

            Internationally, there were about 150 cases, all traceable to China, presumably., at around the same time.

            (I used timelines, wikipedia).

            If there are 9,000 cases, as the Dailymail speculates, or quotes sources speculating, we are likely to see something of the same order of magnitude, 100 to 900 cases of people catching in the US and testing positive abroad, and not only one case.

            1. wilroncanada

              Two Canadians, quarantined at home. One had just returned form Las Vegas. The other had been visiting Colorado.

          2. wilroncanada

            My wife talked today to her cousin in Kirkland, Washington. About two weeks ago, both of her daughters arrived back home after being flight crew on several flights to and from China. They decided to isolate themselves because they felt unwell. They called their doctors to ask that they be given tests for possible Covid-19. The doctors told them they could not be tested because there were no test kits. They have continued their self-imposed quarentines, have not seen their mother for 2+ weeks.

      2. carl

        I’ve not believed in the US numbers for quite some time now. Thanks for posting confirmation.

      3. wilroncanada

        My wife talked today to her cousin in Kirkland, Washington. About two weeks ago, both of her daughters arrived back home after being flight drew on several flights to and from China. They decided to isolate themselves because they felt unwell. They called their doctors to ask that they be given tests for possible Covid-19. The doctors told them they could not be tested because there were no test kits. They have continued their self-imposed quarentines, have not seen their mother for 2+ weeks.

    3. The Rev Kev

      As I said last week, it is going to be the mushroom treatment. Keep people in the dark and feed them nothing but buls***.

  1. Louis Fyne

    In my opinion, not enough is being done on reaching out to seniors/those w-extant conditions as the media is running around like a headless chicken.

    They’re the ones who will bear the disproportionate brunt of fatalities, they are the ones who *may* get the short-end of triage protocols if ICUs are full.

    They’re the ones most in need of supplies in terms of lives at stake

    Just saying.

  2. Rod

    On the closing of the Philly Refinery

    “Marsden, 30, was one of the hundreds of union workers who lost their jobs — good jobs, six-figure-salary jobs — when the East Coast’s largest oil refinery abruptly shut down after an explosion ripped through the South Philly facility last summer. She’ll have to leave Philadelphia, where she’s lived all her life, if she wants to stay in the industry

    Another ‘either or’ from the class wars.

    She is 30 and a member of the 5%, whether she knows it or not.
    If she is hourly she is making 50$ an hour–400$ a day–2,000$ a week. Is her contribution to Society worth twice as much as an inner city preschool teacher making 25% as much?

    Did she have an Opinion about whether Climate Crises is real? Whether her employer, or her by affiliation, is contributing to the Climate Crises? Could she see the fireball from her front porch? Does she live within smelling distance of the Refinery?

    Just so many unanswered, or unasked, questions.

    1. JohnnySacks

      Great take on this, was thinking the same myself, especially after seeing the Michigan Biden shenanigans with union members. I’ve worked in a union shop and seen the darwinian battles between electricians, plumbers, and bricklayers. It it a bad assumption to think active union members with a good gig are not the friends of their less fortunate out of work cohorts and others lower on the socioeconomic ladder?

      1. monith

        It it a bad assumption to think active union members with a good gig are not the friends of their less fortunate out of work cohorts and others lower on the socioeconomic ladder?

        Pretty sure this was the plot of Parasite

    2. a different chris

      Yes this.

      But also – she does encompass that brilliant (/s) human, or at least American, skill of blaming her problems on people equal or below her rather than the fat cats that created them. Oh, the environmentalists! Oh, I’m not racist but these blah people should understand how (relatively) wealthy we are making them!

      Nothing about the globe-trotters that
      1) wouldn’t clean up their emissions
      2) wouldn’t even spend the money to ensure the place didn’t burn to the ground
      3) wouldn’t provide decent hours and sick leave
      4) wouldn’t kick back some of those massive profits from 1,2, and 3 to the now unemployed workers.

      I mean the stupid thing burned to the ground, whose fault was that?

      But they will threaten to move the refinery (and I bet they have already done so multiple times over the years) if anybody asked them in the most subservient manner possible to do any one of the above 3.

      They can count on people like Ms. Marsden to not even do that.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Sunday’s debate could change everything.

      I really hope Bernie gets out of the chair when he’s talking. The easy chairs, btw, are another scam. Not only is Biden challenged by having to stand, he’s longer waisted than Bernie so I’m betting the chairs are big and narrow to make Bernie look short and fat. [You can still easily google the ‘fact’ that the six-foot Bernie is actually 5’7″, a factoid widely shared by some in 2016.]

    2. nycTerrierist

      that was great — Sunday will be interesting

      Bernie is quick on his feet (whether or not they are sitting down!)

      let’s hope Biden gets rattled and we’re treated to
      the ‘gaffe’ of all times

      1. JoeChemist

        Let’s hope Bernie stands up and stays up if asked to sit back down…. next to his friend Joe Biden(tm)

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The only way Biden can get rattled is if Sanders rattles him. The only way Biden can get lost is if Sanders escorts him to the edge of a quicksand tar pit and helps him walk into it.

        If Sanders is too nice a guy, he will lose the debate by finishing last, as nice guys do. I have already offered some imagined-scenario suggestions as to how Sanders could helpfully lead Biden to step on a land mine.

    3. JohnnyGL

      It was actually really good. A reminder of why we support Bernie. Most other candidates just drop and endorse and ask for nothing.

      Bernie is going to play the hand out and say, “what are you offering my supporters?”

      When you lose, but have some leverage, this is how you play the outside game. Liz Warren, if she’s doing anything, is keeping mum about it. Not very effective.

      Bernie negotiating surrender in the open. Full transparency.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Sanders can negotiate for himself, and for concessions made to his supporters. That is smart politics, as far as it goes…which isn’t very far. That’s because Sanders supporters are free to make up their own minds on the issue, and are not “bound” to the candidate’s choice.

        None of this is going to matter in terms of politics. Any promises Democrats make are empty. They’re not going to have any power in the fall.

      1. jrs

        Who is that guy and what is his expertise? I have no idea if he is wrong or right, and precaution is always a good idea. I’m not going to arguing against mom and apple pie. But we are actually getting random news off the intertubes by some nobody who as far as anyone knows has no medical or scientific or other expertise who wants to increase traffic to himself via Medium.

        I mean I know in the U.S. we live in a time and under an administration where official communications are being blocked. But does that mean let’s just give up all standards shall we?

        Look at his other articles, not scientific, not medical

        1. MinNY

          I think this is his bio, found at https://www.coursehero.com/leadership/

          Tomas Pueyo
          Vice President, Growth

          Tomas leads all growth initiatives at Course Hero, including supply and demand, across product and marketing. In his spare time, he likes understanding the why behind everything, especially how humans think—or don’t. He writes about his findings in his Growth series on Medium. He’s also written a book and given a TEDx Talk about storytelling structure. His favorite book is Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow or any other book about how humans think. Tomas holds an MSc from Ecole Centrale Paris, another MSc from ICAI – Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, and an MBA from Stanford University.

      2. marku52

        Terrifying. But I believe correct. And because the US won’t do anything until it is way past too late, a disaster.

        1. gc54

          Some responses to his article are correct, noting that the growth rates are NOT exponential, they are linear by simple observation of his graphs. So most of his projections are invalid. Whether they are pessimistic in ultimate fatalities is another matter that depends on reinfection, hopeless nature of US medicine/public health, etc.

          1. gc54

            Although linear diagnostic rates may simply be due to a fixed number of testers saturating on an increasing number of cases.

    1. bwilli123

      This is a comprehensive and easily understood survey. It relies on published statistics to make various forecasts. It should be read by everybody.

      …”Washington state has today 22 deaths. With that quick calculation, you get ~16,000 true coronavirus cases today. As many as the official cases in Italy and Iran combined.”

      My previous comment possibly swallowed by the internets

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Read and cry.

      There ain’t no cryin’ in baseball. The article include a reasonable summary of measures that should be taken. It’s ironic that solidarity is now measured by increasing social distancing, but that is where we are. Let’s remember that South Korea shows that the curve can be flattened. So let’s do that.

      1. Glen

        We are heading into a crisis worse than 2008. Even if we manage to avoid millions getting sick and tens of thousands dying (and I do not think we can avoid it), our economy will be stopped. Fed economic policy will not be enough to fix it. We will need an FDR. We will need M4A. We will need a GND.

        1. sierra7

          The Coronavirus is the mallet that will slam down on an over-ripe grape which is our economy……..the downward spiral in our economy (global) has been going on for more than a year and a half…..all measures that have been taken and that are being tried by the global Central Banks are not working.

          As far as protective action is I do believe that the “14 day” self confinement is positive for those that can do it. There will certainly be economic dislocation for many but hopefully we will survive this “cataclysm” and able to move forward again.
          This will also be a serious test of our “for profit” healthcare system.

      2. wilroncanada

        Speaking of sports?
        As of tonight, the NBA has suspended its season.
        The star of the Utah Jazz was apparently tested just before a game in (I think) Oklahoma, and was found to be infected by Coronavirus.

      3. Cuibono

        Exactly. I fear that this will NOT HAPPEN. People are being very cavalier here.handwash compuslively social distancing, stay home if ill. we do that and many folks will be saved.

  3. WheresOurTeddy

    I will not be voting for a Dementiacrat.

    Nobody under 45 has a reason to unless they’re rich.

    Millions have student debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy because of the likely nominee who will be then asking for their votes.

    They said Bernie was McGovern in ’72 waiting to happen.

    Biden is Mondale in ’84 or Dukakis in ’88.

    1. pretzelattack

      biden is dukakis in 88, stuck in a tank, plaintively asking anyone around “why am i here? have you see my sister”?

    2. Pelham

      I wonder whether Bernie would have done better if he had stuck with a larger measure of his 2016 incarnation, specifically the one that characterized open-borders immigration as a Koch brothers idea.

      FDR had a glorious economic program, trying everything he could think of. But so far as I know he didn’t advocate open borders, he didn’t threaten to come after people’s guns, he had nothing to say about abortion and PC culture had yet to form a boil on the national psyche. Maybe the left needs to find a convincing way to purge itself of the hot-button stuff to accomplish anything on the economic and health issue that threaten everyone everyday and to tackle climate change as if it were FDR gearing up the country to crush Nazi Germany and imperial Japan.

      More cognitive mapping and less picayune virtue signaling!

        1. hunkerdown

          You know, I kinda noticed that, and it hasn’t helped my spirit. Also too, Sanders seems to be a lot chummier with the Party establishment this time around even as he calls them out as being one of the major obstacles for himself and the American people. It’s almost as if he’s pre-McGoverning himself.

          1. jrs

            It definitely looks to me like Sanders is going to drop out soon:

            As for the wokeness, you win some, you lose some. I mean clearly there are voters you win by that, so it’s not pure losses, it appeals to the young, maybe Hispanics etc.. So I don’t know if he really lost more than he won. 2016 was different because #1 the economy was worse (yea we might get there with corona but we aren’t there now) and the memory of the Great Recession more recent. This is probably absolutely central. Most people maybe just don’t vote real change unless they are feeling some economic suffering. Also maybe just hatred of Hillary as well.

            It is true globally social democracy has won with an anti-immigration platform as in Denmark (the social democratic party) and lost many other places with a more open immigration platform. Then again I’m not sure to what degree that has anything to do with the U.S. and what would fly here, in a country with lots of immigrants and very little history of social democracy.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Given the fact that Biden wanted to shrink or destroy Social Security and Medicare for years before he became senile, what leGITimate reason would anyone OVER 45 have for voting for him either?

  4. turtle

    Being foily in the last 24 hours, I had a couple of thoughts:

    1. What are the chances that the DNC just outright cancels the Sunday debate “because of coronavirus”? Would be very convenient for Biden.

    2. What are the chances that, if Biden actually wins the nomination (I haven’t given up on Bernie yet) but continues to refuse to adopt some of Bernie’s major policies, Trump attacks him from the left with his own version of medicare for all and free college? He could accurately say that it would be great for people, businesses, and the economy. I can totally picture him Trumping on and on about how great it would be. Biden would lose by a landslide. If Biden (or whoever other than Bernie) wins the nomination, I hope that their team seriously considers this and they adopt these policies to avoid this possibility.

    If Bernie loses the nomination, I will still be grateful to him for having essentially created (or at least refurbished) various powerful political weapons (ideas) that would benefit the people, and left them around for anyone smart enough to wield them.

    1. Judith

      Regarding your last paragraph.

      I have been thinking that, whatever happens, it is time to start the work of forming a third party now, not waiting until 2023. And there is a movement of people that Bernie has organized who can do that work.

      1. hunkerdown

        This People’s Party outfit, not clearly an outgrowth or spinoff of Our Revolution but sharing its founders, seems to be extremely well-positioned in time and space to capitalize on that need. I recall that Pramila Jayapal called for “a million people in Milwaukee to elect Sanders” but I don’t see her name on this. I do see the Poor People’s Campaign, Cornel West, Jimmy Dore, Cindy Sheehan, Chris Hedges, Tim Canova, and a few other “far”-left luminaries among their endorsers and supporters. Their platform seems to be a catch-all of the Democrat Party’s outward-facing self-image, the one they seek to *be seen* aspiring to when they’re not busy finding some way to “can’t afford it”. Interesting, but do we trust the principals…

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Indeed. We need a real left party, a party with the numbers and the power to spoil elections and determine results up and down the ballot— even if that is just the ability to spoil Dems’ seats. Don’t deny being spoilers, embrace it, use its power. If a left party can be made viable, the DP becomes completely disposable at that point. In troubled times, a status quo, regressive-centrist party should become a piñata for the left to bust open and hand out candy from. An easy target.

        1. WJ

          Thinking that a populist party that welcomed deplorables from Rep party and Dem party might do better than a Left party in the US. Focus would be in conserving what is best about America–families, towns, etc.–through Medicare for All, unionization of workforce, rational immigration policy and an end to interventionism. Social/cultural issues like trans stuff abortion etc are secondary and negotiated on ongoing basis. Not sure if anybody here would go for this, but I (on the dirtbag left) would and I am betting lots of middle America would too…

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Please, this. A single lesbian African-American Mom in Oakland has *everything* in common with a white male Baptist truck driver in Memphis: Eck-O-Nom-IK-Ly.

            Can people just STFU about the myriad ways they are different and concentrate on the *reasons* they are the same and the *power* of uniting to do something about it.

            Woke = Broke

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If it is a political-economy left or even just leftish party, I would observe it with some interest to see if it offered a reason to join.

          If it is a Social Justard Wokehole left party composed of people who say things like ” Latinx” and “intersectionality” and “check your white privilege” . . . then I will not be interested at all.

      3. Big River Bandido

        Most people who propose a new party this have no idea how difficult it is to even *form* one, much less get it on the ballot. There are hundreds of good reasons why the left has been trying to co-opt the Democrats: they’re a worthless, powerless shell. But they have the equivalent of “landing privileges” at every airport — one of only two rickety airlines that have this. If you don’t have landing privileges you can’t land.

        If you don’t have a space on the ballot, you have to get it. You can only get it by changing the law of your state. In order to do THAT, you have to get elected. You see the Catch-22?

        This is why so much effort to hijack the Democrats. And why, probably, that’s still the only way to break the system.

        1. GramSci

          So true, The Green Party *has* gained ballot access in most states, and it’s platform is superior to Bernie’s. It has its faults, but that’s politics. At least it’s foundation is scientifically sound.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            in texas, at least, the GP has to fight for that ballot slot…either by winning, or by getting a certain number of votes, or by collecting signatures(been a couple of years since i went and delved into this…so details are necessarily sketchy…but the problem remains.)
            there’s myriad all but invisible ways that the duopoly limits competition. …like the way “write in candidates” have been rendered all but moot.

    2. XXYY

      Biden will almost certainly lose to Trump if it comes to that. The guy is not only a very obvious veg with crippling mental decline who can barely speak a compete sentence, but he has 40 years of “swamp” baggage, a history of every possible pro-war and pro-bailout vote, a corrupt family, a ton of #MeToo video, and a completely uninspiring policy platform and whose goal is “nothing will fundamentally change”. Can anyone honestly say they want Biden running the most powerful country on Earth with his finger on the button for 4 years?

      Biden might have been grown in a lab as someone perfect for Trump to run against. He not only makes Trump look razor-sharp by comparison, but he’s also the one guy in the Dem race that Trump can effectively play his “outsider” persona against even as the incumbent.

      I take no pleasure is predicting that Trump, a horrible office holder but a formidable candidate, will knock Biden out without breaking a sweat.

      1. pretzelattack

        excellent post, concise and on the money. the dnc may yet give trump a possibly even easier opponent, h clinton.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        This already overly dynamic year, with the markets tanking and the C-19 pandemic, could cough up almost any result. This could be a humiliating loss for Biden and the Dems, or they could win in a rout, even with as horrible a candidate as Biden.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Dems should recall they control 3 of the 5 branches of government: Legislative, FBI/CIA, and Media. They already have an FDR-style agreement with the press to minimize Biden’s disability. They can go to Zuck and Sergei Brin and tell them they will drop the pesky anti-trust, pay-your-corporate-taxes stuff that Trump is threatening if they just get with the program. Brennan/Clapper/Comey holdovers can assist on election night with the “voting” “machines”.

          All of this presupposes that a Biden presidency would somehow actually be *better* than a Trump presidency, but if that is your operating thesis then this could work

      3. Phacops

        I continue to think of Biden as somebody who will actually provide political cover for destructive legislation from republicans. I cannot imagine a worst traitor to working Americans.

    3. Pelham

      Your number 2 is certainly possible. I read that Marine Le Pen in France has outflanked their Green party there on climate change, concluding there’s nothing inherently contradictory in right-wing ideas and saving civilization. Trump could conclude the same thing re himself and M4A or some other appealing policy.

    4. jrs

      “Trump attacks him from the left with his own version of medicare for all and free college? ”

      of saying it low as I suspect it would alienate the base, but of course one can say anything if they think it helps with reelection, I just suspect there is not a lot of overlap there with the base. The CPAC meeting Trump may get corona from, had a banner “America versus socialism”.

      Of doing it, near absolute zero, it will alienate the REAL supporter$$$$$. Hey he’s collecting money. He doesn’t pretend his campaign is self financed.

      1. montanamaven

        Trump was a single payer fan and he actually thought that the Republicans would come up with something to replace Obamacare. McConnell assured that would fail. Then a year or so ago, he proposed that the republicans run on health care. So he may try again with this flu deal. He may outflank the right.

        1. Massinissa

          As much as I would love that to be true, so far, not really seeing it.

          I pray you’re correct.

  5. Bugs Bunny

    “Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and the richest man alive, recently made headlines after pledging to donate $10 billion to a new “Bezos Earth Fund” to help combat climate change.”

    I’d really love a balance sheet on these squillionaire “pledges”, as in how much of it from Bezos is AWS use, Amazon rebate codes, Amazon hardware, strategic minority investment, etc. Amortized with the tax impact and he might even come out ahead.

    I know Gates did some of this chicanery back in the early days of his philanthropic turn but that’s not really the case today. Somehow that particular hubris no longer burns so bright across the Redmond sky.

    1. Billy

      What is AWS use? Please don’t assume people know what you do by crippling an interesting argument assuming that others know what their acronyms mean.
      “Do I stop and look it up, or just move onto the next comment?”

  6. Daryl

    Update from Houston:

    Rodeo is now cancelled after giving it a solid week to spread coronavirus.

    Cases in Harris and surrounding counties. They’ve been crowing from the rooftops about how all infected individuals visited Egypt, but the press releases about new cases did not have this qualifier attached to them. I think it’s safe to say that community spread is now occurring in Houston & environs. We don’t have the capability or willingness to test so numbers will be unknown.

    1. Wukchumni

      Distancing ourselves from others used to be called anti-social behavior, but that was then and this is now.

      The new normal will take some getting used to…

    2. MLTPB

      I read two airport screeners at the San Jose airport tested positive.

      Poster ‘smoker’ may find that news, well, relevant.

      1. smoker

        Actually it was three TSA Security screeners (i.e. they were security screeners, not health care screeners).

        I’m not all surprised San Jose’s Mineta International Airport is the first airport reporting TSA cases given the original likelihood that Santa Clara County [Silicon Valley] would be a virus hotspot. Insanely, no protocols were put in place at Mineta (despite there having been direct flights from Beijing), like checking temperatures etcetera as there were early on in San Francisco’s SFO, Los Angeles’ LAX, and shortly after, at Seattle’s SEA-TAC when it was added to a list of twenty such US airports – inexplicably, Mineta International wasn’t. I believe that has much to do with the fact that Santa Clara County now has the highest number of cases in Bay Area at this point (45 -48 if the TSA Screeners weren’t added to the total-with one death, last I checked), unlike San Francisco County which had an equal, if not higher, likelihood of being a major California County hotspot.

        The first Santa Clara County case arrived through Mineta International, on January 24th, from China, having visited Wuhan.

        1. MLTPB

          I believe we can think of nested containment.

          When an outer perimeter is breached, you defend the next inner one.

          Should passengers arriving from Seatlle be checked?

          1. smoker

            Of course they should be checked, PRIVATE CORPORATE JET OWNERS/PASSENGERS & FREQUENT GLOBETROTTERS FIRST, traveling in, and out. There’s already been cases at Corporate Offices of: Facebook (London); Amazon (Seattle & Italy); Google (Switzerland); Lockheed (Sunnyvale/Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley); and no doubt cases kept very, very quiet at other Multinational Offices.

            They should be checked just like the indirect flight passengers from Wujan to Beijing to Mineta International via Hainan Airlines should have been checked in January (along with all of the private jet owners and passengers that flew through Mineta, having visited Wuhan). Beijing’s was known to be an airport Wujan visitors flew through to the United States from Day One.

            (I won’t be able to respond much, if at all, after this due to increasingly limited access to nest comments as the comments grow, so this may be my last response.)

        2. chuck roast

          They have higher priorities like the search for terrorists, marijuana, fingernail clippers and bottled water.

        3. ewmayer

          “Insanely, no protocols were put in place at Mineta” — Well, the Santa Clara County Health Department did ban all gatherings over 1000 people, but ban only took effect today, and has no effect on the airport:

          “The order does not apply to airports, offices, grocery stores or shopping malls. But it could affect the San Jose Sharks hockey team, which said in a statement Monday night that it was aware of the new guidelines and would adhere to them.”

          Gotta keep flying, working and shopping, lest GDP groaf be impacted!

      1. Wukchumni

        Saw my first mask in the CVBB today, and last week Wal*Mart had toilet paper, this week-not so much.

        1. John k

          None today at San Juan Capistrano.
          No masks yet… wore one for first time to visit hospital for eye issue. Only one receptionist was wearing one, none of the customers.

      2. Daryl

        I didn’t see any masks or gloves, but made my last trip out until I run out of food on Monday. Good night and good luck etc…

  7. allan

    Julian Borger @julianborger
    Robert Redfield, CDC Director, said there are no plans to set up drive through #COVID19 test centres because “We’re tryinjg to maintain the relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers.”
    10:33 AM · Mar 11, 2020·TweetDeck

    “Healthcare providers”. LOL. This will work well for fast food workers, home health aides and the homeless,
    who can ask to be tested during their annual checkup. /s

    The head of the CDC hasn’t a clue about the medical landscape that most Americans face.

    1. Jason Boxman

      It might be we always hear about what we can’t do as a country because we actually aren’t capable of any of it. These next months will be clarifying.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. I had that one teed up, couldn’t get to it.

      What a happy assumption, that “the relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers” is a thing. Although no doubt at Redfield’s level, it is.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That last link is very disturbing. It now says about 34 positive tests out of 300 tested. That is better than 10% and the people come from 10 different counties. In at least this region Coronavirus must be rife and about t boom in numbers.

    3. cripes

      “We’re tryinjg to maintain the relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers.”

      then enact M4A, check back in a couple of years and see if people got the memo. There are 209,000 primary care docs in US, not evenly distributed.

      Your family doc (cue Marcus Welby MD) needs to do 1,574 tests, quick, to cover his share of the population.

      His scheduler will have openings for you sometime next Christmas.

      So enamored by market solutions and rice bowls, our PMC expert class is unfit to clean toilets, but they can learn!

  8. FreeMarketApologist

    If Joe Biden Wins The Nomination But Suffers Cognitive Decline, The DNC Could Get Their Coronation After All

    Hill or Bill are waiting in the wings, tanned, rested, and ready to be asked to be VP. Post inauguration, poor Joe will decline to a level of ‘unfit’, and then we’ll be where they wanted us to be 4 years ago.

    1. Another Scott

      Why do people think that Republicans will go along with this? The party bylaws can say one thing, but it’s ultimately up to the states to determine who is on their ballots. Republicans in some states might be able to say that Biden has to be on the ticket and that the Democrats can’t change just because they want anyone else. And it really wouldn’t matter if they do it everywhere; a few swing states would suffice. They could then try to disallow any write-in/petition for Biden and prevent a majority for either Biden or his DNC-chosen alternate. This could then throw the election to the House of Representatives where each state has one vote. The whole process would return in lawsuits at every turn. Selecting someone other than Biden, unless Sanders pulls off a miracle, would likely lead to a constitutional crisis.

      1. Biph

        Biden hasn’t been nominated yet and officially won’t be until the convention. If something like this were to go down my guess would be that Biden picks a VP early, maybe right after sewing up the delegates needed to win. That VP nominee would be given Biden’s delegates and nominated at the convention.
        As too who the VP nominee would be think Woman in the Senate there are a slew of them for Biden to choose from though Harris or Klobachar are likely the front runners.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        As much as I hate to say it, that would be sweet justice. For sure, it would be the Repubs doing the right thing for the wrong reason but I’d take it.

  9. Tvc15

    Replying to Daryl’s comment above. As a native Houstonian now living in central Maine, I know they did not take that decision lightly. My elementary school classes in the 70’s would take us to see the rodeo parade…it was like a religious event. I still casually follow Houston & TX events so I saw this too. I also noticed a lot of why did they cancel the rodeo and livestock show when this is just like the flu comments. Between my choice of biden or trump for president and comments from propagandized geniuses about the Coronavirus, I think the idiocracy is here. (Lack of capitalization for the last names of the pathological lying sociopaths was intentional, they don’t deserve it)

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. I’m from north of Houston.
      Stock Show is a huge event.
      that they cancelled it over one or two people is remarkable.
      might indicate(like SXSW) that “they” either know or suspect that it’s much worse than they’re telling us…to forgo all that money.
      the other thing about the Houston Stock Show…people from all over go to it.
      I know several ranchers for whom it’s a tradition to make the 350 mile trek, stay in a hotel for a week, etc.
      then they come home, bringing whatever bugs they caught there with them.
      would have been better if they had shut it down sometime before the halfway point, though.
      damage is likely done, and the wuhan is everywhere, by now.
      wife and youngest son are tripping…he doesn’t want to go to school…and she wants to but is afraid to…let alone the 130 mile one way trek to chemo in san antonio(we’ll pack a lunch, and go full hazmat, and i, at least, will frelling pee on the side of the road if i need to(i abhor public bathrooms on a good day))
      head ISD custodian texted in the clear that they are on it, and not to worry.
      still waiting to hear from the school nurse…it’s spring break, and she’s likely unplugged somewhere(deservedly)
      Cousin in the woodlands is freaking out…waiting for a check ere he comes up here to sleep in the quarantine tent for a week.
      he says the restaurants and stores are empty, but the bars are full.
      but grain of salt.
      brother and dad(kingwood/clear lake) are blissfully unconcerned…”ho-hum—it will blow over”
      brother’s even been flying all over the country on bidness for the last month,lol.
      I told him that if TSHTF and they head up here, to expect to be quarantined. Him:”what? why?”

  10. Jason Boxman

    Got a haircut today in Boston; Business is down and several of us were talking about the pandemic. The story is many are working from home. It’s a professional class city, so that will surprise no one. My side of the office is usually deserted anyway, so I don’t see any real difference here.

    1. Tvc15

      I work from home normally, but I’m also a frequent U.S. domestic business traveler for a large regional bank with connecting flights through all the airports you don’t want to be in right now. The bank just issued a moratorium on non-essential domestic business travel which I’m very pleased with. I moved my family from outside of Boulder CO to central Maine 6 years ago to build a self sufficient homestead while continuing to work in corporate America. Other than my son being at risk while attending the university of Maine, I’m very happy with our decision to relocate to rural Maine. Given our politics in the U.S., I frequently think of doing what the regular NC poster expatUraguay.

      1. MLTPB

        A desert island or deserted island for everyone ?

        Makes one wonder why billionaires have been scooping up islands.

  11. Pat

    They are considering cancelling the World Figure Skating Championships set to begin next Monday in Montreal. There should be an announcement sometime today.

    This is one of the big qualifying events for next year’s figure skating competitions determining how many places each country has in various events. And next year sets up the 2022 Olympics. That and Canada was pulling out the stops to host this. This is not being done lightly.

      1. ambrit

        Keep some barrels on deck and fill them via sail sluice during rain storms. Pack fishing gear and live off of the sea. Get to know some folks in the Catalina Islands. Do a shuttle diplomacy routine, like in the original book version of “The Postman.” See if you can get chummy with the denizens of “Fortress San Simeon.” They are by the coast, so part of your ‘shuttle’ service. Stay away from “Venice Beach.” Too many of everything there.
        Stay away from the Caribbean. Pirates. (Really, there are pirates still in the Caribbean. Yachts go missing every year, and not just from the effects of insurance fraud schemes either.)

      2. Synoia

        If this virus behaves like flu, it will return in winter year after year.

        What One has to do is avoid winter. Which is quite possible somewhere in the tropics.

        In the tropics, one has to be high enough (over about 3,000 ft above sea level) to avoid the tropical diseases.

    1. MLTPB

      I read the Warriors will continue to play their NBA home games before fans.

      Elsewhere, major league teams are thinking of playing at less impacted cities, as an alternative, should it come to that.

      1. Savedbyirony

        No, the Warriors announced they would play home games with no attending fans. And I think those less impacted cities are replying, “no, you are not bringing all those people here!”.

        1. MLTPB

          Thanks for updating or correcting that.

          I didn’t know last night’s home game against the Clippers was without fans.

          1. savebyirony

            You are welcome. Nearly the only thing I can stand to watch on TV is sports, and I am a big fan of many. Admittedly, for a long time such viewing was a form of escapism…but sure is not right now. When one hears NFL reporters practically begging over the air for the NFL to cancel the draft in Los Vegas, you know things are bad.

    2. gc54

      UNC system joins Duke by extending the ongoing spring break by 1 wk to prepare for remote instruction after NC governor declares state of emergency recently. Tells students not to return to campus. Meanwhile some researchers are complaining that students must be around to run labs etc.

  12. Kevin

    “The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.”

    George Orwell

    1. chuck roast

      See Colonel Smithers’ (our very own kinship anthropologist) top-of-the-pops comment on the earlier MMT post. This descendant is now governor of Connecticut. And why anyone who wears green, wide-wale, corduory slacks would be allowed in the Governor’s Mansion would be the subject of another post.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      From Sander’s statements today, it seems he will press Biden for details on how he is going to address systemic problems facing the country, rather than attack him on his record. The devil is in the details and perhaps he is counting on Biden getting lost in the weeds whenever he tries to explain in depth how his administration will proceed. Give the man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.

      1. Phacops

        I certainly hope he will go there and brush off the useless moderators in his factual attacks. There is nothing that would warm the cockles of my heart than to see Biden wilt under the effort of providing any coherent response.

      1. ambrit

        I can think of a Traditional Warm Climate Destination reserved for elites down through the ages: H—.
        “We’ll keep the fire burning for you. Motel 666.”

        1. MLTPB

          So warm the virus* can’t survive there…for long.

          *not to be confused with Verus, the famed gladiator who fought at the grand opening of the Flavian Amphitheater.

          1. ambrit

            Oh, this Pandemic will bring a Sea Change in world affairs. So much so that we will have to open a new ampitheatre, the ‘Pluvian Hippodrome.’ That will definitely rein in our Parade. See, ‘The Krewe of Wrecks,’ Mardi Gras’ soggiest excuse for a Party. This is the evening in N’Awlins when calling someone “All Wet” is a compliment. That parade is famous for it’s theme music, the love theme from Wagner’s “Tristan Und Isolde.”

    1. Glen

      There is no place they can hide. We are all going to get exposed. The reason we separate is so we don’t all get it at once and overwhelm the hospitals like in Italy.

      1. MLTPB

        Can a billionaire be an island entirely of him or herself?

        Say, for a year or two?

        ‘Money buys him no people. ‘

    2. montanamaven

      We have 3 cases reported in Hudson, NY; 2 hours due North of New York City. We all assume the New Yorkers with 2nd Homes fled up here and will infect us. But not really sure who those 3 are or where they are from. I’m in the village across the Hudson River from Hudson. I did hear that 2 friends were going back and forth to the City, so not as hopeful as I was that things would stay South of us.

    3. Massinissa

      I hope they all bring coronavirus there so the elite hospital they have there is filled to 2-300% capacity.

      How are your cadillac health insurance plans doing now, squillionaires?

  13. ambrit

    Just a thought on the present crisis.
    Several days ago, I thought back to Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year.”
    That would be a good ‘Department’ for the collection of observations about the crisis as it unfolds.
    Next year, the survivors will view such a compendium of commentary as a valuable resource to be both a font of knowledge and a cautionary tale.
    So, allow me to suggest:
    “The Journal of the Covid Year.”

      1. ambrit

        I’m still trying to think of a superior pun on ‘crow’ since this afternoon. Even “medicinal alcohol” has not been of utility in the task.
        Pretty bad when one substitutes drunkeness for enlightenment.

    1. Acacia

      Along similar lines, I recently recalled Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”, and wondered who, today, might be cast in the role of Prince Prospero (the list is long).

      1. dbk

        I reread it yesterday, actually. Not sure who would be Prospero – any of the billionaire/oligarchic class would do. Found it interesting that they walled themselves off and locked / bolted themselves in the castle. Spooky, somehow.

        1. ambrit

          Good catch. On reflection, the present Administration does look like ‘The West Wing’ as staged by Roger Corman.

        2. Acacia

          Yeah, that aspect especially stuck in my mind too. Spooky that Poe anticipated the modern-day oligarch bunker, but with a gothic twist.

          Poe’s story has been adapted many times, especially in graphic novel form. Years ago, I read one that was drawn in a European bande dessinée style, lavish monochrome, but the setting was a space station in the future. Kind of Elysium meets Aubrey Beardsley. Would really like to find that one again.

    2. sleepy

      I woke up early yesterday morning and given current events decided to watch “The Seventh Seal” on youtube, which I hadn’t seen in decades. Strangely enough I read later that Max Von Sydow had just died yesterday. Coincidental enough to give me the shivers.

      1. ambrit

        Curious you should say that. I have been searching for my DVD copy of Bergman’s later film, “The Serpent’s Egg.” Something about the ambiance of that film fits this epoch.

        1. Calypso Facto

          film friends, I too have been on the Bergman train this week, getting melancholy with Scenes From A Marriage. Was thinking about watching Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice before bed, like an Erland Josephson bookend.

  14. Ignacio

    Problems with geography @ JHI page. There is a spot with 1 case drawn in the map between Mali and Algeria, in the middle of the desert that reads: Congo (Kinshasa) confirmed 1. Not known if it is the same case correctly located in the map in the Dem. Rep. of Congo.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I just checked the weather in Qatar for now. It is 61 in Fahrenheit and 16 in Celsius. That is still pretty warm and people have been saying that maybe this virus will not spread in warm weather. Looks like it will thrive in a range of temperatures.

  15. skk

    RE: Today’s Water Cooler: Man, I hate writing these summaries, and Google hates us,

    There is text summarization software available. Here’s a 10% summary of the Ride-Hailing article:

    The sharing economy, in which people rent goods, cars and homes instead of owning them, is thought to cut down energy consumption and reduce climate impacts. But that might be a myth at least for transportation, shows a new report.

    Here’s a 30% summary:

    The sharing economy, in which people rent goods, cars and homes instead of owning them, is thought to cut down energy consumption and reduce climate impacts. But that might be a myth at least for transportation, shows a new report.
    Ride-hailing trips on services such as Uber and Lyft create about 70 percent more pollution on average than the trips they replace, according to the analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists. «In communities across the country, ride-hailing is increasing vehicle travel, climate pollution, and congestion,» the authors write.
    Since Uber’s debut a decade ago, the ride-hailing and sharing industry has grown explosively around the world. These services are making it easier than ever to keep your car at home or not buy one in the first place.

    There’s open-source and fremium software out there. For this example I used Resoomer ( I’m not connected to them at all ). I’ve done quite a lot of text analytics in the past, mostly topic analysis,entity spotting and that eternal “hope and grope”: sentiment analysis.


  16. m sam

    “Never Trump’ Republicans Will Support Biden, Not Sanders”

    What a crock. What ‘Never Trump’ Republicans? The polls have Trump’s Republican approval ratings hovering in the low to mid 90s. They can talk about ‘Never Trumpers,’ but it would seem the only real ones are those half dozen installed on MSNBC.

    1. dcrane

      Yes – would like to see some data on how many true “Never Trumpers” remain these days. Seems like with the “baby Hitler” threats no longer holding much water, and with the Dems having more or less attempted a soft coup against Trump, most GOP voters who sat out last time will be holding their noses and returning to their loyal ways. [Insert obligatory “but coronavirus” qualifier here.]

      1. Milton

        The number of Never Trumpers are probably the same as actual, in-the-flesh Bernie Bros. Minuscule.

  17. Off The Street

    Biden’s potential Cabinet induces some chuckles, guffaws and a snort. Not mentioned is that obvious choice of Bloomberg for anything money-related. He has already displayed financial acumen in the treacherous American Samoa derivatives market, so is ready to stand up to naysayers and help move money around with gusto. Besides, didn’t he already buy his place?

    Of greater concern is the Running Mate, or if you insist, the 25th Amendment proxy. Stacey Abrams can’t shoulder that burden without reinforcements. Where’s the plant-based substitute protein?

    A call to keyboards. /s

  18. flora

    Great links today.
    Thanks, esp, for the links to Jacobin mag and to National Review mag stories. Josh Hawley (R)(Mo.) has some fairly good ideas about manufacturing that could almost be called populist – economic populist.


    ““How Do You Properly Clean a Voting Machine?” [Wall Street Journal]. • I know! I know! By throwing it into a dumpster, and replacing it with hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.”

    LOL! Thanks, I needed that. :)

  19. MLTPB

    Reports of the WH considering all of Europe under restrictive travel advisory.

    Am I the only one thinking Italy and S Korea be treated as China of Feb 1, 2020?

    I think Russia still is not allowing Chinese citizens to enter, regardless of where they are traveling from? That is even more restrictive, I think.

    1. flora

      Considering the US’s medical response, so far, to our domestic Covid-19 cases, (though not from US lack of expertise and trying to do the best possible, but scant medical supplies restrictions, etc), I wonder if the EU has also put the US under a restricted travel advisory. /not a snark

      1. MLTPB

        We should all, or I would, monitor Russia and China closely on this front.

        Putin, being wise and decisive, will not hesitate.

        Neither will Xi.

        If nothing so far, for those who have faith in them, sleep a little more soundly.

  20. Grant

    This virus outbreak is horrible and scary, especially with how utterly destroyed the state is thanks to decades of neoliberal destruction. However, I have long argued that we need a far more comprehensive form of economic planning in response to the environmental crisis, and I think the various layers of government are going to show how well they do or don’t plan. They will also show how democratic they are in making these types of decisions. Obviously, it is hard to have a formal democracy in the middle of a pandemic, but it is also the case that the economic impacts of this are going to be massive, and the response by the state is going to go a long way in determining whether the economy can stay afloat. Many businesses are going to suffer, in many different industries. How does the economy stay afloat, producing the things we need just as necessities if demand is falling off? Well, the only way to figure that out is to plan the economy on a far wider scale than anything Bernie is proposing. If that doesn’t happen, the economy will not be in good shape. My personal guess is that this is going to quickly make apparent the fundamental flaws of a chaotic, for profit and decentralized market economy like this one. It will reveal a lot about this healthcare system, and private companies will be forced to do things they otherwise wouldn’t. They will suffer too without state support. Everything from profit seeking during the crisis, the drop off in demand that will follow, as well as the need to restrict the actions of individuals and private institutions will be front and center. Given who is making these decisions, in either party, the rich and middle class will be prioritized, the poor, the working class and the homeless will particularly suffer. An equally comprehensive form of planning will be needed in response to the environmental crisis, and that planning will be indefinite. So, if we are all hulled up in our own living spaces at some point, may I suggest reading up on the socialist calculation debate? Otto Neurath, Oskar Lange, John O’Neill and Karl William Kapp on the socialist side. I am not trying to be flippant in any way, but I do think that there will be lessons learned from this in regards to economic planning, and given the situation, the dangers of non-democratic economic planning when in the hands of the Trump or Biden types.

  21. Kevin Hall

    To take Lambert’s classification one step farther (democratic party = democrat party as they are not democratic in the least), we should be calling them what they really are – based on their own actions.

    democrat party = calvinball party

    Use it, make it stick – let them come to be known by their fruitage. Deservedly so.

  22. ewmayer

    Re. “New Study on COVID-19 Estimates 5.1 Days for Incubation Period” [Johns Hopkins]… The analysis suggests that about 97.5 percent of people who develop symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection will do so within 11.5 days of exposure. The researchers estimated that for every 10,000 individuals quarantined for 14 days, only about 101 would develop symptoms after being released from quarantine.” — Oh, “only about 101” would come down sick after being released from quarantine – how very reassuring. And how many people might those “one percenters” who slip through the quarantine infect? Anyone? Bueller?

    1. Ahinsa

      The r factor is estimated by the CDC to be 2.3 and I am not sure how they arrived at that number. Having said that since we have no surveillance testing for the virus in the general population, one has no idea of the true incidence or prevalence of infection. In the state of Kentucky to order a test on a person of interest, one has to fill out a 2-page form, single spaced type, 9-font with almost a 100 questions and then talk to the local health department who in turn will talk to Frankfort to see if the test can be ordered.
      To further highlight policy failures, look at the absolutely insane suggestions made by CDC for dialysis patients suffering from Coronavirus infection or those suspected to have such infection. Put them in the corner of the room and dialyse them with other highly susceptible patients. And tell the staff to check their own temperature twice a day and not report to work if they develop a fever – after they have dialysed such patients.
      You ain’t seen nothing yet mate

      1. 10leggedshadow

        As a dialysis patient I am scared to death of what’s going to happen at my clinic, it’s a 20 chair clinic in one big rectangular room with chairs lined up against the walls all out in the open. they have only one Iso room.

  23. cripes

    The Greatest County On Earth Can’t

    make paper masks
    hand sanitizer
    flu tests
    universal healthcare
    paid sick, parental, vacation leave
    unemployment income for millions of “independent contractors”
    debt relief

    affordable housing
    affordable education
    affordable medicines
    living wage jobs
    credible elections
    primary delegate counts
    government responsive to the will of the people


    1. dbk

      A substantial percent of the U.S. supply of disposable medical supplies was once made in Puerto Rico. I can’t find anything recent about whether the manufacturers there are back up and running, but rather doubt it. Puerto Rico was also a pharmaceuticals producer.

        1. Youngblood

          Puerto Rico qualified as a reduced tax zone for manufacturing for years, until the privilege was weakened under Bill Clinton, causing federal corporate taxes on profits generated in PR to rise somewhat, albeit still lower than the mainland U.S. Most of the manufacturing jobs left, but some pharma companies stayed. Hurricane Maria did so much damage that some companies chose to close factories rather than repair/rebuild. And Trump further weakened the tax privilege, almost driving out the sliver of remaining manufacturing industry. Puerto Rico still profuces a lot, including most saline bags for IV used in USA and many pharmaceuticals. But much less than in the past…

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘There certainly does seem to be a lot of totally coincendental voter suppression and ballot shenanigains going on this year.’

    That’s nothing. This was just a dress rehearsal. Wait until the main show in November when you could have Sarah Palin win the Presidency because the voting computers said so.

    1. David J.

      I cannot remember which novel it was, but I’m reminded of the Charles McCarry book in which intelligence-service-computerized-vote counting-middleman was an important theme. Been at least a decade, maybe more, since I read it.

  25. dbk

    I am of two minds about Jamelle Bouie’s Opinion piece in today’s Times (linked above). It was all over my Twitter feed today and quoted approvingly, but frankly, the first thing I thought when I read it was “How old is Bouie?” Answer: he’s 32, and perhaps therefore entitled to optimism.

    Being old enough to be his mother, I’m not so optimistic. In the event Biden is nominated/elected, I anticipate his will be a figurehead Presidency, and that others (Cabinet members, special “advisors”) will be taking major decisions. I have a hard time imagining that the Usual Suspects would be amenable to M4A, $15 federal minimum wage, GND, taking on the pharmaceutical industry …

    1. jrs

      I’m not sure what would happen or become possible in a crisis (economic especially since it’s all anyone really cares about). In ordinary times no. But clearly even the Great Recession was not crisis enough to change anything.

      1. Massinissa

        “But clearly even the Great Recession was not crisis enough to change anything.”

        It might have been, had Obama gotten his pitchfork out and joined the mob rather than bailing out the banks.

    2. GooGooGaJoob

      A hopelessly naive take that I’m seeing more and more ‘Elect Biden to get Trump out and then we can sort out the details later’ usually followed by how they can consider parts of Bernie’s platform. Forgot nothing, learned nothing. .

    3. albrt

      I cannot begin to imagine why anyone would think a young person in the United States today is “entitled to optimism.”

      Young people are utterly screwed unless they are rich enough to own a own a habitable island and have already populated the island with people who genuinely like them.

  26. VietnamVet

    “The Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in the USA is classified” Cassandra spoke.

    In a “Fees for Service” nation, the middle class and the poor do not have the wealth or power to be protected from the pandemic. By design and incompetence, the US federal government will let the epidemic follow its natural course without trying to mitigate it. In the next six weeks a million or more elderly Americans will die, the for-profit hospital system will break down except where the rich can afford concierge medical care.

    NY State set up a containment zone in New Rochelle NY around the cluster of cases infected by a NY lawyer super virus spreader.

    There aren’t sufficient reagents available to expand virus testing or Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) to safeguard workers. There is no way to fast track manufacturing any more in a de-industrialized America. Only universal testing and detecting asymptomatic super spreaders and isolating them could have stopped the spread of COVID-19.

    Everyone is at risk unless they can shelter in place until the virus burns itself out and where they live is wealthy enough to afford to protect itself. We are about to be transported into a new feudal Dark Age.

    In the history of the Anthropocene, Joe Biden is the Last Emperor of the Holy Western Empire.

    1. MLTPB

      The Capitol will be closed to visitors, I just read the news.

      That’s sort of opacity….semi secretive, at least to citizens wanting to check up on the government in person.

      ‘Dont read MSM news. Show me now.’

  27. WobblyTelomeres

    Trump can read a teleprompter! And it looks like he got a touch up spray tan.Waiting for the emergency relief package for hoteliers.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        He needed to announce a full scale response, and he needed to do it weeks ago. That he announced a 50 billion loan facility, well, get ready for another 2k plunge in the DOW tomorrow.

  28. Samuel Conner

    Listening to DJT speaking on the public health emergency (NPR; no video).

    He sounds ashen, slightly breathless.

    The Europe travel ban is probably too late. (Probably multi-thousands of
    undiagnosed cases in US; community spread — too few tests)

    Some good counsel to the elderly, recognized the high risk to them.

    A bit of boasting about the economy.

    No financial risk (?)

    Just a temporary moment of time (until the vaccines are ready; an 18 month moment)

    Loans to small businesses, defer tax payments

    payroll tax relief

    (But no reduction in financial barriers to seeking testing and treatment)

    DJT sounds like he has the sniffles.

    Call to care for one another.

    ~ 10 minutes


    I would have wished for more gravity on the necessity of social distancing. This will affect medical outcomes; inadequate measures will cost lives if the medical system capacity is exceeded

    1. allan

      He seemed off. Tired, depressed, dropping definite articles.
      If he really believes some of what he said about testing availability, etc., he is in an alternate reality.
      Sort of like you-know-who moving imaginary divisions around on the map of the Eastern Front.
      Not good.

      1. MLTPB

        Before he won, the week before, I think, the narrative iin the media was his campaign office looked like a bunker

        In any case, he is the guy for now, until next Jan., maybe.

        1. albrt

          Trump is the guy until he dies (of coronavirus or otherwise). The Democrats are intentionally throwing the election because Trump triggers the Democrat hostages (aka base) in a unique way that is incredibly good for fund raising. The Democrats in Congress will probably vote for Trump to be eligible for a third term if it comes to that.

    2. MLTPB

      Even if Europe travel ban is late, and I have been saying that and wondering why candidates have not suggested more travel restrictions, the fight cintinues.

      Think of a state here as a country in Europe. We can ask if travellers from hotspots ought to be screened.

      With a nested containment, you are always containing some areas, like the game Go, I suppose.

      And even if it’s breached at the national level, you still keep it, as you dont want additional imported cases.

      PS: I think S Korea should be looked at as well.

      1. Wukchumni

        Why is the UK singled out as being ok to fly from there to here?

        Not as if a European couldn’t do a connecting flight…

        1. MLTPB

          It’s a good question.

          To me, they should be included.

          And even if the UK were the 51st state, with a national nested containment strategy, it still should have been circled.

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s all cow left the barn stuff anyway, travelers have been coming in from Coronavirus hit Italy, with no controls once they get here.

            1. MLTPB

              Seems like Italy did not over react (in hindsight, over reacting would have been good) by imposing their lockdown sooner.

              (We will see how much GDP the lockdown will cost Italy and compare that to China’s numbers).

              As for the US, I started mentioning about more China like restrictions a while back.

        2. teri

          Trump Turnberry, Trump International Golf Links, and Trump-brand Doonbeg golf course and hotel in Ireland are all in the “safe to travel to and from zone”, according to Trump. Just one of those odd coincidences that sometimes occur randomly in the universe.

    3. The Historian

      I agree – Trump sounded sick.

      I’m curious how those loans to small businesses will help since we have a service economy. Does he expect those loans to help restaurants, stores, etc., to employ people, buy products, etc., when they have no customers?

      And payroll tax relief – what exactly is that going to do for people who have to work every day to get a paycheck like gig workers and those service sectors that don’t have paid sick leave, let alone what it will do to Social Security and Medicare.

      I agree – he’s still dreaming about testing and vaccines – apparently even his smartest advisors can’t penetrate his know it all mind.

      I was extremely disappointed because basically he told us that we are on our own with this. No help for hospitals or our medical staffs, no unemployment insurance or paid sick leave for those who get sick, no free medical testing or care, etc. although he’s asking insurance companies to waive co-pays – let’s see if they do!

    4. anon in so cal

      Seems as though T started out with some big lies when he boasted about the US response. The lack of testing is criminal. Experts are now stating that the US surely has 1000s of undiagnosed cases out and about. Drastic social distancing is crucial but it doesn’t sound as if that is the plan. Can the flight ban be easily circumvented? All flights would have to be terminated, not just from the continent, to make a difference. Separately, my campus finally announced a shutdown, starting today. Amazingly, some students have been grousing and want to know if their parking fees will be partially refunded and what if the Zoom server crashes.

      1. The Historian

        Yes, the flight ban can be circumvented because he excluded Great Britain. I don’t know what Great Britain is doing but if you are in Germany and want to come to the US, seems to me that all you have to do is fly to London first.

        My state is still using the ostrich approach. I guess someone will have to die before they start testing or start serious social distancing. Biggest complaint so far seems to be that everyone is mad about people stocking up on items – as though people who saw this coming and prepared for it are the real problem, not Covid-19.

      2. MLTPB

        Testing is improving.

        Quarantines, lockdowns can make up for it in some way, if we look at the more draconian response of shutting in families in Wuhan. That is a very extreme version of no testing. People posting online asking to be tested. Are we in as bad shape as they were on Jan 30, 2020?

        How many cases are there in this nation today? Its hard to disprove the claim of 9000 cases. Even a claim of thousands is hard to disprove.

        I think we watch carefully of cases abroad of people being in the US. When we get to about 100 of such cases, we might have around 10,000.

        And we use Putin or Xi as an indicator. When the US restricted travel from China, it was announced on Jan 30, when there were about 9000 cases. They become effective on Feb 1, when the total in China increased to about 11,000.

        Putin restricted a day or two before us.

        If there are 9,000 cases here, Vladimir can’t fail to protect Russians by not doing something similar.

        1. Monty

          Other countries that are testing widely have about 100-150 cases per million population. USA started the day on 3 per million. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not Übermensch, so multiply everything by 30 just to be conservative.

          They revealed there was over 1000 suspected cases in Seattle but the CDC wouldn’t permit them to be tested. This was weeks ago.

          History in the making!

          1. MLTPB

            I dont know how many.

            At 1,000 suspected cases, maybe a few hundred? And I dont know where that 1000 is from. Seattle is the hot spot now. So, maybe 2,000 instead of 1,000 as of today. But I have to see more direct or indirect evidence to believe 9000.

            In any case, you fight the fight before you. If we had started slow, we have to fight harder.

            And we are in the middle of the fight now.

            ‘Be the arrow.’

    5. cm

      I can easily imagine a dystopian SF novel where there’s a presidential election and both get sick.

      One can also easily write a SF novel where everyone over 60 dies, and the ramifications thereof.

      Remember during 9/11 Clancy had written a book that foretold what would happen. He got one interview, then was toxic. I doubt that 10% of the population would recall that he predicted a Saudi running an airplane into US govt buildings.

      PS – I highly recommend Walter Tevis’ Mockingbird — a HIGHLY ignored yet hugely relevant book.

  29. Daryl

    NBA just suspended its season. A player tested positive for coronavirus…after touching a bunch of microphones as a joke. Can’t make this stuff up.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I wonder if this will prove to be the moment when the pandemic became real for many Americans.

      1. MLTPB

        I’m holding off taking my car in for its regular service.

        Spending 3 hours or so, on a Sat morning with 10 or 20 strangers is not appealing tight now, not that I ever loved it.

      2. Wukchumni

        From what I could discern, it was only 1 NBA game, not the season.

        Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson have tested positive for Covid-19, if they were to perish from it, then you’d have ‘the moment’.

    2. MLTPB

      History is being made….pre and post 2020.

      The Mayans would say, our prophecy is off by less than a decade. Not so bad, perhaps even better the tunnel at Samos, by Polycrates.

    1. MLTPB

      Did they get it there, or here from your perspective, Italy (another Da Vinci Code), or elsewhere?

  30. Stillfeelinthebern

    From a Catholic friend who was a Republican:

    To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,
    You may have heard of the upcoming “Catholics for Trump” rally to be held on March 19, 2020 at the Wisconsin Center. Thank you to the number of Catholics who have reached out to the archdiocese, inquiring about the nature of this rally. In light of this, I would like to make clear two very important facts, and I ask that you share this information with your communities.

    First, the “Catholics for Trump” rally is an event that is hosted by President Donald Trump. The event is not hosted by the Catholic Church nor the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the local church of southeastern Wisconsin.

    Second, the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are not endorsing the rally and are in no way affiliated to or sponsoring this event or campaign locally, statewide, or nationally.

    As Catholics, we bring the richness of our faith to the public square. Catholic citizens are encouraged by the Church to participate in public life and contribute to the common good, including through the political process of our country. However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Faithful that the Catholic Church is not a political organization, nor is it politically affiliated. The mission of the Church is religious, not political. For reasons that are both theological and legal, the Church’s involvement in public life does not extend to endorsing candidates for election to public office nor calling for their defeat.

    The Catholic Church seeks to uphold and protect justice, equality, human rights, and care for God’s creation through ethical and moral decision-making. The manner in which Catholics vote is entirely guided by a well-formed conscience, a well-informed mind, and a prayerful disposition guided by the Holy Spirit.

    With a heart full of gratitude for your faithful citizenship, I remain,

    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
    Archbishop of Milwaukee

  31. Dickeylee

    I will admit to stealing this from Driftglass, but spot on!

    I look forward to seeing the debate this Sunday between Vincent Price and Charlie Weaver in an empty arena.

    I know that you have to be old old old to get it, and I resemble that remark, but funny…

    1. Typing Chimp

      Too bad–all that Chinese government ass-kissing has gone to waste.

      Hopefully they can still capitalize it and amortize it over the next few years–I would hate to think that they sold out basic human principles and end up with absolutely nothing to show for it, after all.

  32. anon in so cal

    Another really scary article. Not sure of its accuracy.

    “Federally funded tests conducted by scientists from several major institutions indicated that the novel form of coronavirus behind a worldwide outbreak can survive in the air for several hours.

    A study awaiting peer review from scientists at Princeton University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted online Wednesday indicated that the COVID-19 virus could remain viable in the air “up to 3 hours post aerosolization,” while remaining alive on plastic and other surfaces for up to three days.

    “Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for 42 multiple hours and on surfaces up to days,” reads the study’s abstract.”


  33. none

    Why the hell did Trump just block off travel from Europe but not from China? And does he really think COVID-19 recognizes Brexit, since the travel ban doesn’t apply to England? Wow.

    1. MLTPB

      I dont know why, EUROPE and not the UK. You wrote China, but I think you meant the UK.

      I read he mentioned Shengen. Perhaps, I am just guessing here, others are more informed and maybe they comment, perhaps the whole zone has to be included, though maybe Italy is the one intended, and the UK is not in the zone.

      1. OIFVet

        It’s the Shengen countries. Countries like Bulgaria and Croatia are excluded, for the time being, unless a citizen who is attempting to enter the US has recently been in a Shengen country, even transiting through a layover. This affects friends who had planned to travel here, they generally fly Lufthansa. Perhaps they can transit through Heathrow instead. I am also really concerned about countermeasures from the EU. I am set to move back to Europe at the end of April, and a travel ban would put me in a real bind.

        All in all, a terrible situation all around. I wish I could be optimistic, but with our healthcare system and worker benefits such as vacation time being what they are, I am beginning to succumb to a distinct sense of impending doom.

        1. Typing Chimp

          I am set to move back to Europe at the end of April, and a travel ban would put me in a real bind.

          I would strongly suggest that you make contingency plans right about now if you haven’t begun doing so.

          The likelihood of your being able to return to Europe in April, IMO, is about 0.

  34. Typing Chimp

    “How Do You Properly Clean a Voting Machine?” [Wall Street Journal]. • I know! I know! By throwing it into a dumpster, and replacing it with hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

    Although I generally refrain from commenting any longer on this site, please recognize that there are significant potential advantages to having secure voting technology widely available. Two chief advantages occur when:

    1) Voters are intimidated to vote for a particular candidate (think Zimbabwe under Mugabe as one of many, many examples)
    2) Voters are somehow intimidated or discouraged from voting altogether (for example in Catalonia fairly recently, or in the US by moving polling stations).

    In either case, there are mathematical algorithms that can potentially be used to

    (1) Enable people to vote anonymously
    (2) Enable people to vote remotely (if desired)
    (3) Make the vote impossible/practically impossible to tamper with in a manner that favours a “man in the middle” attacker
    (4) Allow the voter to prove at some later point that (s)he voted if (s)he wishes to do so without being compelled to do so or compelled to show how (s)he voted
    (5) Allow the public to audit the algorithms and code used as intensively as they like to ensure the secure properties of the system without weakening the system–in fact, most (but not all) strong encryption algorithms should generally be able to be heavily audited–see Kerckhoff’s principle.

    Such is the marvel of modern mathematics.

    Again, I don’t expect to change your mind on this issue or even give it much thought–hopefully, though, you are open-minded enough to recognize that there are many countries outside of the US that impose much stronger barriers to their citizens voting for their preferred candidate than the ones erected against them in US, and that technological solutions could benefit them immensely.

    Just my two cents

    1. curious euro

      Funniest comment all day!
      There is no way to securely vote remotely. You never ever know who stands behind you with a baseball bat when you vote this way and neither does the election commission or anyone else.

      You cannot audit any machine in your precinct either. Certainly not the “public”. No one from the public has the first clue what and how the machine does whatever it does. A piece of paper with an X, everyone except the blind can understand. There is no problem there.

      Of course with all the voting irregularities in the US, computerized voting fraud is only one very small part of the whole: gerry mandering, striking from voter rolls, elections on work days, closing of poll stations, rigging of the media exposure, etc. Anyone who still thinks the US is an actual democracy, please give me your number I have great investment opportunities for you!

  35. Cripes

    Does anybody think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell the Democratic Convention will be held in Milwaukee in July? Or a republican convention? Or an election in November?

    Hell, I doubt they’ll even finish the primaries, I’ll be surprised if they manage to broadcast the Sanders Biden debate next Sunday

  36. Jen

    Covid notes from NH:

    Our small liberal arts college closes for spring break this weekend. Students have to clear out of the dorms with limited exceptions. Odds are we follow suit with other schools and students stay off campus. The B-School (you know, the one with the event that our patient zero attended) is switching to on-line classes for the next 2 weeks. Spring athletic season is cancelled.

    People are stealing cases of masks from the loading dock at the hospital.

    A co-worker of mine went to the post office yesterday at lunchtime. No on there but her and the post office staff. They told her it had been eerily quiet all week. I was talking with her about the impact to all of the businesses down town if the students stay off campus after break the other day and she thought I was crazy. After seeing what a dead zone the post office was, she had her “oh sh*t” moment and now realizes how many of our local businesses could go under.

    Same co-worker was planning to go to NY next week to see a play (moi: “no family blogging way would I do that”). She just cancelled the trip.

    Local supermarket was sparsely populated after work. Low on TP, organic frozen veggies, and, oddly, fresh fish. Wonder if the latter is a supply chain problem as it comes out of Boston.

    The latest communication from the Covid task force (finally) mentioned the need to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. We have a tertiary care center that serves the enter VT-NH region. The fact that they are currently building a second in-patient facility should tell you what you need to know about current capacity. They have an out-patient surgery facility that is separate from the main hospital and probably could convert to a temporary ICU suite. My guess is 50 severe cases would be more than enough to overload the system. Outside of the college, our leading demographic is the over 65 set.

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