Links 4/11/2020

French pensioner ejected from fighter jet after accidentally grabbing bang seat* handle The Register (Chuck L). OMFG….

Excited Rhino Runs “Like A Puppy” On Seeing His Zookeeper. Watch NDTV (furzy)

Ancient teeth from Peru hint now-extinct monkeys crossed Atlantic from Africa PhysOrg (Kevin W)

New, larger wave of locusts threatens millions in Africa Associated Press (resilc)

Giant Viruses Carry Genetic Code That May Control The Metabolism of Living Things Science Alert (David L). I see a horror movie plot….


U.S. Cases Over 500,000; Argentina, L.A. Lockdowns: Virus Update Bloomberg

Global Coronavirus Deaths Cross 100,000 New York Times

Coronavirus: Over 2,000 deaths in 24 hours in US DW. Subhead: “No other country has had such a high daily death toll. Global confirmed cases stand at almost 1.7 million, with more than 100,000 deaths.”

Coronavirus: ‘Deadly resurgence’ if curbs lifted too early, WHO warns BBC

Revealed: 6,000 passengers on cruise ships despite coronavirus crisis Guardian (Kevin W)

Cooped-Up Veteran Uses Chainsaw to Build Complete Gym (Bench Press, Treadmill, Leg Press, Deadlift Station, More) Out of Logs Core77


The Staggeringly Complicated Ethics of Ventilating Coronavirus Patients New Republic

Doctors are asking states to use their lethal-injection drugs to treat patients with COVID-19, instead Business Insider

NIH Begins Clinical Trial To Test Hydroxychloroquine To Treat COVID-19 The Hill. The latest theory I have heard is you need to take it with zinc and azithrothromycin…

Two-Thirds of Severe Covid-19 Cases Improved on Gilead Drug Bloomberg. N=53. And don’t 3/4 of the people with severe cases survive? The results on the ventilator patients might be promising, but I’m not sure about the less dire severe cases in this sample. Can any readers closer to this sort of data weigh in?

Covid-19: How to prevent a second wave Asia Times. Resilc: “Just in time for 2020 election is the way I bet.”


UK will have to live with restrictions until coronavirus vaccine is available, say officials, as new survey reveals that nine out of 10 Britons are observing ‘stay home’ advice after 980 deaths in a day Daily Mail

The EU’s Covid-19 crisis – How science got political RTE (PlutoniumKun)

Mafia distributes food to Italy’s struggling residents Guardian (resilc)

Working ventilators from Holby City set donated to NHS Nightingale Guardian


Indonesia in ‘worst’ position as coronavirus attacks ASEAN bloc Nikkei


Some churches confront virus restrictions on Easter services Associated Press

Coronavirus: New York using mass graves amid outbreak BBC (furzy)

Trump Gives Bizarre Response on Lifting Coronavirus Lockdown Daily Beast

Florida Gov. DeSantis mulls reopening schools: Coronavirus ‘doesn’t seem to threaten’ kids The Hill. UserFriendly: “‘Cause it’s not like those kids ever need to interact with adults or anything.”

Pence won’t let public health officials appear on CNN unless Trump’s disinfo briefings run in full Boing Boing

Trump Suggests He May ‘Hold’ $500 Million Meant for WHO Bloomberg

Serfs Revolt

People are luring Instacart shoppers with big tips — and then changing them to zero CNN (BC, UserFriendly)

Immigrant Meatpackers Fightback Against Intimidation & Death Traps Mike Elk

Hundreds of U.S. Meat Workers Have Now Tested Positive for Virus Bloomberg (Kevin W)

Amazon developing in-house Covid-19 testing lab Financial Times

Guillotine Watch

Burning Man’ Festival in Nevada Cancelled This Year, Will Move Online SFGate

Coronavirus Panic Buying: Puppies Wall Street Journal (J-LS)


IBM Rallies COBOL Engineers To Save Overloaded Unemployment Systems OneZero

Postal Service Warns of $22 Billion Hole From Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus To Build ‘The Architecture of Oppression’ Vice

Google and Apple launching coronavirus contact-tracing system for iOS and Android The Verge (BC)

Drones Take Italians’ Temperature and Issue Fines SecurityWeek

Imperial Collapse Watch

Coronavirus is hurting America’s place as a world leader while China appears to rise (Dr. Kevin)

The Ideas That Won’t Survive the Coronavirus New York Times. Resilc: “If one has traveled the last 30 years it should not be a surprise.”

Pentagon worries Capt. Crozier’s concern for his sailors may be contagious Duffle Blog (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

OSC Rules In Favor Of Kushner On Hatch Act Violation (Sort of) Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)Democrats say Trump campaign ad singles out Locke over race The Hill


Democrats want to drop Joe Biden for Andrew Cuomo, poll finds New York Post

Evaluating Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden Current Affairs (UserFriendly). Important.

So Bloomberg figured out that it’s cheaper to buy Biden than win himself? Or does he just want to make use of all those people he hired and promised to pay through the election? Recall that one reason his campaign fizzed out despite its ginormous spend wasn’t just his record but the fact that his rapidly assembled media team had zero loyalty to him.

Bernie Sanders And Amy Klobuchar Had 2020’s Strangest Friendship BuzzFeed (UserFriendly)

Cities Are Flouting Flood Rules. The Cost: $1 Billion. New York Times

Turkey To Require Social Media Giants To Appoint Local Representatives Reuters

OPEC+ deal won’t save Covid-19 crashed oil prices Asia Times. Kevin W: “Remarkable chart.”

Antidote du jour. Richard W:

This is Libor, our brown standard poodle boy.

We have watched many neighborhood kids grow up and leave their parents’ homes for college and beyond. Yesterday morning, Libor went to college. Our furry little extrovert will be missed by many two legged and four legged people.

Libor, May 25, 2007 – April 6, 2020

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. The Rev Kev

    “French pensioner ejected from fighter jet after accidentally grabbing bang seat* handle”

    Lots of funny things happen in aircraft. One time back in the 50s, a two-seater US Air Force jet was flying along. The rear-seater went to grab something and accidentally triggered his personal life-raft but could not tell the pilot in front as his communications had been severed and he was pinned to his seat. He managed to get ahold of his survival knife and puncture the life-raft in a big bang. Meanwhile, the pilot was in the front sitting fat, dumb and happy when he heard an explosion and the cockpit filled up full of smoke (it was not. It was talc powder coating the life-raft). Per normal procedures, he immediately cut his engines suspecting a possible engine fire. The rear-seater, suddenly noticing the silence & noting the engines had cut out and suspecting the worse, hit the eject and away he went. The pilot in the front, stopping only long enough to ask what-does-he-know-that-I-do-not, also punched out. It was only after on the ground when they compared noted that they worked out what happened and realized that they had crashed a perfectly working Air Force jet.

    1. rfdawn

      Hope the old guy is well – pensioner v. ejection seat might not be nice. My cousin ejected from a jet trainer at a much younger age and his spine was never the same again.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        At least he wasn’t in an F-35, they had to ban lighter pilots from flying it because the helmet is so heavy they reckon it will give permanent neck damage to anyone who has to eject.

      1. Wyoming

        A great story for you.

        One of the few times I ever got my father to talk about the war he described that when strafing you had to know how long you could hold position and to know which direction to hard roll to one side or the other. He said if you did not do this properly you would eventually shoot yourself down as you would fly into your own ricochets coming back up at you. He said it only took one look at the hole a rebounding 50 cal bullet tumbling through the air made in your wing to focus your attention. He said a lot of guys died this way.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          That is interesting – it is striking when you look at old gun camera footage how many tracer rounds would visibly skip off the target – even off water. Sometimes the tendency of shells and bombs to bounce off water was used deliberately by both the US and Japan to increase the chance of a hit – they’d aim short if the strike would be an an angle.

          1. Billy

            See the film “The Dam Busters (1955)” about round bombs designed to skip off water and hit inside lip of Axis dams.

          2. The Rev Kev

            That is repeating a practice from the age of sailing ships. Experienced gun crews in the Napoleonic War learned that you could get better effect by not shooting your cannons direct into a ship but to angle it so that it ricocheted off the water first.

    2. Wukchumni

      It was on May 9, 1957, that Lieutenant David Steeves was given a mission to fly a new training jet, a Lockheed T-33, from Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato, California, to Craig AFB in Alabama. The plane was lost from radar and the Air Force couldn’t find the missing plane or pilot. The military declared Steeves dead, and that was that.

      Until, that is, 54 days later when Steeves emerged from the Sierra, having been found badly malnourished and still limping badly on swollen ankles.

      According to Steeves, the otherwise routine flight was violently interrupted over rugged Kings Canyon Park in the Sierras when a fiery explosion sent the plane out of control. Steeves bailed out, descending by parachute and badly injuring both of his ankles in the landing.

      The story that Steeves told was amazing. He said that after landing—it was estimated that he landed at extreme high elevation—12,000 feet, according to some reports. He somehow managed to descend the complex, snowy landscape and keep from freezing or dying in a fall. After 20 days, Steeves told investigators, he stumbled miraculously upon an abandoned ranger’s cabin, which gave him much-needed shelter and a bit of food, which he supplemented by fishing and at one point killing a deer with his service revolver. Nearly two months after the accident, Steeves was found by a pack train and taken out of the wilderness to be reunited with an incredulous Air Force leadership and a wife who had been told he was dead.

      Steeves’ story attracted the attention of Hollywood and New York. The story was optioned to a studio and Steeves was given a lucrative book deal. He had survived a terrible ordeal and was coming out of it with opportunities aplenty. This state of affairs didn’t last long, however. His would-be publisher soon began focusing on discrepancies in Steeves’ story and canceled his book deal. And when the wreckage of the T-33 couldn’t be found, the Air Force began asking questions too. What had actually happened, and why couldn’t the T-33 be found?

      The final piece of the puzzle came in 1978, when Boy Scouts hiking in Kings Canyon National Park stumbled upon what would turn out to be the canopy (with matching serial number) of Steeves’ T-33, near where Steeves said he landed. The mystery was solved, in the sense that it was discovered that there was no mystery. Everything had apparently happened just as Steeves had said.

      1. Anon

        Thousands of planes have been lost traversing the Sierra Nevada since at least the 1940’s.
        Before Steeves, two B-24’s were lost (one searching for the other) in 1943. The second B-24 was thought to have crashed because of the legendary turbulence that is created by the 12K peaks.

        That same turbulence is thought to have been the cause of Steve Fossett’s demise. His crash site was not located by the extensive search carried out by the Nevada Air Guard because he gave an “incorrect” flight plan to the owner (Barron Hilton) of the plane (small, single engine,fabric-winged, aerobatic) he borrowed to go “scout” locations in Nevada for his next “derring do”. The hikers that found some of his personal documents were hiking near Mammoth Mountain, CA— some 80 miles outside of Nevada. Portions of the small plane were found below the Pinnacles in the Sierra Nevada. Even smaller portions of Mr. Fossett were located near the crash site as it had been a year since his disappearance; the Sierra Nevada is a wild place.

    3. griffen

      And in spite of this, still a living candidate for a Darwin award ? It’s like telling little Groot to not touch the button ( I might have my Gaurdians of Galaxies films mixed ).

        1. Edward

          “Amazing how so many are unfamiliar with Murphy’s Law.”

          This seems to be the Leitmotif in Washington these days.

          1. JBird4049

            I have thought the strongest support for God or aliens (take your pick) is that not only did the Cold War not become the Third World War, but also none of the umpteen accidents with nuclear warheads, that we know about, did not end with an explosion.

  2. Musicismath

    I’m not sure if this has been posted here yet, but James K. Galbraith has just written a thoughtful review of Albena Azmanova’s new book, Capitalism on Edge (Columbia UP, 2020), in the context of the pandemic:

    Neoliberalism received a shock at the dawn of our century with the bursting of the dot-com bubble and then 9-11, and an even bigger one with the financial crisis of 2007-2009. All this gave rise to a backlash from the left, at least in Western countries. This movement is characterized by the trope of exclusion of certain groups from the general prosperity, inflected by a group consciousness and a politics of identity. The left in short became neoliberal in its core commitments. It no longer sought fundamental reform of the capitalist system, still less its overthrow. Instead the “progressive” view … is to seek redistribution within the system, an economics combining growth with opportunity. Opportunities are to be delivered by education, affirmative action, anti-discrimination enforcement, and similar measures, plus a reorientation of the tax burden toward the ultra-wealthy in the name of social justice. Social entrepreneurship and self-help are other aspects of this worldview.
    Meanwhile, Azmanova argues that capitalism itself has moved on, leaving its neoliberal phase behind and the global left-neoliberal critique and prescriptions largely dangling in mid-air.

    More here: James K. Galbraith, The Pandemic and Capitalism, Democracy Journal (8 April 2020).

    1. mpalomar

      The left in short became neoliberal in its core commitments. It no longer sought fundamental reform of the capitalist system,

      Matt Stoller was, I think making a similar point in an interview with Matt Taibi and Katie Halpern. His segment starts around 37 minutes.

      JKG echoes pere JKG who in Money: Whence It Came, Where it Went says, No feature of American – to some extent of Anglo-Saxon – politics is so certain as the tendency of politicians to become first the captives, then the agents, of the opposition…The action comes when the opposition accepts the need and wishes to disarm the original proponents.

      1. MLTPB

        Tendency, but not guarantee…of succumbing to the Stockholm syndrome.

        All is not lost.

        Any one of us here is a potential politician.

        1. GF

          Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now! Friday April 10, 2020 had an interesting observation about the clever strategy Trump uses to always be right. I hadn’t thought of it this way and I haven’t seen other commenters make the connection:

          “Actually, the clips that you played before are part of a very clever strategy. Whether this is consciously planned or just intuitive, I don’t know. But the pattern of simply making one statement today, contradicting it tomorrow, coming out with something else the next day is really brilliant. It means he’s going to be vindicated. Whatever happens, he’ll have said it. You shoot arrows at random, some of them are going to hit the target. And his technique with the Fox echo chamber and the worshipful base simply tuned to Fox, Limbaugh, etc., they’re just going to pick whatever happened to be right, and say, “Look, our wonderful president, the greatest president we’ve ever had, our savior, knew it all along, and here was his statement.” Can’t miss.”

          The quote is from the transcript for the show and it’s in the video in the second segment:

          1. MLTPB

            1 make one statement
            2 contradict 1
            3 another statement

            This is done so often, from day 1, it’s amazing people still fall for and get stuck in 1.

            I hypothesize that a) people are comfortable being stuck in 1, and b), his aim is to trap them in 1.

            ‘He bad!! Look! Again!!!!’

    2. KLG

      Indeed. Jamie, you are among friends. It’s OK to say this is straight from Dad:

      A plausible candidate, let me gently suggest, may be identified in the mists of mid-twentieth century social thought. It is the idea of countervailing power, or a system where the untrammelled pursuit of profit is controlled by accommodating the interests of stakeholders with conflicting concerns: jobs, health, safety, pollution, the public purpose, and above all, relative stability and security over long periods of time. That idea, once widely acknowledged in America but submerged in the neoliberal tides, has perhaps a future still ahead.

      And Stoller covered this in Goliath (p. 216ff). Yes, maybe it worked, for some, in the immediate postwar world. But whether it as a future? Doubtful.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Read Galbraith’s review … but the analysis left me underwhelmed. Neoliberalism has succumbed to Precarity Capitalism? The left is equated with Democratic Neoliberals introducing a push for ‘fairness’ — “equality of opportunity”, identity politics … using arguments dripping with Neoliberal reasoning and word use. The conclusion that the economic systems in the Asian Tigers kowtowing to Zaibatsu-style Corporate Cartels presents a viable alternative to Precarity Capitalism is totally bizarre. Using the word fascism as defined for purely economic use — how do the Asian systems differ from a ‘benevolent’ fascism? How does the U.S. kowtowing to its Corporate Cartels differ? The only difference is the assumption of Asian benevolence and the retro tendency for Asian management to loot-less and manage more.

      A particular example Galbraith used — the ability of China to ramp up the production of facemasks contrasted with the U.S. catch-as-catch-can was particularly annoying. Of course China can ramp up production — because they have production facilities to run. Is this because they have a better economic model — or is it a fact of the present arrangements of Globalism — arrangements already shifting.

      1. David B Harrison

        I responded to the James K. Galbraith article with this:Mr. Galbraith you have written a pretty decent summarization of the reasons for our problems but your Chinese alternative falls short.It is based on overconsumption by the West which leads to environmental destruction within China.China manipulates trade with other countries out of their own self interest.They lie continuously(just like the US) about their economic success.They give new meaning to “wageslave”.There are unused cities rusting to the ground in China.What happens if globalization mostly dies because of the coronavirus (and make no mistake globalization caused this pandemic).Where does China get its growth if they have no one to sell their cheap junk to.

        1. Massinissa

          I assume China will attempt to ‘pivot’ to an internal consumption model in the next few years. Whether or not they actually have levers to pull to do such a thing, I honestly rather doubt. What are they going to do, build MORE ghost cities and glass bridges (Look it up, they made a thousand of the damn things and now have no idea what to do with them nor the resources to evenmaintain the damn things)? If they havn’t been able to create a consumer economy in all this time I am very doubtful they could jump-start one within half a decade. Anything over that horizon might not be fast enough.

    4. D. Fuller

      Neoliberals co-opted the language of The Left. Much like Trump used Populist language to appeal to voters, putting himself to The Left of Hillary Clinton. It’s an old technique. Nothing new. Yet, people will dust off what is already known, cloak it in new terminology, to claim something new.

      Co-opting the ideas is how FDR defused the rising power of Socialists and Communist as they started gaining power during The Great Depression. It works.

      Another example? Banality of Evil. People are sheep.Not a new concept.

      Such concepts are “new” to people who fail to understand life’s lessons and the lessons of History.

      What is of interest, where people become confused? The new methods of carrying out old concepts.

      Let’s look at finance? 2008 and the bailouts and QE… a “new” way of dealing with things. From 1907. JP Morgan. Yet, Bernanke was hailed as a genius. One can go back to the Roman Republican and the devaluation of currency to find similar – flooding the market with money to pay for things. There was one “new” aspect… the money used to prop up the banks was kept out of public circulation, only circulated privately. The main – but not the only one – reason why inflation remain somewhat checked.

      Money hoarding. Been around since money was first minted.

      There is nothing new. Being only that the language used to describe old concepts is refreshed every so often. What happened in 2008? Is what happened from 1929-1932. And every time before that.

    5. D. Fuller

      Neoliberals co-opted the language of The Left. Much like Trump used Populist language to appeal to voters, putting himself to The Left of Hillary Clinton. It’s an old technique. Nothing new. Yet, people will dust off what is already known, cloak it in new terminology, to claim something new.

      Co-opting the ideas is how FDR defused the rising power of Socialists and Communist as they started gaining power during The Great Depression. It works.

      Another example? Banality of Evil. People are sheep.Not a new concept.

      Such concepts are “new” to people who fail to understand life’s lessons and the lessons of History.

      What is of interest, where people become confused? The new methods of carrying out old concepts.

      1. D. Fuller

        Hmmm… seems to be a malfunction with the editing button that may have allowed double-posting.

  3. Tom Stone

    The Mafia is demonstrating more political savvy and compassion than the Democratic party.
    No surprise there.

    1. xkeyscored

      The article might be better titled “Rival Gangs Clash over Right to Distribute Food.”
      The police and their backers aren’t comfortable with Mafia gangs doing it. Their reasoning applies equally to themselves and the state, as far as I can see.

      “Mafia bosses consider their cities as their own fiefdom,” Gratteri said. “The bosses know very well that in order to govern, they need to take care of the people in their territory. And they do it by exploiting the situation to their advantage. In the people’s eyes, a boss who knocks on the door offering free food is a hero. And the boss knows that he can then count on the support of these families when necessary.”

      Varese said: “These handouts by the mafias are not gifts. The mafia does not do anything out of its kind heart. They are favours that everyone will have to pay back in some form or another.”

      1. Wukchumni

        Al Capone started one of the first soup kitchens. The kitchen employed a few people, but fed many more. In fact, preceding the passage of the Social Security Act, “soup kitchens” like the one Al Capone founded, provided the only meals that some unemployed Americans had. They rose to prominence in the U.S. during the Great Depression. One of the first and obvious benefits of a soup kitchen was to provide a place where the homeless and poor could get free food and a brief rest from the struggles of surviving on the streets.

        Al Capone’s intentions were an effort to clean up his image. “120 000 meals are served by Capone Free Soup Kitchen” the Chicago Tribune headlined on December 1931. Al Capone’s soup kitchen became one of the strangest sight Chicagoans had ever seen. An army of ragged, starving men assembled three times a day beside a storefront at 935 South State Street, feasting on the largess of Al Capone. Toasting his health. Telling the newspapers that Capone was doing more for the poor than the entire U.S. government. He was even offering some of them jobs. Capone milked his good works for all the favorable publicity they were worth. He came down and walked among the men, the wretched of the earth, offering a handshake, a hearty smile, and words of encouragement from the great Al Capone.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        What part of it applies to the police?

        It seems like the mafia is getting things done. It’s certainly a better offer than the Biden campaign.

        1. Billy

          NTG, that’s what the Second Amendment is for; armed vigilantes working when there are no police in defense of their homes, neighborhood and here it gets slippery, “values”.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Actually his reminds me of the way that things used to be done in America a century or more ago. It was like a gang but they were in power. In New York, for example, each ward had what was known as a ward-heeler. It was his job to take care of the needs of the people that lived in his ward and in return, they would give him their votes in elections. It was in Alistair Cooke’s “America” that I first heard about the Diary of George Washington Plunkitt and in the link below is a page that contains a normal day for him-

        It just seems that the mafia are doing stuff like this as the government has abdicated their responsibilities to their people. You had people being forced to stay at home that had no money, no food and family to support. A total failure as compared to countries like South Korea and China. I wonder how this will end.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Politics has always been corrupt, but back then people could get concrete material benefits from a corrupt politician in exchange for a vote.

          Now it’s all bait and switch – today’s politicians are like the Instagram buyers abusing gig workers described in today’s links who promise a big benefit and then rescind it once they’ve gotten what they want.

          We don’t even do corruption well anymore.

        2. remmer

          Many years ago, those of us who taught U.S. Government 101 assigned “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall,” a short collection of interviews Plunkitt did with New York Post reporter William L. Riordon. It’s very enlightening. It’s still in print, but it’s also on Gutenberg for free. The page you linked to, Rev Kev, is from that book.

          1. barefoot charley

            Still a fine read. Plunkett named the practice of “honest graft,” like if someone has to sell your city insurance, or bricks, why not your son? That’s not dishonest.

            His immortal line: “I seen my opportunities, and I took ’em.”

        3. lordkoos

          The same kind of thing happens in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica. A gang leader AKA “the Don” will often take good care of the people in their part of town, sometimes distributing food, money and other needs. Sometimes the gangs are allied with certain politicians. The money usually comes from drug import/export activity (cocaine mostly, now that weed is legal). If the police or army happen come in the area to raid, they will find the locals unwilling to give them any helpful information. The downside for the locals are the gunfights and stray bullets…

      4. mpalomar

        Similar reports coming out of Brazil and the favelas where reportedly the gangs are filling in the gaps for the long departed civil authorities whose malign neglect has left these communities in the lurch.

      5. Tom Bradford

        Robin Hood – robbing from the rich to give to the poor – was doing it a thousand years ago. And I suspect for much the same reasons – the peasants had a reason to hide him from the Sheriff.

    2. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      At least the mafia knows that they need to take care of their people. In the good ol’ U.S.A., our rulers expect us to exercise personal responsibility…

      “‘Mafia bosses consider their cities as their own fiefdom,’ Gratteri said. ‘The bosses know very well that in order to govern, they need to take care of the people in their territory. And they do it by exploiting the situation to their advantage. In the people’s eyes, a boss who knocks on the door offering free food is a hero. And the boss knows that he can then count on the support of these families when necessary, when, for example, the mafia sponsors a politician for election who will further their criminal interests.'”

      1. Mel

        I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but my big takeaway from Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather was that Don Vito Corleone was acting properly as a prince, with a fine sense of justice and proportion. It was when later leaders were tempted by the huge profits in drugs, and turned neoliberal, that it all went to hell.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If I recall, Corleone didn’t have a problem selling to certain neighborhoods. They dealt drugs. Corleone just pretended he wasn’t targeting kids, to get them hooked early.

          1. David J.

            Not quite. Don Corleone was opposed. But… he also made a statement to Sollozo (sp?) along the lines of: I don’t have a problem with your business so long as it doesn’t interfere with mine. But he didn’t want to get involved because it would have turned the corrupt political machine he tapped into against him.

            I did a re-watch of this early during our lockdown, partly from nostalgia as that was the first R rated movie I saw. My Dad took me to the theater and I was one happy 15 year old kid!

      2. xkeyscored

        I expect the USA’s more powerful gangs will be eager to prove the second quote right: “They are favours that everyone will have to pay back in some form or another.”

    3. kirk seidenbecker

      It’s called the wealth defense industry, philanthropy maintains the status quo. In normal times, the savviest criminals just use politicians as middlemen. Some go further – John D. Rockefeller funded and corrupted the economics department at the University of Chicago to avoid being highly taxed on his mineral rent empire.

    4. KFritz

      Re: the Mafia, aka “The Friends of the Friends,” “The Honored Society”

      Michael Corleone explains things to Kay (then) Adams.

      “You know those Arctic explorers who leave caches of food scattered on the route to the North Pole? Just in case they may need them someday? That’s my father’s favors. Someday he’ll be at each one of those people’s houses and they had better come across.”

  4. nycTerrierist

    That Instacart story is galling! Seem to me they can protect their workers by
    banning jerks who bait and switch on the tips. Why don’t they do this?

    I hope there’s litigation against Instacart and/or the individual jerks:

    “Bryant Greening, an attorney and co-founder of Chicago-based law firm LegalRideshare, told CNN Business that a few dozen Instacart shoppers and drivers have reached out to his firm to voice concerns over the practice. His law firm has discussed the possibility of litigation against Instacart, or even individual customers.

    “It’s truly evil to bait and switch in this type of environment,” said Greening. “Their livelihood and well-being are on the line. When these shoppers and drivers see a high tip, it’s an opportunity for them to put food on the table, so they’re more willing to take a risk on their health to achieve that goal.”

    1. Fraibert

      I doubt individual customer litigation is economically viable for a law firm. The amounts involved belong in small claims court at best.

      Moreover, for the workers, my guess is that the contracts they sign permit this kind of bait and switch. I suppose a suing worker could argue that it is a violation of the covenant of good faith inherent in every contract or some kind of detrimental reliance theory, but I suspect it isn’t worth the effort and I’m not clear it would prevail anyways.

      At a minimum, Instacart probably should limit downward tip adjustments to a certain percentage absent a stated reason that gets reviewed by a human. Or restructure to remove tips entirely but I suspect workers would not like that latter approach in this case since it sounds like the proposed tip is almost like bidding for services.

      1. Fraibert

        With that said, it is really horrible to play games like that with people. If one insists on having tipping at all, I can understand massively reducing the tip if the groceries are all smashed up or frozen items were nearly defrosted or some disaster like that. But I doubt that’s the normal case with the tipping game playing described.

          1. ambrit

            For something like Instacart, wouldn’t it be more like “Picket DDoS Campaign?”
            A pro-social use for hackers.

        1. Tom Doak

          Tips should not be able to be reduced, at all. The purpose of the big tip offer is to get favorable service to get the groceries delivered to you — and presumably the service person has an incentive to do it nicely instead of delivering them smashed.

        2. DJG

          Fraibert: That hasn’t been my experience at all. The shopper shops, checks out, and drives over with the groceries within minutes. Now it may be because I am using a grocery story that is only about 1.5 miles away. And everything has been carefully bagged–including separating soaps and such from the perishables.

          Instacart is set up to be fast.

          1. Fraibert

            I’m really glad to hear that.

            From the further comments here, it seems to me the “tip” should be restyled as a “offered service fee” or something along those lines and therefore not be reducible, as it is straight paying for the services on an auction basis.

            1. Billy

              Instacart drivers can keep a black list of non tipping names and addresses.

              Promised CASH tip delivered first, “I just want to make sure I have the right address”, then unload the goods.

              As a paperboy, the people who didn’t tip at Christmastime, unless they were oldsters, ended up having to walk down their stairs to get their daily rag in the rain.

    2. DJG

      nycTerrierist. I thought that I had heard of new levels of low, but the story is the lowest thing I have read in days. Maybe the shopper should have been suspicious of an outsized tip–but I’m not going to blame the shoppers quoted in the article.

      Further, there is interaction as they shop. I have used Instacart twice to “do my shopping” at a local Chicago “mini-chain” with some twelve stores. The kind of business I want to support. In any case, the shopper sends updates while shopping–substitutes, changes in availability, even different weights from what is on the order (more broccoli!).

      It like dealing with waiters and waitresses at a restaurant. Why is Instacart pre-set to only a 5 percent tip? [Which is part of the problem–you have to manually adjust the tip. And it isn’t clear who gets the “service charge.”]

      But stiffing a personal shopper who is bringing groceries? I thought that I had heard of everything…

      1. Gary

        The other side of this might be that shoppers from home who are elderly or otherwise unable or afraid to go physically, find themselves in a bidding war for much needed supplies. The restaurant equivalent would be deciding who gets a seat by requiring customers to pledge up front what their tip level would be.

      2. MLTPB

        Those shoppers deserve more. They are risking a lot, it seems to me, to be out there grocery shopping (never thought it would be like this before 2020).

        A few comments:

        1 will this turn into another affordability issue?
        2 should we have centralized food delivery?
        3 are people shocked at a meat packing plant handleing 130 million servings a week? What do they think about centralize food delivery, responsible for 30 million Californians x 3 meals, i.e. 90 million servings a day, or 630 millions a week? More shocked?

    1. Oh

      If these are the same servicers who ripped off people who applied for TARP and similar perograms in 2008 then it’s only fair they get the short end of the stick!

    2. Billy

      And poor whites too:
      “Many of [Mortgage broker] Christian’s customers have no savings, poor credit, or low income—sometimes all three. Some are like Joseph Taylor, a corrections officer who saw Christian’s roadside billboard touting zero-down mortgages. Taylor had recently filed for bankruptcy because of his $25,000 in credit card debt. But he just bought his first home for $120,000 with a zero-down loan from Christian’s company.”

  5. The Rev Kev

    “UK will have to live with some restrictions until coronavirus vaccine is developed, say officials, as new survey reveals that nine out of 10 Britons are observing ‘stay home’ advice after 980 daily death toll”

    That article mentioned that ‘Police apologised after an officer scolded a family for allowing their children to play on their own lawn’. This was in South Yorkshire and I happened to come across a film clip of this incident a few hours ago-

    But the question remains. When we someday get on top of this pandemic, how willing will the police in different countries be to willingly give up these nanny powers?

    1. voislav

      This is why you need an occasional revolution, to remind the police that there is the other end of the stick as well. I lived in Serbia in the 90’s and the police were full of themselves, we often clashed with them. Then came the revolution in 2000, where they were given a proper beating. My parents were nice people, so they hid a whole squad of riot police at their place and lent them clothes so that they could return home safely. For years after that the police was very reluctant to engage in any kind of violence or imposition of authority. They realised that if things go south they’ll have to rely on kindness to survive. 20 years later, the younger generation of police have forgotten that lesson, so they’ll need to learn it the hard way.

      1. Ignacio

        I guess the violent culture in some policemen comes from the guys that are in charge. There is where the problem should be treated.

        1. Bsoder

          True, my grandfather was the elected sheriff for the county, he didn’t put up with any of that. He wasn’t to keen on running it like the military either. You had to polite & helpful. If you were doing criminal things he definitely was tough, outside of that I think most people amused him.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Good luck.

        The sheriffs in my county are well equipped to put down any “insurrections,” with lots of Full Metal Jacket gear including maybe a dozen “mine resistant armored vehicles,” body armor, and automatic weapons all happily supplied by the DoD, and the attitude among the troops that will have them drawing down on their fellow citizens,

        We should all remember that “our” government has off-the-shelf plans in place to “deal with” civil disturbances, a large catch-all category: This plan and it’s predecessors have been activated many times including for the urban riots and the Democratic National Convention in 1968.

        Ask Occupy about other government systems to deter “petitions for redress of grievances…

    1. xkeyscored

      Sorry, that was replying to The Rev Kev’s “UK will have to live with some restrictions until coronavirus vaccine is developed” above.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I have been thinking about your comment. The things that worries me is that Coronavirus ends up being “just like the flu”. That is, the flu vaccine that you get this year will be no good for the next version. Worse yet, those that get it this year can get it again next year. How do you restart the world then? On the other hand, it may be a more peaceful world as it will no longer be possible to launch a long-term military operation. Last I heard, four US and one French carriers have the virus as well as assorted ships and submarines.

        1. Monty

          I wonder if we will ever learn the outcomes of the cases on the carriers. You would imagine it’s mostly just fit young lads, and a couple of fit older fellows. It would be surprising if they suffered any casualties, wouldn’t it?

          1. The Rev Kev

            I read that there are over 400 diagnosed cases among those sailors and one was found unconscious and was taken to hospital the other day. This virus does not care about age, fitness, religion, colour, class, sex, etc. but seems to attack wherever it can and when it spreads, it does so exponentially. That carrier is now effectively out of action for the rest of the year. That Captain stands vindicated for his concern.

            1. Fraibert

              The Captain is undoubtedly vindicated for his concerns.

              Contextually, the Navy, for better or worse, is an extremely hierarchical organization, traditionally necessitated because there cannot be any questions of authority on a ship at sea. This culture also suffuses the higher ranking and administrative levels. In that light, Captain Crozier’s actions were inevitably going to result in him being relieved of command because the “correct” action was to communicate privately with the commanding Rear Admiral.

              I am not saying this outcome is morally right, but the sailors under his command applauded him in part due to their knowledge that he sacrificed his career (relief here is something from which recovery is highly improbable to impossible).

              1. SteveW

                The captain might well have communicated via official/secured channels. The letter might have been his last resort — the letter can be interpreted as being personal rather than official communication. Perhaps technically not violating any conduct code.

                1. Xihutil

                  I would like to know what the navy was doing or not doing in response to the dire situation on board Capt. Crozier’s ship prior to his sending the letter. We have not heard about that.

                2. Procopius

                  @SteveW I had the impression that the letter was a rather desperate last resort after many earlier requests were blown away. The attitude in the top echelons of the Navy is that serving sailors must make do with inadequate supplies and insufficient rest because the bulk of the budget must go to the $ trillion Navy version of the F-35 and $10 billion carriers. After all, those are the systems that bring the augmentations to pensions after retirements, the consultancies, the vice presidencies, the appointments to boards of directors. I can imagine all the reasons a grifter like Modly would have to justify sending that ship back out to sea with 400 infected sailors on board. I think that’s what they were trying to do, just as they’ve successfully covered up all the misfeasance behind the two destroyers which collided with merchant vessels in 2017.

              2. MLTPB

                Is this a case of, you do what you have to do, and I do what I have to do, and though we disagree, I respect you?

                Script writers can perhaps come up with many such moving plots, maybe in historical settings, say, between a Czarist commander along the Ussuri and a Qing Chinese Manchu General.

                The rules of the game, in those movies, could be within a branch of a nation’s armed forces, or between nations.

            2. VietnamVet

              I served in the Army and a couple of Federal Government Agencies. It is inconceivable to me that the USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain did not approach his boss and express his concern about his crew and the impossibility of conducting a quarantine on an aircraft carrier. I also have no doubt that the Rear Admiral told him to suck it up. The ship has to maintain its readiness for the war with China. “COVID-19 is just another flu.” The Captain was pissed and composed the letter and distributed to a number of contacts to try to get the decision reversed. It leaked.

              The WaPo reported that certain States, NGOs and Barrack Obama, not the federal government, are planning for the future when the lockdown ends. Basically, rebooting the economy requires virus testing, contact tracing and isolation of the infected. This is the only thing that works until there is a treatment for the coronavirus.

              “All people are talking about right now is hospital beds, ventilators, testing, testing, testing. Yes, those are important, but they are all reactive. You are dealing with the symptoms and not the virus itself.” “You will never beat a virus like this one unless you get ahead of it. America must not just flatten the curve but get ahead of the curve.” “Tracing alone is useless if you don’t place those you find into quarantine”.

              I overheard David Brooks last night sort of amazed saying that no riots have taken place. Sheltering in place only works as long as there is money, food deliveries, garbage collection, water and electricity. If the lockdown breaks down or if removed while the virus is still transiting through the population, the hospitalizations will rise, overwhelming the rickety for-profit healthcare system. Donald Trump is the wrong President at the wrong time. Universal virus testing, contact tracing and safe enforced quarantine of the infected are way beyond his comprehension and will take lots of money, staff, facilities and leadership.

              1. Pat

                The WaPo reported that certain States, NGOs and Barrack Obama, not the federal government, are planning for the future when the lockdown ends.

                Well that’s a terrifying thought. The last times Barrack Obama and allies were involved in planning the response to a crisis or developing crisis the majority of Americans were bled nearly or completely dry. Sure the right people were not only protected or made whole, but actually prospered. But Black Americans lost generations of economic advancement, opioid addictions and suicides soared, rural hospitals disappeared, home ownership became an impossible dream, homelessness increased, fewer people sought medical care even though seemingly insured, student debt became a huge problem, hell that is just a small list.

                Trump may be the wrong President but that solution is as bad or possibly even worse because it isn’t as obviously horrific.

              2. Lambert Strether

                > The WaPo reported that certain States, NGOs and Barrack Obama, not the federal government, are planning for the future when the lockdown ends. Basically, rebooting the economy requires virus testing, contact tracing and isolation of the infected. This is the only thing that works until there is a treatment for the coronavirus.


          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            My suspicion is the ships already have the cruise ship problems but the relative fitness of the sailors solves that problem. Corvid-19 is on top of the problem in the shared space.

            1. JTMcPhee

              The public may never learn the numbers, but I’m betting there are fatalities in those crews. First, US servicepersons are not as “fit” as you think: Part 1 of eight. Navy has the problem too:

              Air Force “fitness” has long been a joke.

              From what I read, there is a genetic predisposition to developing ARDS in some segment of the population. Some set of those folks is likely to be aboard the ships and in the barracks.

        2. xkeyscored

          There are also worrying indications that antibody responses, whether from vaccines or infection/exposure, may make matters worse if you meet this virus again, though this may not be true and if it is, ways round it may be found.

      1. lordkoos

        I would expect effective treatments to become a reality before a safe vaccine is developed.

        1. Massinissa

          I’m somewhat doubtful ‘effective treatments’ will still be as effective for people with multiple comorbidities.

    2. td

      To date, no vaccine for a coronavirus has ever been taken all the way to general deployment on a mass scale. A lot of work has been done, so the researchers are not starting from zero, but efficacy and safety will be big issues.

      I would personally be reluctant to be an early adopter, as I suspect there will be several vaccines rushed into service, with the general public effectively being the beta test subjects.

  6. Frank

    I fear that spending on public may actually be reduced even further if we are lucky enough to fall short of the covid-19 death projections. Falling short of those projections may mean that the measures more or less forced on Trump worked. But instead of crediting that activity it is more likely that Trump will be his usual self-aggrandizing self and claim that he knew he had this thing by the horns and the so-called experts were completely wrong. Then go on to cut the budget even more.
    Every president is carefully prepped by the pentagon and the MI complex to advocate for more and more money in every budget because that money is needed to keep us safe. So even though the US repeatedly commits rash acts which often do not turn out too well it is unlikely that the value of public health will be factored into any future budget planning. I guess that planes, bombs, land mines, and torturing folks keeps us safe, but a healthy public brought about by a well funded and trained public health system does not.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      “Keep us safe” are the three words that are used to drive approval of spending in public safety too. In my city, the police and fire depart are asking for large manpower increases, so large that it will force a referendum to increase local taxes to pay for it (we have levy limit which means any increase over an amount linked to growth in new construction must go to referendum).

      Why a big increase? The city population is not growing, much, about 40,000 people The level of crime is down and has been declining for some time. We have fewer fires that ever because of building codes, sprinklers, etc. The fire dept does also run ambulance service.

      I got stopped while driving about a month ago (first time in 20 yrs of living here). I had a tail light out.
      Also listened a few years ago to our police chief ask for $40,000 for riot gear. $40,000 can do lots in a park budget, but it wasn’t well received to suggest it was a better place to put the funds.

      It’s at every level, the policing/militarization model can ask for more money and they are likely to get it.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “IBM Rallies COBOL Engineers to Save Overloaded Unemployment Systems”

    I am seeing a missed opportunity here. When all those workers were being thrown out of their jobs years ago, a few smug reporters and observers said that they could get a new living by learning to code. Putting aside the fact that a lot of those reporters have now been losing their own jobs, perhaps it would have been wise if back then they had encouraged large groups to learn COBOL on the grounds that it was vital to governmental and banking systems around the world. A lot of those people would have gone on to earning a living in COBOL and there would have been a pool of COBOL software engineers to be drawn upon.

    1. notabanker

      “perhaps it would have been wise if back then they had encouraged large groups to learn COBOL on the grounds that it was vital to governmental and banking systems around the world”

      That was done. In eastern Europe.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      All those workers being thrown out of jobs included IBM programmers, engineers, service technicians and technical salespeople with thousands of man-years of knowledge in zSeries and either replaced by no one or low cost, overseas “agile teams”. But IBM wanted to look cool to millenials.

    3. td

      Documentation, maintenance and realistic disaster planning are always and forever somebody else’s problem.

    4. Lil’D

      Or learn object oriented COBOL, sort of C++
      named, in the spirit of the language ADD_ONE_TO_COBOL

    5. Lee Too

      “States like New Jersey and Connecticut have said they are desperate for programmers who are still familiar with COBOL”

      Just spitballing here, folks — and way after hours — but why don’t IBM, New Jersey, and Connecticut, offer their IT people incentives, say an extra week’s vacation and a free copy of Cobol Wizard (still in print), and have them LEARN COBOL? That might be worth a couple hours of their time. (It’s not like deciphering cuneiform.) They will need a compiler.

      Now if they’ve got code running in production and no source code . . . then gather business requirements and write it themselves. But then they can pick their language!

  8. Wukchumni

    Revealed: 6,000 passengers on cruise ships despite coronavirus crisis Guardian
    The cruise ship lines could’ve decided it was too risky for their guests to be out to sea and shut ‘r down a month ago, but they did just the opposite with dirty deals done dirt cheap-as I chronicled here including one week voyages for a few hundred bucks, and unlimited drinks, plus bring your kids along @ no extra charge, the SS Viral Princess awaits!

    1. The Rev Kev

      We have a cruise liner docked in Australia now subject to a criminal investigation. I believe that the homicide squad may be involved as well. The reason is that this ship, the SS Ruby Princess, docked in Sydney and took passengers aboard even though they knew that the previous lot of passengers had the virus. Through a governmental clusterf***, when the ship abruptly had to cut the cruise short and return to Sydney, they let all the passengers off post haste. As they scattered, they took the infection with them and last I heard, 10% of all infection cases in Australia came from this boat which includes 15 deaths (hence the homicide squad). There may be deaths with those aboard this ship that returned home overseas as well.

    2. petal

      An old classmate of mine(who graduated from a service academy and is still under the employ of that branch) was drooling at the wonderful cruise deals as covid was really ramping up(esp on the cruise ships!)and got tickets for them and the 2 little kids(6 and 8 I think). This person was so excited and happy and couldn’t wait to take advantage of the dirt cheap deals, and boasted to friends about said deals, and then the friends also took advantage of the deals. It was like a herd of rats attacking a pizza crust. Luckily, just before this person and the kids were about to leave, the cruise suspension was instituted and they were given a discount/credits or something on another future one. Watching all of it unfold, I was horrified. They were fully aware of the situation-the covid infections on cruise ships had been all over the news and was still going to go anyway.

      1. petal

        Wuk, the deal you describe(unlimited drinks, cheap for adult & bring kids for free) sounds exactly like the deal my old classmate was talking about/bought.

        1. petal

          I just wish they weren’t taking the decent people down with them. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure-learned/had thoughts confirmed about a lot of people.

    1. Monty


      “These numbers contradict the notion that many people who are dying from the new virus would have died shortly anyway. And they suggest that the current coronavirus death figures understate the real toll of the virus, either because of undercounting of coronavirus deaths, increases in deaths that are normally preventable, or both.”

      “They would have died anyway” is a reassuring meme if you feel safe, because it absolves us of responsibility to act. Sadly, I don’t think that it’s true.

        1. Monty

          Denialism seems to be growing more widespread in the US.

          Experts say “Stay home to save lives”.
          People stay home, lives are saved.
          Fox news “How could experts get it so wrong?”
          Asimov’s “American Cult of ignorance” strikes again.

          I saw this report from Channel 4 news in the UK. Overall death from all causes is now 50% above average.

          1. MLTPB

            Americans are not exceptionally denialistic.

            Amsterdam to embrace donut model to mend post Corona economy, reported Guardian 3 days ago,

            The Netherlands to consider the hyperloop – Amstedam to Paris in 90 minutes. Per Clean Technica, 18 hours ago.

            Do we desire people to travel more, and faster? Are we in denial here? Maybe or maybe not. We are in the fog of pandemic war here.

            1. Monty

              Lucky you. I think you must have not seen it.

              Dip your toe into “conservative” Twitter or You Tube and it’s everywhere. It seems to be a coordinated effort.

              Be careful, because its bad for your mental health to get too much exposure to that stuff.

              Anecdotally, I have an elderly in-law who still forwards those 90s style chain emails. Most recently I received one claiming “its a global leftist conspiracy to damage US economy, and we are letting the far left win”. Before the virus took hold over here, they sent me one saying Italy’s problems were the result of “far left political correctness.” citing some nonsense about an Italian campaign to “hug a Chinese person” causing everyone to get ill.

              1. MLTPB

                Not lucky to read about it all over the workd.

                For example, S Africa.

                On the one hand, the government there decided to extend lockdown recently. The opposition condemned that decision, per the BBC a day ago.

                Are we denying we ourselves are in a fog, with many difficulty decisions?

              2. Billy

                “citing some nonsense about an Italian campaign to “hug a Chinese person” ”
                A simple Google search for “hug a chinese youtube“will lead you to the Youtube video of just that in the streets and or articles about the same. Here, I’ll do it for you:


                And plenty of Chinese to hug, since Italians are too good, or too expensive, to sew Made in Italy clothing:
                “The Chinese takeover of “Made in Italy” fashion was reported by, among other publications, the Chicago Tribune (“Chinese immigrants transform Italy’s fashion industry,” Jan. 2, 2009), the New York Times (“Chinese Remake the ‘Made in Italy’ Fashion Label,” Sept. 12, 2010), the BBC (“The Italian fashion capital being led by the Chinese,” Feb. 12, 2013), Reuters (“Italy’s Chinese garment workshops boom as workers suffer,” Dec. 29, 2013), the Associated Press (“Clashes amid Italy’s crackdown on its Chinese community,” July 1, 2016) and the New Yorker (“The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags in Tuscany,” April 9, 2018). In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, however, our media seem to have gotten a case of collective amnesia; readers and viewers are left mystified as to why Italy has become the epicenter of this pandemic.

                1. Monty

                  Yes, I know its something the “conservative” youtube channels and alternative media have latched on to, because “immigrants bad, political correctness failed” fits their narrative to a tee. When I look at the video search results for “hug a Chinese” as you suggested, it’s hard to find a source that isn’t a far right propaganda outfit among them.
                  Have you seen any evidence it was this tweet that lead to all the infections and deaths? Aside from a few PR shots, was it something that was a widespread activity in the area? Any studies, or interviews with sick Italians that regretted all the hugs they gave out?

                  1. Carolinian

                    NYC has had a huge death toll/population size compared to the rest of the country. Who’s in denial here?

                    1. Massinissa

                      ‘NYC has had a huge death toll/population size compared to the rest of the country. Who’s in denial here?’

                      Sorry, but correlation does not prove causation. This is a terribly weak argument.

                2. Harold

                  Yes, but Milan, which has a significant Chinatown has not been as hard hit as Bergamo, an affluent mountainous community, which doesn’t. It is actually a mystery why the virus hit so severely there.

              3. Harold

                My cousin in Texas wrote me that denialism is widespread there, even among educated, “refined” people (such as our own relatives and their spouses, presumably).

        2. Glen

          I have relatives from my wife’s family that STILL think it is all a hoax. They do seem to consume massive quantities of Fox or something along those lines. They just cannot seem to believe that things are really this bad in America.

          Which is strange because they do not live especially well, aren’t particularity wealthy. They are part of the very large portion of America that both the Republicans and the Democrats stopped caring about long ago.

          1. MLTPB

            I don’t know if those relatives are close, physically or socially, to Corona patients.

            But if they are not wealthy to travel widely or often, or know those who did, it’s likely they are not close, and don’t sense Corona near to them.

            If they do sense it, and if they didn’t travel a lot, they likely see this as being broght here by people with money and time to travel in the middle of winter (Jan, Feb, March).

            They may also see it as over reaction by the media, if they dont personally feel Corona’s presence…tightly or wrongly.

            Thinking overreaction, they might have used the word ‘ hoax,’ when they meant over reaction.

            Here, using the appropriate word makes a difference.

          2. lordkoos

            And it’s fascinating and sad the the same people still care so much about the two parties.

          3. The Rev Kev

            Some commenter yesterday mentioned a link to a newspaper article about the spread of Coronavirus throughout rural America yesterday and it was horrifying how people were at first saying how “it could never happen here” until it just took off. Lots of places too do not even have a nearby hospital either. I saw the same in Oz too – right before lockdown started.

            1. MLTPB

              It’s sad for those in rural America.

              They are like our Hobbits, rarely travel outside to big cities or sky resorts.

              They imagined they were safe, not knowing it could descend upon them via globe trotters or active globalism participants.

      1. J.K.

        I think someone has even coined the term “corvid dark web”. It refers primarily to corvid denialism expressed in various conservative outlets spreading on social media.

        1. MLTPB

          ScienceAlert reported a day ago 3 astronauts launched from Russia ‘s space hub, just docked with the space station, leaving behind an uneasy planet.

          Will this infect space? Do we know for sure?

          Can we be in denial that it could?

    2. Ignacio

      Yeah, I have a similar ominous graph for Spain. These data will be important in the future to have some idea how efficient the death count of Covid-19 was.

      1. Wyoming

        I was telling the wife just yesterday that it won’t be till folks like yourself do a postmortem of this mess a few years form now and scrub all the data like yours from a few days ago and this one and many other locations before we actually know how many got sick and how many died. Until then everything is some version of a qualified (or not so much) guess.

        1. Ignacio

          This didn’t help. The 8th of March we were not noticing but the epidemics was in full exponential mode (we could infer this later with casualty data) but the effect of this overall is something nobody can quantify. These days life in Madrid was as usual: packed city centre, restaurants and cafes filled (in closed environments transmission must be much more efficient). My wife and my daughter went there and they did not got infected. Opposition parties retrospectively used this to criticize the government, though they were in equally denialist mode and did not say a word the precise day. Neoliberals do never let a chance pass without taking advantage.

    3. rd

      I think the final count of Covid mortality in the US will be by evaluating excess deaths over normal for the months as pnumonia, respiratory distress, cardio-vascular, unknown, etc. causes of death get added up.. But the basic death stats are typically collected at the county level with slow and incomplete reporting, so it will likely be someobdy’s research project that gets published a couple of years from now.

  9. jefemt

    Richard W…. I am so sorry for your loss. We had to euthanize or sweetie, Sophie last week. I was dumbstruck that the depth of my grief seemed deeper and more profound that that I had for my parents passing.

    Might be multiple factors– age, experience, what-all I was immersed in at the time…

    Needless to say, last week was a crappy crappy week!

    1. Shonde

      My condolences to you jefemt and to you Richard W.

      I am sure many of us here have experienced that grief greater than experienced at the death of parents. We understand.

      Now take care of yourselves and cherish the beautiful memories.

    2. td

      For decades, we’ve gotten our cats from shelters, looking for bonded pairs and hard cases that nobody else wanted. Since that often meant some older cats, we have had to say goodbye every few years to somebody we have gotten to know very well.

      Every time, we shed copious tears and mourn them well. I would never dream of stopping, since that pain memorializes all the good moments and mutual affection. For some reason, we have never found a bad cat…

    3. Rod

      so sorry for your change.
      many of us who know the recent grief find the balm in frequent memory of those always with us

    4. Pat

      My condolences to Ricard W and jefemt. The loss of such loving and joyous presences in our lives leave surprisingly large holes, but oh how lucky we are to have them while we do.

      Cheers to Libor and Sophie.

    1. Jesper

      I’ve been wondering if that loss of revenue kill off private insurance? Or do they have capital to cover the loss of revenue combined with increased costs of paying out? Anyone got any indication?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Isnt this the point of Obamacare, to save the insurers who had let the hospital cartels charge whatever expecting to always squeeze the consumer? They got subsidies and greed continued.

        My guess is this will be a tougher sell.

      2. Skip Intro

        At some point people will recognize that gropey Joe’s minuscule ‘concession’ to Sanders of letting people aged 60 into medicare is actually a subsidy to insurers that let them dump their most expensive victims on the public.

        1. epynonymous

          Joe said in his speech two days ago that he thinks COBRA subsidies will cut it.

          Don’t qualify for COBRA? Well, he’s out of ideas, apparently.

          1. Pat

            Because paying rent, buying food, keeping power and internet when out of a job and when few are hiring leaves lots of money to give an insurance company hundreds of dollars a month.

            Biden hasn’t had to pay for diddly for decades. He even got to farm out his deadbeat son’s expenses on companies who wouldn’t have given the jerk an interview but we’re willing to give him a high paying job for access to Senator/VP Biden.

      3. lordkoos

        Insurance companies could well be getting crushed with millions of claims as a result of the pandemic, but have no fear, they will almost certainly be bailed out.

    2. griffen

      Navigating a downsizing or lay-off is stressful enough. Employers within requirements have to provide the option to maintain enrollment through COBRA. That option isnt cheap, speaking on my intervals of experience.

      This country spits at people for losing their job, most often through no fault of their own. To the counter, we must save “industry of need” at all costs. Perish the market impact should Zombie Corp fail.

    3. rd

      Hospital workers are getting furloughed:

      Furloughed staff generally get to keep their benefits like insurance, although the company can ask the employee to pay the employer portion (my son had to do that April 1).

      As this continues, I expect more and more people to simply get laid off permanently with no health care coverage. I think that will build continued support for the employer-provided insurance system, especially when it impacts more white-collar salaried workers who thought it was somebody else’s problem.

    4. rd

      The employer can make furloughed employees pay the employer share if they want to keep the insurance.That is still cheaper than COBRA though.

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    We lost the first neighbor on our block yesterday. EMTs and police arrived. EMTs left after a few minutes but provided a wheeled stretcher before going. The police took 30 minutes or so to bring the body out in a body bag on the stretcher. When a hearse arrived, they placed the body inside, and everybody left.

    He was an older AA gentleman who lived alone. I didn’t know him other than to speak when we ran into each other. He has renters upstairs, so I wonder what will happen to them. Of course, I have no idea whether this has anything to do with Covid-19, but I saw him out and about less than a week ago.

    1. ChristopherJ

      If you were uninsured, Henry, you might think about riding out the virus on your own. Aren’t authorities only assisting people with testing and diagnosis? A week or two in hospital would produce a bill most Americans couldn’t jump over, no?

      A recipe for a lot more deaths and bankruptcy for those that recover in hospital.

      1. rowlf

        How much does two weeks in the hospital cost versus staying at home, say for a 50 year old and a 70 year old in the US? What is the success rate for going to the hospital for treatment? Are bonus infection rates up or down?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Gives Bizarre Response on Lifting Coronavirus Lockdown”

    I saw Trump do this on the news and it was bizarre. I would have thought that after three years on the job that he would have grown into it maybe. Nope. He has learned nothing in the past three years and when I saw his talk, I realized that he was making the whole thing about himself as the Great Decider. Not about Americans, not the economy, just about him. And you just know that he is going to restart the economy too early and have to shut it down again as victims will number in the tens of millions and too many people will be out of action to get the economy moving-

    1. Shonde

      There may be a plan unbeknownst to the public.

      Keep “we the people’s” eyes on bizarre behavior of Trump and off the looting going on behind the curtain.

      So far that plan at least is working.

      1. Bill Carson

        I’m going to take issue with the characterization that Trump’s answer was bizarre.

        I am no fan of the president, and yet I thought it was an appropriate answer, and that it showed that he understands that the decision is totally up to him and that it has enormous implications.

        And he’s right. If he chooses poorly, thousands of Americans will die -OR- the economy will irreparably damaged. He’s got to thread the needle between saving lives by keeping the lockdown in place, which will harm the economy, or knowingly increasing the death toll to some degree or another by lifting the lockdowns in an effort to restart the economy. He’ll be criticized either way. Damage will be done either way—either in deaths or economic damage or both.

        Is there even such a thing as a “right” decision? How will we ever know if the decision was the right one? (I’m not saying we won’t be able to tell if a bad decision is made.)

        If he makes a poor decision, or a good decision that is perceived as a poor decision, it will effectively end his presidency.

        Do you want to make that decision? I don’t.

        1. Wyoming

          …and that it showed that he understands that the decision is totally up to him …

          But of course it is NOT totally up to him. We do have a constitution which says otherwise.

          But usurping powers and growing the imperial presidency being a truly bipartisan project I am sure that he is going to claim the power and all the Republican and most of the Democratic politicians will go along with him.

          As to the possibility that it is either a good or bad decision I think on that a little differently as well. There is really almost no chance that there is a good decision out there. What we have here is a dilemma. Not a problem. Problems can be solved but dilemma’s by their nature have no real solutions. You just live with them in some fashion.

        2. marym

          The shut-down was to break the exponential spread and give us chance to develop a strategy and catch up on things that should have started earlier, like ramp up the manufacture, acquisition, and deployment of tests, medical devices, and PPE supplies; implement a strategy for testing, tracking, and public mask usage; support people in self-quarantine and/or displaced from the workforce, healthcare funding, etc.

          Governors, mayors, healthcare providers, sick people and their loved ones, and all ordinary people are now making difficult decisions on those matters every day.

          The only decision Trump made (other than joining Congress in pouring wealth into corporate coffers) is to treat the situation like a PR matter and babble self-aggrandizing nonsense at his daily campaign rally briefing.

          1. Monty

            Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. The feds haven’t really shut the economy down, apart from international travel restrictions, so how are they going to perform a Grand Reopening? Will there be a lot of takers to fly to various global virus hot-spots, all of a sudden?

        3. Keith newman

          I’m no fan of Trump either but I don’t see why this clip of him is qualified as “bizarre”. He is simply describing the role of a top elected official – listen to the advice of specialists, then decide. Our politicians in Canada are saying the same thing.

          1. Old Jake

            Then your top elected officials are no more competent than ours. Are you shocked? Some decision criteria other than seat of the pants gut feeling ought to be in evidence. Trustworthy leaders will tell what the critical items are: new case incidence, treatment modalities, vaccine availability, other factors. What we see here is something secret only he knows. That’s a naked authoritarian showing no fear of contradiction, and we are left to guess. The obvious one is whatever is most advantageous to him as he sees it. Don’t think for a moment you figure into the equation.

          2. The Rev Kev

            If you do not think that this was bizarre, how about this story. The one metric that Trump is really worried about is his TV ratings, I kid you not. Check this story out but here is one of his tweets first-

            The Wall Street Journal always “forgets” to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are “through the roof” (Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale, according to @nytimes) & is only way for me to escape the Fake News & get my views across. WSJ is Fake News!


        4. Ignim Brites

          The decision really is not totally up to Trump. The governors and even local mayors and county commissioners will have the final decision. But lifting the state of emergency or whatever decision Trump will make would remove the political cover for local politicians who not only have to consider hospitalization and death rates, but perhaps even more importantly, falling tax revenues.

          1. MLTPB

            New York was clear on that, state rights, with that declaration of war statement a while back.

            For the top guy, or any governor making such a weight decision, does each go through silimar soliloquies?

        5. Ford Prefect

          He is actually largely irrelevant to the decision because the decision is made at the local and state level. He was far behind governors and mayors in ordering closures and he will likely be far ahead of them in ordering re-opening.

          The key thing that Trump can do is use the DPA to get protective gear and testing in place to facilitate re-opening the economy and improve data gathering and dissemination.But he has been refusing to do that. So we will get useless pronouncements of victory without useful actions that would allow victory to occur.

        6. D. Fuller

          Is there even such a thing as a “right” decision? How will we ever know if the decision was the right one?

          Easy. Fewer people become infected or die. The US is now the leader in infections and deaths (not all deaths are reported). People will say, “It’s a virus. There’s nothing he could do.” Until you look at other measures other countries have used successfully to “flatten the curve”.

          The verdict is in. Trump has failed, utterly and completely. Like Trump Steaks and Trump airline and XFL. He’s a good conman though. The only reason Trump has money is:

          1. Bankruptcy law.
          2. Others find him useful.

          Is there even a right decision?

          Yes there is. Any decision that results in fewer infections and deaths is the right decision. The opposite has occured. Trump brings his expertise of failure in his business ventures, to The White House. Without loopholes and bankruptcy law and bailouts and taxpayer dollars? Well, that is what makes for a successful, incredibly rich person in America: FAILURE.

          What about the other side, The Democrats? Biden? Now accused of sexual assault. Pelosi? Remember that $170 billion bailout for real estate developers over 10 years in The Corporate Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act? Trump will benefit. How could he not? So does…

          Nancy Pelosi, through her husband.

          Paul Francis Pelosi Sr. is an American businessman who owns and operates Financial Leasing Services, Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.

          Is it coincidence? You decide. How many other Congress Members are making money from The CARES Act? How much of that money will be kicked back to the two political parties and party members? What does the Supreme Court think about this? The Conservatives on The Supreme Court ruled in CU and other cases that such corruption is merely… “showing gratitude”.

          Trump’s Presidency will probably not end. Thanks to The Dunning-Kruger effect that sufficient numbers of voters are afflicted with. Not to mention the likes of Pelosi, Schumer, etc. Trump, also.

          There are metrics that determine what the right decision is. Not everyone will be pleased. Trump’s popularity would be EXPLODING if he had taken the time to make the hard decisions.

          I will sum up Trump’s decision making for you, in a hypothetical.

          It’s 3AM. Russia just launched all their nukes. Trump is woken up. He has 2 minutes to make a decision. His response? “How will it affect my ratings?”

          Hyperbole? Not far off the mark. You see that in his focus on the economy, of sacrificing Americans to make a few billionaires, wealthier… or at least trying to minimize their losses. Have Democrats in Congress helped? Corporate Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

          1. MLTPB

            Fewer people become infected…

            Just to lay out one of the arguments from the other side here. I am not necessarily for or against at this time.

            Infections AND other health issues we look at to get a bigger picture. Stress from being inside, with other people, for one. Not one day, one week ,or one month, but for the foreseeable future, you can’t go to the beach, or your usual park.

            Maybe you have deferred some health checkups, or procedures.

        7. Oregoncharles

          How is it his decision? He’s left the lockdown orders to the governors; isn’t reopening up to them, too?

        8. Savedbyirony

          Our Governor in Ohio, DeWine, was asked mid week what he thought about Trump saying he wants to lift lockdowns sooner rather than later. He said something to the effect that he had not heard that, he had not been listening to Trump. That alone, in the moment, spoke volumes. All last week he and our Director of Health kept repeating this is along process and it will be a slow and gradual loosening of restrictions. I do not think the Gov. of Ohio thinks at all that the decision is totally up to Trump and doubt many other Governors do either.

  12. griffen

    Let’s see we have a global pandemic, and the above linked article about the plague of locusts sweeping certain parts of Africa. Whats next on our plate ?

    I dont care for frogs dropping myself. Just a personal choice.

    1. xkeyscored

      Climate change hasn’t gone away, and there’s hurricane season coming up.

      “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” Klotzbach said. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      never saw frogs…but i saw fish fall from the sky once, from a big thunderstorm in southwest Louisiana.
      i was sleeping in the van and a thud woke me up.looking out, there were fish falling all over the place.
      pretty strange.
      found one good sized redfish in all the carnage, and that’s what we had for dinner….after we had moved camp, of course. fish graveyards are not conducive to outdoor living.

      1. griffen

        That is somewhat amusing I have to say. It’s one thing for manna to appear while the Israelites wander for 40 years. But fish that drop upon your camp ? Unreal.

        Hope it was delicious at least.

  13. JP

    The remdesivir study is pretty poor quality so it’s hard to take much away. Small number of patients, high percentage of lost data, and most significantly no control group.

    The extubation rate (getting off a ventilator) was quite high, which seems at least somewhat promising, but that’s comparing the study population to pretty unreliable data from China, mostly.

    Randomized trials are underway and hopefully will be more helpful. At the large hospital where I work there are already more than 50 ongoing trials (across multiple sites of care and in coordination with many other hospitals).

    1. Mark

      I recommend interested readers to click through to the NEJM paper and then skip to the discussion section. It’s written in relatively non-technical language. The authors do an excellent job of discussing all the problems with preliminary data of this type and will give readers an idea of the challenges going forward in trying to do better.

      My own takeaway is that the study should be viewed in the context of safety rather than efficacy. The patients given remdesivir did not show side-effects worse than have been observed in previous larger studies done with other other diseases such as ebola and there was no evidence that the patients did worse than one might have expected. In other words, there’s no reason not to proceed with larger, better controlled trials.

      The real problem is with the Bloomberg report and especially the headline. Both may as well have been written by Gilead’s marketing dept.

  14. ldruid

    A friend wrote to the mayor of Sioux Falls regarding the Smithfield plant’s infection rate immediately prior to the plant’s closing. This is the response she received. As we say, very clarifying.

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and protecting the workforce of Sioux Falls. This is a challenging time for Sioux Falls. As mayor, I am using every authority afforded to me under federal law, state law and local ordinance to protect this community, but all of us working together, united as a community, has the greatest power to slow the spread and flatten the curve.

    Every single person in Sioux Falls has a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Although we are unable to control the virus itself, we can control of behavior to slow the spread of COVID-19. Individually, it is as basic as good hygiene, covering coughs, staying home if you are sick, and social distancing. For business owners, it means adapting business models to protect employees and customers by following Centers for Disease and Infection Control’s guidance and State and City regulations.

    Like you, I am concerned with the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst Smithfield employees and their families. When I first learned of the high-rate of spread, the City reached out to Smithfield leadership, Smithfield union representation, the South Dakota Department of Health, Avera and Sanford Health to offer our support and expertise. Since the outbreak happened, Smithfield took actions in compliance with CDC guidelines. The additional actions by Smithfield announced on April 9 should make an impact in mitigating further spread within their workspaces and protect its employees while at the facility.

    It is important to remember the importance of Smithfield to the sustainability of the national food supply chain. The Sioux Falls plant supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week in the United States. During a crisis such as this pandemic, we have to make sure our employees are protected from the virus as well as ensure that the food supply is reliable and continues to provide nutrition to the nation.

    As an important part of the nation’s food security, the federal government has designated Smithfield as an essential infrastructure sector. As such, the City lacks authority to mandate actions to Smithfield and other essential employers such as suspension of operations. However, our Health Department is collaborating with Smithfield, the State and health care providers on best practices and mitigation recommendations to protect employees.

    Also important is recognizing the State is the lead agency in managing the COVID-19 response. The State has the primary jurisdiction in investigating infections, quarantining patients and mandating business mitigation efforts. The City’s role is to advise essential employers like Smithfield on recommendations to protect employees and slow the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to advise employers in Sioux Falls on what they can do to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect employees.

    Thank you again for contacting me on this topic. I appreciate your civic engagement and passion for Sioux Falls.

    Best regards
    Paul TenHaken
    Mayor, City of Sioux Falls

    1. Cancyn

      Idruid@10:37am …
      From the Mayor’s response: “The Sioux Falls plant supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week in the United States” This, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with food production in North America! I get it, we have a lot of mouths to feed, but how does it make sense for 1 meat processing plant to be responsible for 130 millions servings of food per week??!!
      I remember a few years ago when listeria was in the news as a problem in deli meat processing plants, an anonymous inspector said that the plants were too big to be kept clean properly. I remember thinking, well then, why the hell don’t we just have more and smaller plants? I have no doubt it is still a problem (there is a reason that they recommend seniors don’t eat deli meat) but somehow doesn’t make the news much. Hmm.
      Of course I can answer my own question about the reason for the huge plants …because markets. Sigh. No doubt it is cheaper to process in one big plant. It is the main reason that I stopped purchasing animal protein of any kind from big grocery stores and that slowly led me away from big grocery stores in general. I don’t want to contribute to that big profit model and I want to have some trust in my food supply. I am lucky enough to be able to afford to shop at a small local butcher and a small grocer who sources local food as much as possible.
      For a brief shining moment, I had a hope that we’d figure out that we’ve been prioritizing costs and profits over health and safety for far too long and that things might change and we’d go back to more local food production and processing because the Covid crisis has shown us the error of our ways, but the bail out has crushed that hope. Business as usual, as soon as possible – messaging is loud and clear.

    2. Eclair

      I have been following the stories about the CoVid 19 outbreaks in the meat packing plants. It has been almost 20 years since the LA Times ran a series of investigative reports, detailing the trail of undocumented workers, from Mexico and south, and their smugglers, right up to the major chicken processing plants. Yeah, Colonel Sanders knew. Nothing has changed. Who else but recent immigrants or undocumented workers will stand for hours every day on freezing concrete floors, chopping up animal body parts. Few bathroom breaks, no sick pay. On the contrary, a demerit system; too many instances of calling in sick results in automatic firing. Complain, or try to unionize? Hah, ICE agents raid the plant.

      Think about the thousands of scared, sick, exploited workers … next time you bite into that cheap hamburger or extra-crispy chicken leg. World War 2 rationing included meatless Mondays. Maybe we should all consider that; it’s at least a start on trying to develop a more humane … for the animals we slaughter, as well as for the workers who wield the knives … food system.

      1. MLTPB

        Eating meat too often or too much may not be too healthy, depending on the person, I suppose.

        Compared with other nations, or over time here within the same country, meat consumption seems to be increasing.

        Maybe if we have to grab that chicken ourselves from the backyard, making eating meat less effortlessly, we will eat less of it and less often.

      2. fajensen

        We are lucky to be able to buy our meat down the road at a farm shop, mainly lamb. It is expensive, otoh, we don’t eat meat 4-5 days out of a week.

        We don’t buy pork in the supermarkets because the big slaughterhouses gas the pigs with CO2, which is a very nasty way to go!

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Staggeringly Complicated Ethics of Ventilating Coronavirus Patients”

    I was reading this article and I had the thought that there is a way that this whole situation could be made much worse and it is this. Bring in Silicon Valley to help sort these issues out. No, seriously. I was thinking of something from a Star Trek Voyager episode called “Critical Care” as to what could happen here. The way it works is this.

    Each citizen is assigned a “TC” — a “Treatment Coefficient” — a formula essentially derived from a patient’s current value to society going by education, the type of work that they do, etc. Medical treatment and actual medicines are then dispensed to them based on this TC so that people of less worth are treated in a Red Zone of minimal care and people with high TCs are treated in a Blue Zone. Here is an an explanation of this and how this works and tell me that this does not reek of a Silicon Valley “solution”-

    1. MLTPB

      They do that when you apply for college, for example.

      If you show promise at making your alma mater look great in the future, you will be treated to many credential-worthy courses.

  16. LeCuldeSac

    Re Nathan Robinson’s excellent analysis in Current Affairs of the MSM silencing of Tara Reade (and/or dismissal of her claims by faux feminist Amanda Marcotte), it turns out that Tara Reade has actually filed a criminal complaint in DC against Biden, as of yesterday. See

    I googled the story, and only Business Insider and Newsweek, and one MSM link, reference it. As of 10:30 AM this morning, CNN had NOTHING about this on their entire website, though you can be sure that if this had been alleged against Sanders it would be a giant banner headline. They’re just sickening.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Sickening indeed. With the rise of MeToo we were supposed to ‘believe all women’ which was an overreach, but even before Reade’s accusations the hypocrisy of these mostly liberal leaning MeToo-type groups was clear. Still no one ever took the accusations of Clinton’s accusers seriously, because that would have made her Herness look bad.

      Republicans will be glad to point out the hypocrisy on the off-chance Biden is still the nominee* come this fall, and the result of the selective outrage will be that we collectively don’t believe any women again, exactly the opposite result this movement was supposed to achieve.

      *I don’t believe the establishment ever wanted Biden in the first place. If nothing was done prior to Super Tuesday, Sanders was poised to take the nomination. At the time, Biden was the only candidate who could defeat Sanders on that particular day, because of his popularity with Southern black voters. If noone dropped out Sanders would have had enough to win, and rallying around Klobuchar or Buttigieg or Warren instead of Biden wouldn’t have produced the necessary black vote to win those states. States the Democrats won’t win in the general anyway. But pulling out the long knives, combined with some dubious results, had the desired temporary effect. The establishment would deal with the problem of what to do with failing placeholder Uncle Joe later. We see a few possibilities in todays’s links – anoint Cuomo or let Bloomberg take over behind the scenes.

      The Blob are truly disgusting people.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “I don’t believe the establishment ever wanted Biden in the first place.”
        Remember all the discussion here, some of it very convincing, of Biden’s mental deterioration? That would make him completely manipulable, a meat-puppet. And there’s precedent: Reagan, still beloved of many. So who would really be running the country – if anyone is?

        The other option: they have a deal with the Repubs and it’s still the Repubs’ turn, so they have no intention of winning. Bernie might have won, quite aside from his other disadvantages – from their point of view.

  17. Otis B Driftwood

    Klobuchar was honest about herself and her centrist politics. Sanders respected her for this, and vice versa.

    1. jef

      I agree and I am sick of hearing how Sanders should have gone against all of who he is, play politics, and become an asshole in order to win then he could go back to being a nice guy.
      He didn’t let us down, we let him down by allowing things to go down the way they did and not having his back. So many people have said “yeah, I clicked on a button and sent him $20 and he just let me down”.

      If all the Bernie supporters stood up as one and demanded a fair process he would have floated into office practically unopposed.

    2. edmondo

      Bernie sure had a lot of friends on stage with him. It’s almost a wonder how he was able to call out their hypocrisy and still develop a successful campaign to go forward and implement his ideas. That the Democratic Party was so welcoming and able to incorporate all of Bernie’s ideas into their platform will insure that Joe Biden will become the next FDR./s

  18. eg

    The “gigantic viruses” piece misses what I would have thought was obvious: viruses are a feature of the ecosystem, not a bug — their time-bound detrimental effects upon individual hosts notwithstanding.

    1. MLTPB

      Last week, I think there was an article somewhere on the net about giant viruses being perhaps one reason life exists on earth.

      Is this the same article as that?

    2. xkeyscored

      I didn’t read it that way at all. On the contrary, it seems to be saying viruses have played a huge role in evolution, forming an integral part of at least the marine biosphere. Or as you put it, they’re a feature, not a bug.

      ‘Here, however, the team found evolutionary lineages of viral metabolic genes that went far deeper, suggesting longstanding relationships between pathogens and hosts, the symbiotic significance of which we can’t yet fully unravel.

      In other words, giant viruses and their ancient ancestors may have dwelled alongside cellular organisms for eons, not only replicating inside the cells of living creatures, but exerting an unseen influence on their metabolic processes all this time.

      “Viruses have historically been viewed as accessories to cellular life, and as such their influence on biogeochemical cycles has largely been viewed through the lens of their impact on host mortality, rather than any direct metabolic activities of their own,” the authors write in their paper.

      “The large number of cellular metabolic genes encoded in NCLDV [nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus] genomes that we reveal in this study brings to light an alternative view in which virus-specific enzymes have a direct role in shaping virocell physiology.”‘

      1. Susan the other

        This looks like Freeman Dyson’s theory of the origin of life – he asks the question which came first – the ability to replicate (not reproduce, just replicate themselves) or the ability to metabolize. And he uses the metaphor, which came first – hardware or software. This research seems to say that the two go hand in hand. “Giant viruses carry genetic code that may control the metabolism of living things.” They must have been saving all that costly energy by just being symbiotic. And, “Some Giant Viruses seem to create their own genes… others possess genetic code we’ve never encountered anywhere before.” Assuming replication only happens in living cells this looks like a new kingdom of life. So, custom-made genetics is as old as the universe? And we’ve recently been so dumb as to say that “acquired characteristics” cannot be inherited.

    1. jo6pac

      Will they in the near future be able to shoot poison darts the suspects? I really don’t think this a good idea.

      I’m thinking a Monty P. movie might be in the make.

        1. Rageon

          If only there was a palindrome that worked with pandemic drones…
          Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

      1. bassmule

        Oh, yeah. Nothing makes you the life of the party like coughing and sneezing while standing in line, waiting to get into the grocery store.

      2. rowlf

        Yepper. It’s Pine Flu season here in the South East. Damn trees are getting frisky. It’s wild to see the smog dome over Atlanta go from tan to yellow.

  19. Ignacio

    Data from Italy suggests that the quarantine did not work very well at least during the first week. Lots of home contagions? Did regions not in the epicentre relax too much? Yesterday 34 d.a.q. still 570 was the death toll when I was expecting a sharp drop. The day before 610. Below the nearly 1000 daily counts during the worst days but still very high.

    1. rtah100

      Surely lots of home transmission? Sequestering people at home will have add an impulse to home transmission.

      The Chinese very quickly started to isolate fever patients in fever hospitals rather than leave them to infect households and possibly apartment buildings.

      Not sure what one can do with asymptomatic patients. Presumably tracing from confirmed cases and then testing

      1. Cuibono

        Chinese could not get Ro less than 1 till they isolated patients away from home ANd Physicians and nurses.

        1. Ignacio

          Last data from Italy 619 casualties yesterday (33 d.a.q.). I have to correct my previous post (570 was for 32 d.a.q not 34), yet given a median contagion-to-death of 25 days we are now counting mostly deaths from post-quarantine contagions. Ugly. I think many of these include contagions in difficult to isolate nursing homes.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “IBM Rallies COBOL Engineers to Save Overloaded Unemployment Systems”
    Shades of Retrotopia – again.
    I remember that the state of Oregon attempted to replace its system of mainframes, but failed, expensively. As in it’s still using them, AFAIK. And something similar at – take a deep breath – the IRS. NC has run articles and discussions about how difficult it is to replace these legacy systems.

    As it happens, that was my brother’s job, but for the military, so I don’t know much about it. To be precise, he worked for a company that oversaw the training in use of new systems – maybe did the installation, too. A major project, all by itself, and I suspect that’s a big part of the problem: a bureaucracy is itself a computer, made up of people; once it interlocks with electronic computers, the resulting whole can be too complex to disentangle.

      1. rtah100

        Thanks, Anon, that was me.

        Interesting article. Medicine is messy: N of 3 and each different!

        One has massive platelet and cardiac troponin count. Looks like heart attack? Maybe a platelet disorder?

        Two looks like the atypical ARDS being described. Massive ferritin count. Attack on haemoglobin ? then micro thromboses?

        Three has elements of the others.

        There have been more interesting apers and edical.accounts. I will try them.

  21. Tinfoil?

    So in Germany they starting Good Friday night mandating a new rule of 14 days quarantine for all in-coming travellers from other countries. However, not without exceptions: commuters, business travelers, crew from planes, trains, buses and ships, people working in transportation and health-care are all exempt. so far so… well, I don’t know… but then also, the following categories of people are exempt too: judiciary, diplomacy, parliament, government, administration, police and military. Moroever, seasonal workers, like the asparagus pickers, are exempt.

    Blending the repression machinery into the exemptions, does make it a bit uncanny. Again, the neoliberal theory is that poor and eveybody that doesn’t count can die whenever they want. However, a lot of people in the repression are people that count and also necessary to keep the unkempt masses at heel.

    Is my hat of tinfoil or is it receiving some messages that are important?

    “Wie das Innenministerium ergänzend erläuterte, gelten zahlreiche Ausnahmen von den Quarantäne-Vorgaben. Nicht betroffen seien unter anderem Pendler und Geschäftsreisende, Besatzungen von Flugzeugen, Schiffen, Bussen und Bahnen, die beruflich im Ausland waren, sowie alle mit Tätigkeiten im Transport- und Gesundheitswesen, in der Justiz, der Diplomatie, den Parlamenten, Regierungen, Verwaltungen, der Polizei und der Bundeswehr. Auch Saisonarbeitskräfte sind von der Quarantäne-Pflicht nicht erfasst.”

    1. MLTPB

      Next to Germany, in Paris, showing indomitable spirit after the Notre Dame fire last year, they had Good Friday services there…with only 7 in attendance.

      The cathedral resurrected, if you will.

  22. flora

    re: Democrats want to drop Joe Biden for Andrew Cuomo, poll finds

    A poll commissioned by the rightwing Club For Growth* and shared exclusively(!, sure) . “Somewhere the poll results you want exist, or can be made.” (old adage) heh. Cuomo – tax cutting and reducing medicaid in the teeth of a pandemic – is just the ticket. /s

    About the Club for Growth:
    Club for Growth is a right-wing political group established in 1999 by Stephen Moore that endorses and raises money for candidates. According to a February 22, 2011 article by John Nichols in The Nation, the Washington D.C. based Club for Growth is “an organization funded by extremely wealthy conservatives to carry out their budget-stripping goals,” and that “has been a key player in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s move to take out the state’s organized workers.”

    Andy is the Club for Growth’s kind of Dem. ;)

  23. Skip Intro

    Sounds like NY, after passing a law allowing them to drop primary candidates who suspend their campaigns from the ballot, is now thinking of just canceling the primary altogether. Apparently the threat of Bernie getting those delegates is still to real for them. It will make the perfect mirror for them to avoid when they get vapors about Trump cancelling the general election. Of course we know that if Bernie did get the nomination, the DNC would be 100% on board with Trump cancelling the general.
    As Lily Tomlin said, ‘No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up’. The democrat party’s hypocrisy and corruption top even my most cynical black fantasies.

  24. Bill Carson

    Regarding OPEC+, gas is selling for 1.35 at Sams Club here in Colorado, which is an unheard of price.

    If prices stay low, then that will help with the restarting of the economy. Gas was near $4/gallon when we were trying to get out of the GFC, and that did not help.

    1. edmondo

      It’s a great time to plan a cross-country trip. Gas prices at all time lows, no crowds at any attractions and hardly any lines in restaurants. We might even see an influx of Chinese tourists who have lots of time on their hands and can’t travel in China. America is open for business!

      I’m beginning to root for the virus. It seems smarter than most Americans.

      1. lordkoos

        I’d love to take a road trip right now, but for me one the biggest highlights of travel is finding regional and hole-in-the-wall restaurants to chow down in. That’s off the table for the foreseeable future.

        1. Sacred Ground

          Where I live, local restaurants that are staying open are surviving on take-out business. Take your trip, eat in the car or local parks.

          1. Sacred Ground

            Really now that I think on it, it’s exactly the good local cheap eats, the “hole-in-the-wall” type places that are still open other than big chain fast food. Places that already had a strong local take-out clientele are still open. (In my ‘hood: Mexican, Cuban, Nigerian, Hawaiian, Venezuelan, Korean, and of course pizza and delis are all open, though with shorter hours.) This is still a fraction of normal times, though. It looks like more than half of restaurants are closed. Those that are open are either struggling or thriving. Thriving both from increased local demand (nobody wants to shop for groceries) and from less competition.

            It’s the higher end finer dining places, tourist places, destination restaurants if you will, or any places that rely on bar revenue, the sort of places where the experience being there is the product as much as the food, that are closed.

    2. Wukchumni

      Gas is an amazing $1.79 here, but aside from driving like a maniac (i’m thinking of Fred Astaire in his Ferrari racing around the track with others in On The Beach) you can’t really go anywhere all that much now.

      1. Carolinian

        I believe when I was in CA a few months ago I paid over $4 at a couple of places. It was so traumatic I’ve blocked the exact details.

        Filled up with $1.58 gas yesterday. We have the lowest gas taxes in the country or close to.

        1. MLTPB

          Public transportation is not high on the social distancing scale, when utilization is not near zero, unfortunately.

          Suburban sprawl, in contrast with dense urban living, can be higher relatively.

          1. Carolinian

            So basically you’re saying Californians are still being gouged, relatively speaking.

  25. MLTPB

    If we don’t look at the per million numbers, maybe we examine both the total, and per million.

    Or maybe we treat France, Italy, Spain, Germany etc as one big mobility state.

    1. GlobalMisanthrope

      Definitely need to look at both in these early days. Plus demographics, esp ageing population. I don’t know what you mean by “one big mobility state.”

      Germany’s in the 11,000 range. (Which is interesting in contrast to the Corona death rate.)

      Austria, Denmark, Belgium 9,000
      Netherlands 8,000
      Poland, Czech Rep 10,000
      Switzerland 8,000

      1. MLTPB

        I mean people within the zone travel like we do here in the states. And Corona spreads via people moving around those places.

        1. GlobalMisanthrope

          Yeah, that’s what I thought you might mean. Why I added those other numbers.

          I know Schengen is out the window, but that would also include Luxembourg, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden. And then I guess you’d want to also include Turkey and all the other border states to account for illegal movement. And on and on as far as spread goes.

          I was interested in the comparative in-state disease/death trajectory between countries and evaluating the claims being made in projections and the degree of alarm being urged via govt/media.

          1. Monty

            I know that the UK death rate from all causes is ~10000 a week at this time of year, not 9000 a day. A 53k overstatement is a little bit wide of the mark.

            Are the other numbers any more accurate?

  26. Daryl

    Checking in from Texas. Many churches are planning to be open for Easter weekend. And Abbott intends to ease the lockdown (I was unaware there was a lockdown at the state level, so I can only assume he intends to override county and city level measures, as the “states rights” fans in the Texas government often do).


    > Republican governor of Texas Greg Abbott said he plans to allow businesses to reopen with an executive order that would lift the coronavirus lockdown in a “safe” way.

    1. MLTPB

      On March 29, ABCNews go dot com had an article that counties with corona were mostly rural, poor and something.

      I was wondering if there were corona free counties. That answered that question, as of about 2 weeks ago.

      Have people been rushing to those Corona free counties? I dont think these counties have mansions available, unlike some rural, but frequented by celebrities or billionaires, counties.

      And are these corona free counties under lockdown too?

      1. Daryl

        There are many counties in Texas that do not have reported cases of coronavirus. I personally wouldn’t head out to one of them because, as you’ve surmised, they aren’t exactly Sun Valley or the Hamptons, but also because they likely do have coronavirus and simply are unable to test. Texas is about the worst state in terms of testing.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the two towns that test nearest me, brady and fredericksburg(i often forget about Llano and Menard, since i rarely go thataway) both have drive through testing…but only with a doctor’s order.
          last 3 times i’ve been to fredricksburg(twice, just driving through), there were a lot of RV’s and nicer looking cars at the gas stations, etc.
          I hear tell that this was “refugees” from the Big City, coming out to the ranch or the vineyard.
          haven’t seen/heard about that much of that in Mason or Brady…the latter, like you say, isn’t exactly the Hamptons…
          the highway a mile and a half distant is full of cars, again…this is determined by listening.
          People on the move, for whatever important reason.
          and JIT is apparently running full bore after dark…big trucks running all night…trying to catch up, from what i hear from store managers.
          as for them, they all look pretty ragged. Seeing all manner of off-brands that i’ve never seen before.
          grocery manager says that he’s had to go to extraordinary measures to get even the little he’s managed to get, since his is a small company, without the market share of an heb or walmart.
          milk is less scarce, now, and meat…but bread and TP(and all the rest of the paper aisle) are still pretty much non-existent.
          we stock up regularly out of habit…always have….and that has certainly paid off.

          1. Wukchumni

            I bought a pack of 6x paper towels, and a 70 year old gent spied them in my shopping cart as I was going to my car, and he practically exclaimed “THEY HAVE TP?” and I had to lower the boom and tell them, nope, merely towels.

            Funny how things have changed so dramatically in a month. This time last month I could’ve bought enough TP to take a million shits, now there is none available, zip.

            1. ambrit

              I stocked up on paper products over the last three months for some still nebulous reason. Glad now that I did.
              Same with other basics.
              I was talking to Mom this morning and she mentioned that she had sent something in the mail over a week ago. Did I have it? No, I had to reply. Did you get the items Phyl had sent you ten days ago? No.
              Hmmm… Is the Postal Service beginning to seize up?

              1. Carolinian

                I had to resend a package that never arrived to a friend. They may be having problems.

                But the second attempt was promptly delivered.

              2. The Rev Kev

                I read an article that said because they were short of financing, that they may have to shut down by June. Seems a great opportunity by the government to privatize it as the postal service “failed” to work. If that happens, then the first thing that those private companies will do is remove that restrictions that the post service has to fund pensions decades into the future which crippled them financially in the first place.

          2. Daryl

            > last 3 times i’ve been to fredricksburg(twice, just driving through), there were a lot of RV’s and nicer looking cars at the gas stations, etc.

            RVs could be, in part, because a lot of full timers have been turfed out of their normal spots.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              yup. Mason’s rv park…run by the city/county has closed, and i’m sure that’s the case elsewhere, with municipal/public run sites.
              But the big fancy and newish rv park that’s visible from the road in Fredricksburg has been full to the brim every time i’ve passed that way.
              there’s another one in the town, but i haven’t taken that road passing through in a while.
              I have no toes in that world.

      1. ambrit

        Florida has already been screening all vehicles Eastbound on I-12 for license plates from the New Orleans area since March 29. As in stopping all traffic on an Interstate and scrutinizing everyone.
        In related news, Mom down in South Florida mentioned that rustling is making a comeback, including horses (for food.) I jokingly said that she should blame it on the Haitians (an almost comic trope for Floridians,) since they had French cultural elements from the colonial period and everybody “knows” that the French eat horseflesh. She came right back with; “Don’t even think that! People are already looking for scapegoats to blame all this virus mess on.”
        An interesting, and sobering observation.
        These times are perfect for demagogues of all persuasions.

        1. MLTPB

          Nippon dot com reported 3 days ago the governor of Okinawa asked, politely, that residents of Mainland Japan refrain from visiting the island prefecture.

          It’s their ‘prefecture rights’ issue.

    2. tongorad

      I work for one of the largest public school districts in TX. Before the easter weekend, we were informed to tell parents that all extracurricular school events are merely postponed during the lockdown period. The activities will resume after we are scheduled to come back to school (May 4).All end of year activities, such as graduation are still on the books.

    3. Amfortas the hippie


      meanwhile, the Radio Preacher feels “heat”, and appears somewhat chastened:

      and meanwhile, back on the farm:
      I made a supply run yesterday, and only realised once i had got to town that i had forgotten a bandanna.still had my hand sanitizer, so i risked it…lots of masked folks in the store, so they’re finally taking this seriously.
      I felt naked without a bandanna.
      and fretted about it the rest of the day.
      it hit me…again…that if I get it, then my wife, my mom and my stepdad and i will likely succumb to it…leaving the boys with my younger, healthier cousin(and none of them are immune, of course)
      this is a rather large weight.

      local jungle drums say that up the road in Brady, where the nearest walmart lives, there are 3 cases, now…all one family, who are under house arrest. the daughter who tested Positive yesterday works at walmart, and was at work as of wednesady.

      waiting for the thunderstorms, tonight…and hoping the hail’s not too bad, and that there are no tornadoes.
      fixin to put up sheets and shadecloth to protect the gardens as best we can…I’m set up specifically for that…mom’s garden(1/2 acre) is not. she does the ordinary rows, all lined up neat.
      I do french intensive, in a 1/2 acre of raised beds, distributed all along the cart paths on my long skinny place. i place trellises partly with an eye to hail protection, so i have a framework to hang sheets, etc on.

      1. Oregoncharles

        1/2 an acre of french intensive? I’m impressed! That’s a huge amount of work. I assume you had help? I’m trying to work up one 40X4′ bed and it’s taking me forever, since I have to pick the quack grass and morning glory runners out of it. Covering it with grass clippings to keep the weeds for getting too much of a start – will be a while before I can get starts. Not really set up to do those myself, though I’m trying with the poblana chile seeds I had.

        The seedling peaches and Asian plums bloomed well, including a couple of new ones, so I’m hoping for crops of those. Other fruits are in full bloom now.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          half of it is new beds…put in this year or last…so i’ll just live with the weeds. the winter cover crops have lessened them considerably, so they “look” like they’re full of weeds, but it’s really Hairy Vetch. I just put the toms or whatever right into the vetch mat…or, if direct seeding, make a little clearing where the seeds go.
          carrots and radishes and beets are usually mom’s purvue, because they get lost over here,lol…but this year i went nuts. so there’s those poking up out of the vetch mat all over. been picking the little french breakfast radishes for a week, now.
          I take more time with the spots where there’s to be lettuce or spinach.
          especially since I’ve had all this free labor,lol.
          the problem is that me and mom are the only one’s who can look at a newly emerged seedling and know what it is…friend or foe?
          I had intended to cover crop the new half of the beds all through this year…so i could just run the string trimmer though it to chop up the cover crop and the weeds, and thereby have much cleaner beds next year…but pandemic, and all.
          cousin has also put in 2 good sized pea/bean patches around the Library(trailerhouse), and after these storms, we’ll fill in the blank spots with more pinto beans, etc.
          I’ve also marked all the plants that are not in the beds with surveyor flags, so my eldest can avoid them with the string trimmer…herbs and small trees(from seed!) and flowers and all manner of things.
          I hope the hail tonight is brief, and small.

        2. Wukchumni

          Our 40 or so different apple trees are mostly in bloom, and apples are different from summer fruit in that they leaf out first, and then blossom. Its the other way around for apricots, peaches, plums, etc.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            grasshopper plague took out my apples…ate the bark right off them.
            got two more this winter/spring…gala’s…there were limited varieties available.
            with hail, i worry about the grapes, nectarines, peaches and plums…all of which are loaded this year, for the first time ever…it’s looking like, after 3 years straight, that the rain and cold have knocked down the truly offensive grasshopper species(brown, molting into yellow)…along with the return of the birds, I suppose.
            and guinneas are finally mature enough to travel all over in a group…and they’ve been real busy.
            Only hoppers i’ve seen are the little green ones that have yet to pose much of a problem.

            Planting things is like a prayer.

    4. Wukchumni

      It’ll be interesting how many get infected in the dogma tryst this Easter, which for those that don’t believe in fables, was a candy holiday to rival Halloween. You could tell if you’d been naughty or nice if your parents gave you a hollow milk chocolate bunny, or preferably a solid one.

    5. crittermom

      Checking in from Colorado. This rural county remains at 3 testing positive, as reported weeks ago. The tiny town where I get my mail closed down many weeks ago, with only the gas station, small grocery (located in the second gas station), and liquor store remaining open.

      I’ve noted from the deck MUCH less traffic on the main highway a few miles away. Mainly trucks delivering goods.

      However, in the neighboring county, this is what’s going on (latest I heard days ago was 90+ positive cases):–569527621.html

  27. John k

    NIH clinical trial… need to take it with zinc…
    Number of cases /1000 of course affected by distancing.
    Fraction of cases dying may be on account of other factors. Maybe age, smoking etc. or…
    I read (sorry, no link) that northeast soils are low in zinc. Red meat, a zinc source, maybe affected if the grass is low in zinc. Plus maybe vegetarians potentially low in zinc.
    I separately read (sorry, again no link) that the immune system seems to use zinc to fight the virus, which drains zinc from the heart, and the heart then demands zinc from other organs, beginning a chain of multiple failure… if this is true, then people already low in zinc might have worse outcomes.
    Worldometer state data seems to show higher death rate in NY NJ… it would be interesting to see a color keyed map of us based on mortality to see if there are regional differences.
    I had been taking potassium and magnesium to stop night cramps, now added 0.15 mg zinc supplement for the duration.

        1. John k

          50mg is a lot… Remember you get some in your diet.
          I saw a daily recommendation of 11mg for men, 8mg for women.
          Found 100 caps 15mg on amazon, zinc balance Jarrow, sent a bottle to each of the kids.

            1. Wukchumni

              I ingest 2 Cents (97.5% zinc) every other day. I’m hoping it will keep Lumbago and/or Coronavirus away.

  28. oliverks

    Regarding Apple and Google’s contact tracing system.

    Contact Tracing is going to be critical for getting people out of isolation. I hope this doesn’t violate site policies, but I am promoting an open source contact tracing system that is private, safe, and can be managed by multiple vendors (i.e. you are not locked into big tech).

    You can see a sketch here:

    I have a draft document describing the system in more detail, that I am happy to send to anyone. It is under the MIT license so you are free to copy, change, and distribute it.

    1. Aumua

      Does any of this exist yet or is it an idea you are looking for funding to develop? Is there a prototype?

  29. JohnnyGL

    This is good, but I’ve got some thoughts and reservations. My inner-Stoller is speaking to me, here.

    David Doel doesn’t know much about the bankruptcy court process (understandably so) and sort of glides by it by saying it’s not a panacea and workers still get laid off, pensions cut, etc.

    I think that sort of misses the point.

    That’s not a reason to AVOID bankruptcy courts, that’s a reason to reform the bankruptcy process. Lawyers have turned it into a feeding frenzy and have worked with company owners, mgrs, wall street private equity and hedge fund types, etc. to make sure they’re still in control and that their interests and concerns are addressed, first and foremost. Because top managers keep themselves in the driver’s seat during the process that’s why they’re able to lay off employees in droves and cut pensions. That’s them doing what they can to put themselves first.

    During the Lehman bankruptcy, the firm who represented Lehman broke records for the hourly rates they were able to get approved. It was like $1K/hr or something crazy.

    I think the right way to frame this situation is to ask the question we often saw during the 2008 crisis, “who bears the cost of the crisis?” If you wipe out the capital structure of these companies and fire management, you are making THEM eat the cost, instead of the general public.

    We should think of bankruptcy courts as another avenue of expression of class conflict, but one that the left and progressives aren’t very good at fighting in and haven’t fought over. Sanders’ defeat gives us a chance to have a long look at ourselves and to think about what we can do better.

    I think it’s lazy and simplistic to say, “we need to organize public pressure more” and “we need to get out and protest more”.

    What we need, is to reform the institutional processes that wealthy, powerful players use. Bankruptcy courts are one of the important ones. I’d love to see lefties (or right-leaning populists) in congress dig into the corporate bankruptcy process and come up with reforms to make the process work better and more equitably.

    I understand that it’ll be a tough fight, but it’s very much worth it.

    1. JohnnyGL

      On a separate, but a related note, keep in mind the cost-savings to the public of wiping out the risk capital of various corporations, and restricting the bailouts to, say, bailing out unemployed workers and their pension funds.

      If you do a scaled down bailout like that….you’ve just chopped the ‘cost’ of the bailout down, by something like a factor of 10. Instead of throwing $1trn at big corps….you could just launch a pension fund rescue for like $100bn.

      For those weary of ‘heavy-handed’ activist government. I think that’s a more attractive proposition.

  30. GlobalMisanthrope

    I know we’re strongly discouraged from asking about the fate of our comments, but I was in a completely anodyne and civil conversation with MLTPB and the whole exchange suddenly disappeared.

    What gives?


        I don’t get that. Nobody was making anything up. I included a link to the daily death stats and Schengen members are widely known.

        1. MLTPB

          I was trying to compare our states with Schengen members, as far as people being able to move around.

          They may not be the same, but I see some similarities, in the spread within each.


            Interesting thought experiment! I wish we had better numbers stateside.

        2. Monty

          Those are annual totals per 100,000 population, not daily totals. That puts a bit of a dent in the narrative you were spinning, in my opinion.

          Even so. I’m not sure how reliable that site is, considering it says “Bulgaria has the highest mortality rate in the world of 15.433 deaths per 1,000 people.”. A very unfortunate place to live, by all accounts! If they don’t proof read, can we trust their numbers?

          1. GlobalMisanthrope

            I see. Oops. The comparisons would still stand, though I’m looking for better numbers

            However, I wasn’t spinning a narrative or constructing an argument. I was just saying. Because there’s a lot of noise without context flying around via official channels. I was just trying to encourage some better thinking.


            1. Monty

              You were saying 9000 people die every day in the UK. I looked into the UK figures recently. 2 weeks ago deaths from all causes spiked 10% above normal for the week. 500 Corona deaths caused overall deaths to be 1000 above the normal 10000 deaths for the week. So that suggests to me that the Corona deaths were not absorbed by people who would have died anyway, and were likely under counted if anything.

              They publish the numbers every week with a 2 week lag, but Channel 4 News says that UK deaths are now running 50% above average there.

              My understanding is these live figures are very hard to get in many places. The UK is a single bureaucracy and has a good understanding of how many people are dying on its territory.

              1. GlobalMisanthrope

                According to CDC, US deaths per day were 7,708 on average for 2017 (the most recent year avail on its site), with peak months of Dec, Jan, Feb—which correspond to peak of flu season here—reporting 8,478, 8,351, and 8,344, respectively.

                This is a partial context for the US’s having incurred a widely-reported 2,000 deaths in 24 hours. Quite right that we would need to know demographics and seasonal patterns, etc to get a fuller picture. I just think it’s important to provide context. The average US news consumer is likely to think about the 2,000 in a vacuum.

                Well done, UK if they get this right. Here in USA USA, we’re unlikely to know the real numbers for years if ever. So helping to keep the conversation more on track is always my aim. Thanks for catching my mistake in my first analysis.

                1. GlobalMisanthrope

                  I should add that there is no universal or even widespread protocol for determining cause of death that would be applied across settings here in the US.

                  But even assuming we could know that those 2,000 deaths were all Covid-related, we’d still need to know how many total deaths there were in that same 24 hours for that number to begin to take on meaning.

                  The CDC used to produce its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, which would be the source of much data from which to build context. They haven’t published a weekly report since Dec 2019 and it was an embarrassing shell of what the pre2017 reports looked like. Shameful and terrifying. The US numbers have zero integrity.

                2. rtah100

                  UK daily briefing is announcing a salamgundi of a figure (a hotch potch, a Heinz 57, call it what you will). They announce the new deaths reported that day but covering many days earlier. There is a detailed ramt about MSM falling for this at Apparently the latest figure of c. 900 includes only c. 150 of deaths reported in past 24h. We are probably already past the peak and continued high reports represent filling in the data gaps.

                  Cumulative deaths wil ve much less sensitive to reporting timing as an indicator of epidemic development.

                3. rtah100

                  UK number includes new reports of deaths many days previously.

                  900 reported but only 150 from last 24h.

                  Probably already past peak. Good rant at about this.

                  Cumulative deaths much less sensitive to reporting timing, better indicator of epidemic development.

                  1. MLTPB

                    SJ Mercury News reported yesterday the U Washinton group projected April 15 peak for California, of 66 total that day, but could be as low as 19, and high as 178.

                    If it already peaked in the UK, that’s a relief.

                  2. Monty

                    I was referring to the data about deaths from all causes, published with the 2 week lag. I think it is the most reliable insight, because you can see just how many people are dying vs normal at the same time of year. Then it is easy see if there are excess deaths, or not.

      2. MLTPB

        If I remember correctly, it was about looking at both the total and per million, or something like that.

        Even then, we don’t get the whole picture. I believe we have to look at context, etc.

        I think GM and I were agreeing with each other, though that does not mean we are correct, of course.

  31. tongorad

    Betsy DeVos with a Good Friday surprise…
    Never let a crisis go to waste!

    Secretary DeVos Awards $65 Million to Create and Expand Public Charter Schools in Areas of Greatest Need –>>

    U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today $65 million in new grant awards that will fund the creation and expansion of more than 100 high-quality public charter schools in underserved communities across the country. Through the Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Program (Charter Schools Program, or CSP), more students will have the opportunity to move off waitlists into schools of their choice.

    “There are hundreds of thousands of kids on charter school wait lists across America, hoping for the opportunity to access an education that will help them reach their full potential,” said Secretary DeVos. “These critical investments in high-quality charter schools will help make that dream a reality for more students. The current educational disruptions are making crystal clear that students need more options and more flexibility to help find their right fit and shape their future success. The investments we are making today are truly investments in our nation’s future.”

  32. John

    What corporation/rich people did the American taxpayer bail out today?

    Or is the Trump regime waiting until Jesus come back from the dead tomorrow to screw us some more?

  33. D. Fuller

    With an additional 17 million unemployed… what will the pay be like after the pandemic is over? Will it keep up with the inflation? Businesses have the upper hand when it comes to hiring. Unless the prospective employee is in a field which is lacking in experienced personnel – such as die makers and underwater welders. Even then? Everyone saw how Google and Apple and others in SV handled that: anti-poaching agreements, secretly made at the time.

  34. Tom Stone

    I was just thinking about “Good old Uncle Joe” and wondering what would happen if he refused to step aside.
    I have dealt with people who had dementia, the loss of acuity is frequently accompanied by a loss of flexibility, they can be astonishingly stubborn.
    This could get quite amusing.

  35. flora

    T is killin off the Post Office? Let me get this straight, all the GOP midwestern and mountain states with high rural populations helped get T elected. The Post Office is vitally important in rural states. It’s the ‘last mile’ delivery service for the Amazons and FedExs, etc, in the country. Now T is willing to kill off the Post Office (and any chance for continued rural support in GOP midwestern states)? Wanker.

    1. flora

      It’ll make a great campaign meme: “GOP killed the Post Office. Now you can drive miles and spend big bucks to a private company to send that business letter, pay your taxes, and pay your utility bills. ”

      I thought T was shrewder than this. (I thought everyone not looking to make a buck privatizing the Post Office was shrewder than this.) Unbelievable. (I know the Dem estab has been all in on cutting the Post Office, too. Have they managed to sucker T into being the patsy for this crime?)

      1. Carolinian

        It’s not just Trump of course.

        that money would be marginal to the total Postal Service debt, almost all of which comes from a congressional requirement to prepay pension and retiree health care costs for all employees

        Don’t Dems have some say in that “congressional requirement”?

        1. rowlf

          I had a momentary daydream of making the congresscritters prepay their pension and retiree health care costs the same way as USPS…

          Aw well, everything is One Way like a street sign these days.

    2. cnchal

      > T is killin off the Post Office?

      Yes. Note the words of Wall Street — Extract Value — on page 10 and the slap down of postal banking.

      I have shipping stories to tell, but the latest one says it all. My rate at the post office to send my product to the west coast went from just below $20 to $73 when dimensional weight was implemented on Jan 26th 2020 and sales went to zero for those shipments, so corona cooties have practically nothing to do with my destruction, but the corrupt postal rate setting commitee, a bunch of faceless political appointees does.

      When Mnuchin blathers on about caring for small business, I erect the middle finger and say “extract this”.

    3. chuck roast

      So, Il Douche was not going to sign the CARES bill if a PO bailout grant was in it. Then the spineless congress replaced the grant with a loan to the PO. Finally this world famous assemblage of invertabrates passed the CARES bill like 479-1 in a vote that would have demolished any potential Il Douche veto. Unbelievable.

    4. Lambert Strether

      This is ridiculous liberal Democrat finger-pointing. The Post Office was uniquely burdened with paying pensions 50 years out on a bipartisan basis, and that’s what’s killing it. Why? Because big donors like Amazon (and FedEx (and UPS)) would like to take it over and gut it* (not no mention real estate developers like DiFi’s husband wanting to seize its assets). So sick of this.

      * Or, even better, get subsidized. The Post Office should never have been privatized int the first place. Deliveing the mail is a public good.

  36. Wukchumni

    If we were to lose the post office because it doesn’t get funded, would it be ‘forever’, like the stamps?

    I’m one of the last holdouts in terms of writing checks to pay bills, guess i’d have to be like everybody else, and do it online instead.

    1. flora

      Then there are the state/county/city govt mailings for car reg/tax, state employment docs, national docs like passports, legal docs , bank docs, etc. Bill paying is a small part of the services the Post Office provides. Can’t see Amazon doing this… or doing it well… or at an affordable rate.

      1. MLTPB

        Post office.

        Mail you a check, but not a ballot…from above.

        For a marriage license, I think you and the pardner have to show up in person. Perhaps it varies depending on the location?

    2. griffen

      You are certainly not alone in these efforts. Ordering checks still feels like a rite of passage. So what if this order lasts another 10 years !

  37. lovevt

    Both parties have been working to privatize USPS; think of the hugh pension funds building up. New Jersey Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell(not my rep) shows how the United States Postal Service is being crippled by misguided congressional demands for it to “operate like a business,” demands that run counter to the Founding Fathers’ intent that it be a unifying national institution. Pascrell argues that today’s Postal Service could further fulfill its original mission by expanding into, among other areas, community banking—Wash Mthly Apr-Jun2019, Vol. 51 Issue 4-

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Being run like a business isn’t quite the same as being run in a businesslike manner.

  38. Billy

    Anyone comment on how $1.4 QUADrillion of derivatives–the commonly stated number– are affected by the Covid unwinding(s)?
    Is this a rope a dope number, to get clicks on financial websites, or is it real?

  39. sd

    New COVID-19 Antibody Pilot Testing Begins Friday Across LA County

    Hundreds of Angelenos will take part in a new coronavirus antibody pilot test this Friday and Saturday.

    The test is being coordinated by the L.A. County Department of Public Health and the USC Price School of Public Policy. […]

    The first round of tests will take place this Friday and Saturday. Testing will then be repeated on the same participants every two weeks to track how the virus is moving through the population.

  40. Zagonostra

    It’s hard to overstate how much money has vanished. S&P 500 companies overall spent the size of the recent bailout – $2 trillion – on buybacks just in the last three years!

    “Easy is the descent into hell;
    The door to death and darkness stands open, day and night.

    But to retrace one’s steps, to return once more

    to the pure clean air, and cheerfulness and life:

    That is our task, that is our true labour.”

    Vergil, Aeneid

    1. flora

      That’s a very good Taibbi article:

      The S.E.C. Rule That Destroyed the Universe.

      “But the biggest shock involves the economy. How were we this vulnerable to disruption? Why do industries like airlines that just minutes ago were bragging about limitless profitability – American CEO Doug Parker a few years back insisted, “My personal view is that you won’t see losses in the industry at all” – suddenly need billions? Where the hell did the money go?

      In Washington, everyone from Donald Trump to Joe Biden to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is suddenly pointing the finger at stock buybacks, a term many Americans are hearing for the first time.

      This breaks a taboo of nearly forty years, during which politicians in both parties mostly kept silent about a form of legalized embezzlement and stock manipulation, greased by an obscure 1982 rule implemented by Ronald Reagan’s S.E.C., that devoured trillions of national wealth.”

      Here’s another link to the article.

      The current bailout amounts being handed to each industry seem to closely track the amounts industries spent on stock buybacks. Is that why the latest bailout’s largess is happening in virtual secrecy? Handing over huge sums to companies that produce nothing but debt has reached its sell-by date to the US public.

      As Taibbi writes:

      ““If you added up the capital distributions of the banks in just the few years before the crash,” says Kelleher, “it adds up to half the TARP. They wouldn’t have needed a bailout if they’d [curbed] distributions….
      The classic extraction trifecta was to ask for public investment, take on huge debts, and enact mass layoffs as a firm spent billions on distributions. ”

    2. griffen

      Thank you for the article. Taibbi gets a lot right when it comes to his coverage of Wall St and the chicanery that passes for high finance.

      Corporate leadership has a lot to answer for, including the buyback programs. Plenty of CEO, COO and CFO will mostly earn what they get but I dare say the bad apples make the whole lot seem ill-suited to lead,

  41. Ed Miller

    Re: Lanny Breuer video link. I need some help if someone has the link to the short clip on Lanny Breuer saying (reading between the lines) that he can’t prosecute in his temporary Asst. Attorney General gig because he would lose his cushy position at Covington & Burling which gives his family such great benefits. I believe this was from the Frontline segment with Martin Smith. I couldn’t find that exact conversation in any videos.

    I recently finished the videos by John Titus which were found at the Corbett Report that a commenter here posted earlier this week. That Lanny Breuer video clip would be the icing on the cake for me, to go with all the evidence against him in the John Titus videos.

    Much appreciated if someone can help.

  42. Tom Bradford

    Pandemic diary of a naked capitalist – week 5

    Wealth-on-paper recovered another 1.75% last week. Would have been more had not our ventilator manufacturer shed 12% in the week. Now back to where we were exactly 12 months ago when even I was beginning to think prices were a bit silly. And that was in normal times.

    Our private portfolio is 100% NZX which makes some sense of the recovery being as (touch wood) we could be on track to eliminate this thing fairly quickly and can start getting back to work. Our foreign exposure is via our KiwiSaver accounts – kinda’ like the US 401k – but they’re up too, which in the circumstances makes no sense to me. A fall in the $NZ against the $US might have something to do with this, but maybe the fund managers are actually earning their fees for a change.

    Was very impressed by our PM at her Monday’s Press Conference. Anyone in the ‘Motivational’ or ‘Leadership’ lecture circuit would do worse than study this :

    She explained lucidly why we were in lockdown and what it was intended to achieve. She did not order everyone to stay at home, but instead explained why it was important that everyone make the choice to stay in their homes. And most people have.

    She, OK bragged a little about having got NZ$5.3 billion out of the door to 183,000 laid-off workers while other countries were still talking about it. I understand it’s over $6 billion now to >200,000.

    She announced a public register of where the money went so said laid-off workers could check it came through to them.

    She assured people that worry causing mental health problems in these circumstances was not unusual, that those experiencing them were not weak or alone, and set out what the Govt. was doing to help.

    She did not say we were in a war and that sacrifices for the common good were required, etc.

    She did not talk down to us or tell us what we already knew.

    She did not pretend to be clairvoyant, didn’t make ‘promises’ about when it would be over or deliver confident-sounding forecasts about the future as everyone (well, most people) knows that nobody knows the future.

    She talked directly to our children letting them know that the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny had been declared essential workers but warned that they were also having to look after their own families in the lockdown so might not have time to visit everyone. She did it in a way that hinted she didn’t really believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny either, but we could all go on pretending we did because really things weren’t so serious that we should stop pretending, and could still have fun.

    She left no doubt that the Government priority’s was people, people, people – and that helping people directly was the way to get business and the economy through this, not the other way around.

    She was steel wrapped in the weak and feeble body of a woman. Maybe she is basing her performance on Good Queen Bess facing the Spanish Armada but if so, she’s doing a damn sight better job of it than BoJo’s Churchill imitation.

    Is it a coincidence that the western nations responding best in this crisis, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany, are all led by women? Does it take a woman leader to transcend politics in an apolitical crisis, and so win the trust and support of the vast majority of the population regardless of their politics?

    1. griffen

      I’d be curious what the knock on effects of the Fed interventions are having vis a vis your local currency and capital markets. QEv2020 to the stratosphere.

      Wait the tooth fairy can’t just be in quarantine with all the rest ? Even the imaginary creatures ought to practice social distancing ! 6 ft spacing required on the island of misfit toys.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      Not bashing NZ, but can the 5 million investor visas from our(US) paranoid upper class contribute to your countries’ unemployement “largesse”? Oh well, at least someone is sticking it to those flinty b@$t@rds.

  43. Wukchumni

    We have the 2 drivers of the French Revolution in place, assignats & hunger…

    I guess you’d have to call our variant ‘Asset-nots’ with the Fed buying any old garbage these days, and watch those missed meals America, it might give you a hunger of a different sort.

  44. Altandmain

    Unfortunately, it looks like the US is number 1 … in coronavirus fatalities.

    This is something that many on NC expected to see happen, but it doesn’t make it less tragic.

    My condolences to all those who have lost family or friends. Right now at work, I’ve done a lot of overtime and my shoulders are sore from the medical equipment we’ve converted our manufacturing plant to make.

    1. MLTPB

      North America is behind Europe.

      Asia likely also below Europe.

      Africa is lower than Asia.

      But continents are artificial constructs, I believe. As are countries…maybe.

      On the hand, I read that Grednland is the only country with zero active cases, per reports (Newsweek, Daily Sabah) 2 days ago.

  45. Chris

    I had a thought after a conversation with Billy on this board last night. It started forming after I had gone grocery shopping for the next two weeks early on Friday. That discussion crystallized it somewhat.

    At the store I saw all this great food go untouched – flounder, cod, scallops, beets, kale, squash, quail, pork shoulder, etc. All the butter and cream were gone, but there was plenty of lard and other substitutes if you really need fatty milk. Plenty of full fat coconut milk for instance. But all the easy to cook stuff was gone. You couldn’t find white eggs or chicken nuggets or cheese pizza. You could find other things that weren’t common and if you knew how to cook and prepare things you could eat well for not too much more than prior to the crisis.

    And then the person on this board last night asked a question about how long you would need to cook something at a given temperature to have the body of the food be that temperature. And that was after a statement implying that you needed to cook something to a temperature hot enough to burn good food to ash if you did it for any length of time. And it struck me how unfair this all is.

    Even if my sarcasm and joke meter was off there are people who don’t know simple things about cooking. Even if the person was suggesting I was being a patronizing jerk with my comment there are people who don’t know how to cook squash or beets or fish or pork shoulder so that they taste good. Or break them down into a size where they’ll keep. And the gulf of knowledge that exists when you’re talking with someone like that is so vast that you can’t talk about it on a board like this. Most of the cooking shows don’t even go over basic, basic, cooking details like those. If there was some way to bridge the gap there’s no guarantee that it would help because for things like kale or beets or fish, if you haven’t had them before, or your kids haven’t had them before, you’re likely wasting money on food your family won’t eat.

    It’s not as if we need to teach people the difference between sensible heat and latent heat so everyone can cook brisket. We just need to teach people how to break down tough foods or make vegetables taste better. And how to cook it so that it’s safe to eat. But the people who have all that experience and have had the chance to expose their families to that food are the ones who are well off and can purchase this food countercyclically. They have the tools and the appliances to cook it well. And the people who would really benefit from that knowledge are left looking for food that isn’t available. They’re also the people who have garage and second refrigerators or freezers to store food and buy in bulk.

    The people benefiting from the current situation probably don’t even realize how many advantages they had prior to this crisis which are also advantageous during this lockdown and resource shortage.

    It’s just so unfair.

    I hope we have a chance to fix it before the people suffering decide to take the food they want from those who have it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      amen to all of that.
      and also, people often don’t have the time to cook from scratch.
      like dry beans…they take forever, especially if you count an overnight soak.
      I was a chef(glorified cook) and often gave cooking lessons to all and sundry….sold it to my bosses as a marketing thing.
      and you’re right…out here it’s the poor white people who can’t cook(the Mexicans cook all the time, and often have the Dona at home all day doing all that.)
      So the crackers eat a bunch of packaged factory food, or eat out if they can…which, if you’re poor, means convenience store fried garbage.
      I’ve wondered in the past, upon learning about this knowledge deficit, if this diet doesn’t contribute to some of the bad behaviours exhibited by that same cohort.
      high fat, refined starches and plentiful cheap beer(and meth)+ variations on the Cult of the Lost Cause= despair and lashing out.

      of course, my boys like eating basura, sometimes…and i try to account for that. It’s a thing with kids, I guess. It’s much easier to limit with the pandemic:”nope, sorry, they were rationing cheese doodles…”
      so the radishes get eaten…and i keep a bowl of salad for eating like chips(and the addition of roquet, etc gives them the zesty they seem to crave)

      I think every day how fortunate we are…even though i consider us poor. If mom didn’t have this patch of land, I don’t know what we would have done. and i preach frugality, in spite of the universal eye rolling: I’d rather get a deep freeze than those damned sports jerseys and fancy, badly made shoes.
      I think about all those people you’re talking about…can’t cook a pot of beans for their family…don’t know how to “put by”…nor do they have the wherewithal if they wanted to…
      we’ve allowed the worst people ever to screw over a whole bunch of folks in the last 50 years…and there will be consequences to that.

      1. Billy

        That was me re the temperatures.
        One positive thing about this home enclosure is that people are going to have to have become more self reliant, if not self aware, of their strengths and weaknesses in the kitchen and larder.
        People who eat out every night, from McDonalds to Chez Panise, now realize how much preparation there is to eat decent, non-packaged food. This may hopefully start a movement like you say toward kitchen skill building, thus family meals and socialization with neighbors, if and when.
        The poorest person hopefully can learn that they can eat decently for little cash. A few vegetables, fried with onions in quality olive oil, a splash of the cheapest white wine thrown in to deglaze the pan, over couple dollars in Rice and beans, is cheap, probably cheaper, when the satisfaction it gives and “fullness” it provides than would be ramen, Popeyes chicken sandwiches, or other packaged junk food.
        One thing Chris didn’t mention is avoiding waste. One gallon freezer bags are useful to save large portions of food that have been cooked in larger portions, or to cover a bowl of prepared food in the refrigerator to keep it from drying out.
        Hopefully a good set of pans will become as important to people as what kind of phone they carry.

      2. CuriosityConcern

        My personal opinion is that high salt diets contribute to agressive/violent behavior. Or at least I’ve noticed high salt has a negative effect on yours truly.

    2. sd

      A lot can be accomplished with just a crockpot and a handful of ingredients, there’s minimal prep, and then just set the crock pot/slow cooker to a long cooking time. It just takes some curiosity to get the process going.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      “But the people who have all that experience and have had the chance to expose their families to that food are the ones who are well off and can purchase this food countercyclically. They have the tools and the appliances to cook it well.”

      I’m not so sure this is true. It certainly is the reverse of what used to be the case. Having been around a fair number of the rich during my life, it’s been my experience that the rich are quite incapable of taking care of themselves, including being able to prepare food. Yes, they have all the cook books. Yes, they have all the fancy pots and pans. Yes, they probably took cooking courses at one time or another. They might be able to follow directions and put the proper portions together in the pan or pot, but ask them to bake a pie or a stew with dumplings and see what happens.

      My spouse learned to prepare food when she was a child and her parents were both out working in the field. She learned to can and freeze food as well. I learned about these things from my grandparents whose huge garden ended up in shelves and shelves of canned goods and bags of fruit and vegetables in a root cellar. Has anyone ever known someone affluent who put up significant quantities of food every year? LOL.

      As Wendell Berry has warned about for decades, we have been de-skilled. It began with “convenience foods” in the 50s aimed at the middle class housewife. That process continued working its way through the population so that now many if not most of the poor are as de-skilled as the rich always were. Our kids are gaining a greater appreciation for their mother’s food prep skills, and are now showing more interest in learning these things for themselves.

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