Someone in command of the facts

Apr 2nd, 2020 7:39 am | By

Jennifer Rubin at the Post compares Trump to governors like Newsome and Cuomo:

If you watch New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or most every other governor (except the bumbling Ron DeSantis of Florida) at his or her daily news conference, you will see someone in command of the facts (e.g., number of infected patients, number of beds, number of ventilators, number of discharged patients) and with a clear sense of mission.

On Wednesday, Newsom rattled off lines like this: “Again, the prioritization of our day in date discussion interaction is the issue of hospitalizations and ICU beds. Roughly hospitalizations to ICUs are running about 41, almost 42%. You extrapolate that out based on the graph that was just provided in the model, we’ll exceed that phase one surge capacity of 50,000 somewhere in the middle part of May, and if you get up to about 66,000, that’s based upon our current modeling, we’re looking about 27,000 ICU beds that we’ll need to procure in this state.” Just imagine — no, you can’t do it — President Trump displaying that mastery of information.

A Trump who could do that wouldn’t be Trump.

The contrast between the governors’ level of sophistication and Trump’s abject ignorance manages to still shock and appall us. On Wednesday, Trump explained how his thinking on covid-19 had changed. “The severity,” Trump said. “I think also in looking at the way that the contagion is so contagious, nobody’s ever seen anything like this where large groups of people all of a sudden have it just by being in the presence of somebody who has it. The flu has never been like that. . . . Also the violence of it if it hits the right person.” The contagion is so contagious. That’s the president of the United States.

Always with the idiot mind-blind “nobody’s ever seen anything like this” when all he means is that he hasn’t seen it before and hasn’t been paying attention for the past three months.

You would think the president and vice president’s abject ignorance would be a source of embarrassment. Nope. They are locked in the right-wing media disinformation bubble. They find out details under duress. Only when things go very badly and their experts are forced to confess bad news do they grudgingly move into the real world. The change in “tone” that too many gullible reporters coo about is the point at which Trump’s lies, disinformation and self-delusion can no longer be sustained. No wonder he looks deflated.

Let’s hope he deflates all the way and we never hear his voice again.

Should have been stocked up and ready

Apr 2nd, 2020 7:16 am | By

They should have been prepared, says the evil maggot who was not prepared.

But isn’t he the guy who sent medical supplies to China without replacing them? Wasn’t he a tad unprepared?

Yes, he was.

Snopes has more:

It is also true that on Feb. 7, 2020, while critics contended that the Trump administration was doing relatively little to prepare for the coming pandemic in the U.S., the State Department announced it had facilitated “the transportation of nearly 17.8 tons of donated medical supplies to the Chinese people, including masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials” in order to help “contain and combat the novel coronavirus”.

Humanitarian relief is a good thing, but so is keeping supplies ready at home during a raging pandemic.

Insatiable appetites

Apr 2nd, 2020 7:03 am | By

Evil maggot outdoes himself.

I wish someone would douse him in gasoline and throw a match.

Not tentative enough

Apr 1st, 2020 4:11 pm | By

Ahh theodicy, just what we need to distract us from pandemics and Trump telling the world he’s Number Wun on Fasebook.

Dude’s a theologian according to his profile. Ok so a theologian to theodicy is like infectious disease specialists to the coronavirus, yeah?

No, because there is no coronavirus equivalent in theodicy. There is no thing to know; there is no body of knowledge to master; there is no evidence to bring to bear. The theo of theodicy is a human invention, so expertise about it is like expertise about a literary character. You can know a lot about what people have said about the literary character, and a lot of opinions about what the author meant by the character, but you can’t have the equivalent of knowledge about how a virus operates. It’s not the same kind of thing.

So, sure, there could be things theologians have said that would make a kind of sense of a god who sent pandemics to kill millions of people. A kind of sense, because you have to accept a lot of very dubious premises first, but still something. But is it a kind of expertise that mere civilians shouldn’t try to challenge?

No. No, because “God” is also the god of the pews who tells people what to do, and we all need to be free to challenge that god and what the priests say about it.

Anyway…I for one am not “telling God how to deal with evil”; I’m telling godbotherers that their god is evil. The god is supposed to be in a position to tell us what to do, so there shouldn’t be professional-credential obstacles to saying why that god 1. doesn’t exist and 2. is a shit.

No he really does

Apr 1st, 2020 3:39 pm | By

Dear god.

How to placate the boss

Apr 1st, 2020 3:15 pm | By

NPR reports:

Malaysia has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 2,900 and counting.

Oh dear, what to do – I know, tell women to stop being such bitches.

Malaysia’s Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development issued a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19. It advised the nation’s women to help with the country’s partial lockdown by not nagging their husbands.

That’s right. If he drops his clothes on the floor when he takes them off it’s her job to pick them up, not “nag” him to put them in the laundry bag or even – gasp – do the household laundry.

The ministry also advised women to refrain from being “sarcastic” if they asked for help with household chores. And it urged women working from home to dress up and wear makeup.

And to wear catch me-fuck me shoes, and a thong, and nothing else.

“(It) is extremely condescending both to women and men,” Nisha Sabanayagam, a manager at the advocacy group All Women’s Action Society, told Reuters. “These posters promote the concept of gender inequality and perpetuate the concept of patriarchy.”

Also the concept that men should never do anything useful at home no matter how much time they spend there or how hard women are working.

H/t What a Maroon

Big ditch open for business

Apr 1st, 2020 11:42 am | By

The Grand Canyon remains open to visitors despite pleas to close it.

Calls mounted Tuesday for the federal government to close Grand Canyon National Park after the popular tourist destination saw its first case of the coronavirus in a hospitality worker.

Members of Congress and city, county and tribal officials have urged the federal government to approve a request from the park to close amid concerns that social distancing can’t be maintained.

“We understand that closing an iconic destination like the Grand Canyon is not an easy decision, but we implore you to do everything in your power to prioritize public health and not interfere with locally informed decisions to close parks where appropriate,” members of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources wrote to the Interior Department.

So what’s the Interior Department doing? Counting the take? Watching Fox News? Stockpiling toilet paper?

The Navajo Nation also renewed a request for the park to close. Anyone headed to the park’s East Rim must drive through the tribe’s reservation, which has seen five deaths and nearly 150 coronavirus cases.

It’s smallpox blankets all over again.

The Park Service has been deciding whether to shut down individual sites on a park-by-park basis, in consultation with state and local health officials. Neither the Interior Department nor the Park Service immediately responded to requests Tuesday on the status of the Grand Canyon’s request.

Several of the country’s most popular national parks have closed, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Glacier, Arches and Canyonlands. Some of those calls were made at the request of governors and health officials in those states.

In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey has listed parks, golf courses and other outdoor recreation areas as essential. A spokesman did not immediately return a message Tuesday asking whether the governor would support closing the Grand Canyon.

At first I was taken aback by the golf courses exception, but then I remembered that social distancing is pretty easy with golf, so maybe that’s not entirely absurd. Getting outside is good, and maybe golf courses can play a role there.

But the Grand Canyon is a place where people cluster at the viewpoints. Shut’er down.

Updating to add: yes the Grand Canyon is big, no that doesn’t mean you can allot an equal share of its total space to each visitor. As I said, people cluster at the viewpoints.

Related image

Safe at home

Apr 1st, 2020 11:16 am | By

As always, women take the hit.

The “stay home, stay safe” mantra against the coronavirus is having dreadful — and even deadly — consequences for women in Turkey, where, activists warn, measures to contain the outbreak are exacerbating the rampant problem of femicide and domestic violence in the country.

At least 18 women have been killed across Turkey, 12 of them at home, since March 11, when Ankara confirmed its first COVID-19 case, according to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, a civic group dedicated to fighting violence against women. The killers included spouses, partners, ex-husbands and ex-partners as well as male relatives of the victims, the platform’s tally shows. 

About 470 women were killed in Turkey last year, at least half of them by husbands, partners, exes and male relatives, the platform says.

If something goes wrong, attack the nearest woman.

Consult the protesters

Apr 1st, 2020 10:03 am | By

People in charge during a crisis like the current one need resiliency; they need to be able to change course and adapt, to be willing to try new things, to get creative.

Trump does not need to reach back in history for an example of a leadership style that doesn’t require a dubious pose of perfection to convey strength. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, who regularly shares the podium with Trump at coronavirus briefings, has described often in interviews the vitriol targeted at him during the early days of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Protesters were storming the National Institutes of Health campus and burning Fauci in effigy, because of frustrations with the pace of research on a cure.The activist Larry Kramer, whom Fauci now counts as a friend, was calling him a murderer. Fauci decided the protesters were right on some key points and urged they be integrated closely into the government’s response.

“The best thing I’ve done from a sociological and community standpoint was to embrace the activists,” Fauci said in an interview with Science Speaks in 2011. “Instead of rejecting them, I listened to them.”

Close your eyes and imagine Trump saying that.

Can’t be done, can it.

“He got it right away”

Apr 1st, 2020 9:37 am | By

What changed that blob of vanilla pudding known as Trump’s “mind”?

Pictures, and graphs, and the fact that people he actually knows have the virus.

“We’re thinking that around Easter that’s going to be your spike. That’s going to be the highest point we think, and then it’s going to start coming down from there,” Trump said Monday on “Fox & Friends.” “The worst that can happen is you do it too early and all of a sudden it comes back. That makes it more difficult.”

Yes, but people were telling him that all along, and he ignored them.

The bleak forecasts were carried into the Oval Office by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who displayed to Trump projections that, on the low end, could yield 100,000 American deaths from COVID-19. One model showed that deaths could have soared past 2 million had there been no mitigation measures.

“We showed him the data. He looked at the data. He got it right away. It was a pretty clear picture,” Fauci told CNN on Monday.

No, he didn’t get it right away. This past weekend is not “right away.” Right away would have been weeks ago, not three days ago.

Trump mused to reporters Saturday about a quarantine of New York, as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, blindsiding their governors and raising questions about federal authority.

Even if the measure was unenforceable, Trump thought it could be a signal to supporters elsewhere that he was walling off a virus hot zone comprised of three Democratic states. But Fauci and other advisers persuaded him that it would accomplish little except ignite worry.

Aw too bad. It would have been so awesome to see “Democratic states” consigned to doom while “Republican states” flourished like the green bay tree.

A marigold

Apr 1st, 2020 9:11 am | By

Tom Tomorrow is here to help.

Pay up or die

Apr 1st, 2020 9:01 am | By

States that voted Trump get what they need. States that didn’t vote Trump can just choke on their own blood.

Such a surplus

Mar 31st, 2020 4:41 pm | By

Trump held another briefing.

Because Europe “took a much different route than we did, a much different route,” in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, “they’re having tremendous problems,” Trump said. As he did during yesterday’s briefing, the president is attempting to paint the US’ delayed and chaotic response to the pandemic as superior to Europe.

Yesterday, Trump implied that the US would soon have such a surplus of scarce and necessary medical equipment that he’d be able to send the excess to Italy, France and Spain.

Adding another chapter to the Great Book of Lies.

Trump said there are lots of ventilators. There aren’t.

We are going to go through a very tough two weeks,” Trump said, striking a more somber tone than he has at previous briefings. “This is going to be a very, very painful two weeks.”

There will be“light at the end of the tunnel,” he added. We are going to see things get better “all of a sudden” like a “burst of light.”

No we’re not. It’s not going to be sudden or like a burst of light at all.

Early mitigation slowing the spread of disease in California and Washington state is “gives us great hope,” said Dr. Deborah Birx.

I’m doing my best.

The White House has predicted 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US from coronavirus pandemic, even with mitigation measures. This isn’t the first time that the task force scientists have presented these grim projections.


“All of our major cities modeled like New Yor is what gets us into trouble,” Birx said. “California and Washington state reacted very early to this.”

“For whatever reason, New York got off to a very late start,” Trump added. “And you see what happens when you get off to a late start.”

We do. We got off to a late start because of Trump and his taking a flamethrower to what he calls “the deep state.” Many thousands will die prematurely because Trump is a lying hack.

The Guardian fact checks:

Though Trump is seeking to blame states for a delayed response to the coronavirus crisis, the president consistently downplayed the concerns of public health officials who raised early alarms.

In late January, at the Davos conference, Trump said, “It’s going to be just fine.”

In February, after the WHO announced more than 25,000 cases worldwide, Trump said that it “looks like, by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

And earlier this month, Trump tweeted this:

But please do tell us more about those other places that got a late start.

Then he got back into his pick fights with everyone mode.

“This is really easy to be negative about. But I want to give people hope, too,” Trump said, abandoning the quiet, somber tone he used earlier in the briefing.

“I’m not about bad news,” Trump said. “I want to give people hope. I want to give people the feeling that we all have a chance.”

As he has during previous briefings, the president then became combative, attacking reporters and dismissing what he called “stupid questions”.

The briefing has been going on for more than two hours now.

Skagit valley nightmare

Mar 31st, 2020 3:02 pm | By

A horribly sad series of events a little north of here:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

So they went ahead with it.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

Yes but…it’s singing. It involves a lot of deep breathing and projecting. I’ve been finding myself holding my breath when people get too close when I’m out for a socially distanced walk.

They rehearsed for 2 1/2 hours.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

45 out of 60. This thing is scary.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

I’ve been wondering about that. I’ve been wondering how long the aerosols that come out of runners hang around in the air.

[A] study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

Half an hour is a long time.

If you say it six times it is true

Mar 31st, 2020 11:56 am | By

Amnesty UK decides the important thing to talk about right now is gender identity.

That’s not how their how-to guide starts though. How does it start? With a pack of lies.


Your anatomy doesn’t determine your gender identity and neither does the “gender binary”.

Scare quotes on “gender binary” but none on gender identity. What is “gender identity”? The fatuous idea that sex is not determined by the body but by thoughts in the head. Translated into non-nonsense that sentence would read “Your anatomy doesn’t determine your sex and neither does the fact that humans are sexually dimorphic”…which is far more recognizable as an absurdity. Your anatomy does determine your sex, and the fact that humans are sexually dimorphic is just that – a fact.

But Amnesty wants us to ignore all this in order to “be kind.” How about getting Amnesty to “be kind” to us by ceasing to tell us to lie about sex and anatomy?

What is the gender binary? The gender binary is the idea that there are only two genders – male and female.

Two sexes, and it’s not an idea, it’s material reality.

In reality, gender is much more like a spectrum – it isn’t set in stone and some people have fluid or fluctuating gender identities.

Notice the unmarked jump from gender to gender identities. It’s all so sneaky, this shit – they pretend gender is the same as sex, and then in the next breath they pretend gender is the same as gender identity. Thus endless bales of bullshit get stacked mile-high.

Sex is not a spectrum. Stone has nothing to do with it. People have “fluid or fluctuating” personalities, but their sex remains their sex.

And on and on it goes. We know all this, but it’s just so exasperating to see adults keep insisting on all this trump-level bullshit…especially during a pandemic. Are our last words going to be “men are not womennnnnnnnnnn”?

Loose lips sink ships

Mar 31st, 2020 11:39 am | By

Even in a pandemic – we must always put the boss first and everyone else after. Hospitals are firing medical workers who talk about shortages.

Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.

This is America, where health care is a for-profit business, not a public service.

“Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image,” said Ruth Schubert, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association. “It is outrageous.”

Hospitals have traditionally had strict media guidelines to protect patient privacy, urging staff to talk with journalists only through official public relations offices. But the pandemic has ushered in a new era, Schubert said.

Health-care workers “must have the ability to tell the public what is really going on inside the facilities where they are caring for Covid-19 patients,” she said.

“It is good and appropriate for health-care workers to be able to express their own fears and concerns, especially when expressing that might get them better protection,” said Glenn Cohen, faculty director of Harvard Law School’s bioethics center. It’s likely hospitals are trying to limit reputational damage because “when health-care workers say they are not being protected, the public gets very upset at the hospital system.”

We’re funny that way.

The building packed with worshippers

Mar 31st, 2020 11:14 am | By

Florida godbotherer busted for flouting quarantine:

An arrest warrant for a Tampa Bay pastor was issued Monday, and the pastor was taken into custody after the sheriff said the church violated a countywide “safer-at-home” order.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the River at Tampa Bay Church violated the county’s order related to large gatherings and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. A live stream from the church on Sunday showed the building packed with worshippers.

Worshippers who would go on to infect thousands of others.

Chronister saw photos of the crowd and he was pissed.

“We received an anonymous tip that Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne refused a request to temporarily stop holding large gatherings at his church,” he said. “And instead, he was encouraging his large congregation to meet at his church.”

Chronister said Howard-Browne refused requests to stop gatherings at the church and even encouraged people to meet at the church. Chronister said the pastor “put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk,” and in turn thousands of Tampa Bay residents in danger.

He was booked into the county jail. Mugshot:

I did a column for The Freethinker on similar reckless endangerment at “Liberty” “University.”

Busy elsewhere

Mar 31st, 2020 10:55 am | By

The Guardian lays out with excruciating clarity just how thoroughly Trump made sure that hundreds of thousands – or millions – of people would die of the virus.

January 20 – the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the US, and in South Korea.

In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites.

One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions.

South Korea shut it down. The US watched stupidly while it flourished.

Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease.

We could have done that. There was no reason not to do it apart from the stupidity and narcissism of one poisonous man.

A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster.

Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an “easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test” – in other words, just what South Korea was doing.

It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process.

What were they busy with during those six weeks? Cleaning out the broom closet?

It’s a long and informative read.

Healthier for them

Mar 31st, 2020 10:27 am | By

You don’t say. The CBC notes that running may be healthy for the people doing it but not so much for the people they race up to and pass with a couple of inches to spare.

As the arrival of spring has brought warmer and sunnier weather to Vancouver, runners have once again taken to the seawall, but experts warn the narrow path could be the perfect transmission zone for COVID-19.

Hey guess what that applies to any narrow path so get off it. I’m finding it more maddening every day the way runners seize the middle of the sidewalk and refuse to deviate, so that we inferior walkers are forced to hustle into the street, or if there are moving cars in the way, just be infected by the selfish shits. That’s if we’re facing them – when they run up from behind we get spattered no matter what.

Doctors say that while running is a great way to stay healthy and prevent illness, the activity itself can increase the chances of producing micro-droplets that can transmit the virus from person to person, if they’re too close.

Yes but that’s other people, and who cares about them.

A certain group of people

Mar 31st, 2020 9:51 am | By

Oh that certain group of people.

I guess he’s never heard of women? I guess he has no idea that women have felt, and been, unsafe and unwelcome in society? I guess he has no idea that one of the many reasons women feel that way is that some men take advantage of isolated spaces to assault women? And that men are stronger than women, which means that women as a group are at a disadvantage compared to men as a group? And that’s why it’s not safe for women to share multi-user toilets with men?

You have to hand it to the “activists,” they have done a hell of a job convincing clueless men that men who say they are women are the most oppressed people in the universe and women are their oppressors.