Sunday, October 25, 2020

Proud Boy Repeatedly Flashes White Supremacist Symbol at Trump Rally

Here's a man in a Proud Boys hat at Trump's recent rally in Florida repeatedly flashing the white supremacist "OK" hand sign. He's wearing a white shirt/sunglasses/black hat with a yellow logo, just to the right of Trump from our point of view:
Here's a close-up of his hat
which matches the Proud Boy logo you can see amongst this image page of them, such as this:

The Atlantic's Endorsement

Ending to only the fourth time The Atlantic has made an endorsement for president:

Two men are running for president. One is a terrible man; the other is a decent man. Vote for the decent man.

It's all worth reading.

Friday, October 23, 2020

When Trump Mocked Biden for Wanting to Talk About Middle-Class Families

Here was an astonishing Trump response last night at the debate, captured by Slate, showing that Trump is ensconced in a Fox News bubble and just doesn't get that he's the president of real people with real problems. Biden:

Trump's response:
Trump mocks Biden for wanting to turn the conversation to the problems of middle-class families, calling him a "typical politician!"

Trump would rather talk about a fake scandal, avoid talking about his own scandals and corruption, or the coronavirus problem (a scandal), or the economic depression, or anything in his record. Really telling.

Eleven days until this fool is kicked out.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Wow, Joe Really Gets It

One of the biggest, most significant, most courageous statements ever made by a major American politician:

Great Line

 Joe Biden, to Trump: "this guy has a dog whistle about as big as a fog horn."

Cooling Down a Warming Place to Make it Warmer

I once heard a comedian tell a joke about the butter box in a refrigerator, a warm box in the otherwise cold refrigerator, and the refrigerator was a cold box in a warm house, with the house being a warm box in the cold outdoors. That was the gist of it.

This is even worse: According to The Guardian, in the Arctic, ConocoPhillips is looking into "cooling devices that will chill the ground beneath its structures, insulating them from the effects of the climate crisis."

CleanTechnica says this means making the permafrost stable enough for trucks to drive over it and oil rigs to drill into it. Here's the Environmental Impact Statement if you want to dig into it. Notice the caribou on the cover page -- their babies too! -- happily coexisting amidst all the oil infrastructure, one big happy family. 

Of course, the more drilling they do, the warmer the planet gets, so the more permafrost will melt, and the more cooling they'll have to do. I wonder how long it can go on. Probably longer that I can imagine.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Luntz on Trump

“Nobody cares about Hunter Biden … why is [Trump] spending all his time on him?” Luntz asked. “Hunter Biden does not help put food on the table. Hunter Biden does not help anyone get a job. Hunter Biden does not provide health care or solve COVID. And Donald Trump spends all of his time focused on that and nobody cares.” 

-- Prominent Republican pollster Frank Luntz, The Hill, 10/20/20.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Biden Says, Yes, He'll Listen to the Scientists


Trump Getting Wilder Still

In just the last 24 hours....

Trump called Fauci an "idiot" in a Monday morning call with his campaign staff: 

"People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots..." Trump said.

Despite slamming the coronavirus expert, the president went on to say "Fauci is a nice guy" before saying "he's been here for 500 years."

During the call, Trump also insisted that if he had listened to Fauci's advice there would be "700,000, 800,000 deaths."
Mocked Biden by saying he will listen to scientists:

President Trump mockingly warned at his rally in Nevada late Sunday that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would “listen to the scientists” if elected and there would be more lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 


Trump told attendees in Carson City that supporters of his opponent would surrender their “future to the virus,” saying: “He’s gonna want to lockdown.”


“He’ll listen to the scientists,” Trump added in a mocking tone before saying, “If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead — we’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.”


He also took aim at Democratic governors, accusing them of “keeping their states closed” with preventative measures to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the coronavirus has led to more than 8.1 million cases in the U.S. and more than 219,000 deaths.

(I wonder if most job losses have occurred in red states or blue states.) 

Finally, Trump was back on the "Merry Christmas" wagon again, as if this Christmas is going to be so great.

“The Christmas season will be cancelled. Look, remember I said we’re going to bring back Christmas? The name. Remember? We brought it back. Remember?” he asked.


"They’d say, 'Have a great season.' I say, 'No, I don’t want to have a great season. I want to say 'merry Christmas.' Say 'merry Christmas.' Now, they’re all saying 'merry Christmas,' " he added.

The 538 average of polls ticked up another tenth of a percentage point for Biden, who now leads by 10.7 pct pts. Maybe that's why Trump is losing it.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Biden's Classy Response

I think Fred Hiatt is on to something in his Washington Post essay on Friday, headlined "The most illuminating answer Biden gave in his town hall:"

One answer during his Thursday night town hall appearance crystallized why former vice president Joe Biden may be exactly the right person for this moment in American history. 

It wasn’t a particularly eloquent answer. It rambled a bit. Political consultants might have judged it a whiff on a fat pitch down the middle of the plate.
 
But that, in a way, is the point. 

The exchange took place toward the end of the show, when a member of the audience, Keenan Wilson, asked Biden “hypothetically, if you lose,” how he would continue fighting for his ideals. 

We know how President Trump would have answered: with his usual mix of menace and whine. I won’t lose. I can’t lose. I can only lose if the election is rigged. 

Most politicians would also have refused to entertain the hypothetical. 

“Keenan, I appreciate the question, but I’m not thinking that way right now,” they would have said. “This election is far too important for us to lose. I’m convinced the American people are ready for a change, and if we just make sure that we all get out and . . .” 

Blah blah blah. 

That’s not where Biden went. 

“Hopefully, I will go back to being a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and making the case that I have been — made and at the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware, focusing on — on these same issues relating to what constitutes decency and honor in this country,” Biden said. “But it’s the thing that’s motivated — my dad used to have an expression, for real. He said, ‘Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity,’ everybody. And it was real. Everybody is. 

“And so, whether I’m a defeated candidate for president back teaching, or I’m elected president, it is a major element of everything that I’m about, because it reflects who we are as a nation.” 

That’s only part of Biden’s reply — trust me, we don’t have room for it all — but it gives you the idea. He didn’t pretend that losing was impossible. He didn’t pretend he’d never given it any thought. He didn’t even presume that he could, for sure, get his teaching jobs back. 

And when moderator George Stephanopoulos followed up by asking, “If you lose, what will that say to you about where America is today?” Biden again accepted the hypothetical — and declined to finger potential scapegoats. 

“Well, it could say that I’m a lousy candidate, and I didn’t do a good job,” he said. 

That statement was met with applause, not because the audience agreed with the premise, but because we’ve all become so unaccustomed to a politician showing humility in any way.

Trump, of course, lacks such class and introspection. Here he is on Friday, talking about the same subject.

He also seemed to acknowledge things might not go his way in the end. "Running against the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics puts pressure on me. Could you imagine if I lose?," Trump mused.

"What am I gonna do?," he continued. "I'm not gonna feel so good. Maybe I'll have to leave the country. I don't know."

He couldn't give an honest answer, from the heart. First he had to denigrate his opponent, apparently not realizing, or able to admit, that if he loses to the "worst candidate in history" that will make him even worse. Then he gives a flippant answer, because he's not going to leave the country, and everybody knows it. He'd never get the attention anywhere else that he can get here (unfortunately). He just reeks of insincerity. 

Temperature Variations During La Ninas

Here's a very interesting depiction of temperature variations in the US during the last 14 strongest La Ninas, going back to 1925. It's difficult to find a pattern -- variations are all over the map (ca-ching). 
 
Check out the replies to the tweet. One notes that Alaska is usually cool. Also note that, surprising, La Nina stops at the US-Canadian border. If you find any patterns, let us know.

So far, this autumn has been a moderate La Nina. Generally that means depressed global mean surface temperatures, so 2020 may not quite surpass 2016 as the hottest year.

This is How Low Republicans Are Going Now

Aided by a television station that supports them fully. 

This kind of corruption will continue even after Trump loses, too. Republicans simply have no shame and will tear the country apart if they cannot be in power.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Republicans Can't Help Being Pieces of Shit

FY2020 Deficit a Whopping $3.1 T!

Note: First wrote $3.1 B, but of course it was $3.1 T. 

The US Government fiscal year ended on September 30th, so the books were finalized for the previous 12 months. One of the more astounding statistics was the budget deficit for the fiscal year: -$3.13 T. 

It's not yet possible to calculate this as a percentage of the 2020 FY GDP, since the GDP for 3Q20 in't in. But it will be high. I suppose most of it is understandly high. But all of it?

An Idiotic America In New Zealand

Watch the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand humiliate an American COVID denier:


Idiot.

Solar Energy Now “Cheapest Electricity in History”

The International Energy Agency just released its annual report, and the highlight is that solar energy is now the “cheapest electricity in history.”

The IEA charges €120 for their report, so I don't know if there are any caveats on this statement. I would think it would be latitude-dependent, at least. 

The Atlantic writes:

At the same time, it substantially downgraded its forecast for coal, saying that the fuel source will soon enter a prolonged and irreversible decline. That means global carbon pollution could peak in the next several years—though, without further policy, it will not decline as rapidly as needed to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Trump Admin Reverses Course on California Disaster Assistance

I suspect this was the plan all along -- blame administration officials, then let Trump look like the bigger man. But it was no doubt Trump's decision all along. (Yes, that's how cynical this administration make us.)

Trump Gives California the Middle Finger

Wow -- the Trump administration has rejected disaster relief aid for California's wildfire damage. 

The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief aid for six major wildfires that scorched more than 1.8 million acres in land, destroyed thousands of structures and caused at least three deaths last month....

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said President Trump had already come to the state’s assistance when his administration authorized increased funding for debris removal from the fires as well as relief for the August fires.

“The more recent and separate California submission was not supported by the relevant data that states must provide for approval and the President concurred with the FEMA Administrator’s recommendation,” Mr. Deere said.

Trump isn't going to win California anyway, so what does he care. This is yet another reason why the Electoral College must be scraped and the winner of the presidential election should be determined by popular vote. (And California has about 13 million of them -- about 10% of the national vote.)

Trump is such a small man. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

NOAA: Warmest September in Their Records

NOAA just recorded this September as the warmest in their records, 0.97°C (1.75°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F). 

That's 1.20°C (2.16°F) above their earliest 30-year period, 1880-1909. 

If you do a linear fit to their results, the total warming is now 1.06°C (1.91°F), which now rounds to "1.1°C." 

But there's now a nontrivial acceleration to the warming, which (for the entire dataset) is 0.016°C/dec2

More details here. Here's their anomaly map for the month. Notice Siberia.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Graphic: Watch COVID-19's Rise in the Red States

Watch COVID-19 cases' relative rise in the red states compared to the blue states:

Monday, October 12, 2020

Florida Home Sales and Sea Level Rise

From today's NY Times, here are two graphs on the impact of sea level rise -- or rather, the worry about it -- on home sales and prices in Florida:


I'm not as convinced on the prices chart -- why did they lead from 2013-2017? Is it only since 2017 that Floridians have become more aware of the impact of sea-level rise there? Maybe.

These kind of financial impacts -- plus increases in insurance costs, or the inabilityvto get insurance at all -- will probably be the only thing to get people to take sea level rise completely seriously. Including governments. Once seaside towns start losing homes -- and property taxes -- partially or completely, they're going to demand their state and federal goverenments do something. What, I don't know.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Views from New Hampshire

Gorgeous views of Mt Chocorua in the White Mountains, from my friend Jim Diamond:
 


I love these. It's a great mountain to climb if you ever get the chance. I climbed to the top once, and tried a second time with a women on a first second date, but she was a slow hiker and we had to turn back before we reached the summit. It was late afternoon and I chose a shortcut to go down, which was a mistake as it wasn't a well-used trail. She was even slower coming down, and despite my pleading couldn't hurry up. The sun set on us and it began to get cold (it had been a sunny day in early November), and (another mistake) we didn't have a flashlight. At points I was quite worried we would be spending the night there in the woods, which would have been unpleasant but not life threatening (I'm pretty sure). I had been down the trail once before but I didn't know it well, but, I think, relying on some kind of trail instinct -- years of hiking on trails and having a sense of how they were laid out, how they twisted and turned through forests, past mounds and along streams and around rocks -- I figured the way out in the dark, about 3 miles. It was a big relief when we finally got out around 8 pm. (I'm very proud of this.) We didn't have a second third date.

Jim was a professor of chemistry from Linfield College here in Oregon, who I met because he read this blog, and we became good friends and often met for breakfast or lunch. He retired and moved with his wife to the northern side of Lake Winnipesaukee, just across the lake from where I lived on a mountain in Gilford from 1998-2003! I was supposed to go visit him this summer, but the pandemic squashed that. He sends this along with his pictures: 

Photo details: All shot on a Canon Mark III EOS 5d, using a Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM lens. 
  1. Views of Chocorua May Differ - This is one of many photos I have taken from the same place, as part of a larger project. 22:30 20 September 2020, 8", f/2.5, ISO 5000 There was an aurora (Kp=2) visible far to the north. There is a trail of a meteor at about 11:30, 2/3 of the way from the peak to the upper edge. 
  2. Morning glory - A rainbow yesterday morning. 07:35 8 October 2020, 1/320", f/9.0, ISO 100 
Thanks Jim.

Always Close to a Vaccine

 “We’re very close to a vaccine.” 


-- Trump, February 25, 2020

via The Atlantic, an article worth reading in full.

538.com's Poll of Polls, and a Trump Coup

Here's a close-up of 538.com's "poll of polls," where they average the national polls available to the public. You can see why Trump is panicking:


Here, they "simulate the election 40,000 times to see who wins most often," and Biden wins 86% of the time, Trump 14%. I'm not exactly sure what this simulation means, but I'm guessing it's some combination of all the 50 state polls, taken within their margins of error. Still doesn't look good for Trump.

The best thing for the country will be if Trump is defeated soundly and thoroughly, and senate Republicans too, to wash away the disease that Trump has brought to both the presidency and the country, and send his sycophants tumbling away in the rapids where they never again attain their footing. The greater the defeat the less trouble Trump can start in the days after the election, though Ross Douthat of the NY Times, a true conservative, isn't worried:
Our weak, ranting, infected-by-Covid chief executive is not plotting a coup, because a term like “plotting” implies capabilities that he conspicuously lacks.
He explains his thinking:
He lacks popularity and political skill, unlike most of the global strongmen who are supposed to be his peers. He lacks power over the media: Outside of Fox’s prime time, he faces an unremittingly hostile press whose major outlets have thrived throughout his presidency. He is plainly despised by his own military leadership, and notwithstanding his courtship of Mark Zuckerberg, Silicon Valley is more likely to censor him than to support him in a constitutional crisis.

His own Supreme Court appointees have already ruled against him; his attempts to turn his voter-fraud hype into litigation have been repeatedly defeated in the courts; he has been constantly at war with his own C.I.A. and F.B.I. And there is no mass movement behind him: The threat of far-right violence is certainly real, but America’s streets belong to the anti-Trump left.

So if you judge an authoritarian by institutional influence, Trump falls absurdly short. And the same goes for judging his power grabs. Yes, he has successfully violated post-Watergate norms in the service of self-protection and his pocketbook. But pre-Watergate presidents were not autocrats, and in terms of seizing power over policy he has been less imperial than either George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

There is still no Trumpian equivalent of Bush’s antiterror and enhanced-interrogation innovations or Obama’s immigration gambit and unconstitutional Libyan war. Trump’s worst human-rights violation, the separation of migrants from their children, was withdrawn under public outcry. His biggest defiance of Congress involved some money for a still-unfinished border wall. And when the coronavirus handed him a once-in-a-century excuse to seize new powers, he retreated to a cranky libertarianism instead.

All this context means that one can oppose Trump, even hate him, and still feel very confident that he will leave office if he is defeated, and that any attempt to cling to power illegitimately will be a theater of the absurd.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Trump's Audience Today and Hitler

Trump is campaigning speaking at the White House today, and his audience is a conservative group called Blexit, which WaPo describes as "a campaign to convince African Americans and other minorities to leave the Democratic Party." Lining up to get in, naturally very few of them were wearing masks

The leader of Blexit is Candace Owens, who went on a rant when a police woman stopped her and her husband at Whole Foods for not wearing a mask. But more to the point today, she once said that Hitler would have been OK if he had just stuck to Germany. Really.

The White House clearly has no problem inviting this dumb woman to today's rally.

Oregon's Warming

Oregon has warmed about 2.5°F (1.4°C) since the beginning of the 20th century, according to NOAA data

The last 10 years have been the warmest on record, as have the last 30. In this graph, "MA" = moving average:

The warmest year so far was 2015, followed by 1934, 2014, 1992 and 2004.

Oregon's climate, though, is strange, because the state is sharply divided into two different climate zones depending on which side of the Cascade Mountains you're looking at. (They bisect the state from north to south.) The west side, where most of the population is, with the cities of Portland, Salem and Eugene, is rainy much of the year with the forests almost rain forests. The east side of the mountains, where the major city is Bend, is huge, and dry, high-altitude, scrub forests. It reminds me a lot of New Mexico. So I don't know how meaningful a statewide average is -- one really needs averages for each of the two regions to get a clear picture. 

Friday, October 09, 2020

Michigan Sheriff Downplays Domestic Terrorists

I'm a little under the weather and don't feel like blogging much at the moment -- and who can keep up with reality anyway -- but this interview with a sheriff in Michigan who knew some of the militia armed gang members just arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap the governor is...disturbing.

Monday, October 05, 2020

#ProudBoys Hashtag Taken Over by LGBTQ Photos

This is real genius. George Takei, Star Trek's original Mr Sulu, organized a takeover of the #ProudBoys hashtag late last week. Now the hashtag is full of photos like these below on Twitter. The Proud Boys could think of no more clever way to respond than their stereotype would suggest. Those Kids just can't take a joke.

The Proud Boys have not responded kindly to the hashtag takeover. On Parler, a conservative social media app, followers of the Proud Boys group expressed outrage, with many commenting on images of the tweets with homophobic slurs, according to Forbes. One member created a meme of Takei making a white-supremacist gesture and another replied using Nazi terms like “final solution.”




Lots more here.

Do You Feel Lucky, America?

Our Sociopath-in-Chief is a goddamn lunatic who is utterly incapable of thinking of anyone but himself.

The lying to Hannity, the going to New Jersey when he knew he had been in close personal contact with an infected person (Hicks), the fake photographs and signing a blank piece of paper, making his doctor's lie to the press about his condition, the pathetic joy ride yesterday past a crowd on the highway and disregard for his security's health -- still not enough damage done, apparently. Now he tweets this madness:

Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life. I feel better than I did 20 years ago! So, so terrified of showing even a tiny human worth of vulnerability or weakness. Such an misunderstanding of the character of a leader. 

There's nothing he won't say if he thinks it helps him get reelected.

If there's nothing to fear, why are there over 209,000 deaths in the US? Trump doesn't think to ask -- it's all about him. Don't let it dominate your life. So apparently don't worry about catching the virus, possibly dying, or suffering lingering heart issues, lung issues, brain issues, and more. Trump would rather pretend all is well for the sake of his own reelection. Feels better than he did 20 years ago. Sure.

This is infuriating. He has ignored and lied about the pandemic from the start, and now has clearly learned absolutely nothing and lies even more. 

This is infuriating. Trump is already responsible for...tens of thousands (?) of deaths, and this nonsense will cause even more.

He doesn't recognize that not everyone has a 30-person medical team treating him or access to the latest therapies or a White House that is set up for everything he would need in a hospital. He's merely switching beds. Fred Kaplan at Slate:
On Sunday, as he stepped out of his suite at Walter Reed Medical Center, where he’s being treated for the coronavirus, President Donald Trump made one of the most unwittingly revealing remarks in his entire term in office. “I’ve learned a lot about COVID,” he told reporters, then added:

Apparently, the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans, the infection of 7 million, the many briefings from the nation’s most prominent health specialists, the profound toll that the virus has taken on every aspect of life worldwide—none of this made much of an impression.* It was only when he caught the bug, sweated with fever, gasped for air, and suffered who knows what other sensations we haven’t been told about, that he realized COVID-19 was “a very interesting thing.”
Real doctors keep saying they're utterly mystified:
The talk of the president’s release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center came as Conley and two other physicians treating Trump gave an upbeat but incomplete characterization of his condition. Outside doctors said they were mystified by what they said was an inconsistent portrayal of the president’s illness as relatively mild despite the aggressive mix of treatments he is getting....

Robert Wachter, chairman of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine, said any patient of his with Trump’s symptoms and treatment who wanted to be discharged from the hospital three days after their admission would need to sign out against doctors’ orders because it would be so ill-advised.

“For someone sick enough to have required remdesivir and dexamethasone, I can’t think of a situation in which a patient would be okay to leave on day three, even with the White House’s medical capacity,” Wachter said.

“Absolutely not,” William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University’s medical school, said of the idea of sending Trump back to the White House on Monday.

Medical consensus has emerged that covid-19 patients are especially vulnerable for a period of a week to 10 days after their first symptoms. Some patients who seem relatively healthy suddenly deteriorate, either because of the virus itself or an excessive immune response that can cause damage to several organs, including the heart.
The New York Times reports:
Nearly One-Third of Covid Patients in Study Had Altered Mental State: 
The hospitalized patients showed signs of deteriorating neurological function, ranging from confusion to coma-like unresponsiveness, new research indicates.
Do you feel lucky, America? 

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Nothing Sublime, Just the Ridiculous

Despite being at last Saturday's Republican superspreader event, US Attorney General Bob Barr doesn't plan to self-quarantine. What's he going to do, show up at work tomorrow as if everything's normal?

Still many Republicans don't get it and are holding indoor, largely maskless events.

A Trump campaign spokesman is still mocking Biden for wearing masks. Also, "Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), despite his own positive test result, criticized mask mandates while saying masks are 'certainly not a cure-all.'"

2016: "At a rally in Manheim, Pa., Oct. 1, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump mocked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton stumbling during a 9/11 ceremony after she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. 'She's supposed to fight all these different things, and she can't make it 15 feet to her car,' Trump said."

Then, of course, there was the time when Trump mocked a disabled reporter. That should have been the end of his campaign right there but 40 percent of Americans apparently couldn't be bothered. 

Business Insider op-ed headline: "Trumpworld delighted in cruelty. Now that Trump has COVID, it demands empathy."


Jaime Harrison, the Democratic candidate for Senate in South Carolina running against Lindsey Graham (and tied doing very well) brought his own plexiglass shield to their debate last night:


He said near the beginning of the debate, “Tonight I am taking this seriously. That’s why I put this plexiglass up. Because it’s not just about me — it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of as well. My two boys, my wife, my grandmother.” The Times wrote, "Mr. Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, may have been exposed to the virus earlier in the week by Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who serves on the committee and has tested positive."

Trump tried to show he was working yesterday from the hospital, but he signed a blank piece of paper. He was photographed in two different rooms, one with his jacket on and one with it off, but they were taken just 10 minutes apart:

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Was This The Republican Superspreader Event?

Here's a picture from the Rose Garden announcement at the White House last week announcing the president's choice of nomination to the Supreme Court vacancy. Except for the press, who you can see sitting/standing in the back, these would be almost all Republicans, if not 100% Republicans:

Maybe 10% have a mask on. Maybe. These are the idiots running the United States. What else can you call this but a cult? 

TMZ also has video from the aftermath of the announcement, showing people mingling:


You can see several people who now have the coronavirus -- Chris Christie, Kellyanne Conway, Senator Mike Lee. All older, all at serious risk if they get COVID-19. They shouldn't even have been there. 

Friday, October 02, 2020

Trump Has COVID-19

So now Trump has the disease, and is going to the hospital on the advice of doctors. With presidents and health, it's usually a safe bet to assume the situation is worst than they're telling us. Of course, the president will get all precautions and the best care, and I hope he and his wife will both have only a mild case of the disease and recover quickly and fully. 

Going one day from symptoms to the hospital is startling. As Scientific American writes, "Trump's COVID Infection Puts Him in Multiple High-Risk Categories." 
The president is age 74, male and heavy—all factors linked to more severe cases of the illness
Hope Hicks, a senior advisor to the president who had apparently been by his side, tested positive on Thursday, and was on Marine One with him (the presidential helicopter) and then his plane (where she was isolated), but Trump went ahead to the campaign event in New Jersey that evening and didn't wear a mask. Later, at a more exclusive soiree where he mingled shoulder-to-shoulder with people, he didn't wear a mask or, obviously, social distance. He may now become a superspreader.

Trump tempted fate and science, and lost. He mocked Joe Biden at the debate for wearing a mask. He also mocked Joe Biden's son for having a drug addiction problem. Biden reply was perfect: that he loved his son. I read that when Trump's first son was born and his wife suggested they name him Donald, Jr., Trump asked "But what if he's a loser?" 

Frank Bruni in the NY Times captures the complexities of his feelings at the moment:
It’s a measure of the cynicism that has infected American politics — and, yes, me — that among my initial reactions to the news that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus was: Are we sure? Can we trust that? A man who so frequently and flamboyantly plays the victim, and who has been prophylactically compiling ways to explain away or dispute a projected election loss to Joe Biden, is now being forced off the campaign trail, which will be a monster of an excuse.

I couldn’t help thinking that.

I couldn’t help thinking, too, about karma, and I immediately felt and still feel petty for that. Trump has spent much of the past six months, during which more than 200,000 Americans died of causes related to the coronavirus, downplaying the pandemic, flinging out false reassurances and refusing to abide by the very public health guidelines that officials in his own government were fervently promoting.

He didn’t wear a mask. He encouraged large gatherings — including the Tulsa, Okla., rally that Herman Cain attended before falling sick with the coronavirus and dying, and his big convention speech — at which hundreds and even thousands of people, many without any facial covering, packed in tight. At the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, he mocked Biden for so often wearing a mask, suggesting that it was a sign of … what? Timidity? Weakness? Vogueishness? Moral vanity?
I would like to think this will finally make a difference in how this country treats this disease and how we all treat each other, and look out for one another, but sadly I don't think that's possible for about half the people in this country. That's how far we've gone.

Proud Boys and White Supremacy

From Karen Belew in the NY Times:
"Watchdog groups and analysts have debated about how to classify the Proud Boys. Its members explicitly disavow white supremacy in a bid for respectability, but its ideology is clearly white supremacist: Photographs of members flashing the white power sign, the presence of members at white power events and at rallies and expert analyses of the group’s online content make this clear."