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Steven L. Taylor
Friday, May 1, 2020
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. 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).
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Nothing screams WHITE PRIVILEGE like armed protesters storming the Michigan statehouse.
More at the link
And in that spirit:
@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.
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.
Far and wide my friend, far and wide.
This is SO on-brand for this crew:
From: Justice Dept. scrutinizes White House-connected doctor linked to disputed coronavirus treatment
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.
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.
The link between fans of fake wrestling and people who support Donald Trump is very telling.
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?
@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.
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.
@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.
@CSK: Like the investigation into Obama’s birth certificate. “They cannot believe what they’re finding”
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?
@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.
@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…..
@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.
@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.
@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?
@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.
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.
@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.
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.
“Kill the weak” – a public official comes out and says it.
I tried to look for what party he is a part of. He apparently ran as an independent. From an article in 2016:
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.
@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.
@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.
@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”.
(If you don’t know the proposal, look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal)
@Monala: If we’re only guessing I’d say environmentalist.
@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.”
The thing that pisses me off is that the idiot likely describes himself as “pro-life”.
@Bill: Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab
You know how I can tell trump is lying, don’t you?
@Jay L Gischer:
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.
@Moosebreath: Here we go again. You’re pissed off at what you think he believes?
@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.
@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.
@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.
@OzarkHillbilly: Glad you’re going to stop him.
ETA: Oh, you added “ain’t”.
“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%.
40+% of Americans say, “No he doesn’t. He said it. We believe it.”
@95 South: Yep, picked it up on the first read after post.
@Moosebreath: I can’t find much about him online. If this story goes viral, I’m sure we’ll find out more about him.
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.
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.
@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.
@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.
That last sentence defies categories.
@95 South: you have a point. I guess we’ll see.
So named for his demonstrated propensity to Earp?
(Will they refer to his playpen as the “OK Corral”?)
@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. 🙂
Jen has it exactly right. Anderson’s father was Wyatt Cooper and his maternal grandmother was Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt.
Yes it is. Good spot!
@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.
@Jay L Gischer: Sorry about this – I was quoting Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. I should have cited him.
@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.
Doesn’t this depend on who he wants to sell it to? How hard a sell was the AUMF for Iraq, for example?
@Just nutha ignint cracker: There is that–Trump knows that his adoring supporters will greedily put up with all of his gaslighting….
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).
I’m just delighted. Now he and Trump can resume writing beautiful letters to each other.
@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.
@Monala: I believe he ran on the Vote Thanos ticket.
He’s apparently in a bad way. Rumors are it’s from eating a butt-load of hydroxychloroquine.
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.
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?
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.
@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.
@95 South: Well, ok. Stay safe!
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.
@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.
@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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m very sorry to learn this. Were the gall bladder issues the result of Covid-19?
@Jay L Gischer:
Pope John Paul Jr.
I like it.
@Liberal Capitalist: Shit.
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.
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.
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.
@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.
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.
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.
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.