Thursday’s Forum

Living on a thin line.

Steven L. Taylor
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). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. al Ameda says:

    Anthony Fauci now has a security detail assigned to him because he’s the target of online attacks that that he (Fauci) is trying to undermine the president.

    This is the link to Axios:

    … and the NYT and WaPo have reported on this.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Coronavirus spread at Rikers is a ‘public health disaster’, says jail’s top doctor

    The top doctor at Rikers Island said the coronavirus-hit New York jail is a “public health disaster unfolding before our eyes” as he warned of the rapidly rising number of infections in the city’s jails. In just 12 days, Ross MacDonald, the jail’s chief physician, said confirmed cases at Rikers had soared from one to nearly 200.
    He warned that it is “unlikely” they will be able to stop the growth, predicting that 20% of those infected will need hospital treatment and 5% ventilators. He also called for the release of “as many vulnerable people as possible”.


    Jared Trujillo, president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, said Rikers was effectively the centre of the entire pandemic.

    “Now, Rikers proportionately is the epicentre of the Covid-19 epidemic and our clients are terrified, my members of the union are horrified about it, they’re horrified for their clients, being in court is dangerous for them. We have about two dozen members, probably more, that have either tested positive or just showing signs of Covid-19.” For some vulnerable prisoners, he added, being in jail amid a coronavirus outbreak is “ultimately a death sentence for them”.

    He claimed a lot of inmates, many of whom he said are pre-trial, don’t have access to hand sanitiser or soap, are “caged” in large communal areas and that many clients have complained that they are not having symptoms of illness taken seriously. He said the current environment is also having an impact on their mental health. “Just psychologically it’s really horrifying for people because they’re hearing that these people that they’ve been in close contact with, that they have been caged with for some length of time, have an illness, have a contagion, and there’s just nothing they can do.”

    Unless more action is taken to release people from Rikers, he warned: “The conditions will only get worse.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump says US ‘has to help’ coronavirus-stricken cruise liners heading to Florida

    I wonder which of trump’s advisors was able to convince him to do this. Whoever it was, I’m glad they did.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    America’s mask problem is solved! Florida man who raised funds for border wall hawks millions of face masks

    About a month ago, Kolfage formed a business called America First Medical, which offers on its website and in social media pitches to broker large-volume sales of high-grade masks known as N95s. He said he charges about $4 each – several times the pre-pandemic prices but a few dollars less than some hospitals, nursing homes and first responders are now paying.

    Though he hasn’t yet found buyers, Kolfage says he has found masks all over the world, including stockpiles hidden away in warehouses in Japan and eastern Europe. If a deal goes through, he will collect a commission between 1% and 3%, depending on the size of the order, he said.

    He said he was performing a public service. “We’re the ones out there kissing the frogs and doing all the work that these hospitals and others can’t do,” Kolfage, 38, told Reuters. “We’re the ones making these connections. If the hospital wants to pay the money, that’s up to them.”

    Yeah, something’s rotten in Denmark and it ain’t the fish.

  5. Scott says:

    Behind the scenes, Kushner takes charge of coronavirus response

    Good grief. We’re doomed. Has there been anything that Kushner’s been involved with that isn’t a total screw-up?

  6. Mike says:

    @Scott: Please tell me this is April Fool’s Day Joke. Now is not the time for children at the adult table. Geez. Schumer’s idea was good. Bring in a 4 star General or Admiral who has spent a career in logistics to coordinate the medical supply issue. It will at least give the appearance of competence; most folks still generally trust a four star – thinking the Admiral in Katrina – whereas they are not going to trust those trying to get re-elected.

  7. Jon says:


    Russel L. Honoré, a Lt. General (retired) in the US Army. Still love him to death for what he did down here.

  8. Mikey says:

    Another great piece by the always-excellent Adam Serwer for the Atlantic.

    The Democratic Party as it is currently constituted correctly understands that it has civic and moral obligations to ensure the well-being not only of its own voters, but of those who vote against its candidates. The Republican Party, and particularly the GOP under Trump, acts as if it has no such obligations, which is why the president himself has portrayed aid to Democratic-controlled states ravaged by the coronavirus as personal generosity rather than his fucking job.

  9. teve says:

    The Subtle Knife is an unusual book, in that it’s rare for the second book in the trilogy to be better than the first. And the first was really good. I’ve got the third one on reserve for when the library possibly opens back up on the 13th.

  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    Conspiracy theorist nut tries to crash a train into the USNS Mercy in Los Angeles:

    California engineer ran train ‘off the end of rail tracks’ in attempted attack on USNS Mercy in Los Angeles, DOJ says

    Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro was charged Wednesday with one count of train wrecking after the Tuesday incident, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Moreno told police he believed the Mercy had “an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover,” according to the DOJ.

    Moreno told law enforcement officers he “intentionally derailed and crashed the train near the Mercy.” The train Moreno was conducting crashed through several barriers and came to a rest nearly 250 yards away from the Mercy, according to the DOJ statement. Nobody was injured.

  11. Teve says:

    The USNS Mercy was trafficking adrenochrome through the basement.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    They told him that the “help” was to shovel money to cruise line companies and not assist the stricken passengers.

  13. Lynn says:


    Yes, the US needs to help the cruise ship passengers. I’m going to be upset, however, if the government bails out those cruise lines that register under foreign flags to avoid US taxes.

  14. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    As a bonus, the MAGA response seems to be “he can’t be a Trump supporter, because he’s hispanic and everyone knows we’re huge racists toward hispanic people.”

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From: “The Campaign Panicked”: Inside Trump’s Decision to Back Off of His Easter Coronavirus Miracle

    The White House downplayed tensions between Kushner and the task force. “The vice president and Jared work so well together because they both view their roles through the lens of what’s best for the American people and how do we best serve the president,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said. “The task force has orchestrated a massive historic partnership between the public and private sector, coordinated the federal government’s urgent response, and has unleashed a whole-of-America approach that will save lives.”

    The cognitive dissonance, it hurts.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I am under no illusions about the trump admins self serving motives or their self serving methods. I am just glad that these people will finally, as they always should have been able to, return home. Every country owes it to their citizens. Still pissed that it took this long to arrange things, but mostly relieved that in a few days those who are physically able will all be home again.

    @Lynn: Yo tambien, Amiga.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:
  18. DrDaveT says:

    To look for signs of bending the curves downward, I’ve been tracking a quick-and-dirty growth metric, which is “how many days ago was the number of confirmed US cases equal to today’s cumulative death total?”. I’m happy to say that while this metric was steady at 14 days for a large chunk of March, it has risen to 16 days, indicating some improvement. (Note that this is a lagging indicator — deaths reflect behaviors 3+ weeks ago, so that all of the increased social distancing since mid-March would not yet show in this metric.)

    The bad news, of course, is that even if the metric rises to 20 days over the next couple of weeks, that still means that 20 days from now we’ll have seen 200,000 US deaths. Let’s all hope that the lockdowns are being even more effective than predicted.

  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Republican Governor of Georgia says he had no idea asymptomatic people could spread COVID-19.
    BTW…this is the same Governor who appointed Kelly Loeffler to her Senate seat…which she promptly used to make Insider Trades. And when I say promptly…it took her about two months to use information she gained as a Senator to benefit her personally.
    Republicanism is the swampiest swamp of all the swamps in swampdom.

  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Florida and Texas have not even started social distancing. They are also not really testing. They will both explode in the coming weeks and months.

  21. Stormy Dragon says:

    With the caveat that it is still in pre-publication, this study looks interesting:

    COVID-19: Attacks the 1-Beta Chain of Hemoglobin and Captures the Porphyrin to Inhibit Human Heme Metabolism

    Short version is that the reason the new coronavirus is so deadly is that it damages hemoglobin, destroying bloods ability to transport oxygen, and that the lung damage is a reaction to this, rather than the primary cause of the fatality.

    If true, this explains a lot of the anecdotal observations about the disease, from why people on ventilators aren’t getting better to why chloroquine seem to help in some cases and not others, to why things like hypertension and diabetes make the disease more fatal to why it seems to affect men worse then women.

    Possible suggestion is to treat people with blood transfusions to replenish their ability to transport oxygen.

  22. Scott says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: As someone who is in Texas, this is not true. What is true is there is not a state wide declaration. The cities and suburbs have been socially distancing for 3 weeks now (90% of population).Rural areas have not been under the same restrictions. Testing is happening but it is slow for a lot of reasons.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Which should be combined with injections of tightly-binding antibodies to tie up the virus.

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  25. Stormy Dragon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    If the study is correct, attacking the virus isn’t the solution per se, it’s attacking the proteins that damage the hemoglobin (which are some of a number of proteins the virus causes cells to produce, but which aren’t actually part of the virus).

  26. mattbernius says:
  27. Scott says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I’m just telling you what is happening in reality in spite of the BS politics. Vast majority of churches are closed, holding services and Lenten classes on line. As for the few who are stupid and defiant, Darwin will take care of them.

    San Antonio started early because we received the cruise ship patients which energized city and county health and government leaders to get ahead of things.

  28. Mike says:

    I’ve noticed that even my acquaintances who watch Fox News and support Trump are tuning to different news sources and questioning the Great Cheeto. Interesting how thing change when your own heath and family’s health is at stake. Lost months of prep time b/c of their Dear Leader.

  29. Jen says:

    @Mike: I wish I could say the same. Despite knowing that it’s futile, I engaged yesterday with a friend on Facebook and it’s distressing to me how many people actually think that the president’s response in this crisis has been good.

    I got the standard “you just hate the president” (yes, but not relevant to this assessment), but also a fair amount of “he did exactly what he should have by banning flights from China and was called a racist” (noted: he only banned a handful of situations which does absolutely nothing), and of course the standard “but Pelosi/but Schumer/but Obama” nonsense.

    I had another say that a 200K death toll was outrageous and wildly exaggerated; when I noted that this was *the White House estimate on Tuesday* I got crickets in return.

    These people are well and truly gone.

  30. Kathy says:

    I wonder what the ethics of ordering online in the pandemic are.

    On the one hand, it provides people with jobs when unemployment is growing very quickly. On the other hand, it exposes more people to the virus. On the gripping hand, if we all isolate completely, we’ll all starve.

  31. Gustopher says:

    Every day when I wake up, I pet the nearest cat (Peppercorn, today), then pick up the iPad and check to see if John Prine died, and then go about my day.

    I was not expecting this phase of social isolation. Go figure. I’m not even that much of a fan.

    So far, John Prine is still alive.

  32. Kathy says:

    This is odd. Starting a few months ago, some websites can’t be contacted from my home internet connection. Mostly these were aviation and transgender blogs. Yesterday OTB showed as unavailable, but the other sites were up.

    It seems OTB won’t show up at home, so you may not see me on weekends.

  33. Kit says:


    It seems OTB won’t show up at home, so you may not see me on weekends.

    1) clearing your cache
    2) accessing OTB using private mode
    3) using another browser
    4) using another device on the same WiFi network

  34. charon says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Houston/Harris County has been down for a while already, other blue TX counties also.

    My son in Houston says things are pretty strict there.

  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Possible suggestion is to treat people with blood transfusions to replenish their ability to transport oxygen.

    So that instead of the lack of ventilators, we can instead be stymied by the cratering blood supply?

    That one, at least, it might be possible to mobilize a timely response to…

  36. Kathy says:


    2) accessing OTB using private mode
    3) using another browser
    4) using another device on the same WiFi network

    Done, done, and done.

    Still not showing up on the PC, the phone with a SIM, the phone without a SIM.

    It’s the internet provider at home.

  37. Jax says:

    @Kathy: It’s been doing that to me off and on for a couple weeks, too. I have to turn the VPN on in Opera to get to OTB.

  38. Kit says:


    It’s the internet provider at home.

    The hail Mary: try turning off an on the cable box. Giving it a couple of sharp knocks can’t hurt (neither can it help, however).

    @Jax: Good idea with the VPN!

  39. Stormy Dragon says:


    If the study is right, ventilators are useless because they do nothing to fix the actual issue: the inability of the blood to transport oxygen, so it’s a case of replacing a treatment that does nothing with one that does

  40. Kathy says:


    I tried that some weeks back with the aviation blogs. Nothing.

    I’ll try the VPN (whatever the hell that is*)

    (*) I do know what it is.

  41. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: As regards Texas, I know some people in Houston. They are staying home, and have been for a while. This is coming from the county/city level, rather than the state level.

    I’m guessing this works well for them politically, since all those vast stretches of thinly populated country are going to be much slower to get the virus, and the people in cities are going to just ignore the state government and do what they need to do.

  42. Kingdaddy says:


    Another strong vote for reading the Adam Serwer piece in The Atlantic. Here’s the punchline:

    The crucial obstacle to necessary intervention under such circumstances will not be traditional divides over the role of the state or the size of government. It will be, as it has been for more than a decade, the Republican belief that no one else should be allowed to wield power.

    This is the central reality of our current dysfunction, I would argue. Many Republicans at both the leadership and electorate levels see democracy, the rule of law, and compromise as illegitimate. There are different sources of this attitude, ranging from McConnell-esque worship of power to Christian Dominionism, but they all flow into the same poisonous swamp.

  43. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: Yesterday, I saw an interruption of DNS service for a live site. This is “”, and it is used for medical videoconferencing. So I figured they had been hammered with an upsurge in traffic, put on new servers and the DNS updates were just slow getting out.

    I had to just keep trying for quite a while, and then it resolved, and worked fine. This may or may not be your issue. But it’s hard to think of something else besides DNS issues and censorship that would be so specific and selective.

  44. Kathy says:

    The financial crisis of 2008-09 slowed down immigration to the US. Now the COVID-19 pandemic is doing the same.

    Back during the crisis I joked all the US needed to do was to wreck the economy every other year. I won’t joke now.

  45. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: You are misreprenting the situation on the ground in Texas.

    The last time I saw my students face to face was Friday, March 6, and the earliest I will see them face to face again is in August. My College extended Spring Break for a week so that we could transform into a virtual college. None of our local ISDs returned from Spring Break, either. They all figured out how to become virtual schools while still distributing free breakfasts and lunches to any students who need it.

    My City and County declared a Shelter in Place effective March 24. We are a medium sized county of 225,000 or so, and we declared after Dallas but before Austin or San Antonio.

    Yes, cities and counties – and HEB! – are being forced into taking steps because our idiotic elected State officials won’t. But don’t get it twisted – things haven’t been ‘normal’ in most of the state since the second week of March, and it isn’t just ‘blue’ cities and counties. Both Waco and my area, for example, are very red, and have been sheltered-in-place for a week and a half, with informal social distancing the norm for at least a week prior to that.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I just wonder what the internet provider thinks OTB is and why it is trying to protect you…

  47. Stormy Dragon says:


    I occasionally get warnings in my browser that the OTB’s SSL certificate does not match the source (this seems to be some sort of CDN issue). It’s possible more proactive ISPs are interpreting this as malicious behaviour.

  48. Kathy says:


    I think it’s some kind of odd malfunction, or routing issues, or gremlins. What was wrong with the Aviation Herald, Femulate, Airline Reporter, or Simple Flying.

    The really odd thing is a travel/aviation blog, One Mile at a Time, did load on the PC but not on the phones.

    Or maybe they think it’s Off Track Betting 😛

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I can guess who he voted for…

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: Hitting it with a 24 oz framing hammer will fix it. For good.

  51. charon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That is scary. I have abnormal shaped blood cells that make me perpetually slightly anemic.

  52. Mikey says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: I read something the other day about how good HEB’s preparation and response have been. Apparently their management was able to put two and two together in ways the Trump administration and Texas government didn’t.

  53. Monala says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It’s ridiculous how they do that. On the one hand, they claim that they’re not racist, and they have lots of people of color in their movement. But let a conservative person of color do something violent and paranoid, and they’ll claim they’re obviously a liberal because of their race. (another example is when that black sovereign citizen killed cops).

  54. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Another example of the Red State advantage.

    So you’re saying that a steady diet of deep fried chicken or fish and fried Okra with a side of hushpuppies and french fries… followed by a desert of fried Twinkies and fried Oreos may just not be a diet that prepares someone for a pandemic?

    Ain’t no way anybody could have known that!!!

    (hey… where’s my Diet Coke with that?)

  55. Kathy says:

    How did the ancients cope with the many plagues, epidemics, and pandemics? I supposed they prayed and sacrificed to the gods, and took whatever remedies their ignorance could produce, but they really had no clue about causes or prevention, even as late as the Middle Ages.

    Today we’re not that much better off, to be frank. We know what works, but 1) it won’t work all that well because, damn, we have to keep on producing stuff to stay alive, and 2) all too many people cannot be bothered to take precautions seriously.

    I’m angry about many things regarding this pandemic. One is that we know the potential sources of new diseases, and yet we do little about them. I’m so mad at the Chinese authorities for tolerating wild life markets, that I would seriously entertain the idea of bombing the country if they don’t shut them down for good. but think, too, of exotic pets, trophy hunters, even zoos.

    Raising animals for meat is another vector, albeit one where we have better control. My big nightmare in this respect is that an antibiotic resistant bug will evolve in cattle and kill millions. this could be avoided easily by banning the use of antibiotics in animal feed, even if the price of all meats goes up. I wouldn’t mind incentives to develop more meat substitutes, either, which even some big meat producers are getting into.

  56. Michael Reynolds says:

    If we’re going to ramp up the blood supply we’re going to need a whole bunch of fast tests – not much point dumping infected blood into infected people.

    The fiction writer in me has already jumped ahead to mandatory blood harvesting. Young, healthy people hunted in the streets by – let’s call them Red Shirts, because – paramilitary forces that drain a few pints, hand you a cookie, and leave you feeling anemic.

    And of course embassies would offer immigration visas to refugees who tested negative and contributed, say, 10 pints over the course of a few days. That plus the Red Cross Blood for Food program which (in cooperation with the CIA) would feed people in refuges camps in exchange for healthy blood.

    Then there would be the rumors of vast ranches in Wyoming where prisoners and political malcontents are kept as herds of involuntary blood donors. The only escape would, paradoxically, be to get the disease. Of course then they’ll be harvesting your antibodies, so. . .

  57. EddieInCA says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Your experience is very different from what relatives in Tyler, McKinney, Plano, and Corpus Christie are telling me. In McKinney, everything was open last weekend. Gyms. Best Buy. Restaurants (dine in), etc. It’s still not fully locked down like it is here in California.

    I hope you’re right. But I fear Texas, GA, and FL are gonna go the way of Louisiana and Michigan – from waiting too long to see the light.

  58. Michael Reynolds says:


    I wonder what the ethics of ordering online in the pandemic are.

    We’ve been wondering the same. On the one hand, asking an Amazon warehouse worker and a UPS driver to take risks so I can get ice cube trays (the ice maker is down) seems like 1%er assholery. OTH, do those people want to be unemployed?

    I’ve mentioned that our daughter is a cashier at a grocery store. We convinced her and her boyfriend (the produce guy at same store) to stay home, but that lasted a total of about ten days. She’s going back as of this coming Monday. In part it’s that the store has bumped everyone up from $15 to $18 an hour*, some of it is that she’s a social creature and her relationships are all around work, and a vague element is a sense of being part of a historical moment.

    Motive, I maintain, is always plural. When I wrote FRONT LINES, my alt-WW2, I was at pains with my four lead characters to mirror the motives of actual people at the time. One of the girls is bored with small-town life and thinks she can meet a cute officer, her friend goes along because they’ve been friends forever, one simply needs the pay, and one is motivated largely by patriotism. In the rosy glow of nostalgia it was all patriotic fervor, but in reality that lasted for about a week after Pearl Harbor.

    The point is that these people (grocery clerks, UPS drivers, warehouse workers) are doing what they do for a variety of motives. A significant portion both need the work and prefer working to sitting locked up in an apartment. It’s not our business to decide for them by killing their jobs. If you got it, spend it, because the economy does need to continue to function.

    *Marin County dollar conversion: $1 Marin = $.25 Mississippi.

  59. Scott says:

    President’s Campaign Calls Sessions ‘Delusional’ for Tying Himself to Trump

    Can Republicans learn that loyalty is a one way street? And can Sessions get up the gumption to shiv Trump real bad?

    I’m guessing not.

  60. CSK says:

    Forbes is reporting that Trump’s net worth is down by 1 billion.

  61. CSK says:

    Great jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli has died of Covid-19, age 94. The music world is really taking some blows.

  62. EddieInCA says:


    He was never a billionaire. Which his taxes will prove. My friends at JP Morgan think his top was $950B. Right now they think it’s $600B.

    These are guys that do money for a living.

    Banks love doing business with billionaires. The fact that no bank will touch Trump, and hasn’t (other than Deutsche bank) in close to 20 years tells you all you need to know about his true worth.

  63. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t order much online, so I’ve been going on as before.

    I do order food sometimes when we stay too late at work. That hasn’t changed either. But now I meet the delivery person downstairs, instead of having them come up to our floor.

  64. Grewgills says:
  65. CSK says:

    I never believed Trump was a billionaire, either. But however you slice it, he’s apparently lost some major bucks on his commercial real estate. Who’s going to his resorts now?

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: This time it’s a double whammy, too. Not only is the economy tanking so opportunity is scarce, but you’d be emigrating to a place where you’re more likely to get SARS CoV-2 than you would be staying home. The added travel restrictions make sort of a perfect storm.

  67. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @EddieInCA: There was a public spat over the weekend between the heads of Dallas and Collin Counties (where Plano and McKinney are) because Collin County is pretending like their upscale white Evangelical heavily-GOP population is going to magically be immune from all this.

    If Tyler isn’t taking it seriously, they should be. They have a number of cases and deaths in Smith County that is disproportionate to the size of their population. But that is also Louis Gohmert country, so…. *shrug*

    Maybe we are different because we are closer to Houston and because we are a college town, so the county had a fairly quiet week during Spring Break to reflect? Dunno. Many of the rural counties around us implemented emergency declarations of some sort before the State did, and they are definitely even more GOP than we are in Aggieland.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That’s ridiculous! That would make Trump’s net worth [in real dollars, not Trump Imaginary Currency] a negative number–or probably a more negative number.

    On the other hand, maybe Forbes is making their evaluation in TIC.

  69. EddieInCA says:


    And, right on time…

    If you own 10 billion worth of property, but few 9.5 billion in loans, you’re not a billionaire. Trump has only ever cared about the gross value of his properties, while ignoring pesky things like loans, and net value. He overpaid for Doral, and ruined it. That thing was losing money before the virus hit. None of his Scottish corses have ever made money. That’s a fact.

    When we do get his taxes, and I believe they’ll come out eventually, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

  70. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

    He is begging Duestch Bank, and Palm Beach County, for help…right now.
    So Duestch Bank, and Palm Beach County, are in the position of calling in what is due and pissing off the POTUS…or gifting him some major $$$.
    Which do you think will happen?

  71. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Just seen on Twitter:

    If you were unemployed, broke, sick, and without health insurance, who would you support? Trump or Biden?

  72. Kathy says:

    I hate this pandemic. The H1N1 flu outbreak wasn’t this oppressive. Yes, things shut down, but I wasn’t that scared. The infection rate seems to have been lower, and the death rate definitely was. Yes, there was a lot of hand washing and hand sanitizer, and lots of people wore surgical masks, but I swear it didn’t last this long.

    Maybe I was just younger and stupider and not as scared.

    I’m tired of washing my hands so much. My skin is getting drier every day. Oh, I keep hydrated, and I do use a moisturizer. the latter is not very effective, though, since I will wash my hands or use sanitizer well before it has fully acted.

    Above all I hate every moron leader who hesitated or delayed taking the measures they know they should take, the measures they were advised to take. granted, even some experts were slow to start. As i recall, back in the good old days of primary obsession in February or late January, WHO wasn’t recommending a travel ban on China.

    We give our leaders a great deal of power. they should use it more responsibly.

  73. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Forbes always took Trump’s word for what he was worth.

  74. Tim says:

    How did the ancients cope with the many plagues, epidemics, and pandemics?


    In ancient times, the primary ways to fight all plagues (which is what they called all of them) were superstition (under the guise of religion) and extreme distancing. Back then, distancing meant shutting down your neighborhood, town, etc. from all outsiders and perhaps even banishing those who were already ill. Sometimes, distancing meant blockading the unclean areas to let them die off while your side survived.

    Of course, one of the reasons the Black Death was unstoppable in most of Europe was the fact that they were unable to keep out the rodents carrying it and, frankly, didn’t even realize they needed to do so.

    Heaven forbid we ever get to the point where that kind of extreme distancing takes hold in the USA. I was concerned that Florida was headed that way with the cruise ships before somebody there finally came to their senses and realized it was just plain wrong to do nothing.

  75. Just nutha ignint crackerf says:

    @CSK: So they ARE using TIC. Got it!

  76. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Or genetically engineering/nano-modifying the children of the super-rich so that they can ingest the blood directly, and have the ability to stupefy potential victims, with the unfortunate side effect of severe melanin deficiency and daytime drowsiness…

  77. JohnSF says:

    Memo to self: dig around on bookshelves to find W. McNeill Plagues and Peoples and re-read.
    Something light for week 3 of lockdown. 🙂

  78. Kingdaddy says:

    Today I heard that local news stations in at least one part of Florida are not saying much about the need to take preventive measures like social isolation. This is second hand, so all I can say is, it’s worth trying to track down whether it’s true. It also makes me wonder if Sinclair Broadcast Group’s grip on local news is exacerbating the “everything’s fine, nothing to see here, the federal government is doing a great job of handling this thing that’s not much of a threat” attitude.

  79. Kathy says:


    In ancient times, the primary ways to fight all plagues (which is what they called all of them) were superstition (under the guise of religion) and extreme distancing.

    There’s a medical papyrus out of Egypt, I forget its name, that lists various conditions and the treatments prescribed. There is not one word about incantations or prayers, which I find rather remarkable.

    It also contains a kind of script for what the healer should tell the patient depending on their condition. Things like “This I can heal,” or “This I will contend with.”

    As to plagues, I’ve read about them, but largely what their effect was on war, politics, etc. very little is told about what they did to the people at the time, even when two Roman emperors succumbed to the Antonine plague, for example (likely it was smallpox).

  80. JohnSF says:

    I’ve occasionally contemplated writing a sequel to the Egyptian Book of the Dead called the English Book of Not Feeling Very Well Today, And My Lumbago’s Playing Up Something Awful..
    More seriously, just reading some histories of ancient Greece; the impact of plague on Athens during the Peloponnesian War with Sparta is thought by some to have killed up to 1/4 of the urban population of Attica, and some historians think it a major factor in the victory of the Spartan/Persian alliance.

  81. DrDaveT says:


    It also makes me wonder if Sinclair Broadcast Group’s grip on local news is exacerbating the “everything’s fine, nothing to see here, the federal government is doing a great job of handling this thing that’s not much of a threat” attitude.

    FWIW, the DC local ABC affiliate is a Sinclair station, and their local news is pushing “stay home, wash your hands” as hard as any of the others.

  82. Tyrell says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Cabin fever? There are reports that domestic violence and incidents are way up. Sales of liquors, wine, and beer have doubled. There may be a connection there, and it is not good.
    The unemployment rate is at ten million and going up. That is definitely connected. Some governors were shocked at that high number. What did they expect? Doctors are now worried about more stress related illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and suicides.
    High selling foods right now are Oreo cookies, pretzels, Kit Kats, and Doritos. Low selling is lettuce and fruits.
    Read about the famous Donner Party. That will get your attention.

  83. Kathy says:


    Some historians lay the blame of the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire squarely on the Antonine plague.

    Seen purely through the names historians have given periods of Roman history, this makes a lot of sense. The plague came in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the Five Good Emperors. Next we get Commodus, and from there it’s a short hop to the Crisis of the Third Century.

    So, The Book of the Dead tells how to navigate the after life. What would your book be about? I can see the need for a book to navigate the US healthcare system.

  84. JohnSF says:


    What would your book be about?

    The inherent miserabalism of the British during the rainy seasons? (i.e. all the damn year) 🙂

    I have to say, the more I read about the American health care, the happier I am that my father decided against moving to the States back in the 70’s when Chrysler offered him a post.

    Either the British unitary state system, or the various European (and other) variants on state regulated compulsory and subsidised insurance provide decent care with varying balances of cost/quality/comprehension; but for anyone who has severe issues and isn’t wealthy, the US system seems nightmarish.

  85. EddieInCA says:


    The inherent miserabalism of the British during the rainy seasons? (i.e. all the damn year)

    The January that I spent in London was the longest year of my life.

  86. Kathy says:

    The other day I recalled glass syringes, which were rather common when I was growing up. There were disposable plastic ones, but the reusable glass ones were still around.

    So that led to another thought: how about a reusable surgical mask? We’re told home-made ones can be washed and reused. That wouldn’t be good enough for clinical work, but I suppose there are means for sterilizing fabrics.

    For regular use, hospitals and doctors would keep using the disposable ones. But reusable ones, if they can be sterilized after each use, they’d be a good thing to have in a pandemic.

    Even if it’s possible, it won’t help this time. But we can get ready for the next time. There’s always a next time. I’ve been thinking about that, too. there was a cholera outbreak in the 80s or 90s, the swine flu in 2009, SARS, MERS, Zika, Ebola, now COVID-19.

  87. JohnSF says:

    Bad taste doner kebab joke imminent…
    Sorry, but it’s the first thing any Brit will think of.

    “Sales of liquors, wine, and beer have doubled. There may be a connection there, and it is not good.”
    Anecdotadata: calls with friends and family and colleagues indicate alcohol consumption up.
    Being British that means global alcohol shortage in 5…4…3..

  88. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF: Man, I love a good Döner. Sadly unavailable to me without a long plane ride. One of the things I miss most about Germany.

  89. Kathy says:


    I spent a few weeks in the summer of 1985 in Cambridge with a few visits to London. I don’t recall much rain, and some actually rather pleasant days.

    Come to think of it, though, I seem to recall it was raining the day I arrived at Gatwick.

  90. JohnSF says:

    You’d have loved this February.
    Rain, rain, more rain; roughly double the usual, about 8 in. average.
    In the city of Worcester near to me for about three weeks the city bridge was shut to normal traffic; various nearby towns virtually islands in the floods.
    And now it’s Spring, and we’re locked down (except for essentials and “exercise hour”).

  91. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: There is quite a bit of Social distancing going on in Florida by residents even before the Stay at Home order was issued by the Government. Yes, testing is limited by negative tests amongst the sickest candidates are tracking between 93 and 90 percent negative which is a positive sign that we still have some time to contain our outbreaks if we can get more testing supplies.

  92. JohnSF says:

    That’s the thing about the Isles: lots of wet, but can be so lovely in the sunny intervals 🙂
    4 pm today went for the sanctioned exercise hour a little way outside town, and the hedgerows are full of daffodils, anemones, primroses, birds starting to sing like it’s Spring, cherry and blackthorn blossom, and the old church glowing in the sun.
    Upsides and downsides. 🙂

  93. CSK says:

    A few weeks ago I bought an HP Chromebook to replace my travel laptop. Big mistake. The cursor does pretty much what it wants, jumping around or closing the browser, or it freezes, so I have to shut the lid once or twice a minute in order to unfreeze it. Obviously I can’t return it (non-essential business) so I would be most appreciative if if someone had a few suggestions as to how I could defuck this damn thing, if that’s possible.

  94. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Whatever the real number is, he’s begging his creditors for relief.

  95. Sleeping Dog says:


    Cynically, I’ll say that the problem is that it is an HP. There’s a story there, best told over beer.

    Try changing the settings for the track pad, it maybe too sensitive.

  96. OzarkHillbilly says:


    There are reports that domestic violence and incidents are way up.

    A violent individual can be reasoned with, a drunk individual can be distracted, etc etc etc. A virus can not. My wife and I have a long record of taking care of each other. The Covid? Yeah, it’ll take care of us alright…

    Sales of liquors, wine, and beer have doubled.

    And water is wet, the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west.

    There may be a connection there, and it is not good.

    Yes, and the solution is don’t hang around violent drunk people. I learned that back in the 4th grade. (actually, I think I learned it when I was a junior in HS, but I have friends who learned it in grade school)

  97. Tyrell says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: You just got me thinking of heading over to the local fish camp and getting a combination plate of fried flounder, jumbo shrimp, hush puppies, slaw, and onion rings! It’s been a while.
    Actually I usually eat healthy. Yesterday was grilled salmon. My snacks are popcorn, celery, radishes, carrots, oranges, and tangerines. My big weakness is cotton candy, but the closest place for that is the big theme park and it won’t open until 6/1.

  98. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Nah… that’s just because he doesn’t want to pay them and going banko while Prez will affect his image.

  99. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Sleeping Dog:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If Deutsche Bank has anything at all on Trump, now is the time to bring it forth.

  100. Kathy says:


    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    Opera with the VPN wins!

  101. de stijl says:


    We are exceptional.

    Exceptionally bad.

    Compared to any other first world developed nations at providing health care to all. It’s incredibly frustrating. All of our peers are better way than us.

  102. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @JohnSF: Another good choice would be Norman Cantor’s book on The Black Death (I think that’s the title, but I’m not certain).

  103. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: My year-and-a-half in London included two winters and it was grim, grim, grim.

    The rest of the year wasn’t that great either. I’m probably the only person ever who has fled to Belgium for the sun.

  104. Monala says:

    @Kathy: Try coconut oil on your hands.

  105. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Never mind the sun.
    Flee to Belgium for the beer.
    Belgium #1, UK #2, Germany #
    Which is a hard thing for a Brit to say; but true.
    Bruges and Ghent are two of the best places I know for a weekend combining culture, booze, and good food..

  106. Kathy says:


    I love coconut.

    But I use a cream a dermatologist prescribed for my last bout of neurodermatitis eight years ago. It’s called Dexeryl, and it’s amazingly good. the problem is washing it off with alcohol or soap and water just a few minutes after applying it.