Links 3/20/2020

NASA fixes Mars lander by telling it to hit itself with a shovel NY Post. There’s a lesson here for all of us….

Planets set to put on a show for the earliest Spring equinox in 124 years on Friday – with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and a crescent moon appearing very close together in the night sky Daily Mail

Glut of crude swells across Atlantic basin on coronavirus, OPEC+ hikes Reuters

U.S. Airlines Could Burn $40 Billion in Cash If Demand Vanishes Bloomberg

Open Wide: Dentists Pressured To Drill Healthy Teeth, Ex-employees Say Newsy. Another private equity scam.

This recession is nothing like previous ones and so it has to be managed very differently Tax Research UK


The science:

Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 NEJM

* * *

Potential treatment:

A made-in-Canada solution to the coronavirus outbreak? MacLeans. Quercetin.

Japanese flu drug ‘clearly effective’ in treating coronavirus, says China Guardian

Coronavirus vaccines: five key questions as trials begin Nature

* * *

Materiel shortages:

America Has a New Coronavirus Testing Problem: We’re Out of Chemicals Vice

US drugmaker doubled price on potential coronavirus treatment FT. Chloroquine.

Banks Pressure Health Care Firms to Raise Prices on Critical Drugs, Medical Supplies for Coronavirus The Intercept (CL).

US Air Force Flew Half a Million Coronavirus Test Swabs From Italy to Tennessee Defense One

Trump’s 500 Million Respirators Could Take 18 Months to Deliver Bloomberg

Trump Told Governors to Buy Own Virus Supplies, Then Outbid Them Bloomberg

* * *


Will COVID-19 die down in summer? New tests could help answer that. LiveScience

The First U.S. Company Has Announced an Upcoming Home COVID-19 Test Time

New blood tests for antibodies could show true scale of coronavirus pandemic Science

We Need Time to Absorb All This Peggy Noonan. Do read for the screening process; the incentives are quite clear.

‘It is unclear why quality control did not detect this issue’: Early CDC tests couldn’t distinguish between coronavirus and water Business Insider. The contractor who supplied the faulty reagent to the CDC remains unnamed.

* * *


Gov. Gavin Newsom orders all Californians to stay at home Los Angeles Times

The United States might have a secret weapon against coronavirus WaPo. “The United States, however, already practices a form of social distancing in its daily life through suburban living.”

Graph theory suggests COVID-19 might be a ‘small world’ after all ZDNet (original).

‘If I get it, I die’: homeless residents say inhumane shelter conditions will spread coronavirus Guardian

* * *

Economic effects:

Experts Say the Internet Will Mostly Stay Online During Coronavirus Pandemic Vice. “Home users may see problems due to neglected U.S. infrastructure, but the internet overall should be able to weather the storm, experts suggest.”

Coronavirus: 120,000 IATSE Members Lose Their Jobs In Production & Event Shutdowns, Union Donates $2.5M Deadline

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Political response:

Who wins in the Senate GOP’s big bailout Politico

Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock After Reassuring Public About Coronavirus Preparedness ProPublica. Three other senators also sold major holdings around the time Mr. Burr did, according to the disclosure records: Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is also a member of the Intelligence Committee; James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma; and Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia.” So it’s bipartisan. I’m shocked, and I’m not the only one:

Senate Democrats propose bailout for student loan borrowers WaPo. “The liberal coalition, which includes the American Federation of Teachers, Demos and Americans for Financial Reform, estimates as many as 1 in 3 student loan borrowers will have their debts canceled under the proposal.” They’ll pry means-testing from Liberal Democrats’ cold dead hands….

America’s mass transit agencies need a bailout, too Vox

IRS releases guidance on deferring tax payments due to coronavirus The HIll

* * *


Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel U.S. Department of State

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Remedies and ameliorations:

What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? Smart Air. Handy chart:

Public urged to stop flushing anti-septic wipes and turn off taps while washing hands as water demand reaches record levels Independent

COVID-19 Scams Are Everywhere Right Now. Here’s How to Protect Yourself Time

Here’s A Running List Of The Latest Hoaxes Spreading About The Coronavirus Buzzfeed. Not sure Bellingcat belongs there, as a fact-checker….

* * *

Coronavirus and the Collapse of the Liberal Order: Europe’s Fate Called Into Question Valdai Discussion Club

Coronavirus’ next victim: Populism Politico

Coronavirus pandemic could reshape the global order Middle East Eye


Mask diplomacy: China tries to rewrite virus narrative Agence France Presse

Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up Axios

‘Is that it?’: Chinese report into death of doctor who raised coronavirus alarm underwhelms Reuters


Modi Asks 1.3 Billion Indians to Stay Indoors in Virus Fight Bloomberg


Facing Covid-19 in Italy — Ethics, Logistics, and Therapeutics on the Epidemic’s Front Line NEJM. China’s view:

“We are being treated as cannon fodder” OpenDemocracy. The UK.

Germany’s coronavirus anomaly: high infection rates but few deaths FT

Power Demand Slows in Europe as Virus Lockdowns Kick In Bloomberg

New Cold War

Six years and $20 billion in Russian investment later, Crimeans are happy with Russian annexation WaPo. Maybe the Atlantic Council will need to find a new grift.

Putin’s Coup: Cunning Plan or Improvisation? Carnegie Moscow Center

Trump Transition

What exactly is the Defense Production Act? Military Times

Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded NYT


Biden Sides With Big Pharma Against Plan That Could Make Coronavirus Vaccine Affordable Sludge

Right Now Congressional Dems Are to the Right of the GOP The Nation

Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Rescue America’s Frail Democracy Thomas Piketty, Jacobin

While Mainstream Democrats Fumble, Bernie Sanders Is Modeling a Serious Response to Coronavirus In These Times


Boeing eyes production pause as virus spreads: sources Reuters

David Calhoun’s Boeing criticism misses its most deserving target Seattle Times

Guillotine Watch

‘We should blow up the bridges’ — coronavirus leads to class warfare in Hamptons NY Post (DL). Must-read.

How one elite New York medical provider got its patients coronavirus tests Reuters. Medical concierges.

Class Warfare

Coronavirus list of ‘key workers’ whose kids should stay in school finally published Mirror (KW). No hedgies on the list, oddly.

‘Now Make It National’: Vermont and Minnesota Classify Grocery Store Staff as Emergency Personnel Common Dreams

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Opinion: For the Rich, Covid-19 Protections. For Health Workers, a Shrug. Undark

Declining worker power and American economic performance Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers, Brookings Institute

Evolution selects for ‘loners’ that hang back from collective behavior—at least in slime molds

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. Killing the Host

    Anybody that knows how much of the total cost of operations for restaurants and small shops are just to pay rent?
    This would be a perfect time to push for lowering the rents for at least small business and to get the landlords to give away these months for free.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      It is still too early, greedy people will clutch onto whatever hopes of normalcy they have. But they will be the losers because the smart landlords are lowering or reducing rent and building a social bond and trust that is stronger than money.

      I have been looking at apartment rentals in Chapel Hill, NC (Large University Town). The university even told the on AND off campus kids to go home to mom and dad. There is no price move yet on apartments or sublets. As the number sublets are rising I see only a slight hint of discounting for those units.

      And I still seeing ads of people looking for housing for the fall semester….those poor delusional kids….

      AirBnB unit prices seem to be getting discounted but still too pricey for me for a month. I know a few people personally that made their decision on buying a house that they would use AirBnB to afford the mortgage. Do they get a bail out?

      (On a side note, there is still no plans or information for the homeless here and I have exhausted all of those resources.)

      1. griffen

        Hello there, I can give you a contact for a local resource if you are on the search for a rental. I rent out a small townhome nearby in Durham ( presently occupied ).

        Just a suggestion.

      2. Tim

        There will be no evictions in the near aftermath of the virus. Start there and game out how this all goes…

      3. JBird4049

        …there is still no plans or information for the homeless here…

        Because of course there isn’t. Empty homes and hotels dot the landscape and homeless people everywhere and somehow, somehow the government refuses to do anything (productive).

    2. PlutoniumKun

      This is going to be an enormous problem if and when this is all over. Many businesses coming back will be unable/unwilling to pay their old rents. The problem is that with many investment companies the value of their investments is tied to a notional (not real) annual rent. This is why so many commercial property owners prefer to leave units empty than fill them with lower rent users. A large scale reduction in commercial rents could have potentially enormous impacts on the balance sheets of many finance institutions, including of course pension funds.

      1. Adam Eran

        Perhaps the best objection I’ve heard to Bernie, and the sensible measures to rein in Wall Street he proposes is that “It’ll reduce my 401K!”…

        These are people who believe having a lot of money (or stocks, or mutual funds, etc.) is what amounts to wealth. I quote the philosopher Chris Rock: “Wealth isn’t about having lots of money; it’s about having lots of options.”

        If you destroy the society or economy producing those options to achieve a large stack of dollars (or stock certificates, etc.), then you actually diminish your wealth.

        There’s actually a name for this phenomenon, from Alfred North Whitehead: The fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Mistaking the symbol for the reality. It amounts to devouring the menu rather than the food in the restaurant. (I’d also suggest this is the real meaning of the Biblical commandments prohibiting idolatry.)

        Everything old is new again, eh?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Well that “It’ll reduce my 401K!” argument is pretty moot now, isn’t it?

          And since we didn’t learn the lesson back in 2008 that it’s a bad idea to tie everybody’s long term retirement savings to Wall Street and its notion that next quarter’s profits are all that matters, maybe it will stick this time.

          I’d say “Bernie or burn it down” again, but it looks like the fire is already well under way.

        2. campbeln

          It amounts to devouring the menu rather than the food in the restaurant. (I’d also suggest this is the real meaning of the Biblical commandments prohibiting idolatry.)

          Wow… thank you for that little insight!

    3. John Beech

      It’s so funny to hear the ignorant talk about landlords lowering rent. Almost like they’re oblivious of the realities of life. Like the little old lady whose husband passed away in his sixties who, now, in her eighties along with the $320 pension her husband left, lives off the rent of their former home, who also rents rooms in her current home – this in order to survive. Sure, you say, lower the rent. Yes indeed, lower the rent . . . especially for deadbeat tenants who somehow always have enough money for beer and cigarettes and excuses when the 1st of the month rolls around. No, they shouldn’t be evicted, the rich landlord can afford it. Lower the rent! Lower the rent! Lower the rent!

      But I mean the rich landlords, they say ignoring the fact they get the press but the vast majority are ordinary blokes who have sacrificed to buy another property to rent. It’s the game of Monopoly writ large. Some people never learned the lessons of the childhood game, but they get mad at those who did.

      1. New Wafer Army

        John, do you know that voice in your hear, your internal monologue? Does it sound like Foghorn Leghorn? Because that’s what I hear. When I read your posts, that’s the voice I hear. I always imagine that puffed-up braggart cock strutting around the farmyard, spewing out whatever pops into his head – which just happens to be your post. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you do consider what you write first. Anyway, that’s all for now folks!

          1. Adam Eran

            Mao revised Chinese agricultural practices to fit his “educated” perspective…and an estimated 70 million Chinese died of hunger during peacetime. Not my favorite psychopath.

            Meanwhile, RE John’s comment: “Between 2011 and 2017, some of the world’s largest private-equity groups and hedge funds, as well as other large investors, spent a combined $36 billion on more than 200,000 homes in ailing markets across the country.” (From The Atlantic)

            This is a market well and truly infiltrated by the very wealthy. Portraying rentals as grandma’s final source of income may be accurate in some cases, but that was the logic promoting California’s proposition 13 (“Don’t make Grandma lose her home to high property taxes!”).

            In truth, prop 13 has not changed California’s overall tax burden that much unless you count the loophole for commercial property. Homes are re-assessed every time they sell, and typically this increases the tax assessment and taxes collectible. But commercial properties are reassessed only when more than 50% changes hands. So when Michael Dell (Dell Computers) buys a Santa Monica Hotel, splitting title between himself, his wife and a corporation he controls…no reassessment occurs. Essentially that hotel is taxed at 1978 values (roughly 20% of current).

            The loss for the state: $11 billion a year. Anyway, closing this loophole sold to us as a remedy for Grandma’s condition is about to come up on the November Ballot (“Split roll” is one name for it).

            So…John has a point, in limited instances, but his tactic has successfully been gamed to favor the plutocrats often enough that I’m very suspicious.

            1. fwe’zy

              ExCuze you, the Mao famines myth has been debunked but even if it hadn’t, do you think it was easy to bring a barely post-feudal society into full industrialization so quickly? Mao was responsible for many beneficial changes such as Simplified Chinese, which made literacy accessible to everyone. The Cultural Revolution had its mistakes but the benefits outweighed. Your posts do not appear to be those of a capitalist mouthpiece, but perhaps Trotsky is your favorite psychopath?

              1. JBird4049

                A person can do both great good and great evil. Mao can point to some mitigating points with the Great Famine, but his Cultural Revolution was a means of crushing his opponents, often just perceived, and not much more. He wanted power and was will to do great harm to get and maintain it.

                1. fwe’zy

                  “Not much more.” How easy to Monday night quarterback and to read minds, apparently. I don’t know what Mao “wanted”; all I know is the stark difference between Chinese society before and after Mao. Nutrition, literacy, productivity, and sexual equality greatly improved. Please give an historical example of somebody who did a better job (besides Stalin) of achieving enormous, wide-scale transformation while fighting off the greatest evil humankind has seen: capitalist hegemony rooted in literal human slavery. Spoiler alert: ya can’t.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Well . . . . Simplified Chinese made literacy available except to the millions who died in Mao’s Great Leap Famine. Sucked to be them, I guess.

                  1. Ook

                    Sorry to continue on this tangent but Simplified Chinese had nothing to do with increased literacy. Just look at Taiwan and Hong Kong, both still on Traditional Chinese and with comparable literacy levels. If anything, the introduction of Simplified Chinese complicated matters because now you have to be conversant with both forms.

                    1. fwe’zy

                      “Nothing” to do with increased literacy? Traditional Chinese is very complicated and requires dedicated study/ memorization that peasants can rarely afford. Taiwan and Hong Kong populations had completely different trajectories from different roots, compared to the very isolated rural populations and dire postfeudal inequality of mainland China. See how these utterly simplistic, sweeping anti-Mao statements reveal your western brainwashing.

                    2. drumlin woodchuckles

                      Oh look! We have our own Mao Kiddie from the Junior Red Guard Kiddettes!

                      Ooooooo . . it’s sooooo CUTE!

                      I could just pinch its darling little chubby red cheeks!

            2. Michael Mckasle

              I talked a lot about this issue as I recently went door to door campaigning for County Supervisor. When Prop. 13 was passed 1/3 of the property tax burden was on home owners and 2/3 on commercial property. Now it has reversed.
              There are, of course, Mom and Pop businesses who own their premises and, as Adam pointed out, many financial corporations (never ones to fail to capitalize on a disaster) effectively turned bailouts into distressed home ownership post 2008. Of course, stashing wealth in housing as an ‘asset class’ has been happening for decades
              As more money flowed to the asset class the values went up which is great for them (and your piddling slice of pension fund returns if you get any) but is known as rent going up and being unable to afford to buy a home to most of us.
              As usual, the solution lies in abolishing Corporate Personhood, which seems unlikely to me any time soon.
              I see the best alternative as allowing a “Person” to have a “Beneficial Interest” in only one property with the protection of Prop 13. The principle could be applied in many other situations.
              This may limit the hypothetical poor widow referenced in the earlier comment to renting out rooms in her own house or living in a small house while renting out the nicer digs she gets a tax break on. It could be written so a Person could have an interest in 2 subsidized properties so Mom and Pop can live in their house and own their cafe’s building cheaply too.
              It would certainly limit a Person owned by several other Persons who owns several Persons, each of whom owns a house.
              Sadly that is not the gist of the reform being mooted and Mom and Pop’s cafe will be thrust to the front of the opposition, as will renters from Persons whose tax bills will go up. Of course those very renters might be owners themselves if not for the systemic subsidization of wealthy Persons having been going on for decades.
              I thought I would throw the concept (not mine, I forget where I ran across it ages ago) out to the crowd and see if anybody has heard of it being tried anywhere?

          2. Massinissa

            Gaddhafi realized there wasn’t enough housing for everyone.

            So he banned the ownership of more than one house, and gave newlyweds $100k to buy a house with. Problem solved.

            1. notabanktoadie

              Sounds very compatible with the Old Testament (i.e. Leviticus 25).

              It seems Gaddhafi was more righteous in that regard than the so-called “Christian” churches in the US.

        1. Tom Bradford

          Both of John Beech’s examples are at the extremes – the widow living off the rent of what had once been her matrimonial home and the dead-beat tenant – yet both do exist. Which means there are no easy answers.

          I hope, though, that New Wafer Army’s “that’s all, folks” means we’ll never hear from him again as he clearly has nothing to contribute, or if he has is unable to do it in a constructive, civilised way.

          1. witters

            Yes and China had always been at “war” – overseas and on other continents, – since its founding (give or take 8 or so years). And war brings freedom!

      2. xkeyscored

        One lesson of the game is that having just a little property to rent means you lose in the end. So don’t get mad at the super-rich when they win again?

      3. lyman alpha blob

        There are also plenty of property owners who have owned their buildings for years and paid them off long ago, back when rents were a fraction of what they are today. The fact that they are renting at current market rates today is due to greed – they do it not because they need to, but because they can.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          When I was finishing undergrad and getting started in life, I lived downtown in a place where gentrification was happening and rents were going up. My landlord was 80+ old and had owned the place 50+ years, totally paid off. My rent was about a quarter the people in the next building paid, utilities included! Now, it wasn’t a total apples to apples as the next door was more plush than mine, for sure. I was still paying way less in rent than anyone else I knew. He was charging all of us what he needed to have his bills paid and be comfortable. Also worth mentioning, he lived very modestly. the most extravagant thing he ever bought was a used Lincoln and he ended up still driving his old S-10 pickup more often anyway. Oh and he raised my rent once in the eight years I lived there, and he was so embarrassed to have to do it.

          I always have a debt of gratitude for him as I really couldn’t have finished school and got through a tough job market with out him.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            My favorite bar back in the day was in a building owned by an old Japanese guy. From what I gathered he didn’t charge the bar owner much rent at all and he was always downstairs having a beer with the regulars. I think he liked the company more than trying to make $$$ off the building. That place was pretty much my living room for years.

            Not everybody in this country is out grubbing for money which is very nice to see.

      4. Massinissa

        Um… You know Monopoly was based on The Landlords Game which was an educational game to teach people why not taxing land enough was a bad idea, right?

        1. fwe’zy

          Great points about Gaddafi (enemy of neoliberals/ Washington Consensus) and true meaning of the Monopoly game. Adam Eran had great point about the commercial property loophole in Prop 13, too. Great commentariat, NC, thank you.

          1. Copeland

            This discussion is so helpful, thank you all, including John Birch, for kicking it all off. Most of his comments strike me as extreme cherry-picking, but I’m not as well versed in our economy as currently configured to coherently challenge him. As demonstrated by the replies, he is only “seeing” a tiny fraction of our real estate situation in operation, and that may be intentional, but it is not very helpful in understanding where the problems lie and what changes might be a good idea.

            NC commentariat and moderators, you’re the best anywhere.

            1. HotFlash

              ahh, Copeland, re John Birch

              Um, I think you mean John Beech. A commenter who I respect as a Republican of my mother’s stamp, someone I would be happy to have as a neighbour and am happy to have as an ally.

              1. Copeland

                Birch was an intentional joke, perhaps in bad taste.

                Yeah, I would love to have my Repub mother as a neighbor too, and shes definitely my ally in times of need, but exactly zero of her political views resonate with me. Fun times we live in!

      5. Matthew

        Suspend rents, mortgage payments, and property taxes for the duration of the crisis. Cash payments for all, including Grandma, to cover living expenses.

        1. HotFlash

          Ditto utility bills, or at least suspend disconnections. Govt payments to citizens should not be by cheque but by direct deposit into regular, (newly created) Central Bank, or Postal banking accounts. Access is by debit card, *NO FEE*. Cash can be accessed and money transferred *NO CHARGE* via internet, at post offices, regular banks, privately-owned ATM’s, and PayDay lenders. If necessary, privatize the regular banks — it’s about time. We already have the technology for all this.

          This is a big job, but not, I think impossible. Me, I’d tap Brooksley Born and Sheila Bair. Smart and honest.

          And, once we get that going, figure out a secure way to vote by mail and internet. DNC gonna hate that. RNC, too, probably. Maybe the VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) or Ed Snowden have some thoughts?

          1. campbeln

            And, once we get that going, figure out a secure way to vote by mail and internet.

            National holiday and paper ballots.

            Anything less is a compromise that can and will be compromised by someone at some point in the (not too distant) future.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Oregon already figured out how to do vote by mail; three other states have now adopted it. Works like a charm. There was one example of fraud, AT the elections office. She got caught. Over the internet is harder, and does not provide a paper ballot filled out by the voter.

            Adding utility bills to the proposed freeze is a big improvement; thanks. OTOH, setting up a whole new banking system, while people have to stay 6 ft. apart, is more of a challenge. Truth is, Treasury is a bank; they write checks on themselves. Trying to get a Postal Bank out of the crisis is a challenge, but worth a try.

  2. dcblogger

    I had to go out today, people are feeling the pressure of the situation. a lot of strain, tension, and unpleasantness. human nature really. just more incentive to practice social isolation.

    1. Paul O

      So far I am finding the opposite in my small town in the UK. People trying to help where they can – right across the community. Foodbank getting massive support.

      Hope it continues.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        That’s good to know & I did notice that here in Northern Ireland the large box for food donations in our local Sainsbury’s was much fuller than usual, unlike the supermarket itself.

      2. russell1200

        State of North Carolina asked for the help of NC Baptist Men and Women Disaster Relief Ministry (They were just a ‘Mens’ organization, but after the huge effort by many for Hurricane Katrina down in Louisiana and Mississippi, they are now Men and Women) to help with those who are isolated and can’t get their own supplies. A lot of churches (more so than schools which usually just do reheat now) have kitchens so they are a very good place to start with a community effort.

        I am not a Baptist, but they are a very good organization.

        I also saw what looked like some student driven efforts, but I don’t know who is doing them. It is probably just self organizing groups.

    2. Lina

      Where are you located? I haven’t been out for over a week so don’t have a handle on things out there. Which I’m ok with.

    3. remmer

      I went out yesterday afternoon. There were fewer people out than usual but otherwise it was just a smaller-scale version of a normal day. No one was unpleasant and I sensed no strain. That may change, of course.

    4. Clive

      Re: COVID-19 Psychological Impacts (no, this wasn’t anything in Links, but it’s so sufficiently newsworthy, it probably should have been in the media)

      I rarely am able to remember dreams. Usually if I do, it’s just vague fragments or a sensation rather than the specifics. But last night, I had a really vivid dream and I woke up being able to recall a lot of detail. I was (in my dream) in the Asda (the UK’s local brand name for Walmart’s supermarkets) store car park in my town. I was walking to the store entrance — with Arlene Foster! I was apparently preparing to do an interview with her in the store. We were going to do a feature on toilet paper shortages. I didn’t know the exact setup (or it wasn’t in my dream) but in my mind (my dream mind) we were going to do some establishing shots of the empty toilet paper aisle and I’d be asking Arlene about it. Arlene was, in my dream, anyway, very smartly turned out and charm itself.

      No, I’ve no real idea what it meant or was supposed to signify.

      Could Dr. Sigmund Freud please pick up the white courtesy phone. Could Dr. Sigmund Freud please pick up the white courtesy phone. Thank you.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          (I just realised that version I posted to refers to ‘that hoor in no.10’, he kept changing the lyrics as time went on).

      1. shtove

        Surely Arlene has burned all the bog roll to ash: “Set my people free! To rack up state subsidies and enter Heaven. For the rest, let them sup the Devil’s buttermilk.”

      2. skk

        I read an article that discussed why people are buying toilet rolls in such large numbers. Its got a scatological explanation of course but of a different sort, sort of at the Martin Luther level – something to do with the psychological symbol-level connection of death with excreta and thus at symbol level warding off death – the article called it “the people’s vaccine”.

        I don’t poo-poo ( yeah I meant that ) these type of explanations ever since I read about the fertility symbols in cricket – the red-ball, the wicket, bails, maiden over and then there’s that other spring rite – easter bunny, coneys, and stuff like that. OTOH it could all be cousins of the C.A.N.O.E. who invent this stuff. Its just interesting stuff for me.

      3. Ignacio

        -Somehow related with your dream in a supermarket-
        I have been told that hospital staff in Spain are told to avoid facial and hand creams, painted nails and any kind of accessory element that would help SARS CoV 2 sticking in face, hands…
        I would apply that for supermarket visits.

        1. Clive

          I’ve cut my finger nails really really short (they weren’t that long to start with) “cut to the quick” is the English language expression. It’s such a simple thing to do and makes hand-washing easier since I’m not having to scrub my nails.

          Having an eye condition, I’m habitually hyper-vigilant about dirt on fingernails and the eye if you can’t help but rubbing your eyes (a corneal transplant is an easy entry point because the graft join is never as robust as original tissue). But it seems to make sense to have slightly less attractive fingernails but even less risk of dirt harbouring biofilms.

          1. newcatty

            Well,I just literally got off the phone with my eye doctor’s office. I live in a small northern AZ town. A lot of older people live in my area. It took a month to get initial appointment…not unreasonable wait. Then saw doc and the expected diagnosis was given. My blurry vision, especially into eye, was due to “after cataract” cloudiness from former cataracts surgery. Our esteemed Govenor declared all cataract and YAG (laser) surgeries as elected surgeries. Really??? My vision is slowly deteriorating. I guess one eye will be viable for awhile longer. YAG ” surgery” takes literally a couple minutes. The Corona virus is now at my door. We have stocked up on food. We are sheltered in our comfortable home. So, much to be grateful for… Yes, Virginia we are a third world country. Millions of people in “third world ” countries are blinded due to cataracts. I am trying to not feel helpless and beyond saddened. When asked when the elective surgeries will be resumed, the answer: We don’t know. Truth.

            1. Clive

              I’m a trustee of an eye disease charity and after years and years we badgered, collectively, healthcare here into patient-centrist methodology, in a binding protocol. Not just warm words, we can on a statutory basis insist it is followed.

              I am sure it won’t do any good, but keep hectoring them that, with healthcare, it is always, everywhere an individual assessment which is essential. But I know, first hand, how hard it is to keep on fighting your corner.

              My sincere best wishes. As was once told to me by a senior ophthalmologist, if your eyesight is compromised, virtually every aspect of your life is compromised. It’s not even vaguely possible to “work around” sight loss. Everything takes 10x the effort and, boy, do you get tired. And tell that Doug Ducey that Clive thinks he’s a rotter.

              1. newcatty

                Clive, thank you. You are light in these dark times. Wish I and Mr. Catty could drink a pint with you…

              2. newcatty

                Clive, thank you. You are a light in these darkening times. Wish Mr. Catty and I could have a pint with you in a warm and friendly pub. If wishs were horses, I would ride into a sunrise.

    5. PlutoniumKun

      Its quite a mix here. Most people have been very nice and helpful, although my very stressed IT support person snaps at me like a rabid dog every time I ask her something. But then again, she always does that.

      The weather is (after a very wet and stormy late winter) really lovely here in Ireland now, it feels like spring, so everyone is taking the opportunity to go walk in the open air and get some UV rays, its creating quite a jolly atmosphere in lots of public areas. But that creates its own problems – I’ve a friend who is 7 months pregnant and she was quite angry at what she felt was the failure of people to give sufficient space on now quite overcrowded park paths. I can’t help noticing the various cultural social mores are still obvious – there are lots of Brazilians, Italians and Spanish in my area, and they move in quite large groups, not really behaving much differently than usual at all, while Asian people are very conspicuously keeping a low profile and almost always wear masks and generally are only out shopping or having coffee somewhere individually or in pairs.

    6. Clive

      I walked to the biggest Tesco in my town a of hours ago (I can’t drive any more so it’s walking or nothing, but walking avoids the car parks where the worst of the crush occurs). A small army of mostly migrant labour (a lot from India now) was restocking. Less bad in terms of empty shelves than a few days ago. Looks like logistics are getting their act together. A fair few boutique ranges were not available, shelf space given to staples, big boxes or big brands. Which is sensible I guess.

      A few things I wanted I couldn’t get and a few more only in sizes I wouldn’t normally by. But not awful. Prices were high. I really noticed that — no multiple buy offers, no sale lines. £30’s worth will just about cover me for the weekend and maybe Monday. I’m trying to buy fresh every day or so and eat that, rather than having to resort to the freezer or, desperation measures, the store cupboard of tinned goods. It isn’t a problem for me to pay up, but the U.K. government wage cover measure can’t come too soon, I imagine, for a lot of people.

      I’ve had problems getting hold of table salt, of all things, in the last week. But plenty available today, fortunately. Odd what folks rush to stockpile isn’t it?

      Everyone was very friendly. I’ll speak to anyone and often do (more often than not you just get a grunt, a word or two or an odd look). But the store staff were appreciative. They even liked my jokes (to one girl walking with a large pack of toilet roll “don’t worry, I’m not going to mug you for it”; well, she laughed, anyway). Another gent who was looking at the — sadly depleted — sausage shelves and we both bemoaned only packs of 12 available of the ones we liked. I feel bad eating just a single sausage, they’re not very good for you. I don’t know how I’m going to munch my way through a dozen of the bloody things. Another middle-aged woman joined in with a “it’s a case of what’s not available, rather than what is right now…”

      More conversation and general goodwill than I’ve seen in a long while.

      But in a month, or three months or six months? It will probably all be a lot more wearying.

      1. Monty

        Going to these shops often is surely greatly increasing your risk of getting sneezed on in a manner that no amount of hand washing will fix. Doesn’t the risk of death or long term lung fibrosis (to you and your family and social network) cancel out any health benefits of eating fresh?

        1. Clive

          In terms of a risk assessment, I’m not sure that an extra trip to the supermarket to buy fresh vegetables, milk, eggs, fruit and so on is material because I can’t not go out the house for the next six months, even if I wanted to. I need a prescription for eye medication which lasts three weeks tops. I tried putting in a “top up” repeat prescription earlier in the week and the doctor’s surgery called me back reminding me I’d only had one filled a week before and asking, pointedly, did I need another so soon? Preventing hoarding, in other words. So that’s two trips to the outside world, either to the GP’s surgery or to the supermarket (one to put the prescription in, another to collect it) every three weeks, no matter what.

          Assuming at least one trip for perishable foodstuffs every two weeks minimum plus medications, I’m going out to a supermarket or similar once a week as a baseline and that’s unavoidable. So adding another trip out per week does what in terms of my already-existing risk surface?

          And did you miss, I can’t drive. So even if I wanted to stock up for, say, a month or more, how am I to get everything home? I can carry two bags of about 10kg each for the distances I have to cover to the store.

          Plus, I prepared as much as I could already, the freezer is full but that will keep me going for 10-14 days, max. Then the store cupboard is another week or so. Then what? Bulk buying is not possible and is being enforced so it’s not like I can fill the garage with bags of dried goods. So I am very reluctant to run down my non-perishable supplies when fresh is available. Once the non perishable stock I have is gone, it’s gone.

          Finally, there’s the psychological implications. Eating only preserved and non-fresh food isn’t nutritious and you soon feel jaded. Add in isolation and a feeling that life is something that happens elsewhere isn’t a viable notion for more than a month or so. You need to see there is a society and you’re, for good or for ill, part of it. Otherwise, why bother? Cats may be psychologically wired to be solitary animals but humans are not. You can’t fight basic emotional and perceptual instincts and needs.

          I’ve seen my mother-in-law, since she lost her husband, struggle at times with loneliness and isolation. I’m pretty sure that there’s been the odd occasion where she’s wondered why she bother carrying on. You need some motivation to make an effort to keep going and you have to find the right balance as to how to achieve that for you. And she’s a naturally cheerful sort and not prone to sadness or depression. You have to try, for the benefit of your mental wellbeing, to have a life that’s at least bearable and at times enjoyable. If people fail to strike the right balance, we will lose just as many to suicide and stress or depression related illness as COVID-19.

          So, I’ll stick to going to the supermarket twice a week and keeping a couple of metres from my fellow humanity plus washing my hands before and after, thanks.

          1. Monty

            I’m not saying hibernate in a cave, but look into home deliveries if possible. Asda delivers to my auntie in SW London. The weather’s not bad, walk in the park or whatever.

            I read studies saying if someone coughs, the particles can stay in the air for 20-30 minutes. Right now I agree the chances of bumping into a sick person shedding the virus in the air is fairly low during 1 trip to Tescos, but how many people walked in that aisle in the last 30 minutes during each visit? Your racking up a lot of avoidable random contacts. I see it as like the situation with STDs, if you expose yourself (so to speak) to more people, you’re more likely to meet the one who will give it to you. Some say the best course of action is to just catch it asap whilst they still have beds, just in case it gets full later. After all, you’d probably be fine. There is a case there, but I live with elderly relatives, and i do not want to endanger them.

            1. Clive

              Have you tried booking a supermarket delivery slot? I did for my mother-in-law to get herself set up the system. At the weekend just gone I managed to get one slot next Tuesday. I know a lot of people are block booking in advance and I have been given to understand the supermarkets are taking steps to stop that or soon will be. So it is going to be very hit and miss to get a slot and I believe the over 70’s are going to be given first-chance when the slots are released, that’s a very good idea but I am not over 70.

              Given home delivery slots are a constrained resource, I think it’s, frankly, irresponsible for the under 50’s to nab them at all. It is safer for me to go to the supermarket than it is for a 70 year old (or older).

              And since the point is to get fresh items not non-perishable you run the distinct chance of not having what you ordered delivered or, if you tick the “substitute if not available” option getting something you might not be able to use. Yes, you can send it back but the problem isn’t financial, it’s having the raw ingredients you need and have planned for based on your existing stocks.

              And the bulk-buy bans are rigorously enforced on the home delivery systems. So no way can I get more than a week to ten days worth of stuff even if I did use that channel. I’d almost certainly need to make one trip to the stores per week (in addition to my prescription which might not coincide with when I need foodstuffs).

              1. flora

                Very good idea. My US town’s local Meals-on-Wheels lunch delivery to the home bound has suddenly shut down meals delivery. They reasonably claim their deliveries can’t guarantee not passing on the covid-19 virus from asymtomatic meal preparers and meal deliverers.

                Our local supermarket still does home delivery of groceries. Call in, ask if supermarket makes deliveries. That’s one potential solution for people in the higher risk groups and for the home bound.

              2. Jeff W

                “Have you tried booking a supermarket delivery slot?…At the weekend just gone I managed to get one slot next Tuesday.”

                Things can change. I tried getting grocery delivery on Tuesday (the first day of the lock-down in the San Francisco Bay Area) and the first available slot was Friday afternoon. I tried yesterday (Thursday) and the next available slot was Saturday (so somewhat better) but there was a Deliver any time in the next two hours option—which was, of course, okay because we’re not supposed to be going anywhere anyway—so I chose that and got, well, some things.

            2. Musicismath

              We (in Bucks) have been ordering our grocery shopping online via Ocado for 2 years now. Last week, Ocado was hit with unprecedented demand from a pushy wave of new customers and withdrew its mobile app before being forced to shut down its online ordering system entirely. (Supposedly, it will be up and running again tomorrow, but we’ll have to see how the website copes.)

              Unable to get a slot with Ocado, we put in an order with Tesco, due today. They cancelled the booking this morning via text message with only a few hours’ notice. Tesco are now encouraging users to visit stores physically rather than use the online ordering system. Our local Tesco Extra is a grocery deadzone at the best of times, but I managed to get around £30 of basics there this afternoon (minus things I really wanted, like flour, sugar, eggs, potatoes, etc,, etc.)

              So, ordering online is by no means a one-size-fits-all solution. Quite how Tesco’s new policy joins up with the “social distancing” idea, I don’t know. But we’re increasingly seeing that very little currently joins up in the UK’s response to this unfolding crisis.

              1. Musicismath

                For the announcement from Tesco, asking online shoppers to switch to in-store purchasing, see here, bullet point 5.

          2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I had the staff laughing at a B&M store as I improvised a story about how my 2 guinea pigs Jack & Dougal had ganged up on me in order to force me to stock up on hay, wood shavings & their favourite bags of Dandelion meadow. We now have about 6 weeks worth so they will be OK & I can always fall back on grass & dandelion when we get some growth in the garden.

            I’t’s not something I can get locally if there is a total lockdown, so now all I have to do is stay alive.

            One thing I also noticed while in Sainsbury’s in Bangor shopping for someone else is that about 95% of the booze had gone.

            1. Clive

              My mother-in-law is pretty hit and miss in terms of food in storage (I nagged her to keep at least a fortnight’s worth, a month if she can work out meal plans for that length of time).

              After my hassling her on that, she proudly announced there’s at least three months’ worth of cat food in the wardrobe, maybe six. It was so much, she couldn’t count it all to say for sure.

              Priorities right there, I suppose !

              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                Well I am pretty well stocked up on human food as i have been buying some extra since the beginning of February, & I assume that I will be able to pop out occasionally to the local shop without being shot by the PSNI, who as I live in a strong Republican area will likely be well tooled up.

                I hope she got Arthur’s, although I prefer Dudley’s.


          3. aletheia33

            my partner and i no longer have a car. he’s 88, i’m 65. we each handle our own food needs. a friend takes my partner to the supermarket once a week. since the pandemic’s arrival they have been continuing with this.

            i go there on my electric bicycle. this kind of bicycle is great if you are older (depending on your age; my partner can no longer ride a bike) and want to be able to carry a biweekly supermarket trip’s worth; you can ride it with surprisingly little effort, and it can haul a lot of weight without burdening your body at all. it’s a vast upgrade from walking only–of where you can go and what you can do. it’s also great for staying at a safe distance from others while getting recreation outside. and right now car traffic is so diminished, streets and roads are safer for biking.

            there may be neighbors or friends who would be willing to give you a ride to the supermarket or bring you along when they shop for themselves. not everyone is willing, right now, but some are. it may carry some risk, which is up to each of us to assess and decide for themselves, of course. my point is, don’t be afraid to ask for help; most people actually welcome such an opportunity. helping lifts the helper’s spirits. and it’s easiest for near neighbors to get to you.

            thanks for your great reports clive!

          4. rtah100

            Clive, you should try to cut your trips if you can. Can you buy one of those wheeled shopping bags that grannies all had in the 1989’s? Or just repurpose a wheeled suitcase since travel is over?

    7. Trick Shroadé

      I’m in suburban DC. Plenty of people still going to the park and perhaps getting a bit too close to each other. Some people on our neighborhood listserv as chastising their neighbors still plating pick-up soccer and baseball.

      It occurred to me today that the party that’s encouraged Americans to own as many guns as possible is now in charge of trying to make those people stay home and do as they’re told….

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I had the same thought. It’s sad that I’m a little impressed I haven’t heard of any grocery store shootouts…yet. I anticipate it getting ugly when people realize this isn’t going to just pass like a winter storm.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Do you have guns at home? I’m tempted to get one. The economy is bound to get worse and people will be looting and maybe targeting minorities.

          1. ambrit

            The “legal” methods of obtaining firearms are being shrunk. Some states have curtailed physical transfers for the nonce.
            Get to know your neighbours. It’s the best strategy. Strength in numbers and all that.
            Good luck.
            (Usually reliable informants indicate a nationwide lockdown to last for three weeks is coming this weekend. Keep a ton of salt handy, but, the times are dire, so, dire methods needed.)

          2. MT_Bill

            Went out and bought an AR today. I never thought I’d be that guy, despite owning many hunting rifles and having had an AR assigned to me for work in the past.

            But when I read the report that the government is expecting this to go on in some form for 18 months, it changed my mind. I think most parts of the U.S. could keep there sh** together for a month or two, but no one is prepared for 18 months.

            The process took much longer than normal, apparently the ATF servers are swamped by background checks. Pretty surreal. If you would have told me 6 months ago I’d be in the store buying one in nitrile gloves and a facemask, I’d a laughed.

            Not funny now.

            1. ambrit

              Yep. One of the neighbors made his own AR platform long gonne. He chambered it in 7.62×39. I never had the spare cash to get an AR or AK, and that has been a ‘blessing in disguise.’ What I have is a lot cheaper and forced me to learn how to shoot. “Spray and Pray” is not a sustainable strategy.
              How did we come to this? A Nation divided against itself.
              Interesting times.

              1. MT_Bill

                I’m hoping it’s quick and accurate and not spray and pray. Supposed to be an inch or better at 100.

                I don’t think it will be a nation divided, but there will be a 2-4 week window coming soon where things get a bit sketchy.

                That will sort itself out quickly in many places, I just don’t want to be collateral damage.

                1. ambrit

                  You and me both. Good luck to you and yours, and, as is observed by ‘Pragmatists’ everywhere, the best weapons system is the one you do not have to use.

            2. HotFlash

              and having had an AR assigned to me for work in the past

              Holy smokes, I am pretty sure I do not want to know what your work was. Well, yeah, I do, but perhaps not really.ed at

    8. Amfortas the hippie

      maybe it’s the sudden dearth of carbs.
      Regardless, i expect a period of anger as the reality settles in.
      in our new village(us 4 plus mom and stepdad, plus cousin and his boy(18)), I’m watching the stages of grief in real time.

      called brother in kingwood, texas last night.
      sheltering in place. says there’s some empty shelves, but they’re soon filled. insisted i was being hysterical when i told him about the lack of bread/flour/etc for a fifty mile radius.
      still in “it will blow over soon” mode.
      (kingwood is an affluent area)

      told him about the wheat planting and toilet paper making efforts, as well as the hypergardening…thinks i’m being hysterical until i say it keeps the boys busy, and promotes sound sleep,lol.
      i’m still a little shaken by grocery manager’s reaction to those efforts(serious as a heart attack, looks me in eye, says “yeah…do that…”)
      old high school buddy, about 40 miles west of brother…in my hometown…bedroom suburbia.
      says grocery shelves are empty, people freaking out.

      weed unavailable even in san antonio.
      plenty of beer around…one thinks of the building of the pyramids…liquid bread, that has a shelf-life…

      cousin and my eldest have simultaneous realisation that the wheat in front yard won’t make a dent….i say…it’ll be the finest tortillas/loaves of bread/cake you’ve ever had…and it sets an example for others…as does the bamboo TP.
      Victory Gardens, and such.
      “curse the dark…or light a candle”
      stay frosty out there, people.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Would planting potatoes be an option? I have read how you only need only a fraction of the land that you would grow wheat with to feed a family. Supposed to be nutritional as well. Something tells me that sooner or later your brother will be heading your way – and straight into a quarantine tent for a fortnight. :)

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          all the red taters we had on hand for eating have been cut into quarters and planted.
          stores within reach(i went all the way to kerrville yesterday to get the golf cart, 65 miles one way) have been out of all taters for a week, now.
          mom had the boys mowing yesterday…instructed them without explanation to leave the big stand of “peppergrass”(tastes like black pepper). I noticed,lol.
          I’ve pointed out the edible weeds to leave…especially “sow thistle”
          luckily…and so far(touches wood)…the heavy rains seem to have disrupted the now 3 year long grasshopper plague we’ve laboured under.
          haven’t had a mesquite bean, acorn or pecan crop for 3 years because of them. fingers crossed.

          cousin is freaking out about his child support issues…said child is up here, of course.
          i told him to take the opportunity to “Be Here Now” and step outside of his life, and reassess.
          nothing to be done about all that any way.
          told him and his kid that they’re in a different world out here…slower…they’re not anonymous, like in Houston…and that by innocently dropping my name at the hardware store, they are a topic of conversation with the rumor mill…and will likely be suspected of being satanists, nazi’s or whatnot, ere the rumor mill moves on to something else(yes. this really happens,lol. when wife and i were first together, she called crying that i was a cult leader, sacrificing goats to satan.)

          san antonio friend called…said an ounce of weed can be had when we go to chemo next week(!!!!) for $200.
          double what it was a week ago.

          1. Astrid

            Wheat is about the worst grain to plant. Corn and black eye peas are the best in that category, but I really doubt you’re going to have problems accessing bulk calories for any length of time. If you did, I’d worry about guns before I’d worry about food in this country. I would recommend going to your nearest Agway and look for onion transplants, seed potato, sweet potatoes, and winter squash seeds. Those are most accessible as nutrition dense food with long storage life. If that’s too far, FedCo and Maine Potato Lady have the best prices. Carrots, other root crops, and Napa cabbage can be stored for months in a or in the ground.

            If you have a freezer, get some gallon zip lock bags and plant collard, kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. You can easily grow enough for a family for a year in 60 days in maybe 50 square feet. Just blanch briefly, wring out, and pack as much as possible into the bag. A gallon bag should be sufficient for a family of 4 for a week.

            If you’re going to Agway, might as well pick up a 50 lbs bag of a high nitrogen fertilizer mix and use judiciously. It’s not good long term soil stewardship, but if you don’t have good soil, it’s important to ensure your seedlings get enough nitrogen to grow quickly and not get stunted.

            If you’re thinking in terms of food security, I recommend Carol Deppe’s The Resilient Gardener.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              amen and +100.
              wheat and oats are what’s available out here, due to use as forage for cows.
              i have squash/pumpkins/etc planted in every open spot, as well as bush and pole beans, various peas,radishes, carrots, leafy greens(before the heat comes), beets, and so on.
              tomatoes, peppers, cukes,etc are in flats in greenhouse.
              barring the return of grasshoppers, all the fruit trees have bloomed and have little nubs of future fruit.
              the vetch i use as a winter/spring cover crop/weed suppression is running rampant. those seeds were a staple for the romans, at least,lol.
              we’ve had 10″ of rain in the last 2 weeks or so…excessive…everythings flooded.
              and a cold front tonight…down to 40.
              rain and cold will hopefully damage the hoppers.
              the few i’ve seen and caught are soft bodied and lethargic.
              one more place to look for seed taters.
              we’ll see.

              1. jonboinAR

                They grow both of them around here where I live. To tell you the truth, I can’t distinguish between them in the dishes I typically have them in. I’m still trying to get my son-in-law to help me till a plot about 40 x 80 ft. He says that, because of some roots, we need a tractor with a disker this time. He supposedly has access to one. I’m waiting. I don’t know what I’ll plant. Perhaps I’ll take Astrid’s advice and plant some greens In a tiny section, for the nonce.

                1. mpalomar

                  I farm a couple of 4 x 8 raised beds and various patches and assemblages of dirt, the produce of which I share with the squirrels and chipmunks so take this for what you will. I’ve been reading that tilling is over rated and can be counterproductive to the mcyelial networks that are the underground nutrition and defense systems that keep the flora happy.

                  Here in Nova Scotia the growing season is so short and the soil so rocky I’m gonna starve if I have to depend on what I grow (stone soup diaries). All kinds of greens, peas, beets, garlic and onions (leeks last year) have been good producers. Strawberries, blueberries cooperating. Apples and pears online but not bountiful.Trying bush beans first time this year and will see if the night shades potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant can get their act together this year. Cukes refuse to fruit.

                  1. Copeland

                    Regarding Nitrogen fertilizer, as well as Phosphorus, Potassium and other micro-nutrients, don’t forget that every human produces around a liter of high quality, organic fertilizer every – single – day.

                    Painted Mountain Heirloom Corn, plus human urine = large amounts of easily stored calories!

                    1. Oregoncharles

                      A chamber pot is really helpful if you have to get up repeatedly in the night – and then you have fertilizer.

                      We have a septic tank with a very long drain field; you can see where it is in the summer. So we’re already fertilizing a variety of trees, grapevines – and grass, of course.

                  2. HotFlash


                    With your short growing season, do not forget native ‘weeds’, such as lambs quarters and purslane. They, being weeds, grow like weeds (!), are high in calcium and other stuff vegs not known for, L 1/4’s harvestable May (or so) through hard frost. As for beans, if you can’t get official seed, just plant the beans from your grocery store. I have had successful (and cheap!!!) crops of lentils, black-eyed peas, fenugreek, coriander, and flax from grocery-store seeds. Organic potatoes will grow just fine, although regular ones have (most likely) been treated with sprout inhibitor.

                    I am not keen on crops that have a harvest, but prefer ones that can be eaten as required, so , leaf rather than head lettuce, and so on.

                    I also recommend learning how to forage. Many wild and even garden plants are edible, such as rose-of-sharon, daylilly, koodoo dogwood, dandelion, redbud, and *any* succulent. Watch out with bulbs, though, I hear that daffodils are poisonous. Ellen Zachos is a good source, plus the venerable, Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons.

                    My neighborhood was built for WASP immigrants about 150 years ago. Another 100 years after that, the neighbourhood became more and more Eastern European, and those folks planted fruit trees, currant bushes, and other edible perennials. Fast fwd to now, the neighbours are yuppies (ie, young folks who are really, really nice but not rat all sure of how a potato grows — not their fault, I blame bad education).

                    But! They have fruit trees in their yards tha I harvb=vest! On couple tole me how glat they were that I came and picked up al the frjit from their backyard apple tree every day as they were terrified that young Patina might be stung by a bee. Me, I got apple sauce, apple butter, apple chips, apple jelly, apple vinegar, and apple pectin for the year (and then some) from their and a few other neighbour’s trees.

                    1. Oregoncharles

                      Yes, daffodils are poisonous; that’s why they live forever. Seems like hyacinths are, too, but they don’t live forever around here.

                      Even potatos are poisonous after they turn green. Will still grow nicely, though.

                      IMHO, being stung by an occasional bee is a necessary part of growing up. We used to go barefoot all summer, so I stepped on a couple of them. And we stepped in a hornet nest once while hunting for eggs at a relative’s farm. Multiple stings, that time.

          2. Oregoncharles

            amfortas – You’re way ahead of me. I’ve planted all the sprouty potatoes, with a layer of mulch because we could still have frost, and I planted garlic last fall that’s doing well, bu totherwise we’re mostly into trees, shrubs, and vines. I got pea and mustard seeds to plant, not sure how far beyond that we’ll go. I usually plant some tomatos and peppers, and last year sweet potato – in a giant pot, because gophers come through occasionally. Just started eating those (they’re purple!), and noticed they’re sprouting, so I’ll try that again. Living in a horticultural hotbed is a little corrupting. But I really wonder how the grower’s market is going to work. It’s normally crowded,and that won’t do.

      2. notabanktoadie

        I’ve been wanting for DECADES to finally do a long fast and now appears to be a perfect time.

        And you doan need no toilet paper on a fast.

        That said, children should not fast nor others with certain health conditions.

        For what it’s worth: The Health Benefits of Water Fasting.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its worth pointing out that your immune system may dip while fasting, so its not something to do if you are likely to be exposed to the virus. I’d certainly recommend topping up on fats and vitamins before starting (this does not interfere with the quality of the fast).

          1. notabanktoadie

            Only “may dip”? Might it also increase?

            But in any case, I have other conditions besides being 68 (pre- or type 2 diabetes) and overweight that make it more likely I’ll die if (when?) I get it – fasting will treat those.

            And I won’t be bluffed out since my accounts (such as they are) are payable to the one I love on death (POD) and my mother passed away in Oct without 1 of her 7 children preceding her. I’d only be sad I can’t add a bit more to them before I go.

            1. Fíréan

              Eat main meal in the morning, fast throughout the evening and when alseep. That is the natural way for the human.

              1. notabanktoadie

                That’s a good idea and if I’m too weak to fast much, one meal a day should bring a lot of benefit.


        2. kareninca

          Even mild fasting raises my blood pressure a LOT. Looking around online, I’ve found that that is not rare for women. If you fast, keep an eye on your blood pressure.

          1. notabanktoadie

            That’s been happening to me too lately! It used to be that fasting dramatically lowered my blood pressure and I had to be careful not to blackout when getting up from sitting or laying. But now, 155 over 100 is not uncommon when I fast.

            So yeah, it’s a bit scary but otoh it enables me to feel more normal and I’m sure it’ll drop eventually as I drop down to less than obese. Meanwhile I get plenty of rest, avoid stress and will soon resume my habit of daily walks.

            Thanks for the caution.

        3. clarky90

          Hi notabanktoadie

          I am just shy of 70 yo and have done plenty of (>10) long fasts, for as long as 7 weeks. Weird as it sounds, the first week is the most difficult. The last week is the easiest. Our bodies like to fast! I get hungry again when it is time to finish. That is when I break the fast.

          The key is getting enough electrolytes. Often, what seems like hunger is your body yearning for electrolytes.

          Here is one recipe. Look on the internet for others. (Must be just electrolytes, no additives)


          Per 2 Liter H20:

          Potassium Chloride Powder = 1 tsp
          Himalayan Pink Salt = 1/2 tsp
          Baking Soda = 1 tsp
          Magnesium Sulphate(Optional)= 1/2 tsp

            1. clarky90

              Buy “NoSalt”. Which is straight potassium chloride.

              Or buy “LoSalt”. It is 2/3 potassium chloride and 1/3 sodium chloride (salt). It’s cheap. Just add the other ingredients to make homemade “SnakeJuice”.

              You can buy “Snake Juice” already made up on Amazon.


              A different formulation, but also highly recommended for for fasting is….

              LMNT Recharge


              Avoid like the plague, all the electrolyte drinks/powders- full of sugar/fake sugar/flavors/dyes etc. Bad news. You want only the electrolytes.

              I always wait until I naturally lose my appetite, because of sickness, a personal crisis, too busy to eat etc. Then I start my fast. It is easy. Now, imo, is an ideal time to be fasting! I will be thinking of you and your quest! Godspede

              I should join you on this fast!

              1. notabanktoadie

                I just ordered LMNT Recharge and will soon walk to the store to buy the ingredients to make my own per your recipe.

                Thanks for the advice and encouragement since fasting never seems to get easier (even when the keto-sticks are showing HEAVY ketosis) for me for long so maybe Zero calorie electrolytes are what’s been missing.

                1. clarky90

                  I’ve been fasting, off and on for 50 years and just learned about using electrolytes in the last 5 months! Live and learn. There is wonderful info on the internet, especially from the rank and file. I love reading comment sections!

    9. bassmule

      I’m just back from Stop&Shop in Northampton MA. It was like we were all doing this elaborate dance to keep distance from each other. Lots of geezers like me staring at paper lists, obviously out of practice at buying groceries. Weird. Odd things out of stock: No brown sugar. No regular hot dogs (gee, nobody wants the chicken jalapeño). Plenty of fresh produce and TP though!

      Then to the post office, where the young woman who put the receipt for my dropoff package into my nitrile-gloved hand wore the expression of someone expecting to hear that her cat had died.

      1. Drake

        Went to Trader Joe’s in outer metro Boston yesterday, stocks were clearly a lot lower than usual but had no problem getting milk, bread, fruit, vegetables, etc. The one thing I wanted but couldn’t find was cheesecake, which apparently is a survival item. Who knew?

        1. Balakirev

          “Let them eat cheesecake.”

          …But if blue collar workers remain in the factories, etc, while white collar workers are sent home to work–and (as reasonably expected) the virus spreads like, well, a virus among large throngs of people–how long will it take before our fellow citizens learn the meaning of the term sans-culottes?

    10. Keith

      When I go out in eastern Washington and chat with people, I find most are just going with the flow of the new normal, but are also pretty annoyed with all the hype and hysteria being drummed up by the media.

      1. jonboinAR

        I’ve spoken to quite a few locals who blame the media for all the “hype”, i.e., the whole crisis. The media and the politicians.

      2. Tom Bradford

        Even down here in New Zealand, which is pretty much the best place in the world to be at the moment as we’re now in self-isolation and grow all the food we need and more, the media is wall-to-wall doom and hysteria. We’ve now 37 cases in the whole country, all of them recent arrivals from abroad and only one in hospital. Most are in Auckland or Wellington with a few scattered in provincial centers but in the main TVNZ evening news last night we were treated to a map of the place showing “the spread of the epidemic” with practically the entire country coloured a sinister red with just a few patches of untainted normality – apparently one case in Queenstown justified branding the whole West Coast of the South Island infected.

        There’s also little attempt to put the thing in perspective – it’s as if getting the virus is the equivalent of a death sentence!

        Fortunately Kiwi’s don’t seem to be buying it. Just back from the supermarket. No busier than usual on a Saturday morning, shelves well stocked and not a mask in sight. Store has, tho’, reduced its opening hours, imposed a limit of no more than two of any one item – fruit and veg excepted – and is advertising for more staff.

    11. Judith

      Boston suburbs: i did a quick stop for milk, oj, and produce. Great selection of produce. Milk restricted to two containers per person. People generally chill.

    12. Louis Fyne

      local grocery store workers have zero gloves, zero masks and cross paths with how many people a day?


      Again, a makeshift mask and gloves are not magic bullets—-but it’s better than nothing as it’s all about having one person infect 2.1 (or fewer) people instead of the standard 2.2+ people when everyone is using zero preventive measures.

    13. neo-realist

      Some of those people probably are having their strain, tension and unpleasantness intensified by having to report to work in person, risking consumption of viral loads, rather than working from home.

  3. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock

    People who work in finance have fairly strong restrictions on what they can buy and sell in their personal accounts, typically have to get pre-approval to buy and sell, and have required minimum holding periods. Their employers are also supposed to monitor those personal accounts for suspicious activity. (Yes, I know, insider trading still happens – but people do get caught)

    There are no such restrictions on most elected officials, and their access to ‘inside’ information puts them in an excellent position to profit. When will this loophole be closed?

      1. Tvc15

        Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”.

        Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
        Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
        Everybody knows that the war is over
        Everybody knows the good guys lost
        Everybody knows the fight was fixed
        The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
        That’s how it goes
        Everybody knows

    1. JTMcPhee

      I wonder how the Obama’s investments are doing. Or have they stuck to “only cash and kind” transactions?

      And Pelosi and Feinstein and McConnell?

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. Perhaps the “Evil Rooskies” would be interested in that job. Boris and Natasha are semi-regular commenters here. They would know who to contact.

    2. Oh

      I believe that those effers passed a law exempting themselves from insider trading laws a while ago.

      1. John Wright


        This was passed, with righteous fanfare, on April 4, 2012

        Then it was quietly amended on April 15, 2013, with bipartisan approval.

        Note that for many senior government officials “their records are no longer easily accessible to the public.”

        Also “The amendment also eliminated the requirement for the creation of searchable, sortable database of information in reports, and the requirement that reports be done in electronic format, rather than on paper.”

        So the congress pushes for paper records when it suits them, but not paper ballots, that could benefit voters.

        “The STOCK Act was modified on April 15, 2013, by S.716. This amendment modifies the online disclosure portion of the STOCK Act, so that some officials, but not the President, Vice President, Congress, or anyone running for Congress, can no longer file online and their records are no longer easily accessible to the public. In Section (a)2, the amendment specifically does not alter the online access for trades by the President, the Vice President, Congress, or those running for Congress. The reasoning for this change was to prevent criminals from gaining access to the financial data and using it against affected persons. This bill was introduced by Senator Harry Reid on April 11, 2013. It was considered by the Senate and passed by unanimous consent. In the house, S.716 received only 14 seconds of discussion before being passed by unanimous consent.”

        “The main provision that was repealed would have required about 28,000 senior government officials to post their financial information online, something that had been strongly criticized by federal government employee unions. A report by the National Academy of Public Administration, published in March 2013, said that the provision could threaten the safety of government employees abroad, as well as make it difficult to attract and retain public sector employees.”

        “The amendment also eliminated the requirement for the creation of searchable, sortable database of information in reports, and the requirement that reports be done in electronic format, rather than on paper.”

    1. xkeyscored

      “Don’t trust China” or wherever is going to fall on deaf ears in future.
      “F the USA” is likely to be on everyone’s lips, even its own citizens’.

      1. MLTPB

        Sadly, Asians, not just in one place, all perceived as Chinese, have been targeted due to this thing, but, fortunately, not incidents of randomly pickied out Italians for this second wave radiating from N Italy.

        Beneath the government level, trust is placed not unbiasedly, among the citizens.

        Amricans are better off criticizing our own government, and the Italians can judge their government for f**king up themselves.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The China vs USA thing has quite a potential to get nasty – and the Chinese are not innocent in this – the Chinese government is going full on with the story that the virus originated in a laboratory in Virginia and was accidentally released, and then transferred to Wuhan during the Military Games – someone called Nathan Rich – a journalist based in China has been putting lots on this in Chinese social media and this has been echoed by ‘semi-official’ voices. The story is superficially appealing, but makes no real sense when you delve into it.

        Of course, Trumps stupidity in flinging back the ‘China virus’ thing, and the other Republicans in sometimes going even rather, is making things much worse. I follow a few Asian Americans on twitter and they are reporting a big increase in incidents of racism in public – its hardly a coincidence. But of course you can’t expect oafs like them to reign it all back in.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve just heard (second hand report, I don’t speak mandarin), that Chinese TV news has a report claiming that in addition to Covid coming from the US, the US has been using drone swarms to spread Swine Flu.

          1. cnchal

            > . . . the US has been using drone swarms to spread Swine Flu.

            If one follows the logic, the Chinese military is so incompetent they can’t find their ass with either hand.

            I get it. The Chinese elite will crush their own peasants to retain control, but openly blaming the US for this disaster, as Trump pointedly said at the press conference, is not on.

            Naming it the “Chinese flu” pins the tail on the donkey. Is there any doubt that it originated in China? Is it true the medical professionals in China raised the alarm amongst themselves and when that one doctor warned a relative about the dangers in the wet market, was arrested by the police and forced to sign a statement that what he was saying is a falsehood? Is it true that by covering up what was really going on delayed by weeks to a month the extent of this disaster?

            My answer to those three questions is yes, if anything can be believed. That delay made this infinitely worse and thousands of people that should be alive won’t be due to Chinese leadership criminality and our leadership’s toxic mix of incompetence and cowardice.

            This also leads me to another question. Where was the vaunted CIA and NSA in figuring out what was really going on? Why were they radio silent, or are the billions lavished on them a total waste of money too?

            When Trump stopped flights from China, what happened? Flights were still coming into Canada, Vancouver in particular and then the passengers went to the US through the Canada US border, until the US got wise and selectively prevented that.

            Why did Canada still allow flights from China? The politicians are cowards in the face of Chinese pressure. Now look where we are.

            Still flying = Total Fail.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Did the US give Coronavirus to China? Absolutely not. Total fail here. But – and you knew that there was going to be a but – the US has conducted biological warfare against at least North Korea and Cuba in the past so a country like China can find justification for their belief here.

        2. MLTPB

          I understand the thing is of a natural origin, and not bioengineered (not from a lab).

          Is that information outdated?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            No, its certainly natural in origin, every source I’ve read agrees with this (including Chinese scientists, who have been at the forefront of tracing its genetic origin – essentially, from bats, via pangolins).

            The Chinese government are now engaged in what is almost certainly a targeted and deliberate misinformation campaign. There are numerous (often contractory) stories now circulating on Chinese social media (which is tightly regulated, so those stories would be squashed if Beijing didn’t like them), and they are being increasingly reported on official news sites.

            1. xkeyscored

              I think the pangolin theory has fallen out of favour. From memory, the virus is 95% the same as a pangolin version, but 98% the same as some bat version, or something like that, suggesting it jumped straight from bats to us.

              1. MLTPB

                The natural in origin was demonstrated, not necessarily only in China, when the CT was about the Wuhan bio lab., so people did that were likely not motivated to clear the US…unless they foresaw the ‘coming to light’ of our still unproven role, way back then.

                That speaks well of the objectivity of those in the West who were involved in the natural oor not debate.

              2. Ignacio

                So far the closest virus has been isolated from a bat in Yunnan. It could be the case that the virus passed directly from bats to humans given these are commerced and used in Chinese traditional medicine. All the members of Sarbecovirus have been isolated in bats and then humans SARS CoV 1 and 2 .Also in civets which have been identified as intermediary host for SARS 1.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              This “America diddit” so-called “theory” is a propaganda Blood Libel meme started by Communist regime figures in disguise as “social media” to try diverting Chinese public attention from the real Communist Regime failure to admit to a new disease even existing in the first few weeks.

    2. NoOneInParticular

      My Italian is not perfect but it seems like swabs, not whole test kits, were flown out of Italy into the U.S. But swabs are in short supply, so the point is the same. What’s especially disturbing to the Italians is that these swabs came from a company in Brescia, in the heart of the outbreak in the north. When were they purchased? Unclear. But this touches on the simmering resentment of 70+ years of U.S. military presence/occupation of Italy — whether we’re just guests there, or playing empire, the least we could do is offer these swabs to the Italians who are in a fight for their existence.

      1. BillS

        Italians have fought for years to close the base at Aviano. In particular, the Cavalese accident in 1998 outraged the Italian public and concentrated minds for a while. As usual, the Empire ensured that no manslaughter or negligent homicide convictions were handed down. This added impetus to close the base.

        Regarding the contents of the shipment (excerpted from the Repubblica article):

        “Ci sono elementi multipli per fare il test – ha spiegato il generale Paul Friedrichs, del comando medico centrale – I primi sono i tamponi che servono a raccogliere i campioni dalle persone, poi c’è il liquido dove svilupparli. Questo è ciò che abbiamo portato dall’Italia”.

        “There are multiple elements for doing the test – explained General Paul Friedrichs from the central medical command – the first are swabs that are needed to gather the samples from people, then there is the liquid to develop them. This is what we have shipped from Italy.”

        Judge for yourself.

        1. xkeyscored

          Twenty people died in the Cavalese incident, arguably the result of individual recklessness and irresponsibility.
          This is a bit different, and I both expect and hope Italians and others will see it as such. Germany told the US where to go when they wanted first shot at a vaccine.

          1. BillS

            This is not just the USA behaving badly. Italians are well accustomed to the incompetence and callousness of the government and the managerial class; selling out to the highest bidder in the face of disaster, whether 20 or 2000 die. Cavalese, Vajont…the Bologna train station bombing, the Years of Lead. And now this.

            As hollowed out, corrupted institutions fall apart in the Anglosphere, Italians can nod their heads in understanding.

  4. Quentin

    ‘Il Decamerone brought to you live from the Hamptons. But first a word from our sponsor, Emergency Accommodations For the Rich in the Age of Corona… And now to our first love encounter between a local young, hunky cleaning man and a gorgeous, svelte elderly lady of the NY Upper East Side…’.

    1. MLTPB

      Seemingly, it’s not repairing all the crumbling bridges. Shpuld some should be demolished, as that author asked?

      1. xkeyscored

        When one customer was asked what size freezer she wanted, she said, “I don’t care. It just needs to be big enough that I can hide in it.”

        Just take the food, and pop the ‘rightful owners’ in the freezer?

    2. Billy

      Maybe the utility workers swill switch off power to mansion rows?
      Like the striking electrical workers in France did?

    3. Massinissa

      I can’t believe the rich are too dumb to stay in locations where the best hospitals are. And people think that rich people get that way because they’re smart…

  5. zagonostra

    Someone I know living in Pittsburgh has a 101.2 temp is worried that she has COVID but her insurance doesn’t kick in till the 1st of April and UPMC will only test for virus if you have a referral from a doctor.

    Reading below article it boggles my mind that a city with Pittsburgh’s South Side’s population will “ramp up to 100” tests.

    Coupling under/non insured/profiteering with lack of capacity is a toxic brew that’s bound to have dire consequences.

    PITTSBURGH — Coronavirus testing is getting underway at a UPMC Mercy Hospital on Pittsburgh’s South Side Tuesday.

    This comes after more cases of the illness were confirmed in Allegheny County and UPMC said it was developing its own test.

    Over the weekend, Channel 11 got an inside look at where patients were being tested. Doctors said they will be able to test 20 patients initially, but that should ramp up to 100. In order to get a test, patients must have symptoms and they must have a doctor’s order. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

    1. Steve H.

      > We Need Time to Absorb All This Peggy Noonan.

      For those who haven’t read it yet, this article provides a mirror on incentives:

      The suppression of testing leads to authoritarian lockdown. Qui bono on that? Military-industrial industries (note how quickly Cuomo ringforted one town with National Guard). Big pharma for vaccines. People for whom people are things, who are charged with bringing down Social Security and Medicare costs. Big wealth looking to harvest middle-class wealth with foreclosures and firesales.

      And youth, vengeful for being bequeathed a world where oxygen levels decrease within two decades, and in which the 2024 election is meaningless in terms of turning back global warming. Vector up on spring break, and keep the decrepitards fearfully huddled in isolation.

      But you know, nowadays
      It’s the old man
      He’s got all the money
      And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days

      1. MLTPB

        Xi had to call in his security guy to get things rectified, after the initial failures.

        I think people in a more, but not perfectly democratic country are always watching out for another caesar.

        Is more a centralized, more authoritarian administration better equipped to handle this crisis?

        Should we look to China about what can be said on the net as we go through this phase of the curve?

        Is it youth vs those doing the bequeathing? Is that the balack and white picture here?

    2. MLTPB

      There was an NPR story a week or so ago, about the University of Washongton ramping up to, like, 4,000 tests soon.

      It seems the University of Pitsburgh has not been keeping up with other universities??

          1. HotFlash

            Hmmm, I’m down for ‘more effective’, desperate situations require desperate remedies. That said, the obstacle is “those guys?”. So, on balance, on principle, yes, but totally not *these* authoritarians. Where is Fidel Castro, benevolent and reasonably competent dictator, when you need him?

    1. xkeyscored

      It’s a bit unclear, but it does sound like she sat around a table with friends after her husband fell sick.

      1. Lee

        I believe you are right. They thought it was the flu at first and they thought by maintaining a degree of physical separation from each other within their home that she had avoided exposure.

    2. MLTPB

      We know this, I think, from the three people coming down with it, in a bar owned by the father in N Italy.

  6. Lee

    Right Now Congressional Dems Are to the Right of the GOP The Nation

    And it’s driving those who sufferer from Trump Derangement Syndrome even more batshit crazy than they already are. The level of hyper-partisan intellectual dishonesty currently on display at a certain Dem website that shall remain nameless is off the effing charts.

      1. Lee

        Yup. As long as Sanders was in the running there were a lot of his supporters over there and it was fun for awhile. Now the Biden triumphalists and Sanders bashers are thick on the ground.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I know no assignments, but have you considered making a PSA warning about that place? I mean the sexists versus David Duke fans wars of the 2008 primary were appalling.

    1. urblintz

      All my “liberal” gay friends, none of whom are poor all of whom are priviledged, who wanted to vote for Butti, then Warren, now Biden are the ones passing around the “Stafford Act” hoax in a panic along with pictures of sunsets maudlinly captioned “last sunset on…”

      I’m sending them back the articles about Bernie

      They have not responded

    2. lordkoos

      Last year it seemed like every diary on the site was about Trump. Maybe they should change the name to

  7. The Rev Kev

    “US Air Force Flew Half a Million Coronavirus Test Swabs From Italy to Tennessee”

    Something about this story seem…off. If there is a ground-zero for the Coronavirus outbreak in Europe, it is Italy – particularly northern Italy. And yet the U.S. Air Force flew 500,000 swabs from there for export to the US. Did the Italian government know about this shipment? And why a US militarily base and not a commercial airport? Afraid that that cargo may have been seized? The base that those swabs was flown out of was Aviano Air Base which is located, wait for it, in north-eastern Italy. How about that.

    This reminds me of a story that I read earlier. The Germans seize several truckloads of vital medical gear that was trying to be snuck out of Germany. The US owned company was wanting to sneak them across the border to Switzerland and perhaps the US itself even though the Germans have put a total ban on the export of such gear.–switzerland-medical-supplies-coronavirus/

    1. xkeyscored

      I wondered much the same. The Defense One article doesn’t provide many answers, but I did notice the word quietly.

      “The U.S. Air Force quietly flew 500,000 swabs for COVID-19 testing kits from Italy to Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday, Defense One has learned.”

    2. auskalo

      The seller’s answer, business as usual:
      Copan Diagnostics replies that “everything happened in broad daylight. We should not have warned the Italian authorities: they are products for free sale. And we are a leading company that exports all over the world. There is no shortage of tampons: in recent weeks in Italy we have sold more than one million tampons and we can satisfy all requests. The problem is not the kits, but the laboratories to analyze them”. And he explains: “That stock was not bought by the US government, but by private companies and American distributors. They transported it on a military flight just because there were no commercial aircraft available”.

      1. xkeyscored

        Broad daylight? Expect the next flight to be on a moonless night, with helicopter gunships and special forces providing support.

        1. MLTPB

          Sounds like the Italian government should place restrictions on some exports, or take over, as France is doing on some items, to make sure there are no such next flights.

          1. anonymous

            MLTPB, you asked yesterday whether there were ventilator manufacturers in Italy that the govt could use. There is one small company, Siare, in northern Italy, one of only four ventilator manufacturers in Europe, and the govt contracted with them almost 2 weeks ago to ramp up production to 500 ventilators a month. The govt sent military technicians to help. This was at the direction of the Civil Protection division and financed by the Treasury. Ventilator export has been banned, and the ventilators ordered by other countries will be sent to Italian hospitals instead. Fiat, Ferrari, and a parts company are in talks with Siare to see whether they can be of assistance in increasing production.


            1. MLTPB


              One only 4 in Europe – that’s a plus for Italy.

              Pulling for them to get better, and it sounds like they are working hard towards that direction, despite early missed opportunities, which is sadly human, witness Wuhan and the officials sacked.

          2. xkeyscored

            Sounds like the Italian government should place restrictions on some exports

            Sounds to me like the Italian military should down any US planes in its airspace, as they clearly constitute a grave threat to the nation. Instead of helping, they’re effectively looting.

            1. MLTPB

              I’m not advocating any shooting, nor seeing any precedents.

              France is taking over mask stocks and producers, for example.

              1. xkeyscored

                I’m not seriously advocating shooting, though in this case I’m not too sure.
                But the USA isn’t exactly winning hearts and minds with this kind of behaviour, which will probably be remembered.

                1. MLTPB

                  I hope not.

                  Its every nation for itself,

                  Witness the refusal to take in cruise ships.

                  We docked one in Oakland.

                  1. xkeyscored

                    Its every nation for itself,

                    China has been supplying expertise and equipment to the world, which may be remembered.

            2. HotFlash

              Well, is shooting OK if in self-defense? I would find it hard to fault Italians taking umbrage at this.

      2. doug

        so private companies were able to use military planes?
        Something doesn’t pass the smell test here…

        1. MLTPB

          Possible in a crisis to fly civilians in military planes, or treat New Yorkers on a hospital ship (when it’s there).

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Yes, and didn’t he help hospitals become more “efficient” while working at McKinsey?

            My new slogan, adapted from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, is, “First, let’s kill all the MBAs and consultants!”

        2. Stephen

          Yes, military aircraft are available for private charter bookings. Call your friendly ACS or Chapman Freeborn broker, they can confirm this quite easily.

  8. Max

    Hooooo boy. Between the articles about the wealthy plundering the off season Hamptons, Senators dumping stock of affected companies, and the pittance of a plan for the hoi polloi offered up by Congress and the Trump admin thus far… Seems like I’ll need to brush up on the lyrics to Le Marseillaise to make sure I fit in with the crowd!

    The image of poor old people unable to buy groceries because a hedgie cleaned out the IGA on his way to SoulCycle almost makes me look forward to it.

      1. HotFlash

        New to me, enjoying thoroughly. I am considering an NA adaptation, something like:

        “Hey, boss, you didn’t listen to that Bernie guy,
        So now we’re coming for you – you -you!”

        Suggestions for further?

    1. GramSci

      Spoiler for “Coronavirus’ next victim: Populism” :

      “America did well in the Obama years…”

      OK then…

    2. Musicismath

      I love how that article confuses the Liberals and the Whigs, but I prefer to believe that’s deliberate and another subtle aspect of the Mash’s skewering of BoJo’s pretensions to knowing anything at all about history.

  9. Off The Street

    Dentists have been attempting their clumsy upsell gimmicks for quite a long time. In olden times, they went to investment seminars, got schmoozed, played a few rounds and learned how to waste money on fads and limited partnerships. Some clever sod realized that the ones making the money were the seminar people and their hangers-on. Combine that with the long term effects of fluoridated water, 4 out of 5 dentists recommending X and more public awareness of proper hygiene and what do you get? Lower need for fillings which led to holes in their esteem, mental health and bank accounts.

    Dentists slipped further out of that hallowed upper tier of medical professionals and risked becoming more like glorified mechanics, not that there is anything wrong with that. How would they keep up with that doctor down the lane, the one who never let you forget your place? In steps that clever sod.

    Doc, look at the profit and loss of each part of your production function. Here’s how you fill in those holes. You look at each patient for revenue potential, especially those proles with HMOs. They are a drag on profit, so you must bridge that gap. Plain old cleanings give way to quarterly deep cleanings. Old fillings get replaced by new ones, whitenings get pushed on vain oldsters, and so on. You know the drill.

    1. ewmayer

      Reminds me of a classic (and yes, very un-PC) limerick:

      There once was a dentist named Sloan,
      Who practiced on women alone.
      In a fit of depravity,
      He filled the wrong cavity.
      My, how his practice has grown!

  10. skippy

    Heck of a world … for those that have not had the pleasure of the eugenics pass the parcel debate between neoliberals and fellow travelers, going back some decades against anything contrary, I think the data is in – not only that but wowzers I was informed today by an Austrian economic acolyte that they embrace MMT.

    Whom knew ideological baggage was so heavy … up too a point …

    1. notabanktoadie

      I was informed today by an Austrian economic acolyte that they embrace MMT. skippy

      And why not since MMT proposals would:

      1) Provide increased* welfare for the banks and, by extension, for the rich, the most so-called “credit worthy” of what would be even more so than now, in essence, the PUBLIC’s credit but for private gain

      AND, for the victims of the banks and the rich,

      2) wage slavery to government to supplement wage slavery to the private sector?

      * e.g. unlimited deposit guarantees FOR FREE.
      * e.g. unlimited, unsecured loans at ZERO percent interest from the Central Bank.

      1. skippy

        Because of all the decades to the opposite, regardless, with a side of ideological rigidity till the proselytizing runs to its enviable conclusion – when reality forces the issue.

        In extreme cases, historically, these sorts get the unwashed wrath, including being on the menu as it were.

        MPS and neoliberalism …. look in the mirror …

        1. notabanktoadie


          But if the Austrians have truly embraced MMT, it’s evidence to me that their ideology was just a mask they wore over naked self-interest and the desire to enslave others in the name of “liberty.”

  11. jackiebass

    The article on the NASA Rover reminds me of an old saying. If you can’t fix it get a bigger hammer. In these times we need something on a lighter side occasionally.

    1. MLTPB

      We might say that people no longer fly, way not as much, is Nature’s way of responding to us.

      That assumes Nature acts like us, not unlike taking a hammer to the rocer.

      When we see Nature that way, are we so far removed from worshipping a thunder god?

      And of course if Nature is reacting to our degradation of her, she is not coming at us along the ways we divide our political world. On the one hand, more water used for washing hands, and more car driving, instead of buses, single use bags as gloves, single use masks, wipes, etc. and on the other, shelter in place orders mean not much driving where they are in force, less people flying, etc.

      That (Nature will do it her way) will change our world in ways we dont yet know.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The NASA story reminds me of an old joke — which out of perversity I will tell as a “dirty dog”:
      A large computer installation mysteriously halted with flashing red-lights and quiescent light panels indicating brain freeze. After the best efforts by the staff technicians failed, one of the old ones strongly recommended calling for the ministrations of a certain contracting technician — who commanded a very high rate of pay for his time — sufficiently high to give heartburn to the ever frugal management of the installation. After much agonizing and after a deeply scorching call from one of the more major clients of the installation’s computer services — management finally relented and called for the services of the very expensive technician. The technician flew-in and arrived at the installation the next day. Large, fat, with enormous belly held in equally enormous canvas pants held aloft by oil stained red suspenders. the technician waddled into the installation exuding odors of rancid machine oil and aged perspiration from many past days without wash or shower. A miasma followed his presence and lingered about the computer center. This was beyond the capacities of management who left — all but one younger manager not allowed to leave. The room and the discussions fell to the possession of the fat technician and the old one who suggested calling him — not to their displeasure.
      “Up to your old tricks I see,” said the old technician.
      “They still work quite nicely,” said the fat one.

      He took a few moments to inspect the systems in the room. This was largely a cursory look at indicators and warning lights. The fat one said “I understand your problem and I’ve seen it before.” He took a tape measure from his pocket and carefully measured a pair of measures on the front panel of the flashing red lights. He mentally noted the location and then gave the machine a swift powerful kick directly upon the location. Red lights stopped blinking and alarms halted. The status light panels blinked and began their normal startup seequence. The computer installation came back to life and ran as it did before the crash. The fat technician winked at the old one who nodded and then looked directly and powerfully into the eyes of the flustered young manager. “You will forget exactly where I kicked this machine and remember only that it worked — and I made it work,” and he waved his hand past the glazed eyes of the young manager who nodded mechanically.

      The fat technician brought his bill to the management staff who took one look at the bill and began quibbling and looking askance at the young manager. The young manager complained that the fat technician had done nothing but kick the light panel on their machine.
      “Yes,” said the fat technician “But I knew exactly where to kick and how hard.”

      1. John Wright

        This is reminiscent of an (allegedly true) story told of Charles Steinmetz (of General Electric fame).


        “Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. According to Scott, Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.”

        “Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.”

        “Steinmetz, Scott wrote, responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:”

        “Making chalk mark on generator $1.”

        “Knowing where to make mark $9,999.”

        “Ford paid the bill.”

  12. The Rev Kev

    Bit off topic here but here goes. So I was just thinking how Perez, Biden, Sanders, etc. were encouraging people to go vote in the recent Primaries mentioned in yesterday’s Links and had an idea. When the Second Great Pandemic Flu is mostly over sometime after 2021, there should be a study done. They should call up all US death certificates for the months of March/April of 2020 in all States that had a Primary in March and sort out those that died of Coronavirus.

    They should then cross-reference that list with registered Democrats that actually voted in the Primaries. When that is done – after breaking out that list by age groups – they should compare that list with a list of their Republican brethren who of course were not voting during the Democratic Primaries and see if there was a spike in deaths for Democrat voters. Bonus points if there were deaths of close family members for those voters or the deceased worked at a poll station.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Sanders DID NOT “encourage” anyone. He alone told people to follow CDC recommendations. Yeah, he should have just said “stay home, don’t vote”, but then that would have been held against him, too.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The story is that Bernie did not say don’t vote because of “the optics” being bad for him if he did. Bernie could have positioned himself as the go-to politician on the Coronavirus pandemic during this election cycle but did not take it up. He could have seized the high ground while Trump was still in denial about it and hammered what had to be done which would have aligned with his political beliefs. But it never happened. And so now you have Trump who will outflank the Democrats from the left for the rest of the year.

  13. zagonostra

    >Vijay Prashad – The Mutilated World

    Much of the world is afraid because people realise that we live in institutional deserts, that our elected leaders are mostly incompetent, and that the profit motive has focused so much of human potential on money rather than on humanity…A majority of the world’s heads of governments rely upon fear to bewilder their populations; they thrive on panics of one kind or another. They simply do not have the moral fibre to lead us as this pandemic rushes through our lives.

    Even in the most threadbare health systems, cannibalised by austerity, it is the nurses and doctors, the ambulance paramedics and the janitors, who have been heroic in their work; doctors and nurses are being called back from retirement, working now long hours with no time to rest. They are working beyond exhaustion to stem the tide against the virus. In this mutilated world, those who hold us together by the bonds of love and fellowship are our heroes, marvellous people who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect their fellow humans. Care givers – whether in families or in institutions – never get sufficient credit for the enormous burden they have shouldered as politicians have gutted the State and society. I would prefer a planet of nurses rather than a planet of bankers.

  14. Lee

    US drugmaker doubled price on potential coronavirus treatment FT. Chloroquine.

    And unlike many news sources that have dispensed with their paywalls as a public service during the crisis, the Financial Times has not dropped theirs.

    1. chuck roast

      But what about the “Made in Canada Solution”. It would be a quick and cheap solution if we imported the drug from Canada right? Wouldn’t that work well? Isn’t that the rational solution? Is my thinking somehow faulty? Do you think Rachael Maddow has the answer? She seems to have all the answers. I’m confused.

      1. show_me

        Quercetin is a food supplement. I believe you can buy it at Walmart !

        It isn’t clear if Chretien et al are using a souped up version or not.

    2. bwilli123

      I posted this previously in the cooler, but late so it may have been missed. Still relevant.

      “The only US drugmaker that makes a potential treatment for the coronavirus that was touted by President Donald Trump raised the price by almost 100 per cent in January, as the virus caused havoc across China.Rising Pharmaceuticals, a New Jersey based company, increased the price of chloroquine — an antimalarial, which is one of the drugs that is being tested against Covid-19 — on January 23, according to data from research firm Elsevier. The drug price rose 97.86 per cent to $7.66 per 250mg pill and $19.88 per 500mg pill. ”

      The company subsequently lowered the price back to its previous approx. USD $3.80 per tablet.
      The list price from one random retailer in India – 1.1 cents each.

      I’ll add that this can be purchased online in Australia A$41.50 for 8 tablets = $ 5.18 each

      No such thing as gouging is there?

      1. xkeyscored

        I was going to say I remember it being very cheap when I last used it around twenty years ago.
        Then I noticed the price in India – 1.1 cents each.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    Positioning – Nikki Haley Resigns Boeing Board In Advance of Likely Bail-Out…

    If Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton had a child, it would be Nikki Haley. Ms. Haley and her paid staff of political wind-testers, are constantly scanning the horizon for optics and issues that might upend her aspirations to the presidency. Today she quits the board of Boeing after the likelihood of a government bailout starts to rise….

    And the inevitable hashtag–#NeverNikki

    1. Trent

      Why was she even on the board? Is she a pilot? An aircraft designer? New law, no politicians allowed on the board of companies.

      1. Olga

        One only has to have connections to get on a board. No expertise (in anything, really, except ambition) required. Such positions pay exceedingly well, for very little work.

      2. LifelongLib

        The days when companies were owned and run by people who cared about the product are long gone. Its all about the money now.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Very interesting and makes a little more sense. I still say Tulsi isn’t quite the progressive many assume she is, but I appreciate her voice and willingness to stand up to the establishment. Sanders has always been frosty to her, IMHO, and she’s seemed to back him. It kind of touches on my #1 issue with him, that he will turn on or cold shoulder anyone fighting the Democrat establishment in any meaningful way, be it Tulsi, Teachout, third parties or even his own supporters when they’re suing the DNC for disenfranchisement. It’s the main reason I’ve never been able to throw my lot in with him and sadly, I don’t think it’s going to change.
        I hope Tulsi speaks on this, if true. She’s taking a beating she doesn’t deserve, if this is the case.

        1. pretzelattack

          i hope this is true, even if it puts bernie in a very bad light. she was the only real antiwar voice in the primaries.

          1. Bill Carson

            An earlier endorsement by Gabbard would have been a political liability for Bernie. Just another thing the Establishment would have used to unfairly smear him.

            Gabbard is about as relevant now as Sarah Palin. She can go rest in the dustbin of history.

            1. jonboinAR

              Sarah Palin was portrayed perfectly by Tina Fey (if you remember). Tulsi Gabbard, not so much. Time will tell whether she’s a one trick pony, but she doesn’t come off as being way out of her intellectual lead, particularly.

            2. pretzelattack

              i don’t think it would have been. i don’t care about how many things the establishment would have used to smear him, that effectively puts him in the control of the establishment. she made herself irrelevant by endorsing biden, imo.

              to extend–bernie going along with the russia cubed bs was either another example of his gullibility (“joe is my friend) or a very bad political calculation. he was our best chance in years* to get sane domestic policies, but he was weak on foreign policy.

              there was some early speculation that his campaign had been infiltrated with clinton types, who would try to undermine it. i’m hearing an echo of that, recently, in comments that his staff was weak. I would like to know more about this.

              *the virus is changing the political and economic landscape in unforseeable ways, very quickly, so who knows now?

              1. HotFlash

                I am not a politician, but in the academic world, of which I know a bit, “my esteemed colleague”, as used in academic papers, translates to “that insufferable, ignorant nincompoop”. I suspect that ‘my friend’ may be the same.

    1. Geo

      Jimmy Dore has always been a bit unhinged but may have jumped the shark yesterday with his “Sanders is like the Nazis” comment regarding the primary vote (he seems to think Sanders was encouraging people to vote like Biden and DNC was).

      I respect Jimmy’s passion and he’s had some good impact but the guy goes on tirades that are exhausting and often boneheaded. His recent interview with Aaron Mate was excruciating. Had to skip through the video every time Jimmy started talking(screaming). Mate just started withdrawing because he realized Jimmy wasn’t in the mood to hear anything and just wanted to rage.

      Sadly for Jimmy there’s not much pay in being a leftie blowhard like there is for the right wing which has a whole industry for it.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Agreed. My largest problem with JD is he gets great guests and panelists and then won’t let them speak. I understand he still considers himself just a “jagoff comedian” but the reality is, his platform is much bigger than that now. He’s trying to do real journalism. It’s frustrating.

      2. urblintz

        this. Dore always pushed a line but the ego-reaction is now obliterating any thinking that can control it.

        Bernie deserves a lot of criticism… and he deserves a lot of respect as well. it’s not that difficult to offer both given the impossible nature of his task. Seeing treachery in his failures is, imho, stupid and irrational. Whatever else, he changed the conversation and that is always the first step.

        1. pretzelattackd

          too much self promotion in those rants for my taste, but he has raised awareness of important issues, and has some excellent guests.

          1. Bill Carson

            Dore is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Yes, he has brought some things to light that others ignore, but his shtick is getting old.

            I’m with the Chapo Traphouse crowd now.

      3. zagonostra

        I disagree. He was way ahead of everyone on the Russiagate debunking (with Mate) , voter rigging (with Palast), interviews real progressives (AOC/Tim Cannova), covers Wallstreet shenanigans (with Dylan Ratigan) ,etc…

        His invective screeds are, for me cathartic. Sometimes he does go a bit extreme, but I’ll take him over the mainstream any day of the week. The rage seething just below the surface over the manipulation of the economy/politics if very real. Jimmy gives voice to that and provides a viewpoint that is rare.

        I realize his format/delivery is not to everyone’s taste/sensibilities. Your characterization of him as a “leftie blowhard” is unbalanced/unfair.

  16. QuarterBack

    Re grocery staff being classified as emergency personnel, I couldn’t agree more. These people deserve all the immediate support that we can provide. Food security is a linchpin that prevents societal order from rapidly descending into chaos. Few situations can spark a riot faster than families that can’t feed their children. Grocery personnel are often among the lowest paid occupations, and for the moment, we are dependent on their services more than we know. They deserve hazard pay and priority access (and no cost) to masks and individual and family support services. Beyond that, I’m sure many of these people are stressed by being more exposed more than most to contagion. Make a point of thanking them individually and letting them know that you appreciate how important their contributions are during this crisis. Trust me. Simple acts of kindness in troubled times go a very long way, and you’ll be better off for having done it.

    1. Lee

      A friend of mine aged 74 has been working at Trader Joe’s here in the SF bay area for about five years. He got sent home for week’s paid leave for his own protection. I imagine he won’t be going back to work there any time soon. He’s got a couple of more weeks of accrued paid sick leave. He’s quite fit for a guy his age, loves physical work, and the social aspect of his job, so he’s pretty bummed at the moment. He’s convinced he has been exposed but is philosophical about it. He says given what he survived in Vietnam including a fiery plane crash that he’s been living on borrowed time for fifty years.

      1. newcatty

        Thank you so much ,Quarterback. A dear relative of ours works as a manager for well known grocery store in an affluent area of So Cal, Orange County. When the first presidential press conference hit the nation, the deluge began at every grocery store in the area. A flood of instore shoppersand a tsunami of on-line orders for home delivery and pick-up. My relative has been working very long hours and has not taken almost any days off. She is not only managing her department, but floats around the large store to help where needed. She is bright, kind hearted and competent. The clientele at said store skews to the affluent suburban families and PMC. Before Corona Virus (BC), the online shoppers heavily consisted of elderly. It was very helpful for that cohort. Now, it is slammed with a tidal wave of the affluent customers demanding delivery and pick-up service. I haven’t talked to her lately, but would guess that a lot of reorganization and limits on those services happened. We texted her yesterday. She, as always, got right back. But, instead of saying, I’ll call when I get home. She said: I am exhausted. Will call you guys tomorrow.

    2. Oh

      I agree and I try to let them know how much I appreciate their sacrifice. THey can’t afford to lose pay from not working and yet they are being exposed to the virus with so many people coming to the store daily.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “‘If I get it, I die’: homeless residents say inhumane shelter conditions will spread coronavirus”

    The obvious take-away from an article like this is that California may have to re-purpose police paddy-wagons as vehicles to pick up dead homeless people from their streets with since they can stack up a few inside. Will there be a shortage of body bags as well as medical gear? In the 1918 flu pandemic they actually ran out of coffins. And remember that the bodies are going to have to be treated as biologically hazardous material so that the drivers and off-siders will need full hazmat suits. In short, a 21st century Bring Out Your Dead vehicle.

  18. Lee

    My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome doctor prescribes hydroxychloroquine for some of his patients with good results for that condition. It’s one I haven’t tried yet. There are some untoward side effects, particularly for older patients who take it over a long period of time so we decided against it as a maintenance medication in my case.

    With the news that it might be effective on a short term basis for Covid-19 both as a treatment and even a preventative if taken prophylactically, he prescribed it for me. Patients at the CFS clinic are knowingly to some extent guinea pigs.

    The pills are in the mail. I’ll let you know how it goes. Right now it’s really cheap. Indeed, with my Medicare Part D coverage it’s free. Given the premiums I pay it should be.

    1. epynonymous

      My input seems to be more of a curiosity, but this showed up in my research this week.

      Seems based on a Washington post article from 1991 that seems to be the last previous big article on it, at least according to a cursory search.

      Now, severe brain involvement from swelling (encephalitis) seems to be something that might not show up as well, but African Sleeping Sickness was always a staple of adventure novels from pre-WWII and voodoo mythology.

      I’m the last reasonable source for medical advice, but it seems to line up with your lines of inquiry. Wishing everyone well!

      1. Lee

        That is quite interesting. The current theory as to nature of CFS subscribed to by Stanford researchers, which my treatments are based on, is that it is a chronic low grade inflammation of the central nervous system usually triggered by a severe case of flu. Lethargy, mind fog, and over sensitivity of pain receptors are principal symptoms that are worsened by too great a physical or mental expenditure of energy as well as by emotional stress.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      Could it be that they like his message but they don’t like the messenger? Or they like Medicare For All but don’t want the wealth tax?

      1. edmondo

        Could it be that they are just bullshi!!ing the public so it looks like Joe Biden actually has a program to run on in the general election? Can anyone tell me what JB’s first priority will be after he his sworn in in January? I didn’t think so.

        1. Geo

          Speaking of Biden – has anyone done a wellness check in him recently? Guy has been invisible since the “technical difficulties” a few days ago.

          Odd that a candidate that wants to lead the nation would disappear in the midst of a pandemic and economic meltdown. When the going gets tough, Biden goes into hiding?

          1. Bill Carson

            Someone else just tipped me off that he is MIA. I was suspicious of the coughing on Sunday night. Geez….was that just five days ago? Seems like an eternity.

          2. Aumua

            There is little mention of Sanders or Biden in the headlines, which undoubtedly is good for Biden. I assume this will continue for as long as they can get away with it.

          3. Jeff W

            “Speaking of Biden – has anyone done a wellness check in him recently?”

            Christo Aivalis on “While Bernie Sanders Leads, Joe Biden is Hiding” here. The clip of Joe Biden following the recent primaries at 1:19 is, to me, disconcerting.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Just spitballin’ here, but I’d say clyburn has managed to set a new land speed record for outliving one’s usefulness.

    3. Oh

      He’s just posing. He knows that Biden won’t incorporate any of Bernie’s policies. Clyburn is a BS artist. More like Slyburn.

  19. Charles D Myers

    After watching geese interact with their families on the golf couse it made it impossible for me to shoot one

    1. Lee

      They’re vicious! I was charged and nearly knocked off my bike by a Canada goose in our local park. When I walk my pit bull, Lady Barksalot, they leave me alone.

        1. Gary

          I used to raise geese. They just look after their own and they are mostly fearless. If you are not perceived as a threat to them, they will not expend any energy on you. They have grass to eat.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          especially when nesting, and after the kids hatch out.
          they separate a little into little pods, with a male standing guard over 2-5 mommas and babies.
          come near and they hiss. quite threatening.
          come closer and they charge, head down, and then rear up wings spread.
          they can be 20 pounds,lol.
          I’ve seen them attack a cat and a coon.
          witnessed a group of juvenile males tear apart a large rat snake, crowing triumphantly.
          we always know when somethings amiss.

        3. Cripes

          They are aggressive. Especially in a mob. Once taking photographs at a nearby lake the head goose spotted me getting too close and started marching towards me in quick order a flock of 40 geese were stomping towards me Ihonking in a threatening manner. Even as I retreated they kept coming until I realized I had heavy keys that I can shake it them. That slowed them down until I could walk away. Wish I gotten some video.

      1. aleric

        I’ve had luck so far in avoiding attack by talking to the geese, to make it clear I’m not trying to sneak up, and giving as wide a berth as possible, which is sometimes not that much if you are on a long and narrow causeway, with packs ahead and behind.

  20. jackiebass

    The article Biden Sides With Big Pharma… didn’t change how I will vote in November. I’m a life long registered democrat. I registered as a democrat when I turned 21. I’m now 78 and am going to change my registration to independent. I won’t vote for Biden or Trump but probably a third party candidate. I didn’t vote for Hope And Change Obama either time. I watched him when he was a senator a few times on CSPAN. This showed me what the real Obama was all about. I also didn’t vote for Hillary.The democratic party has become just another version of the republican party. Unless they return to the Roosevelt version of the party, I will remain being an independent. I don’t have much hope of this happening as long as the leadership of the DNC doesn’t change. Both parties only seem interested in power and don’t seem to care about the average person except to get their vote to keep power. This is exactly what Biden is doing when he says he is listening to young people. He is serving them a big bowl of RainbowStew that he will soon forget.Bernie isn’t perfect but has more good points than faults. For one he is consistent. I’ve followed him for years and his message has not changed. I know it is impossible for him to deliver on many of his promises but at least its a start in the right direction.
    The bail out of student loans to me looks like a good idea. It would be a big boost to our economy. People with students land would have extra money to spend on other things. Perhaps they could now purchase a home or car. They would put the money back into the economy in a productive way. Keep in mind that many of these people with student loans are veterans that were scammed by fo profit private schools. We owe them a break. It’s sad, but the older I get the more depressed I get about what is happening on this planet. I grew up with little but is seems people were happier then. I know I was. At my age material things are meaningless. It’s the other things that are important. Your health, family, and friends mean way more than “things”.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Last month, House Democrats pushed to have march-in rights for coronavirus treatments codified in the emergency funding bill. That effort was abandoned due to opposition from the Trump administration and Senate Republicans. Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) then led 45 of her colleagues in sending a letter to Trump on the matter, and she sent a separate letter to Health and Human Services Secretary and former Eli Lilly president Alex Azar on March 2.
      Despite the Democrats’ pleas, the pharmaceutical lobby prevailed. The Democrats’ language on march-in rights was not included in the bill and new language was added to specify that HHS could not take any action stemming from concerns over pricing of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics that could delay development of such products. The language is so broad that some observers believe drug companies could use it to block any effort to reduce prices, including march-in, by claiming that it reduces incentives to innovate.

      “Democrats ‘PLEAS.’ ”

      The goddamn democrats in the house of representatives IMPEACHED the president of the united states without one shred of actual evidence and without one actual republican vote. As pointed out last night on Fox News, they were doing this in rabid, full bore mode at the end of last year while this global pandemic was percolating in Wuhan, China.

      Now they are supposedly reduced to “pleading” for big pharma and Trump and the repubs to heed their suddenly feeble entreaties to not visit economic ruin on their hapless, corona virus stricken constituents. jan schakowsky and another 45 of ’em anyway. But, alas, they are rebuffed.

      Give. Me. A. Frickin’. Break.

      PS. Apologies for the length of this post, but I cannot resist. daniel goldman, adam schiff’s impeachment goon and deep state “info” conduit was laid low by the virus, and demonstrates that his capacity for self pity exceeds his capacity for effective witness examination by orders of magnitude.

  21. Tom Stone

    What’s the difference between the average American and a piece of used toilet paper?

    The wealthy dispose of used toilet paper safely.

  22. katiebird

    How can all Californians stay home? How does a governor make that decision? What are they supposed to live on? I totally get that staying home will save lives. But how does it actually work?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I bet that this is why there was so much panic buying. Many figured that the government would do this with little notice and no time to stock up on food before then.

      1. MLTPB

        For the people Los Angeles County, more likely those near the coast would do that.

        From Patch, out of a total of 231 cases a day ago :

        Long Beach 12
        Brentwood 13
        Beverly Hills 4
        Century City 5
        Culver City 3
        Hollywood Hills 2
        Hollywood coastal enough for those in, say, Riverside) 5
        Lomita 5
        Manhattan Beach 5
        Melrose (near Hollywood) 11
        Pacific Palisades 5
        Santa Monica Mountains 2
        Santa Monica 2
        Venice 4
        Wesr Hollywood 12
        West Los Angeles 2
        Westwood 2

        Most are well to do areas. Vacationing in Italy and Europe is easily affordable, perhaps a must.

        Rosemead, with many Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, and other Asians, for example, is not on the list. Presumably not one single case.

        I suspect what we are seeing here today is from the second wave, and not much from China, before Feb 1, 2020.

          1. MLTPB

            I dont know if Arcadia or San Marino is poor.

            The latter is also not listed with any cases, but populated with Asians.

    2. KidPsych

      It is astonishing, in the clear light of day, that the world is shutting down over a virus that killed roughly 3000 Chinese people. Their lives matter and I don’t want to downplay the hardships of those individuals and their families, but the current data (99% of deaths were related to underlying health conditions) points (perhaps) to less draconian measures? What if those with underlying health conditions were given incentives to isolate, while practical measures, including access to masks, sanitizer, etc. were given to those who are asymptomatic? Social distancing could be practically applied. I do understand how flattening the curve would reduce infection rates (well, duh), but does this occur somewhat permanently, or will we be in a constant state of either trying to flatten the curve with isolation, or making sure people are able to make a living?

      I do worry that the cure will be worse than the disease.

      1. MLTPB

        I believe per CDC there are 100 million Americans or more who have diabetes, or prediabetes.

        This does not include other conditions.

        40 millions Californians are under shelter in place.

        I don’t recall the peak number locked down in China, but 100 million sound about right.

        1. Trent

          Say what you will but i still believe this is all too convenient. What hasn’t the government lied about in the last 20 years? They lied about Iraq, they lied about 2008, they lied about syria, they lie about everything. And suddenly now i’m supposed to put all my trust in them. If i was a criminal running the banking system and government, and i knew it was going to blow up, and it started to blowup in September of 2019. Suddenly all my money printing couldn’t keep the plates spinning, and i couldn’t admit this to the public, what would i do? I know people who have been laid off due to this, still don’t know anyone who’s had it.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I say Amen.

            60,000 died last year from flu related illness. Crickets.

            99,000 die ANNUALLY from hospital acquired infections. More crickets.

            Corona virus comes along, and the “federal reserve” cannot stop roaring. And bailing. And roaring some more.

            1. Trent

              exactly! If i’ve learned anything the last 12 years its watch what they do, not what they say. I see bigger bailouts then 2008, but i don’t see any new hospitals going up or billions of dollars to rush and build them. Economy hasn’t even been work from home for a week now, and they’re all lined up for a bailout already. They couldn’t even wait a month to say they were out of cash.

              1. Trent

                The funny thing is, you would think more people on NC would be skeptical. The opposite seems to be true, how easy you can get people to fall in line when they believe their own health or life might be at risk. They lied about the skripals, they lied about MH17, we still don’t know who killed JFK, they lied about vietnam, they infected african americans with awful diseases in the 40’s, they lied about bank deregulation, they lied about trickle down, they lied about pensions, they lied about 401ks. But this, this is the one they’re telling the truth about. Trust us, its for your own good.

                1. Bill Carson

                  IMO, when I look at what the government is doing vs. what the government is saying, I am terrified because the actions (shut everything down) speak much more loudly than the words (CV (they say) only has a death rate of 0.9%, or will ‘only’ kill 2 million people in the US).

                  In other words, they are acting like we are all going to die (hyperbole), but they are not telling us that because they don’t want complete chaos to break out.

                  So when I hear people say, “It’s only the flu,” etc. etc., I say take a look at everything that is being done. Ask yourself if it appears that the authorities know something they aren’t telling us.

              2. MLTPB

                Are you saying it’s a conspiracy, involving China, Russia, Hong Kong, N and S Korea, progressive candidates etc, or the government neglecting acquired infections, etc?

              3. Carey

                >Economy hasn’t even been work from home for a week now, and they’re all lined up for a bailout already.


                odd, idn’t it?

                1. anonx1000

                  So, the blame goes to the “gubmint” as opposed to those asking to be bailed out?
                  Conveniently, the FED is now a gov. agency, as opposed to the private bank that anti-gov types have been insisting it is?

            2. Duke of Prunes

              My thought is that this panic comes from the realization that the virus is an equal opportunity killer. Not only that, it seems to target old folks in poor health. Let me see… that kind of matches the demographic of those in charge. This time around, their access to better healthcare will not save them because there’s no cure. Also, they still need “the help” to survive in their hideaways.

              In prior crises, the very rich and powerful were pretty well insulated from the bad side effects. However, I think seeing the rulers in Iran dropping like flies stoked some fear in the TPTB. “Shut it down!!!”. We can’t just isolate the old and unhealthy (as this is the government), therefore, we need to isolate everybody, and killing the economy will just make assets cheaper on the other side.

              The rest I think is just never let a good crisis go to waste.

          2. xkeyscored

            They lied about Iraq and Syria, etc etc, sure, but they managed to persuade thousands of Chinese and Italian health workers to go along with the ‘lie’ that this virus is bad news? Dr Li Wenliang was a CIA stooge?

            1. Trent

              Look you might think the “elite” view you as a person, but i’m doubtful that they do. You’re a liability, which is how our healthcare system treats you. But you know what, this time they really care about you. I don’t know if the “Italian” people are in on this, but i can tell you the people that run italy probably are. If they were going to do a monetary reset, do you think they’d inform their peers in other countries, or just do it?

              1. Trent

                and what about all those videos from syria showing chemical weapons being used on children……. that ended up being fake? If you aren’t questioning this, you haven’t been paying attention.

                1. xkeyscored

                  They didn’t involve thousands of health workers. On the contrary, several health workers came forward to say the whole thing was bullsh!t. Where are the health workers in Italy or China saying this is all fake?

                  1. Trent

                    i didn’t say it was fake xkeyscored. I said its a cover, that doesn’t imply that its fake. Its real, the healthcare workers are real, the people dying are real. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a purpose. The soldiers that gave diseased blankets to Native Americans were real.

          3. Carey

            In my region of SLO County CA there are said to be now fifteen confirmed cases, all recovering at home; none in hospital.

            No news at all from the County Health Department for the last three days, other than ‘shelter in place™’.


          1. MLTPB


            China is approximately 3 times more populous. That works out to 133 million roughly, equivantetly.

        2. KidPsych

          Very much preaching to the choir on that one. I’m an annoying keto/time restricted eating/once a week 24 plus hour fast guy (just ask my wife how annoying I am. She’ll write you back a novel.) I know China has been leading the world in accelerating diabetes in the shift from traditional diet to a more western one, so I suspect the population there was also prone to disease. However, I also assume the deaths reported were related to very well established disease as opposed to pre-diabetes. In other words, it still might make most sense to quarantine those with rather significant illnesses rather than those with pre-diabetes.

          1. MLTPB

            Taking out those with prediabetes, CDC has anout 34 million diabetic Americans.

            That’s still a large number. And there are others vulnerable with other medical conditions.

      2. fresno dan

        March 20, 2020 at 11:46 am
        I’m with you KidPsych

        As of of Friday morning, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the country had 13,957 confirmed cases, 2,958 more than the day previously, but only 31 deaths in total. This gives the country a fatality rate of 0.22 per cent which is markedly lower than Italy’s – where fatalities have been some of the highest – at 8.3 per cent, and the UK’s 2.2 per cent. This is despite the fact Germany has 10,688 more cases than the UK.
        The German data which is the best data for a country (as opposed to China – once you have lied you have to prove your truthiness) about the data collected that has been accrued with good and estensive testing says corona is twice as bad as flu. Note that the infection rate for flue is 0.1%. Not taking into account infection RATES as we don’t yet know the infection rate for corona:
        1. Based on the German data and assume the same infection rate, the number of people who die in TWO YEARS from influenza die in one year from corona. People die of flu year after year after year…. but people don’t get the flu vaccine so why will they get the corona vaccine, wheather because corona becomes normalized or because people get accustomed to the fatalities…
        2. Instead of dealing with corona infection with good monitoriing and good heath care, we quarantine the population and cause tremendous destruction to the economy. Heaven forbid we start asking how many people die BECAUSE THEY ARE POOR. How many homeless people die of respiratory illness – yet that is ignored.
        3. YPLL – years of potential life lost. Like the vast majority of respiratory diseases, the older you are (like fatality caused by most diseases) the more likely you are to die. I have had a heart attack, cancer, and I now have diabetes type 2. I really don’t want to get corona virus, but I get a flu shot every year. I should take the most precautions, because I am at the most risk. However, the riskiest thing I do is drive a car.
        4. How bad will the economy get? How many people will die because after being laid off they no longer have or can afford health care? And for that matter, why do we accept all the deaths caused by a lack of access to health care?
        Not having good, capable disease surveillance has really caused a crisis. AND having a free market in health care has really turned it into a disaster.

        1. xkeyscored

          corona is twice as bad as flu

          Ordinary ‘flu doesn’t, so far as I’m aware, require extensive protective measures for medical staff.

          1. lordkoos

            The death rate is Germany is lower for whatever reason, but I thought on the average the death rate of CV is 10 x that of the flu?

            1. Aumua

              Methinks there’s a bunch of wild speculation and going on in this thread. We have an estimate of how transmissible it is, and an estimate of the overall mortality rate. Comparing those with previous pandemics gives us an estimate of ~30 million dead worldwide if left unchecked. So I mean that isn’t the end of the world, but it’s not a nothingburger either.

              1. fresno dan

                March 20, 2020 at 3:29 pm

                If you are referring to my post, I spent 26 years at the US FDA as a microbiologist.
                Do you not believe data from the Robert Koch institute?
                We have all sorts of estimates with very, very preliminary data.
                My whole point is this is a fiasco because of the lack of good administration from the very begining of the Trump presidency.

                1. kareninca

                  That is a very, very good article. I just sent it to several people. It is the best article I have yet read on the coronavirus.

                  However, I disagree with your claim that this has much to do with Trump. I don’t know why you added that. Do you really think a Clinton administration would have done a better job? Seriously? That with Hillary at the helm, the fine folks at the CDC would have been competent?

        2. KidPsych

          I sure as heck don’t have all the answers. I just wish people were asking these questions at the governmental level and engaging in this discussion. Maybe cramming a bunch of people with a virus in hospitals is a really bad idea. Maybe they should be treated at home as best as we can. Maybe completely imploding the economy is a bad idea?

          I wonder how much of the broad decision to keep people at home comes from people who think everyone can work at home? I can, for therapy anyway, so I’ll be earning a living during this. Because I’m in Seattle, I see a lot of tech people who keep doing their work. But what about the less fortunate? Are people like Cuomo or Newsom even aware that they exist, and that if a person who cannot work online can’t earn a living at all, their lives might spiral downward and out of control.

        3. Zamfir

          note: fatalities reflect the infection rate of several weeks ago, because it takes time for people to die.

          In those weeks, the number of infection wil have grown a lot, somewhere in the 10 to 50 fold range.

          If we had a magical perfect indicator of the number of infections, it would show a very low death rate, if you divide deaths at day X by identified cases on day X. Because most of the infected have not yet have had enough time to die.

          As result, a better testing regime may show artificially low death rates, . You cannot look to Germany and conclude that their numbers approximate reality, or that they provide an upper ceiling to the true numbers.

          Edit: this is not theoretical concept. You can literally see it in the Chinese numbers. In the early pahse, their death rate was high – only strong cases were identified. Then the death rate went low, as identification improved. When the number of identified cases levelled off, the deaths kept rising for a while. And the final ratio was several times higher than it seemed in the middle of th epidemic

      3. The Rev Kev

        @ KidPsych

        Look at it a different way. Suppose that it was only the first week of World War 1. Would you then be saying that “Hey, this world war is not so bad after all. There have only been a few hundred people that died so far. I think that it is going to work out well!”

    3. MLTPB

      I think our government will trust the people first, to do that.

      In that respect, ours is perhaps not like Beijing.

      And when it becomes necessary, it will be enforced. Except maybe Tesla. Not sure what is the latest there.

      Messier than you would find in an authoritarian country, msybe.

  23. zagonostra

    >Tulsi endorsement of Biden

    I just unsubscribed from Y-Tube’s Tulsi2020 and while there I scrolled through some of the 7k comments. Every single one of those comments I read were negative and most expressed a sense of betrayal.

    Although Michael Tracey lays out a very logical and thoughtful statement at below link indicating that folks should not have been surprised since she declared at the beginning that she would support the winner and that Bernie will do the same, you can’t deny the visceral impact of her decision on those who were drawn to her and her message.

    Jimmy Dore’s take:

    1. Carolinian

      Some skeptics upstream.

      I voted for her and am not feeling viscerally impacted. Seems to me the people who are really outraged are the Bernie supporters who liked her when she endorsed Bernie and now hate her when she has switched to someone else. If people are so invested in her views on foreign policy then you’d think more than one or two percent would have voted for her. Here’s suggesting this is all about Bernie, not Tulsi.

      And I don’t know that she ever presented herself as a hardcore lefty. Her message was one of foreign policy realism and now she has taken the realist stance that Biden is going to get the nomination. Of course there’s a strong chance that Biden might conk out at any time and be shipped off to a senior living facility. But I’d say it has also become clear that the Dem poobahs are not going to accept Bernie as nominee no matter what. He had one chance which was to crush his opposition with overwhelming popular support that even the Dems couldn’t resist and that hasn’t happened. Squeaking through was never going to do it.

      1. zagonostra

        So knowing what you know about Biden (since you are here at NC I automatically assume you do) you’re ok with her endorsing Biden as opposed to perhaps endorsing no one? Were you ok with Bernie supporting Clinton in 16?

        If so to either of these, doesn’t this lead to a dead end lesser-of-two-evilism? Doesn’t this diminsh hope of breaking out in a badly needed radical new direction?

    2. Aumua

      We all know that the race is over, but she could wait until Biden is the g.d. nominee. Doing this now is like kicking Sanders when he’s down. It’s lame, Tulsi.

    3. pricklyone

      M. Tracy ignores the fact that it was done BEFORE there was a winner. If the primary as over, it might make sense. Bernie has not thrown his support yet as far as I know at this time…

  24. marym

    Re: 2020 D’s to the right of R’s

    Romney and Cotton said a few things. This would be like concluding the D’s are to the left of the R’s because AOC or Warren have some proposals. The Republican “plan” is a one-time means tested cash payment based on 2018 income. The Trump administration is trying to reduce SNAP.

    “But the checks will shrink for both low- and high-earners. Americans with little-to-no tax liability (aka, poor folks) will only receive a minimum payment of $600, unless they earned less than $2,500, in which case they get zilch. Low-wage workers who don’t have a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019—adults generally aren’t required to file one they earn less than the standard deduction—also won’t qualify for the early rebate. (They could still get it next year if they file taxes for 2020, but by that time it will be a bit late.) Meanwhile, the payments phase down for workers who make more than $75,000, and drop to zero for those making $99,000 and above (double those numbers for joint filers).” (Slate:

    1. fresno dan

      March 20, 2020 at 10:06 am
      he San Francisco minimum wage is $15.59 per hour.

      Wage Math
      $15.59 per hour * 40 hours per week * 3 weeks = $1,870.80.
      How long will the hotel workers be furloughed? Casino workers? Airline employees?
      How many people will have jobs to go back to after the quarantine? How many single owner restaurants will survive?
      Yet somehow, with this crisis, the democrats are worried about pharmaceutical companies…
      never let a crisis go to waste…microphone turned off, rest of sentence….to help the wealthy.

    2. John k

      Checks are being sent to prevent depression. If they don’t go to where the need is they wont affect spending and won’t be effective.

      1. MLTPB

        Is it that checks are not going to where they should go, or the amount is not enough?

        If $1,200 is good, then the check received by each in need will do the job. Any those who dont need the extra money will bank it. That is, those in need and those not in need will get $1,200 an amount t that that is ‘good,’ the assumption here in this case.

        On the other hand, if the amount is not good not enough, then, it’s less about not going where the need is, but not enough is going out.

    3. marym


      ” Its centerpiece — direct cash payments to households — would miss the lowest-income households entirely and give millions of low- and moderate-income households much less than those who are better off. And the proposal ignores the dire need to expand health coverage, help those who have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet, avert a rise in evictions and homelessness, and close the large state budget shortfalls that will soon emerge.”

  25. TroyIA

    I shared this link late yesterday and am now posting again because of its significance. The largest epidemiological investigation in China showed that 22.2% of diabetic patients required ICU admittance vs. 5.9% of patients without diabetes.

    Also the mortality rate of diabetic patients was 7.3% vs .9% without diabetes.

    Anyone 60+ with diabetes needs to take extreme caution.

    Timely blood glucose management for the outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is urgently needed

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats seriously bad news for the US. Something like 10% of the US population has type 2 diabetes.

      1. allan

        Nationalize the insulin factories, if not the firms.
        Surely a government that claims to care about the back row kids would do this.

        1. MLTPB

          If not, the opposition can lead there.

          Then, going by recent events, the government can out left flank them.

  26. John

    Senators selling stock based on inside information. Prices being raised on drugs. The plaintive cry, “Who will pay for it?” A scam here and a scam there. One trillion to prop up the economy (for how long?) Will it be followed by another trillion? Where is it coming from? It looks like magic. Don’t tell anyone but it looks to me like there may be something to this MMT notion. Those “deficit hawks” or “debt vultures” whatever they are called look to be wrong. Maybe all they ever wanted was to get rid of Social Security and Medicare and anything else that looked after people who were not people like them, but that would be cruel and heartless wouldn’t it?

  27. epynonymous

    Live in MA, and there’s a new sign on my block announcing US Census workers are now being hired at 27.50 an hour. A month ago I believe it topped at 15.

    Just filed my unemployment claim for the fireworks industry 10 minutes ago too! Notably, the DUA website is announcing that Amazon is hiring.

    The census and the Amazon/state gov angles are pretty noteworthy IMO, but what isn’t these days.

    Will repost the census information without color-commentary at 2 PM links, pardon the forwardness of my hubris. I recall a poet in similar shoes to mine who might like to know, and imagine a few others from the site might be willing to take the risk (and it is) given the direness of current circumstance.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Sides With Big Pharma Against Plan That Could Make Coronavirus Vaccine Affordable”

    This is going to be a Trump attack ad after good old Joe gets the nomination, isn’t it?

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Mask diplomacy: China tries to rewrite virus narrative”

    Same old China-tried-to-cover-it-up-so-they-are-guilty-of-causing-the-pandemic story. Trump is also reinforcing this idea by calling it the “Chinese virus”. In a speech he made the other day, a reporter spotted how in the speech he read out, it had the name ‘Chinese’ written over the official name of the virus in his speech. This belongs with other such stories like it-is-just-the-flu and only-old-people-die-of-it. Did the Chinese originally try to cover it up? Of course they did. But when they realized the quality of the threat, their fight against it was the stuff of epic tales. So let’s try a thought experiment.

    Suppose that, like the 1918 Flu Pandemic, Coronavirus too had originated in the US. Kansas to be specific like last time. So how would this have played out? Would Trump have tried to put a lid on this outbreak considering that it is an election year? Would the Democrats have gone along with it because of their own nomination elections? Do you think that anybody would have had the courage to put the entire State of Kansas into lockdown to fight it? Would Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. have cooperated to censor information coming out of these regions through their algorithms? How would the American healthcare system have coped with this outbreak?

    I think that we can consider ourselves lucky that this time it started in China first which gave the world two months to make their preparations for it. It is not their fault that our governments in the west wasted most of those two months.

    1. xkeyscored

      It has been said that China notified international researchers and organisations very early, and started taking severe measures when they realised there was sustained human-human transmission.

        1. steelyman

          I don’t think anybody in the Chinese senior leadership is trying to deny the early mistakes.

          As for the Wuhan city administration that conducted the feast for 40K, has anybody heard from the ex-Mayor and any of his fellow officials recently? I suspect that there’s a firing squad in their future. Yes, a bit draconian by Western standards but an interesting contrast to the never ending “fail upwards” paradigm of the US (and EU) elites.

    2. Noneofmany

      I’d say our government and media apparatuses would have covered the outbreak in a confused and unfocused manner for the first week or so after a doctor or two raised the alarm, but there wouldn’t have been a complete media / government black out for more than a month while local hospitals and healthcare professionals were panicking and other government agencies and private interests started asking questions about how they were going to be affected.

      This significant because even if we assume that everything that went wrong with US response happened the same way it still would have put our, and other countries, process of running into problems and addressing them a month and a half ahead of where we were when the virus had begun popping up in moderate numbers in California and Washington.

      That would have made a difference that everyone seems to to be underestimating in an event like this. The situation today would have been an order of magnitude closer to being brought under control than it is as it stands and it would have also meant that other countries that were caught flat footed could have stifled the initial outbreak and have more resources to share with the ones that failed.

      In the opening wave of a pandemic virologists sometimes joke that the three most important factors in formulating a containment strategy are speed, speed and speed. And It’s not just about initial containment itself, but also to identify and fix things that inevitably go wrong along the way.

      Thanks to Chinas initial coverup there governments initial Problems with testing kits, insufficient medical supplies and capacity, public warning and tracking have all been overlooked because they weren’t under the same level of scrutiny while there cases started taking off. This minimized the inadequacy of there bungled first five weeks of dealing with the outbreak relative to the timeline of failures along the way that everyone else had vis a vis the public’s perception. In this way, the CCP is creating a sort of time warp that lets them delete the many failures they made along the way by essentially talking about the crises like it, for all intents and purposes, began in early February, hoping we all just overlook the fact that they had actually been preparing for it probably all the way back in mid December.

      Which is to say that we only found out just how serious the situation was when China had already had the highly publicized parts of there response ready to go.

      What’s particularly galling about all this is that, even beyond the unfair standards there being held to compared to against everyone else, China Brooke several MASSIVELY central rules regarding reporting this sort of thing to the WHO.

      There are many rules about reporting emerging disease threats that every country which is a signatory are, in no uncertain terms, REQUIRED to do when something like this happens.
      These requirements are considered to be, by agreement, the undeniable central pillar of the WHOs infectious disease response plans. There taken very, very seriously by the WHOs treaties. There’s even provisions designed to protect whistle blowers from the kind of government persecution and coercion the CCP did the doctors and reporters who were trying to warn everyone.

      Also not helpful was China’s use of its influence to at the WHO to cow other governments into not stopping flights from China even after China was restricting movements within there own country. Not to mention slowing down international teams access to basic information about transmission vectors (claiming there was no human to human transmission etc).

      There stonewalling and arm twisting other governments to delay concrete steps to Prevent the spread into their own countries was as detrimental as there initial coverup.

      There’s a difference between bungling your own internal response and proactively thwarting the rest of the worlds

  30. notabanktoadie

    Investors are selling gold. Peggy Noonan from We Need Time to Absorb All This.

    Noonan is shocked by this but shouldn’t be since debts in our HIGHLY leveraged economy are payable in FIAT, not someone’s shiny metal fetish.

    A general attitude for difficult times? Trust in God first and always. Talk to him. ibid

    If one trusts in the God of the Bible then one would take Him seriously wrt economic justice and not say such things as:

    Every time America’s in trouble I remember Adam Smith’s words. He wrote there’s “a great deal of ruin in a nation.” Especially a very great and prosperous one with a brilliant system and a creative citizenry. ibid [bold added]

    A “brilliant system”, for example, does not oppress the poor and potential customers via an inherently unjust* finance system.

    Yes, it takes time to absorb that one has been wrong. May the lesson be a LASTING one or worse is yet to come (c.f. Jeremiah 34:8-22).

    *I.e. government privileges for private credit creation.

  31. human

    90% seems more reasonable. How could anyone spend $100M? Let them have their 10% remainder tax free … for now.

  32. PlutoniumKun

    Germany’s coronavirus anomaly: high infection rates but few deaths FT

    South Korea also had a relatively low mortality rate early on, but its not creeping up to 1.1%. Its not clear why, but its likely just the path of the infection if it hits relatively young people first (the reverse of what is happening in Italy).

    Incidentally, there have been significant recent spikes in cases in both HK and SK, so its clear that the virus is by no means eliminated there – there is likely to be a lot of firefighting required for months to come at the very least. I think only time will tell if China has genuinely eliminated it, which they are claiming (a Chinese friend of mine who I think foolishly flew back to China last week from England now finds herself in a 14 day quarantine).

    1. Massinissa

      Link isn’t working for me. Sends me to a Naked capitalism ‘link not found’ page.

      1. epynonymous

        From Gregor Macdonald’s twitter 4 hours ago (had to cut out some of the computer formatting to reverse-engineer the key words)

        Statewide orders for workers to stay home in CA and NY really does feel like the penultimate step to a debt jubilee. Not necessarily a full jubilee but something really does have to give in the credit and debtor relationship. Suspension, if not govt taking over debt service.

        Who is he?

        “Gregor Macdonald is a freelance journalist covering cities, climate, and energy. He has written for Nature, The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Harvard Business Review, Next City, Atlantic Media’s Route Fifty, The Petroleum Economist, PV Magazine, and Talking Points Memo. His latest book is Oil Fall.”

  33. Mark K

    Evolution selects for ‘loners’ that hang back from collective behavior—at least in slime molds

    Are you sure this wasn’t published in the Columbia Journalism Review?

    1. epynonymous

      It just occurs to me that whole study might just be an artifact of the definition of evolution used.

      Presumably, any non-selection against the primary type of behavior is ignored as business as usual.

      Only the selection for the ‘abnormal’ would be recorded and considered noteworthy.

  34. Livius Drusus

    Re: Coronavirus’ next victim: Populism

    I don’t know if this is necessarily true because there is also a school of thought that the coronavirus has exposed the weaknesses of globalization.

    Marshall Auerback had a good article on this subject in Counterpunch.

    Populists like Trump and Johnson might be hurt if they prove to be incompetent and there will probably be more respect for experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci. However, I think it is too early to say that the coronavirus will kill populism. It is possible to have international cooperation without the extreme form of globalization we see today. I think the Cold War period was an example of this mixture of protectionism and international cooperation.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think its more true to say that the virus is likely to make ‘populist’ stances mainstream. Even fully paid up members of the establishment are now openly saying that there is a need to shorten and simplify supply chains and that globilisation has gone too far. We now have the Republicans espousing openly what were fringe left wing ideas. There are, as someone said here previously, no libertarians in a pandemic. And free marketeers tend to suddenly go all quiet in a financial collapse.

      1. Massinissa

        “And free marketeers tend to suddenly go all quiet in a financial collapse.”

        Not necessarily. Most libertarian thinkers, websites, etc etc that i’m familiar with blamed the 2008 crash on the government… Somehow. There were multiple theories on how the government was the problem, some of them making more sense than others, but all falling flat IMO.

        This time though, they’re super silent, because they can’t blame the coronavirus on the government, I guess. And even they’re not nuts enough to think having the government doing nothing in the face of a pandemic is a good idea.

        1. MLTPB

          This time, its what we humans have done to Nature, and our response will require a unified, apolitical approach.

  35. urblintz

    Let’s see the Democrat Leadership respond to Trump’s current pressy… if they are not panicking about November yet they should be,

    1. Daryl

      > Let’s see the Democrat Leadership respond to Trump’s current pressy

      Based off the last few weeks? Probably by trying to add in some means testing to determine which hospitals can get masks and ventilators, if this actually does manage to increase our supply of them.

  36. chuck roast

    “US Airlines Could Burn $40 Billion in Cash”

    So, this Guggenhiem Chief Investment Officer guy Scott Minurd is opining on the nightmare politics of getting a bailout for an industry that has bought back $45B in it’s own shares in the last ten years and is scrounging around Capitol Hill for $50B in emergency funding. In response to the possibility of “collateral damage” to other entities due to an industry-wide airlines bankruptcy, Minurd said that “…after speaking yesterday with Treasury…” he thought that in the event of a bailout of say Boeing, “loan guarantees” were essential and the government should get a premium in the form of warrants.

    Ha! Warrants on the stock. Taxpayer ownership of the distressed company. Those of you with a better memory than me will remember this ploy from the GFC. I don’t remember if it was AIG or some Detroit behemoth that got bailed with the warrants attached. What I do recall is that after the dust had settled the bailee (being the taxpayer) got chump change for the warrants when they were cashed in on the sly. I think they call this scam “the wink and the nod.” Let’s go play 18.

    Euthanize Boeing and the airline industry!

    1. roast

      Well, we know that youth-in-Asia is not gonna happen, because this guy gave us the word that the bogus warrants are gonna happen. But, Congress should hold out for; 1. firing all the CEOs and the boards of directors, and 2. requiring that the new boards be made up of 50+% of the unionized workers…oh wait!

    2. notabanktoadie

      Any bailout should come with this condition – the Federal Government gets (by diluting existing shares) at least 51% of the voting shares and if the company has engaged in stock buybacks then at least 75%.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      Airlines are too big to fail, but they do not need to be bailed. The airlines have operated in the red numerous years yet survived. Recent Trump windfalls were used for dividends and stock buybacks – financial suicide. It is payback time.

      Too big to fail but too big to bail. So they all go broke. Who will buy them out? Nobody, that’s who. So the noteholders will have no choice but to subsidize their stupid loans – i.e., run an airline. Why should taxpayers support them when the finance industry, again, created this mess?

  37. lou strong

    I don’t know if it’s been already reported abroad, but doctors in Italy are massively trying to advice people not to take anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and all the others of the anti-inflammatory group, as they are finding to be true researches reporting that these medicines could help Covid thriving.

    1. Bill Carson

      Sounds to me like we should avoid antipyretics altogether. Don’t hamper our body’s ability to fight the virus on its own by lowering the temperature.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, the main public health bodies are getting themselves in a terrible tangle over this. I’ve seen several ‘official’ sources in Europe say that anti-ibuprofin stories are ‘fake news’, but its quite clear that French and Italian doctors on the ground are reporting that it may exacerbate the condition.

      I don’t understand why they are so slow about this. Paracetamol is equally effective as a painkiller, there is no medical reason why anyone needs to take nsaids for this condition. As a precautionary matter, public agencies need to urgently change the message they are giving out, they are far too slow.

      1. judy2shoes

        The WHO first tweeting that ibuprofen should be avoided and then almost immediately reversing that guidance was pretty darned swift. It seemed to me that what the doctors in China were reporting supports the French and Italian doctors’ observations.

        Link to the correspondence from the Chinese doctors:

        I forwarded the initial WHO warning, as well as the walking-back guidance, to friends and family. One friend said that there needs to be long-term controlled studies (!!!) before such guidance should be heeded. I asked how she proposed to design such a study.

      2. xkeyscored

        I think some of the anti-ibuprofen stories are indeed fake news. I don’t do social media, but I gather there have been ridiculous stories circulating to the general effect that ibuprofen will ensure you catch the virus and die etc.
        The soberer advice seems to be to avoid ibuprofen and use paracetamol instead unless there’s a particular reason for you taking ibuprofen, and, if already taking it, not to stop without consulting your doctor.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The problem as I see it is that in trying to squash the crazier stories, they are confusing the public by labelling it all fake news.

          This is something I’ve frequently found with scientific authority – they simply don’t trust people to understand things so oversimplify to the extent of being inaccurate. Clinging to WHO guidelines has become a form of bureaucratic fall back.

          I don’t see how hard it is to issue a recommendation to only take paracetamol to treat fever symptoms. If it turns out to be wrong, there is no damage done, if it turns out to be right, it could save lives.

          1. Ignacio

            This reached social nets in Spain one week ago. Later we received contradictory info. I would follow the recommendation. No problem with that.

      3. Olga

        Of course, it is acetaminophen, which can damage liver if taken in high doses. I’d be careful with it.

  38. Bill Carson

    Trump Told Governors to Buy Own Virus Supplies, Then Outbid Them

    I think they call this an Invisible Hand Job.

    1. MLTPB

      I recall initially the states were told to acquire them and the criticism then was of the federal government doing nothing. I thought at the time, i was perhaps another feint, that he probably was doing the opposite, and not tipping his hand.

      Maybe he did change his mind.

      Just hope those supplies were all we could get, and they will suffice for the time to get more.

    1. MLTPB

      Does that apply to every newly diagnised symptomatic case?

      If a traveler arrives in China today, with it, and even if there are no new local cases, there for two or three days, do you still have that 3%?

    2. Ignacio

      This gives information useful for activity re-opening. It should be done in a controlled manner with lots of fever testing and NTA testing. Controlling all the existing focuses that would remain quarantined.

  39. Trent

    I know people who have been laid off because of the virus, still don’t actually know anyone who has gotten the virus

    1. PlutoniumKun

      You mean you don’t know people who have the overt condition. There are many pre-or non-symptomatic people around in any area where the curve is going upwards (which is most of Europe and the US), probably far more than are showing symptoms.

      1. Trent

        symptoms of something that could be the everyday flu, for which we don’t have tests yet. I do know of someone who tried to be tested and was told you can’t have the test unless you have a note from your doctor. That’s the way to fight a pandemic! Don’t test anyone unless they have a note from the MD.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Are any of them still working in meatspace? They have a deductible *on their insurance* low enough to get healthcare for a flu? Not panicking is good. Whistling in the wind not so much.

      In Florida we have affluent, traveling, retirees catching it and being served by a precariat who will not be tested until they get a referral from *their doctor*. As in they won’t get tested unless/until the National Guard medics come to their door.

      I’m not bothering to read any of the articles arguing that CV is a reason for universal healthcare, because this is gonna leave a mark. A lot of cloud castles crashing into the ground this year.

    3. lordkoos

      In Seattle a friend of mine’s wife, in her 50s, has tested positive and is quarantined at home. It’s serious enough that they gave her an oxygen tank.

  40. Randy Middleclass

    We may be living in the past, history may have speeded up and outpaced us. The bomb may have finally went off and vaporized everything, but we’re still living in the past and seeing the shadows of what used to be.

  41. urblintz

    it’s a *waltz…

    The first one to drop out was Butti
    found out voters don’t vote for snooty
    then stealing his thunder came Amy
    who knew she’d get more press on Monday
    and joining hands, speaking of unity
    Tom’s hammer came down with impunity
    the blowout for Biden was certain
    even better ’cause the commies are hurtin’!

    Then came corona
    Dems stuck with Joe, now it’s ovah
    now that we need a new biz
    where are Butti and Amy and Liz?

    *sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer’s “Alma”

  42. Kurt Sperry

    Very important, if accurate: a statistical analysis done on the Italian situation was published yesterday that predicts deaths will inevitably rise precipitously and then as quickly tail off. This analysis was made by a physicist rather than an epidemiologist, but maybe math is math.

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, it is essential to monitor the effectiveness of measures taken by
    governments on the course of the epidemic. Here we show that there is already a sufficient amount of
    data collected in Italy to predict the outcome of the process. We show that using the proper metric, the
    data from Hubei Province and Italy has striking similarity, which enables us to calculate the expected
    number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths by the end of the process. Our predictions will
    improve as new data points are generated day by day, which can help to make further public decisions.
    The method is based on the data analysis of logistic growth equations describing the process on the
    macroscopic level. At the time of writing, the number of fatalities in Italy is expected to be 6000, and
    the crisis ends before April 15, 2020.

    Link to PDF-

    1. Foy

      That is a very interesting study regards efficacy of and timing of lockdowns.

      “Remarkably, the slope of the curve is the same in Hubei and Italy within the error of fitting. It seems that the lockdown has a similar effect in both cases. The daily rate of growth of deaths appears to be falling 4% for each 1000 new deaths in Italy and the daily growth rate will be reduced from roughly 24% to zero after 6000 deaths. In Hubei the initial daily growth rate of 12% fell to zero after about 3000 deaths. It seems that this is a universal consequence of lockdown,which needs further explanation.”

      Although it’s going to have to slow down very fast to meet the study’s Italian 6000 fatality target. Yesterday another 627 deaths at 18% growth to take the total to 4,032. 3 more days of that and the 6000 will get hit. Will be interesting to see how fast things slow down.

      The question then will be what happens when the lockdown is released, does the contagion flare up and increase again?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        That is the question. The critical tuning of onerous social restrictions to buy time for new treatments and vaccines, and to minimize overloading healthcare resources, while at the same time also minimizing economic damage will require a Solomonic wisdom I don’t generally associate with either humans or governments. The very definition of “hard choices”.

  43. xkeyscored

    Incense, water and chanting can protect you – seriously!

    Matt Blomberg, of Thomson Reuters Foundation, decided to leave Phnom Penh in Cambodia and go to his friend’s village across the river, where superstition and suspicion of outsiders are flourishing. In the circumstances, he felt it wisest to submit to various spirit-appeasing rituals, as the coronavirus was no longer the most imminent threat to his well-being. From reading this article, I’m not clear if he remained there, or returned to the city. “I could understand the fear – it was rational compared to some of the hysteria unfolding in other countries – but I wasn’t waiting around to be blamed for bringing the dreaded coronavirus to the village.”

    “As foreigners like me came under increasing suspicion of carrying the virus, I was told the ceremony would appease locals – and the spirits”

  44. Jeremy Grimm

    I am too lazy to read all the comments made since around three today. Has anyone else pointed out that the Corona flu is only an unplanned and unintended exercise to test our abilities to respond to a real pandemic? [I intend no diminution of the seriousness or threat of the Corona flu.]

    I fear we are not ready for the ‘real-deal’. Our handling of the Corona virus here and abroad has been worse than appalling.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Has anyone else pointed out that the Corona flu is only an unplanned and unintended exercise to test our abilities to respond to a real pandemic?

      I had, and you tickled my remembery: This by a commenter over at the Archdruid’s place:

      My personal take is that part of the panic is simply due to yet another pillar of the religion of Progress showing another weak spot. New pandemics for which we have no defenses aren’t supposed to happen, at least not short of biowarfare, because This Is The Year Two Thousand Twenty and We Are Beyond Such Things. But, more insidiously and perhaps more fundamentally, is the simple fact that a pandemic doesn’t respond to the tactics we’re used to using. You can’t bribe or threaten a pandemic, and although you technically could bomb one you couldn’t do it without killing all your citizens, which would… kind of defeat the point.

      I’m glad you reminded me, because it’s important.

  45. xkeyscored


    I posted about this drug a week or two ago, but fearing something like this. Nigeria is reporting cases of people self-medicating with chloroquine and over-dosing. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are by no means 100% safe, and may have long-term effects even when taken correctly.

    “Coronavirus prevention: Nigeria’s Lagos state battling chloroquine poisoning”

    March 20: Chloroquine posioning in Lagos
    An official of Nigeria’s Lagos State government has disclosed that hospitals are receiving patients suffering from chloroquine poisoning.

    Oreoluwa Finnih, a Senior Special Assistant to Lagos governor has thus urged the public to desist from using the anti-malaria drug as a measure of preventing coronavirus infection. In Nigeria reports indicate that the drug’s price has been hiked since the news broke.

  46. Portlander


    Best Materials for DIY Masks

    The Cambridge University study which the article is based on says

    “Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection.”

    OK, “better than no protection” is obviously not a very high hurdle, and when it comes to viruses, no hurdle at all. The Cambridge study demonstrated that no home-made material will filter out anything close to 100% of particles as small as covid-19 (0.12 micron). The recommended material for breathability–T-shirt cotton– can only filter out 70%. Let’s see. If you breathe 10 0.5 micron droplets containing 10 covid-19 viruses each, you’ll ingest 3 x 10 viruses. That’s just counting one breath. Is that better than no protection? What’s better than the false confidence of a DIY mask is to simply follow social distancing guidelines of the CDC. Let’s take this seriously, folks.

    Makers of the best (n95 – n100) face masks are very careful to say that face masks must be worn properly, with the mask completely sealed around the face. Whoever can design a DIY mask with commonly available materials that is effective against viruses will deserve a Nobel prize.

    1. Portlander

      One other point to mention, the Cambridge study specifically mentions the possible value of masks worn by infected individuals, whereas the linked article does not make this important distinction. I suspect most people wanting masks are seeking to protect themselves, and obviously a mask won’t do this.

      However, there are indications that masks can reduce aerosol transmission from infected individuals. The problem here is that infected individuals are shedding virus at all times via fine aerosols that will penetrate these household materials. Covid-19 Infected individuals should NOT be mingling with others and should not have the false comfort that they can by wearing ANY mask. Wear a mask, cough or sneeze, oops.

    2. Paul Jurczak

      I don’t have time to work on details, but here is the first draft:

      1. Create 3D model of your face using Microsoft Kinect, Intel RealSense, etc.
      2. Use that model to design a tight fit mask with surfaces contacting the face being flat and about 0.5″ wide. Filtration part of the mask should consist of relatively flat, sparse meshes, with surrounding margins, to allow gluing the filtering material.
      3. 3D print it. Even the cheapest 3D printer will do.
      4. Affix adhesive backed 0.5″ weather strips to the face contacting surfaces of the mask.
      5. Buy the highest density HEPA filter you can find (vacuum bag, air filter, etc.) and cut to size dictated by your mask design.
      6. Use water-soluble adhesive to attach the filters inside your mask.
      7. Replace the filters periodically by dissolving old adhesive in water and affixing new filter material.

      The key idea is to personalize mask’s shape for tight fit and employ 3D printing geeks for greater good. More fancy design could include snap-on or screw held filter holders.

  47. Oregoncharles

    “Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Rescue America’s Frail Democracy

    Thomas Piketty ”

    No, he’s trying to rescue the DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Said nothing about, for instance, voting methods. And rescuing the party that has largely abandoned democracy, in fact appears to be cheating wholesale, is not at all the same as rescuing democracy.

    Piketty’s French. What does he know? Yeah, I know, ad hominem. But it does matter; it’s like us trying to understand France’s multi-party, unstable political system. A certain amount is going to get missed.

  48. flora

    re: Coronavirus’ next victim: Populism- Politico

    Trump and Bojo are less real populists than opportunists riding the anti-neoliberalism wave. Does anyone think neoliberalism is better suited to these times? Anyone? (Besides Burr, Inhoff, and Feinstein.)

  49. VietnamVet

    What is special about the Coronavirus Pandemic is that it messes up the primary foundation of neoliberal profiteering. China’s shutdown screwed up just in time shipping and efficiency. COVID-19 is overwhelming for-profit hospitals who will never spend money to prepare for once in a century pandemic. The virus is playing with technocrats’ lives. The 1% have concierge medicine but the 10% have health insurance but now they can’t get tested or hospitalized or treated for other illness. It is these who are in the know who keep neoliberalism functioning who are panicking for good reason. The post-WWII multi-national corporate Empire is dying. On the other side, nations revived and a multi-polar world.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I especially love the “The President needs to arble garble the factories” routine. When they hear about deindustrialization and their own “we need to get people to become tradesmen” when they aren’t shouting “learn to code”, did they ever think about what any of that actually means?

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