Links 3/18/2020

Patient readers, in my workflow, I collect too many links and then cut back. Unfortunately, given time contraints, my curation is a bit lax today. I didn’t have time to do a short links, so I did a long one! –lambert

Why Birds Are the World’s Best Engineers NYT. I wonder if the dinosaurs built nests. Some did!

Coronavirus latest: Government bonds drop as investors seek to raise cash in market turmoil FT

Saudis to Hike Oil Export to Record 10 Million Barrels a Day Bloomberg


US warns Iraq it ‘will not tolerate’ attacks on Americans Agence France Presse. Idea: Just leave, like the Iraqis asked.

Courting War Boston Review


Millions of elderly and most vulnerable will need to ‘shield’ themselves from social contact and stay at home for THREE months from this weekend Daily Mail

Coronavirus: France deploys 100,000 police to enforce lockdown and mobilises army Independent

Spain has nationalized all of its private hospitals as the country goes into coronavirus lockdown Business Insider

Spain Is Suddenly Shy About Stimulus With Virus Out of Control Bloomberg. “The [S]ocialist economy minister is trying to stop the deficit blowing out.” Whatever, in a sane world, “socialist” might mean, this is not it.

Serbia reaches out for China’s helping hand in coronavirus fight South China Morning Post

In Chile, student blinded by police says protests won’t end until president steps down NBC

Chile does not need a constituent process FT

Copper price sinks as China faces first GDP drop since 1976


The science:

Higher temperatures affect survival of new coronavirus, pathologist says AccuWeather. A good summary of expert views. Here is the original study on COVID-19 and latitude (and see chart here; not sure if space, or time, is the issue, however).

Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) Science (MR). “These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging.”

* * *

Potential treatment:

Coronavirus Australia: Queensland researchers find ‘cure’, want drug trial Clinical trials of “[an] HIV drug, which has been superseded by ‘newer generation’ HIV drugs, and the other is an anti-malaria drug called chloroquine which is rarely used and ‘kept on the shelf now’ due to resistance to malaria.” More on hydroxychloroquine. Thread:

Breadth of concomitant immune responses prior to patient recovery: a case report of non-severe COVID-19 Nature. From the abstract: “Her management was intravenous fluid rehydration without supplemental oxygenation. No antibiotics, steroids or antiviral agents were administered.” Press release: COVID-19: The immune system can fight back Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne

China gives go-ahead for human trials of potential COVID-19 vaccine CNA

* * *


Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand (PDF) Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. This is the report that finally got the Trump administration’s attention, per one of the White House task force leaders, Dr. Deborah Birx.

What the U.S. Needs to do Today to Follow South Korea’s Model for Fighting Coronavirus Time

Data centres are warm and designed to move air very efficiently. Are they safe to visit during the pandemic? The Register. This is a good suggestion:

He also suggested using hygiene training products to help identify places your people congregate. Such products are powders or creams that, after application to surfaces or hands, spread wherever users place their hands. The resulting smears are visible under ultra-violet light and help to show where your people are getting handsy. You can find these products, often a kit comprising product and UV torch, on Amazon and direct from other suppliers. One Australian supplier called Giltterbug currently warns that it is experiencing very strong demand and has run out of UV torches, perhaps making it one of the few businesses to be benefiting from the pandemic.

I wonder if you could get a nice UV lamp from your local head shop. (Amazon has inserted itself as a key supplier of medical supplies, and has also built a marketplace that cannot control fraud. Yay.)

* * *

Materiel shortages:

COVID-19 Has Caused A Shortage Of Face Masks. But They’re Surprisingly Hard To Make NPR. Why?

Both the masks made for medical personnel and for consumer purchase require a once-obscure material called melt-blown fabric. It’s an extremely fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers that forms the critical inner filtration layer of a mask, allowing the wearer to breath while reducing the inflow of possible infectious particles.

‘We’re talking about fibers where one filament has a diameter of less than one micron, so we are in the nano area,’ said Markus Müller, the sales director at German company Reicofil, a major provider of melt-blown machine lines. And there’s now a global shortage of melt-blown fabric due to the increased demand for masks — and the difficulty in producing this material.

Just spitballing here, but see Plant-Derived Nanostructures: Types and Applications Reza Mohammadinejad, Reza Mohammadinejad, Reza Mohammadinejad, and Rajender S Varma Green Chemistry (2015).

Coronavirus: US hospital uses five months’ worth of supplies in six days as shortages hit Independent (MR). “‘We have been transparent that more supplies are needed — hence the request to Congress for additional funding so we could procure more and scale up production,’ an HHS spokesperson said.” But if there aren’t enough raw materials at the end of the supply chain, wherever that may be?

* * *


Why Mass Testing Is Crucial: the US Should Study the Veneto Model to Fight Covid-19 Pro-Market

What Went Wrong with Coronavirus Testing in the U.S. The New Yorker. Actual reporting on the CDC debacle. About those reagents, from the article:

The C.D.C. notified the F.D.A. about the reagent problems on February 10th. According to an agency official, the C.D.C. told the F.D.A. that the contractor who had manufactured the faulty test kits would soon have a new batch of reagents ready for a suite of enhanced quality-control measures. If the reagents worked, then testing at the public-health labs would be able to begin in a few days. By Friday, February 21st, however, Nancy Messonnier, at the C.D.C., told reporters that the problems with the test kits were still not resolved.

So who’s the contractor? Then there’s this:

As for the delay in scaling up covid-19 testing capacity during those crucial weeks in February, [Keith Jerome, University of Washington Virology Lab Director] told me that the underlying problem had far less to do with the faulty tests produced by the C.D.C. than it did with a system that could not contemplate, let alone manage, the possibility that the C.D.C. might end up producing faulty tests. The F.D.A.’s exclusive authorization to the C.D.C. to conduct covid-19 tests ended up creating ‘what you’d think of as an agriculture monoculture. If something went wrong, it was going to shut everything down, and that’s what happened.’

The CDC as a single point of failure was a disaster waiting to happen, which happened. That said, shutting down the N.S.C. directorate on pandemic preparedness (hat tip, John Bolton, although it was clearly Trump’s job to know what Bolton was doing) seems to have kicked the props out from under the entire rickety structure. There was nobody to wrangle the CDC/FDA processes.

* * *


These Places Could Run Out of Hospital Beds as Coronavirus Spreads NYT. With maps.

Volunteers 3D-Print Unobtainable $11,000 Valve For $1 To Keep Covid-19 Patients Alive; Original Manufacturer Threatens To Sue TechDirt. One 3-D printer’s reaction (dk):

Esper: Pentagon to give respirator masks, ventilators to HHS AP. Terms and conditions apply. (To be fair, the ventilators are built for military use.)

* * *

Economic effects:

Sex workers face ruin amid virus fears, brothel closures AP

* * *

Political response:

After Dems Scale Back Paid-Leave Provision, House Sends Multi-Billion Dollar Coronavirus Package To Senate KHN. “The measure would still provide two weeks of sick leave to a wide swath of workers affected by the pandemic, but for the next 10 weeks, paid leave would be limited only to workers caring for a child whose school or day care had been shut.” That’s our Democrats!

U.S. delays April 15 tax payment deadline by 90 days for millions Los Angeles Times. “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Tuesday that his department was pushing back the April 15 deadline to pay taxes owed, giving individuals and many businesses 90 extra days to send checks to the government.” IANAL, especially a tax lawyer, so you may wish to check your own individual situation.

Federal government in talks with tech groups to use phone location data to track coronavirus: report The Hill

Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency HHS

PATRICK LAWRENCE: The US National Emergency Consortium News

* * *

Corporate response:

Amazon is banning its warehouses from stocking nonessential items during the coronavirus pandemic Recode. Commercial entities managing rationing. What could go wrong?

Amazon’s Supply Chain Is Breaking and Small Businesses Are Screwed Vice

* * *

Social Media:

Coronavirus and the emergency in content moderation The Interface. Facebook furloughs its moderators (contractors, who it will continue to pay) and bets on AI.

Facebook’s Misinformation Problem Goes Deeper Than You Think The Verge. “Boost first, moderate later.” Well worth a read.

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

Gun sales surge as coronavirus grips US The Hill

2,500 Museums You Can Now Visit Virtually HyperAllergic

Personal Testimony (1):

Personal testimony (2):

Coronavirus Has Shut Down Westchester County. Here’s How These Teens Are Coping. Teen Vogue

Now made in Mexico: Japan auto suppliers shift China production after coronavirus Reuters


China lacks the appetite to save the world economy, analysts warn FT. Maybe they can’t. Farewell, supply chain!

How China bent over backward to help Tesla when the virus hit

Fear of China Made Taiwan a Coronavirus Success Story Foreign Policy

Exclusive: China’s internal security force on frontlines of Hong Kong protests Reuters. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Thailand’s economic ‘death by a thousand cuts’ sows desperation Nikkei Asian Review. There are other countries with a large indebted population and a high Gini co-efficient.


India Scrambles to Escape a Coronavirus Crisis. So Far, It’s Working. NYT


Can Russia Use the Coronavirus to Sow Discord Among Americans? Thomas Rid, NYT. Grifters gotta grift.


Biden projected to win Arizona, Florida and Illinois Democratic primaries ABC

Problems with the Illinois primary:

As in IA, CA, TX, and MI. I don’t see how its possible to see this Democrat primary as legitimate. Especially given this:

Now they tell us? The Democrat Party is run by Harkonnens….

Biden Campaign Shared Misinformation About Coronavirus Ahead of Tuesday’s Vote Walker Bragman, Paste.

Welcome to the zombie coronavirus campaign of 2020 Politico

States delaying primaries past 9 June may face delegate penalty, warns DNC memo Guardian. Piling on…

Amid Pandemic, Campaigns Go Virtual NPR

Imperial Collapse Watch

How America Could Collapse Matt Stoller, The Nation. From 2011 (!), still germane:

There’s a good amount of grumbling about the state of American infrastructure—collapsing bridges, high-speed rail, etc. But American infrastructure is not just about public goods, it’s about how the corporations that enforce, inform and organize economic activity are themselves organized. Are they doing productive research? Are they spreading knowledge and know-how to people who will use it responsibly? Are they creating prosperity or extracting wealth using raw power? And most importantly, are they contributing to the robustness of our society, such that we can survive and thrive in the normal course of emergencies?

The answer to all of these questions right now is “no.” And while this may not be hitting the elite segments of the economy right now, there will be no escape from a flu pandemic or significant food shortage. The re-engineering of our global supply chain needs to happen—and it will happen, either through good leadership or through collapse.

Note, again, the date. Stoller: “This stuff was obvious, except to economists.”

Guillotine Watch

Bill Gates’s Charity Paradox The Nation. “Through an investigation of more than 19,000 charitable grants the Gates Foundation has made over the last two decades, The Nation has uncovered close to $2 billion in tax-deductible charitable donations to private companies.”

Please don’t put a price on my soul:

Class Warfare

18% of U.S. workers have lost jobs or hours since coronavirus hit, poll finds Los Angeles Times

Supermarket sick Popular Information

The Coronavirus Exposes Education’s Digital Divide NYT. In China, lol.

Hyman Minsky at 100: Was Minsky a Communist? Monthly Review

Episode 53: Love in the Time Of Corona Pt. 2 (podcast) TrueAnon. Well worth a listen.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. Toshiro_Mifune

    Anecdotal: 2 possible cases in my company’s (140 or so people globally) London office. It has now officially shutdown as of yesterday with everyone sent to work from home. I’ve asked for an emergency Operations mgmt meeting that’s starting in a bit to plan what to do should London Operations be impacted enough as to have severely degraded support capabilities. We’re an IT company supporting a global market data infrastructure (one used by most of the players featured here at NC) which delivers exchange information to their traders/trading apps.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, TM.

      I suspect that my EU27 basket case is a user of your firm’s services and we work in the same square mile.

      Some colleagues in London and other European capitals are drifting back to work as they can’t log in remotely due to firm and country capacity constraints. Unlike Citigroup, KPMG and HSBC which practiced mass remote log-ons weekends ago and have the capacity, we didn’t and don’t.

      1. Clive

        Yes, my TBTF has been spanked and spanked again by the regulator in recent years. After the usual kvetching, foot-dragging and dog-ate-my-budget excuses they finally (about 5 years after the GFC and the abundant evidence there are indeed some systemically important banks which can *not* just merrily carry on cutting everything down to the bone and then a little bit more on top) started serious planning and contingency arrangements.

        Which work. Everything that needs to be kept trundling along is trundling along. It really isn’t rocket science. It does take a couple of years to implement. So anyone who’s not done anything isn’t, cough (no, just a joke coughing, I don’t think it’s COVID-19) in for anything other than a trip to the pain locker now. You need equipment, systems and lots and lots of spare capacity — which does cost money to keep as “spinning reserve” to use a power industry term. You also need to test your measures.

        I suspect that at the end of all this a great many businesses — those that pull through anyway — plus government and public services will be forced, feeling quite possibly the heat and pain of the torches and pitchforks, to look at everything with, well, let’s just say a new clarity about things.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Is this a moment when “we”, as in “we the people,” get to make (hopefully correct0 decisions about what kind of political economy “we” want to live in, “going forward??

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Clive.

          Unfortunately, where I work, “worriers”, as Redlife and I call ourselves in private and when commiserating, are sidelined, if not threatened.

          We have referred to the “spankings” peers such as your employer have received, hoping this will catch their attention, but the upper echelons don’t care. Our former COO said “it was the most dysfunctional place where she has worked” and was forced out soon after.

          Even monthly reporting to the Bank of England, a host state regulator, and regular features on the front page of the Pink Un don’t have the desired effect.

  2. xkeyscored

    WHO Now Officially Recommends to Avoid Taking Ibuprofen For COVID-19 Symptoms

    – It’s not proven that ibuprofen makes matters worse, but they’re recommending paracetamol/acetaminophen for home use.

    Asked about the study, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva the UN health agency’s experts were “looking into this to give further guidance.”

    “In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important,” he said.

    (Something to do with ibuprofen increasing ACE-2 receptors, see Lancet link in article.)

    1. Jonhoops

      I’ve stopped taking my hypertension medicine as that has also apparently been linked to extremely bad cases of Covid-19 . Also something to do with ACE-2 receptors. Not too worried about dropping it as I monitor my BP every day and it is in the normal range.

    2. Cuibono

      Fake news. Who did not recommend that. And the lancet article quoted was purely theoretical. Please do homework before posting stuff like this.

      Now it is true that longstanding debate exists around fever control including studies that show increase in mortality with the use of Tylenol or nonsteroidals

      1. xkeyscored

        I did indicate it wasn’t proven, and as you point out, it is a bit theoretical.

        The World Health Organization recommended Tuesday that people suffering COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus.

        People who suspect they have caught the coronavirus should not take the popular drug ibuprofen without consulting a doctor, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says, pointing to ongoing research into possible negative effects.

        GENEVA (AFP) – The World Health Organisation recommended on Tuesday (March 17) that people suffering Covid-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus.

        None of which proves this is not fake news, but it might be worth considering paracetamol instead.

        1. xkeyscored

          Doing a bit more homework, I can see why you said fake news. It appears there are scare stories out there to the effect that ibuprofen guarantees you’ll catch the virus and die and so on, which is garbage. There’s some reason to believe people self-medicating are better off with paracetamol, though the evidence and assumptions are a bit shaky.

          From “Coronavirus and ibuprofen: Separating fact from fiction” (BBC, 4 hours ago)

          Stories have been circulating online suggesting it’s dangerous to take ibuprofen if you have coronavirus. Alongside genuine medical advice, false messages have been spreading, distorting the facts.

          Speaking to the BBC, medical professionals said that ibuprofen is not recommended for managing coronavirus symptoms. Those already taking ibuprofen for other conditions should not stop without consulting a doctor, though.

          The NHS website previously recommended both paracetamol and ibuprofen, but has since changed its advice to say that while “there is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (Covid-19) worse… until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.”

          The NHS also says that people who are already taking ibuprofen on the advice of a doctor, should not stop taking it without checking first.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      This video explains (in the first two minutes) why antipyretics, such as ibuprofen, create a cooler environment in the body that is conducive to viral establishment. Brief: Viruses don’t like heat. Producing a fever is our bodies way of creating a hostile environment for them. The video explains it in depth:

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Adding, I’m not sure that is what the WHO is attempting to avoid – but it nevertheless is one reason some doctors suggest not taking antipyretics for a cold.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Higher temperatures affect survival of new coronavirus, pathologist says AccuWeather. A good summary of expert views. Here is the original study on COVID-19 and latitude (and see chart here; not sure if space, or time, is the issue, however).

    I think there needs to be a lot of caution about reports like this. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb pointed out on Twitter, while taking apart a tweet from, of all people, Bjorn Lomborg (well known climate sceptic), the statistical correlations are very weak, not nearly strong enough to be the basis of a control strategy. The figures are also complicated by the possibly less than honest reporting from many of those hot tropical countries – Thailand in particular seems to be in denial, and nobody really knows what’s going on in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. It may also be simply that hot countries are poorer so just don’t have the same mixing of outsiders as more temperate climes.

    The problem is that in countries such as India and Brazil, the notion that ‘hot countries are immune’, has promoted a form of denialism, most obviously in Bolsonaro’s idiotic behaviour. Maybe in those countries the climate will come to the rescue, we can hope so. But for now, the evidence is weak, so caution is needed.

    1. xkeyscored

      Absolutely, the issue is still very far from settled, as the article makes clear. And idiocy like Bolsonaro’s doesn’t help anyone. But there is still reason to hope that warmer weather will ‘flatten the curve’ in the northern hemisphere, while the southern is not yet in winter, maybe – maybe – sparing tropical regions, generally the least able to cope, the worst of it.
      I don’t know about Malaysia or Thailand, but here in Cambodia all confirmed cases so far have involved international travel of one sort or another, and there aren’t any persistent or particularly plausible rumours of undocumented outbreaks – yet! – just a few things on social media as is to be expected.

    2. Ignacio

      Though indeed one cannot play weather as a mean to control the epidemics it has to be accepted that suppression measures cannot be held constant and firm until there is a vaccine available nobody knows when (there are several attempts with different strategies so we might end with a few choices, crossing fingers on this). From time to time there must be openings, may be in a controlled manner, allowing other not-as-essential activities to resume (forget events, tourism or Olympic Games for instance and any activity involving masses). Summer would be the most favourable season for these re-openings. Southern hemisphere countries face an opposite challenge.

    3. Tim

      I’ve of the mind heat works until somebody proves it doesn’t. For all we know the warm air climate occurrances of outbreaks are specifically associated with community transmission in Air Conditioned spaces.

      It should be made illegal to A/C a public space or workplace below 75F until they prove heat doesn’t make a difference.

    4. Procopius

      On the message board for expats in Thailand, it was reported yesterday that the number of known cases is now up to 221. We’re at the beginning of the hot season, with daily temperatures going up to 38-40°C (100-104°F). Daily temperatures in January-February normally high of 90°F (pleasantly warm). I don’t think this virus is going to “disappear with hot weather,” but maybe its spread is slower. People are social distancing, but it’s very difficult.

    5. steelyman

      It’s been around 30-31C here in Singapore and quite sunny for a while. The daytime temps rarely drop below 27-28. Yet we’ve been seeing a noticeable spike in new cases in the last couple of weeks. It’s gone from 8-10 new cases a day in late Feb/early March with a few recovery and discharge patients to 40-50 new cases a day and only 1-2 cases being discharged. Total cases jumped quite dramatically from around 120 early March to the current 345! Almost all these new cases are imported ie traced to travel overseas.

      Good news: still no fatalities although number of ICU patients is now up to 15 from 7 cases last month.

  4. fresno dan

    Please don’t put a price on my soul:

    If unemployment, or sickness, or ANYTHING else could affect paying your rent…PAY IT EARLY
    What if you die? So why not pay it a year early – you never know about shuffling and mortal coils… Heck, pay it 30 years early.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Landlords getting rhetorically muscular during an epidemic in a country with a well-armed citizenry. Don’t these people notice the guillotine memes?

      1. Tim

        Thought the same thing. Somebody doing that clearly doesn’t realize they aren’t in a position of strength when leaning on somebody with nothing to lose.

        I don’t think you’ll be able to locate a peace officer willing to enforce an eviction for the next 18-24 months anyways.

        1. posaunist

          “Now is not the time to be evicting people from their housing,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said during a news conference Monday updating the city’s response to the pandemic. “We are temporarily redeploying our sheriff deputies away from evictions to other areas of need within the department.” -Denver Post, March 16th

          So in my fair city, at least, there is some relief from evictions. For how long? No idea.

    2. Michael

      “”Renters — both businesses and individuals or families — won’t risk losing their leases due to lost revenue or income from the coronavirus, after the {{San Diego}} City Council unanimously approved a moratorium on evictions Tuesday.””

      Expected to last thru the end of May, already moving on social media.

      “”Renters need to notify their landlords ahead of when payments are due of the financial circumstances, with proper documentation, that have made them incapable of making their monthly payment. And they’ll need to make the landlord whole once the emergency is over.””

      April 1st should be interesting

      1. Tom Doak

        Yes, the day the emergency is over, everyone should be able to make their landlords whole. /s

        I honestly can’t believe how strong the denial is.

  5. Samuel Conner

    re: the 3D printed valve, on reading that, my thoughts immediately turned to the “Five Thieves Collective”. I think that they are going to be regarded to be heroes before long. Perhaps they and similar efforts that may spring up everywhere — open source chemistry — can work out safe ways to local-scale produce needed products from locally sourced materials.

    One way that I think we can be confident that this crisis will not go to waste is that it will clearly show how our current system places an absolute priority on corporate profit over people’s lives.

    Which is kind of odd, since the laws which define the parameters that allow the system to operate are drawn up by public servants who are (at least notionally) elected by the people whose lives are regarded to be less important than the profits.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Any government that would be willing to tolerate such a situation is just asking to be hammered on it later. There are ways around this. Personally I would call the head of that manufacturing firm and call him in for a nice cup of tea and a friendly chat. I would point out that my taxation department has been making noises about auditing a certain company but I am sure that that would not be necessary.

      If they persist, I would ask them what they will do when Coronavirus his Sicily and elder members of certain ‘families’ start dying because they cannot get ahold of those pumps. I would suggest that of course the State would usually offer them protection details but at the moment they are all busy. On the other hand, if they are willing to ‘cooperate’ the government would launch a campaign to give them all credit as a public-minded company and would help them in all possible ways. Their choice.

    2. JTMcPhee

      So glad the young lady and others are 3D printing up the ventilator valves.

      How deep is their stock of 3D printer filament, of the type needed to make functioning valves? These are fairly simple devices, , but do need to be sterilized to avoid inducing additional infection. A wonderful open-source project, and inventive techies are disseminating how to convert a relatively low cost and widely available CPAP into a rudimentary ventilator:

      Note that vents require a lot of very careful caregiving and attention to best sanitary practices.

      Also, many CV patients will need supplemental oxygen, the bottled type might be in short supply but a lot of us already own or rent (that rotten concept) oxygen concentrators.

      Heartening that we are seeing such humane impulses in a time of plague.

      1. a different chris

        > inventive techies are disseminating how to convert a relatively low cost and widely available CPAP into a rudimentary ventilator:

        OMG. That is… terrible. “Ïnventive” is certainly one way to put it. You can just override the UI to keep changing settings to make a T-mode ventilator. I have no idea why he took the whole thing apart. Jesus.

      1. eg

        “The Five Thieves” are something else entirely — a chain of high end food shops in Toronto.

    3. John k

      Elected by the people but with campaigns funded by donations from those convinced the recipient will do the right thing once elected.
      And those voting for the former vp know where his allegiance lies.

    4. Skip Intro

      IANAL, but wouldn’t patent infringement claims go after the money made by the infringers, or conceivably lost sales? Neither of those seem to apply in a situation where the copies are free and there is no supply to be had anyway. What lawyers wrote the threat one wonders, and where do they live.

  6. Lost in OR

    “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

    ― Mark Twain

  7. fresno dan

    How America Could Collapse Matt Stoller, The Nation. From 2011 (!), still germane:
    Are they creating prosperity or extracting wealth using raw power?
    When I was young, and dinosaurs still roamed the land, I lived in the poorer part of Fresno, and just a couple of blocks away was the rescue mission (as I recall Ventura and G steets). And every night a group of two dozen men would gather for their meal and bed.
    And there were no families, no encampments, no people sleeping on the streets, no homelessness.
    How is it that people could always find shelter in HOUSES and apartments back then, and they can’t now?
    Its not evolution, its not sunspots, the characterists of protons and neutrons haven’t changed – its political decisions. The decision so that a few can get ever richer, the many must get ever poorer…

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      It is not political, it is personal.

      As I have roamed this country I have seen countless empty houses and apartments as second homes and investment properties. I have been inside six bedroom houses with two people living in them. Now we have AirBnB where everyone can make a quick buck and not have to deal with the social discomfort of having a roommate.

      Just because you have a political and economic system that allows greed does not mean you have to be greedy. So do not lay this at the politicians feet, they are people and people vote for them.

      Watch this Jimmy Dore video, he is the only one in the media talking about the hypocrisy.

      I have been trying to get the hashtags #COVID19forPresident trending on Twitter.

      One of the most unfortunate side effects of COVID19 is that it causes socialism.

  8. Samuel Conner

    This is going to hammer the non-profit sector, with simultaneous collapses in investment and contributions income, and in operating income for those that generate that.

    It will be clarifying to see where the cuts are made. Count me skeptical that they will be progressive with respect to the salaries of the higher-ups.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The thought also occurs that since high officers of for-profit corporations are compensated to reward them for share price appreciation, will there be any consequences to them for failing to “harden” their supply chains against this foreseeable (and foreseen, just not by them) disruption?

      It has been said, IIRC, that in Capital, Marx writes with a measure of sympathy for the capitalist class, since there is internal competition within that class that forces anti-social behavior in order to remain in operation. That works until it doesn’t.

  9. herman_sampson

    UV flashlights: I got one from Lowe’s (“home improvement store”) over a year ago a try pet stores to, as they are sold to find urine stains.

    1. lordkoos

      I wanted to mention the comment about buying a UV light at a head shop. Black lights are not the same as a UV light. The spectrum may be close but it is not the same. Black lights are safe, UV light is not good for your skin or your vision. I doubt that black lights are any use at all as far as disinfection.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe because of the Not Invented Here phenomenon. From Wikipedia-

      ‘Not invented here (NIH) is a stance adopted by social, corporate, or institutional cultures that avoids using or buying already existing products, research, standards, or knowledge because of their external origins and costs, such as royalties. Research illustrates a strong bias against ideas from the outside.’

    2. Winston Smith

      speculation that one of Trump’s cronies stood to make a buck. Also, if I am not mistaken, development and rollout of other pandemic-linked tests for viruses in the US did not suffer from the F-ups of COVID-19. Looking for link

    3. Judith

      Patrick Lawrence, in today’s links, answered my question:

      Big Pharma, reflecting the awful logic of markets über alles, is now poised to profit maximally from the desperation of virus victims. The circumstance is unclear, but there is reason to assume the U.S. declined to accept testing kits approved by the World Health Organization — this in January —because it wanted American companies to profit from making their own.

      1. Cuibono

        The real question to ask now is why can’t we ask Korea or China for help. Asap

        Forr gods sake ship the tests via FedEx to Korea

      2. MLTPB

        Clarification appreciated.

        Is the issue in the making of the test kits, or in getting one approved by the FDA, instead of the WHO (who had already done its approving)?

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Sex workers face ruin amid virus fears, brothel closures”

    With self-isolation in effect, I’m beginning to understand why the high demand for toilet paper and paper tissues.

    1. Samuel Conner

      While not directly related to this humorous comment, suffer me to offer in all seriously a couple of less-directly related but useful, thoughts:

      For hygiene purposes, you can stretch out the TP by using news-print (non-glossy is somewhat less ineffective than glossy) for the first swipes. Don’t flush that, of course.

      while on a plumbing-adjacent subject:

      A useful plumbing trick for unstopping clogged basin drains (and could help with toilet clogs if these are close to the bowl (not far down the line). This was passed on to me from a source who had worked as a plumber

      short story: plunge up rather than down

      long story:

      * get a plunger with the “classic” rubber cup (bellows-style plastic may not seal well enough)

      * fill basin or bowl with enough water to cover the cup of the plunger when it is sealed over the drain

      * if basin has an overflow hole, cover that with a damp thick cloth (a soaking wet handcloth, folded, should be adequate)

      * place the cup of the plunger over the drain and compress slowly (slow compression will force water through the clog without pushing it much further down the pipe

      * yank the plunger straight up

      * repeat the prior two steps as many times as needed. Gunk will be pulled into the basin/bowl and at some point the obstruction should disrupt sufficiently to allow the bowl to drain. In my experience, this generally happens pretty quickly.

      * perhaps follow up with an enzyme- or bacteria-based pipe conditioner to reduce the likely extensive gunk accumulation that will still be present on the pipes.

      1. jack

        I thought that (plunging up) was the only way. The downward plunge was the start of the process.

      2. Mike Allen

        That may very well solve the problem temporarily on the home front, but will undoubtedly cause the pump stations and treatment plants down stream to fail. Last Saturday, we had a unusually large amount of debris come into our plant causing the influent screens to back up a foot over alarm level. Most likely a combination of increased people at home, flushing wipes(please don’t, they are not flushable, even though labeled so.) and paper towels. Which are also detrimental to treatment plant operations.

    2. xkeyscored

      It’s hitting the ‘entertainment and hospitality sector’ here hard, and that’s before the virus itself has had a big impact. Many of the workers send money to their families every month, and families are about the only safety net in the country.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If those girls need the money so bad for their families, they may have to consider another risky occupation – that of healthcare workers. These will be sorely needed in the coming months as regular-line staff fall sick themselves.

        This is not so outlandish a suggestion as this as happened in the past. In fact, here is a little-know story from what happened after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour-

      2. David

        Yes, in Thailand sex work has no particular stigma attached to it, and it’s common practice for young women to spend a few years “working in Bangkok” earning, objectively large amounts of money and returning to their villages. I’ve heard that some of the earnings may be used as a marriage dowry. If you’re interested, there’s a superb series of thrillers by the English writer John Burdett who lives in Bangkok and is married to a Thai woman, which are set partly in this milieu. They feature a (genuine) Buddhist ex-monk Thai detective. Just the stuff to read while quarantined.

        1. lordkoos

          +1 on the John Burdett books, they are loads of fun. I think the first two or three are the best. They are also available as audio books.

      3. David

        The Intertube demons have it in for me today – a number of my comments have fallen into moderation or just disappeared. I had a comment (in moderation, disappeared) on this, but it had a slightly naughty word in it, so I won’t repeat that. Just to say that I wanted to highlight the excellent thrillers set in Bangkok by John Burdett an Englishman married to a Thai woman who speaks the language.Much of the action is set in and around the “entertainment” industry. His hero is a Thai cop who’s a former Buddhist monk. Just the sort of stuff to read while you are quarantined.

        1. xkeyscored

          Yes, they’re excellent thrillers, with more than enough social observation to keep you thinking.

          NC readers might like Vulture Peak, about the international market in organs. A sample, farang,

          —”‘Suppose some rich little s*** on Wall Street needs a new heart. Is he going to wait in line in hope that the health system will find him a replacement before he croaks — or is he going to buy himself one on the black market? If he’s worth eight hundred million, surely a mere million is not too much to ask in return for another twenty years of bleeding the world white?'”

        2. Eclair

          I have enjoyed the Dr Siri Paiboun series, written by Colin Cotterill. Dr Paiboun, educated in Paris during the French occupation, is appointed as the the national coroner of Laos during the 1970’s. There is a lovely cast of characters, including Nurse Dtui (“fatty”) and Mr Geung, a mentally challenged (but emotionally exceptional) young man, and Siri’s second wife, Madame Daeng, who runs the best noodle shop in Vientiane, if not in the whole of Laos. Plus assorted malignant spirits. This series was my introduction to the recent history of Laos, from the French, through the revolution, to the communist regime. Enough books to keep you enthralled for ‘the duration.’

  11. Tom

    Interesting financial market data…Jeff Gundlack of DoubleLine had a web-cast slide yesterday showing BBB-rated CLO returns were -16.2% for year-to-date period through Monday (3/16) close (source cited was JP Morgan). AAA CLO’s were down -2.33%. This is before yesterday, which was a bad day for lower rated debt.

    Given that we early in the process of discounting the impact of the coming recession on the underlying middle market (and often private equity originated) loans of these CLO’s, these seem like they are meaningful discounts for instruments held by global financial companies like non-US banks and insurance companies. It is hard for non-bank/non-dealer financial market participants to get a view into these returns. MSM is not paying any attention at all.

  12. jackiebass

    If this goes on for very long, and I suspect it will, we are in trouble. Most of what I’m hearing is a concern about our economy. Where is the concern about people? Go to a grocery store. Thing aren’t that bad yet. What happens when the workers get sick? How about the supply chain? What happens when it breaks down? Then you have people that can’t get out. What happens when there is no-one to help them? I wonder if our government is preparing for any of this? More than the economy will suffer. {people will suffer and die. I have a little faith in my state government but none in the federal government. Our federal government thinks a few bucks will solve all of our problems. This crises will take more than money. It will take man power which will be stressed to the point of breaking.

    1. Samuel Conner

      You’ll know that people are finally taking it seriously when the seed racks are as bare as the TP and staples racks.

      Order seeds, but don’t order a lot unless you intend to generously share with neighbors.

      Don’t need to consume precious distribution network resources shipping easy-to-locally-grow vegetables.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Yes. I split what I thought was a modest seed orders among three to five people. Taking only what we could actually plant in the spaces we have. Of course some things can and should be planted every couple of weeks rather than all at once.

        Don’t let seed go to waste even if you have to sow it in random wild or public places.

        1. MLTPB

          Will rationing come in at some point?

          Have we seen it in S Korea, Italy for elsewhere so far?

        2. Copeland

          Also, Save Seeds! Meaning, save the seed that you grew, to plant next season. I used to think this was akin to rocket science, but its really no big deal at all, as long as you buy heirloom seed to begin with.

      2. HotFlash

        And don’t forget to eat your weeds, such as dandelion, lambs’ quarters, purslane, and plantain. They self-seed, grow anywhere, you just need to recognize them.

        1. Samuel Conner

          In prior years I’ve been digging dandelions and feeding them to my compost worms. Worms happy and neighbors happier.

          Now, I think I’ll leave the taproots and simply harvest the leaves. Maybe give the fruiting organs to the compost worms.

          Bittercress is coming up fast where I live; I think it’s edible. This link claims it’s a source of Vit C:

          I am also overrun with “purple deadnettle”, also (I think) edible, a non-minty mint

          I’ve been going to a lot of effort in prior years to grow conventional greens, and feeding my weeds to the compost worms. Maybe time to rethink my priorities.

        2. CuriosityConcern

          I think I’ve read that you should avoid dandelions if you or your close proximity neighbors use roundup.(probably want to consider other herbicides as well). Dandelion root is supposed to be beneficial for the liver according to herbology. Also nasturtium, miners lettuce and mustard grass are edible.

    2. crittermom

      >It will take manpower…
      The article under CAPACITY: “These places could run out of hospital beds…” discusses that.
      We’re in deep doo-doo (which those of us here already know).

    3. periol

      Fate and luck allowed me to travel around the Soviet Union a couple of months before it collapsed. I vividly remember waiting in long bread lines to get food, going into fully operational grocery stores with lights on and smiling workers, fridges and freezers working, and absolutely nothing inside. One grocery store in Minsk had nothing but 100 pairs of shoes (!), one style, men’s leather work shoes.

      I also remember what it was like coming back from that and going to a grocery store in California. 100 times larger than the soviet stores, and full of stuff floor to ceiling. It has been amazingly surreal these last few days walking into stores here in America and finding the shelves empty, and everyone pretending that’s normal. We are not far from breadlines, imho.

      1. lordkoos

        So far there is no disruption to the supply chain for food AFAIK, people are simply hoarding right now. Perhaps that will relax after a few weeks.

        1. Copeland

          There actually are supply disruptions. I was in QFC in Seattle suburb today and the shelf stockers were saying that the trucks are coming in without everything that was ordered by the store. I have no idea why this is happening and I didn’t want to hang out in there to find out!

  13. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: a corona-virus vaccine:

    My only question is: What will the anti-vaxxer faction say? Could this be the end of that line of thinking?

    1. Steve H.


      Once Boris Johnson extrapolated Herd Immunity from a vaccination strategy to a federal transmission strategy, he set up justification for non-vaccination by a minority of the population.

      Also: flu vaccination increases likelihood of picking up a different respiratory ailment (like coronavirus) by about a third. With an efficacy of less than half v flu. Think about the secondary and tertiary considerations of that tactical calculation.

      1. urblintz

        “flu vaccination increases likelihood of picking up a different respiratory ailment”


      2. GramSci

        “flu vaccination increases likelihood of picking up a different respiratory ailment (like coronavirus) by about a third.”

        Source, please? Thx.

        1. ewmayer

          There is a well-known but too-little publicized phenomenon of “negative interference” in annual flu vaccinations – basically getting vaxxed every year with too-similar formulations actually decreases the vaccine-derived immunity. Here’s a link:

          But upshot is not that flu vaccine is not protective, it’s just that every year may be too frequent to maintain optimal protection. From the sound of it, unless one has a predisposing condition affecting one’s immune system, every 2-5 years is likely better than every year. But if one has never had a flu shot, getting at least one is very important, it conveys a very high bang-for-the-buckness in terms of protection.

      3. dearieme

        Once Boris Johnson extrapolated Herd Immunity from a vaccination strategy to a federal transmission strategy

        The Boris strategy was set out on a Department of Health report in 2011.

      4. Steve H.

        Influenza vaccination and respiratory virus interference among Department of Defense personnel during the 2017–2018 influenza season

        Examining non-influenza viruses specifically, the odds of both coronavirus and human metapneumovirus in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher when compared to unvaccinated individuals (OR = 1.36 and 1.51, respectively)

        1. lordkoos

          How long does it take for immunity to recover, if say one has had the flu shot 3 out of the last 5 years? Or does it recover at all?

  14. FreeMarketApologist

    My only other question: Just what is it about Nancy Pelosi that gets her constantly re-elected, given what we see her do?

    Are her challengers so vile that by comparison she is Glinda the Good? Does she give out gold coins to the poor when nobody is looking?

    I just don’t see her appeal, but am not in CA. Please enlighten me!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Besides the power of incumbency (running for office as a challenger is hard) Democrats who always vote for Democrats no matter what and Republicans who know they can’t win. Pelosi sets the left end of the spectrum in most political discourse because she represents godless San Francisco like Ted Kennedy and Massachusetts. So she enjoys votes and funding that would go republican in most districts.

    2. doug

      back during the height of communist soviet union, I read the turnover rate in their governing body was much greater than the that of US House of Reps…
      Incumbency is a strong position, dealing from power..

    3. HotFlash

      Mme Speaker controls the DNC and DCCC purse strings and other support. To beat her you’d have to win a primary (as did Shahid Buttar, see above). That involves not just $$ to campaign but know-how (forms, references, what forms have to be filed with who and when, networking ) — *and* you have to be approved by the local Dem party apparatus to even get your name on the ballot. Don’t know how it works there, but here there is also a fee payable to the party.

      Easy-peasy to screen out undesirables, protect incumbents, and, anoint hand-picked successors.

    4. anonn

      I lived in Pelosi’s district through 2 elections. The only real opposition she ever faced was from lunatic Republicans in the general – most CA Republicans are the fringiest of the fringe (regulation of machine guns is exactly like the Holocaust; public transit makes our kids gay, etc.) I don’t remember her ever having a serious challenger but this was before the jungle primary reforms.

      Before the reforms, I voted against her in two races. I would protest vote for the person with the funniest name – in those elections this turned out to be a person named Starchild. I later found out that this person is a trans sex worker (ok!) and a libertarian (ugh, voting for one of these psychopaths made me feel bad when I learned about it but at least I didn’t vote for Pelosi).

    5. John k

      Incumbency plus unlimited bucks, she is biggest funnel from donors to selected house dems.
      But a change in Ca means an insurgent has a chance in a one party district like SF… the top two vote getters face off in the general even if from same party. So a dem challenger will run against her, as noted another response.

    6. hunkerdown

      Why wouldn’t her district re-elect a predator? That’s what her leisure-class constituents do and she’s superb at it.

  15. Samuel Conner

    I got onto Robert Reich’s email list somehow (sold from another organization, perhaps)

    This AM, the subject line is

    “Congress’ coronavirus bill doesn’t go far enough”

    Of course it doesn’t(!), it’s Congress’ coronavirus bill

    Does he still want to save capitalism?

  16. zagonostra

    >Pepe Escobar -China Locked in Hybrid War with US

    Don’t know what to make of below…

    Extra questions linger about the opaque Event 201 in New York on October 18, 2019: a rehearsal for a worldwide pandemic caused by a deadly virus – which happened to be coronavirus. This magnificent coincidence happened one month before the outbreak in Wuhan.

    Event 201 was sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the CIA, Bloomberg, John Hopkins Foundation and the UN. The World Military Games opened in Wuhan on the exact same day.

    1. xkeyscored

      I don’t know exactly what to make of it, but I expect a bit of digging around would reveal several such exercises in various cities and countries. And it’s not too surprising, given SARS and MERS, that they chose a coronavirus as their culprit.

    2. curlydan

      According to talk/gossip in China, this story is getting a lot of play. Chinese media claims 300 U.S. personnel were in an around Wuhan, staying near the wet market. Further claims I’ve heard say 5 U.S. citizens got a fever and were admitted to a hospital. Needless to say, most Chinese are very suspicious of the U.S. now. Trump’s “Chinese virus” tweets aren’t helping keep down tensions here either. I’m a bit worried about anti-Asian/Chinese violence rising here if this continues.

      1. MLTPB

        But if this impacts the Democratic primary, then the Russians must have joined up with the Americans, no?

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The World Military Games was in Wuhan in October, there have been rumours floating around Chinese social media for many weeks that the US accidentally or deliberately introduced the virus then. There is, however, zero real evidence that this is anything but a natural virus.

        Anyway, someone would have to explain why on earth the US would introduce such a dangerous virus to China and then somehow forget to put in place basic measures to stop it spreading back to the US. I know there are lots of idiots in Washington, but they really aren’t that stupid.

    3. Watt4Bob

      I’m having a really hard time explaining to myself why this link is getting so little attention?

      1. xkeyscored

        Maybe because of bits like this, unsourced, explicitly presented as fact, yet at odds with the science, or at least highly misleading.

        “Adding all that to the fact that coronavirus genome variations in Iran and Italy were sequenced and it was revealed they do not belong to the variety that infected Wuhan.”

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Thank you. That Pepe Escobar quote does seem to fall well within the category of “making s**t up”.

        2. Watt4Bob

          I think you are talking about whether the ‘origin story‘ is true or not.

          I’m asking about the assertion that China and US are engaged in a sort of info-war?

          It seems to me that the origin story is being used by both China, and the US as part of a larger conflict, the severity of which is not clear at this time.

          I’d say the Chinese government is afraid they are about to loose their grip on America’s supply chain, and are desperate to avoid that possibility.

          Political and economic desperation resulting in an aggressive info-war that will result in real-world damage.

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Yes! Had this conversation with a friend. There is a reason we have the ability to store fat and it is for times like these. I see these people out jogging and cycling this morning it makes me scratch my head.

        1. Pat

          Mood lifter and depression relief. Not kidding. There is a reason exercise is always prescribed for depression. There is also the addiction to endorphins that many runners have.

          1. Samuel Conner

            DIgging in the garden is exhilarating too. But switch sides periodically.

            Last Summer after I had dug multiple cubic meters of beds, I was feeling sooo strong, and then threw out my SI. “pride goeth before a fall”

          2. lordkoos

            I have to have my walks and my cycling, two activities that definitely help keep me sane…

        2. KidPsych

          While in the very long-term, if starvation conditions occur, sure, having extra body fat would be helpful, but in the immediate term, being metabolically health and fit outweigh that potential protection. I’ve fasted daily for about four years and rarely get sick. This contrasts to my previous self, when every six – eight weeks or so I’d get some cold or niggling something or other (possibly due to constantly being around kids). I have zero doubt my keto life has impacted my physical health in obvious ways and will continue them until Walking Dead like conditions appear.

          Two weeks ago, I ordered a home gym and have continued to work out even as my gym closed. Beyond obvious physical health benefits, mental health is also impacted by exercise, and I suspect (from my busy video caseload), this will not abate any time soon. (My adult provider’s schedule is up to about 44 – 45 hours per week via video at the moment.)

          1. a different chris

            > I’ve fasted daily for about four years

            Um, that’s not really the definition of a fast. More like binge-eating.

            >being metabolically health and fit outweigh that potential protection.

            You can be “metabolically healthy and fit” and also have a few supposedly excess pounds.

      2. pretzelattack

        a point. apparently people can last a fairly long time while malnourished, i don’t know how long–photos of concentration camp survivors come to mind. interesting times.
        i’ve personally opted for stocking up on cans of pea soup and tins of sardines.

        1. Anonymous 2

          I seem to recall some hunger strikers lasted 50 days or so. They took water IIRC.

          Awful subject to discuss, though.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The record is, believe it or not, 382 days. He was very obese before he started his fast.

            There is lots of research on fasting. Basically, its easier, and arguably healthier, not to eat at all rather than eat a little (because eating a little stops the body going into its true fasting state). I’ve done five-six day fasts and I felt great after it – research indicates that something like 20% of your most damaged white blood cells (they get clogged up with viruses and bacteria doing their defensive duties) get killed off and replaced. If you google, or search on youtube for Dr. Valter Longo you’ll find links to lots of research on the topic, its genuinely very interesting.

  17. fresno dan

    So it was a nice cool day (by Fresno standards) and when ever I am bored or down, a trip to the zoo perks me right up. Fresno has a surprisingly magnificent zoo.
    I am not sure why it needs to be shut down – we don’t have any pandas…
    There is enough room there that nobody has to be squished together.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The impulse to shut down even activities that can easily be done respecting social distancing and pose little or no contagion threat strikes me as somehow fundamentally puritan. I think these people think it’s somehow improper for others to be seen enjoying themselves in any manner in full public display. Same for scattergun shutting down of businesses where it be perfectly practical to enforce social distancing and still continue on, large box stores with number limits, and especially outdoor things like garden centers or golf courses. Extreme measures that violate commonsense like banning taking walks in the park or bike rides will quickly backfire and understandably cause pushback.

  18. fresno dan

    This is from JOHN P.A. IOANNIDIS, so its not some right wing stock pusher only concened with ever higher stock prices or president of the United States (only concerned with ever higher stock prices).

    I am soon to be 65, and as I have had a heart attack and cancer, I am pretty fail, so I appreciate prudence – but it is not an unalloyed good.

    1. Katniss Everdeen


      Mayor “the blasio” is all over msnbs this morning saying he’s “one step closer” to a complete lockdown of nyc due to a jump in the number of “reported cases” overnight.

      Everyone knew that once the increased testing that everyone’s been screaming for started, the number of “reported cases” would jump. No idea if that’s where his numbers come from, but his jawboning and the moans and gasps of his media conspirators suggest the specter of a zombie apocalypse.

      Be very wary of statistics and data in the hands of amateurs with political agendas.

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        March 18, 2020 at 10:53 am

        You know, there was a time of “normalacy” that a virus outbreak was to be handled in a professinal, calm, dispassionate manner. It was not a zombie apocalypse, but it should be addressed seriously.

        In a world of a president who behaves with about as much calm, nuance, and stoicism as a 5 year old denied his legos, and ALWAYS sets the loudness at 11, AND the agenda is set in combat between daily “historic event” CNN and FOX, where every bad event in the universe is due to a “liberal” (even if the bad event was a hoax declared by the president a few days before) its hard to get by…literarlly.
        Despite the fact that I want to ignore such people, I can’t go to the zoo.
        Leon Trotsky: “You may not be intested in war, but war is interested in you”
        fresno dan: “I am pragmatically interested in the corona virus, but I sure would like to go to a bar…”

        1. newcatty

          New propaganda memes for today:

          Please use your vivid imagination or third eye to see the poster: Uncle Sam Wants You to Wash Your Hands!

          Ask not what your country can do for you! Stay home and be calm.

          Loose lips sink beautiful cruise ships.

          Fly with us, later.

          We salute our healthcare workers!

          Be kind!

          Give a hoot, don’t loot.

          Generosity is Good.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “How China bent over backward to help Tesla when the virus hit”

    Not just China. San Francisco’s Bay Area began a three-week lockdown to rein in the spread of Coronavirus but Alameda county had declared Tesla an “essential business” that was allowed to remain in operation. That’s right. A company that builds cars for wealthy customers is considered essential. But it looks like the Alameda County Sheriff is getting involved so we will see what happens here-

    1. ewmayer

      I posted 2 related links (1st of which I had fwded to Yves/Lambert last night, but didn’t see up in Links today, disappointingly) in 2pmwc – note that neither your link or either of mine says that Alameda county ever gave Tesla any such exemption, Musk simply granted it to himself, him being the ultimate special snowflake, and whatnot. It’ll never happen, but lordy, I’d love to see some of the fine officers in the Alameda county sheriff’s office leading him off in handcuffs for this blatant act of defiance of a legal order, which is clearly interpretable as reckless endangerment of his workers.

  20. PlutoniumKun

    Coronavirus and the emergency in content moderation The Interface. Facebook furloughs its moderators (contractors, who it will continue to pay) and bets on AI.

    This explains a lot – I’ve a friend who works as a moderator for FB (via a contractor) and she said there was chaos at work as they tried to force people to come to work – even those who were previously permitted to work from home.

    Fast-forward to today, when a pandemic is spreading around the world at frightening speed. We still need just as many moderators working to police social networks, if not more — usage is clearly surging. If you bring them to the production floor to continue working normally, you almost certainly contribute to the spread of the disease. And yet if you let them work from home, you invite in a privacy disaster at a time when people (especially sick people) will be hyper-sensitive to misuses of their personal data.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      What possible reason could exist for requiring FB moderation to be done at a physical workplace instead of remotely/WFH? I doesn’t make any sense, even absent a pandemic.

    1. xkeyscored

      Naturally. If there’s money to be had, they want it, and more.

      Let’s hope Boeing build the yacht, complete with a largely undocumented safety feature that points the nose down.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Sorry, guys. The “big” government that may have been sympathetic to your plight drowned in its own bathtub awhile ago thanks to your revulsion to “socialism” and your support of rugged capitalist individualism with campaign contributions.

      You will now have to put your faith in those same sacred capitalist bootstraps that you insisted on for everyone else. Failing that, there is always ultimate capitalist solution of creative destruction. Read up on it.

    3. Tom Doak

      Something tells me we have enough airplanes for the next few years.

      But instead of going completely bankrupt, Boeing should spin off any part of its workforce who can help repair and maintain the planes that exist.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Boeing was allowed to buy up it’s largest domestic compeator, McDonald Douglas. It also build military and space craft.

        It also tried to break it’s union by outsourcing as many components as it could.

        Now, if it goes titsup… now so goes the whole aviation industry.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Was it “allowed to”? Or was it “forced to”? Or had it already been penetrated by secret agents from McDonnell Douglas plotting the merger far in advance?

  21. timbers

    I’m looking at covid cases based on this link. I have it set for China you can choose other nations. Based on this with reporting starting about Jan 22, China broke acceleration in spread by about Feb 13.

    In the U.S., it looks like we’re in a big acceleration mode and not yet finding a plateau as China has.

    Other nations, like Italy, seem to have slowed the acceleration but have not yet on a good looking plateau, with a healthy (no pun intended) increase of cases yesterday.

    For the nations in blue, you can click and find graphs showing daily cases and visualize the acceleration/plateau.

    1. kareninca

      Yes, that is my most helpful link. I go to it every day.

      Maybe it would make sense to add it to the daily links here, since it is the most basic info about what is going on.

      Switzerland is a mess; who would have thought. Absolute numbers are low, but percentage very high. Their hospitals face collapse if the rate continues as it has for ten more days:

  22. Wukchumni

    No visitors are allowed from now on @ my mom’s assisted living place, more than likely i’ll never see her again in person, but the phone still works fine, so there’s that. She’s* in good spirits and when you’re nearly 100, a pandemic taking you out is just one of many possibilities for the reaper to deploy, ain’t no big thang.

    * She has the mind of a 24 year old in a 94 year old chassis

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have been thinking about visitors wanting to visit elderly parents in these assisted living places and came up with a partial solution from an image that I saw from Washington State. Perhaps you could visit your mum at her living place but be outside her window. She would be safe on the inside while you would be on the outside talking to her on your mobile. My late mother was at such a place and such an idea would have worked there. You would get to see and talk to her but just not hug or touch her.

    2. katiebird

      That is wonderful. My mom’s last few years were frustrating because she just couldn’t hear well when talking on the phone. Since our family is scattered all over the country with only me near it was pretty sad. We tried new hearing aids and attachments for hearing aids. We tried several different phones. Nothing worked reliably.

      So I know it will make a difference to her that she can have good conversations with you

      1. Wukchumni

        Only through the high tech of hearing aids can we converse, sometimes when I call she’ll tell me to hold on a second while she puts her ‘ear-rings’ on.

        I’d imagined for a long time what her service would be like when she passed, how many hundreds would come to pay respect-as she was one of those type of hyper volunteers, president of the womens club, etc.

        There will be hundreds online, and once again the flower industry will be shafted in the new economy, although most mourners will include an image of flowers with their condolences.

        1. katiebird

          Right before she died last May, I was experimenting with induction loops and had bought a kit to create one in her apartment. Then I would have bought. Phone that would work with it. It was a pretty interesting project and I still have the kit but don’t know what to do with it now.

          I also learned a lot about it. Kind of fun.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Maybe just keep it in case you need it a few decades from now. They might not be making them by then, or they might not be making them “like they used to.”

    3. Arizona Slim

      I never thought I would say this, but I’m glad my mother and father didn’t live to see this shhhhh-storm.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Unfortunately, I doubt my mother will live to see the other side of this. She is in an extremely vulnerable group (70+, two recent bouts of pneumonia) and is acting like this is much ado about nothing. She thinks she’s still going on her Alaskan cruise next month and short of an outright travel shutdown, I’m afraid she’ll try to.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I hope you know how lucky you are.

          I am a little younger than your mom, and I can assure you that optimism keeps one far healthier than cowering in the corner waiting for the grim reaper and powering down handfuls of pills to stave him off like we oldsters are supposed to.

      2. Savedbyirony

        My mother died last September. She lived in an assisted/nursing home, which one of us would visit almost everyday not just for company but to keep an eye on her living conditions. How we had to fight regularly to see that her floor had remotely adequate staffing, how often we would do cleaning just to make the place decent, how often we had to fight/call outside authorities to just ensure she would get TWO showers a week! how regularly we brought in food just so she could have a flavorful and balanced meal, how necessary it was to have family around to see that the staff was treating her with common courtesy and that she was actually receiving her meds regularly and in a timely fashion!, etc. I miss her every day, but I am so thankful she is not alive to end her days there under these new restrictions and I fear for everyone living (and working) in these places now in Ohio with no allowed visitors and even state officials not making their regularly scheduled inspections.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Sounds like the nursing home my mother was in. Keeping an eye on the living conditions was a major concern.

        2. ChristopherJ

          Yes, you need to go in. Residents with little or no contact from relatives are more likely to be left alone, not washed, fed, etc….

          Horrid places that should be run by the state, not for profit.

    4. Brian (another one they call)

      same for me Wuk. I get to call now. Oregon’s health command has allowed the operators to deny access anyone (outside of inspectors) they feel could be a danger to their patients from admission to the facility. I haven’t been banned, but I am not going to play the reaper. I can only wish that my father still had that brain in tact. I hope to get to hug him again a few times. Also 94.

    5. OIFVet

      We are in similar situations Wuk. My 91 year old granny is sharp as a tack, but physically disabled. She is in the old country and I am stuck here. I’ve been paying for caretakers for almost 15 years to take care of her daily needs, and I am worried I may not see her again. Money in a time of crisis is a powerful inducer for people to remain at their jobs, and being a small tightly knit village means that the family I’ve hired is first and foremost a friend and neighbor of many decades. But they are both over 65, and so at higher risk themselves. That worries me. It’s yet another thing that keeps me up at night. Best wishes to you and yours.

    6. Lee

      * She has the mind of a 24 year old in a 94 year old chassis

      She’s got my vote for president in the general election, assuming, at 73, I should live so long. ; )

      1. Wukchumni

        Just got off the phone with her and in a as of today development, the staff are all wearing n95’s, while none of the patients get any despite being lone rangers.

    7. Ignacio

      A home for the elder in Madrid has registered 19 casualties in a very short time due to, at least in part bad practices by the management that did not protect it adequately, and almost certainly by visitors workers or others whose conscience was not up to the challenge.

  23. Bugs Bunny

    “Bill Gates’s Charity Paradox”

    I’ve mentioned this a few times here – early in his “charitable giving” most of it was off the shelf Microsoft products and services. We all know what margins are on software past say, v3.0.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      He wants to make $5 bucks for a testing kit, and is a major supporter of MasterCard’s “Better Than Cash Alliance” that seeks to get every last Nigerian hooked on credit card debt. One good source I read says he is also filling in where Monsanto got run out of town.

      Then there is Jeff Bezos. What a hero! A god of monopolistic hyper-socialism capitalism! Except in reality he is a sociopathic grifting monster. Having amassed a fortune of one-hundred-and-seventy-thousand-million dollars, his company paid exactly *zero* tax to the country that made it all possible.

      Can we please have a reckoning.

  24. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    British readers will be delighted to hear that on 24 January, a paper was published and presented to the government as to how the virus was likely to spread and its extent. As Italy, more comparable to the UK than China, was hit and more data became available, modelling became less difficult. Despite what the MSM says, the science has not changed. The UK government has wasted 7 weeks. Perhaps, the social darwinists and eugenicists associated with the Tory party are happy with how things are going.

    As with Brexit, civil servants are keeping evidence of the audit trails to ministers.

    1. xkeyscored

      I doubt they are too happy with the way things are going. I expect, despite whatever scientific advice they received, they instinctively assumed the plebs would be hardest hit as usual. Which they probably will be in the end, but not before our elites, with their international lifestyles, have taken a major hit, in many cases earlier than most.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, there may be a reckoning. But I have to say that on the evidence I’ve seen so far the politicians may not necessarily be the guilty ones. I think a lot of senior scientific advisors (even scientists don’t get to the top unless they learn how to modulate their opinions) were far too slow to spell out the need for precautionary action. Sometimes scientific uncertainty becomes a shield to hide behind.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I disagree with this. There have been enough warnings, even if they were phony, about threats of bio terrorism for politicians to have enough information to make credible decisions.

        It’s like not staring at a solar eclipse. I don’t need to check in with an astronomer. The pressures on local hospital systems during a bad flu seasons are bad enough. A bad flu season everywhere should be understood as a problem by anyone vaguely cognizant.

        There might be mistakes, but the politicians of the world have crossed into malfeasance.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its a mixture of things. Lets not forget that it was Trumps science advisors who tried to rain him back from banning flights from China. Its pretty clear that a lot of politicians were asking their advisors what to do, and the advisors were saying ‘well, according to the WHO, there is no need to close of borders and we’ve no proof that this will help….’.

          I think this is in some ways similar to after the Chernobyl accident, when in the UK the main scientific advisory committee told the government, and the public, that there was no hazard to anyone in the UK. Within weeks, radioactive sheep appeared in Wales. It turned out that the scientific committee was entirely made up of physicists, with no soil scientist involved – it was common knowledge among soil scientists that radioactive caesium could bioconcentrate in acidic upland soils. They just weren’t asked their opinion (why would an eminent physicist consult a mere soil scientist on matters nuclear?).

          The point is that ‘science’ is neither value free, nor is it free from its own set of inbuilt assumptions. The need to shut down all travel to China seemed to me (and many others such as yourself) entirely sensible – but my opinion was based on the precautionary principle, which is an ethical principle, not strictly speaking a scientific one (although it can guide science). It seemed sensible to me given the consequences of the virus getting out, and it also seemed sensible to assume the worst seeing the actions, not the words, of the Chinese government and WHO.

          But from the perspective of a narrow scientific standard – and senior science advisors are inevitably self selected from people who carefully decide which scientific data should be highlighted – the ‘correct’ approach was to adhere to WHO guidelines and to focus on the apparent (given the data at the time) low risk.

          1. Ignacio

            Yes. Scientists, when they reach a position as to be consulted by the governments, frequently have become more politicians than scientists, and I believe that most European governments have been badly advised. There is also the possibility that governments choose for advise the scientists that provide the evidences they want to hear.

            1. urblintz

              This. Every scientist that spoke on TV about of the lack of tests instead of immediate was politicizing the problem, As I wrote before, gay men knew what we had to do about HIV without the help of a test. Frankly it took little more than common sense.

              Said politicized scientists have blood on their hands.

          2. MLTPB

            Early on, I watched the WHO and wondered often.

            The pandemic declaration, they took a long time to make, for one.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I have read that the WHO leadership was being massively extorted and pressured and threatened by the China gov to NOT declare a pandemic.

          3. newcatty

            Three points you have made stand out as vital to seeing what is needed by any ethical scientist advisors and government oficials:
            Ethical decisions
            Sensible actions
            Broad mindedness

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            How many of his science advisers were hand-picked pro-Trump Fake science advisors?
            How may real science advisers had already been driven out of government?

            Didn’t Bolton at NSC fire and drive away a special group of scientists/ epidemiologists/ public-health-ists specially versed in these things? Under Trump’s watch and under Trump’s nose?

            So I don’t know of any real scientists blameworthy of this. Does anyone?

      2. David

        I’d be interested to know more about this episode, but in my experience there are two types of modeling that take place in government. One is open, in the sense that you ask a team to investigate a possibility and report back on the possible consequences. Such exercises (as we’ve seen from the attempts here to estimate likely Covid deaths) are highly dependent on assumptions, including those which are within the government’s theoretical control (like taking certain steps at certain times) and those that aren’t (such as the technical characteristics of the threat itself). So a typical exercise in any mass-casualty domain will produce conclusions like “the total number of dead could range from a minimum of 50,000 to a maximum of 500,000 over period P, depending on X Y and Z”. From that, in theory, you can look at what could be done to move the casualty rate downwards. The other is closed in the sense that you basically run only one scenario which is agreed ahead of time and usually subject to political approval. You would normally have some flexibility to vary input parameters slightly, though. The result will be much more precise: “we estimate 250,000 deaths + or – 10%” but will be highly dependent on the assumptions. The problem is that (in spite of what the political leadership wants) neither of these methods produces a prediction, and any result you put forward could turn out to be completely wrong. I suspect this was still true for the UK as late as 24 January. Needless to say, the media will seize on any result as a firm prediction and run scare stories. And scare stories about bio-terrorism in particular have been shown to be consistently wrong.
        It’s true that you have to show some caution in putting results to the political leadership. Figures that are too high may simply not be believed, or lead to despair and fatalism, whilst figures that are too low may just lead to the problem being ignored. And politicians are notoriously blind and deaf to nuance: “just give me the facts!”. The result is often a messy compromise. For example, during the Cold War, attempts to model the results of a nuclear “exchange ” as it was charmingly described, could, under certain assumptions, produce absolutely apocalyptic results. But no government was going to accept that, and, in order for all the post-strike preparations to have any value, the chosen scenario had to be one where the damage, although massive, was not impossible to recover from. Otherwise, what’s the point? And sometimes you simply don’t know and can’t find out. For example, the results of a (nuclear) EMP attack on a major western country can only, for obvious reasons, be mathematically modeled. I’ve spoken to nuclear physicists who have said that everything electrical would be fried and life as we know it would come to an end, and others who thought that the actual damage would be quite limited. It’s impossible to know, and impossible for the layman (or indeed politician) to judge.

        1. xkeyscored

          The bio-terrorism stories aren’t just wrong, they’re ridiculous.
          Sure, I can imagine some idiotic president wanting a virus to selectively attack whomever. But such a project would need teams of virologists, molecular biologists and so on, who would unanimously point out that even if a virus could be made to target a certain group (highly improbable to impossible, most likely the latter), there’d be absolutely no guarantee it wouldn’t mutate and spread to other groups. Chinese, Mexicans, Muslims, and Don “The Don” Trump all have ACE-2 receptors.

        2. JEHR

          David, I very much wanted to read your interesting comment but with no paragraphing, it is almost impossible to do so. Just go back and hit Enter after every third sentence. That would do it for me.

  25. David

    Apologies if this is a double post: the original was eaten by the system an hour or so ago.

    The French PM, Philippe, gave a long interview on France 2 last night – by video-conference. Much of what he said was specific to France, but there were a few points that indicate which way the wind is blowing among the European political classes. It seems to be changing quite quickly, at the level of rhetoric anyway.
    Philippe gave a pretty broad hint that France, at least, might close its borders with the UK if the situation deteriorates there. He noted that the UK is (or at least has been) carrying out a rather different policy to the EU. He also notably failed to rule out nationalization of key enterprises, and supported the Finance Minister, Le Maire, who had already raised this possibility. Unsaid, but present in the background, was the thought that the government has been fighting a bitter battle recently to privatize Paris’s airports, and has just this year managed to turn the French rail organization, SNCF into a private company. Whoops. Finally, he defended the closure of the EU’s frontiers. Pressed on why, in little more than a week, the unmentionable had become national and EU policy, he didn’t really have an effective answer.
    Philippe is a standard issue ambitious right-wing politician, who jumped ship to Macron’s colorless movement. He shows few signs of having ideas of his own, and if he now abandons several decades of neoliberal discourse overnight, it’s because he can see that the discourse no longer registers with anyone, even the elites, who are just as scared as everybody else is. It’s true, of course, that if the crisis is resolved in the next few weeks, the discourse could snap back again. But – as Philippe was asked last night, and as a number of commentators have been saying – if things like budgetary discipline, privatization and raising the retirement age, previously regarded as untouchable are abandoned without comment in a few days, what does that tell us about the ideology behind them? Macron’s project of further inserting France into a globalized world is looking a bit sick itself at the moment: there may not be much of a globalized world left to insert France into.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yup, as someone said, there are no libertarians in a pandemic.

      I think we are very rapidly seeing the ideological world turn upside down. There will be unquestionably a wave of privatisations soon (although they may not be called as such), with the major airlines being first, financial institutions next. I think politicians are wise to the fact that they can’t get away with unconditional bail outs of private interests the second time in a generation.

      The danger for the left is that they’ll find themselves outflanked by the right suddenly seeing the light about things like public control and ownership and MMT. My belief is that the big failure of the left after the last crash was that they simply hadn’t worked hard enough at developing practical alternatives to the existing system – even the hard left was left with just slogans. But now that, to some degree, the left and Greens are better prepared, they may find that the right simply steals all their best ideas. There is no guarantee that the first government to genuinely implement MMT or similar ideas will be one of the left.

      1. David

        You mean “wave of nationalizations?”
        I agree: I’ve been saying for ages now that the biggest threat is of the Left being out-lefted by the Right, on exactly the kind of issues you mention. The Right are perfectly capable of doing this: in the end they care about power, not ideology. As Macron’s speeches betray, there is a perfectly good right-wing vocabulary of national interest in which you can get away with virtually any left-wing policy you like.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes! sorry, this is the third time I’ve written ‘privatisation’ instead of ‘nationalisation’, I’ll blame neoliberal brain poisoning.

          1. Ignacio

            Hahahahaha. I was puzzled when read ‘privatisation’ in other comment and I am happy to see the root of the confusion. Short on anti-neoliberal IgG? We all need recurrent vaccines!

          2. MLTPB

            I think the person in charge and the ruling party of any country will have opportunities to centralize and be empowered such that the usual corporate interests and lobbying will be set aside.

            And those who know how to wield them will be around for a while.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          Any business that can’t shut down or slow to idling for a few months without catastrophically collapsing isn’t really a viable business anyway is it? That level of lack of resilience cannot survive any major disruption for any reason, and those are normal to occur anywhere and everywhere from time to time. And when those businesses perform vital public services, it’s irresponsible not to nationalize them before they have the chance to collapse.

      2. turtle

        I think politicians are wise to the fact that they can’t get away with unconditional bail outs of private interests the second time in a generation.

        I expect that they will do it again, and most likely get away with it – at least in the US.
        Remember “too big to fail!” and “but the economy would collapse!”, along with a generally compliant US public, as evidenced by Biden’s electoral success so far, even after COVID-19 really started messing things up here.

      3. human

        I had a social studies teacher (mid sixties) who suggested that our preconception of a linear left/right ideology line might be more of a circle and meet around the back. This is a framework for revolution.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      That reference to the UK did not surprise me. I have not seen it picked up here. It reminded of how British meat products and bull semen were banned from the EU and US for many years after mad cow disease had sort of gone away.

      Friends from Deauville witnessed Philippe being harangued on the campaign trail in nearby Le Havre a fortnight ago.

      Overnight, Eurotunnel e-mailed about some crossings I have booked over early and late summer and suggested that I reconsider. It seemed a bit late.

      1. David

        Philippe had a bit of a shock in the first round of the municipal elections last Sunday. Whereas last time he was returned in the first round with more than 50% of the votes, this time he was on 44%, not that far ahead of the Communist/France Insoumise candidate with 36%. Nearly all of the remaining votes went to the Ecology candidate and the Lepenist, neither of whose electorates will necessarily flock to Philippe. With the second round postponed until the summer, there’s a lot of time for changes, but it’s worth pointing out that Le Havre, like many port cities with strong trades unions, was a bastion of the Left from 1945 for several generations.

        1. JBird4049

          I sometimes think that the Port of San Francisco refused to modernize and convert the port from break-bulk to containerized cargo to kill the port’s unions; yes, the unions didn’t help much with their obstinacy, but it is strange how the City went from a heavily unionized, working class city with a diverse economy including light manufacturing, shipping, and banking IIRC in 1970 to a shell of just finance and tech with the unions only in hotel and tourism.

          It is like there was giant behind-the-scene by another West version of Robert Moses hiding successfully in an effort to eliminate all that pesky old-school industries and inconvenient organized working class. Of course, all the old moneyed families (Hi Pelosi and Feinstein!) did just fine.

          1. John k

            My cousins daughter decided upholstery was her thing, ran a small but popular business in SF for a few years. Finally gave up, overworked with health issues, bc couldn’t get workers, who couldn’t afford rents.
            In fact this is becoming true throughout ?Ca… my daughter’s family moved to Az bc cost of housing.
            Granted some houses are empty, but the nation has not been building homes as we were in the past when we had smaller pop. Very tough in Ca to build, bad traffic means those that are here don’t want more, plus land zoned for housing either very expensive or non existent.
            State gov pushing locals in coastal zones (where jobs are) to rezone for housing, locals resisting. We will see…

            1. JBird4049

              Housing costs have been increasing faster than wages since the mid? 1970s hitting the crisis point in the 1980s. It has gotten worse every single year. Whereas “affordable housing,” using very elastic definitions, could be found in any city, later in any county, now means traveling fifty, sixty, or more miles between job and home. The jobs, even the crappy ones are all centered around the core cities of the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles. The housing is being pushed back into more isolated areas. I do not think having a job in San Francisco and then a home in Clear Lake, which starts putting you somewhere near Paradise is very practical. Yet I know people including teachers who bounce around from areas like Half Moon Bay or San Jose to north of Santa Rosa or to the western edge of the East Bay. That is insane.

              If you have ever read Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, part of the reason it will seem so fantastical, aside from being mostly fluffy in the first book, is that between the obliteration of much of the unionized workforce, which includes the varied businesses, AIDS’ Danse Macabre, and the unavoidable mismatch between income and living expenses, that world has no connection to today’s world. The inflection point feels like it was around 1980 after President Carter left office.

              Now, I have to be careful with my descriptions here as I was very young and not really paying attention to the whole political economy being more concerned with building models, books, classes and later girls. However, in the 1960s my parents, whose families often worked in agriculture including picking fruit and in the canneries, could rent an entire two bedroom house with a nice backyard. Yes, the house was not in the best area, money was always tight, and the food stamps were a godsend, but adjusting for inflation, they could not even rent a room in the same area of San Jose. Then again, the variety of jobs, the general level of wages, and the availability of housing was much, much better in semi rural Santa Clara County, aka Silicon Valley. Since the Valley of Heart’s Delight has become paved with asphalt, concrete, and the homeless ruled over by the Techlords, I don’t miss it. I miss what it was. Just about my earliest memories are the scents of the very last forlorn fruit orchards. Just like I miss the rest of the Bay Area that was. Every year the whole area becomes more empty, more of a facade from the past hiding the real desolation of now.

              It seems to me that what happened to California, and not just in the Bay Area, is what happened to the rest of the country only sooner. Although the Bay doesn’t have that 3rd world feel except for all the homeless as in other parts of California. So there’s that.

              Is it me, or has the entire country gone crazy? The images from the first third of my life hardly connects with the images from the last third. And I am not that old. My parents were the “lucky” Boomers. Yet the media all say it has been fiiiine.

            1. JBird4049

              Honestly, embarrassingly, I have forgotten all the details of the Feinstein and Pelosi families history in San Francisco. What I vaguely recall is that have been prominent (rich and connected) for over a century. The Browns, Newsoms, Pelosis, Feinsteins, and Gettys all seem to be connected for a few generations. Three California governors, two San Francisco mayors, a California senator, and a California Congresswoman.

              And one heck of a lot of wealth and connections in San Francisco, Sacramento, and D.C. going back a century. Also, San Francisco is one week older than the United States, which took it over in 1850. So they are old wealth for California. Say 1900-1920. Any old money on the East Coast would laugh at that.

              I really should do some serious research on the changes in San Francisco Bay Area aside from memory, family recollections, and old reading. Considering that the changes in the Bay were not organic, but forced by some kind of coalition, it would be a good study of political economy. I think that I just realized what a large part of the political power needed came from. Of course, there are the San Jose elites too pushing for the concrete and asphalting of most of the South Bay. Of them, I know nothing.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I had thought Mrs. Pelosi herself was from Baltimore , Maryland. When she moved to California she married Mr. Pelosi I think. Was his family rich?
                For how long?

                When I think of “old money” in the California sense, I think of any families who got truly rich supplying the gold miners, and later mining gold at an industrial scale. Also shipping in the Age of Sail. Lumbering. etc.

                I had thought there was money in California way older even in California terms than the Pelosis and the Feinsteins. But I could be wrong about that.

                1. JBird4049

                  You are definitely right that there were/are wealthy families before the Pelosi and Feinsteins. Yeah Mr Pelosi has been rich since the 60s at least. Madam Speaker’s father was in either the state or federal legislature. IIRC, they got wealthy after 1900 investing in oil and finance.

                  The Robber Barons that built the railroads in the latter half of the 19th century. And some people got very wealthy supplying the miners. Then there is the wealthy water cabal that effectively “owns” much of the water for irrigation in California. But no one else seems to have been so successful politically and they have used their connections to steal steer municipal, state, and federal investments into their personal investments/businesses.

                  Much like the railroad and water barons used their connections to get the government to give them the money and other resources like water rights. The barons got theirs in the late 19th and the others got going in the early 20th century.

                  What a corrupt system we have. It’s no wonder that PG&E is such a cesspool.

    3. Ignacio

      Apparently there is a still a little village called Fráncfort-on the-Meno, that like Asterix’s village, is standing as the last line of neoliberal resistance.

  26. Mikerw0

    Things we need to avoid in my opinion:

    – Prioritzing profits over life and society. On this like many I am not very confident. We know many doctors, our daughter has a seriously compromised immune system, and they are the most concerned people we interact with. Many say this will last at least six months and that as we oriented our medical system to its most profitable uses as opposed to health we have compromised everything.

    – A return to normal is just around the corner when this passes. We have no real prior experience with shutting down large parts of an interconnected global economy and then restarting it. I would encourage everyone to go back and reread, or read for the first time, the Naked Capitalism post on “How Complex Systems Fail”. It strikes me that we are satisfying all the necessary criteria for failure.

    1. Mikerw0

      One last point. We are ill positioned to “go to war”. In an imperfect analogy, at the onset of WWII the US was largely isolated economically, self reliant and still possessed large amounts of excess capacity. We could quickly re-orient to the large scale production of war materiel. Today, forty years into neoliberal economics with are stretched thin and reliant on other countries for critical issues. It is unclear we could “go to war” even if we wanted to.

    2. Wukchumni

      For want of a battle the economy was lost. And all for the want of a n95 imported from another country.

      You know what if feels like right now…

      That period coming up to when the Berlin Wall fell.

      And once again in ying & yang Bizarro World fashion, Communism went away pretty peacefully, countries starting with R, not so much. While here its obvious the complexity of our food system is in serious trouble, and once the food runs out, and there isn’t any grown anywhere near you, and you chased away anything edible by putting vast tracts of homes there, you have the recipe for a calamity, jane.

      They’re proposing making every American a thousandaire!, but similar to goings on in the Soviet Union to obtain foodstuffs, Americanskis content to wait in line, for now.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given Republicans are largely useless, Team Blue voters simply refuse to hold their elites accountable. Schumer has the nerve to propose low interest loans to businesses. The outrage should have been so great he should have resigned by now.

      One problem is the illusion Team Blue types aren’t Republicans who hate country music. Harris had the nerve to reiterate her dumb plan to offer up to $250 of monthly aid. This is the best a senator with access to all of California can come up with.

      1. Geo

        The $1.5 trillion funds freed up to stimulate the market (for 5 minutes it looks like) equals approximately $4,500 for every person in America.

        We offered that to Wall Street with no hesitation. People with better knowledge here can better explain the details but even as a near-zero-percent loan (non-taxable) that would be a huge help right now for all.

        1. lordkoos

          The total put into the markets since last September is over $4 trillion, which comes $13,500 for every man, woman and child in the US. That money could have gone directly into the real economy if it had been given to individual Americans.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Thank you. Also student loan payments, credit card payments, payments on car loans and any other kinds of consumer “credit.”

      All should come to a full stop with no further assessments of interest and fees. And absolutely ZERO reporting to credit agencies of these missed payments. The only documentation required is evidence of a lay off. Any unemployment or wages paid to be used for food and other household essentials.

      Effective immediately. Duration of moratorium to be determined. Punishment swift, severe and preferably existential for any violations. To quote demented joe biden, “PERIOD.”

      1. OIFVet

        That’s been my thinking too, word for word. Let’s say that TPTB do come up with a temporary UBI for the duration, but do not freeze bills and debt servicing, then what? It becomes nothing more than a stealth bailout of the rentiers. Pay those bills, then buy necessities with more credit (assuming the supply chain does not collapse)?! No thanks.

    3. montanamaven

      None of us should allow evictions. Can somebody remind me of the movie that took place, I think on the lower East Side of NY where thugs were trying to evict a family and the neighbors sent them packing?

    4. Bugs Bunny

      This is very poor reporting.

      Macron said that rents, gas, water and electric bills would be suspended for “small and medium enterprises in difficulty”, not individuals.

    5. MLTPB

      Are the French, or a few of them, not burdened with mortgage payments?

      Only rents?

      Do they not pay VAT or property taxes there?

  27. Oh

    Antidote and Bonus Antidote

    Thank you for the antidotes du jour. The wombat really picked up my spirits and the Bear is so beautiful!

  28. pretzelattack

    Biden makes appeal to Sanders supporters after latest wins: ‘I hear you’ –title of article on the hill.
    so very special. if he actually heard me he would likely have another biden moment, given the way he has responded to criticism.

    1. Arizona Slim

      My response to Biden is unprintable on this family blog.

      Be that as it may, I did what I had to do this morning. I rolled the trash and recycle bins out to the curb. And then I went to this website and #demexited.

      I’m back to being an independent voter. Buh-bye D(umb) party, I’m done with you.

      1. jefemt

        Boy Howdy. I never left “Independent”, never joined up– I am a social democrat.
        I have yet to vote for a Presdidential candidate that prevailed.

        Go down, swinging. The tree falling in the forest…

        What to do what to do what to do in November.

        My goodness?!

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If Sanders’s name were on all 50 state tickets as some kind of no-party Name . . . Just floating out there on the ballot . . . the Sanders name would never get enough votes to WIN the election. But the Sanders name might get enough votes to MAKE Biden LOSE in all 50 States.
          Would that be an achievement worth achieving? It would be revenge-made-visible. It would be worth it to me. Would it be worth it to others?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Those lines came because they saw the age breakdown. Biden if he’s not stealing vote is largely winning on the MSDNC dead enders voting in record numbers when usually they vote in primaries in reduced numbers. If Republicans don’t defect to Biden in competitive states, he’s looking at a 40 state loss (39 to 41 is the worst anyone can do these days). These people don’t do gotv. With Perez’s murderous behavior, there is no going back.

    3. OIFVet

      I don’t believe you’ve heard me Joe. I will never vote for you. You are a liar, and you have made it abundantly clear that you stand against everything that I believe in, and you did so in a way that would make the Soup Nazi green with envy and admiration.

    4. WobblyTelomeres

      I could see myself voting for Biden if he put a true progressive on the ticket. He’ll have to, imo, if he wants Bernie’s supporters.

      1. edmondo

        They will have a hard time finding a progressive in the Dem Party. Most of us have DemExited.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yeah, there is about as much chance of that happening as Biden not saying something hideous in the next month.

      3. lambert strether

        If Biden puts a true progressive on the ticket he loses suburban Republicans, who now form part of the Democrat base

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Only the trusting ones. And when Biden or whomever betrayed their trust . . . just as Obama/Biden did the last time around, the trusting young who would vote for such a ticket
            would be embittered enough to leave politics and voting for decades to come.

            If indeed such a ticket were to win on the backs of the trusting younger voters.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Can Russia Use the Coronavirus to Sow Discord Among Americans?”

    I think that it is time to get real and see things they way they are. Americans are stuck between choosing again a circus clown as President that can’t pin two coherent thoughts together and another very old man fading away into dementia after a lifetime selling out the people that he was supposed to represent. Therefore I am suggesting that American choose a man that has a proven track record for competent, intelligent leadership in the face of daunting odds. Therefore-

    Putin 2020

  30. Wukchumni

    Pictures from the edge…

    When we first moved here, there were about 6 or 8 wild turkeys you’d see occasionally, and they’re frickin’ mini dinosaurs, who unlike most other birds, don’t really move all that quick when a car is approaching, as if they are giving you the bird. The herd must be in the hundreds now and lots of people around here are handy with a rifle, so Thanksgiving will be pre-poned this year.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I foresee a “tragedy of the commons” here — overharvesting this year and no birds at all next.

      1. Wukchumni

        Wouldn’t be the first time, when the Mineral King silver rush was on in the early 1870’s, there were 2 herds of Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep near Farewell Gap on one side and Timber Gap on the other, each with about 75. The last one was spotted in the 1920’s, so must’ve been a few of them good at dodging bullets.

        There is no food in MK and i’d take sheep thrills over the Marmont Cong any old day, if I had to be a frustrated miner looking for something that turned out to not be there.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Same here – getting to be quite the nuisance, like the deer. Come through our place every once in a while. Maybe we should retrieve the air rifle from our (grown) grandson.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Has been the past coupla years. Why in a European competition I have no idea as we are a long, long way from Europe. In any case, the competition has been politicized the past coupla years which is why I say it is no loss.

        1. John A

          It has always been a farce. For a time, when most song entries were in English, they changed the rules so the song entry from each country had to be in the national language. Which resulted in most songs being along the line of one or two national words followed by la la la, la la la ad infinitum. Eventually the language rule was relaxed. Then there was the bearded Austrian transexual winner, the Ukraine winner with an anti-Russian political song that was allowed despite the no politics rule, the fix when, pace the Democrat caucus counters, the viewers’ phone in votes were overruled by a shady ‘jury’ of experts. The only decent entry in all the years was ABBA and the song that launched their monumental international career. Not a competition to be mourned.

  31. Samuel Conner

    Crazy thought on the respirator shortage:

    Would it be possible to use off-the-shelf components to build functional respirators? (there would be significant programming required, however)

    I’m thinking in terms of Arduino or equivalent control boards programmed from PCs, interacting with pumps, perhaps actuated by stepper motors. I think that there are versions of the “Raspbery Pi” computer-on-a-credit-card-sized-board that are designed to be readily applied as controllers of electromechanical devices. The Raspberry Pi “talks” to a display, and I believe there are versions with input as well as output data streams which could provide the display functionality in purpose-built respirators.

    The things might be monstrosities, but could be assembled relatively quickly. With 3D-printed fluidic “circuit” connections and off-the-shelf tubing, this might be a way of adapting to the potential looming respirator “drought.”

  32. noonespecial

    Re: Corporate Response

    Wolf Street published the following piece. Chapter 11 proceedings would seem a logical, market-driven solution, but in these interesting times, corporations look for innovative solutions to their ills.

    The Trump administration is putting together a rumored $850-billion stimulus package that will include taxpayer funded bailouts of Corporate America, according to leaks cited widely by the media. Trump in the press conference today singled out $50 billion in bailout funds for US airlines alone…Boeing is also on the bailout docket. Today it called for “at least” a $60-billion bailout of the aerospace industry, where it is the biggest player. It alone wasted, blew, and incinerated $43 billion in cash since 2012 to manipulate up its own shares until its liquidity crisis forced it to stop the practice last year, and its shares have since collapsed.”

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Interestingly, ‘$850 billion divided by 327 million’ was Google’s first auto-complete suggestion.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Russian Military: Virus ‘Affects Only the Mongol Race’

      That zany Vlad. Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile.

  33. Ignacio

    RE: Spain Is Suddenly Shy About Stimulus With Virus Out of Control Bloomberg.

    I think this is disingenuous. Yesterday a 200 billion € pack was announced. This is about 18% of Spanish GDP. Is this a f&ck socialist governments take by Bloomberg?

  34. EGrise

    Not surprising, but certainly heartbreaking — I just got this email from the Sanders campaign:

    No sugarcoating it, last night did not go the way we wanted.

    And while our campaign has won the battle of ideas, we are losing the battle over electability to Joe Biden.

    So we wanted to give you an update on what is next for Bernie and for our campaign:

    First, Bernie will likely have a vote on the coronavirus in the Senate today. He’ll take that vote, and you can expect him to continue his fight to ensure we are protecting working people, low-income people, and the most vulnerable communities, not just giant corporations and Wall Street in any response to the virus.

    Then after this vote today, Bernie and Jane are going to get on a plane back to Vermont. Once there, they’ll begin holding conversations with supporters to get input and assess the path forward for our campaign. We will keep you updated as those conversations progress.

    In the meantime, please continue to stay safe, and thank you for everything you’ve done so far. It means the world to Bernie and Jane.

    In solidarity,

    Faiz Shakir
    Campaign Manager

  35. CoryP

    Re: facebooks censorship AI, and also germane to YouTubes statement they other day.

    Anecdotally I’m seeing lots of complaints on twitter if people’s’ info on COVID and voting risks in the primary being removed for violating community standards. Vague excuse and these weren’t what I’d call CT type posts.

    Most disingenuous of all though is that these jobs couldn’t easily be done from home. YouTube or Facebook content moderator ? Come on. That should be the among the easiest. So shifting to greater AI must be a dodge that’s concealing something.

    1. lordkoos

      That was exactly my thought as well. I mean, if ever there was a job that could be done remotely, I’d think it would be reviewing YT videos. Things are getting cranked down tighter.

  36. cocomaan

    Anecdote from my neck of the woods in Amish county, Pennsylvania.

    Out on the road today at about 9am, vehicle traffic was:

    1/3rd old people. I mean old. Some in pairs, others by themselves, all headed… someplace? I assume they are out buying goods. My mom blamed fox news for underplaying severity but we also wondered if they just ran out of food or have a plain old death wish.

    1/3rd blue collar workers. Delivery guys, construction, agriculture.

    1/3rd commuters. Out of the commuters, only a few were young people under 30. Many looked like low wage workers.

    Just some observations.

    1. Peter from Georgia

      My parents, both in their late 70s, were warned twice early last week to stock up. They ignored it as they felt this was hyped up. They’ve had to go out for groceries three times in two days to get what’s left, though they did get lucky with eggs and milk.

      In my ex-urban county (15 minutes to college town, 1 hr 15 min to Atlanta) there are two grocery stores in the County. Both look looted and neither has had milk or eggs this week.

      1. cocomaan

        I wonder, do they watch a lot of TV? The farmer next door to me doesn’t have a computer, though he’s one of the sharper people I know and understands how to watch the news.

        Out in Amish country you obviously have Amish and Mennonites practicing homegrown social distancing. Someone actually made a facebook post recently that said, “Did anyone tell the Amish?”

    2. lordkoos

      It’s been a bit of work to get my 92 yo mother to stay in, but she’s finally getting it I think. She loves to be out and about so this is hard for her.

  37. cocomaan

    Also, a bit of self promotion, I recently produced a history podcast episode about the Spanish Flu and the 1920 Presidential Election that I think this crowd here would really like, called Out Flew Enza:

    It’s also on itunes and so on, look up The Tinderbox Podcast.

    The upshot is that the spanish flu ripped through the economy and politics for two years after the original occurrence. Woodrow Wilson contracted it and it devastated his big plans (League of Nations, running for a third term) and laid him low as a party leader when Cox and FDR were on the 2020 ticket.

    We eventually ended up with Warren G Harding, one of the worst presidents in history. Not that i was a fan of Wilson, either. But one of the lessons learned was how fragile human structures can be.

      1. cocomaan

        Thanks! I was thinking of doing one on the beginning of the CDC, which had roots in the pneumonia commission set up under Wilson, which then morphed into a malaria commission to deal with that during ww2.

        Coca Cola had an interest in the whole enterprise since one of the principals of the company hunted in a malaria-ridden area and wanted it solved.

  38. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    I don’t comment often, I mostly just lurk.

    Covid-19: I really think the NC community should start a movement to call this the “Jackpot Flu.” (With a nod, of course, to Mr. Gibson.)

    1. Samuel Conner

      I haven’t read “The Peripheral”, but it is mentioned often enough at NC that I have been tempted to think of the current disaster as a candidate for “The Jackpot”.

      But I think this meme should not be propagated, as it only stimulates panic and anti-social “every man for himself” thinking, just when we need to cooperate (In appropriately socially-distanced ways).

  39. smoker

    03/17/20 First Coronavirus-Related Death Of Homeless Person Sets Off Race To Find Shelter In Santa Clara Co. [Silicon Valley™]

    SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Homeless advocates were highly critical of the response of public health officials and local governments to the first reported death of a homeless man or woman from novel coronavirus in the state of California.

    “The inaction, the talk and the endless promises that are made are frustrating. The people here should have been housed anyway in my opinion. And it took a pandemic to get them a port-a-potty and a hand washing station,” says Pastor Scott Wagers who regularly ministers to the homeless at a sprawling encampment at Roosevelt Park on the outskirts of downtown San Jose.

    This is a not unexpected disaster in this horrid valley, and it was certainly kept quiet on Monday (when he died), Tuesday, and this morning. I have yet to see it noted in sfgates’ Bay Area live updates, or the Los Angeles Times’ California live updates (which still hasn’t updated the Santa Clara County death count to 5 for yesterday’s death of a man in his fifties), nor highlighted in the Mercury News.

    Santa Clara County health officials would not identify which homeless encampment the victim was living in at the time he was infected and got sick.

    Homeless men and women say they’re frustrated by the information blackout. They would like to see more outbreak and education to a community that often feels overlooked even in the best of circumstances.

    “They need to be out here educating people about it,” said a woman living in the Roosevelt Park encampment who did not want to be identified. “I’ll tell you firsthand I only know about this virus what I pick up on the street.”

    I’m guessing that death may have been the reason for the Shelter in Place timing,which was announced on the same date.

    1. JBird4049

      I just think that to the local TPTB the homeless are just considered surplus, not really human actually, so why worry. Unless it might hurt them. This sounds harsh, but the housing crisis has been getting worse for about forty years, and always with the same blathering and no real efforts to solve it. What else is someone to think?

      1. smoker

        Yep, I would add County and State Powers that be to that list also; I can’t think of a one that I trust or have any respect left for. The situation in Santa Clara County is criminal, and has been for years. Latest reported virus counts, 175 cases and 6 deaths (the Los Angeles Times finally updated their numbers (I’m sure with little help from the Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County Powers That Be). Those figures far outweigh (as a proportion of the population) Los Angeles and San Francisco counties – as can be seen at the link – both of which had the demographics to become virus hotspots at least as large, proportionally, as Santa Clara County.

        1. newcatty

          Smoker, nothing surpasses homeless people living in camps, under tents ( if “lucky “), under bridges or in the river bed and washes as broken Canaries in the once gleaming cities. I was just talking with my husband about this …homeless people should have long ago been housed or compassionately provided with mental health facilities. We agreed that until it was more inconvenient for the elites then having to pretend to care and step over a person on a door step or on a street then they were, indeed, surplus humans. Now, the death from the pandemic is not just asking for whom the bell tolls; ohhhh!

    2. lordkoos

      Unfortunately this news could lead to even more discrimination against the homeless population.

  40. Samuel Conner

    My YouTube tab taken over by what I think is a live Presidential press conference.

    Invoking “Defense Production Act”

    I hope that doesn’t rely on JIT supply chains.

    Am gratified to hear the analogies to the mobilization that was required to prevail in WWII, and the astonishing production output that was achieved. (Of course, we are somewhat more energy constrained today than then)

    Pence sounds reasonably presidential.

    Tests ramping up (boasting about PPPs; ugghh). Still limited to symptomatic; evidently not yet enough tests to test asymptomatic contacts :(

    1. Samuel Conner

      Getting ready, it seems, to move medical personnel to where most needed (across state lines)

      We seem to be taking pages from China’s (effective) playbook. Good!

      Weeks and months ahead — explicit admission of long haul character of the

      Oh no — some young in Europe are getting seriously ill. Millenials disproportionately affected? (Maybe disregarded warnings because most dangerous to elderly?)

      More boasting about PPPs. (Yeah — when you destroy the capabilities of governments, non-government assumes greater importance. But they didn’t get ready either, when there was time, back in January, did they?)

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Ventec Life Systems – the ventilator manufacturer referenced in several articles recently regarding the ‘we need to ramp up production’ just added a series of new positions today on their ‘Careers’ page of their web site…new from yesterday: Assemblers, Test Technician, Project Manager, Material Coordinator, Buyer/Expeditor, Industrial Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Production Manager, & Test Engineer

        Methinks they are going to be churning out the new equivalent of B-17’s ASAP.

        Encouraging, presumably.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Good thing, too, with everything else shutting down. I wonder how they’ll handle social distancing?

  41. Katniss Everdeen

    Interesting, to me anyway, sidebar to corona virus “sheltering in place”:

    An increasing number of cnbc anchors / guests have taken the advice to heart and are broadcasting from their homes, providing a glimpse of their decorating styles. My critiques thus far–

    If I bought Becky Quick’s house, I’d have to repaint.

    My guess is that Dominic Chu designed his office with the help of Ballard Design’s mix-and-match office collection.

    I’d like to know the name of David Faber’s decorator and the name of the white on his walls–it photographs well.

    Jason Furman went full on Chip and Joanna Gaines (think steroids)–shiplap and natural (faux?) wood ceiling beams for days. Memo to Jason: Less is more.

    Joe Kernen’s favorite tchotchke is an oversized “jack,” as in playing jacks. He apparently has them in different colors, and changes them out daily. I think it’s called “whimsical” in decorator speak. Not interested in the name of his decorator.

    That’s all I’ve got for now. Updates as more decorating news breaks.

    1. voteforno6

      I’m rather jealous of all those people sheltering in place. I would love to be working from home (and hey, we have the capacity to do most of our work remotely), but management has other ideas, I think. It’s hard to tell, since we really haven’t heard much from them, other than to come in to the office. I expect to get sick at some point, due to this rather nonexistent leadership.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Good thing there’s no camera on this computer – I think we’re going to be giving Zoom a pretty good workout.

      There is a plug-in camera I can use, if need be; but it isn’t as if anyone really wants to see my face, or our decor (late hippy).

    3. Craig H.

      I don’t know where Michael Irvin was doing his presentation from but it was the most atrocious production values I have ever seen.

      He dropped a bomb. Before he gave Hopkins to the Cardinals Bill O’Brien had a meeting with the man and compared him to Aaron Hernandez. Texans fans want O’Brien’s head on a pike.

    1. hunkerdown

      I first heard the term “shooting zoo” in comments here over this past week, which as it happens was simultaneous to my first attempt at absorbing Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. Danged if that doesn’t seem to be a, if not the, perfect analogy for the USA, on many levels.

    2. lordkoos

      That site is sad, all that BS about more and better democrats, and then when there is one, they crap on him. I have a login there but since 2016 I think I’ve used it like 4 times.

    1. ewmayer

      Sorry, too busy with my own work – one distributed computing project is all I have bandwidth for. :) Why don’t you find an e-mail contact-us on the FAH site and ask whether anyone has tabulated bang-for-buck performance stats for common CPU and GPU types? Or post to the forum along the same lines – based on my experience, it’s often the users who create and maintain such tables.

      Besta luck, keep us posted on what you find!

  42. Eustachedesaintpierre

    I suppose this could be seen as being of secondary importance in relation to human losses. but from my experience many older people especially those who live alone often have pets. On my weekly trips to Bangor NI I which is to the province what Bournemouth is to England, & I think Miami is to the US I see many older women in particular who might well be single walking dogs of various sizes. I had a chat last year with a woman who is involved in re-homing pets who told me that over the last few years they have found it increasingly tough to find new homes for those left behind or just dumped, often not long after Christmas.

  43. Otis B Driftwood

    The dems will lose in a landslide in November and take down ballot candidates with them.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of establishment hacks.

    But Jimmy Dore is right, they don’t give a damn. It isn’t about winning or losing, it was always about defeating Sanders by any means necessary.

    1. Daryl

      So completely and hopelessly outflanked by the Republicans, who are still doing a terrible job of handling this, just less worse than the Democrats.

  44. rd

    In order to do C-19 testing, you need to extract the RNA.

    In order to extract the RNA, you need to get a sample.

    In order to get a sample, you need a special cotton swab that meets exacting specifications. It turns out they are running out of those……

    After all the noise about the CDC tests, it turns out that the testing bottleneck may be cotton swabs. somebody needs to buy our government a copy of “The Goal” by Goldratt.

    1. ewmayer

      Haven’t they ever heard of Q-Tips? Sheesh. OK, typical mass-produced ear swabs may not be strictly sterile, but:

      1. Mass production usually is completely automated, high-throughput means little chance for contamination;

      2. You can always just stick a batch of Q-Tipes in an autoclave to completely sterilize them.

      Another great example of the kind of wartime-rationing repurpose/re-use exercises which will be par for the course as the we-no-longer-make-anything globalized-to-death West adapts to supply chain disruptions.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        On the bright side, if a q-tip is contaminated with coronavirus and then jammed down my throat or in my nose, then it won’t produce false positives.

      2. rd

        It has to be all synthetic and antiseptic. Otherwise, it doesn’t work to transfer the virus. Also, they have to be uncomfortably long.

  45. Oregoncharles

    I just saw an excellent example of how difficult social distancing is going to be, in the local newspaper: (I know that’s too long, but I don’t see a question mark I can cut it off at). In the picture at the top of the “ops center”, you can see all the county’s top emergency services people – and, with one random exception, they’re *all too close together.* If one gets sick, they all get sick.

    Then I tried to contact the county to point this out, and discovered that finding contact info, especially for the ops center itself, is remarkably difficult. I’m not exactly a tyro at web sites, and it took me a long 5 minutes; the button that says “complete contact information” produces none at all, that I could see. There is an “information” phone #, not open till 11 am.

    Sigh. And this is a prosperous, relatively well-run county.

    Further: you notice what I said about trying to inform the county? I tried to “contact” them – that’s the word they use. Most of our words for communication or social solidarity imply touch; I had to struggle to find ones that didn’t. The language reflects an important reality: physical contact, or at least nearness, are very important to us.

    1. John k

      …relatively well run country…
      Compared to what? Zimbabwe? Well, all right then… but how many countries did Zimbabwe invade?
      I speculate were the worst run country anywhere, still on our crumbling perch bc of our post ww2 position.
      Let’s see how we compare with Europe and Asia wrt cv… totally hopeless so far.
      Granted we have the will and printing press to save the Corp masters, though the dems are intent on leaving behind the bottom third.
      I can’t imagine what sanders could say that gets his supporters to vote for biden.

      1. Oregoncharles

        that was “county,” with no R. Benton, as is plain from the link. And it is relative.

        Otherwise, I agree with you about the US. It hasn’t been well-run in my now long memory (I think it’s too big), and it isn’t getting any better.

      1. Oregoncharles

        thanks, will look for that. “html” is always final, I guess, except for tracking garbage.

  46. Oregoncharles

    “I wonder if the dinosaurs built nests.” Alligators do – quite sophisticated ones, that compost and help keep the eggs warm.

  47. antidlc

    Corporate restructuring attorneys form fundraising committee for Joe Biden

    Corporate restructuring attorneys are forming a fundraising committee to help Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
    The committee is being organized by Jon Henes, a senior partner at legal juggernaut Kirkland & Ellis. At least a dozen legal luminaries have been asked to join.
    With the economy in free fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, corporate restructuring attorneys could be key policy advisors for Biden’s campaign if he captures the nomination.

  48. Oregoncharles

    “Just leave, like the Iraqis asked.”
    Don’t have a link to hand, but the news yesterday was that the US was vacating the smaller bases in Iraq, probably the first step to a complete evacuation. I wonder about the embassy.

    It’s just too dangerous for such a small force, plus they can’t carry out their supposed mission, which was training.

  49. flora

    re: Volunteers 3D-Print Unobtainable $11,000 Valve For $1 To Keep Covid-19 Patients Alive; Original Manufacturer Threatens To Sue – TechDirt. One 3-D printer’s reaction (dk):

    Trump today activated the Defense Production Act (finally). Said above medical valve manufacturing company threatening private people filling the void might quickly find itself nationalized or mandated by government for production if it doesn’t back down, imo.

    1. flora

      adding a general observation: The past 40 years of national govt have been about electing politicians putting narrow ideology over any competence to perform basic national govt functions, the next 40 years will be about electing politicians who demonstrate competence in the real world, instead of politicians only interested in fealty to narrow dogmas.

  50. m sam

    Can Russia Use the Coronavirus to Sow Discord Among Americans? (NY Times)

    I don’t know but I can sure tell that the NY Times can use Russia to sow discord between Americans, hands down (and in the coronavirus pandemic, to boot)!

  51. chuck roast

    “Minsky at 100”

    Thanks for that. My undergraduate BA brain didn’t get all of that but the discussion of various investment/finance epochs was interesting and succinct. This little nugget encapsulated it, “…in the new neoliberal age, the risk of a new great depression existed, he (Minsky) insisted that governments would ultimately intervene to protect profits, banks, and finance, so that the new form of crisis would be upward instability.” Nice.

    Clearly with each succeeding crash and debt rescue the contradictions (as we used to say) become more pronounced and the ability of government to ameliorate depressed economic conditions diminishes. Debt is built upon more debt, there is less productive economic growth, rentierism becomes more pronounced and the Minsky moments become more closely spaced. How the geniuses in charge now avoid whole scale debt-deflation and at least the partial euthanasia of the rentiers is beyond me. What do they do, give everyone a basket of cash? Without some sort of conscious economic leveling the youngsters will not take to homelessness without a fight, and will soon be screwing the suits up against the wall.

  52. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Saudi oil price war article linked to another such article, here.

    It seemed very interesting and offered possibilities for a grimly-determined movement of 300 million First World DeConsumers to ratfuck the oil markets by strangling down their personal use of oil and oil products even deeper than merely obeying all the corona cautions would lead them to do as a byproduct of obeying all the corona cautions.

    Am I wrong to think so? Even in theory?

    Am I wrong to think that enough widely-spread-enough Deep DeConsumption behavior for the next year or so could crash oil down to $5.00 a barrel or so? And stay there for at least a year? Would that be enough to exterminate some expensive-to-produce companies beyond revival? And if the “economy” swiftly “revived” sometime after that, could the price of oil be forced back up so high and hard that hundreds of millions of wannabe-oil-users would be price-tortured into living their lives with some fraction of the oil they would have preferred?

    And could enough ” forced high-price demand-strangulation” go far enough to produce an artificial ” glut” ( too little consumption to keep up with production) and keep it going long enough to crash the price again?

    Could such a crash-again exterminate yet more oil companies? Could the following price-spike exterminate more oil demand?

    Could a determined movement of several hundred million DeConsumption ratfuckers push the oil industry down the Slow Staircase Of Doom?

  53. drumlin woodchuckles

    If Stoller’s warning is worth re-posting here AS a warning . . . . especially the part about food-supply-system collapse and its attendant food shortages . . . . then is it worth posting here articles about how individdles and bunches of individdles up to the size of little klektivs and kommunities may prepare in advance to airgap themselves from wider-system food shortages?

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