Monday, October 5th, 2020


Blunder Road

You somehow knew we'd get to the point where the president was running from men in white coats. Just when you thought Trump's handling of coronavirus couldn't get any more reckless, he added reckless driving to the list since he just couldn't wait to get Don the road again. The ill and wildly infectious patient departed Walter Reed Hospital in the hermetically sealed presidential SUV (with others in the vehicle), taking a fast and spurious ploy ride to wave to admirers along the streets with no shame. The guy whose whole campaign is based on suburban danger literally endangered Americans inside a Suburban. Like those unfortunate SUV passengers forced to travel the route of all evil, Americans are also just along for the ride on this unmapped roadtrip down the Highway to Hell. As for the president's condition, we're getting what we've gotten all along: Mixed messages, confusion, and untruths. All we can say for sure is that the president is lying comfortably. From the NYT: The president made a surprise outing from his hospital bed in an effort to show his improvement, but the murky and shifting narrative of his illness was rewritten again with grim new details.

+ "He's not even pretending to care now." WaPo: Secret Service agents, doctors aghast at Trump's drive outside hospital.

+ 'This is insanity': Walter Reed physician among critics of Donald Trump drive-by visit.

+ Meanwhile, Trump aims for Monday release after outside drive-by. (Hurry, everyone take off your masks, the boss is coming home...)


Essential Snake Oils

"I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks' diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday. As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time." Now Kayleigh McEnany Has COVID, Making It 9 From Rose Garden Ceremony. Reporters on Twitter do not seem pleased about the timeline. Meanwhile, McEnany will continue to misinform, remotely.

+ Trump Didn't Disclose First Positive Covid-19 Test While Awaiting a Second Test on Thursday. "Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, said on Friday that he learned about the initial positive tests at the White House on Thursday through news reports. No one had contacted him even though he had spent much of the past week with Mr. Trump." (Just pause for a second and think about this. It's like a death cult.)

+ Politico: Biden still at risk after debating Trump at ‘peak of contagion.'

+ GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Went to Oktoberfest Party While Awaiting COVID-19 Test Results. And Sen. Chuck Grassley won't seek coronavirus test after attending meeting with infected senator.



"The vagueness of the communications we've received so far may be intentional: in particular, the question of when and how the President was first diagnosed has become freighted with clinical, epidemiological, and ethical implications. Most reports have placed his first positive test sometime between Wednesday morning and Thursday evening." We don't know much about Trump's condition, so we'll leave it to reporters and scientists to share best guesses. Dhruv Khullar in The New Yorker: How to Understand Trump's Evolving Condition.

+ Trained as an osteopath, Conley, who is also a US navy commander, was confirmed to the role two months later. Sean Conley: who is the Trump doctor whose updates are raising questions.

+ President Trump Is Getting an 'Unprecedented' Mix of COVID-19 Treatments. That Puts Him On the Cutting Edge of Coronavirus Care.

+ It's not just the White House. It's America: The US has reported more than 97,000 new Covid-19 cases since the news of Trump's positive test. And, 9 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.

+ Meanwhile, New Zealand "beat the virus again," PM Jacinda Ardern says. (Then should she be the one on the joy ride?)


Doctor Please, Some More of These

"Since the pandemic began, members of the group have experienced job losses, wildfires, weekslong power outages from tropical storms, political unrest, elderly parents with Covid-19, a news cycle on turbo and unending days filled with educating, feeding and caring for their children while also trying to fit in eight or more hours of work." In other words, "the increase of substance use among parents is 'just kind of understandable.'" Jessica Grose in the NYT: Mother's Little Helper Is Back, and Daddy's Partaking Too. (Shit, this is how I dealt with parenting during normal times...)


Court Yardstick

"On the docket just in the weeks to come, there is a blockbuster case that seeks to put a stake through the heart of the Affordable Care Act, in the midst of a pandemic—a challenge Barrett would seem to favor. Also on the docket is a case about a Philadelphia foster care agency that refuses to work with same-sex couples and claims that it constitutes religious discrimination if the city refuses to subsidize it with taxpayer dollars. In case that weren't enough, the court may also hear a case that could strip same-sex couples of equal parenting rights. Moving from religion to guns, the court has been itching to expand the Second Amendment, and Barrett has made plain that she would go further than even most conservative judges to permit guns. The court will also hear a case that could kill off what's left of the Voting Rights Act. Plus, there are multiple reproductive freedom cases hurtling toward the court, many from states that have already overruled Roe v. Wade in practice." Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern in Slate: This Supreme Court Term Will End With Either Catastrophe or 13 Justices.

+ Coronavirus upends GOP plans for speedy Barrett confirmation process. (RBG working overtime?)


The Other Pandemic

"The Trump Administration is poised to make a settlement with Purdue Pharma that it can claim as a victory for opioid victims. But the proposed outcome would leave the company's owners enormously wealthy—and off the hook for good." The New Yorker's excellent Patrick Radden Keefe on a not so excellent American crime story. The Sackler Family's Plan to Keep Its Billions.


Hep to Be Square

"Before the Nobel winners' discovery of the virus, no one knew why many people receiving blood transfusions appeared to develop chronic hepatitis." The Nobel in Medicine went to 3 scientists who co-discovered hepatitis C.


Acqua Altered

"Saturday was the first acqua alta of the season for Venice. It was also the day when, after decades of delays, controversy and corruption, the city finally trialled its long-awaited flood barriers against the tide." Venice holds back the water for first time in 1,200 years. (It's Italy. They were pacing themselves.)


Bea Best

"Since the elderly are at a higher risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, seniors are being advised to stay home during the pandemic and only go out for essentials. For a 102-year-old woman in Chicago, voting is essential. So Beatrice Lumpkin put on a hazmat-like suit and took her ballot to the mailbox, ensuring she could safely cast her vote this year."


Bottom of the News

Sir Adam Sandler narrates Nature Planet. An epic look into the endangered species, The Silver-Breasted Montle, as they battle back from the brink of extinction.

+ Harry Shearer with a look at what the president is taking time off from: Executive Time.