Links 4/9/2020

Linda Tripp, central figure in the Clinton impeachment, dies at 70 NBC

Tiger King: What we discovered under cover Humane Society :-(

‘A huge step forward.’ Mutant enzyme could vastly improve recycling of plastic bottles Science Magazine (David L)

That Weird Pain in Your Nuts and the Limits of Telemedicine Wired

Taiwan’s first marine waste encyclopedia Marine Waste Illustrations

No Thanks! Against gratitude as a therapeutic practice Baffler (UserFriendly). IMHO, this gratitude bullshit is New Age authoritarism: you are supposed to feel a certain way or else you aren’t very evolved. It’s yet another way to indoctrinate people into suppressing anger, when righteous anger is a powerful and positive force for action.


A seismic shift in our lives means it’s oh so quiet RTE (PlutoniumKun). Not so much in the ‘burbs, but our cute local ice cream truck, which plays cheery ditties as it trundles around, is no longer making the rounds.

CDC weighs loosening guidelines for some exposed to virus ABC (Kevin W)

Coronavirus meme featuring “WWII donkey” is not what it claims to be War Is Boring (BC)

Pope says coronavirus outbreak may be one of ‘nature’s responses’ to climate change The Hill


A leading model now estimates tens of thousands fewer covid-19 deaths by summer Washington Post

CDC considers loosening guidelines for some exposed to virus Associated Press. Resilc: “No testing but nooooooooooproblem.”

Why Measles Deaths Are Surging–and Coronavirus Could Make it Worse Nature (resilc)

Virus May Spread Twice as Fast as Earlier Thought, Study Says Bloomberg (David L)

The Asian Countries That Beat Covid-19 Have to Do It Again Wired (resilc)

Italy Working On Coronavirus Tracing App To Help Lockdown Exit Reuters

Big pool of coronavirus cases going undetected, German researchers say South China Morning Post

Diabetics potentially have a LOT to lose by using hydroxychloroquine Cathy O’Neil

Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks Nature (vlade)


Ministers ‘see no prospect’ of taking decision to ease lockdown ‘for weeks to come’ while daily death toll is soaring towards 1,000 and Boris Johnson remains in hospital – despite potential harm to economy Daily Mail

Coronavirus latest: German figures indicate slowdown in infections Financial Times

Germany eases border rules to allow in harvest workers amid coronavirus crisis and Germany drafts Romanian farm labor for coronavirus pandemic DW. Micael: “We really need the asparagus!”


Lockdown in India: Lockdown extension likely as PM Modi talks of ‘national emergency’ Times of India (J-LS)

India’s exporters face crunch as coronavirus pummels economy Financial Times

Muslim men help carry Hindu woman’s bier in MP’s Indore after relatives fail to attend funeral due to lockdown Firstpost (J-LS)

Scenario planning, regular update clause led to export of key drugs in Covid fight Economic Times (J-LS)


The New Populist Right Imagines a Post-Pandemic America Matt Stoller (Bob K)

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic CounterPunch (resilc)

Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word Los Angeles Times (Kevin W)

The Pentagon’s supply chain faces an economy under siege Defense News (Kevin W)

Kansas legislature strikes down governor’s directive limiting size of religious gatherings The Hill (Kevin W). Darwin award.

Complaint of Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program and The Arc of the United States Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program

Serfs Revolt

Detroit Nurses Ordered To Leave Hospital After Refusing to Work The Source


Antibody tests will soon tell us whether we face a short sharp shock, or a global economic body blow Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. See our post today on herd immunity. Knowledgeable readers contend that antibody tests won’t be ready for a while and won’t necessarily be dispositive. From reader ZacP:

It is important to note that an antibody test can mean different things depending on the specific infection. For example, a person who tests positive for the HIV antibody still also is a carrier of the virus and can infect other people. It can also take months, as many as six, for antibodies to become detectable via the standard labwork.

Combine that with false +/- results, length of time to ramp up production of testing kits, and we still need evidence to be able to interpret what a +antibody result would even mean in the case of COVID19…….serum testing still seems to be a long, long way out from actually being able to guide decision making. AEP suggests.

More along this line: What Are Antibody Tests, and Can They Prove Coronavirus Immunity? Vice

Rents Are Late, and ‘It’s Only Going to Get Worse’ New York Times

Farmers Are Panic-Buying to Keep America’s 95 Million Cows Fed Bloomberg (resilc)

JPMorgan temporarily halts small business loans outside federal scheme Financial Times (BC)

Amazon’s Shifting Definition of What Is ‘Essential’ The Markup


Anti-China Hysteria Is Ultimately Not About Covid-19, Racism Or Communism, But Power Caitlin Johnstone

Chinese HNWIs Keep on Spending — But on What? Jing Daily (J-LS)

Chernobyl’s on Fire. Great. Vice. I’m still waiting for the rain of frogs…


Saudi Arabia: Riyadh creating nuclear reactor building site

Israel brings 1 million masks from China for IDF soldiers Jerusalem Post

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

iPhone Can’t Recognize You With a Mask On? Here’s What to Do About It Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

Coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a wave of cyber attacks – here’s how to protect yourself The Conversation (J-LS)

Attackers Can Bypass Fingerprint Authentication With an 80 Percent Success Rate ars technica

Trump Transition

Treasury IG sends report to House Dems on handling of Trump tax returns The Hill


Sanders exit leaves deep disappointment on left The Hill

Barack and Michelle Obama to come off sidelines after Bernie Sanders drops out Independent (Kevin W)

You Still Can’t Beat City Hall Slate

Poll: Obama would be better amid coronavirus, but Trump bests Biden Politico (BC)

Trump urges Republicans to ‘fight very hard’ against voting by mail Guardian

Russia, Saudi to debate oil output cuts as U.S. resists joining Reuters

Zoom Accused of Misrepresenting Security Measures In New Lawsuit Gizmodo

Guillotine Watch

New York luxury towers quake as coronavirus hits property market Financial Times

Antidote du jour (Craig H):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Samuel Conner

      I think slow-motion herd immunity is more or less the default once containment is abandoned in favor of mitigation.

      I hope that there is a comprehensive investigation into the preparedness failures. Heads should roll, right up to the top, but more important than punishment is “lessons learned.” This must never happen again, And I suppose that it won’t, until circa 2120.

    2. Big River Bandido

      This is an example of responding to economic worries and ignoring public health. Unbelievably irresponsible. Rather like Democrats telling people to go vote during a pandemic.

        1. ForFawkesSakes

          Not entirely.

          Biden encouraged people to vote in person in both Florida and Wisconsin.

          Tom Perez, on behalf of the DNC, threatened states who were to delay primaries with a smaller delegate count.

          The Republicans can only get away with this stuff with the Democrat’s help and support.

      1. pasha

        republicans were TOTALLY responsible for the forced wisconsin primary! minority democratic legislators tried to postpone it, democratic governor tried to postpone it, but republican majority legislators and republican majority supreme court (most partisan state supreme court in the country) insisted it be conducted, even tho milwaukee had been reduced to five polling places!

  1. Lee

    Thank you, Yves, for the link to the essay on the virtues and the situational appropriateness of ingratitude.

    1. JP

      I was disappointed the author, as a mental health professional in training, didn’t give any description of dialectical practices. It should be possible to both feel gratitude (and absorb the psychological benefits of doing so) AND believe in and strive for positive change. These are not mutually exclusive states of mind.

      My colleagues in disaster medicine talk about how you can get thrown out of a disaster zone if you do not demonstrate the ability to both help AND emotionally / physically step away from the situation to maintain your resilience and effectiveness. I wouldn’t dismiss gratitude practices so entirely.

      Having said all that, it’s certainly possible that gratitude practices are not especially helpful/appropriate for people who are actively incarcerated which seemed to be her experience with them…

      1. furies

        I personally, a poor discard-able person, hate hate hate “Positive Thinking” crap that has been shoved down MY throat for years now by people who are not “one paycheck away” from homelessness.

        I believe that people should be able to feel whatever the heck we are feeling without being shamed for it. Not *feeling* our feelings is what is gumming up our consciousness imnsho. In order to get past those ‘uncomfortable feelings’ one needs to actually FEEL them. Thinking positive/cultivating gratitude endlessly is just another way to pathologize us and then shut us up.

        1. JP

          Maybe the marketing of this sort of exercise has gotten out of control and I’m just not aware of it. Personally, I’ve never seen gratitude shoved down someone’s throat — though if it has, surely the recipient should be grateful. The purpose (in my understanding) is not to shame or repress feelings, or to cultivate gratitude endlessly, it is to acknowledge the duality of a person’s situation. It also admittedly isn’t helpful for everyone.

          I most strongly disagree with the author’s thesis that gratitude, almost by definition, promotes impotence or complacency. Similarly, I’ve rarely seen bitterness and despair act as powerful motivators, but I’d be curious if there are historic examples that just aren’t coming to mind.

        2. fwe'zy

          +1 to furies’ comment
          Maybe it’s the Black Agenda Report links below, but I’m picturing the reactionary Black Misleadership Class (a BAR epithet) that fell into line on Biden, and when the Bible was used to mentally/ emotionally corral slaves.

          1. Carey

            Thirded. The vaunted Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is essentially gaslighting the downtrodden, IMO.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      Gratitude is not a learned response, and it is a self-delusion among my psychology colleagues who believe (as in religious belief) that one may improve one’s happiness by being trained to be happy. Some people find grumping and geezerliness to be self-satisfying – even healthy. Being a grouch does wonders for social distancing.

      My personal experience is that gratitude is a genomic condition caused by the interaction of aging and life experience. In my mid 50s, I started suffering increasing attacks of gratitude. I would write letters of appreciation to old mentors and people whose influence had guided my successes in life. I found that the more of these I wrote (okay – mostly emails, sometimes phone chats – even lunches out), the worse my condition became. By age 65, gratitude has become both chronic and incurable. I cannot help but thank anybody who is nice to me or helpful. I thanked Ed, my lawn service guy, for doing an outstanding job on triming the hedges the other day. Yesterday, to her surprise, I thanked the masked and gloved checkout lady at the commissary for having the guts to come to work so I could buy groceries. She told me that my remarks made her day. It made mine too.

      So while readers post cynical geezerly criticisms of gratitude, I can only rejoin that age-old admonition to little Mikey the TV commercial cereal hater: Tryit! You’ll like it.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Making someone feel good about themselves is one of the biggest insights of my life. The thrill of success is simply addictive.

      2. Procopius

        My default attitude is negativity. Many years ago, a lovely lady told me to try gratitude. Every night, before bedtime, recall one thing that happened during the day that was really nice. In my case it was often things like seeing a flower growing through a crack in the pavement, or seeing a butterfly in an unexpected place. Then say a prayer to any deity you believe in, thanking her for putting that moment into your life. If you’re an agnostic (like me), or an atheist, just suspend your belief for a moment (it doesn’t cost you anything) and address your thanks to a hypothetical “higher power” that may or may not be interested in receiving such gratitude. If nothing good happened in the entire day, then be thankful the [family blog] day is over with. It was amazing how much better my days were after I started doing this. Be warned, though, like most good habits, it’s easy to break. By the way, some people recommend giving thanks for ALL the good things that happened that day. I suggest using one thing is better, especially at first when you are still concentrating on the negative.

  2. zagonostra

    >Sanders Exit, TINA Enters

    For many on the left, the work now turns to ensuring Biden engages with Sanders’s supporters and does not compromise when it comes to enacting a liberal agenda.

    Perhaps for “many” but not for me.

    It was curious to see AOC on DemocracyNow yesterday where she railed against the CARE act and said she did not “support it.” Amy Goodman never asked her if she voted for it.

    On TYT Cenk, EmmaVigeland and others of the same “progressive ilk” came out with a litany of problems with Joe Biden but then at the end said they/we must vote for him in order to stop Trump.

    Do you see a pattern here? The CARE Bill was the biggest theft in the history of this country, but AOC and the 96’ers voted for it, Joe Biden is horrible candidate (a very indecent human being in my opinion), but we have to stop Trump so we must vote for him.

    TINA is a psychotic evil bitch and I’ll be damned if I submit to her…it is also telling that Sander’s first interview after announcing he is ceasing his campaign is with Stephen Colbert – a corporate shill if ever there was one.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Amy Goodman never asked her if she voted for it

      That’s because the CARE Act was passed in 2010, and AOC wasn’t elected until 2019.

        1. zagonostra

          Sorry I left the “S” off but I think you knew the reference I was making…

          I get heated/passionate sometimes when I gaze out at the political world I’m living in. This leads to comments that often contain grammatical/syntactical/spelling errors…apologies, I’ll try to be more careful.

          1. Watt4Bob

            I get heated/passionate sometimes when I gaze out at the political world I’m living in.

            I hear ya…

            “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.”

          1. Aumua

            Yeah but bashing AOC just seems like the most logical thing to do, because she’s the ‘leftiest’. And it’s fun!

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      No one who lived through 2016 should be surprised. This is the same playbook, just substitute Hillary for Biden. TYT was especially bad in the pivot from going hard against Hillary to TINA.

      1. zagonostra

        Along the lines of “this is the same playbook,” Glen Ford of BAR summarizes it nicely in an article posted today.

        The Democratic Party has for the last four years blamed all of the ills of capitalism — and their own crimes — on the singularly loathsome person of Donald Trump and his imaginary partners in Moscow. Trump has, in effect, been their shield, diverting attention from Democratic complicity in the Race to the Bottom – which is why Hillary Clinton wanted him to be the Republican nominee, and why the Democrats insist he is the only issue in 2020. If Trump is the root of all evil, then all that needs to be done is to replace him with a Democrat – leaving intact the system created by both parties at the behest of the ruling class. But the Covid-19 epidemic would have wrought mass death and economic havoc in the United States no matter which half of the corporate duopoly was in charge, because both corporate parties have been eagerly dismantling and privatizing the public health sector for two generations. The Covid-19 bailout of banks and corporations under Trump is modeled on the bank and corporate bailout under Obama more than a decade ago. Neither scheme saved anybody but the financial and corporate elite. The First Black President and the Thoroughly Racist President both serve the same masters.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I’ve been hearing this “if not for Trump [fill in the complaint]” line from centrist and even “progressive” Dems for the past 3 years now. Great distillation of the Donkey Party 3 Card Monty. Trump is under every card.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Yup. That’s a pretty good summary of yesterday’s phone conversation with a neighbor. Poor fella. He’s really suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Same with my best friend who is also a Sanders supporter but will do whatever it takes to get rid of Trump. He really hates the Donald and we keep having the same conversation where he accuses me of being a Trump apologist every time I point out how bad the Democrat party is and that the country’s problems didn’t start with Trump. He definitely has at least a moderate case of TDS and is of the ‘vote for the lesser of two evils’ persuasion. Now it’s “Trump is causing people to die” with his COVID response, and when I ask if maybe Biden and the DNC didn’t also cause people to die by their own awful response, encouraging people to vote in the primaries, he just doesn’t want to hear it.

              I think I will forward him zagonostra’s link above.

        2. fresno dan

          April 9, 2020 at 8:18 am

          just a really terrific link – thanks for that!!!

          1. Aumua

            Yes it’s a terrific link, but it does not contain the quote that is in Z’s post. I’m curious which article that quote is actually from?

        3. L

          Yes. You know this is true because of the one thing that none of the Dems (apart from Sanders) has even touched, the tax cuts. They all agree that we need to reduce inequality but they won’t even mention the one thing that has done the most for it.

          Along the lines of the BAR There are two good editorials on Sanders and Biden in The Week:

          Bernie Sanders didn’t lose because his ideas were unpopular

          Biden is the weakest major party nominee in recent history — but that might be the point

          To my mind the key point in the first is telling:

          As noted above, rank-and-file Democrats largely agreed with Sanders’ platform. But their overwhelming priority was trying to divine who was likeliest to defeat Trump, and the party elite and the mainstream media, especially trusted nominally liberal outlets like NPR and MSNBC, blared forth a constant message that Sanders was an unelectable radical, and Biden the safe choice. Democrats trust their leaders and the mainstream media, and they believed the message.

        4. D. Fuller

          Think of Republicans as shock troops. They infiltrate, attack and take ground.

          Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer are the garrison troops who secure and consolidate the “ground” taken and even expand it by small measures which add up.

          Consider the $170 billion, ten year tax break for real estate developers. Trump will benefit from that. Until CU and other court cases, one would have considered such, public corruption (since Trump retains control of his business).

          What about Democrats like Pelosi? How does that $170 billion tax break for real estate developers help her?

          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.

          My, my. Trump and Pelosi have something in common through wealth.

          I do apologize for using this example a little too often. Yet does illustrate the point. How many Congress Members’ bank accounts will benefit from the Corporate Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)? And both parties’ funding. Which party can deliver the most money to their wealthiest donors, in order to woo those donors? For example, ACA. A Republican plan passed by Obama and Democrats. Republicans are angered at the attempted theft of donors that Democrats tried to steal with ACA. Republicans never wanted to repeal ACA. They wanted to modify it – hence McCain’s and Pence’s heated discussion on the Senate floor during the repeal efforts. McCain always voted last. And he gave Pence what D.C. Republicans wanted – a “No” vote. After all, Republicans can always modify ACA next time they have the votes.

          Washington, D.C. and the two parties are simply about how to split up all that loot from taxpayers. Who gets paid. Who gets what. How to go about doing it. That is the real difference between Democrats and Republicans.

          It is not about serving the country. It is about the loot. And how to go about maintaining some facade of serving the country, so that the public does not revolt.

          1. fresno dan

            D. Fuller
            April 9, 2020 at 2:14 pm
            you don’t need to apologize and you can never post that example too much! – a perfect example of how we are abused.

        5. Spoofs Desu

          Nice quote from blackagends—Though, I don’t think he took the very rational and observant analysis to its logical conclusion; I mean, doesn’t this suggest this whole voting thing is a bit of ruse?

          The MSM media makes a huge deal out of what is, in then end, a relatively marginal environmental policy adjustment, for example. Yet, as accurately described in the quote, there is never any meaningful change. Is it not, in consequence, just a bad t.v. show? When it comes down to it?

        1. Kevin Hall

          Write in Vladimir Putin.

          He isn’t perfect but has been the ONLY adult on the world stage.

          After the past four years, what better way to send a big F U back at the establishment on both sides – especially the demorats.

          1. JTee

            Yes. Vote Putin in 2020! No way in hell will I vote for a corporate Dem or a Republican. No way.

            1. Arizona Slim

              Me? I can vote for Putin as a write-in. And I’ll write his name in Russian!

              So there.

          2. rl

            He is a cleverer serpent than most, certainly … Yes, and?

            I will be satisfied to just write in: Luke 12:49. There is a message for adults, if such are anywhere to be found.

            1. GramSci

              Yes, please. Some Greens are flaky, but their platform is sensible, they’re on the ballot in most states, and they need your vote to stay on the ballot.

        2. pebird

          I need to be able to honestly tell my friends I voted Democratic. I don’t need to tell them I wrote in Mike Dukakis.

        3. Deltron

          Are write-ins even tabulated and counted? I think it makes sense to vote Hawkins because of the potential ballot access and Federal funding benefits.

          1. michael99

            In the 2016 United States presidential election in California Bernie Sanders came in fifth place as a write-in candidate.


      2. John A

        Does “Barack and Michelle Obama to come off sidelines after Bernie Sanders drops out” suggest Michelle will be the mysterious female VP nominee?
        Surely with their book deals and speeches etc., those 2 grifters ought to take their illgotten no hope no change bullsh*t off to their east coast ocean front exclusive property and lie low, else who is going to stand between them and the pitchforks?

        1. T

          Still galling to see how effectively Obama can avoid taking heat for not making choices, such as openly supporting Biden, that is, not supporting Sanders.

          I guess once you get your ticket punched, you just want to enjoy the ride.

          And of course and always, the notion that insider conversations among the Democratic establishment are more important than any democratic process.

          1. L

            I second this point about the “insider conversations”. At times political reporting by Democrat-aligned reporters sounds like symcophantic kremlinology where internal whispers are treated as magical insights into “what voters want.” As opposed to the actual voters.

            Most days L’ Osservatore Romano holds itself to a higher standard.

          2. JohnnySacks

            Enjoying the ride has been Obama’s trademark since at least law school. Sit back, watch carefully, and take notes. Then when the winds start to blow strongly enough in a certain direction, set your sails hard, jump in 100%, and act as if you’ve been in the race all along. The man’s oratory and political skills are Incredible, he pulls this off over and over again. Don’t ask, don’t tell and gay marriage being two obvious examples.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          I’m trying to envision obama and biden together on a stage campaigning, obama sitting on a stool behind biden remaining stone-faced while biden spews his nonsensical, addled gibberish and dabs at the bleeding sores on his face. Quite the contrast, and not in a good way.

          I’m reminded of that video that you see every once in awhile with obama and biden jogging toward the oval office in their trousers, white dress shirts and ties with obama obviously doggin’ it so that joe can keep up.

          And wrt to michelle–I thought of her when I read today’s Baffler link “against gratitude.” Accoring to a recent link here, one of the bestsellers that she and oprah have been hawking on their “inspirational” entertainment tour was a “journal” in which michelle tells some of the things she’s “thankful” for and encourages the purchaser to do the same.

        3. David Carl Grimes

          I bet Michelle Obama will be the VP. She’s black, she’s a woman, and she’s popular. And her husband was instrumental in narrowing the field and maybe even pressuring Sanders to drop out. So Obama will get his reward for the Night of the Long Knives.

        4. wilroncanada

          John A
          I wrote a few months ago on this blog, and I reiterate now, that she could well be the “unifying Presidential candidate”. But she has no experience! That hasn’t stopped anyone for a long time, at least from 1996 on: R Perot, H Clinton, D Trump.
          I’m so cynical!

      3. TMoney

        Yours Truly here can’t vote, but Ms TMoney has become a Single Issue Voter. #MedicareForAll

        Promise it, you have her vote.

    3. Sailor Bud

      Not surprising. Just last month in an exchange with Krystal Ball, Cenk said outright that were our “lesser of two evils” choice between Romney running as a democrat and Trump, he’d choose Romney, period. Ball expressed a Sophie’s choice ambivalence, and he treated this like it was unreasonable, crazy, etc.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Cenk thinks that Trump is completely unhinged and will do anything to keep his kleptocratic state intact. The problem is that Cenk is not admitting that the Democrats are equally kleptocratic, just with a slightly different look. Biden truly is a lesser of two evils to him, and I understand his pivot to “anyone but Trump” once his preferred candidate lost.

        We are still voting for forever war, financialization of everything, and a health care system that loots you until you die. Nothing has changed except maybe the bad taste in my mouth for who is the President.. if Biden picks a Mid Western VP and they actually campaign well there (unlike Clinton).

    4. rob

      who cares what biden will promise.
      I have been voting for the green party candidate for the last three presidential elections, and even though right now, it is only to get the greens more access to the ballot.. at least I don’t feel “dirty” anymore.
      None of the corporatists; be they republican or democratic, have had any support from me. for president.
      If only all the people who “don’t care” voted green, just to move the goalposts.. back toward center… from all the way over here on the right.. where the corporatists live. in the USA.

      1. a different chris

        Thanks for this post, it’s exactly my approach. “You want my vote, it’s way over here dude/dudette. Figure out why.”

        But there are people in this very comment section that are sure that a vote for Trump in this election will send the same message. I have no idea why they think that.

        1. Chris

          Correct fellow Chris. I will vote because there are many other things on the ballot this year. But there is no way I’m voting for Biden or Trump. Pols have to earn my vote. I don’t have to do what MSNBC feels like it can shame me into :/

      2. fresno dan

        April 9, 2020 at 9:05 am
        If there is one thing that gives me a screaming, frothing at the mouth conniption fit, it is the idea that one is “wasting their vote” for voting for a third party candidate. It is astounding to me that people can’t see that they are wasting their vote by voting for a democrat or a republican…

        1. Eureka Springs

          I have so little trust in voting machines now, I fear a third party vote will both be used to legitimize this fubar system, while many votes could be algo’d to either major party.

          Nope, I turn my back on it all for now. Voter strike. We are the super plurality and we should be very loud about our numbers… agreeing upon no confidence. Both major parties are minority parties.

        2. Balakirev

          I, as well. And you probably won’t be surprised at how vicious my Democrat, TINA-advocating acquaintances get when they hear I’m not betting on a winner in a horse race, but on a decent candidate in an election otherwise devoted to corporate minions.

          1. Carey

            >I, as well. And you probably won’t be surprised at how vicious my Democrat, TINA-advocating acquaintances get

            Do I *ever* hear you: “vicious” is right.

      3. L

        Yeah, and there is the ugly fact that in some states the Presidental election is exactly what keeps third parties off the local ballot because ballot access is based upon past party performance in major elections (i.e. President or Governor). So as long as we are too scared to vote Green for one of those, we can never vote Green for mayor. Over the years the rules have only hardened as the parties try to protect their income stream.

    5. TheMog

      I don’t see the Democ-rat establishment “engaging” with that evil socialist left past the minimum of hollow promises that get dropped like a hot potato the minute they can afford to get back to “we won, you lost, get over it”.

      I expect to see the whole thing play out on “Biden is not Trump and we’re fighting for you butourdonorstellusthatwecan’taffordtodoanythingaboutthestatusquo”. In other words, they’re gearing up for a rematch of 2016 with a pretty predictable outcome.

      I guess turning the populace’s anger and frustration into a positive force in politics is something they’re above because it’s “populist” and they wrinkle their noses at that.

      What amazes me about all of this is that Sanders and his movement have essentially built a third party, but within the Democratic Party, but it seems to be not feasible/impossible to actually get somewhere with a third party in the US? Obviously it can’t be done overnight, but given that the Sanders campaign has the infrastructure in place, that should be a good jumping off point.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Nearly all US states have laws (passed with *bipartisan* cooperation, natch) restricting access to the ballot for “third parties”.

      2. L

        Per my comment above the ballot access rules have been deliberately engineered to make third parties nonviable. So in some states access is determined by the percentage won in the past major election (i.e. President or Governor) so you can’t mount a third party for mayor of a small town without first running one at the top and getting a huge chunk of the electorate behind you. Thus the only people that the Ds and Rs need to please are those rich enough to self finance a run. And Bloomberg is already getting what he wants.

        As to the point about what they would offer. The fact that All Biden has emerged with is “I will be reaching out” suggests that he doesn’t even intend to make hollow promises let alone act on them. Instead he’ll probably take a page from Cuomo’s book, support Republicans to deny his own party a majority, then pass “their” agenda and blame liberals for the “political disfunction.”

    6. The Historian

      How can you be sure that AOC voted for it? As I understand it, there was no roll-call vote – it was passed by voice vote. Correct me if I am wrong.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did AOC and the rest of the “progressives” demand an actual head-count and create a storm of resistance to this idea of a voice vote? If so, I never heard about it. AOC is not who you think she is. Try this 18-minute Jimmy Dore video (some swearing) but from what I can see, I am seriously wondering if she is positioning herself to be the Nancy Pelosi in the coming years-

        1. The Historian

          AOC is no saint and she is going to have to make compromises along the way. That is not in doubt. But she has been under attack from the very beginning with various groups trying to define her. I would rather hear from her what she does than have anyone else tell me what she is doing.

          As for Jimmy Dore – well, I lost faith in him a long time ago. He is a backbiter and he uses hyperbole to the extreme. No one or nothing is good enough for him. That just doesn’t appeal to me.

          1. David J.

            Agreed. There has always been a faction of “leftists” who would prefer martyrdom to actually getting things done.

            1. anon in so cal

              As posted before, AOC willingly voted for Adam Schiff’s HR 3494, which gives new impunity and immunity to the CIA’s domestic activities and harms press freedoms.

          2. zagonostra

            I disagree with your assessment of Jimmy Dore. I’ll take him over Stephen Colbert or any of the other courtier comedians (I also like Lee Camp who I noticed is posting on Consortinumnews now that TruthDig is done and gone:

            But to your earlier point, I assumed AOC voted for the CARES act, but since it was a voice vote I can’t find any links that says she did vote for it besides the Jimmy Dore clip that Rev Kev linked to.

            So you may be right and I may be wrong. If anyone has a compilation of who in the House has gone on the record for voting yea for the Bill that would be very welcome; especially since I think it will go down in history as one of the worst votes ever cast by Congress.

          3. The Rev Kev

            Does Jimmy Dore go overboard from time to time? Absolutely. But consider his record as compared to the rest of progressive reporters like TYT and Cenk. He refused to back Hillary after the 2016 primaries were rigged. He never signed on with Russia!Russia!Russia! He never got sucked into Trump Derangement Syndrome. He never bought into Syrian “gas attacks”. He looked at the ACTUAL voting records of people like AOC and the Squad and not just listened to pretty speeches. He called out the bs that Bernie was pulling like supporting the attacks against Venezuela, believing the Russians supported his campaign and all the rest of it. So forget the style of the man and look at his actual track record and you will find a better interpretation of what is going on.

            1. marcyincny

              I’m skipping a lot of his videos but I agree and he had Sanders pegged when Sanders didn’t try to start a new party movement in 2016.

        2. wilroncanada

          Re: The rev Kev and others
          I’m surprised that so many here point to Dore and Matt Stoler as authorities on US politics now. Dore has become simply a profane screeching Dennis Miller of his own(ed) version of the “left”. Stoler has exhibited a copy of the DNC disease with a different villain. Instead of TDS–trump derangement syndrome, he has CDS–china derangement syndrome

          1. The Rev Kev

            All I can say about Dore is what I said earlier – look at his track record. Forget the shouting and the swearing as that is just window dressing. He is saying stuff that the progressive movement does not want to talk about. And he predicted that one day you will hear Bernie say that he wants to endorse his good friend Joe Biden and it looks like it is going to happen. Facts talk. The rest is irrelevant.

      2. rob

        I could be wrong,
        But I believe I heard an audio clip of AOC remarking on how much she felt the bill was A BAD Thing… But since ANY relief was also connected to said bill… she had no “choice” , but to vote for it.
        Which is reasonable IMO, since often you don’t get to choose what the sausage is made out of.., if you feel it is something someone needs to eat… now…
        Benefit of the doubt anyway… still for a “newbie”

          1. Oregoncharles

            Thought I saw a claim that she voted against it (in a wee, small voice?), but there was no recorded vote – and I don’t see evidence that she insisted on a recorded vote. That was left for a very lonely Republican.

        1. Carla

          That’s why Bernie voted for the CARES Act: “No choice.”

          And now we have “no choice.”

          1. polecat

            No choice .. but to live or die, in penury !

            Tarp 2.0 .. 3.0 .. 4.0 to infinity and beyond ! For others. Certainly not for all of us wind-twisters, right ?

            But, the greedy and immoral fanning of whirlwinds does eventually reap consequence.

      3. Geo

        Plus, if they didn’t vote for it they’d get smeared for “not supporting workers and small businesses”. This was discussed on Rising yesterday but was clear to anyone playing attention to the “debate”.

        Same as how Sanders got blamed for voting for the crime bill no matter how often he stated he supported the violence against women part of it. If he’d voted against he’d have been accused of not supporting women (more than he already was).

        Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s how these bills are written.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have heard from three sources what that bill was all about. American taxpayers just gave America’s wealthiest 1% trillions of dollars for free. These people will then use some of that money to buy all all the broken and bankrupt businesses caused through this pandemic. This will absolutely tighten their grip on all aspects of American life for at least a generation and will smother any smaller business trying to start up in the aftermath. In return, some Americans will get a one-time cheque that has all sorts of qualifications, limitations & reductions and will be months in getting processed so perhaps some will not receive theirs until September.

          Yeah, I can see why There Is No Alternative.

          1. Geo

            Totally agree. It’s a huge heist. My assumption is the Sanders/AOC types knew this was going to pass one way or another and, since they couldn’t stop it with a meager progressive faction, the best they could do was push for some small benefits for the peasants. If I remember correctly, the bill didn’t have the small “hush money” check for people or unemployment expansion until fringe reps pushed for it. We weren’t even a concern to the majority of our “representatives” as they are misnamed.

    7. John Beech

      I voted for Sanders in the FL primary and will cast my vote for President Trump in November.

      1. orlbucfan

        I voted for Sanders in the FL primary, and will vote for NEITHER tRump NOR ByeDone in the General (whenever that will be).

      2. Skip Intro

        At least you didn’t go out into the covid crowds to vote for Sanders in WI, risking your life and those around you, just for him to drop out before the results were even in… now he has a body count too!

        I assume the Obama gang has laser-sights on Bernie’s grandkids or something…

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Sanders dropping out before Tuesday would not have changed the dynamics. The reason the vote was not delayed or changes to all-mail voting had to do with the state Supreme Court race, not the Dem primary.

    8. Oregoncharles

      To Be Fair, there was no actual vote in the House, so AOC did not actually vote for it – I assume the “voice vote” was precisely to predict people like her.

      Though the lack of resistance was disappointing, To Be Fair, voting against all that relief to ordinary people – even though it came with even bigger subsidies to big business – would be very hard to do.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    That Weird Pain in Your Nuts and the Limits of Telemedicine Wired

    I was talking last week to a relative in medicine – he is helping lots of patients now over Skype or similar and he was saying how unexpectedly difficult it is. He had an elderly female patient complaining about unusual back pains – normally he said it would be an easy matter to find out if this was something significant or could be dealt with easily enough with painkillers or rest. But she was unable to articulate precisely the problem, and since he couldn’t physically examine her he was faced with the choice of telling her to just take some paracetamol, or go to the hospital for a check up. In the circumstances of course, the latter course could conceivably kill her. But he also had a reasonable suspicion that it could be a symptom of something nasty. Not a nice dilemma.

    1. Jessica

      I have been racking my brains trying to remember when I thought “people spend too much time with each other. They need to spend more time staring at their screens”, but I just can’t seem to find even one such time.
      I hope that we will continue to remember how just strange a time we are in and not try to normalize it. We need to get back to having much more direct human interaction. It may take us years to get there safely, but there we need to get.
      Also, there is so much that we don’t know about this virus and a fair number of people selling one variety of certainty or another. Remaining aware of just how much is educated guess work and just-in-case-ness is important.

      1. Monty

        When I take my son to the pediatrician for a check up in AZ, it is always a nurse practitioner who sees us. That’s fine by me, this doctor didn’t seem very pleasant the 1 or 2 times he showed his face over the last 12 years. (Notably we are billed as though he was present every time).

        Throughout the short appointment, she is constantly looking at a huge laptop computer. She is going through what appears to be a check list of questions based on the nature of the visit. In the unlikely event something crops up that is out of the ordinary, and without a stock response, she will shrug and tell you to go and see the specialist in that area who has got the best kickback deal with them.

        The point being; this could easily be carried out by someone remotely. It could even be carried out by a free web page with some check boxes with a screen that says ‘make an appointment with this specialist’ at the end.

        There is zero benefit from hanging around in their office, and seeing anyone in person if they have no digression to act outside of a preset program. Just the opposite in fact. There is the cost, wasted time and added risk of being exposed to pathogens or getting in an accident en route.

        1. Trent

          Ding Ding Ding, we got ourselves a thinker here! I agree, but you could also prob say that about 95% of jobs.

        2. Wyoming

          My regular physician was replaced by a nurse practitioner about 2 years ago. I was thinking of going and finding another doctor but time was critical at the time so I went ahead and saw her.

          Funny thing is it turned out she seems to be a much better ‘doctor’ than the doctor I had before. And my wife’s opinion is that she is just about the best ‘doctor’ my wife has ever had. So we stayed with her. It was not until I did a little googling that I learned a nurse practitioner is just a step below an MD and well above a PA. I had thought otherwise.

          1. CuriosityConcern

            My understanding is that is not true in the us hospital setting(np vs pa). I am not very knowledgeable about scope of practice in the us outpatient setting. It may also depend on state laws, the clinic, or even the medical specialty within the clinic.

          2. Oregoncharles

            I went to a small college that had a small infirmary with one full-time, long term nurse and an on-call doctor.

            I was told, and it made sense, that that nurse was better at snap diagnoses than any doctor – at least within that population. She had to decide when to call the doctor or send someone to the hospital. She was also much pleasanter and more informative than the doctor (my then girlfriend had a run-in with him, which turned out to be typical).

            (Fortunately, I never had occasion to see the doctor there; when I did go to the infirmary, the nurse reassured me and sent me home – no, once they had to pierce a fingernail I’d crushed in a door. Overall, nothing major.)

            My point: a good nurse with relevant experience is worth more than a drop-in doctor.

        3. Oh

          These nurse practioners have limited knowledge and very little experience. The last one I saw at the doctor’s office didn’t know how to find the vien, unlike some nurses who knew exactly how to do it. Moreover, these NP’s just spit out what they’ve been taught without regard to what the patient’s condition is. Tele visits will probably result in wrong diagnoses.

          1. furies

            I had a co-worker who became a physician assistant via some crash course at Stanford…18 months. 18 months is not enough time to train for such a consequential position.

            Yeah, she had to work as an aide for a year, but ??

            In my 3 year RN program I know I felt completely out of my depth upon graduation. Not nearly enough experience to be competent without some hard time done first. Throwing me into ICU as a second was awful for my confidence and a rocky start to a sputtering nursing career.

    2. Wyoming

      Some years ago I had a sharp really weird neck pain. I made a doctors appointment and when I was done describing the symptoms to him he immediately sent me for testing of …my chest and abdomen. Would not say why just to do it. Later that day I was back in his office and he said “Good news. You don’t have an aortic aneurysm”. I’m like “What!” Turns out my description of my symptoms, which turned out to be some nerve issue in my neck, exactly matched those of an aneurysm about to break. Who could have known. I’m sure telemedicine would have solved it.

      1. Monty

        Sounds like a good doctor, i am glad he was able to help you!

        Though If he immediately sent you to get those tests after you were done describing the symptoms, what does it have to do with telemedicine. Couldn’t they have done that via Skype, whilst having more time to help other people with their great expertise?

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks”

    Just to add to vlade’s link, I saw a video demonstration on what a cough can do in a place like a supermarket and found it in the following article and it is not good-

    As for that guy trying to flog knickers as face-masks I can honestly say, after seeing him wear one, that it is what it was designed for – tw*ts!

    1. xkeyscored

      Landover Baptist Church produces a range of Abstinence Thongs, which might be more appropriate in these times of social distancing. Printing upside-down would boost both sales and the reach of their comforting messages.

    2. farragut

      Years ago, while in college, I worked as a Psychiatric Technician (“glorified aide” would be a more apt description) at the local hospital. One morning at breakfast, one of the patients–backlit by the sun–was drinking a glass of milk as he sat by the eastern-facing windows. In mid-drink, he sneezed. It was both fascinating and disturbing to watch the larger blobs and smaller drops fly halfway across the room, while the smaller droplets formed a fairly large cloud of mist–approx 10 ft in diameter–which lingered long after he resumed eating. For the next 30 min, I found myself unconsciously holding my breath as I worked the room.

      1. farragut

        Alex Trebek: “Ooh, sorry. ‘Subconsciously’ was the answer we were looking for. ‘Subconsciously.'”

    3. MLTPB

      Speaking of masks, Hong Kong court rules face masks b*n ok when applied to unlawful gatherings, but not ok when gatherings are lawful.

      I think that is the ruling.

      If so, and if you are not supposed to leave your house under shelter in place, and you go out with your wife for a walk, that would be an unlawful gathering, and by wearing a mask, each of you would be unlawful twice. First, for gathering outside, and again for wearing a mask.

      That’s my reading; i hope I read it incorrectly.

  5. fresno dan

    That Weird Pain in Your Nuts and the Limits of Telemedicine Wired

    so a woman was hired at a toy factory to give each “tickle me Elmo” doll two test tickles….
    really held up the production line

  6. TiPs

    I think these two articles should be in the same section:
    1. Hospitals say feds seize masks and supplies
    2. Israel brings 1 million masks from China
    From the latter:
    “In the past two weeks we have purchased and flown to Israel tens of thousands of swabs, masks, protective suits for medical staff and more,” said Limor Kolishevsky, head of the New York Purchasing and Logistics Division.
    The first talks about Kushner’s behind the scenes “management and procurement.”
    Also, in my twit feed yesterday, the original article on Israel stated it was flown by US military transport.

    While the masks may have been “procured” in China, that doesn’t necessarily mean there was a direct sale…
    I sure hope someone investigates this…

    1. s.n.

      indeed. “The US Department of Defense delivers one million surgical masks to be used by the IDF” is the photo caption. Seems like a strange waste of US resources at this critical moment? Rest assured that you’ll never hear another word about it again. Forget it Jake…

      1. MLTPB

        Morocco World News reports today Moroccan Textile Company to distribute 4 million free face masks.

    2. bassmule

      Re: Feds confiscating PPE and medical supplies: I asked this question yesterday at Water Cooler: Can someone explain the Feds “confiscating” PPE stuff? Which agency is doing the confiscating? At whose behest? And where are these items going? The National Stockpile That Doesn’t Belong To The States? Is any of it actually being distributed? I don’t suppose Private Enterprise is involved? Am I foily to see the hand of Kushner at work here?

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Thanks Wuk – I love, love, love Cheap Trick.

          A buddy of mine is friends with Bun E. – good stories.

          1. Wukchumni

            Disco was everywhere-to my chagrin in the 70’s, when ‘The American Beatles’ (as they called them in Nippon) created a great sound with quite disparate band members. Bun E Carlos & Robin Zander being seemingly polar opposites, but it all worked so well. One of my favorite bands!

      1. bassmule

        I just saw this, also, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

        “Walz thanked President Donald Trump for the disaster declaration that will allow Minnesota to be reimbursed for pandemic expenses, such as its use of the National Guard.

        ?However, he lamented confusing aspects of the federal response, including a strangle­hold over supplies that makes it hard for Minnesota to buy even from local manufacturers such as Medtronic and 3M.”

      2. xkeyscored

        Where are these items going? Might they be going into a stockpile to protect senior government, military and corporate personnel – those deemed essential, in case of a breakdown in social order?

        1. 1 Kings

          Mr. President, we must eliminate the mine shaft gap!
          So, they’ll be 3 women for every man?……

          1. xkeyscored

            No man has hired us
            With pocketed hands
            And lowered faces
            We stand about in open places
            And shiver in unlit rooms.
            Only the wind moves
            Over empty fields, untilled
            Where the plough rests, at an angle
            To the furrow. In this land
            There shall be one cigarette to two men,
            To two women one half pint of bitter
            Ale. In this land
            No man has hired us.
            Our life is unwelcome, our death
            Unmentioned in ” The Times”.

            T S Eliot – The Rock

            1. 1 Kings

              Nice poem. Mine was Strangelove. And you can be sure Trump, Biden, Kushner and our beloved Congress and Judicial criminals are thinking about ‘ratios’ for/in their bunkers.

            2. notabanktoadie

              The question should be why wage slavery is the norm for citizens in the first place since that is NOT the Biblical norm (cf. Leviticus 25).

      3. Judith

        Have any hospitals in the U.S. reported that they have actually received PPE from the the federal stockpiles? Somehow, I doubt it.

        1. Monty

          Why would they? They are private companies and not usually federally run outside of the VA. Live by the sword…

          They should have purchased their own supplies. Last time I checked they were still charging inpatients $50 for a cough drop, and regularly bankrupting millions of American families every year. It is grossly negligent of them to fail to protect the patients and staff from a foreseeable situation, and I sincerely hope these companies are all ultimately sued into oblivion where they belong.

      4. John Zelnicker

        April 9, 2020 at 8:27 am

        I can’t specifically answer your questions, but I did see an article on this problem, not sure where.

        Apparently, the PPE is being confiscated and turned over to Kushner’s control. He, in turn, is sending it to five private companies who are then offering the PPE to states in an auction process where they are competing not only with each other, but also against FEMA. IIRC, McKesson, the big drug dealer, is one of them.

        1. Markets uber alles
        2. Go die

    3. s.n.

      The Jerusalem Post article noted above (and its photo caption) differs substantially from that of the Jerusalem Post twitter feed, which baldly states
      that the 1 million masks were not merely transported to Israel by USDOD but that (see photo caption) “US Department of Defense Give 1 Million Masks to IDF for Coronavirus Use”

      A plane carrying over a million surgical #masks for the IDF to use in the fight against #coronavirus has landed in Ben-Gurion airport, in an operation run by the US Department of Defense’s Delegation of Procurement.

      given the lack of such basic protective essentials in so many USA locales, this is more than a scandal, and someone should be naming the guilty parties. Yeah, never gonna happen….

  7. Charles 2

    Regarding antibody testing, there seems to be one, or even several , French companies who cracked the code. No false positives, very few false negatives after 3 weeks.
    – Cost : 10-15 euros in France (so probably 100$ in the US…)
    – Can be self administered like a pregnancy test (not urine of course, but a simple pricking of the finger using a needle that comes with the test).
    – Result in 15 minutes.
    – The company expects to produce 1 million tests per months in July, 2 million by the end of the year.

    Sorry for links in French but only an automatic translation away (this is not Proust litterature )

    If the French can do it, every industrial country can do the same, this is not Super rocket science.

    This means that :
    1) we will soon know what percentage of the population is infected in every country.
    2) serologic testing before boarding a plane will be possible, and I expect it will become compulsory for international flights, both at arrival (before passport control by the receiving country authority), and at departure (by the airline who will want to avoid the liability of returning a passenger at the departure point, or having a passenger contaminating others during flight)

    1. xkeyscored

      Regarding 2, I don’t think we know yet if positive antibody tests (even if 100% accurate) are any guarantee you aren’t infectious or won’t get re-infected. The signs so far aren’t encouraging.

      1. charles 2

        I agree, probably not a guarantee, especially as immunity wanes with time. But that should be detected by the test as well.
        At some point, there will be some enormous pressure to reboot the air travel industry because the stakes are so high. As selection by antibodies testing will not be perfect, but should lower significantly the R0 of the subpopulation of air travelers.

    2. Kevin C. Smith

      Here in Canada an IgG/IgM immunity test already approved in US & UK is being held up “until the government completes it’s testing strategy” [… or maybe “until a favored competitor is ready to apply”.

    3. skk

      I’ve seen this phrase : no false positives to the antibody test – stated several times in the comments section. What is the root, the bottom line measurement associated with this test, what units is it in ?

      1. charles 2

        No published detailed I could see from. I have this source however (professional daily for french doctors) :

        – 50 pre-epidemic blood samples all tested negative
        – 100/101 positive tests 15 days after first symptoms (and I guess detected virus load)

        Implicitly, it means that the absence of false negative has not been tested (or published) on asymptomatic infected persons. I have read articles that some persons manage to put the virus down using general immunity, not specific (can’t find it back sorry)

  8. fresno dan

    do the cows keep a distance because of corona virus, or is there a reason to be wary of little girls playing the accordion?
    Also, did anyone else notice that rude black and white cow that just pushes the brown cow to get to the front of the line.

    1. Senator-Elect

      It’s standard cow behaviour. They will get closer once the lead cows (the rude one likely among them) have assessed the situation and decided they can advance further. The rest then follow.

    2. Wyoming

      I grew up in cattle country – big surprise – and the thing to learn about managing a herd of cows is that the only one which matters is the dominant cow. You control it and you control the herd. Give it a little corn from a bucket you can rattle – it is the Pavlov thing – and it will follow you anywhere (once you have trained it you can put rocks in the bucket). The herd follows it. Or you can train them to come to the truck horn – but that has obvious weaknesses. Simple.

  9. Steve H.

    Moar Asymptote:

    Coronavirus Deaths vs Other Epidemics From Day of First Death (Since 2000) [OC]

      1. MLTPB

        Bloomberg reported a day ago of Germany joining Italy in starting debate over an end to lockdowns.

        The same news agency also reported 11 hours ago that Germany’s new cases rose the most in 5 days.

        How to balance it will be debated all over the world.

        In China, Wuhan is over its lockdown, while another Chinese city was just added recently. So they have their set of criteria on how to end it, maybe no debate there any longer about how or when, but cities and regions enter and exit at various times, and hopefully not twice, or more often.

  10. Samuel Conner

    I don’t like the Vice headline. “wildfire near Chernobyl reactor site” is much less alarming than the headline implication (I assume that it was intended to stimulate the inference) that a conflagration had erupted at the reactor site itself. I guess the intention was to be clickbait, and it worked.

    1. xkeyscored

      It is a bit of a misleading, clickbaity headline, like so many others. Nonetheless, it shows what can happen, where a fire involving vegetation around these sites can spew radiation into the air.

      ” Luckily, the radiation from the fires around Chernobyl haven’t wafted over to the country’s more populated regions. Kiev, about 60 miles from Chernobyl, hasn’t been hit. “

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Tiger King

    If that’s the worst the Humane Society’s got to show, considering the fact that there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild and natural habitat is declining every day, then while being in captivity in general isn’t ideal, the treatment they get there sure beats extinction.

    What I’d be more interested in is the adult tigers from the zoo that were admittedly euthanized. Were they euthanized because they were old and sick as Mr. Exotic claimed, or to make room for younger tigers they could make more money from? If the latter, then he and the rest of them deserve their time in jail.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “A seismic shift in our lives means it’s oh so quiet”

    I am sure that for one group at least, the extra amount of quiet is acting as a bonus – the Irish National Seismic Network!

    1. xkeyscored

      It might also help gravitational wave detectors. They have to filter out all that seismic noise to see their black hole and neutron star mergers.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Sotto voce: I am enjoying the quiet. Wishing that this was the normal state of things.

        1. sporadicSusan

          Here in Victoria, BC we have a neighborhood cat who goes by the name of Chester. Chester is an old orange tom who makes his home in a ground floor apartment of our building. Cats aren’t allowed here and neither are dogs for that matter, but Chester has been here such a long time we must assume he was grandfathered in somehow. I said he’s a neighborhood cat and that’s true in that he’s one of the neighbors and a very friendly one at that. He prowls the grass and bushes making sure we’re all safe from whatever danger there might be that cats know and we with our limited senses don’t see. In his less busy times, and there are a lot of them, he rests on low walls and on warm sunny sidewalks always keeping an eye out for favored neighbors and passersby. Chester enjoys being petted and loves belly rubs most of all. On our way home from a long walk this afternoon we found him waiting for us at the corner across the street. When my husband bent forward to give him a pat we saw he had a little cardboard sign hanging from his collar that said, “Please don’t pat me”. I don’t think he understood why we kept walking.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      One of the longest continual seismic sensors is in Dublin, its been there for over a century I think.

      Little known fact is that Ireland almost never gets earthquakes (a few are felt from offshore), but seismologists have no idea why – there are plenty of minor fault lines as we are close to a Continental shelf. The models suggest Ireland should have a regular number of small quakes.

  13. Wukchumni

    As the Coronavirus passes into summer, even if our wildfire season is just an average one (or if we get lucky and have as mild of one as last year, pretty please!) you wonder how capable our firefighters will be at that point, and the aerial support in particular. It takes a certain talent to pick up & dump H20 & retardant just where you want it.

    We could have a repeat of what went down in Aussie, with an ordinary wildfire summer that simply gets out of control.

    Those 129 million skeletal looking dead pines behind me that kicked the bucket 5 to 7 years ago, are all looking to be put out of their misery, to allow something else to rise in their place.

    1. xkeyscored

      We could be facing this situation globally with all manner of emergencies, as those who would usually respond are less able to.

    2. MT_Bill

      Lots of conversations going on about how to handle Fire season at every level. Everything from how to increase capacity for aerial and heavy equipment work, quarantine and antibody testing 4 hot shot and smokejumper Crews, bringing epidemiologists into the pre-planning discussions so we can figure out how to balance potential loss of life from coronavirus versus the fire, and lastly maybe giving insurance companies a heads up that they really need to push homeowners to do fuel management around their houses because capacity may be reduced this summer.

      The IMT I work on had already made a decision to not go out on coronavirus response based on the demographics of the team. Lots of retired former state and federal employees with comorbidities.

      No way of telling how the virus would affect a young healthy wildland firefighter, stressed out from fatigue, smoke inhalation, Etc.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m glad to hear it’s being addressed, and firefighters are our real heroes, not some buck private that enlisted in our never ending wars.

        Smoke will definitely be a contributing factor, it’s no coincidence that Wuhan now and Pittsburgh a century ago were hotspots for respective viruses, because of their steel making activities that contributed so much pollution.

        and lastly maybe giving insurance companies a heads up that they really need to push homeowners to do fuel management around their houses because capacity may be reduced this summer.

        This is a very important thing and now everybody is stuck at home, a perfect time to reduce fire hazards that might plague you later.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I suspect we’re in drought, too; it’s been a remarkably dry winter – pleasant, but sinister. Covid is squeezing everything else out of the news.

        Besides clearing brush, I think it’s valuable to to be prepared to water down the area around the house and the house itself.

        Also: the original Permaculture book, I think pt. 1, has several chapters on deflecting wild fire, since they were written for Australia.

  14. Wukchumni

    The only way to stop mobility from happening is to stop gasoline sales to the public, and only allow essential industries to utilize it, just as in WW2, albeit for completely different reasons.

    We’re not going to stop dogma from being a localized super spreader as they congregate circa 1348, but we can restrict it to as far as people can walk, which isn’t very far.

    The states that still haven’t shut down? Instant compliance.

    Nobody’s driving anyway, for the most part.

    This would also bring in food rationing, as in WW2. The logistics would be something else, but we can’t go on with all these bad actors prolonging the plague, can we?

    Would there be a lot of starvation going on, yes. But it’s going to happen anyway. The last thing you want is Max Mad, now showing near you-where unlike Mad Max, gas is plentiful, but food isn’t.

    1. Carolinian

      Why do you think this would ever happen? All the grocery stores within walking distance of my downtown neighborhood left decades ago. The nearest is now two miles away.

      And of course they didn’t stop gasoline sales in WW2 although it was rationed.

      Plus surely the goal is not to stop “mobility” but to stop people from being stationary, outside their cars, mixing with each other.

      1. Wukchumni

        Ok, lets abide by WW2 rationing, and you get 3 to 4 gallons a week.

        That’ll put you in range of shopping for food, and a bit more, but you’d be limited in range.

        Hybrids would have a huge advantage over ICE jalopies, and you’d see something peculiar, such as in the 1979 gas crisis, when the coveted car was a VW Diesel Rabbit, as diesel sales were unlimited. If memory serves, they were selling for many thousands over sticker price new.

        1. Carolinian

          Seems to me you are making a case for solving AGW, not the virus. In fact right now middle America’s car centric culture is arguably a good thing.

          Today’s other discussion about herd immunity had me looking at statistics for Sweden (which is operating on the herd immunity theory) and other places. Perhaps the most meaningful statistic for this disease is deaths per 100,000. Sweden’s is quite high. That figure in the US is 32 for New York state and 1 for my state and your state and most of flyover country. For Arkansas–constant lambasted because no lockdown–it is less than one. Car culture and reasonable precautions while in public places are keeping the death rate down. Of course New York might say we look good because the disease is just starting here and those rates will go up. But then Sweden might say that as well–they are taking the hit all up front while curve flattening locations will suffer from further waves of infection.

          Humble yours truly has no answers but Americans are not going to give up their cars.

    2. amfortas the hippie

      we’re in san antone for chemo
      even more surreal than 2 weeks ago
      gas is $1.56 per gallon
      went to 2 stores near the dominon(rich neighborhood) specifically for tp
      only sandpaper paper towels ( some shadenfreud allowed)
      masks everywhere
      very few cars
      empty roads and parking lots
      meanwhile, back at the farm, cousin and boys planting more pinto beans
      i expect an acute food crisis near term
      at least in some places

  15. Senator-Elect

    Thought: The left should lobby Neera Tanden and some other connected Dem apparatchiks to get Pelosi and Schumer to require national vote-by-mail for November in the next corona legislation. This would benefit the Establishment by getting more Dems elected and benefit the left by enfranchising many more ordinary people. Both sides could do this without compromising their interests/values. And it would enrage the Republicans. Win-win, no?

    1. edmondo

      You are making the assumption that people want to vote for one of these two knuckleheads. Bad assumption.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ask Neera for help with good policy? Why not ask Santa? He’s not busy this time of year.

      Tanden doesn’t want vote by mail as it might ensure Democratic victories. Team Blue doesn’t want to govern. Besides the UAE which funds her doesn’t want it.

      It’s like the Team Blue support for paper ballots despite their wailing about Russia. These people are bad faith actors. Working with them is impossible.

      1. Senator-Elect

        Appeal to Neera’s ambition. Tell her it will ensure she works in the White House. That’s what all these Dem mercenaries want, isn’t it?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          You are reminding me of the Rahm as CoS justification. Predictably he didnithing progressive and oversaw the loss of the House as the White House for the 2nd time. It was a bad move then. Doing the same thing to appeal ambitious Republicans who cant go far in the GOP will never be worth the time.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      When I see names like asking Neera to support obvious policy I note these problems:

      -she works in politics
      -that means she has to have been exposed to this and the problems Democrats face due to vote suppression
      -there are only two or three conclusions
      -shes very stupid
      -or has a radically different set of values which would not be served by more voting

      She isn’t a rando who is getting into politics for the first time. She knows and chooses to pursue mythical Republican voters for reasons reflective of her ideology which has nothing to do with the popular opinion. Like Clintonistas whining about the electoral college for a month to explain their loss, they never made any effort to do anything about the electoral college after 2000 when the person with the most votes lost.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m reminded of the halcyon days of the first decade of this century when people would write checks to pay their credit card or mortgage bills and put them in the mail. The banks would pretend they never got them or posted them late so that they could charge all manner of fees and penalties, and lower credit scores to justify charging higher interest. Good times.

      Considering the plethora of games that can be played with mailed-in ballots, I’m reasonably certain that that’s the way things will go. To keep everyone safe and healthy and all.

      It’ll make the supreme court’s ordering a halt to counting votes in Florida in 2000 look positively quaint by comparison.

      1. Senator-Elect

        But might it not be better than virtually no polling stations in poor and minority neighbourhoods and black box electronic voting machines? (I may be grasping at straws, but aren’t we all?)

      2. HotFlash

        There has to be a way of verifying mail receipt/delivery of ballots. Money-like stuff is often mailed, we have registered mail, certified delivery, etc., and *any* tampering with the mail is still a family-blogging federal offense. Perhaps these existing measures could be employed?

        I am also minded of the method that the Akkadians used to ensure that contracts weren’t altered, which was, a contract was written on a clay tablet and sealed by both parties (ie, wet clay rolled over with their cylinder seal). The contract was then wrapped in another piece of clay, re-written on that, and again sealed by both parties. In case of dispute the envelope was broken and the inner contract was deemed the correct one. Unless both cylinder seals were forged, not likely with their technology, any alteration would be obvious and the inner tablet would be binding. I am not recommending clay contracts, but it seems that security could be ensured without compromising anonymity. Have we, as a nation, applied ourselves to that?

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Just in case you don’t know (hopefully its the case), Neera Tanden has an unfortunate history of outing a victim of sexual assault. She wouldn’t exactly do anything for the cause. Its kind of like why Subway dumped Jared. Yes, he didn’t poison sandwiches..

      1. Senator-Elect

        I’m aware she’s a monster. But she has power. There’s got to be a way to get her to do some good unwittingly. Vote by mail is potentially an issue on which the interests of the left and the Democrats overlap. I’m saying use her and her ilk. Are there no Machiavellis on the left?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Lets pretend “The Prince” isn’t satire:

          The Machiavellian Prince wouldn’t have a poor track record similar to Neera. A person such as Ted Olsen and his efforts on behalf of LGBT rights have a rationale explanation which is he never thought much about it until he was confronted. In the case of Neera and much of the Team Blue apparatus, the lack of support for even GOTV and basic registration is part of who they are.

          Also the Machiavellian Prince is (and this is a big one) competent on some level. Neera is part of the Clinton 2016 campaign. “Hillary is your Abuela” “Love Trumps Hate!” It was a clown show.

          Mostly she’s a hanger on and a loyalist to Hillary. Without that connection, she is nothing. To a certain extent, Hillary preferred to be loved and hired sycophants like Neera instead of the competent. Those sycophants tried to use fear to protect themselves, but they raised an Emperor with a whole new wardrobe which was ultimately exposed. Lets be Machiavellian about it, the first step is to know one’s self and the enemy.

        2. flora

          I’m aware she’s a monster. But she has power.

          zomg. This is the perfect example of all that is wrong in ‘left’ US politics: privileging power over all else. As if power used for bad can somehow be converted to power used for good. As if character of the power holders can be changed. No. It won’t happen. Trying to convince yourself it will happen is the same as trying to convince yourself that it’s a really good idea to surrender to an ideology you claim to oppose because ‘power’. That’s a Faustian bargan if ever there was one. …Oy.

          1. JBird4049

            What left? And what party? It was murdered decades ago and Sanders and company have only just planted a very few seeds that have only just sprouted.

            There effectively wasn’t a left here for decades with the accursed, souless, zombie that is the (Can I say accursed? It sounds so true.) Democratic Party, now fatally infested with its parasitic grifting leadership, burying the remains with Neoliberalism’s toxic waste; it got them power, privilege, and money, which is all that they want; so, that is what the party itself is all about now.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The Asian Countries That Beat Covid-19 Have to Do It Again”

    If countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea & Taiwan had flattened the curve and then travelers from the US and Europe began re-importing the virus, that brings up an interesting possible future. Just suppose that a coupla dozen countries finally get on top of this virus in the next several months and manage to effectively clear it from their country. So, what happens next?

    So you might have this happen with countries like New Zealand and South Korea but do they still have to isolate themselves from all those counties where it is still running rampant like the US, the UK and Sweden? Do they quarantine all visitors for a fortnight if they come into their country? Does the world divide onto those that are Coronavirus-free and the rest? I am not sure how that would work out but this could be one possible future for us.

    1. GF

      In Phoenix the government of AZ has implemented a new rule that any plane coming from a “hot spot” will require all the passengers to self-isolate for 14 days. Not sure how they will enforce it.

    2. MarkT

      New Zealand government has just announced that all returning citizens will undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine in a facility run by government. Up to now, citizens were responsible for quarantining themselves. (The number of returning citizens has declined significantly. And the border remains closed to all non-citizens.)

    3. MarkT

      New Zealand has recorded 1 death, and about 1200 confirmed cases. Daily number of new cases is now declining.

      “Australia and neighbouring New Zealand, almost unique among anglophone countries, have so far been successful in largely suppressing the spread of Covid-19 within their countries, and in particular, keeping deaths low.”

      1. Tom Bradford

        NZ announced its second death today – a lady in her 90’s with underlying conditions. And new cases up from 29 to 44. But the compulsory two-week quarantine for new arrivals will be at one of a number of hotels at the Government’s expense rather that “a government-run facility”, which sounds rather 1984ish..

        1. Wukchumni

          Kinda wish I was stuck in EnZed instead, you’ve done an admirable job compared to our mob.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: ‘A huge step forward.’ Mutant enzyme could vastly improve recycling of plastic bottles

    Havn’t we been hearing this same thing for years? There’s always some new microbe or bacteria or enzyme that’s going to save us all from wallowing in our own filth if we could only just scale it up.

    My guess is this will happen about the same time we get affordable fusion power, perpetually only 20-30 years away.

    If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can get by with much less. How about we just stop manufacturing so much plastic? I can bring my sandwich to work wrapped in wax paper just fine, no plastic bag necessary. If I need a single use beverage. I can get one in a can or glass bottle, both of which are easier to recycle from what I understand, and don’t damage the environment nearly as much if they aren’t recycled.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Plastic ziplocs can be re-used for *years*. They’re a nuisance to wash, but it’s certainly do-able. Same goes for most other plastic containers. (A device for washing plastic bags in the dishwasher would be helpful, but not that easy to do.)

      We never buy plastic storage bags any more.

      Keeps them out of the landfill – or the roadside.

    2. Oh

      There’ so much plastic packaging in everything we buy including foodstuff. Time to stop that at the source. Waiting for the mutant enzyme to eat plastic is futile. Besides,the enzyme may mutate again and eat our foodstuff! Who knows?

      1. wilroncanada

        Interesting about all the plastic packaging. The major supermarkets here on southern Vancouver Island (I would assume the same throughout Canada) all closed off their bulk food sections a few weeks ago; nuts, flours and cereals, candy, deli products, etc. They were all closed for a few days until the employees could, with proper hygiene practices, put the stuff in pre-measured plastic clamshell packages. Viola,, bulk food de-bulked into plastic.

  18. petal

    Rain of frogs? That is…(flips through diary) scheduled for…2 weeks from now. These things take time. Your patience is appreciated.

    Seacoast Online: “New Hampshire received 15 machines from the federal government that confirm within minutes if someone tests positive for the coronavirus — but it can’t use them due to a lack of test cartridges.
    The state expected 1,500 cartridges for the machines, but only received 120.” (the machines are made by Abbott, and 20 of the cartridges have to be used to set up and train people.)

    And to jump in on the elisas(serum testing), it is going to take time to nail down coating concentration and sensitivity(like what concentration the ab has to be at in the serum to be picked up by the assay), then test, and ramp up production. And that’s not even taking into consideration what ZacP said. We really don’t know enough about it yet to make concrete decisions.

    1. petal

      An addition-Patrick Stewart has been reading a sonnet a day. You can find it on faceborg, and it looks like someone has been uploading them to youtube. It’s such a treat.

        1. petal

          Ah great, amfortas! Thanks! I don’t really do the twitter so didn’t know it was there, too-great catch!

  19. xkeyscored

    I had wondered if the Saudis were scaling back the war on Yemen for humanitarian reasons, as they claimed. It appears they may indeed have other motives:

    COVID-19: Devastated Saudi Royal Family Seeks to End Yemen War

    “Senior members of the royal family, including 84-year old King Salman, and the effective ruler, Muhammad bin Salman, have retreated to an island off the coast of Jeddah in the Red Sea.

    Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the powerful governor of Riyadh who is a nephew to the king, is stricken with the disease and is in intensive care, The New York Times reported, citing two doctors “with ties” to King Faisal Hospital and two others sources near to the royal family.

    In all, 150 members of the ruling family are reported to have been infected. The Saudi government officially said it is ending the war because of its fear that the virus could spread in Yemen, where there are still no reported cases.”

    1. JTee

      Saudis humanitarian? Ha!

      Retreated to a small island off the coast, eh? Perfect time for the Houthis to strike. How’s their navy looking?

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘150 members of the ruling family are reported to have been infected’?

      That leaves only 14,850 other members of the Saudi Royal family. If you are talking about those that have all the wealth and the power, then that leaves 1,850 left. And I bet that a massive chink of Saudi Arabia’s budget goes to supporting all of them. Cancel that last bit. In Saudi Arabia, that budget actually belongs to the Saudi Royal family.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Comment on that tweet with which I completely agree:

      I just wonder if Americans actually have a breaking point anymore. Is there a line that the oligarchs can’t cross? Or will Americans just always take whatever scraps they’re thrown?

      Meanwhile, back on wall street, another 6.6 million filed for unemployment this week for a total of 16.6 million or about 10% of the work force, and the stock market exploded upward. The stock of United Airlines, a company that is basically shut down, bleeding cash and about as consumer-facing as it gets, is up 18% today! while the small businesses–you know, the “backbone of our economy”–go begging.

      Unfortunately I happened to see some sort of “remarkable” question an answer session on cnbc this morning with jerome powell. Apparently the fed just announced ANOTHER multi-trillion dollar fire hose of support for all slimy things wall street, and the titans of industry are becoming more comfortable with the idea that, regardless of what happens with “the consumer,” THEY will never be allowed to miss a meal.

      powell was asked how what the fed is doing will help the waitress who is out of a job “for the greater good” and can’t pay the bills. He seemed quite comfortable saying that that was a matter for the “elected officials.” He, being unelected, was responsible for keeping “the economy”–which, as he noted, is 70% “the consumer”–“healthy” and functioning for that unknown future date that that waitress gets her minimum wage job back if she ever does. His advice to that waitress–stay at home and keep yourself and your family “healthy.”

      I am so pissed off that I can barely type. For a class of people that has elevated “optics” to a religion, this financial orgy is beyond the pale.

      To plagiarize Inkcrime, once more, with feeling,


      1. Wyoming

        Yup. the Fed dumps money and the rich get richer.

        Just got back from walk number 2 for the day and one the way my buddy who plays the market was driving by and had to stop and brag to me. He was all excited as this morning in about 2 1/2 hours he made tens of thousands of dollars. He bought a big hunk of cruise line and airline stocks at the opening of the market (he seemed to have known the Fed money was coming) and then sold them a few hours later. Made an average persons yearly income before it was time for the 2nd cup of coffee.

        You gotta love this system.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I always believed Hillary would be the former President already if she had repudiated Bill. Despite her Goldwater Girl status, she had made the kinds of noises in years past that could lead to some justification there was a secret liberal. “It Takes a Village” despite being relatively banal is a demonstration does exist. The healthcare debacle wasn’t thrown off by a lack of commitment to reform but her stubbornness.

        With Biden, there is…all the times he hasn’t sexually harassed anyone which given the need for sleep is probably more than the times he has. Hillary was often portrayed as a victim of Bill’s philandering. In my more naïve days, I agreed with this. Not to be that person, but I have to say the co-presidency was still one of the most baller things I’ve ever seen. I don’t care what people think. It was awesome.

        Hillary existed as a “monster” in the msm for years. To a certain extent, her bad record could be ignored. Biden has not existed as a “monster” but at worse “Onion Joe.” As time goes on, Biden’s record will be out there, and it will be the first airing of how awful he is. “Where did all of our money go? Joe Biden’s stupid wars. Why is everything made in China? Joe Biden’s bad deals.” And on and on it goes.

        I think HRC tried to make hay out of the bankruptcy bill pointing Obama’s vote on it. She skipped it when Bill had his surgery. She voted for a previous version. Another win for her cracker jack campaign team.

  20. JTee

    Sensationalist headline : “Muslim men help carry Hindu woman’s bier….. ” (Oh my, Shiva, I hope they bathed in the Ganges afterward to wash off that ritual pollution)

    Better headline: “Neighbors carry bier of kind elderly woman when relatives can’t”

    1. xkeyscored

      For once, I find the original headline sober and reasonable. India has long been wracked by what are often termed communal tensions, and this is an excellent example of such divisions being broken down by COVID-19 in favour of recognising our shared humanity.

    2. hunkerdown

      “There’s no way you could possibly lower any walls between these two longtime religious enemies.”
      “Hold my bier.”

  21. Carey

    Edward Curtin- ‘Phantoms of the Operation’:

    “Many thousands of New Yorkers have temporarily moved into the small Massachusetts town (permanent population approximately 7,000) where I live because of fear and panic created by fraudulent disease and death data gathered and disseminated under the umbrella term Covid-19. Such deceitful, fear-inducing news concerning diseases is old hat, but this time it’s part of perhaps the biggest propaganda campaign in modern history, resulting in an unprecedented government crackdown on people’s freedom, a massive transfer of trillions of public dollars to the banks and corporations, and crumbs for average Americans. In my little town, second vacation homes, Airbnbs, room rentals, and hotel rooms are packed. It is a flight to “safety” reminiscent of the months following the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax attacks that originated from a U.S. government bioweapons laboratory. In the years immediately following those attacks, McMansions were built throughout these hills and local houses were bought up like penny candy as New Yorkers flooded the area. Now as then, the wealthy refugees absconding on the road of flight accept official explanations and arrange their lives accordingly. Little is learned as repetition compulsion rules and the latest terror alert has them cowering in fear, playing their parts in a theatrical production conceived by master dramatists..”

    1. Monty

      Isn’t more likely that it’s a real disease with potential to do huge harm, but the measures being taken have really helped stem the tide?

      The big danger is that the “Eff your granny, get back to work” Mises crowd will give people a false sense of security. Thinking its not a big deal, people drop their guard, and we don’t snuff out as many infectious chains as we need to, then we have to go through all this again later on.

      The virologist Trevor Bedford has been a very good resource. He posted an interesting and relevant thread starting, “\In many ways, this should be entirely obvious, but we now have strong evidence that social distancing results in decreased #COVID19 transmission rates. 1/7”. It’s worth clicking through and seeing the whole thing.

      As you know, I have seen many of the same things you have seen, with regards to deaths from vs. to and excess death, swiss doctor etc. It seemed to present a compelling argument to me too. However, the latest weeks numbers out of the UK seem to put a dent in that reasoning. They haven’t published the numbers for the most recent week yet, but UK had been dying off at around the average amount all year. Last week the overall number of deaths of all causes suddenly spiked by 10% above average. A rise of 1000 from just 500 Covid19 deaths. If that can tell you anything, its that the deaths are not absorbed overall, and are probably under reported. Whenever this week’s report comes out, it will be telling, as it will contain 5000+ covid19 deaths.

      It could be a coincidence that, just as the virus deaths start getting widespread, overall deaths suddenly spiked in the UK. It could all net out over 12 months too. We just don’t know, but for me this is an interesting, timely metric from a primary source that is worth watching.

      1. Carolinian

        The big danger is that the “Eff your granny, get back to work” Mises crowd will give people a false sense of security.

        You do realize that the people that are out of work need to get back to work and that such a desire may not be confined to “granny killers.” And it’s not just about the money even if the USG could somehow compensate everyone.

        We are in a big mess. Overheated and self righteous rhetoric isn’t helping.

        1. Monty

          You’re right, perhaps i could have phrased it differently. It seemed to sum up the attitude I see all over the internet recently.
          Does it not boil down to some people suffering financial distress, believing they aren’t personally at risk, are advocating letting a slice of the population be sacrificed, for their own financial gain?

          1. Carolinian

            I am old enough to be personally at risk and I absolutely don’t think young people with families should be financially or psychologically ruined to make me slightly more safe. I can look out for myself. And I don’t own stocks, have no financial dog in this fight.

            1. Monty

              The thing about saying, “only 1% will die”, is that you need to know what group size we are we talking about. If we let it rip, its got a group of 200,000,000+ people to chew through 1% of, but if we snuff it out now, its more like 2,000,000. That’s not slightly more safe, its a huge difference.

              1. Carolinian

                Actually Fauci has just said we may “only” lose 60,000 out of the first wave. Since I’ve been somewhat uncertainly looking into statistics today, the deaths per 100,000 figure for the US as a whole is quite low compared to others.

                When the disease was raging through that Washington state nursing home they said that the home had five deaths per month even before the disease. The sad truth is that the very elderly are vulnerable people and not just to this disease. Of course we shouldn’t write them off or put them on the ice floe, but rational choices have to be made about how much of society to shut down.

                1. Monty

                  It shouldn’t be that surprising that, if you stop the virus from spreading, less people get sick and die. That’s the whole point of the “lock down”.
                  What will act as the firebreak if people let their guard down too soon?
                  Even if the state relaxed it’s rules, do people want to go to restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, bars and theme parks in sufficient numbers to support them all right now? Maybe for a for a while, but what about if the virus starts to rip again. Then what?

                  1. Carolinian

                    Well I don’t think anyone is saying right now. Trump has extended current policies at least through the end of April. By that time I suspect lots of people will be ready for a change.

                    And that change will probably mean more businesses reopening and possibly schools. Entertainment venues like movie theaters may be the last to reopen. Hollywood has arguably been keeping the theater chains going by artificial respiration already. Who knows the degree they will come back. I believe AMC is already bankrupt or on the verge.

                    1. Monty

                      It’s out of our hands, that we can agree on. I just hope for the best, and I know you do too!
                      Stay safe and thanks for the conversation. I hope you enjoy the Easter weekend as well as possible.

              2. Carolinian

                And I didn’t say let it rip. The elderly should be isolated and protected as much as possible.

    2. Trent

      Thanks for this Carey! I feel like i’m living orson welles war of the worlds broadcast. People getting aggressive on facebook, wishing harm on people they see outside not following their version of social distancing.

    3. xkeyscored

      No doubt Shakespeare, Nietsche and Descartes knew all there is to know about pandemics, but if second vacation homes, Airbnbs, room rentals, and hotel rooms in the author’s town are packed, and COVID-19 is a hoax, isn’t that good insofar as the town’s economy may lurch along buoyed by all that rent and consumer spending?

  22. EricT

    There’s one angle that I have yet to hear anyone mention about vote by mail. If you commit fraud over the mail is the punishment harsher than election fraud? So perhaps the politicians don’t want to allow vote by mail since your ballot is handled by an independent government corporation that protects and guarantees the transfer from voter to election authority. The Postal service can easily document the chain of custody of the ballots themselves since that is part of their job for any piece of mail they handle. I think that once they privatize the mail delivery in this country, politicians will probably change their minds about vote by mail.

    1. MLTPB

      I asked that question, here, on March 3, March 4 and on March 5. The restrictions on Italy and Europe were announced around the 13tn or the 14th of March.

      March 5, 2020 at 9:08 pm
      Options vary, and opinions range from

      1. No flying (still flying = total fail ).
      2. Quarantine a city, or a state (italian or Chinese example).
      3. Close border to Korea, Italy, etc. (Precedent: by Russia to China).
      4. Keep people at home (like Wuhan, or recommended by one Washington county of 2.2 million residents).
      5. Cancel large gatherings, or the parliament/Congress (Europe parliamentary session set for tomorrow postponed I believe).

      Plus others that may have been suggested by various posters

      If others commented on closing the country to Italy around then, or sooner, I don’t recall, and my apologies for not remembering them.

    1. Daryl

      Hawley has been talking like this for a while.

      It’s an interesting shift and one that bodes poorly for Democrats. I trust them very little, however.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe it was chomsky who said Republicans are the party of all business and Democrats are the party of big business. To clarify whoever’s it was said the GOP would work against itself and try to help all business. A house divided cant stand, but I do have personal experience from when I was a legislative assistant in the state house and Team Blue types (there were good democrats still who didn’t do this)would blow off people if they were too small. Every GOP would pretend to care.

        To a certain extent, it’s not surprising to see a republican make good noises on occasion. It’s kind of like how they might support gay rights after they learn the scion is gay.

        1. amfortas the hippie

          just read this from somebody here yesterday:
          bipartisan and therefore even more infuriating
          sold as “freedom”

          me and cousin planning to get a few pitchforks last day of april
          whosever idea that was, +1000
          make it viral
          (and after review, i don’t really need more than one additional pitchfork

          1. The Rev Kev

            Pitchforks and pikes are so 18th century. Rifles with telescopic sights are the 21st century equivalent.

  23. Oh

    Community Public Radio news reported yesterday that the right wingers in Ecuador have sent the former President Rafael Correa to prison for 7 years allegedly for corruption. Has anyone else on NC heard more about this? Do we see a US role in this because Correa gave asylum to Assange?

    1. Olga

      This is what RT says about the issue:
      Correa lives in Belgium, so doubt that he was sent to prison (but would be if he steps in Ec. again).
      Reminds me of tactics used against Lula… if you cannot beat them at the ballot box, accuse popular politicians of corruption, stage a fake trial, and imprison – or at least, discredit – them.
      “Ecuador is set to have two rounds of general elections in February and April next year. Correa remains a popular politician in the country, with the decade of his rule remembered for distancing the state from neoliberal policies and a rapid reduction of poverty. Moreno switched back to big-business-friendly governance and saw his support dwindle amid several corruption scandals and, more recently, poor handling of the coronavirus epidemic.”

  24. Bugs Bunny

    Please let’s not conflate the Hindu religion with Hindutva nationalism and casteism.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      sorry – I meant this in response to

      JTee April 9, 2020 at 10:23

      but I guess it is pretty much my thought in general on the subject

  25. BobW

    Electric utility (AEP SWEPCO) says they will not disconnect for non-payment of bill. Wonder how long that will last.

    1. Olga

      At least six months in Texas – but only for low-income and or newly unemployed (there is a qualification process). Any debts from unpaid bills will be moved into a regulatory asset – to be paid for by all customers.

  26. MLTPB

    KUOW News and Infornation reported yesterday that an army field hospital left Seattle after 9 days, without seeing one patient.

    That’s, well, unusual, and perhaps good news??

    Maybe it will go to another place it’s needed.

    1. Monty

      Think about how R (the number of infections on average passed on by one infectee) is calculated:
      R = D * O *T * S
      D = Duration of infectivity (time units)
      O = Opportunities for infection per time unit
      T = Transmission probability
      S = Susceptibility of the population
      Could it be that social distancing, lock downs and improved awareness and hygiene reduced the O to a fraction of its initial value, everything else stayed them same?

  27. Paul Jurczak

    “Some of the best minds here at the White House are beginning to think about what recommendations will look like”

    This scares the hell out of me!

  28. Anon

    RE: ZOOM lawsuit

    If that lawsuit isn’t a class action it should. Zoom is being used at my local community college and students and instructors are protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

    Here’s one of the US Dept. of Education FAQ’s:

    I want to use online tool or application as part of my course. However, I am worried that it is a violation of FERPA. What should I do?

    A teacher should first check with their school/district administration to see if that application or service is approved for use in the classroom. Any applications or services that collect personally identifiable information (PII) from students’ education records under the school officials exception to prior consent in FERPA must:

    Provides a service or function that the school would otherwise use its own staff.

    Be under the direct control of the school with regard to the use and maintenance of the PII from education records.

    Collection and use of the PII must be consistent with the school or district’s annual notification of rights under FERPA.

    Not re-disclose or use the education data for unauthorized purposes.

    Remember that the use of some applications or services may introduce security or privacy vulnerabilities into the school or districts IT systems. Teachers should always consult their IT representatives to discuss the use of these types of software tools prior to use to ensure compliance with FERPA requirements and promote a safe, secure computing environment.

    Zoom is likely to get itself in deep do-do over their misrepresentation of its security measures. There are close to 2 million community college students taking online courses in CA. Some more in the UC System. A class action could be a goldmine for attorneys. (They’re attrated to deep pockets; Silicon Valley.)

    1. Anon

      I would add that California has its’ own education code/privacy rights that is even more strict than FERPA.

  29. ewmayer

    “Pope says coronavirus outbreak may be one of ‘nature’s responses’ to climate change | The Hill” — how convenient of him to omit mention of overpopulation. Ignacio’s recent “Covid-19: Where From? Why Now?” article discusses such a correlation – high-density living requires intensive animal-farming, which breeds diseases of livestock, and in China last year that manifested thusly:

    …an increase in wild animal trafficking in China could be related with a sharp drop in meat production in China in 2019. An outbreak of African Swine Fever disease starting in 2018 caused a large production decrease in China during 2019 (5). Pork accounts for more than 60% of total meat production in China (broiler meat excluded). According to the National Statistics Bureau of China (NSBCh) pork meat production fell in China by 21% in 2019 with a total loss of about 11.5 million tons of meat (6). An increase in lamb and beef meat production could compensate only for a small part of this. The NSBCh does not yet provide for meat price changes in 2019 but this is a solid suggestion that wild animal trafficking could have increased partly to compensate for shortages of pork meat

    According to [The Guardian]:

    Just weeks before the outbreak, China’s State Forestry and Grassland Administration (SFGA) was still actively encouraging citizens to get into farming wildlife such as civet cats – a species pinpointed as a carrier of Sars, a disease similar to Covid-19. The SFGA regulates both farming and trade in terrestrial wildlife, and quotas of wildlife products – such as pangolin scales – allowed to be used by the Chinese medicine industry.

    I think The Guardian may have got it right.

  30. David Smith

    Unemployment, predictably, is moving slowly. There’s no outreach or response from the central state offices. County job centers are left out in the cold, the worst saying only to call the toll free number which isn’t being answered, and the best (typically small counties) will try and refer your inquiry to their personal contacts in the capital city central office.

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