Friday’s Forum

Opinions here, there, and everywhere.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nothing screams WHITE PRIVILEGE like armed protesters storming the Michigan statehouse.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Andrew Revkin
    @Revkin

    Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus? Its death rate suggests it hasn’t.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Maryn McKenna
    @marynmck

    Look, I’m just recapping published events here:

    – Former Gilead lobbyist joins White House
    – Gilead drug achieves modest effect against #COVID19
    – Gliead drug announced as “standard of care” and basis of future trials
    – Former Gilead lobbyist announces is leaving White House

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  4. Teve says:

    @joshtpm

    Trump on funds for “Democrat states”. “If we do that we’re going to have to get something for it.”

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gina Neff
    @ginasue

    To fight this pandemic we must use stories.

    Here’s a story: So-called superspreader “events” for coronavirus in the US are among the poor, working class and marginalized. And they are at their work.

    To get ahead and stop this virus we must tell the right stories. (thread)
    …………………………….
    The 10 biggest clusters of infection in the US are not high-flying international gatherings. The 10 biggest clusters are not rich people going to Europe. The 10 biggest clusters are not from airplanes or conferences or fancy birthday parties. They are NOT from outsiders.
    ………………………………
    Top 10 Coronavirus clusters in the US? Prisons, meat packing plants, a Navy battleship. Next 10? Prisons, meat packing plants, nursing homes. Next 10? And the 10 after that? Prisons, meat packing plants and nursing homes….
    ……………………………..
    The US coronavirus superclusters are in WORKPLACES where people very have little say in how to do their work, and often no paid sick leave.
    The work is hard, difficult and sometimes soul crushing and dangerous. The work environments treat workers as disposable.
    ………………………………….
    At the first worst cluster in the US, a nursing home outside of Seattle, staff
    1) worked while symptomatic
    2) worked in more than one facility
    3) did not have safety training/ adherence
    4) had “inadequate supplies of PPE and other items (e.g., alcohol-based hand sanitizer)”
    …………………………………….
    We ALL pay for these workplace decisions.

    More at the link

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And in that spirit:

    When John Gianoulidis, owner of the Kafenio Greek Diner, heard the Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, announce restaurants could offer dine-in services once again this week, he feared the worst for his restaurant and coffee shop in Atlanta.

    Here’s the deal, he typed out on Facebook.

    “Kemp mandates restaurants reopen, whether I reopen dining rooms or not. I file for business interruption insurance, it does not go through since I am ‘allowed’ to operate full capacity,” he hypothesized, adding further down in the now viral post, “If things blow up again, they are still on my tab not on the states, since they are no longer employed. Guys, this is about screwing the working class and small business, not about helping us.”

    Economists are uncertain if Gianoulidis is entirely correct about the exact rationale behind the sudden announcement to reopen Georgia as coronavirus cases continue to rise, with nearly 25,000 confirmed in the state as of Tuesday afternoon. The state’s reopening has been so early that even Donald Trump urged Kemp not to do it.

    But they can agree the most in danger from Kemp’s actions – both economically and healthwise – are those who open their businesses or return to work in Georgia’s new sudden easing of restrictions.

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  7. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: These are the clusters. Where will they spread? Like I wrote yesterday, I’m afraid the next most vulnerable are going to be the elderly working poor. 1) They are old (60-75), 2) They have to work; they are not retired to the Villages. 3) They work part or full time at retail and food service (think the cashier at Family Dollar). 4) Their customers will be least likely to be careful and responsible in wearing a mask, etc. and 5) Once infected, they are the most likely to hospitalized and die.

    I hope I’m wrong.

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  8. Kathy says:

    INterjet, IMO Mexico’s best airline, is a flying corpse.

    The linked piece has a succinct summary of the latest events, if anyone is interested, from planes being repossessed by lessors, to part of the trouble it had with the Sukhoi regional jets. The postmortem will no doubt talk about the latter, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic.

    To be sure, these were big influences, but really Interjet is dying because it is the best airline in Mexico.

    What do I mean?

    To begin with, they pack few people per flight. All their planes have a seat pitch of 34″. They are nominally a low cost operation, so they don’t have a proper meal service, nor do they serve hot food. But they also don’t sell food onboard. Every passenger gets a complimentary snack and a drink in each flight, including alcohol. On longer flights, a complimentary sandwich is also offered.

    They resisted bag fees until rather recently, helped by government regulations that one checked bag must be included in most fares. Their change policies were reasonable, including changing the name on the ticket. Service was reasonably good.

    This means their fares were not as low as they once had been. Given the downgrade on legacy airline services all over the world, it also turned their low cost model more like the full service model. This means the ultra-low cost airlines undercut it on fares, while the full service ones offer more amenities and, often, more frequencies.

    As a comparison of seat density, on identical Airbus A320s, Interjet seats 150 passengers. Ultra-low cost Volaris seats 180 (30″ pitch). Volaris is also cheaper and has the same amenities, minus free snacks and drinks. For the vast majority of flights from Mex City, Guadalajara, or Monterrey, all under 2:30 hours, price is a stronger motivator than leg room.

    So now it’s dying for being better than the competition.

    Interjet 2005-2020 R.I.P.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Where will they spread?

    Far and wide my friend, far and wide.

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  10. Jen says:

    This is SO on-brand for this crew:

    The examination of Vladimir “Zev” Zelenko’s records began when an associate, conservative commentator Jerome Corsi, accidentally sent an email intended for Zelenko to another “Z” name in his address book — federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who as a member of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team had spent months scrutinizing Corsi’s activities during the 2016 presidential election.

    From: Justice Dept. scrutinizes White House-connected doctor linked to disputed coronavirus treatment

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  11. Tyrell says:

    Last Friday. I forgot to mention was the 25th. anniversary of Triple H joining WWE. This has been one of the longest running relationships in sports and other fields. Longer than Brady – New England, Jordan – Bulls, and Jeter – Yankees.
    WWE boss McMahon was there to congratulate and thank him.
    H is a winner and great citizen.

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  12. CSK says:

    On a more cheerful note, Anderson Cooper has a son: Wyatt Morgan Cooper, born this past Monday, 7 lbs. 2 oz. The baby was carried by a surrogate.

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  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Tyrell:
    The link between fans of fake wrestling and people who support Donald Trump is very telling.

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  14. CSK says:

    According to The Guardian, Trump says he’s seen evidence that the corona virus originated in the Wuhan lab, but did not specify what it was.

    He says that “we have people looking at it very, very strongly.” Not closely. Strongly. Where did he learn to speak, or not speak, English?

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  15. Michael Cain says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Lots of versions of charts like this based on actual sampling have been kicking around for years. The WWE’s fans skew well to the left, and very much tend not to vote. Given the age demographics of the WWE’s base, neither of those is surprising. IIRC, locations for most of the WWE’s live shows (the 200 or so they run per year, not the big pay-per-view shows) favor college towns and large blue-leaning cities because that’s where they can fill the seats.

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  16. Bill says:

    @CSK:

    According to The Guardian, Trump says he’s seen evidence that the corona virus originated in the Wuhan lab, but did not specify what it was.

    How about this. It is in Chinese but it translates to- ‘Taking bat as the research object, answer the molecular mechanism that can coexist with Ebola and SARS- related coronavirus for a long time without disease, and its relationship with flight and longevity. ‘

    Yes there is a lab in Wuhan working with bats and that’s a job advertisement from last November. The link I provided is for the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Bill: Yeah. A personnel ad, presumably linked from some RW web site, for a lab that is well known and has operated openly for decades is exactly the sort of thing Trump would tout as secret evidence he knows but can’t talk about.

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  18. Scott says:

    @CSK: Like the investigation into Obama’s birth certificate. “They cannot believe what they’re finding”

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  19. Mr. Prosser says:

    Self-Isolation reading took me to William Gibson’s The Peripheral and Neal Stephenson’s Fall For those who have read the novels, Sci-fi aside, do you get the feeling we are in the early stages of The Jackpot or the divisions of the country based on web-induced epistemic closures?

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  20. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Bill: The most plausible scenario (I don’t consider this likely, but it is possible) is that the lab, which is known to study coronaviruses in bats, let a sick bat, or maybe several, escape in early November, and then the virus jumped from the bat to humans.

    Just a normal, human screwup. But of course, Trump wants someone people can hate even more than they hate him. That’s his playbook. So he makes all sorts of terrible, vague insinuations about it.

    Josh Marshall has covered that there are apparently some intel reports about a viral escape in early November. But genetic traceback makes every expert pretty sure they know who the first human to get it was, and that was in late November.

    Now these reports of “intel on the virus in early November” are pretty vague and they could just be unfounded rumors. That’s my bet. But the alternative hypothesis is that some bats with the virus got out, and things then went pear-shaped.

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  21. KM says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    The thing is virologist all over the world have come to the conclusion this was not man-made. The lab could have lost infected specimens but they would have been infected with an already existing disease, meaning somebody somewhere would (or already could have) come into contact with it. There’s nothing to indicate human tampering with the genome so it would a be a case of who let the bats out? Who, who, who? (Sidebar: any journalist who can get Trump to do a Baha Men impersonation gets the Internet Meme crown for 2020)

    Trump’s trying to pretend it’s a bio-weapon or deliberate. If research shows COVID-19 was circulating before any accidental animal release, that theory’s out. The more we test, the more we’re seeing it’s been out and about a lot longer then suspected – Wuhan might just have been the worst outbreak the world noticed, not necessarily the first. Another reason for Trump to suppress testing…..

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  22. Jen says:

    @Jay L Gischer: That potentially possible, and yet extremely unlikely, for a few reasons.

    One, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is similar but not identical to what has been found in bat populations, sharing only about 96% of the same genome. This points to a jump to an intermediary animal that could have happened years ago, and the virus has been running in that intermediary population for a while before jumping to humans. In other words, it’s likely to have come from bats originally, but potentially years ago–long enough that it’s evolved further within another species.

    Two, bat viruses are different than human viruses. Bat viruses are not really adept at making humans sick directly, which is why other zoonotic illnesses that originated in bat populations have only jumped to humans after infecting an intermediary host.

    Three, people who have worked in that lab have gone on record as saying they adhere to common protocols. The level/number of screwups that would lead to a lab accident as typically envisioned by the public would have to be almost unheard of.

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  23. Jay L Gischer says:

    @KM: Nothing in the scenario I describe asserts that the virus was man-made. But it’s a good clarification.

    I am not asserting that the virus is man-made. I am imagining that a bat had it, and escaped and the virus jumped on its own. I do not consider this the most likely scenario, but it is possible.

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  24. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jen: Thanks for that. As I said, I think this is plausible, not likely. I didn’t know about the intermediary business. This is good info.

    And again, no where in this do I see any hostile intention on the part of any government or even individual. Just normal human errors and failure.

    Haven’t we had independent, prior criticism of that lab for sloppy safety procedures, though?

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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill: This whole thing follows the James Randi theory of outsized claims: First the earth shaking one – C19 is a Chinese weapon accidentally released from a Wuhan bio-engineering facility on its own people but was originally developed to unleash on its enemies. Very Sci-Fi! Of course, that was nonsense in 100 different ways but once it was talked about people feel there must be something there. So the claim gets gradually whittled down. Maybe not a bio-engineered weapon, and maybe not even a bio-engineering lab, but a research lab and accidental release. We have now reached the stage where the astounding revelations are actually stuff we knew from the get go. Until last fall, the US CDC (? not sure of the precise agency, might have been HS) had a researcher co-located onsite at that lab, and so we knew that they were researching corona viruses in bats. It wasn’t a secret (as shown by the fact they were publicly advertising for job candidates). I’m sure there are also such research facilities in the US and Europe, since corona viruses are very common in people and incredibly common in bats.

    Is it possible that the outbreak came from poor practices at the lab rather than the live animal market, but no one has offered any real evidence of that. On the other hand the lab managers and/or the Chinese government would cover that up. Of course, it would be hard to cover up if we had a person onsite, but the morons in the Trump administration pulled our person out without explanation a month or two before the outbreak.

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  26. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    Yeah, I know. I’ve always wondered what unbelievable things those guys found, haven’t you? It seems to me that we never heard another word about it.

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  27. Jen says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Yes, and I think (?) that’s why we had a CDC person on the ground there in Wuhan, until she was called back by the administration in September.

    The Economist piece goes into some of that, including how “gain of function” testing has been abandoned by the US but goes on in other parts of the world, including China. It’s more that you’d need a series of really bad screw-ups for a true lab accident to occur–not a one-off. It’s not impossible (The Economist piece goes out of its way to make this clear), it’s just unlikely.

    We can’t rule anything out, but Occam’s Razor applies. The fact that so many early cases showed near-identical signatures points to a single instance infecting others. It could have been one person on a farm coming into contact with an as-yet-unidentified animal, getting infected, and then coming into contact with others.

    Part of the trouble in tracing back that instance is that it could have been someone from a far-flung-farm who traveled into Wuhan, which would both explain why there were cases not connected to the wet market, and make it exponentially harder to find the first case and host animal.

    This stuff is complicated and can take years to unwind. Rushing to find someone to “blame” can lead to big mistakes.

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  28. EddieInCA says:

    @Kathy:

    Interjet was my preferred airline from traveling from Los Angeles to Leon. Until not too long ago, I would travel to SMA several times per year. I really liked that airline.

    Sad to hear it’s going bust.

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  29. Monala says:

    “Kill the weak” – a public official comes out and says it.

    In a long post April 23 on Facebook, commission Chairman Ken Turnage II compared the spread of COVID-19 to a forest fire that burns off all the “old trees, fallen brush and scrub-shrub sucklings” that drain resources. The nation and planet “would strengthen when this is all settled,” he surmised.

    “We would have significant loss of life, we would lose many elderly, that would reduce burdens in our defunct Social Security System, health care cost (once the wave subsided), make jobs available for others and it would also free up housing in which we are in dire need of,” Turnage wrote. “We would lose a large portion of the people with immune and other health complications. I know it would be loved ones as well. But that would once again reduce our impact on medical, jobs, and housing.”

    I tried to look for what party he is a part of. He apparently ran as an independent. From an article in 2016:

    He says he has no affiliations with anybody that can be considered “special interest” and is an independent in every sense of the word which he says will allow for honest conversation and apply decision making skills with what is best for the city and community as a whole.

    Earlier this year, Turnage was awarded the Citizen of the Year (Most Impact) for 2015 by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce due to his effort in helping the community. Turnage serves on the Antioch Economic Development Commission, is a member of the Antioch Rotary Club, supports and participates in the many events and activities of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and is a strong supporter Antioch Police Activities League (PAL) and the Leo Fontana Family Foundation.

    I suspect from his affiliations, and some of the comments when he ran (one commenter said Turnage would “turn Antioch around from Ghetto Town”) that he’d be a Republican if he didn’t live in California.

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  30. Jen says:

    @Monala: There are many, many things that piss me off about officials saying things like this, but one of the aspects about this that makes me angriest is that these are the same a$$holes who dared to characterize the provision of the ACA that would have reimbursed doctors who discussed end of life care options with their patients as “death panels.”

    Hypocritical barely begins to adequately describe it.

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  31. Tyrell says:

    @Michael Cain: The last time I went to a WWE event I was sitting next to MIT graduate. His friend was a graduate student at UNC.
    The crossover with UFC has broadened the fan base.

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  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Monala: You know, when someone adds that “II” to their name, they are immediately suspect in my mind. “III” is ok, it’s pretty cool. But “II” is just avoiding “jr”.

    The thing I always note is that these clowns aren’t necessarily offering themselves up. Or their parents or grandparents, etc. Here’s the last paragraph from Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.

    I profess in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

    (If you don’t know the proposal, look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal)

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  33. 95 South says:

    @Monala: If we’re only guessing I’d say environmentalist.

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  34. 95 South says:

    @Jay L Gischer: “If that is the exchange, I’m all in….That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country, like me, I have six grandchildren, that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.”

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  35. Moosebreath says:

    @Jen:

    The thing that pisses me off is that the idiot likely describes himself as “pro-life”.

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab

    Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
    The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to “rigorously examine” whether the outbreak “began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

    You know how I can tell trump is lying, don’t you?

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  37. Bill says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The most plausible scenario (I don’t consider this likely, but it is possible) is that the lab, which is known to study coronaviruses in bats, let a sick bat, or maybe several, escape in early November, and then the virus jumped from the bat to humans.

    Jay,

    I have said this before. My opinion of what happened in Wuhan is some botched lab experiment occurred. What you wrote is plausible. There is a lab that was working on this. An accident happened, medical accidents have happened before. The discovery of penicillin being the most famous instance.

    Could Covid19 be a bio weapon. Maybe but I am strongly inclined not to think so based on what we know now. Was the pandemic caused by well meaning scientists making a bad mistake*? That’s very plausible.

    *- More likely a series of small mistakes/human error. Most aviation disasters aren’t caused by one mistake but a series of them.

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  38. 95 South says:

    @Moosebreath: Here we go again. You’re pissed off at what you think he believes?

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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Monala: I’ll bet he’s a faithful follower of Brother John Birch
    And he belongs to the Antioch Baptist Church
    And he ain’t even got a garage you can call home and ask his wife.

    (Uneasy Rider)

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  40. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: It may be “not very probable”, but crappy lab procedures leading to an escape is more likely IMHO than having been bio-engineered. The only other possibility that I see is skip to an intermediate species some time ago (NOT pangolin) and then to the human population via the wet markets.

    In one case, malice. In the other two cases, “oops” seems to be the main possibility, a.k.a. accident. How stupid said accident was, well, we’ll never quite know.

    But if ol’ Mango Skin wants to go charging in claiming deliberate malice, he’s going to have to get a hullova lot more data supporting his theory. But we know that that isn’t what’s really going on–Trumpy is simply throwing scat everywhere to avoid admitting his own incompetence in the matter.

    I really detest the man–he’s a complete coward who is unable to admit his own failures.

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  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @95 South: He is free to blow his brains out any time he feels like it. I sure as hell ain’t gonna stop him.

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  42. 95 South says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Glad you’re going to stop him.

    ETA: Oh, you added “ain’t”.

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  43. Moosebreath says:

    @95 South:

    “You’re pissed off at what you think he believes?”

    Let’s say that the correlation between the economic views he expressed and claiming he is pro-life is nearly 100%.

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  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: But if ol’ Mango Skin wants to go charging in claiming deliberate malice, he’s going to have to get a hullova lot more data supporting his theory.

    40+% of Americans say, “No he doesn’t. He said it. We believe it.”

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  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @95 South: Yep, picked it up on the first read after post.

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  46. 95 South says:

    @Moosebreath: I can’t find much about him online. If this story goes viral, I’m sure we’ll find out more about him.

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  47. Jen says:

    @Bill:

    My opinion of what happened in Wuhan is some botched lab experiment occurred.

    I understand why this is a potential theory, but thus far, there are too many variables that point in another direction–to a natural occurrence somewhere in the province–not even in Wuhan proper. The first probable case date is in November, and other indicators might push that back even further into October.

    It’s not impossible, no–but it is *unlikely*. Why is it hard for people to accept that this started like every other novel zoonotic disease has, in nature? Is it a control thing (e.g., this was a lab accident and therefore since lab accidents are preventable, another pandemic is preventable)?

    The past two zoonotic corona viruses that have made the leap to humans did so by infecting an intermediary animal, in nature. Why isn’t that the easier-to-accept path for a third?

    I’m asking because human encroachment into environments of wild animals is accelerating as our population increases. This means we are headed into a period where these types of pandemics become more likely, not less. And I’m very concerned about our ability, and frankly willingness, to respond to the next crisis if we don’t “get” WHY these diseases are increasing in the first place.

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  48. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist:

    but crappy lab procedures leading to an escape is more likely IMHO than having been bio-engineered.

    I’ll agree with that. On a scale of likelihood, it’s:

    1) Natural causes/transmission from handling of or proximity to wildlife: Very likely.
    2) Lab accident due to poor controls: Unlikely but possible.
    3) Bio-engineering/bio-weapon: Extremely unlikely and all but impossible, and has been ruled out by a wide number of experts.

    I’ll remain firmly in camp 1 until there’s substantial proof otherwise. People need to understand why this has happened so frequently in recent years (all three recent coronavirus infections, SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2/covid-19 developed since 2000). MERS shows that a fairly common animal (camels) can be an intermediate host. Who’s to say the next infection won’t come from a horse? Cow? Racoon?

    A friend of a friend recently found abandoned baby opossums that she brought into the home and bottle-fed. Handling wildlife comes with risk. This sort of thing happens all the time in my area, as new houses go up in former woods and farmland. We’re kidding ourselves if we get too comfortable with “shoddy lab practices” or “weird food preferences” as the rationale for a pandemic. It’s a dangerous form of self-delusion.

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  49. Monala says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Not to defend the guy, but I thought that Jr. was only used if the child is named after a parent. If instead they’re named after a grandparent, say, or an aunt or uncle, the II is used.

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  50. Monala says:

    @95 South: he owns a construction company and is not affiliated with any environmental groups as far as we know. There are no mentions of the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, or any similar affiliations. Instead, he’s involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Police Activities League. That doesn’t indicate environmentalist.

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  51. 95 South says:

    @Monala:

    “I believe in ecological balance,” he said. “Our species is out of symbiosis with the rest of the planet. We have a disease … a virus, that if it ran its course, it would bring us back into a closer balance. I didn’t say people should go out and get infected.

    “It’s our world’s way of balancing itself. It’s like a volcano going off,” he added. “It brings the temperature of the Earth down.”

    Turnage also said that while he does value life, he does not do so over the greater good of the planet, country and species.

    That last sentence defies categories.

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  52. Monala says:

    @95 South: you have a point. I guess we’ll see.

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  53. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    Anderson Cooper has a son: Wyatt Morgan Cooper

    So named for his demonstrated propensity to Earp?

    (Will they refer to his playpen as the “OK Corral”?)

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  54. Jen says:

    @DrDaveT: Wyatt was his father’s name (Anderson Cooper was 10 when his dad died). Morgan is a family name from his mom’s side.

    I love the notion of calling the playpen the OK Corral. 🙂

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  55. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Jen has it exactly right. Anderson’s father was Wyatt Cooper and his maternal grandmother was Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt.

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  56. mattbernius says:

    @95 South:

    Turnage also said that while he does value life, he does not do so over the greater good of the planet, country and species.

    That last sentence defies categories.

    Wow.

    Yes.

    Yes it is. Good spot!

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  57. Jay L Gischer says:

    @95 South: Actually, I can accept that’s a choice you would make, or that someone might make. I can even respect that, in some circumstances. Frankly, though, I hope you are taking care of yourself, and staying out of public spaces and practicing social distancing. What’s the upside to you getting sick, even if you don’t die? Will that somehow save someone’s life? Will it keep them from going hungry? I can’t see any value in it at all.

    We aren’t talking, though, about someone making a choice to sacrifice themselves. We’re talking about someone talking about making a choice to let other people die so that they (or the “economy” or whatever) can make more money.

    We should be spending all that energy on testing, tracing, containment. The death rate plateaued in April. That’s not good enough. The case rate has also plateaued. That’s not good enough. We hit 200,000 tests/day for the first time very recently. That’s also not good enough. If you want to get people out of the house, these are the very real things that you, or the government *could* be working on to make it happen. But instead, somehow, we’re talking about “let old and sick people die”.

    This is nonsensical. It is a distraction. It is wasted effort. It amounts to surrender. I will not surrender.

    I think people still haven’t wrapped their heads around just how contagious COVID-19 is. One person, in an hour, can get 100 people in the same meeting as them sick. The droplets can get into the A/C in a restaurant and get 50 diners sick – only the ones who sat in the breeze from the fans. A mortality rate of 1% doesn’t seem scary, until people you know start getting really sick. And the likelihood is that if there are any, there will be several.

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Guys, this is about screwing the working class and small business, not about helping us.”

    Well duh…

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  59. 95 South says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Sorry about this – I was quoting Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. I should have cited him.

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  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I don’t know about current situations, but back in the dark ages when you and I were children, II normally indicated a child who was named after a grandfather who was still living. As to being pretentious, no complaint there.

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  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    But if ol’ Mango Skin wants to go charging in claiming deliberate malice, he’s going to have to get a hullova lot more data supporting his theory.

    Doesn’t this depend on who he wants to sell it to? How hard a sell was the AUMF for Iraq, for example?

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  62. grumpy realist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: There is that–Trump knows that his adoring supporters will greedily put up with all of his gaslighting….

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  63. inhumans99 says:

    Has it been mentioned yet that Preisdent Trump’s BFF in North Korea is alive? I had a feeling this was the case…now Trump can say he knew this to be the case all along even though anyone with a brain in their head knows that the first time President Trump became aware that Kim Jong Un was alive was when NK released video showing him at the opening of a fertilizer plant (there is a lot of potential for humor given the plant he was christening but I will leave that up to other folks to run with).

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  64. CSK says:

    @inhumans99:
    I’m just delighted. Now he and Trump can resume writing beautiful letters to each other.

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  65. wr says:

    @CSK: “Not closely. Strongly. Where did he learn to speak, or not speak, English?”

    I’ve been learning Dutch on Duolingo since I got locked in. I’m up to 45 days now, an hour or two per day, and I’m pretty sure my Dutch vocabulary is now bigger than Trump’s English vocabulary.

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  66. wr says:

    @Monala: I believe he ran on the Vote Thanos ticket.

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  67. dazedandconfused says:

    @inhumans99:

    He’s apparently in a bad way. Rumors are it’s from eating a butt-load of hydroxychloroquine.

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  68. Bill says:

    The headline of the Day (Maybe even year)-

    North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Reappears — at Fertilizer Plant

    Who says the North Koreans don’t have a sense of humor.

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  69. CSK says:

    @wr:
    I’m sure it is.
    Seriously, though, Trump has the strangest locutions of anyone I’ve ever heard speak publicly. Who the hell says “we’re looking at something strongly”? Where did he learn to talk?

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  70. MarkedMan says:

    I wish Whitmer would call out the National Guard and put them between the spittle spewing gun nuts and the people doing actual work. One of these days one of these depraved man-boys is going to decide to shoot some hapless civil servant and I would feel a lot better if there was a serious soldier ready to put a bullet through his head and anyone else who puts a finger on a trigger.

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  71. Jen says:

    @CSK: He is losing his vocabulary. Again, another sign of mental decline.

    I just watched a clip of him swaying and looking off-balance. He doesn’t look good.

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  72. Jay L Gischer says:

    @95 South: Well, ok. Stay safe!

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  73. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    He’s been like that ever since 2015. When was it that he declared that he had “the best words”? That’s the way a 2-year-old speaks: “Mommy, I have the best words!”

    That clip is hilarious. Say “cheese,” Donny.

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  74. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: Then there are his bizarre misspellings–“hamberders,” “achomlishments,” “smocking gun,” and of course “covfefe,” which no one has figured out to this day.

    None of those are standard errors you see by people who can’t spell well. Dyslexics, heck even functional illiterates, typically simplify spellings, or make them more phonetic. Trump’s misspellings aren’t like that at all; they’re the sort of thing you might expect to see from someone highly intoxicated, yet Trump is reportedly a teetotaler. They’re suggestive of profound brain mis-function, not ignorance or stupidity.

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  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ll settle for arresting them for assault with a deadly weapon. If a black man walks into a quickstop and displays what looks like a gun and says, “Give me your money.” He has committed an assault with a deadly weapon.

    I think if a white man walks into a statehouse displaying an actual deadly weapon saying “Reverse your lawful order.” he also has committed an assault with a deadly weapon.

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  76. Liberal Capitalist says:

    OK, the last 24 hours have been a real bitch.

    Having survived C-19 and gotten better, suddenly I find that looking in the mirror yesterday I was yellow.

    Jaundice.

    A trip to the ER last night, admitted, and now two surgeries planned (1 on Sat, 1 on Sun) to remove my gall bladder.

    And with all that going on today, I signed for the ReFi on my primary home.

    Is it December yet? I am f#cking tired of 2020.

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  77. Tyrell says:

    There is a proposed bill in Congress that could help with the meat problem. It is the “Prime Act”.
    I am not into steaks or beef, other than occasional hot dogs and a monthly Big Mac or Whopper. I usually stick to fish, shrimp, and clamstrips.

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  78. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    I’m very sorry to learn this. Were the gall bladder issues the result of Covid-19?

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  79. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    You know, when someone adds that “II” to their name, they are immediately suspect in my mind. “III” is ok, it’s pretty cool. But “II” is just avoiding “jr”.

    Pope John Paul Jr.

    I like it.

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  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Shit.

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  81. de stijl says:

    @Michael Cain:

    My friend’s GF was French.

    I had had 3 semesters of college level French, so I was her designated go-between in negotiating Americaness. (My French was very basic.)

    For some reason, we bathed her in American barbaric nonsense.

    Pro wrestling, cheese in a aerosol can, monster truck events.

    We went to a what was then called WWW live show (later WWE) and it was frigging awesome. It’s very stupid, but very fun. She got into it.

    Monster Trucks are super cool conceptually, but after 20 minutes fairly boring. They break down a lot and fall over and have to get towed off which breaks the fantasy. It is an experience I remember fondly, though. Really loud.

    Cheese in a can. She was shocked and appalled. That was fun. Crikey, that is horrible stuff!

    Camping was not her jam. At all. Nor was driving to the Black Hills for hours. Europeans are really weirded out by the size of the US and that driving 8 hours to car camp is a rational thing we do with four day weekends.

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  82. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    When 27 piles of crap appear simultaneously, we just have to roll and laugh at it all. We plan for rational, predictable lives, and life laughs at us. Harshly at our pretensions of control.

    Get through today and tomorrow, and tomorrow after that.

    Find your feet again.

    Best of luck and best wishes. Be well.

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  83. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    Could be.

    Could also be fat fingers on a tiny qwerty phone keyboard.

    What isn’t acceptable is that he chose to hit send on obviously stupid messages. See the “Noble Prize” tweets from last week.

    That wasn’t fat fingers, that was ignorance and hubris.

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  84. Tyrell says:

    @JenThere are millions of bats in the US and there has been no huge outbreak of diseases here. Some rabies cases but those are rare.
    The few animals that have contacted the virus recovered in a day or less. There is the answer to cure. That needs to be researched.

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  85. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @CSK:

    Were the gall bladder issues the result of Covid-19?

    I can say that it is just an unfortunate coincidence independant of C-19.

    One ER doctor believed that it could have been related via hepatitis. But they ran test for A,B, and C and all came in negative.

    So, it’s just stones, and the resulting various enzymes that are off. Like it or not, the gall bladder has to go.

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  86. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    I could be wrong, but I think they can remove the gall bladder via laser now, which is minimally invasive. I’m not by any means making light if this, but happily, it’s routine surgery, and even more happily, you don’t have hepatitis.

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  87. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    I got yellow as a banana peel once and my urine looked like coffee for 10 days two weeks. Negative on hep tests. No stones.

    Not all jaundice is hep. It is really disconscerting looking in the mirror and watching your pee.

    Look at it this way. That damned gall bladder has been free-riding for years. Sucking up oxygen, carbohydrates, nutrients for years and years, doing what? A bit of bilirubin.

    Open surgery of laparoscopic?

    Good luck. Be well. You’ve had a tough run.

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