Clueless in Washington

As the coronavirus spreads worldwide it is clear Donald Trump is the biggest threat to the health and well-being of Americans. He began by not taking action and hiding the facts from us while U.S. intelligence agencies were warning him in January that China had a virus problem. Once he was forced to acknowledge the pandemic he went on TV to say that it was more or less just “the flu,” downplaying it for a few weeks. When experts at NIH and CDC told him of the imminent danger, he finally began to admit publicly that it really was a deadly problem and everyone had to stay home and take hygiene precautions or else.

But he lost interest in that tack after about a week and now he is suggesting that we will have “won the war” by Easter and we can all let up on our precautions and get back to work. Why Easter? Who knows, except that it’s in line with his background as a game show host, wherein he could stage a cliffhanger at the end of an episode and tell the audience that in the next episode — on a specific day in the future — he would reveal the answer, or solve the mystery, or whatever. So tune in then, folks.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand that he can’t script the behavior of a virus. The virus does what it does, and infects whomever it can, and the world’s best experts know that it will take a long time to figure out how to fight it — anywhere from six months to two years. When he suggests that the crisis will be over long before that he puts all of us at increased risk. A study from Imperial College in London (PDF, March 16) reports that using the mitigation methods we have currently in place in the United States, the pandemic will kill a million Americans before it runs its course. If we take Trump at his word and relax our efforts, that number goes up to over 2 million, and neither of these numbers take into account that our healthcare system will be overwhelmed and only semi functional before it’s over.

We have held our breath for three years, hoping we would not face a crisis of this magnitude before Trump could be removed from office. Now it has happened. Donald Trump sees it as an obstacle to his reelection, not as an existential challenge. He wants to wish it away, as he was able to do on his game show. He wants to stop the inevitable crash of the U.S. (and world) economy, because he knows it will cost him many votes in November, and probably the election itself. And ironically his inaction and inappropriate action on the pandemic will cause the exact economic damage he thinks he’s avoiding.

Luckily, governors and mayors across the country are taking up the slack left by the president. But without the power of the federal government their own efforts are limited, and with Trump himself sending the message that coronavirus is nearly defeated, they are fighting against a strong headwind. Republicans in Congress and in the executive branch will not do what needs to be done, namely remove Donald Trump from office.

Alas, the best we can hope for now is that Trump gets bored with the whole pandemic thing and turns the official response over to those in the federal and state healthcare bureaucracies who actually know what’s happening. There is only a distant chance that he will do this, or that he will stop meddling with the expert response, but for now, it’s all we have.

Is Donald Trump The Chosen One?

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

If there are any other atheists out there who need more reasons to keep religion OUT of matters of the state, Ed Kilgore outlines a few of them here. Many of Trump’s apologists are saying that Donald is not the self-involved, narcissistic ignoramus he appears to be. Rather he is “the chosen one,” whatever the fuck that means.

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Dems: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Talking about impeaching Kavanaugh is not good politics.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that the Federalist/Heritage judges Trump has been nominating won’t do much to improve women’s reproductive rights, immigration justice, income inequality, voting & civil rights, or human rights in general. More likely, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and lower court judges will rule in partisan ways to lock in regressive policies for generations.

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Checking Out

These self-checkout machines they have in stores suit me.

If I am buying ice cream for the third day in a row, they do not judge me. They accept my scanned products, and talk to me in a soothing voice, asking if I have a phone number I’d like to enter, how many bags am I buying, or if I am ready to pay for my purchases. It’s purely transactional, but am I there for a party? No, I am not!

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Dorian in Alabama

Friends have suggested that I should just let go of the latest insane antics of our Celebrity Apprentice president. I probably should, but instead I’m going to have one more go-round.

Donald Trump displays doctored weather map to prove he is right as always. Photo: Getty via Ars Technica

Trump screwed up a few days ago, and reported that Hurricane Dorian might hit the state of Alabama, and despite everybody in the whole world, including the National Weather Service and members of his staff telling him this just wasn’t true, he spent days doctoring official maps and repeating endlessly that Dorian was, too, going to hit Alabama (at one time). He could have just said “Sorry, I misspoke,” and moved on. An hour later no one would remember the incident. But Donald Trump can never be wrong, and he can never apologize.

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Independence Day

It’s The Fourth of July! Yay! But real Independence Day doesn’t come until November of next year.

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was the worst political event of my long life. For the past two and a half years I feel as if I’ve been babysitting a hyperactive 5-year-old who has a hand grenade. No need to go into all the details here. From day one Trump has committed outrage after outrage, so many that there is no time to comment on them all, or rebut his thousands of lies.

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With family members Molly the Cat and Buddy gone forever I started a couple years ago tossing random crumbs out in the backyard for any critters who happened to be interested. Turns out the neighborhood sparrows were quite interested, but they soon demanded water, too, so I put out a big bowl for them and filled it a couple of times a day.

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Cleaning things out today and I found this. I only started using GPS a couple of years ago. Until then I actually referred to this book to find things in So Cal.

In the old days when I was playing a lot of one-nighters I would look up the address in the index, find the page(s) containing my destination, and work back from there to my home. Sometimes the trip would span two or three pages, and the way the book is laid out these pages were not necessarily in consecutive order. When a road went off the edge of a page it would sometimes be picked up 50 pages away.

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