Friday, July 31, 2020
Somebody please tell Congressman Clyburn, who doesn’t have a clue, that the chart he put up indicating more CASES for the U.S. than Europe, is because we do MUCH MORE testing than any other country in the World. If we had no testing, or bad testing, we would show very few CASES..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
When the Texas Republican later contended to a local TV station that he might have gotten sick because of getting germs on a mask while wearing one, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) tweeted, “This is the COVID version of claiming you got VD from a toilet seat. That hydroxychloroquine must be starting to impair Louis' mental faculties.”
“Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!”
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Meanwhile, US CO2 emissions for April were the lowest since modern record keeping began by the EIA in 1973:
Our civil liberties are on brink.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 29, 2020
This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.
To not protect our rights is to give them away. It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism. https://t.co/pw20WF05KK
It’s strange how to some, this is not a violation of individual freedoms, but wearing a mask is.— Marcus Whitworth (@Nothingman58) July 29, 2020
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
At the Republican National Convention in 2016 Trump said the nation was in crisis and then he said "I alone can fix it."
Is there any part of America that is better today than it was in 2016? Perhaps only the stock market, up about 38% since he was sworn in. But then, "84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households."
By the way, the same Wilshire 5000 was up 35% in Obama's first term, 51% in his second.
Trump can't be blamed for the pandemic, but he is certainly responsible for the US's feeble, uncoordinated, feckless response to it. The deaths of tens of thousands lies in Trump's hands. He has no clue how to provide leadership in this crisis, no ability to, and, worst of all, no desire to. He is such a psychological head case that he sees himself as the victim in all this, pathetic beyond compare. He lies as he breathes, and even when we all know he's lying, he lies again. It's clear by now that, despite all his bluster, he is a very weak, broken man.
So I have to write about what's going on politically, socially, culturally, at least untl the election. If it doesn't convince anyone of anything, at least it gets some stress out of me, in this lonely pandemic, which is something I need right now. I hope you can bear with me.
"It’s not the health-care system, exactly—although that has coped better, too. A close friend in Los Angeles combatting cancer this week began to experience COVID-19-like symptoms. Her cancer treatment had to pause while she awaited first a test (a two-day delay) then the results (God knows how long). Meanwhile, my two Canadian nephews took the precaution of a COVID-19 test before coming to visit us in the country. They got the test on a walk-in basis. The results arrived a few hours later: all clear."
This Daily Beast article says Harry Truman, who of course ordered the dropping of the bomb (and also that on Nagasaki), didn't want to read about what he'd done. I guess that's understandable, but still. The article is password protected, so I can't read the details for now; it will probably become available without a password in a few days. We'll see if he actually did read it or not.
Albert Einstein ordered a thousand copies.
I thought these two comments were excellent, from this NY Times opinion piece, "In Portland’s So-Called War Zone, It’s the Troops Who Provide the Menace: If President Trump is actually trying to establish order, he is stunningly incompetent," by Nicholas Kristof (who lives about 20 miles outside Portland and grew up on a farm there):
Monday, July 27, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Here's Trump gloating when the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, had a bad experience at the protests:
“They knocked the hell out of him,” President Trump boasted on Fox News. “That was the end of him.”
The star is located about 300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Musca in the southern sky, and is about one solar mass. But the two planets are exotic -- orbiting at four and eight times Pluto's distance from our sun. Both are huge -- the inner one is 14 times Jupiter's mass, and the outer one is 6 times.
Photo taken at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.
Photo and article via Scientific American.
Saturday, July 25, 2020
Portland protester Donavan La Bella, hit by munition fired by federal officer, recovering but still suffering from brain injury https://t.co/5ShM3RkHJz— David Appell (@davidappell) July 26, 2020
This tweet shows video of the federal attack:
Friday, July 24, 2020
Of course, schools would ordinarily start in a month and a bit, and if cases are declining at that point there will be a lot of pressure to open them and probably start the cycle on the upswing again.
PS: Have I ever said that I hate the way Blogger renders figures?
Thursday, July 23, 2020
What an absolutely awesome name. Kudos to whoever thought of it and who ever decided to go ahead with it.
letting our freak flag fly pic.twitter.com/fxKifbY1Zs— Seattle Kraken (@NHLSeattle_) July 23, 2020
The Stanley Cup playoffs start in only 8 days. Go Pens!
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
“This is a democracy, not a dictatorship,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said on Twitter. “We cannot have secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles. I can’t believe I have to say that to the President of the United States.”I agree with her -- no matter what's happening, this is unconstitutional. Where are the Republicans and conservatives who complain about big, overreaching government and it threats to personal rights?
The ACLU of Oregon has sued the federal government over the agents’ presence in Portland. Meanwhile these federal actions are only increasing the number of protestors who come out each night -- what was in the low hundreds was, last night, about 2,000.
Gov. Brown on Trump's Portland "invasion":— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) July 18, 2020
“This is absolutely unacceptable. This was purely a photo opportunity for political theater for the Trump administration. He is trying to distract…They only want to escalate. They want to dominate the streets." https://t.co/QgqvMcaVji
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Naturally that heat wave had an impact on Arctic sea ice, which over the last couple of weeks has been at a record daily low. 2020 is starting to open up a sizable gap. According to the NSIDC's data the SIE has been lowest since 7/6 and is now 420,000 km2 below its 2nd lowest year of 2011, and according to the Japanese JAXA data this year's SIE is lowest since 7/3 and is 380,000 below their 2nd lowest year, which is last year.
From the Danish Meteorological Institute:
2020 is going to have to still melt strongly if it's to beat 2012's record minimum and build up a sizeable cushion, so when 2012 declined steeply in early August it will have something to ride on.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Here are new case totals from Monday for a few of our peer countries:No, these aren't per capita. But making them per capita won't make much difference. The US response has been a joke, pathetic, laughable, tragic. Why? Trump. The worst pandemic in a century comes along, and we have Trump. It has to be a cosmic joke.
South Korea: 52
And the United States? 55,300.
Trump voters may yet get us all killed. And that's not a joke.
The Hill: "The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a policy that would have stripped visas from international students whose courses move exclusively online amid the coronavirus pandemic."
The parties in a lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT against ICE came to a quick resolution, in which, as far as I can tell, ICE retreated 100%. That was the right thing to do -- this measure was ridiculous and cruel from the start.
Grant Imahara was an electrical engineer who co-hosted the pop-science show “MythBusters” on the Discovery Channel and operated robots in the “Star Wars” prequels and other major Hollywood films. He has died at age 49. https://t.co/jANKGBmi4z— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 14, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
People are losing their minds; for some, almost literally: French bus driver beaten to death after asking passengers to wear masks, Oregonian, 7/11/20.
Here a Portland, Oregon protester, who was simply standing across the street with a speaker, was shot in the head by a federal officer with some kind of impact munition. The video is graphic. He is in serious condition, but, last I heard, is now awake with a tube draining blood from his brain.
At least one piece of good news: Today the Washington D.C. area football team will announce they will change their name from the Redskins. (They won't announce the new name today, but have said it won't involve Native American imagery.) Credit the George Floyd and BLM protests.
By the way, seven years ago the Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, said he would never change the name.
"NEVER," Snyder said at the time. "You can use caps."
More insanity: Trump aides "sent reporters opposition-research-style bullet points about Dr. Anthony Fauci." You'd never guess they are on the same team, or that Fauci is his leading infectious disease expert.... As Eric Wemple writes in WaPo (same link):
Fauci’s efforts may have been flawed at times, but by all appearances they were undertaken in good faith. And that’s the cardinal sin here: Since handling a public health emergency in good faith requires a sincere — if sometimes tactful — effort to inform the public about it, this has inevitably put him in Trump’s cross hairs, because it has reflected badly on Trump.The NY Times wrote:
Mr. Trump has long been dismissive of Dr. Fauci in private, according to White House officials, taking note of the amount of time he spent on television and of when the doctor contradicted him during press briefings.Trump is afraid of anyone who knows more than him -- which is most people, including all scientists -- so they must go. The pandemic here is spiraling out of control. Trump must go in November, and most people can see through warped maneuvers like this.
This annoying woman is celebrating what she thinks is her little role in getting Orange County, California to drop their face mask mandate. Here is the COVID-19 case history in Orange County, from the LA Times:
Stupid people will get us all killed.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Poynter wants to ask the faceless, nameless bureaucracy to give him more space -- an increase to 8 ft by 12 ft. To do this he must enter a petition at an official station, explaining why his petition should be granted. This requires getting in and standing in a long, jam-packed line for several hours with all the other people submitting their own petitions, to change jobs, asking for Havana cigars, asking for permission to have a child. Those in line are also stand shoulder-to-shoulder, chest-to-back, so tightly packed that when one women faints she must be lifted up vertically out of the crowd. There's no reason given why their world is this way, but it seems to be a relatively new state, as Poynter and others can remember when the world was less crowded and more bucolic.
The book twists and turns on the social interactions of those in the multiple lines, whom they can only see by turning their heads or listening to those around them. And the book focuses on Poynter's thoughts, about what he wants and why, how he feels about this world, and how he feels assaulted and demoralized by it, yet still he hopes for change. After several hours of back-and-forth social dynamics even in such a crowd, Poynter finally reaches one of the unseen bureaucrats behind an opaque window and begins to make his case....
It's a quirky book, and not very long (my paperback version is only 160 pages), published in 1974. I definitely recommend it; I appreciated it as much this time as the first time, although of course the shock of it wasn't there. Long ago I also read Hersey's book Hiroshima, which is excellent. Hersey was one of the first western journalists allowed into Hiroshima after the US's nuclear bomb was dropped, and he tells the story of six witnesses to the bombing, in, for then, a new style, applying some techniques of fiction to nonfiction reporting. The New Yorker gave an entire issue to this reporting, and his book then sold three million copies.
Via today's Washington Post.
In other news, this stupid, ignorant, deathly White House actually made a list of all the times Fauci has been wrong on the coronavirus. You really have to wonder what their priorities are. (Well, you don't have to wonder -- we all know exactly what their priorities are, and it's certainly not containing the pandemic.) Just keep stuffing science in the closet -- look what that's done for us so far.
Saturday, July 11, 2020
David Frum lays out all the details in "Stone Walks Free in One of the Greatest Scandals in American History" in The Atlantic.
Stone was accused of—and convicted of—lying to Congress about his role in the WikiLeaks matter. Since Stone himself would have been in no legal jeopardy had he told the truth, the strong inference is that he lied to protect somebody else. Just today, this very day, Stone told the journalist Howard Fineman why he lied and whom he was protecting. “He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.” You read that, and you blink. As the prominent Trump critic George Conway tweeted: “I mean, even Tony Soprano would have used only a pay phone or burner phone to say something like this.” Stone said it on the record to one of the best-known reporters in Washington. In so many words, he seemed to imply: I could have hurt the president if I’d rolled over on him. I kept my mouth shut. He owes me.Read all the rest of the filthy details.
Trump should be impeached over this.
Friday, July 10, 2020
I read recently that Trump hasn't attended a meeting of the Coronavirus Task Force in months. It sounds like he's falling apart.
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
++BREAKING++— Carbon Brief (@CarbonBrief) July 7, 2020
New data from @CopernicusECMWF shows that July 2019-June 2020 was tied as the warmest [surface] 12 months on record... pic.twitter.com/RjyfhHGXJ8
Monday, July 06, 2020
Jennifer Rubin on the sins of the big red state southern governors (AZ-TX-FL):
The recklessness and incompetence of these governors should outrage not only residents of their own states but Americans everywhere. One thing we have learned is that a runaway pandemic in one or more states imperils all of us. They can hardly claim to be surprised by the predictable result of their arrogant, anti-science approach. Governors who wanted to rev up their economies and chose to ignore warnings about the consequences of their actions are responsible for thousands falling ill and dying. Their economies closed down anyway. Resigning is the least they should do.An infectious disease specialist said Trump's Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore was "the behavior of a cult leader..."
"...who is jumping off the cliff, except he's jumping off into a safety net where he has protections around him. People around him are being tested. He's being tested on a regular basis. While he asks his followers to jump off a cliff into nothing," she continued. "I mean, this is extremely dangerous behavior and unfortunately, this has become so politicized where you abide by public health and scientific recommendations on the basis of your political beliefs not based on the science. And people are really going to be harmed as a result of this."Slate:
Two weeks ago, a Politico/Morning Consult survey asked whether the Pentagon should “rename military bases that are named after Confederate leaders” or “leave the names” as they are. A plurality of voters, 48 percent to 33 percent, said the names should be left alone. Trump’s position was a winner with independents, moderates, and suburbanites. It was also preferred by voters who somewhat disapproved of his job performance or who expressed a somewhat unfavorable opinion of him. In short, it’s an issue he could use to claw his way back into the election.But read the rest of the article too.
Why (US) health insurance should never have been tied to employment. Great idea in a pandemic, huh!
A paper from a Nobel Laureate, in 1963(!), of why the free market cannot, even in principle, provide affordable, universal health care:
Synopsis: Free markets have never provided affordable, universal health care, anywhere in the world, ever.
And for good reasons: The advantages of a free market system do not apply to health care, because
(1) you cannot predict when you will need care
(2) or what care you will need
(3) you usually can't comparison shop.
Buying health care is not like buying bread. Thus, you need an insurance system. And private insurance systems demand a profit, and a large administrative staff to analyze and deny claims (NOT paying for care is, after all, how they make their money). Private insurers refuse to insure those they think will be too expensive, and drop clients who have become too expensive.
This was pointed out long ago by a famous economist:
"Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care," Kenneth J. Arrow, The American Economic Review, Vol. LIII n 5 (Dec 1963)
For a synopsis you can read:
"Why markets can't cure healthcare," Paul Krugman, New York Times, July 25, 2009.
"Patients are not Consumers," Paul Krugman, New York Times, April 21 2011.
In May 2016, during his first campaign, Trump said, in West Virginia
On Thursday, Trump drew wild applause in Charleston, W.Va., by telling miners in hard hats and reflective stripes to get ready to be "working your asses off" in reopened mines if he's elected. Some people waved signs saying, "Trump digs coal," and the business tycoon joked about needing a spritz of hair spray after trying on a miner's helmet, the gift of an industry group.
"I'm thinking about the miners all over this country," Trump said. "We're gonna put the miners back to work. We're gonna put the miners back to work. We're gonna get those mines open."Of course, it was just a lie to get votes, as many analysts knew at the time -- that the real reason coal was in decline was because electricity generated from natural gas had become cheaper.
If Trump didn't know that he was incompetent. If he did know it then he was a liar.
This time, Trump's campaigning looks to be too busy being a racist to have time to bother with coal miners. Their numbers hadn't moved at all since Trump's inauguration, and with the pandemic have plummeted:
I guess the pandemic plummet is due to less electricity used by industry, even though there must be more electricity use by households. Though looking at the graph the plummeting here began in the late 2019s, which is consistent with the Trump recession beginning this past February, before the pandemic.
I don't know how you do this, but US coal miners, in the Appalachians and in Wyoming, need to be made to realize that coal simply isn't come back, due to the economics alone. Plus add climate change on top of that. Coal power is now more expensive than wind and solar too.
Hillary Clinton really did have it right when she said, during her 2016, "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." It was a mistake, which she admitted later. But, typically, that's all that was quoted and no one went any further. But what she said after that was
"We're going to make it clear that we don't want to forget those people," Clinton said. "Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories. Now we've got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don't want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on."She wanted to invest in the region -- at one point I think I remember hearing her say $30 billion. That's a lot of money.
I know a regional economy doesn't change easily. I understand it is scary. My dad was in the steel industry near Pittsburgh in the '70s, which was collapsing, and we had to move twice, the first time away from all my extended family and the second time all the way across the country, and those were some of the biggest factors on the shape of my personality, personally. The governor of West Virginia is a billionaire in the coal business, so he's not going to lead them to a new, sustainable future. Trump couldn't lead six baby ducks to a pond of water. Their leaders are failing them, in a manner such that early deaths in Appalachia have, over the decades, surely exceeded deaths from COVID-19. Seems Trump probably doesn't care about either.
It's open access.
I've added it to the list of hockey sticks.
Saturday, July 04, 2020
“We are the people who dreamed a spectacular dream. It was called ... Las Vegas.” pic.twitter.com/rZM7F0VR3f— Joe Kovac Jr. (@joekovacjr) July 4, 2020
Friday, July 03, 2020
My trail name was "Bronco," because I had a case of bronchitis very early on in the hike; her's was "Puddin'," because she'd gather up everyone's boxes of pudding and make one big pot for a party.
Alas, we didn't make it to Maine. I partially tore two ligaments in my ankle in southern Virginia (though a Dr didn't discover that until many years later; a surgery didn't help), and by Massachusetts I couldn't stand the pain anymore and with the swelling could barely lace up my boot, and we got off the trail after hiking 1,483 miles. Still had 677 miles to go, really tough miles through NH and ME. Not completing the full, 2,160 mile hike to Mt Katahdin is still the biggest heartbreak of my life, but the 2/3rds hike was still an unforgettable adventure. Very bittersweet. My ankle never did heal and still hurts today.
Kudos to the reporter or editor who came up with this excellent article idea.
"How Fauci, 5 other health specialists deal with covid-19 risks in their everyday lives," by Marlene Cimons, Washington Post, July 3, 2020.
My own hair has never been this long before, even in high school. I'm going to start hacking away at it with scissors, I've decided, at least on the sides. It's become a real bird's nest.
What are your problems?
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Give it time Lucas.... national drop is carried by precipitous drop in nyc. 4 of the most populous states are turning upward now. pic.twitter.com/HXj5KlfT3p— Michael J. MacKenzie (@profmjmack) July 1, 2020
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Tuesday: “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best.”
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article (title): “The lessons Canada can take from the U.S.’s mishandling of Covid-19.”
Here's a graph from the CBC article.
From the Financial Times, via Twitter, showing why the EU is keeping Americans out (Update, 3 hours later - the US has denied EU citizens entry since March):
Donald Trump could not care less; he only wants someone to blame. And I do mean, he really couldn't care less. When is the last time he even mentioned the pandemic and
As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China. People can see it, and I can feel it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2020