Saturday, October 3rd, 2020


Craze Anatomy

Dave: "I think it’s safe to start taking weekends off." 2020: "LOL"

Just when you thought America couldn't get any more obsessed with Trump news, the president gets, and likely spreads, Covid 19 ... and things reach a whole new level. The past week of Trump coverage makes the OJ trial seem like niche programming. And, as has been the case with past Trump news, there are acts of recklessness and truth is hard to come by. After being given the experimental antibody cocktail Regeneron, the president was moved to Walter Reed Hospital where he's been given Remdesivir. Trump's doctors say the president is responding well to treatment, but gave some confusing answers about oxgen use and the timeline associated with the illness. Here's the latest from WaPo.

+ That's the latest in terms of Trump as the infected. The story of Trump as the infector is just beginning. Sanjay Gupta: "According to the White House doctor, the President was actually diagnosed with COVID19 on Wednesday morning, and received experimental antibody therapy on Thursday morning — despite public being previously told the President was diagnosed at 1a on Friday. Despite being diagnosed on Wednesday, the President did not isolate or even regularly wear a mask — possibly becoming a source of spread of the virus. (I cannot believe I am writing this)." I Cannot Believe I'm Writing This would have been a better name for this newsletter....

+ We've had a decade of news squeezed into this week. Consider it from Trump's perspective. The world learns you're broke. The country finds out you're a tax evader. You humiliated yourself in a poll-crushing debate broadcast across the globe. And you find out you have Covid 19. Trump didn't pivot, life did. (If this story was in iambic pentameter, Shakespeare would sue.) Meanwhile, the week began with shirtless, raving Brad Parscale being tackled by law enforcement while waving a beer around in front of a housefull of guns, before being arrested and fired. And he probably had the best week of any Trump official.



After recklessly thumbing their unmasked noses at safety protocols, the GOP leadership has become its own Covid cluster. Here's a running list of those who have sadly tested positive. President Donald Trump, First lady Melania Trump. Hope Hicks, senior advisor to the president, Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, Kellyanne Conway, former White House senior advisor, and Chris Christie (hopefully there are no bridges between him and his hospital).


A Clear and Presidential Danger

Regardless of the knee jerk reactions that may take place in your unconscious (or private chat rooms), we all hate to hear about anyone getting coronavirus. But the reckless disregard and the rules don't apply to us attitude in certain circles has been remarkable. I haven't seen my parents' unmasked faces or been within 6 feet of them or been inside the house with them since March. I'm guessing you've been under similar restrictions. Yet, those at the top consistently flout the very rules pushed by their own health experts. Just look at these scenes from the White House.

+ And look at a maskless Mike Lee (who has now tested positive) sans mask, hugging people at an event. Why does he get to hug people? There's no hugging in Covid. This is completely insane.

+ "Attendees were so confident that the contagion would not invade their seemingly safe space at the White House that, according to Jenkins, after guests tested negative that day they were instructed they no longer needed to cover their faces. The no-mask mantra applied indoors as well. Cabinet members, senators, Barrett family members and others mixed unencumbered at tightly packed, indoor receptions in the White House's Diplomatic Room and Cabinet Room. Five days later, that feeling of invincibility was cruelly punctured." WaPo: Invincibility punctured by infection: How the coronavirus spread in Trump's White House.

+ "Minnesota's three Republican congressmen flew home on a Delta flight from Washington, D.C., Friday night, despite airline restrictions on passengers recently exposed to COVID-19-positive people such as President Donald Trump."


An Abundance of Incaution

"As far as I could tell, the White House's lone concession to the catastrophe unfolding before our eyes was that a few junior aides working in the suite of offices accessible to the press corps sat at their desks in masks. During my August trip, none of the aides breathing the same air in this cramped warren of offices had seen fit to wear one." Peter Nicholas in The Atlantic: What I Saw at the White House.

+ "Effective October 2, 2020, all National Security Council (NSC) staff reporting to the Executive Office of the President campus are required to wear a mask in all common areas, including security screening facilities, elevators, hallways and restrooms." That was an order issued in the White House ... YESTERDAY. Until then, it was not the rule. My house has stricter virus rules than the White House.


Secret Weapon

You wear a mask to protect others. You observe social distancing to protect your community. When you break the rules, you endanger others. Three White House journalists test positive for coronavirus after closely covering Trump. And, from the NYT: Trump's Secret Service Has Struggled With Outbreak at Training Center. These folks sign up to take a bullet for the president. They shouldn't be the victims of friendly fire.


The Threat Within

The New Yorker's David Remnick on the two sides of this story: The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House: "Any ailing individual ought to be able to depend on the best wishes of others—and on affordable, decent health care. Trump can depend on both, even if millions of Americans cannot. We can only hope that he and his wife get through the virus in a couple of weeks with minimal suffering, and, with prime medical attention and a modicum of luck, there's reason to think that they will. But, as President and as a candidate for reëlection, Trump should not count on the silencing of American citizens—on a deference that he has never shown to the people whom he swore to protect and has not. Because of his ineptitude and his deceit, because he has encouraged a culture of heedlessness about the wearing of masks and a lethal disrespect for scientific fact, he bears a grave responsibility for what has happened in this country. It will never be known precisely how many preventable deaths can be ascribed to his irresponsibility, but modest estimates run into the tens of thousands."

+ Remnick is eloquent as always, but Claudia Conway probably more accurately reflected the mood of most Americans when she announced her mom's positive test on Tik Tok. "i'm furious. wear your masks. don't listen to our idiot f--kin president piece of sh-t. protect yourselves and those around you." (This is probably the only time I'm glad my kids are on Tik Tok.)


Biden Timeline

"The distance between Trump and Biden lowered the odds of infection ... But almost everything else about the debate increased the risk that those aerosols could have found their way into Biden's nose. People release about 10 times more aerosols when talking than when breathing silently, Marr says, and even more when talking loudly. Trump certainly did that—for 90 minutes, in an enclosed space, without wearing a mask, and often in Biden's direction." The Atlantic's Ed Yong: Biden's Negative Test Result Isn't Enough to Say He's in the Clear. (We won't know for sure for about a week...)


It’s Everywhere

"The coronavirus map shows flare-ups coast to coast and from the Canadian to the Mexican border. Brooklyn is once again dealing with a spike in cases, and the state of New York on Friday reported its highest one-day case count since May 28. New Jersey and Delaware have experienced rising numbers, as has Texas, which just recently endured a midsummer surge. Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election, has been hammered." WaPo: Trump's infection is part of an ominous national trend as cases rise in most states.


Cam Caught in Web

"New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for the coronavirus and is out for the team's Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs." The game itself has also been postponed.


Bottom of the News

Just so you don't think all workplace screwups take place in DC, here's a Reddit Thread Of Workplace Screwups Will Make Your Worst Day On The Job Look Like A Cakewalk.

+ Chris Rock hosts SNL tonight. (Even with all the bad news, I managed to end on a high note!)

+ I'm working weekends. Buy a damn shirt.