Double Down

So in Blackjack you’re dealt 2 Cards, one Face Up and the other Face Down. The value of concealment is absolutely nothing because you’re not playing against anyone at the Table, only the Dealer and they have to Hit on 16 and Stay on 17 (Goal 21, anything over immediately loses).

But what about the Dealer’s Down Card?

They have to Hit on 16 and Stay on 17. If you’re not 18 or better you’re playing for a Bust, you’re not going to bluff them and nobody else matters.

But because there’s nothing like sucker money (ask me about Twists, I dare you) there are 2 common “Exotic” bets you can make to lose faster. One is “Splitting”, if you draw a Pair you have the option of doubling your Bet and playing each Card separately (Two, TWO, TWO! chances to lose) with additional Down Cards.

The other is called “Doubling Down”. Once again you double your Bet and you receive for your investment but a single Card, concealed, which again- so what? Dealer only cares about his Hand.

Now if you’re sitting on a 4 and a 7 or any other combination that makes 11 total you might consider it as there are tons of Cards (all the Face Cards and the 10, so 16 out of 52) that will Max you out and 12 more (7 to 9) that will make you a Contender instead of a Bum. Good odds, 54%.

Other counts? Eh… not so much.

Let’s Double Down on Unemployment Claims, shall we?

We badly need another rescue package. Here’s what should be in it.
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
April 2, 2020

New weekly unemployment numbers were released Thursday morning, and they were absolutely stunning: 6.6 million Americans filed, not just a record number but a doubling of last week’s figure, which was itself a record. As The Post’s Heather Long noted, “The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years.”

The full scope of this crisis is just coming into view, so even though Congress just passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, an unprecedented rescue package, Democrats are already planning Phase Four.

So far, Republicans don’t seem particularly interested. “We may need a Phase Four, but we’re not even fully into Phase Three yet,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed
By Heather Long, Washington Post
April 2, 2020

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic.

In March, more than 10 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department
data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is probably even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

The U.S. government has not released an official unemployment rate, but economists say it has probably jumped to 10 percent, a massive and sudden spike from February, when the nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

The gravity of the job losses is staggering. During the Great Recession era, the U.S. unemployment rate only hit 10 percent for one month in October 2010.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist at the University of Minnesota. “The scale of the job losses in the past two weeks is on par with what we saw in two years during the Great Recession.”

Economist Heidi Shierholz has spent her life studying the job market and said she was shaking when she saw the “terrifying” number of job losses in March. Shierholz is predicting 20 million Americans will be out of work by July — the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression. That is her “best case” scenario if Congress does another big stimulus package to aid the economy.

Many newly unemployed have said they weren’t able to apply for unemployment benefits, because the phone lines were so swamped they could not get through.

Gig and self-employed workers like barbers and hairdressers were also not eligible to apply until the end of March, after Congress passed the $2.2 trillion relief bill to expand who qualifies for aid. These workers are only just beginning to fill out applications.

More Americans will probably lose their jobs in coming weeks as companies that have been trying to hold on to workers are forced to let them go or reduce their hours to almost nothing.

Major retail chains including Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney announced this week they are furloughing hundreds of thousands of employees, meaning they keep their health insurance but they do not get any pay because their hours are reduced to zero. These workers are also eligible for unemployment aid, but many are only just realizing they can apply.

But the pain is spreading beyond shops and restaurants. Mercedes Addington lost her job on March 23 at a company that sells trucking parts and supplies in Kansas City, Kan. Even though the business was considered “essential” during the crisis and orders were still coming in, the company laid off most of its employees.

There’s growing concern that workers losing their jobs due to the coronavirus won’t be able to return to their same position even after the health crisis ends. The longer workers are away from a job, the more they lose that attachment to their old bosses and companies.

Nations like Denmark chose to pay all workers so they would keep their jobs, even if they are at home. But the United States has largely left it up to companies to decide what to do. Economists say it’s best if companies furlough workers like Macy’s did because at least they keep their benefits and some attachment to the company.

“Don’t lay off your workers, furlough them,” Shierholz said. “The worker will still get benefits. They don’t lose their job. And companies don’t lose their workers.”

There’s a growing consensus among economists that the economy is not going to bounce back easily from this recession given how deep and widespread it is becoming.

Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve since 2007, is predicting a slower recovery, since it will take more time for people to feel comfortable to go out to baseball games and restaurants again.

“The public health aspects of this have not gone as well as they have in some other countries, so the infection rate and the mortality rate is likely to be relatively high in the United States. That also means the economic impact is likely to be more severe than in some other places,” Rosengren said.

(note: I had to use this as part of the Soundtrack for a Video I made so I’ve only heard it a Bajillion times and hate it more with each repeat.)

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Eric Posner and Emily Bazelon: Trump Is Politicizing the Pandemic. Governors Can Fight Back.

States need the federal government, and that has allowed Mr. Trump to indulge his worst tendencies.

As the Trump administration has floundered in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s governors have tried to step into the breach.

Gavin Newsom of California was the first to issue a statewide order to stay home. In Washington State, Jay Inslee’s aggressive measures have gotten credit as the rate of increase of the infection appears to be starting to slow. And Andrew Cuomo’s daily news conferences in New York have become a steady and popular source of sound information and empathy.

These governors and other local officials have offered a welcome alternative to the president’s erratic directives and briefings. And their forceful actions may seem to vindicate the wisdom of the founders, who reserved important functions to the states so that the national government would not grow too powerful. As Vice President Mike Pence put it on March 22, “One of the things that makes America different is that we have a system of federalism.”

But in the context of the pandemic, federalism has allowed President Trump to indulge his worst tendencies. States depend on the federal government to confront disease outbreaks like the coronavirus pandemic. In the early days of Covid-19, state and local officials weren’t in a position to foresee the scope of the threat or control the levers that could have suppressed it.

Amanda Marcotte: Don’t get too excited about Trump’s “somber” tone — he’ll be back to normal soon

Mainstream press gushes over Trump’s temporarily adult tone, but we all know he’ll backslide soon enough

On Tuesday, Donald Trump held a press conference that sounded slightly less like the P.T. Barnum-style daily events whose ratings he’s been bragging about ever since he took them over from Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump feared was hogging the spotlight. He managed to admit the death toll is likely to be a six-digit number and, after spending months minimizing the new coronavirus, even admitted this is worse than the flu. Naturally, the forever-gulllible press immediately began praise Trump as if he were a two-year-old who went poo-poo in the potty like a big boy. [..]

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for these folks, even though they’re marks walking into a trap laid by a con artist who has been grifting since he first went poo-poo in the potty. It’s not easy to accept the reality of our nightmarish situation. A pandemic is ripping across the country and our president, a man who meets every criterion on the sociopath checklist, does not care how many people die or face financial ruin, so long as he can win re-election. Of course it’s alluring to believe that there is a human being capable of compassion or care somewhere inside that ghoulish exterior, and that he will rise to this occasion.

This is exactly the kind of thing abuse victims go through with their abusers, often for years: Believing that this time he has changed, he won’t hit you again, those flowers he bought when he apologized are so nice, and so on. But it’s important to come to grips with the fact that he will always hit you again.

Jennifer Rubin: Trump is always the last to figure it out

If you watch New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or most every other governor (except the bumbling Ron DeSantis of Florida) at his or her daily news conference, you will see someone in command of the facts (e.g., number of infected patients, number of beds, number of ventilators, number of discharged patients) and with a clear sense of mission.

On Wednesday, Newsom rattled off lines like this: “Again, the prioritization of our day in date discussion interaction is the issue of hospitalizations and ICU beds. Roughly hospitalizations to ICUs are running about 41, almost 42%. You extrapolate that out based on the graph that was just provided in the model, we’ll exceed that phase one surge capacity of 50,000 somewhere in the middle part of May, and if you get up to about 66,000, that’s based upon our current modeling, we’re looking about 27,000 ICU beds that we’ll need to procure in this state.” Just imagine — no, you can’t do it — President Trump displaying that mastery of information. [..]

The contrast between the governors’ level of sophistication and Trump’s abject ignorance manages to still shock and appall us. On Wednesday, Trump explained how his thinking on covid-19 had changed. “The severity,” Trump said. “I think also in looking at the way that the contagion is so contagious, nobody’s ever seen anything like this where large groups of people all of a sudden have it just by being in the presence of somebody who has it. The flu has never been like that. . . . Also the violence of it if it hits the right person.” The contagion is so contagious. That’s the president of the United States.

Dana Milbank: Republicans were warned. Yet they persisted in defending Trump.

That notorious cut-up Mitch McConnell got an early jump on April Fools’ Day this year, blaming Democrats for the Trump administration’s failure to prepare for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“It came up while we were, you know, tied down in the impeachment trial,” the Senate majority leader said Tuesday. “And I think it diverted the attention of the government.”

In addition to implicitly acknowledging that President Trump wasn’t paying attention to the growing danger, it was a curious entry into the blame game for the Kentucky Republican, who recently said this isn’t “a time for partisan bickering.”

If anybody was diverted, it was McConnell, who, along with most of his GOP colleagues, again put lockstep defense of the president ahead of the national interest. During the three weeks of the impeachment trial, public health experts gave stark warnings about the growing biological threat. In that same time, several Senate Democrats (and a few Republicans) urged a more robust mobilization.

You know who said nothing? McConnell.

Elliot Hannon: The Far Right Is Looking for Miracles and Scapegoats to Bail Us Out of the Coronavirus Crisis

The U.S. government is now providing a security detail for infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci because as his stature has grown as one of the pillars of the American response to the pandemic, so have the rumblings of the far-right, conspiracy-theory wing of President Donald Trump’s support. The 79-year-old has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than 35 years, working with numerous administrations on infectious disease preparedness and response, ranging from HIV/AIDS to SARS and H1N1. To most Americans, that is a comforting sign of the experience and expertise that you would look for and appreciate in, say, the doctor who was treating your family. To conspiracy-minded Trump supporters, those decades of experience and public service are an indicator of something sinister: the anti-Trump deep state. [..]

The right wing has struggled to come to grips with the scale and potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A mixture of disbelief of anything beyond its immediate orbit, a profound unwillingness to take any coordinated personal action beyond consumption, and an implicit reliance on divine intervention have turned a distressingly large portion of the American political spectrum toward scapegoats rather than solutions. For the most virulent part of the Trump supporter base, Fauci is one of those scapegoats. “Outlets such as the Gateway Pundit and American Thinker seized on a 2013 email—released by WikiLeaks as part of a cache of communications hacked by Russian operatives—in which Fauci praised Hillary Clinton’s ‘stamina and capability’ during her testimony as secretary of state before the congressional committee investigating the attacks in Benghazi, Libya,” the Washington Post reports.


I am given to understand that Diabetes is a risk factor.

It’s no joke. I’ve known several people who were extremely Diabetic, I wonder how many are still alive since some of them were not very particular about their blood sugar. That’s really important, I’ve seen people pass out and it’s scary because there’s not much you can do besides call an Ambulance and hard to tell if they need sugar or Insulin.

Or at least it is for me. Not a Doctor.

Not a problem I have and I say that because I was tested in relation to my treatment for Macular Degeneration (it can be a cause). Oh, did I mention I was going blind? The good news is not anymore (Top 5% in Recovery but I bet they say that to everybody to encourage them) though it does involve letting the Doctor stick a needle in your eye fully awake with no anesthesia (this is really freaky and I don’t recommend it).

The Breakfast Club (Who Ever Said)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Pope John Paul II Dies at 84; President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany; Juan Ponce de Leon lands in Florida; Falkland Islands seized from Britain; Hans Christian Andersen Born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.


Continue reading

Daily Nightly

In The Mood For A Vacation?

Seth Explains Quaran-Teen Slang: The Mail, Corona Bae

New Full Frontal Tonight: Too Many Trees Edition | Full Frontal on TBS

You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This | Full Frontal on TBS

Leftover Salmon “Aquatic Hitchhiker”

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Heather Digby Parton: Not an April Fool: This humiliating failure is actually our president during a national crisis

Turns out a second-rate celebrity whose only skill was in branding was not qualified for this. What a surprise

Donald Trump thought the job of being president was to “make deals” in the same way he made deals as president of the Trump Organization, his family business. The job does require negotiation skills, to be sure, but it turns out that Trump is very bad at those, which should have been obvious to anyone who gave a cursory look at his business career.

Trump had a lot of help from his father when it came to the real estate business, but his real talent was for turning celebrity into cash. It is literally the only thing he’s good at. He spent decades working the tabloid press in New York City, building his name as a Big Player with a Big Lifestyle, culminating in his very own reality TV show. He was a Kardashian before Kardashians had been invented — a person whose “job” is simply to live in the media.

The job of a president is just a bit more complicated than that. There is an element of celebrity, of course, especially in the modern era. Trump has indeed mastered that side of the job. In fact, it’s pretty much all he understands. He bragged about the ratings for his coronavirus campaign rallies and made this weird observation about them during Tuesday’s event:

He’s good at being the center of attention. You have to give him that. But aside from dealing with Congress and foreign leaders — which, as mentioned, he does very badly —the main job of a president is to manage the federal government and lead the nation in a time of crisis. And Donald Trump has absolutely no idea how to do either of those things.

Elinor Kaufman: Please, Stop Shooting. We Need the Beds.

Gunshot victims are fighting for space inside our overcrowded I.C.U.s.

My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now.

I get these pages almost every night at the trauma center where I work. I rush to put on my protective equipment to guard against blood and other bodily fluids. But for the first time, I’m saving clean masks to reuse them. Because of coronavirus, the parents of my patients need a special escort because visitors are not allowed in the waiting room. I can’t bring a family to a gunshot victim’s bedside in the intensive care unit. I can’t tell a frightened mother that she can stay as long as she wants.

Doctors like me are trying to keep the world safe from the coronavirus pandemic. But thousands of families in America are already caught in the country’s existing epidemic: gun violence.

Firearm injuries are calamitous for the more than 120,000 people shot each year in the United States and their families. But the consequences for our health system are even more dire as we fight the coronavirus.

We need I.C.U. beds, we need ventilators, we need personnel to care for the wave of Covid-19 patients. But gunshot victims are now fighting for space and resources inside America’s overcrowded I.C.U.s.

George T. Conway III: Impeachment didn’t distract from coronavirus preparations. Trump did.

There should have been shame enough in orchestrating the acquittal of an impeached president who, in order to extort help for his reelection campaign, unlawfully withheld security aid to an ally. Shame enough in turning the Senate impeachment trial into a sham by refusing to hear a single live witness.

But it turns out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was just getting started.

On Tuesday, he added to the disgrace by claiming that impeachment distracted officials from dealing with the coronavirus. Speaking to radio host (and Post columnist) Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said the virus “came up while we were, you know, tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day, was all about impeachment.”

This is gaslighting of the highest order. Leave aside that the president now claims that he presciently “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic” and that he “always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously.”

Look at the calendar. The impeachment trial ended on Feb. 5. In reality, it was over before it even started, thanks in large part to McConnell. The only drama was about whether there’d be any witnesses — and that ended on Jan. 31, when the Senate voted not to hear testimony. That left plenty of time to deal with the virus.

And while some lawyers in the executive branch and Congress were working on impeachment around the clock, impeachment didn’t consume the government. Trump managed to get to Mar-a-Lago at least four times in January and February, working in a few rounds of golf along the way. He held five campaign rallies around the country during the impeachment trial.

Robert Reich: Ignore the bankers – the Trump economy is not worth more coronavirus deaths

CEOs, billionaires and advisers have the president’s ear and want people back to work. They are callous – and wrong

Dick Kovacevich, former CEO of Wells Fargo bank, thinks most Americans should return to work in April, urging that we “gradually bring those people back and see what happens”.

Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, whose net worth is $1.1bn, recommends “those with a lower risk of the diseases return to work” within a “very few weeks”.

Tom Galisano, the founder of Paychex, whose net worth is $2.8bn, believes “the damages of keeping the economy closed could be worse than losing a few more people. You’re picking the better of two evils.” [..]

It may seem logical to weigh the threat to public health against the accumulating losses to the economy, and then at some point decide economic losses outweigh health risks. As Stephen Moore, who is advising the White House, warns: “You can’t have a policy that says we’re going to save every human life at any cost, no matter how many trillions of dollars you’re talking about.”

But this leaves out one big thing. The “trillions of dollars” of economic losses don’t exist on any balance sheet that can be tallied against human lives. An “economy” is nothing but human beings. So it matters whose losses we’re talking about – whose losses of life, and whose losses of dollars.

Ross Barkin: There is no greater illustration of corporate America’s moral decay than Amazon

The company dismissed a worker who had been protesting conditions – someone who dared to raise the consciousnesses of those around him

n Monday, Amazon fired a warehouse worker who had been protesting about conditions at a New York City facility during the coronavirus outbreak. Chris Smalls, an assistant manager and organizer, had led a walkout demanding Amazon temporarily shut the facility for cleaning after multiple workers tested positive for Covid-19.

It was a move that spoke to the inherent inhumanity of the trillion-dollar corporation, one that will need to be brought to heel by a future presidential administration. The workers were seeking hazard pay and more protective gear as they labored during the pandemic. This, along with Smalls’ willingness to challenge the company, was apparently too much to take. [..]

There is no greater illustration of the moral decay of 21st-century corporate America than Amazon. Past behemoths trafficked in noblesse oblige, tolerating unions and even investing in their workforce. Automobile plants and steel mills accepted that the price of doing business was guaranteeing their workers more than a subsistence wage.


Maxwell, because he’s really important if you want to understand modern Physics-

Joan was quizzical
Studied pataphysical
Science in the home
Late nights all alone with a test tube, oh, oh, oh, oh
Maxwell Edison
Majoring in medicine
Calls her on the phone
“Can I take you out to the pictures, Joan?”
But as she’s getting ready to go
A knock comes on the door

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead

Back in school again
Maxwell plays the fool again
Teacher gets annoyed
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene
She tells Max to stay
When the class has gone away
So he waits behind
Writing fifty times “I must not be so”, oh, oh, oh
But when she turns her back on the boy
He creeps up from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon her head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead

P.C. 31
Said “We’ve caught a dirty one”
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures, oh, oh, oh, oh
Rose and Valerie
Screaming from the gallery
Say “He must go free” (“Maxwell must go free”)
The judge does not agree
And he tells them so, oh, oh, oh
But as the words are leaving his lips
A noise comes from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon his head
Clang, clang, Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that he was dead

So, it’s a song about a Serial Killer.

The Breakfast Club (Land Of Taxation)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Slobodan Milosevic arrested; American forces invade Okinawa; Nazi Germany begins persecuting Jews; Soul singer Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation.

Laurence J. Peter

Continue reading

Good Morning Campers!

I’m your Uncle Ernie and I welcome you to Tommy’s Holiday Camp! The Camp with a difference, never mind the weather. When you come to Tommy’s, the Holiday’s forever!

Hah, hah, hah, hah!

Down 410 yesterday, Limit Downs today.

Dow set to fall 700 points at the open after market posts worst first quarter on record
by Maggie Fitzgerald, CNBC
Tue, Mar 31 2020

U.S. stock futures dropped early Wednesday morning and pointed to sizable declines at the open, following the end of the worst first quarter on record for the Dow and S&P 500 spurred by the coronavirus sell-off.

At around 4:50 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 703 points, indicating an opening loss of about 741 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to losses at the open.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S.

“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “When you look at night the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”

On Tuesday, the Dow fell 410 points or 1.8% to 21,917.16, weighed down by American Express, which dropped more than 5%. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% to 2,584.59 and Nasdaq Composite dropped nearly 1% to 7,700.10. At its session high, the Dow was up more than 150 points.

The Dow secured its worst first-quarter performance ever, losing more than 23% of its value in the first three months of 2020. The 30-stock benchmark had its worst quarter since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20% in the first quarter, its worst first quarter ever and its biggest quarterly loss since 2008. The Nasdaq fell more than 14% in the first quarter.

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said that the coronavirus driven market rout will worsen again in April, taking out the March low.

“The low we hit in the middle of March … I would bet that low will get taken out,” Gundlach said in an investor webcast on Tuesday. “The market has really made it back to a resistance zone. … Take out the low of march and then we’ll get a more enduring low.”

Ok, I have to stop there and say, true! There is still no technical limit to how low it can go and historical P/Es indicate a valuation in the 10,000s.

But I repeat myself.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a nationwide shutdown of the economy, halting business production and leaving millions of American workers unemployed. The unprecedented societal disruption has caused financial distress and volatility never seen before, ultimately causing the wort first quarter in history for both the Dow and the S&P 500.

“The quarter will be remembered as the fastest and greatest drop in the stock Market for the start of any post-war bear market,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “This reflects the fact that this Bear is the only one cause by a recession which was simply ‘proclaimed’ as leaders announced they were essential shutting down the economy. Since a recession was ensured, the Bear skipped all its normal foreplay and simply went right to the end fully reflecting a recession almost immediately.”

U.S. oil experienced its worst month and quarter in history, losing more than 66% of its value in the first three months of the year. Demand has evaporated due to the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that he is starting to see “glimmers” that social distancing is helping to lessen the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, U.S. cases of the fast-spreading virus have topped 177,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death roll from the virus in America has surpassed 3,400.

So, like more than 9/11 which really, get over it.

Wall Street also posted sharp losses for the month. The Dow and S&P 500 fell 13.7% and 12.5%, respectively, in March for their worst one-month declines since the 2008 financial crisis.

Come, watch the Neoliberal Economy burn in flames with me. Toast a Wienie or a Marshmallow.

Oh, you just think I’m fooling.

BTW, happy anniversary to me. I’m 15 Years at this handle (You are not your Avatar) and I promise to continue being as obnoxious as possible and keep the Poet’s Pledge-

To be peculiar in the most unusual way I can cook up
To write excellently, or more especially to be known to write excellently
To master bards of old and bards anew, or at least never give on that I haven’t
To advance in gestures of my own and not in the stirrings of a majority, except where money is at stake
To be perceived as morally suspect, no matter what the truth
To sniff at adulation and pooh-pooh honors no matter how much I crave them
To obey whim and eschew duty, or at least appear to
To rove ruffian-like across continents of poems with ease, or at least make them think so
To engage in ridiculous arguments, all hot and sweaty for my own position
To be judicious only in the judging of my own merits and mean about the others
To die young, or if I linger, to be ignored and abused well
To write tons of crap for every good poem I do write, and obfuscate the difference with rhetoric
To suck up to important editors with honeyed words, and cuff the assistant editors often
To bemoan the sorry state of poetry in my country and do not one damn thing about it
To speak so incoherently that everyone thinks I am a genius

In the words of Trevor Noah, now you know, though I don’t disguise it. Why am I a Master Sergeant (equal in pay and superior in rank to a First Sergeant but with less Leadership responsibility)? Fifteen Years of undiscovered crime.

Daily Nightly

Stephen Colbert Returns With A Message: America, You Got This

Trump Claims Hospitals Are Hoarding Medical Supplies

Trump Brags About His Ratings During Coronavirus Pandemic: A Closer Look

Sen. Bernie Sanders Talks COVID-19, Medicare for All and Coronavirus Stimulus

Sen. Bernie Sanders Talks About the 2020 Race and Vice President Joe Biden

Donald Trump: “Tiger King” President | The Daily Social Distancing Show

Trump’s New Coronavrius Strategy | The Daily Show


What the Next Stimulus Package Must Include


To begin with I’m 120+ Years old and have seen both halves of the Great War (1914 – 45) as well as people flying for the first time and then going on to walk on the Moon. And Civil Rights kinda sorta and some other positive developments but recently, as Marvin might say, I’ve sensed a decline.

I have frequently observed that young people feel this more keenly because their experience of time is altogether different-


Good, nice to know you’re paying attention because this is important- for young people each interval, second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year represents a greater portion of their total experience than it does to me. Things change, normally for the worse and I hate it but you have to earn your cynicism n00b!

But I’m utterly unsurprised by this phenomena-

You think it’ll last forever: people and cars and concrete. But it won’t. One day it’s all gone. Even the sky.

My planet’s gone. It’s dead. It burned, like the Earth. It’s just rocks and dust. Before its time.

What happened?

There was a war, and we lost.

A war with who? What about your people?

I’m a Time Lord. I’m the last of the Time Lords. They’re all gone. I’m the only survivor. I’m left traveling on my own, ‘cos there’s no one else.

There’s me.

You’ve seen how dangerous it is — do you want to go home?

I don’t know… I want… Oh, can you smell chips?

Yeah. Yeah!

I want chips.

Me too.

Right then, before you get me back in that box, chips it is. And you can pay.

No money.

What sort of date are you? Come on, then, tight wad, chips are on me… we’ve only got five billion years ’til the shops close!

You want fries with that?

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: This Land of Denial and Death

Covid-19 and the dark side of American exceptionalism.

Death comes at you fast. Just three weeks ago the official line at the White House and Fox News was that the coronavirus was no big deal, that claims to the contrary were a politically motivated hoax perpetrated by people out to get Donald Trump. Now we have a full-blown health crisis in New York, and all indications are that many other cities will soon find themselves in the same situation.

And it will almost certainly get much worse. The United States is on the worst trajectory of any advanced country — yes, worse than Italy at the same stage of the pandemic — with confirmed cases doubling every three days.

I’m not sure that people understand, even now, what that kind of exponential growth implies. But if cases kept growing at their current rate for a month, they would increase by a factor of a thousand, and almost half of Americans would be infected.

We hope that won’t happen. Many although not all states have gone into lockdown, and both epidemiological models and some early evidence suggest that this will “flatten the curve,” that is, substantially slow the virus’s spread. But as we wait to see just how bad our national nightmare will get, it’s worth stepping back for a few minutes to ask why America has handled this crisis so badly.

Eugene Robinson: Trump finally submits to reality

In any war, reality has a way of changing the battle plans of even the most stubborn and vainglorious of generals. Even, it seems, President Trump.

The president’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic was first to ignore it, then minimize it, then irresponsibly tout an unproven drug treatment, then try to construe it as something that could somehow be confined to urban hotspots. It was as if he had to go through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — to mourn the economic growth and stock market gains he believed could win him reelection.

Over the weekend, Trump appeared to surrender to the facts. A month ago, he had foolishly predicted that the number of cases of covid-19 in the United States would soon be “down to close to zero.” On Sunday, he argued that keeping the number of deaths in this country below 100,000 — not cases, which may soar into the millions, but fatalities — would mean having done “a very good job.”

I realize it’s always dangerous to be optimistic where Trump is concerned. Perhaps I’m going with hope over experience, but for the first time, I have the sense that the White House accepts the scientific consensus about the threat covid-19 poses. I heard Trump’s usual bluster and bombast at his Rose Garden performance this weekend, but I also heard realism.

Michelle Goldberg: Trump to Governors: I’d Like You to Do Us a Favor, Though

Once again, the president is using aid to extort re-election help.

Last December, during a congressional hearing on impeachment, the Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan tried to explain the gravity of Donald Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo by making a domestic analogy.

Members of Congress, she said, should imagine living in a state “prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding.” What would they think, she asked, if their governor requested a meeting with the president to talk about disaster assistance, and he replied, “I would like you to do us a favor”?

Karlan seemed to assume that the grotesquerie of this hypothetical would be obvious. Now, with American life upended by coronavirus, her flagrantly corrupt scenario has come close to reality.

True, Trump is not demanding that governors investigate Joe Biden in exchange for federal help. But he’s strongly suggested that if governors speak candidly about his monumental incompetence, he’ll penalize them and their states as they struggle to contain the coronavirus. Once again, he’s using his control of vital aid to extort assistance with his re-election.

Catherine Rampell: Saving lives in the pandemic will also save the economy in the long run

If you’ve listened to President Trump or his aides in recent weeks, you might think we have to choose between what’s optimal for public health and what’s optimal for the economy. We can save lives, or maximize gross domestic product.

But if you listen to economists, you’ll learn that this is a false choice. Prematurely reopening businesses, schools and public gatherings — as Trump has agitated to do — would be worse for long-run economic growth than requiring them to remain closed until the virus is contained.

Last week, Trump and his National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, complained that the “cure” to this pandemic — that is, our collective economic coma — might “be worse than the disease.” Right-wing news organizations echoed this complaint, sometimes appallingly implying that Grandpa should be sacrificed to juice GDP. [..]

In fact, there’s near-unanimity among economists that the best way to limit economic damage would be to listen to the public health experts’ advice about how to limit infections — including by continued dramatic social distancing measures.

This should make sense.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Can Andrew Cuomo become FDR?

Andrew M. Cuomo is having quite a moment. Using the bully pulpit that the first Gov. Roosevelt, Theodore, made famous, the current governor of the Empire State hopes to emerge as our era’s equivalent to the second Gov. Roosevelt, Franklin. It’s an astounding, complex transformation brought on by the coronavirus crucible, and the nation is transfixed.

The pandemic is Cuomo’s Great Depression. Unlike our juvenile president, Cuomo has been clear, compassionate and inspiring these past weeks. He has taken the words of Franklin Roosevelt to heart (and to Twitter): “The news is going to get worse and worse before it gets better and better, and the American people deserve to have it straight from the shoulder.”

In his daily news conferences, Cuomo doesn’t deflect responsibility, but rather accepts it: “If someone is unhappy, blame me.” Instead of making sweeping, silly statements, he’s hyper-specific on everything from the number of ventilators the state needs to the number of tests administered. And instead of scoring political points, or humoring free-market fundamentalists who argue that stabilizing the economy should be prioritized over saving lives, he is eloquent in his plain-spokenness. “My mother is not expendable and your mother is not expendable and our brothers and sisters are not expendable … we’re not going to put a dollar figure on human life.”

Cuomo has captured the nation’s attention. Millions of Democrats, and no doubt many independents, are asking why he is not the Democratic nominee for president. The answer lies in the contradictions that this remarkable politician has never been able to resolve.

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