Tuesday, March 10th, 2020


The Pull Out Method

Attendance will not be taken. It's time for a new kind of cancel culture. Or better yet, a can't do attitude. You should view any invitation to a large gathering the same way you'd view an invitation to a monthlong trip on Princess Cruise. In short, RSVP no. If you need to play a game, play keep away. Not showing up is half the battle. You've heard of a plus one invitation? Consider this your minus one invitation. FOMO used to mean fear of missing out. Now it means fear of morbidity. Seriously, can we take a raincheck? It just doesn't make sense to hold large gatherings right now. If you're into the Beatles, turn down Come Together and turn up Eleanor Rigby. Trust me, others are overrated. Agoraphobia is underrated. Home is where the heart is (beating). Look at it this way: Trump doesn't believe in science and thinks the virus is a hoax, and even he's working from home. Take Yascha Mounk's advice in The Atlantic: Cancel Everything. "Anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel."

+ For the counter argument, we turn to Mayor Patrick Leclerc of Landerneau in western France. "We must not stop living... it was the chance to say that we are alive." French mayor defends Smurf rally.

+ Countries that are really locking things down seem to be flattening the viral curve. Countries that waited are being forced to shut down everything. All Of Italy — The Entire Country — Is Now On Coronavirus Lockdown.

+ "The National Guard will be deployed to New Rochelle as part of the new approach to controlling contagious virus." Gov Cuomo announces one-mile containment zone to halt coronavirus in New Rochelle, epicenter of NY's outbreak.

+ None of this is to suggest that shutting down big events is easy or without cost. CityLab: How Coronavirus Took Down SXSW. The organization that puts on that event has already laid off a third of its employees. Then there are all the restaurants, hotels, temp workers, etc, etc. And that's just one event.

+ Photos: Empty Public Spaces During Coronavirus. And Northern Italy under quarantine.

+ Harvard is the latest college to tell students to stay home.

+ "We're trying to figure out why age is a primary feature of this infection, but from a biological perspective, we don't have that answer." NBC: Understanding the age question could help researchers figure out how to treat the illness.

+ "A 10-year-old boy and his mother have been rescued 52 hours after being trapped in the collapse of a virus quarantine site in southeastern China where 20 people have died." And on the danger of misinformation: 27 killed by alcohol poisoning in Iran trying to protect themselves from coronavirus.

+ Televangelist/Scumbag Jim Bakker has been warned by officials to stop peddling silver as a fake cure for coronavirus. (Why is this a warning? It should be a felony.)

+ "While you can't come into contact with the virus through food, the hard surfaces you encounter in a restaurant, such as menus, utensils, salt shakers and the like, are another story." WaPo: Here's what you need to know about dining out in the age of coronavirus.

+ Here's the latest from BBC.


Testing, Testing…

"The sluggish rollout of the tests has become a debilitating weakness in America's response to the spread of the coronavirus. By this point in its outbreak, South Korea had tested more than 100,000 people for the disease." The Dangerous Delays in U.S. Coronavirus Testing Haven't Stopped.

+ Time: The Trump Administration Is Stalling an Intel Report That Warns the U.S. Isn't Ready for a Global Pandemic. (I'm pretty sure the cat's out of the bag...)

+ Trump administration orders immigration courts to remove coronavirus posters – then takes it back. (Why the fix? Journalism.)

+ An update from the president: "I've been briefed on every contingency you could possibly imagine. Many contingencies. A lot of positive. Different numbers, all different numbers, very large numbers, and some small numbers too ... Be calm. It's really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen."

+ And if you missed it yesterday, here are my 30 thoughts on living with bad leadership in bad times: Gov in the Time of Corona.


Who’s the Boss?

"Incumbent Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took the oath of office for a second term while Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, citing fraud, proclaimed himself Afghanistan's president at a rival inauguration event." NPR: Dueling Simultaneous Afghan Presidential Inaugurations Bode Ill For Peace Talks.


Cell Outs

"Each man featured here was wrongly convicted, in part, on the word of a jailhouse informant. Each served years, even decades in prison. And in each case, the information the snitch gave eventually proved false. Nine of the men pictured here were condemned to what amounted to a life sentence. One man was sentenced to death." ProPublica: Convicted Based on Lies.


There’s No Such Thing as a Free Sugar

"From whole grain English muffins to reduced-sugar ketchup, sucralose is found in thousands of baked goods, condiments, syrups and other consumer packaged goods — almost all of them containing carbs." WaPo: A common artificial sweetener might be making you fatter and sicker. (I eat 6-8 sugar free popsicles a night. Looks like I might have to switch to plain ice...)


Oil, That Is…

"Saudi Arabia will raise its crude supply to a record high in April, the kingdom announced on Tuesday, as it ratcheted up a standoff with Moscow over market share and appeared to reject Russian overtures for new talks." Saudi Arabia, Russia raise stakes in oil standoff.

+ "The oil price collapse has sent shockwaves through financial markets. But the geopolitical earthquake could reach even farther." The excellent Jason Bordoff: Why This Oil Crash Is Different. (And what it could mean for American energy companies.)

+ WaPo: White House likely to pursue federal aid for shale companies hit by oil shock. (Shale to the chief!)


That’s What She Led

"What would a major, metropolitan city look like without women? Tens of thousands of Mexican women put that to the test Monday when they stayed home to protest their fury over the levels of violence against them, from daily aggressions to murder." Vice: Mexican Women Are Shutting Down Their Country to Protest Violent Machismo Culture.

+ Buzzfeed: A Day Without Women. "Women-only subway cars were nearly empty during morning rush hour. Some banks and health food stores were closed, with signs announcing support for the strike posted on the doors. At a bookstore near the historic center of the capital, none of the 10 women employees had gone in to work — and their male counterparts said they were content picking up the slack."


Jackson Hole Puncher

"Teton County has become an extreme example of a widespread dynamic in the West, where land protections limit development and drive up prices. Concurrently, the local economy tends to rely on tourism and recreation—industries that require both low-wage jobs and incoming wealth." Outside: America's Richest Mountain Town Is Its Most Unequal.


Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind

"With Biden already up just about 80 delegates over Sanders going into Tuesday, a strong performance in these states could give him a lead that will be tough for Sanders to overcome. And alternatively, a surprising result for Sanders could make the primary more competitive than some assume it is right now." Buzzfeed: Here's What To Watch For Tuesday As Six States Vote In The Democratic Primary.


Bottom of the News

"The state Board of Education currently prohibits 'any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga,' that latter of which is defined as a 'method of religious training.'" A bill proposes bringing yoga back to Alabama public schools -- but without the 'namaste.' (A bend don't break defense...)

+ Led Zeppelin: Stairway to Heaven not partly stolen. (Well, this has only been a controversy for about 50 years, so it could still change...)

+ Someone started a literary magazine dedicated to Taco Bell.

+ Wired: How to Clean Your Smartphone the Right Way.