Wednesday, July 1st, 2020


Rx Factor

The pandemic has unearthed and aimed a magnifying glass at a lot of American shortcomings. But when you pull back and take a broader view, many of the stories are all part of the same big story. NYT: Why Surviving the Virus Might Come Down to Which Hospital Admits You. "The likelihood of survival may depend in part on where a patient is treated. At the peak of the pandemic in April, the data suggests, patients at some community hospitals were three times more likely to die as patients at medical centers in the wealthiest parts of the city. Underfunded hospitals in the neighborhoods hit the hardest often had lower staffing, worse equipment and less access to drug trials and advanced treatments at the height of the crisis."

+ OK, you're thinking "I've heard this story of urban inequality and woe before." But this story is not just happening in big cities. ProPublica: "Mabel Garcia went to the only emergency room in Texas County, Oklahoma, which didn't have a drug for heart attacks and strokes. She was airlifted to a larger hospital that gave her the drug she needed, but it was too late. She suffered brain damage." The stoked flames of the culture wars have convinced Americans from different regions, and from rural and urban America, that they are on opposing sides. The truth is that they are on the same side, and that side is getting screwed by the widening economic divide.

+ ABC: Extreme inequality was the preexisting condition. "As 45 million Americans lost their jobs, U.S. billionaires made $584 billion."

+ Related: "So far, lawmakers have not passed any measure to increase pay for workers who were asked to keep going to work during a highly contagious health crisis. Some companies did create hazard, or 'hero,' pay — typically around $2 extra an hour or a one-time bonus. Most have since ended it. So those boosted unemployment checks have created a bizarre distortion in the labor market, where holding on to a job doesn't guarantee being financially better off than losing one." NPR: When Essential Workers Earn Less Than The Jobless.


Help Wanted

"The Senate will incorporate the annual intelligence policy legislation into the National Defense Authorization Act -- but only after stripping language from the intelligence bill that would have required presidential campaigns to report offers of foreign election help."

+ NYT: Suspicions of Russian bounties were bolstered by data on financial transfers.


Hong Kong Fubar

"Deploying pepper spray and water cannons to force protesters off the streets, the police arrested about 370 people, including ten over new offenses created by the security law that takes aim at political activity challenging Beijing. One of the nine was a 15-year-old girl waving a Hong Kong independence flag, the police said." NYT: In Hong Kong, Arrests and Fear Mark First Day of New Security Law.

+ "British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the law was a 'clear and serious' breach of the U.K.-China joint declaration that governed Hong Kong's handover. Adding that he would honor a promise made earlier this month to provide passports and a path to citizenship to as many as 3 million Hong Kong residents." (US response? Check twitter...)

+ "They will become another city of China and they can secretly detain people ... they can be disappeared, and there is no argument in any judicial cases. So, of course, the rich people or the people who can afford it, they will [emigrate] to other locations. But the young people, the poor people, they will all stay there." Ai Weiwei: Hong Kong security law 'the last nail of the coffin.'

+ "A joint effort could make a difference, but coordinated action seems unlikely given strained ties between the Trump administration and many of Washington's traditional European allies." AP: Divided West can do little as China tightens up on Hong Kong.


Boycott Pilgrims vs The World

Some are officially aligning with the 'Stop Hate for Profit' movement and some aren't. But as many as a third of advertisers may boycott Facebook in hate speech revolt.

+ Facebook just labeled the Boogaloos a ‘dangerous organization' and banned 500 groups and pages. (So far, the boycott hasn't hurt Facebook's stock all that much. The big question: Will the boycott last?)


Don’t Spread on Me

"Chief Smith said it was a rumor at first but they investigated the unnamed students and confirmed it through local doctors offices and the state health department." Tuscaloosa college students who knew they had COVID-19 attended parties.

+ WaPo: The virus didn't stop a Washington socialite from throwing a backyard soiree. Then the tests came back positive.

+ COVID-19 Cases Surge In ICE Detention.

+ The virus has ravaged the institution, infecting 1,016 as of Monday. Marin asks Newsom to intervene in San Quentin outbreak.

+ Covid-19 outbreaks at meat-processing plants in US being kept quiet.

+ "U.S. Army Special Operations Command officials announced today that 90 students who were going through survival training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina have tested positive for COVID-19"

+ Protests don't appear to be driving coronavirus surge.

+ The always entertaining and dangerously wrong Lt Governor from Texas: "The only thing I'm skipping over is listening to him. He has been wrong every time, on every issue. I don't need his advice anymore. We'll listen to a lot of science, we'll listen to a lot of doctors, and [Gov. Greg Abbott (R)], myself and other state leaders will make the decision. No thank you, Dr. Fauci." (Counterpoint: Thank you, Dr. Fauci.)


The Amazing Race

"An early trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE showed it's safe and prompted patients to produce antibodies against the new virus, keeping it in the lead pack for a pandemic shot." Virus Shot From Pfizer, BioNtech Shows Promise in Early Test. There are many companies and academic groups racing like hell to get this done. Go team(s), go!


Patriot Acting Out

"Sean Murphy was an epic weed smoker, a devoted Tom Brady fan, and the best cat burglar that Lynn, Mass., had ever seen. In 2008, he seethed as he watched the New York Giants beat Tom Brady and his New England Patriots on a fluke helmet catch in football's biggest game. Then he read that the Giants' Super Bowl rings were being manufactured in Attleboro, just two towns south of where the Patriots play." Zeke Faux in Bloomberg: The Master Thief. (Fans often have a lot in common with their favorite teams...)


Hacking From Home

"Malware attacks on prominent businesses and institutions are nothing new. But experts say the shift to working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic may be making it easier for hackers to find a way in." UCSF pays $1 million ransom to recover medical school data from hackers.


Band Wagon

"The response may prove the biggest jolt to live music in decades. From home quarantine or empty concert halls, artists—including classical musicians—are videostreaming live performances straight to fans. What they started off doing for charity, some are now doing for profit." Economist: Live-streaming will change rock 'n' roll for the better. (Streaming direct to fans is a music trend to watch...)


Bottom of the News

Don't believe the medical experts? How about the financial experts. Mask wearing could save the domestic economy from a 5% hit to GDP. This is the stat that finally convinced my Beagle, Rye, to start wearing a mask. (My other Beagle, Pumpernickel, was convinced much earlier by all the people dying...)

+ This Guy Finished 105 DIY Ironmans in Two Years. "To mark the start of his sixties, Will Turner swam, biked, and ran 14,765 miles." (I've got 14,766 tabs open right now...)

+ Study finds asteroid impact, not volcanoes, made the Earth uninhabitable for dinosaurs. (I really hope it doesn't take 66 million years to figure out Covid 19.)