Monday Reads: Pandemania and our Covid Times

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Good Day Sky Dancers!

Every day we learn something disgusting about how the Covid-19 Pandemic in our country threatens the majority of us while Trump ignores it and lets his billionaire buddies enrich themselves.  Trump’s enablers have enriched themselves at terrible human cost. Trump’s kleptocracy is killing us.

Today’s art are pandemic cartoons from 1918.  Think we’d have learned by now wouldn’t ya?

This headline is from Jane Mayer at The New Yorker: “How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic. The secretive titan behind one of America’s largest poultry companies, who is also one of the President’s top donors, is ruthlessly leveraging the coronavirus crisis—and his vast fortune—to strip workers of protections.”

The union’s struggles with the Labor Department are part of a much larger reversal of federal protections for workers, consumers, and the environment under Trump. In 2016, the President promised to “dismantle the regulatory state,” as Stephen Bannon, his former White House strategist, often put it. Given the complexities of federal rulemaking, this proved somewhat difficult in the first three years of the Administration. But the pandemic has offered Trump an opportunity: now that he can invoke an economic emergency, he can relax, rescind, or suspend federal regulations by fiat. In May and June, Trump issued a pair of executive orders directing national agencies to ignore federal regulations and environmental laws if they burdened the economy—again, in many instances, the companies were told that they just had to act “in good faith.” As the Times and the Washington Post have reported, these moves have weakened regulations on all kinds of businesses, from trucking companies to oil and gas pipelines. In Corbo’s view, many in the media have missed one of the biggest aspects of the covid-19 story. “Everyone is looking at the shiny object—the pandemic,” he said. “Meanwhile, the government is deregulating everything. It’s unreal.”

In April, for instance, the United States Department of Agriculture granted fifteen waivers to poultry plants, including a Mountaire facility in North Carolina, authorizing them to increase the number of birds per minute—or B.P.M.—that workers must process. The waivers enabled companies to accelerate the pace from a hundred and forty B.P.M. to a hundred and seventy-five. Angela Stuesse, an anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has studied the poultry industry, told me that, in the chicken business, “you make pennies on a pound.” Among the few ways to increase profits are squeezing labor costs and accelerating line speeds, which are set by the U.S.D.A. to accommodate federal inspectors, who are supposed to assess every bird. The regulations have long been a point of contention between poultry-plant owners and unions, because as the line speed increases so do injuries and other stresses on workers’ bodies. “They move the birds so fast, you have to be really close together to get every bird,” Williams, the union spokesperson, told me. “It’s like the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode at the chocolate factory.” Even though the C.D.C. has emphasized that social distancing is necessary to maintain safety, faster production lines require more workers, who must then squeeze closer together. In many areas of a plant, poultry workers already stand two feet apart at most, often facing one another. Nonetheless, the U.S.D.A. has now indicated that it plans to permit faster line speeds throughout the poultry industry. The National Chicken Council, the industry’s trade group, had lobbied for precisely this change. Williams fears that “these policies will result in the deaths of many more workers.”

Debbie Berkowitz, a program director at the National Employment Law Project, a pro-labor group, who previously headed the health-and-safety division of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, told me that, thanks to the pandemic, “the Chamber of Commerce is getting everything they always wanted.” An analysis of public records by her group found that, of the fifteen poultry plants granted waivers to increase line speeds in April, eight had covid-19 outbreaks at the time. “If you’re a worker in a plant bursting with covid-19, it’s a shitshow for you,” Berkowitz said. “The industry is getting away with murdering people.”

Michaels, the former osha head, told me, “We’re very much back in Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ ”—the 1906 novel that exposed abuses in the meat industry. The book so shocked Americans that President Theodore Roosevelt ordered an immediate investigation of slaughterhouses. The result was landmark consumer-protection legislation that formed the foundation of today’s Food and Drug Administration. But, for the past four decades, wealthy donors to the Republican Party have pushed hard for the dismantling of Progressive Era reforms and later curbs on corporate power. The 1980 platform of the Libertarian Party, which was underwritten by the billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch, laid out a road map, calling for the abolition of almost every federal agency, including the F.D.A. Although Trump claims to be a defender of the working class, he has delighted wealthy donors—and their pressure groups, such as the Club for Growth—by reliably serving their agenda. Michaels told me, “Mountaire and others are taking advantage of the covid-19 crisis to say, ‘We need more chickens.’ The Trump Administration is aiding and abetting this. They’re saying, ‘Produce more food,’ regardless of the cost to workers. If companies cared as much about their workers as they do about their chickens, we’d be a better country.”

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I know that’s an outsized quote but this article is important. Please go read it.

Rather than address the pandemic, the kleptocracy is after our lives.   This is from today’s NYT: “Inside the White House, a Gun Industry Lobbyist Delivers for His Former Patrons. The Trump administration lifted a ban on sales of silencers to private overseas buyers that was intended to protect U.S. troops from ambushes. The change was championed by a lawyer for the president who had worked for a firearms trade group.”

Michael B. Williams spent nearly two years helping to run a trade group focused on expanding sales of firearm silencers by American manufacturers.

But try as he might, he could not achieve one of the industry’s main goals: overturning a ban on sales to private foreign buyers enacted by the State Department to protect American troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Then Mr. Williams joined the Trump administration.

As a White House lawyer, he pushed to overturn the prohibition, raising the issue with influential administration officials and creating pressure within the State Department, according to current and former government officials.

On Friday, the State Department lifted the ban, and a longtime industry goal was realized. The change paved the way for as much as $250 million a year in possible new overseas sales for companies that Mr. Williams had championed as general counsel of the American Suppressor Association.

His role in pushing to lift the ban, which has not been previously reported, follows a well-established pattern in the Trump administration, with the president handing over policymaking to allies of special interest groups with a stake in those policies. And in this case, Mr. Williams’s victory comes for a key constituency as President Trump seeks re-election.

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Time’s reporters–Michael LaForgia and Kenneth P. Vogel–continue to address the presence of former lobbyists inside the Trumpist regime delivering for the former employers.  Also, check out exactly what else Williams is doing.

Mr. Trump’s cabinet includes a former coal lobbyist as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a former lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon Technologies as Defense Secretary, a lobbyist for the auto industry at the helm of the Energy Department and a former oil and gas lobbyist as Interior Secretary. Those industries have been sources of funds for Mr. Trump’s campaign and committees supporting it.

Mr. Williams’s work, though lower-profile, has nevertheless been a boon to another crucial political constituency: the gun lobby, which plays a leading role in Republican get-out-the-vote efforts and views eliminating silencer restrictions as an emerging issue. It’s a subject that has been embraced by the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — an ally of Mr. Williams’s former trade group — as well as by other powerful gun industry groups.

So, not only are they trying to undercut our rule of law but also any chance we have at getting through this Pandemic without wiping out thousands of people and our health care infrastructure.  Trump’s ego can handle people dying on his watch but not  Dr. Fauci’s approval ratings.

From the link above:

The tension between the White House and Fauci was on full display last Sunday, when CBS host Margaret Brennan told millions of viewers that “Face the Nation” had tried for three months to interview him.

White House communications officials, who must approve television appearances related to the coronavirus, responded by allowing Fauci spots this week on PBS NewsHour, a CNN town hall with Sanjay Gupta and NBC’s “Meet the Press” during the prime Sunday morning slot, according to one person familiar with the situation.

Then Fauci joined a Facebook Live event on Tuesday with Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), disputing Trump’s assertions that a lower death rate showed the country’s progress against the pandemic. Fauci called it “a false narrative” and warned, “Don’t get yourself into false complacency.”

Fauci did not end up making any of the scheduled appearances. The White House canceled them after his Tuesday remarks, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to relate behind-the-scenes conversations.

The episode underscores the deteriorating relationship between a scientist and a president who once bonded over their shared New York City roots and love of sports, but whose rapport has long since disintegrated over their differences on face mask policy, state reopening strategies and the use of antimalarial drugs to treat covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

 

This really is the kicker from the article that appeared this weekend.

Even though his suggestions have been largely ignored, Fauci has not complained that he does not get in to see the president, according to one of the officials.

Trump is also galled by Fauci’s approval ratings. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll showed that 67 percent of voters trusted Fauci for information on the coronavirus, compared with 26 percent who trusted Trump.

The internal turmoil and troubled national response have taken a toll on Fauci, those close to him say. He is exasperated that states and individuals are not following the recommendations of experts, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings, said David Barr, a longtime HIV/AIDS activist who has known Fauci for 30 years

Trump continues to be disinterested in actually running the country and continues to focus on his power and wealth and that of other wealthy Americans.

I’ve known several friends that had Covid 19 and lost their antibodies after several successful donations convalescent plasma.  Studies are beginning to show this might be the norm.  I swear I had this disease back in March but when tested in June showed no antibodies .  Can we trust this testing?

From the UK Guardian: “Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests. Exclusive: King’s College London team found steep drops in patients’ antibody levels three months after infection.  This basically means forget even a small chance of “herd immunity”.

People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds.

In the first longitudinal study of its kind, scientists analysed the immune response of more than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust and found levels of antibodies that can destroy the virus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms then swiftly declined.

Blood tests revealed that while 60% of people marshalled a “potent” antibody response at the height of their battle with the virus, only 17% retained the same potency three months later. Antibody levels fell as much as 23-fold over the period. In some cases, they became undetectable.

“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus, but it’s waning over a short period of time and depending on how high your peak is, that determines how long the antibodies are staying around,” said Dr Katie Doores, lead author on the study at King’s College London.

The study has implications for the development of a vaccine, and for the pursuit of “herd immunity” in the community over time.

The immune system has multiple ways to fight the coronavirus but if antibodies are the main line of defence, the findings suggested people could become reinfected in seasonal waves and that vaccines may not protect them for long.

And I fully relate to this headline from Bloomberg: “Covid-19 Reinvades U.S. States That Already Beat It Back Once.” Our governor closed down bars this weekend.  Now if he would just stop the STR invasion we might get back to normal.  Covid Zombies from Texas are in the one on the river side of my house.

The first states to endure the coronavirus this spring hoped the worst would be behind them.

Instead, the virus is coming back.

Many places that suffered most in the first wave of infections, including California, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington state, are seeing case counts climb again after months of declines. It’s not just a matter of more testing. Hospitalizations and, in some places, deaths are rising, too.

The disease is raging — Florida reported 15,300 cases Sunday, the biggest single-day increase of the U.S. pandemic — and experts say the resurgence in the original battlegrounds has common causes. They include a population no longer willing to stay inside, Republicans who refuse face masks as a political statement, street protests over police violence and young people convinced the virus won’t seriously hurt them.

And even though some of the states led by Democratic governors delayed restarting their economies until weeks after more eager peers like Georgia, they still jumped too soon, critics say.

“I don’t think there’s any question about that anymore. Even in California, we opened up too fast,” said John Swartzberg, a doctor who is a clinical professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley.

So far, the rebound hasn’t reached the states hardest hit by the first wave: New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that it’s on its way.

This is why we need and needed a Federal Response.  However, until the nation shakes off Trumpism we are likely to only see more spikes and deaths.  I do feel like Doctor Gloom and Doom today, but after watching my state have to back step like this after all the hard work we did and then be invaded by the Covid Zombie States around us really has me in a fit of pique.

I am staying my ass home for at least another 2 – 3 weeks and feel fortunate to be able to do that.  Meanwhile,  I just got my notification from HHS that my Medicare starts on November 1.  Please don’t let the Republicans fuck up any more of our programs meant to protect the least among us.  The Elderly–of which I am becoming a member–have been suffering a lot from this plague and needlessly at this point.

We can’t even get some nonpolitical behavior on the need for facemasks.  From Gallup: “Americans’ Face Mask Usage Varies Greatly by Demographics”.  We have a mandatory mask wearing law here in Louisiana now for all the damn Parishes even the ones that think GAWD protects them as his special white angels.

It has been more than three months since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reversed course and recommended that Americans wear face masks in public to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Gallup has been measuring U.S. adults’ use of face masks since early April and has found nearly nine in 10 say they have used one in the past week. Yet, new data on how often masks are being used reveals that less than half of Americans are heeding health officials’ guidance and always covering their nose and mouth when in public, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Forty-four percent of U.S. adults say they “always” wear a mask when outside their homes, and 28% say they do so “very often.” At the same time, three in 10 report doing so less often, including 11% “sometimes,” 4% “rarely” and 14% “never.”

These latest findings are from the probability-based online Gallup Panel survey conducted June 29-July 5, as COVID-19 cases were surging in several states, including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. With cases nationwide continuing to spike, many public health officials and politicians are imploring Americans to wear masks. Notably, a number of states recently began to mandate the use of masks when in public. Yet, it may fall on deaf ears for some Americans who are resistant to using them.

While majorities of women (54%), Democrats (61%), Northeasterners (54%), and those with annual household incomes under $36,000 (51%) say they always use masks outside their homes, their counterparts do so less often. Still, with just one exception, majorities in each of these subgroups — as well as education and age groups — say they wear a mask in public at least very often.

The one exception is Republicans, among whom a majority say they wear masks infrequently — either sometimes (18%), rarely (9%) or never (27%). Although President Donald Trump has been reluctant to wear one in public, other Republican leaders have come out in support of using them.

So, let’s agree on this.  Republicans are trying to kill us.  They want to keep us from voting.  They want the planet and all the animals to die along with us.  Christianity under Republican White Nationalism is basically a twisted Death Cult with no real moral attachment to the biblical Jesus.

What’s on  your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 

 

 


Friday Reads: Really Freaking Over It All

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Good Day

Sky Dancers!

I’m just tired of the constant bombardment of absolutely outrageous actions, words, and plans coming out of the Trumpist Regime.  There appears no end to what Trump and his cronies think they can get away with and still be considered fit to work and walk around in pubic.

Watching Trumpists downplay the dangers of a pandemic running rampant in many parts of the country is just one of these outrages that sets me off.  Trump wants business as usual and so he’s getting it through mouthpieces like Larry Kudlow who has no business being employed by anyone, let alone our government.  He’s also flouncing around the country spreading hate and discontent and furthering his profile as the nation’s racist-in-chief. This is from the AP.

At the White House, aides now routinely flout internal rules requiring face masks. The president’s campaign is again scheduling mass arena rallies. And he is back to spending summer weekends at his New Jersey golf club.

Three months after President Donald Trump bowed to the realities of a pandemic that put big chunks of life on pause and killed more Americans than several major wars, Trump is back to business as usual — even as coronavirus cases are on the upswing in many parts of the country.

While the nation has now had months to prepare stockpiles of protective gear and ventilators, a vaccine still is many months away at best and a model cited by the White House projects tens of thousands of more deaths by the end of September.

Amid renewed fears of a virus resurgence, financial markets — frequently highlighted by Trump as a sign of economic recovery — suffered their worst drop since March on Thursday. The market opened on the upside Friday morning.

At the White House, though, officials played down the severity of the virus surge and sought to blame it on factors beyond Trump’s forceful push to reopen the economy, which he’s counting on to help him win reelection.

“I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They’re saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that: There is no second spike,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said Friday on “Fox & Friends.”

He said COVID-19 cases are increasing only in certain spots of the country, but that nationally, the rates of new cases and fatalities have flattened out. “There is no emergency,” Kudlow said. “There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street.”

See the source imageYascha Mounk–a contributing writer at The Atlantic— wrote this today “The Virus Will Win. Americans are pretending that the pandemic is over. It certainly is not.” There is a huge list of what our country and our so-called leadership is doing wrong.

A second wave of the coronavirus is on the way. When it arrives, we will lack the will to deal with it. Despite all the sacrifices of the past months, the virus is likely to win—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it already has.

In absolute terms, the United States has been hit harder than any other country. About a quarter of worldwide deaths have been recorded on these shores. And while the virus is no longer growing at an exponential rate, the threat it poses remains significant: According to a forecasting model by Morgan Stanley, the number of American cases will, if current trends hold, roughly double over the next two months.

But neither the impact of mass protests over police brutality nor the effect of the recent reopening of much of the country—including the casinos in Las Vegas—is reflected in the latest numbers. It can take at least 10 days for people to develop symptoms and seek out a test, and for the results to be aggregated and disseminated by public-health authorities.

Even so, the disease is slowly starting to recede from the public’s attention. After months of dominating media coverage, COVID-19 has largely disappeared from the front pages of most national newspapers. In recent polls, the number of people who favor “reopening the economy as soon as possible” over “staying home as long as necessary” has increased. And so it is perhaps no surprise that even states where the number of new infections stands at an all-time high are pressing ahead with plans to lift many restrictions on businesses and mass gatherings.

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I am horrified that bars in my neighborhood are opening tomorrow albeit at 25 % capacity and that the local AirBnbs are filling up with folks with license plates from CoVid Death Zones like Georgia, Alabama, Texas and the like.  I’m just blessed most folks from Arizona don’t get this far east or they’d be here to spreading it merrily around our vulnerable population too so they can have a little Disneyfied Adult Entertainment at our expense.

Then, there’s the endless parade of current and former Trumpist Regime appointees that coulda whoulda shoulda done something but just sat there and let the chaos flow all over us and expect a voice in the criticism now.  Oh, and a big pay check … they expect that too …

This outrage pretty well sums up my thoughts on Bloodless John Bolton and the release of his “tell all”.  He should of told all when we could’ve impeached the ass and saved lives.

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This is from Axios who have gotten an advance copy of the book.  Like I said, it seems to me that we should all boycott buying it since he obviously didn’t care enough about the country to come forward with this out of patriotism instead of greed.

“Scoop: John Bolton to argue Trump misconduct”

John Bolton taunts President Trump, his former boss, on the back cover of his forthcoming book: “Game on.”

  • In a memoir coming June 23 that the White House has tried to delay, former national security adviser Bolton will offer multiple revelations about Trump’s conduct in office, with direct quotes by the president and senior officials, according to a source familiar with the book.

Why it matters: Bolton, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush, is a lifelong conservative and longtime Fox News contributor who is well-known by the Trump base, the source pointed out.

  • In “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” Bolton will go beyond Ukraine, and argue there was “Trump misconduct with other countries,” the source said.
  • Axios agreed to grant anonymity to the source in order to give readers a window into the book ahead of publication.

Behind the scenes: People close to Trump have been worried about the book because Bolton was known as the most prolific note taker in high-level meetings, Jonathan Swan reports.

  • Bolton would sit there, filling yellow legal pad after yellow legal pad with notes.
  • In short: Bolton saw a lot, and he wrote it down in real time. And when he left, the White House never got those notes back.

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Jordan Fabian and Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg have more to offer on this: “Bolton Book to Relate Trump Chaos, How Re-Election Drove Policy.”

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton writes in the book, titled “The Room Where It Happened,” the publisher said in a release.

The former top security aide, who was ousted last September, will argue the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry was too narrow and should have focused on more than Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. Simon & Schuster promised Bolton will offer details on other similar moves by Trump across the full range of his foreign policy and the national security adviser’s efforts to stop them.
Bolton declined to testify in the House’s impeachment probe, and instead deferred to the federal courts if a subpoena would be legally valid. House Democrats did not issue a subpoena, saying a lengthy legal battle would unnecessarily prolong the impeachment process.

Bolton said during a February speech at Vanderbilt University he did not regret his refusal to testify because it “would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome.”

“I sleep at night because I have followed my conscience,” he said, according to USA Today.

So glad he can sleep well at night.  I sure as hell wish I could.

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Bill Barr continues to dismantle democracy daily.  Can this Judge stop him from setting Michael Flynn Free?  From WAPO: “Court appears reluctant to order judge to immediately drop criminal case against Michael Flynn”.

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday appeared reluctant to order a judge to immediately dismiss the guilty plea of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, suggesting courts have the authority to review whether Justice Department moves to drop a prosecution are “in the public interest.”

Flynn, joined by the Justice Department, had asked the appeals court to force U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to quickly close the case and put a stop to Sullivan’s examination of the government’s unusual decision to drop the charges against the retired three-star general.
But Judges Karen Henderson and Robert Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit expressed skepticism of Flynn’s argument that Sullivan cannot conduct an independent evaluation or name an outside party to argue against the Justice Department’s May 7 motion.

“If Judge Sullivan had just kept this motion waiting and languishing, that’s one thing,” Henderson told Flynn attorney Sidney Powell. “But he has set a hearing for mid-July. For all we know, by the end of July he will have granted the motion. You also know courts have said he’s not a ‘mere rubber stamp’ either. There’s nothing wrong with him holding a hearing — there’s no authority I know of that says he can’t hold a hearing.”
Wilkins agreed, citing two cases in which he said the Supreme Court upheld the authority of federal judges “to perform an independent evaluation” before granting a government motion to drop a prosecution.
“You’re saying the Supreme Court got it wrong,” he asked.

“No,” Powell said, “I’m saying the independent review of the record consists of just that, and the record in this case is extremely well documented of prosecutorial misconduct, and suppression of [exculpatory] evidence which would warrant dismissal in any circumstance.”

So, one final scream on Trump, his rallies, and his plan to  host his triumphal speech in Jacksonville Florida violating yet another sacred day in US History.  So, of course, the first is holding a rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth which is the site of a horrific massacre of African Americans on May 31 and June 1, 1921.

And now this!

There is no end to his hateful racists actions, words, and sentiments.

So, I know all of this is depressing because living in our country right now is an ongoing nightmare.   He has no respect for the US Constitution, our American laws and values, or any of us for that matter.

I hope you have a very peaceful weekend and that you’re fortunate enough that you can stay safe at home with your beloveds!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 


Sunday Reads: Say their names.

Click on the above picture of the New York Times Front page…to enlarge this image to see the names fully.

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1264312206914719745?s=21

And take note:

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This is the front page of the New York Times tomorrow.⁣ ⁣ It lists 1,000 Americans that have died from COVID-19.⁣ ⁣ This represents just 1% of the number (almost 100,000) who have died thus far in our country.⁣ ⁣ ⁣

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As it states above, that times page only list a 1,000 names…

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Actual footage of President* Virus Death Shrug chomping at the bit to reopen houses of worship this weekend. #dumptrump #trumpvirus #fucktrump #politicalcartoon #magaisformorons #thedailydon

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Day 1223: In which President* Body Count Enthusiast hopes to pack the pews with expendable evangelicals like it’s the federal judiciary. #dumptrump #trumpvirus #magaisformorons #politicalcartoon #thedailydon

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tRump was so bad last night on Twitter:

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Memorial Day is this weekend and I’m tired of being home too but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna be reckless. Stay Safe Y’all ☀️

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💫

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A positive message found in Brooklyn to brighten your Saturday feed ❤️

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#EidMubarak on Eid al-Fitr or "The Feast of Breaking the Fast," which marks the end of Ramadan. Calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya designed this 2001 stamp in our @nationalpostalmuseum collection. The calligraphy translates literally as “blessed festival” and can be paraphrased as “May your religious holiday be blessed." ©USPS; all rights reserved.

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Just a few thoughts this Sunday morning…


Monday Morning: Death Chases the Open ’em crowd down US Streets and other news

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JAMES ENSOR DEATH CHASING A FLOCK OF MORTALS (1896) or what I call Open up Day across the USA

Good Day Sky Dancers!

This will be short. I’m still grading and they’re due in by tomorrow.

From The Guardian and Jason Wilson:  “US lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests ”  Way to go idiots!

Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states, and even crossing into neighboring ones.

The data, provided to the Guardian by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare, raises the prospect that the protests will play a role in spreading the coronavirus epidemic to areas which have, so far, experienced relatively few infections.

The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps, and data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.

They then created visualizations that tracked the movements of those devices up to 48 hours after the conclusion of protests. The visualizations only show movements within states, due to the queries analysts made in creating them. But the data scientist Jeremy Fair, executive-vice president of VoteMap, says that many of the devices that are seen to reach state borders are seen to continue across them in the underlying raw data.

One visualization shows that in Lansing, Michigan, after a 30 April protest in which armed protesters stormed the capitol building and state police were forced to physically block access to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, devices which had been present at the protest site can be seen returning to all parts of the state, from Detroit to remote towns in the state’s north.

One device visible in the data traveled to and from Afton, which is over 180 miles from the capital. Others reached, and some crossed, the Indiana border.

In the 48 hours following a 19 April “Operation Gridlock” protest in Denver, devices reached the borders of neighboring states including Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Utah.

In Florida on 18 April, devices returned to all parts of the peninsula and up to the Georgia border. In Wisconsin on 24 April, devices returned to smaller towns like Green Bay and Wausau, and the borders of Minnesota and Illinois.

Following the initial wave of anti-lockdown protests in April, epidemiologists warned that they could lead to a new surge in cases.

In North Carolina in late April, one of the leaders of the state’s anti-lockdown protests tested positive for Covid-19 but said she would attend future rallies.

No photo description available.

From CBS News: “Full Transcript: Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s 60 Minutes interview on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic”

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS / 60 MINUTES: There’s only one question that anyone wants an answer to, and that is: when does the economy recover?

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE: It’s a good question. And very difficult to answer because it really does depend, to a large degree, on what happens with the coronavirus. The sooner we get the virus under control, the sooner businesses can reopen. And more important than that, the sooner people will become confident that they can resume certain kinds of activity. Going out, going to restaurants, traveling, flying on planes, those sorts of things. So that’s really going to tell us when the economy can recover.

PELLEY: Many states are beginning to reopen their economies. Do you consider the virus under control?

POWELL: Well, I think we’re going to see what happens with that. People will need to take certain measures to protect themselves. Wash their hands, wear masks in certain situations and things like that. And I do think that over the next couple of months, you’re going to be seeing the beginnings of the recovery, as people, as businesses reopen and people go back to work.

The big thing we have to avoid during that period is a second wave of the virus. But if we do, then the economy can continue to recover. We’ll see GDP move back up after the very low numbers of this quarter. We’ll see unemployment come down. But I think though it’ll be a while before we really feel, well recovered.

I’m still with my Mayor’s program of “safest at home” but evidently uptown New Orleans put the message through white privilege and showed up in groups all over. That was the only place where people were overly anxious to socialize around here or so I was told.,

Trump’s reopening troubles play out in his White House The White House is struggling to keep its leaders and staffers safe while pushing for the reopening of America.No photo description available.

Reopening isn’t go well in the White House either.  From Politico’s Nancy Cook:Trump’s reopening troubles play out in his White House. The White House is struggling to keep its leaders and staffers safe while pushing for the reopening of America.”

Not far behind the scenes of the West Wing, however, normalcy is still a ways off. Trump’s own top staffers are increasingly working from home. The White House has started to schedule more meetings by teleconference after two staffers tested positive for Covid-19, including one of the president’s military valets. Aides are now required to wear face masks around the White House, and in-person meetings, if they occur at all, are held in the largest conference rooms possible.

Even the White House mess, where staffers grab lunch and coffee, has shut down and is open only through the take-out window.

The most prominent office in America — with all of the testing, resources and doctors it needs — is still struggling to keep its employees and leaders safe, even as more than a dozen states reopen businesses, restaurants, parks and beaches. The White House’s struggles and its ongoing revision of its health measures offer a window into the myriad challenges that thousands of companies and employers face as they consider bringing back non-essential workers.

The hallways of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, across the street from the White House, are mostly empty, senior administration officials say — except for the vice president. He led meetings in that building last week in a secure room by phone instead of holding court in the situation room, after his press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive.

No photo description available.

This is from CNN and pretty much what I’m expecting with this open up early stuff: “A person who was Covid-19 positive attended a church service and exposed 180 people, officials say

A person who later learned they were positive for Covid-19 attended a California religious service on Mother’s Day, exposing 180 other people to the novel coronavirus, according to local health officials.

The individual got a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 the day after the service and is now in isolation at home, Butte County Public Health said in a statement Friday.

People who attended the service have been notified about their exposure and received instructions from health officials to self-quarantine, the statement said. Officials are working to get testing for everyone who was in attendance.

So, I’m off to finish up my coffee and grade things and chase down students.  Wish me luck and strength!

Be safe!  Be kind and gentle to yourself and others!  Stay your ass home as much as possible!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: 👀 Look and See

I think this tweet by cartoonist Pat Bagley says it all:

Then there is this perspective:

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🤔

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When it all comes down to this:

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80,000 are dead. How many more will it take? • #trumpsupporters #trumpvirus #trumpownseverydeath #trump #fifthavenue #magaisformorons #fucktrump #notmypresident #worstpresidentever #dumptrump #coronavirus #trumpliedpeopledied #covid19 #coronavirustaskforce #drfauci #politicalcartoon #digitalillustration #illustrator

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And now…

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#voteblue #blacklivesmatters #unitedwestand #sisepuede

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This is bullshit:

And then some ass asked me…

I want to end this with a couple thoughts…

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Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that hey may find effective solutions to overcome this virus. #Montserrat #BlessedVirgin #PopeFrancis

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But the soul of sweet delight can never be defiled. To create a little flower is the wisdom of ages. WB.⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #Poetrybook #williamblake #Spiritualbeing #Sussex #Visionaryart ⁠ #Mystical #Romanticpoetry #engraving⁠ #darkartist #psychedelia ⁠ #printmaker #bookart

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Stay safe, stay home if you can…