Live and Let Lie

On Tuesday, President Trump toured an N95 mask manufacturing plant, wearing goggles, but no mask, as the song Live and Let Die blasted in the background. At least we know metaphors will survive the pandemic. Many Americans won't be so lucky. It's not a hoax. It's not fifteen cases going down to five. The same pattern of nonstop lies that has marked Trump's years in office continues apace, but now the disinfo is not about his biography or political opponents. The lies about the virus are not just irritating, demoralizing, and frustrating; they're deadly. During Trump's checkered tenure, there's been no moment when facts and science are more imperative than when it comes to the re-opening of America. What we're getting is more of the same. Politico: Trump touted reopening. Privately, his team sounded alarms.

+ Among those most endangered by the lies are those still most trusting of the president. Andy Slavitt: "Trump, at a Fox News town hall this weekend, said the number of deaths could now be 75,000 to 100,000. As we approach 70,000 deaths, with 1,700 dying every day, he's not leveling with us, he's helping his supporters become the last to know." His true believers are protesting in the streets. The rest of public is astonishingly united.

+ The contempt for experts and talent guided us to a Jared Kushner-led response to the pandemic. Surprise. It didn't go well. "The team responsible for PPE had little success in helping the government secure such equipment, in part because none of the team members had significant experience in health care, procurement or supply-chain operations." And from WaPo: "Some associates of Mr. Trump sought special treatment from FEMA. "In one case, Jeanine Pirro, the Trump stalwart and Fox host, repeatedly contacted task force members and FEMA officialsuntil 100,000 masks were sent to a hospital she favored." And from Vanity Fair: "Political Connections and Cronyism:" In Blistering Whistleblower Complaint, Rick Bright Blasts Team Trump's Pandemic Response. (This is all par for the course. But the course itself is more lethal now.) Meanwhile, Jared just had a new gig added to his portfolio: helping get a vaccine for the disease developed in record time.


Subway Fair?

"Hopefully this experience will make us see clearly the crucial role we play in keeping society running so that we can stand up for our interests, for our lives. Like the Pittsburgh sanitation workers walking out to demand protective equipment. Like the G.E. workers calling on the company to repurpose plants to make ventilators instead of jet engines." Essential reading from Sujatha Gidla, an M.T.A. conductor, in the NYT. We Are Not Essential. We Are Sacrificial.

+ For the first time in its history, New York City deliberately shut down its entire subway system for nightly cleaning.


Home Grown

"Many Americans were already couch laborers before this all started. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, about 29 percent of college graduates worked from home at least some of the time. Even once coronavirus restrictions are eased, Bloom and others expect the proportion of Americans working from home to grow. 'I could see it being totally standard for jobs that can be performed at home to allow two days at home' per week." Olga Khazan in The Atlantic: Work From Home Is Here to Stay. (I'm less anxious to return to the office and more anxious for everyone else to leave my house...)


Nicolás Stand

"Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that two Americans were among 13 people arrested for allegedly launching an attempted coup to overthrow his regime. Maduro said ... American men were 'professional mercenaries' and members of President Donald Trump's security team. 'They were playing Rambo. They were playing hero,' Maduro said. Trump denied any US involvement on Tuesday, telling reporters 'it has nothing to do with our government.'" Buzzfeed: Venezuela said it captured two Americans during a failed coup and the backstory is incredibly wild.

+ For many more details that read like a movie treatment, check out: The Invasion of Venezuela, Brought To You By Silvercorp USA.


American Confusionism

Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: "Juxtaposing the South Korean response with the American tragedy, some commentators have chalked up the difference to an ancient culture of docile collectivism and Confucianism across the Pacific. This observation isn't just racist. It also exoticizes South Korea's success and makes it seem like the inevitable result of millennia of cultural accretion, rather than something the U.S., or any other country, can learn from right now. The truth is that the Korean government and its citizens did something simple, admirable, and all too rare: They suffered from history, and they learned from it." What's Behind South Korea's COVID-19 Exceptionalism?


Ecuador Jam

"The coffin she bought is gathering dust at a neighbor's house. The family, meanwhile, is waiting for an anthropologist to perform fingerprint tests on the bodies discovered in the shipping containers to see if one is a match." Bodies are getting lost in this Ecuadorian city that has been ravaged by the coronavirus.


Vos Def

AP: New campus sexual assault rules bolster rights of accused. "The U.S. Education Department on Wednesday finalized campus sexual assault rules that bolster the rights of the accused, reduce legal liabilities for schools and colleges, and narrow the scope of cases schools will be required to investigate."


Shangri Llama

"In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Cell, an international team of scientists reports that these petite antibodies, harvested from Winter's blood, were used to engineer a new antibody that binds to the spiky proteins that stud the surface of the novel coronavirus, 'neutralizing' its insidious effect." WaPo: The urgent quest for a coronavirus treatment involves door-to-door blood collection and a llama named Winter. (I always imagined it'd be an Alpaca...)


Feel Good Wednesday

Why global crises are the mother of invention. "In 1815, a volcanic eruption wreaked havoc around the world. But it led to the birth of the bicycle." (And there's nothing like a post-eruption ride to clear your head.)

+ "More than 170 years ago, the Choctaw Nation sent $170 to starving Irish families during the potato famine. A sculpture in County Cork commemorates the generosity of the tribe, itself poor. In recent decades, ties between Ireland and the Choctaws have grown. Now hundreds of Irish people are repaying that old kindness, giving to a charity drive for two Native American tribes suffering in the Covid-19 pandemic."

+ The universal challenge of getting your parents on Zoom.


Mask And You Shall Receive

My impressive friends Raina Kumra, Jennifer Lang and Rob Kramer launched a text hotline a few weeks back to collect PPE donations from homes and small businesses in LA. So far, they've collected and delivered over 10K masks to doctors, nurses, homeless shelters and other care facilities that needed PPE and fabric masks. Amazing! Even more so now that the program has gone national. I've gotten lots of emails from people asking where to donate PPE. Now I have an answer. Text MASKS to 844-974-2444 or visit Supplies Save Lives.