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Gender: Female
Hometown: South Florida
Home country: United States
Member since: Fri May 26, 2017, 07:33 PM
Number of posts: 9,811

Journal Archives

The Secret to Germany's COVID-19 Success: Angela Merkel Is a Scientist

(Atlantic Monthly) BERLIN—Today, we face the global outbreak of a disease that has the potential to catalyze what the historian Eva Schlotheuber terms a “pandemic of the mind.” As misinformation proliferates and lines between fact and fiction are routinely and nonchalantly crossed, world leaders must, now more than ever, illuminate a thoughtful path forward, one reliant on science and evidence-based reasoning. Indeed, many have. One leader goes further still. Trusted by her people to navigate this outbreak’s murky waters, without inciting or succumbing to a pandemic of the mind, one politician is less a commander in chief and more a scientist in chief: Angela Merkel.


A brilliant student, Merkel learned early on “not to put herself in the center of things” lest she expose herself or her family to undue scrutiny, according to Stefan Kornelius, her official biographer and the foreign editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Merkel, who had by then earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry, was working as a research scientist. Soon after, she left her job to join a new political group that had formed in her neighborhood, thus quietly launching her political career. She rose in German politics and, through sheer smarts and a series of well-timed tactical maneuvers, ascended in 2005 to the chancellery, the head of Germany’s federal government. Her trajectory was dramatic and uncommon—for a woman, for an East German, and for a trained scientist with no background in law or civil service.

(Read More) https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/04/angela-merkel-germany-coronavirus-pandemic/610225/

*While their leader holds a doctorate in quantum chemistry, ours doesn't even believe in science...

Bloomberg's final bill: $1 billion for a 104-day campaign

(Politico) Mike Bloomberg ended his ill-fated presidential bid on March 4, but his campaign still shelled out nine figures last month anyway, taking his total spending to more than $1 billion in a losing run for the Democratic nomination.

The billionaire’s campaign spent $176 million in March, according to the campaign finance report Bloomberg filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday. That pushed his spending north of $1 billion for a campaign that lasted a bit over four months.

It isn’t unusual for campaigns to spend some money after they end — but the staggering size of Bloomberg’s post-dropout spending illustrates the unusual scale of his campaign, which ultimately saw the media mogul win only one contest: American Samoa. He did net delegates on Super Tuesday as well, but he spent more than $17 million for each delegate acquired.

Bloomberg’s campaign paid out $23.3 million in salary, fringe benefits and payroll taxes and fees in March alone, according to the campaign finance filing. However, the billionaire also left many former staffers furious by cutting them loose last month. Bloomberg’s campaign enticed Democratic operatives across the country with promises of a paying job through the November election, regardless of whether he ultimately won the nomination or not.

(Read More)

My suggestion to Mike Bloomberg: There are almost 6 million Americans in over 30 states that can't vote in November because paying off their court ordered costs is a direct or indirect requirement for voting. Many of them are financially struggling just to buy food. If you pay off all their legal financial obligations so their voting rights are restored, those 6 million folks just might swing the outcome of a national election and save us from a second term of terror. You are a private citizen now, please do this!

Under pressure, FL identifies senior-living homes with coronavirus cases

*How irresponsible and selfish for Governor DeSantis to wait so long to allow this!

After refusing for weeks, the state of Florida reversed course Saturday and released the names of 303 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities with cases of the coronavirus.

The list, released under pressure from the news media, included only the facilities’ names. It did not show the number of cases at each facility or whether they involved residents, staff or both.

Included on the list were 39 facilities in Broward County, 54 in Miami-Dade County and 36 in Palm Beach County.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the decision to release the names at a news conference in Tallahassee, after pressure from advocates for the elderly and the threat of legal action from media organizations.

The facilities are required to notify residents, staff and residents’ family members of any cases at their facilities, the governor said, and the decision to make the names public ensured that was done.

(List of nursing home/ALFs at link)

Biden looks to placate Sanders by letting him keep delegates

(Associated Press) WASHINGTON - Seeking to avoid the bitter feelings that marred the 2016 Democratic convention, Joe Biden’s campaign is angling to allow Bernie Sanders to keep some of the delegates he would otherwise forfeit by dropping out of the presidential race.

Under a strict application of party rules, Sanders should lose about a third of the delegates he’s won in primaries and caucuses as the process moves ahead and states select the actual people who will attend the Democratic National Convention. The rules say those delegates should be Biden supporters, as he is the only candidate still actively seeking the party’s nomination.

Quiet talks between the two campaigns center on allowing Sanders to keep some of his delegates, essentially a goodwill gesture from a presumptive nominee seeking to court Sanders’ progressive supporters and unite the party. It is not yet settled how many.

“We feel strongly that it is in the best interest of the party to ensure that the Sanders campaign receives statewide delegates to reflect the work that they have done to contribute to the movement that will beat Donald Trump this fall,” said a Biden official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss private negotiations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. “We are in discussion with them now on how to best accomplish that.”

Sanders’ campaign declined to comment on the talks. “Nothing to add from us,” said Sanders spokesman Mike Casca.

In some ways, the delegate count is a moot point. While he has yet to formally win the 1,991 delegates needed to claim the Democratic nomination on the first ballot at the party convention, Biden is the Democrat’s presumptive nominee. All of his rivals — including Sanders — have endorsed him after ending their own campaigns.

But with the nomination essentially decided, who has how many delegates takes on a new meaning. In 2016, rowdy Sanders supporters booed some speakers and any mention of nominee Hillary Clinton at the party’s Philadelphia convention. The disruptions were so embarrassing to the party that Sanders pleaded with his supporters not to stage protests on the floor.

By claiming the delegates that ought to belong to him under party rules, Biden could cut down on the number of Sanders’ backers — some of whom have been slow to embrace the former vice president — who could stage a replay of that divide. Instead, he’s decided to try to attract Sanders’ supporters rather than silence them.

For his part, Sanders wants as many delegates as possible to help shape the party’s platform and get Biden and the Democratic Party to embrace his democratic socialist agenda.

(Read More)


Time to fire Jared and Ivanka

(CNN) Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, traveled to the Trump golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with their three children for the first night of Passover on April 8, according to The New York Times

In so doing, they ignored federal guidelines. President Donald Trump's much-vaunted coronavirus guidelines recommend against "discretionary travel."

Kushner and Trump also seem to have ignored Washington, DC's Mayor Muriel Bowser's stay-at-home order, which was issued March 30 and ordered residents of DC, which include the couple, to stay at home unless they are performing "essential activities" such as "obtaining medical care" or are performing "essential governmental functions" or "allowable recreational activities" such as "walking, hiking, running, dog-walking..."

It's hard to imagine that a family visit to a New Jersey golf club falls into these categories.

The DC stay-at-home order also says that "willfully" violating it is a misdemeanor subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment for not more than three months, or both.

The hypocrisy of the Kushner and Trump's behavior is breathtaking.


We don't live in a monarchy in the United States and it's long past time for Prince Jared and Princess Ivanka to rejoin the private sector.

(read more) https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/16/opinions/fire-ivanka-and-jared-passover-travel-bergen/index.html

Michigan Gov: 'Better To Be Six Feet Apart Right Now Than Six Feet Under'

(TalkingPointsMemo) Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) dug in her heels on Friday on her stay-at-home order that has sparked protests from right-wingers in her state.

“You know, I can take it. If it makes people feel better to take their frustrations out on me, that’s fine,” she told “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “All I ask is let’s not get overly political here. Let’s focus on the public health.”

The governor recognized that her order comes with a price as people get laid off and children are prevented from going to school, but also that the order was necessary to protect Michiganders from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s better to be six feet apart right now than six feet under,” she said.

On Wednesday, a throng of right-wing protesters swarmed Lansing to protest against Whitmer, who has also been targeted by President Donald Trump. The mass demonstration was organized by Michigan Conservative Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund, which has ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Several of the protestors waved pro-Trump and even Confederate flags, despite the clear fact that Michigan was never part of the Southern Confederacy.

(link to video) https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/michigan-governor-whitmer-better-six-feet-apart-right-now-under-coronavirus

This is where all 50 states stand on reopening

(CNN) More than 90% of the US population is currently under a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend life as we know it. But worries for the economy -- and people's mental health -- are raising the question: When will things go back to normal?

President Donald Trump has indicated many states can reopen by May 1, and on Thursday shared federal guidelines for restarting the economy with governors.

Across the country, governors have been forming pacts. Those leaders are highlighting the importance of using science and advice from health officials rather than politics to choose when to reopen the economy. Expanded testing, tracking contacts of people who had the virus, improved treatment options and vaccine development are important, they say.
Here's the latest on where states stand in their plan to reopen:


So I sent this Newsweek article & link to a friendly trumpish neighbor.

I never do stuff like that - but he is trying to be "helpful" by sending out Covid19 info to folks in the neighborhood (he sits on homeowners board) unfortunately from unreliable sources like Fux. I don't know if he will think twice in the future about sending out garbage, but I felt unable to resist the urge to push back. I don't have very many trumpy neighbors, but this is one...


Columbia Journalism School Professor Todd Gitlin and 73 others said: "The misinformation that reaches the Fox News audience is a danger to public health. Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say that your misreporting endangers your own viewers—and not only them, for in a pandemic, individual behavior affects significant numbers of other people as well.

"Yet by commission as well as omission—direct, uncontested misinformation as well as failure to report the true dimensions of the crisis—Fox News has been derelict in its duty to provide clear and accurate information about COVID-19."


The Pre-pandemic Universe Was the Fiction

(Atlantic Monthly) What the coronavirus outbreak reveals is not the unreality of our present moment, but the illusions it shatters.


One word I’ve been hearing a lot lately is unreal. Mostly, I hear it from my own mouth, because I haven’t left the house in a month, but also I hear it from friends on Zoom or Skype, and from the news on TV or online. Unreal, or its variations: not real, surreal, this can’t be real. That we have departed from it into strange territory.

But what if it’s exactly the other way around?

What the current crisis and our responses to it, both individual and institutional, have reminded us of is not the unreality of the pandemic, but the illusions shattered by it:

The grand, shared illusion that we are separate from nature.

That life on Earth is generally stable, not precarious.

That, despite what we know from the historical and geological and biological record, human civilization—thanks to advancements in science and medicine and social and governmental structures—exists inside a bubble, protected from the kind of cataclysmic event we are currently experiencing.

What I’ve learned in the past few weeks is that this supposed technological bubble was just that: a thin layer that popped easily.

The stronger bubble, the one that persists, is the psychological one. Even as our stark new reality becomes clear, it remains hard to accept that “normal” was the fiction. It will take some time to let go of the long-held, seldom-questioned assumptions of everyday life: that tomorrow will look like yesterday, next year like the last.


Five hundred years ago, Copernicus re-centered the universe away from us, outward. The COVID-19 outbreak is a reminder: The world isn’t for us; we are part of it. We’re not the protagonists of this movie; there is no movie. After all the suffering and wreckage have subsided, one good thing for our long-term viability will be to have changed our ways of thinking. To have regained a humility.

I say humility because, as it turns out, unimaginable says more about the limits of our imagination than about reality itself. What we really mean when we say that this pandemic feels “unimaginable” is that we had not imagined it. Just as imagination can mislead us, though, it will be imagination—scientific, civic, moral—that helps us find new ways of doing things, helps remind us of how far we have to go as a species. How little we still understand about our place in this world—terrifying and awful at the moment—but also how much we still get to discover. How fragile and rare our ordered structures are, our fictions, and how precious. How next time, we might rebuild them, stronger.

Read More: https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/04/charles-yu-science-fiction-reality-life-pandemic/609985/

I wish I could tell Mike Bloomberg

You always said you would do whatever it takes so trump does not return for a second term in office. TV ads are helpful, but you can do more. There are almost 6 million Americans in over 30 states that can't vote in November because paying off their court ordered costs is a direct or indirect requirement for voting - those financial requirements fall especially hard on poor people who are struggling just to put food on the table - but you can help. If you pay off all their legal financial obligations so their voting rights are restored, those 6 million folks could swing the outcome of a national election and save us from a second term of terror.

*I know there were legal restrictions in place when he was an official candidate, but he is free to help out in this way if he wants, right?
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