Links 3/16/2020

Meghan and Harry Overplayed Their Hand The Atlantic. That’s a damn shame.

Stock-market futures sink after emergency Fed rate cut — ‘if this doesn’t work, what will?’ MarketWatch

European stocks plunge despite aggressive Fed intervention FT

Close the Markets? Data and Psychology Say Maybe John Auther, Bloomberg

The Illusory Promise of Stakeholder Governance Lucian A. Bebchuk and Roberto Tallarita, SSRN


The science:

COVID-19: What Can the World Learn From Italy? MedScape (alternative version).

Why do dozens of diseases wax and wane with the seasons—and will COVID-19? Science

* * *

Potential treatment:

In Vitro Antiviral Activity and Projection of Optimized Dosing Design of Hydroxychloroquine for the Treatment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Clinical Infectious Diseases

* * *


Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19 (PDF) Jennifer Beam Dowd, Valentina Rotondi, Liliana Andriano, David M. Brazel, Per Block, Xuejie Ding, Yan Liu, and Melinda C. Mills Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford & Nuffield College. Includes this chart on flattening the curve in Italy

Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” WaPo

Seven time zones of Siberia and Russian Far East are almost clear of coronavirus – but why? The Siberian Times

‘Hunker down’: U.S. scrambles to stem virus spread through extreme measures Politico. Fauci on the Sunday talk shows.

US moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears AP

Breaking: De Blasio Announces NYC Schools Will Close Through At Least April 20th Gothamist

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly? Scientific American. From 2014, still germane.

* * *


Thousands leave Miami cruise ship without screenings after former passenger got COVID-19 Miami Herald. Re Silc: “We have no central government, like Somalia. My goal is to be the warlord of southern vermont….” I’m waiting for somebody to go postal in the ER because a family member can’t get treatment.

Ten-Minute Coronavirus Test for $1 Could Be Game Changer Bloomberg. Big if true, but only by June.

* * *

Political response:

How Much Is the Coronavirus Infecting World Leaders and Disrupting Governments? The New Yorker

Tulsi Gabbard and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Back Universal Basic Income in Response to Coronavirus Newsweek

Trump’s Student Loan Interest Waiver Isn’t What You May Think NYT. “Monthly payments aren’t going to go down at all. Instead, the entire payment will go toward paying down the principal amount on the loan.”

Means testing (1):

Means testing (2):

* * *

Corporate response:

LVMH Will Use Its Perfume Factories to Produce Hand Sanitizer Vogue

* * *

Political economy:

Nativism and xenophobia hides the real origin of the coronavirus — which is political and global Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon. Today’s must-read.

Pandemic Through The Eyes Of A Globalist The Amerian Conservative

The incompetence pandemic Politico. Europe.

New York’s Two Sandys Metro Politics. From 2014, still germane.

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

Anti-inflammatories may aggravate Covid-19, France advises Guardian (J-LS).

Boston Area Residents Stockpile Marijuana In Case Of Coronavirus Quarantine WGBH

No-Touch Greetings Take Off: People Are Getting Creative About Saying ‘Hi’ NPR. I hate the elbow bump. I’m not a jock. I don’t care if WHO advocates it, the Indian namaste and the Thai wai not only involve no contact, they mean “I bow to the divine in you,” which is a good thing to mean.

The Tourist–Volume 98 Philip Christman

Brilliant mask solution for the long-term. Make them fashion items:

* * *

From the front lines (which are everywhere):

Personal testimony (1). Thread:

Personal testimony (2). Thread:

Personal testimony (3):

Life at the epicenter of N.J.’s coronavirus outbreak. ROI-NJ. “Holy Name’s 11 positives are all males — and all between the ages of 28 and 48.”

Troops on the streets in the fight against coronavirus: Government plans to draft in Army to keep hospitals and supermarkets secure, escort food convoys and build tented field wards next to care homes to cope with crisis as deaths almost double in 24 hours Daily Mail

Germany and US wrestle over coronavirus vaccine Deutsche Welle

Inside Germany’s Piecemeal Response to Corona Der Spiegel


Chinese economy suffers record blow from coronavirus FT

China says imported coronavirus cases have become main risk Reuters


Coronavirus: Japan’s cherry blossom season has come early – too bad there’s no one around to enjoy it South China Morning Post


The battle for the Saudi crown is raging even if it is overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic Patrick Cockburn, The Independent

Netanyahu’s rival Gantz secures 61 majority to form government Al Jazeera

Turkey-Russia Patrols Start Amid Protests on Syrian Highway Bloomberg


Could the 2020 Election Be Postponed? Only With Great Difficulty. Here’s Why. NYT but Trump Can’t Cancel the Election. But States Could Do It for Him Slate

A Biden-Sanders Ticket: The Unthinkable May Be the Only Path Forward The Intercept. The proposal:

[T]he Biden and Bernie Sanders campaigns could broker a split ticket of Biden-Sanders with a clear, publicly announced, historically powerful role for Elizabeth Warren — presumably secretary of the treasury. Such an arrangement would be infuriating to vast numbers of people in all three camps. It would anger the authors of this very article…. To make it work, this could not simply be a symbolic offering of the vice presidential nomination in an effort to placate Sanders supporters. There would need to be an agreement more akin to a parliamentary power sharing agreement among Biden, Sanders, and Warren. Biden simply pledging to adopt some of Sanders’s and Warren’s plans carries far less weight.

And by “far less weight,” we mean no weight. First, Sanders is not a woman, last I checked, and Biden already told Warren she should keep baking cookies in the Senate. More centrally, for reasons too complex for me to untangle, the political class has elevated serial fabulists — Trump, Warren, and Biden — to the top tier of leadership. How is a deal to be “brokered” between Biden, Warren, and Sanders, when the first two of the three are demonstrably not agreement-capable? Where is the honest broker to be found? Perez? Tanden? Pelosi? Bloomberg? Jimmy Carter? UN Observers? How about Terry McAuliffe?

Joe Biden Committed To Picking A Woman For Vice President Buzzfeed

Fist bump:

“Fight for.”


Boeing shows the danger of ignoring fearful staff FT

Guillotine Watch

Coronavirus: 8,000 private hospital beds rented to NHS for £2.4million per day Daily Mirror

Antidote du jour (Eureka Springs):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. CBBB

    I didn’t watch the debate. I see on Twitter that Biden didn’t face-plant so that means he effectively won it. I don’t know if he was drugged up, having a good day, or the whole dementia narrative was just…as they say “Malarky”.
    Seems like the debate was the last chance, so now Biden is sailing clear to the nomination.
    I like that “I’m a Democrat with a capital D” comment, as if that will help in the general. Do general election voters care that someone is a “Democrat with a capital D”? But that really is the mentality of a large chunk of Democratic primary voters – that’s why they nominate losers almost every time, cycle after cycle.

    With Trump sinking now due to the corona crisis I expect the Democrats can take the White House this year even with Biden (or whoever they replace him with) at the helm. I don’t know what’s better long term honestly.

    1. anon

      I didn’t watch the debate either. I knew deep down that unless Biden was prepped enough to be in control of his dementia, Bernie would not be able to change the narrative in the media that he could beat Biden.

      Bernie, despite being more left-wing than any other Democratic candidate, is still too much a part of the beltway which is why he continues to call Biden his friend. No, no, no. Progressives need an outsider or someone young in politics who has not spent enough time in DC to become friends with the neoliberal wing of the party to go hard and aggressively on another Biden, Obama, or Hillary.

      After attending a Bernie rally and seeing enough debates, I have noticed that Bernie also says a lot of the same things without diverging from his stump speech. He is not good at throwing curve balls on the debate stage and embarrassing his opponent. Bernie could have won had he continued to lay bare the lies that continue to come out of Biden’s mouth. In that respect, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren were much better at going in for the kill. That is how Trump won the election and how he will try to win the election this year by going after Biden in a way that Bernie refuses to do.

      If Americans could think for themselves without falling into the party line, Bernie might still have a chance in the remaining primaries, but I doubt that will happen.

      1. Wukchumni

        I realize a good many on here are political junkies, but don’t you realize that it’s all for naught, the Coronavirus has made a mockery of a mockery.

        1. Lost in OR

          Yes, this (CV) changes everything in ways we only guess.
          Attending to historic norms is, basically, fiddling.
          While Rome burns.

        2. Susan the other

          Yes, I think we do. But for my part, I’ve always thought it was a mockery (most politics) of civilization. A mockery of a mockery isn’t really mockery squared so much as mockery zeroed out. Maybe. And then we’ll start all over again. Please don’t get too blue, Wuk.

      2. tongorad

        I think Tulsi has the personality and disposition to dismantle Biden or Trump on the debate stage. Unfortunately her Health Care ideas are weak sauce incrementalism.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I think the Democratic Party agrees with you that Tulsi has the personality to dismantle Biden or Trump on the debate stage. That is why the Democratic Party conspired to see to it that Tulsi would never be permitted onto that stage.

        2. Procopius

          She will never be acceptable. She would be a serious threat to the MIC. Might stop purchases of the F-35s which still don’t work and even make the shipyards fix the Gerald Ford on their own dime — they’ve already been paid for the work they didn’t do.

      3. L

        Bernie did go after him in a good way but for my money he should’ve done it sooner. He, like everyone else, wrote off Joe too soon.

        1. flora

          Yes. And there’s something else: Bernie’s tag has been the old “Fight the Power” for the people. The next populist candidate to get traction should use the tag “Take the Power” for the people. Joe was up on stage taking and holding power. Power is the only thing DC cares about; not how intelligent or sensible or democratic or popular or necessary in a functioning government is any proposal. Joe was taking and Bernie was explaining.

          “Take the Power”. Because it will never be given voluntarily. Don’t ask for it, or explain why you and people deserve it, or think making nice will change the Dem estab politicians in any way. Harsh, yes. It’s a harsh world. My 2 cents.

          1. Dirk77

            I think that is what Frederick Douglass said. And I think you make a good point. It’s consistent with what Yanis said about Syriza – they vacillated, then deferred to the EU monkeys and got their own kidneys handed to them. You need to know you have the intellectual high ground and act accordingly. A presidential candidate needs to know deep down he/she would make a better president and accepting anyone else will cause his/her country harm, misery and death. Keep your niceness for your friends and the playground at lunchtime. This is easy if you are a narcissist like Obama or an egomaniac like Trump. For Bernie it apparently is much harder.

      4. QuarterBack

        I think Biden’s cognitive decline is directly related to stimulus. He has always been a person who edits his words in real-time reading the questioner, competitors, and audience. Dropping out all the other sensory inputs allowed him to keep up. Put him in a crowd or large group debate and his CPU overclocks.

        1. Aumua

          This is a very good point. Even thought the cheering and booing crowds were ridiculous (and stacked against Sanders like everything else), they may very well have thrown Biden off more than the other candidates.

      5. neo-realist

        I tend to think that even if Bernie had made some rhetorical adjustments in going after Biden, it wouldn’t have made much difference. The industrial strength corporate media manufacture of consent to Biden, the democratic party’s bashing and contempt of Sanders, the voter suppression and partial indifference of the youth vote, all conspiring to make it a very difficult road to nomination for Sanders.

        Overall, I think that Bernie has done about as well as one could against very powerful opposition. Sure, he’s got better policies, but if voters are going to look a gift horse in the eye, then choose the other option, what are you going to do?

        1. Aumua

          Yeah and you forgot the ridiculous debates with clearly anti-Sanders moderators, Warren stabbing him in the back repeatedly, the coordinated super Tuesday dropouts and endorsements… the list goes on and on.

          1. Dirk77

            Bernie is 77, has a decade or so left and, since he is not tortured by insecurities and power lust like the rest of DC, is probably thinking he does not want to deal with this s*** anymore. I don’t blame him and would have bailed years ago if it were me. Let someone else or some group do it from now on.

            1. lordkoos

              Bernie has trained a lot of younger people how to organize, hopefully someone will take it up. Even if he doesn’t make it he will have a legacy.

  2. Lina

    I was one of the early believers that this virus was no joke. Prepped early, etc. Now that it’s here (I’m in US) I’m more in shock than I expected to be. Strange times. Today I’m scared and sad for my daughter losing out on her kindergarten experiences.

    1. jackiebass

      I read about people saying it is something very important to lose out on an experience like kindergarten or a sport season. I wonder what people will think about that lost experience years from now. We often look at present event as the most important thing in our life. An example would be our high school friends or our senior prom. At 78 years old I understand how things change in our life. I have little contact with high school or college friends. I don’t do social media. Thought life you make new friends and acquaintances and lose contact with old ones. Many those events in life that you considered very important are soon forgotten. To waste time worrying about something that actually will be soon forgotten is a fools journey. It’s nice to think about your past but the reality is live is constantly changing.

      1. anon

        I sympathize for those who will be missing out on graduation ceremonies and other major events that can’t be postponed or replicated in another year. However, there are some upsides to those fortunate to have the leave time / telecommuting option to stay at home with their family. As carl said above, there are experiences that can be made at home that cannot be experienced at school. Maybe school closings, telecommuting, and more time at home to make and have meals together will shift priorities and present a different way of life that will be preferable to some people who have missed out on that.

        1. Peter VE

          I can still remember the highlight of my college graduation: the mayor, then under indictment and shortly to resign for beating up a romantic rival, joking about fights in his house lasting longer that the world middleweight championship boxing match just held in Providence. I must have marched across a stage to get my diploma, but I don’t remember it.

          1. chuck roast

            That would have been “Wild” Willie Greene who packed the Auditorium up on North Main St. I was on the floor for one of his fights. You could barely see the ring for the cigarette smoke.

      2. polecat

        ‘Experience’ for most, going both forward, and backward – simultaneously .. will be all • about • basic • survival !

        Get that garden in !

    2. carl

      Why not use this time to give your daughter some other experiences, that she’d never get in kindergarten?

      1. The Rev Kev

        You know, that is a real good idea that – real good. Through a bit of forethought and planning, she could make this a magical time for her daughter with treasure hunts, building forts out of sheets, advanced reading lessons, backyard camping, etc.

        1. Peter from Georgia

          That is my goal while my children are quarantined in an ex-rural approaching suburban county east of Atlanta Georgia; our schools are closed for two weeks. I am determined to make sure the children have structure, exercise, learning and adventure over the next two weeks (possibly extended another two weeks).

          What is new to me is that our schools will continue to dole out work through a “distance learning” initiative – I estimate 1 hour to 90 minutes per day per child to print material, review it with the children, and upload their results to the teacher.

          What people without computers will do is beyond me…

          1. Grumpy Engineer

            What people without computers will do is beyond me…

            Or heck, what about people who don’t have a reliable high-speed Internet connection at home? Squeeze into a crowded coffee shop with all the other laptop-bearing rural parents trying to fetch their children’s homework?

            I know plenty of people who limp along at home with a pokey DSL connection or bandwidth-limited cellular-based hotspot.

            1. smoker

              Indeed. In Silicon Valley there are many more than the Valley mythology ever acknowledged without reliable access (many with no home computers), of all ages. The Libraries have now been shut down till at least mid April, so that’s not an option (even when it was an option there was a time limit of about an hour).

              I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t post a comment, or respond to one, when the comments are in the low hundreds. Posting this comment has taken me over a half hour when the comments only numbered 120. Thanks again Ajit Pai and Obama.

              1. WobblyTelomeres

                At my most paranoid, I would access a library’s wifi from their parking lot, using a craigslist laptop that I’d reformatted with linux, a USB wifi adapter (to deal with id logging), and swiss VPN.

                Wonder if you can still access a closed library’s network the same way? They prolly leave the router(s) running for the ebook people. Worth checking out if you are passing by, I suppose. Battling for bandwidth shouldn’t be an issue.

          2. Anarcissie

            Give them computers. If the functionality required consists mostly of email, web site viewing, and the like — no heavy-duty number crunching or file storage — the computer can be pretty light and cheap, a few hundred dollars. I would say tablets, but I think we want keyboards and a decent-sized screen, and an HDMI port for people with high-definition TVs. As for connectivity, maybe the cheapest solution would be extended-range neighborhood WiFi, or the cell phone bands. Free to the users, of course. A printer would be good, but being mechanical they tend to break.

            We are not talking about really expensive stuff here. The per-student cost might be less than the school bus.

            1. Lina

              So: our school system is giving out computers to those families who need it while school is shut down. They also announced process for distributing food for children in need. Good job on both fronts in short period of time.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            Some of them might take their children out into the woods and fields, catch frogs, immerse them in analog reality-sphere plantspace meatspace nature.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I know i plan on playing Fortnite with my little Bro as much as I can while hes off.

          How I learned to stop worrying and love the Social Distancing!

      2. Lina

        Exactly what we are trying to do best to our ability. But we both work full time jobs and the juggle is tough as working parents with young children would understand!

      3. montanamaven

        Dimitry Orlov tells of growing up in the Soviet Union. His grandmother wrote a note to the school and told them he was sick. She then let him play all day in the woods and streams and fields. I had a whole magic kingdom in my woods behind my house. It was “Magicland”. I had a dinosaur that lived there and when I did go to school he would ride on top of the bus. When he had a particularly hard time getting on to the roof, the bus driver dutifully waited until I told him that the invisible friend was safely on board. I did get mocked a bit by some of the kids, but not by that wonderful bus driver. However, when I got to school, the teachers tried to drub that imagination out of me until the wonderful Mr. Hoekema in fifth grade.
        God bless him! And here’s to all those kids who don’t have to be stuck in stuffy boxes all day! Give the parents a UBI and freedom for kids!

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m in the process of convincing my sister & her family to up and leave her SD home when push>meets<shove and they turn off gas deliveries and everybody is stuck in place, and come live with us. She protested a little, and told me that she has a few months worth of food, and I asked her, what about your neighbor, or that street around the corner with houses extending as far as the eye can see, did they all prepare for a lockdown?

          There's as much do it yourself adventure as one can handle here, none of it involving computers whatsoever.

        2. QuarterBack

          Curious, are you referring the hockey player or the author (both from USSR)? There is an apropos book by Dimitri Orlov called “Reinventing Collapse”. It is his first hand and anecdotal account of how the fall of the USSR played out to the common people on the ground. He was born in the USSR and then moved to the USA in his teens and had an import/export business running during the collapse. His accounts are fascinating about how people adapted to having no functioning government nor supply chain infrastructure, and no national currency. He also hypothesizes about how a similar situation would play out in the USA pointing out similarities are differences based on culture and economic model. The key take aways were that people always seem to find a way to persevere, and in times of crisis, the most valuable commodities are food, water, guns, and medicines/drugs/alcohol (money was not on the list). I highly recommend.

    3. Olga

      Perhaps there is more for us to be “scared and sad” about than a two-month break in the kindergarten experience. Like the crazy, upside-down world we all live in…
      Today’s link – Nativism and xenophobia hides the real origin of the coronavirus — which is political and global Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon. Today’s must-read – gives a good overview.
      And here is one recent example: to build a Tesla factory near Berlin, we must cut down a forest… how is that for a sensible, logical humanity? But capitalism dictates:

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Yasha Levin’s “Nativism and xenophobia . . ” is definitely a Must Read. Perhaps the Must Read of the month or even year.

        1. Olga

          Another must-read:

          Alaistair Crooke:
          “At some point, [economic] systems flip from being complicated … to being complex. [And] complexity opens the door to all kinds of unexpected crashes and events. Event behaviour cannot be reduced to its component parts. There is diversity of actors in an economy, and interconnectedness; but the key element to complexity is adaptive behaviour. Something unexpected comes – it seemingly arrives out of ‘nowhere.’

          1. VietnamVet

            Everything has become binary. Infected by coronavirus or not, survival or death, food or starve, shelter or homeless. The pandemic is directly due to globalism; the free flow, of capital, people, goods and services. The Wuhan Coronavirus hitched a ride. Corporations and International Trade Institutions like the EU cannot deal with a pandemic, they are bankrupt. Vampire capitalists will milk the chaos right down to the final fire sale. It is in their blood.

            If the response to the second wave is as psychotic and incompetent as it has been to date, a new dark age will descend on the West. The only thing that will preserve western civilization is democracy and socializing the national response to provide for jobs, income and a purpose in life for the survivors. This is impossible with current neoliberal governments. If feudal autocracy prevails, there will be more waves of contagion spreading across a splintered North America.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I see that you also offer a choice of paperback or hardback . . . for people who prefer real books to e-books. That is good.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      perhaps we can be scared and sad about what we and our loved ones are experiencing AND about the larger picture at the same time.

      and the long-term impacts on the biopsychosocial development of growing children in the era of coronavirus has yet to be determined.

      1. lina

        exactly my point. had a hard time articulating this at 6am in tears about the world. it’s not just my daughter out of school – it’s the world today, CV, climate change, a country that could elect Trump, corporate greed, me me me culture, etc….

        1. Arcadia Mommy

          I am so sorry, we learned this weekend that kids will be out of school until 3/30 but I am guessing it will be at least until after Easter break which is 4/20. Things like school plays, sports events and other lessons are really important and give active, smart kids important skills and outlets for their energy. It’s going to be a challenging couple of months. We are lucky to have a couple of families we are close with. We plan on sticking together. It’s too late for us to socially distance now.

    5. Merf56

      You must be joking. Losing out on kindergarten experiences??? It’s a wonderful time to do all the things you never have time for – games, crafting, pretending, walks in the outdoors, cooking together, reading… a. Million things!!!! Much better than a day being just a number in a generally less than stimulating school…
      If you or your caregiver cannot provide anything for your child Like I mentioned that may be the only way your child is missing out… BTW – I am a grandmother caring for my eight month old grandson during the workday and now in coronavirus time, for a just few hours each day, while they teach online ( daughter is a college prof and son in law is a middle school teacher) . There are not enough hours in the day for all the fun and stimulating things out can do with even as young a child as my grandson.
      These are, admittedly some of the worst of times but you can, in many situations, turn them into the best of times… GET BUSY!!!!

    6. Oregoncharles

      The only thing I remember from kindergarten is lying on a little rung to take a “nap.” I didn’t like it – from my present perspective, the teacher needed a break. That was a LONG time ago, but that was all I remembered by college age, too. I wouldn’t worry too much about missing “the kindergarten experience.” Socializing is important, though. Does she have a play group?

      1. Lina

        Play groups are banned… and the schools are saying no play dates. My take – no way am I getting together with anyone because I don’t know where they’ve been (who they’ve been exposed to). The socialization is the part that’s unfortunate; my daughter is an only child so school is important from that perspective

        1. scoff

          The need for socialization is exactly why my son, also an only child, went to public school instead of being homeschooled. Intellectually he was way ahead of the curve going into kindergarten. His fourth grade teacher had him working out of an algebra book while the other kids were learning fractions.

          My wife saw to it that he was fully prepared academically, but what he needed most of all was interaction with other kids. That’s something she couldn’t have done had he been kept home.

  3. Wukchumni

    About the only place left where large gatherings of people congregate is evang megachurches & our National Parks.

    I hate to see both of them in that light, the former just a death cult in essence, while the latter is leading people down the primrose path of plague.

    Look at the nothingburger places they’ve shut down…

    Though a few more units of the National Park System were closing Sunday in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and outwardly it was business as usual across the National Park System on Sunday, behind the scenes tensions were growing over the situation.

    The official list of closures Sunday included Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, Lands End Lookout, the Nike Missile site, Point Bonita Lighthouse, and the Muir Woods National Monument bookstore and entrance station at Golden Gate National Recreation Area; Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, the Old Post Office Tower, and the Washington Monument. On Monday the list was to expand to include the Presidio Visitor Center, the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, and Fort Point National Historic Site, all at Golden Gate.

    In a comment left on the Traveler, a reader who identified himself as a shuttle bus driver on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park wrote that, “I can tell you that the buses are crowded, creating a breeding ground for viruses from all over the world. The Park Service has not approached us with any recommendations or assistance for keeping our drivers safe. Our company, under the guidance and supervision of our operations manager, has made the decision to limit the number of passengers to seated only. Honestly, not enough. I can just about guarantee we’ve already had infected individuals on board. The park needs to show the same concern and good judgment towards its employees and residents that has been shown by other entities with far less volume. If the park won’t close, then shuttle bus operations need to be shut down! “

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sounds like a whole bunch of future Darwin Award winners who still have the money to play tourist and ignore all the warning signs exploding around them. Will the giant Sequoias, for example, notice their absence?

      1. xkeyscored

        I’ve often had similar musings about climate change deniers, wondering how on earth they can keep it up with all the events of the past few years.
        I had thought it might be because climate change is relatively slow and stealthy, so they have time to forget what conditions were like a decade or more ago. I guess that’s not it.

        1. Bill Carson

          It seems like the Venn Diagram of climate change deniers (blue) and coronavirus deniers (red) is just one big purple circle.

    2. Carolinian

      I believe they shut down the shuttle at the Grand Canyon in the winter and reopen the closed section of park road to cars. Seems like if nothing else they should stop the shuttles even if the result is traffic jams.

      Doubtless however this problem will solve itself as tourism slows to a trickle. A huge proportion of the visitors come from countries now blocked from traveling to the US.

        1. Carolinian

          Many of the parks can’t really be sealed off–even from cars. Our Great Smoky Mtns has an important highway running through it. They could close most of the facilities to discourage visitation while leaving rangers and maintenance in place.

  4. xkeyscored

    Coronavirus: Nigerian celebrities wear blinged-up masks (BBC, Twitter)

    That mask does not look like it’d stop anything, never mind coronavirus. Or rather, the mask might stop something, but the apparent huge gap around and either side of the nose’ll let it all through.

    1. lambert strether

      The technical aspect is irrelevant. If we are going to live in a world where masks are de rigeur, then making them fashion items, and not medical devices (albeit with that functionality) is the way forward.

        1. lambert strether

          That is a problem for the designer to solve. Perhaps, for example, with colorful prints rather than bling. If Nike can do it for sneakers, some clever person can do it for masks

      1. Drake

        “a world where masks are de rigeur”

        Ooh, ooh, and I just read “The Moon Moth” a couple of months back (great Jack Vance SF short story, strongly recommended if anyone can actually find it somewhere).

        1. lambert strether

          That’s a great story, and if you’re a fan, I wonder if you’re also a fan of the extremely funny, very dry Anthony Villiers stories by Alexei Panshin

      2. chuck roast

        masks are de rigeur… But, but, what about my ultra-new and special facial recognition technology!? Whose gonna want to buy it? Now what do I do? …and I didn’t plan on having to run a new scam so quickly…

    2. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      In the back of my mind is a Science Fiction story where the human face becomes the most erotic part of the human body because it’s constantly covered with a mask. I can’t for the life of me remember what it is, but I probably read in the late 70’s.

      1. lambert strether

        If we are thinking of the same story, the climax is when the female protagonist takes her mask off. Masked, the culture has had no practice in concealing emotion, so….

      1. Synoia

        An array of three corks would relieve many of any symptoms.

        I can name a few I’d like to assist.

  5. WJ


    Is it tin-foil hat territory to note that the UK’s “strategy” of non-containment will lead to their NHS being quickly overwhelmed, making a serious dent in its popularity? The tens of thousands of deaths that might ensue will be spun as the result of government bureaucracy solvable only by increasing the market efficiency and further privatization of health care in the U.K.

    I mean, Boris Johnson’s strategy seems almost *designed* to implode the NHS. Never let a crisis go to waste, indeed.

    1. Clive

      I disagree. Regardless of what Johnson and his ilk might or might not want, the one thing which is guaranteed to survive all this is the embedded, entrenched and immovable attachment the general public in the U.K. have to the NHS. It was strong before. Now, it will have to be pried out of our cold, dead hands before we’d entertain any notions of “market based efficiency improving reforms”, “insurance based systems” or “private sector competition”.

      If Johnson doesn’t throw everything, including the kitchen sink (and the hand wash) at the NHS it will be his political survival which will be measured in months. No one will believe, if the NHS isn’t funded to 100% of what can usefully be spent, that a widespread failure in public health outcomes was because of an “inefficient public service healthcare system”.

      The same goes for any private sector profiteering.

      1. xkeyscored

        I agree. Private sector profiteering will not make UK citizens look unfavourably on the NHS, quite the opposite. It might even lead to a Corbyn win in the next – sooner than we thought? – elections. But Johnson doesn’t seem to be going down a laissez-faire free market path on this one.

        Jeremy Corbyn has branded private hospitals “disgraceful” for charging the NHS £300-a-bed for coronavirus patients.
        The Labour leader hit out at the plans which could see ministers paying around £2.4m-a-day for the use of 8,000 private hopsital beds in an effort to relieve pressure on the NHS as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.
        The measures are expected to be announced as part of a series of emergency powers which could also see up to 10,000 troops deployed on the streets to help protect buildings and provide support to the elderly during isolation.

        Also, the Daily Mail piece in today’s Links gives me the impression the UK government’s preparing for a very hands-on approach, whatever its faults or merits.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Might get very interesting if troops are put on the ground in certain parts of Northern Ireland.

        2. JTMcPhee

          What, exactly, are the “troops” going to do in this circumstance? I believe their chemical, biological and radiological training is mostly a joke and their protective gear and decontamination procedures inapposite and unworkable. Too many probably have that insouciance of invulnerable youth, and there’s lots of evidence of the lack of discipline that’s required of trained medical personnel — many of whom already can’t be brought to just wash their hands the correct way, or avoid recontamination and also exposure due to improper use of personal protective equipment.

          So it sound real responsible and tough to “call out the national guard” or the national military,” but how’s it actually going to help?

          1. xkeyscored

            Impose order. Defend property. Shoot looters. Imprison insurgents.
            The usual, but not abroad for a change.

    2. dearieme

      The strategy was published in 2011, being a modification of the one published in 2007.

      Boris must be devilish cunning if he managed to write them.

      1. rtah100

        The 2011 strategy is for pandemic flu. Not SARS-CoV-2. They are vitally, fatally different.
        I know, my wife was part of the policy and strategy team that commissioned it.

        The new strategy for SARS-Cov-2 is moonshine as it has been explained and it appears to be morphing into what everybody else is doing under the glare of the WHO and popular and expert condemnation. It just needs to morph faster before the whole thing blow out of control.

        The observant will note that we jumped from “four weeks behind Italy” to “three weeks”, in just four days. At that rate of reality dawning, we will be ahead of Italy within a fortnight, which feels terrifyingly likely.

        There is no useful preparation. They are asking backhoe manufacturers to “consider” making ventilators.

        Words (but hopefully not breaths) fail me!

        1. lambert strether

          > I know, my wife was part of the policy and strategy team that commissioned it

          The NC commentariat is the best commentariat

          Does your wife have thoughts on our current plight?

  6. Wukchumni

    I’ve oft wondered what would it take to break the faith in faith-based fiat currency backed by nothing, and for going on nearly a half century now the game just kept going impervious to anything that ever came before monetarily in history aside from the Roman Empire*, need to keep the housing bubble & 3 letter montes going, no problemo, the Fed has got your back. It all looks so ripe for a collapse.

    * Like us, high technology came through for the Empire, in that some clever populi figured out how to silver-wash formerly 95% silver Denarius with essentially nothing in silver content and made out of copper-and the money still passed muster, despite the exchange rate of 25 Denarii equaling 1 gold Aureus going to around 3,000 to equal that same 1 gold Aureus.

    Do you ever wonder why alchemy became such a thing?

    Well, they had pulled it off with silver, why couldn’t it be done with gold?

    1. a different chris

      It wasn’t “backed by nothing”. It was backed by actual work. Inventiveness. Digging ditches where ditches needed to be dug. If anything, when the real work was being done (1st half of the 20th) gold was simply an obstacle. Requiring TPTB to keep “devaluing the dollar” against gold. Then WWII hit and at that point they barely were even pretending.

      The economy got take over by the financial clowns. That’s the problem. How is gold-backing going to do anything more but funnel wealth even faster upward? Gold is good when it is used to make electrical contacts corrosion proof. A few other things. Not as a “store of value””.

    2. eg

      Fiats are backed by an exercise of the monopoly of the use of violence within the polity. So short swords for the Romans and guns and ammo in the good ole USA.

      1. Wukchumni

        Ok, what makes the NZ or Canadian $ worth something, if fiat money is backed by the monopoly of the use of violence?

        I could give you oh so many more examples, btw.

        1. Oregoncharles

          All the 5 eyes have militaries. Costa Rica doesn’t, a rare exception, and I think their currency does OK, too.

          Actually, the government’s role as enforcer of contracts is more important – the military is just the ultimate backup.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I see now that I was too cryptic, though this is familiar territory: the “fiat” in currency is the government’s command that it settles debts and constitutes payment – for all transactions, not just taxes.

            and that is not new; it goes clear back to introductory economics in the 60s.

      2. TimmyB

        Fiats are backed by laws requiring that fiats be used to pay taxes. The government says “you need to get some of those pretty pieces of paper and give them to us.”

  7. Toshiro_Mifune

    To follow on from yesterday’s discussion of UK unpreparedness, I’m going to offer the following anecdotal examples;
    As I’ve mentioned previously I work for an IT company, that company is headquartered in London. I gave the NY office leave to work from home about a month ago. The London office only tested people working from home last Thurs (12 March), and that’s only testing. Everyone is still in the office, they now have plans on how to work from home.
    As of this morning people from the London office were still trying to fly out to either Florida for vacation (didn’t happen) and a second had to cancel plans to go skiing (not sure where). And the one trying to go to Florida was actually at the airport and got turned back.
    So, it isn’t just the UK govt that isn’t taking things seriously.

    1. The Whom

      I live in the UK, and I certainly don’t get the impression that the government isn’t taking things seriously.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I think the same.

        We can argue, quite legitimately, about whether the containment response is correct. Or the testing regime. Or dredge up some historic discussions about underfunding public healthcare (and I doubt any would now dispute that MBAs have no place in a national healthcare provision strategy setting trying to compete to run the leanest, least resilient operation possible because funding).

        And we can also make valid demands for much better practical information from, say, Public Health England (or Scotland etc.)

        But not taking it seriously? I can’t cotton to what more the government could do to demonstrate seriousness.

        In terms of business readiness, my TBTF underpins a big chunk of critical financial systems and infrastructure. A lot of very detailed planning has gone into contingency measures and these are, certainly as far as I can tell, working as they should when put to a real test (like now). Smaller firms and boutique finance outfits, these I can well understand not being as well prepared. So I do get that, for others, their apocalypse mileage may vary.

        1. Monty

          A friend, working all day in a junior school classroom as an aide, is on a contract from and they don’t get anything other than statutory sick pay @ 95 quid a week. In London this is insufficient to cover rent, so guess what they are going to do if they are ill, even if they meet the government’s “take a week off” offer? That’s one the way the UK government is going to rack up the big numbers (in the casualty wards).

          1. Clive

            I think the same — the UK government should immediately allow all ESA claims to be automatically accepted and put into the “support” group for 12 months, no questions asked. This is the very least a civilised society can provide. I’m not holding my breath. Even if I did, there wouldn’t be a ventilator.

  8. Carla

    Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Expands Unemployment to Cover Workers Displaced by Coronavirus

    Having closed all restaurants and bars in the state to everything except take-out or delivery services, DeWine will issue an executive order today (Monday) expanding unemployment benefits, without the usual waiting period, to all workers in the state who lose employment due to the coronovirus.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      DeWine has been playing with being a Sewer Socialist for more than a year…saw it on cspan one morning last march, he gave a presser and rambled on about the state gov hiring more people…building roads, and such…to counter economalaise.
      as i’ve warned Team Blue for years and tears, now: if you leave all that New Deal stuff just laying by the road, some opportunistic RWNJ will eventually pick it up, and start sounding like Russel Kirk.
      Hawly, even Rubio, are sounding downright Sane, these days…
      all is in flux.
      and the Demparty is cruel and all too usual in their perfidious hypocrisy.

      1. russell1200

        Well said.

        It is similar to the way that Democrats flipped to being tougher on crime. With the difference being that the Republicans didn’t abandon the position: it was just a me-too moment for the Democrats.

        But with the Republicans now making odd populist arguments at times, they have the whole area wide open to them.

        It will be interesting to see what happens to Tulsi’s bill for a minimum wage – with AOC tweeting support.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and the op-ed from Clairmont’s Rag(Jaffa’s Rag is better) the other day, embracing Austarky/Self-Reliance/—maybe Emersonianism?
          something’s moving under the rug, and it’s a crying shame that it looks like it will come with the usual Righty Nonsense attached to and associated with it.
          like a lake turning over in the spring…or one of those weird temperature inversions where it gets fogbound.

      2. Lil’D

        I predict Hawley will be president in the 2030s
        He is smart and articulate and knows how to co-opt the delivery of material benefits n service of a bigger right wing agenda

        1. edmondo

          Remember that “smarter, more organized, more effective” tyrant that we all feared coming on the scene after Trump? Could very well be Josh Hawley. Maybe the Dems will run Michelle against him. It’s all they got.

      3. Goyo Marquez

        Yes and so is Trump. Interest rate holiday on student loans, no matter what, that’s a good thing, or as the putative democrat nominee puts it pie in the sky. Also discussed at the presidents meeting was complete student loan forgiveness, what a shiv in the heart of the democrats that would be, a whole generation permanently loyal to the Republican party. Trump will do whatever it takes to stay elected, if that means medicare for all, he’ll do it.

    2. allan

      Compare and contrast with the complete contempt that the Dem leadership have for anybody
      and any policies to the left of Bill Clinton:

      Natasha Korecki @natashakorecki
      Surprising post-debate comment from Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn: “It’s safe to say Vice President Biden showed up to a debate tonight and for two hours graciously [dealt] with a kind of protester who often shows up at campaign events, on live television.”
      11:07 PM · Mar 15, 2020·

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I watched the debate and while Biden didn’t drool all over himself the whole time, the words coming out of his mouth weren’t exactly the Gettysburg address either. Zero substance to anything he said. Pretty much just platitudes and flat out lies about his past record.

        Anyone who believes Biden is up for this job is delusional. People may vote for him, and I understand why even if I won’t be following suit, but there is simply no honest argument to be made that he is capable of performing the job of president, and if by some miracle he ‘wins’ the election, it will be Reagan all over again with others running the show while the POTUS senescently wanders around the office.

        If it’s Biden vs. Trump, it will come down to which party is better at rigging elections, and that is clearly the Republicans.

        1. lambert strether

          > others running the show

          The same team…. that brought us Trump. And are now rapidly turning themselves into “moderate” Republicans…

    1. voteforno6


      All of DC seems to be existing in a weird alternate universe right now. The federal government is treating this like an inclement weather event, and is not really providing any strong guidance. So, it’s pretty much left up to individual agencies on how to deal with this. So, for all the federal workers (including contractors), let’s hope that they all have good managers.

  9. zagonostra

    >Pandemic Through The Lies Of A Globalist

    The pandemic will serve to solidify Globalist power. The well connected, organized, minorities wield political/economic power against the majority of amorphous unorganized masses. It’s the way it has always been. If there is hope, it rests with small communities self-organizing on principles of resistance to these purveyors of lies, propaganda, and deceit.

    Outsourcing the medical equipment and pharmaceutical supply chain to a hostile communist dictatorship with perhaps the worst public health record on the planet… But globalists, like government engineers, are incapable of learning from mistakes. In fact, in their minds, disasters serve perversely to confirm the advisability of their follies.

  10. Krystyn Walentka

    Story time.

    I felt fatigued yesterday morning and had some rawness in the back of my nose. Then a headache. Thought it might be allergies because the pollen is really high here right now. But I took my temp and it was 100.5. =^[

    Started taking zinc lozenges, one about every two hours. Coughing became worse later in the day.

    I decided to try and find a cheap hotel to stay in so I could rest and be warm but all the cheap hotels here are filled the normally poor and struggling African Americans who are using them like apartments. I walked into one Extended Stay Hotel after seeing the had vacancies online but an older black lady said; “Naw, we ain’t go no rooms” without even looking at the computer. I told her their were rooms online and she said well we ain’t checking in. Told her I wanted a reservation and she mumbled something so I got the hint and I left.

    As I drove around looking for other hotels I noticed all the lower cost ones had full parking lots and the expensive ones were completely empty. Seriously, zero cars. What a perfect symbol of our society. Inequality and waste,

    I was also calling and Tweeting trying to find out what the town was doing for homeless people. The answer was “The police are assisting the homeless”.


    A few of us asked “How?” on Twitter but they did not answer. So my guess is they put you in jail, right? Who knows, but why the police? This was the response from the Chapel Hill Police on Twitter:

    “Thank you, @chpublib! That’s right. Our Crisis Unit has strong relationships with people experiencing homelessness in our community. They continue to remain in close contact and offer assistance to those who want it. They’re also working to formalize a long-term plan.”

    Yeah, no.

    I decided to look on AirBnB and while some places were listed for $25 a night, by the time you added the idiotic fees the total was to $62. I did find a few that were lower cost and attempted to book for a week, and one for just a few days but they just refused my request. It might be that I never used the service before or they are just skittish.

    In no way did I want to go to any of my friends houses.

    So I just resigned to my fate and accepted the possibility of my death and I was OK with it. From what I read CV can turn pretty quickly. But there was no way I was going to the hospital since it is clear I am not needed in this society.

    But since sickness affects serotonin production of course my mood was fcked. And it was hard to look forward sleeping in a van in a WalMart parking lot when it is 50 degrees and you possibly have a deadly flu.

    But by the evening my temp was down to 97.7 (my normal temp is 96.8) and my cough seemed to be settling down a bit. This morning it was 97.3. I was able to take a shower at the Planet Fitness and feeling better today and still taking the zinc.

    I do not know for sure if it was COVID19, I mean how could I because this country sucks, but if it was I am glad I went through it and also glad to know zinc might have helped.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “…since it is clear I am not needed in this society…”

      I’m with you in Rockland, there.
      I’ve felt that way for a long time.
      Less so, really, when i lived in a van(5 or so years, all over the Old South. Has it’s pluses and minuses, as I’m sure you could attest(sleeping in a hammock by a river was one of my favorite parts))
      and…being a Cook=>Chef, customers would compliment me all the time…i strove and struggled to be real good at what i was doing…but i made less in my last job, considering real inflation, than i did at my first.
      went fishing with my dad, some years ago. watched him mangle the throwing of a cast net for bait for a while…then took up the net and threw multiple perfect casts.
      dad says, “man…you’ve got a real talent, there”
      me:” because there’s no money in it”.

      May the Road rise up to meet you, Krystyn.

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Thank you. I feel our lives are sort of dopplegangers. I feel like I was finally at a point that I could start enjoying camping in our national forests when the SHTF.

    2. xkeyscored

      Yes, Krystyn, so glad it sounds like a false alarm.
      The COVID-19, that is. The police stuff sounds potentially ominous, and jail at this juncture a likely way to get it.

    3. katiebird

      This is so scary, I am glad you feel a little better but I am still worried.

      You inspired me to order some zinc for my husband and me. I found out that Life Extension still had my credits from after Dad passed away (they transferred my dad’s credits to me) so it didn’t actually cost me anything.

      Are there places you can go during the day to warm up?

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Thank you, and yes, a few place to keep warm. A large and now empty coffee shop is still open as well as a food coop. Both places do not mind people staying as long as they want.

        A warm up on Thursday and Friday to near 80 but in the 50s the rest of the time. Once my two week quarantine from friends passes I might have a place to stay in a friends house.

        My suffering at this point is more for others.

        In the coffee shop right now by the way, just watched an older guy blow his nose with a napkin and take a frickn coffee lid and then hold his son by his shoulder. Last week I would have confronted him but meh.

        And none of these people need to be in here, they all have houses and coffee at home.

      2. Mark Alexander

        I tried ordering zinc lozenges just now from Life Extension, but they’re all back ordered, some for two weeks, some for four weeks. Same story at Lucky Vitamin.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          Sorry man. Yeah, stores here were cleaned out. I started buying a pack here and there starting last month.

          If you want to up your zinc though you can always eat oysters!

    4. urblintz

      Much relieved to hear of your improvement so take good care. Tough times are here for everyone and many still don’t understand that isolation and self protection is the only way to proceed. The MSM cost people their lives by screaming TEST during the critical weeks when some of us who’d gone thru AIDS knew that ISOLATE was what matters. The test is diagnostic, not preventative or curative which most should have figured out innately, probably did, but was described as the difference maker and it is not.

        1. Susan the other

          do you have stuff to make green tea? And buy some red wine, I just read it contains a good amount of quercetin (bioflavonoid beneficial for immune system, like a good green salad but a much better analgesic and soul soother), eat some oranges, take your shirt off and sit in the sun for an hour if it’s warm enough. Enjoy the insanity.

    5. Olga

      Please do not tell yourself (or believe) that you are not needed! Even the best have at times not met with the “society’s” approval. It does not matter… You seem strong and resourceful, please stay that way.

  11. lakecabs

    When good men can’t feed their kids the world will become a very mean place.

    The powers that be have about two weeks to get money in their hands.

    If not the coronavirus will be the least of our problems.

    Yes a basic income safety net must come fast.

    1. anon y'mouse

      from a government that gave us HAMP here in the U.S., and just passed a family leave act that only covers 20% of the workforce, most shouldn’t hold out hope.

      they have money and healthcare, so they will be just fine.

  12. Keith in Modesto

    “Thousands leave Miami cruise ship without screenings after former passenger got COVID-19 Miami Herald. Re Silc: “We have no central government, like Somalia. My goal is to be the warlord of southern vermont….” I’m waiting for somebody to go postal in the ER because a family member can’t get treatment.”

    I work for the USPS. My understanding is that workplace violence is no more prevalent in the Post Office than anywhere else. Please everyone, don’t use the phrases “Going Postal” or “Go Postal”.

    1. Wukchumni

      The only people going postal now are a wide swath of Congressmen (including the much beloved Bernie) whose accomplishments in office largely, have been the renaming of post offices across the land.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Florida…Florida..Isn’t that the place where a lot of aged Americans retire to? Releasing people who may be infected into this community does not sound a particularly good idea to me.

      And if Re Silc wishes to be the warlord of southern Vermont, he should also learn how to brew beer. Tens of thousands would flock to his side and none would dare harm a hair on his head.

    3. xkeyscored

      The earliest known use of the phrase was on December 17, 1993, in the St. Petersburg Times:

      The symposium was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which has seen so many outbursts that in some circles excessive stress is known as ‘going postal.’ Thirty-five people have been killed in 11 post office shootings since 1983. The USPS does not approve of the term “going postal” and has made attempts to stop people from using the saying. Some postal workers, however, feel it has earned its place.

    4. ambrit

      I was a Rural Sub for several years in Louisiana back in the 1980s and ’90s. That was the original “precarait” job. Anyway, I can attest to the truth of the phrase “going postal” from personal experience, not with actual outbursts of armed insurrection in the mail sorting room, but by knowing several of the regular carriers. The Postal Service had, and might still have, a ‘preference’ in hiring that benefits military veterans. Back in the eighties at least, that meant that many of the carriers were Vietnam Vets. This group was very “gunned up.” Even though postal regulations prohibited the carrying of weapons at work, on the rightly dreaded “cheque day,” when Social Security and SSI cheques were delivered, many of the carriers carried arms, to protect themselves from predators within the community. The more understanding supervisors looked the other way, at least, on ‘cheque days.’ As one carrier famously put it: “I’d rather be alive and unemployed than dead and employed.”
      Thus, the Postal Service back then was the perfect mix with which to produce “going postal” results.
      Heavily populated with veterans of a shooting war; check.
      A ‘gunned up’ workforce; check.
      A higher than usual population of PTSD sufferers; check.
      A corporate culture that was extremely dysfunctional; check.
      The absolute worst of bureaucracy; check.
      A social scientist couldn’t have designed a more efficient system to create ‘workplace outrages’ if he or she had deliberately set out to do so.
      So, KiM, I get your point, but must argue that you are a lot braver and or resilient than you realize.
      Watch out for those pesky Inspectors!

      1. xkeyscored

        Thank you. Much more enlightening than Wikipedia! I’d never come across the term before.

      2. TimmyB

        I was working at the General Mail Facility in Boston when Al Hunter was strafing the building from a stollen Cessna with his AK-47. Google it. Strange times indeed.

        My theory on post office shooting centered on veteran’s preference. Vets were given 5 points on the exam. Disabled vets were put to the top of the list, so if a disable vet scored a 70 and a non-vet scored a 100, the disabled vet was hired first.

        Many of the disabled vets acquired their disability due to severe mental problems. Thus, due to the preference disabled vets had in hiring, the post office had a very high percentage of mentally disabled veterans working there, it could be a volatile work place.

        1. Anon

          That same testing advantage is given to all federal job applicants. Many local police agencies do the same (as they accept federal funding). The 5 points are added to the final test score, not some intermediate assessment.

          1. VietnamVet

            The 5 points are why I got a federal job at the birth of neoliberalism and moved across the United States to be employed.

    5. Wyoming

      I have a relative who works as a mail carrier for the USPS. He is a fairly recent hire who, obviously, has no seniority for a regualr route. So he gets assigned to cover the routes for carriers who are on vacation or sick. By some rule or law he cannot be scheduled 7 days a week. SO he gets scheduled for 5-6 days a week and then gets called in to cover on the other 1-2 days a week (getting called in on your off days is ok as it is not scheduled work for some reason). So this means that since he started last Oct he has worked 7 days a week. Going on 5 straight months. Additionally he has walking routes and thus he starts out a route with 20-25 lbs of mail in an over the shoulder carry bag and he walks over 100 miles a week. Lastly due to the extent of the routes they have to cover the carriers do not have time to drive over to locations where they can use the restrooms. So they try and not drink anything during the day and are constantly dehydrated (summer is coming by the way). He says they all carry large mouthed plastic bottles in their little trucks to use when they have too.

      Isn’t that sweet?

      1. xkeyscored

        Perhaps those large mouthed plastic bottles will be outlawed. They are, after all, extra weight which the USPS is paying to ferry around. You may laugh, but if you multiply the number of workers by the amount of extra petrol …

    6. lambert strether

      > Please don’t use the phrase

      The phrase is from the book, Going Postal by the great Mark Ames.

      I think the readership knows we strongly support the USPS. You’re gonna have to deal.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The incompetence pandemic”

    Some may disagree but it seems that the countries that have most botched their responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic are Anglo-Saxon countries, including my own. I was watching the news and they were listing how different countries had responded to this crisis and I noted that Kenya had a far better plan than America, Canada, the UK & Australia did. Wait – I will qualify this. There is one Anglo-Saxon that is doing it right and that is New Zealand under Jacinda Ardern who has banned ocean liners from their country, requiring all arrivals (returning locals as well) to self-isolate for a fortnight, etc. Kudos to the kiwis for electing themselves a real leader.

    1. xkeyscored

      I was very struck by New Zealand’s response to the mosque massacre in Christchurch a year ago.
      Many countries might have reacted with xenophobia, Islamophobia, and who knows what, but outstanding solidarity and compassion were the order of the day from the PM down. And they’ll be invaluable qualities in dealing with this.

      1. Tom Bradford

        It helps having a moat a thousand miles wide, a constant gale of fresh air from the Antarctic, all the milk and/or wine you can drink and two cows + five sheep per person. And a pretty good single-payer health system.

        1. MarkT

          A moat indeed! Air New Zealand has cut flights by 85%. Wellington to Sydney was twice per day. Now twice per week.

    2. Wukchumni

      New Zealanders are so different from Aussies, and its never been so stark as now politically. NZ could’ve gone the far right evang path very easily, but they were lucky in that the leader of the mob, a gent named Graham Capill, turned out to be a raging pedophile.

      Graham John Capill (born 1959) is a former New Zealand Christian leader, politician and convicted rapist.

      He served as the first leader of the now-defunct Christian Heritage Party, stepping down in 2003. In 2005 he was convicted of multiple sexual offences against girls under 12 years of age and sentenced to nine years imprisonment. He was released on parole in August 2011, having served six years of that sentence.

    3. carl

      I was quite struck at how nice New Zealanders were when I visited. They make Canadians look mean. Their “Number 8 wire” heritage is apparently serving them well here.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were on a 2 month trip in NZ, and my wife and I decided to try and find a New Zealander who wasn’t nice, and finally found him about 7 weeks in, a premature curmudgeon running a motel somewhere in the South Island.

        1. Phillip Allen

          a premature curmudgeon

          Nonsense, good sir! Curmudgeoning right takes decades of practice and ‘too soon’ is almost too late. I went into training in my 30s and have seen tremendous progress as compared to those who simply fall into curmudgeoning because of being old and falling apart.

          1. MarkT

            Early training is always good. Especially when trying to figure out why things are the way they are ;-)

            1. MarkT

              I work for an outfit that can best be described as “essential services”. The rest who aren’t really essential are starting to work from home. Leaving the rest of us to run the place, as it should be?

    4. Matthew

      It did occur to me recently that English might be a thought disease. Not in this context, but coronavirus certainly hasn’t done anything to disprove the notion.

  14. Jesper

    Will this crisis lead to ‘intellectuals’ arguing for ‘experts’ to rule instead of having elections?
    It is not always the deplorables who are arguing for the authoritarian rule, the ‘intellectuals’ seem to be longing for the time of royalty and aristocracy – where the aristocrats/royalty could lay claim to be the best leaders as they had been in receipt of the best education and due to their birth already had the necessary (family) connections to negotiate compromises with other (aristocratic) rulers.
    I seem to remember reading about the original left/right divide being about that. One side was mostly people representing dynasties and the other were the ones rising from the general population. Political dynasties are (in my opinion) getting more and more common with 2nd or 3rd generation politicians etc and these modern dynasties are fighting the ‘populist’ upstarts.
    But back to the article, a quote from it:

    Though it makes sense for EU members to tailor their coronavirus strategies to local requirements, the variety of approaches across the region suggests little, if any, real coordination.

    It all depends on what is meant by ‘real coordination’. As long as information is shared then at least the minimum has been done, I do not believe that everything gets better by centralisation, in this case then I’m more comfortable with delegated authority to the countries in the EU to decide their strategies and my reasoning is based on that I believe it would take (as far as I know non-existest) super-humans to be able to co-ordinate this on an EU-level.

  15. xkeyscored

    Boeing shows the danger of ignoring fearful staff FT

    Mr Muilenburg has since been replaced as Boeing chief executive by Dave Calhoun. In a recent interview with the New York Times, he said he was focusing on insulating engineers from business pressures and running the production line at a manageable pace “one airplane at a time”.

    The coronavirus should provide ample time and opportunity for Calhoun to hope for as many as one plane at a time while listening to engineers and production staff. IIRR, Boeing’s sales were falling off a cliff even before WURS hit.

  16. timbers

    “How is a deal to be “brokered” between Biden, Warren, and Sanders, when the first two of the three are demonstrably not agreement-capable? Where is the honest broker to be found? Perez? Tanden? Pelosi? Bloomberg? Jimmy Carter? UN Observers? How about Terry McAuliffe?”

    May I suggest Vladmir Putin, for all the right and all the wrong reasons?

    1. urblintz

      After the oil price plunged, Trump filled up our crude reserves to the brim w/ 20$/barrel oil. Obviously he got a great “deal” and it was a more than savvy move (don’t give him credit for knowing it but someone in the WH did) than people know as of yet.

      He bought the oil from Russia, is what I understand…

      If anyone smarter than I can explain it better than I… I don’t want to be wrong and spreading BS

      1. urblintz

        I’m not sure my comment above was clear… in a time of global crisis Russia was prepared to help the US by protecting our reserves (would that it were we didn’t need them, climate change and all that, and much will probably be wasted on saving the already dead fracking industry vicariously, but, alas…) at a price that turned into a huge stroke of luck for Trump and could prove important going forward.

        Had I been Vlad I would have at least been tempted to offer a long lecture about sanctions first while seriously contemplating a “nyet” knowing how deserved it would be…

        But Vlad didn’t say “nyet” did he?

        and yes he made money too. like a true capitalist…

  17. Wukchumni

    Boston Area Residents Stockpile Marijuana In Case Of Coronavirus Quarantine WGBH
    Seeing as smoking is bad for you with the Coronavirus, we’ve decided to go on highatus for awhile, and so far so good, although i’m not sure I could resist a fancy pre-rolled joint if it was in close proximity-which it isn’t, and i’m not driving 20 miles to hang out in a crowded room of stoners looking for their fix @ the pot shoppe.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      working on a double batch of brownies for 3 weeks.
      it’s been a rather productive period.

    2. xkeyscored

      It was the first thing I stocked up on, along with cigarette papers, and heavily. I still haven’t bought a loo roll – most bathrooms and toilets here are water-based.

  18. Judith

    My adult daughter and I live in Somerville, MA, a small densely populated city near Boston. Some one in my neighborhood left a note on our door yesterday about organizing a neighborhood phone tree to facilitate support and connection within the neighborhood. Seems like a good idea (and for once a good reason to have a cell phone in this time of social distancing).

    1. Jason Boxman

      I heard about that and considered something like that, but I’m in an apartment building and no one so far has stepped up and gone door to door inside.

      While I’ve seen modest lines at the bFresh and Permberton Farms here in Davis, it hasn’t been an apocalypse yet and I haven’t had trouble finding anything thus far; but that was Friday.

    2. rtah100

      It’s a useful tip on the CDC prepping page. We just borrowed it and did it in the UK for our street.

  19. Jason Boxman

    In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” the White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, guaranteed that there was enough stock in the supply chain for people to be able to provide food for their families at home without running out of supplies, though he noted that “there may be some exceptions.”

    One of which will be people that get laid off and can no longer pay for said food.

    1. The Historian

      Kudrow is again showing his idiocy. The supply chain has already broken down.

      We do “just in time” shipping in this country which works well under normal conditions and has dramatically reduced the need for warehouses. But it doesn’t work under conditions like the ones we are seeing now. Grocery stores know how much food they need to order when people are buying their usual one week supplies and that is what is usually on their shelves. But now people are being told to stock up and buy food for longer periods so that they can social distance. So instead of buying a one week’s supply of food, they are buying 2 weeks up to 3 months worth of food and the grocery stores just cannot keep up with that demand. Some people are hoarding but mostly the shortages are due to the store’s ability to get supplies. If you’ve been reading Wolf Street you know that the trucking industry has been in a slump and when the trucking industry goes into a slump, they lay off drivers and sell off trucks. So the supply chain just can’t handle the increased need right now even if the food processors have geared up for this, which I suspect they haven’t.

      The last time I was at my local grocery a couple of weeks ago, there was stock piled up in the aisles – you almost couldn’t get a cart through – and the store manager I talked to said he’d order more if he had somewhere to put it or even could get it. He knew what was coming and he even tried to talk to his corporate people to allow him to get warehouse space to store stuff while he could get it, but they wouldn’t budge. I haven’t been back since, but reading the Nextdoor comments makes me think his store shelves are pretty much empty now. And that is something a grocer tries to avoid at all costs. If there are no supplies on the shelves, it is because he can’t get them. Apparently Kudrow doesn’t understand that.

      The supply chain will recover because those who have stocked up won’t be going out to the stores any time soon, allowing the stores to finally stock up again for those who choose not to stock up or can’t stock up, or those who realized what was happening too late to get their supplies, but it is pretty messy out there right now.

      1. David J.

        I can add a little here. I spent almost 20 years working part-time at a major chain grocery throwing boxes on the night crew a few days a week. Retired late last year (and am glad I did.)

        Over the past month I have been buying enough food/sundries to get us through a period of isolation. At first we said, “two weeks will be enough” but given the progression of events, that escalated to “one month” and then to “two months.” Over the weekend, because we are both at risk we decided on “four months.” Seems crazy, but here we are.

        In any case, I went to my old store very early this morning. In the process of loading up I stopped to talk to many friends and co-workers. Here is some of what they are telling me. Trucks are late as the supply chain is backed up and overloaded. Very large orders are being placed with the warehouses but they are only receiving about half (by piece count) of what they order. Trucks are also unpredictable in terms of arrival, often 10 to 12 hours late and in one instance, didn’t arrive at all/was cancelled. The company has also cut back on hours of operation, beginning tomorrow.

        One fellow said, with respect to customers, “It’s like locusts.” Another told me that she was pretty sure she had been exposed. The crew I worked on has had a few members out with the flu (although this might just be ordinary garden-variety flu.) My asthmatic, guitar-playing buddy told me that he’s really concerned for his health and plans to use the shortened hours to come when the store closes at night and be gone by the time it opens up in the morning. I asked him if anyone had touched base with the union to see what they were doing to protect their members and he said that as far as he knew, no. (But surely the local has been thinking about this, I hope.)

        Today seemed less crazy than last week, so perhaps some normalization of operations is setting in. But then again, I was there before the crack of dawn.

        Lastly, I am very concerned about the lack of attention being paid to social distancing. Not only because there are simply too many people in the building, but also because more people than one would hope are simply not taking it seriously. A few have even poo-poo’ed the severity of the situation. Part of it is that too many people have a kind of bovine outlook on the world. (Nice people and many friends among my co-workers, but the job ain’t rocket science.) Another part of it is that the nature of the job, and the onerous conditions imposed by management, tend to put one in a more-or-less permanent state of battle. This is true all the time and not just under these unusual conditions. So, people have a tendency to tough-things-out because it is a necessary part of the psychological makeup to survive in the service employee world.

        That’s my two bits. I’m fortunate enough to be done with all that. I’m also in good shape on the home front. All I have to do now is ensure our supply of prescriptions is available. Luckily, my pharmacy has a drive through for pick up.

        1. xkeyscored

          The supply chain will recover because those who have stocked up won’t be going out to the stores any time soon, allowing the stores to finally stock up again

          If store staff, drivers, warehouse workers and so on start self-isolating (and worse), the supply chains might not function as before. Johnson in the UK is considering using troops.
          Troops on the streets in the fight against coronavirus: Government plans to draft in Army to keep hospitals and supermarkets secure, escort food convoys and build tented field wards next to care homes to cope with crisis as deaths almost double in 24 hours

          1. MLTPB

            People who have stocked up for 3, 4 r more months, are they farsighted to be looked up to, or not to emulate?

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              I think some like myself have been stocking up for a while on a just in case of the worst basis. a friend told me that his 2 neighbours who have gone along with the – ordinary flu kills more, car crashes kill more etc, have over the last week been seen arriving at their houses on a few occasions loaded up with all of that which has disappeared off the shelves – obviously this has been replicated all over the province & elsewhere, as complacency turns to panic.

              Much worse in ROI than Northern Ireland according to my daughter, who fortunately now listens to her Dad. ( sort of )

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          I think that the growing mentality is to have 12 months of groceries on hand. The runs on grocery stores will continue unabated. People are filling their garages floor to ceiling with groceries. It will get worse before it gets better.

    2. timbers

      I went to grocery store Friday mid day…took time from work to do it. It was busy but mostly well stocked which – what I thought – sometimes odd exceptions:

      Eggs – sold out
      Salt – cheaper store brand name sold out, big brand names depleted but available. Only noticed that because I went to get some iodinized salt..
      Cheese – still available but low supply

      Didn’t check the toilet paper but it was a humorous topic in our weekly work conference call with co-workers joking sharing tips on where to get it, held just before I decided I’d better take a run to the store.

  20. zagonostra

    Wolf Richter
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    In terms of the economy, this sucker is going down. I see it everywhere. Businesses are shutting down, revenues are collapsing. People are not spending money on big ticket items. Home sales will come to a halt, as will auto sales. No one has ever been through anything like this.

    1. The Rev Kev

      No-one living that is. They must have gone through the same back in 1918-1919 during the first flu pandemic. Does nobody study history on Wall Street?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        No-one living that is.

        Not even the dead unless you go back far enough, black plague far enough, and even then we simply were not the same society as today. This country has never experienced a major epidemic under our current global economic and productive conditions; the situation is night and day different from what it was in 1918. In 1918, for instance, New England produced 80 to 90% of what it consumed. It also manufactured a proportionately high percentage of the items it used in everyday life such as tools, clothes, leather goods, and even machines. Now we produce less than 2% (as of a decade ago so perhaps less than 1%) of what we consume. I’m just picking one area. The states as a whole, just as European countries, were also far more self sufficient materially and cohesive socially at the local level than most can even conceive of today.

        That is largely gone. While we have the technology to combat epidemics, we have catastrophically gone in the opposite direction of “pulling together,” so the technology is going to be out of the reach of those who need it – not just physically, but mentally. And this sclerosis, where people must be magically rich enough to be broke may spiral out of control and pull our whole economy to rubble. One might feel some sense of “pay back,” to those well off who contributed so much to the state we are in and who will no doubt be caught up in it, but most of that will have to wait. The suffering and loss, particularly in this country but hardly limited to it, may be so great that that few will have time or inclination for it.

        There will be a lot of anger afterwards, but I fear it won’t be productive and will be manipulated in graspy self destructive waves along with collateral and reoccurring tragedy. This is a designer pandemic for neoliberal economies.

        1. Eclair

          “The states as a whole, …. were also far more self sufficient materially and cohesive socially at the local level than most can even conceive of today.”

          I agree, Brooklin Bridge. My spouse has a trove of letters, written by his Grandfather, a farm boy from Lander, Pennsylvania, a village bordering on New York state. Grandfather was training with the 80th Division, at Camp Lee, Virginia, in the summer/fall of 1918. He wrote a long letter to his mother, back on the farm, every week.

          He describes the arrival of the Spanish Flu at the camp. Tent mates were ‘removed’ in the middle of the night and taken to the hospital. He talks about canvas sheets being hung between cots, to prevent the spread of ‘germs.’ But there is no sense of panic. In fact, knowing what we know now, it is pretty amazing how calm and reassuring he is. There is no indication that he is worried about the spread of this flu to the family back home. And, there are no family stories about disruptions in the community caused by this disease. The farm families were pretty self-sufficient in terms of food; meat and potatoes were plentiful. Tools and machinery? They were repaired, repurposed, rebuilt. No scrap of metal, no piece of wire, no nail, was ever thrown away (I know because there is a barn full of them at my in-laws’ place.) And, death was always just around the corner; babies died from diphtheria, cholera and whooping cough. Young people from tuberculosis. Farming is a dangerous calling, with all those sharp pitchforks, axes, huge farm horses.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Very interesting summary of those letters. Thank you, Eclair! My grandfather was part of that war effort and described something quite similar though he also loved to tell about some of the wackiness of things in general such as marching around and around a hill so as to make the procession seem more impressive to some Generals “reviewing the troops.”

    2. Wukchumni

      An oh so appropriate quote from Richard Feynman…

      Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.

      1. Lee

        A quote for today: “Sorry, my karma just ran over your dogma.”

        I can’t find the origin of the quote. I first saw it on a bumper sticker in Berkeley in the 70s IIRC.

      2. farragut

        Beautiful. One my favorites from him (which I find myself silently repeating rather saying aloud):

        “When you’re dead, you don’t know the pain of your being dead; that is a burden which others must bear. It’s the same when you’re stupid.”

      3. Jim S

        “The lesson [Oliver Wendell] Holmes took from the [civil] war can be put in a sentence. It is that certitude leads to violence. This is a proposition that has an easy application and a difficult one. The easy application is to ideologues, dogmatists, and bullies—people who think that their rightness justifies them in imposing on anyone who does not happen to subscribe to their particular ideology, dogma, or notion of turf. If the conviction of rightness is powerful enough, resistance to it will be met, sooner or later, by force. There are people like this in every sphere of life, and it is natural to feel that the world would be a better place without them.”

        ― Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America

    3. timbers

      FWI, I did manage to rent my apartment I finished renovating, and another one wants it if this guy backs out. It was to a kid recently out of college and got a job at W.B. Mason corporate, located locally in fact I drive by it everyday on my way to work. So green he doesn’t have checks and wanted to do deposit with Paypal or veneo. I told him I’d wait for the checks he ordered on my account as I only take cash or checks. I’ think paypal for example gives payment info to tax authorities and they have blocked my account when I sell to many movies at a loss on ebay because they have to report it to the IRS as income. The young often have no checking and don’t seem to carry much cash, though my previous tenant was in construction and only paid in cash.

  21. The Rev Kev

    Just to show you that real life is getting crazy with Coronavirus, I have two articles to mention here. One is a Duffle Blog article how ISIS is canceling all suicide missions to protect its bombers from infection saying “The health and safety of our suicide bombers is always our number one priority”-

    But then just earlier I read a real article how Isis has warned its followers to avoid traveling to Europe because of the Coronavirus outbreak – “the land of the epidemic” they call it – and it also reminds members to wash their hands regularly-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      ISIS was never a suicide operation. Al Qaeda was because Bin Laden and his cronies didn’t want to risk losing their rock star status to younger fighters. Without those guys directing operations or being sought out, more organized outfits emerged who even if they wanted to continue suicide bombings wouldn’t hold the same authority as the people who drove out the USSR. In a sense, they are believers in their cause and might be more attentivene their membership than post ’89 Bin Laden Al Qaeda which was dedicated to holding his celebrity status.

  22. BobW

    Walmart grocery pickup is not available here now. Only two days on reservation schedule instead of the normal ~10, and both are greyed out. Site says it is because of high demand.

  23. Samuel Conner

    I stopped listening to the debate last night after Biden, famously known as “the Senator from MBNA”, boasted about a decades old proposal to publicly fund campaigns. I followed the comments after that.

    A couple of thoughts that Sanders might have made, perhaps did, and could continue to make regarding Biden’s insistence that the overall US healthcare system doesn’t urgently need overhaul and that we should simply focus on the present emergency, and limit the interventions to free testing and care for virus-related cases .

    * Because the death-rate is higher for those with co-morbidities, the problem of under-provision of care to those who have financial reasons to delay seeking treatment for all conditions — a significant fraction of the population — means that the epidemic (which may become part of the annual seasonal disease environment) interacts with the baseline US healthcare system in ways that worsen outcomes. To deal with the emergency of the epidemic, we also need to deal with the problem of financial disincentives to seek treatment for co-morbidities, which means that we need to deal with the entire healthcare system.

    Biden’s view, that the epidemic can be dealt with through special virus-only funding measures in isolation from the dysfunction of the rest of the US healthcare system, is deeply flawed.

    * I would have liked to hear (and perhaps Sanders did say something like this that I did not notice while listening, or after I tuned out)

    “Ladies and Gentleman, I want you all to think carefully about the Vice President’s language of “emergency”. What does the Vice President consider to be an “emergency” for the people of this country?

    It’s true that the pandemic is an emergency for the elites in this country. It is hammering the stock market, and it will eat into their unearned income, their profits, dividends, and share price appreciation. It’s also an emergency for many people whose retirement income comes in part from the stock market — and it’s another reminder that we should not force people to rely on risky markets for their retirement income.

    And this is a catastrophic emergency for many workers who live paycheck to paycheck and who will see their wages slashed as their employers reduce hours or temporarily cease operations because of public health measures or simply lack of customers.

    In all these ways, I agree with the Vice President that the pandemic is an emergency and that we need to deal with this emergency.

    But what I find disgraceful is the background level of suffering in this country — a level of suffering that our elites consider to be perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable, the natural outworking of the market — that is inflicted on millions of people by our profiteering insurance companies, who make their profits by denying claims, and our profiteering drug companies who make their profits by raising prices on essential medicines (medicines that in many cases were developed by publicly funded research), by for-profit medical practices that double bill and surprise bill patients, and on and on.

    The Vice President does not consider this baseline level of suffering to be an emergency.

    I disagree. It is an emergency for millions of people, and we should deal with it now, not later, when the pandemic crisis has passed and things have returned to normal and inertia sets back in, as it always does.

    We need Medicare for All, and we need it NOW”

  24. Wukchumni

    If I had to eat one food only, i’m not sure i’d ever tire of popcorn, popped in a pot over an open flame with olive oil, and seasoned with sea salt.

    Read into it what you will, but Amazon looks to be running out of many kinds of popcorn, and if that isn’t a sign that things are about to come a cropper, what is?

    1. Monty

      Judging by the stocks left in our local store, I am wondering if Coronavirus might cure the nation’s obesity epidemic by years end.

  25. Wukchumni

    A pandemic hit hard here in 1868-69, and about 85% of the local population of around 2,000 died, and the disease devastated other communities all along the foothills and even over into Owens Valley. The tribes never recovered in terms of building their communities back to their previous numbers, and about 10 years ago at our museum in town, there was about a dozen Wukchumni men from the Tule Reservation on hand for a new exhibit of the type of reed hut their people would’ve lived in for time immemorial, and they all looked like Darrel & his brother Darrel & his brother Darrel.

    The culprit was a virus none of them had ever encountered before, Measles.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Joe Biden Committed To Picking A Woman For Vice President”

    Does anybody know if Sarah Palin is busy these days? Yeah, I know that she is a Republican but so was Bloomberg and that did not stop him running as a Democrat candidate for the Presidency. I can imagine a lot of Hilary supporters going with Biden now. To think that a female Vice-President would be only one heartbeat away from the Presidency is a vision that they could not resist.

      1. Monty

        Wouldn’t present the opportunity for a few awkward questions about why she ripped racist Joe a new one during the first debate? Wishful thinking?

      2. Olga

        Wouldn’t surprise me if it were Kamala – two empty suits: one white and male, one minority and female. A bit of symmetry there…

    1. urblintz

      Joan Walsh at The Nation has penned an article to which I will not lonk stating that choosing a woman as VEEP is why Biden is winning…

      looked to me the reason he was winning, before saying his VEEP would be a woman, was electoral fraud and the destruction of the democratic process.

      but what do I know?

    2. HotFlash

      I can imagine a lot of Hilary supporters going with Biden now.

      What about HRH HRC her own self? I mean, it would just be a heartbeat.

  27. Wukchumni

    In a move unheard of by the Fed, they have decided to smother the Coronavirus by piling huge amounts of virtual money on the problem, to make it look as if the invisible hand is petting Schrödinger’s cat, here kitty-kitty.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I see two possibilities in dealing with Coronavirus. You could have the Fed be put in charge of Coronavirus who would make it a fiat virus and inflate it away like they did with the US dollar


      Let Big Pharma put an ever-greening patent on Coronavirus after analyzing its structure and then charge Americans $10,000 for using their virus. Few Americans would be able to afford to have a case of Coronavirus then and it would soon disappear off the marketplace.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the yes, you can teach an old cat new tricks department, i’ve taught the caterfamilias of the clan to fist bump me, and what I do is hold my fist about the height of my waist, and he gets up on his back legs and hits the fist with the side of his head.

  28. xkeyscored

    This story brought a smile, albeit a somewhat cruel one, and a little light relief to many of us today.

    Passengers from a cruise ship with WURS cases have been transferred to a hotel in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. And two USians among them are horrified to find the accommodation isn’t up to the standard they see as their inalienable right.

    There are dead bugs everywhere – and also live bugs,” said Gordon-Knapp, 60. “Ants, flying insects, little lizards.

    Yes Mr Knapp, this is Cambodia. It has ants and insects, and the lizards’ll eat a few of the insects and hoover up the dead ones for you.
    And where is this filthy hellhole in which they’re being cruelly incarcerated? Not the sort of place I ever stay in, let alone the average Cambodian.

    In any case, according to the Prime Minister, they’re welcome to resume their adventure on the ship itself, if they prefer.

    Hun Sen said the passengers were allowed to stay in a hotel in Kampong Cham or could go back to the ship and that the ship would not be allowed to depart until meeting all the requirements of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    As a friend puts it, “Stereotypical Americans Doing Nothing To Dispel American Stereotypes”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Gawd, I nearly jumped when I opened that image. Not exactly a pair of happy chappies, are they?

        1. xkeyscored

          They’ve obviously got internet access, which they could be using to search for tips on coping with bugs galore.

  29. The Historian

    What a difference a couple of days makes. In this state, everyone was pretty much ignoring Covid-19 until we had our first case on Thursday – and then 4 more on Friday. Today schools that said they would not close have closed from Universities to grade schools. Idaho is shutting down – rapidly.

    On another note, one of my daughters works for the Bureau of Prisons in another state. The Bureau wants to empty out the prisons – sounds like a good thing, right? But the devil is in the details. Before when they released someone, that person had a caseworker to make sure they had somewhere to live and were transitioning into society. Now? There aren’t enough caseworkers to make sure all those released will have somewhere to go. They just plan to dump them out the door. Do we really need more people on the streets with no support?

    1. Wukchumni

      Cleverly hidden in between the 5 & 99 Highways in the CVBB is where many convicts have apartments for which the state pays their way to the tune of approx $4,000 a month, there must be a dozen prisons.

      A nightmare scenario would be letting them all out, and yes I could see that happening.

  30. The Rev Kev

    I was thinking of how so many countries are going into lock-down and what would be the effect on all those people when a thought occurred to me. There was an aricle that was linked here a coupla months ago how Millennials, through their upbringing, found solace with each other and found it uncomfortable alone, even intolerable. Some find that they cannot even study alone and so go to a friend’s place.

    I was wondering what the effect may be on them when they go into lock-down. No, this is not an attack on Millennials but just an observation. Other older generations will find it intolerable that at their age, they they will not be allowed to go shopping or meet friends at a cafe or any of the other activities that they feel entitled to partake in. A lot of people from different generations are going to find isolation tough to deal with.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Reverend, the students at my alma mater are behaving the way you predicted:

      And the local alumni group seems determined to go right along with the kids. Two events still scheduled for this month:

      I doubt I’ll be in attendance at either event.

      Meanwhile, back at the Arizona Slim Ranch, the student rental across from me appears to have been abandoned. Our local institution of highest learning has asked the students not to return to campus:

      So, no more drunken parties across from me? Which includes the partygoers imbibing while sitting on the rooftop couch?

      Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Probably they think that Coronavirus can only hurt old people. I heard a report out of the Netherlands that over half the people in the intensive care unit was under 50 (maybe 40?) but that there were even cases of real young people like a 20 year old that is, or was, healthy. There is even a report of a marathon runner in an ICU. The smart students then are probably the ones that you do not see partying.

  31. David Carl Grimes

    Is there a way to shield the most vulnerable demographic from Covid-19? How do you shield the elderly from Covid-19 while letting it run rampant in the rest of the population? It’s bizarre. Short of herding all the old people into an isolated island, I don’t think its possible.

    ‘Herd immunity’: Why Britain is actually letting the coronavirus spread

    1. skk

      The Cali governor has called on all over-65s to self-isolate, i.e not go out. I was pondering this:
      ” I broke the law by drinking in bars when under 18 ( UK minimum age). Will I now be breaking the law by drinking in bars when over 65 ?”
      And will I see signs ” We check IDs of anyone who looks under 30 or over 55″

      Of course the brewpubs, bars have been sort of shut down too – but the necessary upside-downess of things brings home to me the strange world I”m living in.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Herd immunity’ may work. If a government thinks of its people as a bunch of cattle, that is, and ripe for the slaughter house.

      1. rtah100

        Great spot PK. This is too important to leave it at Buzzfeed summary. Everybody in the UK and US needs to read the report (publish TODAY) and especially the conclusion that mitigation is a non-starter in both countries and only suppression can work:

        It’s by Neil Ferguson, who is very convincing, I would rather him running things than Vallance.

        Link here in full.

        Conclusion (key bits in my bold)

        “Perhaps our most significant conclusion is that mitigation is unlikely to be feasible without emergency surge capacity limits of the UK and US healthcare systems being exceeded many times over. In the most effective mitigation strategy examined, which leads to a single, relatively short epidemic (case isolation, household quarantine and social distancing of the elderly), the surge limits for both general ward and ICU beds would be exceeded by at least 8-fold under the more optimistic scenario for critical care requirements that we examined. In addition, even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US.

        “In the UK, this conclusion has only been reached in the last few days, with the refinement of estimates of likely ICU demand due to COVID-19 based on experience in Italy and the UK (previous planning estimates assumed half the demand now estimated) and with the NHS providing increasing certainty around the limits of hospital surge capacity.

        We therefore conclude that epidemic suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time. The social and economic effects of the measures which are needed to achieve this policy goal will be profound. Many countries have adopted such measures already, but even those countries at an earlier stage of their epidemic (such as the UK) will need to do so imminently.”

        This study is the reason the penny has dropped with UK government:
        – oh, we don’t have any ventilators?
        – How many Italians are dying?

        If you read the full paper, you will see that we will require lockdown measures potentially for years, with schools and universities opening in bursts until ICU cases reach trigger levels and then being shut down and being shut 2/3 of the time! The paper does not assume:
        – any significant increase in ICU capacity, which would enable school reopening to higher trigger levels;
        – use of technology to contact trace, which could potentially suppress outbreak enough to reopen schools for longer / normalise other aspects. South Korea shows it can be done
        – a vaccine (but that would end the lockdown cycle)

        Brace yourself, folks – as somebody once sang “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time” … and we have not even begun to discuss the future political economy of our Rocketman years.

  32. Ignacio

    RE: Why do dozens of diseases wax and wane with the seasons—and will COVID-19? Science

    This is a nice review basically on how much we don’t know about epidemiological factors that drive disease seasonality. But reading this gives some sense that while the new coronavirus may, and will almost certainly continue spreading during summer and as long as we are not immunologically resistant to it, it could be interesting to play something with a season that is overall less favourable to enveloped respiratory diseases like SARS Cov 2.

    Summer could be the correct time to let the virus spread until resistance is developed in a significant part of the population. More or less the approach that UK seems to be keen on following but delayed until the weather helps to make the disease less severe because we are in better shape, we are outside for longer, take some sun and absolute humidity and temperature are higher. This way, we might avoid a new winter outbreak that could be more destructive. This is of course very speculative but what else can we do except speculating with so many unknowns? This has been my pet idea of at least would like for me: to pass a mild infection in summer rather than a nasty one this or next winter.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Does not herd immunity risk being difficult to control? In this country, it looks ripe to be somewhat of a gamble the elderly and those with pre-exsisting conditions may end up paying for since isolation, or most anything else for that matter, is going to be difficult to maintain in the US.

  33. David

    The French media are reporting that there will be a G7 videoconference this afternoon, followed by a virtual EU summit tomorrow. There are rumours that the latter may agree to seal the EU’s borders (the UK of course would be outside). Meanwhile Macron is addressing the French people (again) tonight at 2000 CET. There aren’t many new measures he can announce, but it’s widely believed he will announce the cancellation of the second round of the municipal elections scheduled for Sunday. This will require clever legal footwork but apparently is possible. Beyond that, all that’s left really is closing frontiers and sealing off certain areas where the virus has been most active.

    1. Ignacio

      Regional elections have just been cancelled in a few Spanish Comunidades Autónomas. It doesn’t make sense when you are in quarantine. Macron is being, as most leaders around, quite reactive. Closing frontiers when the countries are quarantined… adds anything?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Agreed.. they are all wanting to appear that they are doing something.

        I am afraid that President Trump is going to get the same idea.. and ban traveling interstate. I have heard rumors about ti and I would suspect it will do more harm than good to supply chains.

        1. MLTPB

          Not all countries are quarantined. I think that’s why the need to close frontiers, to avoid imports more, new cases (see China), and to avoid exporting it.

          When an area is quarantined, it can either have an election or not have one. Under the draconian ones like Wuhan, where families can send a member out every two days, an election is not possible. Less severe restrictions than that, it’s possible to have one, but the authority may decide not to have one, due to community spread concerns. It makes sense to cancel, with quarantine in place, in that case.

          As for interstate travel restrictions, likely simliar to international ones, goods can still be moved.

      2. Tenar

        Have been hearing from many friends and colleagues that France will face a Italy-like lockdown by Wednesday and for a period of five weeks. Meanwhile, without providing confirmation, Le Monde and Le Figaro are reporting that the government is “exploring” such measures and that that the second round of municipal elections will be put off to June.

        1. David

          The Prime Minister and the leaders of the political parties and other political figures are asking for the postponement of the elections until 21 June. It’s assumed that Macron has already agreed privately. There are 36,000 communes in France so this is a big deal.

          1. MLTPB

            We talked about this early here on NC, about the party conventions, and the Nov elections, being impacted by this thing.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I’ve been cutting my own. Very chic; tufts sticking out in wonderful random patterns :-) Fortunately, the weather was cold enough so I could wear a ski hat when I was still going out and not freak everyone out with the appearance of some horrible disease.

        2. Ignacio

          Supposedly for people that have dificulties… that might happen to be amongst the most vulnerable… has been cancelled.

        3. The Rev Kev

          I cut my hair cut last week because the virus is only starting to get a foothold in Oz and figured that this would be the last chance to get it done for a long time. After that, It will be a bowl and a pair of scissors.

      1. hunkerdown

        Multinational executive suites, mainly. I distinctly remember Mr. Stringer’s name from his tenure at Sony’s entertainment division.

        Currently reading my way through Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class and it doesn’t look like there’s a good “last chapter” awaiting me.

        1. witters

          “…it doesn’t look like there’s a good “last chapter” awaiting me.”

          Well, in a way there is. Veblen’s incisive wit is there, in all its ironical sheen, in the great John Kenneth Galbraith.

          (A bit of JFK that seems apt (and true, as always): “All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.”)

  34. Wukchumni

    The only way you stop mobility in the USA is to stop delivering gas to stations, and it’s coming soon.

    I’d put the over/under @ 10 days.

    1. Carolinian

      Shut down the petroleum industry? It seems unlikely that the Trump administration would do that.

      Plus while one could argue that while American addiction to cars is not a good thing, it could be desirable in a time of contagion.

        1. Carolinian

          Well do we want people in crowded buses or subways if they have cars available?

          There was a period when I rode my bike everywhere and even to the grocery store. This was just because I like riding my bike. Eventually my knees objected.

          1. pretzelattack

            there’s an idea. did you have some kind of cart behind you could put groceries on?
            i assume there hasn’t been a run on bicycles yet.

            1. Carolinian

              I shopped small and used a backpack and rear carrier. The grocery store was at the end of our local rail trail that i rode every day anyway.

              Of course these days you don’t want to hang around stores any more than you have to.

    2. MLTPB

      The USA is a big place.

      Maybe in the hot spots.

      In the case of NY, many take public transportation.

      We have Wuhan, Hubei, Daegu to look to for a glimpse of possible measures.

      1. Wukchumni

        The problem with public transportation is there are more than 10 people on board, and that’s a no go zone.

        Luckily places such as San Diego never fell for the concept, so a moot point.

  35. chuck roast

    So, in the interest of self-preservation, I checked out generic hydroxychloroquine otherwise known as Plaquenil. Sixty 20 mg. tablets cost $654. It costs $40-$50 @ Walmart or CVS with a coupon.

          1. xkeyscored

            It’s no longer available in Cambodian pharmacies, unlike many a narcotic or other medicine that would be prescription only elsewhere, only in hospitals. I think I read a while back that malaria here has become resistant to more modern drugs, and lost resistance to chloroquine.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Where did it cost $654? I called local drug store about zing supplements and they were sold out, as in, “don’t bother us.”

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Thanks, Katiebird. I just ordered some online. They are back ordered now till 3/31/2020, but that’s fine (hopefully it won’t fall through – but hey, difficult times).

  36. xkeyscored

    Sorry if this has been linked to before:

    This Is How the Richest 1% Keep Calm and Carry On

    Some Americans have found a measure of reassurance in these coronavirus days by stocking up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper. For others, peace comes with the purchase of a $4,995 emergency go-bag, outfitted with “Bond-like gadgets” and custom monogramming. Or a $149.95 “virus-eliminating” personal air purifier that’s worn as a necklace. Or a $99.95 Sanitized Sleeper’s Safe Haven, a bedtime cocoon made from “patented antimicrobial fabric that kills nearly 100% of bacteria, fungi and viruses.”

    1. MLTPB

      Sounds more psychological than clinically proven.

      For us non billionaires, perhaps incense or essential oils.

      Pray, for those who believe.

      1. xkeyscored

        Sounds like a right money spinner for the sellers, if only they could get enough supplies. Many items are sold out.

  37. David B Harrison

    My dad was a tobacco farmer and use to complain about the demonization of tobacco and how alcohol got a free pass.This pandemic reminds me of this.The cause of this pandemic is globalization(which existed before neoliberalism put it on steroids).Constant unfettered air travel for business and pleasure is spreading this disease like wildfire.The hot spots for the disease are mostly cosmopolitan(and when it is not cosmopolitan it occurs because of the global economic system).Places where the bourgeoisie congregate are over represented as outbreak zones.Previously the poor were blamed for outbreaks.This is a pandemic caused by the affluent.Airliners are the most effective disease spreaders ever designed and the companies that own them will be the first in line for handouts.They are getting a free pass.A socioeconomic system based on commonsense towns surrounded by farms(and resulting in moderate travel needs) would have either stopped a pandemic from occurring or made it easier to control.

    1. periol

      Don’t forget those lovely folks and their cruises!

      Was explaining to my mother I’m not yet concerned about coronavirus where I live because it’s a poor area. Most people here can’t afford to fly, and don’t really socialize with people who can, except to work for them. Schools are closed, which is going to be really tough around here, as will the lost income. That might hit home harder than the virus.

      If this thing hits 50% of the USA with even a .5% CFR I don’t think society will be soon forgetting how this disease was spread.

      p.s I agree with your dad!

      1. MLTPB

        Nothing definitive at the CDC site about mail, I think.

        Even people in rural areas get mail.

        As of 50%, I think it’s time to do something similar to Wuhan here.

  38. antidlc

    WHO considers ‘airborne precautions’ for medical staff after study shows coronavirus can survive in air

    Key Points

    The WHO is considering “airborne precautions” for medical staff after a new study showed the coronavirus can survive in the air in some settings.
    The coronavirus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity, WHO officials said.

    1. MLTPB

      Thank you.

      I think this further cements the idea that one should go to a hospital only when its necessary.

      And sadly, with that, I think, it narrows M4A to a one time, for one disease special version.

      If so, reluctantly, it’s still better than nothing, as most of us can only experience next year if we can make it.

    2. Ignacio

      SARS CoV 1 was supposed to transmit mainly by fomites because the virus has not tropism for the upper respiratory track (URT). On the contrary, SARS CoV 2 readily infects and multiplies on the URT, and it is much more infectious so one can conclude that direct air transmission is very important in the latter case. Supportive for this are data on contagions within closed environments.

      1. antidlc

        I thought Trump said at a press conference that the federal government had ordered ventilators.

        1. MLTPB

          If possible, all levels of government should get them. Probably the lead time is long and getting longterm if not impossible altogether.

      2. cnchal

        The FED can print them using tools laying around in their basement

        Still flying = Total Fail

        1. MLTPB

          Nothing more than 50, suggests the CDC, I believe

          That would rule out more commercial flying.

          Private jet flying maybe be exempt, I guess.

          The 50 people limit would impact city council meetings, government offices, Congress, etc.

      1. xkeyscored

        Or as the article puts it,
        By 1932, when Senators Peter Norbeck (R-SD) and George Norris (R-NB) spearheaded the establishment of the U.S. Committee on Banking and Currency, the American economy was on life support and the people were so desperate that a fascist dictatorship in America would have been welcomed with open arms if only bread could be put on the table. Unemployment had reached 25%, while over 40% of banks had gone bankrupt and 25% of the population had lost their savings. Thousands of tent cities called ‘Hoovervilles’ were spread across the USA and over 50% of America’s industrial capacity had shut down. Thousands of farms had been foreclosed and the engines of American industry had grinded to a screeching halt.

        1. Billy

          Was World War Two, the rescue of the Soviet Communist government, Red China, Korea, Vietnam, a permanent Military Industrial Complex, 50 million dead and the environmental destruction of atomic weapons preferable to a fascist dictatorship in America that might have obviated all that? Just sayin’.

  39. Fíréan

    Not so long ago the discussion was how to shut down our present society as would be the only effective solution to the environmental / climate disaster , though would be near impossible to achieve voluntarily . Well now we have, or heading towards, that shut down for a presently unknown duration.

      1. xkeyscored

        Our grandchildren, who’ll be the ones really facing the environmental disasters we’re creating, may not view this as entirely calamitous if it wakes us up a bit, making us realise that a profit-driven economy may not be the thing that saves us. We’re going to need to mobilise resources regardless of profit, and people will wonder why that can’t be done more often.

  40. pretzelattack

    the hostile takeover of the democratic party is not working this time, maybe because the candidate isn’t hostile enough. is it ever going to be feasible, if it isn’t now?

    1. tegnost

      I think the hostile takeover happened a while back, now they’re just successfully defending it

  41. Nealser

    From Irish Times….the Centre for Aviation, a respected aviation consultancy, warned that by the end of May most airlines would be bankrupt due to the unprecedented travel restrictions that are being rolled out by governments around the world.

    “Many airlines have probably already been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants,” Capa said in a report. “By the end of May 2020, most airlines in the world will be bankrupt. Co-ordinated government and industry action is needed — now — if catastrophe is to be avoided.”

    1. MLTPB

      Sadly, not the one industry…cruiseliners, eateries, etc.

      And I think, while being lighthearted can cheer us up, a bit, offering actionable suggestions can be more positive than, for example, saying, correctly, its globalism or neoliberalism (the time for that will come later).

      I think we can look to Wuhan.

      Decisive, draconian …short term pain.

      1. David B Harrison

        We had a candidate by the name of Bernie Sanders who had some great policy ideas and the centrist democrats(neoliberals) shut him down.I don’t think “no we can’t” is a great policy concept but it is the neoliberal way.What actionable suggestions do you have and how can they be applied in a neoliberal socioeconomic system.Right now governments are planning to save the market with bailouts and just like 2008 they will throw the working class under the bus.When these crises occur another portion of the working class joins the permanently poor.So perhaps the time is now to consider the reasons for our problems and deal with them accordingly because they will be with us after this is over( will it ever really over for the working class?).We have set on our butts since 1973 never lifting a finger to change this nightmare we have created.Always waiting for a magic leader or pill to cure all of our problems.The Bernie Sanders campaign has used small donations to amass large sums of money and if that model works then why can’t we do the same thing to raise money for a national organization(not thousands of organizations and individuals) to build a sustainable future.The establishment pulls together to fight us so why don’t we pull together to fight them.As I have said on this site before we will need solidarity and fellowship driven by commonsense and empathy(tempered by commonsense) to win this war.

    2. MLTPB

      Foreign leaders talking about 2/3 getting it, or our own leaders up and down to local, state, municipal ones saying millions, when in China, we havent seen that.

      If not millions in China, why would Germans, Italians (not Anglo, though Anglos came from Germany over 1,000 years ago), Spaniards, etc think that.

  42. John Beech

    Watched the debate. Saw no signs of Biden’s mental decline.

    Voted for Sanders on Saturday. Will not vote for Biden under any circumstances.

    Note, I predict he selects Hillary for his VP.

    COVID-19 is gonna get worse before it gets better. You folks stay safe!

    1. MLTPB

      There is an article in today’s links about UBI.

      I dont think it will make landlords hike rents, anymore than gas stations making gas more expensive, because of it.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Some would, hopefully most wouldn’t. But UBI is far from being a fait acompli, even though it would benefit everyone enormously right now along with a firm commitment that no one has to pay for testing, or or any part of testing (no sneaky definitions), or any part of hospitalization due to covid-19,

  43. Oregoncharles

    “Nativism and xenophobia hides the real origin of the coronavirus — which is political and global”

    While I agree with the sentiment, he’s pushed the connection a good deal too far. Two words: the Black Death, a much deadlier pathogen that spread virulently when Europe (the only part of the world we know about, for that period) was fractured and very far from globalized.

    While it isn’t at all clear just how Covid-19 originated, the going theory is that it started in a wildlife market – a peculiarly Chinese practice that is neither political nor global. Most societies have cultural or agricultural practices that can backlash on them, because new diseases arise by leveraging them.

    Where globalism does come in is in the very rapid spread around the entire world, and in the huge economic impact from countermeasures. The firewalls that used to at least slow down epidemics, and allowed particular economies to dodge downturns, have been intentionally torn down. Some of that is technical – air travel, primarily – but a lot is basically political.

    So while I think he’s right that we have a big political and globalization problem, I don’t think it has much to do with the origin of Covid-19.

    1. human

      I had read some of their sources previously elsewhere and decided to keep it in the back of my mind. Timelines are an excellent tool to begin to understand events, for obvious reasons.

      Something that has been nagging me for a couple of months is the outbreak in northern Italy. I now see a connection between a winter playground of the rich and famous and pockets, originally in Davos, Basel, Munich, and generally Lombardy.

      1. rtah100

        There’s a big Chinese population in Northern Italy, running whatever the Italian for maquiladoras is, finishing Chinese goods for a Made in EU label. Some towns are famous for this, e.g. Prato. The usual xenophobic mutterings are that when one legal immigrant dies, another takes his place and social security number. Whatever the truth, there is like a lot of travel to China from Lombardy. The cases announced have not been labelled by ethnicity, so it is hard to know is this is the background to the outbreak.

        There is also a nice paper doing the rounds on Italian family life. Many multi-generation arrangements, where they are not under one roof but within walking distances, seeing each other daily. The parents are retired and children commute long distances to live close and have good jobs. So the Lodi and Bergamo outbreaks may also reflect internationally connected workers in Milan bringing home the bacon and the virus….

  44. Irrational

    Re: Authers on close the markets – absolutely yes, when the economy is closed, they should be closed.

    1. Monty

      They will close after the last Boomer has capitulated, and the insiders, who shorted at the top, cover and cash out.

  45. tiebie66

    To what extent might global warming be contributing to the rise of coronavirus zoonoses? Bats eat insects, no? And insect populations across the world are known to crash. So now they compete for ants with pangolins and humans then eat pangolins? Are we already seeing the top-level consequences of sea changes occurring in the biosphere?
    If so, there’s probably more on the way and we’d better get the hang of it.

    1. CoryP

      Thanks, as a pharmacist I found that interview very helpful. And, I assume it’s just a matter of time before I get sick myself.

  46. Kyle

    Still hoping bernie would be back in the game. Clawing onto ideas and people that havent work instead of thinking deeply about ones that will. Tch Tch.

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