May 12, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 8:36 PM


Trump approval dips amid mounting coronavirus death toll, trails Biden by 8 points: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Chris Kahn, 5/12/20, Reuters)

The poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday showed that 41% of U.S. adults approved of Trump's performance in office, which is down 4 points from a similar poll that ran in mid-April. Fifty-six percent disapprove of Trump, up by 5 points in the same span.

It also found that 46% of registered voters said they would back Biden in the Nov. 3 presidential election, while 38% would vote for Trump. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:05 PM



Amy McGrath is hedging her entire campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on lightning striking twice in Kentucky--that is, a Democrat going up against a deeply unpopular Republican incumbent and winning.

The 44-year-old former Marine is counting on McConnell's unpopularity--polls show he's one of the single least-liked lawmakers in the country--to turn his seat blue this November. After all, deep dissatisfaction with Republican Governor Matt Bevin was enough to get him ousted from office in 2019.

"People in Kentucky know that he doesn't care about them and they want him gone. They're tired of him," McGrath said about McConnell during an interview with Newsweek.

"I think against an unpopular incumbent, a Democrat can win here. That's what the governor's race showed. And Mitch McConnell is not well-liked here."

Posted by orrinj at 6:04 PM


Acting intelligence chief has declassified names of Obama officials who 'unmasked' Flynn (Zachary Cohen, Alex Marquardt, Evan Perez and Chandelis Duster, 5/12/20, CNN)

Many of the documents illustrate the alarm among US national security officials in 2016 about Russians' election interference, and the effort by US officials to figure out why the Russians were seeking to aid Trump's election, and why Trump and people associated with his campaign seemed to be openly and discreetly encouraging such help. [...]

And while Grenell has insisted that the declassification is about increased transparency, the material notably does not include a transcript of Flynn's calls with former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the Trump transition in 2017.

Posted by orrinj at 4:59 PM


George Soros: Trump's self-destruction 'exceeded my wildest expectations' (Caitlin Yilek, May 11, 2020, Washington Examiner)

Soros told the Independent he has rooted for Trump's downfall, and the president is succeeding in granting him his wish.

"I have put my faith in Trump to destroy himself, and he has exceeded my wildest expectations," Soros said in the interview published Monday.

In response to the interviewer's remark about Trump not representing the "values of an open and free society," Soros said it's a "weakness that I hope will not last very long."

"Donald Trump would like to be a dictator. But he cannot be one because there is a constitution in the United States that people still respect. And it will prevent him from doing certain things. That does not mean that he will not try, because he is literally fighting for his life," he said.

Posted by orrinj at 4:57 PM


Posted by orrinj at 4:50 PM


Posted by orrinj at 4:45 PM


Reddit's QAnon Casualties is a home for survivors of the conspiracy (Mike Rothschild, 5/12/20, Daily Dot)

There are now so many people who have lost someone they care about to the Tom Clancy-meets-Dan Brown militia fantasy of QAnon that they've formed their own community on Reddit: r/QAnonCasualties. 

And their stories are heartbreaking tales of husbands and wives who no longer speak, destroyed friendships, siblings who chose QAnon over their family, parents who don't speak to their children anymore. There's is the misery of people who have had their loved ones taken in by a joyless, violent cult that promises "pain" to the enemies of freedom, but, in reality, only delivers it to the people who love those ones who believe in it. 

R/QAnonCasualties was created in July by Reddit user Squawkomodile, who introduced the sub with a long post about their relationship with their mother was decaying as she sank deeper and deeper into QAnon.

"My mom has been into QAnon since it got started," the first post begins. "The ignorance, bigotry, and refusal to question "the plan" have only gotten worse over time. I'm always torn between stopping communication with her because it only seems to make me feel terrible, and feeling like it's my responsibility to try to lead her back to reality. We barely talk anymore, but when we did, she used nearly every conversation as an 'in' to bring up Q."

"Having a loved one involved in QAnon is an exhausting, sad, scary, demoralizing experience," it continues.

Posted by orrinj at 4:35 PM


Fauci's Senate testimony debunked a number of Trump's favorite coronavirus lies (Aaron Rupar, May 12, 2020, Vox)

Trump, for instance, has repeatedly insisted that the coronavirus "is going to disappear," including as recently as last week. But in response to a question from Sanders, Fauci made clear that is not going to happen.

"When you talk about 'will this virus just disappear' -- and I've said publicly many times, that is just not gonna happen because it's such a highly transmissible virus," he said. "And even if we get better control over several months, it is likely that there will be virus someone on this planet that will eventually get back to us."

Fauci also agreed with a question Sanders asked him about whether he concurs with experts who have concluded the US coronavirus death toll, which has reached more than 80,000, represents an undercount -- comments undercutting arguments Trump and his advisers have reportedly embraced in private about official death numbers being inflated.

"Most of us feel that the number of deaths are likely higher than that number, because given the situation particularly in New York City when they were really strapped with a very serious challenge to their health care system, that there may have been people who died at home who did have Covid who were not counting as Covid, because they never really got to the hospital," Fauci said.

When Trump hasn't been engaged in wishful thinking or denialism, he's tried to shift blame for the US's coronavirus woes, going as far as to absurdly attack former President Barack Obama for not developing tests for a virus that didn't even exist at the time he was president.

During Tuesday's hearing, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) asked Fauci if Obama did anything that "made the likelihood of creating a vaccine less likely." Fauci quickly dismissed the question -- and, by implication, Trump's talking point.

"No, senator, not at all," Fauci said.

Posted by orrinj at 1:44 PM


The Early Days of the Coronavirus Outbreak in Wuhan (Bernhard Zand und Veronika Hackenbroch, 12.05.2020, Der Spiegel)

More than four months after fish monger Chen became one of the very first people to come down with the respiratory illness later named COVID-19, there are a number of theories and opinions in circulation about the origins and spread of the illness. DER SPIEGEL has reconstructed events in Wuhan in an effort to learn how the outbreak could have happened and what took place in the early days in the city's hospitals and health agencies. And to learn whether the global pandemic could have been prevented if officials, doctors and politicians had behaved differently. In short, to learn who might share the blame for this pandemic.

This reconstruction is based on numerous discussions and meetings, on reporting in Wuhan itself but also on reporting by Chinese journalists. A complete picture can only be provided by an in-depth international investigation of the kind being demanded by experts and politicians around the world - an investigation that Beijing has thus far resisted. But it can already be said with certainty that mistakes were made in Wuhan - and that the global spread of the disease could, at the very least, have been slowed.

It isn't known when and where the first person became infected with SARS-CoV-2. But it is considered extremely likely that the precursor to the pathogen comes from bats - and based on genetic analysis, it is believed that the virus jumped to humans only one single time, at some point in fall 2019.

That is rather unusual. It is generally the case that a longer process of genetic adaptation is necessary before a virus that originates in animals can be passed from human to human. Generally, humans repeatedly become infected by animals before a pathogen mutates such that it can be passed from person to person. But SARS-CoV-2 followed a different path. Researchers believe that a specific genetic sequence is responsible, one that joined the genome that produced SARS-CoV-2 predecessor completely by chance. It is that sequence that has made it so easy for the virus to spread.

Researchers have two hypotheses for the beginning of the pandemic: Either this genetic sequence was added to the virus when it was still reproducing in its animal host - whether it be bats, pangolins or raccoon dogs - so that the first person who became infected was immediately able to pass it along. Or a precursor was circulating unnoticed for months, but wasn't particularly contagious before the new sequence was added.

Either way, close contact between humans and animals provide ideal conditions for viruses to jump to humans. And those conditions were present at a wildlife market in Wuhan.

On Dec. 26, the day when the fish monger Chen Qingbo checked into the Central Hospital of Wuhan, the pulmonologist Zhang Jixian, 54, had her first encounter with the virus at a different clinic in Wuhan. An elderly patient was suffering from a fever, a cough and breathing difficulties and tests for influenza and other, similar illnesses had all come back negative. Dr. Zhang ordered a CT scan of the patient's lungs and found that she was suffering from a severe and unusual form of pneumonia.

One day later, the neurological department asked Zhang for assistance with an elderly patient experiencing similar symptoms. His CT scan had also revealed severe pneumonia. The doctors soon figured out that the male patient and the female patient were married. "I realized that something wasn't right," Zhang would later tell the state-run news agency Xinhua.

The doctor learned that the son of the two patients had brought them to the hospital and she convinced him to submit to a CT scan of his own lungs. "He resisted initially," according to Zhang. "He had no symptoms and thought we wanted to get him to undergo an expensive procedure."

Once the scan was performed, though, it revealed the same lesions on the lungs that his parents had. For Zhang, it all pointed to a "contagious disease," and after a few more tests, she was convinced. "It wasn't a normal illness." That same day, she reported her findings to the authorities.

People suffering from the same symptoms were showing up at other hospitals in the city as well. Most had one thing in common: Like Chen Qingbo, they had been traders, suppliers or customers of the Huanan market.

Before it was closed down, the market consisted of two large halls separated by a broad road. Each hall contained dozens of stands and Chen's stand was in the eastern part of the market, where primarily fish and shellfish were on offer. In one corner of the larger, western half of the market, there were several stands that offered exotic wares like snake, fox and salamander meat along with scorpions, crocodiles, live hedgehogs (for the equivalent of 4.50 euros per kilogram), living wolf pups (3 euros) and civets (32 euros). Civets are thought to be the transmitter of the SARS coronavirus that began spreading in southern China in 2002.

In such markets, animals are crammed into cages in horrific conditions, and images taken from this part of the market in Wuhan before it was shuttered on Jan. 1 show dismal-looking stands with dire hygienic conditions. Even today, more than four months later, you can still smell the rotten stench if you approach the site, which has been completely cordoned off.

"They allegedly also sold pangolins there," says Chen Qingbo. "But I never saw them. I never went over to those stands. I find wild animals to be dirty and I'm afraid of them." The eastern part of the market, by contrast, was a completely normal Chinese market, says Qingbo. "Even the restrooms were OK. They were cleaned every day."

Posted by orrinj at 11:33 AM


Gov. Brian Kemp's approval rating stands at 39% weeks after he reopened Georgia (Jake Lahut, 5/12/20, BI)

Kemp, a 57-year-old Republican, made headlines in mid-April when he became the first governor to announce a large scale reopening initiative, with sectors from hair salons to bowling alleys opening their doors despite the Peach State not meeting the CDC's recommendations for a requisite decline in cases and other factors.

In the poll, Republican and Democratic governors who have overseen more stringent stay-at-home measures saw high approval ratings, such as Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who has 86% approval.

Posted by orrinj at 11:30 AM


Trump promotes conspiracy theory accusing MSNBC's Joe Scarborough of murder (QUINT FORGEY, 05/12/2020, Politico)

Following a segment on the network's "Morning Joe" talk show that featured discussion of upcoming Senate testimony by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, as well as critical comments from Scarborough regarding the White House's coronavirus response, Trump lashed out in a tweet posted just before 7 a.m.

"When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so," Trump wrote. "Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn't it obvious? What's happening now? A total nut job!"

Trump was apparently referring to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who worked as a staffer in Scarborough's Fort Walton Beach, Fla., office when he served as a Republican House lawmaker from the state's 1st Congressional District.

Klausutis' autopsy revealed she had an undiagnosed heart condition, and a coroner concluded she died after passing out and hitting her head in a fall, according to The Associated Press. She was not struck by another person, the coroner said, and Scarborough was in Washington at the time of her death.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Thanks to Climate Divestment, Big Oil Finally Runs Out of Gas (Bill McKibben, 5/12/20, NY REview of Books)

Meanwhile, the oil industry faced a second challenge: solar and wind engineers were relentlessly dropping the price of their technology, to the point where it was both cleaner and cheaper than digging stuff up and burning it--in Abu Dhabi last week, the low bid for what will be the world's largest solar array promised power at little more than a penny per kilowatt hour (the average electricity price in the US is about 13 cents per kWh).

As a result of these twin pressures, the fossil-fuel industry has been the laggard in the last decade of economic expansion, underperforming every other sector of our economy. Exxon, in that span, went from being, in the words of a recent Bloomberg Businessweek report, "once the undisputed king of Wall Street," the most powerful corporation on the planet, to a "mediocre company," worth less than Home Depot Inc.

And Exxon wasn't alone. As energy finance campaigner Clara Vondrich has pointed out, one oil major after another has begun to cut the dividends that were stockholders' only reward for putting up with lagging returns. Warren Buffett last week apologized to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders for having made a $10 billion bet on oil last spring. "If you're a shareholder... in any oil-producing company," he admitted, "you join me in having made a mistake."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


How Heavy is the Universe? Conflicting Answers Hint at New PhysicsThe discrepancy could be a statistical fluke--or a sign that physicists will need to revise the standard model of cosmology (Anil Ananthaswamy, May 12, 2020, Scientific American)

Two entirely different ways of "weighing" the cosmos are producing disparate results. If more precise measurements fail to resolve the discrepancy, physicists may have to revise the standard model of cosmology, our best description of the universe.

"If this really is a glimpse of the standard model breaking down, that would be potentially revolutionary," says astronomer Hendrik Hildebrandt of the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.

Similar concerns over the correctness of the standard model have been raised over the past few years by two independent calculations of the so-called Hubble constant, or the rate at which the universe is expanding today. Those two measurements also disagreed, creating what has been called the Hubble tension.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Leaked data from the White House task force shows virus cases are spiking in clusters across the US (Tom Porter, 5/12/20, Business Insider')

Data from the White House coronavirus task force obtained by NBC News shows the number of coronavirus cases sharply increasing in several areas of the US, contradicting Trump's claim on Monday that the number of cases is declining "all throughout the country." 

The chart was produced for the task force of top public health experts and administration officials on May 7 and not publicly released.

An image published by NBC shows the information marked "for official use only," which means the information is not meant to be public, but is also not formally classified.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

MORE THAN A FEELING (profanity alert):

"Trump's Feeling Is, 'Why Are We Losing Everywhere?'" (GABRIEL SHERMAN, MAY 11, 2020, Vanity Fair)

With the coronavirus death toll surpassing 80,000 and the unemployment rate at Great Depression-era levels, there is a growing consensus among senior Republicans that Donald Trump's reelection is slipping away. Recent internal polls show Trump trailing Joe Biden in six swing states, a data point that augurs a landslide loss in November. "The swing state polls are horrific," a prominent Republican briefed on the numbers told me. The White House's COVID-19 outbreak is only the latest headline that reinforces the narrative that Trump can't get control of the pandemic. "This is what should worry the campaign: Biden is in his basement and he's beating Trump," a former West Wing staffer told me. "If I were Biden, the lesson I would learn is: Shut the [***] up and let Trump go out there and destroy himself." [...]

On top of everything, there is also fear in Trumpworld that Senate Republicans might finally break from him if the polls get bad enough. "The numbers are [****]ing terrible," another former West Wing official said. "There's massive anxiety in the GOP that he's gonna take them all down with him."

It's nothing less than our party deserves for truckling with him.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Taking #Obamagate SeriouslyPresident Trump's bonkers theory, explained. (TIM MILLER  MAY 12, 2020, The Bulwark)

On the surface, Trump's deranged Mother's Day tweetstorm and the halfhearted trolling of his predecessor at his Monday press conference seem like just a couple more examples of the mad king feeding his fans a juicy porterhouse--in this case, a theory about President Obama's supposed crimes that is so stupid that even the president himself can't answer the most basic question about it.

But underneath the palpable jealousy and the desperate attempt to change the subject to something, anything besides the slow-motion pandemic-management disaster that he is overseeing, is a very real effort by President Trump and his enablers to undermine the rule of law, rewrite the history of the 2016 election, and give a hall pass to a hostile foreign power for its interference in our election. Trump's allies in the conservative media and the Justice Department are taking #Obamagate very seriously. This conspiracy theory is informing our foreign policy, millions in tax dollars are being spent in an effort that is going "full throttle" to prove that it is correct, and countless Americans are being fed a faux history involving a crime that supposedly "makes Watergate look small time."

In that context, "President Fabricates Crimes By His Predecessor" should be front-page news, an unprecedented assault on the office of the president and our system of justice. An action that under any previous president would have sparked a massive backlash from within his own party among institutionalists concerned about both their short-term political interests and the broader historic implications.

Part of the reason that it isn't happening is, again, the that's-just-Trump-being-Trump impulse: His awful absurdity and absurd awfulness have dulled the senses to such a degree that the journalists who are accused of peddling "fake news" attacks on him don't take him seriously, and even people who are well attuned to politics don't understand what he's talking about and believe that his #Obamagate spiel is some throwaway nonsense. I'm confident that Joe Republican Senator could not begin to describe to you with any specificity the contours of the purported Obamagate scandal. Hell, the president himself couldn't even describe it during his press conference.

But his comic incompetence does not make such a matter less serious, it makes it more serious.

So for those who have dismissed this as another passing fancy, here is a breakdown of what exactly #Obamagate is and why it matters.

No matter how highly you regard President Obama, you have to give pride of place to the genius with which he got Flynn to lie to Mike Pence, Donald to fire him for it, and the Trump WH to refer the case to DOJ,

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The Divine Mandate for FreedomAnd restraint -- as the holiday of Lag B'Omer reminds us. (SHMUEL KLATZKIN, May 12, 2020, American Spectator)

As is common in times of great oppression, there was continual disagreement among the Jews as to the best way to relate to Rome. No one could claim success, so the arguments were not settled. Some advocated accommodation and pointed out the positive side of Rome -- the roadways, the aqueducts, the baths, the plumbing, the orderliness brought to commerce and travel on an immense scale. Rabbi Shimon, however, thought these improvements meant nothing if freedom was denied. Rome eventually put a price on his head, and he had to flee for his life.

The story passed down through the generation by the Talmud is that he and his grown son hid in a cave for 12 years. He lived on the most meager of rations; he was sustained by his constant review of the Oral Law, of which he was a master, and by his deep mystical insight, for he was deeply spiritual and meditative as well as being a master of law.

The Talmud tells a tale of what occurred when he and his son finally emerged. His ardor for freedom was undimmed, and having put all at stake for his God and country, he was violently dismayed by seeing life going on around him as if all were normal. How could anyone not devote themselves completely to God and give up everything for the cause? As the text describes it, fire shot out from him and consumed the people who were acting as if all they had to do was to plow their fields, nothing more.

In response to this came a heavenly voice that said, "Is this what you will do with My world? Go back to your cave!"

The text tells us that he and his son went back to the cave for another year. When they emerged this time, Rabbi Shimon's son still would burn people up with his anger, but Rabbi Shimon would immediately heal them.

The central message of this story is that no matter how holy and completely dedicated people are, they are not empowered to hold the entire world to their level of behavior. The world is a divine creation, even if it does not fully reflect that. In particular, people do not see and respond in the same way, even to the greatest issues, and their lives must be respected nonetheless. We must accept these differences, not merely as regrettable allowance to a bad reality but also as something that represents God's overriding will.

The message then is that the need to allow freedom is not a human conceit pressed at the expense of true loyalty and dedication to the highest of causes. Human difference is part of the supreme design; we each have a voice and a role in the discussion and in the determination of our common affairs.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Where Black Nationalism Meets White SupremacyAs Louis Farrakhan turns 87 today, his influence across the spectrum of hate remains strong (JACK R. FISCHEL, MAY 11, 2020, The Tablet)

Not since the 1930s has anti-Semitism been so threatening to the American Jewish community. Incidents, such as the shooting at Pittsburg's Tree of Life synagogue and the Chabad in Poway, California, have made Jews vulnerable to attacks by white extremists, while attacks in Monsey and Jersey City have highlighted the danger posed by the inflammatory language of black nationalist anti-Semitism. In a survey taken by the American Jewish Committee in October 2019, 31% of Jewish respondents reported having taken steps to hide their Jewish identity in public, and 25% stated that they avoided Jewish sites. The AJC survey was taken before the attacks in Jersey City and Monsey. [...]

Perhaps the most potent link between white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and black nationalists can be found in the person of Farrakhan, the charismatic 86-year-old head of the Nation of Islam (NOI). In the three decades since he succeeded the late Elijah Muhammad as the leader of the black nationalist sect, Farrakhan has become a powerful force in the African American community by way of his speeches, rallies, and social networking, where he reaches a wide audience even among the black middle and upper class. Farrakhan is regularly pictured with prominent African American entertainers and has his own place of honor in the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Washington Mall. He is also perhaps the most dangerous anti-Semite in America since Father Charles Coughlin who has consistently attacked Jews as the "children of the devil," "bloodsuckers," and assorted other vile and disparaging descriptions.

Farrakhan has accused Jews of spreading marijuana into black communities so as to feminize the black man, and worshipping in the synagogue of Satan. He often refers to the Jews as "lying, murderous Zionists," whom he accuses of being behind the Sept. 11 attacks. Farrakhan's messages of hate directed toward Jews and Israel reaches large number of his followers on his websites, and through the NOI Press, which publishes the libelous Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well as the The Secret History Between Blacks and Jews, which falsely asserts that Jews dominated the slave trade. In fact, the role of Jews in the Atlantic slave trade, according to scholars, was minimal. Yet Farrakhan remains one of the most important leaders of black America in the 21st century. Despite his ongoing anti-Semitic rhetoric, oddly enough, few black mainstream leaders openly challenge Farrakhan's bigotry.

The NOI is not the only black nationalist group that promotes the language of conspiratorial anti-Semitism. The Black Hebrew Israelites claim that they are the descendants of the Israelites of the Old Testament and are the true Jewish people. Founded in 1886, the movement over time splintered into factions which included a form of black nationalism that promoted its message through street preachers, who often employ provocation as a strategy to advance its doctrine that black people are the real "chosen people."

The Black Hebrew Israelites depict Jews as usurpers of God's will, a "devilish people" who have prevented the black man from realizing his true destiny. Although not a sect that engages directly in mass violence, its promotion of confrontation toward law enforcement, Jews, and white people in general, has resonated among segments of black America. In the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket shooting that ended in the death of six people, including a police officer, law enforcement found that the two suspects, David N. Anderson and Francine Graham, appeared to have been connected to the Black Hebrew Israelites. Subsequently the police found that Anderson had posted anti-Semitic and anti-police messages on internet forums. A New York Times investigation into the two shooters cited a neighbor who related hearing Anderson shouting that his religion was the only true religion, and that Catholicism and Judaism were false religions. The Southern Poverty Law Center has stated that, in 2019, "144 Black Hebrew Israelite organizations were listed as hate groups because of their anti-Semitic and anti-white beliefs."

The New Black Panther Party (NBPP), another leading fount of black nationalist anti-Semitism, is not the successor to the original Black Panther Party. Nevertheless, the NBPP owes much of its anti-Semitic beliefs to the original Black Panthers, and to the Nation of Islam. The NBPP contends that the primary perpetrators responsible forthe exploitation of black people is the white race, and that Jews, in particular, wield a disproportionate amount of power over political and economic affairs--as well as over law enforcement, which consistently engages in acts of violence against the black community. The NBPP has also promoted The Synagogue of Satan, a book written by an editor of the NOI's Final Call, a publication that includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories, alleging that the world is being manipulated and corrupted by satanic powers led by Jewish elites.

The NBPP shares the same message of hatred toward Israel as does the NOI, accusing "Zionist leaders" of "robbing the gold mines of Africa" and having the "blood of Palestinians on their hands." In a 2002 rally in front of the B'nai Brith building in Washington, D.C., spokesmen for the party led chants of "death to Israel," and "kill every goddam Zionist in Israel." Elsewhere, the vituperative language of the Panther party, in calling for the destruction of Israel, declares that the "State of Israel has no right to exist." The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled the NBPP the most extreme organized racist and anti-Semitic group in the United States.

Only the "nation" they belong to differs, but the idea of "nations" is mutually supporting.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM



A billboard in New York's Times Square that displays a number its maker says reflects the fatalities caused by a delayed U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, has hit over 48,000 as of Tuesday.

Put in the heart of the city last week, the "Trump Death Clock" was the idea of filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, and is a nod to the billboard-sized National Debt Clock, which is also in New York.

All comedy is conservative.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Merkel urges prudence as Germany's infection rate remains critical (Michael Nienaber, Thomas Escritt, 5/11/20, Reuters)

Germany is being closely watched worldwide as the most successful large European country in curbing the spread of the virus, partly thanks to massive testing, which has prompted a partial reopening of the economy. Merkel has frequently said the reproduction rate of the new coronavirus must be held below 1 to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

But the Robert Koch Institute for public health said the rate hovered above this critical threshold for the third consecutive day with an estimated value of 1.07 on Monday, after 1.13 on Sunday.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump administration as a source of misinformation on the coronavirus (Sarah Al-Arshani, 5/12/20, Business Insider)

Trump's administration was the second most cited source of misinformation behind social media. However, while only 15% of respondents said social media was the main source of misinformation, 47% said Trump's administration was the main source of misinformation. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Fox News White House reporter John Roberts slams 'petty' ABC News colleague (ARIEL ZILBER, EMILY GOODIN, GEOFF EARLE, 5/11/20, DAILYMAIL.COM)

'Almost everybody in the Rose Garden is wearing a mask - almost everybody,' the ABC News journalist tweeted on Monday.

Karl then posted four pictures showing journalists and White House aides wearing face coverings both before and during the news conference.

Roberts, however, was conspicuously without one as he sat and looked over his notes before the president took questions.

The Fox News correspondent than tweeted a response to Karl, writing: 'What, exactly is the basis for this petty effort at shaming???'

It's a Puritan Nation, not a FOX one.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Any Obama officials involved in Flynn 'unmasking' declassified: Source (Martha Raddatz, May 11, 2020, ABC News)

While the law requires that identifying information of U.S. persons picked up during foreign surveillance be "masked," high-ranking intelligence officials can request the identities be revealed if they feel the information is necessary to further understand the intercepts.

As always, keeping the identities secret did more harm than good.  The American voter was entitled to know that the Trump campaign was working with the Russians and Wikileaks.  Open source everything.