What to do, what to do

Mar 24th, 2020 3:15 pm | By

The trolley problem revisited.

It was instinct

Mar 24th, 2020 11:27 am | By

Daniel Dale has more samples from Trump’s fake “town hall” on Fox.

He hadn’t been reading anything about it.

Even now, he has to remind us that he is Sir.

And, as he told us the other day, he’s been right a LOT.

We have to ask him for lifesaving medical equipment nicely or he won’t give.

Bless their vim and vigor

Mar 24th, 2020 11:06 am | By

Jesus will save?

While schools and college campuses around the country remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Liberty University is set to allow the return this week of up to 5,000 students. The plan was announced by the private evangelical university’s  scandalplagued president, Jerry Falwell Jr., an ally of President Donald Trump. Trump in recent days has dismayed public health experts by announcing he may push for the lifting of restrictions on businesses to reduce economic damage as soon as next week.

In an interview last week with Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes, Falwell said it is fortunate that COVID-19 “doesn’t have a high mortality rate for young people because they’re the ones that are not worried about it. And I’m not worried about it.” Falwell said healthy people should stay away from those “who are high risk” and elderly people. But he accused the media of overhyping the disease. “Thank God we have the best president we could possibly have to deal with a crisis like this,” he said. “Shame on the media for trying to fan it up and destroy the American economy. They’re willing to destroy the economy just to hurt Trump.” 

If Trump is the best president we could possibly have to deal with a crisis like this, what would the worst one be like?

By easter

Mar 24th, 2020 10:39 am | By

Apparently Trump is on Fox right now, talking dangerous bollocks. Yamiche Alcindor is taking notes for us so that we don’t have to watch.

A downside

Mar 24th, 2020 7:24 am | By

How about that – several of Trump’s hotels have been closed because of C19.

President Trump’s private business has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels because of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially depriving Trump’s company of millions of dollars in revenue.

Those closures come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.

But there is probably no connection between the two, right? He would never put us all in danger just to keep his personal $$$ flowing.

In his unprecedented dual role as president and owner of a sprawling business, Trump is facing dual crises caused by the coronavirus. As he is trying to manage the pandemic from the White House, limiting its casualties as well as the economic fallout, his company is also navigating a major threat to the hospitality industry.

So far, the Trump Organization has closed hotels in Las Vegas; Doral, Fla.; Ireland; and Turnberry, Scotland — as well as the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and a golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Many of the clubs closed because they had to, under local orders. Others closed on their own, following strong guidance or recommendations from local officials.

Those are six of Trump’s top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels, bringing in about $174 million total per year, according to Trump’s most recent financial disclosures. That works out to $478,000 per day — revenue that is likely to be sharply reduced with the clubs shuttered.

But he won’t kill us just to keep the cash flowing…surely…

Amazon wants you to donate to Amazon

Mar 24th, 2020 6:00 am | By

Annals of corporate you have got to be kidding:

While much of the economy grinds to a halt, Amazon is doing more business than ever. The company has announced it is hiring 100,000 workers to try to meet surging demand. In 2019, Amazon had over $280 billion in revenue and $11.9 billion in profits. As more Americans shift their shopping online, it will likely do better this year. But, as the pandemic continues, Amazon maintains one of the stingiest paid sick leave policies among major corporations.

Well that’s why the profits are $11.9 billion!

In response to the pandemic, Amazon said it would provide two weeks of sick leave to “all Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine.” Kroger had a similar policy until Saturday when Kroger expanded its policy to cover workers with COVID-19 symptoms or who need to care for sick family members. Amazon, however, has held firm. 

Amazon’s large contract workforce, which delivers packages and performs other critical tasks, is in even worse shape. Amazon is not providing any sick leave at all for these workers, even if they test positive for COVID-19. Instead, these workers must apply to the “Amazon Relief Fund” and apply for a grant to cover their sick leave.

That’s the joy of having a contract workforce, innit – no benefits.

Amazon donated $25 million to the fund and is soliciting individual donations to add to the pot. It initially included an option to donate by text.

Or Amazon could just, you know, pay its workers benefits, contract workers included.

You want invasive?

Mar 24th, 2020 5:47 am | By

Pence the other day:

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday described his novel coronavirus test as a “kind of invasive” and a “not comfortable” experience.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence both tested negative for the virus Saturday afternoon after a staff member of his office had tested positive.

“The test was quick, but it goes a fair amount to the sinuses and it is not comfortable,” Pence said at a White House press briefing.

Oh yes? Not comfortable? That’s sad.

The additional burden

Mar 24th, 2020 5:33 am | By

Newsweek tells us never mind about the cancer patients, the people thrown out of work and unable to pay rent, the bus drivers and supermarket workers and delivery drivers taking the risks – focus your attention instead on The Most Marginalized Of All.

With empty toilet paper aisles and shuttered businesses, some of the effects of social distancing and other pandemic measures have been readily apparent. But the pandemic has less visible consequences unique to vulnerable communities, like the additional burden placed on transgender people.

Transgender people are vulnerable, you see, unlike the rest of us. Women for instance – women are not vulnerable at all. Bitches.

Widespread closures and the strain placed on health care systems have thrown up obstacles to trans people like Tally the Witch author Molly Landgraff, who has experienced disruptions to her hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is paragraph after paragraph of detail about Landgraff’s tragic struggle.

Dr. Alexis Chávez, psychiatrist and medical director of The Trevor Project—an organization focused on preventing death by suicide among LGTBQ youth—shared with Newsweek some of the less visible likely effects for trans people pursuing gender affirming medical support and medication during the coronavirus pandemic.

Apparently without pausing to ask if people should really be making a fuss about “gender affirming medical support” during a global emergency.

Self-quarantine isolation imposes a psychic burden that can be especially acute for trans youth.

No it doesn’t. Trans youth are not the people most burdened by self-quarantine; not even close. Being trans is not a category of thing that is made far more desperate by self-quarantine. What is? Being ill, frail, unable to walk, poor, parents of small children, in mourning, afraid – and on and on. Young people who think they’re the other sex do not come anywhere near the top of that long list, and they should refrain from whining about their idenniny right now.

While nearly everyone has experienced disruption to their plans during the coronavirus shutdown, for trans people the disruptions can be central to their identity and relationship with wider society.

In other words “sure, it’s inconvenient for other people, but for trans people IT’S A JILLION TIMES MORE SO. The usual narcissistic bullshit, in other words.

Now is not the time.

Back in business pretty soon

Mar 23rd, 2020 5:40 pm | By

Another rally disguised as a press briefing today.

Enough of this trying to slow the contagion! Back to selling!

We’re lucky they don’t run 8 hours.

Guest post: Jared could administer the test

Mar 23rd, 2020 2:23 pm | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on Ok time’s up.

15 days is forever for someone with no impulse control.

The fundamental theory is that your clampdown measures have to last 15 days after your last new case unless you have containment and contact tracing in place allowing every single instance to be quarantined.

Yes, but he’s a really smart guy who’s right a lot of times. He’s got a good feeling about 15 days. Besides, that sounds like a lot of work (none of which Trump would actually have to do), and altogether too many big words to fit onto the pages of his jumbo print note binder.

I say let him go out after 15 days, then slap him in quarantine for a couple of weeks. During that time he could wait for a test to become available; once it is, Jared could administer it. During quarantine, Trump could learn to wash and reuse his mask in some of those great liquids, and Dr. Fauci could use him as a test subject for that “treatment” Trump’s so eager to roll out. It might save us from more of his Nuremberg pressers, which will save us from tearing our own heads off listening to him.

Put the fish tank cleaner down

Mar 23rd, 2020 2:13 pm | By

The other day when he was contradicting Anthony Fauci on chloroquine as a miracle cure for C19 Trump asked “What have you got to lose?”

Your life, would be one answer.

Medical toxicologists and emergency physicians are warning the public against the use of inappropriate medications and household products to prevent or treat COVID-19. In particular, Banner Health experts emphasize that chloroquine, a malaria medication, should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus.

“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”

But sir, but sir, Trump said what have we got to lose.

A man has died and his wife is under critical care after the couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks. Within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital. 

That which cleans out fish tanks probably does nothing salutary to the stomach lining.

About that $500 billion slush fund

Mar 23rd, 2020 1:47 pm | By

Joy Reid asks some very necessary questions.

Ok time’s up

Mar 23rd, 2020 10:37 am | By

Trump is restless. Trump wants all this to stop now. Trump thinks two weeks are MORE than enough, because that’s what he wants.



Aides say Trump is itching for the guidelines to be eased when the 15-day period ends a week from Monday, but realistically there are few health experts who think that’s enough time to know whether the measures he announced last week– including recommending closing schools, limiting gatherings and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between individuals — will suffice.

So what?! There’s an election approaching!

The dynamic has led to a robust internal debate over how best to balance the actual health of the country — with potentially hundreds of thousands of lives at stake — with its economic health.

By “robust internal debate” they of course mean screaming tantrums.

Senators get inside information

Mar 23rd, 2020 9:47 am | By

Oh did they now.

A review of public statements by Trump administration officials urging confidence in the markets as the coronavirus spread reveals a stark contrast with the private behaviour of some GOP lawmakers. 

While the president and his top economic adviser late February were urging Americans to show confidence in the stock market and invest as the coronavirus spread, at least two GOP senators had already privately dumped stocks — after receiving classified briefings on the damage likely to be caused by the disease. 

In other words Trump and Kudlow were telling people to buy stocks when they knew the market was going to tank. Meanwhile were they putting their own money at risk? Nah.

Deputy Labor Secretary in the Obama admin:

But we now know that lawmakers in Trump’s own party were taking a very different course of action. At least two had been briefed with information from government officials on the likely devastating impact of the disease which contrasted sharply with the White House’s optimistic messaging about the likely minimal impact of the virus.

They lie to us but not to each other.

The giraffes taught him that

Mar 23rd, 2020 6:59 am | By

Zookeepers are the best people.

They have received a number of complaints

Mar 23rd, 2020 6:47 am | By

But wait – people are still thinking about other things. It’s not all pandemic from morning to night.

March 17, less than a week ago – a guy at Leeds City Council sends a hostile letter to someone about a Woman’s Place event at Leeds City Hall more than four months ago. What is Leeds City Council guy so hostile about four months later and during a pandemic? He’s hostile about “alleged statements about misgendering by speakers at the meeting and a Social Media post which was allegedly tweeted by the organisers about the use of gendered toilets and which toilets guests should use.” More than four months later, during a pandemic. Omigod some women talked about misgendering four months ago! Send them a fierce bossy letter immediately! Don’t forget your mask!

Also…”As a service user of a building belonging to Leeds City Council i[t] is not appropriate for any organisers of a meeting using the venue to make such comments on which toilets visitors could and couldn’t use and the post could be classified as offensive.” So…people holding a meeting at Leeds City Hall can’t say the women’s toilets are to the right and the men’s to the left? It’s now forbidden to say which toilets are which and where they are? Or are the toilets at Leeds City Hall now all “gender-neutral”? Or what? Is it really now municipal government policy to bully and rebuke women for using women’s toilets?

All this “could,” the letter says, “be classed as offensive and not in accordance with our equality policy,” the one that says women have to put up with men in the women’s toilets, so “we would welcome your comments on these points which were brought to our attention within 15 working days.”

Within fifteen working days during a pandemic, that is, when everyone is self-isolating and having to deal with the logistics of self-isolation but nevertheless has nothing better to do than send “comments” to Leeds City Council on the fact that some women dared to hold an event and say where the women’s toilets are.

I can think of some comments I would make. Well, two comments. Fuck, and off.

He has his own style

Mar 23rd, 2020 6:01 am | By

Fauci spoke to ScienceInsider yesterday.

Anthony Fauci, who to many watching the now-regular White House press briefings on the pandemic has become the scientific voice of reason about how to respond to the new coronavirus, runs from place to place in normal times and works long hours. Now the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has even less time to sleep and travels at warp speed, typically racing daily from his office north of Washington D.C. to his home in the capital, and then to the White House to gather with the Coronavirus Task Force in the Situation Room. He then usually flanks President Donald Trump addressing the media–and when he isn’t there, concerned tweets begin immediately. Shortly before he planned to head to the White House for a task force meeting today, he phoned ScienceInsider for a speedy chat.

The first question was how is he. He’s wiped but otherwise ok. Neither infected nor fired as far as he knows.

How is he managing the not fired part?

Well, that’s pretty interesting because to his [President Trump’s] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style.  But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.

Yes, he does go his own way, he does have his own style, and…he shouldn’t. His own way and his own style are anti-scientific, anti-thoughtful, anti-careful, anti-reasonable, anti-responsible – they deviate from every quality we need in an emergency. What we need from Trump for a change is a whole lot of conformity. We need him to find out what the norms are and then act according to them. We don’t need a freelance insult comic for this job.

And it’s nice that he listens to Fauci, I suppose, but since he still then goes his own heedless murderous way, it’s not much help.

Q. You stood nearby while President Trump was in the Rose Garden shaking hands with people. You’re a doctor. You must have had a reaction like, Sir, please don’t do that.

A: Yes, I say that to the task force. I say that to the staff.  We should not be doing that. Not only that–we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences. To his credit, the Vice President [Mike Pence] is really pushing for physical separation of the task force [during meetings]. He keeps people out of the room–as soon as the room gets like more than 10 people or so, it’s ‘Out, everybody else out, go to a different room.’ So with regard to the task force, the Vice President is really a bear in making sure that we don’t crowd 30 people into the Situation Room, which is always crowded. So he’s definitely adhering to that. The situation on stage [for the press briefings] is a bit more problematic. I keep saying, is there any way we can get a virtual press conference. Thus far, no. But when you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things 1,2,3,4 times, and then it happens. So I’m going to keep pushing.

When you’re dealing with this White House you have to say things a hundred times before anyone listens. It’s not normal, it’s just this White House.

Q: What happens before each press conference? What do you do as a group?

A: We’re in the task force. We sit down for an hour and a half, go over all the issues on the agenda. And then we proceed from there to an ante room right in front of the Oval Office to talk about what are going to be the messages, what are the kind of things we’re going to want to emphasize? Then we go in to see the president, we present [our consensus] to him and somebody writes a speech. Then he gets up and ad libs on his speech. And then we’re up there to try and answer questions.

While Trump is up there to lie and brag and pick fights.

[Updating to stipulate: I’m not criticizing Fauci here, just reminding myself and others of the truth about Trump.]

Zorro meets Doctor Goop

Mar 23rd, 2020 5:41 am | By

Oh, Gwyneth, not now.


Trump confirms

Mar 22nd, 2020 5:31 pm | By

It’s true about Trump’s letter to Kim.

Washington and California and New York have to wait until most of us are dead, but that nice Mister Kim is a whole other story.

He’s not called Rand for nothing

Mar 22nd, 2020 5:28 pm | By

Rand Paul’s colleagues are not happy that he went scampering around the Senate for days after being exposed to C19 and taking a test.

Jake Tapper has the details:

Then he got the test, and he went straight home, really he did. But it was some days later than he should have.