And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Linkee-poo Monday

"President Donald Trump said Sunday he would extend nationwide social distancing guidelines for another 30 days, an abrupt back-down from his push to reopen the country as coronavirus continues to spread." I love how the news continues to report in a way that says they believe Trump understands what he's doing. "Over the course of the past week, however, Trump appeared more wary of lifting the guidelines he had announced himself and which had been branded 'President Trump's 15 Days to Slow the Spread.'" We're now branding the coronavirus response.

"Despite health officials’ pleas to stay home and avoid spreading the coronavirus, young people have been packing beaches and hiking trails, picnicking in parks and brunching in restaurants, and flying to far-flung destinations on the cheap. 'At the end of the day, I'm not going to let it stop me from partying,' one Miami spring-breaker infamously told CBS News… But as the pandemic ratchets up, with 417,000 cases and counting worldwide as of Tuesday, it’s increasingly clear that the coronavirus is severely harming substantial numbers of people under 50."

"The White House coronavirus task force unanimously shunned President Donald Trump’s suggestion of a quarantine in the New York City area, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday."

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory on Saturday night calling on residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to avoid 'non-essential domestic travel' for the next two weeks to help slow the spread of coronavirus." A quarantine by any other name.

"New York City residents who break social distancing rules will be subject to fines up to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday… As New York battles the spread of coronavirus, the state has ordered nonessential businesses to shut down, banned gatherings of any size and mandated that people stay six feet away from each other. Not everyone has listened." Under what authority and what law, Mayor de Blasio? They only thing I can think of is "failure to follow the orders of a lawfully appointed officer."

"California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state received '170 broken ventilators' from the federal government's national stockpile in a press conference over the weekend. Many states have been experiencing a shortage of ventilators — a life-saving piece of equipment used to help treat coronavirus patients."

"Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the nation's poor for forgiveness, as the economic and human toll from his 21-day nationwide lockdown deepens and criticism mounts over a lack of adequate planning ahead of the decision… The government announced a $22.6bn economic stimulus plan… In an opinion piece published on Sunday, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo - two of the three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 - said even more aid for the poor is needed… 'Without that, the demand crisis will snowball into an economic avalanche, and people will have no choice but to defy orders,' they wrote in the Indian Express." Same here, although here we call it "patriotism."

"There are two realistic paths to achieving this 'population-level immunity.' One is the development of a vaccine. The other is for the disease to work its way through the population, surely killing many, but also leaving many others—those who contract the disease and then recover—immune." Each process will take more than a year. And I love how many people don't understand the full ramifications. Bars and restaurants can't just "space people out". Floor space is revenue, and most won't survive on the decreased revenue, and square footage ain't cheap. Which means fewer people can afford to dine out or go out to drink/socialize. And then there's the "Summer will save us" mentality? Really? Um, you know the Southern Hemisphere has Summer right now, right (well, okay, they're heading into Fall weather like we're heading into Spring)? Just look at how the Southern parts of the world, our country, and the tropics have been fairing with this disease.

"European officials warned against loosening lockdowns after the coronavirus outbreak claimed more than 3,000 lives in Spain and Italy over the weekend."

"Spain prepared to enter its third week under near-total lockdown on Sunday, as the government approved a strengthening of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus and the death toll rose by 838 cases overnight to 6,528."

"Russia moved toward a lockdown across the world’s largest country by area on Monday to try and halt the spread of coronavirus, following Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s order for residents to stay in their homes." Stay safe, my Russian friends.

Because they'll come for you eventually. "The Covid-19 pandemic is now giving Russian authorities an opportunity to test new powers and technology, and the country's privacy and free-speech advocates worry the government is building sweeping new surveillance capabilities."

"The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Democrats are apoplectic. The coronavirus has delivered the economic downturn they hoped would derail President Trump, but the collapse in jobs and stock market swoon are failing to produce the desired result. Far from being demolished politically by the crisis, President Trump has risen to the occasion and looks stronger, not weaker, as the weeks go by… Instead, COVID-19 is destroying honest journalism. The liberal media’s coverage of the president’s response to the crisis has become even nastier than normal, and, also, misleading. Some now refuse to even cover Trump’s daily briefings on the virus. They are unhinged." This is the kind of fawning "Dear Leader" bullshit you read in authoritarian countries.

"But we’re now entering the most dangerous phase of the Trump presidency. The pain and hardship that the United States is only beginning to experience stem from a crisis that the president is utterly unsuited to deal with, either intellectually or temperamentally. When things were going relatively well, the nation could more easily absorb the costs of Trump’s psychological and moral distortions and disfigurements. But those days are behind us. The coronavirus pandemic has created the conditions that can catalyze a destructive set of responses from an individual with Trump’s characterological defects and disordered personality."

Who's politicizing the outbreak? "A meme published on Facebook by Turning Point USA, a conservative group that targets high school and college students, claims Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak bucked doctors’ recommendations and outlawed the use of chloroquine to treat the coronavirus."

"The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down industrial activity and temporarily slashing air pollution levels around the world, satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows… One expert said the sudden shift represented the 'largest scale experiment ever' in terms of the reduction of industrial emissions."

"The Justice Department has started to probe a series of stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of the sharp market downturn stemming from the spread of coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter." Again, IIRC, Congress is exempt from insider trading rules. As I remember it, form the last time this was a scandal there got very close to passing a law barring congress members from trading on their insider knowledge. They only applied it to staff by the end.

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